These 38 Reading Rules Changed My Life –

The rule I like is ‘one hundred pages minus your age.’ Say you’re 30 years old—if a book hasn’t captivated you by page 70, stop reading it. So as you age, you have less time to endure crap.

This post comes perilously close to one of those insufferable LinkedIn “if you’re not reading Marcus Aurelius from a beat-up paperback, are you really reading?” humblebrags, but I liked this rule in particular. The older I get, the more likely I am to DNF if a book isn’t holding me.


The Gist: Capital Crimes:

Government ministers had theatrical fits of the vapours at a piece of art depicting the police attending an historical eviction. They needn’t have worried. The image was clearly too subtle.

No artist would be so crude as to simply show the police force of the state standing guard at Bank Machines, protecting money against the people who own it.

And now, no one needs to.

I usually try to avoid anything too political over here, but this whole situation is just too bonkers to ignore, and Simon McGarr’s take is spot on.


Double Fine PsychOdyssey – YouTube

Wait, shit, speaking about Tim Schafer, I just realised that I never linked to Double Fine’s PsychOdyssey when it was released earlier this year! It’s an epic warts-and-all, 6 year long behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Psychonauts 2. The BTS stuff we usually get is part of the promotion of the game, they’d never allow anything bad to be shown. PsychOdyssey shows a company at its best and at its worst and it’s absolutely insane to me that a company would allow itself to be so candid. By the end, I was sobbing. Sobbing.

Honestly, even if you’re not into gamedev, this is worth your time, just because I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like it again.


Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge—The Commentary Tracks

Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer recorded a commentary for the special edition of Monkey Island 2 and now you can listen without having to play through the game. A great rambling conversation with three old friends about the process of making a classic game.


Everyone Is Beautiful and No One Is Horny – Blood Knife:

When revisiting a beloved Eighties or Nineties film, Millennial and Gen X viewers are often startled to encounter long-forgotten sexual content content: John Connor’s conception in Terminator, Jamie Lee Curtis’s toplessness in Trading Places, the spectral blowjob in Ghostbusters. These scenes didn’t shock us when we first saw them. Of course there’s sex in a movie. Isn’t there always?

The answer, of course, is not anymore—at least not when it comes to modern blockbusters

Pretty insane that Oppenheimer, of all films, would be the exception that proves the rule.


Searching for a Search Engine:

DuckDuckGo was encouraging for focusing on privacy, but the quality of results has been underwhelming. Google has seemingly devolved from a genuine search engine to some sort of recommendation engine with low-quality generic “answers” surfaced by scraping content from sites.

Everything has just felt either sleazy, low-quality, or both.

If you’re anything like me and have been feeling pretty bummed out at the state of search on the modern web, you should read this. I hadn’t heard of Kagi before but I’ve been getting some good results from it so far.


Life before cellphones: The barely believable after-work activities of young people in 2002:

It’s incredible how things have changed in the last twenty years.

Sally: You had to plan more ahead and hope it worked out. People didn’t flake as much. There’s no option to text someone 10 minutes before, because you knew they were waiting for you.

Dan: Even if you didn’t feel like it, you just showed up. If you didn’t show up, people would stop inviting you out. And then you would have fun! Or maybe it would suck, but next time would be fun.

Matt: You’d be late or they’d be late and you’d just talk to whoever was there. It was a whole skill, taking to a person you don’t know.


Erin Kissane:

I—a nerd—actually really like Mastodon most of the time, but I would like it so much more and feel like it was doing a lot more good in the world if it were more welcoming and easier to use. When I raise these points on Mastodon, I get a steady stream of replies telling me that everything I’m whining about is actually great, that valuing a “pleasant UI” over the abstraction of federation is shallow and disqualifying, and that that people who find Mastodon difficult don’t belong anyway, so I should “go join Spoutible” or whatever.

And of course this stuff shows up in much worse ways for at least some Black and brown people on Mastodon.

I hate it that I can’t in good conscience encourage Black friends to get on Mastodon, because I know they’re going to be continuously chided by white people if they mention race or criticize anything at all about Mastodon itself. I hate that “a difficult sign-up process keeps out lazy people with bad culture” is a thing in so many Mastodon conversations. (Fun fact, if you hold this idea up to your ear, you can hear them say “sheeple.”)

I feel like Mastodon is a return to the internet of the 2000s, both for good and bad. It’s decentralised, and not owned by a billionaire whose sole metric is “engagement”. But also its interpersonal frictions are like being on Livejournal as a teenager with mods constantly sub-tooting their ongoing dramas and it’s exhausting keeping up with it all. Worse is the old guard of Mastodon who refuse to see the problems with their platforms. I had hoped that the influx of genpop using it in a non-standard way would reluctantly drag the platform into addressing some of its problems (e.g. grassroots quote-toots, even if the software doesn’t actually offer that functionality) but I really don’t know if that’s actually going to happen now.