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Hunktears #1

In this issue: a new year, updates on my life and activities, a sacred orange with a friend, a new podcast, and some recommendations.

Shana Tova

It’s been an intense 31 days. On September 8, I had so much fun laughing about the dead Queen of England that I pulled a muscle in my neck. On September 12, I went to a Sunmi concert and cried with joy. On September 15, I got laid off from Fanbyte, where I’d worked since 2019, along with 15 of my (then) co-workers. So I hit the job market for the first time since 2018.

In the last two weeks, I celebrated Rosh Hashana, ate some fantastic noodles in San Gabriel, got a new job, spent Yom Kippur playing Yakuza Kiwami instead of attending Zoom shul, and launched a podcast.

Just two days ago, I stood in the garden at the Tom of Finland Foundation house, where the great Carta Monir is doing a residency. She asked what kind of citrus tree we were looking at, and, being the lifelong Southern Californian that I am, I reached for a piece of fruit that looked slightly past its prime to identify it. It was a mandarin orange, I determined, peeling back its thin, withering skin to reveal perfect segments of fruit inside. I ate it, and it was sweet, nearly over-sweet in that way where you know you’d made it just in time. Within a day, maybe even within hours, it would have fallen off the tree, food for the small animals of Echo Park’s hills.

I’ve been eating fruit taken from other people’s trees since I was a little kid stealing avocados from my neighbor in Anaheim, but I think this one was the best I’d ever had. Watered with the fluids of countless leathermen who had passed through the Tom of Finland House, the fruit of the Tom of Finland mandarin orange tree felt sacred to me.

A good omen for a new year, I think.

If You’re Driving, Close Your Eyes

Cover art by the GOAT Max Schwartz (

Fueled by the dual blessings of my friend Carta and the Tom of Finland mandarin orange, I launched a new podcast with my laid-off comrades John Warren and Niki Grayson. We used to have a podcast called Friends Reunion (formerly West Coast Office Hours), and now we have this one. It’s brand new but there’s four episodes out with one bonus for Patreon supporters. I think it’s great, personally. We talk about stuff like the chess cheating scandal, the fishing cheating scandal, the upsetting world of trucker 1/24 scale models, and what our collective mind palace would look like. If you like me, you’ll probably like this show. Also, look at that cover art! I mean holy moly!


Watching: Interview with the Vampire on AMC (you know I am already writing a post about episode 1)

Listening: If You’re Driving, Close Your Eyes (Podcast Addict, RSS)


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