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Quotes and Quotations from JPod by Douglas Coupland

Posted in Book Reviews, Games, Programming and Software Development, Technology by engtech on November 15, 2006

This is a list of my favorite quotes and quotations from JPod by Douglas Coupland.

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(Photo by LomoGirl)

Favorite Quotes

The only way to the top is killing and greed. Okay, I’m kidding. But killing helps.

Don’t you get an empty feeling in your soul when you have a blank to-do list?

TV and the Internet are good because they keep stupid people from spending too much time out in public.

Nobody has ever been happy in a job they obtained by first handing in a resum�.

If you’re an incredibly famous rich person who does more in one day than I do in a month, does your perception of time’s passing go slower or faster than it does for me? P47

“I have this theory about smart people. If you’re smart, you’re either the only person in your family who’s smart, or everybody in the family is smart. No in-between.”

I considered this. “I think I come from the everybody’s smart category. But they don’t apply their smarts to… larger picture pursuits. That includes me.” P97

“To be merely good enough is to never succeed.” P111

“You feel chilled because you have no character. You’re a depressing assemblage of pop culture influences and cancelled emotions, driven by the sputtering engine of only the most banal form of capitalism. You spend your life feeling as if you’re perpetually on the brink of being obsolete — whether it’s labour market obsolescence or cultural unhipness. And it’s all catching up with you. You live and die by the development cycle. You’re glamorized drosophila flies, with the company regulating your life cycles at whim. If it isn’t a budget-driven eighteen-month game production schedule, it’s a five-year hardware obsolescence schedule. Every five years you have to throw away everything you know and learn a whole new set of hardware and software specs, relegating what was once critical to our lives to the cosmic slag heap.” P115

As he ages and sees more of the world, he’s realizing that bad news is a part of life, and that when you have to give it, just say it and get it over with. P124

Comics day came and went. Another shoes day came and went. And another comics day followed that — the typical production and consumption cycles that help us survice our dismal, meaningless little lives. P161

Ethan is annoyed with all of these dumb campaigns that indoctrinate millions of people into thinking they’re tough-guy free spirits when, in fact, there’s probably much to be said for following and, in any event, the food chain isn’t structured to encompass millions of non-followers. P171

If you can control your emotions, chances are you don’t have too many.

Only damaged people want good things to happen to them through visualization. They want something for nothing.

Is there anything in the world more annoyingly creepy than an unspoken dress code?

Chances are you feel superior to almost everyone you work with — however, they probably feel the same way about you.

It can be really fun to go down with the ship.

Here’s my theory about meetings and life: the three things you can’t fake are erections, competence and creativity. That’s why meetings become toxic — they put uncreative people in a situation in which they have to be something they can never be. And the more effort they put into concealing their inabilities, the more toxic the meeting becomes. P208

“You have to admit, half the people who work here are mildly autistic; poor social skills, the ability to obsess on anything numerical or repetitive, the odd outfits, the paranoia and the sense of continually being judged and measured.” P210

“Why are we drinking Zima? It’s beyond irony. It’s not funny or anything. It’s just gross. Why not just serve us jugs of Hitler’s piss instead?”

“Drinking Zima is something Douglas Coupland would make a character do.”

“To what end?”

“It’d be a device that would allow him to locate the characters in time and a specific sort of culture.” P219

Older staffers don’t even bother coming in on weekends. Where is the sleep-crazed, Pepsi-fuelled one-point-oh tech environment that can only be created by having no green vegetables, no sex and no life?

Cowboy said, “I miss the greed of the 1990s bubble.”

John Doe said, “I miss the possibility of unearned wealth.”

Bee said, “I miss the possibility of doing something Apple, something one-point-oh.”

Evil Mark said, “I miss people having How Wheels tracks set up in their cubicles.”

Gord-O walked into the pod. “You can’t miss the nineties, because you weren’t there. They were great. Too bad you screwed-up twits missed out on the party.” P227

“A girl can’t control who will and who won’t fall in love with her, Ethan. And sometimes, when a nuisance person falls in love with you, it can be awfully… awkward.” P238

“I wish my parents took good care of their grow-op.” P240

“I was in a testy mood. I’d been inside my head all day — some days that just happens. You get lost doing just one task, and suddenly you look up and it’s dark out, but you still don’t want to leave your headspace, and the she come sup behind you with a 150 KHz marine emergency blow horn and lets off one big parp that has you shitting out your eyes, ears, and nostrils, and when you turn around, you discover that your evil co-workers were videoing the entire prank, and you get furious and you scream for everybody to fuck off and die. “Aw shucks, it was only a joke,” but the fact remains that because of that one loud parp you’ll never be able to parse C++ code again because you fried those dendrites that dictate logic patterns, and in a flash you see yourself as a future object of pity, forced to work at a TacoTime outlet, feeding disrespectful larvae of the middle classes while taking soiled orange PVC trash bags out to the back alley, where you see a grease storage drum, and wistfully remember that earlier, more charmed portion of your life when you once knew the chemicals and procedures necessary to convert restaurant grease into clean-burning planet-friendly ethanol, and that was just one of the many feats your brain was capable of, back before the parping, back before people whispered when they saw you walking their way, hoping they wouldn’t have to make small talk with you, back before they dumbed themselves down to the verbal level of Pebbles Flintstone to make you understand them. P264

The problem is, after a week of intense googling, we’ve started to burn out on knowing the answer to everything. God must feel that way all the time. I think people in the year 2020 are going to be nostalgic for the sensation of feeling clueless. P287

You know what? When you read a book, you’re totally lost in your own private world, and society says that’s a good and wonderful thing. But if you play a game by yourself, it’s this weird, fucked-up, socially damaging activity.

In my neighbourhood, all the teenage boys are dying because they’re driving their cars using videogame physics instead of real-world physics. They turn too quickly and change lanes too quickly. They don’t understand traction or centripetal force. And they’re dropping like flies.

Please stop putting quotes from Nietzsche at the end of your emails. Five years ago you were laughing your guts out over American Pie 2. What — suddenly you’ve magically turned into Noam Chomsky?

Don’t discuss Sony like it’s a great big benevolent cartoon character who lives next door to Astro Boy. Like any company, Sony is comprised of individuals who are fearful for their jobs on a daily basis, and who make lame decisions based pretty much on fear and conforming to social norms — but then, that’s every corporation on earth, so don’t single out one specific corporation as lovable and cute. They’re all evil and greedy. They’re all sort of in the moral middle ground, where good and bad cancel each other out, so there’s nothing really there — which, in it’s own way, far darker than any paranoid or patriarchal theory of Sony.

Here’s a much simpler example of geeks and neural processing malfunctions: Has anybody experienced a geek environment in which said geeks wear perfume or deodorant? Chances are no. While advanced microautistics are more commonly men than women, both share a marked dislike of scent. P337

It turns out that only twenty percent of human beings have a sense of irony — which means that eighty percent of the world takes everything at face value. I can’t imagine anything worse than that. Okay, maybe I can, but imagine reading the morning newspaper and believing it all to be true on some level. P363

“What do lesbians have against capitalized letters?”

“Capitalization implies a hierarchy, that some letters are more special than others.” P383

Hip flasks are the juice machines of the alcohol world — everyone has one and it never gets used. P449

I was wondering what electrons are actually doing when they sit in your hard drive in an old laptop at the back of your closet. I mean, how does an electron sit still — is it like a cartoon M&M learning back in a folding beach chair? Is it like an angry little steel ball bearing hovering there, just waiting to go nuts on protons? What’s the mechanism that starts and stops the electron? Who’s its dungeon master? P471

Life is dull, but it could be worse and it could be better. We accept that a corporation determines our life’s routines. It’s the trade-off so that we don’t have to be chronically unemployed creative types, and we know it. When we were younger, we’d at least make a show of not being fooled and leave copies of Adbusters on our desktops. After a few years it just doesn’t matter. You trawl for jokes or amusingly diversionary .wav files. You download music. A new project comes along, then endures a slow-motion smothering at the hands of meetings. All ideas feel stillborn. The air smells like five hundred sheets of paper.

And then it’s another day. P492

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  1. […] There were enough of them that they deserved their own page. […]

  2. Resume « tumbleblog said, on November 15, 2006 at 11:23 am

    […] Quotes and Quotations from JPod by Douglas Coupland Nobody has ever been happy in a job they obtained by first handing in a resumé. […]

  3. […] for RSS subscribersWelcome to Internet Duct TapeblogAbout MeDisclosure « Quotes and Quotations from JPod by Douglas Coupland How to remove text from form autocomplete box in Firefox or Internet Explorer […]

  4. […] by Douglas Coupland and it seems to have made quite a ripple. Today’s link visits a page of Quotes and Quotations from JPod at the Internet Duct Tape website. If I hadn’t already bought the book, I’d have immediately bought it after seeing this […]

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