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."
Lord Vetinari, Unseen Academicals: "One day I was a young boy... when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. Even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued... As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and the pink roes spilled out much to the delight of the baby otters. Mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that is when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior."
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?”
J.C. Hutchins: "I was Wanky McWankerton, in love with words I’d yet to write. I did this for nearly two years. If every sperm is sacred, God wasn’t irate with me — he was effing thermonuclear."
Caged, isolated rats, when addicted to cocaine, morphine, heroin and other drugs, will self-administer in very high doses, foregoing food and water, sometimes to the point of death. But when placed in a spacious, comfortable, naturalistic setting, where both sexes can co-habit, nest and reproduce, these rats forego drugs and opt instead for food and water, even when they experience withdrawal symptoms. Recent well-controlled experiments support this early finding. The majority of addicted rats will choose not to self-administer drugs if provided with alternative goods. In other words, if we give addicted rats the option of a happy, flourishing rat lifestyle, they take it. But the minority of addicts for whom addiction is a chronic condition are not given the option of a happy, flourishing human life just because they stop using. In the meantime, using drugs or alcohol might offer some relief from life’s miseries.
Yet without any real hope for a better future, there is unlikely to be any genuine long-term incentive to give up the short-term relief on offer through using drugs. To return to Sarah’s story, imagine what her life would look like without heroin — the emotions and moods she must live with, the loneliness and anger, the self-harm, the problematic relationships, the utter lack of any self-esteem or hope for the future. Does this life give her any reason to quit?"
"See, our place cards had been rubber-stamped with either a cartoon cow or fish to indicate what we were having for dinner, and guests were grouped on their place cards as couples, rather than as individuals. On my left, my father and his longtime girlfriend shared a place card stamped with a cow and a fish. To my right, my brother and his longtime girlfriend had two pink cows, stamped side by side. On and on around the table, little cows and fish, holding hands, dancing, gazing at each other, contemplating their futures. And the image on my own card — a lone cow in the middle of a vast white space — stared out at me in this lost way that inspired laughter in the moment and tears later on that night. It was then that I realized that at most family events over the course of my life, the only people who have been reliably alone have been my 55-year-old Aunt Zoey and me. She has been a Lone Cow for as long as I can remember, and it’s important to note that her aloneness has not been by choice."
Remember the words of Carl Rogers, the psychologist, “the most personal is the most universal.” People who share with me their experiences often qualify what they say. “Oh, it was a nightmare for me but of course nothing compared to what happened to you.”
What I say to them is, if I drowned in 60 feet of water, and you in 30, is there really a difference? We both drowned."
I have a coworker who complains a lot that she's so oooooooold. She's pretty much acting like my grandma did in her 80's. Whereas other folks I know around her age are bouncing around and doing things. HMMMM.
"The men in the experimental group were told not merely to reminisce about this earlier era, but to inhabit it — to “make a psychological attempt to be the person they were 22 years ago,” she told me. “We have good reason to believe that if you are successful at this,” Langer told the men, “you will feel as you did in 1959.” From the time they walked through the doors, they were treated as if they were younger. The men were told that they would have to take their belongings upstairs themselves, even if they had to do it one shirt at a time.
Each day, as they discussed sports (Johnny Unitas and Wilt Chamberlain) or “current” events (the first U.S. satellite launch) or dissected the movie they just watched (“Anatomy of a Murder,” with Jimmy Stewart), they spoke about these late-'50s artifacts and events in the present tense — one of Langer’s chief priming strategies. Nothing — no mirrors, no modern-day clothing, no photos except portraits of their much younger selves — spoiled the illusion that they had shaken off 22 years.
At the end of their stay, the men were tested again. On several measures, they outperformed a control group that came earlier to the monastery but didn’t imagine themselves back into the skin of their younger selves, though they were encouraged to reminisce. They were suppler, showed greater manual dexterity and sat taller — just as Langer had guessed. Perhaps most improbable, their sight improved. Independent judges said they looked younger. The experimental subjects, Langer told me, had “put their mind in an earlier time,” and their bodies went along for the ride.
The results were almost too good. They beggared belief. “It sounded like Lourdes,” Langer said. Though she and her students would write up the experiment for a chapter in a book for Oxford University Press called “Higher Stages of Human Development,” they left out a lot of the tantalizing color — like the spontaneous touch-football game that erupted between heretofore creaky seniors as they waited for the bus back to Cambridge. And Langer never sent it out to the journals. She suspected it would be rejected."
Here's the funny thing: even though she didn't publish this, the BBC did a recreation of it as a TV show. It was kind of the 1975 version of Manor House or whatever recreation show you ever watched. Same kind of awesome results.
"As an example, she points to a study she conducted in a hair salon in 2009. She got the idea from a study undertaken nearly a decade earlier by three scientists who looked at more than 4,000 subjects over two decades and found that men who were bald when they joined the study were more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who kept their hair. The researchers couldn’t be sure what explained the link, though they suspected that androgens (male hormones including testosterone) could be affecting both scalp and prostate. Langer had another theory: “Baldness is a cue for old age,” she says. “Therefore, men who go bald early in life may perceive themselves as older and may consequently be expected to age more quickly.” And those expectations may actually lead them to experience the effects of aging. To explore this relationship between expectations of aging and physiological signs of health, Langer and her colleagues designed the hair-salon study. They had research assistants approach 47 women, ranging in age from 27 to 83, who were about to have their hair cut, colored or both. They took blood-pressure readings. After the subjects’ hair was done, they filled out a questionnaire about how they felt they looked, and their blood pressure was taken again. In a paper published in 2010 in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, they reported that the subjects who perceived themselves as looking younger after the makeover experienced a drop in blood pressure."
"This is what sceptics naively misunderstand about spiritual ‘authenticity’. Creative fabrication, intentional or not, is part of the spiritual tradition, as is the necessity of some sort of studied engagement (after all, Gandhi did not just wake up one morning sitting in full lotus position). If yoga, chanting, and meditation practices have any power outside their strictly traditional contexts, then that power emerges from the practices themselves as they mutate over time. The point is that while sincere and skilled teachers are great, even an unethical blowhard can teach you to circulate energy through your body. As the Christian Church realised almost two millennia ago, the power of the sacraments does not ultimately depend on the spiritual purity of the priest. Similarly, a preacher who has lost his faith can still lead a devoted congregation in prayer. At the close of Kumaré, and before the Great Revealing, a yoga instructor who has imbibed Kumaré’s teachings, describes passing on the blue-light meditation to her students, and how good it feels to be part of a ‘lineage’. This might or might not be pathetic — but it is how alternative spirituality, not to say a lot of religion, already works. Gandhi is more of an insider than he allows.
"I do look a little different in jeans and t-shirts than my male counterparts, though, and that means I have a few extra considerations to make when I’m picking out an outfit. Before conferences, I actively go through all of my t-shirts and try to make sure to select one that fits just right. Not too tight. Not too short. If I lift my arms up, will my midriff be showing? That’s not acceptable. Are the sleeves too short? Should I wear something underneath so that my bare arms don’t look too lascivious? As you can see in the photo above, I’ve chosen to wear a long-sleeved button-up shirt underneath my t-shirt. The t-shirt in question just so happens to have a logo for a popular videogame on it, to prove that I know what videogames are and I’m not just “some PR girl”—but it’s not too overstated, so I don’t look like I’m trying too hard to prove myself. I’m also wearing jeans. You can’t see it, but I’m wearing sneakers as well. Always sneakers.
By now, you might be thinking, “wow, Maddy, you’re totally over-thinking this.” Maybe it wouldn’t matter if I wore a t-shirt that was a little too tight…or if I wore a shirt that was ill-fitting, baggy, and thus made me look “unprofessional.”
I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure it does matter. People care how women look. They care altogether too much, in my opinion, but there’s nothing I can do about that system besides attempt to work within it to my advantage.
Here’s my real problem, though…and I should warn you, it’s way, way, WAY stupider than the fact that I keep over-thinking which t-shirt I’m going to wear with which pair of jeans every time I go to an industry conference.
I HATE WEARING JEANS AND T-SHIRTS.
If you see me at any other outing or party, at any other time in my life, you’ll figure this out about me really fast. I love pleated skirts, especially with lace and ruffles. I own tights in every color of the rainbow. I have so many different knee-high socks that I have not one, not two, but THREE drawers of stockings alone. I have a whole other drawer just for slips. High heels? Uh, obviously. Tutus? Petticoats? Bloomers? In multiple lengths, sizes and colors, thank you very much. And don’t even get me started on hair ribbons. Eyeliner shades. Eyeshadows. I love it all."
If I were in gaming (which thank god, I never will be), I'd be this girl.
"There have been parking disasters, nuclear meltdowns, office injuries, take your pet to work day, office parties, and more. An iguana population has claimed sovereign territory of the fourth floor--before the lizards were all made redundant."
"It’s being ignored. It’s other team members looking on when the disrespect occurs, afraid to challenge it and defend those lower on the totem pole. These are the acts that affect our state of mind in small but cumulative ways. This is the stuff that creates a culture.
You learn to deal. This is how it is. That’s the system. It’s ingrained. You excuse bad behaviour with the platitude: ‘That’s just the way (s)he is.’ You appreciate from your elders that it could be much worse – at least they can’t throw scalpels at you anymore. You make allies and whisper in solidarity with those in the trenches alongside you. You train yourself, just as they advised you on your very first day, to wear a raincoat. You start to wear it, and it becomes thicker as your training progresses. You add boots and an umbrella. Then, as you get better and more confident, perhaps you become impatient with the inevitable lack of expertise in the new trainees. Maybe in a few years, you start to rain on others.
It’s not that jerky personalities are reserved for those at the top. There are nice people and mean people at every rank. But in a system dependent on the proper functioning of hierarchy, it works like this: when anger and intimidation flow down, information stops flowing up. The chain of communication becomes clogged.
Meanwhile, newer research by Alan Rosenstein and Michelle O’Daniel at the healthcare alliance VHA West Coast in California has identified a pervasive trend in which nurses are reluctant to call physicians – even as a patient deteriorates. Some of the most popular reasons provided, according to their research? Intimidation. Fear of confrontation. Concerns about retaliation.
When someone is unpleasant or demeaning, something switches in the minds of those on the receiving end: they sacrifice honest communication to save face. I’ve seen it in action so many times that the pattern has become predictable. Preoccupied with fear of appearing incompetent, team members keep uncertainties under wraps."
"When four managers were tasked with deciding whether to make the launch despite engineer warnings about the risks created by a cold temperature launch, three managers voted to launch and one remained unsure.
When the group leader told the manager cautioning against the launch it was "time to take off his engineering hat and put on his management hat," he caved.
What happens when individuals hesitate to voice concerns or challenge problem decisions and when groups take risks individuals would wisely avoid?"
"Suddenly it’s a stealth game with nowhere to hide, one with hundreds of respawning enemies waiting to attack you the moment you make a noise or stand out in any way whatsoever. The enemy AI is sophisticated and unpredictable; it studies your weaknesses and moves to exploit them. Instead of shitting fireballs at you, your foes bombard you with unrelenting abuse. Reach the higher difficulty stages without dying (by your own hand) and this could graduate to blood-curdling death threats.
"I named my team the Exemplars. At the draft, which took place at our annual family gathering in Lake Chelan, Washington, the other “owners” joked that, had they known my strategy, they would have planned a team of felons and convicts and called them the Criminals. All agreed that I would never win. Fantasy football teams score points when their players score touchdowns and gain yards; there are no points for helping old ladies cross the street.
Right before I’d announce each pick I’d ask the room, “is he ethical?” It became quickly apparent that everyone knew who wasn’t “ethical,” but not necessarily who was. I did the best I could and as it turns out my team was quite competitive these first two weeks; I won handily in week one."