new post: What International Football’s Like, in which a masterfully charming simile is deployed (by a professional English sportswriter, and then block-quoted by me) ⚽️

What International Football’s Like

Heard this in the latest episode of The Guardian‘s Today in Focus podcast (which is consistently excellent, by the way) and loved it so much I transcribed it. Is it 2026 yet?

Hannah Moore (presenter):

Would you have expected [England] to have done better than that [in Group C]? Should they have been more exciting in the group stage?

Barney Ronay (The Guardian‘s chief sports writer):

Well, maybe? But international football’s often like that. I think we’re slightly spoiled by the club game where you see these intensely regulated teams, the amount of briefing and data that these players absorb, they understand every situation they find themselves in.

And international football’s not like that, it’s about feelings. It’s about the emotion of the occasion. It probably doesn’t translate well to television. I have to say, in the stadium, the games here have felt really exciting. They’ve been huge events.

Because international football is basically like Christmas, it’s this kind of disorderly meal, and probably isn’t cooked that well. But it has a great kind of pageantry around it. And you could probably pick it apart, and say: “this turkey’s really dry,” and, “why aren’t the potatoes crispier?” But, you know, someone’s singing a song, and Grandma’s got a hat on, and the dog’s just pushed over the tree. That’s what international football is, so it’s this emotional thing.

That’s from about 11 minutes and 30 seconds in to the episode Euro 2024: is it coming home?. A little rambling (see above), but in a good way.

new project from Molly White: Follow the Crypto; nice intro & explanation in her latest newsletter:

Did you know that the cryptocurrency industry has spent more on 2024 elections in the United States than the oil industry? More than the pharmaceutical industry?

happy first of the month, when we all switch our single AirPod usage from one ear to the other to keep the battery wear even. July is an odd-numbered month so as we all know that means it’s Left’s turn again

Saturday night video: Do It With a Rockstar, by Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra 🎵 🌈

I love this, from Wikipedia: Well he would, wouldn’t he?, “referred to as Mandy Rice-Davies Applies (MRDA)”

[asked during the trial] whether she was aware that Lord Astor had denied having an affair with her; Rice-Davies replied “Well he would, wouldn’t he?”

I really like this idea from Cal Newport that social media is ultra-processed content, analogous to ultra-processed food:

the users of social media platforms simulate something like the food scientist’s ability to break down corn and reconstitute it into hyper-palatable edible food-like substances

Mike Masnick argues that social media can’t be inherently harmful, saying, “The complaints here are with speech.” but while Doritos & Pepsi are (technically) food, that doesn’t mean they’re good for you

AI personified in 1986: Max Headroom in Paranoimia by The Art of Noise 🎵

Poetry, that’ll work
Come, sweet slumber
Enshroud me in thy purple cloak
Hmm, doesn’t even rhyme

another day of Euros, another Ukraine game bizarrely not being shown on any of Fox’s channels. I know it’s paranoid thinking, but I can’t help wondering whether that’s a coincidence from a broadcaster that’s shown perfect willingness to cozy up to the likes of Russia in 2018 & Qatar in 2022 ⚽️

new post: 600 Words About 1,000 Words, in which said writing stunt is found to have been worthwhile (and, thankfully, behind me) 📝

600 Words About 1,000 Words

Last week I completed the writing stunt “1,000 Words of Summer”. Author Jami Attenberg started it a few years ago, pledging with a friend that they’d each write a thousand words every day for two weeks. Their simple accountability agreement went viral, and is now an annual event.

My own writing has been pretty steady lately, but slow. One morning each week I go to a coffeeshop before work and write until it’s time to come home and clock in to my remote job. I often intend to carve out more writing time in the evenings and on weekends, but wind up being too busy, or too tired, or both. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

So I read the 1,000 Words of Summer book, and subscribed to the Substack newsletter, and braced myself. It struck me as a lighter version of NaNoWriMo: just two weeks instead of a full month, and fewer words per day (to write 50,000 words in a November you have to average 1,667 daily words). I thought: I’ve done NaNoWriMo (once), I can do this. Can’t I? I faced the start date, June 1, with worry and a protective shield of ambivalence. We’ll just see; if I don’t do every day, there’s nothing lost.

And then I did it. Every single day, I frickin’ did it. I didn’t always feel like it, but even then I sat my ass down and started. I’ve done that plenty of times before, and some of those times I’ve gotten my ass back up a little while later and given up. On each of these fourteen days, I got going, and, happily, kept going.

The clear, simple goal of 1,000 words made it easier. In a sprint mode like this, for me, the first and last point of the exercise is putting down new words. Are they great words? Are they even good? How many of these will survive revision? Does this idea path I just started down fit logically with that scene from yesterday? Where the hell did this new character come from, and where will they go? Not allowing those questions enables momentum, and avoids all of the harder thinking, planning, and deciding that can stall out a regular writing session.

It’s also just fun, winging it and charging forward like that. Some ideas feel like they come out of my fingers more than my mind, the way they just pop out. I tend to be a plotter, but I also know I can get fenced in by that. This exercise shows the power of being a pantser, even if only in bursts.

I’ve come to realize, however, that the stuff that goes along with 1,000 Words of Summer (and NaNoWriMo, for that matter) doesn’t do much for me. There are communities of people on social media, forums, and Slacks, and there are the books, and for 1,000 Words there’s a daily inspirational email from Attenberg and other accomplished writers. (The book is a compilation of past years’ inspirational emails.) Nothing against those; they just don’t do anything for me. Thanks but unsubscribe.

I’m not going to try to continue this pace – the other thing I found is that I was mildly burned out after day 14 – and I’m not sure how much of these 14,606 new words will remain in this novel, but I’m glad I did this stunt. It reminded me that I can actually sit down and write, even on days when motivation is thin. It also reminded me to worry less about each scene fitting in perfectly, and to have fun.

and… scene! I stopped posting it daily, but I did it: I wrote a thousand words a day for two weeks (Ulysses tells me it’s actually a total of 14,606). I’m glad I did it but I’m glad it’s done. now to figure out what’s next 📝 #1000WordsOfSummer

me, finishing Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club: that was great. I wonder if they’ll make a movie of this

Wikipedia: YA THINK?

Spielberg’s production company bought the global film rights… Osman confirmed… that Helen Mirren would play Elizabeth, Pierce Brosnan would play Ron, & Ben Kingsley would play Ibrahim

📚🍿

The Dead Weather: I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) 🎵

another day, another thousand words: 1,011 today, in which I finally got to make the silly, obscure reference I set up from the start (“better head back to 10-SE, Jed”) 📝 #1000WordsOfSummer

I didn’t get around to posting it yesterday, but I did write: 1,072 words. today, too: 1,016 words. clearly stopping just as soon as I cross the word-count line, but no apologies. six days down, eight to go 📝 #1000WordsOfSummer

I did it again; 4 for 4 so far. 1,143 words today, in which a good cop as well as a bad cop appeared 📝 #1000WordsOfSummer

a long day today, that started with a trip to the dentist for a replacement crown, and only got Monday-er from there. nevertheless, I persisted, and wrote 1,015 words this evening 📝 #1000WordsOfSummer

day 2 of #1000WordsOfSummer, and I felt so little like sitting down to write today, but I did it: 1,002 words. now my murder mystery finally has a dead body 📝

feeling less than complete confidence about managing this every day for the next two weeks, but today, the first day, I did it: 1,005 words written 📝 #1000WordsOfSummer

The Atlantic: Guilty on All Counts

The jury returned with a verdict… after less than 12 hours of deliberation. …Trump is the first current or former president to be tried for any serious crime, and now he is the first to be convicted. Not only that, but he was found guilty on all 34 counts against him.

couldn’t happen to a shittier guy

Warpaint at Mohawk 🎵

going to give #1000WordsOfSummer a shot this year. like a mini NaNoWriMo, it calls for writing 1,000 words a day, for two weeks. starts June 1. not sure I’ll do daily word-count checkins they suggest, but for the sake of non-Twitter social media – maybe! (god help me I may even join the Slack…) 📝

Friday Night Video: Juana Molina, Un Día 🎵

Waxahatchee at ACL Live

Temple of Kukulcan, Chichén Itzá

really appreciating Molly White’s newsletter, “[citation needed]”, and even more so as she expands beyond covering the Web3 trainwreck(s). her latest issue, AI isn’t useless. But is it worth it?, is as well-written as it is well-considered. recommended

for sale: eclipse sunglasses, never worn

(not really true: it was cloudy but we got some cool glimpses despite that) 🌚

Waxahatchee: Bored 🎵

(my spine is also a rotten two-by-four)

enjoying a new trivia podcast: “WikiHole”. it’s hosted by comic actor D’Arcy Carden, with other comedians as contestants, and it’s just crude & silly enough to work 🎙️

Sleater-Kinney at ACL Live 🎵

yay, the Tournament of Books starts today! with a perfectly funky, funny, & earnest judgement 📚

also, a good summary of the thing overall in the match commentary:

We deliberately created a dumb competition with no stakes. It doesn’t matter who wins. Authors are not in competition with one another, and the intention has always been to lift everyone’s boat. I think the Rooster does that. But as with all meaningless competitions, it matters a little.

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