I haven’t come right out and blogged it, but I’m doing some work at Hunch these days. It’s a smart, fun start-up engineered by computer geniuses from MIT and other very smart people who will kick your ass at chess. It’s kind of hard to explain, but here’s the official description:
Hunch’s ambitious mission is to build a “taste graph” of the entire web, connecting every person on the web with their affinity for anything, from books to electronic gadgets to fashion or vacation spots. Hunch is at the forefront of combining algorithmic machine learning with user-curated content, with the goal of providing better recommendations for everyone.
Hunch provides personalized recommendations on tens of thousands of topics on Hunch.com and is now partnering with other companies to power custom recommendations on 3rd-party sites and applications.
I get a lot of email through my Contact page, and I’m terrible at answering it in a timely manner. Sorry!
Instead of writing a longer, single Ask Amanda post, today I’m answering a bunch of shorter questions. If you ever want a quicker response to a short question, try me on Formspring. It’s where I talk about the important issues, like what shampoo I use and how I really feel about poodles.
Here’s a question from Jay:
I’ve written before and love all of your writing. I see from your bookshelf that your reading is pretty varied. How do you choose your next book to read? I love to read also and am always looking for a good book to download onto the iPad.
Most Noisiest Passenger readers are people who either live or have lived in NYC or people who want to someday. I love giving advice from my own experience here, but everyone’s story is different.
I moved here with a job and two suitcases. That was it – no friends or family for many hundreds of miles. I found an apartment share through a random online service that might not be around anymore. I eventually found other jobs and my own apartments through the Internet and some blend of circumstance, preparation, and good luck. Stir well.
Awhile back, I read My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City (As Remembered by Actors, Artists, Athletes, Chefs, Comedians, Filmmakers, Mayors, Models, Moguls, Porn Stars, Rockers, Writers, and Others), which originated as a New York Magazine feature story. The coming to NYC stories from various actors, writers, and other notables are addictive. I read them, thinking, “James Franco felt exactly like I did!” (I guess there really is a first time for everything – would that it were the beginning of a beautiful friendship).
The fiction class I took last fall was one of the most inspiring things I’ve done post-college. It felt good to look harder at stories and figure out what made them work. Or didn’t. Or almost did, but not quite.
The writing voice is definitely cultivated, but it also invades you. It’s nature and nurture like anything else. You discover your voice as you write. When it starts making you uncomfortable – and stops sounding like whatever author you know makes a ton of money – you’re probably getting to it.
I recently read Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, Danielle Evans’s debut short story collection. Name ring a bell? I don’t mean the Danielle Evans who won America’s Next Top Model.
When I visited the “Knitting is for Pussies” exhibit at Christopher Henry Gallery last month, I was immediately smitten with Olek’s use of color, whimsy, and of course, texture. I wrote a review of the crocheted chaos for Verbicide and went on my way.
Then last Friday I heard that Olek was looking for a model for a Paper Magazine photo shoot. My boyfriend (it feels weird typing that – boyfriend, boyfriend, boyfriend) alerted me and put in a good word. Then I found Olek on Facebook and volunteered. She said, “It’ll be fun. See you Monday.”
I knew I’d end up in a crocheted bodysuit, looking like the creepiest Dr. Seuss character in history. On Sunday night, I laid out my most flesh-colored underwear and started to ponder… How would I get crocheted into the suit? Would it be tight? Itchy? Would I feel really exposed? Am I officially artsy now?
I didn’t have sufficient time to blog about my crocheted bodysuit modeling tonight, but it’s all because of other good things happening. I got home later than usual, due to a party at Hunch headquarters. I’ve also got some fast approaching deadlines and then a trip to Vermont and Montreal this weekend.
Speaking of action, I’ve got a Nerve feature out today called “The Ten Funniest Action Movie Trailers in Cinema History.” It was really fun to write – I’m no action movie aficionado, so I just watched a bunch of trailers and turned my smartass knob all the way up. Please watch, read, and Like. Or just do the first two.
Remember when I wrote about the artist Olek a while back?
Today I got to model one of her crocheted jumpsuits for the December issue of Paper Magazine!
So yeah, that green yarn-person is me, and I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow.
In the meantime, check out this piece I wrote about why I love Conan O’Brien, even though I’ve never seen his show (and don’t plan to).
Here’s the thing about getting your writing published: You can read about other writers’ experiences until you think you know what you’re getting into, but no one prepares you for how often you won’t get published.
So I’ll reiterate. Aspiring writers, you’re going to write a lot of pieces that will be read by no one but yourself and maybe one editor who didn’t like what you wrote enough to accept it. If he or she reads it at all. I’m not a writer who’s “made it” by any means, and I can tell you that.
Love Cee Lo’s new single “Fuck You”?
Of course you do.
The album comes out Tuesday, but you can listen to it for free on npr.org until then. I would’ve told you sooner, but I was too busy dancing in my underwear at home.
The people in my life are tags on a mattress. I leave ‘em on, despite knowing the law is antiquated and unenforced. I give favors, though I owe nothing. I’ve done my investing, but can never own enough to grab and tear.
This is why I tutored after work for years, despite being completely exhausted by commuting from the southernmost tip of Manhattan all the way to the tippy top two to four times a week. It wasn’t a lucrative side gig. I loved the kids, and I waited until they all got to high school and left me. It felt right.