Meet the Woolies

“Woven tightly into the social fabric of the internet resides a cozy community of people who get off on wool. Sexually. In fact, you might say that the wooly world is one of the greatest achievements of the internet. Where else can a person — separated by borders of nation, language, religion, and culture — find others who are sexually aroused by the sight of a mohair sweater? By cable scarf bondage? By the singular sensation of a warm mitten on the genitals? Only online, of course.”

Had a warm and fuzzy good time writing this article for Racked. This material was particularly well received by my mother’s knitting circle. Delight in the full Woolie experience here.

Extravagantza

Created by Extravagantza

Below, please find additional photos of a Woolie playroom generously shared with me by Margot and Rob, a Woolie couple featured in the article. For more context on these images, please read the article.

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Dream Homes for Hermits

Yellowstone

“Living off the grid isn’t for everyone. But if you like trees more than people, one of these remote cabins in the woods might be the new home for you. Read fine leather-bound literature, drink bourbon, grow a beard. Build a ship in a bottle, hunt for sasquatch and write letters with a quill. Young lovers in the forest will pass by and tell stories.

7 Off the Grid Homes Fit for a Hermit

You’ll become the stuff of myth, like Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. Wide-eyed children will discover the truth of your heroic past (dragons?) and though they never speak to you directly (you are a crazy hermit after all), you can sleep sound knowing that (gosh darnit) they respect you.

When you drive five hours into town for moonshine you avoid the admiring glances from farmer’s daughters. Just because you beat a Sea Monster in a fist fight doesn’t make you special. You put on your long johns on one leg at a time, just like everybody else.

If this elaborate fantasy doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.”

For the full story and photos click here.

How To Breed Fancy Pigeons: A Love Story

German Beauty Homer

I took my love for pigeons to the next level and wrote a personal essay on How to Breed Fancy Pigeons for The Hairpin!

“My pigeon nostalgia took on many whimsical and disturbing forms. I began painting pigeons and writing pigeon poetry. It was what I like to call my “Pigeon Renaissance.” This was a time of great creative flourishing where I painted pigeon masterpieces such as “Pigeon by Day” and “Starry Night Pigeon.” The pigeons were all-consuming. I’d try to drawJacobin Pigeon something else like a bowl of fruit or a self-portrait, but somehow it would still end up looking like a pigeon. Our apartment took on the aesthetic of John Nash’s office at the end of A Beautiful Mind—he too, was fascinated by pigeons. Sam was supportive of (and amused by) these creative endeavors, but also wanted to know what the fuck was going on and encouraged me to meet some new people, maybe join a club?”

Read the full piece on The Hairpin here!

Pouter Pigeon

The Fast and Furrious World of Furry Subculture

How the Furry Community Embraced CollegeHumor’s Furry Force

furryforce

“Patch O’Furr calls it the multi-nerd connections. ‘If it was a venn-diagram, it would be plaid. Because everybody who’s a nerd has a bunch of nerdy interests (laughs),’ said Patch. ‘I’ve always loved every kind of subculture. But I think furries are the truest nerds out there today. You know, nerds back in the day didn’t have billion dollar movies and Hollywood agents coming to their conventions. Furry conventions still don’t have those things. They’re organic and homegrown.”

Writing this piece brought me to tears of laughter several times. What a joy to learn more about Furry culture from Patch O’Furr and CollegeHumor’s very funny Brian Murphy and Adam Conover. Read the full piece on Splitsider here:

How the Furry Community Embraced CollegeHumor’s Furry-Lampooning ‘Furry Force’

To learn more about Patch O’Furr and the Furry Community, check out Patch’s blog:

Dog Patch Press

To Vote Furry Force for the Ursa Major Award:

Ursa Major Awards Voting

Mo Welch on Larry Bird, Qweirdos, and Laughter in the Dark

Mo Welch Basketball

Photo credit: Mandee Johnson

I got a chance to interview comedian Mo Welch for Splitsider!

“Whether she’s hosting The Mo Show, performing standup, making music videos, drawing her hilariously depressing cartoon, Barely Blair, or bringing her A-game on the basketball court onto the stage for the Larry Bird Variety Hour, the impossibly cool Mo Welch is constantly stretching the boundaries of her comedy and devising new ways to find the funny.

I got a chance to talk with Mo about the antics behind the making of her CBS sports special, Foul Ball, what it’s like to be Larry Bird, getting her start with The Grawlix, joining the Qweirdo community, and her unexpected moment of brilliance with a Pop-Tart.”

You can read more here.

Brooklyn’s Biggest Hooker

Originally reported in 2009 by Sydney Parker

“I’m forty years old and I hooked a forty pound fish!” declared John Ruffino, hoisting the giant first prize Brooklyn Fishing Derby trophy over his head. The first annual derby held it’s closing celebration Sunday night at the Brooklyn Alehouse.

JohnRuffino

An enormous striped bass hung by it’s lip from a tree branch at the entrance, marking the spot. The ceremony signified the end of the month long competition to catch the biggest fish anywhere along the East River from Red Hook to Long Island City, Queens.

Catching the big fish was a proud moment for Ruffino. A class room of Orthodox Jews had taken a field trip to the Gantry State Park pier that day and cheered as he reeled in the line for the massive fish. It took him over twenty minutes to pull the bass out of the water.

“When I stuck my hand in to pull out the hook, the fish bit me,” said Ruffino, unwrapping his hand from his beer to show the scar.

Back lit by a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline and flattered by the sparkling East River, Gantry State Park provides the ideal conditions for the fisherman’s reverie. The park was recently transformed from an industrial space into an award winning design. Two gantries, old Long Island Railroad shipping lifts, remind the public of the area’s industrial history.

“I come out here and fish every day after work,” boasted Ruffino, attempting to pull off his sweatshirt over a lit cigarette. “It doesn’t leave a lot of time to meet women.”

Ruffino began fishing when he was a little boy and quickly developed an obsession, leading him to spend extravagant amounts of money on new fishing equipment. He wishes that there was a local tackle shop in Long Island City but doesn’t mind making the trip to the Dream Tackle Shop in Brooklyn, a hangout for fisherman in the know.

Ben Sargent and James Potter, members of the Urban Anglers Association founded the competition almost as a joke to see if any New Yorkers would actually participate. To their surprise, 40 competitors signed up ranging from old-timer fisherman to skinny-jeaned Hipsters all striving to become New York’s “biggest hooker.”

“The fishing community is a tight, discrete network,” said Sargent, adjusting his Katz’s Delicatessen baseball hat. “We wanted to open it up to everyone.”

Sargent is notorious in the culinary community for his seafood chowder recipe featured on Food Network, his surfing club in Rockaway Parkway and his honorable work with I Fish NY, a program that introduces city kids to the world of fishing.

Sargent’s derby awards extended way beyond 1st and last. The awards for Most Jealous Fisherman, Most Time Spent in the Water, and Best Dressed Fisherman were also greeted with applause and laughter from friends and family. The award for Most Absent Fishermen went to Jason Lamb, a young man with a shaggy mop of hair who notoriously left his pole unattended. His prize: A $50 gift certificate to get a haircut.

Russell Dugan, a young shop regular sporting dirty vintage glasses and an unwashed mullet warmed beneath a red trucker hat enjoys Ruffino’s vast fishing knowledge and outlandish personality. Dugan rarely catches anything but appreciates the sport.

“It’s not about the catching, it’s about the fishing.” The Brooklyn Fishing Derby officially advocates a policy of catch and release. In spite of this, Ruffino plans to share his bounty of fish with good friends and neighbors.

Eating fish from the polluted East River is not advised by environmental experts, but fishermen swear by the safe and pleasurable experience of ingesting the fish you caught by way of your own patience and diligence.

Potter is proud of the derby’s popularity with people of all ages and backgrounds. “Fishing is a common language,” says Potter. He can’t wait to see who joins up next year.

His sister Clarissa Potter is happy for her brother’s success but is relieved that he will now be more available to spend time with loved ones. Mr. Potter won the Most Jealous Fisherman Award for his attitude of complete despair when he lost a fish and very vocally condemned his competitor’s big catch.

New York might seem like the last place a fisherman would go to relish in the tranquil art of casting and reeling, but for Micheal Louie, the Long Island City shore is pure paradise.

“When I’m waiting for the fish to come, I clear my head,” says Louie. “Water runs in, problems run out.”