Sunday, July 27, 2014

May the Force Be With You

We live in crazy, amazing times. We have pocket gadgets that immediately give us more information than we ever really need. We can contact people at any time, anywhere. We can control things in our house, like lamps, with these gadgets. This is craziness. And it keeps getting better.
Now that gadget can control you.

This is the Pavlok wrist band. It "turns your resolutions to reality." You program your goals into the linked app on your smart phone and decide what happens if you don't achieve them. You could charge yourself a fine OR you can use the Force and have it give you an electric shock.

While administering shock therapy to yourself seems a bit extreme, I actually think I could use one of these to really get my life on track. We claim jolts are humane and effective when we use the tactic with dogs.
So here's what I'll be setting my Pavlok to shock me for.

1. Laziness

 2. Failure to be an adult who does laundry. Seriously it is not ok to be wearing a bathing suit as underwear.

3. Procrastination in general deserves punishment.
4. As does spending hours on the internet doing anything like the following: Pinterest pinning braids and fancy dinners I'll never make, WebMD researching rashes, stalking my ex-boyfriend from college and any of the girls he's dated since, and looking up toys I had as a child on ebay to see how rich I'd be if I had never taken She-Ra out of her package.

5. Staying up all night to marathon shows on Netflix.

6. Sleeping late from pressing snooze like 4 times until I finally, using the always misleading morning logic, re-set my alarm for a time that makes it impossible to get where I have to be on time unless I really do just show up in pajamas.

7. Binge eating.

8. Binge drinking.

9. Not working out.

10. Making and keeping regular dentist appointments. Because as not awesome as the experience there is, future me really won't want the ramifications of blowing those off.

11. Straying from the shopping list in the grocery store.

So pretty much next year when this torture device is released, everything will change. I will have it so together. I will be on a path like a Jedi. Even if I'm pretty much constantly walking around like this:

May the force be with you.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Arachnophobia Pyromania (And Why I Don't Keep Matches Around)

A man in Seattle burned down his house to get rid of a spider. Burned down his house. Totally normal. He didn't overreact at all.
The Huffington Post reported, "The man told firefighters that he saw a spider in his laundry room and decided the best way to take care of it was with a lighter and a can of spray paint." His homemade blow torch set the wall on fire and then the fire spread quickly from there. And as ridiculous as this sounds, this is not the first time a fire has been caused by arachnophobia.
So take this as a warning, if you see a terrifying spider in your house, avoid temptation to want to burn the evil out.
I kind of get it though. Last summer I had a horror movie worthy experience in my apartment when a bat died on my dining room light fixture. The bat had unknowingly been co-habitating with me for an indeterminate amount of time prior to its death. One night I came home and found hundreds of flies all over my ceiling and dining room.
Not an actual picture from my house, but this is so you can get the chilling visual.

At first, I thought maybe it was a summer bug infestation from something like a used wine glass left out, but then realized that a room covered in flies is in no way normal. Upon investigation, I found the rotting, dead bat on the light and commenced the freak out.
At that moment, with the hundreds of flies and a decomposing mammal, I really could understand just burning my place to the ground....but I didn't.
Though, to this day, if I see just one fly, I pretty much began screaming in a manic fit of terror.
And to protect myself from being a Huffington Post headline, I make sure I don't keep matches around.
Try to stay calm people.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I Want To Be A Princess Now!

Maybe we can blame Disney for this one. But what little girl doesn't say she wants to be a princess?
Actually, not just little girls have that pipe dream.

And while I am the first person to tell you that you should absolutely always follow your dreams, approach adversity with tenacity, and strive to create your own opportunities, I question if the childhood dream of being a princess is really the one you should be going after. No matter how perfect Kate Middleton's wedding and life seems. (Seriously, can she just have one bad hair day to make me feel better?)
But the tale of the world's newest little princess isn't about a girl dreaming that someday her prince will come. It's more of a story about an over-indulgent father who literally searched the ends of the earth to get his daughter what she wants.
I thought Willy Wonka warned us about behavior like this?
Well, despite (hopefully) knowing that meeting the demands of children is really a bad idea, a father from Virginia made his daughter a princess of a patch of land in Africa he claimed by placing a flag on it for her seventh birthday. For my seventh birthday, I had a My Little Pony party. But whatever, I'm sure my dad loves me too.
As reported in The Washington Post,  Jeremiah Heaton, father of three, promised his daughter she could be a princess. So as to not be a liar, he took to google to find out how he could make this so. He began searching for "terra nullius," which is Latin for "land that belongs to no one," to find some unclaimed land. This led him to learn of Bir Tawil which is an area halfway between where the Nile crosses into Sudan and Egypt's coast along the Red Sea that has had an on-going border dispute between Sudan and Egypt leaving it to be unclaimed territory. So he headed over to Africa, with the flag that he and his kids designed, and planted it into the land to claim it. Yes, he "Columbused" it.
And in claiming the land, he is King, making his daughter, Princess, earning him a lifetime of hugs and kisses and high expectations to meet. I hope this loving fool realizes that his little princess is also going to want a pony, a Porsche, and Loubitans.
Now, in order to make this all legit, he is going to have to obtain legal recognition from the neighboring countries, the United Nations, or other groups to have actual political control of the land he is calling the "Kingdom of North Sudan." And just how will this average joe from Virginia deal in world politics? Well, don't worry, he is experienced in local politics as he ran for Congress in his state in 2012. Despite losing that election, I'm sure he'll do fine dealing with getting the Middle East on board with his Father of the Year plan. The politics in that area of the world have historically dealt with issues of land ownership so reasonably. 
This is all ridiculous. And yet, I'm now finding myself questioning why on earth it never occurred to me, in all my googling, to find some "terra nullius" to claim and declare myself royalty. There are a lot of balls I could have been attending.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

So Campy

I never went to a "normal" sleep-in-a-cabin and learn to canoe kind of camp. I spent my summers from the age of 11 through high school attending prestigious ballet intensive camps where I passed the sunny days in a dance studio in a sweaty leotard watching girls not eat for six weeks.
If I had gone to a sleep away camp in the woods, all I could have hoped was that it would have resulted in my meeting my long lost twin sister and getting into all sorts of cabin hijinks.
And while I thought those chances for summer days of adventure had passed long ago, I realized recently that it is never too late. There are many opportunities I am seeing lately for adult camps. And I can't help but be tempted to sign myself up, pack my trunk, and go!
Here is a list of some camping experiences I am thinking I may just have to go to!

1. Adult Space Camp
You build and launch a rocket, go in a space simulator, all while wearing a space suit! I'm geeking out just thinking about it. (Cost $500-600)

2. Spend a Night in the Museum of Natural History in NYC
This is a first ever event this August. The night will begin with dinner, champagne, and jazz music and then will lead to free roaming of the museum's exhibit halls and a midnight showing of a space show before you fall asleep under the big blue whale. The perfect blend of science and swankiness. (Cost $325-375)
3. Camp in a Horror Movie
Head to the woods in CT in July to go all Blair Witch Project for this one night intense interactive camp experience that will put you in the middle of a live horror story where you could be "handcuffed, moved by force, restrained, gagged, blindfolded and subjected to simulated torture." I feel like this would be either very freeing to face these fears, or I'd end up in therapy. (Cost $120-140)

4. Trade in Your Legs for a Fin at Mermaid Camp
Probably the only good thing about being 30 is that you are old enough to go to this adult camp at WeekiWachee Park in Florida and train in water ballet to be a Siren of the Deep. A true dream come true for me to finally be part of this world. (Cost $425)

5. Keep it Classic at Camp Grounded
This 70's inspired digital detox camp in CA has all the classics including campfires with s'mores, archery, star gazing, capture the flag, candlemaking and crafts, woodworking, and even talent shows. Keeping it retro, but with gourmet food and coffee and yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. Only analog photography and postcards via mail are allowed. So as much as you'll want to instagram the keychain you made, it will have to wait until you come home from camp. The break from technology sounds both terrifying (especially if you are addicted like me) and amazing as it would be a true return to those simpler days. (Cost: $570)

6. Learn to Survive at Boulder Outdoor Survival School.
I am obsessed with Discovery's reality show Naked and Afraid.

I know I wouldn't last a second on that show, mostly because if I was on it, the big thing to fear would be me in a hunger rage. So maybe I'd like to spend 3-28 days at one of these camps in Utah that prepares you with major survivalist skills, you case I am ever marooned on a desert island. (Cost: Varies)

 So as you can see, with adult camp choices like these, this summer is looking like it could be the best yet.

*Some additional considerations included:
Wine Camp in Virginia or Napa
Zombie Survival Camp in New Jersey
or be able to constantly casually bring up that "One time at bandcamp" by going to Adult Band Camp

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New In Bridesmaiding: Make a Buck and Show Your Butt

I have been a bridesmaid a ridiculous number of times. I have the collection of over-priced dresses taking up precious closet real estate that I will absolutely never wear again. I have several pairs of the special dyed shoes that are unwearable because they bleed their color onto your feet when you wear them.
I have also lost respect for women I know after reading their obnoxious trail of reply all emails about planning and expectations.
I'm at the point now, where I would seriously consider turning down a bridesmaid offer just because I don't think I can take it anymore. But what if I was being paid to do it? That I might be able to handle. After all, I have experience. Probably more qualified to be a bridesmaid than many other jobs.
Well, one brilliant NYC lady came to that exact realization and took out a craigslist ad to be a Bridesmaid for Hire. She logically details why you may need her services ("Your fiancĂ© has an extra groomsmen and you’re looking to even things out so your pictures don’t look funny and there’s not one single guy walking down the aisle by himself.") and what her skills are (including "the Cha Cha and Electric Slides").
I'm kind of jealous I didn't think of starting a bridesmaid business. Despite wanting to retire from the game, I am a great bridesmaid. I have references. I do a really funny toast, I am always willing to travel, and I once saved a life performing CPR on an elderly relative at a wedding! We'll ignore the time that I almost killed one of my best friends on her wedding day in a freak accident with a rogue cork from a champagne bottle I was opening. Maybe I should one up this Bridesmaid for Hire and start my own business. Or I could gather other girls and form a whole Bridesmaids, Inc. agency to place professionals in your party. No longer will you have to rely on your flaky friends to help facilitate your perfect day. I can be your bridesmaid pimp.
But there is one other new trend in Bridesmaiding that I just don't think I am down with and brings me back to being certain I don't ever need to be a maid in fuscia satin again.

Bridesmaid butt shots.
Butt why?
To show off?
Yep, nothing helps class up your special day like you and your bridesmaids mooning for the camera. That's going to be a real picture to cherish and frame.
See, I'm all for cute, out of the box photos on your wedding day because I think looking like this is over:
But I think Bridesmaid butt photos are ridiculous. If there is ever a day you should try to have some decorum, it is probably your wedding day.
So maybe I should just let that crafty girl on craigslist take all the bridesmaid jobs she can find and keep my butt covered. I'm sure I can think of other ways to make an extra buck. Maybe I should start designing a cute line of clever underpants for brides and their maids to wear for when they flash the camera. YES! It's my genius idea. It's in print. Don't steal it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

You're Gonna Have To Face It You're Addicted

There's a new app that will confirm exactly how much of your life is wasted staring at your cell phone.
The free app called "Moment" monitors your daily cell phone usage and has features that allow you to set limits and reminders when you are approaching those limits.
The app's designer, Kevin Holesh, said he created the app after realizing he "had a serious problem" with cell phone addiction.
We all do. In 2013, the annual Internet Trends report by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers reported the average smart phone user checks their phone 150 times per day. And during peak time, which is 5-8pm, people checked their phone once every 6 or 7 seconds. Well, you got to see who clicked like on that sexy instagram pic of your dinner.
So today, in preparation for writing this, I tried to keep track of the number of times I looked at my phone and I lost count it was so insanely frequent.
I honestly don't think I could handle finding out the exact amount. Nor would I take kindly to an annoying alarm going off on my phone when I am using it too much. I know I have a problem. I don't need an app to tell me that. And, lucky for me, since I have an Android, this app is not even available for my phone yet. So I can continue to exist in blissful ignorance and denial.
Despite being totally addicted, I often find myself thinking about how I would live without a smart phone. How would I know where to go? How would I amuse myself when I'm bored? How would I settle an argument with friends without Google to prove my point? How would I even find my friends? I am pretty convinced without a smart phone I'd be a shut in or laying dead and lost in a gutter.
This reminds me of how my friend's android cell phone came with a bizarre default setting that when she went to wake it up, the home screen said "Life Companion" and we used to make fun of her for that. But really calling it a "Life Companion" is the cold hard truth. I wouldn't dream of going anywhere without my phone. Our phones go places with us that you wouldn't even want another human-like the bathroom. Face it, we are all Linus and our cell phones are our blankets.

Also, it must be said that post comes on the heels of another recent post about a deadly disaster in China that occurred when people tried to help a woman rescue her cell phone from a cesspool.
We need help. Or blankets.