Friday, March 10, 2017

bitches gotta read: the hate u give.

i'm creeping closer and closer to the beginning of the month with these book selections. and one of these months it's gonna be on the first or maybe even at the end of the month prior and you guys are gonna have a goddamn heart attack. to prove my newfound dedication to this group, i went to my local independent bookseller and purchased seven or eight interesting-looking YA novels so i can get ahead of the curve, even though i had to withstand the irl scrutiny of real human eyes who were definitely thinking "bitch you don't have this many kids." or any, but whatever. maybe it's not even embarrassing to buy YA books anymore?

when i'm not busy giving into the anxiety wrought by my 126 unanswered emails, i read as many book lists as i can remember exist: book riot and vulture and indie bound and ew and bustle and the millions and bust and the times and newsweek and buzzfeed and elle and refinery 29 and nylon and i'm pretty sure i bought everything off the new teen vogue list, and the hate u give was on basically all of them. i get nervous when i see a book everywhere that i actually really want to succeed because man that's got to be a lot of pressure? but also HOORAY FOR ALL THIS PUBLIC PRAISE. expectations are tough. i mean, if mister young adult john green said my young adult novel was "stunning" i'd shit my pants (who are we kidding, i'd probably do that anyway?) and then wait for everyone to tell me that it's actually trash. but i read the first few pages and am already in love so angie girl i hope this sells a million copies and you get enough money to put new tires on your car or whatever your realistic goals are.

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in real life. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that. you don't have to worry about megan's dairy allergy or that vanessa doesn't like champagne. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way rainbow rowell intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of hilarious mostly-women people who aren't irritating! come find us!!) i also have a bunch of friends on goodreads but lesbihonest: i'm not, like, putting all these john grishams i read on there because i don't need you guys clowning me in public.
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the co-op and you decide to ask how shocked i was by the twist no one saw coming at the end.

brief internet synopsis
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

SOUNDS DOPE RIGHT. for my real life book club aka a perfectly acceptable reason to buy overpriced dips and snacks from the wine store, we just read that book the vegetarian that garnered tons of accolades and awards last year and ayo: i didn't really get it. like, i knew it was good because a lot of people said it was good but then i read it and was like "WHAT." mavis read it and loved it but that bitch went to grad school. i kept waiting for the part that would show this simpleton why it was good but even on the last page i had to ask myself if i'd accidentally skipped a chapter. then i had to admit to all the people in my living room eating korean catering because WOW O WOW DO I ENJOY A THEME that i don't really get symbolism and nuance. i mean i got the whole becoming a tree thing but i didn't feel moved by it. or excited about it. or whatever response award-winning literature is supposed to elicit from the reader. it helped to have a bunch of smartypants explain things to me while i smiled like it made sense, then as soon as they left i started reading this murder mystery called the dry that had blessedly zero complicated themes or metaphors and it was excellent. shame-filled online reading club 4eva.

click here! read this, too!

Friday, March 3, 2017

viva suburbia!

i drove back to chicago last week to do an interview and goddamn that shit felt weird. not the interview, that was dope, despite the fact that i described my personal style as "fat ninja" and ordered 1/3 of the food i would actually eat in case it's one of those interviews where the writer goes super in-depth into the mannerisms of the subject. you know what i mean? like when you read a vanity fair piece about emma stone and they describe exactly how much almond milk she puts in her extra-hot coffee, like down to the motherfucking ounce. this is not to compare my hulking, mouthbreathing self to emma stone, mind you, it's just that i am an excruciatingly self-conscious person who will die upon reading "irby lumbered slowly into the restaurant, eyes darting nervously behind oversized black sunglasses as she surveyed the space for enemies, then squashed her bulk into a booth to order the first sixteen things on the appetizer menu." LOL FUCK THAT. i can promise you as long as i live that my secret fat shame will stay right where it belongs: hovered over the trash can searching for a food item thrown away in haste that i couldn't stop thinking about for several hours. 

man i hate talking to people in person. first of all: WHAT THE FUCK DO I KNOW. not much! i'm not actually 100% sure about anything! i once did a book talk and this dude i knew i shouldn't have called on stood up and quoted my own words back to me and i was just standing there flummoxed like "wait did i actually write that." i made him pull out his copy of MEATY and hand it to me and then played it off on some "lol if i wrote it i guess i meant it" type shit, why o why am i still interacting with human fucking beings!? but this seemed like a good opportunity to end up in the mailboxes of the childhood homes of all of my friends, so i decided to make a trip of it and rent something called a "compact suv" so i wouldn't risk anyone busting out a window to steal one of the many pairs of crocs i keep in my real car and so i could go 90 on the highway without worrying that the muffler was going to fall off. i haven't rented a car in a while, but apparently at enterprise now they get in the car with you to make sure that everything is to your liking? so this poor fucking kid trevor and i go out to the car lot and he has to sit there while i squint at and fuck with all the knobs and buttons to connect the bluetooth and raise the steering wheel and at one point i raised the seatback from chaise lounge to high chair and he exclaimed "my mom drives just like that!" and if the insurance they made me buy would have covered it i would have murdered him.

first thing on my agenda? the mcdonald's drive-thru. i wasn't even three blocks away from our house before i was like THANK GOD I CAN GET SOME NUGGETS FOR THE CAR. the thing about living with a healthy person is that, even if they never come right out and scold you for your choices, it always feels like there is judgment inherent in theirs. liiiiiiike it is mavis's natural inclination to order an undressed kale salad at lunch and while i support that i will never understand it, especially if there are also chicken wings on the menu. i have never been hungry for a salad. i will eat a salad, especially if that's all there is, but i have never thought to myself "you know what would be fire? chopping up that old radicchio wilting at the bottom of the fridge and throwing some radishes and cold green beans on it then squeezing a lemon wedge over the top and letting that be the only thing i eat for the rest of the night." NO, THANK YOU. as an idea that's fine or whatever but as a person with a yawning emotional void that can only be filled with snacks i'm gonna need that lettuce to have a cheeseburger on top of it.

okay so the weird part: how long does it take for you to feel like a stranger in the place you moved away from? i am neither smart or reflective enough to tackle an in-depth analysis of my own experience, and maybe it's because both the pace and the location of my life have changed, but the second i hit traffic coming off the skyway onto lake shore drive i was like "coming back to this overcrowded, disgusting nightmare was a mistake." i was in detroit a couple weeks ago, and i'm not trying to sound like some wide-eyed brooklyn hipster who moved his artisanal biscuit company to corktown and can't shut up about how he's revitalizing the city or whatever but: detroit is almost as fancy as chicago but with, like, 1/3 the population and cars. which means that you can get all of the tiny overpriced foods the part of you that knows you're into that shit desires, without having to wait in an interminably long line for it after you've circled the block 137 times looking for a parking space.

donald trump says "chicago" and i'm like don't you dare talk about our city! but let's be for real, I'M FROM EVANSTON. and i lived in chicago, i know where not to party and which streets your car will get towed from, but i've been gone for a minute and yooooooo i might not need to ever go back. i can't deal with traffic anymore. or people. or pretty much anything that takes longer than five minutes and doesn't move its mindlessly texting ass out of the way. i thought i was committed to being a city person but i've been in both new york and los angeles for work (LOL) over the past few months and rather than being like "hooray! look at all of the expensive juice options laid before me!" i've instead found myself thinking "shit, have there always been this many people on earth?" i thought moving away for good was gonna be hard but let me tell you something fucking amazing: mavis and i went to a 4:05 showing of get out the other day and we left the crib at 3:50 and didn't miss a single preview. ARE YOU SHITTING ME. i would've left chicago twenty years ago if i'd known that never again would have to hover in the freezing doorway waiting for a dinner reservation.

don't get me wrong, there are things i miss:
-delivery
-all night delivery
-overnight delivery
-laundry delivery
-stan's delivery
-amazon prime delivery
-cat litter delivery
-some of my friends (kind of)
-delivery

i mean chicago is great and there's nowhere in my new home to get a quality hot dog (they don't use celery salt or sport peppers here man what the fuck) but in seven months i've realized that ordering fancy coffee that takes a week to get to my house is better than waiting in line for that same fancy coffee while worrying that someone is gonna snag that table by the window i want as mallory (i think?) lovingly steams some guy's foam for seven real minutes (probably) and the lady next to him tries to decide whether or not to tip because everyone behind her in line can see the total on the ipad she's checking out on. (this is a real thing that happened last monday afternoon at the la colombe in andersonville and i tipped 25% on a latte because everyone was watching me brooke can back me up if you need proof.) anyway my point, if i ever had one, is that my conversion from city mouse to country mouse took approximately three days. i thought i was going to hate it and be crying every day and miss having good stores fifteen minutes away, but girl i'm wearing a gap sweater right now and i got it on the damn internet. same with these headphones. and my shoes. i'm reading the vegetarian (i hate it) for my irl book club downloaded on a kindle. i mean, what do i even really need the city for. WHAT IS EVEN A STORE.
i was almost sad about how absolutely not sad i was to watch the gross, dirty diaper-filled lake get smaller and smaller in my rearview after i filled my rental tank with gas that cost $2.89 a gallon and put on my driving mix (it's basically a bunch of super smooth male r&b like carl thomas interspersed with ~alternative rock~ i listened to in high school) and hit the road with a trunk full of oily bari subs because i haven't yet found an italian delicatessen in michigan with a comparable prosciutto and fresh mozzarella sandwich, but as soon i was going west on the empty highway making a mental note of every single casino concert i would definitely buy tickets to (kem at the four winds with two drinks and a seafood buffet? sign me and your mom the fuck up!) advertised on passing billboards i was like NAH NOT SAD.

i don't miss:
-sitting awake in a frothing rage because the people upstairs won't shut the fuck up
-getting everything delivered to my job because motherfuckers steal
-your racist uncle's unprovoked uber sermons
-conversely: THE TRAIN
-so many other people trying to eat at longman
-honking car horns
-that pile of unidentifiable liquid waste on the bus seat next to mine
-the three week wait to get into the doctor for some shit that's hurting right now
-crowds of people who just walk in front of your car downtown because fuck you
-awkwardly navigating the sidewalk with dudes on skateboards
-nightly news that involves actual crime
-waiting in line for things
-paying rent on a studio apartment that is double my current mortgage
-cubs fans

okay fine, i love complaining about things and pointing out when something is horrifying. so i guess i do kind of miss being mad all the time? but rest assured that eventually the veneer of tolerance i've constructed for all these trees and grass and weather will get chipped away and i'll start rolling my eyes at every chipmunk who has the nerve to scurry across the deck, because home is where the hatred is.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

bitches gotta read: american street.

isn't it technically february 31st? okay fine, there's no such thing as that and i'm hella fucking late with this month's book club pick and it's dumb because i don't really do that much other than cry in my room while listening to drake and make complicated soups. well, that's not entirely true. i flew to new york a few weeks ago to have terror sweats in front of all the nice people at random house who are publishing my new book, and then i spent last week having torrential diarrhea in all of chicago's fanciest toilets. i bought a lot of doughnuts and cabernet sauvignon to apologize to my homies for being a lowkey shitty friend and i threw myself a birthday party where i spent the whole time trying to convince people to have sex with each other, i made katy hang out with me at eight o'clock in the fucking morning then was late because in seven moths i've forgotten what city traffic is actually like, then i snuck out of town like a thief with a trunk full of bari subs because of all the food there is to miss in chicago greasy italian deli sandwiches were the most important for me to bring home. lol "home." what is my home? where do i even live anymore!?

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in real life. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that. you don't have to worry about megan's dairy allergy or that vanessa doesn't like champagne. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way rainbow rowell intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of hilarious mostly-women people who aren't irritating! come find us!!) i also have a bunch of friends on goodreads but lesbihonest: i'm not, like, putting all these john grishams i read on there because i don't need you guys clowning me in public.
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the co-op and you decide to ask how shocked i was by the twist no one saw coming at the end.

brief internet synopsis:
On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

SOUNDS GOOD, RIGHT. i've been hanging out in detroit a bit because it's close and i love it there and basically have been obsessed since i read "broken monsters" by lauren beukes, so i'm stoked for this one. can't wait to mispronounce all the french words in my head as i read it.

Monday, February 13, 2017

one year closer to the grave!

ugh today is my 37th motherfucking birthday. WHAT A NIGHTMARE. first of all, what am i supposed to do while people sing happy birthday over the cake i'm about to spit all over trying to blow out the trick candles someone who obviously doesn't know me that well decided to put on the cake i can't eat because i'm trying not to eat sugar. second, after 30 birthdays don't really matter until you get to 40, and even that's mostly boring. then if you can hang on until 50 (ugh why) you get a parade or something. since no one is throwing confetti in my face i'm instead watching old episodes of svu while making a mental list of all the celebrity appearances from when they were less famous. (currently: sara ramirez as the sassy prostitute lisa perez, season 4, episode 1)

some asshole friend of mine thought it would be hilarious to email me an article called something like "5,729 things you should know how to do by age 40" and LOL FOREVER AT LEARNING NEW THINGS. i'm just a moist skin dumpster filled with latent rage and useless night court trivia, and i'm basically the same person i was 37 years ago except with worse credit and a persistent headache. anyway, i couldn't even take that list seriously because the first thing on it was some garbage like "learn how not to embarrass yourself at karaoke" and, like, my mans? that is never going to happen. what 40 year old gives a shit about being embarrassed!? (you thought i was going to say karaoke, and you're right: i was.) 

it's too late for me to go back to college. it makes me uncomfortable to learn new things, mostly because i have no idea where to put anything in my brain anymore. every new thing in pushes an old thing right out, so i can either 1 learn what space weather is and how it might actually affect my life on this planet or 2 remember how to tie my shoes. and i know that positive people are always saying "it's never too late!" about shit like finding out what "dabbing" means and enrolling in a community college you can actually write a check for (because you have a job, duh, AND ACTUAL CHECKS) and i'm proud of you for doing it but that's not gonna be me. young people are very loud, and i was already 20 when some of them were born: as much as i'd like to fold up my walker and squint at the board from the back of a culture studies class i'm just not gonna. but what i can do is rely on internet quizzes and checklists as a barometer for how well i'm doing as i shuffle off this mortal coil. i picked these things off the list at random to examine my emotional preparation as i progress on this endless march toward the grave.

how to make conversation at parties. i'm trash at this and i'll tell you why: too busy hovering near the snacks. just kidding, eating in front of strangers is weird. at parties i like to find one person i know and linger awkwardly near his side until enough time has elapsed that i can leave without insulting whoever spent their afternoon dusting the ceiling fan and arranging pre-cut vegetables. what can you even talk to strangers about anyway? i like to lock eyes with someone as our fingertips brush against each other while digging through the gas station ice cubes in the beer bucket and say, "the 2mg lorazepam is working so much better for me than the 1mg, what do you take?" but most people don't enjoy discussing their anxiety in mixed company as much as i do? but what the fuck else am i gonna say, politics is a minefield of nazi bombs and no one else is as emotionally invested in jane the virgin as i am so what on earth are kevin and i gonna talk about!? i don't know shit about cars and he isn't up to date on the new ben & jerry's flavors coming out so i'll just be in the coat room trying to coax the cat out from under the bed until everyone else goes home and i can eat what's left of the hummus in private.

how to end a friendship. JUST GHOST. i mean, right? i know that's supposed to be some millennial shit but what the fuck are we old people expected to do, handwrite a goddamn breakup letter!? never answering your phone is a lifesaving social tool, and now that technology has given us the blessed ability to block callers you don't even have to suffer through seeing their text messages for however long it takes to "clear all." block a hoe from your facebooks and tweets then create a gmail filter to dump his messages in your virtual trash and POOF, he never existed. i only need, like, three actual friends anyway and maybe it's cowardly but man, so what? "honor" and "bravery" are medieval terms that should not apply to that woman who won't stop trying to facetime you even though you said "i don't think we're gonna work out" after she sex-cried that one time. 


how to look polished. i am lumbering slowly toward the big 4-0 at just the right historical time: "ATHLEISURE" IS THE CURRENT WAY TO PRETEND YOUR DAYTIME PAJAMAS ARE ACTUALLY STYLISH AND EVERYONE IS DOING IT. it's a goddamn miracle, flipping open the latest issue of glamour every month to find top models draped in my old duvet cover and calling it fashion. i've been waiting for a long ass time for the clothing gods to finally catch up with my preferred style of dress and please know that this past saturday when i handed over my secured visa card in exchange for an outdoor robe with a hood and actual pockets a single tear rolled down my cheek just like denzel's. so many soft pants that are made to be worn in public! so much supersoft sweatshirt material fashioned into something you could actually wear to work! i've got so many sporty fucking jackets and i haven't picked up a ball since 1997.

how to let go of anger. don't! hang on to it! let it sit in the pit of your stomach like a cool lake of hatred into which you can take a refreshing dip every time you find yourself smiling at someone's vacation photos or newborn dog! let it keep you warm at night when the absence of joy leaves you cold! TEND TO YOUR LITTLE GARDEN OF HATE UNTIL IT KILLS YOU.


buy this for someone creeping ever closer to middle age.

Friday, February 10, 2017

how i distract myself from all this wild ass shit on the news.

if this is the end of days then fuck it that's fine. what are you trying to stay alive for anyway, the last installment of game of thrones? hamilton tickets to become affordable? to see whether or not that smug bitch you hate at work really sticks with whole 30 this time!? well not me. bring on the meteor or the horsemen or whatever it is that signifies this civilization's bitter end. i was in an airport bathroom the other day trying to hit on a congressman and i overheard this woman detailing her elaborate plans to outlive this administration and i was like LOLWHY. okay sure, i wanna read the new saunders novel and hide behind my scarf for 3/4 of the movie "get out" too, but not badly enough to try to brave this oncoming civil war. i've done as much cool shit as a person could reasonably hope to do, right? i just want to lie down in the street and give up, right after i finish watching that OJ american crime story bc it just came out on netflix and it looks good as hell.

everything is just so fucking embarrassing. and i am just one regular-ass, didn't pay enough attention in us history-ass, powerless-ass human too terrified of her own shadow to be outside for any given length of time, so how can i possibly be of use in a way that helps somebody? i could write postcards and send hate mail to congress but come on now, WHO THE FUCK HAS A FAX MACHINE ANYMORE. so i got bored with the idea of being helpful and busied myself with fortifying our panic room for when they kick down the door to take us to the gay camps. but mavis grew up in a two parent caucasian home with people who instilled in her this need to, um, "give back" or whatever they call it? so my pleas of "i grew up on section eight, so do i really gotta help?" were answered with a resounding "YES YOU DO" and we went through background checks and financial audits and cervical exams (i mean, basically?) so we could invite refugee families into our home and feed them our bland, uninteresting american cuisine. it's the least we can do.

have you ever tried to explain american food to a person who isn't used to eating it without sounding like a bumbling moron? these poor people didn't escape a brutal dictatorship followed by two years of extreme vetting to get all the way to america and listen to me try to talk about the paleo diet while sounding like a total fucking asshole. i'm over here handing homeboy a glass of crystal light like "how do you say powdered sugar-free diet iced tea substitute in arabic, qasim?" while each of us simultaneously dies inside from humiliation. but this is a thing i can do, a thing that feels good in our increasingly nightmarish reality. i can buy shopping bags full of school supplies for detroit children, i can drive 20 cases of clean water to give to babies in flint, and i can grind what's left of my teeth into shame stumps trying to explain why we're serving a young man who just wanted to come here to get a math degree spiralized zucchini "pasta."

the hardest thing about the country being so fucked up is that i didn't understand half the shit that was happening even when it was goddamn regular. to this day, i still can't tell you what exactly "benghazi" is. idk what mitch mcconnell does, i'm not a hundred percent sure how a bill becomes a law, and i couldn't even begin to tell you what an interest rate is and whether or not it can affect me. sure i guess i'm ignorant? but i'm also part of that class of people who just throws up their hands like "no matter what the fuck happens, bitch, i'ma have to get up and go to work anyway." i did not stay in college long enough for it to get expensive, and while it's amazing not to be digging myself out from under the crushing weight of student loans, it also kind of means that i don't read much beyond the first couple pages of the newspaper. i don't got no kids, so i don't know shit about the school board. mavis tried to explain gerrymandering to me and ten minutes later i was like "wait what now?" i like to watch political shows because i enjoy looking at men in suits and chris hayes is very reassuring to me, but yeah i either 1 hang my head in shame because have no idea what "mandate" means or 2 cower in fear behind the stockpile of emergency birth control i have stashed in the attic.

all of my feeds are full of my very smart and talented friends detailing the myriad number of ways this government is actively trying to destroy us and fam: i can't deal with it. for me there's a razor thin line between wanting to stay informed and daily fantasizing about jumping off a building, and i crossed it right around the time kanye had that photo op in the lobby of trump tower. i hate myself very much thank you but even i was like, "welp, i think i'm done fucking with this 24 hour news cycle." okay not exactly, because i watched the sessions confirmation hearing in real time and i might be the last black person on earth still regularly tuning in on friday night to bill maher, but i am too blessed to be stressed so i went ahead and added "president," "america," "twitter," "congress," "federal," and "la la land" to my block list. (i mean i liked the movie and everything, but yooooooo the stinkpieces about it were out of control.) here's what i do now when i'm not wishing i was dead:

1 intricate, tedious grooming projects. i don't give a shit about exfoliating my legs, but if spending 37 minutes trying not to split my head open in the shower slipping around in oily sand equals 37 minutes i'm not sobbing in front of a continuous msnbc loop then fuck man i'm doing it. since the election i have: deep-conditioned my scalp with coconut oil that was too cold to properly melt; done a parrafin wax treatment on my feet that made me feel like i was walking around in pudding for a week; fucked up the good blender by mixing a little cold cream, yogurt, honey, aloe vera gel, and avocado to make a hydrating facial mask; fell asleep with a bag of de-puffing frozen peas on my eyes for so long that the shit melted and ruined my pillow; tried to make a coffee scrub out of some old grounds i had to dig out of the actual garbage; and steamed my vagina clean with some suspicious "yoni herbs" i bought on the internet. i am as scaly and haggard as i've ever been, but my heels are noticeably smoother.

2 tending to my mtv the challenge fantasy team roster. tv is more important to me than every single one of my friends, especially since my preferred television programming is either 1 SPORTZ or 2 TRASH. i like to start the morning with a little skip and shannon on FS1, watch the previous night's episode of desus and mero on the dvr bc fuck if i'm gonna stay awake until 11 at night, then segue into some SVU and/or NCIS and/or CSI (warrick episodes only). i watch basketball on monday and thursday nights, i bingewatch huge swaths of vanderpump rules and love & hip hop when there's a marathon on because i can never remember when they come on for real, and black-ish on wednesdays because it's the best show on tv. but then the television gods smiled on me and sent me another season of the challenge, and yes i'm gonna be 37 on monday but so what!? CT IS BACK AND HE'S A DAD NOW. i can't, like, not watch. plus laurel is back this year and i might have just spent an inordinate amount of time rewatching the season when she hooked up with jordan and he let his ego get him disqualified. anyway, this is the shit that i'm choosing to devote my time to, and all of my money is on johnny bananas. man, he's such a snake.

3 cooking complicated recipes that take a long fucking time and involve arduous prep work. my friend lauren is baking her way through our current political crisis because it's cheaper than going to a psychiatrist, but we're still trying not to eat sugar and carbs over here (what's the point of being healthy why not just eat trash and speed up the onset of death) so i'm chopping off tiny bits of my fingers practicing vegetable knife work and trying to figure out how to sous vide cheap cuts of meat so i can #resist turning on CNN. even when it doesn't, cooking takes a long time. ugh it took me half an hour to "throw a salad together" the other night now that i do stuff like "make my own vinaigrette" and "eat radishes." make all of your food take a million hours to prepare to stave off thinking about how in a few months you're gonna die from a paper cut because you can't see a fucking doctor. like, i don't just eat a pear, i get out a paring knife and dissect the pear then spend the afternoon thoroughly chewing all the little pieces while fondly remembering the olden days when you could get amoxicillin for ten bucks.

4 using duolingo to practice my faltering spanish. according to the little test i took when i downloaded the app i'm 42% fluent, which means that if i make it to mexico before the wall goes up and traps me here with your racist uncles and shit i can probably carve out a pretty decent life for myself within a few months of popping up in guadalajara.

5 watching youtube videos to learn how to do useful household things like making a bed with military corners and folding fitted sheets. my childhood was basura and because of that i have spent the bulk of my adult life trying to figure out how to do shit someone who cared about my wellbeing should have taught me when i was ten. i'm not good at it yet but have you ever watched the sorcery that is neatly folding a fitted sheet? i used to employ this sort of roll-and-smash technique before frustratedly jamming it into the linen closet, but now i can kind of do the tuck-and-fold thing i've watched martha stewart do a dozen times and feel like an accomplish adult-type person. wtf did people do before youtube!? so far i've watched tutorials on: achieving the perfect winged liner, consolidating open containers in the pantry, how to re-program a kindle, and the best way to clean stainless steel. i now contain a wealth of personal wellness and household information. did you know that tying a ziploc filled with vinegar around your shower head will get rid of built up residue!? NOW YOU FUCKING DO.

6 curating very specific spotify playlists. the majority of them death-themed.

7 asking a lot of dumb ass questions at the wine store. so if, like, we're all going to become messy alcoholics over the next four years i might as well get some culture and education while doing it, right? i'm never going to understand wine, because i just can't don't value it. if you want to spend more than nine dollars on wine, good for you. i want you to. BUT I SIMPLY CANNOT. i was in new york city a week ago and wore orthopedic shoes to a very fancy new york city restaurant, and when the sommelier came over to the table in her very official-looking jacket and glasses to talk about pairing our meal choices i was like "this is the greatest hustle of all time." i'm sure she went to grape school in france and works real hard at her job and probably has her taste buds insured, and is there such a thing as a soda sommelier because YO SIGN ME UP. i'm an expert in pairing diet faygo cream soda with ice cream and sadness, this could be a lucrative job prospect for me! anyway, i drank half a glass of the barbera d'asti she suggested to perfectly balance our cheese course (jerking off motion) and then was immediately like, "CAN I GET A COKE, PLEASE." wine just does not taste very good to me, and i prefer the warm, soothing embrace of benzodiazepines to the headachy vomit feeling left behind by too many glasses of expensive chardonnay. there are certain things i just don't understand the price of. wine, cat food, disposable razors: WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE PAYING FOR, MY GUY. yesterday i went to the wine shop to get some impressive cheese because we're having people over tonight (just murder me already) and this helpful dude was trying to talk to me about fruity notes in white wines and even though i fell asleep while standing up i can at least tell you that if you're serving blueberry chevre to people pretending not to notice the dust on your ceiling fan that you should pair it with a chilled young, unoaked white.

i imagine you'll nudge me awake if someone declares war on us, in the meantime i'll be over here listening to morrissey and watching a lady scrubbing tarnish off her spoons. ps click here and pre-order a copy of this for your mom.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

bitches gotta read: the serpent king.

january always makes me feel like if i tried hard enough i could be a totally different person. like, the kind of person who can make a reading goal and actually achieve it at the end of twelve months. like, the kind of person who could run a book group and suggest books at the beginning of the month rather than scrambling to get it done at the end of the month. but this is who i am and i've gotta just deal with it: i'm a this-is-the-book-for-january-even-though-it's-already-the-goddamn-22nd kind of person and i'm too old and set in my ways to change that. also: trying is overrated.

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in real life. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that. you don't have to worry about megan's dairy allergy or that vanessa doesn't like champagne. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way rainbow rowell intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of hilarious mostly-women people who aren't irritating! come find us!!) i also have a bunch of friends on goodreads but lesbihonest: i'm not, like, putting all these john grishams
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the co-op and you decide to ask how shocked i was by the twist no one saw coming at the end.
brief internet synopsis: Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace. The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia—neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending—one that will rock his life to the core.

right now i'm reading "difficult women" by roxane gay, and the stack next to my bed is daunting:
"little deaths" by emma flint
"the dry" by jane harper
"idaho" by emily ruskovich
"history of wolves" by emily fridlund
"umami" by laja jufresa
"whatever happened to interracial love?" by kathleen collins
WHO EVEN HAS TIME FOR ALL THESE BOOKS. i love it but yo i need to take a speed reading class or some shit. every time the alarm goes off i pry my eyes open like, "oh right i fell asleep after three sentences i'm an idiot oh hello good morning." sad!

ps i wrote a list of reasons i don't bother making resolutions anymore and you can laugh at my pain for a dollar if you click here.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

christmas is trash.

this raggedy half-tree is the perfect metaphor for everything that has ever happened in my miserable, godforsaken life. last weekend i woke up to the sound of these kittens who live here that i most certainly do not like playing thunderdome in the hall outside the bedroom, then was informed that i needed to hurry up and get some pants on because we needed to hurry up and get to the tree farm (what) so we could "cut down our own christmas tree." IS THAT EVEN A REAL SENTENCE. there are a lot of things i don't miss about the former casa sam: the ceiling that fell in twice in two different locations, the gentleman in the apartment next door who routinely fell asleep on the threadbare strip of carpeting in the narrow hallway between our doors, chicago's brazen-ass rats; but what i do miss is never having to do anything domestic because i'm dead inside and don't give a shit about joy. i've never had a box marked "halloween window clings" or "grandma's keepsake ornaments" tucked away in my closet and that's fine. but now i live in a whimsical holiday placemat house so i'm forced to care about shit like handmade valentines and picking out a goddamned tree.

we rolled up to the tree farm bright and early, the faded obama sticker on the back of the car twinkling under the cold winter sun. i scanned the lot for other faces of color and, upon encountering none, announced that i was going to remain in the car. lumberjacks carrying all manner of ax and saw milled past us, peeking curiously in the windows at the fish out of water gasping for air as mavis informed me that not only was i expected to carry the tree but i also had to help cut the fucking thing down. "ARE THESE MEN JUST HERE FOR DECORATION?" i demanded, gesturing toward a young gentleman dusted liberally with wood chips and pine needles. apparently yes. i'll spare you the horrifying details, save this one: if you inadvertently select a hybrid freak of a tree that has two trunks and fail to notice this as you are lying on the frozen ground sweating to death while attempting to cut it down with a dull, child-sized saw, you are still financially responsible for that tree even if it is missing its entire back half. so we bagged up this skinny little charlie brown looking motherfucker, knocked off a third of its remaining branches going through the drive thru at culver's, and now it's sitting in a corner of the living room molting and making a mockery of us all. ho ho horrible!

holidays are the pits. there's no better way to feel unloved and misunderstood than to open unfunny gifts you'll never use that have nothing to do with your actual likes or personality while someone you don't like very much waits expectantly for a heartfelt thank you. for example, this writer has a lot of journals. a whole bunch of them. like, the kind you write in with a pen whose stiff, unyielding spines make it nearly impossible to write legibly at the end of any sentence on a left side page. those things are both useless and impractical, but they seem like a good gift to someone who doesn't understand that i don't have any deep, introspective thoughts worthy of being written out longhand. this time of year is so painful, ugh. i'm 137 years old and earnest holiday television programming is embarrassing to me while toy commercials serve no purpose other than reminding me that i didn't get a skip-it until two weeks after christmas was already over because my father was the actual grinch. i don't know how to knit stockings or bring tidings and eggnog gives me diarrhea. WHY CAN'T IT JUST BE JANUARY 15.
anyway, a holiday survival guide:


cook some things.
winter is a good time for us to get comfortable in our disgusting bodies and make tons of excuses for why it's too cold to work out. i know you're about to double-tap a bunch of thinspiration infographics come january 2, but how about until then you and your cheese pants eat a lot of trash and make yourself feel better by 1 i don't know, pretending you care by buying organic? and 2 making that trash with your own two hands. when i'm home i do a lot of the food preparation around because LOL MY JOB IS WRITING IS THAT A JOKE, and my favorite thing to do is take an inordinate amount of time cutting up vegetables while watching old seasons of top chef. i'm eating meat again because of my bleeding nightmare, but because you're not really living unless you are depriving yourself of something delicious i am trying to take it easy on carbs. i have a lot of cookbooks, even ones that have the audacity to expect someone who didn't go to culinary school to attempt sous vide prime rib on an average tuesday night, but i wish i could find one that was hella basic. like "this is the way you make perfect rice in a regular-ass pot you bought at target" basic. i mean, i know that you should toast the rice in a little bit of clear oil before adding the water but shouldn't someone put that shit in a book!?  
how to cook a pack of chicken, by sam.
ingredients:
1 pack of bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, on sale
seasonings
a lemon

preheat the oven to 425.
1 WASH AND PAT THAT CHICKEN DRY.
2 go to the bathroom and grab that coconut oil you keep next to the shower for moisturizing your twist out.
3 season both sides of each thigh with: granulated garlic, lemon pepper, black pepper, and lawry's. these are things you should have in your house at all times so hopefully you don't need to run back out to the store.
4 heat a tablespoon (maybe two?) of oil in a deep pan, then add the chicken.
5 cook for five minutes without touching them, then flip them over and cook for five more minutes. guard your forearms against unsightly grease burns.
6 squeeze the lemon over the chicken, then cut it into thin slices and put them into a large tumbler filled with vodka and ice.
7 put the chicken in the oven for half an hour, during which you can drink your vodka and watch clips of gordon ramsey's fine ass on your phone while you wait. then eat your dinner in your pajamas while filling out the application to be on masterchef because you're so good at cooking duh.

buy your own gifts.
exchanging presents is so goddamn embarrassing. and fuck that "it's the thought that counts" shaming of my very reasonable disappointment at having been presented with some cheap piece of garbage i don't want that i can't use and am now forced to sheepishly foist on some other unsuspecting secret santa victim next year. because i'm not a monster, it fucking feels bad to throw a useless yet new item in relatively undamaged packaging out with the coffee grounds and egg shells. WHY HAVE YOU PUT ME IN THIS AWKWARD AND UNNECESSARY POSITION, PERSON I THOUGHT WAS MY FRIEND. i don't want this beatles lego set: i am an adult. i also will have no use for this ariana grande perfume and powder puff set, and there's no good place to display that snow globe with a cat in it. was there not a single bottle of prosecco between wherever you came from and wherever i'm at!? why does anyone buy anything that isn't on a registered list of items the recipient might actually want to receive? who perpetuated this myth that one must appear grateful for a literal piece of trash purchased on a whim at the grocery store and presented with the expectation of adulation and praise!? SOME ASSHOLE WHO BUYS SHITTY GIFTS, THAT'S WHO. every december i find myself struggling to find words as i poke holes in the plastic bag used to wrap a bottle of UTI-scented bubble bath someone decided to unload on me and it's wholly unnecessary because i never wanted to be caught between this chia pet and a hard place to begin with.

and it's not just the gift, it's the "who do i give a gift to and if someone who hasn't yet achieved gift status in my life gets me something am i an asshole for not giving something back or is it worse because his gift is gonna be late and he'll know he wasn't on my original nice list and got him a pity present or whatever." i had to take an ativan just to write that. i am not built for this, the parsing of relationships to determine whom to purchase an inoffensive yet vaguely meaningful under $25 gift for. if we're gonna play this game, i'd rather you tell me what you need so i can just get it and we can both die happy. WHAT IS WORSE THAN BLINDLY PICKING OUT A GIFT FOR SOMEONE: NOTHING. your humidifier is broken? you ran out of nail polish remover? you've been dying for an earwax removal kit!? great!! amazon has that and there will be a box in the lobby of your building in two days. guessing games are the worst please don't make me do it. i will pay for a laundry service or hire a dog walker or stand in line to get your plan B, just for the love of eight-pound baby jesus tell me that's what you want. i buy my own presents because i don't need to hear any plebeian editorializing about my expensive taste, but if someone asks what i want i tell them "unscented dove deodorant. multivitamins. AA batteries. those long lighters that you use for candles. a lip balm for the pockets of each of my jackets." because then they can feel good with minimal money and effort, and i get a year's supply of vitamin C and chapstick.

skip the holiday party.

hey dude, forced merriment in the company of people who question your decisions and undermine your authority five days a week for 50+ weeks a year should qualify as a hate crime. i mean, okay sure: "thank you boss for buying well drinks and room-temperature snacks for everyone but if i gotta eat them in the party room of the only bar still taking reservations when you finally got around to it on december 21 while overhearing a third-tier assistant prattling on about what hair dryer she should ask santa for i'm going to kill myself." and if your neighbors invite you over to theirs? YOU AIN'T GOTTA GO TO THAT, EITHER. one of these days i really am going to write a whole list of the dozens of ways living in a charming old farmhouse is worse than living in a glamorous shoebox (what is installation? oh wait, it's "insulation?" why do i have an attic? and why the fuck does it need that!?) but let's start here: 1 even if you put the car in the goddamned garage and turn off the porch light, people always know when your ass is at home. someone knocks on our door every single fucking day. milkman, mailman, dog catcher, mister rogers, big bird: every day i die a little while one of these well-meaning neighbors rings the doorbell no fewer than three times as i hold my breath in the bathroom waiting for them to go away. then i have to tiptoe around making sure that no one spots me through one of our many windows. it's exhausting. so order your pizza before the party starts just in case their awkward, loner son is watching your house, gather all the provisions you need for the evening while it's still light out, then bathe in the blue light of the tv until you pass out surrounded by beer cans and a half-eaten fruitcake. 

go see a movie.
you already know i don't care about things like "leaving the house," especially when i might accidentally overhear conversations between regular people talking about things that are interesting to them, but i do make a weekly exception to go to the movie theater. i love going to the fucking movies. and i'm the perfect moviegoer: i never make noise or get out my phone, i never move unless i am in danger of a pants-pooping emergency, and i never see the twist coming and therefore respond to every single one with a childlike sense of awe and wonder. i was the only asshole in the theater who didn't realize that bruce willis was dead in the sixth sense according to the informal poll i conducted in the lobby after the movie. i never know who the murderer is, or what the aliens want. i also love a movie full of loud shooting and good punching but if there are a lot of bad guys or the plot involves complicated military tactics or complex mathematical strategery then i tap right out. i mean i'm not dumb, but i saw arrival twice and next time you see me if you want a laugh please ask me to explain "non-linear time." 
samantha irby's top four shooting, kicking, and punching movies of 2016
the accountant
deadpool
marauders
hell or high water
this small town robbed me of seeing both lion and miss sloane, but i did get to helplessly cry through moonlight so that's something. and sure, you could just wait two months and watch all this shit on the couch on your pajamas, but microwave popcorn < movie theater popcorn. less likely to murder your heart, for sure, but also way less delicious.

these are tough days for a lot of people. don't feel bad if you can't suck it up and put a smile on to make other people feel better at that ugly sweater party you didn't even want to go to. it is perfectly acceptable to sit in bed watching hulu on your laptop enjoying an extra day off work rather than putting real pants on to fake holiday cheer at your aunt's house or wherever. not everyone is a goddamned teacher, sometimes that one precious day off from retail misery is the only light at the end of the year tunnel. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO RUIN THAT SPECIAL DAY LISTENING TO YOUR BOYFRIEND'S PARENTS ARGUING THAT IS OKAY. and don't let anyone tell you that hanging colored lights from your coatrack isn't as good as the real fucking thing. it's yours, goddammit. and at least you didn't have to cut it down yourself while hillbillies gawked and pointed at you. bah humbug.

click here to preorder next year's hottest stocking stuffer.