How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps.

Q: Ok, so I’m really bad at being PC. Why is it bad if you dress up in other races’ traditional clothes? … what’s wrong with wearing a poncho and a sombrero on a day where you can be whoever you want?

Here’s why I find it distasteful. When you dress in a poncho and sombrero, you’re not dressing as an actual thing. You’re dressing as an icky stereotype some white people have about non-white people, and pulling (inadvertently, perhaps!) a whole lot of ugly backstory in your wake.

Part of being a grown-up is being polite and sensitive to those around you, and cognizant of the fact that just because something doesn’t hurt you or your friends’ sensibilities means it’s not really offensive to some people.

Don’t get me wrong: there is no law against dressing as people of other races. You can do it, if you want! The PC police will not bust down your door and arrest you. But some people will think you’re an asshole.

If it helps, don’t have to think of it in terms of political correctness. Think about it in terms of politeness, and decency. People who are kind and decent avoid actions that hurt others unless there’s really good cause. And what’s the cause here? Just go as a jellyfish. 

17th Oct 2013 542 notes , Comments

Real quick reminder.

GUYS. You all know this already, but just a quick reminder not to dress as other races this Halloween, OK? 

17th Oct 2013 930 notes , Comments

Step 314: When you make a big life change, the first few months will probably suck. Push through it.

A good friend of mine is in the midst of pulling the trigger on something she’s wanted to do for a long time — departing Portland for Brooklyn. If you knew her, you’d know it’s the right decision, but she’s still grappling with the fear of the unknown/grief for the life one is leaving behind.

Here’s the thing about making any big decision about ending something (your physical location, your career, your relationship): the first few months that come after it suck.

For a week or so, you’ll get that novelty euphoria — so many new places to walk! New smells! New flirting opportunities, if you’re single! New desk! — and then, discomfort sets in. You miss your old things. You miss being able to know exactly where to go for good Vietnamese food, and how to get there. You get lost. You transgress some unwritten rule and feel like an asshole.

These feelings do not mean you’ve made the wrong decision. You can’t really evaluate something new at first. So when you’re feeling frustrated, when you’re feeling lost, when you’re asking yourself why, why, why you made this choice, push through it. Examine your feelings of loss from a distance — of course you miss your old city/job/significant other. The only way you wouldn’t miss it is if there was nothing redeeming about that time in your life.

So just wait. Know that your sadness will not kill you. Give it three months.


16th Oct 2013 2,394 notes , Comments

Step 313: Never, under any circumstances, begin playing Cookie Clicker


Where did the last 24 hours of my life go? What is wrong with me?

10th Oct 2013 699 notes , Comments

Some great things to have in your desk or locker at work:

  • A stick of deodorant
  • Hem tape or a sewing kit
  • A lint roller
  • Over-the-counter pain reliever. Probably ibuprofen!
  • Non-perishable, non-stinky snacks
  • Feminine hygiene product of your choice, if you are a lady. Or an over-the-top helpful dude!
  • Disinfecting wipes, so you can wipe your desk off a couple times a month.
  • Quarters
  • A travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Tissues
  • Mints or gum
  • LABEL MAKER! Ok, that one is optional, but you will be the toast of your coworkers if you are the one who can make everyone amazing labels and singlehandedly end stapler theft in your place of business.
4th Oct 2013 1,266 notes , Comments

Portland book signing: Tuesday, Sept. 17! Come and I’ll doodle you something.

Lovely readers,

I’m doing a rare book event a week from today in Portland. I guess it’s a reading, technically speaking, though I’m not sure yet what I’ll be reading. Ideally, I’d like it to be all of us confessing our adult failures, followed by swapping stain removal strategies and hookup etiquette tips, but we’ll see.

It’s happening at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at Annie Bloom’s Books, a great independent bookstore in Multnomah Village. 

So yeah, come on out, meet me and Boyfriend Dave in person and get a personalized Mean Person Jellyfish doodle.


10th Sep 2013 53 notes , Comments

Unrepentant nerdery


GUYS. Remember how, last year, I helped put on a giant live-action version of the Oregon Trail computer game? WELL IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN. Sept. 21, in Salem, Oregon. $30 for a team of four. Here are some rad pictures to tempt you:image

Bury the ill-fated fifth member of your wagon party, then sing a sad funeral dirge of your own invention!

imageGo hunting for college students dressed as bison with Nerf guns!

imageRaft a river of Derby girls armed with pool noodles!

And much more, including — new this year! — Miss Milly’s Saloon, Dance Parlor and Arm Wrestling Emporium. You can also pet some barnyard animals, or listen to live music or do old-timey crafts or learn about history because it takes place at a super neat museum!

Hopefully this has convinced you. Website is here; tickets are available here, and if you want to volunteer, shoot me an email at

3rd Sep 2013 590 notes , Comments

Adult question: How to get cheap business clothes?

Katie asks: Where would you suggest buying cheap adultish clothing?  I have to start going on job interviews and I’m at a loss.

So your first, best bet is this: if you live in a city, chances are VERY good you have a benevolent wealthy-lady association, like the Junior League. They often run thrift shops; the one in New Orleans was my go-to spot for Ann Taylor skirts with the tags still on for $7. Goodwill and Salvation Army boutique stores are also a great bet; they’ll be more expensive than normal Goodwills, but are also better-organized and have higher quality stuff.

Remember that when it comes to work outfits, particularly if you’re 22, no one expects you to have a closetful of suits. If you can get some *nice* basics — a black pencil skirt, black pants, grey pencil skirt, navy slacks and a blazer that looks nice with all these things — then you can get a lot of milage by mixing those with cheaper tops.

Remember that dresses are great, as they are just one item of clothing, and nicer-looking/conservative accessories (think pearl studs earrings and a strand of smaller pearls) dress a lot of things up. 

Finally, nice shoes make any outfit look better. I always find a lot of Nine West/Aldo/etc. mid-priced shoes for $14 a pair at Ross.

Hope this helps!

23rd Aug 2013 488 notes , Comments

Step 312: Not all voices are equally relevant in a conversation


If you are a member of a group that has privilege, and someone who does not have that privilege is good enough to be explaining their experience to you, just be quiet for a second and listen.

Really! Just for the duration of this conversation, you do not need to relate their experience to yours, or take apart what they are saying based on your own opinions, or dissect what this means to you or for you. It’s OK! You will survive without interjecting yourself and your thoughts on race/gender/sexuality/ability whatever into what this person is trying to tell you.

22nd Aug 2013 1,286 notes , Comments
Suggested desk signs for writers.

Suggested desk signs for writers.

13th Aug 2013 1,365 notes , Comments