Sarah Silverman: "Nothing’s more attractive than an unending monologue about your shortcomings."
Carolyn Hax: "Sometimes surrendering to the awful is more useful than fighting it."
Graham Joyce: "why can’t our job here on earth be simply to inspire each other?"
Dan Harmon: "I believe in magic. I believe in mythology. I believe in shamanism. I believe that spells can be cast and I believe that random things coalesce and reveal themselves to be part of a plan we don’t control, you know."
Nora Ephron: "Never turn down a front-row seat for human folly."
McAlvie "The ultimate downfall of modern civilization won't be war; it'll be Twitter and Facebook."
Jenny Zhang: "A lot of writers swear by routine, but I swear by chaos. There’s enough fucking routine in my life. Every day I have to brush my teeth. Every day I have to smile at strangers. Every day I have to worry about money. Every day I want something I can’t have. Every day I find some way to go on! I know that writing every day for an hour would help me tremendously with writer’s block, but I also know that I need an element of wildness in my writing. I need to know that writing is something I do because it sets me free. It makes me feel golden with confidence. It gives me the gift of gab. I feel like a god. I feel like an entertainer. So write when you damn well please."
Joe Queenan: "If you have read 6,000 books in your lifetime, or even 600, it's probably because at some level you find "reality" a bit of a disappointment. People in the 19th century fell in love with "Ivanhoe" and "The Count of Monte Cristo" because they loathed the age they were living through. Women in our own era read "Pride and Prejudice" and "Jane Eyre" and even "The Bridges of Madison County"—a dimwit, hayseed reworking of "Madame Bovary"—because they imagine how much happier they would be if their husbands did not spend quite so much time with their drunken, illiterate golf buddies down at Myrtle Beach. A blind bigamist nobleman with a ruined castle and an insane, incinerated first wife beats those losers any day of the week. Blind, two-timing noblemen never wear belted shorts."
LogicalDash: "Nobody of any age should have to fend off sexual partners. That such defense is assumed as a part of the cost of adult courtship is suggestive of some more fundamental problem than age difference and its effect on consensuality."
Keith Richards: "I had to invent the job, you know," he said, earlier. "There wasn't a sign in the shop window, saying, "Wanted: Keith Richards."
Caitlin Moran: "As I started to reassess my writing style, I thought about what I liked doing--what gave me satisfaction--and realized the primary one was just... pointing at things. Pointing out things I liked, and showing them to other people--like a mum shouting, "Look! Moo-cows!" as a train rushes past a farm. I liked pointing at things, and I liked being reasonable and polite about stuff. Or silly. Silly was very, very good. No one ever got hurt by silly.
Best of all was being pointedly silly about serious things: politics, repression, bigotry. Too many commentators are quick to accuse their enemies of being evil. It's far, far more effective to point out that they're acting like idiots, instead. I was up for idiot-revealing.
"I am just going to be polite and silly, and point at cool things," I decided. "When I started writing, I would have killed to have one thing to write about. Now, I have three. Politeness and silliness, and pointing. That's enough."
Carolyn Hax: "Unless 15 years’ worth of mail has misled me, no one has ever found love through complaining about the lack of it, and no lonely person has ever felt better for hearing, “You just haven’t found the right person yet.”
David Simon: "Change is a motherfucker when you run from it."
Joe Queenan: "People who read an enormous number of books are basically dissatisfied with the way things are going on this planet. And I think, in a way, people read for the same reason that kids play video games ... they like that world better. It works better, it's more exciting, and it usually has a more satisfactory ending."
Dan Savage: "There isn't someone for everyone. Some of us do wind up alone, and that just fucking sucks and sometimes that stings, and you don't know if you're one of those people who's going to wind up alone until you die alone....So you kind of have to live in hope and build a life for yourself that's rewarding and fun, has friends and pleasure in it, whether you're alone or not."
the painkiller: "I will not be tagged, pinned, circled, liked, tweeted, retweeted or numbered."
Steve Jobs: "Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Apple: "Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
Miss Manners: "Please do not -- repeat, not -- make a hostile approach to knitters. Have you not noticed that they are armed with long, pointy sticks?"
Stephen Tobolowsky: "And of course, nothing is what I figured on in my life. That seems to be a recurring theme."
James Bulls: "When you find yourself walking a true path, you will know it because you will want to walk it no matter the burning Sun, freezing sleet, torrential rain, and treacherous ground. The risks become no less and the journey as always exhausts you, but your desire to brave the challenges never diminishes."
Amy Argetsinger: "Twitter is a disease, plain and simple. It makes people insane. A decade from now I expect the CDC and FDA will be issuing warnings."
Cary Tennis: "You don't have to "move on" either. Not until you're ready. People say, Oh, you should be grateful. They say, Oh, it's time for you to move on. I'm like, What are you, a cop with a nightstick? I'll move on when I'm done playing the blues on my harmonica, thank you very much."
Mark Morford: "It is 2011 and here is what we know: Reality is fluid, fact is malleable, cause and effect completely uncertain. We know what we don't know, but we also know the opposite."
Charlie Jane Anders: "Just remember, if you flinch from your destiny, you'll never achieve your true greatness — you didn't choose to be chosen, but being chosen means you have to choose."
Roger Ebert: "To put it bluntly, I believe the world is patriarchal because men are bigger and stronger than women, and can beat them up."
Myca: "Jesus is not the reason for the season, and there's no way I need to act like he is. Christmas is a stolen tradition. There's no reason we can't steal it back."
Lady Gaga: "I hate the holidays! I'm alone and miserable, you fucking dumb bit of toy!"
Dianna Agron: "I am trying to live my life with a sharpie marker approach. You can’t erase the strokes you’ve made, but each step is much bolder and more deliberate."
John Mayer: "It occurred to me that since the invocation of Twitter, nobody who has participated in it has created any lasting art. And yes! Yours truly is included in that roundup as well. Let me make sure that statement is as absolute and irrevocable as possible by buzzing your tower one more time: no artwork created by someone with a healthy grasp of social media thus far has proven to be anything other than disposable."
Vanessa, Something Positive: "I like 'em crazy. You hear insane rants, I hear a reminder that the sex is interesting. Oooh! Hear that? Tonight's gonna tingle."
Anonymous: “Your problem is that you want to be an artist. What you need to be is an artisan.”
Sugar: "Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it."
Wide Lawns: "Often very odd things happen to me. Usually they are not my fault and mostly beyond my control."
Anonymous reporter: “When weird shit happens around here, weird shit really happens around here.”
Anne Johnson: "Today some stranger sent me an email that said, "You are a nut case." Well, I must admit this never would have occurred to me. Everyone else is a nut case. I'm the sane one. I think."
Carl Mayer: "Whenever I start to feel like my life isn’t where I want it to be, “Cops” is there to put everything into perspective. Yeah, I haven’t made all the right moves over the last 34 years, but I’m not hiding from the police under a kiddie pool, either."
John Scalzi: "In retrospect, it’s a little weird to think that my entire future was falling into place as I obliviously tucked into the El Presidente chimichanga platter, but of course, that’s life for you — the most important days of your existence don’t always announce themselves in obvious ways."
Tart and Soul: "Indeed, love comes whether we have braced ourselves for it or not. But commitment offers a choice, tapping us on the shoulder to say, “sorry to bother you. Is this a good time?”
"Oleg had been knitting on public transit for years, and he found that blending in was the best way to avoid all those tiresome comments about how unusual it was to see a man knitting."
"Philip had made a vow not to speak until he'd achieved his twin goals of moving out of his parents' basement and putting flowers on the graves of all four of the original members of The Ramones, but he thought there was no reason why he shouldn't let his clothes speak for him." (This photo so reminds me of that guy in Little Miss Sunshine.)
"Behind his back the rest of his classmates referred to it as the Roadkill Collage."
"Frustrated by his lack of success in meeting women, Gunther cast all attempts at subtlety to the winds."
"He had her cover her face at all times (so men who saw her would not be driven mad by lust), gave her vipers to raise as protective pets, and swore that any man who tried to get inside her room would be beheaded. When finally a man broke through all her father’s defenses, Alfhild decided that instead of marrying him, she’d go become a pirate, raising a crew of other lady pirates (and later a crew of adoring gents) and adopting “the life of a war-like rover,” eventually building herself an honest-to-goodness fleet. Eventually, her spurned suitor fought his way to her and won her back to his bed, blah blah blah, but that doesn’t negate any of her badass princess pirating."
"Out in broad daylight on the guys desk (one of the employees I had caught in the printing room) was a piece of paper at the top that said “Duck Club.” Underneath it, it had a list of locations of places in and around the office followed by “points.” 25 points – president’s desk, 10 points – car in the parking lot, 20 points – copier room, etc.
So here is my theory about what is going on (and I think I am right). This “Duck Club” is a club people at work where people get “points” for having sex in these locations around the office. I think that is also where the quacking comes into play. Perhaps this is some weird mating call between members to let them know they want to get some “points” with the other person, and if they quack back, they meet up somewhere to “score.” The two I caught in the copier room I have heard “quacking” before."
"In December of 2011, while I was running the school at UCB in NYC I was talking with then Artistic Director Nate Dern about male-female ratios. He asked what the ratios were in the classes, and I was stunned to realize I had no idea.
So, we looked at male-female ratios in the classes. It was tough because we hadn’t been recording people’s gender. So I had an intern go over 6 months worth of improv classes (first 6 months of 2011) and GUESS the gender of the students based on name. I know. Not a great system. I also got some teachers to indicate some of the names we weren’t sure about. Some teachers didn’t want to do it, others were just disorganized and never got around to it. Hardly an exact science, but it was a start. We got numbers on about 2000 registrations.
What we found in was that for that 6 month period — the male/female ratio was about 1 man for every 1 woman in level 1, and it steadily became more men until it was about 1.3 men for every 1 woman in level 4. No surprise, though in fact maybe not even as bad as I had feared.
BUT: You had to be approved to get to level 5. And what we found was that in level 5 the ratio was 2.2 MEN FOR EVERY ONE WOMAN in the advanced level. More than two to one!
WHOA. I was stunned. Were we approving men at a higher rate than women? We checked that — and no. We were approving just about the same percentage of men as we were women. There were slightly more men than women to pick from, but there was no reason that we shouldn’t at least have the same ratio in level 5 as we did in level 4.
Women were just way less interested in level 5 than the men. I had no idea why.
So we started something called the Colby Initiative (named by Shannon O’Neill after the Amy Poehler character on the UCB Show). Our mission: increase the number of women in level 5 improv classes. More informally: would Amy Poehler have taken level 5 at our school?
I liked it because it was specific and measurable.
We threw a lot of things against the wall: Shannon started the Lady Jam and started teaching free workshops for female improvisers. We told the level 4 teachers to specifically recommend level 5 for the strong female improvisers. I promoted more female teachers into higher levels, gave more classes to existing female teachers, and hired female teachers first.
People who worked on the Colby Initiative got a little money for their time and we got teachers working on it in their spare time. Chelsea Clarke led a group of teachers in calling female students who were given the highest rating from their level 4 teachers but who never took another class. Chelsea and others called them and basically asked “why did you never take another class?”
I wish I could give you a hard answer here. But we’re not experts in data analysis or methodology. And there was no one single overpowering answer. These people in general had really good things to say about their experience at UCB, but they also said they felt they were done. Common things said: classes were too expensive, the good teachers’ classes sold out too frustratingly fast and that they had gotten what they wanted out of UCB classes and were trying other things.
What we suspected —- and it was just a suspicion — was that they didn’t think they had enough of a chance to get on a UCB house team to make it worth the time/money/trouble of taking more classes unless it was a great teacher.
Maybe it was just a vicious cycle: more men on the stage makes the men in the classes try harder makes for more men on stage? That is just a guess.
I will say that one year later the ratio of men to women had evened a bit to be 1.5 men for every woman. Better, at least. Moving in the right direction."
That's something easy to forget: Katniss goes into the Games completely sure she's going to die. It's not even a question for her, she knows she has no chance, she just wants to at least make sure it's not too quick or graphic. She's totally open about that in her farewell to Gale and to Haymitch. Even as she trains and shows her stuff, she still thinks it's never going to happen. And when she is in the Games, it's about helping Peeta live, not herself and Rue as well.
And she is scared. Oh, hell, she is scared constantly. Not just of death either as in the Capitol scenes of the later books, you feel her fear of this strange world of people who look down upon her and how easy it can be to get sucked in. And you feel her fear against Snow, a man who can wipe out all she loves with a snap of his fingers. Even when she seems to be brave as hell, she's terrified inside and yet the fact she never truly shows it just proves how brave she really is. It's a fantastic contrast that Collins ably shows, once more the irony of how Katniss is positive others look at her as cowardly, unaware of the hero they see.
Keeping the books totally in Katniss' POV has effects, the biggest of which is that we soon grasp that Katniss doesn't get how her actions are coming off. To us, it's easy to be moved by her singing to Rue and caring for Peeta but it's just what she feels right in the moment. For all the talk given of her to play to the cameras, she can't lie well to save her life, she has to be herself. And that's something the viewers respond to so well and soon transforms her into an icon."
Beyond that, what stands out, and probably part of what got under my skin when I was 16 is how stodgy Ferris’ day off is. Jeff Spicoli used his ditch time to get stoned in a van; the heroes of “Porky’s” spent their time trying to hire a prostitute from a nightclub. Ferris goes to an art museum, a baseball game, sings a Beatles song and eats at a French restaurant. The visit the commodities exchange; all while wearing a suit and driving his friend’s father’s car. Whatever is brewing in Ferris’ soul – and apart from the initial monologue Hughes is careful to stay far away from that – when given a magic carpet ride of a day, he decides, to be his father for a day. So closely does he emulate his father’s life that he keeps bumping into him during the course of the day.
Seeing this in an older man’s clothes however, Ferris’ choices don’t seem quite so bad; even admirable. When I was a teen I snorted at the trio’s trip to the art museum and Hughes’ shallow attempt to give his characters depth via Great Art. These days, what would I give to see a teenager cut school to go to an art museum and make a shallow attempt to wallow in Great Art. The idea of a teenager ever doing that in a broad commercial film today is just about unthinkable."
"Timmy brings Linda back to life by dreaming of her, but the adult narrator Tim brings her back to life by writing about her. I think about this, too, when I run. I think about Janet’s kind brown eyes and Melissa’s fearlessness and Todd’s craziness and Dr. Koufos’s dedication and love and warmth. And then I ask myself, How have you kept them alive?"
"Speaking of work, my productivity really took a nosedive this week. Approximately ninety percent of my job is performing outreach to local organizations: carefully worded e-mails, awkward phone calls delivered at unusually high pitches. This experiment hurt my work performance. It went against my very job description. When I had questions on my assignments, I had to wait for my boss to check in with me, which he rarely did.
While my silence had come across as rude and inconsiderate in settings where I was surrounded by strangers, it was read as standoffish at work. My silence equaled apathy and lack of initiative. I wasn’t meeting expectations. Perceived inhibition threw off work dynamics. No one talked to me during group lunch, so I kept my opinions about junk TV and casseroles to myself. I felt pretty left out and like a failure to be honest."
"What did I learn in the end? That my silence was read as apathy, timidity, or insolence. I was too rude in certain situations, too inhibited in others. When I contributed nothing to the initial phase of the conversation, people were free to interpret my silence in whatever way they pleased and read me in a hundred different ways. I lost control over how I was perceived, what my intentions were. I lost the ability to verbally advocate for myself and my needs. I lost faith in many relationships and grew more attached to technology, where it was easier to control an imagined reality."
A lot of times you have people applying to these things because they see it as a stepping stone to more serious gigs or greater visibility. I can't count the number of times I’ve been sitting around a table in the holding area of casting with a bunch of people who have MFAs from Yale or Tisch worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and are still doing this crap."