Terry Gross and John Darnielle chat on NPR about his new book, Wolf in White Van, and music and pain. It's a good Terry Gross interview, the kind where she asks tough questions and has a gentle tone in her voice. (The bad interviews are the ones that so tense or awkward that I am physically uncomfortable. I think we've all been there w/ Terry.) 

What I think you can hear very clearly in this interview is John Darnielle's deep well of emotion and kindness. He is unique. 

I feel a duty. ... I really think there's a lot of music you can use to heal and save yourself. It's not like I have some magic power and I reached inside somebody and said, "Oh, you didn't know this about yourself until I wrote this song." That's not true. What I did is I made a thing, and somebody who needed to find something found mine and chose to meet me out on that ground.

See also: This 2009 article that covers the deep emotional bond between Darnielle and his fans. Rob Delaney interviewed Darnielle about suicide, being a father and general friend-type topics. 

See also, also: Mountain Goats Valentines and The Mountain Goats + Movies.


my baby is now 12 weeks and 6 days old. i wrap up my days, baby slumbering and me as mom, turner-off-er of lights and washer of bottles, wondering what the fvck did i do all day? how did 16 hours pass and i did nothing tangible?

well, let's be kind. i kept another human being alive and smiling and fed and did it with all my attention and energy. are you one who sometimes strives for inner quiet? procreate! i've been restless since back in '88 and i now possess staggering depths of internal calm. perhaps i had the power all along, but this zen-like exhaustion is one of many unexpected changes due to my tiny powerhouse of a kid.

being a mom feels like being an astronaut. i trained and prepped and then i shot off to space and back again. the parts in between, the long hours and the love and the boredom and the strength, that's the stuff i can't do justice. i can tell you what earth looks like from space but i can't show you. that's the part of me that is now forever different.

so there's that. beyond my tiny human, these are also of interest lately:

Alfredo Barsuglia's Social Pool is a pool in the desert in Southern California. Tiny art pool!

Garfunkel and Oates on IFC is super clever.

butch history from molly schiot. 

this wonderful post on motherhood from amid privilege. Your baby, oddly, is your Buddha. The effort to do better is worth it. But make the effort with as much peace in your heart as you can find.


i sing my kiddo this song all the time. we joke that she's going to want to go to some deeply southern college like ole miss and have no idea why. sorry kid, i really just love levon helm.

bedtime image from steve powers.


i had a baby and now i have a baby. she's a tiny machine of awesome and 24-hour need and i love her dearly.

we're almost six weeks in and my brain is a scattered wasteland of sleep deprivation and reality TV at 3am, so here goes my personal buzzfeed-esque post about my life with baby so far.

baby lesson #1: throw money at the problem

i'm of the frugal sort generally and even right up until i had the baby i was like "we don't need that item everyone says you need so let's not get it" and then the baby arrived and i was like 
amazon prime is my new best friend and i see the delivery man more than i see real people i love in my life.

baby lesson #2: you're on baby time now

exhausted and running on 2 hours of fitful sleep? haven't showered in 3 days? haven't eaten anything except cheez-its in 6 hours? baby don't care. deal with it.

baby lesson #3: sasha fierce

mom protect mode is real. as soon as that baby was out in the world a switch flipped and i became determined to ruin anyone with any intention of getting in the way of the safety of my tiny offspring. grabby kid in target who wants to touch my baby? 
loitering old man who has a cough like he has TB? 
handsy ladies who get too close to the stroller? 

baby lesson #4: emotions

the following are feelings i vacillate between on a daily basis:

look at this amazing baby we made! 

i am responsible for this tiny fragile person.

weepy frustration when i've just fallen asleep and you hear the baby rousing. 

missing my old life, pre baby, where i slept when i wanted and drank alcohol. 

pride at creating a tiny lovely little human. 

baby lesson #5: you do you

i am shocked at the amount of shame that is heaped on moms in the name of 'what's best for the baby.' it's oppressive and cruel and it isn't necessary. you breastfeed or formula feed or disposable diaper or co-sleep? great! i don't care. you do you.

my mantra so far has been "you're doing a good job" and "don't question your choices." being a mom is harder than i thought it would be, but it's also sometimes easier and (yes, cliche) worth it, at least so far. started from the bottom now the whole team here.


I am currently 8 months pregnant and the slow loss of dignity that can come with pregnancy has now settled in. In my case, it is shoes. Your mom friends were not kidding when they said their feet expanded and hurt all the time. I'm am now relying heavily on Clarks: my long beloved desert boots and now, Wallabees.

Wallabees are ugly-cool and so comfortable. You know who else loves Wallabees?

1. Wu-Tang.



2. Walter White.
3. Wes Anderson.

I'm in good company.

Images via 1 / 2 / 3


In a tiny personal triumph, I accurately predicted that J. Crew would revive their great bathing suits from the 1990s.


You know, the bathing suits I couldn't wear b/c I had legit boobs that required some internal structure and these were suits designed for lanky tennis-legged rich girls. Anyway, J. Crew smartly brought them back for those tennis girls who are now grown women and still don't need a bra I guess. I would also like to see the return of the basic suit that had the stringy x-back so I can order it, try it on, realize it still won't work for me and return it.

Nick Waterhouse's Holly is on NYT's Press Play for your listening pleasure.

Via Spitalfields Life, I am coveting these two photography books from the Hoxton Mini Press.



Last year I set a New Years Resolution to watch 365 movies in 2013. I also wanted to focus on classics, movies I hadn't seen that are part of the canon of good films. Every month I recapped the movies I watched and now here I am, reporting from nearly-mid-2014, on my year of watching movies.

The Good:

Blue Velvet. Oh David Lynch, you delightful romantic creep. This is my favorite of all his movies.

How to Survive a Plaque. A powerful look at how grassroots advocacy can transform the world, and I was a pile of sobs during the entire movie. It was extraordinary.

Robert Mitchum, an actor who personified menace and coiled danger. He was mesmerizing and delightful in both Cape Fear and The Night of the Hunter.

Splendor in the Grass. A young, supple Warren Beatty and teenage sexuality.

Terrence Malick.


Spring Breakers. This was a surprise. I didn't know what to expect from Harmony Korine, but it wasn't this bananas music video-esque movie w/ female leads and a Skrilliex soundstrack.

The Way, Way Back. I expected nothing of this movie and was pleasantly surprised by how sad and true it was. Jim Rash and Sam Rockwell for all the sad-sweet coming of age movies please.

Dog Day Afternoon. Christ, is this a good movie.
Magnolia. The Master. I want to weep thinking about Phillip Seymour Hoffman's gravitas in both these movies, and how we've lost that talent. He was truly special.

The Bad:
I tried not to focus on bad movies, and usually turned off ones that really sucked early enough to not count them as watched. However, these should be noted

Leaving Las Vegas. I stuck this one out b/c Oscar nominations and dramatic Nic Cage and I wish I hadn't. I really hated this movie.

Pain and Gain. I love bad cheesy movies, but this one was too terrible even for me. Sorry Marky Mark.

What I Learned:

I revisit movies I love. I watched Alien and Aliens multiple times this year, with honorable mentions for Jaws, 28 Days Later and Blazing Saddles. Somebody's gotta go back and and get a shit-load of dimes.

I enjoy terrible movies. Examples include Will Farrell's Land of the Lost, The Losers and Road House.

Christopher Guest movies are always the perfect choice.
Eddie Murphy. Eddie, why have you forsaken us? Coming to America, Trading Places, The Golden Child and Raw - this man used to be the funniest and most talented man in the universe. Now we get Doctor Doolittle. I mourn this loss.

Overall, 365 movies in 365 days was ambitious, and I only watched 265 in that time. I learned that watching good "classic" movies often takes discipline, something I wasn't always up for and I often defaulted to a movie I could slightly tune out. I actually miss logging my movies this year, and I've already watched Blazing Saddles like four times this year.