Manifesto of a New iPhone User- My Promise



Just imagine this is the logo on the phone.

Hi, there.

If you can’t tell by the title, I’ve joined “the cult.” A little over two weeks ago, I was waiting on a very special delivery. I heard very special things about this gadget, and to make a good first impression, I might have dolled myself up a little. UPS was playing with my emotions, sending me texts that a package was on my doorstep. It wasn’t there, and I was upset… but I kept waiting, reapplying lip gloss, and primping. When that lovely little parcel arrived, I opened it, and expected magic. I mean, it is the number one smartphone in the world, and after having Palms for the last 7 years (and being comfortable enough with webOS), I was ready for something different. Too bad I didn’t get the memo that phones can’t do like Laddie, the super-dog from The Simpsons that gathers a fruit basket for you upon opening.

After a few hours, though, I was convinced that this investment was pretty much worth it, but in the interest of my social life, I cannot allow myself to become an apple-holic. In order to keep my priorities intact and stay marketable for a husband one of these days, I’ve prepared a manifesto of sorts. For those unfamiliar with the term, a manifesto is simply a written declaration of intentions, intended to be a focus for my duration of my reign as an iPhone user. Count down with me, and feel free to apply these to your life where necessary.

The New iPhone User’s Manifesto
As a new iPhone user, I promise the following: 
  • I will not preface every verb with a little i. iSee a lot of iFans do this. iThink it’s a way for people to be unified in their iStandom. It can be a little fun in the beginning, but after about 20 minutes, it gets old. We get it- you pledge allegiance to the iPhone. 
  • I will not turn every question into a new episode of “Ask Siri.” To be quite honest, the idea of Siri actually scared me in the beginning. A “virtual assistant” that catered to your every need by voice? I wasn’t buying it- mostly because I feel the stuff I ask Siri to do at this point, I can do a lot faster myself. Besides, I’m never really that busy to where Siri has to set my alarm, send a text for me, or reschedule a (nonexistent) appointment on my calendar. If you’re that important, then knock yourself out with those features. Of course, since Siri is still in beta, it’s actually more fun to just ask her (I think she’s a girl) random questions and see what she’s talking about. 
See what I’m saying? Photo Credit: Sh*t That Siri Says
  •  I will not use every conversation as a segue into the mission of “convert everyone into Mac/iPhone users.” This is probably one of my biggest gripes about Mac users. Some of them operate under this aura of self-importance, as if Windows is that much beneath them. I personally can use either, and have no qualms about which is seemingly better. If a Mac’s around, I’ll use it. If a PC is available, I likely bought it because I can afford it. No need for me to sing the praises of (the late) Steve Jobs, or try and down everything Microsoft or Palm has ever done for me just because I have this new gadget. Truth is, I like gadgets in any form, so redeeming qualities can be found in anything for me. 
  • I will not become an instagram/hipstamatic/phototoaster etc. “photographer.” You’ve seen them- the seemingly endless streams of photos on someone’s facebook or twitter profile. How many ways can one doctor up the same photo? What is the appeal of editing photos to look like they were all created decades before any of us were born? The fact that some use this medium as their primary photography method completely bothers me. I’ve tried instagram, and let me tell ya, THERE ISN’T MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 80 FILTERS. For the sake of comparison, I’ll add two photos I just took, one normal, and one with special effects: 
My laptop before. Check the lap desk.
My laptop- Instagrammed.
See? It’s still a crappy photo, just with flair, finesse, and technique! I wish it could be a deeper photo, that symbolized the struggle of my fingers amidst the keyboard, but seriously, that ain’t that. Filters don’t make your photos deeper or inherently more interesting. Please… don’t subject your friends to endless streams of this. If you still insist on it, at least take down the sharing settings. 
 
Any of you former or current iPhone users have any important tips or recommendations for me, just to make sure I don’t tee off the general population? Feel free to share below. 
Siri will never rule everything around me, 
Beez
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Jimmy Kimmel – Cruelty to Children!

I must admit (for those who already don’t know), I have a soft spot for children.

The little precious puffs I watch on a regular basis, and those that I don’t watch as much all hold a special place in my gargantuan heart. In my eyes, they can do no wrong. In my mom’s eyes, they’re my babies. That I didn’t have the pleasure of giving birth to.

With that said, I do love watching them grow, and their logic development process. Their ability to take everything so literally is astounding. Sometimes, I wonder where I went wrong with over-thinking things. When a three year old refuses to have her Snow White doll wear Cinderella’s dress (even though Cinderella’s dress is currently on Ariel), because “that’s not how it goes,” it can be tiring. Never mind how or why Cindy’s dress bibbity-bobbity-booe’d over to Ariel anyway. “Ariel needed a dress- she’s nakey!” Fine, kid. Fine. She didn’t take too kindly to my paper towel dress suggestion, but  I was ready to move on from doll-play.

I realize that sarcasm does not work well with the two-to-four-year old set, but it makes me happy, darnit. It just does. That, and as the five year olds will say,  “tricking them.” That, friends, is a process in which you tell a blatant untruth, to see if the tiny brain will uncover it. Usually, it ends up with the little on erupting in giggles, because they just KNOW Mickey Mouse does not quack. No matter how many times you try and tell them.

This past Halloween, Jimmy Kimmel (whose show I’ll admit I never watch until there are good music guests- AND he has The Roots as a band!) instructed parents around the country to “trick” their offspring, by telling them this past Monday that their Halloween candy was eaten overnight. Not by the demented Cavity Fairy, but by their own moms and dads. The reactions were recorded, and hilarity ensued.

The range of emotions that a child can go through in a minute’s worth of time is amazing. The giggly faces, to the straight-faces, to shock, to wallsliding, denouncing of mother’s love, to paper throwing… these kids showed their emotions. ALL of them. That little boy that punched the wall, though? No bueno.

The last little boys in pajamas were TOO adorably snarky. “…you’re a SNEAKY MOM!” “Well, that’s just great. You’re gonna have a bellyache.” Well, they do what they hear…

Would you ever pull a prank like this on your kids, or have you already? Christmas is coming soon- would a “Santa Didn’t Come” be too much? I’m pretty sure future Baby Beezes will just have to grin and bear it. Because I will trick them. And roast them when they cry. Then love them, and bake cookies for being such sports with an ignant mama.

Happy Friday!
Beez

PS- Next week, I’m taking a trip. Out of the country. 🙂

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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),
Beez

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Operation White Cake Just Raised the Bar.

Yesterday, in my usual Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr rotation, I came across a video that might as well had been labeled The Cutest Thing Ever. You see, this guy Shawn decided his girlfriend of 7 years was definitely the one he wanted (No Zukko). They had plans to elope in Vegas then announce it casually among friends soon after. However, Shawn decided girlfriend Colleen deserved much more than that, and in a series of conversations for a year, Shawn recorded details of what would make a wedding perfect for Colleen, then made it happen.

Yes, you heard that right. He planned a wedding down to the details she wanted. Had her dream dress flown in, the family members and friends on location, and the crew of bridesmaids dressed and ready to go. All that was needed was a willing bride. That part would (hopefully) come soon enough.

Everybody in attendance was at the designated spot before Colleen, so those who weren’t in the know were informed that the bride-to-be didn’t even know of this surprise. It was like a surprise party, except with a white dress, new rings, and a marriage license as parting gifts. Shawn threw in some lovely quotables from The Princess Bride as an added touch, and began to pace nervously, awaiting his girlfriend’s arrival. He hoped if she said yes, everything she needed was available, since he even arranged for all of her bedroom furniture to be on-site, in the same arrangement she has it at home. Seriously, this guy needs an award. If not for making me lose my thug at the phrase “Martha Stewart paper balls,” then for having such an immaculate attention to detail when planning what (I’m told) is one of the most significant days of a woman’s life. Colleen is, quite possibly, the luckiest woman on earth.

*cue applause and awwwws*

With the onslaught of surprise proposals I’ve seen recently, this took it up a notch. I’d definitely be down if the man in my life decided to just go for what he knew and plan the most splendid shindig of my life. I’d catch about 50 jigs knowing I’d never get a chance to flap my Bridezilla wings. I’m not saying I have them, but wedding planning just seems to bring out the ugly in some women.

Oh, and here’s the video detailing this day-long journey from girlfriend to fiancee to wife. Feel free to send them well-wishes at operationwhitecake@gmail.com.

So…
Would any of you be willing to

  • plan and coordinate surprise nuptials for your beloved, or 
  • gladly participate if my love decided to pull something like this off? 

Discuss.

That’s love in the air, not sulfur.
–Beez

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It’s Friday So Laugh: The Literal Video

Happy Friday!

Almost the weekend for those of us behind desks, in cubicles, or roaming coffee shops for free Wi-Fi. I know most of you are counting down the hours, minutes, seconds, and heartbeats until your weekend begins. Most of you are already mentally clocked out of work, and looking for activities to bide your time. If you’re in the mood for a laugh, I present for approval of the Hive Dwellers (that’s y’all!), the literal video.

What is a literal video, Beez? you ask. Well, it’s a trend I found on YouTube that basically highlights the truth that often, music videos have nothing to do with the songs. The makers of these videos then superimpose lyrics of what’s actually happening in the video (stage and camera direction included) to the tune of the original song, and laughs are had by all. Or just me. So here, I’ll introduce you to some of my favorites. No particular order.

10 “Take On Me”- A Ha
The creator of this video apparently started the trend with it. I am forever thankful to this person.

9 “Total Eclipse of the Heart”– Bonnie Tyler **Embedding’s disabled, so you’ll have to click the link**
What kind of private school would let in these kind of guys? It started off as Hogwarts, now it’s Lord of the Flies!

8 “Love Is A Battlefield” Pat Benetar
Just wait for the choreography scene.

7 “Ghostbusters” Ray Parker
Yes, the movie theme. My only gripe is the sound is a little faint at times. Or through the whole thing.

6 “Sex and Candy” Marcy Playground
The voice is pretty accurate… I need more ‘mmmmb’s, though.

5 “Just a Friend” Biz Markie
Even works for rap videos, where your butlers walk with gangsta leans.

4 “Hello” Lionel Richie
Way to highlight the stalker aspects of this video.

3 “Fireflies” Owl City
I know a lot of folks hated this song, but I find it special. Love the literal video being frustrated with pacing.

2 “I Wanna Sex You Up” Color Me Badd
I think part of what makes it funny is the horrible singing. Pelvic thrust, right jab, Sosa.

1 “Billie Jean” Michael Jackson
I’m sure you know if there was a Thrillermaker video made, I was including this on the list, right? This was actually the first one I ever saw, and alerted me to the trend. Duh-nuh. Elbow dance!

So, what do you think? Will the literal versions of these songs be stuck in your head like they are in mine? Which is your favorite? If you have any favorites not on the list, feel free to share.

Happy Weekend!
Beez 

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Kickstarting Awkward Black Girl Domination

Hi!

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?
–Beez

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Confessions of an Awkward Black Girl

Hey, there.

If any of you are my friends on facebook (sidenote- I should get one of those fan pages, eh?), you know that I have been raving for MONTHS about the webseries, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. If the name alone doesn’t catch your fancy as it did for me, allow me to give you a brief overview of the series. The protagonist, J (played by writer/director Issa Rae) is awkward, black, and a woman, so we get to see how she navigates those three unchangeable aspects in everyday life. She shares that internal dialogue that we often have when faced with situations that, to the average person, are nothing, but to the awkward person, it becomes the BIGGEST THING EVER. A perfect example is the protocol for running into someone repeatedly at stop signs, highlighted in the very first episode, shown below.

With that said, this series is EVERYTHING. Being a black woman, it’s hard to find a series out that wants to accurately depict us as something other than basketball jumpoffs or Atlanta socialites. Some of us love quirky too- heck, some of us ARE quirky! Sure, there are shows out there that feature black people, like that one guy on The Office…

Yay-diversity!

… or that one lady from Parks and Recreation that isn’t Rashida Jones, who is Black but they probably never mention it , who I can only call ‘mmm-hmmm,’ because that’s all she seems to say…

Mmm-hmm (Note: she actually does say more than this)

…but there isn’t a show that features a girl that looks like me as the main character, engaging in normal activities outside of auditioning for the next Immature video, and that sucked, until TMOABG (word to acronyms) came on the scene. In honor of the show, I decided to embrace my own brand of awkward, and highlight some features in my daily life that I can’t help because of it:

  • Meeting New People– I’ll be honest: I suck at this. Because I’m an observer by nature, I tend to be on the tail end of meeting folks, in order to avoid the crowds and get to know you on my own terms. Plus, when there’s so many people and things to do, I get a bit flustered, and start to wonder about silly things, like where my hands need to be at any given moment. Uh, pause. Plus, my perception is a mofo, so even before our firs encounter, I may be able to pick up on your entire being in a way that will scare you and I both. Not in a creepy way, but I’m just usually spot on with my first impressions.
  • Conversation Style– Admittedly, I have a bit of a short attention span, yet it gets better with the more things I’m involved in. I actually prefer talking on the phone more than in person, and don’t care much for texting, except with folks I know won’t respond with k’s and o’s. That said, if engaged with you one on one and my eyes start darting, don’t take it personally. Rest assured I’m still paying attention, and listening well. I just need to figure out where my hands go. Pause. 
  • Facial Expressions- My face tells everything I’m thinking, intended or not. If I know and trust you really well, I can even have a full conversation with you based on these expressions. Even if I’m not expressing myself with words, which I admittedly suck at, my faces will usually be your clue as to whether I’m really into your story about *insert whatever you’re talmbowt,* or if I’m replaying an episode of Legends of the Hidden Temple in my head, and mad that the kid can’t put together the Shrine of the Silver Monkey (seriously- it’s three pieces: butt, middle, and jam the head. WHY DO THEY TREAT THIS LIKE PHYSICS?!).
  • Interaction with Babies– My past, present, and future is Nanny McBeez. With that in mind, people think I this magical infant guru who can speak in soothing tones to their wee ones and they gleefuly comply. More often than not, this is not the case. I despise baby talk, so I speak to infants like they know what hedge funds are. When soothing them, I urge them to think about their lives and their choices. When they decide to make messes, I give them a Powerpoint presentation on the effects of littering. I suppose my unwavering patience is what eventually wins me over with the pre-walker set.
  • Inability to Take Compliments- This is, by far, the most awkward thing I do. Every time I get complimented on something, my brain processes it as “you’re messed up somewhere- and it’s BAD!”  which leads me to downplay the compliment the complimenter was trying to compliment me on in the first place. *takes breath* Still with me? The conversation that follows is usually what cements my place in the awkward hall of fame. For example: 
    • Nice person- Hey, I like your eye makeup. 
    • My Internal Monologue- You didn’t pluck your eyebrows- YOU LOOK LIKE DRAKE IN THE FACE! 
    • Me (out loud): Uh… thank… you? I mean… I don’t do this too often, so I was sure I left the house with my certificate from Tammy Faye’s School of Messed Up About the Face-Ness For Colored Girls Who Considered Wet and Wild When MAC was Too Expensive.
    • Nice Person: Uhhhhrrrrmm… Nebmind. *runs away*

Because, as always, I’m working on being a work in progress, I am now aware that my state of awkwardness begins in my head, where all of this wacky stuff takes place. Then again, as the famous knitter Albus Dumbledore once said, “Of course it is happening inside your head… but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” With acknowledgment comes acceptance, and with acceptance comes… t-shirts.

Series creator, Issa Rae, with the phrase of my life. Get them here.

If you want to watch more episodes beyond the first, you can find them at the website, or on YouTube. Follow on facebook or twitter if you have it, too.

Sharing time! How awkward do you allow yourself to be, in the company of yourself and/or others? 

Hoping none of my clients call CPS on me,
Beez

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So, Now I Can Kick* Back and Relax!

Friends,

I come with a special announcement today, but what good is getting to the point of it all, when I can mess with your heads for a bit? It has been a while. Anyway, how many of you all were born in the 80’s, like me? The decade(s) in which we grew up provided pop culture references for a lifetime. I could just start a game of “Remember _____?” with you all now, and watch your eyes glaze over as you recall fond memories of:

  • Smurfs
  • Snap bracelets
  • Goosebumps books
  • The Simpsons when they were funny
  • Finish the theme lyrics- Some times, some crimes, go slipping through the cracks… 
  • Lisa Frank ERRTHANG (seriously, how many rainbow pony penguins can one fit on a pencil?)
  • Baggy overalls and decorating t-shirts with puffy paint
  • Days before Apple Bottom jeans and boots with the fur would have been laughed at

Even images can send you into a frenzy. For example, let’s get Exhibit A out and see who doesn’t turn into a pile of mush:

Stick Stickly is my homeboy. I still remember his address.

Takes you back, right? Well, I’ve been reliving my childhood a bit, thanks in part to Netflix. I recently re-discovered classics such as Rugrats, Madeline, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and VR Troopers again, and have turned it into a MST3K-type viewing experience. How awesomely cheesy is that! So, yesterday, I was feeling all nostalgic on the Twitter, and tweeted the following:

Word.

I feel as an adult, I’d be able to identify more with the quirky humor of Pete squared, or The Adventures of Pete and Pete. Digging up some of my old favorites, like Ren and Stimpy and Rocko’s Modern Life (also on Netflix), clued me into how ridiculously mature the themes of those shows were. How is it that my younger  eyes, ears, and mind only scratched the surface of the material, and it was still great? Pleasantries and similar thoughts of awesome were exchanged between myself, Nick, and That Ethiopian or Whatever He Is Boy, and I went on about my day. Later on, I received a message from Nick, informing me of what I can only deem the BEST NEWS EVER (and the point of this post): SNICK is coming back- and soon!

Come. On. Jesus.

 That’s right, friends. On July 25th, we can begin to partake of the shows of years past, according to the TeenNick blog. I, for one, cannot wait. I have a lot of questions that need to be answered, such as:

  • Why was a boy allowed to just climb in and out of Clarissa’s room all willy-nilly, without even announcing himself? Furthermore, what exactly did she explain, besides a whole lot of nothing?
  • Am I REALLY afraid of the dark? 
  • Are Earboy’s ears really as big as Pizza Face claimed they were?
  • Who gave Little Pete a tattoo?
  • Why was Cousin Skeeter the only puppet in a family of humans?
  • When Alex Mack turned into her traveling puddle, where on Earth did her clothes go?
  • Was Allen Strange really all that strange, or just misunderstood?
  • Why did Nickelodeon feel like a pie in the face or slime was the cure-all punishment? 
  • What was the THAT which you couldn’t do on television?

Man, I could go on for ages. Let’s just say that on the 25th, I will be GLUED to a television like never before. For those of you with children, you’ll get to share a bit of your history with them, and see if they enjoy it as much as you do! I wonder if some of the old game shows will be aired, too. I loved some Legends of the Hidden Temple (outside of those boors that couldn’t put together a THREE PIECE monkey), Nick Arcade, and GUTS. I’m about to cry from excitement. What am I supposed to do for the next… 13 days? Lawd! I guess I could always, uh…

…attempt to do this.

Maybe I’ll say words I never thought to say before now, like “Thank you, Nick Cannon (who is the chairman at TeenNick).” That actually felt funny, so I’ll just continue to squee and bounce around until the 25th.

What were some of your favorite shows from the SNICK lineup, or from Nickelodeon in general? Will you be in front of someone’s television come July 25th?

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a jingle…
Write to me, Beez Hunny, PO Box 620,
Won’t disclose my city, or my state, but the zip code ends in eight!

PS- Check out the first letters of the first 5 words in the title. 🙂 

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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!), 
Beez

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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We Get It: You Don’t Care

Royal news got you sluggish? Try a Snickers. 



On this joyous of occasions, when I have decided to pull my space (no Tom)  out of semi-retirement, I have decided to delight you in some of the things that have been garnering my annoyance as of late.

Today’s topic: The person(s) who never stop talking about how they don’t care about something.

I’ll admit: I am currently watching the Royal Wedding, and though I didn’t really commit to participating either way, my curiosity drew me in. For me, the viewing began a learning of traditions and customs that I wouldn’t necessarily find in my home country. As an added bonus, I got to see old money at work.

What I didn’t get, though, is for days now, the stream of tweets, facebook statuses, and the like about how they don’t care. Statements such as “I’m all out of dambs/f***s to give about the royals” and the like permeated my timeline(s). The only thought I could muster up in response, though, is “If you don’t care, why must you keep saying it?”

Perhaps it’s just me, but when I genuinely do not have an interest in something, I let it go. No talks, no tweets, no facebook statuses. In fact, if I’m really in an uncaring mood, I’ll even log out of all of my social networks and do something that I take joy in, instead of bringing the gloom and doom in honor of showing my disdain for something.

Of course, there are the arguments of how the news coverage is extensive. My question to you: When has it not been for event like this? We bawled and hugged for our President’s inauguration; we juked and slid all across the country, starting at the Apollo Theater, when MJ passed (during the five year interim between his passing and burial) ; and of course, whenever a former President passes away, the WHOLE WORLD STOPS to pay respects. What I see, however, is a lack of… I don’t know what to call it. Tact? Tolerance? Give a care about something else that may or may not necessarily be in your bubble? Let’s go with the last one.

I know it’s hard to pretend as if we’re happy for other people in the world, especially when regular news is going on all day, every day. What about the regular people getting married today, also? I wish them well, too. If I could Google them, I’d satisfy my curiosity in that area, also. You know what, though? We don’t have their names. What we do have, however, is a bit of a distraction- a glimpse into a little bit of happy, in a world that continuously emits sad. For this, I’ll take those few hours. Knowing that once it’s all over and done, and the Duke and Duchess (among their other titles) kiss, I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled life, and so will they. It’s not idolatry or any other word you can think of– just entertainment. An escape. Does it mean my heart is any less interested in the tragedies from the recent tornadoes, or the clusterfarce of mess going on with our President and the birthers, or the major marathon taking place through my city this evening? Not at all.

.
Truth, courtesy of @CheapSeatFan

Seriously, though? We’re going to take the fun out of a traditional event, because other stuff is going on? I mean, whenever the Real Housebabymamas competing for the love of some b-list celebrity’s facial secretions is on, people tune in like it’s a life or death situation. Any time there’s a football, soccer, hockey, or table tennis game, my timeline is filled with reactions. Do I care? Not really. Do I spend days echoing the statement? …FUH WHAT?!

Anyway, I said all of that to say we get it. You don’t care. You don’t know them, you don’t to, you’d rather watch Coming to America, sip Crown Royal, or extract your toe jam. On a scale of never to one, your level of uncaring is beyond the low point. I suppose it would be bad for me to say that I don’t care that you don’t care, then, eh?

*drops mic*

Congratulations Duke and Duchess. Or Earl and Lady. Or Baron or Baronness… whichever titles they prefer. I hope their marriage is full of love and all of that other stuff no one will get to see. 
Have a good weekend. I’ll be back with another minor annoyance next week.

Don’t call it a comeback,
Beez (or, for the remainder of the day, the Duchess of Cornbread *adjusts monocle*)

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