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  • Good morning, John.

  • Not everybody's gonna know this, but we have a tradition here in the bottom of the channel.

  • When one of us has a book come out so far, it's just been you into a video reading the first chapter of the book.

  • This stretches all the way back to paper towns.

  • Nine years ago, I discovered by searching our channel.

  • Look at you.

  • You are young and disheveled.

  • There's a few really great things about this one.

  • It's exempt from the four minute rule, so I could just go on for as long as I want.

  • Right now, too, it's just reading a book, so it's pretty easy.

  • Video to Dio.

  • I've always felt like it.

  • A little bit of a cop out there was the whole writing the book part, which turns out to be labor intensive.

  • Three.

  • You get to tell people about the book, which, theoretically and indefinitely in my case, is something you want to do because you're proud of it and you like it and you think people will like it too, and hopefully also will be useful and enjoyable.

  • It's just what I'm going for.

  • Generally in life can I be useful and enjoyable.

  • That's just like what I say to my son every morning.

  • Basically not in words, but in actions I may have got to the meaning of life here.

  • That's not what I intended.

  • So do you want to hear the first chapter of my book?

  • If not, go away as read by me and not Kristen, See who does the audiobook and who is fantastic.

  • Let's go.

  • I am aware that you're here for an epic tale of intrigue and mystery and adventure, a near death and actual death.

  • That was a joke.

  • That was Kristen reading.

  • Now it's I'm actually going to do it.

  • But first, a warning.

  • There's a bunch of curse words in my book, and there will be some in this chapter that I'm about to re.

  • So just do that.

  • Look, I'm aware that you here for an epic tale of intrigue and mystery and adventure and near death and actual death.

  • But in order to get to that, unless you want to skip to Chapter 13 I'm not your boss.

  • You're gonna have to deal with the fact that I April may, in addition to being one of the most important things that has ever happened to the human race and also a woman in her twenties who has made some mistakes long first sentence.

  • I'm also in the wonderful position of having you by the short hairs.

  • I have the story and so I get to tell it to you the way I want.

  • That means you get to understand me and not just my story.

  • So don't be surprised if there's some drama.

  • I'm gonna attempt to commit this account honestly, but also admit to a significant pro me bias.

  • If you get anything out of this ideally, it won't be you being Maur or less on one side or the other, but simply understanding that I am or at least waas human.

  • And that was very much feeling only human.

  • As I dragged my tired ass down 23rd Street at 2:45 a.m. After working a 16 hour day at a startup that, thanks to an aggressively shitty contract I signed, will remain nameless.

  • Going to art school might seem like a terrible financial decision, but really, that's only true if you have to take out gobs and gobs of student loans to fund your hoity toity education.

  • Of course, I had done exactly that.

  • My parents were successful running a business, providing equipment to small and medium sized dairy farms.

  • Like the things that you hook up to the cows to get the milk out, they sold and distributed them.

  • It was a good business, good enough that I wouldn't have had a lot of debt if I'd gone to a state school.

  • But I did not do that.

  • I had loans lots.

  • So after jumping from major to major advertising, fine art photography illustration and finally settling on the mundane but at least useful BF and design, I took the first job that would keep me in New York and out of my old bedroom in my parent's house in Northern California.

  • And that was a job at a doomed startup, funded by the endless well of rich people who could only dream the most boring dream.

  • A rich person condemn dream, being even more rich.

  • Of course, working at a startup means you're part of the family, and so when things go wrong or when deadlines fly past, or when an investor has a hissy fit, or just because you don't get out of work until three in the morning, which, honestly, I hated.

  • I hated it because the company's Time management act was a dumb idea and didn't actually help people.

  • I hated it because I knew I was just doing it for money, and I hated it because they asked the staff to treat it like their whole life rather than like a day job, which meant I didn't have any time to spare toe work on personal projects.

  • But I was using my degree doing actual graphic design and getting paid enough to afford rent.

  • Less than one year out of school might work.

  • Environment was close to technically criminal, and I paid half my income to sleep in the living room of a one bedroom apartment.

  • But I was making it work.

  • I fibbed just now.

  • My bed was in the living room, but I mostly slept in the bedroom, Maya's room.

  • We weren't living together.

  • We were roommates, and April from the past would like me to be very clear about that.

  • What's the difference between those two things?

  • Well, mostly that we weren't dating when we moved in together.

  • Hooking up with your roommate is convenient But it's also a little confusing when you live together through much of college before finally hooking up and now have been a couple for more than a year.

  • If you happen to already live together, when does the should we move in together?

  • Question, come up well for Maya and made the question was, Can we please move that secondhand mattress out of the living room so that we can sit on a couch when we watch Netflix?

  • And thus far, my answer had been Absolutely not.

  • We're just roommates who are dating, which is why our living room still had a bed in it.

  • I told you there would be drama.

  • Anyway, back to the middle of the night that fateful January evening, this shitty app had to get a new release into the APP store by the next week, and I had been waiting for final approvals on some user interface changes and whatever you don't care, it was boring work B s.

  • Instead of coming in early, I stayed late, which has always been my preference.

  • My brain was sucked entirely drive from trying to interpret cryptic guidance from bosses who couldn't tell the Raster from a vector, so I checked out of the building.

  • It was a co working space, not even actually least offices, and walked the three minutes to the subway station.

  • And then my MetroCard got rejected for no reason.

  • I had another one sitting on my desk at work, and I wasn't precisely sure how much money I had in my checking account.

  • So it seemed like I should walk the three blocks back to the office just to be safe.

  • The walk sign was on.

  • So across 23rd and a taxicab Blair's, its horn like I shouldn't be in the crosswalk.

  • Whatever, dude had the walk light.

  • I turn and head back to the office, and immediately I see it.

  • As I approach, it becomes clear that it is a really, really exceptional sculpture.

  • I mean, it's awesome, but it's also a little bit New York Awesome.

  • You know, how do I explain how I feel about it?

  • I guess.

  • Well, in New York City, people spend 10 years making something amazing happens, something that captures the essence of an idea so perfectly that suddenly the world becomes 10 times clearer.

  • It's beautiful and it's powerful, and someone devoted a huge piece of their life to it.

  • The local news does a story about it, and everyone goes neat.

  • And then tomorrow we forget about it in favor of some other absolutely perfect and remarkable thing.

  • That doesn't mean that those things are on wonderful or not unique.

  • It's just that there are a lot of people doing a lot of amazing things, so eventually you get a little jaded.

  • So that's how I felt when I saw it.

  • A 10 foot tall transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor.

  • It's huge barrel chest lifted up to the sky, a good four or five feet above my head.

  • It stood there in the middle of the sidewalk, full of energy and power.

  • It looked like it might end any moment.

  • Turn and fix that empty, regal stare on me.

  • But instead it just stood there, silent and almost scornful, like the world didn't deserve its attention.

  • In the street light, the metal was a patchwork of black as night Matt and mirror reflective silver, and it was clearly metal, not some spray painted cardboard costly thing.

  • It was stunningly done.

  • I paused for maybe five seconds before shivering.

  • Both in the cold and in the gaze of the thing and then walking on.

  • And then I felt like the biggest jerk.

  • I mean, I'm an artist working way too hard, a deeply un interesting job to pay way too much rent so I can stay in this place so I can remain immersed in one of the most creative and influential cultures on earth.

  • Here in the middle of the sidewalk is a piece of art that was a massive undertaking on installation that the artist worked on, possibly for years, to make people stop and look and consider.

  • And here I am, hardened by big city life and mentally drained by hours of pixel pushing, not even giving something so magnificent a second glance.

  • I remember this moment pretty clearly, so I guess I'll mention it.

  • I went back to the sculpture, got up on my tiptoes and said, Do you think I should call Andy the sculpture?

  • Of course.

  • Did nothing just stand there if it's okay for me to call Andy and so I made the call, but first some background on and you know those moments when your life shifts and you think I will definitely without a doubt continue to love and appreciate and connect with all these cool people I have spent so many years with, despite the fact that our lives are changing.

  • Ah, great deal right now.

  • And that instead, you might as well unfriend them on Facebook because you ain't never gonna see that dude again in your whole life.

  • Well, Andy, Maya and I had somehow thus far managed to avoid that fate.

  • Maya and I had done it by occupying the same 400 square feet.

  • Andy, on the other hand, lived across town from us, and we didn't even know him until junior year.

  • My and I, by that point, we're taking most of the same classes because, well, we really liked each other a lot.

  • We were obviously going to be in the same group whenever there was a group project.

  • But Professor Kennedy was dividing us into groups of three, which meant a random third wheel.

  • Somehow we got stuck with Andy, or probably from his perspective, he got stuck with us.

  • I knew who and Iwas I'd formed a vague impression of him that mostly was That guy sure is more confident than he has any right to be.

  • He was skinny and awkward with printer paper, pale skin.

  • I assumed he began his haircuts by asking the stylist to make it look like he had never received a haircut.

  • But he was always primed for some quip, and for the most part, those quips were either funny or insightful.

  • The project was a full brand treatment for a fictional product.

  • Packaging was optional, but we needed several logo options and a style guide, which is like a little book that tells everyone how the brand should be presented in what fonts and colors are to be used in what situations it was more or less a given that we would be doing this for some hip and groovy fictional company that makes ethical fair trade jeans with completely useless pockets or something.

  • Actually, it was almost always a fictional brewery because we were college students were paying a lot of money to cultivate our taste in beer and be snobby about it, and I'm sure that's the direction that Maya and I would have gone in.

  • But Andy was intolerably stubborn and somehow convinced us both that we would be building the visual identity of bubble bum Ah, but flavored bubble gum.

  • His first arguments were silly that we weren't going to be doing fancy cool shit when we graduated, so we might as well not take this project so seriously.

  • But he convinced us when he got serious.

  • Look, guys, he said, It's easy to make something cool look cool.

  • That's why everybody picks cool things.

  • Ultimately, though, cool is always gonna be boring.

  • What if we make something dumb look amazing, something unmarketable?

  • Awesome.

  • That's a really challenge That takes real skill.

  • Let's show real skill.

  • I remember this pretty clearly because it was when I realized that there was more to Andy.

  • By the end of the project, I couldn't help feeling a little superior to the rest of our classmates, taking their skinny jeans and craft breweries so seriously, and the final product did look great.

  • And he was, And I had known this, but not really fouled it as important.

  • An extremely talented illustrator, and with Maya's hand lettering skills and my color palette work, it did end up looking pretty great.

  • So that's how Maya and I met Andy and thank God we did.

  • Frankly, we needed 1/3 wheel to even out the intensity of the early part of our relationship.

  • After the bubble bum project, which Kennedy loved so much he put on the class website, we became a bit of a trio.

  • We even worked on some freelance projects together, and occasionally Andie would come over to our apartment and force us to play board games.

  • And then we just spend the evening talking about politics or dreams or anxieties.

  • The fact that he was obviously a little bit in love with me never really bothered any of us because he knew I was taken.

  • And, well, I don't think Maya saw him is a threat.

  • Somehow, our dynamic hadn't fractured after graduation, and we kept hanging out with funny, weird, smart, stupid Andy Scam, who I was now calling at three o'clock in the morning.

  • The fuck April.

  • It's 3 a.m. Hey, I got something you might want to see.

  • It seems likely that this can wait until tomorrow.

  • No, this is pretty cool.

  • Bring your camera and does Jason have any lights?

  • Jason was Andy's roommate.

  • Both of them wanted to be Internet famous.

  • They would stream themselves playing video games to tiny audiences, and they had a podcast about the best TV death scenes that they also filmed and uploaded to YouTube.

  • To me, it just seemed like that incurable ailment So many well off dudes have believing, despite mountains of evidence that what the world truly needs is another white guy comedy podcast.

  • This sounds harsh, but that's what it seemed like to me back then.

  • Now, of course, I know how easy it is to feel like you don't matter if no one's watching.

  • I've also since listened to slain spotting, and it's actually pretty funny.

  • Wait, what's happening?

  • What am I doing?

  • He asked.

  • Here's what you're doing.

  • You're walking over to Gramercy Theater and you're gonna bring as much of Jason's video.

  • Shit is you can, and you're not gonna regret it.

  • So don't even think about going back to whatever hint ivy our game you were playing.

  • This is better, I promise.

  • You see that?

  • But have you played Cherry Blossom Fairy 5 April may have you several people who weren't dandy walked by as they waited for him.

  • Manhattan is less legit than it once was, for sure, but this was still the city that never sleeps.

  • It's also the city of behold the field in which I grow my fucks les than eyes upon it and see that it is barren.

  • People gave the sculpture a quick glance and kept on walking.

  • Justus I had nearly done.

  • I tried to look busy.

  • Manhattan's a safe place, but that doesn't mean a 23 year old woman by herself on the street at 3 a.m. Isn't going to get randomly harassed for the next few minutes.

  • I got to spend a little time with the sculpture.

  • Manhattan has never really dark.

  • There was lots of light around, but the deep shadows and the sculptures size made it difficult to really understand it.

  • It was massive.

  • It probably weighed several £100 that took my glove off and poked it, finding the metal surprisingly not cool.

  • Not warm, either, exactly, but hard.

  • I gave it a knock on the pelvis and didn't hear the bell ring.

  • I expected it was more of a thunk, followed by a low hum.

  • I started to think that this was part of the artist's intentions, that the goal was for the people of New York to interact with this object to discover its properties.

  • When you're in art school, you do a lot of thinking about objectives and intent.

  • That was the default state.

  • See art critique art.

  • Eventually I stopped my critique and just took it in.

  • I was starting to really love it, not just as a creation of someone else, but like the way you love really good art, just enjoying it.

  • It was so unlike other things I'd seen and brave in its transformer nous like I would be terrified to do anything that visually reflected MEChA robots in any way.

  • No one wants to be compared to something that's mainstream popular.

  • That's the worst of all possible fates.

  • But there was much more to this piece than that.

  • It seemed to have come from a completely different place than any other work I'd ever seen before.

  • Sculptural or not, I was pretty caught up in the thing when Andy snapped me back out of it.

  • What the absolute fuck He was wearing a backpack in three camera straps and holding two tripods.

  • Yup, I replied, That is awesome.

  • I know.

  • The awful thing is I almost walked right by it.

  • I just thought Well, there's another fucking cool New York City thing and kept on walking.

  • But it occurred to me that I hadn't heard or seen anything about it.

  • And since you know, you're always in search of your big viral hit, you might want to get the scoop.

  • So I've been guarding it for you.

  • So you saw this big, beautiful, muscular piece of art and who sprung to your mind.

  • But Andy stamped his thumbs were digging into his bony chest.

  • LOL, I said sarcastically.

  • In fact, I figured I'd do you a favor, and here it is.

  • So maybe just appreciate it.

  • A little dejected, he hand me a tripod.

  • Well, let's start getting this shit set up, then gotta get to work before Channel six drunkenly stumbles by and steals their scoop in five minutes, the camera was set up, a battery powered light was glaring, and Andy was clamping the mike to his lapel.

  • He'd stopped wearing stupid ball caps and had given up on his unruly.

  • You're just uncommon haircuts in favor of a short, wavy thing that complimented his face shape.

  • But despite the fact that he was eight inches taller than me and almost exactly my age.

  • He still looked about five years.

  • My junior April.

  • He said, Yeah, I think maybe it should be you.

  • I probably replied with some kind of confused grunt in front of the camera.