Category: Humor

Weekend Links

Kittens, it’s been…it’s been a week. There are a lot of troubles in the world. I’ve tried to round up some important stories in our usual interest realms – media and information, politics, and cheese. I’ve tossed in goodness to help the grim go down better.

Love you all, stay safe in the heat!

Iconic.

All families have some kind of secret history.

NOT NOW, PLAGUE.

Racist dogwhistles (and outright racism) to own the libs. Damaging the environment in ways that will affect our entire species to own the libs. Practicing cruelty and exclusion of marginalized people to own the libs. Economic self harm to own the libs. It’s just a fundamentally bizarre way of thinking to me and I’ve given up trying to understand it. It’s a pointless game of one downsmanship.

It’s a cult.

If 2020 has a theme it’s that all the screen tropes are happening in real life.

You’d think I’d be unmoved by all the evidence confirming my worst feelings about his capability and fitness for the office he holds, but I still manage to find myself grimly shocked.

Oof

Monica speaks wisdom.

HOLY CRAP. If “everything Trump touches dies” holds true, I will not be sorry to see bogus culture wars be among his anti-Midas-touch victims. I for one have no sympathy for those who have enabled the worst fringes of their own team to the point that almost every norm is trampled and every institution is under suspicion.

Yes please, I want more African ballet across the board.

Save the cheese!

And why you should exercise caution about those “save the children” campaigns you’re suddenly seeing crop up everywhere. It’s not happening on accident. Be sure of your information and its sources.

Fifteen Things I Loved In May/June/July

Ducklings, I’m the worst! I’m badly behind and the only excuse I have is the…general state of the world at large…

Actually, that’s a pretty okay reason to lose track of time in my opinion. This cursed year is more than half gone, and let be real about the possibility of the second half being even more bonkers than the first. So much to look forward to.

These past months have just been weird. Occasionally positive – flexible working is a win, saving money on travel has gone a long way, it’s been an opportunity to really ground and focus on what’s important. Occasionally horrible – the general dread and anxiety, watching the slow motion effects start to land on my nearest and dearest and wondering when they are going to hit us, the confinement. It’s truly a roller coaster, and I’m very aware that (thus far at least) my family has been extremely luck, but it does make for an emotionally wobbly time.

Here are the things that helped me cope in the last couple of months. As always, leave your own favorite things and recommendations in the comments so we can all help each other out a bit.

 

House of Names, by Colm Toibin

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller was one of my favorite novels in perhaps years, and somehow that without plan or even intention, I ended up having a bunch of books become available become available across my library accounts along the same theme of Greek mythology. From a modern retelling of Antigone, to two audiobooks delightfully narrated by author Stephen Fry, on the subject of myths and heroes, I was having a run on the topic. So I figured I should probably add to the number on purpose and picked up this retelling of the House of Atreus myth. Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, Orestes, and the whole gang. Written from three points of view, each of the chosen characters brings a private perspective to a very well-trodden story and makes it feel fresh and new and human.

 

Khiels Creme du Corps

Basic but good. If you’re spending most of your time in loungwear or athleisure (as many of us are), things like skin and body care take on greater significance. We’re all in uncomfortable circumstances of varying degrees, so things that have a comfort factor have been much more important to me of late. I’ve never been very good at taking care of my whole body – moisture, exfoliation, hands and feet, and all that jazz have long escaped me – so being forced to focus on it  has helped me feel better overall. This is a bit of a cult product and for a good reason. I heartily recommend the sensation of sliding your freshly shaved and moisturized legs into clean sheets, especially when you have absolutely nowhere to go the next day.

Attack on Titan

My anime education continues, at the hands of my husband. I really enjoyed this series which combines really creative science fiction, political drama, and the angst of frustrated romance into a pleasing cocktail. By his own admission, Jeff is keeping me focused on the “highbrow” anime properties, but I’m really enjoying learning more about the genre as a total newb. His recommendations thus far are highly engaging so have a scroll through past favorites posts if you’re inclined to dip your toe in.

 

French Perfume

Thank god for that last minute trip to Paris with X and her boy before all this happened. It’s honestly one of the few things keeping me sane and reminding me of the Before Times. She’s a perfume junkie and we did a lot of haute smelling and testing together while the boys indulged us, and I came home with a gorgeous scent from Parle Moi de Parfum: Chypre Mojo. If you’re desperate for something – ANYTHING – to switch up in your life right now, let me recommend a scent.

 

True North series, by Sarina Bowen

I’m probably going to do a whole post on this topic but you know what I’ve been reading bucket loads of? Romance novels. The first quarter of the year was all murder mysteries and science non fiction but of late, I want easy and fun reads. And while I’m not prepared to dive fully into a defense of romance novels generally here (again, topic for another post), I will say that almost all of the popular opinions of them are wrong. Fiction written by mostly-women for mostly-women is not a trashy secret, it’s a billion dollar industry and one of the few female-gaze mediums out there. And if you’ve done a bare minimum of reading out there, a lot of writing about bodies and feelings done from the male point of view can be hilarious or tragic. It’s difficult to write personality driven fiction, heavily dependent on dialog and internal monologue, and make interesting and appealing. Romance writers are damn good at their jobs. My most recent find is Sarina Bowen who writes contemporary novels and, lest you think it’s all bodice ripping and swoons, her stories are…topical. Her characters deal with blended families, second marriages, first love, economic challenges, career paths, addiction and recovery, LGBT characters, family dynamics…her plots are believable and personal, not just – um – entertaining. If that’s your cup of tea, give her a shot and leave me your thoughts about romance in the comments. I’m seriously toying with this as a blog topic!

 

Thank You Farmer SPF

A longtime favorite and recommended product of mine, this also recently got the seal of approval from Sali Hughes if my word isn’t good enough for you. I’ve converted many a pal to these tubes of goodness. Makeup is far from the highest priority right now but you people should be wearing sunscreen every single bloody day. I spend my days working from our living room with the windows open and SPF is a must.

 

Psycle workouts

Shouted out before, but the love continues. In fact, as an experiment it’s been so successful that the brand is going to produce online only content and I’m 100% signing up for it.

 

Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1, by Living Proof

Hair is still my beauty nemesis but even in lockdown there are work meetings that require some camera time and half-assing your look isn’t going to cut it! This keeps a blowout smooth and seems to keep my hair looking tidy longer, even after workouts or days sweltering in the summer sun in a country that doesn’t have air conditioning.

 

Dyson fan

Speaking of – this thing saves lives.

 

Normal People, BBC adaptation

This TV adaptation of a book which no one I’ve met seems to have ambivalent feelings about – they either love it or hate it – won a lot of praise for doing something very difficult: making the inner life visible. The novel on which is based takes place mostly in the thoughts and emotions of the two main characters. How on earth do you make someone else’s inner monologue interesting? Well, this series nails it. The story is of love across class, but set in current day Ireland and in a world where we have more tools than ever to communicate but still manage to misunderstand each other constantly. It’s about the difference between academic and emotional intelligence, how we all deal with personal pain, and the damage and healing we can do for each other. It’s about intimacy. It’s beautifully shot and the acting is incredible. It rather famously has sex scenes, but even though they are explicit, it feels incorrect to use that or its overused alternative: graphic. Refreshingly, rather than being gratuitous, sex is actually a part of the story in a fundamental way and are both thoughtfully directed and filmed to convey the complexities of the characters’ desires and the intimacy they have and hold for one another. Basically it’s a slow story and won’t be for everyone, but I’m incredibly impressed as an adaptation and am curious to hear from people who have read the book as well and what your feelings on both properties are. Full Goodreads review here. To the comments!

 

Lisa Eldridge lipsticks

Let’s be real, masks are sort of messing with my presentation identity – which longtime minions know is heavily lipstick dependent! But given the amount of work calls I’m still required to participate in on an almost constant basis, lipstick continues to provide a much needed boost of confidence. I’m still not entirely over the discontinuing of my beloved Bite Beauty formula (I have only two bullets left) but am taking comfort in the arms of famous makeup artist Lisa Eldridge’s velvet matte formula. I own four: a true red, an orange red, a dark burgandy, and a vibrant deep pink. When you need to look good on camera, pigment your pout. It helps hide quarantine insomnia, foundationless skin, and a hose of other aesthetic peccadilloes, which literally no one should care about right now. There’s a pandemic on.

 

Folklore, by Taylor Swift

Yeah, I’m a Beyonce stan for life and have never really seen it for Taylor…but I’ve been listening to this album on repeat since it came out. It’s really, really good.

 

Binging with Babish

A cooking YouTube channel is exactly what I wanted to lose myself in over the last few months. Jeff introduced me to this guy and I really love his content.

 

In Five Years, by Rebecca Searle

Clearly I’m thinking and interested in human emotions a these days – probably has something to do with the fact that my intimate world has shrunk dramatically but my need for it has not. This short book is another “love story” but it’s not at all the one you think it is. To say any more is to ruin the story, but I loved this novel and finished it in a single sitting.

 

Knives Out

This is finally on Amazon Prime UK, and thank god for it. It’s one of the most films I’ve seen in years. If you’re having a particularly murderous day yourself, channel your feelings in a more wholesome direction and snuggle up with Chris Evan’s now iconic sweater with some popcorn.

August Moodboard

Summer for me often equates to an identity crisis. Far from being a season of relaxation, since I was 16 it’s been a time for working and making money for the coming year, often moving with the military to a totally new place which often offered the chance for a new facet of identity. In my 20s it was a season for travelling to see family, but that has meant financial planning and organization more than repose, and it’s only in my 30s that I feel that my worklife balance is getting to where I want it to be and my identity was settling down. And then this year WHAMMO, pandemic.

So this month, we’re just leaning into the uncertainty and going with the flow. Nobody has any answers, everyone’s shut in or locked down, and there is not point trying to anticipate too far in the future. We’re all just doing the best with what we’ve got and we’re all out of our comfort zones. So do what brings you comfort and keeps you sane, kittens, and don’t worry too much about what it looks like to people who don’t have to live in your head.

Weekend Links

Another Friday in the year of our Lady Beyonce 2020. Lockdown easement is paused in the UK because cases are rising, Trump is floating the idea to delay the election (thus far a nonstarter, but let’s be honest this year is already a mess and nothing surprises me anymore), and the sea is rising.

It’s a lot. It’s a helluva lot. But today we’re going to educate ourselves, enjoy some social commentary, media discourse, and hilarity. Love you all, kittens. Check in the comments. 

Femaleness, male incivility, and how our reactions are often scrutinized more than their behavior. Traister strikes again.

Ooh, speaking of, let’s delve into this more, shall we? “Evangelical support for Trump was no aberration, nor was it merely a pragmatic choice,” Du Mez writes. “It was, rather, the culmination of evangelicals’ embrace of militant masculinity, an ideology that enshrines patriarchal authority and condones the callous display of power, at home and abroad.”

Using wealth for good.

The thrill of free fall has worn off, replaced by the general sensation of crashing. Ultradomesticity was comforting for a while — we should seize this opportunity to slow down, I read, way back in April — but now I would like to leave my house without weighing the potential consequences. I would like the freedom that comes from knowing I can go anywhere, or do anything, without the constant specter of disease. That’s a lot to ask of any hobby.

Her comedy genius is that she simply repeats him, word for word. No polite editing, no attempts to make full sentences out of discombobulated thoughts, just redelivering the exact same words without the benefits of his office. And yeah, it sounds ridiculous because it is.

Ah yes, more fun in the world of communicable disease. It’s history but a timely reminder that we basically continue to exist thanks to a matter of cosmic luck and nothing is certain.

In my personal experience, the venn diagram of people who don’t believe in climate change and those who are anti-immigration is a circle. One of these perspectives is going to have to give before the cognitive dissonance cripples their neurons.

A depressing but not unbelievable argument.

I think about this a lot as an expat. My passport has made my life and movement very easy and it’s almost impossible for me to conceptualize a world in which it doesn’t give me the freedom I’m used to. But that world is fast approaching and is one of many reasons Jeff and I are considering dual citizenship at some point.

Problematic allies are still allies…but stay wary.

Something about barn doors and horses. But seriously, until we come up with a better way to categorize and contain the publishers of misinformation, we’re going to struggle. Side rant, this is the benefit of professionalized media and proper journalism. And we’re long past the point that social media should be considered just a platform instead of a publisher of some kind with editorial liability.

I’ve not become a knitter in lockdown, but X has and I’m going to benefit from her artistic labor.

If you’re not angry about this, you’re not paying attention. Also, once more for the cheap seats in the back, anyone who ranted to me for the Obama years about impending martial law or Jade Helm conspiracy theories or any assorted government abuses had better be speaking the fuck up now. Because the silence I’m getting from those voices is really, really telling. The problem was never authority, the problem was always authority that you perceived to be “not on your side.”

“Demon sperm” and “astral sex” started trending this week in politics, because we live in the dumbest and most infuriating timeline.

Art from pain. Timely.

Representative Lewis was laid to rest and eulogized by calls, not to lionize his work, but to keep marching. His posthumous essay is worth your time.

Weekend Links

This was a rough week as some of the ripple effects of the pandemic continued to land closer and closer to home. We’re still okay for the moment, but several close friends have been intimately affected. I’m feeling a horrible mix of survivors guilt, selfish gratitude for not yet being hit by the waves, and a general uptick in the overall creeping sense of dread that basically every millennial I know enjoys. 

Staring down the barrel of the second major recession of our lives and basically all the same people are still in power. Love that for us! (screams into a cushion) 

Have some links, check in in the comments, and pour yourself something nice, my doves. 

Is the death of the It Bag on the horizon?

The most basic definition of hate is personal animus, but there is a more useful, and frightening, description: Hate is a social bond — a shared currency — and it abhors a vacuum.”

The largest issue seemed clear to me, in part because I was accustomed to it: that the letter, at core, was at once a theoretical defense of intellectual freedom and a carefully veiled invitation to use dehumanizing rhetoric under the bastion of ‘the free exchange of ideas.”

Oh look, another misogyny murder

How do we feel about pennies, team?

And I’m sure that any moment now, all the gun enthusiasts who’ve hoarded weapons in fear of the federal government, all the states rights activists, all the small government zealots, and all their kith and kin will rise up to denounce this, right? (Editor’s note: of course they won’t. Because with a few exceptions it’s never been about any of those issues. As a collective, these people are perfectly fine with overreach, size, and power so long as they feel it’s on their side. They aren’t opposed to it, they’re opposed to feeling like it doesn’t benefit them and their ingroups. Which is, of course, they hallmark of fascism: the worship, elevation, and triumph of the ingroup over one’s – usually falsely manufactured – enemies.)

Fire your branding people. While I applaud the direction overall, it’s been messy with its messaging. 

Fellow ladies, hands up if a man has ever called you a “fucking bitch.” Now again friends, hands up if a COWORKER who call you that in your workplace would at minimum face a disciplinary hearing

Support your locals!

Eurocentric history does not benefit us, we’re missing thousands of years of culture and human interaction because of it!

I’m too, um, endowed for this. Alas. Sounds restful. 

Weekend Links

Another Friday, another links drop. This week we’re talking media, privacy, the changing nature of platforms and content creators, nostalgia, and Things To Be Mad About. It’s a smorgasbord of things to discuss in the comments, kittens!

Extra love to all the SDS OGs who checked in on my last post with wonderful updates about life, family, and work in these uNpReCeDeNtEd TiMeS. I love our weird little blog community.

Take care of yourself this weekend, my doves.

YouTube is going through a shift, in my opinion. Yeah it’s sort of related to the Beauty Guru Drama, but a lot of top creators are quitting or dramatically changing their approach. Some of them are citing the limitations of the algorithm, some are burned out. Others feel burdened by their old content and feel it doesn’t reflect them anymore, while still don’t want to or can’t delete it because it’s part of their brand or income streams.

In other social media news this week, yikes.

I’m shocked. SHOCKED. (Update, I remain UTTERLY SHOCKED…)

FUCK THIS. This is bad and dangerous, full stop.

Speaking of, I continue to be astounded by the sheer amount of visual evidence that is just…ignored or disregarded about police abuses of force and power. It’s like visual Newspeak.

And she’s stunning.

It’s the corruption, stupid.

Garment workers – likely to be female, from underdeveloped nations, and in slave labor conditions – deserve better. #PayUp

If there’s one thing that unites Small Dog Nation, it’s an art heist!

None of this had to happen and it’s both infuriating and heartbreaking. Performative politics and deliberate misinformation is killing people.

It’s basically the 1930s now. Lean into radio theatre, my doves.

WERK.

I’m all for more female Emperors. Imperatrixes, if you will.

Well, this is happening at some point this summer.

Divorce him, girl.

Someone please explain a good faith justification for this because I am drawing an absolute blank. States are once again running out of hospital beds and the administration is privatizing the data management? Meanwhile some governors are banning face coverings to own the libs or whatever.

The immediate public health crisis is hideous and hundreds of thousands of people have died and we haven’t seen the end of it. But the longer term secondary effects are going to be horrible in new ways. In the US, over 5 million people have lost healthcare so far this year, and 20 million face potential eviction. And as for consumer debt, well

A writer I really enjoy on practicing hope.

Owen Jones put his opinion (and incidentally my own) succinctly. You cannot hold the majority of institutional power and still claim be the victim because people on Twitter are mad at you.

THE ONLY REBOOT WORTH GETTING EXCITED OVER.

I’m not at all surprised to see that he’s been demoted but not exiled. Grifters gonna grift together. I’m also not at all surprised that he was the last to hear about it.

A generation of women are opting out of parenthood. That doesn’t make them selfish, shallow or in denial, but it does make society feel uncomfortable.”

Of course they are.

Catching Up

Hi, how are you? How’s life? How’s the pandemic treating you?

Honestly, leveraging some creativity has been difficult more recently, but continuing to write, create, do, and live during an extremely weird time seems important. 2020 may exist in the dumbest of timewarps, but it’s not time wasted.

What’s been happening, you ask. Well, work continues and almost entirely satisfactorily. Travel to the States was cancelled (for what I trust are obvious reasons) and we’re going a bit stir crazy as a result. I’ve been reading absolutely everything under the sun, but especially a heaping batch of “trashy” romance novels – more on this in another post. After all my protestations to the contrary, I went straight back to baking on a weekly basis and not worrying too much about it. I had a depressive dip immediately follow an anxiety spike and fell off the health wagon for a bit, but am firmly back on it. I’ve had long phone dates with Hannah and Caitlin and my little sister in Japan. Jeff and I have been gaming and watching TV together. Therapy continues and continues to help me heal my brain in lots of important ways. We’re attending protests and switching up heavy news with reading amusing Twitter threads at one another. Every morning one of us makes coffee for both and brings it to the other with kisses. We celebrated our 11th anniversary in a year no one expected and neither of us could have predicted.

That’s us. I’m trying to write more, so figured an info dump was as good a place as any to reconnect.

Tell me how the hell you’re doing, kittens.

Weekend Links

Hi fam, how are we? We limber, rested, hydrated? Or we spiraling into existential dread? All are welcome in Small Dog Nation without guilt or shame.

This week’s links are not terribly light and fluffy, but are important. We’re emphasizing online culture, disinformation, and one or two nice things thrown in to surprise the palate. Let me know what you’re up to in the comments and keep safe!

Everyone who wants to understand current radicalization of all stripes NEEDS to understand the transition from meme/online culture to real life. Whether ISIS’ robust online PR operation to radical leftist anarchists on 4chan, the pathways are eerily similar.

as I was saying

again, still saying

Not unrelated: the attention economy politicians work, think, and measure success in a different way than actual politicians. Understanding this is important.

We’ve still focused on the police, don’t get it twisted. But we need to understand their culture in order to make change.

Also key: how the internet and online life is changing. Will the attention economy politicians keep up or will they be outstripped or outflanked by the meme cycle – including among their own ranks? I continue to believe that this cycle has dragged the right and left in their extremists directions more than leadership has – people are radicalizing themselves and institutions are scrambling to catch up or retain control. I also believe that the right has been more effective at allying around specific topics and staying on message than the left…but that this has in turn exacerbated the radicalization process and that they are at real risk of losing control of their wingnuts.

no shit, Sherlock.

Yep. Sure. The problem with the royal family is this pair and not…this mess. Sure.

Snowflakes.

Speaking of, “The Right Wing Myth of the Left Wing Mob,” is something that I sincerely want to send to a dozen specific people. But I’m not trying to convert anyone anymore (she reminded herself).

Meanwhile, on YouTube

Here is a nice list of book recommendations to consider!

(takes deep breath) BIRTH CONTROL IS HEALTHCARE. This week the US Supreme Court gave the double whammy of allowing employers to deny birth control coverage to workers on religious grounds, AND upheld religious organizations right to discriminatory hiring practices. I worked for an institution like this once. Never again. I had health insurance and Planned Parenthood was STILL a better option for my reproductive health.

10% of our entire population.

Weekend Links – Independence Day Edition

Hey piglets, another short and dirty links post for your reading pleasure. We’ve got pandemics, fake feminism, Russian bounties, and even some GOOD news stories. The pubs are opening this weekend in the UK and Jeff and I will be staying firmly indoors, thanks. People who are acting like the global crisis will half a million cases and hundreds of thousands of deaths is somehow over stress me out. It isn’t. Make good choices, kids.

We’re going to fry some chicken, watch some Hamilton on Disney+, and only go outside with masks. Happy Fourth, yanks!

It didn’t need to be this way.

My brother is currently deployed. I hate this man as I have never hated any politician in my life. (ETA update.)

Politically I’m gleeful. Professionally I acknowledge the conflict of how many jobs and support industries this is going to affect, including my own. What a weird time to be alive.

The current cultural pushback against girlbosses isn’t a desire to be done pursuing equality, or to stop trying to eliminate workplace disparities. This mode of empowerment was briefly successful exactly because people had become more aware of—and uncomfortable with—the way power functions in America.”

Yes, let’s try it! Let’s run the experiment!

We don’t deserve dogs.

Huh. Totally inconsequential, I’m sure.

If you are just learning about how many of the “confederate” monuments and symbols are nowhere near the actual historical southern states…catch up. It’s about white supremacy, peeps.

Powerful opinion piece.

I think if he weren’t such an appalling human being, he would make a great president…” What an extraordinary statement and fundamental disconnect between one and the other. I continue to despair at the myth that he was a successful business man – he wasn’t, HE JUST PLAYED ONE ON TV. And the tired line that good business people make good leaders needs to die. Business and government are not the same thing and should never be confused. We don’t need fewer “politicians” in politics, we need better politicians who are actually interested in governing.

Huh. Well, let’s see what happens now. The attention here in the UK is on Prince Andrew.

Hey, some good news!

I am horribly late to this, but Todrick CAME THROUGH for us all:

July Moodboard

This month we’re taking it easy when we need to and going hard when required. We’re rewatching our favorite TV shows or movies instead of trying to get invested in the lastest prestige drama. We’re swapping out the beach days for long calls with friends for the same vibe. We’re eschewing makeup for skincare. We’re girding our loins for annual budget battles and committing to using any clout we have in our professional spaces to other peoples’ benefit. We’re not avoiding hard conversations. We might be working from home and unable to travel to see family, but we’re doubling down on staying connected anyway.

What energy are you bringing to July, my doves?