Things I Have Learned, Part 1

As 2013 draws to a close, I will be posting a five part series of things that I’ve learned from the past year or so through my own experiences, or observing the experiences of my friends and family. 

Let’s just say it’s been educational. 

  1. It’s okay to ask for help.
  2. Never trust a man who can’t grow a beard.
  3. If he insists you’re not the rebound, you’re probably the rebound.
  4. Everything changes if you give it enough time.
  5. Nerds can be douchebags, too.
  6. Never think you know everything.
  7. Friends don’t let friends date guys named Mike.
  8. You’ll never outgrow petty drama.
  9. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn something.
  10. Sometimes you just have to make yourself happy.
  11. Crying doesn’t show weakness. Being bitter does.
  12. Being independent is a life skill, not a life sentence.
  13. It is perfectly okay to have psychopathic tendencies as long as you’re high-functioning.
  14. Don’t waste your time with people who don’t make you happy all the time.
  15. Endings are inevitable. How you choose to deal with them is not.
  16. Never fall into the trap of blaming yourself for everything. You’re not accountable for other people’s idiocies.
  17. You are going to get hurt. Don’t let that consume your life.
  18. If he has a girlfriend, walk away. Immediately.
  19. Approach exes with caution. There’s a reason it didn’t work out the first time around.
  20. You have to make your own choices because you’re the one who has to live with the consequences.
  21. Remember that people are only as good as their word. Also remember that people lie.
  22. Saying you feel bad is an admission of emotion. It is not an apology.
  23. Never count your chickens before they hatch.
  24. No matter how awful you feel or how terrible your life is going, there is always a song that exactly describes your situation playing on the radio as soon as you turn on your car.
  25. Stop comparing your life to other people’s lives. Everyone lives at a different pace.
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5 Steps to a Boyfriend (or, 5 Reasons I’m Single)

You all remember my newest internemesis, Tuthmosis, the blogger who doesn’t understand what eating disorders are and is responsible for several other generally irritating posts on Return of Kings. Unlike a lot of the authors I write about on here, I don’t necessarily think Tuthmosis hates women. Sure, he needs an education on mental disorders and seems to have some misogynistic philosophies, but at his core I don’t think he’s inherently awful. In fact, I recently stumbled upon another one of his articles, which he wrote “in the spirit of gender equality,” Five Ways to Land (and Keep) a Quality Boyfriend. Surprisingly, there was a few decent pieces of advice mixed in with the stereotypical and eyebrow raising.

I thought about it, and what good is writing about the things I do if I’m stuck here on my internet pedestal? “Time to put your money where your mouth is, ginger,” I said to myself, confusing the hell out of the people around me on the bus.

So I decided I’m going to give this a shot. I’ve read and re-read Tuthmosis’ article and know exactly how to apply it to myself, and how to go out to the bar scene fully confident in my newfound ability to land and keep a Quality Boyfriend.

Let’s see how this goes.

Step 1: Look good and work on staying that way. Even if you’re naturally cute, you need to keep yourself in shape, learn to dress your body, and take care of your skin… Keep showing that you’re putting in work into looking your best, and you will keep [your] man.

It seems like I have a decent head start to his checklist…no big tattoos, no piercings apart from my ears, my hair is possibly the longest it’s ever been, I’m in decently good shape, I mostly know what clothes don’t look good on me, and I even usually remember to put on lotion!

Unfortunately, even with all those advantages I typically look somewhere along the lines of this:

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Fortunately, I possess the magic of 80’s movie makeovers. Behold!

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Having unlocked Hollywood’s secret to sexy transformations, staying this way will be a breeze. I mean, who would go through all the trouble to look like this 24-7 otherwise? It would take like, an hour for someone who can’t just take off their glasses and naturally look this good, and that’s valuable time that could be spent ironing.

Now it’s time to find a Quality Boyfriend for me to keep. By following the rest of these steps, it should be a snap!

Step 2: Be a pleasant, feminine sweetheart. Being sarcastic, foul-mouthed, confrontational, and difficult just for the sake of being difficult is not funny and are not attractive qualities.

OK, this might be a bit more difficult than I initially anticipated. Maybe I just won’t speak unless absolutely necessary.

I enter the pub and select a table close to the bar in full view of the door. I keep my purse and jacket off the opposite chair so it doesn’t look like it’s saved, and peruse the beer list resisting the urge to check my phone. I glance around the bar, but not in an expectant way, and flip my hair as I return to the beer list. There are plenty of guys here, certainly it’s only a matter of time before I’m approached and can pleasantly and femininely smile and nod my way through a conversation. Someone walks up to my table and I look up to see an average looking, yet well-dressed fellow around my age standing before me.

“Hi there, how’s it going?”

I smile sweetly and reply, as pleasantly and in as few words as possible. “Very well, thanks.” I pause for a moment to let him talk again, then suddenly realize I’m still speaking, and for some reason in an oddly dulcet tone. “I’m usually very sarcastic and tend to cuss a lot, but the internet told me I shouldn’t do that because it isn’t attractive or inherent to finding and keeping a Quality Boyfriend. Neither is talking about it I realize, but I find I can’t actually stop. Am I being pleasant and feminine yet? Do you find this endearing? Am I being too confrontational? Oh God, I can’t stop.”

The well-dressed fellow blinks twice and pulls his note pad out of his back pocket. “And can I get you anything to drink?” he asks.

“Surly. Better make it a Cynic.” Still dulcet. The waiter walks away and I set my head down on the table. I leave it there long after he returns with my beer, wallowing in my premature failure. After an indeterminate amount of time I hear someone else approach the table.

“Isn’t it hard to drink your beer with your head down there?” It is an unfamiliar voice. An unfamiliar male voice. Deep breath, ging. You took your crazy out on the waiter, now it’s game time. I sit up and flip my hair ‘round, pleasantly surprised to see a very good looking fellow in his late twenties crookedly smiling at me in bemusement.

“Not nearly as difficult as it is to drink it all alone,” I say returning the smile. “Care to join me…?”

“Ben. And yes, thanks, I would.” He sits down.

“I’m Lindsay.”

“So Lindsay, what do you do?

Step 3: Don’t be a slut. Your past does matter…your slutty past is a liability. That doesn’t mean withholding sex should be your strategy, though.

“Not lots of guys,” I say quickly. He pauses and looks at me sideways. I smile and toss my hair again. It lands in my eyes.

“Ha…?” he thinks I’m kidding. Doesn’t he realize I’m being sweet and therefore not sarcastic?

I brush my hair away from my face, poking my eye in the process. It immediately begins to water and my contact folds and slides out of place. My eye clamps shut and I’m frozen in an awkward, squinty wink. Ben stares at me. I smile, but it’s really more of a grimace.

“That’s not to say it’s out of the question for you, of course,” I manage to say while stuck in my very best Popeye impression.

“Are you okay?”

“Of course!”

“Are you sure? It kind of looks like you’re having a stroke.”

I toss my hair again, which somehow knocks my contact back into place. “I’m great. Really great. And I was serious, sex isn’t off the table. Most guys aren’t so lucky. On account of the sex being off the table for most of them.”

“Uh…right.”

He orders a drink and sits quietly, glancing around the room. I need something else to draw him in further, to let him know I’m good for the long haul.

Step 4: Have some domestic skills. Nothing discourages a man more than bragging about your non-existent domestic skills.

“I have domestic skills,” I murmur seductively.

“Oh. Good?” he looks confused, probably from having to deal with so many girls who don’t have the sense to YouTube how to fold shirts. He must have no idea how to handle himself around a skilled woman like me.

I reach into my purse and giggle seductively. “You tell me,” I say, as I pull out an ornately plated chicken parmesan and seductively set it before him.

“Uh, what…what is that?”

“Chicken parmesan. It’s my specialty,” I say seductively, taking a seductive sip of my beer.

“You brought your own meal?”

I nod…seductively.

“Why?”

“It’s important to me that you know I know my way around the kitchen. Go ahead, try it.”

“Um…no, thank you.” He pushes the plate away in a classic negging move. I must really have him intrigued if he’s trying to undermine my self-esteem to get me to try harder for his attention.

It’s probably genuinely good that he declined to try the chicken, though. Having been vegan for almost two years, I almost certainly undercooked it.

Regardless, this is totally working. I only have one more step and I’ll have landed a Quality Boyfriend.

Step 5: Be interesting. Cultivate other parts of you above and beyond your looks…learn an instrument, practice a (real) dance, or master a fine art.

Interesting? I can do interesting! I’ve spent years wearing glasses, so I had to have some kind of personality to fall back on. Let’s see…I have lots of views on politics and current events, but I’m supposed to be non-confrontational, so forget that. Oh, skills! Mastery of a fine art is the recommendation because they were developed for the female mind, which is biologically unable to process things like science and math. Those twelve years of tap dancing will finally come in handy! I leap to my feet. He groans, probably from impending admiration.

“Oh for – now what?”

Flap heel flap heel flap heel flap heel step shuffle step shuffle step shuffle step shuffle –

“Please stop.”

Hop shuffle cross hop shuffle cross hop shuffle hop shuffle hop shuffle step step jump and a wing and a wing and a wing cramp roll cramp roll pull back pull back pull back and a wing step step sugar two three four –

“You need help.”

Stomp hop shuffle step flap wing and a stomp hop shuffle step flap wing and a –

CRASH

My rogue time steps have collided with the waiter and his tray full of drinks. Shards of glass fly everywhere as people shriek and dive for cover. I attempt to incorporate it into my maxi ford combo, but I trip on half a shot glass and slide into the bar. I quickly spin around into my best Fosse pose, complete with jazz hands and imaginary bowler hat. Ben is nowhere in sight, but there are several bouncers heading in my direction.

As I sit on the curb outside to pick the glass out of my shoe soles, I reaffirm my belief that dating is stupid and my time would be better spent doing literally anything else.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on tumblr reblogging gifs of Tom Hiddleston.

Reader Mail: Keystone Pipeline

“Hi. I’ve read a few of your posts; you mention your like of discussing current events. I have yet to see a post on a non-feminst current events. I appreciate your logic against Internet feminist trolls, but trolls are not smart, which is why voldemort likes them. What are your opinions on the keystone pipeline?”

nothanks@yahoo.com

Hi! Thanks for taking time to read and write.

You are correct, I do enjoy discussing current events. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll always post about current events, however. I’ve been posting a lot on feminism lately because I think it’s an important topic that’s often misrepresented; that’s not to say any other topic is less important, but I find I write better when it’s something I’m passionate about, and it’s a lot easier to get whipped up about some asshat taking a testosterone-laced dump on my gender than it is about Chris Christie getting re-elected.

“Aha!” I imagine you may be thinking, “That’s just what the trolls want!”

Well, yes and no. If something pisses me off there is a far greater chance I’ll write about it, but I do it here after I have time to breathe, and think clearly, and make sound logical arguments and grammatically correct sentences. Why I bother responding at all is as simple as I occasionally have a bit of free time and a lot of ideas floating around in my head. As for the trolls, there’s a reason I stay far, far away from the comments and message boards of the original posts I typically write about, and though I’m not completely sure, I don’t think Voldemort ever aligned with trolls. Giants, sure. I guess Quirrell had a thing for trolls while Voldemort was chilling under his turban. Maybe I’m forgetting a plot point.

I digress.

The Keystone Pipeline! Good choice, interesting topic. As with anything worth debating, there are good arguments on both sides. Personally, I think the thousands of jobs that would be produced, along with helping wean our dependency on Middle Eastern oil are excellent solutions to many problems in the short term. Long term, the environmental effects may not be as stellar. I can’t say for sure because I’m neither an environmental expert, nor from the future. It would be wonderful if there could be some magical compromise that allowed us to reap the benefits without creating any type of ecological disturbance, but life doesn’t work that way. Furthermore, if everything had a fix-all that made everyone happy, what would Congress argue about?

As it stands, you managed to pick one of the few topics that I don’t hold a strong opinion on one way or the other. It’s not because I don’t care or think it’s not important, it’s because I legitimately agree with pros and cons on both sides of the issue. There are going to be negative impacts regardless of what happens, just as there will be measurable benefits. I’m not even kind of qualified to contribute further on an environmental, scientific, economic, or mechanical level, so that’s all I’ve got.

Though I can definitively say that everyone arguing the Keystone Pipeline will diminish our dependency on the oil of foreign countries clearly doesn’t understand what Canada is.

Allons-y!

Congratulations! You successfully made it through all eleven days of Doctor recaps, and since TODAY is the official 50th Anniversary, here’s a bonus post with all my drink recipes.

I figure we all deserve a drink or two after all these posts. Geronimo.

 

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The TARDIS

2 oz. Blue Curaco
1 1/2 oz. white rum
1 oz. blueberry or pomegranate juice
4 oz. lemon lime soda
Splash of fresh lime juice

Fill shaker with ice, and add all ingredients. Shake to chill and pour over ice. Enjoy with all of time and space.

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The Sonic Screwdriver

1 oz. Blue Curaco
1 oz. vodka
6 oz. orange juice

Fill shaker with ice, and add all ingredients. Shake to chill and pour over ice. Serve as a crutch to begin your adventure.

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Left My Heart in Another Universe
(aka The Rose)

1 oz. silver tequila
1 oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. triple sec
1/2 oz. Rose’s Sweet Lime Juice
1 strawberry, sliced in half

Fill shaker with ice, and add all liquid ingredients. Shake to chill and pour over ice. Float half of the strawberry on top, and give the other half away. Find yourself crying uncontrollably against a wall later.

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The Captain Jack

1 oz. Captain Morgan
1 oz. Jack Daniels
6 oz. Coke
1 maraschino cherry

Pour all liquid ingredients over ice and mix. Garnish with cherry and a wink. Clothing optional.

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The Earth Girl
(aka The Donna)

2 oz. vodka
1 1/2 oz. apple pucker
1 lime wedge
2 maraschino cherries

Fill shaker with ice, and add all liquid ingredients. Shake to chill and pour into chilled glass.
Garnish with lime and cherries, and serve with sass.

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The Amelia Pond

6 oz. sparkling apple cider
2 oz. ginger ale
Fresh lime juice
1 maraschino cherry

Pour liquid ingredients over ice and stir.
Garnish with lime wedge and cherry, and prepare to wait for your raggedy man for 14 years.

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The Roman Ginger
(aka The Ponds)

1/4 oz. sambuca
3 oz. ginger ale

Pour over ice into glass together, or not at all.

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Sex in the TARDIS
(aka The River)

2 oz. vodka
2 oz. Blue Curaco
1 oz. peach schnapps
2 oz. cranberry juice
2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. lemon lime soda

Add vodka, Blue Curaco, and schnapps to a highball glass over ice. Fill with equal parts cranberry juice, orange juice, and lemon lime soda. Stir well.

Spoilers.

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The Impossible Drink
(aka The Clara)

1 oz. vodka
1 oz. white rum
1 oz. silver tequila
1/2 oz. Captain Morgan
1/2 oz. Jack Daniels
1/2 oz. Blue Curaco
1/4 oz. apple pucker
1/4 oz. sambuca
1/4 oz. triple sec
1 oz. lemon lime soda

Mix all ingredients and serve over ice. CAUTION: consuming this drink will cause you to relive multiple time streams and disappear for the rest of the night.

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The Dr. Jones
(aka That Bitch, Martha)

8 oz. water
2000 mg ibuprofen

Administer the morning after Who Fest, whilst blaming your pounding head on Martha.

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The Crimson Horror

2 oz. vodka
6 oz. bloody mary mix
1 pickle spear

Pour liquid ingredients over ice and stir well. Garnish with the pickle, and relive the horrors of your drunken self the night before.

The Eleventh Doctor

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Actor: Matt Smith

First Appearance: The End of TIme – January 1, 2010

Last Appearance: 2013 Christmas Special (Unnamed) – December 25, 2013

Total Appearances: 43 Episodes

Time to Watch: ±33h 40m 46s (through The Name of the Doctor – May 18, 2013)

Companions: Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song, Craig Owens, Canton Everett Delaware III, Clara Oswald

Regeneration: TBD. Internet rumors have been hinting at Cybermen, so probably something completely opposite. My theory involves Clara and drowning.

Notable Characteristics: The Eleventh Doctor is brash and lively, lonely and very aware of his reputation as a fierce enemy to his adversaries, but has great affection for his loved ones. Despite being married, he is childish and shows ignorance of adult activities, though there are a few examples of acting his age and becoming grumpy and solitary. He secretly believes himself to be a bad person and harbors vast amounts of self-loathing, while having a rabid curiosity about the mysterious or seemingly impossible. Though chronologically the oldest incarnation to date, the Eleventh Doctor is the youngest physically.

Notable Episode: The Impossible Astronaut & Day of the Moon is a two episode arc from Season Six of the revived series. Following mysterious instructions, Amy and Rory, and River meet in Utah to reunite with the Doctor just in time to witness a terrible secret they must never reveal to him. They travel to 1969 where they are enlisted by President Nixon to assist FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware III in saving a terrified little girl from a mysterious spaceman. Months later they reunite, covered in hash marks, having learned the world is occupied by an alien force that controls humanity with post-hypnotic suggestion, and no one can be trusted. The Doctor must mount a revolution, rescue the little girl, and find out why they took her.

Recipe: Fish Custard

“I know what I need! I need…fish fingers and…custard!” -The Doctor, The Eleventh Hour

Bird’s Custard Powder
Soy milk
Sugar
Swedish Fish

Follow Bird’s instructions using soy milk.
Once chilled, mix in Swedish Fish.
Serve and enjoy.

The Tenth Doctor

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Actor: David Tennant

First Appearance: The Parting of the Ways – June 18, 2005

Last Appearance: The End of Time – January 1, 2010

Total Appearances: 47 Episodes

Time to Watch: 38h 11m 18s

Companions: Rose Tyler, Mickey Smith, Sarah Jane Smith, Donna Noble, Martha Jones, Jack Harkness, Astrid Peth, Jackson Lake, Rosita Farisi, Christina de Souza, Adelaide Brooke, Wilfred Mott

Regeneration: After the Master forced Rassilon and the rest of Gallifrey back to the Time War, the Doctor realized Wilf was trapped in the nuclear booth where radiation levels had gone critical. The Doctor released him by entering into the other side and took the radiation blast. He took a “farewell tour” to see all his companions before regenerating violently inside the TARDIS.

Notable Characteristics: The Tenth Doctor generally displayed a light-hearted, talkative, easy-going and witty manner, but repeatedly demonstrated a vengeful and unforgiving streak as well. This is coupled with an intense sense of regret of the deaths of both his friends and enemies. He was openly fond of humans and their tenacity and curiosity, and had several romantic aspects both on and off screen, most notably with Rose who admits she is in love with him.

Notable Episode: The Stolen Earth Journey’s End was a two episode arc from Season Four of the revived series. When Earth and twenty-six other planets are stolen and taken to the Medusa Cascade, it’s up to the combined forces of the Doctor, UNIT, Torchwood, Sarah Jane, and Rose to stop the perpetrators — Davros and the New Dalek Empire. 

Recipe: Banana French Toast

“I think I invented the banana daiquiri a few centuries early … Always bring a banana to a party, Rose. Bananas are good!” – The Doctor, The Girl in the Fireplace

2 -3 ripe bananas
3/4 cup soy milk
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla
Bread
Vegan margarine
Optional: maple syrup, extra bananas for topping

Blend bananas, soy milk, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla in blender or food processor and pour mixture into pie plate or wide dish.
Gently dip bread slices into the mix, coating both sides.
Fry in vegan margarine in medium-hot skillet until golden brown.
Serve with maple syrup and sliced bananas.

The Ninth Doctor

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Actor: Christopher Eccleston

First Appearance: Rose – March 26, 2005

Last Appearance: The Parting of the Ways – June 18, 2005

Total Appearances: 13 Episodes

Time to Watch: 9h 30m 38s

Companions: Rose Tyler, Adam Mitchell, Jack Harkness

Regeneration: To stop an impending Dalek invasion, Rose absorbed the energy of the Time Vortex from the Heart of the TARDIS, which began to kill her. The Doctor kissed her to absorb the Vortex and returned it to the TARDIS, but the damage to his cells caused him to regenerate.

Notable Characteristics: The Ninth Doctor was a survivor of the Time War, and often displayed signs of survival guilt and PTSD. He lived solely for the present, and was brave and wise, while still rough and down-to-earth. His travels with Rose helped him face his past, and they became very close. The origins of this incarnation are largely unknown, though it is revealed he is now the last of his kind.

Notable Episode: The Empty Child & The Doctor Dances were a two episode arc from Season One of the revived series, which premiered in 2005 after a nine year hiatus following the TV Movie. In wartime London, the Child’s plague is spreading and its zombie army is on the move. The Doctor and Rose form an alliance with dashing Time Agent turned dashing intergalactic con man Captain Jack Harkness as they head to ground zero for the mysterious plague. 

Recipe: Thyme War Chips

3 medium large potatoes, peeled
Olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Thyme
Cayenne pepper

Heat oven to 475.

Cut each potato into 1cm-wide slices, then into 1 cm-thick stick. Blanch in a large pan of boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain well.
Shake the potatoes out onto a roasting pan, drizzle with oil, ensuring each chip is evenly coated, then season well.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, turning the potatoes at least twice, until golden brown and crisp.