“I didn’t want him to know the truth: that I was 39 and hadn’t had a serious boyfriend in eight years. I had seen men balk at this information before — even when the numbers were lower. They would look at me in a cool and curious way, as if I were a restaurant with too few customers, a house that had been listed for too long. One man actually said it: “What’s wrong with you?”—Sometimes, It’s Not You
“The coach provides the outside eyes and ears, and makes you aware of where you’re falling short. This is tricky. Human beings resist exposure and critique; our brains are well defended. So coaches use a variety of approaches—showing what other, respected colleagues do, for instance, or reviewing videos of the subject’s performance. The most common, however, is just conversation.”—Personal Best: Top athletes and singers have coaches. Should you?
“The world’s great powers have long declared themselves through their rail lines and on June 30 the Chinese made their bid for supremacy, with the first official run of a $32 billion high-speed line between Shanghai and Beijing. Faster and sleeker than any other, the needle-nosed CRH380A symbolizes China’s accelerating pace, even as it faces questions about safety, and taps into an ancient rivalry with Japan.”—How Fast Can China Go? (via chinatowndo)
“World of Warcraft is, by any measure, the most popular video game in history. The game is systemically based upon three pillars: customization, randomness, and looting. The more you customize, the better you can control the randomness. The more you loot (and then customize), the better you can control the randomness. In WoW, every player runs around, randomly initiating encounters, the outcomes of which they have looted and customized to better control. All the while the WoW motherbrain is rolling its internal 20-sided die and determining the fates of its players. Millions of people consider this fun.
Of course, we have Dungeons & Dragons to thank for these fictional experiences overtly governed by statistics, in which you roll to see if you hit the Quickling, evade the whirlpool, slay the Boalisk. The 20-sided die was what enabled those who played Dungeons & Dragons to trust one another. Not even the Dungeon Master him- or herself [sic] was as unimpeachable as the good old D20. This unquestioned trust in the D20 was profound — and profoundly shaped what eventually became video-game design. What the D20 hath wrought is, I believe, a big part of what is ruining many video games.”—Tom Bissel, “Video Games Killed the Video-Game Star”
“Nothing about Buscemi’s physical presence suggests the poetic lineaments of masculine film glamour. He is pale, almost pallid-as if he’d been reared in a mushroom cellar. In a certain light, he can look cadaverous. His eyes are large and bulgy, with a hint of melancholy. When he smiles, his mouth displays a shantytown of uneven, uncapped teeth. And yet that unprepossessing ordinariness is what makes Buscemi captivating as a performer. It gives him the unmistakable stamp of the authentic, and it helps to explain his emergence over the past two decades as an icon of independent films.”—The Thin Man: A profile of Steve Buscemi (2005)
“A monoculture doesn’t mean that everyone believes exactly the same thing or acts in exactly the same way, but that we end up sharing key beliefs and assumptions that direct our lives. Because a monoculture is mostly left unarticulated until it has been displaced years later, we learn its boundaries by trial and error. We somehow come to know how the mater story goes, though no one tells us exactly what the story is or what its rules are.”—Monoculture: How Our Era’s Dominant Story Shapes Our Lives
“A hangover peaks when alcohol that has been poured into the body is finally eliminated from it—that is, when the blood-alcohol level returns to zero. The toxin is now gone, but the damage it has done is not. By fairly common consent, a hangover will involve some combination of headache, upset stomach, thirst, food aversion, nausea, diarrhea, tremulousness, fatigue, and a general feeling of wretchedness. Scientists haven’t yet found all the reasons for this network of woes, but they have proposed various causes.”—A Few Too Many: Is there any hope for the hung over? (2008)
“In the last decade, no organ of music criticism has wielded as much influence as Pitchfork. It is the only publication, online or print, that can have a decisive effect on a musician or band’s career. This has something to do with the site’s diligently cultivated readership: no genre’s fans are more vulnerable to music criticism than the educated, culturally anxious young people who pay close attention to indie rock.”—n+1: Pitchfork, 1995–present
“While there’s always danger in generalizing a whole group of people, I do think some experiences are somewhat universal to being a teenager, specifically a female one. Rookie is a place to make the best of the beautiful pain and cringe-worthy awkwardness of being an adolescent girl. When it becomes harder to appreciate these things, we also have good plain fun and visual pleasure. When you’re sick of having to be happy all the time, we have lots of eye-rolling rants, too.”—Tavi’s Editor’s Letter
“Viewing all this from under his duvet is Dev, unwilling to leave his flat, unable to write songs, tortured and embarrassed by his neuroses, desperate for love and unable to allow closeness. He is a writer of his time, reared by the transparency of social networking and reality TV and so, with brutality he pours sadness and self-loathing into his melodies. There’s nothing new about that, but Hynes’ real gift is in the clarity of his caustic vision of everything before him.”—Pitchfork review of Lightspeed Champion (2008)
“You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life of which I spoke at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being told. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. Or, perhaps, stay and save my life.”—Date An Illiterate Girl