💌 Stuff You Should #16: November 2019

Soothing voices, raisin bran, advice for unlearning, and more.

Hi! You're reading a monthly newsletter in which I, copywriter and perpetual opinion-haver Laura Reineke, share with you some Stuff that I endorse. Your mileage may vary.

👋 Know About Me

In college I was friends with this guy who had sad, wet-looking brown eyes and a sorta morbid monotone voice and a really kind heart buried beneath layers of faux machismo and totally-not-faux self-loathing. He did standup comedy because of course he did, but his sets were pretty good, actually.

This was back when Facebook still had that “interests” section, remember that? Where you just listed your favorite things separated by commas? And it seemed like the people who most annoyed you always put the dumbest shit, like pizza and idk chilling i guess? Anyway I remember this guy listed the usual stuff for a college dude: going to concerts, weed, Taxi Driver and/or Chinatown.

But the last thing he included in his “interests” section was people watching. And while I realize now that he meant “the act of watching people,” for some reason at the time I took it to mean “the act of people watching me,” and I remember being floored, truly, at the poetry of it, at the unexpected self-awareness of this tiny confessional tacked on at the end of a social media profile.

My misunderstanding wasn’t untrue, exactly. This dude always looked slightly tortured, but you could see a weight lifted when the focus was on him, like at parties when a circle of heads would swivel his direction to hear him tell a story, like when he’d make the sparse crowd at a comedy show in the university coffee shop laugh at a one-liner you could tell he was proud of. Interests: People watching. I know what he meant now but I still feel like I figured him out in that moment.

You should tell me if you ever Figure Me Out, btw. And you should do a bunch more stuff this month that I’ve outlined in detail below. Boop!

It’s fall, y’all

🔗 Read Online

My Life As A Minor League Baseball Clown - By end of business this past Friday, the last member of Deadspin's 20-person writing staff would quit their job in protest of efforts by private equity vampires to suck the soul from the site. But on Thursday, we were still being blessed with gems like this. Deadspin was a good website. (Malt Schlitzman/Deadspin)

One Night at Mount Sinai - How a woman’s determination to be heard after a traumatizing emergency room visit revealed the systemic abuse of patients by a widely admired “rock star” physician. (Lisa Miller/The Cut)

Is America’s Favorite Playwright Too Much for New York? - I loved this profile of Lauren Gunderson, the most-produced playwright in the country, who despite dozens of finished and well-liked scripts to her name is only now in 2019 getting a splashy New York premiere. What explains that disconnect between popularity and prestige? (Dan Kois/Slate)

The 2010s Have Broken Our Sense of Time - “Life had run on a certain rhythm of time and logic, and then at a hundred different entry points, that rhythm and that logic shifted a little, sped up, slowed down, or disappeared, until you could barely remember what time it was.” (Katherine Miller/Buzzfeed)

How to Unlearn Everything - An author got tired of being asked his advice for writing about people who don’t look like you. So now he answers with three questions instead. (Alexander Chee/Vulture)

Seeing Nora Everywhere [2012] - Every New York autumn makes me think of Nora Ephron movies, and Nora Ephron movies always call to mind the beautiful eulogy Lena Dunham wrote after Ephron died in 2012. (Lena Dunham/The New Yorker)

"Jove decadent. Després del ball," Ramon Casas i Carbó. Oil on canvas, 18x22", 1899. A forever #mood.

👍 Follow

@EmojiMashupBot - This automated Twitter bot account takes elements from two emojis - the base shape, the eyes, the mouth - and shuffles ‘em up into weird hybrids to sprinkle yr timeline with unexpected silliness. (See also: @EmojiMashupPlus - same concept, supersized.)

🗣️ Quote

"I began to feel that I'd, somewhere, missed the boat. You know the boat I'm talking about. They make movies about it where I come from. It's a boat that, when you miss it, it's a boat, but when it comes in, it's a ship." - James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

💰 Buy

Sunday Riley Good Genes - Add to the list of perversely expensive products that I have found, to my chagrin, actually work as advertised: this $100+ cult* lactic acid serum. I put on a teensy bit each morning after washing my face. My skin looks amazing all the time. Sometimes…things that are expensive…..actually work?

*Sunday Riley herself recently copped to inflating that “cult” by encouraging her employees to post fake five-star reviews of her products on Sephora's website, which is stupid because if she'd just asked me I'd have posted a real one for free. 

Cascadian Farm Raisin Bran - I've sampled many a raisin bran in my time. They are NOT created equal!!! Evaluated against rigid standards for bran texture, raisin-to-flakes ratio, and added sugar content, Cascadian Farm's organic variety is the objective best I’ve found.

📺 Watch

Megan Thee Stallion at NPR’s Tiny Desk - Rapping is a skill that hypnotizes me - the breath control alone boggles my pea brain - but especially when it’s 5’10” goddess Megan Thee Stallion performing her relentless, unapologetically filthy “Freak Nasty” from the anodyne cubicles of NPR’s Tiny Desk setup.

BoJack Horseman (Seasons 1-6) - Look, if you have a Netflix account, you probably already either dig this show or decided it’s not for you. But after binging the first half of its final season I just gotta yell again about how good I think it is! And how thoroughly worth my time it’s been to watch!!

(I didn’t intend for this section to be equine-themed but lol)

✅ Try

Airtable - Color-coded spreadsheets are one of the great loves of my life, but Google Sheets and *shudder* Excel only offer so much in the way of customization. So instead I’ve been using spreadsheet/database hybrid Airtable for the past couple years. It’s fast, clean, and flexible enough to accommodate projects as diverse as my social media tracker for work, the production tracker for my podcast, and my personal theatergoing record. (Of course I keep track of my theatergoing in a spreadsheet. Have we met?!)

🗣️ Quote

"I said it first and loudest so it's right." - Eva, one of the hosts of the hockey podcast I produce, during a divisive argument on the merits of Snickers candy bars

🎧 Listen To

Pivot (Podcast) - A notorious lesbian tech reporter and a straight, balding biz-school marketing professor assess the lay of the land in Silicon Valley in this weekly news/tech/business podcast I’ve gotten into recently. Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway are fascinated by Big Tech, but they don’t for a second romanticize it; their no-bullshit takes on startup culture, CEO mythologizing, and market forces are refreshing, and helpful for cutting through the noise. Also their rat-a-tat back-and-forth bickering and bantering makes me laugh.

Superego (Podcast) - These improvised sketch comedy “profiles in self-obsession” from a quartet of professional actors/comedians are, yes, funny (here’s my favorite recurring bit if u want a taste). I also find the guys’ voices inexplicably soothing?? Even when they’re doing idiot accents, which is most of the time. Shrug! The ears want what they want.

One Direction - “Wolves” (Song) - As my sons Harry, Liam, Louis, and Niall level up into the next phases of their individual solo careers, bless their sweet dumb hearts, I must once again insist that everyone take a few minutes to groove to the actual best late-stage One Direction song. Just - shhhh, just press play, you’ll feel better.

Sometimes the city shows u nice stuff unexpectedly

☀️ My Forecast

Layering up for my favorite season, then spending Thanksgiving on a beach. Also I swear to god I’m gonna finish an actual book this month. I mean it!!!

Til next month,

xo Laura

If you liked this, share it with a friend! Got some stuff you think *I* should? Reply to this email or holler on Twitter @ohonestly. Thx for reading. Love u.