“Writers remember everything…especially the hurts. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he’ll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar. Art consists of the persistence of memory.”—Stephen King, Misery (via wordsnquotes)
“I have to be very careful about how I phrase this traumatic childhood memory,” Sam tells me, recalling an incident, when he was five, between his mother and a famous neighbor. “I walked in on Groucho Marx and my mother in my parents’ bedroom. They were both on the bed. They were fully clothed. I saw him jump off the bed into my sight line, and then she was sitting up.” Sam starts chuckling. “I don’t know exactly what happened. My mother might have been fighting for her honor.” He laughs again. “Though I think I may have overheard Groucho saying, ‘I can see you in the kitchen, bending over a hot stove. Now I can’t see the stove.’”—From an article about The Simpsons's Sam Simon, who has terminal cancer.
“Before any of the six entrants in the 2014 Sinquefield Cup had nudged a white pawn to e4, they’d already been hailed as the strongest collection of chess talent ever assembled. The tournament, held in St. Louis, featured the top three players in the game. The weakest competitor in the field was the ninth best chess player on the planet.
The favorite was current world No. 1 and reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen. The young Norwegian—who is among the best players in the history of chess—strolled into the lounge of the St. Louis Chess Club as the most alluring grandmaster ever, a brilliant, handsome 23-year-old with a modeling contract for the clothing company G-Star Raw. Forget about his overmatched foes. If anything could stop Carlsen, his fans reckoned, it would be the swirl of distractions occupying the parts of his brain not given over to memorizing Nimzo-Indian variations.
As the tournament began on Aug. 27, Carlsen was mired in an ongoing faceoff with FIDE, the international governing body of chess. There are a few things you should probably know about FIDE—or the Federation Internationale des Echecs, if you’re feeling continental. FIDE is, by all accounts, comically corrupt, in the vein of other fishy global sporting bodies like FIFA and the IOC. Its Russian president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who has hunkered in office for nearly two decades now, was once abducted by a group of space aliens dressed in yellow costumes who transported him to a faraway star. Though I am relying here on Ilyumzhinov’s personal attestations, I have no reason to doubt him, as this is something about which he has spoken quite extensively. He is of the firm belief that chess was invented by extraterrestrials, and further “insists that there is ‘some kind of code’ in chess, evidence for which he finds in the fact that there are 64 squares on the chessboard and 64 codons in human DNA.””—I’ve only read these three first paragraphs of this Seth Stevenson article entitled “Grandmaster Clash: One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed" and it’s already one of the best things I’ve read all year.
“On August 29, Popular Science published a map of interceptor towers — surveillance devices that masquerade as cell phone towers to intercept voice and data transmissions from every cell user in an area. 19 of the interceptors were found in the United States in August, and two more popped up on September 5: one in Garden City, NY, and another in downtown Las Vegas. They were spotted by owners of the CryptoPhone 500 device, a roughly $3,500 ultra-high-end phone that allows ordinary, if well-heeled, citizens to see surveillance invisible to standard phones.
[…] [A]midst this thicket of government and police surveillance, security experts cannot rule out the possibility that foreign spies or criminal hackers are also using the cell tower simulators in the United States. The most sophisticated interceptors cost roughly $100,000, though a skilled, determined hacker could cobble together a basic interceptor for less than $2,000.
In June, an ACLU of Florida public records request in Sarasota, Florida, showed that the police there had a policy to conceal the use of “Stingray” tech used to track suspects — preventing “the criminal element,” as well as judges and defense attorneys, from knowing the source of the surveillance. In March, police officers in Tallahassee admitted to using the technology at least 200 times since 2010 without telling a judge, due to a non-disclosure agreement signed with the technology manufacturer Harris Corporation. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2011 that the FBI has a longstanding policy to expunge any mention of “Stingray” use from official reports.”—
Comic-nerd stuff: It was nagging at me the other day that years and years ago, I used to do this thing, where I’d look at all the comic covers the mainstream publishers were soliciting months out, and pick out the “good ones”— the couple that I thought actually stood out from the usual mess those companies put out there. Hadn’t done it in years— kinda missed it, once I realized that’d stopped happening.
So I’m going to spend my lunchbreak doing that under a jump, just for Marvel, DC and Image (because I haven’t seen any other solicitations from other publishers— don’t really know where to look anymore, actually…?). Not too many covers because… there aren’t too many I’m into (a lot of bad paintings). Sorry if jumps don’t work on phones…? I don’t know how that works— if those don’t work on phones, let me know and I’ll … apologize…? (I’m just really paranoid about that). This is obviously without saying any of these books will be or are any good or not— just looking at covers qua covers…
“when you fall in love with someone you need to look at them and say “this is the problem I want to have”
I had a bias that I liked people with strong opinions, but it took a while to realize that assholes have them too
2 kinds of creative advice: how to buy more lottery tickets, and how to win the lottery. The 1st is useful the 2nd is nonsense
I make internet video. We started about 8 years ago, when there wasn’t a way to monetize or many people to watch it. our videos have been viewed about 800,000 times, at 5 mins each that is four billion minutes. I have killed four billion minutes of human lifetimes, which is about 85 lives. Have I done 85 human lifetimes of good? that’s [w]hat keeps me up.
I wanted to be the guy who solved death. Being that guy would be a kind of immortality. Along with the real immortality.
dreams decrease the total number of potential paths - you miss other directions”—Bibs and bobs taken from Kevin Marks’s notes of Day 2 of XOXOFest.
“What should America’s response be to ISIS beheading journalists?”—The questions for Miss America got a little hard at some point. Or were they always this hard and I never noticed? I didn’t see “what should we do about all the beheading going on?” coming…
Feeling pretty under the weather— lying on my couch all feeling crappy. The Miss America pageant is on— I haven’t seen one of these in a long time, I don’t think. Its the usual stuff— girls in swimwear and high heels competing to see who gets to move on to the “wear a dress” part of the competition. But: what’s the story with the people in the audience? What’s going on with them? “You’ve never experienced the Miss America until you’ve been there live.” As I was typing this, Mississippi moved onto clothed, and they cut to a gentleman leaping to his feet! Even if every girl invited their parents, that’s not that many people— that’s just a Ben Franklin.
Kathie Ireland, explaining her judging criteria: “these women have a servant’s heart.” ..?
I’m rooting for Arkansas or Oklahoma. I don’t really know what’s gone on in those states but I’m just going to go ahead and guess they really need this.
Miss Iowa— “my evening gown really makes me feel sexy and I think it does that by improving my posture.” Boner Science thanks you! How analytical. Another girl used her time to ramble about Pinterest…? I was hoping there’d be another Indian girl this year— this could be our new spelling bee, dammit.
Oooh, talent competition. Fingers crossed for numchucks.
“Fans have given $81 million to artists through bandcamp, $2.9M in the last 30 days.
we worked in the public library for the first 4 years of the startup.
fans pay more than the artist’s asking price 50% of the time, and have given up to 100x.
about half of the notes left for artists are saying they are sorry not to be able to give more.
People want to support the artists they love, but they don’t know what to do to do so”—Reading about XOXO Fest (which sure had a killer line-up, if you’re internet-y, at least). This bit about the speech from the bandcamp folks seemed especially interesting, not knowing anything about how that got built (or gumroad, for that matter).
“I call it “The More Bubble.” The nature of bubbles is that some asset is absurdly overvalued until — eventually — the bubble bursts, and we’re left scratching our heads wondering why we were so irrationally exuberant in the first place. The asset we’re overvaluing now is the notion of doing it all, having it all, achieving it all; what Jim Collins calls “the undisciplined pursuit of more.” This bubble is being enabled by an unholy alliance between three powerful trends: smart phones, social media, and extreme consumerism. The result is not just information overload, but opinion overload. We are more aware than at any time in history of what everyone else is doing and, therefore, what we “should” be doing. In the process, we have been sold a bill of goods: that success means being supermen and superwomen who can get it all done.”—
I really like playing celebrity game, like most people. You know: that game from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang where you “spot celebrities” or their business associates, like “hey, it’s Tom Selleck’s pool boy” or whatever. It’s a fun game of learning and wonder that I just kinda figure everyone plays…? Like I actually assume everybody plays play celebrity game. Why wouldn’t you play it? Learning and wonder! I’m not very good at it— I tend to overdo “____’s pool boy”— I’m pretty amateur hour. But, it’s a lot less time consuming compared to the “Call your mother, Vernon” game from Wonder Boys…
But “Jon Voight’s Personal Masseuse”— that’s still some pretty gross words to have go through your head in that order. I don’t want that happening in my head. That’s the part Kiss Kiss Bang Bang doesn’t warn you about…
“It didn’t always used to be this way. I used to only have sons. Things sure were different then. How merrily I used to drive down country lanes in my old Ford, periodically dodging off-road to mow down female pedestrians (you must remember I had no daughters then). Was what I did wrong? How was I to know? I had no daughters to think of.
Before I had daughters — Stimothy and Atalanta are truly the apples of my eye — I would follow women into voting booths and knock their hands away from the lever whenever they tried to engage in the democratic process. Who knew having daughters would change all that? Not I.
Personally, now that I have daughters, I don’t think anyone should do bad things to women, especially the ones who are my daughters. I think we should treat every woman in the world like she was my daughter, except for my wife and my mother, who I will treat slightly differently.”—Mallory Ortberg @ The Toast. People in comics do this *all the time* and my life has been enriched by getting to snicker about it for years and years. ”My dick made a thing that taught me not to be a crappy person because I couldn’t figure that out before, before my dick held an intervention.” ”Capital! Here is your Eisner Award.” Actual life. P.S. Stimothy!
Women aren’t angels—not perfect goddesses—not paragons—not little baby doves to be protected or worshipped. We’re just plain ol’ human beings. Women don’t deserve equal rights because we’re “better” or “purer” or “never fart” or whatever, and if you go in believing that, you’re going to be disappointed. Because we’re people. And I’m not sorry about that.
Journalism is about humanity, too. It’s done by humans, and humans have biases. That’s true of editors, and it’s also true of readers. You can try to eliminate those biases, or you can just accept that you’re a real person who knows other people in real life. I try for the latter, personally.
So, consider this my “disclosure”: I’m human. Keep that in mind when you read my work.
I’d prefer to be a robot. I’ll make the switch as soon as it becomes available. Until then, you’re stuck with me.
“Several years ago, I received a note about my first novel, “The Gin Closet,” which is, in part, the story of a middle-aged woman and her prolonged decline into alcoholism: “I picked up this book at a thrift store for 10 cents. That’s right and it was the worst 10 cents I ever spent. So depressing and it placed me in a horrible place. Back to drinking and taking drugs. Even tried to slit my wrists. A terrible dark story about nothing worthwhile. No inspiration or hope anywhere. You should be ashamed of yourself. No good will ever come of this book.”
Did this woman try to slit her wrists because of my book? I don’t believe that — or I try to quiet the part of myself that might have believed that for a moment. But maybe she’d hoped my book could persuade her not to try. And then it hadn’t. It had failed to save her from herself — and in that failure, it had become the emblem and instrument of something in her that she was struggling against. She was showing me the toxic aftermath of that disappointment.
I realize I’d come to believe that novels full of pain would always offer consolation, would always make people feel less alone in whatever pain their own lives already held — because it had always worked like that for me. But I began to see that it could also work another way: There could be a yearning for hope, for an alternative, for something more positive — for consolation as difference, not echo — and the failure to provide that alternative could feel like betrayal, like permission to destroy, like a promise of what might never change”—Leslie Jamison from ”Can a Book Ever Change a Reader’s Life for the Worse?”