Farewell to the Pioneer Cabin Tree, one of the first California trees that you could drive through.
This is one of the more delightful things I’ve seen on the Internet in a while.
See more of Sam’s creations, from desert highways and waterfalls to the Golden Gate Bridge and Manhattan skyline, by clicking on the links above.
With the release of her new album “1989” and single “Welcome to New York,” Taylor Swift has crossed over from being a poster girl for Nashville to being a welcome ambassador for New York City.
Many in New York are calling this a questionable choice, as T.S. is a newcomer. In Swift’s defense, that’s kind of what ambassadors do. An ambassador is “a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent…on a temporary mission.” Swift is one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. Plus, one of the great things about New York is that it’s a big salad bowl full of people from all different cultures and places, including the South (or, in Swift’s case, Tennessee by way of Pennsylvania).
I love Taylor Swift. I find her music infectious. Welcome to New York continues in that tradition. But her lyrics game has really dropped off!
The Best American Travel Writing, which highlights the best travel stories from the previous full year, arrives in bookstores and on tablets this week. The 2014 edition is edited by Paul Theroux, who has selected some outstanding reads from a variety of print and online publications. Here are few that you can read online right now:
- Poisoned Land by Elif Batuman, The New Yorker
- America the Marvelous by A.A. Gill, Vanity Fair
- Clear Eyed in Calcutta by Andrew McCarthy, World Hum
- Excuse Us While We Kiss the Sky by Matthew Power, GQ
- A Moving Experience by Thomas Swick, The Morning News
- Born on the 9th of July by Patrick Symmes, Outside Magazine*
- Maximum Bombay by Gary Shteyngart, Travel & Leisure*
Some honorable mentions include Thanksgiving in Mongolia, Ariel Levy’s devastating personal essay; The Fallout by Frank Bures; A Sort of Happy Ending by David Farley (yay, Farley!); Go Your Own Way by Douglas Mack (yay, Doug!); and How Hipsters Ruined Paris by Thomas Chatteron Williams.
*These are the print magazine titles of these articles. The online titles are slightly different.
The Mapping Sheets add-on in Google Drive is pretty darn cool.
“What would you ask an astronaut?”
My friend Pam, who was preparing to interview everyone’s current favorite space explorer Commander Chris Hadfield, posed that question on Facebook the other day. “What would you ask an astronaut?”
I chimed in because who wouldn’t want to ask an astronaut a question? Fewer than 600 people have ever been in space in the history of the world — that’s roughly the average number of people within a social network. Being an astronaut is the rarest of occupations; going to space is the rarest of trips.
Before Midnight, the highly anticipated third film in Richard Linklater’s “Before” series, comes out this week. Will I go see it the night it comes out? Probably not. But that’s not because I don’t want to see it. Rather, it’s because I am at about the same stage of life as Celine and Jesse are now. As the New York Times put it, the fictional courtship between Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is “the screen romance that defined Generation X is now officially middle-aged.”
There are a number of reasons why Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) spoke to my generation when they came out. Of course, there is the dialogue — flirty, charged, smart, and playful, yet egalitarian — that sets the films apart from many other romantic films that came before it. Celine and Jesse’s on-screen relationship developed in a very idealized way, yet also seemed very true to life and natural.
I propose that my generation also feels connected to the “Before” films because they included the element of travel. In the first movie, Before Sunrise, the two met on a train in Vienna. In Before Sunset, Jesse and Celine reunite in Paris. In the newest film, which takes place nine years after the second, the couple are now together, parents of twin girls, and on vacation in Greece. Traveling abroad, either as an exchange student (like myself) or as a post-collegiate backpacker, became more commonplace and accessible beginning in the 1990s. So it’s no wonder that Generation X relates to Linklater’s trilogy.
In advance of Before Midnight, it’s worthwhile to revisit the best scenes from “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” to familiarize ourselves with the dynamic between Delpy and Hawke’s characters. This may also be helpful given that the pair, in conversation with film critic Dennis Lim, suggests that “Before Midnight” may be more “real” than romantic.
Lim: The prior films are about the first two times Jesse and Celine meet. This one is very different: They’ve now been through a lot.
Hawke: The first two films are so much about romantic projection. The third had to be the opposite of that. We couldn’t play that trick again.
Delpy: But it couldn’t be totally taken away from that romantic idea — otherwise it’s depressing.
By the way, Richard Linklater will be doing an AMA on Reddit at 1pm tomorrow, May 22. I’ll update this post with the interesting bits later. Now, for the clips:
I just love the foreshadowing that the above scene from “Before Sunrise” has on the new film. Another fantastic scene from the first movie, which some fans have dubbed the “best conversation ever” [video on Youtube]. Below, a scene from “Before Sunset.”