Best nickname given: Ice King
Best nickname received: Fire Queen
Best nickname stolen: Knife Pervert
Best Twitter name squatted: @BigSkirtsEnergy
Best boyfriend: Ice King
Best new crush (sorry, boyfriend): Marty Scurll
Best friend forever: Tyler, aka @thursdayschild
Best new Twitter bio: "I'm into smart and beautiful chicks fucking everyone over."
Best inside joke: "Sip."
Best imaginary harem invented with Tyler: The Great French Bless-up
Home & Abroad
Best pet adopted: Gus the Explorer, a very cute and very aloof hedgehog
Best furniture inherited: a couch, finally; I sat on wicker chairs for two full years
Best plant not killed: a bird's nest fern ordered online from The Sill
Best meal cooked after a month with Blue Apron: this tilapia recipe, omg
Best food not found in Tennessee: bagels
Best pizza shipped across the country: Giordano's
Best new-to-me root beer: Virgil's
Best event attended, #sincerely: NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed
Best geocache found: definitely not the one that required walking through small ponds in a forest until my socks and shoes were destroyed forever, Dad
Best unhappy travel companion: Gus, who does not like road trips one bit
Best new television show: The Good Place
Best television show to watch on repeat literally every week for the entirety of 2018: Great British Baking Show
Best television show for taking nine seasons to give me the romantic relationship I wanted all along, oh my gosh, just kiss already: Frasier
Best album for really letting loose in the car: A Pentatonix Christmas, which was on repeat for at least two full road trips
Best soundtrack to encourage speeding: Baby Driver: Music from the Motion Picture
Best Pentatonix song covered by my church (with a professional beatboxer and everything!): "O Come, All Ye Faithful"
Best movie sequel watched out of order, oops: Once Upon a Deadpool
Best oh-so-pretty movie that was also oh-so-good: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Best holiday movie watched with family: The Christmas Chronicles
Best video game watched: Assassins Creed: Origins
Best mobile game completed in one sitting: Donut County
Best mobile game full of garden gnomes: Sims Mobile
Best book read for self-improvement: The Five Love Languages
Best book read to expand and challenge my worldview: The Hate U Give
Best book read purely for entertainment: Foundation
Best podcast that I will actually stay caught up on: My Brother, My Brother and Me
Best podcast that I am very behind on but still love: Roderick on the Line
Best podcast episode that I immediately wanted to listen to a second time: Kristen Bell's interview on Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend
Best app: Pacifica, a mental health app which I downloaded at the recommendation of my boyfriend; I love it so much that I spent real money to unlock additional features for a year
Best smart home upgrade purchased for a hedgehog: Philips Hue bulbs, one of which is set on a schedule to simulate summer sunrise and sunset in the guest room (to help my nocturnal hedgehog maintain a steady schedule even in the dark winter months)
Best day of the whole damn year: November 16, when a new Panera opened in Tennessee (only thirty minutes away from my house; prior to that, the closest one was two hours away)
I'll be the first to admit that I don't know what a conventional political race is supposed to look like. For the first thirty years of my life, I lived in Illinois, where four of our most recent seven governors ended up in jail. Political ads there might as well skip to the point with slogans like "slightly less corrupt than the other guy you could vote for" or "only embezzles on Wednesdays."
In Tennessee, meanwhile, the postcards I've received this month all start off listing qualities like "Sunday school teacher" and "upstanding citizen" and "family man."
The last one hit me like a ton of bricks earlier this week, as I realized none of the women running for office listed "family woman." In fact, I've never in my life heard the phrase "family woman"—presumably because it's considered redundant. No one applauds a woman for spending time with her children; instead, they belittle her if she dares to pursue goals outside of being a caretaker and homemaker.
They get to award themselves a TITLE and probably a TROPHY if they can manage to glance at their children after a hard day's work of embezzling, and I'm here to report that this is still STUPID.
Even though I haven't blogged regularly in a year or two, I still keep a running list of blog post ideas in OmniFocus—in the hopes that I can shame myself into writing, maybe? (I'm sorry, Brené Brown.) Some of the ideas will require many weeks of thoughtful drafting and editing to do them justice, some have long since expired and will never see the light of day, and a few are just hot takes that I will now share with reckless abandon.
- Audiobooks are not the same as traditional books. If you love audiobooks, rock on. I have no beef with you or your audiobooks. But to say that the two things are interchangeable is a lie. I pick up so many new words by seeing them spelled out in written text, and (here is the heart of the issue) half of the fun of reading a good book for me is seeing and appreciating the punctuation. I would miss all of that with audiobooks, so as long as I have my eyesight, I will be banning all audiobooks from my library.
- Surviving a bitter winter will make you a better person. I have a loosely developed theory that cities like San Francisco and Portland are filthy because the weather is too moderate. In Chicago, you cannot leave your mounds of dirty man-child laundry all over the damn street because Winter Is Coming™. You cannot live under a bridge forever and call it "art" or "the next start-up" because Winter Is Coming™. You have to sort your shit out at least by September every year if you are going to survive, and the result is a community of fierce—albeit slightly insane—people who have a much firmer grasp on reality (and who get to live in a clean city).
- Self-driving cars should be focused exclusively on elderly and special needs people first. To think that able-bodied individuals will cede control to a robot without question is naïve. But if you offered my blind but independent grandmother a way to get out of the house again, she would bake you cinnamon rolls every day for the rest of your life. She's 91 years old but stubborn enough to outlive you to fulfill that promise. And the same could be said for the millions of people who are perfectly capable of navigating their everyday lives but who cannot drive due to (short-term or long-term) physical, mental, or emotional limitations.
- Tickling is a form of torture. I had many recurring nightmares as a child, and one of them was a dream about the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz, who would sneak into my bedroom and tickle me with very long fingernails until I couldn't breathe. I would wake up in a panic—sweating and screaming—which should tell you how much I hated it. (My mom eventually recommended pouring water on the witch to melt her the next time I had the dream. I did, and I never had the dream again. Thanks, Mom.)
- People who do gross shit on airplanes should be put in sky jail. A year ago, I was on a flight back from San Francisco to Chicago. There were six seats in a row, three on either side of the aisle. The two seats closest to me were empty, but after the flight took off, a woman from across the aisle moved over and settled in. By "settled in," I mean that she took off her shoes and her socks and put her bare feet on the seat between us and then proceeded to scratch her feet and legs for two full hours—dead skin flying in every direction—while I gave her every glare and horrified, angry, murderous nonverbal signal in the book. Every single part of that is an actual crime, and I want her to pay for her crimes.