R.L. Stine: The Lost Interview

R.L. Stine, wondering why this piece took so long.
Sometimes in the nonstop world of blogging you do something that takes a little more time, and which you're very excited about. But because of the nonstop world of blogging, and because you want to do it right, and because it takes more time to do that, the idea or scoop or interview you were so excited about gets pushed to the side, to do at night or on weekends, or in the rare blogging breaks. And sometimes by the time you get around to it, the peg -- and occasionally, the enthusiasm -- has been lost. Such pieces have been sacrificed for the greater good of "feeding the beast." They never get their day in the sun, and that is sad.

Today is my last day at the Voice (thank you, readers, coworkers, Tony Ortega, who hired me and set the last two crazy/wonderful years in motion, and everyone who supported and/or stayed friends with me throughout). And thank you to everyone I ever spoke to whose words didn't make it onto the published page. This one is for you.

On Thursday, January 13, 2011, I left my blog-shackles and my computer and trekked from Voice HQ to the Upper West Side to meet R.L. Stine at a Mexican restaurant for lunch and, presumably, what would become a published interview. He had been the inspiration, on the basis of a tweet, for my first viral blog post, "50 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Live in New York City." I wanted to thank him for that (I think/hope I picked up the tab!), and also, I mean, it's R.L. Stine, a name I'd seen on bookshelves since childhood, a writing success story, an inspiration. He had a cranberry juice and his usual choice from the lunch menu; I drank Diet Coke and then coffee and, too nervous to eat, picked at whatever lunch I ordered. Three hours later we parted ways, me with a signed copy of one of his books from the Goosebumps stories; him with my promise to send him the link to the piece, "as soon as it was up."

That promise comes due today. Here is the lost (and, now, found) interview with R.L. Stine.

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Remember That Time You Taught Me What "Less Than Three" Meant?: A Totally Platonic <3 Letter to @thisisjendoll

‚ÄčIt is Jen Doll's last day today. We feel things. We read things Jen once wrote. We wrote this.

Oh, Jen. It seems like just yesterday you were starting at the Voice. You had just been another unemployed daughter living in the East Village. We listened with rapt attention over the cubicle wall as Foster tried to coach you on how to get 100 twitter followers. And look at you now, @thisisjendoll: two years later you have 2,455 tweeps, not to mention your name on 3,433 blog posts, on three cover stories in the paper, and on a 30-year mortgage (in Brooklyn, no less)!

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Rapping Train Conductor Plays His Heart Out on the Harmonica

Who said train conductors were mean, boring stickler-ish types shushing you in the quiet car, punching your tickets through a thinly disguised veneer of hatred, and kicking you off the train after you pee drunkenly in the vestibule? Train conductors are fun, too! Some of them are even sort of comedians. Like this guy in a video posted on YouTube yesterday. "I was born to be a clown," he says, "but I found this job instead." Indeed.

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Presenting the Most and Least Compatible New York City Neighborhoods

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A "heat map" for NYC, from OkCupid last Valentine's Day.
According to data released to us by OkCupid, some New York City neighborhoods are more likely to make connections on the dating site than others. This may seem intuitive in some ways, but it's better to know these things for sure, right? After all, just like that map that tells us where the single men and women live, we can use this for our own purposes, whatever they may be. The numbers below reflect "the average compatibility between people in each neighborhood with other neighborhoods." The NUMBER 1 top compatibility is between...drumroll please...Greenpoint and Bed-Stuy, featuring a 46.09 compatibility return!

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School Has Trouble Spelling 'School'

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Another school, another spelling mistake.
Attenshun, streat crossang gards adn teechers and stoo-dents, and, peeple who paynte street sines. Spelling is still very important! Not doing it properly, or at least double-checking your work before it goes down semi-permanently in the asphalt, makes you look stooooopid. Hence, the mockery that has been heaped upon the Lower East Side's own Marta Valle High School, which features, on nearby Stanton Street, the designation "SHCOOL X-NG." It has been there for months, reports the New York Post. Monfs!

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55 of the Rudest Things Rude New Yorkers Do

Travel + Leisure Magazine has once again declared New Yorkers the rudest of all the rude peoples of America. Congrats New Yorkers. You know what they say...any publicity is good publicity, and if you can be rude here, you can be rude anywhere! According to our pals at T+L, which based the rankings on input from their esteemed readers, "The Big Apple reclaims its heavyweight title in hostility, a dubious honor it last held in 2009 -- and a reputation it has had for much longer ("You talkin' to me?"). Besides its fast pace, New York City is also No. 1 for diversity. As a result, you might encounter unfamiliar mannerisms that aren't meant to be mean but come across that way. Deep down, voters probably love New York for its flamboyant, bird-flipping spirit. After all, it's also the No. 1 city for great theater." But what does that MEAN? And what rude things do we do? We've compiled a list of 55, but, please, feel free to add your own. To assume there are limits to our rudeness would be rude.

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R.I.P., Uncle Chichi, You Old Dog

Uncle Chichi, circa 2000 (via Facebook)
According to the New York Times, there is a sad bit of information to impart today. Uncle Chichi, a West Village toy poodle who may have been 24, 25, or 26 years old, who had been battling cancer (sadface), and who was unquestionably adored and adorable, has passed over to the Rainbow Bridge. Inspiring public figures often generate controversy, and as such, there is some debate over Chichi's age, and whether he was actually the world's oldest living dog.

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How Well Do You Know New York City? Pat Kiernan Will Quiz You. [Updated]

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Pat Kiernan told us once, "Being a New Yorker is a state of mind. Not something on your birth certificate. The qualifications: some combination of knowledge of the city, love of the city, length of time here, and comfort with both defending and criticizing the city." Included in part one of that clause: Knowledge of little-known, quintessential, or otherwise intriguing NYC factoids. Included in part two: Love of Pat Kiernan. (See also: "Shit New Yorkers Say.")

Now's your chance to find out how how much of a New Yorker (or at least, how much of a New York City trivia aficionado) you really are. This Wednesday, TrivWorks and the Bell House are hosting an event, "Why We Love NYC," emceed by, yes, Pat Kiernan, who will test you on all matter of city pop culture trivia. We spoke to David Jacobson, the founder of TrivWorks, to get some advance questions (none of these will be asked on Wednesday, but they're "in the style of the NYC pop culture trivia" that will be tested). Consider this your PSAT.

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The Status Atlas Tells You What Brooklynites Are Tweeting on an Hourly Basis

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The Status Atlas at 10 a.m. (Midwood = vibrator)
Ricky Robinett, the tech brain behind FakeGirlfriend.co (which, by the way, he's offering up for sale to none other than Kanye West), has unleashed a new app with the help of Brian Wrightson. It's called The Status Atlas, and it's a "Twitter + Brooklyn mashup" compiling the tweets of Brooklyn to tell you which neighborhoods are tweeting which words the most. (Click on the lines of the map for neighborhood names.) How you might use this data is up to you, but as Robinett says, "It's a fun way to visualize things. In Williamsburg, one time the word was 'women.' When it's raining, you see a lot of shit and fuck."

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Headless Body/Topless Bar Murderer Wants Out of Jail

Charles Dingle, now 53, the murderer behind the infamous New York Post headline "Headless Body in Topless Bar," wants out of jail and will ask a parole panel to free him this week from the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, reports the Post via the comparatively dull headline, "'Headless Body in Topless Bar' killer seeks release from prison."

In 1983, Dingle committed the crime that spawned the headline(s) by killing Herbert Cummings, the owner of Herbie's (topless) Bar in Jamaica, Queens. He then took four women hostage, raped one of them, and forced one of the hostages, who was a mortician, to remove the bullet from Cummings' head and cut the head off with a steak knife.

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