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Needle in the Neck and Healthcare for Everyone

March 22nd, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

Red flavored robot piss

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion

They found another tumor a few weeks back. This time, up around my lymph nodes in my throat. It’s been showing up on my CAT scans ever since this whole ordeal started. It hasn’t changed shape, hasn’t grown, just sat there like a lump taking up real estate next to my throat with no ambition whatsoever, eating little tiny potato chips and spraying crumbs up against the back of my collarbone.

I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate this particular brand of indolence. It’s sure as hell better than the alternative. But that’s the problem with laziness in things with great potential — everyone around starts thinking some work’s gonna get done pretty soon and then they all get resentful for having to wait.

That’s pretty much the exact story with this tumor. It sat there just fine for a year or more, and finally my doctor said “oh, let’s have specialist check this thing out.”

The thing about this tumor is that it was right in a place where testicular cancer can spread if it wants to. Typically it moves North slowly from its namesake zone, up into the abdomen, the chest, then the lymph nodes in the throat. There was none of that in me. But the node looked a little hinky all the same.

The specialist said, “oh, what the hell, it’s probably nothing, but we’re going to have to look at it with a sonogram. It’s a simple procedure.”

Simple procedure. The last time I heard the phrase “simple procedure” I lost a testicle.
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What to do at SXSW Interactive?

March 11th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

I’m in Austin, TX for SXSW Interactive right this very minute. The sheer volume of parties, shows, and after-parties and other stuff is incredibly overwhelming. I’ve got no idea what to do, what could be going on at any moment.

I’ve seen that Man or Astro-Man is playing their first show in a decade or so, for example. If I were to stumble across some sort of burlesque show/Kaiju Big Battel performance, that wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all. And I REALLY wouldn’t mind catching a screening of “Kick-Ass,” either.

So I’m asking you guys: do you know of any cool parties, shows, or exciting weird art happenings around SXSW Interactive that you just can’t miss? Or some sort of online guide to the best ones? I’ll be here until Tuesday, the 16th.

If so, please let me know either in the comments or by emailing me at andiamnotlying(AT)gmail(DOT)com.


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Bitches Lost Their Minds

March 9th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

Okay, this is ridiculous. This Types of Bitches post has gone completely nuts. It’s gotten a ton of traffic. I told my mom, and she doesn’t know WHAT to do. On the one hand, she’s proud of me. On the other, it’s yet another piece of tremendous public profanity that’s now associated with the Simmermon name.

in the last two years, I’ve said “bitches” and “motherfucker” on “This American Life,” been written up in the Washington Post and a number of news wires for writing “fuck you” on a dollar bill, and now this. My mom’s as proud of me as she can be while still being ashamed to tell her friends at church.
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Types of Bitches

March 4th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

My friend’s cousin …

Wait a second. You know this is going to be good, when it starts with “My friend’s cousin.”

My friend’s cousin is a teacher at a charter school in Washington, D.C. She found this on the floor of a 3rd grade classroom and recognized it for the gold mine that it is — scanned it into a fax-to-PDF scanner immediately.

Full page fax print

See most of the whole, exhaustive list after the jump.
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The Williamsburg Hair: A Short Film by Zach Timm and Matt Rivera

March 1st, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

Regular readers of this blog know about the Williamsburg Hair Man — first documented here, then on BoingBoing and Gawker.

I’m not letting this dog die, dammit. Not yet.

Zach Timm and Matt Rivera’s brief documentary about the Williamsburg Hair Man and subsequent Gawker phenomenon debuted at Filmshop’s “Unprotected” last Saturday at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. I went with D.Billy and some other folks, and had no idea what to expect. And as it turned out: it was really good! I loved it, and it definitely got the best crowd response.

I talked to a bunch of folks about it ahead of time, none of whom could make it out. Fair enough. Zach’s a nice young man, and was kind enough/self-promotional enough to post the video on Vimeo. Here it is, see for yourselves:

The Williamsburg Hair from Aligned Creative LLC on Vimeo.

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UNPROTECTED at the Music Hall of Williamsburg – featuring a short film based on this blog

February 25th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

UNPROTECTED at the Music Hall of Williamsburg

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion

A few years ago, I saw God’s most hated haircut rocking around Williamsburg. And I was motivated to write a blog post about it, complete with a drawing on my office’s whiteboard of the thing. “Thing” is a relevant term here, too.

I’m not opposed to outlandish spectacles or ridiculous self-expression, mind you. I made that pretty clear, too.

BoingBoing picked it up, and so did Gawker. It was fun while it lasted, watching the traffic spike and getting a bunch of comments and generally feeling brilliant and witty and bright.

I started feeling pretty bad about all this fun at someone else’s expense, though.

But whatever. Fast-forward two years to last week when I got an e-mail from a nice young man named Zachary Timm:

I am making a short film about the infamous Williamsburg Hair, that you made so popular a year or so back. The film is going to be screened exclusively at the Filmshop Presents Unprotected film screening @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, on Saturday, February 27th. The film is basically about his experience and unwanted celebrity that came from the coverage on your site and gawker. Since you had such a big part in the story I figured this would be a great follow up blog post for And I Am Not Lying since this will basically be the first time Chris speaks up about the experience.

You read it right. My blog post two years ago was the impetus for a short film that’s screening at the Music Hall of Williamsburg at 66 North 6th Street, Brooklyn this Saturday, 2/27. Doors are at 8PM. Click on the image of the poster (above) for more details.

I’ll be damned. I’ll be there to check it out, shake Chris’s hand and have a laugh — hope to see you all there, too.

I checked with Zachary — wanted to make sure there wasn’t any bad blood or anything. He assured me there wasn’t, and sent this photo as proof:

Williamsburg Hair

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King Kong Smash My Job

January 27th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

Do you ever make something and then just sit there looking at it because it thrills you so damn much? Maybe you can’t stop eating your own cooking — or listening to a riff you just recorded. It doesn’t have to merit a footnote in the history of all that has ever been created, but it tickles you in just such a way?

That’s how I feel about this photo of King King attacking my office, below. I’ve got a McFarlane King Kong toy on my desk, and I just snapped it against the view of the skyline from my office window. Ran it through a couple apps on the phone, then finished it off in Photoshop, and we now have a visual representation of my whole thing: monster movies, screaming giant gorillas, low-res output and a lot of love.

King Kong, Office View

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Reading/Telling a Story for “How I Learned” at Happy Ending

January 24th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

happy ending (302 broome st., new york, ny, 10002)

Originally uploaded by cjkershner

It’s late and I’m screwing around instead of writing. I’m tired, too tired to get any meaningful writing done, but not so tired that I can’t sit here and stare at my lava lamp and wait for it to really start gooping around in earnest.

What I’m supposed to be doing is preparing a story for the “How I Learned” series, which I’ll be performing in at Happy Endings (302 Broome Street, Manhattan) this Wednesday, January 27th. The show’s at 8, doors are at 7, and there’s no charge. Happy Ending used to be a seedy massage parlour in Chinatown/Lower East Side, but now it’s a cool bar with pretty good drinks, most of which have names that are cheeky double entendres. I’ve found that if you get there early, it’s a good time. Stay too late and the Ed Hardy Army starts to creep in, though.

Don’t let the outside fool you — there’s no sign that says Happy Ending. If you get to a place that looks like the photo on this post, you’ve got it.

I can guarantee that I’ll be reading/telling a story. What it’ll be is eluding me right now …

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African Power Figure in a Brooklyn Junk Store

January 22nd, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

I love this kind of stuff. I have no idea if this is a legit piece of Congolese art or not, but I don’t even care. Stuff like this excites me so, so much. I read a lot about Congolese power figures back in college when I was majoring in art – they seemed so much more visceral and real to me than a lot of contemporary American work. One thing that really stuck with me was this:

Those nails aren’t acts of violence. They’re prayers for strength. It’s a holdover from a time when metal was precious and rare, valued for its strength and durability. So this could be a statue of a warrior, and each nail pounded into his spirit is a prayer that he stays strong, that he doesn’t flinch, and that he can take whatever gets hammered into him.

I like that a LOT. I don’t even know if it’s true in a literal sense, either. And I don’t even want to know. That’s how faith and myth get formed – you hear something that works for you and moves you in this way that you need to be moved. It’s something that confirms your sense of wonder and beauty, usually. And then it doesn’t even matter how it got into your head or why it’s supposed to be there. Your head and your heart don’t care, you make a pearl out of it all the same.

Power Figure

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J Train is the Soul Train: Thirsty Man Sings “Winner”

January 20th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

Have you ever noticed how some people put a pair of headphones in, and it’s like it’s the performance version of Thor’s hammer? Like by putting those buds into their ears, they are suddenly blessed with an incredible singing voice, perfect pitch and total invisibility? Put on some sunglasses and an iPod and all of a sudden nobody is on the train except Simon Cowell and Dr. Dre, and both of them are hiring. It’s kind of like having a low-budget version of Rock Band that only plays R&B.

You never hear anyone singing Coldplay or Dave Matthews, is all I’m saying. I prefer it that way.

And don’t get me wrong here — sure, sometimes the phenomenon is a little annoying. But other times it is completely the most awesome thing that can happen to your whole week, a beautiful, off-kilter accident.

Like this guy that sat across from me on the J Train last weekend singing Chris Brown’s “Winner.” Check this thing out, it’s beautiful. I love how he doesn’t let his performance stop him from pouring himself a little sip of something from his thermos, then gets his soul stole by the music before the cup hits his lips … and caps it all off with a shameless crotch scratch. Also of note is how quickly the guy next to him stops giggling and starts ignoring the whole thing.

Don’t let me spoil it for you, though – check this out for yourself. It’s stuff like this that reminds me that the world is alive and beautiful and full of strange surprises …

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