"Feel the soft little bag where Dmitri hides his shameful money."

Baby's Touch 'n' Feel Guide to Russian Literature

McSweeney's Internet Tendency

"But there are others who say Rasputin survived these tortures by secretly drinking a mixture of ginger ale and pigeon’s blood, and that he roused himself from the river bottom and fled Russia together with his son, who was a lion."

Herodotus Writes a History of the 20th Century

The Toast

"I spent last night feverishly working, with the renewed energy of a young man who has spent the whole day asleep and wakes at last as the sun is setting and finds that he is too late: Home Depot is closed and he will have to try again tomorrow."

Marcel Proust Discovers LiveJournal 

McSweeney's Internet Tendency

"When the Great Old Ones are recalled to power someday, they will be summoned right here in the Valley, in a strip mall between an El Pollo Loco and an adult bookstore."

The Best Places to Get Free Coffee in Los Angeles 

The Awl

"Every night Pontius Pilate berates you in a dream."

How to Tell if You're in a Dostoevsky Novel

The Toast

"O Weazel Ball, tumble on! Bold weasel, never canst thou clasp thy prize!"

Ode on an Abandoned Shopping Mall 

The Toast

"'Made you eat your kids' was the 'your shoe’s untied' of the ancient world."

Episodes of Eating Children in Ancient Greece, Ranked in Order of Unreasonableness

The Awl

"Use the phrase 'watery grave.' If not now, when?"

So You Want to Write a Shipwreck Song

The Awl

Or listen to me discuss shipwreck songs on the radio here.

“From malls to mosques, from wretched waste water to the World Wide Web, [country name here] is truly like nowhere else!”

Some Excerpts from the “Lonely Planet” Master Guide 


"Use this as your excuse to get a tattoo, buy a butter churn, shave your head, or adopt a partially blind rabbit. Hey, who's going to judge you? You're tired."

You Have Plenty of Time to Love Them Later: Unsolicited Advice for the Mothers of Newborns


"By thirty-years-old, your adult will probably be able to…

Feed and maintain a house pet
Hold down a job
Maintain eye contact while speaking"

What To Expect: The Third Decade

McSweeney's Internet Tendency

"Altman was glad to have left New York, with its noise and chaos, its slouchy, sullen teenagers and pick-pockets, its shrieking widows and twisted subway cars now filled with steaming goo."

The New Yorker Fiction Section Presents, KILLER ROBOTS FROM SPACE (print only, PDF)


* Buy a copy of Monkeybicycle 8 here.

* I'm also interviewed about the story here.

"I may not be popular or cool, but I am invited to a lot of parties. I am inoffensive, I rarely spill things, and I know when I’m not wanted, all of which make me an ideal party guest."

Parties: A How-To Guide


"Sharon Olds, 'The Ferryer' (Winter 1987): Maybe add a shark? Something that makes the audience go 'Holy shit! Pow! A shark!'"

Email from Lorin Stein

The Rumpus

"Midterm Exam: Make absolutely anything with a 3D printer."

Syllabus for SCI201: Science as Metaphor


"At 8:32 am on September 14, 2043, a computer called IRV (Intelligent Research Vector) achieved consciousness, the first inorganic entity ever to do so . . . at 8:44 a.m., shortly after its initial awakening, IRV went on to achieve self-consciousness."

Artificial Consciousness

Bygone Bureau

"How can I even begin to describe the experience of seeing 'The Middle Man' on the big screen? Well, for starters, there was the screen. It is a big screen."

Seats, Screens, Curtains, and More Make Steven Soderbergh’s The Middle Man a Genuine Movie Experience

Sleeper Celluloid, Trop

"Has your teen been spending an unusual amount of time at their neighborhood craft emporium? Discoballs are the new teen danger drug of choice. Teens across America are snorting this mixture of powdered caffeine and glitter that was first popularized by hip-hop musician KR4FT*Z."

Five Disturbing Teen Trends Every Parent Should Know About

The Rumpus

"Visionary director Nolan gives us a Gumby for our age, exchanging the glib campiness of the fifties classic for a serious adult film that challenges us to confront our darkest longings in the person of a small clay figure with no external genitalia and the ability to make only four or five distinct facial expressions."

None Of This Is At All Ridiculous: A Review of Gumby: The Jade Warrior

Sleeper Celluloid, Trop

"You can't be serious. You're practically forty. Will you ever be the kind of person who has a sideboard?"

Our Bodies, Our Shelves: An Emotional Mapping of IKEA

The Big Jewel

"A 40-year-old woman with an annual salary of $75,000 and a credit score of 650 is two hundred times more likely to be killed in a terrorist attack than she is to find a suitable home in Los Angeles."

Buy It: The Case for Settling for 1214 Good Enough Road

The Nervous Breakdown