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You don't want to work for any of them.

Looking Weird at Work

This morning I was clip-clopping through the third floor stairwell of my office building. I don’t work on the third floor, it’s a completely separate department that I have no contact with; it’s just where the good coffee lives.

I passed someone on the stairs, and we glanced at each other and gave polite smiles. Then I heard her do a double-take behind me.

“Hey,” this perfect stranger said, “I don’t mean to be weird, but can I ask where you work within the company? My friends and I have seen you in the hallways and we keep trying to figure out where you work.”

It’s a strange question, right? But I know why she was asking.

It’s because I’m weird-looking.

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Bitchtastic Book Review: The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

It’s no secret that I’m interested in economic injustice. That’s why I wax grumpy and bitter about things like gentrification, fast fashion, clean water, and environmentalism. But I have a lot to learn about the kind of systemic inequality that keeps some people down while others float above.

Which is why I read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.

Alexander’s premise is simple on its surface: since its inception, the War on Drugs has targeted black and brown people at disproportionately high rates. This has led to a new racial caste system in the United States.

But of course, like anything to do with race in America, it’s far from simple. And Alexander seems to realize how far-fetched some might consider her findings because she spends, like, 20% of every chapter going “I know this sounds crazy but seriously, stick with me. Just look at this data.”

While I wasn’t completely ignorant of the racism inherent in our justice system before reading The New Jim Crow I am now completely overwhelmed with new and damning knowledge. The rules of this new and insidious Jim Crow state affect people socially and economically in disastrous, life-ruining ways, through every stage of the justice process from arrest through trial, punishment, and release.

Here’s some of what I learned.

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You know how much we love reminding you that you are human.

Take a Break: The Importance of Rest and Relaxation

In my capacity as a non-scientist, I have observed that when it comes to stress, there are two kinds of people.

One is the kind of person who feels the effects of stress first in their body; the other feels it first in their mind.

Piggy and I both fall into the first category. We’re skilled jugglers, and we tend to think “Sure, I can add one more ball into the mix.” We don’t really register how stressed we are until we get migraines (her) or muscle spasms (me). Other people in this category might experience digestive problems, insomnia, frequent colds, loss of energy, chest pains, racing heartbeats, panic attacks, and other such unfair bullshit.

Folks who fall into the second category don’t get off lightly either. Stress can make them feel overwhelmed in a way that manifests very strongly in their moods. They might feel agitated, frustrated, moody, avoidant, lonely, or depressed. These kinds of emotions can tarnish their self-image, strain their relationships with loved ones, and make them feel socially isolated when they most need support.

Everyone feels both kinds of stress; it’s just a question of which way it manifests first.

The unfortunate thing about both the physical and emotional symptoms of stress response is that both tend to exacerbate existing stressors. If you’re super busy at work and you start getting stress headaches, congratulations: you’re now both busy and in pain! If you’re super busy at work and you start crying at your desk, congratulations: you’re now both busy and humiliated!

Piggy and I spent a bit too much time in our twenties ignoring the signs our bodies were sending us, and had to learn our limits by suffering the consequences of overextending ourselves.

We are older and wiser now. We know that it’s better to take breaks before you “need” them. And we want to model that behavior for all of you, which is why we took a vacation and publicized it!

Hint hint: we think you should take a vacation too. Here’s why.

Chill, bro.

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This is exactly the kind of mindless consumption that could send our species into extinction.

Five Reasons to Love the Tiny House Movement

At times, our series on tiny houses ventured toward… scathing. Which isn’t even original, as evidenced by articles like this, this, this, thisthis, this, this, thisthis, this, this, this, and this. Jeez. Maybe this counts as punching down?

So as promised, we will conclude our series by refocusing our discussion on what’s great about the tiny house movement. As the movement begins its slow fade into obscurity, these are the five points I pray leave a lasting impact on our culture.

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