Stuff I wish my 40 year old self could tell my 20 year old self (assuming I'd listen)

1. Don't expect things will just happen for you. Even modest achievements require extraordinary patience and determination. An Oscar? A Pulitzer? And a Nobel? Really? How about you start by making sure you shower every day. 

2. Living according to an ideology requires sacrifice, including eventually sacrificing the ideology. 

3. Don't paint the living room canary yellow and burgundy. 

4. You will eventually care less what people think about you and more about how you make them feel. 

5. Clever and intelligent are not the same thing. You are neither. 

6. Enjoy the 1990s. 

7. Medically speaking, you are the correct body weight. From here you will lose thirty pounds and gain seventy. Through it all you will still feel fat. 

8. Listen more (see point 4). 

9. You can't actually grow a beard yet. Stop trying. 

10. Moderation is important: especially when mixing valium and alcohol. 

Found in Translation

Here are some lines from famous French poems spoken into an i-phone's standard dictation software set to English. The results speak for themselves.

Original poem: L'isolement by Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869)

Souvent, sur la montagne, à l’ombre du vieux chêne, 
Au coucher du soleil, tristement je m’assieds; 
Je promène au hazard mes regards sur la plaine, 
Dont le tableau changeant se déroule à mes pieds.


Swivel Tanya could use you Chin
should use your day is tomorrow
from us reply and then was shut up
then delete the blue Shoals also deal

I meet you

Original poem: L'Amour, by Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859)

Vous demandez si l'amour rend heureuse; 
Il le promet, croyez-le, fût-ce un jour. 
Ah! pour un jour d'existence amoureuse, 
Qui ne mourrait? la vie est dans l'amour.


All alarms Oedipal me call you soon. 
Leupold me call you susu.
Pool viva and he was.
Key no more I love you you don't move.

The Bag, Micro Fiction

She parked the stroller, sat down and noticed the plastic bag on the bench beside her. She looked around. The food court was packed. Whoever forgot the bag would probably be back soon.

She pulled a sausage roll from its paper sack. The boy opened and closed his little fists. “You want some?” she said.

She tore the roll in two with her fingers, sending pastry flakes tumbling onto the table. She squeezed ketchup onto the roll and handed half of it to the little boy. He sucked on it, his one tooth circling the meat inside. She used a napkin to gather the fallen pastry flakes towards the side of the table.

Again she looked at the bag.

It was plain white, no branding. The bag looked full, sharp corners stretched the plastic from underneath, suggesting something hard and rectangular inside. A shoebox?

It was lunchtime and the mall filled with workers from the surrounding office towers. People poured down the escalator. Lineups formed at the fast-food kiosks.

She leaned forward on her chair, straining to look inside the bag. A brown cardboard box was stuffed inside. Who forgets a pair of shoes?

The boy grinned, his cheeks pink and sticky with tomato sauce.

Should she tell someone? Who? What would she say?

She scanned the food court. A falafel shop. A juice bar. A Vietnamese noodle place. Teenagers with patchy beards.

Don’t be ridiculous.

A phone rang. Two people checked their pockets.

She cocked her head to examine the bag from underneath. Was it heavy? Did it leave a deeper impression on the vinyl bench than… what? A pair of shoes? A small vase? Why wasn’t the box wrapped?

A cloud dimmed the sun streaming through the skylight.

The boy dropped his roll. He peered over the restraining bar of his stroller and looked down at the shiny floor. He opened and closed his hands.

“You can’t have it now. It’s yucky.”

The boy cried.

There was an exit over there. But the stroller wouldn’t fit on the escalator. Where was the lift?

He probably needed changing anyway. And he could sleep in the car.