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Posts Tagged ‘Bright ideas’

Dear Dr. Sheffield:

You are one of many purveyors of charcoal toothpaste. It’s all the rage right now.

In theory, charcoal toothpaste sounds great: Charcoal can remove surface stains.

In practice, charcoal toothpaste is not so great. (Warning: shocking image follows.)

Yeah, that’s my mouth. Too close to Meth Mouth for my taste.

(That is NOT my mouth.)

Your toothpaste makes not only my mouth a mess, but also the sink and my toothbrush.

Gross. Of course, I always clean the sink afterward. That’s just proper briquettiquette. (Har har!)

Your product also has a weird absinthe-y aftertaste.

And so far, I haven’t noticed any difference.

I’m too cheap thrifty conscientious to throw it out, but I will be glad when this experiment is over.

Coally yours,
Beth

 

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Dear Vegans,

God bless you, every one. How do you manage to find things to eat every day?

I’m sure things have gotten slightly easier for you (as more and more people make the choice), but it certainly is a challenge to find food that is completely free from animal products.

Eddie and I are hosting friends next month, one of whom is one of you. I’ve been road-testing recipes: shepherd’s pie, chickpea and avocado wraps, tamales, etc.

Japanese gyoza nearly was the death of me, though.

It’s one of my favorite things to make, thanks to the excellent tutelage of my friend Miwa.

However, I usually buy the pre-made skins from the Asian market down the road. It makes life so much easier.

But said skins have eggs.

Ruh roh, Raggy.

So I went to the vegan section of Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck). I found wonton skins, which will do in a pinch. Checked ingredients list to be safe.

So those wouldn’t work. I went to two other granola-people stores. No luck. In fact, one helpful cashier checked his supplier’s site to see if vegan wonton/gyoza/dumpling/potsticker wrappers existed. They don’t, apparently.

Back at home, I decided to make my own.

Oh yes, I did.

And that’s how I found myself up to my eyebrows in brown rice and tapioca flour yesterday afternoon.

I don’t have photos of the process because my hands were covered in flour for hours. I do have an image of the (uncooked) finished product:

As for the taste, I’d say they closely resembled my usual recipe. A little off, but not by much.

If anything, this little experiment has made me aware of just how many animal products we consume daily — even when we don’t think we are consuming any.

Wishing you all the best, and hoping you continue to have more and better options,
Beth

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Dear Halloween:

You and Christmas Eve are my favorite holidays. For you, I get dressed up and give out candy. For the other, I wait for someone dressed up to give me candy.

Luckily, my family feels the same way about you. Sometimes, we get other people to join us in group costumes.

It’s the one time of year where I let my craft freak flag fly.

Here’s a retrospective of costumes we’ve had over the years.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Unfortunately, living in an apartment has its drawbacks: All my Halloween paraphernalia is in storage. Plus, I’ll be teaching tonight, so I won’t be able to go all out.

There’s always next year.

Love you!
Beth

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Dear Friends:

As you know from this post and the followup, I’m on a health kick as I slide headfirst into the holidays. (Perhaps the worst time to start a diet. Or the best, depending on your POV.)

Despite the calculated complaining I’ve been doing on this blog, it’s been OK. Mostly OK. All but three times OK (an alumni event at a brewery, happy hour where beer cheese soup was present, and an Uno death match with friends last weekend during which chips and dip sat within a foot of me for HOURS).

My willpower is strong. When I decide to do something, I do it. I told you: I’m Tracy Flick.

Besides my crazy diet, I’ve made other changes:

  1. I’m taking the “Lyft Ditch Your Car” challenge this month. I already walk to work regularly, so it will be fine.
  2. I’m drinking so much water every day — well over the 64 ounces recommended — that I spend much of the day in and traveling to/from the loo.
  3. I’m not drinking any alcoholic beverages. (Oh don’t be THAT surprised.)
  4. I now have a standing desk at work.

Standing desk

These are all the rage in offices lately. I love mine. Added bonus: If you put on some music, you find yourself moving much more while standing.

Except I have a cautionary tale: Earlier this week, I listened to Big Freedia, “3rd Ward Bounce.”

Big Freedia: 3rd Ward Bounce

If you are familiar at all with Big Freedia, you will know the dance moves that go with bounce music.

They are not appropriate for work.

They are probably not appropriate for me any time at my age (29 <cough> forever).

I was definitely moving around a little more than usual at my desk, though. I was a little worried someone would walk in and think I was having a seizure.

But my iWatch approved.

And for those interested in my progress, there’s about 12 pounds less of me to love. (My big personality is still intact, though.)

I’m keeping this up until the last weekend in October, at least (i.e., the last weekend for Oktoberfest).

Wish me luck,
Beth

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Dear Fellow Women:

This week has been illuminating. It’s clear we are going about this whole “gender equality” thing the wrong way. We feminists have been advocating for women’s rights on the basis of equality.

We’ve been wanting people to play by what we think should be the rules (you know: logic, respect, fairness, etc.). But really, we need to be playing by rules already in place: men’s rules.

So here’s the deal: Let’s learn from the Kavanaugh debacle. Don’t get mad. Get even.

1. Deny, deny, deny

This is very freeing. You can do anything you want — especially when you are drunk — and just say you didn’t do it. Boom. Maybe you really did forget. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal to you. Maybe you did it and don’t want to remember. It doesn’t matter. Just say you didn’t do it. Or you don’t recall. Or your accuser is crazy. You know, go full gaslight. The beauty of this is that people will believe you, the perpetrator! Just get super defensive. Don’t stand down — double down!

2. Accuse, accuse, accuse (i.e., the best defense is a good offense)

If you are ever in a jam, make sure you say that the person is making it up for fame. Clearly that works. I know all of us can name every one of Bill Cosby’s accusers. We want autographs of these world-famous women. Who wouldn’t want to be famous for being sexually assaulted? #squadgoals

3. Girls will be girls

We’ve all heard “boys will be boys” so much this week. I always thought that meant chasing each other with stick guns and farting on each other’s heads. But apparently it means that guys can do anything — ANYTHING — when they are 17 and younger, and NOTHING will happen. Clarification: white guys.

So ladies, do whatever you want as long as you are 17 and younger. We all will back you up and say, “Girls will be girls.”

4. Time is on your side

Oh you did something years ago, and someone wants you to answer for it? Pbfft! Who has time for that noise? It was 5, 10, 35 (insert number) years ago. You are important now. You have a whole amazing career ahead of you. Just remember that YOUR career path is much more important than your accuser’s career path and mental health.

5. Take what you want

You think a dude is hot? Grab him by the penis. Try to get inside that bathing suit. Lock the door, drop your skirt, and make demands on your male coworkers. Put your needs/wants first. Don’t think twice. Men need to watch what they wear, how much they drink, where they park, where they jog, what they say. This is your world now. You might even get to be president of the United States someday! (And if they don’t like it, just tell them they’d look better if they smiled more.)

There. Problem solved. I’ll take my thanks in gift cards for bathrobes, cigars and scotch.

Welcome to the jungle,
Beth

P.S. You are a man, and you’re mad at me now for generalizing? Get over yourself. I do not hate men; I hate the double standard. Also, unless you’ve sexually harassed someone, I’m clearly NOT TALKING TO OR ABOUT YOU!

P.P.S. You are outraged at my post, and you want to tell me that there really are false allegations. I’m sure there are. But only 2-10 percent of all rape reports are found to be false. Only 35 percent of rapes are ever reported. Why? I’m sure Christine Blasey Ford can tell you exactly why.

P.P.P.S. You don’t understand sarcasm? You’re reading the wrong blog.

P.P.P.P.S. Of course I am NOT advocating for any kind of sexual assault. By anyone. Anywhere. Anytime. Good grief! See P.P.P.S. above.

 

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Dear Conference Presenters:

Congratulations on having a research paper or topic deemed worthy of presentation. You cleared the biggest hurdle!

The next hurdle is the actual presentation.

When you are preparing your remarks, keep in mind that the audience members are your peers. They come to your session because there is something about it that seems interesting. They may or may not know as much as you do about your subject.

You have a duty to prepare something interesting. Auntie Beth is here to help.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts for presenting (really, any kind of public speaking):

  • DO tell a story to kick off the presentation. You can do this; humans are natural storytellers. For example, tell us how you got interested in your topic.
  • DO think of your presentation as a narrative with a clear beginning, middle and end.
  • DO have visual aids. DON’T write out all your text on the slides.
  • DO show how to use the technology if you are presenting on the benefits of an app. Every conference room has a projector. DON’T walk up and down the aisle waving your phone as a visual aid.
  • DO relax and turn on the charm. Think of it as a conversation, or at least a conversation starter.
  • DO pay attention to your audience. If they are napping, then your storytelling needs some work.
  • DON’T read your research paper, for the love of God. (I will leave your session so fast I’ll just be a blur.)
  • DON’T go over your allotted time. It’s just unprofessional and rude to your co-presenters.
  • DON’T fight with your audience. It’s OK to disagree with various points people make, but it’s not OK to get shouty.
  • DO let organizers know if it seems like the panel makeup is not as diverse as it should be. With all the focus on under-representation, you would think that all white male panels would be a thing of the past. You would be wrong. This guy gets it:

Remember to breathe and have fun. If you aren’t having fun, neither will the people who came to see you.

Go get ’em, Tiger!
Auntie Beth

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