laura and dante on a fall day in my backyard in berkeley

happier times etc

“cry macho”

probably gonna be clint’s last film, which he both starred in and directed. the guy is 92. well, it’s a good one. sincere and warm and human and devoid of any cynicism. i really liked it. thanks clint


. . . I flew to Turkey, to Istanbul and then to Ankara, the capital city, where I spent the majority of my trip. I went because they sent me there to hang out with the Turks I worked with. And in fact I wrote very long piece about everything I did there because of how life-changing it ended up being, but I never published it. Really I ought to just go ahead and post it. I reckon I’ll do that soon enough.

Ankara is vast city that looks like Los Angeles in some ways, especially at night with the lights in the hills. The Turks kept telling me that Ankara is boring, and I guess I can see that. Certainly it seemed less exciting than Istanbul . . . but I don’t know, that feels like an unfair comparison. I guess it did kind of have a Sacramento feel to it.

Anyway, I met and befriended a lot of Turks in Ankara, all of whom were extremely generous and sweet to me even though they didn’t know me at all. I still talk to them all the time.

That first morning there, I was out on the balcony of an office that overlooked downtown Ankara. The office was on some sort of technology campus because the company got a massive tax write-off. The first people I befriended there were Hande and Aslı. They were working in the same room as me, so they had asked me come smoke a cigarette outside with them. Near as I can tell, pretty much everyone smokes there, several times an hour hour, and meanwhile shotgunning espressos and Turkish coffee. And so saying, I of course made myself a little Turkish coffee and bummed a smoke from Aslı. Hande said I was witnessing her smoke her final cigarette. Meanwhile, military helicopters ripped overhead in the direction of the city, and everyone shrugged at it as though it were an everyday occurrence, which I soon learned was the case.

I don’t know how we got to talking about it, but I asked Hande and Aslı what the Turkish equivalent of a redneck is. Hande had visited the US, Aslı had gotten her Master’s in Chicago, and they both watched a lot of American TV, so they more or less had a grasp on rednecks. AFTER A MOMENT OF REFLECTION, they agreed that a Turkish redneck is essentially something called a “keko”.

As I understand it, a keko is a sort of weird low-rent bumpkin who squats on street corners and hoots and hollers at women while fucking around with these little prayer bead bracelets. They tend to be kind of racist and xenophobic and misogynistic or whatever, and use religion to justify their prejudices. ALL DUE RESPECT to rednecks and / or white trash, but that’s a close enough equivalent. And I suppose this is a universal archetype that exists in pretty much every culture on earth.

Hande and Aslı, ambassadors of Turkey, showed me how to do the Keko Squat. You gotta get down on your haunches and shit. It’s actually pretty difficult:

As you can see, Hande is using her scrunchie as a keko prayer bracelet (lol)~


. . . yesterday I walked to the grocery store on account of my fridge being empty. All German grocery stores are closed on Sunday, so I was fresh out of everything. I walked to the REWE in the red light district, to Kurfürstenstraße where the nightwalkers hang out, because they got all the good stuff there. And as I crossed the street to get to the nearby cathedral park, there squatted a lone keko, right here in Berlin:

I had never bore witness to one in the wild before. I stood there in disbelief. It felt like a Bigfoot sighting. And sure enough, the dude was holding his little prayer bracelet just like Hande and Aslı had said. I alerted my friends in Turkey. The response was swift:

Apparently Hande wants to KEKO AROUND next time I’m in Turkey. I’m down. Why not. I just looked at trains from Berlin to Ankara and saw this:

I don’t know which one to take. They’re both like €110 which is cheap as hell. I’ll probably fly back, but I at least wanted to take an overnight train to get there. The second one is More Enticing because I’d get to pass through three other countries along the way versus two, and my family is from Vienna, so I’ve already been there a bunch. Well . . . either way, I gotta get my ass back Turkey where my beautiful friends dwell among the kekos, those absolute freaks.


. . . my friend Demet above was putting together a jigsaw puzzle live on Instagram last night. She added captions in Turkish or else was speaking on camera (in Turkish). NONETHELESS, I kept up with it. I guess it was relaxing in that Bob Ross sort of way. I was heartin stuff left and right. She sent me a message and asked me how I was able to understand her captions, and I said I just used Instagram’s built-in translator, which more or less gets the job done.

Sometime later, I saw this and my face turned warm:

I love Demet. She’s one of the nicest and most sincere people I’ve ever met. I think I told her that the very first time I met her too.


dante is diabetic, so i give him an insulin shot twice a day. he also gets a vitamin B12 shot once a month. in the united states, a box of insulin pens costs about $400. that’s a seven or eight month supply. a six-month supply of vitamin B12, which is six shots, costs about $90. this is all insanely expensive but i have no choice because he needs it.

the other day i went to the pharmacy (the germans call them apothekes) by my house and handed the nice woman behind the counter two prescriptions dante’s vet here in berlin had given me. the prescriptions were refills for his insulin and vitamin B12.

i said: “sprechen sie englisch?”

and she said: “i will do my best.”

like most germans who say this, she then went on to speak perfect english.

she typed some things into her computer and then went to the back to retrieve dante’s medications. she returned and scanned them and told me the total was €76. that’s a little over $80.

i pointed to the box of insulin pens, which were the exact same brand as the ones dante got back in the states. i said: “and that box has five pens in it?”

she said: “yes, five pens.”

i said: “back home that would run me close to $400 after tax.”

like most germans, she looked confused and a little horrified to discover yet another reason why the united states is an essentially barbaric place where everything is driven by greed.

she carefully placed everything in a little bag and handed it to me. i said: “danke schön. tschüss!” and she gave me a “tschüss!” as well, which always feels good. i walked home. it was a beautiful day out and everyone was in a good mood. i was in a good mood too. i’d just saved $400.

though yeah, again: the total was $80 and some change. wow! what a crock of shit it is that i’d been paying literally 600% more for the exact same fucking medications for the last five years. oops!!

(p.s. dante may be going into diabetic remission on account of his recent dental work. that would be great. i’ll know in a few weeks if that comes to pass . . .)

Last summer I housed my friend Bex and her eponymous band when they were passing through Oakland to play a show there. And then the next morning I spontaneously drove them down to Los Angeles to get to their next gig. I even wrote a whole thing about it, because of course I did.

In it, I reveal one of my nicknames:

. . . I went in through the back door of the venue, dimly lit and sparsely populated, and asked THE BAND if they wanted coffee too, and received a unanimous “yes” . . . and so saying I grabbed Maddie and we got to moving, and walked four or five blocks up the wide boulevard toward a Peet’s Coffee, which you can never seem to escape in California. The sun was setting and all I wanted to do was suck down a 16-ounce black Americano in the company of the little angels I had come there with.

As a way of (secretly) thanking these same angels for granting me a temporary reprieve from the damp, drizzly November in my soul, what with their having let me bum along with them, I bought everyone coffee . . . and when the barista asked for my name, I of course gave her the name which I am known by in some circles, being—



Before Bex went on, Maddie the bassist and I were hanging out in the green room drinking our aforementioned coffees. Bex and them were touring the West Coast with this band called Chalk Talk, and they just so happened to come into the green room and hang out with us too. I introduced myself as “Hollywood Ryan”—implying I was a celebrated personality in the city of Los Angeles. I ended up befriending them right then and there. I love em. They’re great!

Anyway, because I’m an insufferable dork, I gotta put this somewhere.

See, their friend Rory was there at the LA show, and I met her too. She’s cool as hell. She’s also in the Chalk Talk group chat. As it happens, she makes shirts. To wit:

And, HEY PRESTO, this happened:

AND THEN THIS HAPPENED (hopefully no one cares that I’m posting this (lol)):


Rory made me a custom silver and gold I 💛 Hollywood Ryan print on a black shirt, cuz come on. I reckon uhhh either Stella or Nina will bring it with them to Berlin in July. I’LL KEEP YOU POSTED.

I’m stupid. I’m a dumb jerk. I’m a T-shirt! And now . . . good-night!!! ☆彡

if i ain’t dead already


girl you know the reason why