The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

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The Tag Stops Here

Er, Robin, Will tagged us with this ‘5 Things You Didn’t Know About Me’ meme last week. We don’t really have a protocol for this stuff on Snarkmarket. Hmm.

OK, how’s this? I will throw an unspecified number of things about myself into the comments as I come up with them. If you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged. Feel free to jump in the comments and add stuff about yourselves as well, or do so on your own blog and link back to it here. And if you, gentle reader, have no interest in trivia about the lives of me, Robin, or any of your fellow Snarkmarket readers, consider yourself unmolested.


Ahem. Matt. I’m waiting. I want to know 5 things I don’t know about you. Go ahead, give me your best shot.

Thing #1 About Matt: My senior honors English thesis at Harvard was entitled, “‘Do You Mind, Buffy, I’m Trying to Repress?’: The Monk, Dracula, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Emergence of the One-Sex Society.”

Addendum: The thesis was due on March 13, 2002. Sometime during the weekend of March 2, I contracted mono. Later that week, my thesis advisor told me I looked ridiculous, and asked if we should apply for an extension. I told her to hold out; I could still make it out of the house, after all, so I felt I could still complete the thing. The illness got worse, and by Sunday, March 10, we agreed to ask the department for an extension, and they provided one. During the next week, exactly two things brought me out of bed: 1) the bathroom, 2) the new episode of Buffy that was airing on March 12.

The episode, it turned out, was a revelation. The most difficult part of writing the thesis had been analyzing a text that was not only still being written, but insisted in subverting and questioning everything, especially itself. So, of course, that characteristic of the text became central to my paper. This particular episode took that self-subversion and self-interrogation to the nth level: it posited that the entire premise of the series was a fiction in Buffy’s head. Every moment of it spun off in my still-delirious mind an essential connection to the themes I was exploring in my thesis. For the first time in a week, I hobbled to my computer and pulled together the conclusion to my paper in four insane days: write, pass out, pee, write, pass out.

The paper was submitted two weeks after the original deadline, and a couple months later, I received the comments from the three professors who’d evaluated it. One professor recommended a grade of summa cum laude, and wrote that the paper really came together in its closing pages. the other two professors recommended magna, which ended up being what I got.

Thing #2: I interned at then-small Scout Productions in Boston the year between graduating from college and starting my Poynter fellowship. I spent most of my time at Scout working with a fellow intern (Mark, whom I never actually met; we worked on alternate days and coordinated our efforts through copious Post-It Notes) on reorganizing Scout’s feature film development department. We sifted through thousands of scripts, reviewed them, and catalogued them in a massive Filemaker Pro database. We contacted authors, responded to query letters, etc.

Months after I left Scout, its feature film department was rendered mostly irrelevant by its runaway successes in the areas of television (“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” a Scout production, debuted to massive acclaim two months after I finished my internship) and documentary film (the Oscar-winning film “The Fog of War” was released three months after I left Scout).

More as I think of ’em.

Thing #1 About Robin: At Michigan State I co-founded a literary magazine called Oats (it was a land grant school!) with three friends. Actually, a lot of you do know this… the existence of Oats over four years, along with its rival literary magazine (!) The Offbeat, explains my connection to at least a half-dozen commenters on this blog.

Thing #2: I have written precisely one (1) good short story in my life. It was called “Master of the Universe” and it was printed in Oats (natch) under the pseudonym… get ready for this… and please remember I was a sophomore in college… John Eliot Sinclair.

now I need “Master of the universe,” and “Do you mind buffy…” posted somewhere where I can read them.

I can’t help with “Buffy,” but “Master of the Universe” is available here

Oh lord.


“Master of the Universe” is better than I remembered. (I don’t think I read it with as much attention the first time, even though I knew Robin wrote it, because I didn’t know him as well then.)

Dan says…

Aside from the olive-skinned girl and Katie O’Donnell, I think one could argue that every other character in that story is loosely based on Robin, in different moods. While the narrator is clearly Robin, I would submit that he is also the most likely candidate for someone to fill the description of Hilary, choosing from the people we knew as undergrads (after all, all over the nation I run into people who tell me about a neat flash video they just saw…). And I have known Robin to have decidedly Wes-like moments as well.

So I suggest reading this story for its insight into Robin’s various personalities. What do we learn: absent his charisma(Hilary) or his laziness(Wes), Robin is left to hand out Pringles to strangers.

Sylvia swears Wes must be Leonard.

PS: I totally buy the “Robin with a thousand faces” interpretation, partly because my similarly styled but less good-spirited short story “Smoothie” (which, alas, is nowhere on the web, but some of you might remember from The Offbeat) likewise featured two main characters who were based on different, but surprisingly equally full-of-shit aspects of myself.

Fun trivia facts: “Smoothie” also has the virtue of being written in the summer after my freshman year at MSU. It was the first story I ever showed Gavin, who encouraged me to eventually print it. And, it was reviewed in part of a longer article by Robin in “Oats.” If I remember, Rob’s overall take on it was that “this is the only story that’s actually fun to read, but haven’t we heard these sentiments somewhere before?”

Oh god that’s right… in my Oats REVIEW of The Offbeat. Our darkest hour. Whose idea WAS that?


Thing #3: Either Matt or I could do this one, but I’m claiming it. In 2003-2004, we both lived in the same apartment sprawl-plex on the water in St. Petersburg. We decided to start a two-person cooking club to expand our food-prep repertoires. Thus, the Coquina Key Late-Night Dinner Club was born. (‘Late-Night’ because by the time we selected a recipe online [ whaaat], drove to the grocery store to get the ingredients [of course neither of us ever had anything on hand], and cooked it [usually involving 1-2 screw-ups], it was like 10pm.)

CKLNDC’s greatest achievement was a ten-dimensional super-quiche that turned out, and I do not overstate this, Perfectly. Its darkest hour was the Macaroni and Cheese That Must Not Be Named.

In the approximately two years since leaving St. Petersburg and the CKLNDC I have cooked zero (0) things for myself.

I am totally serious.

Many good things can be said about “Master of the Universe”. However, it falls short in one area – the roommate, Wes. The character clearly reflects the author’s opinion of roommates in general and fails to show the ultimately transformative and redemptive nature of Wes that can be seen in later, unpublished chapters of the saga. See “Master of the Universe, pt. 2, The Reckoning”.

For the record Wes is NOT Jess. I realize they rhyme. But it’s not.

P.S. Please immediately write and post ‘Master of the Universe, pt. 2, The Reckoning.’

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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