Before I let my fingers dance for too long on my keyboard, I am warning the readers and my compatriots at Beginners that this will be a shorter post than I intended/is necessary for the quantity and spread of buckshot I intend to spray about this topic. For now, let’s all see this as the intro to a rant that might take a while to formulate. Its current form is nonverbal: crazy eyes, grunting, and flailing arms.
Alright, everybody: we’ve got to start taking responsibility for the world we inhabit.
This means a multitude of things. I don’t really desire to be political or apolitical about this. I could talk about climate change and carbon footprints, sure. (Just saw “Animal Animal Mammal Mine” at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts so I’m already primed to do so.) But I think that the immediate association allows for too many people to oversee other ways in which they are responsible for societal and cultural reverb that continues well past their drunken weekend decisions.
YOU are responsible for the entertainment/media/art that will get produced and funded in the near future. Every time you buy a ticket for a formulaic, vapid, vulgar/vulgarly offensive, artless, humorless, and/or degrading movie or concert or event or whatever, you are using your consumer power and, in essence, placing a vote for what will be produced next – sucky crap meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
YOU and your hard-earned money make choices in how the global economy works. In general, almost everyone doesn’t realize that, collectively, our consumption paves the way for what industries prosper and what industries fail.
It’s not that you only attract bad men, it’s that YOU accept bad men. And it’s by accepting bad men that YOU help maintain the notion that negative behavior towards women has no consequences and, actually, elicits positive results.
YOU have to accept that there are certain things you can’t control, of course. But YOU have to figure out what the fuck you actually do have some control over and work from there. Nobody is going to do that for you.
We need a goddamn revolution. Collective action is necessary or else rape culture will continue and “Transformers” movies will keep being made. And rebooted. And rebooted. And rebooted again. For hundreds of millions of dollars. (And just think about how many young directors – future Wes Andersons and Claire Denises and Katheryn Bigelows and David Cronenbergs and Quentin Tarantinos – could have been funded with that?)
No. Not parenthood. But close!
I am talking about moving. Ugh. What a shit show! A couple weeks back Kelly and Kylin posted about their house hunting nightmare (they ended up finding a great place, bless them) and in response I would like to voice my own renting frustrations…
So I just got a job in Memphis, TN! I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing, girls, but I knew I had to quickly figure out a lot in order to start sanely 1 month after accepting the offer. Little did I know securing a place and getting my stuff there would be harder than landing the job itself! Here are a few things I’ve learned in the process…
1) The Move. Moving companies suck! (Okay, to an extent.) The actual guys who came to pick up my things were these two really sweet Latino fellows. I learned, however, once they were at my front door, that they weren’t in fact from the actual moving company who I had been corresponding with in the days prior. Rather they were a group contracted out of the actual company. If you’re confused…yeah, me too. Then I was told since I wouldn’t physically be there to receive my things (I would be coming a week later), I could pay the remaining balance for the move over the phone. The truck weighs your things and then you pay the rest of the bill after it has arrived. All good. But then this third party manager tells me on the phone that not only do I need to pay upfront via credit card, I also must leave the amount blank! Like signing a blank check!? I pretty much had no choice at this point, my stuff was all packed, and so I took a picture of the slip and also got the driver to sign a statement of my own. But seriously. All of this fuss and practically zero communication between the moving company and the people they’d contracted. Everything ended up alright in the end, but it was still a really stressful process. My recommendation: ask more specific questions about the company, moving process, and payment before signing on to anything.
2) The Neighborhood. Phew…okay now that that’s off my chest. My next two biggest concerns about moving to Memphis are the crime rate in various areas and…bug problems! (Joy!) I found these two websites to be particularly useful when looking for a good place:
3) The People. Another useful tool in getting aquainted to a new city is phoning up local bloggers/business people. I found a blog, akin to Beginners and run by a Memphis gal, and it was really great getting to speak with her over the phone about the city. When you can, reach out to real people and don’t believe everything you read online! (I found an awful blog that explained how to prepare for walking the streets of Memphis,even suggesting that one have a dagger and dollar bill handy for close encounters with psychos). Scareeeeee!!!
4) The Craigslist (hahaha). For places you are unfamiliar with, I really would not trust Craigslist. But it was great for helping me locate people willing to give away moving boxes for free in Pittsburgh!! Use your resources wisely.
Like a responsible (smart!) adult, I made an excel sheet listing apartments, their prices, pros and cons, and other details. I highly recommend getting organized in this way. Even if doing so doesn’t help your apartment-hunt in the slightest, the very act of using excel and filling out information will make you feel like you have your shit together. And doesn’t that feel good?
That’s all I got for now, folks! Good luck and happy moving/organizing this Spring! You can do it!
I am one of the most responsible people you will ever meet. I am always on time. I never miss a day of work. I honor my commitments. I call my grandmothers every Sunday. I’m responsible, reliable, respectable. (Are you reading this, future employers?) But, to those who don’t know me well, or who only know me on paper, I am anything but. I move around, I flit, I float, I “live life off the grid, baby!” I have a nice wandering soul/gypsy spirit persona thing going on, and so I figured, why not embrace it? So to those of you out there who want to keep the dream alive, I present to you (in the form of a nicely organized list) the ways in which I am not yet a responsible adult:
And so there you have it: five (of the countless more ways) in which I am irresponsible. There’s more, I promise, but I started to feel a little embarrassed around point four… Please make me feel better and tell me some of you out there have some secret irresponsibilities too!
I’m not going to lie to you guys: this post is going to be short. There are many reasons for this, but the main reason is that there is a GIANT spider lurking somewhere in the room with me and I’m very motivated to GTFO.
Anyway, onto the theme of this week: travel. I’ve done a bit of traveling in my now sort-of-short lifetime. I’ve been to various states across those United and couple different countries – Mexico, France and Australia. What’s interesting (to me) is what I remember about these various trips – such strange tidbits that have stuck in my mind. So, for my short post, I thought I’d share a couple of them with you.
My memory of Oregon: trees and Starbucks.
My memory of New York: walking 33 blocks in the wrong direction (wooooops!).
My memory of Montana: so many rocks! (wtf?)
My memory of Mexico: my hair.
My memory of Australia: learning about the camel spider.
I am legitimately too afraid to even paste a picture of a camel spider, so this is a peacock spider…
Aaaand that reminds me of the spider and I’ve got to go! Happy Friday and I hope your weekend is filled with anything but spiders.
I’m planning a trip back home, yet another stressful flight, potentially carcinogenic body scans, and a terrible load of shit-tastic airport time. Now, I’m not especially well-traveled, and there are likely more experienced people who can comment on this topic, but I hope my humble little piece will prevent your accrual of bad karma for being THAT person. You know, that person. The person you can smell a mile away, hear them clanking and jostling, huffing and puffing. That person that drives a lapsed Catholic to mumble a quick, earnest prayer – a prayer that you are not in their security line or, God forbid, on their flight.
A list of some of the worst people at the airport:
1. I’m not sure if people who wear heavy perfume often are even capable of detecting the error of their ways. I’m sure that prolonged exposure to “aromatic” lab chemicals of this quantity has deadened their sense of smell. Or their reason for this exuberant usage is a sign of the deadened sense to begin with, unleashing a vicious cycle of irrational, unconscientious perfume abuse and dependence. It’s a chicken/egg situation, a debate left to the more litigious or stubborn. What is beyond debate is fuck you if you come on to the airplane wearing enough of the new Britney Spears’ perfume to destroy the appetite of a whole village of undernourished Ethiopians. We are in an enclosed space, a space where we cannot even select the people we sit next to for hours. You are a selfish ape shit for forcing us into a Biodome of your intense odors. What, are you planning on seducing someone on the plane? Even if a drunk and frisky Bradley Cooper is on your damn flight, you don’t need to read Cosmo to realize that smelling insanely like flowers and enraging the senses aren’t going to help you get into a fine man’s pants. And even if you did succeed, you’ll never know if Bradley loved you for your body, your personality, or your Paris Hilton cologne (provided you still delusionally think men prefer their women smelling like cotton candy).
2. Speaking of seducing people and delusions: you ladies wearing sky-high heels, Mardi Gras-style layers of necklaces, and those fancy belts, we can hear you coming a mile away, clanking and shit, parading and swinging your hips, chandelier earrings blowing in the breeze and getting tangled in your freshly styled hair. Our hate is not jealousy. We all “clean up” nicely too. What we don’t do is wear all our shit to the airport. Why? Because we want to clear security as quickly as possible. When you swing in, covered in mixed metals and in a complicated outfit, wearing shoes that make you a strained, slow-moving asshat, we are doing the math in our heads on how long it’ll take your butt to get through the metal detector.
3. Though not as ostentatious and self-serving, the overly high-maintenance parent with child is also a source of great fear and discontent. I am not intending to go all clichéd comedian on you and complain about babies on planes. Hey, they can’t help it; flying is scary and if my ears pop and often lead to a whole day of soreness, I can’t imagine how frustrating and painful it would be to a child not totally aware of what’s happening. This is about those parents that brought all kinds of crazy shit with them: their noisiest toys, their largest strollers, their largest diaper bag. It’s a 3 hour flight and they sell diapers everywhere. Is it really worthwhile to bring a week’s worth of diapers? Are diapers that much more expensive in Houston? What the hell?
4. This isn’t exclusive in airports, the odds of exposure are just high there: the loud foreigners. This isn’t racist or xenophobic, because my loathing knows no race or color. It’s for the group of people who share a language not commonly spoken at their current location and decide to speak it amongst themselves IN THE LOUDEST VOICE possible. Just because we don’t speak Korean/German/Swahili/Whatever, doesn’t mean you can abuse everyone’s eardrums by yelling. It’s as if you’re flaunting your ingroup secrecy in as grating a way as possible. This happened with a trio of Asian women in front of me at the US Airways security line in March. I don’t remember the last time I wanted to headbutt someone so intensely.
5. Actually, thinking over number four, people dead set on flaunting their ingroup status should also be on this list. They can be easily spotted by their matching shirts (sign of a bachelor party/school trip/athletic competition/etc), their herd-like clustering, and their boisterous enthusiasm and anticipation for their shared journey to begin. This group will likely be the hooting and hollering people on the plane as their cozy ingroup status has lead to a lowered fear of being despised/ostracized by the outgroup. This means they’re more likely to make hair-raising jokes to the TSA (“Why no, I didn’t pack my own bag. I had my Muslim roommate do it for me. Har, har, har! *wink at friends*) or will carry out their loud conversations laden with bravado and innuendo well into the flight.
All I know is if I am plummeting to my death from 25,000 feet, my last memories before the terror of our flight gone wrong better not be someone hooting “That’s what she said! Am I right, fellas?! Har, har har!” or an aggressive burst of lab-created night blooming jasmine. And if we crash into the ocean, that bitch in the spike heels and jagged jewelry better be miles away from my inflated lifejacket. She gets close to me, I’m seriously punching some implants.
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves.”
This quote, or the idea at least, is an often repeated phrase in the world of wandering souls. While I would love to say that with each move to a new city and with each new travel adventure, I am finding myself a bit more (god, I hope that’s true), it’s really the first part of this quote that resonates with me. Sure, I have fun with being the new girl in town – using fake names at coffee shops, playing the “I was just confused, I’m new here” card when I don’t pay the right bus fare – but my favorite part of being new in town is only having to reveal as much of my backstory as I’m comfortable with. It’s freeing to not have everyone know my family history, my dating past, that embarrassing phase I went through where I crushed hard on guys with Jersey accents (yeah, it was going to come out at some point…), etc.
Often when I move to a new city or am traveling, I don’t know for how long I’m going to be there so, for a moment at least, I have the opportunity to make a new life for myself, uninhibited by the realities in my past or the uncertainties in my future. It’s kind of like starting with a clean slate – albeit, with the shadows of what had been written there still visible. My past is always going to be a part of who I am, but not all of it has to define who I become.
All Images by the amazing Randy P. Martin
Signs and/or warning labels are rarely created without a need. For instance, McDonald’s coffee has a “caution this hot coffee is fucking hot” label (I may have a paraphrased that) because someone…okay a lot of people didn’t understand that hot coffee might actually be hot.* An infamous Swedish chainsaw had a warning label that stated, “do not attempt to stop the chain with hands or genitals,” leading the public to realize that someone had, likely unsuccessfully attempted to stop the chain with – you guessed it – their dangly bits.
So today, in the spirit of foolishness (and morons), I bring you 10 signs that we, as a society are doomed. These are the signs that are apparently necessary in our world.
Unlike other, person-friendly washers….
Let’s remind ourselves that these warning labels are in place because people have tried to do these things…
BUT WHICH END IS THE RIGHT END????
Dangerous letter openers are dangerous.
Resist the urge to amputate your body parts.
But it looks so comfy!
We know he looks like a cuddle muffin, but he’s got a bad back.
It would be difficult to NOT follow these directions. If you’re in the pool and can’t swim, you’re probably drowning, not swimming. Technicalities.
A lot like number 8, this would be hard not to follow. And you’re probably drowning if you’re attempting to not follow the direction here.
DAMNIT! That’s my favorite place to light up.
*Technically that warning label is in place because they heat their coffee to scalding levels and have been sued an ungodly amount of times because people accidentally spill their coffee on their laps and cause irreparable damage to their person. By simply including that warning, they’re allowed to say “well we told you it was hot! You should have been careful….I’m lovin’ it!”
I hate decisions. Like hate them. Hate thinking about them, hate making them, hate second-guessing them once they’re made. I hate them. (Did you get that?)
When it comes to making decisions, I tend to fall into one of two extremes: I either obsess for days, making lists of pros and cons and weighing all possible outcomes OR I just say “fuck it” and choose whatever I feel like at the time with no more rationality than the flipping of a coin. And here’s the thing: things work out, or they don’t, at about the same rate regardless of which method I use. I just feel worse if it ends up not working because my “calculations” were wrong, rather than just a simple mistake. It’s no fun feeling like a fool because of your own “wrong” doing.
And I’m also starting to think that in the grand scheme of things maybe these decisions I stress over (everything from where to go for coffee to what direction to give the next ten years of my life) really aren’t as important as I think they are at the time. Sure, maybe if I would have made different decisions I could have stayed in the city I love after college; I could be fulfilling my lifelong career goals of becoming an Alvin Ailey dancer or a Renfe train conductor, or I could be drinking a London Fog right now instead of a cappuccino, but so what? Is it really going to affect where I am 50 years from now? Or how happy I’ll be? Maybe they’re all just different paths to get us to the same place – the place we’re fated to be.
I’m not sure I’m advocating for this kind of thinking, the free-spirit-it’ll-all-work-out attitude (in reality, currently manifesting itself as apathy) but nor do I suggest obsessing over every little decision. Like everything else, it’s about balance. That elusive thing we all are striving for in so many aspects of our lives – decision making included. And feeling a little foolish never hurt anyone.
Riffing on the theme of fools, I’d like to talk about the fool in hindsight. It often does not pay off to be a negative Nancy, especially when you’re talking about future Nobel Peace prize winners. If only to prevent yourself from getting some hellacious egg on your face in about 10 years, I’d recommend the most repeated, but seldom followed, rule of “if you’ve got nothing good to say, shut the hell up, Jeff” or whatever it is.
So, whenever someone tells you you’ll never achieve your dream or, worse yet, that you’ll never amount to anything, just remember…
“ ‘It doesn’t matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.’
Albert Einstein’s teacher to his father, 1895. “
“Gurdon quoted a school report as saying: ‘I believe Gurdon has ideas about becoming a scientist; on his present showing this is quite ridiculous; if he can’t learn simple biological facts, he would have no chance of doing the work of a specialist, and it would be a sheer waste of time, both on his part and of those who would have to teach him.’ …[previously in the article] Sir John Gurdon, 79, of Cambridge University, shares the [Nobel] prize in physiology or medicine…[for] the groundbreaking work [that] has given scientists fresh insights into how cells and organisms develop, and may pave the way for radical advances in medicine that allow damaged or diseased tissues to be regenerated in the lab, or even inside patients’ bodies.”
If science isn’t your thing, David Byrne, the brilliant new-age rocker and lead singer of the Talking Heads, was kicked out of his middle school choir because “ ‘he couldn’t sing.’ ” And he was often considered to be possibly autistic because of his strange affect and his withdrawn personality. But I cannot stop watching “Stop Making Sense” because he and the rest of the Heads are amazing live.
Watching him dance in his huge suit is hypnotic.
Alan Rickman, British badass actor known to most for his role as Snape in the HP flicks and the bad guy in Die Hard (known to me as the sardonic Alexander in Galaxy Quest), got his first film role at 42 (which was Die Hard, compete with that). Before then, only a few stage roles of note on his record and a few small, low-level TV gigs. Hell, he didn’t even start studying or thinking about acting in any professional capacity until he was almost 30.
If you’re sitting there, complaining – justifiably indignant – that this outcome would only happen for a man (because, while men are viewed as getting better as they age, women seem to be lined up and shot after the age of 35), I have two words for you: Kathryn Joosten. After giving up her promising job as a nurse in her youth to focus on being a mom and wife and whatnot, her deadbeat alcoholic husband divorced her. While trying to support her kids, and juggling three jobs, she auditioned frequently and was often met with rejection. But, after landing a small role as a sassy older woman on Urkel, she started scoring TV parts all over the damn place. One of her latest gigs, the one on that little show Desperate Housewives, garnered her two Emmys (the first one awarded when Joosten was 56).
Fashion designer and businesswoman Stella McCartney was told she would “fail” by a senior fashion boss just before setting up her own label. In fact, this unnamed boss went on to say “There has never in history of fashion been a British fashion house with a woman’s name on the label that has ever been truly global.” There’s always a first, silly.
So, next time someone gets harsh and tries to tell you it’s foolish to try and achieve your dream because it’s too late or it’s too hard or it’s never been done before, tell them to shove it. They might be the fool in time.
Have a great day, people.
Image Source: Awesome 1960s Batgirl
Google lets us smell our way through the interwebs, Twitter lets us have “y” for free (!!), and YouTube has found the winner and you’re all going to lose your videos. And you can find all this information on USA Today. Or you can Google it by spelling the word “fool” correctly, and not incorrectly “fuuls” like I did (sadly, that’s not a joke).
Thanks to Google Nose for the image!
Recently, while enjoying a drunken conversation, I was asked the question, “if you had to watch one TV show over and over again, which one would it be and why?” Without blinking, I responded, “Friends. Because Friends feels like home to me.”
I grew up watching Friends; I began watching the show at the ripe age of 5 with the pilot’s premiere in 1994. The characters’ voices filled my home as a child for a solid 10 years. And then they continued after that with constant reruns and rewatchings of the various seasons. Friends, to me (and likely my generation), is a great deal intertwined into my roots.
And so, in celebration of my roots, I thought I’d share with you a couple of choice favorite lines from my favorite show.
Ross: Oh. *Oh*. Thank God, most women don’t even feel them.
Rachel: Okay, no uterus, no opinion.
Ross: Chandler entered a Vanilla Ice look-alike contest and *won*!
Chandler: Ross came fourth and cried!
Rachel: Can you take care of Emma just for today?
Ross: Sure, just lend me your breasts and we’ll be on our way.
Joey: I hate Pottery barn too! They kicked me out of there just because I sat on a bed.
Chandler: You took off your pants and cimbed under the sheets!
[in Barbados, Rachel runs into Monica and Chandler's room in the morning and opens the curtains, it has been raining a lot]
Monica: The sun is out!
Chandler: [squinting in pain] Hey, remember when I had corneas?
Reporter: I like that. what’s your name?
[pointing tape recorder at Pheobe]
Phoebe: Pheobe. That’s, P, as in Phoebe, H, as in heobe, O as in oebe, E, as in ebe, B, as in bebe, and E as in… Ello there mate.
Ross: My dad wanted to know if you wanted to play racquetball with us.
Monica: Wow. That’s great. Dad must really like you, he doesn’t ask just anyone to play.
Ross: Yeah and he didn’t really ask for you, he asked for Chancy, I assumed he meant you.
Chandler: Well, did-did you correct him?
Ross: No, I-I thought it would be more fun this way.
[Mona doesn't know that Rachel is living with Ross]
Mona: Listen, Rachel, I appreciate your situation but this is Valentine’s Day. So, if you don’t mind, would you please just go back home?
[Ross enters with his gift for Mona]
Rachel: What are you talking about? I live here.
Ross: [nervously gives Mona her present] Happy Valentine’s Day.
[Mona stares angrily at Ross]
Ross: Or, something to remember me by…
Chandler: You can’t come in.
Monica: Why not?
Chandler: Because, uh, Ross is naked.
Chandler: Well, I couldn’t tell her *I* was naked. She’s allowed to see me naked.
Ross: Why does *anyone* have to be naked?
Joey: Pheebs, you wanna help?
Phoebe: Oh, I wish I could, but I really don’t want to.
Chandler: Did you do it on our invitations?
Ross: Not on the ones we sent out.
Chandler: Oh, so it was on the ones, we had framed.
Monica: I think I’d be great in a war. I’d, like, get all the medals.
Chandler: Before or after you’re executed by your own troops?
Charles Bing: Well, it’s nice to see all of you. Although we are seeing a bit too much of some. Aren’t you a little old to be wearing a dress like that?
Nora Bing: Don’t you have a little too much penis to be wearing a dress like that!
Chandler: I’m not so good with the advice… Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?
Have a wonderful weekend! May you be surrounded by Friends!
To most people looking at my life over the past six years, it would appear as if I did not have roots. In that time, I’ve lived in six different cities (don’t even get me started on how many apartments in said cities), traveled to a bunch of countries, moved between different groups of friends, and dated a (small) handful of guys. I’ve been called a nomad, a wondering soul, a traveler… but never “settled.”
And I’m not. I’ve wanted to be and I’ve tried to be, but that gypsy soul just won’t be tied down (yet). But what people don’t always see is that I wouldn’t be able to do all this, to explore, to wander, to travel, without having strong ties and roots. My family and friends keep me grounded – knowing where I’m from and who I am gives me the strength to wander without getting lost.
Which is important, because I wander. A lot…
My Oma and Opa emigrated from Germany after WWII. They settled in San Francisco, where my Opa started his own business as a carpenter. After many years in the bay, raising a family and maintaining a successful family business, they moved to a town about an hour north of the city. My Opa always dreamed of owning his own land and having a home where he could build his own garden and have chickens. On their little acre he did just that. He built every vegetable box himself and his garden was one of his favorite places in the world. When I was little, Opa’s garden was such a magical place to visit. There were raspberries and currents to pick (my favorites!), chickens to chase and the best walnut tree to climb. It holds so many special memories for me.
My Opa passed away in October of 2011 after struggling with Parkinson’s disease and dementia for many years. He couldn’t take care of the garden once he became sick, so it fell by the wayside. One evening, when I went to visit my Oma the following February, I decided to go back to the garden just to see what it looked like. The frames of the boxes were falling apart. There were discarded pieces of wood and wire fencing strewn throughout the beds. There were weeds everywhere. It hurt my heart. It felt hard to remember what a wonderful place it used to be when I looked at something that seemed so broken. But, I also saw that the framework and foundations were still there. I decided then that I wanted to revive the garden.
I had never been incredibly interested in gardening but before long I was knee-deep in it. Friends and family helped me repair the boxes, weed the beds, bring in new dirt, turn over the soil, and plant a variety of fruits and vegetables. I would stop by the garden after work everyday to water each plant by hand, and spend hours on the weekends weeding, watering, caring for the plants, and harvesting. Somewhere along the way I decided to create a blog on tumblr called Opa’s Garden. It was a way for me to visually document the revival of the garden from seed to harvest.
It was incredibly exciting to see what the garden could be again, and it was amazing to feel what the love of the garden could do for my soul. There is something so satisfying about being able to see and enjoy the products of your hard work. I finally understood why Opa loved his garden so much. By taking pictures of everything from the beginning to the very end of the season, I found myself becoming more and more appreciative of each detail.
Now it is spring once again. I’ve been spending time weeding the beds and starting to prep them for planting in a few weeks. I will be taking pictures and posting to Opa’s Garden again this year. If you are interested, I would love to have you follow along!
All photographs are property of Stephanie Pressler. You may only use the images with permission from the photographer.