Also on Wirecutter, I did a big ol’ rewrite on our guide to Bluetooth car stereo adaptors. If you — like me — have a car from the early ‘00s and don’t want to bother with installing a whole new fancy stereo system, you can still broadcast your phone to your speakers over Bluetooth transmitted through aux-in or FM radio waves. I’ve also got a pick for dedicated Bluetooth speakerphones, which are fantastic if you’re one of those weirdos who actually uses their smartphone to make phone calls, and does so in the car on a semi-regular basis.
Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).
Back in December, I started recording a solo album at home, compiling a bunch of songs that I had written over the 5 years I lived at the B-Side Brewery. Some of them have been heard intermittently by friends and at open mic nights, and through various online demos over the years — but I think I’ve just about locked in on the definitive versions of most of them, anyway. And now they’re available to listen to on Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, BandCamp, SoundCloud, and more! (like seriously: does anyone really use Napster anymore?)
Most of these recordings fall in a spectrum of acoustic-folk-electro-indie-punk, more out of necessity than anything else (you don’t really wanna groove to that built-in Logic Pro auto drummer, do ya?). Oh, and of course, because it’s me, you’re mostly dealing with tunes about comic books, politics, and mental health. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Oh, also: the photos I’m using for the album art, et cetera, are all courtesy of the wonderful, inimitable, and multi-talented Conor Olmstead.
(PS: I am still adding songs to the album every now and then, so if you want the best bargain, buy the pay-what-you-want download on BandCamp, where you should continue getting every new song as I post it. That’s the “mostly” caveat of that there headline, see?)
Continuing on my strange new journey into lawncare products, I just finished a comprehensive Wirecutter guide to hose-end sprinklers. While this certainly not something that I ever thought I’d find an expertise in, I’m quite proud of the work I did along with my editor, Harry Sawyers. We dove pretty deep into something that a lot of people don’t give much consideration to, and spoke with experts from various manufacturers to figure out the “who,” “what,” and “why” of sprinkler-seekers. So if you’re in the need to water your lawn — I gotcha covered!
I've been working on this very important research for a year now, and I'm proud to finally share the truth with the world: how Smash Mouth tried to warn us about climate change & modern anti-intellectualism 20 years ago with a little song called "All Star."
This is a very serious work, and you’re welcome for my sacrifice.Read More
I've spent the last month going way too in-depth on hoses for my latest Wirecutter guide. So if you're looking to improve your garden, check it out!
Ghana wants to train non-surgeons to repair hernias. But they need your help to do it. A promoted post for Johnson & Johnson.Read More
For the last couple of months, I've been working with AC Sidle on the Civic Ensemble's Re-Entry Theatre Program to create a new play about prison and addiction, inspired by the real-life stories of people who've lived the struggle. The play started with scenes, written by the program participants—most of whom are or were transitioning out of prison and/or rehab—which I then took and transformed into a full-length, fictional dramatic work.
It started out with their stories, but I gotta say: I'm pretty happy with the final product, and I hope we can continue giving it life across the country, because these conversations aren't going away.
Ithacans, Civic Ensemble invites you to sit with Deon and Dennis, two local men getting up there in age. Deon is black, Dennis is white; both are worn out from past convictions, dysfunctional institutions, and the preventable deaths of loved ones. From their stoop, watch Crystal, Abby, and Brian struggle with their diverse obstacles and mistakes while stuck in the United States’ broken criminal justice system. Deon and Dennis narrate the stories of these three and other characters navigating the perils of real life and their own demons while dealing with the consequences of probation, incarceration, parole, and court-ordered rehabilitation. Streets Like This, based on true stories, travels from the Meadow Street Mobil to Social Services offices and the curb outside Day Reporting to their own workplaces and homes. The play offers no single solution but rather brings you into their worlds. As Deon says, “But maybe next time, you’ll do more than turn your heads away as you toss some spare change in their cups.”
Saturday May 5 at 7:30pm, followed by opening night party
Sunday May 6 at 4:00 pm & 7:30pm
at Kitchen Theatre Company, 417 MLK Jr St, Ithaca
Monday May 7 at 7:30pm
at GIAC Gymnasium, 301 W Court St, Ithaca
My ground meat patty don't want none unless you got buns, hun.Read More
They changed his name on Ellis Island, but this larger-than-life athlete still held the flag high for his new home nation.Read More
I've been putting this off for far too long, but I'm finally making headway on a new full-length solo album of songs I've been working on, tentatively titled "Five Years on the B-Side." If all goes well, it'll be out sometime in the early spring, and I might even do a few live shows around the Northeast to support it!
In the meantime, here are a few rough draft demos to give you an idea of what to expect. (just, ya know, keep in mind that they're sketches of the final arrangements, to help me figure out production things myself, which is why they're kinda messy and why they'll also disappear when recording is complete)
I've spent the last month working on this weird, wonderful, and utterly hilarious play about an Intersex Indian-American stand-up comic, directed by my incredible wife and also starring my dear friend Aila Peck. It plays through the end of the month in Ithaca, NY, and it's an educational and entertaining look at gender, colonialism, and love. Seriously — even if I didn't have to sit there with a bass every night, I'd still think it was a worthwhile experience for everyone. Here's a peek:
I also chatted with Chris Heddon on WHCU 95.9 The Arts Beat.
It was supposed to be an interview about the show, but took some wildly entertaining turns into dancing death bunnies, the nature of mythophysics, and of course, Journey.
Here's the edited, Brahman/i-centric clip:
And here's the even more ridiculous full interview about, well, everything:
A small island in the Chesapeake Bay is slowly disappearing. But how do you convince the locals that climate change is the real problem?Read More
Another day, another awful tragedy. Several months ago, I'd pitched a story to Huffington Post about tangible, rational, fact-based suggestions to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in America—specifically, things that might be a little uncomfortable for Left-leaning liberals to acknowledge, but things that would actually make a difference (and have a chance of getting passed).
But every time we planned to publish it, it was always felt too uncomfortably close to another mass shooting. So we put it off for a while longer, again and again and again.
Then Las Vegas struck. And if it wasn't clear before (it was), then it certainly is now (it is) that the time to talk about gun violence is right now, and the longer we put it off out of some kind of expectation of polite social courtesy, then the higher the body count will climb.
So here it is. Now let's do something about it.
(I also had the privilege of speaking with Chris Frates on the Smerconish Show on Sirius XM Potus Politics. You'll need to be a Sirius subscriber to listen, but we had a great chat about finding common ground on gun violence issues, which inspired some wonderful call-in comments from listeners as well)Read More
That's right: I just signed with a literary agent! The Kepner Agency was so impressed with my Irish Boston supernatural punk rock noir tentatively titled Pints of 'Gansett Make You Strong that they want to make something happen with it!
Excuse me while I go dance over here in the corner.
In the meantime, you can listen to the official unofficial Pints of 'Gansett Make You Strong soundtrack to tide you over, 'cause publishing takes a while.
My first week at the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, I decided to kick things off with a bang: an 8,000-word short story that never ended.
Clarion is a highly-renowned training ground for sci-fi/fantasy writers, so naturally, I wanted to make an impression. Hence, I introduced myself to my cohort and award-winning instructors by writing a recursive metafictional time travel story. The main “plot” was only about two pages, followed by another thirty pages of footnotes, each with multiple internal references to other footnotes, all to explain the theoretical science behind the causal loop that lead to the main characters’ spacetime-crossed romance. This had the effect of taking the reader on a self-directed non-linear journey through characters’ pasts, presents, and futures, in an endless circle of effect-cause-effect that was unique to each reader.
That was 2013. Me and the other 17 members of my cohort still talk regularly; some of them have already become award-winning authors in their own rights. And to this day, not a week goes by without at least one of them giving me shit for that story. But I have a good excuse for my obnoxious ambitions:
I have ADHD, so it made perfect sense. To me.Read More
A little support went a long way for a young woman who refused to give up. Now, she’s giving back. (Originally published on Upworthy.Read More