Chain of Fools

In the digital world, fast is the only word that matters. We want our news fast. Our e-mails fast. Our movie tickets, restaurant reviews, IMs, and television shows streamed- fast, fast, fast, fast. With access to endless gadgets to satisfy our lust for knowledge, we often unknowingly enter a race where ‘first’ isn’t always the desired place.

Just say, “NO.” to chains. Do it in separate languages if needed.

Enter the chain letter. Ever since we can remember, our online identities have encountered them. They range from the messages of hope and inspiration made to brighten your day to the Sent to everyone on your aunt’s (or mom’s) email address book, as a 15 part text message forwarded from China, and even our social networks. Bad grammar aside, we take these messages for what they’re worth (I mean, it came from my first grade best friend!), and pass them on in fear of the consequences located near the end. There’s always a consequence. Someone likely falls victim to a chain message about every 1.8 seconds. Because I care, I will offer a couple of tips to make sure it isn’t you:

  • Got common sense? Use it. If Bill Gates wanted to pay 5 cents for every email sent in the name of Insert Sick Kiddington, he’d probably go for something a bit grander than an email whose origin can’t be found. If Mark Zuckerberg wanted to introduce some kind of pricing structure for Facebook, he wouldn’t rely on a bunch of people to spread the word and make your profile change color just to prove you did it. Not when he has access to your personal contact information, favorite movies and music, and brand preferences.
  • Doesn’t sound right? Fact-check it. When you come across the latest rumor on your smartphone, tablet, or netbook, why not perform a quick search to check the legitimacy before just copying and pasting? The latest Facebook rumor started with the words “it was even on the news.” Whose news? Where is the proof?  Google is your friend. Snopes is your friend. Bookmark them on your fancy gadgets and race to know the truth before you post blindly. 
  • Is it in all caps? Probably a bust. No grownup should use all capital letters when relaying a message that’s meant to be taken seriously. Traditionally, an all caps message meant the sender is yelling at you, but today, it’s likely not the case. Something about any text written in all capitals makes me want to automatically skip over it, convinced the sender hates me from head to . The same could be said for horrible grammar, nonexistent punctuation, and the Comic Sans typeface.  

When all else fails, you can just say no to the chain. That little girl’s ghost WILL NOT haunt you at 11:11 if you don’t forward. Your true love WILL NOT suddenly awaken from a stupor and make your world a happily ever after one. Long lost Nigerian relatives DO NOT have a sudden fortune bequeathed to you solely. Surprisingly, the world continues to go on as if these outcomes have no impact. Perhaps the world is onto something.

You know what, though? The chain can end with you. Stop the foolishness.

Don’t Be a Link to the Chain(s),

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Kickstarting Awkward Black Girl Domination


So, in my last post, I praised Issa Rae and her brilliance with her webseries The Misadventures of AWKWARD Black Girl. So far, the series is about 6 episodes in, and episode 7 should launch next week (first Thursday each month, for those who like keeping track). The cast and crew were originally going to end the first season at episode 7, but with the onslaught of support received recently, they decided to extend it.

To do this, though, they need our help. There is a kickstarter account available for friends, admirers, and well-wishers to donate to, and no amount is too small. If my words don’t convince you, perhaps this video with insight from the cast about the intentions of this project will sway you. If not, maybe “A’s” FAHNNESS will sway you.

I’ve said it before, and I wholeheartedly believe it: WE NEED THIS. Not only for the awkward quirky Black girls, but for the awkward quirky people all over the world. Someone can find a way to relate to any aspect of this series, and that raw honesty is what I adore about it.

In the meantime, if you’ve watched all episodes of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and are biding your time between episodes, check out some of Issa’s other projects. I highly recommend Dorm Diaries (produced when she was still in undergrad) and FLY GUYS Present: “The F Word” (links take you to the first episode of each- you’re welcome).

Happy weekend, friends! May you find joy and laughter, no matter what state of awkward you find yourself in!

*tries to salute y’all; karate chops my own throat*

Uh… I meant to do that.

Brother, Can You Spare 25,000 Dimes?

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Summer Showdown: Tips To Keep Your Cookouts Hassle-Free

Dust Those Tables Off.

We never thought it would come, but sign of the season are ringing out: The (scary) park geese have returned, squirrels are trying to jack me for my ice cream, sunsets are happening AFTER Wheel of Fortune, and spontaneous car wash parties to Will Smith’s “Summertime” are prevalent. Summer is near, friends! With that said, I know hemlines are elevating as people find more and more reason to be outside. One of the most popular outdoor getaways during the season include the cookout. Memorial Day (in the US) is coming up, and because I care, I have compiled a list of tips to help your summer cookouts go a little bit easier:

The invite- Make sure to give people notice when planning an outdoor grillfest. Summer is also the season for impromptu road trips and getaways, and the last thing you need is to show up all dressed up for a party: population 1. Decide if you’re going to host, or if you’ll provide an arena and the basics, leaving guests and well wishers room to bring a dish.

Accepting- If someone has been hospitable enough to invite you to their shindig- a prompt response is not only a suggestion, but a requirement. Not to mention, if you plan on bringing your plus one (or two, or twenty), you should double check with the host to make sure that’s cool- don’t bring all of those folks if the host didn’t get enough hot dogs at Sam’s Club! That’s just rude. Also, if invited to someone’s home, bring something- a side dish (desserts and snacks count), a ‘thank you’ gift for the host, a smile and a helping hand… anything helps.

The setup/service- Personally, this is the area where I have the most issues with, mostly due to disorganization and an act I call ‘hovering’- After you’ve served yourself, you continue to hover in the general direction of the food service area, blocking other people’s way to the goods. Please, please, PLEASE don’t do this! Between that and sitting at the same table(s) where food is being served, nothing gives me the heebie jeebies more in an outdoor service station situation. For your convenience, I made up this diagram designed as an aerial view of your serving space (below; click to enlarge)to help your service line flow a little easier. The key is sticking items and their complements alike; ain’t no reason the hot dog buns need to be on the next to the desserts if the hot dogs are 15 serving trays before.

Food etiquette- If you read my Thanksgiving post, you’d know I don’t advocate you trying out new things on unsuspecting crowds. Just because Sandra Lee made a Kwanzaa cake with corn nuts and Cool-Whip doesn’t mean you can (or SHOULD) even think about trying1. Make something easy, and try to label your dish in some way if it isn’t easily identifiable. If you’re going through the line and don’t know what something is, don’t poke and prod and say, “What IS that?” in a loud voice to no one in particular. It comes off as super rude and insensitive. If you’re not sure about something, just take a small serving, find the person who made it, and politely ask them what’s in it if you have allergy or similar concerns. Speaking of small servings, keep in mind (especially if you’re among the first in the line for your first round of many) how many people are behind you, and even those yet to arrive. With that said, don’t pile your plate like you haven’t eaten all day, even if it is true. Save some for others! That goes for you, too, you serial “make a to-go plate for home first, then make a for-now eating plate” makers. Just cut that out entirely.

The fun- Bring stuff! Bring your volleyballs, basketballs, or if you’re like me and sporting goods randomly end up hitting you in the face… the badminton rackets and shuttlecocks *stifles laughter*2. Bring your board games and your card games3. The goal is fun, and don’t let the rain be a deterrent; just have a backup plan just in case. If you don’t have suggestions of making things happen, you have no right to complain about the quality of entertainment. Your bad. *shrug*

Disassembling- Try and be a bit helpful in the cleanup, and not just run off after you’re all tired and sweaty from whatever calorie burning activities you’re engaged in. This is usually the time when your host(s) are playing “Match the leftovers/dishes” to the owners, and the longer you take gloating about your high school volleyball skills before that thing happened to your knee, the longer it will be before your host can call it a night. Ideally, you would have kept an eye on whatever you brought (WITHOUT hovering the serving table), and known what was left. If you have leftovers, make arrangements for them- are they going to your house, someone else’s house, or the trash? If you’ve brought a dish, do you want it back? This is even true for the disposable ones (It’s a recession, and folks are trying to be green with ev.uh.ree.thang.). Help out with some of the cleanup- empty ice from coolers, put the fire(s) out, and make sure the kids are still visible. Offer thank-yous, swap recipes, and promise to do it all again!

With these rules, I hope your summer gatherings can be full of light, love, and happy bellies. Happy Memorial Day, too.

Yours in Trying to Figure Out Why These Coals Didn’t Light Again (Eff it, we’re going wood!), 

1 For video of the offensively infamous Kwanzaa cake experiment, click here. Not for those with weak stomachs.
2 Yes, I know I am a child. *snorts*
3 With cards, be careful. A wary game of spades can mess up friendships, marriages and mortgages. Consider this your warning. Stick to lesser games if you’re not that fancy.

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