WTF Wednesday

A Texas man admitted to stealing $1.2 million worth of fajitas over nine years. What in the hell?

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Can anyone please tell me what “We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values” means? What does the “Judeo” half have to say about demanding “Merry Christmas” only? WHAT IS GOING ON? No one is stopping you from give holiday greetings as you so desire, but the President of the United States does not need to be making statements about which holidays get recognition.

I prefer to say “Happy Holidays” because it’s an inclusive greeting and I have friends and colleagues who celebrate a multitude of holidays throughout winter. I will give them a specific greeting (such as “Happy Kwanzaa”) if I know they celebrate it, but a general wish for a joyful holiday in no way lowers the overwhelming celebration of Christmas in America. My pharmacy already has Christmas crap out and it’s not even Halloween. I know I say this every year, but CHRISTMAS IS FINE.

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And Trump has been subpoened for all documents related to his sexual assault of women. The assaulter in chief HAS TO GO, but I know they have to do gather this information correctly and patiently.

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We have a lot of events in the first couple of months of the school year, and many of those events rely heavily on RSVPs as we are feeding people or reserving seats. We had a new faculty barbecue recently, and I was helping with the check in. Several administrators showed up who had not RSVP’d, so I didn’t have a printed name tag for them. One person got very irritated that he had to write his name on a tag (THE HORROR) and blamed his “secretary” for not “taking care of business.” I told him that the invitation went directly to him so as not to cause confusion over who was invited to attend, so it was his responsibility to respond. He looked me in the eye and told me that it is “not his job” to worry about “low level” tasks like that. And I told him that that is his problem and not mine.

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At another event where we had seats saved with names, an administrator showed up and asked me where his seat was. I told him that he hadn’t responded to any of our office’s emails requesting a commitment to attend, so we didn’t reserve a seat aside for him. He then continued to be annoyed and was rude to several people on my team about it. We had reserved a few extra seats in the event that unexpected folks showed up, but those were already full because he arrived several minutes after the event had already begun. I had to let him know that a great way to avoid this kind of awkward situation in the future is to reply to email and to arrive on time because he’s a grown man.

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Responsible Festing

The last few days have gone by so quickly that I am not even sure what happened. On Friday, we had a retirement party for a woman I work with. I am so sad that she is retiring because she is 100% badass. I’ve watched men try to push her around in meetings and she does not stand for it. Finding women like that to look up to isn’t always easy, and it sure burns when you lose them. Treasure the awesome women you work with!

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I worked Saturday morning, then Sari and I raced over to the Turn Verein for some Oktoberfest fun with Tracy and her family. We typically go at night, but this year they wanted to bring their kids, so we got to see a whole other side of the festival. They had little kids yodeling, all kinds of crazy music, and fun crafts. All of the little kids in dirndls and lederhosen were freaking adorable!

We had German sausages (except Sari who just had fries of the French) and then shared five desserts. It was an awesome afternoon.

I didn’t dress up because I had to go straight from Oktoberfesting to watch our homecoming football game. We actually won which was very exciting for everyone. I didn’t get home until after 10 and while it was a long day, it was a good one.

On Sunday I went to Orange Theory (barely survived), then cleaned house and went through my closet while watching Practical Magic. That movie is SO GOOD and I can’t believe how many of my peers have not seen it. FIX THAT ASAP.

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I went through a bunch of my work clothes that I have never worn or they never fit properly to send with one of my co-workers for her nieces who live in Santa Rosa and lost their homes. It’s horrifying that people have lost their homes, but they’ve also lost their businesses and livelihood. I have a friend at work whose sister’s hair salon burned down. She’s found another salon to work at, but she lost thousands of dollars of tools that won’t be replaced by insurance. It’s hard to imagine how people start over if they can’t even make money. It’s still so unbelievable that so many people have lost so much.

Thankfully, the weather is supposed to deliver some rain this week, so I hope that helps. I don’t know how the men and women who have been fighting these fires without a break have done it, but I know that we can never thank them enough for their service. You can support California firefighters through the California State Firefighters’ Association and the families of fallen firefighters through the California Fire Foundation (or on Amazon Smile through the California Fire Foundation).

In less awful news, I started Mindhunter on Sunday night (no Outlander, WTF!) and I am loving it so far.

The guy who plays Edmund Kemper is such a perfect creep. It gives me the willies just to think about him.

Finally, on Monday, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking on our campus. This was his last speaking engagement in California before he was assassinated just six short months later. I had the opportunity to hear Tavis Smiley speak twice and it was definitely the inspiring kick in the pants I needed to avoid (in the words of MLK Jr.) “when silence becomes betrayal.” Tavis was an outstanding speaker and I felt very lucky to be able to hear him. I also ordered his book Death of a King about Martin Luther King Jr.’s final year.

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We had events across campus all day and into the evening, and it was a truly inspiring start to the week. We have a lot of work to do, but the reminder that we can make a difference and that can effect change was a much needed message.

Magnificent Men of Monday

Thor:Ragnarok opens soon and while I will likely wait until it’s free on HBO, I do look forward to seeing more Taika Waititi out and about. He is SO STYLE and HANDSOME. I love it. If you haven’t seen Hunt for the Wilderpeople, then you are missing out. It is 100% beautiful. He also acts in a amusing yet strange movie called What We Do In the Shadows about a documentary team that goes and lives with “vampires” for a month.

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Image result for taika waititi gifEven for a studio sit-down, Waititi says he focuses on what he prefers to wear. He likes this jacket because &ldquo;it reminds me of a jacket that Paul Newman wore in <em>The Hustler</em>. It&rsquo;s a kind of &rsquo;50s look.&rdquo; Shirt by APC. Jacket by Saks Fifth Avenue. Pants by Steve Allen. Shoes by Topman.

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10 Thing Friday

1. Here are some resources to help wildfire victims (and their animals!). Also, Redwood Credit Union is a local business that is also collecting donations to distribute to the four counties in their area. I don’t even have the words to describe how horrifying and destructive these fires are. Over 20 people killed, more than 3,500 homes are gone, and 190,000 acres have burned. Police officers from our University are volunteering to help manage evacuations, people are taking in those who need shelter, and we are gathering items to donate, but this situation feels impossible right now. I don’t know how you help someone who has lost everything and the fires are still largely uncontained.Image result for wine country fire

2. Puerto Rico is also still suffering. Power will likely be out for six months and 40% of people are without water. Their agriculture will be devastated for at least a year and there is a massively growing threat from disease. So, Donald, you’re not doing great work there. Quit your lying.

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3. The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Don’t Want to Be Accused of Sexual Harassment. I LOVE IT!

4. I am beyond done with people criticizing Hillary Clinton over Weinstein. It isn’t her fault that he’s a monster. You told her to go away. Now you’re mad that she’s not commenting enough? WHICH IS IT? Also, she’s a private citizen now, she owes you nothing. If you wanted to hear from her on every damn thing, then you should have elected her. Also, there is no way in hell that the Obamas knew. They sent their TEENAGE DAUGHTER to work for him. There is no way they would have ever allowed her to be near him if they had know. No way.

Anthony Bourdain is in a relationship with Asia Argento who earlier this week accused Weinstein of rape. I get why this feels deeply personal to him as someone he loves has stated that she was assaulted by Weinstein, but this is not any woman’s fault or responsibility. Everything cannot be Hillary’s Clinton’s fault. Jesus.

5. I’ve always liked Rose McGowan, but my admiration for her has been through the roof for the past week. She is a badass and she alos made a great point about Lindsay Lohan’s comments  which I needed to hear because I initially rolled my eyes at her hard. Another positive (not a happy kind of positive, but something that is important) out of this is that famous men like Terry Crews and James Van Der Beek are also speaking out about assault and harassment that they also experienced in Hollywood. The more people who are able to tell their stories puts pressure on stopping the dismissal and excuses for this type of behavior. I hope that others feel safe coming forward so that they can continue to call out this kind of behavior and protect future generations from predators.

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6. “Counterarguments Are Critical to Debunking Misinformation.

One thing that I have found useful is to ask people what would have to be true for them to change their mind or position. It at least gets a less combative discussion flowing and help me better understand the heart of the issue. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done, other times what they want is not feasible (like my example below), but other times I’m surprised by how specific and narrow the problem is that pushes them to the other side (and, on rare occasions, it is something that is already being done!). For me, I would agree with elective abortion (I believe there will always be a need for medically necessary abortion as you can’t control the development of a fetus) being illegal if we could ensure that every single pregnant woman wanted to carry her pregnancy to term. And that decision was made without influence, force, pressure, or coercion from other parties, society, or their community.

7. When I first saw stills from the recent Dove Ad, I felt that immediate internal sinking feeling of “oh noooooo.” It’s a truly careless advertisement that should not have ever happened. SOMEONE should have noticed. While I have seen several people defend it or state that it’s not racist (reminder: you don’t get to decide what others find offensive), actress Danielle Brooks (the amazing Taystee on Orange is the New Black) wrote a Lenny Letter about how it made her feel. I hope that you will take the time to read it.

Also, if you’re unfamiliar with the crappy history of racism in soap advertisements, then Google “Victorian soap advertisement” and take a gander. This one example is awful enough.

8. If you live anywhere near NYC, there is a a Downtown Abbey exhibition headed your way on November 18. Please, go for those us who live far away, and soak up the jaunty hats and beaded splendor. SEND PICTURES.

9. You can send a message to your Senators and Representatives through the National Parks Action Fund to demand that Congress protect our National Monuments (not shrink and modify).

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

With the rate we are going climate wise we don’t have a lot of time to enjoy these beauties, so we need to do everything we can before the animals and vegetation are destroyed by the rising temperatures.

10. 15 Fast & Fancy Dinners to Make This Season. The honey-glazed pork tenderloin looks DIVINE. I bet that sauce would also be heaven on some roasted Brussels Sprouts.

I only like pumpkin if it’s in a pie or bread, but some of you pumpkin-loving freaks might enjoy this Pumpkin Chili.

Good Things

This is a general collection of reviews about products I’ve been using and never bothered to provide a follow up about them. I was not paid to use or write about these products, and I did not receive any of them for free, at a discount, or in exchange for a review. Several of them are items that you all kindly recommended, so I wanted to let you know how they are working out. THANK YOU to anyone who has ever recommended that I try something, I really do appreciate it. Also, at the end, I am seeking input on backpacks if you want to just skip down to that.

In June, I complained that my preferred pair of exercise underwear had gone kaput, and the company no longer made made them. Y’all recommended several different brands, so I tried several of them! As a note: I appreciate those of you who suggested Lululemon, but I don’t shop there. Part of that is my personal bias toward their celebration of and tragic misunderstanding of Ayn Rand’s philosophy (which doesn’t seem to really jive with what I understand to be the values of the yoga community), but also their founder was a real jackass (I know that he is no longer involved). Anyway, just not a fan or Rand or Lulu.

Patagonia Briefs

W'S BARELY BIKINI, Geo Diamond: Black (GBEK)

I ordered three different styles (the Barely Bikini, Active Hipster, and Active Hipster) to try. All three were great for hiking, wearing in general, and passed the sink washing/quick drying test for future travel. I prefer the Barely Bikini for working out because they don’t move at all when I’m running or lifting weights, and I never felt like they were trapping in heat. Overall, I liked all three and recommend finding the one that best fits your curves.

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh Bikini Brief

Give-N-Go Sport Mesh Bikini Brief, Hot Coral, large

This pair was also a good fit for my body. They don’t move around at all, I never get a wedgie, they dried quickly, and they didn’t make me feel hotter.

Knixwear Athletic Bikini

These were not the right fit for my ample backside. They cut in a bit too narrow at the bottom which made them move around a lot when I was working out. Based on reviews, I ordered a size up in addition to the normal size I would wear. My normal size was so small that I could tell it wasn’t going to work before I even got them past my thighs, so those went back. These might be a tiny bit too large which probably compounds the issue, but I don’t have time for moving undies when I’m running.

Knixwear 8-In-1 Evolution Bra

While the undies didn’t work out, I also ordered one of their bras that looked interesting and I LOVE IT. There are still plenty of shirts that I wear my normal bras with, but this one is so comfortable it’s unreal. When I first put it on it was super tight, but after a few weeks it fit perfectly. It’s so comfortable, it feels light, I don’t feel nearly as hot in it, no wires, and there’s no ugly cup seam or unwanted bulges in the back. It’s expensive ($55), but I have two now and have been thrilled with them. They also have a lot of sizes.

Amazon Fire TV/ Fire Stick

A little less than a year ago, we cancelled our cable. I was petrified. I love my shows SO MUCH. After doing some research, I bought Amazon Fire TV for the living room since you can plug the internet cord (I don’t know the proper term – sorry) from the modem directly into it. We watch the majority of our shows in the living room, so I wanted to make sure we had the fastest connection for that TV. I can honestly say that I have not missed cable at all. We bought a cheap antenna so we get some local channels in case we need the local news or to watch something live (like the Olympics), but otherwise, it has been rare that I have been frustrated that I didn’t have access to something immediately.

A lot of the apps are great (Amazon Prime, HBO, Hulu, Netflix, PBS, Masterpiece, Starz, Showtime) and a lot of them suck (FX). An annoying problem that still exists is that channels like AMC don’t have a subscriber option that allows people without cable to watch shows. We could buy their shows on iTunes, but iTunes doesn’t have an app for Amazon, so we would have to hook a computer to the TV to watch the show which requires effort (it also costs money). The seventh season of Walking Dead is now out on Netflix, so we are finally catching up. I actually didn’t miss it at all and Sari had to convince me to give the season a try. The only major negative that I see about Fire TV is if someone in the household is a big sports fan. To my knowledge, there is not yet a way to access sports on demand or live yet. Since I don’t care at all about sports (except the Olympics), this doesn’t impact me at all. Update: You can subscribe to ESPN through Sling TV!

I have a Prime subscription, so I always have access to that content and we pay for Netflix year round. PBS is free, and the other premium channels (HBO, STARZ, Showtime, HULU) we only subscribe to in months where there is a show that we are watching (Outlander, Game of Thrones, Handmaid’s Tale). It is very easy to manage the subscriptions through Amazon.

I liked the Fire TV so much that I bought a Fire TV Stick for my room when it was on sale before Christmas. There is no monthly fee for either of the Fire TV devices which is great. We haven’t had any problems subscribing to shows and watching them (Sari got a free Roku and we often can’t get our subscription to connect to that device). The only thing I don’t like about the stick is that the remote for the living room box is a voice remote. So, instead of spending ten minutes scrolling back and forth over a keyboard on the TV typing out My Cousin Rachel, I can just say it to the remote. I think the new Fire TV Stick comes with the voice remote, so that solves that issue. It’s so handy! We also have connection issues on occasion when we have two TVs going and are on computers and/or phones. That’s an internet problem, not a Fire TV issue, but something to consider.

In conclusion, I’ve been totally happy with the functionality and options on both devices. I can also rent movies on demand or buy them which is super handy. We have not spent more than $30 a month on app subscriptions which is significantly less than our previous $145 cable bill. Win!

Now, for backpacks.

In 2002, I purchased a North Face Borealis backpack for college. She was spacious, sturdy, and comfortable. Since then, she has been with me through three degrees and eight years of college, traveled to seven countries, visited 12 national parks, lived in five cities, and flown with me all over the place. After 15 years of service, the interior is starting to dissolve and she needs to be replaced.

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Naturally, I reordered the same backpack since this one had treated me so well. Unfortunately, when it arrived it was much smaller and had a problematic feature. If you look at the bottom left of the above picture, you will see what looks like a half circle pad sticking out. This padding protects my hips from the waist strap when I’m carrying a bunch of crap (which is always). The new Borealis doesn’t have that feature:

Those straps will cut me right in two because my backpack is ALWAYS overpacked. I am looking for something that is functional for both carrying on a plane and day hikes. I need those padded hip sections! I ordered this Osprey pack, but now after looking at I don’t know how convenient it will be for backpacking.

FARPOINT 40

I also have issues with the straps on my big Osprey backpack because they are pretty slim which cuts into my shoulders when I’m wearing it for a long time (also, because it’s always overpacked and stupid heavy). I also have the Osprey Skimmer on the way to to try out, but I am already thinking it’s too small.

SKIMMER 16

For all your outdoorsy folk and travelers, I would greatly appreciate any recommendations you have for backpacks.