Monday, July 31, 2006

Super Stamps

Super Stamps
Originally uploaded by h3athrow.
It's rare that I get excited about a special series of stamps released by the United States Postal Service. But late this month, one of the best designed and packaged series hit post offices across the country.

With 10 portraits of super heroes from DC Comics, as well as 10 historic covers, the set was a collaboration between the USPS and DC -- and features information on the back about the heroes, origins, and storylines... and even credits the creators who produced the original artwork.

I bet Marvel is foaming at the mouth over this. Who knew there could be so excellent a reason to go to the post office?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Join the (Film) Club!

I received a DVD in the mail today from the Ironweed Film Club, a subscription service that helps members organize grassroots screening series.

The deal is this: For $14.95 -- I signed up for a free trial -- you get a DVD a month. The DVD I received features three films: Saverio Costanzo's "Private," Marjan Safinia and Joseph Boyle's "Seeds," and Ari Sandel's "West Bank Story." Films range from 20-90 minutes in length.

Members can participate in an online community by publishing blogs and posting playlists -- movies they're watching. And every month, there are opportunities to give back by signing petitions and the like.

I've yet to watch the movies, but I'm intrigued by this project. Has anyone else had experience with Ironweed?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More Than Just Media Diet

In order to try out the new Vox platform, I've started a parallel blog to Media Diet: The New Yorkest. For the nonce, I will dedicate my New York-related posts to that new blog, and reserve Media Diet for more media-related commentary. I may recombine my efforts in the future, but for now, I'd like to see where the New Yorkest takes me. Check it out!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Subscription Prescription IV

Fast company magazine is currently going for $5 a year. You won't be able to beat that price any time soon, perhaps not ever again. Sign up, son.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Grassroots Zine Insurance

I recently had surgery. So did Fred Woodworth, publisher of the long-running zine the Match. He's in slightly worse shape than I am.

For those who have spent more than a few years in the zine community, the name of Fred Woodworth is well known. Fred is the publisher of The Match, the oldest explicitly anarchist publication in North America. It's quite possibly the longest running zine, The Match has been published since 1969.

Today Fred Woodworth needs our help. He has recently had to undergo major surgery. The resulting bills have be overwhelming and Fred has fallen on hard times. He has never been able to afford private health coverage.

Donations and get well cards can be sent to:

Fred Woodworth
c/o The Match
Box 3012
Tucson, Arizona 85702

Help out if you're able!

Plastic Surgery Disasters

I had eye surgery yesterday.

Late last fall, I got an eye infection, and for several months, my doctor prescribed an antibiotic to combat the infection, which came and went for several months.

This spring, we detected small, solid forms beneath my eyelids -- first my upper lid, and then, my lower lid. My doctor referred me to an ophthalmologist.

The ophthalmologist determined that the forms were chalazions, and I began a treatment schedule involving different oral antibiotics, topical steroids, and warm compresses administered several times a day.

Several weeks ago, I decided that because the treatments weren't making the chalazions go away -- they occasionally go away naturally themselves after several months -- I wanted to pursue other options. My ophthalmologist considered just changing the antibiotic I was taking but then referred me to an eye surgeon who specializes in plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery of the eyelids.

Yesterday, I had my first appointment. It appeared that it was going to just be a consultative visit -- with minor surgery scheduled later -- but the chalazions were far along enough, and mildly infected, so the surgeon had me come back later in the day to excise the lower lid's form.

All told, I was at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary for more than four hours. And the surgery was fascinating. When she administered the local anasthetic, it felt like she was inserting a wire across the length of my lower lid. She was, in fact, injecting a liquid anasthetic.

She applied a clamp to the lower lid to flip it over so the chalazion would present itself. Then she shaved off the outer layer of the form, which looked like a little lump of speckled flesh, and scooped out the gelatinous innards -- saving some to send for testing. She applied a liquid to clot the blood, put on an eye patch with medical tape, and I was on my way.

You can learn more about the procedure than you may want to know here, here, and here.

The walk home was touch and go because I didn't have any depth perception, and I decided not to go the Weakerthans show I had tickets for so I didn't have to deal with darkness, crowds, stairs, traffic, and so forth. More bothersome than the lack of depth perception was the lack of peripheral vision. To turn corners, I'd basically stop and look behind me to make sure I didn't cut anyone off. I was glad to get home.

Before bed, I removed the eye patch and checked our her work. Not bad! I'm not overly bruised, the lid is decidedly flatter, and once the swelling goes down, I'll look next to normal.

Next week: The upper lid. Photos to come!

Update: This is only a disaster because I had to miss the Weakerthans show. And if I hadn't missed that, I would've been tempted by the Mission of Burma show in my neighborhood tonight (July 14). As it is, I'm staying in. Harrumph.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

On the New Frugality

I've lived in New York City for two and a half years now. And I've almost always made fun of the bottled-water-and-a-dried-lemon-in-the-fridge stereotype of New Yorkers.

Yet it's become true.

Most weeks, days, I drop my laundry off for washing. I buy a bagel or croissant for breakfast. I buy an $8 sandwich for lunch. And I rarely cook dinner at home. If I do, it's at my girlfriend's house... and a shared meal. Not an every day occurrence. Or I go somewhere I want to Yelp about.

Today has been different. And good. (I still wrote a Yelp review.)

Last night, I made a sandwich to refrigerate overnight for lunch today. I ate a bowl of cereal while watching NY1 this morning. I ate the sandwich at work -- as well as a bunch of candy (I need to pack a bigger lunch!). And I cooked pasta and sauce at home for dinner. I have leftovers, which a houseguest can eat when he gets home later tonight -- and which I can partake of again tomorrow!

The pasta recipe:

  • Pasta: Boil some. I like farfalle. That's what I ate tonight.
  • Sauce: Put some oil in a pot. Warm it. Add some garlic (at least two cloves). Brown. Add a can of crushed tomatoes. Add dry oregano, parsley, and basil to taste. Add some dried mushrooms (say, shiitake). Simmer.
  • Add sauce to pasta.
  • Consume.

Money spent: $0.

Value -- and personal progress: Priceless.

From the in Box: Nuclear Fiction

I emailed the editorial team of the American Scholar some questions about the new issue, which features what might be their first fiction ever, and this is what managing editor Jean Stipicevic said in response this evening:

We like fiction and would like to publish it. Frances Kiernan has
agreed to select the fiction we publish. It will be an ongoing part of the magazine. As far as we know (I've been here since 1972), it's the first time fiction has been included.

Kiernan is former fiction editor for the New Yorker. (She was with the department for 30 years.) Whether Kiernan will grace the Scholar's masthead is yet to be determined -- she doesn't online right now -- but this might be a solid step in the direction of an ever-more relevant "little" magazine, nee journal.

(Thank you, Jean, for responding to my query. Media Dieticians the world over appreciate it!)

Nuclear Fiction

The current issue of the American Scholar is the first to include fiction. The new edition includes short stories by Alice Munro and David Leavitt in addition to the little magazine's usual essays and reviews. You can order a copy via Atomic Books if you're interested.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Clothes Whore XIV

Today on the train home from work, a bearded fellow asked me about my T-shirt.

I told him it was made by Scooterworks and that they trafficked in parts and gear related to... scooters.

What I didn't tell him (because I didn't know at the time) was that they're having a T-shirt sale. Use the coupon code SHIRTME, and you could save some bank.

For a limited time only, of course!

Take This Job and Love It II

I stopped working for Fast Company full time last August.

Just recently, they hired a new Web editor: Lynne d Johnson. Congratulations to my successor... and best of luck!

She'll do a great job. Better than I did.

Paperback Schnooks

What the heck? I go away for a week in Wisconsin, and Amanda Congdon and Rocketboom part ways?

Meanwhile, a signed, first edition of Christopher Paolini's Eragon becomes the highest selling children's book?

It's not just that.

The book sold on Ebay for more than $9,000, edging out a first edition of Little Black Sambo.

We're talking Eragon. For $9,000.

In what kind of world does that make sense?

Two signs down, five to go.

Subscription Prescription III

Inspired by the new Superman Returns movie, which I saw last week, and my recent reading of Stan Lee's autobiography Excelsior!, I subscribed to a handful of comic books today.

Comic books are like magazines. You don't need to go to a store to buy them, but they're not as deeply discounted because the business model isn't based as strongly on subscriptions.

What if subscriptions -- mail subs, not store pull subs -- were more important to comic book publishers?

A recent issue of Looney Tunes included subscription cards for Mad Kids and Teen Titans Go! but not the title itself. Also, not all comic books include subscription ads.

What's up with that?

Subscribe to a comic book today.

At least one.

I recommend DC Comics, Marvel and Archie.

Physical Graffiti

My parents went on a Holland America cruise to Alaska not too long ago, and on the ship was one of the more interesting examples of embedding information in physical spaces that I've come across recently.

In every elevator is a carpet. Every day, the cruise ship's crew changes that carpet. On that carpet is printed (embroidered, whatever) the day of the week.

So when you get on an elevator, if the carpet says "Wednesday," you know that it's Wednesday. You don't need to go out of your way to find out what day it is; it's just there, in multiple locations, throughout the day.

Sure beats checking receipts to see what time it is -- or the newspaper for the day's date!

Comic Strips and Community

Per the July 8 installation of Greg Evans's comic strip, Luann, the character Sheraton St. Louis has a Myspace account!

Are there other comic strip characters with "official" Myspace accounts?