Issue 22 - 04/24/20
Work From Home Tips to Maximize Productivity During A Global Crisis In Which 188,437 People Have Died
- Fun 'n Flirty Guillotine DIY
What We're Watching: Little Fires Everywhere
- My Last Article Was Too Sad: An Apology
- This Week's Newsletter is Dedicated To Madison
Book Report: The Plague
- MATT REVIEWS: THE SIX BEST WAYS TO CHANNEL RAGE
- Dear Sam
- Office Chart
Work From Home Tips to Maximize Productivity During A Global Crisis In Which 188,437 People Have Died
Interim assistant vice president-level contributor Sam Strohmeyer
If you're like me, you have yet to be furloughed or fired or killed by the virus, so you are allowed to feel nothing but gratitude and positive vibes while you enjoy your work from home experience. Here are my tips and tricks to make sure you are unfailingly productive between the hours of 9:00 and 5:00.
The WORST thing you can do when your alarm goes off is hit snooze. The second you hear that shrill beep you need to jump out of bed, do a big stretch, and scream at god. I promise you need this more than that extra ten minutes of sleep.
A healthy breakfast is key to keeping your energy up so that you don't waste even one second of your day. I recommend something I like to call the Super Synergy Smoothie. Combine one half of a banana, a cup of oat milk, a cup of chopped greens, a scoop of your favorite protein powder, and two crushed adderall. Top with a handful of dry quinoa for a fun crunch!
Exercise is going to help you focus and keep you too tired to Feel all that International Suffering and Despair. Add some fun to your routine by searching youtube for yoga workouts and playing them at double speed. NamaSLAYING our goals! Am I right, ladies? AM I RIGHT?!
The WORST thing you can do (I know I said that in the first one but this is the real worst thing) is to wear anything but your professional clothing now that your home is your work and your work is your home and your home is your work. I'm talking button down or blouse, slacks, high heels (for all gender identities) and don't forget to put your hair shirt on under all of that! I swear to satan if I find out you're wearing leggings during a zoom meeting I will kill you myself.
Go ahead and take a moment to limit all potential distractions that might cause you to steal your employers time and therefore make you a goddamn criminal. Tidy your space, delete Instagram from your phone, and leave your kid in their bedroom with a bottle of water, a bowl of Cheerios, and a copy of the collected works of Franz Kafka. That should keep them occupied for AT LEAST twelve hours.
Now you're ready to sit down in your home office and get stuff done! Oh, you don't have a room in your house or apartment dedicated to work? You don't have a private space with a standing desk, computer monitor, and Avalon A1WATERCOOLER A1 Top Loading Cooler Dispenser, Hot & Cold Water, Child Safety Lock, Innovative Slim Design, Holds 3 or 5 Gallon Bottles-UL/Energy Star Approved, White? What is wrong with you? Are you trying to sabotage the economy? Do you get some kind of sick pleasure out of destroying America? I hope that when Dan Patrick starts gathering his ritual sacrifices for capitalism he knocks on your door first.
Fun 'n Flirty Guillotine DIY
Constable-level contributor Marina Martinez
Hey, did y'all know that according to the recent stimulus bill rich people got $1.7 million for their stimulus checks and the rest of us (who were frankly lucky to qualify) got $1,200, which is just about enough for a month's rent and that's it? That's funny, huh!
On an unrelated note, today I googled the price of how much a guillotine costs and to my astonishment, it's a mere $1,200! And even then, that's only if you buy everything 'legally'. I'd rather save my money to burn for warmth after society collapses, so today I'll be walking you through a do-it-yourself guillotine tutorial. Let's get crafty!
How To Make A Guillotine
Step 1: Gathering Materials
The classic (and most cost-effective) guillotine utilizes three main components: rope, a bunch of wood, and a sharp blade. Home improvement stores will carry most of these goodies, but since the current state of the world hinders most physical shopping - and this particular supply list might get you arrested - here are some alternative suggestions:
Wood can usually be found by hitting trees with a flimsy or stone axe. Be careful when using an actual steel axe: after three swings you might accidentally chop the tree down, and it won't grow back! Also there might be wasps.
If you find yourself without an axe, you can always look around your apartment complex; your landlord has probably wrongfully evicted some of your fellow tenants, so their broken furniture should still be lying in the courtyard somewhere. Just remember to practice social distancing with your fellow scavengers!
Your rope needn't be the classic fibrous rope that was included in your Adventurer's Pack at Level 1: you can opt for a whimsical rope made from clothes drying on a Ghibli clothesline, some old electrical cords tied with sailors knots, or maybe the dried and hardened entrails of your enemies. Really, your imagination is the limit here!
The blade is really the centerpiece of the whole shebang, so you want something that's both serviceable AND fashionable. Not all of us will be able to find an already sharpened piece of metal, but if I've learned anything from watching that one Japanese man on YouTube, it's that literally anything can become a knife if you believe it can (and also have a basic understanding of chemistry). For the sake of this tutorial, I've ripped the door off of a washing machine that my landlord said they'd fix seven months ago - yeah, that'll do it!
Step 2: Building the Dang Thing
The guillotine - also known as 'Marie Antoinette's Least Favorite Neck Massager' - can be broken down into the frame, the lunette, and the blade. Not all of us are master DIY-ers, but for projects like these, it's more about the journey than the destination!
The frame is pretty much the easiest part - you just gotta nail those pieces of wood together! Oh no, I forgot to tell you to get nails. Uh, do you have tape? Several large gluesticks? Hmm. OH! You probably already have multiple door frames where you live, right? Just rip that out of the wall and use that. Boom. Don't worry about your security deposit - nobody will worry about that when you're done!
The lunette is the 'head hole', formed by two bits of wood with a space large enough for a neck to be in. I'm great at describing things. To measure the diameter, find that Hot Topic Twilight movie tie-in replica choker your mom bought you for Christmas when you were 14; I'm not sure what the measurements are but those are the correct ones. Once you've cut two connecting semi-circles in two conjoining planks to form the lunette, slap this bad boy down at the bottom of the frame, and make sure you use some sort of secure lock to fasten the two halves together! I plan on just holding it down with the force of my rage, but you might prefer more physical means.
The most important part is the blade, which needs to be held up and released with a rope and pulley system at the top of the device. The classic guillotine has a very sharp blade with a 45* angle. I think this is still apropos - I love when random numbers match up; remind me what president we're on?
Step 3: Et Voilà!
Obviously, you're going to have to wait a while before you can really test this sucker out. But in the meantime, I guarantee it's going to make a kick-butt centerpiece in your living room! For now, if you want it to have some extra oomph when the time comes, I'd recommend spending 5-10 minutes each day imbuing your guillotine with whatever energy you have lying around: I usually have an excess of frustration and anxiety, but rage, despair, or manic glee could also work. You're really gonna want this sucker to emit an aura, and now's the perfect time to create it.
Best of luck! I know those splinters can really be a bummer, but don't forget to remember who the real enemy is. [/hunger games whistle]
What We're Watching: Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
Big fire-level contributor Alisha Simons
Something that has always fascinated me is the concept of one's own personal reality. Every person lives inside their own head, in their own "movie" so to speak, and they see the whole world through that lens. No matter how much we try to widen our scope, it naturally snaps back to its smaller norm unless we are consistently trying - and having others keep us accountable - to have a broader perspective.
In Little Fires Everywhere, we see a lot of themes that we are likely familiar with: racial segregation and differences, class discrepancies, and attempts to integrate cultures without losing too much of one or the other. But they manage to depict it just differently enough that it hits home, possibly by making an effort to paint both of the main lines of the story as real and valid.
It would be easy to say that this show is just a dramatization of events and issues that we are already aware of, and therefore is unoriginal. But for me, it really captured some things that were an integral part of my childhood: the idea that it doesn't matter how much money you have, while it simultaneously limits you in countless ways; the concept of being "color-blind" as long as no one whips out too strong a dose of their own culture that could create a clash; the generalized and permeating discomfort that comes from never actually speaking your differences out loud, even though they are obvious in every after-school interaction, every "gracious" allowance of your parent's quirks, or the feeling that you need to somehow apologize for being the way that you are, without fully understanding why.
I think this is a powerful lesson to be gleaned from this narrative - one that is familiar, yes, but is also especially applicable during this confusing time of disease, crisis, and glaring political divides. We spend so much of our time and energy judging people. Even when we purport to know someone's full circumstances, to understand where they came from and their daily struggles, we still witness their actions and truly believe they are doing it wrong. We often unconsciously think that if we were in their place, we would be more gracious, more kind, more tolerant, more conscious. But all we really see is a fairly limited movie through our own life-lens, which is made up of our own experiences and biases.
In Fires, we see so many moments of vulnerability for each character. It feels like those moments should be equalizing, that they should come to understand each other better moving forward. Somehow, though, every time this happens they just get swept again up in their own narratives and forget those revelations entirely. And this is exactly what happens in reality.
It is not possible for us to understand the range of factors that influence a decision someone else makes - we are too complex. Kerry Washington's character is a prime example of this, because if you were to take her at face-value, she might seem like a perfect stereotype of an impoverished single mother who is untrusting due to her status in a predominantly white suburb. However, what unfolds is such an intricate web of decisions and past experiences and real fears that lie behind her actions, and the idea that she is as simple as an initial impression seems laughable. While we might not all agree with the decisions this character made along the way, if we break down each different chapter of her life and try to empathize with her reasoning and emotions in that isolated period of time, it becomes a lot harder to say we would have done differently (or "better").
On the opposite side, the same can be said for the character played by Reese Witherspoon. Whether or not we agree with some of the rigid ideas that she lives her life by, knowing how she was raised to think - the social circumstances that formed her young mind, the ideals she felt she was upholding along the way - at the very least makes it obvious that she followed a trajectory she was placed on from early on, and that was not necessarily her choice to make. We see it in her children as well: they are shown to have sweet hearts and demeanors at times, but also to parrot the same ideals that were passed down from generation to generation. With no one around to question or challenge these ideas, it's not shocking that their family just accepts this as the way of the world.
This is obviously a lot to read into a fictional narrative, but my main point is this: the easy thing to do is to settle in and enjoy our life-movie from our comfortable vantage point. The difficult, challenging, and growth-inspiring decision might be to stop assuming that anyone's story is simple, and instead understand that more often than not, the exact opposite is true. If we had a person's full story laid out for us like in this show, their present day actions and expressions would probably start to make sense very quickly. That is not an easy place to get to, and many times we will not have a chance, given the superficial nature of our society. But we can give it a go.
My Last Article Was Too Sad: An Apology
Sudowoodo-level contributor Alex Speed
Is it too dated already to do a Tiger King reference? I feel like no one is really doing the whole "Hey all you cool cats and kittens" thing anymore. I know by the title you are thinking this will be one of my classic haha articles, but I can pretty much already tell you that will not be happening.
My original plan was to write about bugs. Bugs are pretty annoying but also very important. Then my stupid dumb quarantine brain immediately shot the introspection up to eleven with a ton of small-but-mighty type thoughts that at this point aren't even rooted in sincerity. It feels like my isolated brain is so starved for meaning that I am assigning pseudo-intellectual "deep thoughts" to pretty much any idea brave enough to make itself known. Like any true early twenties white guy with no one to keep his ego in check: in isolation I have become a genius.
I told Matt this and he suggested I write an apology to god for thinking bugs are dumb. The moral of that lesson is that it is easier to criticize pretty much anything than to come up with your own ideas. Seriously - have you ever tried to have an original thought or like a mildly creative piece of work? That shit is hard. However, have you ever listened to an album or looked at a painting or read the writing of a neurotic 23-year old Armenian boy and let it go from taken-in to processed in like five minutes? That shit is easy.
This is not one of those I'm-an-artist-look-at-how-hard-my-life-is rants because those are also dumb. I have a tendency to judge all works on this weird scale that I think at it's core just makes me feel better about whatever I create, sometimes at the expense of other people's creativity. Again, I'm not saying this from a place of someone who is particularly creative or artistic (I was however voted most artistic in high school and I will take that to the fucking grave, Mrs Hammer!) It just strikes me as very easy to be the first person with a criticism of any new work. Example: The Fiona Apple album came out and it is indisputably a master work of music and art. My dumbass immediately offered the absolutely expert critique that it is "repetitive" instead of just basking in a piece of expression miles beyond what I could do. The lesson here seems really simple but really important: instead of allowing myself to enjoy something beautiful I thought it would make me more interesting to be contrarian and shitty. Now I am here, up very late at night thinking about how useless it is to try to be smart.
I think my hope in writing this is to encourage myself and others to not be like a complete fucking asshole to other people. Which is funny because the title of this article says it's an apology but its really more like I'm attacking people for being mean, you idiot.
This Week's Newsletter is Dedicated To Madison
Mid-Market-level contributor Madison Bailey
So my birthday is today. I pitched the idea to Matt, our Dictator in Chief, to see if we could all just write about me and what everyone likes about me and how cool I am. Surprisingly, he said no, but that I could write anything that I wanted (note: this is no different than any other week). Therefore, these following "quotes" and "articles" are 100% real and not edited in any way and are actually truthful things that have been said about me.
This is a Clever Article Title that Includes Madison's Name
by Communist-level contributor Matt Spradling
A door swishes open and I feel the sawdust fly across my face. Daunting, looming, I lock eyes across the room, down my drink while the rhythms boom. The drink is water, reminding me of the fragility of life. Without this liquid our world would crumble. The booming rhythm is Madison's shoes, the foreboding click-clack of heel-toe, wood to tile as she approaches me. I stare at my computer with purpose, pretending I know how to string words together to write this article to look busy I think I am doing a great job but oh God now she's talking to me. She says we're friends? Jesus Christ, this is what happens when you talk to people. I regret everything and she is smothering me so much I can't think. I feel a darkness wash over me. Is this the end? Sweet, sweet relief. Madison is my best friend. Thank you.
Madison is Awesome (to the tune of Everything is Awesome by Tegan & Sara ft. the Lonely Island from the Lego Movie)
by Boss-Bitch-level contributor Sam Strohmeyer
Madison is so kind and thoughtful. One time, Madison drove me to a bar to celebrate a friend's birthday. The car ride was fun and definitely not dangerous. (She did not do a car-stop-fire-drill - the PC term I just made up for a Chinese Fire Drill - if that's what you were thinking.) I, Sam, didn't think about the possibility that this gathering could be outside. Kind, beautiful, angel Madison, before even having to ask, offered me a jacket. "WOW, thank you! You're a kind, beautiful, angel human," I replied in disbelief of what a kind, beautiful, angel creature she was. Now, she didn't just offer me ONE jacket... she popped open her trunk like an illegal New York City street vendor selling counterfeit goods to reveal an entire mobile wardrobe. "You want a rain jacket in case it rains? Maybe a nice puffy one if you REALLY get cold? I'm feelin' a nice denim jacket moment. OoOoOoOo that would look SO GOOD on you. You want black or regular denim? Cropped or long?" she exhaled all in one go. I, Sam, walked into this birthday party feelin' like a very warm 2020 stimulus check. Madison unfortunately left early, but fortunately left this urban-bear-tamer-esque black denim jacket to flaunt on my arms. This is just one example about how awesome and cool Madison is. She even killed Haas for me! Happy Birthday you kind, beautiful, angel!
Happy Birthday, Madison!
by Piano Man-level contributor Alex Speed
Hello, it is me Alex. In true Alex fashion, the article I am writing will have nothing to do with the title, unless you look at it through a very creative lens that I didn't intend for you to look through but will agree that's what it's supposed to be, because ART. I also accidentally go off on long tangents that somehow lead me down a path I can no longer turn back on. This is a cry for help. Can you hear it? ha. ha. Have you listened to Car Seat Headrest?
You're My Best Friend
by Bash-Bro-level contributor Alisha Simons
Madison - I could write an entire visual album about our friendship but it could never compete with the masterpiece that is The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience.
We are the perfect pair. Two children blindly leading each other into a forest, filled with anxiety but ultimately trusting. I love you more than my own husband and my two purrrfect kitties. I think they all love you more too.
"Madison is my greatest creation" -God
"She's alright" -My mother
"She's alright alright alright" -Matthew McConaughey" -Jake Madisonsfriend
"I would employ Madison if I was still alive" -Steve Jobs
Wow thanks everyone!!! What a great start to a great day.
Book Report: The Plague
Convalescence-level contributor Matt Spradling
This week, I read The Plague by Albert Camus, 20th Century French-Algerian "Existentialist," a term he didn't actually like but by which we usually recognize him today. The gist of that for the uninitiated is that 1. Humans naturally seek inherent meaning in the world, 2. Humans are unable to find inherent meaning in the world which is chaotic and irrational, and 3. The combination of these two things results in "absurdism," life being locked in this contradiction and the necessity for "willful experience" to forge one's own meaning in the face of this. Think Sisyphus, or Alex's article from last week (that's right, idiot.)
Anyway, Sam bullied me when I told her I was going to write a book report so I'll try to keep this short.
The Plague is about a town in the 1940's that experiences an outbreak of bubonic plague and is locked in quarantine for 10 months, haha what is that like I don't know. The main character it follows is a doctor who steadfastly attempts to help and manage the sick and generally display traits of Camus' philosophy. It's kind of one of those every-character-is-an-idea novels which is maybe a little trite but it gets the job done, and it's not necessarily unrealistic because there are plenty of days I feel like a caricature of myself amirite haha
Inasmuch as the setting reflects our current situation, it nails many of the feelings that come along with it: simple and familiar comforts like nightfall suddenly feel charged with vague menace because of what a character now knows; townsfolk become stir crazy in different ways, from staging revolts to exacerbating mental illnesses to nearly blocking out the situation altogether and fixating on their separation from loved ones; and, in a scouring-of-the-shire-esque conclusion, the realization that even though they've reached the end of this ordeal, the plague never fully goes away, and will rear its head in some other happy town in some other time, that it will be a part of our lives forever whether we ignore it or not. It's theorized, probably because of this bit, that the story was an allegory for fascism in occupied France, but I think it stands alone as an idea fine. It could just as easily be applied to my cat who hunts me, or my need for constant praise haha
There are sprinklings of class strife - the poor's wariness towards hospitals, and profiteering which bleeds the poor dry while barely affecting the wealthy. In my favorite passage, a character tells the story of how he was witness to unjust and gruesome executions as a young man, leading him to the understanding that all people have the plague, which is to say ignorance and violence, within them, and this must be continuously fought: "What's natural is the microbe. All the rest - health, integrity, purity (if you like) - is a product of the human will, of a vigilance that must never falter. The good man, the man who infects hardly anyone, is the man who has the fewest lapses of attention. It's a wearying business, being plague-stricken. But it's still more wearying to refuse to be it." This same character also describes his code of morals as "comprehension" - the responsibility to see and to reflect honestly and behave accordingly.
The simplicity of this gets at what I think is the most common underlying theme of the novel: the shock and the doldrum of reality. It is frequently described how people, to the very end, seldom grasp that something as unthinkable and antiquated as the plague could happen to them even as their neighbors are taken away. The narrator can't conceive of hundreds of millions of people having been stricken with plague throughout history until he translates those numbers into something familiar, the cinema and the town square, with hypothetical faces he knows. Such things as grand faith, sainthood, and heroism are never considered, and instead priority is given to "common decency," doing one's job, and necessary action. What comes first are the immediate requirements of reality, and only after we get through that do we look back and apply meaning to the experience.
There's much more I found interesting, but like I said, Sam, bullying, brevity, oops. One last passage I think is particularly applicable is about how, early in the quarantine and faced with the prospect of it lasting months longer than expected, many shut themselves off to these fears. The narrator describes how those who did this seemed like ghosts floating through life, stuck in the middle ground having shut themselves off to negative sensations and, in the process, positive ones as well. Better, he thinks, to truly and bravely live your ups and downs, and that requires opening yourself up to the negative.
Which leads me to...
Adolescent hulk-level contributor Matt Spradling
For most of my life I've hated anger, just kind of as a rule. Maybe that's a weird one, but just didn't like it. When I was angry, it felt gross and stressful and destructive, and when I witnessed other people being angry, it usually seemed excessive and unproductive and dangerous and, frankly, annoying (not to mention contagious). So I just avoided anger. I made sure that if something was going to make me angry, I figured out how to deal with it rationally in sort of a zen way; if someone I interacted with grew angry unnecessarily and couldn't easily be brought out of it, I gave up and ceased interacting with that person until and unless they could control themselves sometime in the future. This does not work with police officers.
There were times when that felt excessive, or perhaps unhealthy, like I was avoiding conflict because I was scared of it. I don't know if I was scared of it, but it seems reasonable to be wary of conflict, only partaking in it when necessary. I remember sports being a good middle ground for this - getting bruised up with the opposing center and hitting the ground a few times always felt fun, because sports (at least in theory) exist in a bubble and we might as well have been thumb-wrestling in terms of significance and personal stakes. Meanwhile, if an opponent ever thought I did something underhanded like tripping them (and they would be mistaken, I might add - I was a good boy) and started yelling upset about it, it would spoil the fun. No real fights for me, please see my lawyer (high school basketball referee) with any complaints and we'll contact you in three business days. But I digress. Anger: unhelpful; conflict: wary.
Lately, though, I've come around to anger a little bit. Don't our emotions serve a purpose, like senses? Wouldn't closing one off result in being less in touch with yourself, less communicative with others? It's not that drastic of a reverse-course: I think we'd all agree there are certain times when anger is an appropriate response, so it's simply a matter of carefully letting that bleed into more common occurrences rather than being reserved only for extreme circumstances. A new system at work makes your job ten times harder for no reason? Acknowledging and voicing your anger makes for clearer feedback and gets frustration out of your system. Someone's using your lamp, broom, and rolling chairs to joust during a party? Actually that's sick as hell, but you do need them to stop, and anger gets that done the fastest.
Anyway, what I'm getting to is that the start of this year was a significant and perhaps unfortunate time to let my adolescent hulk out a little bit, because now it's like I was a mosquito quietly tapping a vein and then the arm flexed extremely strongly and mosquito Matt got so much of the blood he was looking for shot into him that he exploded like a demon the Doomslayer got ahold of and I'm sorry I just used three metaphors for one idea, I just have so much politically fueled fury inside of me at this point that sometimes my vision gets a little hazy.
Which brings us to...
MATT REVIEWS: THE SIX BEST WAYS TO CHANNEL RAGE
MICHELIN-LEVEL CONTRIBUTOR MATT SPRADLING
Introductory statement & thesis: You are not crazy. Rage is an appropriate response at this time.
First body statement: DO YOU LIKE TO RIP?
RAGE AT YOUR APARTMENT MANAGERS FOR INEXPLICABLY SHUTTING THE WATER OFF FOR TWO HOURS EVERY DAY? FIND THE BIGGEST PLASTIC BOX YOU CAN AND, ONE TRIP AT A TIME, FILL IT AT THE APARTMENT POOL, CARRY IT OVER YOUR HEAD TO THE PARKING LOT AND THROW IT OVER EVERY CAR. DO THIS UNTIL THE POOL IS HALF EMPTY AND EVERY CAR IS WASHED. FEEL THE RIGHTEOUS BURN IN YOUR RIGHTEOUS QUADS.
RAGE AT THAT GUY FOR RUNNING RIGHT PAST PEOPLE WHILE EVERYONE ELSE ON THIS STREET IS KEEPING A SAFE DISTANCE? YOU'VE ALREADY BEEN EXPOSED TO EACH OTHER SO SPRINT TO CATCH UP AND RUN TIGHT, LITERAL CIRCLES AROUND HIM UNTIL HE ACKNOWLEDGES YOU. THEN CLIMB THE NEAREST TELEPHONE POLE AND SHOUT INFECT ME NOW DIPSHIT I CAN'T EVEN SEE YOU. THIS WILL CONFUSE HIM AND MAKE HIM MORE LIKELY TO PONDER THE EVENT THAT NIGHT IN THE BATH.
RAGE AT THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, AND IDEOLOGICAL LEADERS OF THIS COUNTRY FOR ALLOWING AND AIDING THE SYSTEMATIC DISMANTLING OF EVERY NATIONAL IDEAL YOU'VE EVER HELD DEAR WHILE SHAMELESSLY PROFITEERING, COLLUDING, AND ABUSING THE LEGAL SYSTEM IN SOME OF THE GREATEST PERVERSIONS OF JUSTICE THE CIVILIZED WORLD HAS EVER SEEN? USE BEDSHEETS TO TIE AS MANY PILLOWS AS YOU CAN TO YOUR BODY UNTIL YOU LOOK LIKE THE MICHELIN MAN BUT CREATED BY THE DEVIL INSTEAD OF GOD AND RUN DOWNTOWN DURING RUSH HOUR AND BOUNCE PINBALLING FORCEFULLY OFF CAR TO CAR SCREAMING KILL ME I LONG FOR THE SWEET RELEASE THAT WAS TAKEN FROM ME NEVER TO RETURN TO THIS ABSURD ASPHALT-PLASTERED LIMBO.
RAGE AT THE STAGGERING PERCENTAGE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT IS TOTALLY FINE WITH WHITE SUPREMACY, FUNDAMENTALISM, AND THE LITERAL DEATH OF DEMOCRACY DESPITE HAVING NOTHING TANGIBLE TO GAIN FROM ANY OF IT? BAKE COOKIES, CARRY COOKIES TO ROOF, SLINGSHOT COOKIES ONTO WINDOWS, CARS, TREES, AND STAIRS UNTIL INNUMERABLE HORDES OF PIGEONS AND GRACKLES ARRIVE WITH FURY SUCH AS HAS HITHERTO BEEN UNSEEN IN THE WORLD TO FEAST ON THE DOUGHY DETRITUS UNTIL YOUR HOME IS DISMANTLED AND SWEPT AWAY IN A TUMULT OF FEATHERS AND A TORRENT OF BIRDSHIT.
RAGE AT MEN WHO KEEP MAKING YOU, A MAN, LOOK BAD BY ASSOCIATION, OR YOU, A WOMAN, FEARFUL FOR YOUR HEALTH AND SAFETY? DO SOME NICE COOKING COOKING IS A WORTHY PASSTIME COOKING IS MEDITATIVE AND PRODUCTIVE AND YOU BENEFIT BY EATING AND SHARING WITH FRIENDS MMM YUM AND WHAT IS THE MEAT THEY ASK AREN'T YOU A VEGAN THEY ASK FROM WHERE DO THESE FLAVORS ARISE THEY ASK AND YOU WILL NOT TELL THEM NO YOU WILL NOT YOU WILL SMILE AND SLURP DARKLY.
RAGE AT SELF FOR FAILING TO IMAGINE OTHERS COMPLEXLY AND COMPASSIONATELY AND JUMPING TO UNFAIR AND POTENTIALLY HARMFUL CONCLUSIONS? GET RIPPED AS HELL BY WORKING OUT ALL DAY EVERY DAY AND EATING TEN CANS OF BEANS EVERY DAY UNTIL YOU CATCH SIGHT OF YOURSELF IN THE FLOOR MIRROR ACROSS THE ROOM WHILST DOING SICK HANDSTAND PUSHUPS AGAINST THE WALL AND YOU DO NOT RECOGNIZE THE DARK FACE CONSUMED BY RAGE AND SHAME AND LUST FOR POWER AND THEREBY KNOW THAT YOU HAVE KILLED THE FOOLISH BOY YOU ONCE WERE AND IN HIS PLACE HAS ARISEN A MAN WITH AN APPETITE ONLY FOR VENGEANCE AND YOU ARE BATMAN AND UH OH OOPS OH NO THIS DOES NOT SOLVE YOUR ORIGINAL MORAL QUANDARY BUT RATHER KICKS THE DIRTY BEAN CAN FURTHER DOWN THE BEAN ROAD BUT YOU ARE BATMAN SO YOU DON'T GET TO CRY.
Nocturne-level contributor Sam Strohmeyer
I took one of those popular personality tests and I was disappointed by the results. I feel reduced to just one aspect of who I am. Is that really all there is to me?
Personality tests, even the ones developed by psychologists, cannot capture the complexity of a human being. As a Type 2/ISFJ/Hufflepuff/Sagittarius Sun/Capricorn Moon I understand these sorts of things. The only way to get an all-encompassing view of who you are is to do the very personal work of finding a clear lake to lean over while you sing about your most sacred dreams. If in this time of social distance you are unable to access a natural body of water you can gaze into your pet's water dish.
My son just can't fall asleep at night, which, of course, means I don't sleep either. What can I do to make sure both of us get some rest?
Awake in Austin
When I couldn't sleep as a child my great aunt Marthagor would sing me a lullaby she learned in the Marines. It was called "Sleepy Time" and it was sung to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:
"Someday, a man is going to scare you
He will have dark hair on his head and light hair on his face
and he will ask you to choose between a watch and a mirror
You must choose the mirror
You must be willing to see yourself as you are
and not as you have been or will be
When you choose the mirror the man will laugh and laugh
He will laugh so loud and so long that your ears will burn
and your vision will cloud at the edges
and people at home in their beds miles away will awaken in fear
Your vision will fade and your toes will curl but you must endure."
That should put him right out!
The Spirit of the Beehive - fell asleep with a vision
This song is exactly one minute and 43 seconds long, thus proving a song only needs to be that long to be good. If you need more time to make your song good your song is not good. That's all I have to say about that. -Sam
Andy Shauf - Thirteen Hours
My friend Pearce had this to say about "Thirteen Hours:" "This song sounds like how a hangover (not the movie) feels." That is dead-on and the album as a whole is my favorite album of the year. -Alex
Bright Eyes - Let's Not Shit Ourselves (To Love And To Be Loved)
Remember when all there was to protest was Bush and we thought the news was bad in 2002? I was going to post the new Bright Eyes single because it's good but then I got distracted by how deep and thoroughly stacked the Bright Eyes back catalog is and came back to this one. I think Conor Oberst is genuinely the greatest American songwriter, but that's probably a dumb thing to argue about. Anyway this is one of his best early songs and really great if you want to bang on a guitar and yell for ten minutes. -Matt
LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
When this song came out I knew it would mean a lot to me in the future. LCD Soundsystem is my third favorite band and this song was a huge part of their glorious return to music. James Murphy is a very underrated songwriter but I think this album and this song let him show off a bit as a lyricist. "You're sick in the head and you wish you were dead // or at least instead of sleeping here you'd prefer your own bed". This song feels like someone got a hold of my depressed person thoughts I didn't want out in the world and set them to beautifully constructed synth crescendos. -Alex
This album came out in Fall of 2017 and Alex forced me to listen to it until I loved it which I guess is a pattern. I liked most of the album but eventually whittled it down to just this track which I listened to almost every time I drove for like a year which I guess is also a pattern. That Fall and Winter was dreary as hell and involved countless strange trips to get my car fixed after it was hit and commuting to a job I hated in the cold and never being able to see because of dirty frozen condensation on my windshield and god knows what other things I don't remember anymore. This song is the perfect soundtrack for a sort of relentless and exhausting struggle to stay alive in the 21st Century. -Matt
Fiona Apple - Under the Table
In recent weeks the only thing getting me out of my quarantine depression fog are stories of women absolutely refusing to be quiet when asked. This whole album ranks up there with the best of them. -Sam
Daphne Tunes - Funny How
A favorite local Austin group. Daphne Tunes is another gem that does not slouch on the groove or lyrics. The big pause of this song always makes me scream the chorus ending "Funny how you talk about your feelings // as if you mean them." 10/10 will make you cry and dance. -Alex
Torres - Strange Hellos
This is the song that introduced me to Torres and this is a great performance of it. She's odd and could probably beat me up and take my lunch money using only her voice. -Matt
ROSALÍA - PIENSO EN TU MIRÁ (Cap.3: Celos)
It feels like I've been trying and failing to get everyone I know into ROSALÍA since 2018. I don't know what it's gonna take for y'all to realize you have an El mal querer shaped hole in your heart. This song is super catchy and her voice is beautiful. -Sam
The War On Drugs - Under The Pressure
You're me. You're driving a Subaru through the mountains with all the windows down. You are running away from your problems so you made a playlist for the drive out to West Texas. You take a particularly robust curve in the road as this eight minute song reaches its hey-you're-really-gonna-have-to-work-for-this-one-kiddo climax and you know the world will never feel this good and this pure again, but at least you are here now. -Alex
Macklemore - Same Love
lol just kidding, this is "Andy Warhol" by David Bowie. I don't know, I'm not that familiar with this song but it came on when I was in the shower so I couldn't easily change it, and then when I listened to this guitar lick $2,000 appeared in my bank account. -Matt
Doom/Isabelle banner - photoshopped by Nautilus-level contributor Sam Strohmeyer
Scary Michelin men - some scary pinterest
Your reflection in the dark bits of your screen - god's own beauty