Wednesday, February 12, 2020

8 Ways to Escalate a Situation and Make it Much, Much Worse

You've done it. Said the wrong thing, insulted somebody, brought up an unpopular political opinion.

There are a number of ways to make the situation calm down again so everyone can enjoy it.

But you're a complex person with thoughts! Those thoughts are really important! People should have to hear them and have big emotional reactions to them! 

Here's 8 ways to make sure you keep control of the situation by fanning the flames until it's a shouting match. That'll show them!

1. Refuse to stop talking about a topic even when explicitly asked to stop.

If the words, "No, I want to talk about this!" come out of your mouth, you've probably just doubled everyone's discomfort. 

Nice work! Now all eyes and ears will be on you and your important thoughts for the next hour. 

2. Use "I" statements.

Such as "I want," "I think," and definitely "I know." Be careful not to accidentally show the common ground between your perspective and the other party's. 

Don't use "I feel," because it suggests your opinions are based on subjective "emotion", rather than ROCK HARD FACT. 

3. Laugh. 

This one only works if the situation is already past the first stages of escalation, because laughter can often be misinterpreted as a friendly or conciliatory gesture. 

To avoid this confusion, only laugh at things the other party considers extremely important and not at all a joking matter. 

4. Over text, use capital letters.

It takes an extra button click, but taking the time to hit the uppercase-lock will make it clear that you are yelling, even over a medium that is devoid of emotion and gives you time to cool down between responses. 

5. Bring up an ex, family member, coworker, boss, toxic friend, literally anyone you've ever had a negative experience with, and accuse the other party of being anything like that person.

This works even better if you accuse the other party of being like somebody in their own past that they hate. 

6. Tell the other person to calm down, be rational, or "chill."

This will immediately press their murder-button and bring the convo up ten notches rage-wise.

7. Ascribe their feelings to causes that aren't you or this conversation.

"You had a tough day at work, that's why you're upset," and "Don't take your liberal rage out on me because Trump's president," both work very well.

8. This one might be a surprise!...

Say, "You're entitled to your opinion."

It translates to, "That's an ass-faced opinion from an ass-face," while also implicitly patting yourself on the back for being the more tolerant one. Double whammy!

Tag urself, I'm #overtextusecapitalletters.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

8 Completely Legal Ways to Feel Like a Punk Anarchist

You want to fight the machine, same as anybody. But that machine can put you in jail or fire you.

So, if you're a scaredy-cat who wants to keep your job, how can you expend some of that hardcore energy? 

Try any of these 10 completely legal ways to feel like a punk anarchist, and pretty soon, you'll have all of the pleasure of a mohawk with none of the social stigma.

1. Buy the literature. 

There are plenty of punk books out there you can put on your teak coffee table. Invite a friend over and gesture at the book casually, so they know you're intellectually tearing down the state. 

Make sure you get one that looks extra punk. Like it's all red cover with a very small title, or looks like a laminated pamphlet, but it's $200. 

2. Call in sick when you're not sick.

How is your boss going to know? Send a doctor?

No, your boss isn't going to do that. And you've just stolen a whole day of sick pay from the machine. Nice. 

3. Plant a plant somewhere that isn't your property.

It's good for the environment, and you're adding a member to the ecosystem that wasn't planned by man's cruel structures. Neat!

4. Get an ice cream sample from an ice cream store but don't buy any ice cream.

You know they're only offering you a sample as part of the capitalist conspiracy to take your money and labor and siphon it right up the power structures that be. 

Spit in the face of capitalism by taking a sample and not buying anything. 

If doing this makes you feel too uncomfortable, say you're taste-testing for a company event that requires catering.

5. Get a motorcycle.

If the idea of hurtling down the road at highway-speeds on a machine that will hurl you skull-first into the concrete doesn't thrill you, keep the bike in your garage.

6. Vote for Mickey Mouse.

Yeah... yeah, that'll show them.

7. Change your profile picture to a funny animal who you don't even know.

You don't buy into this whole narcissistic scene. You're only on social media to follow post-ironic memes and watch the dumb***es fight over their meaningless "opinions".

At least that's what you can tell yourself when you change your picture to a famous dog or opossum. 

 8. Cut the sleeves off your shirt.

That's right. You want no restrictions, no boundaries. You don't even want boundaries for your upper arm fat.


Tag urself, I'm #buytheliterature.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

5 Movies That Will Make You Feel Like You Have Friends

Some nights, it's time to scroll through that romcom section of Netflix and pick the one with the schmaltziest monologue delivered in the rain.

But other times, it's not so much the romantic itch you need to scratch... 

It's that feeling of being welcome, accepted, and gently roasted like chestnuts over the open fire of your friends' wits.

If you're hankering to feel like one of the gang, here's the best romcoms to watch when you need to feel like you have clever, fashionable, loyal friends who always know what's best for you.

1. Under the Tuscan Sun

I'm not even sure this one counts as a romcom. 

It's really about Diane Lane making friends with Italians, and if you don't want that in your life, I don't understand you.

2. Clueless

Most of the pics around this technically "romcom" are of Cher and her friends, and for good reason: although Paul Rudd is a dreamboat in flannel, he's still like, her ex-stepbrother? So the romance is a little weird.

It's fine, because we don't focus on it for too long. Mainly, we watch Cher on her journey to becoming a better person and friend, and that's what we really wanted (besides a kiss with Paul Rudd which I'm more than fine with). 

3. Bring It On

I didn't even remember this one having a romance. All I remembered was cheerleaders being friends and winning championships while saying clever things.

The characters in it are generally good people trying to do good things (except for the necessary baddies). 

10/10 would cheer for it.

4. Must Love Dogs

Okay, yes, it's Diane Lane again. She's great.

The real stars of this film, though, are her sister/whole family and John Cusack's best friend. 

The two leads spend like, hardly any time together, and everything that comes out of John Cusack's mouth is problematic, BUT the supporting cast is adorbs.

Plus, dogs.

5. Heathers

And we round off the movie with another feel-good high school comedy about girls learning the true meaning of friendship! 

Go ahead and go watch it if you haven't, you'll love it and definitely feel good and not at all bleak.

(Nobody tell the people who haven't seen it what it's actually about)

(JK trigger warnings are important. This is a joke, this movie is GREAT but actually a very very dark black comedy)

Tag urself, I'm #mustlovedogs.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Alternative Life Path #2: Consumptive Courtesan

Rat race got you down? Stressed between your desperate attempt at an unreachable artistic immortality and your literal need for food and medical care? Bored of tv?

Follow this simple guide and you'll be on your brand new life path in no time!

1. Move to Paris.

This may seem like an expensive first step, but you have to consider it an investment. There's no better place to find aristocracy, theater owners, and artists to pay for your upkeep.

Edouard Manet, Nana, 1877

2. Be charming, brash, and bold.

Pretty soon, you'll find men are throwing money at you and all the tabloids want to write about you. Ka-ching!

Make sure to be true to your own personal style while you talk up potential gentlemen in the balcony seats.

Liane de Pugy, bisexual Belle Epoque courtesan-authoress

3. Live a fast-paced lifestyle that weakens your immune system.

Everyone will think your red cheeks are a charming and pretty sign of excitement and exertion, while they're really a sign of a popular deadly disease.

If this step is taking too long, hold a "consumption party" (real thing, look it up).

Marie Duplessis, "The Lady of the Camellias"

4. Have a fight with your primary lover.

He should be a poor artist who understands your true nature better than the fashionable, rich men you usually bed.

However, you should also fight constantly, so make sure his understanding of your true nature is not too understanding.

Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor in Camille (1936)

5. Die in silk pajamas.

Heighten drama by being abandoned by all of your so-called friends, or go the opposite route and be surrounded by mourners who wish they'd appreciated you more.

Marie Duplessis's tomb

Tag urself, I'm #liveafastpacedlifestylethatweakensyourimmunesystem.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

20 New Year's Resolutions You Might Actually Keep

Not to sound cynical, and let's not dwell on the fate of last year's resolution... (buried under a night of tears and merlot, and not fancy merlot)... ... ...

Okay, maybe we're dwelling.

And that's my point! You need resolutions that will help you feel uplifted and ready to conquer the world.

Here are twenty (THAT'S RIGHT, TWENTY. WE'RE GOING BIG FOR NEW YEAR'S BABY) resolutions you'll actually want to accomplish, and are actually good for you.

1. In the words of Samuel L. Jackson, go the f*ck to sleep.
Do yourself a favor and take that nap. Not because you've "earned it" by sacrificing your soul to capitalism. Because it's necessary to function as a human.  

2. Hug more.
There's all kinds of endorphins going on up in your brain when you hug. It's like an endorphin party. Like an endorphin NEW YEAR'S BASH every time you get a good squeeze. It's science.*
*Definitely not science
3. Read a fiction book.
I swear I'm not going all ivory tower elitist on you. But the adrenaline hit when you realize you're at the end of a full story that lasted over one hundred pages... Woah. You'll feel like a champion, and you got some accidental introspection in while you were being entertained! Sorry.

4.  Find new music.
It'll open up conversation topics with a whole new branch of people, which is neat and convenient at the parties you swore you won't go to anymore after new year's eve was such a shit-show.

5. Watch that show people have been recommending but you always go "Oh yeah, I should watch that," and then never do. 
The point is not necessarily that the show is actually better than other shows (unless it's The Good Place). The point is then you can talk about it with people who care about you. It's a pretty easy way to deepen a bond, since you can do it while eating cheetohs.

6. Do more weird shit.
Climb a thing. Go to a place with a vague, unusual name. Die your hair. Die somebody else's hair. Comment aggressively about misspellings of commonly swapped words. Do stuff that you're pretty sure you won't tell your kids about. That stuff is often the best (or at least funniest) stuff. 

7. Buy art from a local.
Take a hot second at a farmer's market or gallery to splurge (whatever amount you can comfortably splurge) and get something specially made by a local artist. You'll feel warm, fuzzy, and connected with your community when you look at it gathering dust on your shelf or wall.

8. Figure out your love language.
Take a quick quiz (and I didn't even get paid for this (hint hint, love languages)) on the 5 Love Languages site and figure out the best way for people to show you they care. Then tell people. Make sure they know whether you prefer a smooch or a fruit basket. It'll save a lot of awkwardness later.

9. Dance more.
It's good exercise and damn it, it feels good. It doesn't have to be in public if that's not fun for you. And it doesn't have to be any specific dance. Put on music that makes your heart feel lighter and skip around your apartment. Your body and smile will thank you.

10. Let Panda Express round up and donate your change to the children's charity. 
Or whatever fast food or grocery store you're at. But a lot of them have this option to round up or give a dollar or two to a charity. Go ahead and do it. The small kick you'll get is well worth a buck.

11. Stop looking at the news if you're already sad.
Seriously. You're already in need of a nap and a few weeks off from life. Why are you reading about the latest disaster or bigoted comment? Especially political or international. If you don't have energy to take action right now, put the phone down. 

12. Read the news more if you don't really read it.
If you're saying, "Giant Meteor 2020," maybe you need a break. But if you're not there yet, information is the first step toward change. Read up and talk about it with others.

13. You know when you were a kid, and you'd make "coupons" for your parents because you didn't have any money? And they'd say like, "1 Lawn Mowing" or "1 Free Hug"? Make those for yourself.
Except they should say things like "1 Quiet Night at Home", "1 New Outfit", or "1 Massage". Whatever will make you feel good on a rough day. Put the coupons away and pull one out whenever you're feeling low.

14. Go see more of your friends' standup/plays/performances/talks/poetry slams.
They'll be so very, very grateful that you came to their performance, you'll be feeling like a superhero all night. Nothing quite like supporting a friend, and it'll usually be fun for you, too.

15. Avoid the comments on social media.
It's bad down there, chief. And no real substance is added, even when people try real hard to take "neutral, conversational" tones with it. It's like the apocalypse out there. Don't stop over anywhere too long. Keep moving.

16. Take a multivitamin.
Gummy ones are delicious and nutritious, and it's like a ten second task that will leave you at least with the placebo effect of being healthier.

17. Go see a movie at an actual movie theater.
It's like a vintage experience. Go to a second run theater and the prices will actually be near reasonable. I know we can stream everything in the world now, but there's something about walking that sticky floor to your seat and getting enveloped in the massive screen. It makes it an experience.

18. Tell people the nice things you think about them.
If you like your co-worker's makeup today, tell her it looks nice. If you think one of your friends has decorated their house really well, tell them. Even if it pops into your head later. Send a nice text with whatever compliment just sprang to mind. It'll brighten their day, and yours.

Just stop telling people they're funny enough to go do stand up. 

19. One thing at a time.
If you went into the New Year saying "I'm going to exercise more and eat right and find a better job and start volunteering and take a class and do yoga and eat yogurt instead of ice cream and SAIL TO THE MOON" you might want to pick one to start with and focus on that. 

Make a list of what you want to do this year. Pick the most important one and work on that until you've got it down. Then move on the next.

20. Forgive yourself when you mess up your resolution.
There's always tomorrow, and nobody's perfect. Everybody needs a cheat day. Just get back at it tomorrow, and you'll make it a habit over time.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

10 Gifts Literally No One But Your Mom Would Want

Crap. Christmas is tomorrow. You know your mom is going to shower you in presents and do the whole "I grew you in my womb" bit again. 

You want to give her something awesome. But mom brains are weird. They don't want stuff that normal people want. 

As she will no doubt remind you, nothing you give will ever amount to the gift of life. But you can give it a damn good try with any of these fun, cheap gift ideas!

1. Evidence you have friends and are supporting yourself.
Take a bank statement and staple it to a framed picture of you out with friends on a sunny day. Don't try and send it electronically. She'll either lose it or print it out anyway.

2. A grandchild to take care of for a month.
Literally nobody else would think being forced to provide childcare is a fun adventure, but your mom wants to take care of your kid and see if you ruined it. Your dad won't thank you, but thanking you isn't really his thing, anyway.

3. Move out.
She'll be so proud. 

4. Move back in.
To be honest, she didn't want you to leave in the first place. Now she can stop having nightmares about you getting kidnapped in the Big City and get back to cooking you huge meals while pointing out your weight gain.

5. Three pairs of the same sunglasses.
That way, when she leaves them at the gym, in her car, at your place, at her work, in Target, in the bathroom, in the purse she left at the movies, etc., she'll have a spare. And then another spare. Come to think of it, just get a sunglasses subscription service. 

6. A trip she doesn't have to plan.
It doesn't even have to be a big trip. Even just to the local supermarket. But if she can get in the car and go along for the ride without having to worry about every little detail, it'll be like the French Riviera without the sunburn and gambling. 

Image result for moms forgetful memes"

7. Get Dad out of the house for an afternoon.
This might seem counter-intuitive. Why would I give Dad an outing as a gift to Mom? Doesn't Mom want to go somewhere with us? No. Mom wants to sit at home for once and watch what she wants on TV without your dad switching between three action movies starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. 

8. A poem you wrote.
Seriously, this shit goes down like fireworks. She'll probably cry. It'll be great. Just don't be dumb and use something you actually wrote. Steal it online. 

Image result for giving mom a poem meme"
Music lyrics are good too, but only if she's never heard it.

9. Get a better boyfriend/girlfriend/personfriend for her to meet.
Somebody with a job, for chrissake. It'll make her so happy. But she has to meet them and they have to make a good impression, otherwise it won't work and when you say "My personfriend" she's going to hear "mysterious possible-murderer-drug-dealer". 

10. A funny mug or magnet.

They're like two dollars but moms go apeshit over them. 

Image result for funny mom mugs"

Congrats! Now you're the best child. Take that, your dumb brothers and sisters who just got mom gift cards and blankets. 

Tag urself, I'm #apoemyouwrote.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

10 Things Comedians Are Tired of Hearing

Every comedian, especially those who are chilling in the drunken streets of Amateur-ville, will have heard all these things many, many times.

If you have comedian friends or expect to ever talk to one (which you will if you live in LA, we're clogging your streets like refuse after a hurricane), please read and avoid these phrases. 

Otherwise, I guarantee you'll end up a flattering bit in someone's stand-up. Or worse: a character in their underground sketch comedy show.

1. "Oh, you're a comedian? Seth Rogen is awesome."
Good for Seth Rogen. Bad for us. Now every open mic is full of dudes who think being their vaguely-stoned selves is entertainment.

Image result for seth rogen memes"

2. "My friends all think I should be a comedian."
Glad to hear you're up to Troy's high standards while you play World of Warcraft.

Image result for laughing at my own jokes meme"

3. "Here's how comedy works... [even though I have never in my life attempted stand-up, and you have just told me you have been performing for several years now]"

Do I tell you how to be unemployed? No. Don't tell me my business and I won't tell you yours.

Image result for unemployment meme"

4. "What a sweet gig. You just stand in front of people and say whatever comes into your head."
Yes, whatever comes into my head after hours of practice, three bombed performances, and a plethora of audition rejections. Also crying.

Image result for audition rejection meme"

 5. "Tell me a joke."

Give me $20 and you've got a deal. Mama don't work for free. 

Image result for comedian memes" 
  6. "I've got an idea for your act."
God, no. I don't care if Troy thought it was hilarious when you were playing Call of Duty, I don't need your bit about [censored] screwing [censored] in front of [definitely censored].  

7. "I bet you hate having to be PC all the time."

I hate systemic oppression and sexual violence more. So no, I don't mind having a social conscience. Turns out I can make jokes without being offensive! Wow!

8. "I met [old comedian] once. He was pretty cool."

Can he get me a gig? No? Then I don't care that he screamed and jumped around onstage in the 90s. 

Image result for 90s comedy memes"

9. "You take classes to be funny? Shouldn't that just be natural talent?"

 Not all of us are as gifted as you are, guy-in-bar who keeps quoting Tosh.0.

Image result for guy at bar meme"

10. "You should go do open mics and get discovered."

Thanks, I hadn't thought of that. I've just been doing stand-up in my bathroom mirror and crying.  
 Image result for open mics meme"

The golden rule: If you don't have anything informed by your personal experience to say, don't say anything at all!  

Tag urself, I'm #youtakeclassestobefunny?