Tag Archive: Friends


Quinciple.com

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Do you live in 10023, 10069, 10014, or 10013?

Do you love farm fresh food, but you are too damn busy (or, admit it, lazy) to get yourself to the farmers’ market?

Do you struggle with trying new things because you are overwhelmed with all the choices?

Then, my dear reader, Quinciple might be your jam. What is Quinciple, you ask? A tremendous question, friend! Let me quote them at you.

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Ok, well that doesn’t really tell us how it works, does it?

Quinciple works in three, easy steps.

  1. Join! – Easy, ya dingus. Join, give them your address, and pay 49.90 per week. Simple!
  2. Get! – Your box of curated groceries is delivered to you on Thursday nights by a cargo tricycle. Seriously. Hip AND environmentally responsible!
  3. Taste! – Eat your lovely, locally sourced, organic produce. To make it easier in the case that you are not really sure what to do with one of the box’s contents, you’ll get some recipes and tips included. I was going to make a joke about not knowing how to use some esoteric thing in this month’s box, but there’s nothing in it that I couldn’t think of a at least a few uses for, so there you go. Produce you don’t have to be scared of!

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You are no doubt wondering why I am using my time here on The Black Laser to shill for something that seems totally unrelated to my usual topics of (one-sided) discussion. Full disclosure: Kate, one of the cofounders, is a friend and Sarah, my prewife, is working with them as outreach director promoting the hell out of the fledgling company.

Honestly, I think that leaves me in a perfect place to recommend the company to people. I believe in Quinciple, not just as a business, but as a concept and a set of values. Because that’s what it is, deep down. Ostensibly, it is a service akin to a CSA, but delivered and curated. Really though, Quinciple is an extension of what Kate and Markus value about food: getting high quality products from people they trust and sharing the food with customers in an environmentally responsible fashion. It is, in a lot of ways, diametrically opposed to the Monsanto-style, anonymous megafarm that has dominated US agriculture and food production since after the second World War. And I think that’s great. Besides, Kate has impeccable taste; there are few people I would trust as much to surprise me with some incredible food thingie as her.

And that’s what you get with a curated box: surprises! Who doesn’t like good surprises? No one. Well, maybe someone, but screw that guy, right?

I think people were excited about the samples at the launch party.

I think people were excited about the samples at the launch party.

If you care about how and what you eat, and if you care about how your food is made and where it comes from, then check out Quinciple. I think you’ll be pleased.

And if you are outside their currently limited delivery range, have faith. They will be expanding over the next year to deliver to folks all over this fine city. Which means you. And me. Since I don’t live in 10023, 10069, 10014, or 10013.

We are getting a box this week. Look forward to a write up and some photos of us enjoying the hell out of it.

I have these new buddies who have this band called The Click Clack Boom. They’re damn good. I like to describe them as a spacey, modern, prog-rock jam band if that makes any sense. Actually, that description sounds like complete bullshit, but go see them live and I think you’ll understand what I am talking about. I am totally right in this.

Today, during a slow moment at work, I youtubed them to see if they had any music videos. Lo and behold, they did. This is it. They have some other performance videos on their channel, but this is the only legit music video. I like it. It’s simple and beautifully shot and cut nicely. You should watch it and, if you live in places where they play, you should go see them. Check out their Facebook page. Support them.

Now good. Spread their names to the corners of the Earth.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine wrote me an incredibly sweet e-mail. With her permission, I am posting it and my response here for everyone to marvel at.

Hi Joe,

I was wondering how you find time to do the million things that you seem to do, be it post to your tumblr, post to blacklaser.net, find all videos you either love or hate, write as Torgeir, review bars, record short stories, etc etc etc to the nth degree?

I’ve been toying with the idea (for a while now) of starting a site where I would maybe review some things I like, heap scorn upon things I dislike, discuss the flotsam and jetsam of life in general, perhaps while trying to be funny sometimes. I get all these ideas in my head about things I want to do, I even get as far as lighting the match, but I just can’t seem to catch myself on fire. Within a few days of thinking “I should start a blog/site!” I circle back around to thinking “When would I even find time to write up a post? Who cares what I think anyways?” (Perhaps I need to care less about people caring? It would be funny if this were the simple secret to success in blogville.) Not to mention I work 40+ hours a week, at the end of which the last thing I want to do is look at another computer. I’m even writing this from my work email, as I loathe getting online at home that much.

I guess I’m wondering how you get inspired, or what propels you forward from thought to action? I need a dose of that, so I’m asking people who seem to fit a lifetime of personal achievement into each week.

If you’re too busy to answer (ha, see what I did there?), then please take this picture as tribute. Seriously though, if you don’t have time for this or don’t have anything to divulge, you can just reply with a picture of a shrug, no hard feelings.

Thanks,

Monica

Well, Monica, you’ve asked me a number of questions that I have a lot of thoughts about. In fact, I’ve been thinking about your e-mail for some time and have put together some ideas that are a bit of a synthesis of things I’ve written here before. I am going to jump around a little bit in answer your queries, so bear with me. I will touch on everything.

First, should you start a blog. I mean, you didn’t ask me this directly, but it’s what your second paragraph is hinting at. What do I think? Of course you should…if that is something you are motivated to do. When I first started The Black Laser back in 2008 (so long ago!), I didn’t really have a good idea of what I wanted the place to be. I knew I wanted a venue to share my photos and writing and whatever in one collected place. I made this site with a vague direction (black and pink, a bunch of text, uh, maybe videos?) and then just let it evolve as my fits and fancies dictated. Did I know in 2008 that by this point I’d have posted nearly 500 music videos? Of course not. I didn’t even consider posting music videos back when I was getting the site up. Did I know that I’d have an entire section devoted to letters I’ve written to things like the 23rd St F station or Coffee or Ugg boots? Of course not. The letters were just something I thought would be fun one day so I wrote a letter. And, you know what, it has turned out to be a lot of fun for me to write those things. They don’t take a lot of energy or thought and, most importantly, they make me laugh.

That is key to this whole thing: it has to be fun. If it isn’t fun, you won’t do it. I don’t very much like getting massages (weird, I know), so I never do that. I quite like drinking beer, so I do that all the time. I also quite like writing on The Black Laser, whether I am bullshitting about some music video or cross-posting my Torgeirs or analyzing my creative path or whatever the hell I am writing about, I like it. It is enjoyable for me. My advice is, unless you’re making money on it, don’t limit yourself to a certain content type. Just post whatever you like, whatever you are motivated to create. That way you will find success. And as a side bonus, you will see your writing get better. Mine certainly has over the years I’ve been doing this. I go back and read some of my early posts and think, “Man, that could have been written better,” but so it goes. That’s life. You do enough of one thing and you’re bound to be good at it. Hopefully. At the very least, better at it.

I would also advise not to get too self-critical when starting out. It’s romantic to think that a bunch of people from all over the place are going to be coming to your site and criticizing everything, but that is just a fantasy. Especially at the beginning. The people who will be coming to read initially are people you know, Facebook friends, Twitter folks, meatspace friends, whomever. So don’t worry about it. Post what you like, put a little thought into it, and just do it. I mean, fuck it, life is too short to not do things because you’re worried about what some nameless, faceless twit on the internet thinks about it, right? It’s for you.

I think I might come across as a classic oversharer, but the contents of my various social media are, in fact, highly curated. I specifically do not post certain types of material on The Black Laser, my Tumblr, Facebook, or Twitter as a matter of good practice. Because I share these things with many types of people in my life (friends, family, clients, the world), I only put things on them with which I don’t mind being identified. I only mention this, because I think that’s an important thing to consider when thinking about your potential blog. Sure, yeah, you might not have many readers at the beginning, but people will find it and it would be a real drag for them to read something there about themselves that you didn’t want them to read. Classic OOPSIES moment.

Next, let’s touch on inspiration. You asked me about what inspires me to continue doing what I am doing. A number of things, in fact. Fear mostly. Anxiety. A sense that I am wasting my life away. This dread that I am throwing my future away. The desire to share. Because I like it.

But let’s back up for a moment. You commented that I am a person that seems to “fit a lifetime of personal achievement into each week,” which, while incredibly sweet and slightly shocking, is exactly the opposite of how I feel about my life. If you click the “Inspiration” or “Creativity” tags beneath this post, you will find plenty of posts where I am struggling with my lack of inspiration, with this sense that nothing is coming, this feeling that everything is a waste. I never feel like I am doing enough, creating enough, achieving enough. I always feel like I could be doing more. Enough so that if I get home and sit around and watch a movie, I genuinely start to feel guilty. Of course, I still sit around and watch movies from time to time, but I don’t really enjoy it. It’s not relaxing for me.

I was discussing your e-mail with my therapist a few weeks ago, just after you sent it. I was telling her exactly what I wrote above. She asked me why I thought that was and I couldn’t give her an answer. My ability to create and communicate with people is inherently tied into my sense of self. And why shouldn’t it be? Even this response is deeply personal as I discuss my thoughts and fears and ideals. This is a representation of who I am, and, even more, who I’d like to be. And I guess the idea of not pursuing that to its fullest is terrifying to me. She asked me what would happen, how would I feel, if I cut myself some slack and let it slip a little. I told her that in the times I have done that my brain goes crazy, I start to feel insane, and am driven back to work, even if it’s something as trivial as posting music video reviews on The Black Laser. I have to be making something all the time. She asked me if I could feel relaxed. I told her the only way I know to relax is to create things. That’s true. When I am done with this, I will feel great. Something’s been done. Something’s been made. I can chill now.

I remember, in college, I took an acting class as a prerequisite to a directing class I wanted to take. Every week we had a standing assignment to spend 20 minutes at home just relaxing. Every week I’d come in and my professor would ask me how I did and, without fail, I told her I couldn’t relax. About three quarters of the way through the semester she had me stay after class to try and help me to learn to relax. She laid me down on the floor on my back and instructed me to close my eyes. She touched my shoulders and flinched. She might have actually said, “Holy shit!” I can’t remember; it was a long time ago. But I do remember her being quite shocked at how much tension I held in my shoulders. I told her that I couldn’t relax and now did she understand how tense I was? I left the class feeling vindicated in my inability to relax, but no close to achieving the goal. Oh well. I figured it out later.

So, where does my inspiration come from? Everywhere and nowhere. Everywhere in the sense that as I wander through life doing things, I like to soak in everything around me and funnel that into whatever the hell it is I am thinking about or working on or planning. Nowhere in the sense that my own constant sense of dread propels me all the time. I honestly feel like I am throwing away my life if I am not making things on the regular. Sure, I experience a normal ebb and flow of creativity, just like anyone. And sure, I get lazy and tired and fucking distracted—wow, so distracted—just like anyone else. I know these things about myself, yet I cannot allow them to win. It is part of why I’ve always set goals, guidelines, limits, quotas, or whatever I think will motivate me to stay obligated. I’ve always liked working with other people in teams since I am incredibly motivated to put out work when I know someone else is counting on me. When it’s only me and there’s no financial reward to be seen, it’s much harder. But if I make myself accountable to myself and to my readers on The Black Laser who are following along my year’s theme, then I find it much easier to stay on track. Does that make sense?

This all ties in to your question about where I find the time. I don’t. I make it. I work at least 50 hours a week, every week, often with late nights and weekends popping up and keeping me in the office. And, as an editor, my whole day is being creative. When I get home I rarely have much juice left to try and be super cool writer guy, so I just do what I can. I say, “All right, Joe, you’re going to write 500 words. At 500 words you can either stop or, if you’re feeling it, keep going.” That works nicely for me. It’s a system I’ve used for years. Do I always write 500 words? Fuck no! If I get home from the office at midnight after a fourteen and a half hour day, you can bet your sweet ass that all I’m going to do is go to the bar next door for a beer and then come home and go to sleep. But if I come home after a normal 10 hour day, I do try and do something. Do I always? Nope, but the thought is there. Sometimes you can’t force it. The weekends are often good for this. I’ll wake up, go out, eat, wander, run some errands, and then come home and produce before going back out for the night. In the end, it’s fun for me, so it’s not a hassle to make time for it. It also keeps me from feeling like a crazy person, which is always nice, you know?

To sum this whole thing up, if you want to make a blog, do it! Don’t limit yourself, and don’t make it a chore. If you have fun doing it and regularly think, “Man, it would be fun to blog about this!” then you will find yourself making time for it. And it doesn’t always have to be enormous blocks of text or things you spend a ton of time on. Lots of people have had incredible success on Tumblr just posting silly photos along a particular theme or just having curated collections of things or whatever the hell people do on Tumblr. The Black Laser was conceived as a place for me to write, so that’s what I do here. Think about what you might want to do (don’t get to specific) and just do it. I think you’ll have fun with it. And if you don’t, stop doing it. Done and done.

Thanks again for the note. I hope this was helpful.

Sincerely,

Joe Dillingham
The Space Pope
Torgeir The Black Metal Extremist
The Black Laser

Some folks I know are opening a restaurant in Williamsburg the week of November 7th called Allswell. It’s housed in the spot formerly occupied by Raymund’s, a Polish joint that was hardly worth venturing into, so no real loss with its demise.

They’ve been generating a fair amount of press based on the reputation of head chef Nate Smith’s work at The Spotted Pig. Check out some of the links below for a sampling of what people have been saying about the restaurant’s imminent opening.

New York Magazine – What to Eat at Allswell, Opening Next Week in Williamsburg

Brooklyn Exposed – Allswell That Begins Well: Pub Fare on its Way to Williamsburg

Eater – Nate Smith to Open Allswell in Williamsburg This Fall

Zagat – Nate Smith Opening Brooklyn Restaurant This Fall

Nearsay – All’s Well: Nate Smith Opening New Williamsburg Restaurant

Timeout New York – Slide show: What you’ll be eating this fall

That’s a lot of articles for a restaurant that isn’t even open yet, right?

This summer, while getting the restaurant business in order, Nate did a bunch of pop-up dinners around the neighborhood to generate interest. Successfully, too, I think. The food was certainly good, and, after hearing about the restaurant for so many months, I can’t wait for it to open and proceed to kick ass in the North Brooklyn restaurant scene.

Go like them on Facebook: Allswell

EDIT\\ I’ve updated the date of the restaurant opening. Looks like I got a little excited there.

My buddy Josh, who you might remember as one of the directors of The Sword’s “Fire Lance Of The Ancient Hyperzephyrians” (which I never made a post about for some reason even though I am in the g-d video, what the hell is that about?), directed this fully amazing throw-back video for Township’s “Golden Light” and “Pushing Metal to the Bone”. It is clearly inspired by the shitty local cable instructional videos of our collective youths with all the awkward edits, excessively long pauses, picture degradation, and tracking errors of a ninth generation dub. Perfect.

The songs are awesome, reminding me of the best of 70s stadium rock. There’s a very powerful Thin Lizzy vibe running through the songs on Township’s One More Summer and I really dig it. My only complaint is that I can’t find where I can pick up the LP. I am listening to the album right now on Spotify (awesome), but why is it so hard to give these guys my money?!

All of you all might recall that I went to Barcelona recently for a wedding. Well, one of the fine folks who done got hitched is this man Jamie Bianchini. Jamie has spent the last few years riding a bicycle around Africa exploring, meeting people, and learning about the continent. But let me allow him to describe the trip rather than trying to put words at the ends of his fingers.

If you are like most people, just the word Africa conjures up images of starvation, war, disease and violence. Before my 22-country cycling expedition through the continent I was also ignorant and fearful–mostly due to so many negative news reports from the mainstream media. But I faced my fears to make my journey to see Africa with my OWN two eyes.

While riding my tandem bike and inviting dozens of locals to join the journey a burning desire grew inside to finally educate the world on the TRUTH of how fascinating the cultures are, how interesting the history is, how amazing the music sounds, how beautiful the landscapes are and, most of all, how kind, loving and caring the African people are. Help us to stop the ignorance by releasing a fun, exciting, colorful, insightful, educational and progressive series that will forever change the way to world thinks when they hear the word AFRICA.

He’s a damned cool dude with a wonderful young family and I, the Black Laser, the Pope of the Multiverse and all its Denizens, do believe that you should support his cause. He’s got a LONG way to go until he hits his 85k goal, but nothing’s impossible. If you can, donate even just a few bucks. Think of it in terms of beers you’d buy in a bar; that always helps me.

Get donating!

So, I guess my buddy Vasili just released this music video for a track of his that was cut by my other buddy Paul. Not the style of music you’ll normally see me post here on The Black Laser, but I just can’t resist posting work by people I know in meatspace. Here it is. Enjoy. And, New Yorkers, how many places in the video do you recognize? I recognize about 1 million of them.

I got this last night around midnight. I guess, technically, that makes it this morning, but whatever.

I do not know how to spell. Anyways had a semi-drunk conversation with a random high school head tonight. They asked if i still talk to you. Blah blah the best part was when they said so is he still emo? My super quick response was i think that the only person emo in a conversation with joe is the person recieving his back lash and i guess you were there once.
I fucking hate the bay area and everyone here. I need to leave and never return

You wish you got e-mails this awesome.