It’s Tuesday around 11 a.m. and you’ve just about had it. There’s a pile of paperwork on your desk, 10 emails you need to respond to and a Slack message or two from your boss wondering when she can expect an updated draft of your project proposal. Never mind that you need to remember to stop at the grocery store on your way home, update your pay withholdings and finally sign up for that password management system that’s been a perpetual bullet point on your to-do list.
What things do you feel that you should be doing but you’re not?
Then, create the matrix below and put each of the tasks into one of the boxes:
Here’s how he breaks down how to prioritize the boxes:
The items in boxes 1 and 4 are things which you must choose to take personal ownership of and prioritize into your life.
What things are in box 2? It’s awesome that these are things which you love, but make sure they’re not keeping you from the things in Box 1.
What things are in box 3? These need to go! Delegate them to someone else. Get assistance, learn how to automate the process of that work, ask your boss if you can be relieved of those duties, etc.
As for box four, Blanc recommends putting “systems in place that help you automate those things. Habits and routines help keep important areas of your life on track even when you can’t—or don’t want to—give those areas your full attention.”
If you’re putting things in box two before box one, you know it’s time to make a change. Then take a breath, and focus on the things “only you can do.”
After what feels like an age of waiting, we’re finally entering a new era of female-driven genre storytelling, on screens big and small. But according to a new study launched by BBC America, it’s just a start—and it’s also a push more vital than ever, with on-screen representation becoming hugely important to young girls.
Conducted by the Women’s Media Center in collaboration with BBC America—which has skin in the game with the new season of Doctor Who starring Jodie Whittaker, which premiered this past weekend—the new report, titled Superpowering Girls (via THR),found that while a majority of sampled teen girls would describe themselves as confident or brave, there was a significant confidence gap in comparison to a similarly sampled group of teen boys. Further questioning indicated a significant majority of the teen girls (57 percent) also believed they weren’t listened to by the people around them, compared to 38 percent of boys in the same age bracket.
What’s that confidence gap got to do with genre entertainment? Well, the report went on to ask a larger sampling of kids between the ages of 10 and 19 about the impact of seeing people who looked like them in the media they consumed, and found that girls—girls of color in particular—had much stronger reactions to being represented on-screen than boys, who are usually catered to as the de facto audience for sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero fiction.
“It was really surprising, for me, the fact that boys as well as girls, teenage boys and girls, both recognized there are fewer opportunities for women and girls,” Women’s Media Center president Julie Burton told THR. “That’s at a young age, and that’s setting the track for their whole future of what they choose and what they think they can be. But the fact that boys were recognizing there’s a gender difference in opportunities is extremely powerful.”
On top of that, a high majority of girls in the 10-19 age group added that their favorite female heroes in sci-fi and superhero movies inspired them to feel strong, brave, confident, positive, and motivated.
We don’t know the sample size used in WMC and BBCA’s study, but at the very least anecdotally we’ve seen spikes in demand for more diverse heroes in genre entertainment lately—Wonder Woman and Black Panther’s box office successes drove theater owners to ask for more diverse heroes in cinema, and just yesterday we heard about Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who debut being a huge ratings success.
Every time I buy wine at the store, I spend far too much time picking six bottles (have to get that 10% discount, you know) based on price, style, and mostly, how eye-catching the labels are. I think I’ve found a better system with Firstleaf.
Title: Cartes du Tour Author: Paul Fournel, with a preface by Christian Prudhomme (translated by Claire Read) Publisher: Rapha Editions, in arrangement with Bluetrain Publishing Year: 2018 Pages: 248 Order:Rapha What it is: The Tour de France, in maps and words Strengths: Beautifully produced and full of food for thought Weaknesses: Fournel’s text does feel a bit disjointed, not quite clear where it’s going
“The Tour de France as a sporting event never really interested me. But, when my brothers and I stayed at my grandparents’ for the summer holidays, we knew the Tour was on when the TV was loud and an air of masculine camaraderie filled the house. There were friends, farmers, cousins, neighbours and more than a few earthy oaths. The conductor in this boisterous affair was my grandfather, the shortest of them all, and by far the merriest. For me, the Tour de France is not about yellow shirts or a race against time, but rather the memories of slow and happy days and the summery flavour of togetherness.” ~ Caroline Vermalle
Memories. We share them. We borrow them. Stephen Roche on Luz Ardiden? I saw that. Bernard Thévenet at Pra Loup? I have to borrow that memory from others. Wherever we get them, we make them our own, we learn to recall them as if they were our own. Paul Fournel has previously written that maps are like dream machines, in Cartes du Tour he shows how the maps of the Tour de France are also storage devices for memories:
“The 1950s are the golden years for Tour maps. With no competition, newspapers strive to offer Tour maps to readers. They try to outdo one and other’s graphic invention. Some illustrate the route outline with portraits of local or favourite riders; others leave space with dotted lines so you can play the game of predicting the future winner of each stage as well as of that day’s yellow jersey. You indulge in this game as a family, each member making his or her choices.
“Other supporters keep their map right through the Tour and, gathered around the radio set, scrupulously note the results night by night to remember them. They archive their maps over the years, souvenirs of summers that have fled.”
In the years before radio reported the race results it was to cafés that fans went to follow the race:
“Any good café owner knows that, during the Tour, he has to keep an up-to-date blackboard on which he promptly writes down the stage result and general classification. Informed by a phone call, he collects the result and rushes to share it with his regulars.
“With the names barely chalked up, the bar comes alive and discussions advance at great speed. You make up the story of the race before reading it ‘for real’ the next day in the paper. So the commentary precedes the news, and the exploits are all the greater as they are still imaginary.”
Key to that commentary people imposed upon the race was the map of the race route, which helped guide the café’s customers around a France that most would not know from direct experience, a France most would know at best from half remembered lessons in school.
As the media landscape has evolved, maps have managed to stay central to the reporting of the Tour.
Over time, newspaper reports, photography, newsreels, radio, TV, the internet, they have all helped to shape our memories of the Tour. They have also helped to shape the Tour itself. Take Jacques Goddet’s comment on the role played by television:
“I immediately felt that television would change the face of the Tour de France, in all senses. It shows that this is indeed a phenomenal event; that cycling is a marvellous sport. Television has become a reason for the running of the race, even if sometimes that means running it in a disorderly fashion.”
Commentary preceding the news. Television becoming a reason for the running of the race. We are in the world of Baudrillard. Maps preceding the territory. Representation preceding reality. The myths and legends we create about the Tour have always held more power than the story of what really happened.
This is not to suggest that Cartes du Tour is a book for the chin stroking homme serieux. Rather it is to show that there is clearly a lot more going on within its 248 pages than just a collection of historic maps showing the routes the Tour has taken over the last 115 years.
That collection of maps showing the routes the Tour has taken over the last 115 years has already been done, five years ago (when the count stood at 100 Tours) by the Cycling Anthology editor Ellis Bacon, with his Tour atlas, Mapping le Tour. There has also been Richard Abrahams’ Google Earth-inspired Tour de France – Legendary Climbs with its topographical representations of the Tour’s mountains, while those with a particular interest in mapping the tyre tracks of the Tour should probably look out for Vladimír Bačík & Michal Klobučník’s 2017 paper ‘Stage Finishes – Mapping the Locations and Results of Tour de France (1903–2016)’ in the Journal of Maps.
What Cartes du Tour does differently is to show how the Tour has been represented in maps over the course of its history. Topping and tailing the book are the race organisers own attempts at cartography. The early maps possess a child-like naïvety, understated affairs that show how the Tour represents and celebrates the boundaries of France. The more recent maps, on the other had, are perhaps a bit too sophisticated and seek to impose the Tour on France, painting the country yellow and turning it into a mannequin for the maillot jaune.
In between these two extremes we get how others saw the Tour.
Accompanying the images are Paul Fournel’s words, the fourth time English-speaking cycling fans have been offered a chance to appreciate his thoughts on cycling in book form (following on from Need for the Bike, Vélo, and Anquetil, Alone. Each of those had a different translator, which has had subtle differences on how each book feels, and so it is welcome that Claire Read, who translated parts of Vélo, returns to the job here.
Vélo is probably a good comparison of what Fournel offers here, essays on different eras of the Tour and on some individual editions of the race that are somewhat standalone, somewhat joined up by a common theme.
The text here is, somewhat unusually, presented in both French and English. A treat for the bilingual reader. But maybe not for the translator? I put this question to Read, when asking her about the task of translating a writer like Fournel:
“When I started work on Cartes du Tour I’m not sure I realised we were going to have dual text rather than two separate editions. I think that’s probably for the best, because certainly the idea that readers will be working up their own translations has occurred to me since – and I’m not sure that would have been helpful to have in mind as I worked on mine!
“For me, though, translation is a puzzle to which there can be many subtly different solutions. It’s as though you have a shape in front of you, made out of jigsaw pieces, and your job is to recreate that shape as closely as possible using a pile of completely differently shaped jigsaw pieces next to you. And you’re not just trying to recreate the size and edges of the shape: you’re also trying to match the picture on it, the colours, the spirit it evokes.
“The simple reality is the jigsaw pieces I choose may not be those someone else would have chosen. And of course in some instances, there may be no way to replicate aspects of the original – puns, wordplay and phrases for which there is no equivalent in English are all obvious examples here, and all occur in Cartes du Tour.”
The Tour’s maps are more than just memory devices, ways of recalling the stories of individual races or whole summers. The role of the map maker in bike racing was explained to Herbie Sykes, by the Giro d’Italia’s cartographer in chief for more than half a century, Cesare Sangalli, in The Giro 100: “everything was decided according to the drawings I did, the timetables I drew up and the architecture of the stages we put together.” It is left to the actors – the riders, their support staff, the race personnel, the fans, the media – to improvise their lines around the basic structure given to them in the race’s map. Everybody plays a role in the race’s outcome and how it is remembered. The Tour’s maps prompt both forward- and backward-looking tellings of the story of each Tour, take us back to those café days when commentary preceded news.
That comment from Cesare Sangalli, and his overall involvement with Sykes’s Giro book, is one of the prompts that gave life to Cartes du Tour, as Guy Andrews – who, together with Taz Darling, makes up Bluetrain Publishing, which is is responsible for bringing together the different parts of this project, from Fournel’s text to the maps and photographs themselves – explained to me:
“The inspiration for the book came from a variety of maps I had, but also the work that Herbie Sykes did on The Giro 100 with Cesare Sangalli, the cartographer and route planner of the Giro. Sangalli re-worked some of the profiles for us in that book and (even now in his 90s) he took so much care to make them beautiful. The routes of the Grand Tours are fascinating and some of the folks that drew them really deserve to be celebrated. The cartographer’s art should definitely be rekindled.”
As well as their own collection of maps, Andrews and Darling spread a wide net trying to source representations of the Tour’s route for inclusion in the book:
“Collecting the maps took many visits to archives and libraries, not just the BnF/Galicia but also Pressesports and Getty, then flea markets, websites and magazine shops and collectors.”
Those of you who yourself trawl Gallica for old cycling stuff – from copies of L’Auto to photographs of Henri Desgrange in his budgie smugglers – will know that much of the source material has not aged well. This meant that a considerable degree of work was needed to make the maps presentable in a professional fashion:
“All of the maps we found needed some ‘work’ to get them into shape for printing. We work with some very talented folks who can work wonders with very poor quality scans and prints. We used a variety of scanning and photography, proofing and reproofing, to get the results we wanted. Many of the early maps are printed on newsprint, so the show-through and paper quality varied enormously, some were very bad and had to be reconstructed completely, whilst others just needed a once-over. We kept folds and rips when they worked, but our archive took around eighteen months of work to get it to it’s printable state, from collecting them all to printing.”
The selection of maps in Cartes du Tour is comprehensive but not exhaustive. Some maps couldn’t be found – L’Auto sold its own maps of the route, independent of what appeared in the paper, and these are hard to come by – while others verge on what Borges would have called unconscionable maps:
“There have been some huge Michelin maps produced down the years but they were too big (and Michelin copyright too complicated) for us to use in the book. These are used by the technical staff, team support, the police and some journalists. They’re nice, but too much detail for reproduction in the page size we had!”
Cartes du Tour offers the reader a lot: from being that pretty coffee table book to impress friends and visitors with to being a book that shows how the route of the Tour has evolved over the years. On top of that, for everyone it offers food for thought on the role played by maps in the history of the Tour, gives readers a chance to appreciate a sometimes overlooked aspect of bike racing and cycling history. With luck, this is a book that may yet encourage a new golden age in the cartographer’s art, and add a fresh angle to the way we enjoy Tours to come.
If you ever tried to get into tabletop role-playing games—the kind where you sit around with character sheets, describing your actions and rolling dice—it was probably through Dungeons & Dragons. And if you’re sick of medieval fantasy, or you don’t care about fighting monsters, or you hate looking up stats on different charts, you might have walked away thinking “I guess I don’t like RPGs.” Which is a shame, because there are thousands of other RPGs out there.
D&D is the oldest RPG, and over the decades its evolved into several editions, with a variety of complexity, settings, and character options. But they’re all related to the core concept of playing elves and dwarves that fight fantasy monsters, in a vaguely Middle Earthy setting. So if that whole vibe isn’t working for you, here’s a guide to searching for something better.
Different editions of D&D You can easily tweak the setting or characters in D&D; different versions of D&D, as well as loads of supplemental materials even
Just like D&D was inspired by Lord of the Rings and Conan the Barbarian, some of the most popular RPGs are inspired by famous genre fiction. Call of Cthulhu uses the “Cthulhu mythos” developed by HP Lovecraft and other horror writers, but you can set it in any time period and any place on Earth (or even off Earth). Mouse Guard was based on comics of the same name, which were inspired by Brian Jacques’s Redwall books.
If you want to play in a specific fictional universe, like Star Wars, Firefly, or James Bond, just do a search for the title and “RPG.” If there’s no official game, there’s often an unofficial game (check out this Harry Potter RPG). If there’s no unofficial game, there’s usually something in a matching genre.
Some systems aren’t even built for a specific setting or story. The Generic Universal Role Playing System—GURPS—builds interlocking sets of rules for everything you can think of, including some specific fictional worlds like Mars Attacks and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.
Every game works a little differently, or a lot differently. In D&D, wizards learn specific spells independently of each other, like they’re collectible cards. In the Mage games, a character’s magical ability is more holistically determined by their skill in “arcana” like temporal magic, necromancy, and mind control.
DCC runs on an old-school system of rules, stats, and randomized events, so you can have fun one-session adventures. You don’t want to build friendships with non-player characters, you want to kill them and take their loot. You know barely anything about the monsters that surround you, but you know your new enchanted axe does extra damage to the undead. DCC’s creators publish lots of modules, so your dungeon master doesn’t have to make their own story if they don’t want to. DCC also uses even weirder dice than D&D, like dice with 7 or 30 sides.
Dungeon World focuses on character relationships and storytelling—you get points for fulfilling a “bond” with another player—for satisfying long-term narratives. You can make choices based on the most interesting story, rather than maxing out your stats. Your dungeon master is encouraged to make most details up as they go along, which saves them prep time and lets the players help create the world. There’s less arithmetic, but some more abstract concepts to keep in mind.
You can get a lot weirder, and throw out the dice entirely. In the trippy, multi-dimensional fantasy game Amber, if two characters come into conflict, there’s no dice roll, no randomization at all: If two characters are wrestling, the stronger one wins, unless a character can pull out some other item or ability that gives them the upper hand.
The horror game Dread is run with a Jenga tower. Every time you try to do something you could fail at, you have to make a Jenga move. When the tower falls, you die.
For all the variety of RPGs, most of them are engineered for fighting. But a few games avoid this cliché. In the acclaimed Japanese import Golden Sky Stories, recommended for kids 10 and up, you play a magic animal that helps people and makes friends. ^-^ A play session lasts just an hour or two.
You could also try The Cloud Dungeon and ExSpelled, two cute adventure games played through imagination and papercraft. The first is a family-friendly fairy tale; the second is an affectionate Harry Potter parody set at a community college for mediocre wizards.
Most RPGs require a dungeon master, to build and narrate the world around the players. But maybe no one in your group wants to spend hours prepping your sessions and studying the rules.
DM-less games often feel more like collaborative storytelling. Universalis, for example, has players bid for character attributes using coins, then trading those coins to take actions, to change the rules, or to take control of each other’s characters. The system is meant to work with any genre or setting.
Fiasco tells a much more specific story: a caper that feels like a Coen Brothers movie or a Jane the Virgin plot, set in locations like the suburbs or an Antarctic outpost. The game plays out in one sitting, and it’s a lot like a board game with no pieces and no board. You and your fellow players are all tangled in a web of intrigue with each other. You win by developing twists and turns in your story, so bungling a heist and getting murdered by your secret twin brother can be a victory. You do roll dice, but just the regular kind.
My area of the country saw four nor’easters in the last six weeks, which means that local March produce has been less than inspiring. As a result, I’ve been leaning on lemons even harder than usual to brighten up my meals.
I’m a confirmed lemon freak. I love their bright acidity and subtle bitterness in applications both sweet and savory, and firmly believe that a squeeze of lemon ties any dish together; I buy them in shocking quantities, usually keeping anywhere from one to three pounds in my crisper drawer. It makes sense, then, that I was given a copy of Alison Roman’s Short Stack cookbook on lemons for my birthday earlier this month—and that I’ve been cooking from it nonstop ever since.
This book covers all the basics, but also introduced me to the concept of cooking with the entire lemon. I can’t believe I hadn’t tried it before; I’ve always loved lemon Shaker pie, but it never occurred to me to use whole lemons in other applications. Not only does a flesh-to-peel approach eliminate the waste that comes from juice-only recipes, but the pith and rind provide complex flavor and textural contrast that you can’t get from the juice alone.
If you love lemons like I do, you owe it to yourself to start using the entire fruit. I’ve collected three awesome whole-lemon recipes here—two adapted from Alison Roman’s lemon cookbook, one of my own design—to get you started.
A Note On Seeds
Even though these are “whole lemon” recipes, you still need to remove the seeds. The pith and rind are pleasantly bitter, but the seeds are anything but pleasant to eat.
The easiest way to seed a lemon is to slice it into quarter-inch (or thinner) rounds and pick out the seeds with your fingers or the tip of your knife. The number of seeds will vary from lemon to lemon—some have none at all, some have way too goddamn many—and thin slices expose every single one. This process is just as fiddly as it sounds, but it goes quickly: I can slice and seed a lemon in under a minute, and I prep at a pretty leisurely pace.
This is the first recipe in the lemon cookbook, and it’s a banger: dead-simple, satisfying, infinitely useful, and bursting with lemon flavor.
Wide-mouthed Mason jar (quart-sized) or plastic soup container with lid
Cocktail muddler, sturdy wooden spoon, or French rolling pin
2-3 medium lemons, sliced into quarter-inch rounds and seeded
¼ - ½ cup sugar (I used a half cup and found it very sweet; I’m using less next time)
3-4 cups water
Place the lemons and sugar in a sturdy, quart-sized vessel like a wide-mouth Mason jar or a plastic soup container. Use your tool of choice to aggressively muddle the lemons and sugar together until the sugar dissolves and the lemons are thoroughly broken down; I used a tapered rolling pin and this step took me about 90 seconds of continuous pounding.
Pour in enough water to fill the container, close the lid securely, and shake to dissolve any errant sugar granules. Serve over ice full-strength or topped with seltzer, but if you ask me, this stuff cries out for some booze. I combined equal parts lemonade and gin over ice, added a splash of Campari, and called it Whole Pink Lemonade. It’s my new summer drink.
Whole Lemon Salsa Verde
Lemonade might be the first recipe in the book, but this is the first one I made—and it was so good that I did it twice more before the week was out. The version below is tweaked to suit my tastes—more lemon, more cilantro, and a generous helping of red pepper flakes for heat—and I encourage you to do the same.
1 medium lemon, seeded and finely chopped
2 scallions, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
Up to 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
¾ tsp fine sea salt (or table salt)
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch cilantro (if you hate cilantro, use a mixture of other leafy herbs equal in volume to the parsley)
½ cup olive oil
Combine the chopped lemon, scallions, garlic, and pepper flakes in a bowl or glass measuring cup; add the salt and stir to combine. Let this mixture rest while you chop the herbs.
Finely chop the parsley and cilantro and add to the bowl with the other ingredients. Pour in the olive oil, stir well, and taste for seasoning. Add a bit more salt, pepper flakes, or lemon juice as needed, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
You should consume this within 48 hours, which won’t be hard; this goes with everything. I love it dolloped on black beans and rice, or mixed with mayo and spread on fried egg sandwiches.
Whole Lemon Greek Potatoes
I’m fully obsessed with lemoni patatas, the Greek dish of potatoes baked in lemon-spiked chicken broth: rich and hearty enough to stand alone, but acidic enough to complement fatty cuts of meat; I could eat them every day and always be excited for more. This version is my own creation, and some of my finest work to date—the lemon bits caramelize in the oven, turning into chewy little morsels that burst with lemony goodness.
Note: The chicken broth (or concentrate, which is anything but a compromise here) is non-negotiable for meat eaters—but if you’re vegetarian or vegan, try adding some nutritional yeast broth à la Andrea Nguyen’s vegan pho. It’ll add much-needed chicken-y richness to the dish.
2 pounds of potatoes (any variety but reds will do), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
½ cup olive oil
¼ tsp fine sea salt or table salt
2 cups chicken stock or water with chicken concentrate
2 medium lemons, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp adobo seasoning (I use Iberia brand because it has MSG)
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely sliced (optional)
Preheat oven to 475ºF. Heat a large stainless steel skillet over low heat for a minute to warm it up, then add the olive oil. Increase heat to medium-high and heat until oil shimmers—a few tiny wisps of smoke are okay, too.
Carefully add the cut potatoes to the hot oil, sprinkle with salt, and cook for five minutes, turning halfway through so they brown evenly. While the potatoes cook, combine the chicken stock, lemons, adobo, oregano, and optional garlic cloves in a soup container or glass measuring cup. When the potatoes are browned, pour the stock mixture over the potatoes, gently stir to distribute, and transfer to the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes if you want firm potatoes with a bit of sauce (the sauce is very good, y’all) or up to an hour for drier, deeply browned potatoes. Serve with anything—or alone in a bowl, sprinkled with chopped parsley, and some toast to sop up the sauce. These are also great the next day, pan-fried until crispy and served with sunny eggs and some breakfast meat.
Thanks to this hyper-specific cookbook, I now have a whole list of lemon projects to tackle while spring produce makes its way to market. Lemon Shaker pie is a must before Meyer lemons disappear, of course, but I’m also scheming up a whole lemon vinaigrette (zested, seeded, and suprêmed so I can purée the flesh with oil, garlic, and seasonings), whole lime guacamole, and key lime Shaker pie. Even if you’re not a huge citrus fan, I hope these recipes inspire you to look at your favorite ingredients with new eyes—and discover hidden applications you’ll use for years to come.