Real World, Thug Kitchens, Modern-Day Eloise, Jon Hamm in the closet of my dreams, Identity Politics, etc: Links I’ve Loved of Late
Well, this is a long one and one with more commentary than usual. But it counts as a post so I am at least still posting regularly!
- In an obviously linkbait-y post, Vulture ranked all the seasons of Real World (hat tip to Sean C for posting on FB and Jackie for wishing she’d shared it before Sean). While not 100% off, here’s my take on the top 5 seasons in order… I’m also sharing this post with a BREAKING REALITY TV ANNOUNCEMENT — I *will* be watching the Portland season marking the first season I’ve committed to watching since Brooklyn (yawn) in 2009:
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- New York
- Kaitlyn introduced me to Thug Kitchen. I am obsessed.
- GigaOm wrote about what Airbnb learned from Jiro Dreams of Sushi. If you haven’t seen the movie, stop what you’re doing — it’s streaming on Netflix and is a must watch. In addition to just being a fantastic movie, it truly makes you rethink what it means to master a craft and what success in a role is. Jiro’s son has held the same title and position for decades, but for that family/culture, true success and professional excellence is ensuring that every single detail of a skill is mastered and done perfectly every day. While I have no desire to learn from Jiro directly and massage octopus for 8 years before being trusted with eggs, I did finish the movie and think that that’s the kind of attitude I’d like to bring to my job. I just love the idea of a business leader bringing it to his team as well.
- Jon Hamm did “7 Minutes in Heaven” putting me just one creepy SNL writer and a camera away from my dream of being trapped in a small space with Jon Hamm.
- Stephen Sondheim turned 83 last month and BuzzFeed provided this list of “15 Unforgettable Sondheim Songs” and because I love Sondheim, I’m sharing with you as well. Personal favorites are: 2, 3, 8, 10, 13, 14, and 15.
- Whether conservative or liberal, if you attended a small liberal arts college, this WSJ article on identity politics at Bowdoin is really interesting.
Published Wednesday, the report demonstrates how Bowdoin has become an intellectual monoculture dedicated above all to identity politics.
The school’s ideological pillars would likely be familiar to anyone who has paid attention to American higher education lately. There’s the obsession with race, class, gender and sexuality as the essential forces of history and markers of political identity. There’s the dedication to “sustainability,” or saving the planet from its imminent destruction by the forces of capitalism. And there are the paeans to “global citizenship,” or loving all countries except one’s own.
The Klingenstein report nicely captures the illiberal or fallacious aspects of this campus doctrine, but the paper’s true contribution is in recording some of its absurd manifestations at Bowdoin. For example, the college has “no curricular requirements that center on the American founding or the history of the nation.” Even history majors aren’t required to take a single course in American history. In the History Department, no course is devoted to American political, military, diplomatic or intellectual history—the only ones available are organized around some aspect of race, class, gender or sexuality.
One of the few requirements is that Bowdoin students take a yearlong freshman seminar. Some of the 37 seminars offered this year: “Affirmative Action and U.S. Society,” “Fictions of Freedom,” “Racism,” “Queer Gardens” (which “examines the work of gay and lesbian gardeners and traces how marginal identities find expression in specific garden spaces”), “Sexual Life of Colonialism” and “Modern Western Prostitutes.”
- DIY ALCOHOLIC DIPPIN’ DOTS!!! (If you have some liquid nitrogen handy…)
- An all-male version of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and it’s pretty fabulous!
- I’m obsessed with the Lift app for iPhone for tracking daily habits. Since adopting, I’ve gotten better about flossing, drinking 8 glasses of water daily, exercising and more.
Today I learned that Google has decided to kill Google Reader. I knew it was coming, but find it heartbreaking none the less.
I’ve been an avid Reader user since 2006 and am better about going through my entire Reader feed than any inbox I’ve ever had (I will not include voicemail inboxes though because that would be a joke)*. I currently subscribe to 121 blogs through Reader with categories for People I Know, favorite food blogs, top news outlets, and obviously much much more. I can’t imagine too many good friends of mine haven’t received an article I sent straight from Reader to them (afterall, email is the original form of digital social sharing…) What I fail to understand is why Google has put little effort into improving Reader in all this time.
Digital content consumption is increasing; mobile content consumption is increasing exponentially, and Google never once created an app or made it easier to check one’s Reader feed on the fly. You have a platform where people are committed to reading and sharing their favorite content regularly, but it’s not integrated with any social network other than Google+. In a blog post for my previous job, I suggested pulling Reader into Google+ as I’m confident that would have actually turned a committed base of passionate Reader users into Google+ users.
Instead, as part of spring cleaning, Google has killed the service that is my lifeline to my favorite sites and writers. It was, in particular, a friend to sites like mine — where a writer posts erratically as my (few but committed) readers didn’t have to remember to check back.
The cold-blooded murder of Google Reader combined with an email from WordPress that my domain mapping expired did, however, trigger a reminder that much as Google is doing “spring cleaning” of services so they’re not spread too thin, I should do the same. If I’m going to keep this site attached to my name, I need to write on it.
I used to love blogging because it was a space where I could share the things I loved, my random and scattered thoughts, and had an opportunity for more creative expression than I get in my day job. I loved the feedback from friends, family, and strangers; I’m still flattered that just in the last month three or four people have asked me why I’m not blogging more.
The truth is: this (formerly) safe space has felt less safe to me. While putting yourself out there publicly immediately opens you up to criticism, it’s hurtful to know that there are people who are sitting, searching my name, and sharing the things I write or say with mean commentary and chalking my posts up to “Gen Y Ramblings.” It made me question what was worthy of posting if it was going to be read a thousand times by people and over-critiqued for secret meanings.
How silly though — to let someone who devotes energy to unkind thoughts ruin a place where I was able to share my well-intentioned ones! My extended family has an amazing saying: “not my pig, not my farm” and I’ve chosen to apply it here: the hateful words and feelings of others are their problem… as is their wasted energy.
I am, technically, a Millennial and I do ramble and overuse ellipses and cheat and use bullets when I can’t handle real sentences. With that in mind, I hereby pledge to not let fear of others’ stop me from using a space that has maintained friendships, annoyed my mother, and kept me sane.
*Seriously, please don’t leave me voicemails. I will reply to your email. Promise.
UPDATE: This post on Google Reader is amazing. And should be reason enough for Google to keep the service.
Last night, the Republicans lost big — and while I could offer thoughts on what that means for the party (hopefully brings significant reform) and what it means for our country (hopefully that the Republican House can hold strong…), I won’t. I’m not an expert and unlike many people out in the social media universe, I’m very comfortable saying I’m not informed enough on a topic. So for a better analysis, I’d direct you to a great post by Erick Erickson.
However, I do feel comfortable sharing what I found so upsetting about this election personally:
- That an election that should have been about a poor record was turned into being about social issues that, I personally, don’t believe were ever threatened.
- That I hesitated to write the above bullet even though I have never hesitated to share those feelings before.
- That women were pandered to and patronized with idiotic debate questions and online ads. And that because the women’s vote continues to be crucial, we’ll probably see more of this the next time around.
- That there exists so much hostility on the simple subject of party that I cannot even discuss politics for 30 seconds in the most base terms with my left-leaning significant other, mother, brother, or sister-in-law.
- That my boyfriend would tell you the only thing he’d change about me is my political beliefs because “I’m so smart about everything else.”
- That I wanted to smack him for saying the above.
But most importantly, that I try very very hard to make sure I separate people’s political opinions from judgments as to whether they are good/bad or smart/dumb and I started to hear my own internal monologue shift. I read through my newsfeed of almost entirely liberal friends/acquaintances/people I still enjoy cyber-stalking and heard myself saying “well, she’s a moron” after the fifteenth “OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!” post.
To be fair, this may not seem like a big deal to those who know me well enough to find this post, but I really haven’t attached those thoughts to my friend’s political opinions before. So for me, that’s the biggest loss: that this election has turned me into a partisan malcontent.
Here’s to hoping that changes.
Long time no see, WordPress! I’ve had trouble blogging the last few months partly because I knew I’d be moving and changing jobs but didn’t know when or where… and then once I did, it was all-consuming to actually make the move and start the new job. As a cheat sheet to my life changes, in the last month, I’ve:
- Moved from Washington, DC to southeastern Michigan.
- Left Ogilvy and joined Ford Motor Company.
- Acquired the world’s most adorable puppy, Pepper:
Most of the changes may have seemed a little sudden, especially to those who know how much I loved working at Social@Ogilvy and my New York friends who I repeatedly promised I’d be moving to be with shortly (potentially for the last two years). However, I am so proud to get to work for Ford and take on a new challenge for an organization I already love and respect.
Anyway, I’m here, I’m mostly moved in, and I have a guest room and membership in a wine club: so book your tickets to DTW, friends!
Yesterday was my 29th birthday and 0 gray hairs were found… ego and sanity therefore remain in tact! As I am older and wiser, here are a few things I learned in my 28th year:
- You should get a dog even if everyone tells you it’s wildly impractical. That adorable face above also comes with a nervous and scared 11 week old puppy who barks at the shower, is not yet housebroken, and is teething (hey there Cole Haan, I’m sorry Pepper has no respect for your lovely shoes). At the end of the day though, it’ll take me a while to make new friends so it’s good that I have someone forced to love me as I’m the hand that feeds her.
- “It’s not personal, it’s business,” is not a realistic statement if you truly love your job. I cried saying goodbye and thank you to way too many wonderful colleagues. Working at Ogilvy was such an incredible personal experience as well as professional: I met some of my best friends there, I experienced the benefits of amazing mentoring, and I was given opportunities for work and professional growth that I can’t imagine getting anywhere else… how could saying goodbye and deciding to leave not be something personal at that point?
- Embrace the art of stress-free productivity. 8 months ago, I completely reorganized my life and changed how I manage every single personal and professional input. Since that moment, I’ve woken up every day feeling completely in control and having healthy perspective of the work in front of me. If you’re not feeling that way, read David Allen’s Getting Things Done, declare inbox bankruptcy, and spend 2 days offline getting your life together. It will be the best thing you do for your own sanity. Promise.
- As they get older, parents are terrible about asking for help. Twice in the last few months, I’ve decided to go home to help my parents with a move and an injury. I was never asked, but I can’t imagine not having gone or having left them to deal with those moments alone. In the future, I’ll try harder to read between the lines so that I don’t miss future moments where I could be helpful.
- Accept when you want to nest. As much as I love New York and all my friends there, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have a full kitchen and spare bedroom and my own laundry room. Those were items that didn’t make it on my decision-making spreadsheet, but the more I thought about where I wanted to be, they helped make this move just feel right.
Hopefully my next post won’t take quite so long… especially as I have much to say about reality tv, newly discovered wines, and the many brushes with nature my new Pure Michigan life brings me:
This weekend, I tried to introduce a friend to a fun new game called “Guess Whether or Not Karen Likes This Waiter.” Unfortunately, I was informed that this game would probably not be very much fun as the answer is generally obvious within seconds. So, for those who don’t have the pleasure of dining with me, or who just miss the experience, I present:
My Top 10 Things Waiters Can Do to Make Me Hate Them*
- Ask if I want more water. Well, if it’s empty, that means I’m drinking it and since it’s free for you, why don’t we go with yes. Yes, I do want more water. Keep that glass at least half full.
- Bring the check while I am still consuming dessert and/or before asking if we’d like coffee or anything else. This is actually just rude. Not only does it reduce the chance of a final few items being put on the bill (thus adding to the tip) but it leaves a pretty sour taste in my mouth. I’m not a starving writer camping out at Starbucks for Wifi, I promise I’ll leave when I’m finished.
- Use the royal “we.” This KILLS me. “What are we having today? Are we enjoying our hummus? Do we need some more Diet Coke?” This is both grammatically incorrect and could lead to some uncomfortable moments. What if I said “we are” and she replied “well actually you haven’t let me have any yet?” How awkward would that be?
- Not have an opinion on the food they’re serving. I’ll admit it, I ask a lot of questions when I order. I’ve been called a “high maintenance orderer” before (albeit by someone who didn’t know the difference between brioche and a popover so take that for what it’s worth). The point is, if I ask which is better the burger or the chicken and you ask me “which are you in the mood for?” that doesn’t actually help me at all. If I was in the mood for one, I would have ordered it.
- Try to upsell me on a “signature” appetizer before I’ve ordered my drink. This used to kill me at Dos Caminos when I still had my menu, hadn’t thought through my meal, and had $15 guacamole forced on me in a lava pot. Just give it time, I promise I’ll order three courses, but I don’t want overpriced avocados just because you put it in a special box on the menu.
- Act too Disney-esque. Maybe I’m cynical, but when someone is that cheerful with me, I assume it’s a front and they’re thinking of stabbing me in the face. It’s tough to feel at ease when you’re looking over your shoulder all night for a steak knife-wielding maniac with a big Disney grin.
- Explain the restaurant “concept” to me. “Have you been here before? No? Great, let me explain what we’re about to you. We’re into a locavore dining experience specializing in small plates with Mediterranean influences. We recommend you order 2-3 items from column A, 3-5 items from column B, and at least 2 items from column C, but if you order 3 or more items from column C you should probably eliminate everything from column A.” Guess what, I went to your website, I figured out what your concept is, and it’s called pretentious, but the Yelp reviews are good so just bring me some wine.
- Add to my own personal anxiety. When you seem nervous or flustered or brusque or distracted, I start to assume my food has been poisoned.
- Not be around enough. I may be paying to eat at your restaurant, but in some ways, I’m a prisoner. When I’m out of bread or want a lime wedge or need a utensil, I just have to sit there and hope that you’ll remember to come back and get to me. And if it takes too long, I have to contemplate eating with my hands and bringing shame to my mother from afar.
- Be around too much. The third time you ask me if my meal’s okay, it starts to taste a little funky. Save all that personal attention for your loved ones.
*I should note that I don’t believe any of the reasons above are cause for poor tipping unless they’re over the top (or they really do stab you per #6).
And if you are a demanding diner, you should certainly reward those on their feet getting your meal for you.
It’s taken longer than I would have liked and a lot is different in my world, but I’m glad to be back blogging again.
What do you have to look forward to?
- Anecdotes about time spent in the Detroit airport
- Recipes and favorite foodie hints and haunts
- Sassy statements like those found on unaffiliated site: Shit KU Says
- Reflections on reality television
- And stories that bring shame upon my
I’ve missed you, I’m sad to leave Unterekless Thoughts behind, but am excited for a new chapter on this here information super highway!