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dire

I have spent way too much time on this game. Like, I haven’t spent $494.04 on it, but I have whittled away hours of my free time to gather little blue stars and bundles of cash. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is an amazing simulacrum of real life because it’s hard to earn as much money as you need to succeed, and you’re rewarded for spending more and more money. You can move through the game for “free,” but at a glacial pace, because you deplete energy a billion times faster than you can recharge it. Or you can spend real $$$ and just glide through the game on your BRILLIANT MOUNTAINS OF MONEY AND SHINY K STARS. It’s fucking genius because it combines scarcity with clever and addictive consumerism: dressing up your avatar, applying different lipstick colors, switching hairstyles with a flick of your finger. The copywriting is fantastic — it’s witty and concise and instantly understandable, and makes you love/hate the characters you encounter.
At this point, “I” am still a D-List celebrity, but I’m wondering what the hell is the endpoint to this game, besides hitting #1. To gain enough currency to buy everything the game has to offer? To maintain the #1 spot as long as possible? To furnish my residence with every luxury good? Is it even possible to own everything w/o cheating or spending a fuckton of money?
Because the game is, at first, addicting because it’s like a different Second Life thing and it’s SO MUCH FUN playing around with customization, because you’re not “spending” any “real” money. Then you realize that you’re not spending enough fake money; the photographer’s tone is skeptical, your date thinks you basically look like crap, because you’re not wearing a new outfit, because the game knows you’re being Scroogey and trying to trick it by trying a different combo of the clothes you already own. So you work a half-shift or a full shift at the clothing store, which basically means you’re checking your phone/tablet every five to thirty minutes to see if you’ve recharged enough energy to earn more money to buy the new clothes to go on a date or to do some MORE work so you can level up and earn MORE $$/stars to buy some MORE shit and REPEAT THE PROCESS ALL OVER AGAIN. And then, you’re like, WHAT AM I DOING??? Not to mention that each assignment or task or date or whatever allows you a certain amount of time to complete the task (AKA regenerate enough energy to do so), and if you forget to complete it and the timeframe passes, you lose fans, so you better PAY ATTENTION. The game nurtures a low-level anxiety in you.
So, back to the STUFF you can buy. I originally took these screenshots because the tiered pricing continues to baffle me. There seems to be a general order to it: the higher the level, the more expensive/incredibly detailed the items. But sometimes it just appears arbitrary. Like, why is the pink button-up shirt 15 K Stars vs. the other colors, which are $225? Why are there $2000 dresses right next to $300 ones? Is it to confuse us into spending more, à la Forever21, by the overwhelming mass of choices? Why is there a weird lack of shorts and short skirts? Why are there like 30 pairs of skinny jeans, but no yoga leggings?
I think a real selling point is just how quickly you can change your appearance for free. Things that are impossible right now, the ease of which reminds me of how Tyra Banks envisions the future: the color of your skin, your eyes (OK, contacts, but point me to the person who owns eight different colors), hair texture and length, the color of your hair (which also changes the color of your eyebrows!), the SHAPE OF YOUR EYES, FACE, MOUTH, AND NOSE. You can look like ANYTHING… well, within the spectrum that the game provides. Sometimes I wish the eyeshadows applied more, well, transparently. Why can’t I choose shimmery eyeshadow, instead of matte? (HEAVY BREATHING.)
Anyway, I will probably continue to play, and the game will continue to make yacht-loads of money, and I will ponder more petty questions, and maybe earn enough to adopt that freaking cat.

I have spent way too much time on this game. Like, I haven’t spent $494.04 on it, but I have whittled away hours of my free time to gather little blue stars and bundles of cash. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is an amazing simulacrum of real life because it’s hard to earn as much money as you need to succeed, and you’re rewarded for spending more and more money. You can move through the game for “free,” but at a glacial pace, because you deplete energy a billion times faster than you can recharge it. Or you can spend real $$$ and just glide through the game on your BRILLIANT MOUNTAINS OF MONEY AND SHINY K STARS. It’s fucking genius because it combines scarcity with clever and addictive consumerism: dressing up your avatar, applying different lipstick colors, switching hairstyles with a flick of your finger. The copywriting is fantastic — it’s witty and concise and instantly understandable, and makes you love/hate the characters you encounter.

At this point, “I” am still a D-List celebrity, but I’m wondering what the hell is the endpoint to this game, besides hitting #1. To gain enough currency to buy everything the game has to offer? To maintain the #1 spot as long as possible? To furnish my residence with every luxury good? Is it even possible to own everything w/o cheating or spending a fuckton of money?

Because the game is, at first, addicting because it’s like a different Second Life thing and it’s SO MUCH FUN playing around with customization, because you’re not “spending” any “real” money. Then you realize that you’re not spending enough fake money; the photographer’s tone is skeptical, your date thinks you basically look like crap, because you’re not wearing a new outfit, because the game knows you’re being Scroogey and trying to trick it by trying a different combo of the clothes you already own. So you work a half-shift or a full shift at the clothing store, which basically means you’re checking your phone/tablet every five to thirty minutes to see if you’ve recharged enough energy to earn more money to buy the new clothes to go on a date or to do some MORE work so you can level up and earn MORE $$/stars to buy some MORE shit and REPEAT THE PROCESS ALL OVER AGAIN. And then, you’re like, WHAT AM I DOING??? Not to mention that each assignment or task or date or whatever allows you a certain amount of time to complete the task (AKA regenerate enough energy to do so), and if you forget to complete it and the timeframe passes, you lose fans, so you better PAY ATTENTION. The game nurtures a low-level anxiety in you.

So, back to the STUFF you can buy. I originally took these screenshots because the tiered pricing continues to baffle me. There seems to be a general order to it: the higher the level, the more expensive/incredibly detailed the items. But sometimes it just appears arbitrary. Like, why is the pink button-up shirt 15 K Stars vs. the other colors, which are $225? Why are there $2000 dresses right next to $300 ones? Is it to confuse us into spending more, à la Forever21, by the overwhelming mass of choices? Why is there a weird lack of shorts and short skirts? Why are there like 30 pairs of skinny jeans, but no yoga leggings?

I think a real selling point is just how quickly you can change your appearance for free. Things that are impossible right now, the ease of which reminds me of how Tyra Banks envisions the future: the color of your skin, your eyes (OK, contacts, but point me to the person who owns eight different colors), hair texture and length, the color of your hair (which also changes the color of your eyebrows!), the SHAPE OF YOUR EYES, FACE, MOUTH, AND NOSE. You can look like ANYTHING… well, within the spectrum that the game provides. Sometimes I wish the eyeshadows applied more, well, transparently. Why can’t I choose shimmery eyeshadow, instead of matte? (HEAVY BREATHING.)

Anyway, I will probably continue to play, and the game will continue to make yacht-loads of money, and I will ponder more petty questions, and maybe earn enough to adopt that freaking cat.

fatmanatee:

lydiaamartin:



dirk diamonds is gonna eat dinner alone

omg I experienced several variations of this because I didn’t spend enough on expensive clothes
one was something like "I thought I couldn’t feel worse tonight, and then I saw your outfit."
why can’t there be an option for “throw drink at his face”

fatmanatee:

lydiaamartin:

dirk diamonds is gonna eat dinner alone

omg I experienced several variations of this because I didn’t spend enough on expensive clothes

one was something like "I thought I couldn’t feel worse tonight, and then I saw your outfit."

why can’t there be an option for “throw drink at his face”

How fragile the body is: I don’t realize I have a paper cut until my finger stings and there is a sudden glut of blood. I don’t realize I have food poisoning until hours after I eat and I am woozy with nausea. When the plane descends, there is such a sharp pain in the back of my teeth, under my eyes, that I think I am going to die. I don’t realize it’s a sinus infection until the dentist tells me my teeth are fine, that sometimes, this happens. My legs get studded with so many mosquito bites and I can’t stop scratching; the itchiness is a kind of pain, and it feels so good to scratch, even though it’s making it much, much worse, that in fact, I am only hurting myself, over and over again. 

We walk in the parking lot and my mom says, “Look, that palm tree got a haircut,” and I tip my head up and look and can’t find the tree and forget to pay attention to my feet and I realize I’ve tripped over a concrete slab, one of those innocuous wheel stops at the head of every parking space, and it’s too late to do anything and there is nothing to grab to reverse the momentum, I can only pitch forward, fall flat. On my palms and my knees. She screams when she sees me face-down on the asphalt. It’s not that bad; my knee is skinned and tiny pieces of gravel have torn my palms, and my mother directs us to march back to the supermarket and wash and slather on ointment and band-aids. I feel like the most stupid person alive. I am three years old again. My mom hooks her arm through mine when we walk outside, just in case, and I say, “Oh my God,” but it did happen, after all. Over the next couple weeks, I replace the band-aid, over and over again. I try airing it out, leaving the band-aid off, but whenever I bend my knees, the wound reopens. I become well-acquainted with the bandages aisle, the strong strips and the flexible fabric and the antibiotic pads. One day, finally, it’s completely healed: a strange, pale patch of skin.

When the flowers burst and cascade, they only really last for such a short while. I didn’t go out to look for them this year, though I did see them on jogs, in my car, gigantic blooms, petals falling, giving way. They’ve already turned, some of them, already gone. COME BACK, I want to say. When the flowers have all dropped and Indiana is lush with green, I forget which trees beget which flowers. It’s a weird, naive surprise each time, to remember that those trees over there go white, the tree by our windows goes red, that this tree’s leaves unfold into such a peculiar shade of green. To see the tiny blue flowers sprinkled across someone’s lawn. Maybe it’s just that it’s so different from what came before — a frozen plateau of dried grass, sunken roots under a crust of ice and dirt. Now the sun is closer to the earth. Now this, and that. Morels pop up and people sauté them in butter; the college students squeeze into porches and overflow onto the street; deer dart through backyards, lope into the road.

Quick self-portrait.

Quick self-portrait.

Raining, raining forever, but the tree outside is finally in bloom and WINTER IS OVER? I THINK?

Raining, raining forever, but the tree outside is finally in bloom and WINTER IS OVER? I THINK?

Soooooo it may add this weird and unpleasant metallic smell to your pee, but roasted asparagus is a most wonderful thing.
Actually, I wish I had known sooner that roasted ANYTHING is the best. Ah, the Maillard reaction. I used to get freaked out by using the oven, because (a) the gas bill and (b) it was scary and I never used it for anything but baking pies. Although, today I grazed my knuckle on a 400ªF oven door and my skin blistered immediately and I remembered why, exactly, I am afraid of ovens. I said to Justin how I’m afraid of my face burning off, how the heat is insane with just the oven door open.Then he reminded me that he makes pizza at 500.
Which: LOL. OH, YEAH, THAT.
And That Is Why I Will Never Be A Professional Chef (Among Other Reasons): A Very Short Story.

Soooooo it may add this weird and unpleasant metallic smell to your pee, but roasted asparagus is a most wonderful thing.

Actually, I wish I had known sooner that roasted ANYTHING is the best. Ah, the Maillard reaction. I used to get freaked out by using the oven, because (a) the gas bill and (b) it was scary and I never used it for anything but baking pies. Although, today I grazed my knuckle on a 400ªF oven door and my skin blistered immediately and I remembered why, exactly, I am afraid of ovens. I said to Justin how I’m afraid of my face burning off, how the heat is insane with just the oven door open.

Then he reminded me that he makes pizza at 500.

Which: LOL. OH, YEAH, THAT.

And That Is Why I Will Never Be A Professional Chef (Among Other Reasons): A Very Short Story.

Tilapia en papillote w/ Momofuku fish sauce vinaigrette, Brussels sprout and apple salad w/ honey and apple cider vinaigrette, crispy cornmeal sweet potato fries w/ Sriracha ketchup (not pictured). Perfect punch of flavor, amazing texture, etc. etc. blah blah JUST TRY IT.

Tilapia en papillote w/ Momofuku fish sauce vinaigrette, Brussels sprout and apple salad w/ honey and apple cider vinaigrette, crispy cornmeal sweet potato fries w/ Sriracha ketchup (not pictured). Perfect punch of flavor, amazing texture, etc. etc. blah blah JUST TRY IT.

Here’s my secret project, which is no longer a secret: I started a magazine. It’s called Petit Four and the first issue’s theme is FOOD.
Featuring these illustrious writers and artists:
Justin Wolfe
Jennifer Luebbers
Caroline Diggins
Cate Lycurgus
Sarah O’Donnell
There’s family, loss, sex, gardening, and also A TALKING SHARK.
Please check it out!

P.S. Submissions are open for issue 2: ANIMALS. It’s gonna be a whole other beast.

Here’s my secret project, which is no longer a secret: I started a magazine. It’s called Petit Four and the first issue’s theme is FOOD.

Featuring these illustrious writers and artists:

There’s family, loss, sex, gardening, and also A TALKING SHARK.

Please check it out!

P.S. Submissions are open for issue 2: ANIMALS. It’s gonna be a whole other beast.

Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan photographed by Williams + Hirakawa in Los Angeles Magazine, Spring Fashion 2014: Affair to Remember
I LOVE THEM.

Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan photographed by Williams + Hirakawa in Los Angeles Magazine, Spring Fashion 2014: Affair to Remember

I LOVE THEM.

“That said, stereotypes aren’t so much about people totally projecting things that completely aren’t there but about people having a framework with which they interpret things that actually are there. It’s not that racism causes people to see (for example) belligerent teenage boys where there are none, but that a white belligerent teenage boy is just seen as himself while a black belligerent teenage boy is part of a pattern, a script, and when people blindly follow the scripts in their head that leads to discrimination and prejudice.

So yeah, it is a fact, I think, that I was a bit off-putting in my Jeopardy! appearance—hyper-focused on the game, had an intense stare, clicked madly on the buzzer, spat out answers super-fast, wasn’t too charming in the interviews, etc.

But this may have taken root in people’s heads because I’m an Asian and the “Asian mastermind” is a meme in people’s heads that it wouldn’t have otherwise.

Look, we all know that there’s a trope in the movies where someone of a minority race is flattened out into just being “good at X” and that the white protagonist is the one we root for because unlike the guy who’s just “good at X” the protagonist has human depth, human relationships, a human point of view—and this somehow makes him more worthy of success than the antagonist who seems to exist just to be good at X.

So we root for Rocky against black guys who, by all appearances, really are better boxers than he is, because unlike them Rocky isn’t JUST a boxer, he has a girlfriend, he has hopes, he has dreams, etc. This comes up over and over again in movies where the athletic black competitor is set up as the “heel”—look at the black chick in Million Dollar Baby and how much we’re pushed to hate her. Look at all this “Great White Hope” stuff, historically, with Joe Louis.

So is it any surprise that this trope comes into play with Asians? That the Asian character in the movie is the robotic, heartless, genius mastermind who is only pure intellect and whom we’re crying out to be defeated by some white guy who may not be as brainy but has more pluck, more heart, more humanity? It’s not just Flash Gordon vs. Ming the Merciless, it’s stuff like how in the pilot episode of Girls Hannah gets fired in favor of an overachieving Asian girl who’s genuinely better at her job than she is (the Asian girl knows Photoshop and she doesn’t) and we’re supposed to sympathize with Hannah.

Okay, here’s one more comment from the Internet that kind of encapsulates it. The kind of un-self-awareness of what someone is saying when they say they’d prefer I not win because I try too hard at the game, work too hard at it, care too much about it, and that they’d prefer that a “likable average Joe” win.

This is disturbing because it amounts to basically an attack on competence, a desire to bust people who work very hard and have very strong natural gifts down in favor of “likable average Joes”—and it’s disturbing because the subtext is frequently that to be “likable” and “average” you have to have other traits that are comforting and appealing to an “average Joe” audience, like white skin and an American accent.”

Arthur Chu to Ken Jennings

(Source: pushinghoopswithsticks, via fatmanatee)