New York Systems

I'm David. I live in Astoria. During the day I work at a startup. Other times I visit bookstores.
This blog is my curio collection, sort of. I'll have a place of my own for essays... someday.
Hey do you think you could give a brief summary or explanation of what the hell's been going on with John Campbell. I stumbled across it through a reblog of him semi-lashing out at Joel and I was trying to figure out what his deal was. I knew of his webcomic, of which I had read some of but stopped, and I remembered his weird kickstarter anti-depression accusations parody thing. But I'm finding sifting through all this half deleted stuff to be really incomprehensible. Think could you help?


Sure, I’d be happy to. Since you’re anonymous, of course, there’s no way I can actually guarantee you’ll ever see this, but hopefully this will at least help somebody. Also, I will warn you now, this will not be terribly “brief.” I’ll try to summarize what’s going on for you, though. As best I can, anyway.

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A good summary of the self-obliteration of John Campbell.

The IMDB plot keywords for Immortal.


Got a haircut today. I’ve been complaining about how my hair had been getting in my eyes for weeks; it was starting to annoy everyone around me, I think. The complaining, that is, not my hair.

The barber didn’t believe me at first when I said how short I wanted it. “½ inch, you mean cut off that much or leave that much? Are you sure?” I acquiesced to start with ¾ inch left, but ended up taking it all the way down. My roommate said she barely recognized me when she saw me again.

The beard is gone now, too. It was getting past the point of striking and closer to unkempt and I didn’t want to put in the work making it presentable.

It’s been six weeks, give or take, since my breakup.

We met at the Speed Dating event I wrote about. She was, indeed, one of my two matches, and she emailed me, breaking through my passivity. We dated, we made out, we slept over, all of it entirely novel to me, the entire experience of dating. Not dating in New York, or dating in your 20s, or anything like that, like so many Thought Catalog or Buzzfeed articles want to try and segment human experience into. No, I had literally never had a girlfriend before, and was terrified.

She worked at a publisher downtown and was pretty and smart and mildly sardonic and a great, wonderful person, whom I was convinced for the entire time we were dating that I did not deserve to spend time with.

We were very good at picking each other’s cards while drunkenly playing Cards Against Humanity on New Year’s Eve.

It’s so enjoyable to just talk with someone about your day. We don’t have that intimacy much outside of relationships, the guard-down, let-me-please-just-think-out-loud conversation.

I learned that anxiety is not your friend in certain circumstances.

We were, in retrospect, somewhat awful about talking what we needed from each other emotionally. Of course, I suppose I still don’t know what I really want, which makes it hard to ask for, and tried to gloss over it when it came up.

The day before she broke up with me, we had this text message exchange:

We joked about this during the actual breakup conversation. At least, I tried to tell something resembling a joke about it. I was texted this to her as a “look at how silly my friends are, saying these things without even having met you,” but to have her actually dump the next day was, well, you couldn’t script that. Reading it again, now, though, with fresh and sober eyes — it seems a little pathetic, too. Who was I trying to convince?

Hannah, by the way, doesn’t remember saying this at all.

So I’ve been on OK Cupid again.

And why not? It gives me something to gossip about with the single woman I share workspace with. She shares her awful inbound messages with me, and I talk about the frustrations of going on two good long dates and then nothing, and we both feel better.

But, well, I don’t know. It feels very hollow, suddenly, in a way it didn’t six months ago. Perhaps this is just seasonal, the cold and the snow lowering my ability to care all that much in leaving the apartment. Tonight, for example, I could probably be out somewhere with friends, but instead I’m here, writing the sad-twenty-something-male blog-post version of “women-processing-their-shit books.” Because, you know, the internet needs more of that.

It just seems like everyone is waiting for spring.

"But what does the Green Goblin want from Archie’s?"

Two very different Kickstarter rewards.





Writing this was hard. I was very lucky to be edited by Chad Harbach, who spent many months (6? I forget. Possibly more) working on it with me. My writing group — Bennett, Anya and Lukas — also read several drafts and helped a lot. I would like to dedicate its appearance on the internet to the memory of Raffles, who cost me a lot of money but was worth every penny. I still miss you, buddy. 

Essential reading

Such a good and wonderfully honest essay.


At the Papers We Love meetup!

The world we live in.