Things I Read That I Love #20: Happy Birds

HELLO and welcome to the 20th installment of Things I Read That I Love, wherein I share with you some of the longer-form journalism/essays I’ve read recently so that you can read them too and we can all know more about Angry Birds and teaching film in prison!

This “column” is less feminist/queer focused than the rest of the site because when something is feminist/queer focused, I put it on the rest of the site. Here is where the other things are.

However, I’ve decided to start including author names here to sort of “check myself” and make sure I don’t only publish shit by dudes, in light of this. I’m not going to pick something or not pick something based on the gender of the writer (as this is the only column on this site where that’s not a consideration), but I just wanna be more conscious of it.

The title of this feature is inspired by the title of Emily Gould’s tumblr, Things I Ate That I Love.

A Sea of Words (March 2011), by Jessica Crispin for The Smart SetBookslut on all the books and all the writers and all the people teaching writers to be writers.

Angry Birds, Farmville, and Other Stupid Games (April 2012), by Sam Anderson for The New York Times Magazine – Oh nothing, just my favorite writer Sam Anderson writing about something relevant to your interests again. I read about video games, you guys. I never do that.

Sick note: Faking illness online – (February 2011), by Jenny Kleeman for The Guardian UK – It’s true, this happens –> “Why would someone fake a serious illness online? Jenny Kleeman on the strange world of Münchausen by internet.”

Risky Writing: The Story I Always Tell And Never Tell (November 2010), by Gina Frangello for The Nervous Breakdown –  “I can promise all the young, wild people out there that living a life of intensity does not end when you stop going home with strange men, stop snorting coke in the bathroom of the club, stop starving or cutting yourself, stop sleeping on the floor of the overnight train or ferry on which nobody speaks English, stop living in the squat, stop letting somebody tie you up who probably shouldn’t be trusted to drive a golf cart. I promsie that self-destruction or partying or adventure is but the surface of risk, and that bigger risks happen later, when you have more than your own body on the line and still dare not to numb out and cloister yourself inward to maintain the illusion of safety.”

Dangerous Worlds: Teaching Film in Prison (Summer 2011), by Ann Snitow for Dissent – I just got lost in this thing and then kept reading it and then it was over and I’d read it.

Guys Who Like Fat Chicks (May 2011), by Camille Dodero for The Village Voice – How did I not know about this when it came out last year

California Girls (August 2011) by Zan Romanoff for The Paris Review: “Joan Didion is the patron saint of girls like me, and it was not until I was gone that I learned that I was not some lone misfit but one of her tribe: girls who grew up bookish and uncomfortable, who left home only to find themselves drawn back to it. I had no idea that I was a California girl until I left and found myself, finally, somewhere else. It turned out to be pretty nice but it will never be home.” (yes, didion/nyc/california is a recurring theme for me, I just can’t get enough of it!) (someone made a similar point to what this author makes in another TIRTL thing I put out there recently, I think)

The Chilling Story of Genius in a Land of Chronic Unemployment (May 2011), by Sarah Lacey for Techcrunch, – How a talented computer kid in Silicon Valley and a talented computer kid in Nigeria go down very different paths — a look at the world of the “419 letter” / email scams in a land of chronic unemployment.

My So-Called Blog (January 2004), by Emily Nussbaum for The New York Times: Oh, 2004! Have you heard of this web site called Livejournal?! Or Xanga?! Teenagers have blogs!

My Father Is an African Immigrant and My Mother Is a White Girl from Kansas and I Am Not the President of the United States (July 2011), by Ahamefule J. Oluo for The Stranger – I have always been the overachiever in my family—the one who NOT ONLY got his GED, but also finished an ENTIRE YEAR of college. “He has his very own basement apartment!” my grandma proudly explains to her neighbor. “And he’s never stabbed anyone.”

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3181 articles for us.


  1. I definitely remember hiding that copy of the New York Times magazine when I was in high school so my parents wouldn’t corner me and ask, “So…do you have an ‘on-line journal’?” Oh, LJ…

  2. I need you to know that I’m 22 and I’ve just gone back into my live journal account for the first time in at least 6 years. This could get real.

  3. The posts in this series always takes over my evenings so thank you for such engaging articles and sites. I’m still trying to get ahamefule to sound right in my head, even with his little trick he listed. And, yes i have/had a livejournal (first friend codes i had to harass for) and still read some stuff there. Open Diary was before that. Sometimes i’ll reread stuff and wonder where my eloquence went. damn adult life responsibilities. also to tie kinda two stories together around 2002ish i got hooked on a LJ about a girl in canada who got sick and went through that struggle online and did pass away. I look back to that and sometimes wonder if it was the beginning of the faking sickness online deal. In retrospect the story line just feels a little to perfect but i remember feeling like it was very real when I reading it at 17yo. oh my, internets, what have you become. again thanks for finding these gems.

    • Oh, Open Diary! I wish I could remember my password so I could check it out. And similarly, there was someone who posted on Open Diary who at one point claimed to have been diagnosed with cancer and then passed away, then her girlfriend posted a few things every once in a while about her. And it always made me sad that I couldn’t trust it, because it could have been someone faking it.

      • Thank god! I was reading through this and thought, “Um. Didn’t anyone besides me have a Diaryland?”

  4. That Sick Note article made the sociology part of my brain tingle. I want to study all of these people.

  5. I’m not sure what the overall point of the “Sea of Words” article was, but all the mini-points made a great deal of sense to me.

  6. Blah. As someone looking into a few of the several fully-funded MFA programs available in the US alone, seems like J. Crisp could stand to get he facts straight WRT who’s paying for what!

    Also, look forward to this column every week !

  7. I wound up playing Angry Birds for a good 30 minutes after reading that NYT mag article. I think it speaks to something about the current zeitgeist that has led to both the Occupy movement and general apathy: these small yet determined birds hurling themselves at seemingly impenetrable structures run by greedy, thieving pigs, sometimes succeeding at destroying those structures (along with themselves) and sometimes failing, only to be laughed at by the pigs.

    or maybe it’s just that slingshotting squawking little birds into cartoonish obstacles on a Mario-throwback background is insanely fun and satisfying.

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