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Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain:

I (she/her) have been with my partner (he/him) for a few years now, we live together, everything is fine and dandy, except for one thing. We’re both in our 30s, and recently the topic of engagement and marriage has come up. I’d really like to eventually, and he really doesn’t. Our relationship is good, and I know nothing would really change in the practical sense if marriage was a thing that would happen, but even so I can’t help feeling sad about marriage being off the table.

When there is marriage-related things on tv or I walk past a jewelry store I get weepy and sad now and feel like I’m not good enough for my partner, even though logically I know that’s not actually true. Sometimes friends or family ask when/if we’re getting married, and I don’t know how to respond since I don’t want to sound like I’m just throwing my partner under the bus by saying “I want to but he doesn’t so ask him about it”. My parents are getting on a bit in years so even if my partner would change his mind some years down the road, them not being there for it is a real possibility.

Obviously some of it is cultural/gender specific (old unmarried spinster=bad, etc), but on the other hand, being “chosen” by somebody, having that promise to stick with each other and having a ring to symbolize that is important to me, as well as doing the ceremony part (even if it is small) in front of other people to make it “official”, and I don’t know how to let go of that. We’ve talked about why it’s important to me and my partner knows that I’m not happy about it, but that’s all. If they ever did propose, I’d want it to be because they truly want to, not because I somehow sadded them into doing it out of guilt or pity, so I’ve been trying to keep my feelings to myself as much as possible. At this point he might think that wedding-related stuff gives me the runs since I always have to go to the bathroom if anything related to it comes up on tv or whatever (but surprise, I’m not actually doing a poop, I’m doing a cry).

I’m a bit stuck on how to deal with my own feelings about the whole thing without feelings-dumping on my partner, I guess? I’m on the autism spectrum, so I try to be as conscious as I can about not saying something out of line, but I really don’t want to mess a good thing up by making a hen out of a feather. Any advice about how to manage my feelings/clueless askers in a mature way would be great, but if not, permission to be sad about something that feels like a silly issue is fine too.

Regards, Hapless and Ringless

Dear Hapless & Ringless

These “I want to be married and my partner doesn’t…is this just me being silly?” questions are accumulating of late.

I have an hour of free time and possibly a few more things to say about this, so, hi.

I have a lot of beefs with cultural narratives around marriage. Like, which is it, the pinnacle of achievement in a person’s life (especially if you are a straight woman), the sole legitimate goal of romantic attachment (especially for straight women), or a ridiculous, time-wasting, trivial obsession (that straight women focus on instead of more important matters)?

Let’s forget proposals, rings, parties, “being chosen”, fairy tales that end with a wedding for a moment. Let’s put aside religious traditions, also.

You are in your thirties, living in a household with a fellow adult. That’s great. You’re viewing that arrangement as long-term and possibly permanent. Also great. You are making joint decisions about your future with this person – where you will live, where your money goes, where your time goes, where your attention goes. I don’t think it’s trivial to want to put some formal protections and expectations in place around making those decisions.

Marriage, as a legal institution, doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always get along, be happy together, or maintain positive feelings about each other. Marriage is a way of formalizing and legalizing family ties. It cements certain obligations and offers certain protections that – depending on where you live, and depending on who you love – cannot be easily acquired any other way.

Marriage, however it is practiced and administered where you are, legally clarifies pretty big questions that have far-reaching consequences, such as:

  • Who counts as family, legally speaking?
  • If you have children, who can make decisions about their custody and their welfare?
  • What happens if one of you dies? To your children, if any? To your property? To your creative work/copyrights (if any)?
  • What happens if one of you becomes ill or incapacitated? Who can make decisions about your care?
  • Would you even be allowed to have medical information or be allowed to visit each other if something happened to one of you?
  • How will retirement benefits, pensions, medical benefits, insurance benefits be distributed?

Do my fellow straight people understand what can happen when these protections are not available? Do you understand how quickly you could be erased from someone’s life by these “mere” formalities, if your partner’s feelings about you change someday, or if they get sick or die and the whims/prejudices/greed of their family of origin or the state decide that you don’t matter, that your relationship isn’t “real” enough?

If your partner says he doesn’t want to get married, okay, nobody can make him do that, let’s assume he has his reasons. If your partner says he plans to be with you long-term, and you believe him, also great! Is he willing to hire lawyers and work out the alternative legal paperwork that would spell out and protect both of you in case something awful happened in the future? Or does he expect you both to trust feelings with your money, your time, your potential kids, your future, your health, your end-of-life decisions, with everything you will ever own or do or make?

I think it’s absolutely normal, reasonable, and okay to want to marry someone as a condition of deciding to build your life with them. I think that if you want marriage badly and your partner does not, this is an area of deep incompatibility between you, and until this question is resolved to not only your satisfaction but to your happiness, my honest suggestion would be to take your partner at his word. If you believe him when he says he doesn’t want to ever get married (and especially if he is not open to formalizing your relationship in other ways), how would it change what you’re willing to invest in the idea of a shared future with him? If you respect his reluctance and his reasons, and knowingly choose to invest under those conditions, I hope you will be happy and at peace with that. Time will tell. Your happiness will tell.

However: I don’t have pointers for learning to be okay with less than what you really need and want from your life and your relationship. You want to be married. You want to be married to this specific person. You don’t have to apologize for, minimize, or hide that from me or him or your family or anyone.

P.S. For the “marriage isn’t a big deal, it’s just a piece of paper” crowd, my usual question is: If it’s not a big deal to you, and it is a big deal to your partner, why not go through with this “trivial,” “silly,” “meaningless” “piece of paper” to make the person you love happy? Why is the person who thinks it’s important the one who has to compromise?

In the sputtering that follows, usually what we discover is that it IS a pretty fucking big deal (and that’s why they don’t want to do it).









Three Squelches To A Change Of Undies

Feb. 15th, 2019 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

I've had some time to think about it, guys, and I've finally decided:

I'm really NOT ready for some football, thanks.


I'll also pass on these:

Something something TOOT SWEET. Haha!

(Let's see, so that's 4 fartlets to a toot, two toots to a squelch, and three squelches to a change of undies, am I right?)


One of the best patch jobs I've seen in ages:



Ah, look! The Great Poo-Nugget Migration!

Really moving, isn't it?


We've had a bunch of late Valentine cakes come in, and I have to say, you wreckerators had a red-letter year! In fact, you could say...

Torn between disappointment and relief there's no nekkid Miley on there.


Man, it just never gets old.


"Drat, there's only room for one more letter, and I need to spell "YOU!"

[head tilt]
[Jeopardy theme playing]

"Guess I'll go with the Y, then."


Thanks to Angie T., Mindy M., Lisa R., Martina T., Rebecca C., Esmeralda O., & Stacey for making my week.

Note from john (the hubby of Jen): Commenter Mike says of cake #1: "Tom Brady was here!"



I'm a Pats fan but that was brilliant. Bravo, Mike!


Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

And from my other blog, Epbot:

[syndicated profile] cate_speaks_feed

Posted by Catherine

I had so many good intentions for this blog in 2019.  For example, I intended to do a proper write up of who wound up in the Victorian  Legislative Council, and indeed, I have started that post, and even continued that post… I just haven’t finished that post.  It’s been that sort of year.  I hope that I will do so soon, but I think I’d better not make any more promises on that score.

Anyway, with the Federal Election looming, it looks likely that we will be seeing some really ugly and stupid politics playing out over the next few months.  Which… will make the next few months not all that different from the last few months.

I was going to create a bingo game to solace us all in the toxic lead-up to this election, but when I shared some of my ideas for a bingo card with a friend he said “That’s not bingo, because all of those things are guaranteed to happen.”

And, while I don’t think he is *quite* right, there is a seed of truth in his remark.

(Certainly, at least one thing I planned to put on the bingo card has happened in the two days between me coming up with this idea and today.  So while I originally planned not to write this silly post until I had been good and finished my Victorian Election post, I’m putting this up now regardless, before every single thing on it has a chance to happen.)

Which is why I’m turning this into a drinking game.  Or rather, a virtual drinking game, because I don’t want to encourage irresponsible drinking and I think we will all be thoroughly potted if we follow the game plan below.  Mix up the virtual cocktail of your choice and start playing!

Alternatively, if you’d like this game to have some more meaning than our politics currently does, pick a charity – or indeed, a political party – that stands for something you hold dear, and pick a dollar or cent amount for sips, swigs and sculls.  Every time one of the items on the list comes up, put the appropriate amount into a piggy bank, and when the time is right, donate the amount you have raised.  Everyone wins!

(Well, except the Coalition, I hope.  And yes, this drinking game is just as partisan as everything else I write.)

The Australian Federal Election 2019 Drinking Game

“Real Australia” Take a swig
“If you have a go, you’ll get a go.” Take a sip
“Working families” Take a sip
A small ‘L’ liberal announces her candidacy as an independent in a safe liberal seat Scull!
“The Labor Party has a woman problem” Take a sip.
“The Greens have a woman problem” Take a despairing sip
“The Liberal Party has a woman problem.” That’s either not worth drinking for, or it’s worth the whole liquor cabinet. You decide.
David Leyonhjelm Every time you are forced to remember that he is in Parliament, take a sip.
A member of the National Party or LNP is implicated in some kind of sex or sexual harrassment scandal No drink required. That’s just Tuesday.
The Daily Telegraph publishes a racist cartoon Take a sip.
The Daily Telegraph publishes a misogynist cartoon Take a sip.
The Daily Telegraph publishes a cartoon that is both racist AND misogynist. Take a swig.
Why are you even reading the Daily Telegraph? Drinking can’t fix this.
Anyone in the Liberal Party tries to take credit for Marriage Equality (thanks, Tony, for ruining that one before I could even get this post written) Oh, just drink the whole bottle
The National Party realises that the Liberal Party actually does need them, and starts to pursue their own agenda. Take an appreciative sip, because it’s about time.
The Coalition splits. Finish your drink.
The Liberal Party splits. Scull!
The Labor Party snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. I mean, I hope they aren’t that stupid? But if they are, that’s another scull.
The Guardian does an exposé on anything pertaining to offshore detention Take a swig
“Stealing from self-funded retirees” Take a sip.
“The Canberra Bubble” Take a sip of bubbly.
“Strong borders” Take a sip of something strong.
“In the pocket of the unions…” Take a sip… from your hip flask!
“In the pocket of the banks” Take a sip from your hipster hip flask!
A backbencher quits the Liberal Party Take a sip.
… And declares their intention to stand as an independent in a formerly-safe Liberal seat. Take a swig.
A frontbencher quits the Liberal Party Take a swig.
… And walks into a cushy, high-paid embassy or lobbying job… Finish the drink.
A former Liberal Party backbencher gives a tell-all interview. Take a sip.
Tony Abbott gives a tell-far-too-much interview. There is not enough alcohol in the world.
Julie Bishop gives a tell-all interview. Oh, no you want to remain sober for this.  It’s going to be awesome.
Bill Shorten delivers a zinger! Take a swig. Unless you thought it was funny, in which case you’ve probably had enough.
Section 44 takes another scalp. Scull!
… and it’s Peter Dutton!!! OK, you’ve probably had enough.
A minor party candidate switches parties or becomes an independent Finish the drink.
… after the ballots have been printed! Finish the bottle.
A member of the Coalition extols the virtues of coal-fired power stations Take a sip, ideally of an activated charcoal cocktail.
… while the country is on actual fire. Take a drink and make a donation to the CFA.
Op ed telling us that renewable energy can’t cope with the load on the grid. Take a swig.
Government tries to convince us that we can reduce our carbon output by doing absolutely nothing Finish your drink.
The United Australia Party implodes. Let’s face it, this one is basically guaranteed, so it’s hardly worth a drink.  But take a sip if you like.
Pauline Hanson and Mark Latham fall out explosively. Take a sip, and also some popcorn.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party nominates a candidate who is a serial killer. Look, have you seen some of their previous candidates?  It’s not impossible.  Take a drink, but check for poison first.
The various socialist parties fall out with one another and put each other last on the ballot. Take a swig.
Barnaby Joyce challenges for leadership of the Nationals Take a swig.
Peter Dutton challenges for leadership of the Liberals I mean, he couldn’t actually be that stupid, surely?  This is worth finishing your drink for, if it happens.
Endless newspaper speculation about an Albanese leadership challenge Take a sip, but pace yourself.
Any time anyone asks why we can’t put Penny Wong and Tanya Plibersek in charge of the Labor Party because they’d totally vote for them but just aren’t so sure about Shorten. Take a wistful drink.
“African gangs!” Take a sip, and donate to the campaign to unseat Dutton.
Asylum seekers get described as ‘country shoppers’, ‘economic refugees’, and ‘rapists and pedophiles’ Take a sip, and donate to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
“Mediscare!” Take a sip, and offer one to your local bulk-billing GP.
The boats suddenly and completely coincidentally start getting reported on again as soon as the Medivac bill comes into law. Take a very despairing drink, and brace yourself for endless talk of strong borders.
“Only major parties can create real change” Take a sip.
We are warned that voting for minor parties and independents will lead to chaos. Take a sip.
“Muslim terrorists!” We are not drinking to this.
“A hand-up, not a hand-out!” Take a sip.   But only of something that you are allowed to buy on a Basics Card.
“It’s time!” Take a swig, and maintain your rage.
A minor party suddenly reverses all its policies. Take a swig.
The Greens fail to compromise when they really should. Take a swig
Labor compromises when they really shouldn’t. Take a really big swig
Greens and Labor each campaign as if the other is the greatest enemy. Empty the bottle and go to bed.
Commentators announce that this is the end for The Greens as a force in Parliament. Take a sip. Because they are going to say this a lot, and your liver deserves your care.
Malcolm Turnbull writes a book about his time as Prime Minister, including his thoughts on the leadership spill and the way forward for the Liberal Party Take a swig.
… and it is published four weeks before the date of the election… Finish your drink, and pour another.  Because you know there will be an interview on 7:30
…and is interviewed on 7:30 Told you so.  Take a swig, unless he is wearing a leather jacket, in which case, scull the whole thing.

… OK, that’s all I’ve got for now.  Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.  In all seriousness, I predict that this is going to be a really horrifically race-baiting and mean-spirited election campaign, so hold on to your sense of humour where you can, and remember to look out for your friends who might be affected directly by the nastiness coming down from Canberra.

I’ll be back with my minor party reviews once this show gets properly on the road, with the caveat that this election looks likely to be held at a time of year when I will be working exceptionally long hours reading grant applications, so I may not be able to be as thorough as usual.  I have to sleep sometimes, unfortunately…

142 - UFO Sighting Reports

Feb. 15th, 2019 05:00 am
[syndicated profile] nightvale_feed

We start today, as we often do, with the latest UFO sighting reports in the community.

Weather: "Color TV” by Answering Machine

Our tour of A Spy in the Desert continues this month across US! Get your tickets here: http://www.welcometonightvale.com/live/

Coming in May 2019: Volumes 3 and 4 of the Welcome to Night Vale Episode Collections! For more info and to pre-order: http://www.welcometonightvale.com/books/

Music: Disparition

Logo: Rob Wilson

Written by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor. Narrated by Cecil Baldwin. 

Follow us on Twitter @NightValeRadio or Facebook.

Produced by Night Vale Presents. 

[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

It’s time to answer the things people typed into search engines as if they are questions.

Here is a seasonal jam by The Avett Brothers:

Lyrics are here.

1 “I can’t stand going to my friend’s house because she smokes inside.”

Legit! I have a very hard time with smoke (asthma trigger), the same way cat-allergic friends have a hard time hanging out in the kitten palace. Sometimes it’s possible to hang out for a little while at my lovely smoker-friends’ places with the aid of my inhaler (used both pre-emptively and refreshed periodically), sometimes it’s not. Sometimes my friends can hang out at my place for a little while with the help of Zyrtec, sometimes they can’t, and/or we need to cut the visit short. Nobody holds it against anyone (we all get to set our own risk tolerance, especially when it comes to breathing, and we all get to make our homes primarily serve ourselves). It’s okay to invite the friend out and generally try to meet in places other than her home.

2 “My sister has changed so much I don’t even know her anymore.”

What if you could let go of who she used to be, or how you imagined she was?

Pretend you just met her. Look at her like a friendly stranger might, someone without any baggage or history where she’s concerned. Try to spend some enjoyable time with her, find out what she’s interested in now, find out what you might have in common now.

Look for reasons to enjoy her company, be proud of her, look for things to be curious about and praise. If she’s unkind to you, or just an asshole, that’s different, obviously, but what if you started from a place of kindness and curiosity?

Sometimes I wish we could all do this with all of our family members.

3 “Tidying Up hard to understand her accent


As someone who has studied multiple languages and taught ESL to kids and adults, I have recommendations, though I should say up front that these suggestions require the ability to see the screen and read and I’m not sure what to recommend for people with visual impairments.

If you want to watch a TV show and you have trouble parsing the performer’s accent, try this:

  1.  Turn on the captions/subtitles.
  2. Remove other distractions (don’t try to watch it in the background while you keep one eye on your phone or sorting your mail or whatever). You’re going to have to pay closer attention.
  3. Get used to the idea that you might not catch absolutely every nuance the first time. You can rewind if necessary, rewatch if necessary.
  4. Stick with it for a few episodes. It’s very likely that it will get easier the more you listen and watch. You’ll pick up the cadences of speech better, and you’ll have more context clues, you’ll get to know the performers/presenters body language/facial expressions over time.

If you try that and it doesn’t get easier, maybe the show is not for you. Try the book instead, or find something else to watch.

Moderation Note:  Kindly refrain from cluttering the comments section with complaints/criticisms/feelings/arguments/jokes/incl. compliments! about Marie Kondo, her show, her book, her approach, literally anything about her. I find the intense discourse around her exhausting at best and racist at worst, and I will delete all of it (even nice things)(even jokes that are clever variations about whether something sparks joy). I like you an awful lot, let’s keep it that way.

4 “Can’t wear anything too “fancy” or my boyfriend gets mad


I have an idea, let’s look at pretty outfits and imagine what we might wear to a “I dumped that controlling jerkass” party.

Maybe something from the Vivienne Westwood ’94 collection? 

Or the recent Golden Globes?

5 “Flowers on dick.” 

Scroll down to #18 for all your funeral-arrangements-for-enemies needs.

6 “sexual favors”and “free rent” “massachusetts”

Well that’s wicked specific.

7 “My boyfriend expects me to eat from his squalid kitchen


Well, what happens when you say “I’m not comfortable with that?” 

I meant to add this to the “red flags & compatibility when meeting new people to date” discussion at the end of this post last week but I forgot, so I’ll add it here:

Visit each other’s living spaces  – after you feel safe/comfortable being alone with someone before you commit to an ongoing relationship. Are you comfortable there? Do you feel welcome? Can you relax? Is what you see (smell/feel) congruent with the person you’re getting to know and what you want?

“This person’s living space upsets me” vs. “What if they can’t help it?” is a well-covered discussion topic on the site. I am not interested in judging people, blaming people, diagnosing people, excusing people, shaming people, setting these conflicts up as moral contests. I am interested in giving everyone permission to factor how a current or potential partner keeps their living space into decisions about comfort and compatibility.

Back in grad school I made a short film about a laundry pile achieving sentience. It wasn’t a documentary due to biological impossibility…for now…but let’s just say my real-life hamper did all its own stunts. By contrast, my dad, the world’s tidiest man, can sense when you are close to finishing a soda. He hovers while you take your last swallow, pounces before you can put the can down on any surface, rinses it to restore factory settings, and ferries it gently to its rightful place in the garage, where his complex recycling system made up of 12 distinct bins and barrels awaits. He is an extremely good match for my mom, who prefers to maintain all surfaces in a state of surgical sterility.

A date who preferred my parents’ “we keep the correct vacuum cleaner for each room in a closet in that room” lifestyle would have looked at my MFA in chore avoidance and thought: “Nope! We would make each other miserable!” This is fine! We would! I would gross him out, he would remind me of my dad and send my shoulders up around my ears!

Maybe the boyfriend in the search string will clean his kitchen. Maybe he’ll get dumped ’cause he won’t. Maybe he’ll be the one who breaks up because the querent made him feel judged and uncomfortable. Maybe they’ll decide to live happily ever after on takeout and prepackaged things. Fine! This is all fine!

In no universe will I ever recommend anything resembling “Since some people struggle with housekeeping, love probably means swallowing your discomfort along with whatever they cooked, no matter how unsanitary you find it.” Serious incompatibility around housekeeping stuff is a recipe for intense stress and conflict, you’re allowed to have preferences, needs, and choose a lower difficulty setting for yourself and your relationships.

8 “Why does my boyfriend treats his daughter like his wife.”

He creepy?

9 “Niece hates me for no reason.”

She has a reason. It may not be a good reason, it may not be a reason you’ll ever get to the bottom of, but it exists even if it’s only her opinion.

When I sense someone doesn’t like me, and I can’t think of a plausible reason for the conflict,  and “Hey, have I done something to upset you?” doesn’t work (either b/c I asked and didn’t get a good answer or I don’t feel comfortable enough to even ask), I try to give the person a lot of space, be polite and keep it light when I do have to interact, and see if time either mellows the situation or gives me more information.

10 “BF’s ex-girlfriend warns me about him how do I respond


Do you actually need to respond? Do you need to respond to her?

In your shoes, I might say something very non-committal to her, like, “thanks for telling me, I’ll think about it.” It’s such an unusual thing to do that (in my opinion) it’s probably worth thinking about for a few days before you either act on it or disregard it.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you do nothing about what she said? (Don’t respond, don’t address it with your boyfriend, brush it off).

What’s the substance of the warning? Is she trying to warn you about abuse? Have you noticed any red flags?

What’s in this for her? What reason would she have to lie? Like, is she trying to get you to break up with the boyfriend so she can be with him again, or to create trouble for him? Or is she trying to warn you to GTFO for your own safety?

Your answers to those questions will most likely point you in the right direction.

11 “Housemate comments on everything I do.”

I’m sure I wrote some more emotionally mature and useful responses and you should probably go read those and try those suggestions.

Right now what comes to mind is:”What are you, the narrator?”

12 “What does it mean when someone reacts to a minor little comment that bothers them with a barrage of made up hurtful things to hurt the other person?


Nothing good! Consider how much time you want to spend with someone who does this (if any).

13 “I feel like I am a burden on my therapist


This is probably worth mentioning to your therapist. Consider also that your therapist gets paid for the time they spend with you, most therapists have some choices about who they take on as a client, and you’re just one of many clients they see. It is unlikely they are thinking about you (as a burden or otherwise) as much as you think about them.

14 “How often to go to someones house.”

I love literally any excuse to make a chart.

Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 5.52.01 PM

A Venn Diagram that shows the intersection of being invited to someone’s house and actually wanting to go to their house. Maybe you’ll need Zyrtec.


Happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate, happy “day before half price candy” for those who don’t. Be excellent to yourselves and each other.

Happy VD!

Feb. 14th, 2019 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

Happy Valentine's Day, my dear Wreckies!

Look, I got you some shoes!

John says they look like big fingernails, but they're actually Valentine high heels.

No, really! See?



I also got you these:

VALENTINE BEAR VAG... er...Vagabonds!

Bear vagabonds.

[awkward pause]



B6 Myne?


After all, you guys KNOW U my #2s, right?

And who could pass up a solid #2?


Which reminds me:

This guy did.

Um. Is... is that a snail? Saying "I'm hungry for your heart?"
Why? Do snails eat hearts? Is the curly ribbon so he can strangle you first? Do only the crappy snails strangle you and then eat your heart? Where might one find such cheerfully homicidal mollusks? (Asking for a friend.) And do you really want your Valentine present to evoke these kinds of questions?

I sense I may be "overthinking" it.

Unlike this guy:



Ok, you know what, let's just forget Valentine's Day.
Instead we can spice things up the old fashioned way:


Dipped in what, Charissa B.?



Thanks to Rebecca B., Kimberly E., Lorene T., Anony M., Jude C., & Charissa B. for keeping it hot, hot, hurk!



Do you shop Amazon? Then how about clicking through my affiliate link to shop? Visiting Amazon through that link will help support the site, and costs you nothing. Thanks, guys!

And from my other blog, Epbot:


Future Updates!

Feb. 13th, 2019 05:14 pm
[syndicated profile] omgcheckplease_feed
Hey guys!I’m working towards a hard deadline which means I’m currently drawing ALL of...

Book: How To Be Alone by Lane Moore

Feb. 13th, 2019 06:50 pm
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

I read Lane Moore’s book of essays “How To Be Alone (If You Want To And Even If You Don’t)” in the past few days and a) I loved it b) I couldn’t stop highlighting things from it.

Starting on the first damn page:

“There’s a very particular sort of no-man’s-land that comes with having alive parents who are technically there, could technically take you in if you really needed somewhere to go, but if you went there, you wouldn’t be any safer than anywhere else.”

I will share some more quotes here and they will probably be very random but they were all things that made my brain go: HI! and HELLO! and I LOVE YOU AND ALSO ME AND ALSO EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD!

On the “the Friend Zone”:

“In my experience, most queer women—and heterosexual women, for that matter, because women absolutely have crushes on guys who don’t see them that way—don’t get as pissy as some heterosexual dudes get about the Friend Zone. The Friend Zone, while not always ideal, is still a goddamn gift, and really, the definition of true love. If you love someone, or even just care about them, as you claim to, you don’t mind the Friend Zone at all, because sure, fine, you don’t get to French them and stuff, but you get to know them and be close to them and hear all the dumb things that run through their minds and all the brilliant things that they don’t even know are brilliant.”

On crap dudes who think their hobbies are the same as your career:

““Oh, cool. I’m in finance, but I also play a little guitar,” he said, in the way that square professional dudes always say to artistic girls.”

On narratives that tell you women can fix shitty dating partners if they try hard enough:

“And one lady at work said her husband was horrible to her for three years until she nursed him back to health and now they’re soul mates. And let me just say, lady at work, keep that shit to yourself.”

“If you see a woman who is working super hard to become who she’s meant to be and to achieve the things she wants to achieve, and you have nothing to add to her life or to give back to her in any way, please just leave her the fuck alone.”

“It’s like training a dog not to shit all over your house, but instead you’re training yourself not to be with someone who shit all over your life.”

On parents/raising ourselves:

“I know I loved all those fictional characters because I was a wild, inquisitive, messy-haired little creature who asked too many questions and loudly questioned her neglect and abuse, definitely not the agreeable living doll my parents seemingly had in mind when they decided to have a child.”

“It is so important to know we can hold our relatives, especially our parents, accountable. That regardless of “the best they could do,” if you were not fed or protected or held or shown affection and love and attention, if you did not feel safe, then their best was not good enough. It just wasn’t. And you are then free to do what you want with that information. Maybe that means you don’t talk to them anymore, or you talk to them like you would a coworker who used to steal your lunch from the fridge—with distance and hesitance, but you are allowed to choose your own safety and well-being over the comfort level of someone who did not properly parent you.”

“Still, it is very commonplace for abusive or absent parents, once their (technical) child grows up and becomes successful, to suddenly become Proud Parents! Because they know they can claim you as Theirs now and everyone will believe them.

“It will never occur to these people that you became the person you became despite them. That you, magical, wonderful, holy shit wow you, took the bag of rotting maggots they gave you and turned it into Disneyland.”

“So if you raised yourself, and you’re reading this, I am so proud of you. You raised a hell of a kid.”

On rewriting our stories:

“Sexual assault is not your “my first time” story if you don’t want it to be. Some creepy age-inappropriate piece of shit driving you to an underpass doesn’t have to be your first-date story if you don’t want it to be. Count what you want. You can’t change what they did, but you can change your landmarks. It’s not a rewriting of history.”

On what writing is for:

“I’m able to write things people want to read, and not only read like passive clickbait, but things that resonate with people and make a difference to them—the only kind of writing I ever gravitated toward, and the only kind of writing I ever wanted to do.”

I’m turning off comments for two reasons: 1) today is a writing day not a reading-the-internet day and 2) there is a shitty thing that happens here and on social media whenever I say I like a book, people feel compelled to tell me that they don’t like it or what they think is wrong with it. I don’t need people to like the same books as me  but it does actually literally ruin my day sometimes when people see that I am enjoying something and decide to drop whatever they are doing to try to talk me out of it.

Maybe this book is a book you were waiting for. I don’t know. It was a book I was waiting for. I am working collecting/pitching my own essays in book form and it was one of the books (like my friend Megan’s book, and Sam’s book) that made my own book feel more possible, more necessary, like I have permission to be messy and say anything I want. ❤

[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

Valentine's is coming, so you know what THAT means...

The faceless Ketchup man will soon hunt again.


Also that weird shape is gonna be EVERYWHERE. You know, the one that looks like a cross between a jelly bean and a maxi pad?


What's up with these, bakers?


And why do you always put that white strip in the middle?

Imagine serving this with a glass of blue Kool-Aid.


Now I kind of want one.


And if that doesn't clear the room fast enough, then how about the world's most cringe-inducing pregnancy announcement?


Three words: NOPE, NOPE, and more NOPE.


Thanks to Lea B., Stephanie T., Rachel B., Mab R. for putting us ALL in the mood... to have a headache.


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Conversation Starters

Feb. 12th, 2019 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

Show of hands: who likes conversation hearts? You know, the chalky little candies printed with whimsical messages of friendship and affection?

Ok, now put your hands down. You're just embarrassing yourself.

I only ask because some lucky individuals get cake or cookie versions of the famous candies, and I'm wondering if they're all as whimsical as this:

 Hey, it's no "huge me," but I'd take it.


Well I'll try, but darned if I know what "MNE" is.

Gosh, I've never been called neck wear before. Um...thank U?



The best part is this doesn't make me want to run away and file a restraining order at all.



If you're asking, then a) Seriously? and b) No.



And you're going to need another your/you're refresher.






No, seriously seriously.



Come over here so I can slap you.


On second thought, stay over there.
Way, way over there.



You know, part of me thinks this simply has to mean "Sun Shine"...
but the other part remembers how to write a capital S.


So I'm torn.


Thanks to wreckporters Mike L., Jennifer M., Erin, Mariel K., Sarah, Noah E., Andrew T., Amy Z., Jacque K., & Susan R., who think we should give 'em something to talk about: LOVE.

And then maybe a dictionary.


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Assorted Stupidity #120

Feb. 12th, 2019 01:07 pm
[syndicated profile] loweringthebar_feed

Posted by Kevin

LTB logo


  • On January 31, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by two Saints fans seeking to reverse the result of the NFC championship game, which was marred by a pretty egregious missed call. The fans cited an NFL rule giving the commissioner authority to take “appropriate measures” if a “calamity” has “extraordinarily unfair” results, and sought a writ of mandamus forcing him to apply that rule. But Judge Susie Morgan held that state law only allows such a writ in certain types of cases, and this wasn’t one of them.
  • They might have better luck suing the NFL, the Patriots, the Rams, and Maroon 5 for the calamity that was Super Bowl LIII. A writ of mandamus wouldn’t do any good now, but several tort causes of action come to mind.
  • William Shatner is also threatening a lawsuit, not against the NFL but rather a 62-year-old Tampa man who claims to be his illegitimate son. According to Peter Sloan, his mother had a fling with Shatner in 1956, and he was the result—although according to the Tampa Bay Times, Sloan concedes his mother once told him the father could be “either Shatner or a second man she only recalls as ‘Chick,’ a law student from Montreal.” In January, Sloan filed a petition to change his name to “Peter Shatner.” Shatner’s lawyer responded with a cease-and-desist order.
  • The director of the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association claimed this week that if police are not allowed to profit from civil-forfeiture cases, they would have no incentive to do their jobs. If they don’t get to keep the money they take from suspects—if that’s the right word; many are never arrested, let alone charged—”what is the incentive to go out and make a special effort?” Jarrod Bruder said. “What is the incentive for interdiction?” Oddly, Bruder seems to understand that money can be a powerful incentive, and yet seems to have no inkling that it could, potentially, provide a perverse incentive that might encourage officers to make “special efforts” without solid evidence. Puzzling.
  • On the other hand, officers in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, were apparently willing to go to great lengths not to arrest someone, even though he was wanted for murder and was trying to turn himself in. The New Orleans Advocate reported that when the man showed up at the front desk with his lawyer, deputies refused to process him for more than an hour because he didn’t have ID. The lawyer said her argument that people generally don’t try to impersonate someone who’s wanted for murder fell on deaf ears.
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Hello Captain,

I’ve got a few older women in my life who keep talking to me like I’m one of their kids. It’s either unsolicited advice or outright orders in a snotty tone. One of these women volunteers at the same place I do. She orders people around constantly, is generally rude and condescending, and from what I can tell she’s a ‘missing stair’ that people don’t stand up to. She’s not in a position of power, though you wouldn’t know it from how she acts.

I know I do look young but I don’t look that young – and even if I did, I don’t think that’s excuse to treat people the way she does. I’m 34, professional, and the organization has been super happy that I’ve come on board. From what I can tell, she doesn’t know anything about my credentials or my background and she doesn’t care. I’ve heard some stories but I wasn’t prepared to handle it myself. My own mother hasn’t talked to me like that since I was ten. I’ll admit I don’t love being ordered around, and I bristle when people don’t acknowledge the hard work that other people are putting in. From what other staff has said, she’s definitely alienating people with her behavior.

Tonight was the first time that I worked with this woman for a long event, rather than interacting with her at meetings. I’m still relatively new, so I didn’t feel comfortable confronting her. I plan to let the agency know my experience (and that if I didn’t care so much about what they do, I would have left on the spot), but do you have any good scripts for telling her to knock it off without making the situation worse?
Here for the good cause, not your condescending remarks

Dear Here For The Good Cause:

You were raised to be polite to old/older people, correct? I was, too (my mom worked in eldercare, I was around ’em a lot, not just the ones from my own family).

I also worked in customer service long enough to know that some old people, especially “little old ladies,” are evil incarnate. 

I think being polite to older people is generally a good practice.

I think being polite to EVERYONE is generally a good practice.

I think that the politeness someone shows to people with less status/power/age/experience/perceived “importance” than they have says as much or more about them than how they engage their elders.

Follow the golden rule. Say please and thank you. Be kind. Start with assuming best intentions. Don’t make life harder for someone who is clearly having a hard time. If you are able-bodied, give up your seat on the subway. Look for common ground and reasons to be kind. Remind yourself that we’re all carrying our own burdens. Try to keep in mind that responding to rudeness with more rudeness can escalate a situation instead of defusing it.

These are good working practices to have in place! These are good guidelines for a functioning society! Who doesn’t want to make the world a more pleasant place, model compassion and consideration, and do our part to not add to the world’s suffering?

These lessons can also fail us in some important ways. They can leave us defenseless against people who are operating in bad faith. Predators. Abusive people. Assholes. The Skeksis kleptocracy that is systematically destroying the public sphere and the commons of the United States of America.

Because what happens sometimes is that someone is rude or downright harmful to you, and you endure it and model respectful behavior like you were taught, and then the other person keeps going and doubles down. They don’t stop it, they won’t stop it, until their victims remove themselves from the situation or until someone (maybe you, maybe the manager, maybe an institution with greater power, maybe someone they respect more, maybe voters, maybe a general strike, maybe a trebuchet, I’m just spitballing here) supplies consequences that they actually give a shit about. It doesn’t help that our culture is drowning in stories where the crusty old Ebenezer Scrooges of the world are just one act of human kindness away from a total change of heart. Consider that not every rancid old person gets haunted into an epiphany in enough time to help the people who get harmed when they commit their sunset years to being wrong about everything.

My lovely letter writer, you are a volunteer, you are not dependent on this organization and this lady has no power over you. That is not always the case (for example, if she treats staff this way and they are afraid of professional consequences if they engage her directly, in my experience the people who behave like this are almost always friendly with someone on the board and/or wealthy enough that nobody wants to tell them to fuck off). So I suggest that you document this lady’s behavior for the organization and make it clear that you care about their mission but you might not be able to volunteer anymore unless they can assure you that they will not subject you to abusive behavior from a fellow volunteer. You can make it clear in your letter that you assume this person provides some value to the organization and you hope they can find a way to best use her skills, but you’d prefer not to staff any future events where she will also be. Be drippingly polite and constructive, but also name exactly the things she said and did.

Hopefully they’ll do the right thing. If they don’t, that’s a choice they are making.

In the meantime, if you do encounter this lady again, and she is rude again, consider saying:

“DO NOT speak to me that way again.”

And walk away from her for the remainder of the event. There is likely something important that needs doing on the other side of the room.

There are gentler strategies, like asking questions (“Did you mean to speak to me like you would a badly-behaved house pet? I don’t enjoy it, let’s keep our conversations professional.”) but honestly those kinds of interrogations or corrections are for people who like her.

There are alternate scripts for expressing displeasure succinctly: “Wow.” “Really?” “Is that how you speak to everyone?” “Yikes!” at your disposal. Do what works for you. I generally prefer to keep my cool, even when people are being jerks. This is an honesty zone, so let me say honestly that this is less about having a compassionate nature or wanting to be the bigger person than it is about being afraid of how far I’ll Hulk out if I let myself get started. This is an honesty zone, so let me also say: There are multiple occasions where I have exhausted “polite” and “nice” and finally told people to back the fuck up and take no for an answer and that last thing was the only thing that worked to make the situation better. Bullies are bullies, whether they are 6 or 96.

If she does apologize or change her behavior, be gracious. If she doesn’t, it literally has nothing to do with you. It’s not your fault, or yours to fix. If she thinks you’re “difficult”/rude/mean/a “bitch”…so what? You don’t care about her opinion of you and you KNOW she is awful. She isn’t going to melt because someone decided to stop catering to her bullshit for 30 seconds.

Also know: She will not have a change of heart as a result of this encounter. She might leave you alone from now on, though. Sometimes that’s the victory we get.

Let’s respect our elders. Let’s also stop the abusive ones in their tracks.

P.S. If you’re a volunteer coordinator at an organization, it is your responsibility to train volunteers and make sure they are not behaving badly when they’re representing your organization. If someone tells you a fellow volunteer is being abusive, “that’s just her way” is not cutting it.






Feb. 11th, 2019 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

Bakers, as a self-professed expert in the art of romantic puns, I feel confident in stating the following:

If you draw a bee on your Valentine's cake, then you have to write "Bee Mine."


Not this:


Not this:


And definitely not this:

(I'm not sure which is worse: the suspense or the grammar.)


Conversely, if you do write "Bee Mine" on your Valentine's cake, then for Stay Puft's sake, DON'T FORGET THE BEE.

This bee chose NOT to be.


You'll also want to avoid forgetting the bee, misspelling "Be Mine," and generally confusing the heck out of your customers:


Aha, that clears things up. Thanks, John.


Thanks to Julie B., Brittany R., Marin O., Lauren P., & Maria B. for being the best "be mine" bee miners mine eyes have ever bee-held.


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February London meetup

Feb. 11th, 2019 11:45 am
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by katepreach

Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX near Waterloo station, 16th February, 12pm onwards.

Bad book swap! Please bring any book you don’t want (cover illustration too purple, book has too few dragons, etc.), and take away a book other people don’t want.  Or just come and chat with us!

The venue sell food in a cafe (standard sandwiches etc.), but they also don’t mind people bringing food in from outside. There are several other local places where you can buy stuff as well. The excellent food market outside has loads of different food options, which can fit most requirements, or you can also bring a packed lunch.

Meet on the fourth floor, outside the Green Bar (go up in lift 1, sadly not as musical as lift 7).

Here is the accessibility map of the Royal Festival Hall: PDF map

I have shoulder length brown hair and glasses, and I will bring my plush Cthuhlu, which looks like this: 

The venue is accessible via a lift, and has accessible toilets. Waterloo tube station has step free access on the Jubilee line but not on the Northern line.

The London Awkward group has a Facebook page, which is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/549571375087294/. There is also a thread in the new forums for saying hello.

My email is Kate DOT Towner AT Gmail DOT com

(March meetup will be the 16th.)

Mini-Comic: Bedtime

Feb. 11th, 2019 11:00 am
[syndicated profile] heartstopper_feed

The return of 25y/o Charlie and 26y/o Nick! [thank u for all the ink! it's a big help!] [read 60+ pages ahead on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/aliceoseman] I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into Nick and Charlie's future :) BUY VOLUME ONE: Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heartstopper-1-Alice-Oseman/dp/1444951386/ Book Depository (ships internationally): http://www.bookdepository.com/Heartstopper-1-ALICE-OSEMAN/9781444951387 ABOUT THE BOOK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWASZy4Rr64 HEARTSTOPPER MERCH: https://www.aliceoseman.com/shop Nick and Charlie are characters from my debut novel, Solitaire. Buy Solitaire on Amazon!: http://amzn.to/2uq5BpS Or the Nick and Charlie short story: http://amzn.to/2usNQ7S Heartstopper on Tumblr: http://heartstoppercomic.tumblr.com/ Heartstopper translations: http://heartstoppercomic.tumblr.com/translations Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliceOseman


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