February 23, 2006

Joey Ramone Place

A couple of years ago, I met Arturo Vega, the longtime collaborator and artist for the punk rock superheroes, the Ramones. Now, Arturo runs Ramones World on the Internet, makes art, and climbs mountains. One of my happiest New York memories was back in 2003 when Arturo invited me over to his house for a party in Joey Ramone's honor. I just finished an audio story about that funny day, and posted the whole thing at Travel Goat...

"One chilly day in November 2003, the city of New York changed the street sign on the corner of Bowery and Second Street to read "Joey Ramone Place." For the first time in New York City history, the government actually acknowledged that punk music (and it's shaggy-haired frontman, Joey) actually mattered. I was there..."

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February 21, 2006

The Neil Diamond Disease

I used to rollerskate around my kitchen with my superhero-colored bathrobe flapping, singing Neil Diamond's song, "I Am, I Said" at the top of my lungs. Is it a coincidence that I ended up in New York City and writing a story about The Neil Diamond Disease?

After a weekend spent with the Essential Neil Diamond, I just posted a brand new piece at the Travel Goat storytelling archive:

"Can you imagine Neil Diamond making $50 a week? I think about Neil Diamond like a Betty Crocker recipe for Hitting the Big Time Pop Music Jackpot: one cup of Las Vegas kitsch, one cup of Los Angeles glamour, a diluted dash of Southern soul, and too many heaping spoonfuls of Midwestern artificial sweetener.

Nobody remembers that before he ever had a gold album, his blow-dried hairstyle or his rhinestone jacket, Neil Diamond toiled inside the songwriter factories of the fabled Brill Building in Times Square."

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February 16, 2006


Somebody yelled at me last week for quoting Vladimir Nabokov. I think they thought that I was quoting Nabokov because too many people quote Nabokov and seceretly mean, "I'm quoting Nabakov because I want you to see that I'm a smarty-pants."

But what if I was quoting Nabakov in a way that meant "I read this Nabakov quote last night this made me laugh, and incidentally, I had forgotten that he could make me laugh because too many people taught me that too many people quote Nabakov and secretly mean 'I'm quoting Nabakov because I want to show I'm a smarty-pants.'"

Anyway, I haven't written anything in here for a couple days and I don't have any excuses, but goddamit, Nabakov managed to cram all my favorite things (malapropisms, stories wrapped in stories, purple language abuses, and crazy narrators) into a single toss-off paragraph in Pale Fire and it made me so happy...

"I salute here brave Bretwit! Let there appear for a moment his hand and mine firmly clasping each other across the water over the golden wake of an emblematic sun. Let no insurance foirm or airline use this insigne on the glossy page of a magazine as an ad badge under the picture of a retired businessman stupefied and honered by the site of the technicolored snack that the air hostess offers hime with everything else she can give; rather, let this lofty handshake be regareded in our cynical age of frenzied heterosexualism as a last, but lasting, symbol of valor and self -abnegation."

February 13, 2006

Wearing my monkey-suit

In honor of the nearly universal rejection my Second Life reporting (and also in honor of the army of people scrambling to repair more high profile reputations), I give you two stories that may or may not make you feel better...

Behold: an Exclusive Interview with publishing guru, Rex Hammock and an Audio Adventure Story about my first, ill-fated attempt to cover a press conference...

"Wearing my monkey-suit, I felt exactly like that sentence: gangly, stuffed-up, phony, uncomfortable, and ultimately meaningless. I apologize for harping on the suit-thing, but the irony made my mouth water—while practicing being a Real Reporter for J-school, I was covering a press conference about fraud!"

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February 08, 2006

Fear and Shivering in Second Life

Continuing with "Jason Boog Is Going To Publish Whether You Like It or Not Week," here's a story I worked hard on last month--to no avail. Even though my editor killed the story, I wanted to run the story on ThePublishingSpot, just to see what people thought.

If you read it, I will publish another installment next week. If you don't don't read it, I will never mention this again. Dig it:

"My super screwed up last month, leaving my building without heat for 5 days; without hot water for 7 days; without a stove for two weeks. Gas companies were called and city inspectors inspected, but I still spent $110 in electricity running a space heater 24 hours a day. On top of all that, I lost my shot at publishing the best story I had all year.

As I contemplated burning furniture for warmth, I "escaped" to a wacky press conference held entirely inside the computer-generated world of Second Life. Time has passed, wrapping both these events together in my head—much like a wooly mammoth and a diamond mine buried under the same glacier. Something compels me to tell both stories, even after the editors killed them.

In real life, I was pounding away on my laptop and breathing puffs of frozen air. In Second Life, I was lounging on the tropical island pictured above, with a crew of pixilated characters that included a blue skinny Martian, a Goth girl with a shimmering halo, a foot-tall monkey with cymbals, and some guy dressed tight black pants who floated in mid-air, bitching about everything he saw."

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February 06, 2006

There is nothing to see here...

What are you doing here? There is nothing to see here.

Go to The Publishing Spot and read this two-day interview with my writing hero, Jeff VanderMeer. It's much more interesting than anything I have to offer, I promise.

What did I tell you? What are you still doing here? Aggggghhhhh.

While the blogging action has been plenty time-consuming lately, I've been repeatedly shut down in my recent attempts to publish journalism. After a weekend of obsessive contemplation over this problem, I hereby declare this week "Jason Boog Is Going To Publish Whether You Like It or Not Week."

Let's open with a raving podcast meditation on zombies, the 2004 election, and Times Square, a story that no one would publish and has only been heard by eight people in the whole world, until now.

Dig it...

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