30 July, 2014

what NOT to do on social media

For those of you over 30, remember when there was no such thing as social media? Remember when you had to publicly embarrass yourself the old-fashioned way, by drinking too much at a party or tripping over your own feet in public? Now, with the advent of Facebook, Twitter et al, it's easier to humiliate yourself than ever before.

This video from Dollar Shave Club, a fun new razor subscription service, reminded me of my dad... he's the only remaining member of my family who doesn't have a Facebook account. I pray he NEVER EVER sets one up.

Why? Because he has no filter.

Dad, when paying at a grocery store, often decides to tell the cashier about his entire marital history (all 4 marriages, and how they ended). Sometimes he gets a little teary-eyed when telling the mailman about his childhood pet. And it's entirely plausible that he would pull up beside another vehicle at a stop light, roll down his window, and tell the other driver about some memory their vehicle evoked in him.

If Dad ever decides to take the social media plunge, I'm going to sit him down and have a serious talk about the top ten unspoken rules of cyber-socializing.

1. Don't fight with your parents. Or your spouse. Or your children. Or your friends.
Seriously, I don't care how mad they've made you. No one does! Posting a status update griping about something your husband said, did, or forgot to do is the modern equivalent of standing in your front yard and yelling at him. Your neighbors don't want to hear it, and your Facebook friends don't either (although we WILL gossip about how tacky it was behind your back).

And if you really need to release some pent-up rage, just get on Reddit.

2. Don't update your status with your current emotional state.
Example 1: "I'm having a great day because the sun is shining!" This is borderline acceptable, because it's positive and not attention-seeking. But it's way too chipper, so that's bound to annoy people.
Example 2: "I'm really sad today." A friend comments: "Oh, no! Why? Is everything ok?" You respond: "Sorry, it's private." Then why in the world would you post on social media about it anyway?

That's probably the stupidest way to fish for attention ever. 

3. Don't share share share share share.
You don't have to share everything - trust me, you don't. Please stop flooding my feed with your lame memes and inspirational graphics! Sharing all that feel-good self-help crap makes us all think you're clinically depressed, anyway. You're allowed one to two shares/reposts in my feed per day. Otherwise...

This includes Farmville and Candy Crush requests, too. 

4. Don't share some political or scientific statement that you haven't thoroughly fact-checked.
If you do, and what you've shared isn't factual, you are just propagating bullshit. Clicking "share" or retweeting without doing a little fact-checking is just irresponsible.

Do you really want to be partially responsible for the dumbing down of the human race?

5. Don't abuse hashtags.
I get that you're trying to expand your post's reach and you see everyone else doing it, but it's just not necessary to hashtag everything. For example: "Went to the farmers market today! It was awesome! #fresh #strawberries #blueberries #romaine #tomatoes #greatweather #greatpeople #smiles #samples #eatfresh #fucksubway." Ok, ok, the last two are fine - you can use those. But try to keep your hashtags down to 1-3 relevant tags; anything more is superfluous.


6. Don't "like" everything.
You don't have to - you really don't! I understand that you want to show support to your friends, but you can actually get blocked for hitting the "like" button too often (I'm not kidding). Also, it just seems disingenuous and sycophantic to like everything. And what if you get caught up in liking everything and accidentally like a post about a friend's dog dying? Not cool.

Wait, you're glad Scruffy died in a tragic fetching accident???!!!

7. Accept every follow or friend request, and/or send friend requests to people you don't know.
I know people who've deleted their accounts because they didn't want to accept all the friend requests they were receiving from people they didn't consider to be friends. BUT! You don't actually have to accept all your friend requests! You can just ignore, and if they have the balls to ask you about it in person, just tell them you don't get on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram that much.

Also... I find nothing creepier than getting a friend request from some middle aged man I've never met.

This leads me directly into point #8...

8. Don't treat Facebook like a dating website. 
Just... no. If you're trying to get laid, there are plenty of other websites for that.

Please don't do that here. 

9. Selfies, selfies everyday. This includes the outfit of the day.
No one wants to see you that much! If they did, they would be hanging out with you in real life. All it's doing is making you look insecure and attention-seeking. And self-obsessed. And narcissistic.

Unless you're this cow. Then you should take selfies all day long. 

10. Post pictures of every meal. 
Please don't post about the flavor profile of your pistachio-crusted halibut with a fennel balsamic gastrique while I'm eating cold leftover pizza... it just makes me hate you. Get a Tumblr for all your meal photos if you're such a foodie! Unless, of course, you've tried to make a nice meal at home and just burnt the shit out of it... feel free to post a picture in that case. That's just pure comedy.

And if this happens in the McDonald's drive-thru, you must share it immediately. 

So, what CAN you do? Pretty much anything, really - this list is really just a guideline. Anything in moderation is ok, but try to be considerate of others - just like you would face to face.

Also, you're pretty much safe if you post anything related to Ryan Gosling, weird animals, and cat videos. The internet is powered by lolcats, so remember to do your part.

Got that, Dad?

20 July, 2014


The subject line is my deep, inner scream (and also the worst curse word in the Russian language)... because I spent the last week writing and tweaking a post THAT IS NOW GONE.

It's somehow inexplicably reverted back to its initial draft form, which was just an outline. So, if I want that post written, I'm going to have to START OVER which doesn't seem even remotely appealing right now.

SO! I will write something different. Charlotte just passed the 18-month hallmark last week, so my husband and I are balls-deep in the toddler phase of parenthood.

Did you guys know that toddlers are completely unreasonable sometimes? Yeah. Also, my toddler has started hitting me. She doesn't hit Will or my sister, her primary daycare-giver, but only me. I'm not going to lie - it hurts my feelings a little bit! Why does she feel it's ok to lash out against Mommy, but no one else? Or is her newfound violence about to spill over onto everyone else any day now? A terrible little part of me hopes so, just because I don't like being singled out this way, but the reasonable part of me hopes NO. No one likes an asshole toddler who hits people. Or bites. Please don't let her start biting!!!

My saving grace has been my mother, who has worked in a classroom with toddlers for years. She knows exactly how to keep 10 or so of them in line, while still keeping them nurtured and content, so I often call her to make sure I'm on the right track.

I keep reminding myself: life has to be really confusing for a toddler! It's full of seemingly arbitrary rules and regulations, and things that appear to be good ideas often result in minor injuries. Beginnings and endings (of events, meals, excursions, etc) are fraught with emotion and hard to comprehend. This is NEW - I don't know how I feel about it. This is FUN - I don't want it to end!

I get it, completely. I think we all have our inner toddler lurking somewhere inside of us still - deep down, we want what we want. Now. All of it. Regardless of the consequences.

But somewhere along the way, most of us learn boundaries and self control. It's my job to teach those valuable life skills to this little cave-monster, and I'm not always good at it. In fact, I put MYSELF in time-out today when I lost my temper over something, just to show Charlotte that grown ups make mistakes and have to deal with consequences too. Charlotte hovered near me the whole time, brimming with curiosity and concern, but also smirking a little at the fact that MOMMY was in time-out and not her!

Honestly, time-out wasn't so bad. If only I could put myself there more often! It was quiet and peaceful... with just a few more minutes, I could have taken a power nap.

I love Charlotte dearly, and every stage of her development thus far has been quite an adventure. Tantrums, tears, hitting and all, she makes me laugh every day. Toddlers may be slightly insane, but they're also the funniest humans on the planet.

Happy 18 months, little Bean!

24 June, 2014

The Camel Suit & the Vagilantes (part 2)

And now, for the long-awaited continuation to "The Camel Suit & the Vagilantes (part 1)."

As stated before, I've decided to usher in my 34th year by acting as immature as possible. This, surely, is a fool-proof way to stave off the aging process!

still does not know how to make you younger

It all started one Monday evening around 9pm, as I waited in the car for my sister while she ran into a pharmacy. I was sitting in the passenger seat of her Subaru, messing around on my phone, when a couple of police cars flew by with sirens wailing. Less than a minute later, another two cops sped by, followed by three more joining them from an intersecting road.

Being a naturally nosy person, I thought to myself: "Wow, it would be nice to have a police scanner right now to figure out what they're flipping out over." Then it occurred to me...

By the time my sister emerged from Walgreens, I'd downloaded a police scanner app and was engrossed in trying to figure out what the fuck was going on. As soon as she got in the car, I exclaimed: "There's been an attempted robbery at 26th and Iowa!"

Laine gave me a guilty side glance. "Should we drive by?"

Knowing, of course, that you're NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT, we of course DID NOT DO THAT.


It was clear: a strange new voyeuristic hobby had been born. We texted our friend, Maria, to tell her that we'd decided to become amateur crime-fighters and we needed her to join us. She was totally in when I told her she'd get a flashlight and a badge.

We'd call ourselves "The Vagilantes," a female threesome dedicated to bringing swift justice to all who dare break the law. Not unlike Charlie's Angels, but with modern hair and chubbier physiques. Basically, we hook up the police scanner app to Laine's bluetooth car speakers - Laine drives, Maria navigates via Google Maps, and I try to decode the police scanner gibberish.  We DO NOT drive by the scene of possible lawlessness. We don't. But we need to know what's going on in case, you know, our pals in blue need any help...

Unfortunately, there's never very much going on Monday nights from 8pm-10pm (that's the only time all three Vagilantes are available). Mostly the police scanner just tells us what time it is and where the cop is sitting while he snacks on his donuts, so we spend the majority of our "shift" putting on fake mustaches, trying to figure out the dispatch codes, and giggling. But SOMETIMES, shit gets exciting.

Someone's got to make sure those hot firefighters have plenty of moral support! You know what I'm saying? *suggestive eyebrow wiggle*

Rest easy, world. We're here to serve and protect. 

The Vagilante Creed

As a bumbling but well-intentioned vigilante, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard 
lives and property in theory, to pretend to protect the innocent while actually snacking, and to leave the real crime-fighting to Batman. 

Inspector Wizard Sleeve, Sergeant Ham Wallet, and Lieutenant Ninja Slipper 

12 June, 2014

The Camel Suit & the Vagilantes (part 1)

It's fucking June. Did you guys know that? It's not even the beginning of June, it's the MIDDLE of June. My birthday is next Friday... I'm going to be *gulp* thirty-four. Don't tell anyone.

In an effort to stop my relentless aging, I've found myself engaging in a lot of immature activities lately.

Exhibit #1: The Camel

Yes, this is a two-person camel suit. 

Yes, I'm the one on front. Can't you tell?

For some reason, there's a camel suit in my office. Last week, as part of a team-building exercise, my coworkers and I all got to go to a Royals game in the middle of the workday (wahoo!!!! except for the fact that we were going to have to make up for 4 hours of missed work later...). My coworker and I decided that we were going to smuggle the camel suit into Kauffman Stadium and find a way to get on the jumbotron.

Why, you ask?

I don't know. Because I've always wanted to be on tv?

I'm not going to lie - on the big day, I started to get pretty nervous. It was 85 degrees out, and it was REALLY hard to see inside the camel. Also, it was hard to breathe and a little sweaty. And what if security decided that we were terrorists and tazed us? What if we accidentally fell onto the baseball field because we couldn't see, and ended up getting arrested like that drunk chick in the fountains that one time?

But I decided that I HAD to do it. After all, some guy got on tv at a game the week before just by wearing a horse head. Surely a CAMEL would be stepping things up a notch!

So we pulled on the costume and started sauntering around.

People stopped us for pictures, asked if we were selling cigarettes, and I felt like an anonymous sort of celebrity. There was one terrible moment when a group of children started screaming: "ATTACK THE CAMEL!" and I genuinely feared for my life, but luckily their accompanying adults held them in check.

After a few minutes, we were running low on air and needed to get out of the sun. I saw a long stretch of empty sidewalk ahead of us in the stands, leading up to an employee door. We decided to "gallop," aka skip, the rest of the way, in order to make as grand an exit as possible. I could only hope the cameras were on us the whole time...

Turns out, THEY WERE! We made it on the jumbotron not once, but THREE TIMES. And we made the televised game as well - my husband called me and said: "I saw you on tv!" They caught the camel galloping along in the stands in all its dromedary glory.

Unfortunately, none of my coworkers thought to record this epic moment on one of their camera phones, so all I have are the two photos above from when we first donned the costume.

Bucket list item = achieved.*

Exhibit #2 will have to be the subject of a second post since it's getting close to bed time... and the Vagilantes deserve a post all of their own (read it here!).

*Note that wearing a two-person camel suit in a stadium to get on tv has never technically been on my bucket list... but I just threw it on there for good measure. Why not? 

17 May, 2014

quality time with my mom and sister...

This is what happens when my mother, sister, and I are left unattended with cake.* 


We are on a "diet," so instead of eating a piece of cake each... we decided to share one piece of cake (a very large piece of cake...).


Last bite. When you've come this far, can you really throw the last bits away?**



Here's hoping it's a long, long time before we do THAT again. Shudder.

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

*This reminds me of the quote: "Any pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard and believe in yourself."
**Yes, you can. And you should. 


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