December 18th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

It is a matter not of putting poetry at the service of revolution, but rather of putting revolution at the service of poetry

Guy Debord

December 18th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Even the titles of Knopfler’s most famous work—“Sultans of Swing,” Brothers in Arms, and so on—are galvanized by a sense of outnumbered camaraderie and the idea that bands, musical or otherwise, are the social bodies in which we find our best selves.

December 17th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

A paragraph to make you feel lazy: Smith, who is 28, decided to become an English-Korean translator when she completed her undergraduate degree at the age of 21, and saw the lack of translators in the field. She had not learned any foreign languages before, but moved to Korea to achieve her dream. She went on to win the Man Booker International prize for translating Han Kang’s novel The…

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December 16th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink


From here:

“Following many days of investigation and many interviews this morning
detectives from the sheriffs office rearrested Marlon Coy for multiple
counts of arson and for causing the bear fire,” says Santa Cruz County
Sheriff Investigations Commander Lt. Todd Liberty. 

“County Sheriff Investigations Commander Lt. Todd Liberty” is the most American name I’ve ever heard.

“Most British name” still goes to Dudley Marjoribanks, 1st Baron Tweedmouth, who first bred the Golden Retriever

Ridiculous yet effective ways to deal with Executive Dysfunction

December 16th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink


Dealing with
executive dysfunction and ADHD becomes so much easier when you stop trying to
do things the way you feel like you should
be able to do them (like everyone else) and start finding ways that
actually work for you, no matter how “silly” or “unnecessary”
they seem.

years my floor was constantly covered in laundry. Clean laundry got
mixed in with dirty and I had to wash things twice, just making more
work for myself. Now I just have 3 laundry bins: dirty (wash it
later), clean (put it away later), and mystery (figure it out later).
Sure, theoretically I could sort my clothes into dirty or clean as
soon as I take them off and put them away straight
out of the dryer, but
realistically that’s never going to be a sustainable strategy for me.

many garbage bins do you need in a bedroom? One? WRONG! The correct
answer is one within arms reach at all times. Which for me is three.
Because am I really going to
get up to blow my nose when I’m hyperfocusing? NO. In
allergy season I even have
an empty kleenex box for “used
tissues I can use again.”
Kinda gross? Yeah. But less gross than a
snowy winter landscape of dusty germs on my

used to be late all the time
because I couldn’t find my house key. But it costs $2.50 and 3
minutes to copy a key, so now there’s one in my backpack, my purse,
my gym bag, my wallet, my desk, and hanging on my door. Problem

like a ninja for getting pout the door past reminder notes without noticing. If I really don’t want to forget something, I make a
physical barrier in front of my door. A
sticky note is a lot easier to walk past than a two foot high
cardboard box with my wallet on top of it.

Executive dysfunction is always going to cause challenges, but often half the struggle is trying to cope by pretending not to have executive dysfunction, instead of finding actual solutions.

This is a ridiculously useful collection of tips, plus general attitude

Have you ever considered writing a step-by-step tutorial for, um, being a really patient, understanding, and compassionate person? You’ve given some advice here and there, but I’m not sure how actionable some people might find that. Sorry if I’m not making much sense. Basically, something like a twelve-step plan but for impatient, non-understanding, prone-to-hostility people who want to fix that, rather than for alcoholics?

December 15th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink


I am not sure that I actually have more advice than I wrote here. I can try to break down specific parts of that if you think that’d be helpful to you but I don’t have a great instinct for which parts to break down.

Oh, I guess, come to think of it, here’s an internal conversation I had this afternoon which might be useful for people who’d like to develop the internal habits I have?

Do you actually have any personal stakes or politics, or do you just aggressively want everyone NOT to have rights to voice theirs?” 

  • ????are they. asking whether I have a personal stake in Adderall gatekeeping? 
    • aside from the five years of hell I went through partially because it was way, way too hard to get help and I didn’t believe I was disabled enough to need it? which could have just not happened in a society that said ‘trouble concentrating? here are some solutions and their advantages/disadvantages’. 
      • yeah, wow I hate letting everyone else get to voice their opinions. that is why I have spent all day publishing and responding to asks arguing that Adderall gatekeeping is the only thing holding us back from cyberpunk dystopia. 
    • okay I do not actually know if that’s what the ask meant, it is very weirdly worded. If I reply like that and then it turns out they meant, dunno, that they feel like you can’t say anything bad about drugs because it’s Bad For The Cause… then they’d come back, expecting a reply, and read me yelling at them for stuff they didn’t say. 
    • (this makes that cease to seem tempting)

Keep reading

This is a great illustration of just how much damn work it is to keep your emotions in line and talk yourself down from snapping at people.

new favorite brand of humor:

December 14th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink



mixing different kinds of scales, such as:

  • The Scoville-Schmidt scale, for measuring how many wasps you can eat
  • The Schmidt-Fujita scale, for measuring wasp storms
  • The Kinsey-Kardashev scale, for measuring how gay a civilization is
  • The Mohs-Scoville scale, for how measuring hard a pepper is
  • The Mohs-Kinsey scale, for measuring how glam you are
  • The Kardashev-Scoville scale, for measuring how civilized a pepper is

The Sapir-Simpson scale, for measuring the wind speed of a linguistic mode of thought

  • The Kinsey-Richter scale is used to distinguish geology from divine retribution
  • The pH-blues scale tells you how acid your jazz is
  • The Mel-Mohs scale measures how hard you are rocking

December 14th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink


Children’s rights is a hard problem but I think as a first pass at a solution I want, like, a shelter in every city that is warm, quiet, only for kids, and can provide you your own bedroom and three meals a day, no questions asked, they will never force you to leave. The police would drop you off there if you asked, and hospitals would discharge you to there if you asked.

And there’d be social workers there to help and they’d attempt to do all the things our foster care system normally does, but with it understood that of course they can’t make you leave and of course you can come right back.

This would be very expensive but probably not more expensive than schools and I think it’s just as important. And I do not think many kids in an abusive home will report their parents as long as we’re offering anything short of this.

December 13th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Warnock’s dilemma, named for its originator Bryan Warnock, is the problem of interpreting a lack of response to a posting in a virtual community….The dilemma arises because a lack of response does not necessarily imply that no one is interested in the topic, but could also mean for example that readers find the content to be exceptionally good (leaving nothing for commenters to add).

December 12th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

This glossary of comedy-writer jargon captures some of the dynamics of any attempt at group creativity:

Scales – the first hour or so on a writing session, when everyone’s flexing their muscles, usually with the most inappropriate and unbroadcastable material [via Jason Hazeley]. If the writers gathered in the room aren’t all acquainted, scales are a good quick way to get the measure of each other. Once in the 90s, me and Kevin were working on a mainstreamish ITV pilot, during which we had an ideas session with Kim Fuller, who we hadn’t met before. We immediately embarked on some weird and completely unbroadcastable flights of fancy about the IRA – who were still active at the time. There were some ITV execs in the room; they looked increasingly ashen, imagining that this was the sort of stuff we would write for the show. They didn’t know we were doing scales.

Not This But – via David Baddiel. When you suggest something obvious, crap, or half-formed, hoping that it’ll get the idea ball rolling and lead to something better. An essential writing tool. Saurabh Kakkar has a slightly different meaning: for him it’s a placeholder line suggested in the room prefaced by ‘not this but…’, which inexplicably makes it in to the final show.

December 11th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

“To be safe though, do not get in a car if more than one person is driving“

Yes, Wikivoyage Kazakhstan, I feel that is fair advice.


December 11th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

My interactions with German TV have been hindered by the problem that I _really_ don’t like watching crime series. Krimis make up a good 80% of German drama output, and demand for them remains insatiable.

So Blaumacher, the drama I’ve been watching over the weekend, gets some sympathy just by not involving a homicide.

What it _does_ involve is: Frank, middle-aged and dissatisfied, who rediscovers…

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December 10th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

“As well as initiating women’s boxing in Germany, with Marlene Dietrich,
she published a novel or two every year from 1919 to 1957“

That would be Vicki Baum, who IMO led a sufficiently interesting life. I hope that up in Queer Heaven, she’s hanging out with Oscar Wilde and the rest of the quiltbag boxers.

I thought all families did that

December 9th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Here’s a twitter thread on odd family customs – stuff you assume is universal until you realise it really isn’t:

We would have arguments in the form of long, formal letters that we would then hand to each other stone-faced. Turns out that’s not a casual thing in the rest of society.

And some more from MetaFilter

For years when I was a kid we had family meetings every Sunday. We would go over the minutes from the previous week’s meeting, update on old and new business, then everyone had to take a turn saying one thing they were proud of for the week and one compliment for everyone else. Then we would wrap it up with a family song.

We lived in a flight path, so conversations would often be interrupted for five to ten seconds. It’s less obvious that the plane is coming when you’re on the phone, so we trained our friends that when we said “Plane”, they might as well stop talking. That percolated out into live conversations – see something distracting? Say “Plane” and everyone pauses and looks where you’re looking. It’s very useful when you don’t want to make it obvious that you’re staring at something.

One of my good friends in college came from a family whose tradition was to shake hands with everyone in the car when crossing state lines. Imagine her surprise and everyone else’s confusion the first time she tried this with a group of us our sophomore year.

My brothers and I were all assigned colours, and everything we had was that colour: towels, cups, toothbrush, game piece when playing board games. My first roommate seemed horrified when he learned that I’d never used a green mug, though it is my favourite color.

My parents sing “Roll On, Columbia!” every time they drive across the Columbia River. If my sisters and I aren’t with them, whichever one of them isn’t driving will text it to us so that I we know it’s happening.

In rare moments of family gaiety we’d devide into two teams and have a relay race down the hall to the hall bathroom where we’d slap the toilet lid and race back. There was no specified end or time limit, you just kept going unti people fell out laughing.

Whenever passing bread or pancakes at the table, we always slapped each other in the face with a slice or cake.

Every school year we were granted 3 Pick Days. These were spent on a day of our choosing, no questions asked. We were allowed to skip school that day.

December 8th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink



“The lightning first hit nearby trees and was deflected into the open window of the truck. The strike knocked Sullivan unconscious and burned off his eyebrows and eyelashes, and set his hair on fire. The uncontrolled truck kept moving until it stopped near a cliff edge.”

Not sure whether the world record holder for having been struck by lightning the most times was extremely lucky or extremely unlucky

“Although he never was a fearful man, after the fourth strike he began to believe that some force was trying to destroy him and he acquired a fear of death. For months, whenever he was caught in a storm while driving his truck, he would pull over and lie down on the front seat until the storm passed. He also began to believe that he would somehow attract lightning even if he stood in a crowd of people, and carried a can of water with him in case his hair was set on fire.”

I suppose it makes sense that he would end up with some paranoia and weird superstitions.

His emergency “hair on fire” water can turned out useful the next year, when the lightning struck again:

Still conscious, Sullivan crawled to his truck and poured the can of
water, which he always kept there, over his head, which was on fire

Ist das Kunst oder kann das weg?

November 30th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m convinced that the Berlin street cleaners are Kreuzberg’s best art critics.

Around here, a good portion of our social commentary comes scrawled on mattresses and left in the streets, thanks to Sozi36.

The cleaners seem to work to some kind of hierarchy. Actual junk gets cleared away within a couple of days. Most of sozi36’s mattresses stick around for a week or so. But the really good stuff stays for a loong time. Like this, probably my all-time favourite:

It’s beautiful in its own right, with the words ‘Love is also important’ being torn to shreds. And as a reaction to Banksy’s picture-shredding, it is perfect:

This has been up in my street for perhaps 3 weeks now. The less-interesting mattress in the background (“fit in, function, get ahead, need to…then better lick ass”) went pretty quickly. And maybe the street cleaners just didn’t have the equipment to detach the mattress from its post. I’d like to think, though, that they decided it was good enough to stick around for a few weeks more



What would Goethe think?

November 10th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m in the process of preparing for a German language exam. So I’m
spending a lot more time with textbooks and mock exams, rather than just
writing shit and talking to people.

And…it’s been a bit of a
shock how aggressively dull the material is, especially the exams. I’m
not sure if it’s a Goethe-Institute thing, or a requirement of the
qualifications, or maybe just bad luck of which books I bought. But it
feels like the yardstick of language competence is whether you can
comment on finance and employment statistics.

I don’t remember
school being like this. Language classes were always an opportunity to
talk about whatever interested you. Even the exams were like that: I’d
expect there to be some question about art or culture or literature, or
one you could twist to take off in your own direction. Sure, there would
be a practical “prepare for a job interview” part as well, but only
within its own limits. Or maybe my memories are unrealistically

Anyway, it kind of took the wind out of my sails. I’m
going to be spending a lot of time with this stuff in the coming weeks,
and I had hoped I’d be able to enjoy it.


July 9th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

My interactions with German TV have been hindered by the problem that I really don’t like watching crime series. Krimis make up a good 80% of German drama output, and demand for them remains insatiable.

So Blaumacher, the drama I’ve been watching over the weekend, gets some sympathy just by not involving a homicide.

What it does involve is: Frank, middle-aged and dissatisfied, who rediscovers life thanks to his friendship with 21-year old Sasha. You’ll be shocked to hear that Sasha is quirkily intense, dyes her hair, and dresses mostly in bra, miniskirt and not much else.

The Manic-Pixie tropes play out fairly predictably. Frank has a standard mid-life-crisis sampler-pack – sports car and vintage guitars – which are dull until he has a (hot, young) friend to show them off to. Sasha has an in-your-face attitude which, shockingly, turns out to be a cover for her acute vulnerability.

The secondary characters are straight from central casting. Frank’s children squabble, his wife has an affair with her fitness instructor, his job is a meaningless charade.

There are a few good moments, if you can accept the predictability and just go along for the ride. I’m still going to watch to the end – there are only 6 episodes. But I wouldn’t recommend Blaumacher unless you are desperately in need of a manic pixie dream-girl.

December 22nd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


This is a video about how people used to walk in the middle ages, and how it changed around the 1500s when people started wearing a different kind of shoes.

As somebody who spent his childhood being told off for walking on his toes: this is AMAZING. I feel physically validated.

October 7th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

A paragraph to make you feel lazy:

Smith, who is 28, decided to become an English-Korean translator when she completed her undergraduate degree at the age of 21, and saw the lack of translators in the field. She had not learned any foreign languages before, but moved to Korea to achieve her dream.

She went on to win the Man Booker International prize for translating Han Kang’s novel The Vegetarian.