Name: Sydney Brownstone
Role at Fast Company: Staff Writer, Co.Exist
Titillating Fact: I play guitar and scream into microphones in a riot grrrl band with Carey Dunne, a Co.Design writer who plays the drums. There is no formal Fast Company house band. Yet.
Things she's loving:
1. Maria Bamford's mind. The Times just published a profile of highly underrated comedienne Maria Bamford late last week, which is very nice to read, but I recommend going straight to the deep cuts. Bamford is unlike any other standup act out there. She's got this thin, quavery voice that she can then catapult into laugh-so-hard-you-heave impressions of her parents, telephone operators, and temp agents. She's also somehow managed to turn her OCD and bipolar disorder into her funniest, most surreal bits. The "Ask Me About My New God!" album's a good place to start.
2. These amazing pieces published by former fact checkers: Fact-checking is a special kind of hell. I know this because I used to be a fact checker at Mother Jones magazine. Former fact checkers, however, have gone on to produce some fantastic work in the last year. Two of them, in fact, have just won some major awards. Go read Azeen Ghorayshi's story about a crazy piece of technology that would give Californians 60 seconds to prepare for an earthquake and Deanna Pan's beautiful writing on surviving with food stamps. Then go read "What Is the World's Actual Lowest Hanging Fruit?" by Ryan Jacobs, because it is very serious and will also make you pee your pants.
3. The song of summer. "Fancy" and "Brooklyn Girls" may have wormed their way into our brains as the songs of summer 2014, but they are false idols. The song of the summer is actually this guitarist jamming over the audio track of scream-crying Japanese politician Ryutaro Nonomura. I suppose it's bad karma to make light of another person's pain, but he was crying over allegations that he had misused public funds to pay for some very expensive train rides. Regardless, this is inspired.