The Law of Diminishing Returns, illustrated by Dragonball Z


Ideal Weekend, As Described By A 28-Yr-Old, Full-Time Employee and Student

Of course, I knew after college that I would never so happily and recklessly stay up until 4am every night drinking and carrying on with friends in a formidable “landscape utopia” (beach, plains, cliffs, salty air, and forests all within a mile radius). Maybe some of this can be rekindled at the weekend-long tribute to that lifestyle known as Alumni Weekend (although it is rigidly scheduled as though targeted for adults, complete with an early dinner and quiet hours *cringe*). However, I was beaming with pleasure this morning after remembering my semi-blissful weekend. What roaring event did I attend, you ask? None, actually. Let me regale you with my completed weekend itinerary:

Friday was videogames at a friend’s house, which doubled as an impromptu birthday party.

Saturday began bright and early with coffee and a drive with the windows down, followed by a highly detailed & aggressively perfect cleaning of my bedroom and bathroom. I then took an epic afternoon nap and capped off the evening with sangria and rum bread pudding out with friends at the Latin Kitchen.

Sunday was kebabs and a glass of wine before thrift shopping downtown with friends, followed by a low-key sushi dinner, a relaxing shower, and a soothing evening indoors doing my nails and watching Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country, and closed out by this week’s Game of Thrones episode.

I’m not even 30 yet. The most out of control this weekend got was my palpable excitement upon my invitation to join the Magic The Gathering night at a gaming store. It occurs to me that I have reached the point where a trip to Napa Valley followed by an early dinner excites me just as much as bar-hopping used to when I was 21. And I’m OK with that.


The Final Frootcamp Entry

At last, the end of the road. I did eat the final fourteen fruits over the course of two years. Who never abandoned their posts and did something else instead? Watch as I force these sugary, horrible items down my gullet for the love of the battle. ….You can’t, because I went to grad school and did stuff instead. Woops.

I’ll confess to including tomato, olives, and multiple versions of zucchinis in the final fourteen. Ah-ah-ah, I’m not cheating, Newman! Look that shit up. Fruits that fake out everyone and parade as vegetables have been my only consolation on my health drive. Grad school drove me to binge on many a sugary carb, and I fell off the wagon more times than I climbed on. However, I graduate next May, and I occasionally reappear at the hot yoga studio, so I truly don’t regret how long this took to finish. It’s been a ride, fruit, and I still don’t like you, but now I can respond “Actually I have tried it, and it blows major chunks, thankyouverymuch” to any and all indignant inquisitions.


Of Parables and Overthinking

I was laughing about my decision to watch Exodus Gods and Kings drunk the other night with some coworkers, and most laughed with me and understood that it was a bad movie–even if a few hadn’t seen it yet, they knew. They just knew. Everyone knows Exodus is just a bad story. This position doesn’t need empirical evidence….the story is the empirical evidence. It’s no Charles Dickens masterpiece, folks. It’s a few pages of a wealthy heir growing morals upon discovering the suffering peoples have something to do with him. While the Cecil B. DeMille Ten Commandments adds a few extra hours of assumptions to the story (which make it quite enthralling and altogether a great story and film), I think Exodus Gods & Kings does a more honest job (albeit tongue-in-cheek) grappling this, as the film opens with him literally –not figuratively– conquering a village and slaughtering its inhabitants. But they don’t look like him, so it’s all good. Some people will blink at me, though, and simply ask, “What was wrong with Exodus Gods and Kings?” Uh, okay, lady. I don’t have seven hours free tonight, so maybe I’ll let this one go.

It never ceases to amaze me how much thought religious people try to put into a few paragraphs of a story from thousands of years ago, which has ultimately played telephone so many times before it even lands in the hands of a literate person wealthy enough to own paper and ink that it finally gets written down, and then translated and rewritten a few more dozen times until finally Europe sees it and has a meeting about it. “OMG, it’s so deep, what does it mean? There’s so many layers. It’s all about the subtext. What Jesus really means here is that it’s about our feelings, and do unto others, etc.” Ladies and gentlemen, these stories are usually stupid. Here, let me help. The Luke Multitude “parable” is about how all the town idiots didn’t have the foresight, awareness, or perhaps the wherewithal to pack a goddamned lunch when they head across town to attend a sermon. So, Jesus felt bad when his attendees voiced their bellyaching instead of going home and eating like an adult (TM) might think to do rather than inconveniencing the presenter. Jesus caves and pulls some catering out of his ass. The lesson is that if you neglect to bring a lunch and if you whine enough times with enough puppyface frowns, Greg, the office doormat, might just buy you Chipotle to avoid conflict.


Pres. Obama Detractors

While I’m certainly an Obama fan, there are certainly things to be upset about, and at the kitchen table over the years with family members I time and again have wanted to scream “There are so many things you could legitimately be upset with him about, you don’t need to make any up!”

But they do. Entire national campaigns have been built around making shit up, with the kind of criminal negligence for any international ramifications that you’d expect from a country WILLFULLY painting itself an ignorant, ticking time bomb of mouth-foaming gun hoarders who can’t pay attention long enough to vote in their own interests. An entire TV network exists to manufacture dissatisfaction in this president because he’s such a raging Republican half the time that there’s nothing the Right Wing can justly complain about. Economy? He’s done everything Gingrich and Romney promised and more! It’s a sad statement on the U.S. population and media that I’m always thrilled when an Obama detractor mentions an actual reason for their presidential disapproval. “You’re angry at him for not prosecuting Wall Street?! PRAISE JIBBERS, thank you for knowing something! Yes, that’s an excellent point, and I’m glad you feel that way.” It’s a rare event indeed, and it’s so sad that my bar has fallen that low: if someone presents a fucking fact–a reason to dislike the president that exists in THIS dimension–my eyes widen like I’m so impressed, and mentally I react with a knee-jerk “awww good job,” like I’m witnessing a small child use the toilet by himself for the first time. “Drones. Yes. Please be mad about drones. Absolutely, let’s discuss drone usage in nations like Pakistan.” To be so impressed by what should be one’s natural state of awareness in the so-called Information Age…. at what point do we just give up on this population?

One More Year

Years after my academic exodus, I discovered that thousands of women share my same experience every day: fleeing the old world, boy’s club cigar room of Economics and embracing the unfolding field of Big Data. It’s interesting to think back on applying to graduate programs. After an initial rejection from the program I wanted, I spent the following year buffering applications, taking a course, and convincing myself that any ol’ Master’s would do. In fact, if all programs accepted me this time around, I said, the decision could be difficult! I had convinced myself to keep calm and not pick a program, but innately I had. Oh, I wanted this one all along, the Survey Methodology Master’s with the exorbitant credit requirement, the horrible schedule, the longest commute, the most expensive tuition…but the most prestige. That year I heard from Survey Methodology first. I felt my heart sink as I held the letter, blinking at it, thinking over and over that it was too thin. I stared at it for a solid minute, debating how I could bring myself to open it and what the answer would bring me. Convinced it was another rejection, I slowly tore the back of the envelope. Matt was with me, watching me carefully with his cool, supportive eyes that were already saying “I’m sorry”. He knew what I thought I knew: that introductory program packets don’t look like this.  I slowly unfolded the letter, shuttering tears behind my eyelids while my chest already heaved with disappointment. Then, I saw one word: “Congratulations!” Gasps sputtered out of me. Misplaced spasms of disappointment turned to relief in mid-air, and I knew then what I hadn’t let myself know throughout the application process: There was no other program. This was the one, and I was in. Now, with one year left until my graduation, I remember the struggle, the late nights, the tears, and the accomplishments, and know I made the right choice. Here’s to my final year of gradschool! Come at me!


“How do I brain?” The persistence of the willfully uninformed.

I love when vocal Republicans on Facebook broadcast the fact that they’re liberals through the issues they care about. “No, I’m just a Republican who believes social welfare programs are all grossly & negligently under-budgeted while money is wasted elsewhere.” Congratulations, you’re a modern Democrat. “No, no, no, I mean all our money goes abroad and to excessive immigration instead of helping the folks here at home!” Oh, well then let me revise that: you’re an idiotic modern Democrat. Let me google that for you…. Here we are. In under 2 seconds I have a pie chart of Fiscal Year 2010’s budget expenditures by department. Simply click to enlarge! Immigration Services falls under the Dept of Homeland Security, btw.



“You see? Homeland Security is a huge piece of that pie!” Oh…okay, you think the Immigration office costs more than surveillance bunkers, the coast guard, or FEMA equipment. Ignorance was cute in the olden days, I guess, but OK, let me google that for you again…. Oh, in three seconds flat I have unearthed the FY 2010 Budget of the Dept of Homeland Security. Yeah, that Haitian assistance and backlogged Immigration paperwork is killing us.

Seriously, it takes people longer to write a derogatory Facebook post about falsehoods than it actually would take to learn about the falsehood. Ignorance is a cardinal sin in the Information Age. Ignorantly blind partisanship is bad enough, but willfully blind partisanship is just unfathomable to me. I essentially met someone whose logic is: If I gave a shit for long enough to learn about the issues I care about, I would feel differently about the issues I care about.




So close, buddy! Better luck next election. Maybe someday you’ll cognitively get there.



Fifty Shades of Whining

What’s a girl to do when public transit makes her miss her Capital Fringe Festival show downtown on a Saturday morning? Why, rage-read this decade’s ‘Twilight’ alternative at Starbucks and livetweet the experience of course! “With so many copies sold, it can’t be bad!” Yes. Yes it can. By definition, having that many sales means it’s just bad enough to court the lowest common denominator. I am immediately mistrusting of a work with an audience that wide. Today my concern was validated.

It was worth a chocolate croissant and a venti coffee. It was especially worth all the awkward judgey looks from repressed mothers [who secretly read it while their husbands were at work anyway, so who cares?]


Continue reading

Should be titled “Spoiled woman gets dream job only 2 years out of college and is cursed to look down on average work forever”

This morning’s bummer moment: I mused that I would talk about my real work (read: not school work) once in a while, but I’m so disillusioned by it now. No rooftop sushi cocktail-hours in Seattle, no first class bullet trains to NYC, no photos of me holding a Kodak appearing in Bill Gates’ TED Talk camtasia slides. “Pfft. Write a training script? How dull! Where’s Bill?! I want him to ask us to build a library in Tibet and then gush about it on TED Talk.”

Now I work in the public sector, and nothing is snazzy. I had to get a Master’s Degree to liven up my professional life. What does that say about my career, that I yearn to return to spoiled intern status?

The Many Dating Pools of Meh

Moms of the world, cool your cheese on the dating pool recommendations. When the Jewish mother voice wants to come out and teach me what’s-what over in babytown, please think again and keep your pro tips to yourselves.

RE the college pool: “You’ll find nice boys in college.”

I sure did, but who the hell wants to boink their college buddies? If they’re not in your buddy circle of “nope”, then they’re clinically depressed, hooking up with six other people, and/or high for half the week. I went to a “smoke your feelings” kind of school, so in my case it was all of the above at once.

RE the workforce pool: “You’ll meet nice, professional men at the office.”

For every 99 men over forty, there is a young-ish man with an OK face. This mini-pool is anxious about its goals, oscillates between completely desperate and completely noncommittal, or (if attractive enough) is still hitting it off with a college sweetheart. But all right, I’ll bite. So I date two guys at work, and boom…. having exes in the office is damned uncomfortable at lunch time. Who would have thought?

RE the graduate school pool: “Sharp shooters aplenty at grad school!”

My experience has shown that by this stage the men are married, house hunting, and popping babies out of their wives. This is probably program-specific… mine is definitely targeted for a crowd seeking highly niche professional development classes. Woe is me and my ladyboner with my professional credentials, lofty academic goals, and busy schedule. Now I’m “too intimidating”. Grand.


Anyway, moms, I’m perfectly happy doing my own thing and being a busy late twentier enjoying life. I just wish older generations would catch on that it’s completely O.K. and that I’m not secretly ten minutes away from overdosing. Stop sharing “advice” about “where to meet a man”, especially if your life is a paramount example of why I should continue giving zero fucks, or your knowledge on meeting men consists of high school, a community dance hall, or the grocery store. The grocery store! Nope, I’mma wear my sweatpants and last night’s smudged make-up to Harris Teeter. Sorry not sorry.

The Holy Roman Empire versus the modern Catholic Church: less poison, same amount of rape and money

John J. Myers, the archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, comes to this vacation home on many weekends. The 4,500-square-foot home has a handsome amoeba-shaped swimming pool out back. And as he’s 72, and retirement beckons in two years, he has renovations in mind. A small army of workers are framing a 3,000-square-foot addition. 

This new wing will have an indoor exercise pool, three fireplaces and an elevator. The Star-Ledger of Newark has noted that the half-million-dollar tab for this wing does not include architects’ fees or furnishings.

There’s no need to fear for the archbishop’s bank account. The Newark Archdiocese is picking up the bill.

-excerpt from A Church So Poor It Has To Close Schools, Yet So Rich It Can Build a Palace, Feb 19 ’14, New York Times


It’s funny, every now and then I pick up a dry historical text called The Bad Popes and read a few chapters. It’s easy to marvel at early Holy Roman Empire corruption and politicking and cognitively keep it separate from today’s Catholic Church. After all, it’s 2014, right? That’s how generations of Catholics have dealt with the cognitive dissonance of being a willing, contributing member of the perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition. But then you read about archbishops and their four-story vacation homes, and I get a flashback of, oh, every medieval pope one might ever read about, and I think….nope. Just another Saturday. These are humans, after all, and humans don’t create something so magnificent and lucrative and then become selfless. Power and money is simply power and money, and 945 or 2014, that reality remains the same.

Catholics, I’ve changed my mind. I’m totally not atheist anymore. Take me back! I want to be rich.

The Marriage Subtext

“If anything, sex is less commodified now than when my great-grandparents were courting. Before divorce; before reliable, effective birth control; before women’s advancements into the higher levels of the workforce; marriage was ALL about economics. Now that women are able to leave abusive and unhappy relationships, support themselves financially, and choose when/if to have children, we don’t need marriage anymore. It’s no longer an economic imperative, which means that people are free to be choosy about who they marry. So you’re damn right marriage rates are dropping and people are marrying later. It’s because we’re getting better at it.”

Lindy West

Thsi right here. It’s reasonable for me to be upset that since age 19 my family asks me, upon every visit, if I have a ring yet….. but at 26 the same people supported my brother in waiting (and encouraged him to wait longer if he wanted to). As my 27th birthday approaches, I feel the projections growing stronger and more shameless. Here’s to another year of I feel like my body is dirty, so I’m going to ‘remind’ you that yours is too subtexts rolling off my relations in waves.

Newsflash: If you think your body is dirty, a magic piece of paper will never change that.

Opining on the Superhero Genre

A friend was telling me about a new comic he thought I would like. His opening line for me was that “there are no superheroes. There are scientists!” I smiled gleefully at how well he knew me–better than I knew myself, because it wasn’t until that moment that my mind opened up and went full “Nope!” on superheroes. My partner and most of my friends still find enjoyment in all flavors of superheroes, from DC to Marvel to indie comic artists. You could say I tolerated the genre over the last 15 years. I saw all three Iron Mans (Iron Men?) in the cinema, as well as both Thors, a Captain America, every Batman to date, every Superman to date, every Spiderman to date, the first Avengers, and I will likely seek out Ant-Man purely for the lolz (c’mon, it’s Paul Rudd! I have to!)

Yet when I look back, I very much enjoyed superheroes as a child. They were, to be redundant and obvious, my personal heroes–especially Superman and Batman. I was never a Marvel girl with the exception of X-men, which I had access to because of the Saturday morning cartoon and video games. My parents weren’t comic book buyers, so I watched media that the whole family enjoyed and played whatever games they picked out at Christmas. I would dream of Clark Kent in his glasses, of Christopher Reeves rescuing me from Niagara Falls, of Professor X accepting me into Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, and of Michael Keaton awkwardly trying to mouth to me “I’m Batman!”. While I didn’t have strong Wonder Women media to draw from (even at a young age, the obscenely sexist costume kept me disinterested), I still admired the idea of her and would make up my own Wonder Woman stories and costumes in my head. And you know what? Judge away, you trolling denizens of the webz, but I liked George Clooney too. He did just fine. In fact, George Clooney’s off-camera personality, though not immediately clear that he’s troubled and self-loathing, emits that fearlessness and low-key chill factor that I think goes well with a Batman interpretation (aside from the obvious playboy millionaire crossover). And lets not forget about the beautiful, soulful calm that Val Kilmer brought to his Batman! He and Nicole Kidman were on fire, a fire that no one but Seal could have made more sultry.

I could try to take some time for deep introspection and come up with a hundred little things during my development that ruined this genre for me, but it’s not necessary, and might even be false. No Freudian analysis necessary. I didn’t grow up and grow “out of” superheroes. That’s not a thing! We all know that it’s really quite simple: We’ve been saturated. I mean, fucking saturated, like dropped in a vat of molasses, and my inescapable exasperation with this fucking genre is the sticky molasses that never comes off because vats keep getting dumped on me and I can’t shower quickly enough between dumps. 15 years of non-stop dead horse beating. Thor is the only franchise I actively seek out anymore, and it’s because I never had access to it as a kid, and I also love the mythology aspect to it. *Ahem* Hormones may also play a role. Everything else I begrudgingly attend because others take me along. I role my eyes at superhero cosplayers at cons. Superhero anime is all but ruined for me. I haven’t re-watched my beloved early Batmans or Supermans in nearly a decade. Any franchise that my partner doesn’t love, I actively try to avoid. I still have not seen half the new Spidermen, no Hulks whatsoever, no Fantastic Fours, few new X-Men, no animated attempts to cash in, no Kick-Ass, no Green Lantern or Hornet, no Hellboy, and HELL NO to a Punisher movie. I don’t even care for the Blades, despite my dark movie philia. I’m just….done; so beyond done that the word doesn’t cut it anymore. I need a new word for “done” that encapsulates the roundness of my lethargy.

And that’s my shower diatribe for today.


A New Year of Options

The tiresome act of new year’s resolutions came and went this year without much attention. Self betterment doesn’t come to mind during times of high self esteem. It creeps in when you’re at your lowest. I suppose in 2014 it took a month for the full swing. When you’re working for two, the artful side shuts down in self-preservation. “You don’t have time for self betterment, hobbies, or new pursuits,” the left brain tells the right. This state of mind is emotionally draining, and I’ve discovered that it has slow, creeping effects that might hit all at once one night while you start to cry after losing a game of chess. *cough*

As my partner becomes gainfully employed, my subconscious is allowing me to become acutely aware of options–options like self enrichment.  Three years ago this blog was supposed to help me do just that through activity logs. I’m one who enjoys making lists (sidebar: That’s putting it mildly. I frigging LOVE making lists) and staying organized, and so here again I aim to get organized for the purpose of expression, pursuits, and mental health. My latest goals demand the following from me every week:

  • Go to bikram yoga at least twice
  • If no, go to local gym and run/bike at least thrice
  • Take time to read from a leisure book (textbook doesn’t count, Mary. Neither do web articles.)
  • Watch 1 documentary
  • Perform 1 de-stress activity for enjoyment that doesn’t involve Netflix. This could be a puzzle, a board game, a long walk, a concert, etc.


These are perfectly reasonable goals. I’m not setting myself up for failure here. I believe these simple self improvement steps will go a long way to elevating my self esteem and mood. It’s so easy to forget (or claim inability) to perform these activities week after week when pulling overly full work days, worrying about money, giving into lethargy, fighting anxiety, and earning a Master’s degree by night. If I lose myself in the routine, I’ll be persistently unhappy. It’s time for a change. This blog just got an unusual dose of REAL TALK.

As a side note, I also need to adopt these measures for improved mental health in order to avoid further physical damage. Let me know if you have a similar stress symptom, but I compulsively crack my wrists and pinky fingers when I’m stressed. And I can’t stop; I do it until I have physical pain in my hands and wrist, even all the way up to my elbow. It’s now every single day. I put on a wrist wrap to apply pressure to the crack points, which helps make the act less frequent. However, my nervous system is quickly growing accustomed to the brace and beginning to ignore it. So, chill the fuck out, stress, so that I stop giving myself early onset arthritis! Jeezis.

Fall Trumpeting

I too wanted to utilize the pool deck more often this summer than I did. I too was briefly (but so acutely!) despondent as the water drained and the cover was tied down. Warm sunbeams, coconut-smelling lotions, and margaritas… yes, I loved it too, and now it’s over.

But fear not, fellow peasants! Let’s poke each other out of our post-Labor Day slump and get ready for the thrill of my favorite season. I’ve already made a pumpkin pie, two batches of pumpkin butter, and two Halloween wreaths. In my area of North America the leaves have already started redding, and the squirrels are going bonkers about collecting nuts. Did you know that the Samhain festival, the mother of our modern Halloween, originated in what’s modern day Ireland? Of course you did! You love fall too!

Oh, you weren’t really in the zone yet? You aren’t that keen to fall’s arrival? Still pining for summer? You want to wait? Well, LET ME FUCKING HELP YOU OUT!







I want to drink my pumpkin latte, sitting on my bed with the window open and soaking in the cool fall-smelling breeze as I pound through my Stats homework, followed by a session of fall Etsy crafting and Halloween party schlepping. Then I’d like to wash that down with a hot apple cider and a delicious home-cooked crock pot dinner and an evening, spice scented candle-lit romp through a pile of leaves. Then I’ll wrap up the weekend with a trip to the greatest Fall destination in the region: where cider/meade combos get you drunk, the beekeepers pour free samples of local honey down your throat, and juggling tumblers are framed by gorgeous fall foliage, cool weather, and smells wafting from the bread bowl soup stand.  Damn it, Fall is the best!



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