Find of the Week: Audio Books on YouTube

Guys! Did you know you could find audio books on YouTube? Yeah, I guess I’m late to the party. I’ve been hooked listening to them as I clean, shower and generally do things where actual reading is impossible. There are many nonfiction self-help books and lots of literature. The Brother’s Grimm stories and ancient Japanese ghost stories are weird #af, so have at it if you’re looking for something creepy in an “I don’t know how we got here. What is happening?” kind of way. Here are three short audio tales perfect for the seasonal transition between summer and fall, when nights get darker earlier, cuddling gets more appropriate (because temperatures dip) and planning for winter activities begins.

“Six Creepy Tales” by Edgar Allan Poe

No one does it like you, Poe! Tickle me with that necktie, boo! Here are six tales of murderers, madmen and language at its spooky-sexiest.

“The Whisperer in Darkness” by HP Lovecraft

Oh la la! It’s like the X-Files from 1931 but with less David Duchovny and more Cthulhu. Don’t let that deter you.

“The Four Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss

Because you are a well-rounded listener of the YouTube, and creating a four-hour workweek (or, more likely, creating a system where you’re getting more done more efficiently because real job’s time commitment got you like ugh) for yourself will create more time to listen to free audio books online. See what we did here?

When you give a girl a cookie

the pursuit of cookies

At work there’s a wok station in the cafe. I don’t know if they actually use a wok but it’s how I differentiate from the grill.

At the grill you get your burgers and fries. At the salad line you get self confidence and a hungry belly two hours later. At the wok station you get fortune cookies.

More than once I’ve gotten something from the wok just because I wanted a fortune.

Fortune cookies are like most things we use to distract ourselves. Things to find hope in or maybe, just maybe something new and different.

As I waited for my whatever to get tofued and toasted, something I would slather in soy sauce anyway, I contemplated my options from the cookie bowl.

Drawing a fortune cookie takes serious consideration. I usually go for the one at the bottom. The loneliest, seemingly last to get picked always beckons to be the most promising. “The Pursuit of Happyness” of fortune cookies.

I picked my plastic-wrapped future and waited for my food to finish, reminding myself to wait to finish my meal to crack open the cookie because otherwise you have seven years of bad sex or something. I can never wait.

As I stood by the station, though, another cookie caught my eye. On the top of the pile, resting near the rim of the bowl, the cookie was completely cracked. Little white edges of its sheet of destiny shone through the pieces, like a ray of sunshine breaking through a cloud.

I must have that one, I thought. But wait. I already picked my fortune cookie. Can one have two too many fortunes? Is it selfish to take more than one fortune cookie?

I decided both the idea of relying on a fortune cookie for guidance and feeling like you are only worth one are both bullshit so I surreptitiously grabbed the second, lest the cook see my indulgence of cardboard-tasting treats.

Back at my desk I quickly finished my meal and waited a while to decide which one to open first. My two little rejected cookies I had saved. The things we do to entertain ourselves. The way we picture ourselves saviors when we are truly reliant on the thing we thought we saved. The way we believe our future is not in our own hands and the only thing in our own hands.

I don’t even remember which I picked first. I just know I didn’t eat either cookie but kept the fortunes.

Both slips of paper alluded to change. Happiness. Happyness. Relief on a piece of trash.

When people lie to others, it should come as no surprise when they lie to themselves.

fortune open

This must be some kind of heaven


It doesn’t matter too much if they die

except that I will know that it was my fault

flowers become one more thing to feel guilty about

unless you know how to appreciate the way they look

in their Taiwan-made plastic pot

right before sunrise.

Through the one-inch slots in my blinds

I can see their black green vines.

Right before the sun comes up,

they always look pretty, mysterious,

complicated and simple.

Only the light will determine whether I’ve bungled them up

whether they’re dying or blooming

brown or orange

petals or poison.

It’s the same with my living room,

the sun spots the dust I didn’t clean

the way my pillows don’t really match

the perfection I am not.

I keep forgetting to water them.

Thankfully nature is taking care of its own.

The gray area of black and white

This entire editorial from New York Times Magazine about the Charleston church shooting is worth reading, but this section about our vocabulary regarding white and black in relation to historical racial violence is really important, especially from a journalistic perspective. How can we write to be more sensitive toward this difference? Awareness that it happens is a start.

“I’m always struck by this hesitance not only to name white terrorism but to name whiteness itself during acts of racial violence. In a recent New York Times article on the history of lynching, the victims are repeatedly described as black. Not once, however, are the violent actors described as they are: white. Instead, the white lynch mobs are simply described as “a group of men” or “a mob.” In an article about racial violence, this erasure of whiteness is absurd. The race of the victims is relevant, but somehow the race of the killers is incidental. If we’re willing to admit that race is a reason blacks were lynched, why are we unwilling to admit that race is a reason whites lynched them? In his remarks following the Charleston shooting, President Obama mentioned whiteness only once — in a quotation from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. intended to encourage interracial harmony. Obama vaguely acknowledged that “this is not the first time that black churches have been attacked” but declined to state who has attacked these churches. His passive language echoes this strange vagueness, a reluctance to even name white terrorism, as if black churches have been attacked by some disembodied force, not real people motivated by a racist ideology whose roots stretch past the founding of this country.”

– Britt Bennett / “White Terrorism is as Old as America”


Spring, brought to you by Todd Rundgren

We had a yard sale in my neighborhood the other day. I didn’t have a lot to sell. I’ve purged so much in my recent moves that everything I own, which isn’t much, are things I want or need. I try not to buy tchotchkes or meaningless stuff that I’m excited about for a week but then just collects dust on a shelf somewhere.

Picture frames and Made in China sculptures and Mason jars with fake flowers are the misfit toys of adulthood. I will spend extra money on clothes and food and gifts. That’s about it.

I do have a lot of books though. And records. So I set to work picking out ones to  sell. Prepping for a yard sale can be stressful — figuring out what to sell, deciding what to charge for what you do decide to sell, and confronting a mental list of just how insignificant the crap you own is can an existential crisis make.

Adding to the frustration? Masking tape. Why is it so sticky on your fingers but never on the actual thing you need it to stick to? WHY?!

I share a house with four other people. We each live in one corner apartment of the house. The others had filled our backyard on yard sale day with so many goodies! My records and books looked kind of lonely huddled together on my back porch.

About half of my stuff sold. Turns out anything priced for more than $2 at a yard sale is just ridiculous. Who the fuck do you think you are charging $5 for an ornate antique ashtray? The buyer has all the power. He or she knows you’ve gone to all this trouble to pick out this junk, label it with that pestiferous masking tape, and sit outside while strangers dally around like zombies in your back yard. You just want it gone. So how low will you go?

The night before, when I was curating just what of my bookshelves to feed to these deal-seeking wolves, I decided there were a few records in my collection I just couldn’t part with. Surprise, they were the ones with sentimental value.

“Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure: I listened to this album nearly every morning of my sophomore year of college.

“Abbey Road” by The Beatles: An ex-boyfriend got this for me and I still think it’s sweet because everyone has that one person from their early 20s that makes them think of a Beatles song.

“Portrait of Bobby” by Bobby Sherman: Belonged to my teenage mom.

A literal portrait of A Portrait of Bobby. So meta.

A literal portrait of A Portrait of Bobby. So meta.

The Black Keys and John Frusciante and MIA? Sell. Sell. Sell. This stuff’s gotta go! A deal you can’t refuse! But wait there’s more! I’ll sweeten the pot and let you take this masking tape off my hands! No really. Please. Can you rip this tape off my hands?

One album, though, that didn’t get purchased during my yard sale has been the focus of my last few weeks, musically speaking.


The thing with records is that you can remember where you got most of them. You remember the crazy deal you found them for, or who you pilfered it from, or what barter you made to get it, or which mom wanted you to please, annoying hipster kid, just take them from the basement so there’s less junk down there. I have three editions of “Rumors” by Fleetwood Mac from an ex’s mom’s old collection.

There is a pride to finding classics for so cheap. It is a reminder of their fragility and the way we discard or forget things that once meant so much to us. Sometimes the story means more than the music.

But I just cannot remember how I got “Something/ Anything” by Todd Rundgren. It’s such a random pick and I am not familiar with him except for this album. Hell, I didn’t even know he sings that insurance commercial song “I DON’T WANT TO WORK. I JUST WANT TO BANG ON THE DRUM ALL DAY.” until I was recently Spotifying all his work.

But I have this album completely memorized. This album has been in my rotation for about seven years.  I can’t believe I was trying to sell it for only $2 the other day. Talk about not knowing something’s, anything’s worth.

This album is the ultimate in spring listening. And if there’s a time to be easy and smooth and optimistic, it is the time when spring is folding into summer. You’ve settled into rainy nights and a warmth that feels like a hug rather than a chokehold. “Something/ Anything” makes me feel like I’m on the water. Just laying on my back, eyes closed.

I’m thankful no one bought this up. Sometimes one woman’s trash is actually her own treasure.

See me tonight at this professional panel!

(BYOB because it’s prob more profesh than professional.) Today at 6:30 p.m. I’ll be speaking on a panel with three incredible professionals I just happen to be friends with as we talk about “The Art of Breaking Into Freelancing.” There is a photographer, a writer and two event and marketing consultants on the panel. Things kick off at 6:30 p.m. Run through 8:30 p.m. This is part of the Goose’s The Art of Breaking Into series about art-centric entrepreneurship and how to do it sustainably. More info here! See you tonight.


The Art of Breaking Into Freelance