Tag Archives: how-tos

The White Girl’s Guide to Listening to #Lemonade

I greatly enjoy Beyoncé’s new album and am seeing her in concert on Monday, so here is my guide to how to listen to her new album #Lemonade if you, like myself, are a white girl:

Step 1: Watch the visual album and/or listen to the tracks on Tidal or iTunes, etc.

Step 2: Decide whether or not you like it. If you do like it, keep listening to it and feel free to tell people that you enjoyed it! If you do not like it, you do not have to keep listening to it and can listen to something else, or watch Netflix or have a beer or something.

Step 4: Refrain from writing any lengthy think-pieces about Lemonade on the internet with your special white-girl perspective or bemoaning about how it’s for black women and not for you specifically because no one needs that, nor do they care.

Step 5: That’s it. Congrats! You have successfully listened to Lemonade as a white girl!

Step 6 (Optional): If desired, drink a glass of actual lemonade and enjoy that, because lemonade the drink is actually quite refreshing and delicious.

You’re welcome.

 

 

The millennial’s guide for how to vote for the “right” candidate in the primaries

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Primary season is upon us! If you’re lucky and not being voter suppressed and are able to get away from work/childcare/other life duties and actually vote in your state’s upcoming primary or caucus, you have an important decision to make: who will you support for your party’s nomination for President? I know it can be daunting, especially for millennials who don’t have decades of experience in becoming apathetic and exhausted by our disastrous political system voting. Fear not, fellow twenty-and thirty-somethings! I have put together the following guide to help you exercise your most cherished democratic right and duty.

Step 1: Ensure you can properly name and stereotype each candidate. For Democrats, this is easy! You only have Crazy Socialist Old Jewish Dude and Feminazi Wall Street Lover Vagina-haver to choose from (Mr. Pleasant-faced Generic White Guy already peaced out; RIP Pleasant-faced Generic White Guy!). For Republicans, you’ve got Crazy Billionaire Who Wants to Bang His Daughter, the Guy Who Doesn’t Know How Hoodies Work, the Sleepy Surgeon, the…oh, who am I kidding. If you’re a millennial you’re probably not voting Republican. If you are, I wish you well–may the powers that be help you in choosing a candidate from among these clowns!

Step 2: Do your research. Remember, there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so you have to dig deep to make sure you’re getting the real scoop on what issues each candidate will prioritize once in office. Examine their voting records in Congress, read their books and writings (going back to college and graduate school, if possible), watch their public addresses and speeches on YouTube, read the endorsements of various newspapers and organizations…

Step 3: …Shit. That’s A LOT more work than you thought. Both of these assholes have, like, decades of service under their belts, and they’ve both done good and bad things during that time! I mean, obviously income inequality is a big issue, but so is gun control…I guess they both support reproductive rights, but Hillary got Planned Parenthood’s endorsement, but Killer Mike likes Bernie, and…wow, this was a lot easier four years ago when there just wasn’t a democratic primary and you hated Romney a lot.

Step 4: Don’t panic and read Facebook. Luckily for you, most of your Facebook friends are politically-minded! They’re sharing really interesting pieces from writers big and small on your feed, from all perspectives: the LGBTQ community, feminists, activists of color, political giants, foreign policy specialists, small business owners, you name it. Dive in, and prepare yourself to be informed up the WAZOO! Your choice will be easy as pie once you take in this information.

Step 5: Wow there is some SERIOUS shit going down here on Facebook. Huh. You’ve only clicked on one article your friend from college posted and people are having some REAL STRONG REACTIONS in the comments. Someone just called someone else a bitch, and that girl just said that other guy is a “berniebro,” and now everyone is talking about false narratives and apparently if you vote for Hillary it’s only because you have a vagina, but if you vote for Bernie you are betraying your vagina, and maybe our political system is now dependent on the votes of our genitalia? How would voting genitalia even work? It seems like voting machines would have to be majorly redesigned…

Step 6: Something something Supreme Court nomination. Holy shit, Scalia died! Wait, Mitch McConnell says Obama can’t nominate a successor? What is this shit? Also people are saying OBAMA should be the next justice, but like he is already President…oh, after he’s done being Prez, you mean, and either Hillary or Bernie could nominate him…but doesn’t Obama deserve a vacation from this crazy country after the past 8 years? Oh God, Scalia is dead, after all! Am I being disrespectful of the dead? This think piece says I am, but this other one says I’m not, and this one says the election is now turned on its head, and this one says the Zika virus is turning the world into Children of Men, and THIS ONE says that Bernie is actually an alien, and THIS ONE says Hillary is an Ewok, and THIS ONE says #OscarsSoWhite, and THIS ONE says…

Step 7: Descend into madness. HOW DID BOTH OF THESE CANDIDATES BECOME EVIL ALL OF A SUDDEN? WHAT THE FUCK? WAIT WAIT WAIT A COUPLE YEARS BACK EVERYONE WAS SHARING BADASS MEMES OF HILLARY ON A PLANE TEXTING BUT NOW SHE HATES BLACK PEOPLE AND LOVES BANKS? AND BERNIE IS LOVABLY GRUFF AND HATES CAPITALISM BUT DIDN’T LISTEN TO VERMONT’S BLACK LEADERS AND ALSO MAYBE LIKES GUNS? HILLARY LOVES HEALTHCARE BUT MAYBE HATES BEYONCE? WAIT, DOES BERNIE HATE BEYONCE, TOO? CAN WHITE PEOPLE LIKE BEYONCE? DO I EVEN LIKE BEYONCE? SHOULD I JUST VOTE FOR BEYONCE? AM I ALLOWED TO LIKE “FORMATION?” WHAT ABOUT KANYE, IS HE CRAZY OR WHAT?

Step 8: Cry. sobsobsobsobsobsobsobsob can’t we just have Obama for a third term?

Step 9: Have a stiff drink. God damn it, get yourself together and make a God-damned decision! YOU ARE AN ADULT YOU CAN MAKE THIS ONE CHOICE.  

Step 10: Call your most bigoted, sexist, “The Civil War was really the War of Northern Agression” relation and ask them which candidate they hate the most. Vote for that one. 

BOOM! DEMOCRACY, I OWN YOU! YOU ARE MY BITCH! HUZZAH!

You’re welcome, millennials!

 

 

 

Jackie’s Foolproof Process for Furniture Assembly and Losing Your Soul

Occasionally, despite my college education and now 31+ years of experience living as a Human on the Planet Earth, I make a Life Errorso gargantuan that it shakes the very fiber of my being and makes me doubt whether I am worthy of success, happiness, or love.

I order self-assembly furniture online.

I know, I know, but it wasn’t my fault! I am A WRITER, DAMN IT, and writers need desks. I could write while sitting at my kitchen table, but it’s cold in the kitchen. I can also go to a coffee shop, but a coffee is two bucks MINIMUM and it’s much cheaper to just make coffee at home. The obvious solution was a small-ish desk that fits into the bay window nook in my warm-ish bedroom with the cheap homemade coffee only feet away!

So I went on Wayfair and ordered a desk. Five days later, the desk arrived. And thus began my descent to the ninth level of hell, where I joined Brutus, Judas, and…Cassius (is he the third guy? too lazy to google) in being chewed in the giant maw of Satan.

The process began auspiciously when the FedEx guy cheerfully offered to haul the giant desk-containing box up three floors to my apartment. I immediately set out to assemble the desk, whereby I rediscovered Jackie’s Foolproof Process for Furniture Assembly and Losing Your Soul:

  1. Using a knife, cut through the tape along the edges of the box.
  2. Attempt to open box, and discover that there are apparently three more layers of taped-up cardboard between you and the desk.
  3. Hack through these layers while dripping sweat everywhere. Finally remove all the cardboard to discover the furniture is encased in a sarcophagus of styrofoam, which is all stuck together with a kind of tape that is probably used to seal airlocks on the International Space Station.
  4. Hack at the styrofoam, getting bits of it all over your apartment and inhaling a good 20% of it into your lungs.
  5. After 30 minutes of chopping at styrofoam, reveal the desk. Take a water and stretch break and realize that if you can’t open a box without getting breathless that you might want to sign up for the gym.
  6. Using the included mini toolkit, attach the four legs to the desk. Easy peasy! You’re 90% done- the last step is attach the knobs to the two little drawers that are built into the desk.
  7. You go to pull out the drawer. The drawer falls apart in your hand:wp-1452825930873.jpg 
  8. Ok, you can fix it! Get out your hammer and nails to see if you can cobble the drawer back together.
  9. OH MY FUCKING GOD HOW DID I HAMMER THREE FINGERS ON MY RIGHT HAND ALL AT ONCE OH GOD OH GOD IT HURTS AGHHHHH!!
  10. Breathe through the pain, breathe through it. Ok. You’ve got this.
  11. Go down the block to the local hardware store and buy superglue. Return home, glue the drawer back together, let it set for 20 minutes per instructions. Huzzah! It looks great! YOU ARE A GODDESS!
  12. Lightly touch the drawer with one finger to test the strength of the superglue. The drawer explodes.
  13. A single tear escapes your right eye. You remove the drawer and put the desk right-side up. The desk leg lands awkwardly and stubs your right toe.
  14. You burst into tears because ARE YOU KIDDING ME I WENT TO YALE I SHOULD BE ABLE TO PUT TOGETHER A FUCKING BUCK FIFTY DESK AND MY HAND HURTS AND MY FOOT HURTS AND I’M SWEATY AND IT’S RAINING AND THERE’S STYROFOAM ALL OVER MY APARTMENT AND I’VE BREATHED FIVE POUNDS OF IT IN AND NOW I’M GOING TO DIE OF STYROFOAM LUNG CANCER WHY AM I EVEN TRYING TO BE ALIVE IF I’M TOO STUPID TO SCREW TOGETHER A FUCKING WAYFAIR DESK sob sob sob.
  15. Call your mom, who is bewildered but manages to calm you down.
  16. Ashamed at your outburst, you try to go online to request replacement drawers for your desk, only to discover that the new Comcast set-top box that Infinity made you install earlier that day has DESTROYED THE INTERNET and the only network in range is called “We Can Hear You Have Sex” but it’s fucking PASSWORD PROTECTED.
  17. Cry.
  18. Remember that your phone has internet, and use that to request the parts. Ok, they’ll be here in a few days. It’s all good.
  19. Go out to a friend’s open bar birthday party to destress and consume three of these:
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    Yeah, that’s a shot that gets poured into it in addition to the rum.

     

  20. Go home and vomit up everything you ever ate or drank, but because you’re an IDIOT you throw up in the shower and not the toilet, and so when you wake up at 3 am and go in the bathroom you discover that you have to clean up a hell of a mess. You go back to bed and at 6 am you clean up and hydrate and go to the laundromat when it opens to wash your vomity clothes. Call Comcast, fix the internet, and wait for your replacement drawers as you recover your dignity.
  21. A few days later, the drawers arrive, in perfect condition! You replace them and the desk looks GREAT! HUZZAH! WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WOOOOOORRRLD! wp-1453430169027.jpg
  22. Decide to take a walk to celebrate. Pull out your headphones so you can listen to some TUNEZ while you traipse through the park.
  23. FUCK
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Ain’t it always the way?

 

 

Last. Self-assembly. Desk. Ever.

How to Buy a Christmas Present for Your Dad

It’s officially one week and one day until Christmas, which means that unless you don’t celebrate the holiday or are a MENSA candidate you are currently completely clueless as to what gift to buy for your father.

Dads are notoriously difficult to shop for. The main reason for this is that whenever one asks one’s father what he wants for a given holiday or birthday, the default Dad Answer() is generally one of three things:

  1. “Oh, you don’t have to give me anything. Just a phone call/you being there is enough of a gift for me.”
  2. “I dunno, whatever.”
  3. “I really have my eye on X piece of technology.” (You then research this technology and discover that it costs fourteen billion US dollars and your first born child and will become obsolete and outdated before Chinese New Year.)

So what’s an adult offspring to do? Luckily, I’m here to provide you with my foolproof X Step Guide to Buying a Christmas Present for your father:

Step 1: Buy presents for literally every other friend, family member, and pet you have as you procrastinate shopping for Dad.

Step 2: Consider buying Dad an iTunes gift card. Remember that you bought him an iTunes gift card last year. Sigh in frustration.

Step 3: Dad likes alcohol! Maybe you can get him some bartending equipment or a wine club membership or something! Yeah, that’s perfect!

Step 4: Receive a call from Mom begging you not to get Dad anymore damned bartending gadgets. He already has four red wine aerators and a deluxe gold-plated mixology set and she no longer has room in the kitchen for basic things like spoons or flour. Also, Grandpa already got him a wine-and-steak-and-cigar-and-pear-and-grapefruit-and-everything-manly of the month club so that’s out.

Step 5: Ok, fine, Mom. Head to the men’s section at Macy’s – you’ll get him a wool sweater, or some nice dress shirts! No ties, he already has a thousand ties

Step 6: Purchase a fine wool sweater and coordinating dress shirt. Call Mom in a gleeful mood to inform her of your success. You did it, and with five whole days to spare!

Step 7: Mom informs you that she has already purchased him an entire wardrobe for 2016, including the exact same sweater and shirt you bought him, along with new jeans, dress pants, khakis, shoes, a peacoat, and even a new fucking tie.

Step 8: Shake your fist in the air while swearing eternal revenge on your mother, from whom you sensed an obnoxious air of triumph over the phone at having beat you to the punch. Go to Macy’s and wait in line 45 minutes to return the sweater and shirt and argue with the saleslady who now wants to give you back 60% of what you originally paid because the item is now on sale.

Step 9: Ok, Brookstone! Brookstone is the Dad store. Maybe they have something! How about one of those cool flying drone camera things? Dad would love that shit.

Step 10: HOLY GOD EVERYTHING AT BROOKSTONE IS A BAGILLION DOLLARS INCLUDING THE DAMNED STUPID DRONE. The only items available for purchase that are under $250 are bartending-related, fuzzy throw pillows and slippers, or “personal massagers,” which…no.

Step 11: Only two days left before Christmas; you’re beginning to panic now. Call your brother to consult. He is getting Dad an iTunes gift card. You point out that you both got Dad iTunes gift cards last year. You can hear him shrugging over the phone as he says, “Whatever, I have tickets for Star Wars and my buddy Jared is waiting for me,” and hangs up on you. Asshole.

Step 12: Maybe a Michael Bublé Christmas CD? Nah, you actually like your Dad.

Step 13: Would he like some…tools? Dad’s handy, right? Lowe’s has tools, or maybe Sears, in the “harder” side of it?

Step 14: You remember the time it took Dad seven hours over a three day period to spackle and paint one wall in the downstairs bathroom. Tools are a no-go. It’s Christmas Eve now, and the stores are closing. Dad keeps hinting about all the great stuff he and Mom bought you. You ache with guilt and existential angst.

Step 15: Fuck it. You enter Walgreens ten minutes before it shuts down for the holiday and purchase a $100 iTunes gift card for your father.

You’re welcome, Apple.

 

 

 

 

 

How to prepare for an international vacation

After spending half the summer in New England, I am off again tomorrow for a ten-day jaunt to Italy and France!  As a generally anxious person, preparing for international travel is like entering Dante’s secret tenth level of hell, but I’ve developed a process that makes the experience painless!  Read on for Jackie’s Five Steps to a Stress-Free International Vacation:

Step 1:  Create detailed packing and to-do lists 5-10 days in advance of your trip.  Then do nothing about these lists until 24 hours before take-off, at which time you lose your shit when you realize that, despite having purchased five hundred bottles of travel-sized shampoo in the past, they have all gone missing and you have to go to Walgreens again to get more, along with wet wipes, because if you don’t bring wet wipes your mother WILL KNOW and she will PUT A POX ON YOUR HOUSE because MY GOD WET WIPES ARE THE ONLY THING YOU NEED TO TRAVEL OTHER THAN YOUR PASSPORT, APPARENTLY.

Step 2:  Lay out all your items neatly on your bed or desk and then pack them in an organized fashion by rolling and/or flat-packing in plastic bags.  As part of this process, you realize that every single item you own is wrong for the weather for the place you are going, which has gotten ~10 degrees hotter in the past year due to global warming.  Also, you’ve neglected to do your laundry for two weeks, so you have to take care of that while somehow finding time to run to Old Navy (YEAH I KNOW I’M CHEAP WHAT OF IT) to buy, like, three hundred sundresses.

Step 3: Double-check that all your advanced bookings for ground transportation and fun activities like wine tastings are confirmed and print out your confirmations.  As you’re checking, you realize that you have, in fact, neglected to make ANY advanced bookings for activities of any kind.  Cry when you figure out that it costs 200 Euros for a damned taxi to drive you to your hotel and that all the wine tastings are pre-booked.  When you print out your confirmations, discover that your printer has run out of black ink.  Copy all your confirmations into a blank document and make all text blue or red; feel slightly triumphant at this lame workaround/outwitting of your shitty Canon printer.

Step 4: Reward yourself with a packing break full of daydreams about how educational, relaxing, and sexy your European vacation will be.  Go to therapy where you cry again because you’re 100% certain your plane will crash over the Atlantic and the wreckage will be lost and CNN will cover your plane’s disappearance for the next 300 years.  Freak out about how thin and hot Italians and the French all are and how you’re a disgusting, uncouth American who sweats constantly.  Nod as your therapist kindly helps you stop hyperventilating.

Step 5: Finish up your packing early the night before so you can be well-rested and in a good mood for your flight the next day!  Drink wine and procrastinate finishing packing by writing a sarcastic blog post detailing your disastrous packing process, couched in a faux “how-to” format worthy of Cosmo magazines of the ’90s.

Hope you find these tips* helpful! Ciao!

*In all seriousness I am excited about my trip lol I promise.  Also, I will attempt to blog using just my phone and tablet a couple times from Italy and France, and will try to share some cool pics of my ~activities~ on social media throughout my trip if you are ~interested~!

Online Dating, a.k.a. “Ugh, this shit again!”

So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to work up the courage to get back on the OKCupid horse and dive into online dating again.  If you are under the age of one hundred and single in America, you know that online is now the only way to meet people.  If you meet people in real life without reviewing a curated profile complete with carefully cropped and edited pictures designed to attract a certain type of person, they might be serial killers.  And no one ever met a serial killer online!

As anyone who knows me IRL can attest, I am terrible, simply terrible, at dating.  I just suck.  People worry about me and judge me for it. I often use the online dating thing as an excuse for why I suck, but that is just a smokescreen – even if we were back to sixty years ago where a boy, like, officially courted you and picked you up in his Model T to go see a “moving picture” at the drive-in (that’s what they did, right?), I would still suck.  But the OKCupid/online aspect does add an extra degree of anxiety because before you even meet someone you have to present what is essentially your dating CV and wade through a gazillion messages that either consist of “hi :)” (???) or “nice boobs” (they’re right, but yeah, not a great opener, dude).  And I swear, if you are a girl and you message a guy you are interested in, half the time they FREAK OUT because ERHMAGERD A GIRL MESSAGED ME SHE MUST BE A FREAK OF NATURE MEN HAVE TO MAKE THE FIRST MOVE PATRIARCHY!

I am currently in the revamping profile phase, which consists of:

  • Deciding on pictures: I’ve learned from experience that cleavage photos are out (big-boobed girls out there will understand), so I now have to go through the last several months of albums I never shared with anyone on my phone to find photos where I look good but not SO good that I don’t look like myself.  Annoyance factor (scale of 1-10): 5.
  • Deciding how much to lie about my interests:  I like a lot of weird/geeky/cliched things.  How honest should I be?  Like, should I include just one embarrassing and generally-a-turn-off interest (loving Jane Austen, yes, I know I’m such a gir), or just say “fuck it” and list all of them (every Star Trek series, historical Harlequin romances, sleeping, being an ardent and sometimes-annoying feminist)?  Annoyance factor: 7.
  • Answering a bunch of stupid “matching” questions: “Would you be jealous if your SO spent a day at the beach with their ex without you?” “If you traveled back in time and had the opportunity to kill Hitler, would you do it?” “Do you think Obama is a Muslim secretly bent on destroying America and recruiting us all into ISIS?” (To be fair, this last one is a great indicator of whether things will work out or not). Annoyance factor: 6.
  • Pretending you LOVE outdoor activities: I don’t know if this is a grand conspiracy or what, but EVERY FUCKING DUDE on the internet just luuuurves hiking AND mountain biking AND kayaking AND skiing and would luuurve to have a girlfriend to do those things with him.  Like, for real?  You do ALL these outdoor activities and still have time to eat and sleep and do whatever job you have?  Fine, whatever, I’ll say that I like hiking, that’s pretty much just vigorous walking anyways. Annoyance factor: 10.
  • Listing the six things you can’t live without: a;sldgpaowejoshgpawjepfoweoasjfaw29u!!!  Annoyance factor:  I can’t even.

I’ll let you know how it goes.  If you’re going through the same thing right now, I salute you as a fellow sister/brother in arms.  If you’re already married/in a long-term stable relationship, God do I hate you for being done with this shit.  Peace!