How To Tell If The Dog In A Movie Is Going To Die

How To Tell If The Dog In A Movie Is Going To Die

There are a lot of things that can ruin a movie, like a bad storyline, second-rate special effects, an unbelievable romance, or Tara Reid, but nothing wrecks a movie quite like an animal getting killed. Of course it’s gut-wrenching when any animal (except a shark or a mean dinosaur) dies in a movie – I’m thinking of Bambi’s mother and Mufasa and getting a bit misty – but when a dog dies in particular, you want to rewind your entire life and decide to take a nap instead of watching the movie in question. You want to brainwash yourself and return to that sunshiney place of ignorance where that fictional dog lived, safely contained in its 90 minute Blu-ray adventure.

If you’re nodding your head right now, chances are you’re like me: You can easily keep a dry eye through any number of human deaths in a movie, but you become hysterical at the mere thought anyone might touch a hair on the sweet Beagle’s kissable head. The outcome of the movie Titanic or Game of Thrones weighs heavy on your heart, but you’ll survive. Yeah, it’s unfortunate many of the characters didn’t make it, but they’re human beings and we can totally get more. People are a dime a dozen, but where else can we find a talking Golden Retriever or an Alaskan Malamute that rescues skiers from an avalanche other than in movies that by all rights should have a happy ending?

There is rarely legitimate reason for the dog in a movie to die. Whenever a dog dies in a movie, I imagine the screenwriter sitting at their writing desk, adjusting one of those adjustable Pixar office lamps thinking, “What’s the most messed up thing I could do? Hm, I could give the guy who just fell in love terminal cancer at a time in his life when he should be at his prime… No. Too Nicholas Sparks. I know! I’ll have the spunky little girl kidnapped and strapped to a bomb! Too predictable… Wait a second. I’ve got it. I’ll have someone shoot the family’s Labrador Retriever in a scene that doesn’t further the plot in any conceivable way.”

Maybe you’re thinking about a movie like Cujo, where the dog in question is kind of crazy. Or perhaps you’re thinking of Old Yeller or that scene in Of Mice and Men. These dog deaths are still heartbreaking, but those aren’t the kind of unexpected losses that makes you want to bawl for the rest of your life and give up movies forever, because no film has enough entertainment value to compensate for the possibility of seeing a loveable dog die. Over the years, I’ve become better at identifying when a movie may lead to an unexpected dog death. If you want to absolutely certain, you can check out Does The Dog Die, recently featured on Long Awkward Pause, it’s a database that allows you to search movies to see if any dogs are killed or injured. But in case you happen upon a movie and the battery on your phone is dead, look out for these movie dog death warning signs.

There’s An Adolescent Who’s a Loner

It’s often a boy with shaggy brown hair and a twinkle in his eye that screams, “I summon you plot to show me how unfair the world really is!” If the movie you’re watching features a kid who’s being bullied or doesn’t fit in at school and through some unlikely series of events (like a wily stray outsmarting an overweight dogcatcher) the kid becomes a dog owner, just assume the dog is going to die by the end of the movie. This is especially true if the little munchkin is afraid of the dog or doesn’t want to take care of the dog.

The Mom Or Dad Didn’t Like The Dog, But Now The Dog Has Become A Member of the Family

If the mom or dad has been particularly bitchy to the dog, but then based on the dog’s performance through some traumatic event has decided to embrace the pet as a member of the family, letting him or her sleep on the bed and eat “people food,” the dog is almost definitely going to die. In the movie business, this is what they call the Heartwrenching Acceptance Switcheroo. The Heartwrenching Acceptance Switcheroo tricks viewers into thinking the dog is invincible, because surely if the skeptical head of the household can accept the animal, it can survive anything for movie purposes! It’s come so far! You are wrong. No dog is safe.

The Movie Has Been Otherwise Upbeat And There’s No Reason The Dog Should Die

So everything’s been going great in the movie. The dog has settled into its home, and it probably has some adorable routine with the kids where it carries their backpacks to the car or changes the baby’s diapers or something. At some point in the movie, the dog probably woofed in response to a question and everyone viewer laughed in unison because it’s almost like that darn dog understands English! Well, I hate to tell you this, but don’t get too attached this pooch, because he or she probably isn’t going to live. I know you’re naïve and you think “this isn’t that kind of movie” or “there’s no way they’d kill the dog,” but believe me: They will kill the dog, and you will wish you forget all the backpack carrying and the intelligible yapping.

The Dog Has Its Own Music Score

Sometimes movies with dogs will create a music score that plays every time the dog is on screen. Whether Fido’s tearing through the garden or going for a walk, there will be this brassy triumphant music that slows to a spritely woodwind lull, heavily accented by the sound of a piccolo. If the dog has its own song in a movie, know that at some point – probably when you least expect it – this song will be slowed down as the prematurely dog dies out of nowhere. Beware dog-specific music tracks.

The Dog Becomes A Hero

If a movie dog saves anyone’s life, please grab the tissues, because that dog probably isn’t going to survive in the end. This is especially true if the dog becomes a hero in the neighborhood, beloved by all the townspeople for its heroic efforts. Any movie dog that survives against all odds — like coming back from a war or being the lone survivor of an earthquake — will probably stay alive in the movie just long enough for you get attached before something horrible happens to it.

There Are Lots of Scenes That Show The Dog Alone, Especially Walking

Any dog that gets too much solo camera time in a movie isn’t going to live. As a viewer, it might seem like this is the director’s way of helping us get to know the dog on a personal level. Look! There Fido is running after a squirrel. Now he’s laying on the floor with his chin on the ground. Isn’t he sweet? Yes, he is. He’s perfect. He’s everything a movie dog should be. Unfortunately, he’s not gonna survive, because this is a subliminal isolation tactic used by only the most heartless moviemakers to make us think the animal star of the movie is going to be okay. Be wary of too many dog scenes.

There are some notable exceptions to these criteria, but don’t say you haven’t been warned the next time some freckled boy and his little sister lose their best friend to Hollywood’s heartless whims.

This blog post was inspired by the trailer for the movie Max, a film that I — as a two-time German Shepherd owner — will never be watching unless someone kidnaps me and tapes my eyeballs open in front of the TV. This isn’t intended to spoil the movie for you, but if you get through that trailer thinking Max is going to live happily ever after, I’ve taught you nothing.

5 Often Forgotten Things To Thank Mom For This Mother’s Day

5 Often Forgotten Things To Thank Mom For This Mother’s Day

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of feeling like a bad daughter or son for Googling, “When is Mother’s Day? Did I miss it? Will my inheritance take a hit for this oversight?” and being confronted by a date in May that’s always much sooner than you expected, let me be the one to tell you that Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 10th. If your mom is anything like mine in that the two things that make her most happy in the world are having less knick-knacks to dust and thinking about her retirement spent raising my future children, finding the perfect gift for the woman who literally will not accept anything you spent money on can be tough. But I’m not going to tell you what to get this year. Chances are, you’ve got a valid 20% off Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupon, and come Sunday your dear ma is going to be the new owner of the latest Keurig – the very one she once claimed “is probably an expensive hunk of junk just like the printer with all those damn replacement ink cartridges.” A comparison that only a mother could make.

But perhaps more than a Keurig, an expensive necklace with stick figure birthstone children on it, or and edible arrangement whose surprising inclusion of mango will be make your mom more emotional than Bruce Jenner’s interview, mom’s deserve a little appreciation for all that they do. They’re supportive, patient, and selfless. Who else besides your mother will ever be to say you’ve lived in her womb and in her basement? With that in mind, let’s a take a second to appreciate all the little things moms do that make them who they are so you can thank your mother for one of the things below.

1. Moms will always remind you of your most embarrassing moments during times of great joy.

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Are you graduating? Getting engaged? Earning a promotion? Having a nice day? If answered yes to any of these questions, call your mother. While you’re excitedly chatting about your new apartment or the hundred dollar bill you found on the subway (just kidding, no one carrying hundred dollar bills is on the subway – you probably found a puddle of urine that you thought was a hundred dollar bill), your mom will interrupt with what you think is some important announcement about her health or the status of the neighbor’s husband who had a stroke three months ago: “You know what was I thinking about the other day while I was plotting world domination? Do you remember that time you had an accident in first grade, and when you got the nurse’s office you said you sat on a brownie? You smelled so bad, and no one believed you. Now what’s this about an investment that just made you a million dollars? I bet even a million dollars wouldn’t be enough to make that nurse believe you didn’t poop your pants if you went back in a time machine to when you pooped your pants in first grade, but go on, sweetie.”

2. No good mother will let you live your life with an extra of everything.

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If moms had their way, every child would have a house that they live in and a house just full of spare everything. An extra umbrella. A spare winter coat. Scissors. Shoes in every style. PLASTIC BAGS. Once you’ve given birth, you move into the “just in case” universe, where it makes sense to spend money on things you don’t need “just in case.” Because what will happen if you don’t always have a tissue with you? Or a little flashlight? Or a pound of frozen ground beef?

3. Moms will never let you forget that kid from elementary school who moved away in fourth grade.

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Moms have a lot to keep track of – like the software upgrade notification that’s been sitting untouched on the computer for two days because they thought it was one of those viruses hiding in a big horse – and they may sometimes forget to respond to that text message you sent, but you know who they never have and never will forget? Tommy Tibetanstein from Miss Barandes’s fourth grade homeroom. Your memory of Tommy is foggy. You never went to any of his birthday parties (thereby proving you weren’t friends), and you can’t even picture his face anymore. You think he might’ve kicked you on the monkey bars once—but no matter. Your mom inexplicably remembers that he moved away in fourth grade, and she also knows some private detail about his family, because apparently moms divulge everything standing on the sidelines at the playground: “I remember his mother [note: when moms talk about other kids’ moms, they refer to them only as “_____’s mother”] told me their aunt is a fugitive. She’s wanted in Indiana for killing a man in Indiana for being a man from Indiana.”

4. Moms will provide a full report on anything that has worn out. Ever.

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Moms become experts in a lot of fields like diaper changing and spawn philanthropy, but their true mĂ©tier is remarking on how things have worn out. Remember that favorite pair of shoes you had in high school that you wore every single day until your mom picked your right shoe up one day, studied the sole, and confronted you: “You need a new pair of shoes! Do you see how the design on the sole is worn out here, here, and…HERE? And look at the inside! See how the fabric is wearing out? There’s going to be a hole soon.” If anything wore out too soon or in an unexpected way (remember that remote with the power button that didn’t hold up?), moms will bring it to your attention.

5. Moms can simultaneously complain about you being a financial burden while also refusing to let you pay for anything.

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Kids are expensive, and at a certain point in your life, you have to forgive your mother for some gentle ribbing about your history of glomming off of her and jeopardizing her future retirement at Del Boca Vista, but what’s perhaps most maddening is that while moms are snarking about how expensive you are/were, they also will not accept any repayment of any kind. Bought her a wallet she liked? “Let me give you the money for that. How much was it?” Take her out to a nice dinner? “I’m not letting you pay for that. I’ll give you the money in the car.” Buy her an electronic device that will improve her quality of life? “That’s too much. I don’t need that.” It’s a never-ending cycle of guilt and rebuffed generosity with moms.

But really, give your mom a call this Mother’s Day, and maybe this time bring up the pants-pooping accident or the whereabouts of Tommy Tibetanstein yourself, because we all know the conversation is probably going to end up there anyway.

The Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge Has Nothin’ On These Lip Challenges

The Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge Has Nothin’ On These Lip Challenges

Unless you’ve been too busy throwing a rager to celebrate Hubble telescope’s 25th birthday (who know Hubble was a Millennial?), you’ve probably stumbled across at least one of the news stories circling the Internet this week about the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge. I’m sure you—like me—assumed that the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge dares participants to overdraw their lips while getting injections and seeing how long they can deny accusations that their face looks completely different in a I-saw-my-doctor way and not a I’m-growing-up-voluptuously way. But no!

In reality, the KJLC (Are we using that acronym? Does it too strongly imply Kylie Jenner and Lauren Conrad are working on a clothing line?) involves shoving your lips into a shot glass, sucking out all the air to create vacuum seal, letting all the blood rush to your lips, and removing it so you can post a few selfies. If you look really ridiculous or you’re fortunate enough to get some bruising or cut your lip on the glass, you might even get retweeted on Twitter by 263 strangers basking in schadenfreude. Seeing all those people posting pictures and videos of themselves looking like Janice from the Muppets made me realize that these viral “challenges” that are more about putting yourself at risk for an embarrassing trip to the emergency room rather than actually pushing the limits of your mental and physical strength are totally in right now.

Unfortunately, many of us have actual responsibilities and can’t leave the house looking like we just fellated an entire beehive. So in the spirit of the many unique challenges I’ve tried alone at my house, like the Eat An Entire Package of Fig Newtons Challenge or the Three Hour Netflix Pee Delay Challenge, I’ve found a solution. Because I know a lot of us would like to participate in the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge, but are prohibited by our common sense and our natural lip preservation instincts, I’ve come up with a few lip challenges we can try instead.

1. The Gentle Questionably Consensual Kitty Kissies Lip Challenge

Subtly pucker your lips—somewhere between making a fish face and duck face—and find a (preferably familiar) cat. Ensnare said cat using cat nip or empty tuna promises. Cradle the cat in your arms, and place your lips to the top of the cat’s head, bestowing upon the feline a gentle kissie it will surely lick itself to rid of as soon as it can claw its way out of your arms.

2. The Attractive Duck Face Selfie You Can’t Post Because It’s a Duck Face Selfie So It Dwells In The Annals Of Your Camera Roll Threatening To Embarrass You If You Forget You Saved It And Anyone Swipes Through All Your Pictures Lip Challenge

Make yourself selfie ready. For some, that involves a hair flip, a nose and/or teeth check, and a lip gloss application. Take 7-24 selfies for practice (we all know the first 7-24 are usually throwaways), and then—against your better judgment—make a duck face in spite of the stigma. Take a selfie where your eyes are sparkling, your hair is perfect, and your cheek bones are poppin’, but even though it’s the most attractive selfie you’ve taken in months, refuse to post it anywhere (even to Facebook) because your lips don’t look casual enough for public consumption.

3. The General Lip Use Lip Challenge

Use your lips as you normally would to eat food, blow kisses to the TV, make fart sounds when no one’s home because you have the maturity of a rowdy nine-year-old, make faces in the mirror to remind yourself how unattractive you could be if you really tried, and fake smile at a relative telling you another elaborate story about someone you’ve never met. As necessary, apply some chapstick when your lips get dry. Lick lips when eating ice cream or botching an attempt to be sexy.

4. The Anxious, Bad Habit, Slightly Painful Lip Biting Lip Challenge

During a time of intense stress (the real kind that happens at school or work or the imagined kind when you just have one episode of 30 Rock left to watch on Netflix but you JUST HAVEN’T HAD TIME TO WATCH), use your bottom and top rows of teeth to trap your unsuspecting bottom lip. Curl your top lip back and use your front teeth to grab a little bit of the first layer of skin on your bottom lip. Tear it off and eat it like a savage, because for some reason that’s going to make you feel a lot better about your tough week at work. Live with bite mark craters on your bottom lip for a week, remembering what a bad habit lip biting is. Hate yourself a little.

5. The Lip Line Pimple That Everyone’s Going To Assume Is Herpes Lip Challenge

Get a huge zit right on your lip line. Confirm that it is in fact a pimple and not a cold sore as most commonly develops right on your lip line. Stare at yourself in the mirror wondering what deficiency in your hygiene practices would lead to a zit adjacent to your lips. Realize that even though you know it’s a zit, everyone you come across is going to assume you have herpes labialis. Mourn.

6. The Kissing A Mirror Because You’re Alone, A Potential Sociopath, And You Sometimes Get A Weird Satisfaction Out Of Seeing Your Lip Print On the Mirror Lip Challenge

Verify that you’re in a part of your residence where the probability of any other human beings seeing you do some really weird stuff is low. Find a mirror and take a look at yourself, fixing your hair if necessary. Look left and right, and if the coast is clear, press your lips to the cool reflective surface, imagining that you’ll see a perfect kissy print that you’d find on a Valentine’s Day card when you finally remove your lips. Step back from the mirror and see the disappointing smudge your thin lips left behind like goo from a snail. Question every part of your existence.

7. The Welding Your Lips Closed Because You Might As Well Lip Challenge

Take a sip of water or lick your lips to create some normal lip moisture. Do an activity that doesn’t involve opening your mouth, like staring at your computer for three hours or watching a Lord of the Rings marathon. Notice that because you haven’t opened your mouth in so long, the moisture has essentially sealed your lips shut. See how long you can not open your mouth noW that you’re aware your lips are stuck together. Eventually, break the seal and open your mouth, acting like you just removed the duct tape that was covering your mouth in a kidnapping situation. Wonder why you’re not in an insane asylum.

Images: Kylie Jenner/Instagram; FunnyPokemon/Twitter

I Sampled 5 Objectionable Easter Treats And Lived To Tell The Tale

I Sampled 5 Objectionable Easter Treats And Lived To Tell The Tale

Candy-filled baskets are as much a part of Easter as dyed eggs and disturbing Easter bunny photos, so this year I set out to raid the Easter aisle in search of the grossest, most objectionable Easter candies (and chocolates). You may already be familiar with my stance on the hollow chocolate bunny, but I wanted this experiment to include eggs, marshmallow treats, and religious emblems made with milk chocolate. Because those do exist. What I discovered was a world of odious candy and chocolates unlike anything I’d ever imagined.

As I sampled each candied disgrace, I realized that these candies may just be fodder for a snarky blog post for me, but somewhere in the world there’s a child hoping the Easter bunny brought him or her a delicious cream egg or a solid milk chocolate bunny instead of an insidious marshmallow creature or a chocolate version of their lord and savior. That made me very sad, but it reminded me why I write this blog. If I can spare one parent, uncle, grandmother, or Easter bunny from putting these bizarre treats in a child’s basket, I’ll be able to go to sleep at night knowing that I did everything in my power to rid the world of Easter candy disappointment.

1. The Peeps Totem Pole of Hell

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Some new guy at Peeps headquarters — which I imagine is made out of marshmallow goo and edible food glitter — had this bright idea to take disgusting marshmallow Peeps we all love to hate and put them on a stick to create what’s being marketed as the Peeps Rainbow Pop. I think Peeps Totem Pole of Hell is more fitting, but what can I say? I may not be a marketing gal, but I do know a thing or two about eating food, and no treat should ever be capable of doing this:IMG_4841

I suppose the best thing about the Peeps Totem Pole of Hell is that if you’re buying Easter candy for someone, this is the only item you’ll need, because he or she will be too sick after eating this to even think of taking the ears off of a chocolate bunny.

2. A Chocolate Egg With a Peeps Fetus Inside

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It looks like a normal, edible chocolate egg, but surprise! They snuck one of those nasty marshmallow peeps in there. Even though it clearly depicts the lone Peep in the chocolate egg right on the package, I was hopeful that maybe the one I got missed the Peep impregnation stage during the production process. IMG_4849

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I was not that lucky.

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I delivered a three inch long, healthy, sexless Peep, weighing approximately 259 grams (of sugar) and promptly tossed it in the trash, because even the dog doesn’t deserve to fed Peeps.

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3. Coldstone Creamery’s Ipecac Egg

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I didn’t realize that everyone’s favorite everything-but-the-kitchen-sink ice cream chain had entered the Easter candy market, but they have. There were a few egg options, but when I saw that they were peddling a chocolate covered cake batter egg with rainbow sprinkles and cookie dough, I knew I had to try it. When I took it out of the package, it felt heavy, which is usually the sign of quality egg. I was cautiously optimistic this one might actually be okay.

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Until I took a bite of it and almost threw up in my mouth.

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I do not say this lightly, but that egg may have been worse than the Peeps Totem Pole of Hell.

4. Russel Stover’s Milk Chocolate Jesus Fish

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I know you probably read that and thought, “No, they didn’t…” Unfortunately, yes they did. I know Easter is a religious holiday and eating the body of Christ is part of it, but does that also mean it’s okay to eat a chocolate Jesus fish???

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I get uncomfortable when I see people driving around with a Jesus fish plastered on their Honda’s rusty bumper, never mind eating a chocolate version of Jesus’s familiar logo. I love chocolate as much as (and possibly more than) anyone, but eating this just felt wrong. But it also felt wrong throwing it away!!! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS!!!! So it’s still in the fridge with just the tail eaten.

4. Hershey’s Holy Chocolate Cross

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I’ll give Hershey’s credit for making Easter candy that’s solid chocolate, but is it just me who thinks it feels a little sacrilegious eating a venerated religious symbol? I mean, can we bring it down to a whisper here for a second. Didn’t Jesus die on one of these? Is that something we really want made into chocolate so we can put it our mouths and eat it? It only got worse when I took this out of the package and discovered my cross was broken.

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I took it as a sign and moved on.

5. Russell Stover’s “White Pastelle” FU To Easter Candy Consumers

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Nothing that claims to be chocolate should ever be white. I know may be sitting there thinking, “I like white chocolate!” but I’m willing bet you’re like me, a devout chocolate lover who wants to belief all of her heart that chocolate could never be bad. Well, you’re right. Chocolate can’t ever be bad, but white chocolate is not real chocolate. There is nothing legitimate about this white substance, and you should never eat it under any circumstances. I know this, but I wanted to give it a chance, anyway.

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Do you have any dreams that you fear will never come true? Do you have ambition, goals, and hope? Well, if you want to know what it’s like to see those all disappear in one bite, by all means buy this white pastelle insult to humanity. One bite and you won’t care about having nice things ever again. That’s just what white chocolate does.

Please do yourself a favor and avoid putting these candies and chocolates in your loved ones’ Easter baskets, and do not be tempted to buy any of this crap when the Easter candy is 50% off on Monday. There is so much better candy out there worthy of developing type 2 diabetes.

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Happy Easter!

Conscious Ungoogling: The Suspense and Intrigue of Not Googling Things

Conscious Ungoogling: The Suspense and Intrigue of Not Googling Things

I’ve mentioned before that Google is my most trusted, objective, nonjudgmental life coach/therapist/doctor/tax advisor. That might seem a little strange, but I grew up with Google. It’s been a faithful friend during my most inquisitive years, and it’s been a dependable confidante even when I’ve asked questions like, “Why is my period blood so dark?” “What does a ruptured appendix feel like?” and “What’s the name of that hot writer guy from Sex and the City who looks like that guy from Early Edition but isn’t him?” But growing up with the Internet and living in the age of social media robs us of our chill. As people trying to live in this rapidly diversifying technological landscape, we still get a thrill out of curiosity now and then. At some point or another, you – like me – have probably indulged in the suspense and intrigue of not Googling something.

Do you remember when you actually had to use books to find information? Back in the day, if you wanted to learn how to get rid of a blackhead, you had to go through the trouble of going to the library (presumably with all your blackheads), looking through the card catalog for a book on blackhead removal, enduring the librarian looking at you nose like, “Ew, yeah, you really need this book,” while you check it out, and then reading a book about removing blackheads that may not have good images or answer any questions you have. I didn’t have to do that very much of my life, but I imagine it was hell. I suspect there were fewer murders and more undiagnosed STDs in those days.

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In the world BG — Before Google — you had to talk to other human beings to learn about things that might be uncomfortably revelatory. Or use your Microsoft Encarta CD-ROM. I don’t want my friends to know how many synonyms I need on a daily basis. I don’t want to double-check a Kanye lyric through a coworker. I definitely don’t want to ask my mom about how boob contouring works. Google is a lifesaver, because even though we can be reasonably sure the government has our most problematic searches on file, at least those are strangers we don’t have to see on a daily basis. I’d rather some government employee be aware I Google murderers and plane crashes and celebrity sex tapes (just out of curiosity!) than say, my boss or my barista.

But sometimes Google can suck the mystery out of life, because all the info you could ever want is within reach as long as you string together the right search terms. I mean, Google can’t teach you to how not to be an jerk or expose the truth about unsolved crimes (Google knows I’ve tried looking for new leads on JonBenet Ramsey more than I care to admit), but it can totally find the Facebook profile of this awesome new person you just started dating. Google can spoil a TV show you’ve been impatiently waiting to watch on Netflix with your partner. In a lot of ways, Google removes the thrill of finding things out the old fashioned way that often entails asking questions and enduring embarrassment and surprise. Now we’re all just in our basements and on our iPhones learning all kinds of stuff with reckless abandon.

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I’ve started Conscious Ungoogling. It’s nothing like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, so you don’t have to hate it just yet. Conscious ungoogling is when you come across a question – anything you don’t know – and choose to not Google because A) It’s not essential for you to know it right now and B) It’s kind of exciting to revel in your ignorance and make up your own explanation. Part B is what’s really missing in our society today, if you ask me. We have access to so much information that for so many topics, you can find out if you’re right and wrong with just a few clicks. It’s great if you’re trying to win an argument, but it’s a lot less cool if you’re spoilering your own learning process. Back in the day, if you were wrong about something it could take years of wrongdoing and deaths for you to find out. Here’s lookin’ at you, homebuilders using asbestos.

The other day I was walking to the train when a weird, unprovoked thought came into my mind as these things do when you least expect them. I realized that I have no idea how newborn babies get their Social Security number and Social Security card. “Katie, that’s a really unsexy thought to have, why didn’t you ask yourself instead how birds have sex?” Well, yes, I wonder about that sometimes, too, but on this particular day it was babies and their national identification for tax purposes. I assume the hospital gives it to you — along with the kid’s birth certificate and a pamphlet on breastfeeding – as part of the new human being starter pack or something, but I have no idea if that’s true. What if you have to apply for one with the government? Are all the people who have procreated really diligent enough to know to do that? Do people have undocumented children because they didn’t know they have to do that? I DON’T KNOW!

I could Google this. I’m 100% sure the answer to this is on the Internet. There’s probably a forum out there where expectant mothers are griping right now about wanting to get their baby’s Social Security number the “natural way.” I opened Google ready to type, “How do babies get Social Security numbers?” but I stopped when my finger was hovering over the “h” key. Someday I’ll need to find this out if I have a baby or sign up to be a contestant on Wheel of Boring, Procedural Information, but right now I don’t need to know. By not Googling, I can still wonder if maybe every one who’s had a baby had to murder someone, because freeing up a Social Security number is the only way to get one for your baby.

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What I’m trying to say is, sometimes it’s satisfying to abstain from Google and arrive at your own (likely incorrect) conclusions, so long as you don’t post them on Facebook like everyone else does. So the next time you can’t think of that actor’s name, you’re unsure of a lyric, or you think have a life-threatening disease, take a chance and just go with the flow! Make it up as you go along! Consciously ungoogling is surprisingly fun. Plus, you’ll be lightening the workload for the NSA.

Do NOT spoil how babies get their Social Security numbers. I’m kind of enjoying thinking about parents profiling who they’re going to kill so their baby can be a legitimate, identified citizen. What questions/topics have you left ungoogled? I want to this be an open, Google-free comment section.

Images: pinkydinkyme/Tumblr; Giphy 

A Definitive Horribleness Ranking of Common Gym Equipment

A Definitive Horribleness Ranking of Common Gym Equipment

Going to the gym can be pretty terrifying. Gymtimidation is a real thing, and I say that as someone who’s managed to fight her way into the most elite spots at the gym (the 8 a.m. spin class and the secret boot camp that isn’t listed on the group class schedule, in particular). I’ve only converted to religious gym-going within the past three years of my life, but the chilling sense of terror caused by even the most routine gym equipment is something I’ll probably never get used to (that, and how unusually comfortable some women are with talking to you in the locker room while fully freeboobin’ it).

Beyond the crowd we all assume will gather to point and laugh at us while we do jumping jacks (side note: they do not exist), the gym is intimidating because there’s a ton of stuff in there that looks like it could be used to administer torture. Honestly, if we took down all the mirrors at the gym and moved all the machines into a damp cave lit only by rudimentary torches, we would assume we’re going to be punished. Truthfully, the only things separating a fitness center from an evil lair are mirrors, overhead lighting, and up-tempo remixes of Rihanna songs. I know you’re probably wondering about the yoga pants, but yoga pants fall under state-specific lair requirements. So in an effort to demystify some of the more distressing apparatuses you’re likely to see at your average health center, here’s a ranking of TK common gym paraphernalia ranked from least horrible to most horrible:

 15. Foam Roller

It might be intimidating to see people using the foam roller to stretch or work their legs, but tit really isn’t that intimidating at all. As long as you don’t put this thing between your legs in any capacity or treat it like an adult Sock’Em Bopper, you virtually can’t be using it wrong.

 14. Yoga Blocks

Only yoga enthusiasts know what to do with these. If you are not one of them, my advice is to use these yoga blocks to build a nice, secure fortress that creates a barrier between you and the CrossFit people.

 13. Yoga Mat

Seeing people with visible abs practicing contortionism on the yoga mat might give you pause, but just remember that a yoga mat is just a long cushion that rolls up and protects your ass from the floor. Yoga mats are also the user-friendliest of all the gym gear, because even if you have no idea what the hell you’re doing, it won’t be as obvious to onlookers. You could easily lie flat on your back to “stretch” or “engage your core,” and take a short nap. Don’t worry—everyone will just assume you’re recovering from a tough workout.

 12. Exercise Ball

Unless you’re the clumsiest person with the brittlest (sounds like an app name–a social network for fragile people) bones and the worst luck in the world, the exercise ball really isn’t so bad. Don’t be intimidated by how inflated and round it is! From a practical perspective, the exercise ball is the most fun thing to use at the gym when you don’t know what you’re doing. Sit on it. Roll around. Stretch out backwards over it. This is as close as it’ll get to third grade recess at the gym.

 11. Step Platform

The step platform is tricky because assembly is required. In true IKEA fashion, if you improperly put the step together, it will collapse. That wouldn’t be so devastating if it were a TV stand or a desk, but because the step platform is most likely to buckle under your own body weight, the risk of step embarrassment is fairly high. Also, studies from the Overzealous Fitness Lovers Guild show that the step platform made over 45% of users overestimate their stepping and jumping abilities.

10. Free Weights

The free weights can be difficult if you’re bench pressing and deadlifting, but nothing obligates you to pick a heavy weight. Best case scenario: Pick up a pair of three pound weights, move them around in some capacity, and go “stretch” on the yoga mat.

 9. Medicine ball

The medicine ball is a bit trickier than the free weights because you have to hold it with both hands. Unless your gym has some fAnCy medicine balls, these usually don’t have handles, so you could easily drop this on your foot or onto the face of someone who’s doing crunches nearby. It’s harder to fake fitness with the medicine ball, so approach these with caution. The medicine ball’s uses are somewhat limited.

 8. Recumbent Bike

With no disrespect to recumbent bike enthusiasts, I think we all know that the recumbent bike was invented for people who genuinely want to get a little exercise, but want to do so in a posture that’s as close as humanly possible to sitting on the couch with your feet up. I believe the technical term for this is “ergonomics.” Sure, you’re going to have to peddle, but you don’t even have to sit up straight while you’re doing it! You’re a lot closer to the ground, too, which means if you somehow topple over in a wave of exhaustion and triumph after winning the imaginary race program you chose, you don’t have that far to fall. Not to mention, the seat on the recumbent bike is a lot wider and 120% more forgiving to your ass than the stationary upright bike.

 7. Rowing Machine

The rowing machine requires some strenuous, repetitive pulling and sitting your round ass onto a tiny square seat with no cushion or support for your back. To put this into layman’s terms, imagine you’re sitting on a tiny barstool seat (the kind that makes it clear the bar owner was quickly running out of money) with your legs up pulling a retractable rope that’s coming through a vat of drying cement. The rowing machine is a tough one, because if you don’t sit up straight, you may fall off. The only way to make this one enjoyable is to use your imagination. Is singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” enough? What about pretending to be the Winklevoss twins (especially in that one scene in The Social Network)?

 6. Upright Stationary Bike

The one good thing about the stationary bike is that you don’t have to balance or look out for murderous drivers like you would on a real bike. Sadly, that’s the extent of the “pros” list for this one. Unlike the recumbent bike, you’ll need to do more seat and handlebar height adjustments, and only 2 out of 10 people manage to gracefully climb aboard (and dismount) an exercise bike. Chances are, you are not one of them. The seat will always cause a dull, gnawing pain as your butt fat tries to morph around in search of more surface area to rest upon. When you’ve finally had enough, the embarrassing walk you’ll do will look as though you just finished riding a bull instead of pedaling to nowhere for the past ten minutes.

 5. Treadmill

Any machine that has an emergency stop button and tells you your heart rate should be taken seriously. The treadmill has a variety of workout options, inclines, and speeds that–if not selected carefully–could end with you being launched backward at a considerable velocity like a cartoon character. Except there won’t be any little birds flying around your head afterwards; instead, the three-time marathon runner a few treadmills down will rush to your aid, and you’ll probably pee your pants or something. Even if you’re just using it to walk, the treadmill is always, first a foremost, a conveyor belt of death we’ve devised to burn calories. Approach with caution.

 4. Elliptical

It goes without saying the elliptical is difficult. You can’t go to the gym and not see at least one sweaty person who looks like they may simply cease to be on this machine. The elliptical is what happened when some sadist asked the question, “How can we combine walking, riding a bike, and moving your arms?” The answer is this menacing, redesigned hamster wheel that tortures the parts of your body you’d least like to be sore for hours afterwards.

 3. Incline Elliptical

“Wait, didn’t we cover elliptical?” Yes, but the world of elliptical machines is a diverse one, and even though you’ve probably seen commercials for the Kilimanjaro Kangaroo Runner and Climber, most ellipticals could be divided into two main categories: the regular kind whose stride follows the usual round, elliptical motion with an intensity that can be adjusted and the kind that incorporate an incline setting in addition to the adjustable intensity. If you’re not familiar with this, imagine pedaling an elliptical uphill while your legs are permanently underwater. The incline elliptical is considerably more difficult than your average elliptical machine.

 2. Stairmaster

Since “Stairmaster” is a brand name, let’s clarify what we’re talking about specifically here. The Stairmaster is the tall, foreboding machine from which a tiny staircase rolls out continuously, forever, until the end of time. Just climbing up this thing is a workout in itself, and it only downhill from there. Some manner of profanity comes to mind every 20 seconds you spend on the Stairmaster. You’ll contemplate death at least every two minutes. There is nothing easy about the Stairmaster. It is hard. It is horrible. It will likely break you.

 1. Step Climber

The step climber is the brainchild of a group of people who thought the Stairmaster was simply not enough. Climb a tiny staircase rolling out from a machine? Too easy! Let’s get rid of all that and install pedals so the user has to do even more work! Step climbers are harder than the Stairmaster because you have to figure out the right momentum that keeps the pedals from touching the top or the bottom of the machine. It’s surprisingly a lot harder than just climbing up stairs, because you’re constantly. doing, work. The only “rest” period is if you climb more slowly, but even then you’re still climbing. Hands down, it’s the worst.

Obviously your own personal preferences, past injuries, and fear factors will all play into which things at the gym gave you agita, so please don’t go blaming me if you somehow manage to break a hip using the yoga blocks or hop on the Stairmaster only to discover you find it a lot less challenging than the recumbent bike. (Just kidding, if you tell me the Stairmaster is easier for you than the recumbent bike, I’ll just know that you’re a liar.)

A Marriage Proposal Guide for the Modern, Clueless Man

A Marriage Proposal Guide for the Modern, Clueless Man

I’m no engagement expert, but I’m starting to feel like one thanks to everyone I’ve ever known on social media getting married, making babies, and buying houses whose square footage and stainless steel appliances convince me they were purchased with Monopoly money or a generous cosign from mom and dad. Most of the time, getting engaged sets the wheels in motion for a lot of major life events. Getting married is a stop sign space on the Game of Life board for crying out loud.

There’s a lot of pressure on guys to make the proposal special and thoughtful, and some of these modern, clueless gentlemen aren’t rising to the occasion. I’ve a few theories on what constitutes a good proposal in 2015 and what’s gotten old, but I also wanted to talk to several other women about their proposal preferences. I’ve compounded my findings and present to you, A Marriage Proposal Guide for the Modern, Clueless Man.

marriage

A Kiss On The Hand May Be Quite Continental, But Diamonds Have No Place In A Continental Breakfast

Did you know Oleo Worstideaever was the first man who thought, “I’m going to spend two paychecks on a diamond ring, then fall on the mercy of the disgruntled, underpaid wait staff at some restaurant to carry out my proposal?” I think this applies for many (but not all) women, but when I’m eating food, I don’t want to find a piece of fine jewelry in it. If there’s a ring in my food, the volume of that ring is taking up space where there could have been more food, and there’s nothing romantic about that. Not to mention, you should never propose to a woman when she’s hungry or full—no woman should endure the fact of saying yes while her stomach’s growling or she’s gestating a food baby.

whatwomanaresaying

“Here’s my issue with it — putting the ring in food not only makes the food inedible (GERMS?) but it also makes the ring all food-y. Included in this category is the “ring in the champagne” trick, which I’ve only ever seen on TV but it must come from somewhere. Why is that ever a good idea? ‘Let’s take this delicious champagne and make it taste all metallic from the ring. Also, don’t choke!'”

“Absolutely not.”

“Not at a restaurant. That is so clichĂ©.”

theverdict

Guys, you’re asking for a woman’s hand in marriage, not coaching her to win the hot dog eating contest at the county fair. I know it might seem ingenious, but most women don’t want to find a ring in their food.

foodverdict

 

Shia LeBeouf Runed Skywriting Forever

Maybe it takes an aviation buff to appreciate the appeal of an airplane flying around with a banner to pop the question, but I’ve never understood the skywriting/sky banner proposal. Not only is it ridiculously pricey for what you’re receiving, but do you really want you bride-to-be to crane her head at a 45-degree angle only to think, “He proposed the way Shia LeBeouf apologized… This is my engagement legacy.”

whatwomanaresaying

“No.”

“It might be hard to explain ‘Hey, honey? Let’s drive 45 miles out into a part of town that we’ve literally never been that has nothing of interest in it but a big open field with minimal view obstruction.'”

theverdict

Unless your significant other is a nephologist, it might be best to pass on this one.

meh
Yinan Chen

No One Says No to the Family Pet

What is there to say about using pets in a proposal???

Pinterest
Pinterest
Pinterest
Pinterest

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 6.15.05 AM

whatwomanaresaying

“AWWWWWW. That’s so cute.”

“I feel like this version puts the onus on the pet. You can’t reject little Snuffles as easily as you can reject not-so-little Chad.”

“Pets is super cute, I wouldn’t mind a cute animal involved.”

theverdict

Alright, pull it together. How could a pet proposal not be the most stinkin’ adorable thing anyone’s ever seen? I think buying a new kitten or puppy solely for a proposal seems a little manipulative to me, but incorporating your pets isn’t really that different than having your family there. If you’re not sure you’ll get a yes, the pet proposal is a good way of Katniss Everdeening the odds.

brentolson/Flickr
brentolson/Flickr

Want to Gamble on Ruining Something Forever with a Future Divorce? Get Engaged on a Holiday or Your Birthday!

I know that most recently Facebook erupted with the molten lava of cheesy Valentine’s Day proposals, of all the engagement no-nos — real and imagined — that exist in the world, we all should heed this absolute principle: You do not propose to anyone on a day that is otherwise special in any other way. There’s an exception if you want to propose on the day of your first kiss or on your anniversary, but no woman should be receiving a ring for her birthday. Or Christmas. Or on a poppy for Veteran’s Day. Or with the convenience of champagne on New Year’s Eve. Even Valentine’s Day is off limits. I know divorce is an icky thing to think about, but if your marriage dissolves for whatever reason, do you really want an otherwise innocent day of remembrance or celebration to be marred by bitterness or resentment? Besides, proposing on a holiday/birthday just says: “Hey! We’re celebrating something anyway. Will you marry me?”

whatwomanaresaying

“Major holidays are a no-go. You want to celebrate your engagement as its own day for the two of you — not sharing the day with Christmas or, worst of all, NYE. Minor holidays are not as big of a deal, because who really cares if the day you get engaged is President’s Day or whatever. Birthdays, to me, are a double no-go.”

“No to holidays and birthdays cause I feel that’s predictable, like the girl could guess hey he might do it today since it’s already a special day.”

theverdict

Piggybacking a proposal on another celebration is an engagement mortal sin in my book. If you haven’t noticed this trend yet, what’s most important to women is being proposed to in a way that’s special and unique to them and the relationship they have. Involving a Christmas tree or a heart-shaped box of candies? Not exactly the most special.

ND Strupler/Flickr
ND Strupler/Flickr

 Still confused?

So whether you’re cooking something up (NOT LITERALLY, PLEASE) or putting off an engagement off for as long as possible, know that us women appreciate the position you’re in. We know that when it comes to proposals our expectations are only getting higher thanks to Instagram, but what’s more important to us than some grand gesture that lands on BuzzFeed is a proposal that shows a lot of time and thought went into it. Take the time to think about the little things in your relationship and what would mean the most to your significant other. Not every woman wants a flash mob dancing to “Let’s Get Married” by Jagged Edge. Just because something’s been done before doesn’t mean it works (please see the guidance on the food and holiday proposals above), but you’re going to get it right Clueless, Modern Man Whose Girlfriend Is Waiting For A Ring. I believe in you.*

*But that belief will seriously be shaken if I hear you plan on proposing at a sporting event using the big screen.