Monday, December 9, 2013
New Yorkers may know Jamie Shupak best as the traffic reporter on beloved local news channel NY1, but getting up at 3 a.m. (and being done with the traffic part of her workday by the afternoon) has its benefits, at least to someone with the boundless energy of Shupak. In her time at NY1 she's also written a dating column for Complex magazine, chronicled her cooking adventures on her blog, TV Dinner, and written an e-book, out now, loosely based on her own life, with leeway for dramatization, of course. Transit Girl >tells the story of NYNN traffic reporter Guiliana Layne, who's happily engaged to be married to her college sweetheart, J.R., until she finds out that he's cheating on her with his assistant, and everything goes off the rails. (Think mortifying viral videos, a faux Gawker named Banter, tequila-fueled dating mishaps and adventures, a dognapping, and at least one night in jail.)
Shupak, who's now engaged to former New York Times reporter Brian Stelter, is used to being in the public eye, though this is her first book. She does not hold back in putting it out there, sex scenes included. I talked to her about how the book came about, what it feels like to fictionalize real events—there really was a cheating former fiancé—and how she copes with the inevitable criticism.
How did you approach fictionalizing your life? Was that difficult?
When I first wrote it, it was so much more true to life. Editors who read it who didn't even know me said it needed to be fictionalized even more, because a novel needs so much more drama and excitement.
How did the book come about?
When The New York Times profiled me, in October 2011—it was right after that. I'd been writing my column for a while. Kate Lee at the time was working at ICM, and right after the profile she called me and we met. She was like, You need to write a book. The next week I started writing.
Had you been thinking about writing a novel prior to that?
When I first was single again [after the breakup that sets the book's plot in motion], every morning I'd come into work and gchat with a friend who lives in Maryland. I was going on multiple dates a week and trying to keep them all straight. It was all so new to me, so exciting and really funny and interesting, and he's the one who first said, "You should write a book." I called my [TV] agent and was like, How do I write a book? He was like, you're not a writer, so if you want to write a book, you need to write elsewhere to practice, get your name out there as a writer. The Complex column sort of fell into my lap. The EIC started tweeting at me. That part of the book is sort of based in fact, though I never met him in a bar or anything.
They were like, What are you into, what do you do? I said, "I went on four dates this week," and they were like, OK, you're going to be our new dating columnist. That just sort of happened. It wasn't with the mindset of "I'm going to write a book after this." I never ever thought I was going to write a book.
Some scenes are completely over-the-top and hilarious (like when Guiliana jumps on the back of a policeman to prevent him from taking her dog away). How did you free yourself to write that way?
In the midst of decking the halls and crossing things off my Grown-Up Christmas List, there's always a slightly awkward question come this time of year: What should I get my bosses/supervisors for the holidays?
Do a Google search for "presents for bosses" or "etiquette for bosses present," and there is no shortage of articles ready to dispense advice. On one hand, accepted etiquette through the years has been that presents in professional settings should flow down the command chain, not up. A particularly helpful reader from The Hairpin pointed me to Ask a Manager, which often advises not to get gifts for bosses (baked goods can sometimes be the only exception). On the other extreme, The Billfold also had a column last year about offices that go overboard with gift-giving, trying to rope people into spending more than they are willing or able for their bosses. Then there's the year my supervisor gave me a Snooki bobblehead and I gave him a keychain that made laser noises—so clearly there is also a lot of gray area in between. READ MORE
Georgian era (1714-1830) English Christmas begins early. Inspired by Sarah Beeny’s A Very British Christmas program, this list will make sure your hair is properly coiffed, your guests are satiated and your knickers aren’t in a wad.
1. Procure a stately home. This one looks nice.
2. Employ at least 15 servants so everything runs smoothly.
3. Gift-giving officially began on December 6. Some good options: money, apples, eggs or a castrated cockerel.
4. Put the children to bed—they aren't invited or even included in the festivities for a few more decades. This is good, as things will get a bit racy.
5. If your party falls on Christmas Eve, find a yule log, drag it home and burn it for 12 days. Don’t let a bare-footed woman or a flat-footed visitor near it, though. That’s bad luck.
6. Feasting takes place every day, so wear your most comfortable gown. Luckily, high waistlines with loose skirts are en vogue, so you won’t have to suck in at all. Some women choose to wear corsets in this era, but this is not advised as it will severely impair your figgy pudding consumption.
7. Don’t be afraid to bare your bosom. Hiking them up and showing them off is encouraged. But don't bare so much bosom that you “excite much displeasure or disgust.”
8. Don long white gloves and a choker. Perfect accessories to your burgeoning bosom.
9. Wear a wig or pile your hair on top of your head as high as possible. If you have thin hair, use some horse hair to fluff it up.
10. Have your staff prepare up to 20 dishes.
11. Some of the dishes are disgusting. Don’t fret if you’ve chosen to wear the corset—you won’t want to eat them all.
12. For one delicacy, you must boil a pig’s head for 5-6 hours until the flesh is melted and then mold it into a fatty cake-y paste.
13. You’ll also need a cod’s head and asparagus soup.
14. Adjust the horse hair on your head. READ MORE
Let's all make a blanket agreement that, no matter how much this commercial auto-plays on Hulu, we will never start to become subconsciously convinced that any part of the behavior exhibited by the three monsters on camera is an acceptable way for even a monster (for we are all monsters) to behave.
This song was produced by Magnus Lidehäll, who is also behind Mapei's delightful "Don't Wait," and I could listen to albums and albums worth of this sound: soulful vocals, a militant foundation, a little vocoder, pure Swedish pop. And Seinabo Sey is just 23!
At the New York Times magazine, here is a delightful send-up of generic, dumb magazine write-ups on celebrities, from the first paragraph:
Kristen Wiig is currently (verb) staring at a (foodstuff) meatball sitting at a table at (favorite restaurant) Dumpy’s. Her hair is (adjective) wet and she’s wearing a (piece of clothing) towel. She is separating her (foodstuff) baked potato from her (other foodstuff) mashed potato. The waiter arrives with a (food item) boiled potato, and says, "This was sent by (famous person) The ghost of Spartacus," whom we see waving from across the room. Clearly, Wiig has (verb) hallucinated.
To the last:
Will her life continue changing like her roles? She may have more red carpets in her future, but here at home, she’s more comfortable in (style of dress that signals a resistance to narcissism) the nude. And to make sure she stays centered, she likes to (verb) answer the door in the nude. Will she be able to keep her fantasy life a secret, coincidentally like the movie she’s now promoting? Only time will tell. "One thing’s for sure," she says, "I (hopeful-sounding but sort of meaningless statement about the trajectory of life) don’t think I’m gonna eat this meatball."
Benedict Cumberbatch is a talented actor. But Benedict Cumberbatch is not hot. Here are 917 people who are hotter than Benedict Cumberbatch.
1. Martin Freeman
2. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
3. Jeremy Brett
4. Your mom
5. Ron Artest
6. Metta World Peace
7. Prince Harry
8. Prince William
9. Prince Charles
10. This lady who got knocked over by the wind recently
11. Joan Cusack
12. Joan Didion
13. Joan Jett
15. Lee Ranaldo
16. Andy Garcia
17. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett
18. Mark Spitz
19. Marc Spitz
20. Danny Trejo
21. Paul Wesley
22. Ian Somerhalder
23. Steven R. McQueen
24. Zach Roerig
25. Michael Trevino
26. Michael Jordan
27. Michael B. Jordan
28. Jordan Knight
29. Jordan Fisher
30. Jules Jordan
31. Montell Jordan
32. Jeremy Jordan
33. Richard Jordan
34. Ben Lee Jordan
35. Jordan Pruitt
36. Jordan Waring
37. Vernon Jordan
38. Matthew Davis
39. Javier Bardem
40. Louis C.K.
41. Tony Plana
42. Tony Danza
43. Sidney Blumenthal
44. Rick Stengel
45. Jimmy Akingbola
46. Alan Igbon
47. Hugh Quarshie
48. Javone Prince
50. Josh Charles
51. Josh Duhamel
52. Josh Turner
53. Josh Hartnett
54. Josh Hamilton
55. Josh Cuthbert
56. Josh Brolin
57. Josh Smith
58. Charles Esten
59. Charles Woodson
60. Charles Kelley
61. Charles Grodin
62. Young Charlie Chaplin
63. Ray Charles
64. RuPaul Andre Charles
65. Beautiful woman on a ladder above the clouds looking far away
66. Roger Klotz
67. Tupac Shakur
68. Tim Tebow
69. Tim McGraw
71. This guy
72. Barack Obama
73. Michelle Obama
74. Dominic West
75. Idris Elba
76. Mary Louise Parker
77. Jackie Jackson
78. Tito Jackson
79. Jermaine Jackson
80. Marlon Jackson
81. Michael Jackson
82. Janet Jackson
83. Whoever this was
84. Michael Keaton
85. All of the Michael Keatons in Multiplicity
87. Samuel Alito
88. Elena Kagan
89. John G. Roberts
90. Anthony Kennedy
91. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
92. Sonia Sotomayor
93. Stephen G. Breyer
95. Rowan Atkinson
96. Mr. Pibb
97. Dr. Pepper
98. Mr. Clean
99. Mr. Sparkle READ MORE
It's almost the weekend! Over the week, we:
• Mourned a great American Girl doll and an even better grandmother and made our peace.
I'm sailing off with one gorgeous sentence ("I was trying a new Biblical approach—Eve with earning power, Eve without shame") on repeat and planning what I want for dinner. What about you?
Photo via Mauro/flickr
My friend lives in suburban San Diego and he is not a fan. He lives here due to fairly random circumstances, which anyone who ended up without a chair when the music stopped during the recession might understand.
He’s been here for more than four years and likes it no more today than the day he arrived. But he has come up with a plan for dealing with this. “I call it the I don’t give a shit plan,” he explains, as we make a left off of West San Marcos Boulevard into the Albertsons parking lot. “Oh, see, there’s a guy on the side of the road that needs help. But you know what. I live in Southern California now, so I don’t give a shit.” He pulls his used BMW into a parking space. “Oh, there’s Yogurt World,” he observes. “They have Wi-Fi. Isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t that just so incredibly generous of them? If you worked in a an office around here, as a cost cutting measure you could just get rid of your Wi-Fi, and you’d be like, ‘Hey, guys, if anyone wants to talk to me, I’m just over at Yogurt World.’ Oh, and if you want to know how much I really don’t give a shit, you see the Supercuts, over there next to the Yogurt World? That’s where I get my hair cut now.”
Albertsons is empty. His wife has instructed him to get fruit. He throws a bag of oranges into the cart. “Fruit,” he says. He also needs razors. “16 dollars,” he exclaims. “How stupid do these people think we are? They must think we’re so stupid that we’re willing to work our asses off to live in hell and spend all our money on razors. Well. They are lucky because… because why?”
“Because you don’t give a shit?” I guess.
“That is correct,” he says, adding the razors to the cart. He finds generic contact lens solution. “Three dollars,” he says. “I feel good about that. Today is a good day.” READ MORE
1. "Outside, dead ants began pooling around the base of the house in heaps so high that they looked like discarded coffee grounds."
2. "(It’s common in Texas these days for a person who is shown one of these heaps of dead ants to take several seconds to realize that the solid surface he or she is scanning for ants actually is the ants.)"
3. "Mike laid out poison, generating more heaps of dead ants. But new ants merely used those dead ants as a bridge over the poison and kept streaming inside."
4. "With crazy ants, so many will stream inside a device that they form a single, squirming mass that completes a circuit and shorts it."
5. "Edward LeBrun, an ecologist at the University of Texas at Austin who has been studying the area, believes a single “supercolony” of crazy ants occupies as many as 4,200 acres in Iowa Colony and is spreading 200 meters a year in all directions." READ MORE