Charles Daly

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Category: Articles (page 6 of 7)

7 Bay Area Adventures on a Budget

Remember that ad for herpes medication with the woman in a canoe announcing ‘I have genital herpes’ on a mountain lake? Or this CITI Bank ad where professional climbers put their gear on a credit card? We’re supposed to believe that these are the faces of adventure: good looking white people (some of whom may have herpes) with plenty of free time and disposable income. The image of the ‘outdoorsy type’ is a powerful one. It helps sell all kinds of shit, and it lulls many of us into a sedentary life where we watch outdoorsy types have adventures on our screens.

It’s a shame, because the outdoors is free and the gear to explore it can be cheaper than you think. You don’t even have to go into the wilderness, another myth of the ‘outdoorsy type.’

From Oakland to Big Sur, San Francisco is one of the greatest launching off points in the world for urban and natural exploration. Here are a few cheap ways to explore the bay on land and sea.



Continue reading my latest piece at Broke-Ass Stuart 


‘Hot Girls Wanted’ Review of the Netflix Porn Documentary

Stella May and her mom are having the birth control talk. Stella is visiting home for the first time since she left Texas to do porn in Miami. She tells her mom she isn’t on the pill, but she is taking precautions, ‘Don’t worry, mom,’ she says, ‘The guy does it on you instead of in you.’
Welcome the frustrating and unironic world of Hussie Models, a group of young ‘pro-am’ porn talent who live with their agent, Riley, in Miami. ‘Pro-am’–short for the oxymoronic ‘professional amateur’ porn–has changed every paradigm in smut. Pro-Am has made porn more popular, more extreme in its content, yet more mainstream in its public acceptance.
Hot Girls Wanted,  a Netflix Original produced by Rashida Jones, takes us inside the Hussie house for a stark naked look at this controversial industry.
Image: netflix

Lester Bangs Back Catalogue

I found my happy place this week over at Rolling Stone where they have all of Lester Bangs’ reviews from the 1970s. Bangs is the controversial rock journalist who inspired Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character in Almost Famous. 

He was a master of the rant. Reading him is an emetic to the measured, too-reader-friendly, prose of today’s essayists (not-naming any names.)

It was said of the Velvet Underground that only five hundred people bought their first album, but all five hundred went on to start bands of their own. Lester Bangs, in his too-short career as a freelancer, had a similar impact on American letters. David Foster Wallace cited him as a major influence and dedicated his book on rap lyrics to him. 

From Bangs’ review of Led Zeppelin III:

I keep nursing this love-hate attitude toward Led Zeppelin. Partly from genuine interest and mostly indefensible hopes, in part from the conviction that nobody that crass could be all that bad, I turn to each fresh album expecting — what? Certainly not subtle echoes of the monolithic Yardbirds, or authentic blues experiments, or even much variety. Maybe it’s just that they seem like the ultimate Seventies Calf of Gold.

Life Unlubricated– a Guide to Going Out Sober

I recently celebrated my first birthday. Like a lot of recovery metaphors, ‘birthday’ sounds a little dramatic, a little too close to ‘born again.’ Looking back at my first year clean and sober, I get it. This does feel like a second life I’m living, and sometimes I feel like an emotional toddler. Growing up is painful. Truth hurts. One truth I’ve had to face is that I am not and never will be one of the 90% of people who can drink in moderation.

For the 10% like me, getting better means learning to live without lubrication. In the beginning, the hardest part was going out* sober.
Here are some tips on how to have a great night out without a drink. I use a lot of recovery speak, but these pointers are for anyone who wants to take a night off without feeling awkward. This is the guide I wish I had at 60 days.





Image: StaticMass


*Let’s `define our terms. ‘Going out’ in sober speak means relapsing, and that’s just what we’re trying to prevent here. For our purposes I’ll be using ‘going out’ to talk about a night out, hopefully a sober one.

Eat Cheap in NYC with PareUp

The founders of PareUp saw an opportunity to save food from going to waste by putting it on the plates of people looking to dine well on a budget. At first they imagined a service where users open their fridges to one another, but decided it would be uber creepy (pun intended) to apply the model of the sharing economy to half eaten jars of peanut butter and Greek yogurt. The breakthrough came with something bakeries were already doing–offering discounts on soon to be wasted food. They set out to scale that model to food services of all types. The folks at PareUp wagered on ethics as a driving force behind consumer habits. Far from early concerns that almost-stale bagels might give patrons the wrong idea about a baker, participation with this service only strengthens a brand and demonstrate it’s values to a new generation of customers, customers who have not just money to spend, but also fucks to give. “People care about businesses that care about people,” said co-founder and CEO, Margaret Tung.

Read the rest of my piece on PareUp at Broke-Ass Stuart.

Get PareUp here. 

PareUp--pastries--fruit

Top 10 TV Themes at Broke-Ass Stuart

TV themes don’t matter like they used to. Nobody watches Game of Thrones because they hear the theme song playing from the TV room and realize it’s their favorite time of week again. The future of the TV theme song is unclear, but its past is undeniable.
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name… let’s take a look back at ten classic themes from when we watched TV on a television.

Check out my top 10 TV themes at Broke-Ass Stuart. Be sure to add your own in the comments. 


If I Had Just One Pen…

It’d have to be the Uniball Signo Um-151. I’ve recommended fountain pens here before, and here. But I have to admit, the Signo (a gel pen) is more practical and reliable without compromising on smoothness. Lately it’s become the pen I won’t leave home without, which makes me a lot less paranoid about loosing my gold nibbed Sailor, now on love letter duty. 
 
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Image: jetpens.com

 

 A recent write-up in the New York Times compares the sleek look of this masterpiece of Japanese stationary to the lines of the Shinkansen ‘bullet train.’ It’s a case of form that follows function–they’ve fit a lot of engineering into a pen that retails for two bucks. A special gel ink flows when you want it to and dries quick, and the tip is rounded to glide across the page. 
 
uniball--signo--japanese--gel--pen--japanese--stationary--ink--flow--edgless--tip
Imgae: jetpens.com
All that precision helps you write smaller and neater, handy for proofreading and making notes in the margins. This also makes the Signo ideal for students of Chinese and Japanese. 
 

 

Check out the complete guide to the Uniball Signo at JetPens.

Boost Your Creativity With Emotional Problems & Mental Illness

Before you consider an MFA or a fellowship, take a second look at a time-honored alternative–mental illness. Not all mental illnesses inspire their sufferers, and not all mental patients make good art, but some disorders do have a strong correlation with creativity, and emotional turbulence is often what drives someone to make art in the first place. Here is a concise (and un-scientific) guide to help you choose the emotional disorder that’s right for you.
Read my artist’s guide to emotional problems at Broke-Ass Stuart. 
Elliott--Smith--Smoking--a--cigarette
Image:spin

Required Reading — Get Fewer Rejections, With Nathaniel Towere

Check out The Juggling Writer’s tips for smarter submissions, a must read for anyone hoping to find a home for their short stories. 

 

4. I stopped trying to conquer lit mags. I used to send story after story to the same lit mag, responding to each rejection with another piece ripe for rejection. In most cases, it’s foolish to try cracking a lit mag. If they don’t like your first seven stories, they probably won’t like your 37th either.

Cheap-Ass Fountain Pens

So much more than a graduation gift or banker’s front pocket accessory, the fountain pen is still the best way to write longhand. A fountain pen will tighten up your penmanship and loosen your grip, saving you from writer’s cramp.  Contrary to the marketing hype of a few high end brands, most fountain pens are pretty cheap. Here are the five best for under $30. You can find these in Japan Town, or at Jetpens.com.

1. THE PILOT VARSITY — THE THINKING MAN’S BIC
pilot--varsity--disposable--fountain--pen
The Varsity is smooth beyond its price point, I’d compare it to any gold-nibbed jotter on the market. It will pain you to throw it out, but that’s what you have to do since there’s no cartridge. The nib has just enough flex and never scratches. These go for $3.00 a pop at Rite Aid…
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