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Alex Carnevale

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Mia Nguyen

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Brittany Julious

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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In Which We Showed Up At The Office Once A Month



I won’t let him sleep in my apartment yet. I haven’t invited him to meet my friends even though he wants me to meet his, wants to show me to his parents, wants me to sleep next to him in a tent next weekend and sit next to him on a plane the week after. He wants me to come half a dozen times every night. He wants me to stay, even when it means he’ll have to wake up to drive me home at six in the morning because I forgot to turn off the alarm clock on my bedside table, and I don’t want to wake all the neighbors. He sends shivers down my spine, curls my toes, packs an extra sweatshirt that he pulls out of nowhere when my teeth start chattering on the walk to the truck – and I won’t let him sleep in my apartment.


When I was in elementary school, I used to show up in the office at least once a month, at least every time there was a lice outbreak around the school, claiming that my head itched so they would have to pick through my hair with the lice-searching chopsticks. I never had head lice. I did that, I tell him, I so liked the feeling of my head being scratched.


I go to an early yoga practice Wednesday morning. Twice during class, the teacher walks past me during a pose and presses her fingers into the back of my neck, where the muscles are activated, tendons tight and strained when they should be relaxed. The second time, she says: Recognize this. Just be aware of it now, through class, throughout your day. Recognize that you carry tension in your neck.

This is where you find the balance between effort and surrender, she says. It would seem, based on the words themselves, that effort is the hard part, but for many of us, that’s not the case. It’s not wrong if that’s not the case for you – but recognize it. She says: Try to find the balance.


Instead of sleeping at my apartment, we spend nights in the bed he shared for four years with the woman before me, and somehow he sleeps easy. Last night I lay awake and stare at the same walls that she maybe lay awake and stared at, in the beginning or toward the end of the fourth year or both. The place is haunted, I think, or I am. He doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Last night, when I roll toward him and then away, toss and turn and subtract from the already-meager four hours of sleep he will get before work, he lets me, he smiles, he runs his fingers through my hair like he’s searching for lice or in love. You okay? he whispers, as his hand moves over my head and down the back of my neck. Recognize: it is tense. Recognize: I am trying to find the balance.

Josiane Curtis is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Portland. You can find her twitter here. You can find her website here. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. She last wrote in these pages about the first sign of dawn.

Drawings by Andrew Smith. You can buy prints and originals here.


In Which The Train Crashes And Only Emily Blunt Is Left Alive

Sippy Cup


The Girl on the Train
dir. Tate Taylor
112 minutes

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is great at drinking. I guess maybe it is just Emily Blunt who is fantastic at becoming inebriated. She sucks on this water bottle full of alcohol as she rides Metro North home to Ardsley-on-Hudson. This is great drunk acting, the best since Johnny Depp and he had a lot more training. I'm not exactly sure what she is drinking, but since she winces when she sips it we can presume the liquid is vile. The Girl on the Train is entirely recalled by an alcoholic, which means it is frequently unreliable and consistently repetitive.

Things start to pick up a bit when Megan (Haley Bennett) starts going out to have sex in the woods after sessions with her therapist (Édgar Ramírez). The therapist is a major suspect in Megan's murder, because his questions are usually along the lines of, "How does that make you feel?" and his solution to most problems is to put his fingers in her mouth. When she does it the first time, he says, "Don't make it difficult for us to work together." When she doesn't listen and continues to try to have sex with him, he begins speaking in Spanish.

Bennett is a marvelous actress with impressive range. She is a little too suited for most of these roles, which demand she project an unsustainable sexuality which is not really in her nature. "I've had a lot of different jobs," she narrates, and informs us that the sex she has with her husband Scott (Luke Evans) makes her feel like a whore. Fortunately we do not have to think too hard about the implications of this, because Megan is a corpse.

This is definitely the Emily Blunt show. Blunt sort of gives up on the English accent about halfway through. (I guess maintaining it for half the movie was a concession to the novel's original London setting.) The fact that life could be sufficiently indistinguishable in a suburb of New York as one thousands of miles away frightens all thinking people.

Rachel's friend Cathy (Laura Prepon) gets tired of her drunken rages and kicks Blunt out of the room she rents her friend. When Blunt is drunk, she heads over to her old house where she lived with her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux). Besides giving us a giddy anticipation for a future time when Jennifer Aniston will divorce Theroux and reunite with David Schwimmer as God intended, it seems like a mistep that Blunt's real life husband was not in this movie to give it that extra edge of versimilitude.

Screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson smartly avoids incorporating any comedy into this milieu. This is not a single moment where we have a chance to think about how silly the whole thing is. Theroux is the only one who hams it up at all, and I think he does not even mean to — he is simply used to talking in that weird, husky voice to make himself seem larger than 5'3". Instead of adding to Blunt's emotional disarray, the direction itself takes no chances at all.

Theroux's new wife, Anna, is played by Rebecca Ferguson, who looks like Haley Bennett if she went through a washing machine. She is worried about Emily Blunt lurking around her house, so she goes to a police detective (Alison Janney), who informs her that she has no case even though Emily Blunt briefly abducted her baby. The concept of a restraining order is presumably unknown to these people.

The movie kinda slows down a lot with Emily Blunt's terrible investigation of Megan's murder. After Megan's husband is cleared, we get a few scenes with Alison Janney and Blunt where the film picks up a lot. In this one scene in a police station, Alison Janney is stroking Emily Blunt's arm. It never got more exciting than that.

At one point someone asks Emily Blunt if she has any hobbies or whatever. She can't think of any. People without interests frighten me. I suppose she likes drawing — sometimes she sketches pictures of the people she loves. She has no other self-consciousness, and because she is so flimsy in comparison to all the other people in this story, you have to wish the worst on her. Anything else would be at the expense of something real.

Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording.


In Which We Open Up All Of Our Office Hours

Red Dust


Office hours begin at three. Who knows how long they'll last?

I run into my therapist at the opening of a local juice bar. She does not see me, but I notice that her hair is done in a completely different fashion than what I have come to expect. I am so shaken I have to sit down.

On a bus downtown, a man carries a thousand little parcels and packages, attached to each other by string, cord and tape. A teenager asks him if it is an exhibit or something. The man opens one of the packages and inside is a business card.

My friend Stacy is a major theme of this essay. She has a very useful test that I have sort of made my own. If she meets a new person, she has these two restaurants that are very easy to confuse and not far from each other. She shows up at one, and if he doesn't, well that's just too bad.

Instead of finding out what someone is like when they are really, truly angry, make them a little angry.

My therapist recently discovered some of the things I had written about her. She says, "Your depiction portrays me as sounding weird." She says, "Self-expression is the most innocent form of flattery," and then she rotates a mug in her hands upwards of ten times. I say, "Your hero is Kafka? Your summer palace is on the Rhine? You say you have questions for me?"

In Agata & Valentina, Emmy Rossum asks an employee for aspargus. My dad called to tell me to watch the full moon tonight. "Did you ever think there were so many types of lettuce?" he says. His version of being retired is like a bird who has had a wing repaired, but doesn't know it.

My brother is getting married in the fall. I am very happy for him, the way you go to one store in a strip mall, and another store is celebrating their grand opening. You wish and don't wish the attention was elsewhere. I am so tired of the concept of attention. It seems like a modern conceit, maybe the only modern conceit. One that demands we be observed or acknowledged.

Stacy has a boyfriend now. When she tried the restaurant trick on him, he said he doesn't like to meet women at restaurants. Stacy says that it's because he feels uncomfortable eating in front of other people, like he is a pig at the trough. Do you see the connection between this anecdote and the line about attention? Would you even notice if the moon in the sky was upside down.

Lately I have been doing a lot of whispering. Nattering quietly to myself is the function of living alone, in the apartment I am renting. It was just built, and so no one in the building expects anything to break. I'd like to own a place, but not in New York City. Maybe somewhere upstate.

My therapist wants to know my evaluation of her. "I love how available you make yourself," I begin. "Once I saw you in a juice bar... Never mind, never mind! I think that you are great at staying internally consistent. Sometimes I wonder if you are remembering what I said or remembering what you said. Then I think, what's the difference? If you hear one side of the conversation, you can probably reconstruct the other! It will be as if one person is there, and the second participant exists only as a shadow of the initial act." She says, "I'm not a shadow of you, Linda," and sips Tropicana.

Last night I walked along 60th at the bottom of Central Park. Rats sprang out of the greenery to feast upon all the leftover horse feed. They are mad to be satiated, wild with abandon. In order to start a new thought, it takes more than simply matching the taste to the palate.

Stacy thinks she is in love with her boyfriend. "He's kind of a weird guy," she confesses. I ask if it something other than his apparent eating issues. She says that when they went to the movies the other night, she found herself massaging his temples and touching his dick. I ask if he told her to do that. "It seemed implied," she says, cutting celery into the smallest possible pieces.

I want you to know that standing there is no more than an affectation.

My dad asks me to choose a color. He's painting my old room. "What goes on in there now?" I ask. "Mostly the same stuff as when you were here," he says, even though that was very long ago now. "Self-loathing. Pride. Catnaps. Sometimes I come in here when your mother is snoring." I say, "Imagine being invisible only at night." Half the shades he forces me to compare I can't manage to see any difference. I imagine that for a god, the variation between the worst human being and the best would be this kind of tiny shift in color.

For example, have you looked at the Periodic Table of the Elements lately? Has there ever been a more outright obvious scam?

I ask my therapist about Stacy's boyfriend. "They were in line at Starbucks," I say, "and someone stepped in front of them. He got all up in the guy's face and smacked down his coffee cup." She says, "So?" I say, "Isn't that kind of reckless and unwarranted?" She lets out a sigh that could inflate a balloon.

Full moon tonight. I whisper it and text everyone I know (the list is not long – as I get older it is more difficult to meet new people, and even when I find someone I like, the context is always wrong). In my text I detail how much more fun it will be when we are all wolves. Imagine the licking alone! I crow and cackle. Feeling like I could run up the face of a mountain, I start crumpling up all the useless pieces of paper I keep around here. Everything made or unmade was with my hands.

Linda Eddings is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.