Favorite Things, Late October Edition

Elodie made this infographic which neatly describes the frustrating part of advice.

85% of advice

Lily B summed up our recent discussion on removing predators from social spaces very beautifully at myloveinthug.tumblr.com:

“whenever there’s a piece about “tell young women not to drink so they won’t get raped” (like young women aren’t told that all the time!) there’s a lot of responses like “why don’t you tell men not to rape!” which is true and good insofar as it places the blame in the correct place. but it’s also in some ways unhelpful, because maybe some men who rape are going to be responsive to education, but i suspect a huge proportion are just fucking predators who don’t give a shit and never will.

so with that in mind i think what a safe space looks like for women (and other people who are preyed upon) is more about one where PEOPLE HAVE THEIR BACK. captain awkward talks more about what this means in practical terms – it’s important both in the moment when you see something sketchy going on, and after a person has been victimized, when they tell you about it or it becomes known to you. when i think back on my assault i wish that just one person had had my back. i was at a party where i thought i had friends, but ultimately i was alone, that night and afterwards. i can’t go back and be that friend for myself but i can try to be her for others, and so can you, and i hope you will be.

Lily gives rocking advice on topics like how to choose glasses correctly and also for how to take care of yourself when you are feeling low and dealing with bad stuff. Such as:

“…6) practice compassion, and i mean practice in the “practice piano” sense of the word. sometimes on public transportation i like to look at all the people on the train or bus in turn and imagine how each of them might be feeling, think about the heavy things in their life they may be carrying, and try to feel kindness and love for them. this kind of thing also helps when someone is irritating you. we all have a lot of struggle in our lives – think about the ways your life is hard that strangers and even friends don’t know about – and remembering this can be the key to having warmer feelings towards everyone, which feels good.

It reminds me of some of the threads we’ve had on poor self-image, where readers have suggested looking at strangers and practicing seeing good things about them as a way to retrain your eye away from being so critical of others.

What’s your favorite thing on the internet right now? One link only, please, with a short description of what it is. Orphaned and/or multiple links are a sure target for the spam trap. Self-promotion allowed.

92 thoughts on “Favorite Things, Late October Edition

  1. Oh my god, Elodie’s infographic is (as usual) amazing and perfect.

    My tumblr content aggregation blog recently reached 500 followers (yay!). I invite anyone who’s interested or in need of cheering up to come and have a look at it; it is strictly pictures of cats showing affection to other cats and other animals, with no annoying text posts or pointless public ask answers. http://lolcatsinlove.tumblr.com/

    (And please feel free to submit any pictures of your cats that seem to fit the theme, I usually have to find new pictures on reddit or imgur and I often step in something nasty on those sites.)

  2. Self promotion is OK? Yay!

    We’re still giving away free pie, now a weekly event in Ann Arbor, and we are finally securing legal representation to become a real-grown-up non-profit corporation. By next spring we hope to have a food truck.


  3. These guys:


    It’s brothers who started by sending youtube videos to each other instead of email, and now they have some kind of company (I’m not clear on that) and a community (nerdfighters?) and all kinds of stuff and do fundraising for charity and one of them is a Big Deal Author and a movie is in the works and they still make videos back and forth to each other. And to all of us. About all kinds of things. They make me happy.

    Also, someone on the forum said “do a google image search on ‘relaxed cats'” and I was like aaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, but that’s not really a single page.

    1. Hi, that was me! I’m a cat person, plus relaxed cats are relaxing…

      Actually, that’s party of why I love cats. That, and how they do their own thing so well, and how they respond to strokes, and I could go on. Like I said, cat person here! Currently uncatted, alas.

    1. Oooh, thanks for that! And delicious (and very sad) irony if you go to the original YouTube video and check out the comment thread. I’ve been on a reading binge about online misogyny and the appalling ways feminists are attacked. Still looking for solutions. This video helps!

  4. Also, thanks, Captain for that link to Lily B. Her post about taking care of yourself was something that hit the spot today…I recommend it highly!

  5. My favourite thing on the internet right now is this place. I posted in the anxiety thread about how I was having such difficulty with my tax return. Wonderful people gave me advice, and listened, and I took the advice – I found a friend and got him to sit with me while I did it – in Sainsbury’s cafe if you must know 🙂

    And it was done! 8 years of stress, all gone. I cried when I told another friend about it, which is really not like me. So here, right now, is my favourite place. Thank you.

  6. Regarding the ‘infoGraphic,

    I’d like to open up (or at least leave room for) the possibility that “Telling a person you ‘hate the thing'” is not the only option for an effective presentation. I fully agree that it’s not effective, but focusing on the thing you hate seems not only ineffective for changing behavior, it also seems ineffective at enjoying your time, or their company.

    For example, 80% of the women I’ve dated smoked when I first met them. I’ve never told them I hated smoking or asked them to stop. I definitely spent time celebrating the things I loved about them, and simply ignored it when they ‘did the thing.’ All of them stopped smoking in less than three months.

    David Dupree – New York Dating Coach

      1. It’s probably not how the advice was meant, but I can’t help hearing an echo of, “They’ll change if you love them enough!”

  7. For glasses buying, I go to one of the online places (eyebuydirect, but I’ve heard good things about lots of them) and they have this thing where you upload your picture and have a digital fitting option and so far it’s been accurate! And now I have three pairs of funky colorful glasses that look awesome on me, for less than I’d pay in a physical store. (And no sales people pressuring me or trying to upsell or so on)

    For my shameless self-promotion and cat-related thing
    I make catnip toys in geeky and generic patterns. Which reminds me that I really need to photograph the next generic set and update soon!

  8. And off I trot to read the Lily B link! I leave you with The Sexy Lie, really insightful TED talk about what happens when you self objectify, (objecticate?), and how viewing yourself as a sex object actually means you’re less likely to enjoy sex:

  9. Thank you for this awesome post, and for turning me on to lilyb!

    Also, an invitation to shamelessly self-promote to the Awkward community? Why, yes, I’ll fall into that tub of butter. Here’s a bunch of arts and farts – hope they make you smile! Sorry that flickr’s crappy new layout makes things harder to navigate and load. 😦


    Those of you in Chicago, I will be selling holiday cards and zines at Spudnik Press’s Holiday Sale on Dec 4. Hope to see you there!

  10. I am completely in love with this browser game, Fallen London, by storynexus. It mimics a card-based role playing game. It’s very imaginative and gothic and silly at the same time! And they’re doing a Halloween storyline if you start now.


    1. Alsoalso, they’ve just got funds via Kickstarter for a computer game set in the same universe, exploring the Unterzee.

  11. My short list of favorite things on the internet definitely includes this site (on a list of about 5 tabs I check at least daily, right up there with my email).

    Another is totally self-promotion, but it’s my silly photo blog of my moray eel plushie, mostly posing all around Japan, although I’m currently in the states and not updating quite as much (will get on that soon!). Actually, this fits in with self-help as well, because goofy as this photo blog is, it really motivates me to get up and out of the house to find new photo opportunities, on days when I might otherwise just lie on my couch feeling sorry for myself. So yup, my self-help is a moray eel, and you can see his adventure here (go back a few pages for much more interesting Japan photos!):


    And thanks as always for the really insightful links, Cap’n, and I’m enjoying everyone else’s cute and fun links as well! Those Halloween art costumes are great!

  12. So I’m linking this not because I love it (it’s sexist and silly and it’s pretty much its own strawman!) but because it is SUCH an (unintentionally) thorough round-up of absurd gender essentialism, contradictions and tropes when it comes to sex and romance. We have our Virgin/Whore dichotomy; our wild!girls guys like to sleep with and our boring!girls they like to marry (and then cheat on – because they’re boring – the guy actually SAYS that in the article). We have our ‘men just want meaningless sex until they suddenly want to Settle Down With A Good Woman’ arc. We have the nonsensical ‘why do modern women DISRESPECT themselves?’ whine. If you ever wanted to read *just* how narrow the knife-edge for women cast in traditional gender roles, IT IS HERE. Plus for a bonus, the guy’s whingy tone of “why can’t I find a nice woman?” following a thousand words of him shitting all over women. EVERYTHING YOU COULD POSSIBLY ASK FOR, ALL IN THE ONE TERRIBLY-WRITTEN ARTICLE. Read it (it’s even funnier and more nonsensical when read aloud) and laugh and cringe and be happy that this is all just a load of bunk.


    1. Plus a little creepy paedophilic edge about how his future wife is ‘probably playing with blocks in Kindergarten right now’ because he wants to marry someone who’s sexually inexperienced and therefore ‘untarnished’. Ugh, the whole thing leaves a bad taste – how can one person be so wrong? I can see having fun ranty times mocking this with my friends though. It ticks all the bingo squares 🙂

  13. I’ve been feeling myself sliding into the pit of depression lately (trying to get myself back into therapy and, much as I hate it, meds before my life falls apart), and I ran across this:


    Maybe if you’re not dealing with depression it’s a downer, but for me, at least, it gives me a name for what I’m feeling. I don’t feel so alone and I don’t feel so crazy, somehow. I ought to up and bookmark it, because I end up googling it and rereading it every day or so, as comfort food. (There are also the two hyperbole-and-a-half blog posts, but I’m already at the one-link limit.)

  14. Tim Curry singing an absolutely ridiculous Halloween song with green screen and a Cole Porter reference. So very very bad it’s good.

    1. YES!!! This song is the reason I now call Halloween Tim Curry Day. 😀 Thanks for reminding me to link it to my friends on fb!

    2. I first saw this when I was eight or so, and the Internet brought it back to me. It just has even more bizarre genius every time I see it 😀

  15. Right at this moment, this is my favorite thing on the internet:


    It’s a series of ridiculous Jesus paintings. Definitely scroll down for the last image–I have it set as my desktop background right now, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. (Is Jesus cupping Eve’s boobs? What’s up with the tiger? Where are Adam’s nipples?)

  16. Right now the most fun I am having is watching Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen tweet silly pictures of each other as they gallivant about tourist sites in bowler hats, as per this link:


    They are the BFFS everyone deserves.


    My other favourite thing is that my brother wrote a book! (GIANT SQUEE) He’s been waiting ages for it to be published and it is finally a thing. The best thing is I still have my giant ringbound version of his manuscript from back when he gave it to me going “I dunno, should I try sending it to a publisher?”, and I can vouch for its excellence! It’s a YA fantasy novel called Loria, and is available as a paperback or e-book at the following linkety link:

  17. Discourses on the Otter

    Quotations from Frantz Fanon and Michel Foucault and so on, with carefully chosen pictures.

    I found this last night, and started laughing like a dying seal round about “the assumption that this otter is always outside.”

    1. There is also this spell block tango where it’s rewritten for disney villains and sung by american idol stars

        1. Sorry didn’t check the link and assumed you meant this one when you used cell block instead of spell block

  18. I’m a regular commenter here but under a pseud. I’m using my RL account to invite the Awkwardeers to my Halloween blogparty for my first self published eBook: Little Witches Bewitched – a book I’m shamefacedly proud of (is that a thing?).

    In preparing for the launch I’ve suddenly realised how much I love black and orange together – I think I may wear Halloween colours for the rest of my life.

    Blog party here: http://blog.rhiannonlassiter.com/2013/10/31/halloween-blog-party-little-witches-launch/
    There are competitions to win the print edition so no obligation to buy – but everyone’s welcome to join the party. We also have an awesome recipe for pumpkin soup.

  19. Moodgym! It’s an online “workbook” for cognitive behavioral therapy – you work through sections, have weekly assignments (spend 10 minutes a day doing something you like, 5 minutes being kind to yourself); I’ve found it very interesting and positive so far.

  20. I’ve been getting a lot of use out of Challenge Accepted, a web app a friend of mine helped design that awards you XP for getting shit done. I find the prospect of cleaning the grout and replying to emails much more exciting when I get to level up after. Link: http://getyedone.com/

    I really enjoy these occasional open threads!

  21. I’m a little late to the party here, since its run ended a couple of months ago, but I just started binging/am obsessed with Attack On Titan, which is an amaaazing anime about people living in a walled city because outside are giants who eat humans. I actually discovred it earlier this week, because commenters had mentioned it in a thread discussing sexism/male gaze. (Citing it as an anime that was awesome, had great female characters and no fan service.) Anyway, I think this counts as “on the internet” because I’ve been watching it for free on Crunchyroll, heh: http://www.crunchyroll.com/attack-on-titan (Also streams free on the Funimation site.)

  22. Like keelyellenmarie above, I use art as a coping/management/distraction method. With the added advantage that then I have something nice afterward!

    I started a Tumblr earlier this year that combines church drawings with thoughts on life. It’s kind of depressing, but the drawings are very soothing to do. http://fuckyeaharbitrarygod.tumblr.com/

  23. My current favourite thing on the Internet is SuperBetter.com which gamifies self-care, turning whatever goal you wanna accomplish into an RPG where you are a SuperHero, the things that suck for you are Bad Guys, you have Quests that get you closer to your goal (which they call an Epic Win), and you can use Powerups (aka things that make you feel good), and it’s awesome! It’s still a little buggy, but hopefully as things progress it keeps improving and even in its current form it’s been helping me a lot.. 🙂

  24. I was going to link to Madison Kimrey’s speech at the most recent Moral Monday rally in North Carolina (I was there!), but then I realized that if I leave a link to her blog, Functional Human Being, her most recent post includes the video of her speech, plus there are all her other posts about things like voting rights, rape culture, and the racialized history of food insecurity in the southeastern US. Did I mention she’s 12?

  25. I recently watched an amazing anime that I think y’all would like – “Princess Jellyfish”. – I can’t find a good link to it, unfortunately. But it’s just… it’s wonderful and glorious. It’s not just pretty and sweet, it’s… kind. Like, for serious – it’s a show about a bunch of nerds/otaku who live together, and it’s just… kind about them. The joke isn’t “Oh my gods they’re such dorks they like stuff!”, it’s just… adorable sweetness. There’s also a bunch of stuff about gender that I don’t wanna spoil, but holy crap do I recommend Princess Jellyfish.


  26. I’ve always been a fan of Super Better, but right now my new thing is Happify. It’s also based on positive psychology research, with self-care exercises broken up into four week tracks based around a theme, like “Learn to Cope with Stress” or “Connect with your family.” My favorite part is the game with hot air balloons with words on them, and you get points when you click on the positive ones but lose points for clicking on negative ones.

  27. I Freaking LOVE the following comment:

    ‘Regarding this part: (1) someone gets sexually assaulted, whether raped or violated in another way, and people say to the survivor, “you have to do something! If you don’t do something, who will protect the next victim?” I think I’d have to be a hypocritical idiot to say that. The survivor did do something; she told me. Now it’s up to us, not just her, to do something about it.’

    Found here: http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/cockblocking-rapists-is-a-moral-obligation-or-how-to-stop-rape-right-now/ and posted by Alex Harman

  28. Soooo as far as the infographic goes: I’ve been thinking about it for days now and I’ve got Thoughts, man!

    So you may have already heard this/told yourself this. Maybe many times? But please don’t be discouraged if/when your advice seems to be rejected. Sometimes just getting someone else to acknowledge, “You are right to hate this thing!” is half the point. Or ALL the point. Sometimes you need to sit with that for a long time and let that validation percolate till it effects an actual change of behavior. Lots of times it combines with other advice.

    I’m almost never ready to act on the thing I need to hear at the moment I hear it. It took a therapist MONTHS of “You don’t have to pretend to be ok with Shitty Thing Husband Does” and me being like, “But if I don’t pretend to be ok with it, Husband will do This Other Even Shittier Thing” and therapist being like “You don’t have to be ok with that either!” and me like “NONONO my world doesn’t work that way” before I finally one day realized, Hey man, I don’t have to pretend to be ok with this shitty thing Husband is doing! Holy shit look how smart I am, figuring that shit out!

    Anyway. I don’t give advice professionally. So I can’t imagine just how frustrating and exhausting it must be when this basic formula happens over and over and over. But I think it happens because when you encounter most people, you’re not meeting them during those rare moments they’re on the verge of radical change and only need a gentle push in the right direction. (And when you have, chances are good that you just gave the FINAL push and there’s a whole string of OTHER frustrated people in front of you who felt discouraged that this person didn’t listen to them. Because percolation.) The advice you both give (well, ALL of you advice columnists, since my favorites seem to all know each other) does something different at EVERY stage of the long, arduous “changing your life around” process. It percolates when you’re not ready to hear it yet. It can be that final push needed when you ARE ready to hear it. It can make you glow with the pride of Doing Shit Right when you find it later and know that it’s what you just did and IT WORKED. And maybe best of all, it can always be passed on, and on, and on. So I guess I’m saying maybe don’t look to just that one moment when you give advice and it’s rejected as a full measure of the good you do, because percolation, man. You guys are seriously good for the world.

  29. Thank you so much for the link to Lily B! LOVE her writing.

    Since self-promotion is ok, I am going to share the sale I’m holding in my Etsy shop. I sell women’s vintage clothing (Fifties through Eighties) and recently opened a plus-size section. I know how hard it can be to find fun clothes you feel good in for ladies of all sizes so am bringing the vintage love to the masses! My shop is at http://strangerbirdvintage.etsy.com and coupon code SBV20 will get you 20% off!

  30. My one problem with this is that in correlation with greater education about consent and rape culture, we’ve been seeing a decline in rapes. Obviously correlation doesn’t equal causation and the numbers concerning rape are not super-reliable to begin with, but to me this suggests the opposite of what the excerpt from LilyB states: while some people are going to rape regardless of education, the majority of them can be positively influenced by it. “Rapists will inevitably rape” isn’t really backed up by data, and it’s no more helpful a position than focusing entirely on education and neglecting safety and defense tips.

    1. In the excerpt, I think Lily B. is talking about what can be done *in the moment* *by us, personally* vs. statistics.

  31. Awesome new blog written by Andrea Plaid, formerly of Racialicious, and Tamara Winfrey Harris, formerly of What Tami Said! It’s called Squeezed between Feminisms (http://squeezedbetweenfeminism.wordpress.com) and the mission statement is:

    “We stand in the gap.

    We experienced the ERA and Stonewall and 70s black radicalism from high chairs and sandboxes.

    We wondered why Blair had romances and Tootie had roller skates.

    We feel too damn old for Girls, but we vaguely remember when Maude first came on TV.

    The second wave forgot many of our mothers. The third wave struggles to remember us.

    We stand in the gap between Boomer and Millennial feminisms that often fail to reflect the voices of women of color. But we don’t stand alone. Because we seek to create solidarity with other marginalized peoples under the banner of “coalition politics.”

    In this space, we mind the gap…or rather the intersection. We talk about race, feminism, and other social-justice issues with sidelines of silliness, just because.”

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