Dear world,

On this, my 31st trip around the sun, I want to announce that I am undyingly devoted to my weird-ass friends, who fill every day with laughter, previously unsaid sentences in human history, and utter happiness. I wouldn’t trade a single bizarre moment with these hooligans for a million bucks, and I don’t spew wholesome content like this nearly often enough to deserve them. Now, let’s go drink beer and throw axes in the forest while blasting Swiss folk metal.

P.S.: Pour one out real quick for this year’s starter kit.

31 Starter Kit

Ladies and gentlemen, take this wisdom

I learned this lesson as a wee lass, but I pass it down to you, the next generation.


It seems like a good idea when you’ve got nothing going on. I assure you, it isn’t. Back away from the stud from accounting and rethink your life. Even a decade down the line, that fateful day/week/month fling will still annoy the shit out of you.

Day 402

In Trump’s America, where knowing nothing about the world beyond the tip of your own nose is a compliment rather than an insult, I think about how we got here. While wallowing in the willful stupidity of this era’s heralds and princes, I often flashback to funny moments where my family exhibited the same confident ignorance that’s become an American cliche. For example, one time my brother asked me why I was wearing Arabic lettering around my neck. His voice disapproving, his toe tapping, waiting for an answer…. You know those slippery slope universities just pump out liberal-indoctrinated terrorist sympathizers. I guess he wanted to know why I supported ISIS?

It was an Om necklace I wear during yoga practice…. one of the most innocuous and well recognized symbols anywhere in the world (and Sanskrit to boot). The greatest part of this story? Years later, he works for the bureau. It’s a bumbling American sitcom in action. These are the people who can muster the nuance to discern carolina from memphis bbq but will insist that Sikhs blow up airplanes and casually suggest that African nations get over that whole colonization followed by power vacuum inter-tribal warfare thing and get those economies pumping in order to be respected on the global stage.


You Can’t Escape

P.S., I forgot to wish the web a happy Valentine’s Day! Sorry, I was grating cheese blocks for literally hours. #liveyourbestself #eatthecheese


I lost track (a great thing), but eventually I realized that it’s now been over one year and counting since I’ve sent or responded to a message on a dating site. It feels fucking incredible to be disconnected from those dehumanizing, lying cesspools disguised as self actualization. #offthegrid #readarticlesnotbios


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Today in Excruciating Displays of Projection

The Christian Right’s condemnation of Islam seems like a performative way to absolve themselves of criticism when many of their ideological issues are similar to that of Muslim fundamentalists. Many of the same people who decry “Sharia Law” being established as state law are perfectly fine with the US becoming a Christian nation (either by law or “culture”), and even distort history to support it. What it comes down to is: The Christian Right wants exclusive rights to patriarchal Abrahamic religious law and fight Islam to protect their brand. It’s Post versus General Mills.

Why Does This Happen

Isn’t it the most useless people who seem to have “PhD” next to their name in their email signatures? Is it because useful people prefer to work instead of spending four additional years and 30k doing what is essentially a second Master’s thesis (I know I know, I’m projecting :P).

I truly did used to think PhDs meant something. Perhaps they still do in the hard sciences. But… I work in the social sciences. How do these people go through so many analytical ringers at school and still come out being one of the most useless, non-analytical people on any team. Maybe it’s just my sphere of colleagues and contractor partners, but the examples I’ve seen this decade are so depressingly sad that it’s getting to the point where PhDs are a red flag for me. I just know this person will ask stupid questions, be three steps behind everyone at the meetings, and contribute nothing to the team except headaches. “Oh, you have a PhD? So, I will be leading this effort, doing most of the work, and carrying you to the conclusions? Okay then, great, let’s get started.”

“An Asshole/Bitch and Proud Of It”

People that have a mindset of  “I say what I want and screw you if you don’t like it” have difficulty expressing complex ideas or exercising persuasion. It just seems like overcompensation for a lack of substantive ideas.

Key inspiration: the “He says what he means!” followers of Trump. Isn’t it funny how “what he means” is always racist, sexist, or otherwise inflammatory and empty of information?


My recommended ads involve vibrators, jumpsuits, and Target. It’s like internet algorithms knows me better than I know myself.


Rampant Middle-America Nonsense

It’s amazing that just showing up a for a 9-to-5 makes women “career obsessed” at the same time it makes men “responsible”.

Guess how much I care about your casual misogyny, average middle america? Take it away, Peggy.


What I Want and What I Don’t

Someone recently said to me the world would be better if women were more open about what they want and what they didn’t.  The observation certainly calls out a fault with current/evolving gender roles and expectations as well as social norms. Our culture frequently supports donning a positive demeanor and being open to others’ requests at the expense of our own selves, like southern hospitality run amok. To ask for things is greedy. To expect that your standard be met by someone is selfish. I realize that many things in relationships need to be a negotiation, but your basic principles need not be. We shouldn’t surrender our own needs to please others, whether they be family, colleagues, friends, or romantic partners. Sometimes displeasing another can ultimately be a service to you both, forcing the readjustment of expectations. To circle back to the initial comment, people can’t really be happy unless they start feeling more comfortable admitting out loud what they want and what they don’t.

In the spirit of committing to being my truest, happiest self this year I’d like to openly think about and consider these categories.

In Life

WantDon't Want
Travel adventures: From European metropolises with cobblestone and old houses that are too close together, to snowy national parks where I can camp under the pine trees. I want to traverse busy streets and watch the northern lights and lounge on gulf beaches and climb pyramid ruins. If I can't afford to leave the country this year while I work on my credit debt, I'll plan circuits for national park tours and lodges.

Fitness: I want to do more than fall in and out of fads and quick fixes. I want to make my fitness strategies a regular routine. Living alone now, no one can interfere with my progress except myself. There are no more scapegoats.

Continued financial growth: I don't want to be rich. I've never wanted that. My goals for financial growth are to make enough to be comfortable, do the things I want to do, and never have to stress about funds. The ability to put money away for a rainy day would be great too.

Cultivate experiences: I want to continue what's been an amazing decade of cultivating happy, memorable experiences, both on my own and with friends or partners. Experiences and happiness over things, always. Say Yes to indulgence.
Kids: The stresses of childbirth, care-taking, and family building. At least, not this decade while there's still so much independent life to live. Maybe later ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

A breached inner sanctum: Poor choices for friends and acquaintances that are toxic, controlling, or altogether bad influences on my time, priorities, and emotions.

Uncomfortable workplace environment: It may be easy to win a battle, but it makes the war unbearable. I need to be a team player at all times, avoid shining at the expense of colleagues just to be the one that was "right", and never try to take someone down. It's just not worth it and puts my goals in jeopardy.

Irresponsible habits: As I fight down my debt, I've done a great job excising a few old habits that added zero value to my life but monopolized resources. Good riddance, I say, and let's continue fighting those urges in 2018.


Pinterest mosaic of my 2018 aesthetics

In a Partner

WantDon't Want
Expressive and outgoing: Let's face it: I'm a lot. I want a partner who can keep up with my energy and spontaneity (dare I say, my capriciousness???)

Amenable to change: Strong principles are important, and I do value those. But it's also important not to take your rigid positions to your grave. When new evidence presents itself, one must be willing to adapt one's perspective to include that evidence and accept a change in perspective.

Tender: Has feelings and is not afraid to tap into them. This is connected to good listening skills, so I'll include that here also.

Responsible: His maturity and independence must reflect his age.

Live and breathe humor: Life is a comedy; nobody gets out alive. We need to be able to laugh together, always.

Socially aware and empathetic: His thoughts on immigration should be more educated and critical than a few paltry, black and white talking points that sound like "just come here legally". He should be thoughtful, empathetic, and open to the concerns of his fellow humans.

Geeky AF: And, here's a hill that I'll die on. At the same time that he's geeky, he needs to also not be a pretentious gatekeeper about it. How can you love me if you simultaneously question my authenticity; if you think my identity and hobbies are nothing but performance? The answer is that you can't, and it shows. Gatekeepers think if you weren't into something at age 7, then you're fake. So, let's share our hobbies and hope we perk the others' interests in new things! Explore geekdom together! There is room for everyone, and endless new fandoms to discover.

Lumberjack aesthetic: Not required, but it sure helps.
Narcissism: Now that I've developed a radar for this personality type, at least I can avoid it in the future.

Emotional problems: I can't get sucked into any more caretaker roles. My personality demands that I give, and boy... do these people take.

Indoorsy: My interests lately seem to revolve around nature: national parks, regular parks, beaches, and/or roughing it. He needs to want to live this life with me, not just put up with it. Snow, rain, cloudy, or shine--let's go out in it!

Triflin': At the first sign of a conflict-oriented demeanor, I'm out. My lifestyle goals don't involve petty quarreling and losing ourselves in the details.

Endless dietary restrictions: I love to cook. Don't be a pain in my ass 😛

Religious and serious about it: Being atheist affects everything that I am--my values, my priorities, the way I process experiences, and the way I plan for the future.

Gender Fluidity: I thought I was more progressive than I am. I've learned through trial and error that I do, in fact, require him to have more body hair than myself and to wear less makeup than I do. My own jealous nature requires exclusive rights to the feminine features and accouterments. (same vein: the man I'm with shouldn't be more interested in his own ass than mine.)

Hobbies that consume: Hobbies are great. They accent your life and add to your general happiness. They should not consume you to the extent that you go weeks without speaking to your significant other. They should not become your sole identity trait. They should not drive you to think of your friends and loved ones as mere vehicles for praise of your work. And, most poignantly: I should not have to take on his hobby just to get his attention.



The future hubs right here

Aziz “I’m Sorry” Ansari

The Aziz Ansari exposé this week described what’s perhaps the lowest-stakes encounter we’ve seen mainstreamed as part of the #MeToo movement, and as such has launched the most interesting and impactful discussions on sex, consent, and male aggression I’ve seen in a while. The exposé has this ability to make people excruciatingly uncomfortable because it’s about regular people having regular experiences. It’s easy to hate a Weinstein. It’s less easy to hate someone who looks and sounds like you or your friends. As evidence, see…. well, nearly every response piece on the subject. Taking the temperature of the response pieces is something of an exercise in “If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.” Whether articles come out for or against the OP, the consistent premise is that all women have been Grace. No one seems to be denying the universality of the woman’s experience exactly as described. The only disagreement among authors seems to be whether or not to care. I blink in disbelief. In the same breath, antifeminists admit awareness of our society’s pervasive disregard for women’s comfort and autonomy while using this very example as a way to deny it and declare women O.K.

We might be O.K., but we’d like to be good, great, fantastic! That’s what equality is all about. An anonymous comment on the Lindy West NYT piece sums up my reactions, so instead of reinventing the wheel I’ll simply leave this here:

Clearly Aziz Ansari was trying to rush things on a first date in a way that rushes to the male’s endgame rather than something mutually pleasurable and collaboratively reached between lovers. Some women are fine with the former, but most want (and all deserve) the latter, and for a man to expect the former is extremely presumptuous, disrespectful, and makes a woman feel terrible rather than pleasured. It is not rape, but it’s emotionally hurtful. Aziz treated her like a piece of meat as she moved away and even explicitly told him she didn’t want to feel forced. This ruins sex for women, and all people deserve to enjoy sex. Women have had enough of having female sexuality and pleasure ignored.

And then, there’s my lady Samantha Bee, who has the unique gift of being able to sharply and hilariously describe the precise feelings I’m unable to verbalize:

Part of enjoying [this modern world] is setting a higher standard for sex than just not rape, and women get to talk about it if men don’t live up to those standards, especially if that man wrote a book about how to sex good. [….] But listen, if you don’t want to tune into your partner’s feelings throughout sex, maybe you shouldn’t be fucking a person at all. May I suggest a coin-purse or a ziploc bag full of grape jelly. Men, if you say you’re a feminist, then fuck like a feminist. – Samantha Bee


The Return of Googlebro and This Stupid, Exhausting Fight for Respect in the Workplace

Mr. Damore’s memo last year argued that biological differences — citing greater levels of anxiety among women, and a lower tolerance for stress — helped explain why there were fewer women in key engineering positions and leadership roles at Google.  – New York Times

Or, crazy thought…. perhaps women are more stressed at work because even though they work full time they have greater childcare responsibilities thrust upon them by their partners and are expected to perform the majority of the shopping and housework and see less sleep and free time than their male colleagues because of it. Perhaps they are more stressed at work because their coworkers openly discuss and share manifestos about their biological inferiority for logic- and math-based tasks and use the workplace trends that emerge from consistent under-representation and being spoken over during meetings, undervalued, and passed over for promotions in favor of male colleagues as justification for these decidedly unscientific “beliefs” without a shred of irony. Perhaps they’re more stressed because their colleagues and/or superiors sexually harass them, and no one believes them or cares, or worse–blames them for causing it by the mere act of performing their jobs.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Women cannot end misogyny in the workplace. By its very nature, misogyny reduces or ignores the concerns of women. It’s men who must be the ones to take up the call against their peers and end workplace misogyny in our name. These are not women’s issues; they are issues about women.


Poverty Status of the Day:

Accepting injections of live diseases from the developing world for science.


The Art of Rising Above

Toxic people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps. Quit trying to beat them in an argument. Distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science project (or you’re their therapist, if you prefer the analogy). Rather than responding to the emotional chaos—focus only on the facts.


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