Tag: Humor

Weekend Links

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Happy weekend, kittens!

I spent yesterday walking 20 miles for charity and my body is hurting. Therefore we are diving straight into the links. Political news is almost moving too fast to keep up with but to summarize some major stories of the week: Manafort’s bail was revoked, Michael Cohen might be flirting with the prosecution, an the FBI released a report that may or may not affect your personal feelings on James Comey, but has nothing whatsoever to say about “exonerating” Mr. Trump in relation to the Russia investigation given that the report was on the handling of the FBI’s investigation into Ms. Clinton’s emails. No matter what the hell he tweets.

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A look into a world we don’t get too many glimpses of.

When it all went wrong, at least pop culturally speaking, and at least according to current curmudgeons.

There is so much shady money hiding in plain sight. Here’s some engrossing reporting from The Guardian on Russian money in the UK, but this is hardly the only combination out there. I appreciate the point made that in many cases of money moving through the world, it’s not happening necessarily with nefarious intent so much as it is a need for aggressive self-interest in preserving wealth through uncertain financial and political times. Conspiracy theories about “elites” sitting in darkened rooms smoking cigars and contemplating the best way to keep poorer people down and shake governments aren’t really true. Conspiracy theories about wealthy and powerful people meeting in daylight in comfortable office spaces and speaking practically about the best way to use completely legal means to protect their assets are.

Our entire society–media, politics, you name it–seems built on charlatans all scheming to get out just before the house of cards comes down at the moment. Some of them even manage to luck into success doing it.

Let’s be clear: broadly speaking, it’s still much harder and more negatively consequential for women to come forward about sexual assault and harassment then for me who assault and harass.

We were all rooting for this little guy this week.

This is horrific and unacceptable.

The White House is trying to shift ownership of this policy onto the opposing party, probably to try and force people to the negotiating table. It’s disgusting. Don’t cite holy writ, whatever your creed, to justify it. Either buck up and own your cruelty or be ashamed of it and stop weaponizing suffering.

God, we need Mr. Rogers more now than ever before...

Queer Eye is an active force for good in the world (with bonus Mormon content!)

Three cheers for healthy masculinity!

How the Netflix model works when it comes to programming and showrunning.

Here in Britain there is a bit of a celebrity gossip news this week that rather stuck in my craw in a way I couldn’t put my finger on. Then, Lainey put it better than I ever could.

Five Things I Loved in May

It’s May, the lusty month of May
That darling month when everyone throws self-control away
It’s time to do a wretched thing or two
And try to make each precious day, one you’ll always rue
– Camelot

Another month has whizzed past us! Here are the things I loved and got me through May, share your own finds in the comments.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I confess that I have been sleeping on this show and I. Am. Sorry! It was on the long list I have of pop culture to be consumed but for various reasons I’d never gotten around to it until the minor Twitter saga this month when the show was cancelled before being optioned and picked up by another network–all within a couple of days. Obviously I had to make up for lost time by mainlining the series. It’s fantastic and the characters are a joy. Terry is a loving family man, who happens to be gorgeously jacked for both aesthetics AND humor. Charles is a nice guy whose weirdness is teased but also actively embraced, instead of being a venue of mocking and bullying. Gina is a rockstar. Amy is a type A control freak (whom I relate to on a level that left my husband howling with laughter) who is also really, really good at her job and whose ambitions are celebrated. Jake is immature but grows as a character–and also is fundamentally kind and decent in a way that most male lead characters on sitcoms are not written or allowed to be. Every character gets an arc, the running gags are legitimately hilarious, the side characters are as great as the main ones, the vibe is aggressively good willed. One of the things I absolutely adore about the show is the main romantic story between Jake and Amy which is both realistic in the sense that the characters have believable quirks and foibles, but also is healthy and loving. There is no back and forth drama about their relationship, both are supportive partners (extra shout out for how Jake’s character is written to genuinely rejoice in and encourage Amy’s success and ambitions in a way that is not in the least pandering but actually feels like how a good couple would behave), and their love story feels very…normal. We need more representations of healthy, sweet romance on TV. love this show and I will evangelize for it hard.

 

The High Low Podcast

Run by prolific British journalists (and gal pals) Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, this weekly news and pop culture podcast is a fresh and decidedly from the female perspective. The hosts review the news, recommend media–especially books and journalistic pieces, and talk about cultural happenings. According to Ms. Sykes, “Our founding mantra is that there is no shame in asking questions – but reading (a lot) can help inform you.” My kind of girl talk!

 

MM LaFleur Dresses

I’ve written about this line before, but I own four dresses from MM LaFleur and hope to get at least a couple more. I’ve been lusting after the Aditi dress in green, pictured above, but am being fiscally responsible. Damn it. Between this company and Everlane, I have built a classy and modern capsule work wardrobe that both makes me feel great and gets a lot of (work appropriate) compliments.

 

PBS Eons

If you were obsessed with dinosaurs as a child–I personally had a cardboard box time machine and a well-loved book on the subject that guided me on my time travels as a tot–this YouTube channel scratches an itch you might not have realized you had. Scientific, thorough, nerdy. Love it.

 

 

The Curated Closet, by Anuschka Rees

There are lot of books out there on personal style, many of which are unhelpful, lazy, full of tired language and phrases, and often a marketing ploy to sell more of the author’s products or services. This book is actually a thoughtful take on organization and strategic wardrobe building that I enjoyed and found helpful in reorganizing my closet. Again. Because I am Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Amy Santiago and things like organization and planning make me super excited.

 

Why (So Far) My 30s are Better Than My 20s

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” 
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

I’m on the cusp of another birthday so I thought I’d reflect a bit on why, thus far, my 30s are leaving my 20s in the dust. I always looked forward to my 30s in my teenage years and young adulthood and I was not wrong to do so. You could not pay me to set the clock back to my previous decade. Here are a few reasons why:

Body confidence. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a shed load of insecurities but I’m no longer crippled by excruciating self hatred for my corporeal form. Thank god, I never want to go back to that dark self-inflicted shame spiral! I also, shock surprise, actually like quite a few things about my body which is a future 21 year old me could never imagine. Which was foolish and short sighted in the extreme because I now know in my 30s that my 20s body was pretty good and I miss it.

A somewhat congealed sense of self. I feel like everyone is a bit lost or up in the air in their 20s and though on paper I was ticking a lot of boxes, the truth was that I had no idea what I was doing most of the time. My identity was all over the place and most of my identifiers were external. Now, in my early 30s, I feel like I have a handle on my personality and personhood (warts and all). I may not like all my traits, but I also know which ones I want to work on improving, and which are 100% okay to accept. I own my likes and dislikes, my strengths and my terrible weaknesses, my ambitions and my shortcomings much more handily than I could have ever imagined a decade ago.

A developed professional grounding. Ten years ago I was about to graduate university and had no clue what I was getting into. Now I’ve been able to try a couple of different jobs and ways of working, and learned the things I value in a workplace. I’ve freelanced full time and worked in offices, and while I haven’t found the perfect balance (I’d like to get more creative or writing work back into my life), I’m earning where I feel I should be at the present moment.

Fewer ****s to give. I care less about what other people think about me than I have ever done and it’s great. There are a few, carefully identified people in my life whose good opinion matters to me and whose judgement I value. The commentary or disapproval of anyone not on that list barely registers anymore. This shift has been life changing.

Goals accomplished. There have been setback and surprises and there is a long list of life goals that I feel behind on, but in my 30s I feel like I can say I’ve started achieving some of the things I’ve prioritized and that are important to me. I wanted to move back to London, and we made it happen. I wanted to try to freelance full time and I did it for three years. I wanted to be making a certain salary and I’ve hustled hard towards that goal and it’s within reaching distance. Am I where I’d thought I’d be in all cases? HELL NO. Am I okay overall? HELL YES.

I’m going to spend the weekend being grateful for where I’m at.

Weekend Links

And we’ll never be royals
It don’t run in our blood
That kind of luxe just ain’t for us
We crave a different kind of buzz
– Lorde

Another long week, kittens, but the weekend is upon us and on Saturday we are setting up shop on my mate Chris’s terrace to watch Royal Wedding 2.0. We like to think we represent the rowdy and awkward colonist cousin contingent. The news is terrible again this week, so excuse me while I enjoy a little basic pageantry.

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“History” is so much closer to us than most people realize.

We’re getting a new princess/duchess this weekend and she’s quite deft in managing her own style straight out of the gate.

She’s marrying into a strange family, but she’s from a strange family…and truly, aren’t we all?

Oh man, I added this on Monday and things are already getting weird.

ETA, its only Wednesday and I’m grossed out by the whole news cycle around Ms. Markle’s family and their shenanigans. Sali Hughes says it better than me.

ETA again, it’s Friday and this woman is clearly controlling her own messaging straight out of the gate. More power to her. I would never want the life she’s choosing, so I hope this is a signal of being able to set terms and boundaries that will make the requirements of her new role manageable for a person who may chafe under cultural expectations she was not raised with or born to. Good luck, future-presumable-duchess. I’m rooting for you!

The annual Tiny Desk Contest winner performs!

EIC of Vox, Ezra Klein argues the republic has faced worse than Mr. Trump…but also argues as sure as he is about this, he’s not 100% sure.

Whatever your opinion on the move, the difference in the photography is pretty striking. Also…people are dead.

Actively bad news from Jeff’s home state. This newsroom JUST won a Pulitzer.

Oh dear. I have long lusted after Lisa Eldridge’s jewels and now this?

Yanni v. Laurel.

Quick question, when does Ronan Farrow sleep?

Wow…this is quite a statement from the bishops.

The marketing team for this is very, very good.

Speaking of religious news, there was a Mormon news story this week that needs some unpacking. An elaborate fake message, designed to look like an official statement of apology for the church’s racism, briefly blew up on social media before being exposed. Zealous and pious mormons decried the fake news making the church look bad, zealous and irreverent exmormons gleefully opined at the twists and turns the organization was having to make to explain that they weren’t in fact apologizing for past racism. For those not in the know, the LDS church forbade the ordination of black men to the priesthood and the participation of black members in services and ceremonies in mormon temples (which are considered essential to salvation, so…). The most succinct take on why this whole story is gross, regardless of your religious beliefs, can be found here.

It’s been fascinating to watch the party of “law and order” turn on law enforcement.

And a developing story, but another heartbreaking school shooting has taken place. Details are still coming out so I won’t say more than: enough.

Weekend Links

“Men seek rest in a struggle against difficulties; and when they have conquered these, rest becomes insufferable.” 
― Blaise Pascal, Pensées

Howdy kittens, it’s been another full week of news and I’m just avoiding most of it in this week’s links because I need a happy place. I love short work weeks, but when you have to cram five days of To Dos into just three, you can head into the weekend frazzled. I have spent the majority of the day sleeping after putting a major work event to bed after several weeks of work yesterday, and have zero regrets. Tonight I’m going to a podcast live show with a buddy, and am otherwise having a very chill weekend at home.

Come, let’s dive into the gorgeousness of the Met Ball, debate over the meanings of This Is America, and delight in some wacky creativity.

How the Met got vestments from the Vatican for the annual Met Ball.

Speaking of, Racked dives into the tenure of Anna Wintour at Vogue, her time at the helm of the Met Ball, and how one of the most iconic platforms in the world is changing with the times…sometimes.

Only one more season of Kimmy. But more importantly, only one more season of Titus.

Ever wonder how chicken became a mainstay? Wonder no more!

An essay on the lost pleasure of shopping with other people instead of online. Most of my personal shopping is still vintage or second hand so I have to go out and physically try things on to see if they work, but it is pretty solitary. Going to markets with X. when she was in town last Thanksgiving was the first time I’d been shopping with a friend who wasn’t my husband in years!

I absolutely loved the Chanel cruise collection this year and will commit murder to get my hands on one of those berets!

David Fahrenthold is doing some of the most extensive reporting on Mr. Trump’s finances and his latest piece in the Washington Post is worth a read to get a sense of the weird side of property development and how it can be manipulated. But the salient point is that Mr. Trump made a change from debt-based financing to cash just under a decade ago, and he started spending that cash pretty lavishly. This is a very elaborate way to avoid the words “money laundering.” If nothing else, I feel like the narrative around Mr. Trump and his various business partners is revealing how much white collar crime has been winked at in the US, and for how long.

This longform piece in New York Magazine contends to understand Mr. Trump you need to understand Mr. Roy Cohn and how the New York intelligentsia and glitterati incubated the graft that eventually put him in the White House.

So maybe let’s not give this guy that new show his shopping around?

I’m grateful (though still terrified) at how the radicalization of young men online is finally getting some sunlight. Grateful that it’s happening, scared at how deep and widespread the ugliness goes. This piece in Rolling Stone makes for scary but important reading. “[These men] have been portrayed as disturbed young men with emotional “challenges.” Had they been nonwhite Muslim extremists, this would almost certainly have not been the case, notes Pete Simi, an expert in far-right extremist movements at Chapman University. “U.S. law enforcement and policymakers and the general public tend to perceive right-wing extremists in ways that de-emphasize their relevance and diminish the threat they pose,” he says. “We find it more difficult to frame those who are closely tied to the status quo as a threat.”

I have loved Donald Glover since his Community days, and the breadth of his work in acting, comedy, and music is downright extraordinary. He dropped a new track and accompanying music video last week that is uncomfortably good and provocative. It’s a heavy piece of art.

It’s my pet topic, I know, but I enjoyed this piece about Livia Firth’s take on sustainable and responsible consumption.

Um, there’s some parallel journalism going on that should be getting more traction than it is as time of writing. The New Yorker. The Guardian. Making threats like these seem…not coincidental?

The Bluths are back!

Sometimes it feels like there few champions left to cheer for. I’m not sorry Mr. Schneiderman has resigned, but I’m disgusted that the Governor of Missouri has not.

I loved this exchange between writers Leandra Medine and Pandora Sykes on brand new motherhood.

THERE IT ISTHERE IT IS. THERE IT IS.

And finally, this guy’s channel is whimsical and fun and an overall delight. Enjoy!

Bank Holiday Thoughts: Long Term Goals

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” 
― Gloria Steinem

Gather round, ducklings, for a rambling post of a topic that’s been on my mind lately and that I did some thinking about as I sat in the (rare!) British sun for hours this past weekend.

Scene of the crime.

For someone who is a Grade A organizer and planner, I’ve come to the realization that thinking in terms of long term goals is not something I have ever been very good at. I can project about 3 years out at a max but beyond that is difficult for me to conceptualize.

I’m pretty sure this has to do with being a military brat who never lived anywhere longer than 3 years until I went to university. Growing up, my life was routinely segmented off by frequent moving dates and it’s only in my 30s that I’m understanding how this may affect my worldview. In some ways, it’s deeply positive! Barring personal or natural disaster, you can survive anything for a set period of time with an end date so I think I developed a robust ability to endure less then ideal circumstances and have a genuine attitude of “this too shall pass” to most challenges.

On the other hand, things like 5-10 year plans have never really played a starring role because they have never been or felt relevant to my circumstances. If I was eventually going to be in another school, another state, or on another continent, it never seemed like a good idea to conceptualize things that required any kind of permanence. Again, in my early 30s, I’m only really starting to understand some of the connectivity of this to my life choices. And also again, in a lot of ways this is positive! It’s allowed me and my partner to dream big and take chances that we might not have had we organized our lives in more “traditional” ways, at least according to how we grew up. But it’s also meant that I’ve made a lot of non-strategic choices over the years, some of which have had long lasting ripple effects. Frankly there have been whole months and years that I felt like I was “winging it” as an adult. I still do!

But I’m feeling myself go through a mentality switch these days where I’m starting to be able to conceptualize a future a few years down the road. I’m doing work I enjoy and can see myself doing for a long time, Jeff is in a good (if still busy) place with his career as well. Knock on wood, but it feels as though we are slowly moving out of the “hustle and grind” phase of our work lives into the “work smart” phase where we will (hopefully) begin to build our savings and make the big decisions adults make around where to make a permanent home, what that home looks like, and who we want in it.

I’m still pretty present-focused in that I’m starting to feel like a lot of hard work is paying off. We live in one of the most amazing cities on earth, we’ve put the time and energy into our careers and it’s starting to pay off, our marriage remains strong, we’re healthy–all pretty damn good things. Let’s be honest, it’s taken a decade to get to this point and we’re still not as insulated from shock as I’d like to be….but we’re getting there.

And so, slowly, things in the more distant future are starting to come into focus. We spent some of the bank holiday weekend planning out the rest of the year in terms of work and budgets, and even did some planning for holidays. We’ve learned how important those are to us over the past two years and how grateful we are to live somewhere and in a culture that encourages us to take them rather than making us feel guilty for doing so. We picked some mutual goals to work towards, and I’ve got my own weird and fun projects going on in the background to keep me entertained and grounded. I’m looking forward. And at the moment, things feel good.

Anyone else gone through this particular transition? Any wisdom to share? 

A Few Acts of Self Care

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” 
― David Mamet, Boston Marriage

The universe has been particularly kind to me lately, kittens, and I’m still enjoying one of the longest running streaks of solid mental health and overall life balance I’ve had in years. However, due to one of my team members being on holiday, plus suddenly getting involved with an unexpected event planning job, plus some additional projects at work, PLUS the fact that we have a short work week this week thanks to the bank holiday…well, things are good, but there has been an uptick in stress.

Because I’m on deadlines for big projects that I genuinely love working on, I don’t want to get knocked off my game due to something within my own grasp like self care. So here’s a short and by no means complete list of ways I’m keeping myself sane during a busy spring:

Self-medication with friend chicken encouraged.

Schedule some long phone calls with friends. Katarina and I make time for a decent hour on the phone once a week and it’s always a highlight for me. We range from girl talk, to work, to writing, to politics, to love lives, and normally at least half of it involves inside jokes that have lasted nearly two decades now. X and I don’t get to talk as much but keep up an almost constant text conversation to make up for it. It’s medicine for the soul.

Take a walk. Now that it’s light out later in the evening, I’m trying to walk home from work most evenings. It’s about a three mile jaunt and it’s amazing how much it’s been helping step away from a work mindset at the end of the day. Spool up a podcast or an audiobook, and get your cardio in!

Spend some time by yourself in a non-standard location. Go out for a meal with only yourself at a new restaurant, wander through a new area of your city or neighborhood. On that walk home I mentioned, I’ve been trying to vary up my route as much as possible and I’ve discovered some hidden gems in my area of the city as a result. It’s refreshing to go exploring.

Clean something. We had our annual apartment inspection by the landlord this past week and used it as an excuse to do some deep cleaning, a bit more thorough than our weekend tidy ups. It’s cathartic to feel like your space is in order…even if the feeling is temporary and fleeting because cleaning is a Sisyphean ordeal.

Find a small way to save a bit of money and enjoy the sense of responsibility and control it gives you. I changed my route to my normal workspace in a way that combines walking and a single bus trip, the fare of which is lower than the Underground during morning rush hour. Since I’m walking home most days, my weekly travel expenses have gone down–it’s not revolutionary, but it’s nice anyway.

Do a bit of healthy food prep and chop up some vegetables that you can use later in the week for snacking or cooking. It will make it easier to make healthy choices when you’re in a munching mood, or when you need to throw together a meal.

Read, physical print if at all possible. I live my life online, for work and for a lot of my free time. Switching up a screen for an actual page really helps me enjoy reading better and allow myself to stay focused on a single piece rather than jumping from piece to piece the way that online reading can encourage.

Take a break! I am the worst at remembering this, but a 10-minute break to make a cup of tea or stroll around the block can help me completely reset my brain.

How do you keep yourself level when your To Do list gets a bit nuts?