It seems that just as one incident of a company's marketting department blundering on the company's social media account is fading from memory, another one comes along to take its place.

The latest, Gillette, the famous razor makers, took to social media to shake its metaphysical fist at "toxic masculinity". Why? Who in their marketting department thought that by taking a cudgel to their user base they'd increase sales?

Instead, the backlash seems to be trending toward people dumping Gillette products. I bet the person who put forward this brain donor of a marketting plan is praying that it slinks away to a quiet corner to die. Adn as quickly as possible, please.

Now, Gillette is owned by Proctor and Gamble, who continued to use the Gillette brand name and sponsor Gillette Stadium, where the New England Patriots play in the NFL. Damn, that seems pretty masculine. I wonder if the marketting department knows?

Let's ignore masculinity for a moment and focus on toxic behavior. One definition of toxicity would be using your power and influence to denigrate and punish people or a person for traits and circumstances beyond their ability to control.

Using that definition, castigating an entire gender for an accident of birth seems like pretty toxic behavior.

In any event, it seems like a good time to dump your Proctor and Gamble stock.


Ever since the notion of "inbox zero" floated across my attention, i've been perplexed by the mania it attracts.  Maybe 15, or even 10, years ago, it was a bit of a challenge to keep up, but these days, most of my email is either spam or commercial.  The former is shipped off to a processing folder, and the latter is either autosorted or unsubscribed.  The time it takes me to deal with is minimal.  It's never occurred to me to brag about inbox zero because i'm there every day.

Then something like this article pops up and i'm just stunned.  2700 messages in a month?  What on earth are you doing?  People just give up?  Maybe i'm just special, or maybe people just hate me and ignore me.

Cards Against Humanity dude sez: "I think as people understand the idea of Inbox Zero now, it’s a total disaster. I don’t see how anyone could run a business or make a living as a freelancer or do any kind of meaningful work by replying to every email in their inbox all the time so that it’s always empty."

But "replying to every email in their inbox all the time" is not what I understand "inbox zero" to mean. I understand it to mean that your goal is to keep the number of unprocessed e-mail messages in your inbox at zero (or as close to it as is practicable). And it's definitely not something you have to keep actively doing 24/7. Processing an e-mail message means to do one of the following:

- delete unread
- read and then delete
- read, optionally reply, and then file away out of the inbox [*]

Then there's always going to be some stuff you don't want to deal with, so you leave it unprocessed (read or leave unread, but in any event you don't act immediately to remove it from the inbox), but the idea is that this number is very small.

One household management tip I heard years ago is to touch your incoming postal mail once. That is, you pick it up; open or toss it in the recycling bin; and "process" the mail you keep right away. Magazines to the living room, Christmas cards to the mantle, bills to the area of the house where you sit down and write your checks and lick your stamps every couple of weeks. (As I say, years ago.) This way, you don't get piles of unsorted mail lying around the house, and you don't miss bills. I've moved this idea to my inbox and it does me OK, except for the interminable e-mail lists I've gotten myself subscribed to.

For interminable e-mail lists, I like to let a day's worth sit unread and then go through them all at once. (I prefer that to getting a daily auto-digest.)

I'll wrap up with a new grand internet tradition. Tired: sharing SAT scores. Wired: sharing your inbox zero status. I'm at inbox 11, with 7 unread topics.

[*] You know who's figured out how to manage avalanches of e-mail? Microsoft. I've found Outlook to be a great solution when I've been an a role where I'm getting dozens of messages per day.

Tonight the condo's book club did an annual thing they do, which is check out a bunch of play scripts from the library and do a reading. Sounds interesting, but not much information provided, least of all _which play_.

So I go down because how bad could it be? And it is about 10 people, mostly older, and we're all sitting around around a table (there's no designated readers OMG 1) and everyone takes turns reading, switching roles scene by scene (OMG 2) and I've already done the social niceties and kind of committed, and then discover that it's a fucking Woody Allen play and by then it's too late to back out. 

So for two and a half hours I read different roles from _Don't Drink the Water_, trying not to turn the obvious Allen character into a whiny schmuck when I get him, but the language is just so exactly that ... and there's all the misogynistic bullshit, the toxic masculinity, the casual racism, the colonialism, the physical sexual assault (that she later says she hoped he'd do), the terrible plot that doesn’t even have the most obvious and interesting twist, the unnecessary rape/suicide references, the ... just ... OMFG 

Anyway, everyone was super nice, I met some new people in the building, I made some folks laugh, and got compliments on my cold reading, so it wasn't a total loss. 

It could have been worse, said d -- it could have been a hobby script. 


It feels oddly quiet since New Year's, and I am not complaining. I think we're all taking a collective sigh and switching off. I came off with a Christmas Cold so I'm doubly glad for the peace. It feels so odd though, coming off the holiday buzz. And this must happen every year but this year is the first "normalish" feeling year for me in a while so I guess I'm noticing it again. (I said off too many times. Semantic satiation. Also, cold medicine.)


Yeah. It _was_ pretty quiet. I even got snowed out today. Weather was just supposed to be overcast, but by the time I got to York, the snow started coming down. So I turned around and came home.

Which actually worked out great because I got an order for my largest (volume of illustrations, not money) single paying illustration gig ever. I then proceeded to knock out 5 of the 39 required drawings.

All of which is probably more info than you were looking for, but it's 12:30am so _of course_ I'm wired...
Wired and tired. My M.O. as well. Very glad to hear about the new biggest project, and the exceptional jump start you got on it. Way to hit the ground running! xoxo
Karen 1/9edited
Mass bed-in seems to be the only solution to the January doldrums.
Bed-in is not a term I run across often, but that is exactly the right one. I'm doing more of it, even after I'm well again.
Karen 1/9
January has been a great bed-in so far. But then again, so was 2018. Highly recommended. :-)

Totally a first world problem, but anymore it feels like Thanksgiving is the starting line for a race through the end of the year.

I went home to Massachusetts to visit family at Thanksgiving and stayed for a week. I'm a homebody, so a week away from Chateau Conrad was pretty exhausting for Mama Conrad's little introvert. Then there's the month-long marathon of shopping and consumption leading up to Christmas. This year, maybe it was the timing of the holiday, maybe it was a confluence of the flu, and needing to replace my truck but Christmas' arrival left me feeling Christmas-spiritless.

Plus, there was a shitshow with one of the street urchins in my neighborhood two days before Christmas. The less said about that the better. But, word to the wise. Get a dash cam and make sure it records audio. My cheapo closeout dash cam saved my bacon when I showed the video to the po-po.

New Year's Even finally arrived and I managed to slog through it and watch the ball drop. Poor Jenny McCarthy looked like a drowned rat with all the rain in NYC.

New Year's Day did allow me to see the first use of 18 instead of 19, on a highway sign advising drivers that a road was going to have work starting soon, Deldot posted the start date as 1/2/18. Man, those guys are slow.

But we're here in 2019. I can hide in my house, post a warning that trespassers will be devoured by angry opposums, and relax. For a couple of days at least.

Congrats on the surviving! We're glad you are a member of Those Still Standing. :)
Do I still count as 'standing' if I'm in bed under a blanket?

I have always been a meat eater. Never really thought twice about it until this year. About two months ago I was sitting at lunch with a bunch of my friends who are not vegetarian- and someone brought up how their brother was becoming a vegetarian. I, of course, blurted out without thinking "I might become a vegetarian."

My friend said, "that sounds like something you would do."

They were right does sound like something I would try. I thought about it for a really long time and did some research. I decided that I am going to try it. I have no idea what it is like. But, Starting New Years Eve I will be a pescatarian. 

You might wonder why a pescatarian?  Well, I would like to take this in steps and maybe once I cut out meat, I can later cut out fish. But this is the first step, and it's a big one. At the end of January-after eating no meat- I will reflect and see how I liked it. If it's not for me I won't keep doing it.

I have not yet told my parents about my thoughts on becoming a vegetarian. Until now...I guess

I don't think I will ever be a vegan though! I love my cheese!

12/28 '18 6 Comments
Okay, let's think this through.

Right now, during the course of a week, your dinners go something like this:
Slow-Cooker Chicken
Pork Chops
Turkey Burgers
Chipotle Steak Burrito
Shake and Bake Chicken
Grilled Hamburgers with mushrooms and cheese

And your breakfasts are:
Bacon, bacon, sausage, sausage, bacon, sausage, bacon.

There are tons and tons of options for different things to eat.
Thousands. Use the internet. The most eatingest people I know are on One Post Wonder. Maybe they'll have advice.

Why don't you make a list of, like, 4 dinner meals and 2 breakfast meals: ingredients and preparation steps, and we'll talk to Mom, then go shopping together and start to figure out how we'll make this work?

Robert Bryan 12/29 '18
Your comment makes what I have to say seem almost foolish. But, I still really want to try this. I think that we can make it work. Like you said I have other choices.
Katie Bryan 12/29 '18
Good for you. I think more people should run 'life experiments' like this to improve their lives or at least expand them. We fall too easily into well worn paths.

I'm not any kind of vegetarian, but one of my favorite meals is. In the interest of full disclosure, I _am_ a bachelor, and I think that shows through in this case.

I pick up a couple types of bags of mixed vegetables at the grocery store. Throw them in a pot with just enough water to keep them from quickly burning on the bottom. Add whatever spices I'm feeling that evening. Heat until everything is hot. Done.

It makes a lot of food, it's pretty healthy (as long as the aforementioned spices aren't a lot of salt), it's fast, it's easy, and it's really inexpensive.

Good luck! You'll have to let us know how the experience goes for you.
Matt Lichtenwalner 12/29 '18edited
That sounds yummy! Thanks for your support!
Katie Bryan 12/29 '18
I was thinking of doing the same, though I suspect my wife would not let me get away with it completely! Many of our meals are already vegetarian, it would not be that much of a stretch to switch to frutti di mare for the others.
Chris Herdt 12/29 '18
There's a wonderful book called, "The Jungle Effect." Part travelogue/world food adventure, part food science, it's written by a doctor who wanted to help her patients change their diets. She recalls an experience she had as a young physician working in (I think) the South American jungle, and then goes globe-hopping to find out what native diets look like in different parts of the world and what effects they have on the people who eat them. And then she brings all that home and tries to figure out how her patients can use and adapt that information for themselves.

One of the things the book made me realize is that we can "play the long game." Rather than dramatic shifts that more often fail and leave us no wiser than before, we can make small discrete changes over time, adding small new habits to our ways of eating, rather than trying to eliminate things or make sweeping changes.

In any case, I applaud your food adventure and look forward to hearing your thoughts at the end of January! And because you're young, you're also in the unique position of being able to play the long game really well. :)

Evil eye bead and hamsa. 

I found this on the sidewalk while walking back from the post office today. Either the universe sent me a protection amulet, a warning, or someone’s earring broke in the traditional Festivus airing of grievances on the corner this past Sunday night. I left it outside on the flagstone to see if someone needed it more than I do. If it’s still there tomorrow, I’ll keep it with the seashells. 

12/27 '18 3 Comments
So? Was it still there? It's such a lovely little doodad.
Funny you should ask. I forgot to look for it. When I came home tonight, it was still there. It's in my pocket now.

Your kind responses to my short Dec 10 pain-post were recieved with gratitude even though I didn't respond. I sorta went into hidey-mode for a bit.

Wanted to update that I got a very nice Christmas gift of muuuch lighter pain for the four days surrounding Xmas, which was so random and wonderful that I'm going to go ahead and thank you all for the good mojo.

Have a goofy cat photo.

12/27 '18 16 Comments
Glad to hear there was a time of lighter pain.
Robert Bryan 12/27 '18
Thank you, Robert. You are so kind.
Karen 12/29 '18
That cat’s not goofy!

Well, okay, yeah. Maybe he is. :P
He's a total derp. Just check out today's Instagram.

(@karonagram if you're reading this and want to find me.)
Karen 12/29 '18
Directions unclear. Put goofy cat in ugly sweater.
Ray Conrad 12/27 '18
Tail caught in ceiling fan?
Karen 12/29 '18
You see, that sort of video, which I will discourage and remonstrate for being animal abuse, also makes me laugh.

I'm a bad person.
Ray Conrad 12/29 '18
No, really, you're just honest about your dark humor. ;)
Karen 12/30 '18
Yay for lighter pain!
How did you convince the cat to wear that?
No convincing. He is actually an alien disguised as a cat who will let you dress him, walk him, pick him up, and let you touch his paws *and* his belly, all while purring. >'-'<
Karen 12/29 '18
Obviously not a cat. Have you considered it's an alien doing a poor cat impersonation to gather information on humans?
Ray Conrad 12/29 '18
I often suspect that, but every now and then he does something so truly cat-derpy that I wonder at his amazing acting abilities. He rolled off the bed in his sleep last week, for instance.
Karen 12/30 '18
Karen 12/30 '18
What's really missing from the picture is the completely doofy striped pant legs it has. The cat's, not Roger's. (Well, also Roger's, but those were a gift from my mom so it's allowed.)
Karen 12/30 '18
So glad you had a little relief.
Leela 12/27 '18
Aw, yes. You know the gift this is. Thank you, sunshine. <3
Karen 12/29 '18

Since Scottish Parliament banned gingerbread men and Baby It's Cold Outside is now Persona Non Grata, these songs will be next on the chopping block. 

1. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus: Subjecting minors to softcore porn. Heteronormative. Underage incestuous voyerism.

2. The Christmas Song: Open fire? Pollution. Folks dressed up like Eskimos? Cultural appropriation.

3. Holly Jolly Christmas: Kiss her once for me? Unwanted advances.

4. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas: Animal abuse.

5. Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Sees you when you’re sleeping? Knows when you’re awake? Peeping Tom/Stalker.

6. Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Everyone telling you be of good cheer? Forced to hide depression.

7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Bullying.

8. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Forced gender-specific gifts: dolls for Janice and Jen and boots and pistols (GUNS!) for Barney and Ben.

9. Santa Baby: Gold digger, blackmail.

10. Frosty the Snowman: Sexist; not a snow woman, assumes the gender of Frosty. Religious anarchist; knows he's going to die and ignores the police. Confident he'll be resurrected.

11. Do You Hear What I Hear: Blatant disregard for the Hearing Impaired

12. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: Make the yuletide GAY? Wow, just wow.

13. Jingle Bell Rock: Giddy up jingle horse, pick up your feet: Animal abuse.

14. Mistletoe and Holly: Overeating, folks stealing a kiss or two? How did this song ever see the light of day?

15. Winter Wonderland: Parson Brown demanding they get married…forced partnership.

16. I’ll Be Home For Christmas: Not if you are homeless. That’s just Insensitive.

17. Grandma got ran over by a reindeer: Homicide. Extremely violent and promotes alcoholism.

18. All I Want for Christmas Is You: Insensitive to people suffering from Obsessive Compulsive behavior.

19. Deck the Halls; Don we now our GAY apparel. HOLY SHIT!

20. Dominick the Donkey; Ethnic sterotyping, reinforcing gender stereotypes, animal abuse. It's a trifecta!

21. Fairytale of New York; Drops F-Bomb (the gay one; and it’s NOT “fairy”); Promotes ethnic stereotypes. Slut shaming.

22. Do They Know It's Christmas?; White supremacist. Paternalistic. What? Africans can't save themselves? 

Gleefully stolen from various sites on the interwebz and compiled here.

12/26 '18 4 Comments
Do They Know It's Christmas was boneheaded because the majority of the beneficiaries were Muslim. Then again, it did the job and raised dollars.
Thomas Boutell 12/27 '18
Falls under that classic: if it's dumb but it works, it's maybe not so dumb?
Karen 12/29 '18
I forget what the source was, but I listened to an English professor defend Baby It’s Cold Outside based on cultural nuances of the era it was written in and how that changed the meaning of the lyrics. It was quite interesting.
This is what I tend to go with, and on occasion tell others who are open to discussing it. It's funny how much the song is such a shitshow by today's standards.
Karen 12/29 '18

The kitties were nestled, all snug in their beds, while the humans read books and scratched their furry heads. 

I hope your day was peaceful and bright. 

12/25 '18 2 Comments
I love that book.
I am loving it, but not unconditionally. An aspect of the book that I truly do love is there huge wide margins where I can write notes.
which reminds me, I have books to return to you.