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Cover photograph by the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Welcome to 2014! Please find your flying car, food pills, and domestic robots to the left, and your choice of dystopia to the right.
We had a remarkable 2013 at The Magazine thanks to you readers, whether subscribers, Kickstarter backers, well-wishers, or just occasional passers-by. We have stories we want to tell, and one needs an audience that is willing to gather around the campfire to make it a useful exercise. Thanks for caring and thanks for telling us what you liked and didn’t.
As we start 2014, we’re bursting with new plans, ideas, and a, you know, book we need to get out the door. Some housekeeping news, therefore, before we get to Issue 33’s contents, which is a large collection of small pieces.
Pre-orders for The Book
With the Kickstarter project funded and well into fulfillment, we’re now accepting pre-orders for the project goal: a book of great work from our first year. Read more about the book here, including a full table of contents and other details.
We’re placing the order in a few weeks for the final quantity of hardcover books. While we’ll order some extra for direct sales, via Amazon, and elsewhere, you’re guaranteed a copy and will get it in the first wave of shipping if you place a pre-order.
There are three pre-order options:
Hardcover: $30, 200 pages. This includes over two dozen stories, and it will be lavishly illustrated and beautifully designed, as you can see in the preview. (Includes U.S. shipping; add $15 for international shipping.)
ebook: $15, 300 pages. Thanks to the generosity of our Kickstarter backers, we added 100 pages and about a dozen more stories to the ebook edition. You get PDF, EPUB, and MOBI (Kindle compatible) formats; no DRM protection, so you can read on any device or in any software.
Hardcover/ebook bundle: $35. Get both and have the best of both worlds!
Following the Kickstarter, we added gift subscriptions on our Web site. Purchase one or more and receive a coupon code for each that you can send to a recipient, who can redeem it for a year’s worth of access to new issues and full access to our archives.
We’re currently discounting our normal $19.99-per-year price to $17.49 for a gift subscription to celebrate our successful crowdfunding effort. (You can even buy a “gift” for yourself.)
Gift subscriptions provide full access to new and archived content via both the iOS app and our Web site. There’s no separate fee to access both places. Visit the Gift Subscription page for details.
Recipients do not need to provide a credit card or any information other than an email address to redeem the subscription and read The Magazine. These gifts are also non-renewing: it’s a one-time charge. Before the end of a subscription, the gift recipient will get an email letting them know it’s nearly up and how to renew if they choose.
In this issue
January is a strange month for us: we publish every other week, which means we produce an “extra” issue twice a year — in January and May in 2014. Both months have a 1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursday, which is our official publication day of the week, that intersects with our fortnightly hop across the calendar.
Further, it’s the day after New Year’s, an odd day to publish. So we’ve done something different. Since November, we’ve been publishing new articles — shorter and often quirkier — at Medium along with material from our archives. We’re including nine of those stories here, all by regular contributors to The Magazine. Subscribers, as always, can read issues in our app or on the Web site, or download EPUB and MOBI versions for ebook readers via our Web site.
We lead off with the “Unipiper,” Portland’s bagpiping, Darth Vader mask wearing, unicycling hero. Chris Higgins explains the seemingly normal path Brian Kidd took to arrive at this odd agglomeration of talents and costumes that has been viewed and celebrated worldwide.
Jen A. Miller laments that the past “Ain’t What It Used To Be,” as she examines the psychological and etymological roots of nostalgia, and her own longings.
Managing editor Brittany Shoot dives into the past herself, attending a Kickstarter-funded 38th anniversary of the “Homebrew” Computer Club, as its members publicly look back on what became the future. (Includes Woz!)
Do not call “For Whom the Kale Tolls,” Rosie J. Spinks advises: it calls for thee, lazy newspaper editorial writers. Rosie, through her own research and on-the-ground experience, tells us that changes in neighborhoods through “gentrification” are a mix of good and bad, not just the evil for current residents as is often presented.
“I’ll Fry Anything Once” brags Matthew Amster-Burton, as he and his daughter visit the ubiquitous tempura restaurants of Tokyo, and get a lesson in crispy kindness.
We’d already used the story headline “Tiny Furniture,” but we were tempted to repeat it for “A Model Life,” in which Chris Stokel-Walker literally looks at tiny furniture, including that made by his grand-dad. We’re not good at literal.
Carville was San Francisco’s streetcar neighborhood, where artists, lady bicyclists, and other bohemians hung out. In “Transit-Story Housing,” Colleen Hubbard takes us for a trip to a San Francisco landmark area that no longer exists.
Deep beneath Seattle, “The Most Boring Machine” has already chewed up and spat out one mayor. Can the next survive cost overruns, obstacles, and more? Mark Harris was refused the driver’s seat, but he took a trip underground.
Finally, a rare piece by your editor, who likes to stay in the background. When my mother developed cancer, went through treatment, and finally failed, it was her “Last Words” that helped me through the worst day of my life.
You can tap the Share button in iOS at the top of any article and then tap Write Letter to Editor. Or email us with your thoughts, noting any article to which they apply. We also read comments and questions on Facebook, Twitter, and App.net. (Although we see iTunes reviews, we cannot respond there; please contact us directly with any issues that need a response.)
On “Graffiti Hunters”
Thank you for publishing “Graffiti Hunters.” I sometimes take photos of East Bay street art, but had no idea there was so much available on Instagram. April Kilcrease’s article definitely inspires me to explore further.
On “Good to the Last Drop”:
…the author could have spent more time exploring alternative options as to why marathoners are at risk of heart attacks, and better exploring what happens to an endurance athlete’s body during a race.
My main concern is the portrayal of caffeine as the cause, rather than a contributing factor. See, for example, this article, where it is suggested that marathon running in the first place is major contributing factor. By inference, caffeine may be an innocent bystander, or possibly the proverbial straw.
On “Impermanent Games”:
“Play It Again is a collaboration between Flinders University and several Australian and New Zealander tertiary and cultural institutions.”
Can you please explain to me what the word ‘tertiary’ is supposed to meet in this context?
Apologies! In some countries, education is split into primary (grade schools in America), secondary (junior high, middle school, and/or high school), and tertiary, more commonly known in the U.S. as “higher” education.
On “Majestic Espresso” (from Issue 6!)
Damien picks a bone with a statement in the article:
It is said “Caffeine dissolves readily in hot water and is always the first thing to come out of coffee. The “Swiss decaffeination” process works by soaking green beans in warm water. Thus, a shorter espresso doesn’t necessarily mean less caffeine.”
From what I have been told by pharmacists, the caffeine is less soluble in water than the beans “taste.” Thus the more water goes into the beans, the more caffeine is brought to the drink. On the opposite, the “taste” of the beans is extracted at the very beginning as water pass through the beans.
So a ristretto or short expresso is mostly full of taste and small in caffeine.
As an European living in U.S. now, I can say that I never had any problem to drink multiple expresso or ristretto at short pace while I got “troubles” to drink a single long coffee in the U.S.
But I confirm what this article is about: it’s very difficult to find a good expresso in the USA ;)
The Magazine is produced by a small but dedicated editorial staff.