Learning to live with the given is the great humbling educational process of life. And I’ve had a sufficiency of education this past year.

—David Milch, creator of Deadwood and Luck, "The Men Behind the Curtain: A GQ Roundtable”

I could easily hear this coming out of a very weary Doc Cochran.

Londo Mollari, on Drinking on the Job

  • Londo: You are sure you will not have a drink?
  • Mr. Endawi: Not while I am on duty.
  • Londo: There you see, we Centauri are always on duty. Duty to the Republic, to our houses, to one another. And so, we have made the practice of joy another duty. One that must be pursued as vigorously as the others. You should try sometime.
  • —Babylon 5, "Matters of Honor"

1. Improv will save your life.

I don’t mean this literally, but I do mean that studying improv forces you to follow your gut, and that’s something that I think, nine out of ten times, serves you better than ruminating about something, on stage OR in life. Almost every time I’ve ignored my gut instinct I’ve regretted it, in my personal life or my career. The problem is that thoughts like, “Make sure not to make anyone mad!”, or “That won’t work, no one does it like that.” etc etc, have gotten in the way of hearing that instinct’s voice clearly. Training myself to RECOGNIZE that my gut is talking to me, and dismiss those “logical” thoughts that squash it, has been an ongoing process for me this year, but one that, now I’m conscious of it, has let me make decisions faster and made me more secure and decisive. And headed off a few disasters during production!

Felicia Day, "Five Things of 2010." All five tips are well worth reading.

It was a wonderful experience, I’ll never forget it. [Director] Frank Perry came out to my house. I was living out in Encino, and I had this big hacienda with my studio built onto my house, and my buddies—Fred and my drummer and my bass player—we just all went into the studio and stayed there for a couple of days and watched Doc. Doc isn’t one of those fancy underscored Hans Zimmer type of things. We were basically just supposed to be a band in a saloon. Most of what we played was saloon music. There was a waltz we did for Faye Dunaway and Stacy Keach; there were some moving things. We did a lot of it on old Hollywood combinations of instruments, like a tuba and one violin and one clarinet and a piano. If you think about old movies and the scores, they didn’t have huge orchestras at first. And then we would play a lot of it, especially this one thing, “The Missouri Waltz.” We cut it onto an acetate, and we played the acetate, and we recorded what came out of the speaker, and it had all the cracks and pops and imperfections of an old, old, old Edison phonograph, and that’s the way it appears on the soundtrack. That’s the kind of thing I used to do. That’s what I mean by not being branded. I’m prouder than punch of that. It’s just exactly what I wanted it to sound like, and I just think it fits. It makes the whole thing sound like it’s happening a hundred years ago.

—Songwriter Jimmy Webb, interviewed in rich detail at The Onion AV Club.

If he’d stopped at “Wichita Lineman,” he’d be ranked a legend. Nope. “MacArthur Park,” “Galveston,” “Up, Up and Away,” “The Worst That Could Happen,” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.” Got-damn!

Childhoodlessness, being obviously suspect on a résumé, would give birth to an industry providing faux adolescences, expensively retro-inserted, the creation of which would gainfully employ a great many writers of fiction. So there would be a silver lining of sorts.

The dry wit of William Gibson.

"Google’s Earth," NYT, September 1, 2010

william gibson   quotes   nyt  

To win, it is necessary to accept lost positions.
Bent Larsen, Danish chess grandmaster, 1935–2010

(Source: The New York Times)

"You have so many amazing and beautiful things here. I don’t know how you can remember them all."

"The trick is not to try and remember. You learn what the ingredients are and how to use them, what to mix or never to mix. You learn how to distill the essence and find the true heart of each ingredient and potion. As you learn those things, you learn the names and the methods, which books are good for one type of potion, which instruments produce the best results. You don’t try to remember. You just learn. Once you’ve done that, your hands will remember what to take and what to use and which books to open."

Vidocq, an alchemist, to Allegra, a normal, in Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim.

This resembles many of the answers I received to my various questions from designers about how to best use Photoshop. When I would watch these folks work, I could see they’d done a lot of experimentation in what to mix or never to mix, and that their hands remembered quite a bit of it.

Fun book so far. I’m forcing myself to digest it in bites rather than stay up until two devouring it. It has richly rewarded such care.