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pain in the ass since 1985

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    Things I Have Learned While Trying to Buy a House:

       1. Don’t buy a house. It’s terrible. Find somewhere with rent control and stay there forever.

       2. Real estate agents vary widely and you should probably not pick one based on the recommendation of your very polite coworker.

       3. Loans are stupid. There are lots of words that are totally nonsensical and even by the end of the process it is unlikely that they will ever actually make any sense to you. Math is stupid. Money is stupid. Interest rates are nonsense.

       4. People are gross. Everyone’s basement is stupid (No doors on the bathroom! Five-foot ceilings! Literal tree roots coming through the concrete!) and no one’s bathroom is clean enough.

       5. It’s stupidly hard to come up with names for houses so that you and your buying partner know which stupid house you’re talking about at any given moment.

      [more...]

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  • 12/06/16--09:15: jolly jingles: 2k16

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    Not to be a HUGE DOWNER, but 2016 was kind of a shitshow, yeah? Everything is kind of terrible! If you had told me in January that my neighbors would successfully elect Donald Trump to the United States Presidency, I would have laughed. A lot.

    Anyway, in the spirit of my Twitter declaration to try to share good things in the face of the dumpster fire burning eternally around us, it’s time for TOTALLY TOP FIVE 2K16! Because the year didn’t really fall totally apart until the end and I managed to like a lot of stuff before I got too depressed and hopeless to function like a normal person!

    5. 4th Man Out – This movie was so much more charming than I expected it to be. And it did such a good job of dealing with straight-guy-gay-panic   [more...]


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    This list was really hard this year! Because for the first time in a couple years, I actually spent a lot of time listening to new music and successfully sought out new-to-me stuff that I ended up loving! I don’t want to love Spotify as much as I do, but without it I would be much less musically educated.

    5. Clara Rockmore, “Air”

    This is probably the weirdest song that will ever make it on a Totally Top Five list from me, but if you can’t be weird on the internet, what the hell is the internet for?! I knew about the theremin prior to Google’s Clara Rockmore doodle, but I hadn’t heard of her. And like a lot of people, I ended up listening to the Lost Theremin Album on repeat for weeks afterward. It’s so beautiful and so unsettling and other-worldly and weirdly   [more...]


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  • 01/19/17--17:00: my president is black
  • I’ve been sad and angry and overwhelmed since the night of November 8th. I’ve cried and missed work and alternated between furious and hopeless and been both at once. I’ve even blamed myself for the results of the election because I let myself prematurely write a tweet about electing the first woman president. (My elementary school teachers regularly told me I’d be the first and I wanted to thank Hillary Clinton for making it seem like I failed because I was too young, not because I turned out to be a huge disappointment.)

    I’ve been all those things because the 2016 election results are garbage. Because I’m angry that I’ve now lived through the Electoral College taking the presidency from the Popular Vote winner TWICE and this time by a margin so massive it embarrasses the entire institution. Because the election was meddled with by foreign powers and no one   [more...]


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    OKAY, now that I’ve finally finished ALL MY REVIEWS of books I read in 2016, I can finally tell you which ones are in my top five! I’m sure you’ve been on TOTAL TENTERHOOKS. I mean, like everyone, I feel partially conflicted about writing about silly, joyful things when it feels like the world is being set freshly aflame every single day, but without joy, what are we fighting for, right? So let’s do this in spite of it all!

    5. Julie Murphy, Dumplin’ – Dumplin’ is only the second audiobook I’ve ever listened to (It is exxxxxtremely hard for me to absorb information aurally.) and I loved both the narration (TBH, the way that Eileen Stevens has Bo say “Willowdean” has irreversibly changed my life.) and the story. It’s fun and sweet and smart and funny. Willowdean grows,   [more...]


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    Ohhhhh my GOD I am SO GLAD TO BE DONE WITH THIS POST. I felt super weird writing this one this year! And that apparently meant that even though I started writing it in like, NOVEMBER, I managed to stretch the process out until MARCH?! For no reason at all?! Books and movies and TV and music feel natural to share in times of duress because we need escape and we need joy, but consumer goods always feel a little different. I love shopping and trying new things, but I feel like, when things are as crappy in the world as they are right now, shopping as relief becomes strangely sinister? Capitalism is bad.

    Not all the things on this list are things to buy, but the whole thing gave me a case of the wobblies and that’s partly why it took me so long to put   [more...]


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    I’ve been on the internet for a long time – since at least 1996, more than TWENTY years – and I have made a lot of friends in that time. I’ve made serious, lasting friendships. I’ve made short but vibrant ones. I’ve had friendships fade away. I’ve followed people as their handles and interests and careers have changed. I married a woman I met on the internet. My internet friendships are really no different to me than the ones that I have because they developed in close physical proximity. Connection is connection is connection.

    In the last month, two women that I absolutely adored and knew only online passed away. Both were smart, funny, lively women. Both deaths were unexpected, even if it was in different ways. And I found out about both through Facebook from someone who was not a mutual friend.

    I know that social media has complicated   [more...]


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  • 04/17/17--10:15: nuclear anecdote
  • i was trying to shorten this anecdote into a manageable thread for twitter but i couldn’t, so now it’s here. YOU’RE WELCOME.

    so there are missiles in north dakota – this is p common knowledge, there’s even an abandoned site called the north dakota pyramid that was literally operational for like three days that you can visit – about 150 of them, minutemen i guess, and they’re just… scattered around this big relatively empty state. fine.

    well, there’s a silo p near the highway from williston (where i live) to minot (where target lives) that crystal and i have passed prooooobs about 100 times in the five years we’ve lived here. we talk about it maybe 1 out of every 4/5 times we pass it, mostly bc one of our coworkers had a flat tire near there once and a military vehicle appeared out of nowhere, changed her tire, and   [more...]


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  • 07/05/17--08:15: intrusive religiosity
  • For about a year in the late 2000s, I became intensely devoted to crossing myself whenever I passed a cross.

    This started with a steeple cross that was visible to me from the freeway on the drive home from my college. I often sat in a little clutch of traffic near it and it was lit at night, so I noticed it frequently, hovering over the wall that separated the speeding 210 from the neighborhood beyond. I’m not religious. I’ve been to church less than a dozen times in my entire life. I’m unbaptized, un-saved, uncircumsised. I’ve been to Catholic mass once and I spent the entire thing staring at how super naked Jesus seemed on the cross, hanging morbidly above the Filipino priest’s head. I’m religiously curious, so I know a lot about rites and rituals. Plus I’m a writer and I like characters of faith,   [more...]

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  • 09/14/17--13:30: it’s okay to step back
  • I saw an extremely good tweet the other day that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about because I really needed to see it and thought that maybe you might need to see it too.

    twitter user lrsphm says that it's ok to go offline bc we arent made to process human suffering on this scale

    We are living in a technological future that pretty much no one could have predicted. The speed and scope with which we are presented with information is almost unfathomable for us even though we are alive right now, living through it. We hear about natural disasters and acts of violence and terrorism near-instantly. We see human suffering constantly, in real-time. There is information coming at you all the time, from every angle, in absolutely every space you inhabit, virtually or physically (When’s the last time you were in a waiting room   [more...]


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  • 12/01/17--14:45: jolly jingles: 2k17
  • christmas ornament background with jolly jingles 2k17 in chalky script

    track listing

    listen at spotify

    2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013
    I apologize for not having a free listening option anymore/yet. Let me know if you have any ideas!

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    Crystal and I have spent like, the last three holiday seasons, watching a whole bunch of those made-for-tv(ish) holiday romantic comedy/dramedy movies available on various streaming services because the holidays are a time for ignoring your problems and watching laughably bad movies made on shoestring budgets, so here are five of my favorites in no particular order!

    The Spirit of Christmas mostly gets points because it has, by far, the best looking male lead in a sea of mediocre white guys. Also, he’s a ghost and kind of rude and stand-offish in a way that’s both infuriating and kind of hot. Jen Lilley is also enjoyable, even if her character is a little too tv Christmas movie trope-y for my extremely refined tastes. Their chemistry is good and the movement from antagonistic to romantic is extremely enjoyable. Also,   [more...]


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    I listened to so much more music in 2017 than I have in kind of a long time! Mostly because I’ve been at my job long enough now that I know I can get away with listening to music at a much higher volume than I would have previously imagined, but also because I started paying attention when Spotify recommends things to me because it turns out that The Algorithm actually understands me sometimes.

    Below, in no particular order, are my Totally! Top! Five! for both albums and jamz. Yeah, that’s right, I listened to WHOLE ALBUMS this year!! 2017 might have been a shitshow in an increasingly vast number of ways, but at least we had some pop culture to cling to, yeah? Yeah.

    Childish Gambino, “Awaken, My Love” is gooooorgeous and cool and old-school and reminds me of   [more...]


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    2017 was an awful year for me in terms of reading, so much so that I actually decided to halve my Goodreads challenge for this year so that I wouldn’t feel quite so disappointed in myself over something, uh, fairly trivial. (I haven’t completed a challenge since 2015! I’m a disgrace!) But I did like a lot of what I read and here are my Totally Top Five for 2017!

    5. Finding Audrey, Sophie Kinsella – This was my only audiobook of the year and it was a joy. A sweet story with a great reader and a nice rendering of the struggles of teenagerdom, but a version where there are institutions and people in a place to provide care for your mental health with little stigma. I had some issues with the story (there’s some med-shaming and too much   [more...]


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    I absolutely watched… nothing this year? Because, as previously lamented, our movie theater is absolute garbage and I also just have not had the ~energy for most TV and movies, aside from Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Speechless, which I’ve talked about before, but are still two of my very favorites.

    ANYWAY, I did enjoy a lot of what I watched, so here’s my Totally Top Five for 2017!

    5. YOUTUBE! – Since my media consumption energy tanked, I have fallen to YouTube a lot for entertainment, often because the media itself is shorter, but also because it’s just way easier to watch someone talking through a make-up tutorial than it is to watch something where you are (or are trying to be) invested in the characters.

    I watch a LOT of people talking about make-up and some vloggers and stuff,   [more...]


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    We’ve made it all the way! And like, on time! I’m so amped about actually finishing something I wanted to do that I could spit.

    So as always, to say goodbye to the year, here’s my Totally Top Five Stuff & Things for 2017!

    I can’t remember where I even heard about the Sonos speakers for the first time, but I had bought and returned like, three Bluetooth speakers early in 2017 because the sound on all of the (HIGHLY RATED) speakers was genuinely atrocious. We have a Bose Soundlink Mini II in our bedroom that we love, but now that we have a house with a relatively open concept, I wanted to be able to flood the entire space with sound and boy, does the Sonos Play:1 do pretty much exactly what I want. (So much so that   [more...]


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    It’s a new year and I am making a point of talking about the things I like, loudly, as much as possible, because macroscopically things are kind of terrible and will probably continue to be for like, a long while, so I’m embracing that good microscopic shit until someone pries it from my cold dead hands.

    We finally finished the second season of Stranger Things in January and despite my foot-dragging re: actually watching it, I really did end up loving it. I stand by my assertion that it’s OKAY FOR THINGS TO END and also that it probably should have been an anthology series, BUT I was really happy the entire time we were watching it and I also cried a whole bunch, so whatever, I will follow these children into the DEPTHS OF HELL probably.

    🖤

    [more...]


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    It is extremely hard to not love an album that starts with an homage to/sample of Baz Lurman’s Romeo + Juliet soundtrack and thankfully the rest of Dead!’s The Golden Age of Not Even Trying doesn’t disappoint. This is a hell of an album with some great guitar work and really… unexpected? vocals. Also! A great album for people who are missing My Chemical Romance. Tracks to Check: “Enough Enough Enough” & “Off White Paint” & “Any Port”

    🖤

    Crystal and I sat on the couch on the first Saturday of February and watched all 10 episodes of Big Mouth and laughed hysterically and also kept going, “Hmmm kids maybe shouldn’t watch this, but man, kids should really watch this.” It’s funny and gross and really, aggressively true to some of the idiotically   [more...]


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    Reggie & the Full Effect, 41 – James Dewees is a super talented, super nice dude who makes so much music sometimes it’s hard to keep up with him. Reggie & the Full Effect is my favorite of his efforts and the albums just keep getting better. If you’ve never listened to one, you’re in for kind of a trip: he moves through a variety of genres and styles and it’s just really fun and eclectic. Tracks to Check: “Broke Down” & “Heartbreak” & “You’ve Got Secrets”

    🖤

    Hanes Ecosmart fleece hoodies – If you’re in the market for a good, non-heavyweight hoodie for this dreary spring most of the US is having, I can’t recommend this one enough. They’re just nice, well-made, affordable solid color pullover hoodies that come in a nice selection of colors, hold up to washing, and   [more...]


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