4/28/16

New Experiences . . .

In January I continued an annual tradition and posted my 2016 public objectives. MOST years this act (just posting them) makes me more accountable and more successful. On average I meet or exceed 75% of my public objectives (and do even better on my private ones).

That said THIS year has been, with nearly 39% burnt, has not been my traditional/normal year. I was not really ready for the objectives I set and I was not really willing to do the proverbial work. I started strong in January but February and March were  not exactly focused. APRIL has been much better. I'll start updating my status again with the MAY status (in early June) but there is ONE objective that I'm doing fine with - likely because it is escapism and self-distraction at its finest. Yep. The ONLY objective I am truly ahead on in a proud, loud way is "new experiences".

Here, without context or elaboration, are the seventeen "new experiences" I've already had in 2016.
  1. Wrote and published erotic fiction
  2. Had a drink in a hotel bar while chatting with strangers
  3. REALLY considered a career change
  4. Ate lunch in a sit down restaurant, alone. No book, no phone, no distractions
  5. Wrote and published poetry
  6. Posted a "casual encounter" on Craig's List (that Debash responded to - relax)
  7. Bet $100 on "black" (Wesley Snipes says you should always do that) and won
  8. Tried to explain the irrational fear of transgendered people in public bathrooms to a child
  9. Learned to say quinoa - six years after starting the effort
  10. Left a secret in a "Post Secret" book
  11. Had a conversation with an unironic Trump supporter without laughing or eye rolling - learned a few things along the way
  12. Tried Diet Sierra Mist - NEVER doing that again
  13. Spent thirty minutes reading content on a white supremacist website
  14. Spent twenty minutes looking at my various retirement and savings accounts trying to understand them (yep, I made it longer reading racist filth than reviewing financials)
  15. Started taking medication to stay in my happy place - something long overdue
  16. Read a book on chess (I still can't really play but I get the strategy much, much better)
  17. Booked a surprise weekend trip without any discussion with my fellow travelers
I owe my objective list 19 more but hope to far exceed it. The rest of my list should be jealous of how much I'm enjoying this one.

4/27/16

Liar . . .

You know who's a liar? A stone-cold, to your face, can't be trusted, smile while stabbing you in the back, selfish, caring only for itself LIAR?

Graham Cracker Crust.

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah . . . Cheesecake and Key Lime Pie and icebox/pudding pie, and S'mores torte. Blah, blah, blah. That overly sensitive, fragile, and delicate dust never did a single thing to be celebrated.

Let me ask you this . . . would you order a graham cracker crust from Amazon? Nope. Of COURSE not. You'd order a television. You'd order a chair in which to strap your child riding in the car. You'd have the site send you bottles of Coca-Cola and other sweet confections but not your belllllovvvvveeed graham cracker crust. Why? You have enough common sense in your want-to-believe-the-best-in-dessert-bases head to not risk the money - to not waste the money.

The actual worst part? People will lie on behalf of this sweet diva. They'll say "I don't have any issues with my crust. It never breaks. I know the secret to a dependable and solid crust that you can dig a fork in to with reckless abandon." Don't trust these people. They are the "No, no - I don't like Hall and Oates in an ironic way." of the pastry world. They can't - they SHALLN'T (or SHAN'T if you're a more comfortable) be trusted.

If those magical elves at Keebler can't make it work . . . your aunt (by marriage, not even blood - pft) can't make it work. Don't listen to her. Don't listen to them. They will sell you all the fantastic lies the world ever offered . . . like unicorns. Lies like rainbows. Liars. LIE-URS.

I can hear you now . . .  "The world needs delicate things to be respected and to cherish to remind us of the finer, stronger things in life." You'll feel the pressure of those who pretend/imply you are selling yourself short (like when they assure you a $38/bottle wine is "better" than a $14/box wine). The peer pressure, like so much bad beer and sticks and seeds pot when you were a teenager, is not love. They are not your friends. They will look you in the eye and smile as you mutually enjoy a slice of something. That's part of their game. But they aren't putting you in their will. They won't let you come over and use their pool when they are out of town. They, like the crust you built your after after dinner dreams on, can't be trusted.

Don't believe the hype. Don't play in to it. Stand your ground, dear reader. KNOW the truth. KNOW that graham cracker crust is a dessert you simply can't trust. Put the fork down. Go find you a nice puff pastry, or a floury-buttery bastard Grandma used to make. Make your berries, dairy, whipped peanut butter, and other fillings feel properly supported - properly LOVED - in something that can take the "rigors" of a pie slicer or spoon. On something strong. Something reliable. Something real.

Life is short, people. Don't let liars fill your precious time or calorie counters. Let a pie crust fool you once, shame on the crust. Let a pie crust fool you twice, shame on that white shirt you just dribbled on.

4/26/16

Priorities . . .

Here's my new gripe on the state of politics in 2016 . . . the focus on the stupid and small. The misprioritization of the profession. We live (if a neighbor of mine you be) in a state FULL of actual problems.

We have high unemployment. We have more and more people moving out of the state every year. We have a deficit that would make even an NFL payroll wince. We have football and basketball coaches as the highest paid employees at not only our universities but some of our high schools. We have growing obesity. We have dropping test scores. We have a dated infrastructure. We have towns that are literally disappearing. We have thousands of square miles ripe for wind and sun "farming" and a push to NOT develop those resources. We have one of the richest families in the world three miles from where I sit and they lord over the political process for actual sport. Our schools are woefully underfunded. Our focus on education somewhere below the pursuit of better movie snacks and collector's edition sports memorabilia.

More over we have elected officials who, true to form, seem to be stoking the fires of ignoring these issues and trying to distract people away. What has our Legislature been up to? Bathroom policies. Honoring the professional sports team from a neighboring state. Protecting the "rights" of florists to not make corsages for "the gays"(and our "right" to pay the huge fees for an expert witness/bigot to fly in to testify). Oh, oh . . . and taking recess. Because it is exhausting to be a legislator in Kansas. All those hearings on nothing and all that energy grandstanding about how much you care about all people (while advocating for wealthy, white, Christian males).

Don't even get me started on Governor Brownback who - again this week - needed to tell the world that Kansas is not open to Syrian refugees (because of the "threat" - but he's also not open to discussing gun policy despite this happening here recently). He won't look at eliminating the "LLC Loophole" because there are "many other options" to fixing our budget woes. He's a truly lost cause. "We" re-elected him. "We" did this to us.

But here's the thing . . . there is a growing rift. The Republicans in the Legislature seem to be "getting" it. They are grumbling behind the scenes and are expected to be more vocal when they return from their much-needed respite later this week. There is a chance they will push the issue of looking at EVERY option to fixing our budget woes, to getting a better focus on schools and infrastructure, to making things right for the future of Kansas.

You see, unlike The Guv, every one of THEM (on the Assembly side, half in the Senate) is up for re-election in November. THAT has their attention. THAT has them getting focused. Priorities, dear fellow Kansans, PRIORITIES.

4/25/16

Lemonade . . .

I'm not sure if you've heard this or not but apparently Beyonce Knowles released some new music this weekend. I say "apparently" because it is alllllll the social media world can talk about (and will likely be talking about for at least the next 96 - 120 hours (social media attention span, and all)).

I've never minced words on my feeling for Beyonce. Sure, sure . . . she's never considered me her "target" but I've always been so bold as to question her talent and ability. I'm lazy in this but I have always thought her more a vocalist who moans and groans and juts out her hips while wearing the label "feminist" and telling other women to "bow down, bitches" in the same lyric.

I'm here to (sorta) apologize. From the bold, amazing, and hypnotic "Formation" (which was truly lovely and made me realize that perhaps I've just never understood) to the ABSURD reaction to her Super Bowl performance (which was billed as a Coldplay performance until she walked up the field) to the very, very bold "Lemonade" and all that it does and does NOT say, to the maturity and grace of an artist willing to potentially expose all the cracks in her marriage and (until now presumed) perfect life only to end with the assertion (I've not watched/listened to the piece so I'm going on reviews and summaries) that these things ARE life. Things ARE like this. They WILL BE like this.

Let's presume Lemonade is really about life giving you lemons and you doing the best you can with them. Maybe it is about the need to balance water, lemon juice, and sugar to walk the line between the base of life (water), and lemon (the sour and tart) and sugar (the sweet and desired). Maybe it is just about yellow and how great she looks in the color as she breaks every window in sight. Only Beyonce knows.

But here's what I know (from the extensive coverage of and thought pieces on "Lemonade" - including one about the statements made by her hair) . . . this is not something we're supposed to just "understand" and we can presume, like the nearly 19 years since Beyonce, then the centerpiece of Destiny's Child, became famous - that we'll never really understand her or get to know what her private life is actually "like" or what it "means".

When you're one of the richest people in the world, and your husband is one of the richest people in the world, and people just being in your gravity can make them more rich and famous (which, of course, leads to illuminati conspiracies (y'all are corny with that sh*t, Beyonce wants you to know) and other equally absurd reaction) you don't have to share who you really are or what you really mean. It is simply enough to pick and chose what to expose and how to expose it. And the people will go crazy.

Lemons, lemonade. Long live this version of Beyonce. Long live the (presumed) flawed marriage of Jay-Z and Beyonce. Long live Blue Ivy and her flawed, mortal parents (rich as they may be). Long live intrigue and fixation. Long live the pop culture icon that can spur a million rumors with the lyrics "Becky with the good hair". Long live the political and deeper intentions of Lemonade that got lost in the fixation of a private life and marriage. Long live the beyhive. Long live lemonade.

4/24/16

Sunday Funday . . .

Passover, y'uns. PASS. OVER. I may have posted this jam last year but I'm doing it again because, well, it deserves at LEAST one more run. The 3:10-ish mark makes me laugh (out loud, in the literal way) every. single. time.


Dayenu - for those wondering - means (approximately) "It would have been enough (for us)". It is the ultimate "You shouldn't have - but we appreciate it." gesture.

4/13/16

Friends . . .

Do you remember being a kid?

NOT in that sense of summer days lasted forever or that the rules of life were as simple as looking both ways and cleaning your plate for TV time? NOT in the sense of the sensation of learning how purrrrrdy that girl you were pulling the pigtails (not euphemism) of were.

NOT in the sense of loathing vegetables or belting out songs you could not possibly understand ("Yankee Doodle" is an actual cluster f*ck of dated references and colloquialisms). NOPE.

Do you remember childhood in the spirit of making and keeping friends? I do. Vividly. For me it was a relatively easy experience. I was always the fat kid so I had to be funny and warm and gregarious as to proactively endear vs. alienate. On top of that I was, from a young age, a "studier" of people. A "watcher". A "classifier". I understood cliques from the age of six (when it was "slides" vs. "teeter-totters"). I was able to flow relatively easy between groups and dynamics. It helped, greatly, that my father was the elementary school principal and I was in a small town in Upstate New York where just about everyone was white, middle class, and Christian. There were 72 kids in my graduating class. We spent almost thirteen years in that same grouping. We "knew" each other.

We didn't all get along. No, no. Heavens no. There were some that were labeled as "outcasts" and "unacceptables" (they were, in reality, poor or maybe slightly learning challenged or had mental/psychological ticks that we'd call autism or ADHD or whatever today). They didn't have the easiest of walks and they weren't exactly voted homecoming king (I got that honor) in some sign of being bigger than us.

But we got along. I can count the total number of fights I saw in school on my hands. I can count the number of times a kid brought a gun to school on my thumb (he claimed intent to harm but he told every kid he saw that day he had it and it was fourth period before the administration called for the cops to come get it from his locker). There was bullying and name calling. There was ostracizing and trickery. I never participated in any of it. I wasn't "better" than it - I was the fat kid. I kept a low profile. But I did defend kids and tried to smooth things over or distract people. I was proud to be inclusive and open and kind and warm more often than not (by a wide, wide margin).

I ramble on because my childhood was very different than my kid's. She lives in a city. She goes to a school with diverse kids with diverse backgrounds. She is not mine, genetically, and she is far more shy than I've ever been. She is bright and warm and loving. She's also an only child who displays classic traits of one in that she's pretty happy just being on her own. She's almost ten. She has three or four real friends. She assures me this is fine. I worry.

It is not that she should have dozens or hundreds of them (my college priest and one of the most emotionally bright men I've ever known used to insist that if you can't count your real friends on one hand you're not really using the right criteria) but I want her to feel liked and included. I want her to be warm and bubbly all the time. I want her to reach out to kids and hang out with kids. I want her to be the peace maker and the story teller. I want her to be happy.

She'll be fine. There is time. She's aware of the pressures of youth and how kids "are" (with their trickery and faults and encouragements and disappointments) and she is trying to rise above it and make the right connections and relationships for the right reasons. I just hope that her childhood, thirty years lagging from mine, will be warmly and fondly remembered when her own child (if that is her path) hits this point in life.

4/12/16

Headphones . . .

I always tell people my first job was at a bank as a senior in high school. That is a lie. My FIRST job was selling rock on the streets of Baltimore. I kid. Patapsco (that's a Baltimore metro are joke, Google it). I kid. My FIRST job was working at a Boy Scout Camp.

Yep. You didn't know that I'm a recovering Eagle Scout with palms? Sent it all back because, well, homophobes. BUT - for a long time - I was a proud and engaged and happy Scout (including my Webelos years (that is a scouting joke, Google it). And when I worked at that camp I ran the Handicraft area (that's right I taught basketry and leatherwork and metalwork and woodcarving) and I kept the workshop open morning, noon, and night and I was always bumping the Classics - really loudly. It helped the day flow and it kept people interested and music is fun, fun, fun.

Fast forward 25 years (almost to the day) and you could still tell I was at work by the happy sounds of music (ranging from hip hop to classical, spoken-word podcasts, to folk, big band, to the occasional country fit (when in Rome/Kansas)) that is, of course, until a few weeks ago.

I don't talk about work much here and I don't bring my battles to social media and I try not to complain about my lot in life but I had, for the first time in 18 years, to take home my speakers and bass cannon after complaints from colleagues.

Let me be clear - people have complained before. Directly, respectfully, casually. I'll apologize, turn the music down, roll my eyes, grumble at them, and go back to what I was doing. It worked well. Everyone won. Then the reports of criticism came from not those directly upset but vice presidents, senior vice presidents, the c-suite. By the time you're getting text messages from the actual head of the company . . . it is time to turn the music down, the lights up, and do last call.

It is fine. I get it. I'm almost forty years old. It is an office and place of "business". People like varying degrees of quiet and peace and noise and stimulation. Profanity from my mouth is bad enough but vibrating lyrics through the cubicle walls is probably a lot.

I'm fine with it. It is what it is. I feel bad that I upset those around me enough that they felt the need to escalate to highest reaches of our organization. Lesson learned. The good news is that the vast majority of my peers "get" me and the leadership of our company does, too. Good discussions, lessons learned, thoughts/perspectives shared, etc.

I bought some spiffy new headphones that have audio quality far superior to their $26 price tag and I've eliminated the even potential for complaints or distraction (also well worth the price). I'll never hear my phone ring again. People can stand over my shoulder and patiently wait for me to just happen to sense their presence for way longer. My music kills only my hearing and calm and focus.

Basket weaving this is not.

4/11/16

Lemony Snicket . . .

When I was a kid I read lots of books. I've always love to read and hope I always do (you know that "Sophie's Choice" question about losing sight or hearing . . . take my hearing - no question about it) but I didn't spend nearly enough time, in my never-humble opinion, reading "kid's" books.

Oh sure, sure - I rocked Richard Scarry and Dr. Seuss and Beverly Clearly (who turns ONE HUNDRED tomorrow) and many, many others but I remember jumping from "A Wrinkle In Time" to "Flowers for Algernon" and "The Lottery" and just never, really looked back.

But, thanks to the joys and bemusements of parenting, I get another chance . . . I get another chance to read books that are technically "for" children but that appeal to me and my imagination anyway. I'm also, in sharp contrast to my dismissal of everything for "kids these days" (vs. the superior alternative that my age and generation could enjoy), sheepish to say that books for kids are far better today anyway - or at least the quality stuff is more quantiful.

We've made our way through 43 (of the 54 - number 55 comes out in July) "Magic Tree House" books and we got through the first "The Mysterious Benedict Society" book and we've read almost all of the Disney Fairies/Tales from Pixie Hollow books and a couple of "The Never Girls" novels and a few dozen other books like "Peter Pan" (which is actually not a great read), "Ella Enchanted" (which is better than the movie), and several of the aforementioned Ms. Cleary's works as well as all the (to my great delight) "Ivy & Bean" - a few times each.

But now comes the tween years . . . the cursed and magical TWEEN years and that means we can up the literacy game. And there is one guy that I'm alllllllllllllllllllllllll about - Lemony. F*cking. Snicket.

Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) is my singular literary obsession at this point. Oh sure, sure . . .  you're probably thinking about the 13 "A Series of Unfortunate Events" right now. I get that. And we're going to read those. But we're also going to tear through "All the Wrong Questions" and "The Composer is Dead" and the other complimentary writings for his series.

But here's the best part . . . there is also Snicket/Handler for ME to read . . . I'm currently laughing my way through "Horseradish" (which reminds you that life is full of pain and suffering and this book won't help) and I have "Adverbs" waiting for me and "This Is Why We Broke Up" and "We Are Pirates" on order. That doesn't even include our annual, Hanukkah-time reading of "The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming".

I total get that, soon enough, I'll be locked out of my daughter's room at bedtime so "Flowers in the Attic" and "and we won't share reading time (or reading stacks) and that is fine. I'll have Lemony Snicket to keep me in touch with my youth.


4/6/16

Stop and Smell the Flowers . . .

Let me get in front of something here . . . I'm very, very excited that I'll soon be married. I want, very badly, to be back under the warm, feathery, soft wing of marriage in all of its traditional and evolving definitions of the word/institution. I'm very happy - in ways that I've not known or felt or pondered in a very long time. I'm lucky. I'm fortunate. I'm blissful. That said - I've been miserable.

Because to get "married" (in the traditional and not-fast-enough evolving for my laziness) sense of the word requires a wedding. The whole "in the eyes of G-d, family, and friends" thing. The four total seconds of uttering "I do" and "You betchyur sweet ass." gives way to long processionals and harp music (that is either part of a wedding or the line for heaven - I could be confusing the two) and all the folderal that comes with it.

I've dragged my feet. I've grumbled. I've been openly hostile. I've been lazy. I've been . . . disinterested. But that changed the other day. I got on board with Team Let's Have a F*cking Wedding!

What happened?

BloomHaus! We scheduled an appointment and walked in to meet with Kathleen (a co-owner). I was, needless to say, the last one in the door. Then stuff just sorta changed. The kiddo got excited, Debash got excited, I got less bitchy. We climbed the stairs after walking through the fragrant, lovely lobby area. We spent an hour talking flowers and decor, styles, and substances. Ideas and wants and needs were lobbed about. Laughter was had. By the end of the appointment I was in love with a vase and the notion of having a big ol', flower-covered party with the woman I love, the daughter I adore, and every person the three of us, collectively, have ever met.

I'm still TOTALLY open to taking a long lunch break and sneaking off to the ol' court house (like Bobby and Diane did in the fifth season finale of NYPD Blue) but, if that option is truly off the table (keeping hope alive - like so many of you keep the promise of harps and heaven the same) I'll be more than happy to stand before the eyes of . . . whomever.

4/5/16

Hold Your Water . . .

There are probably a million reasons why you should't resist the urge to pee. The lead of which is uromysitisis. They degrade, quickly, from there. But I'll allow - technically - that there are times and reasons.

You know when you have a million reasons to NOT get up and pee, adults? At a BOOK READING.

Let me clarify - Debash and I went to hear the great Augusten Burroughs talk about his latest memoir "Lust and Wonder". I could not have been more excited. She and I don't exactly have the same taste in books. I read sarcastic fiction from funny know-it-alls. She reads tomes that truly make the world a better place. But - on this guy - we totally agree.

So we go and we're there and there is a wait for him (not that he was being prima donna-ish but because that is the nature of these things) so there was a bar (which I will say felt a little odd - to fill the audience for a guy who writes openly about his alcohol addiction and sobriety with bottles of beer and mixed drinks - but what do I know?) and people were drinking. And that is fine. 5 PM somewhere (including at Abode) and all that. But here's where I get annoyed . . . people kept getting up and going to the bathroom.

Here's a guy who flew in to Wichita and he's read five minutes of his book and he's talking, very candidly, about suicide and addiction and familial strain and changing your life, etc. and people are just traipsing to-and-from the bathroom. And I'm not pretending like they were slinking off in a dark room they were up and strutting - high heels on concrete floors, the whole thing.

And then . . . and THEN . . . they were hot stepping BACK to their chairs. Forget the cluster of empty chairs in the back of the room. Nevermind the basic thought of just being polite. How about we start with the root of the problem - who are these adults that can't sit for 70 full minutes without peeing? I mean - no judgement if there is an overlap between Burroughs fans and urinary incontinence sufferers (which is a serious problem not to be made light of) - but what are the odds here?

Let's just be blunt . . . you wanna whoop it up in the 5 PM hour before a 6 PM event and drink a few . . . goodonya. Go drain the main vein at 5:55 PM. Not quite ready? Presume you're going to be released to relieve yourself at 7:15 at the absolute latest and then be thrilled when you get the go at 7:10 PM. And if you can't pull that amazing feat of self-control off at least - at LEAST - do the right thing and sit down in the back of the room. He'll still be able to see you and call on you for your overly pretentious, self-indulgent inquiry. Promise.

4/4/16

Shakshuka . . .


There is a meal, dear friends, that will make you as happy as happy can be - IF you can put your brain on the right track (and trust the sweet, sweet suggestions of a fat man who knows little in this world more than food). This dinner (or breakfast, or lunch, or snack, or whatever) is called shakshuka.

The only mandate for shakshuka - a dish that originated in Northern Africa but is now popular in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and these United States - is poached eggs. Shakshuka, you see, means (loosely) "mixture" or "to shake".

Want to make shakshuka? Yeah you do, dirty-dirty. Pick your base:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Hummus
  • Purred spinach, green beans, and zucchini
Then pick your toppings:
  • Okra
  • Green beans
  • Red peppers
  • Mushrooms
Then put your good stuff on it:
  • Grilled onions
  • Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Cheese (bleu, parmesan, cheddar, alllllll the varietals)
  • Za'atar
Then poach some eggs in the mixture (if you do the tomato version - otherwise poach separately or just hard boil) and get a loaf of bread. Not a slice. Not a section. Not a segment. A LOAF. And tear it. Don't slice it, cube it, cut it, mince it, dice it, or butcher it - use your hands and tear it.

Now get in there. Get your shakshuka on. You will not regret it. Trust me. It ain't purdy but it is delicious. Sooooo delicious.

4/3/16

Sunday Funday . . .

I'm happy Archer is back. I'm going to miss the crew when they go away forever (this is the last season):

4/1/16

Kids . . .


The twenty most important reasons to have children (in no particular order):

  1. You'll never again approach the question "Why?" casually.
  2. Because keeping shoes in pairs is way overrated and searching for the "left" one when you're already five minutes late is way underrated.
  3. There is NOTHING better than the first time your darling says the word "f*ck" with such force and power that it becomes polysyllabic.
  4. You will feel "old" in the best possible ways . . . "Wait, you were ALIVE in the 1900s?"
  5. The way you learned math is no longer "the" way to learn math so you don't have to feel bad about never "learning" math to begin with.
  6. Suddenly you get why your parents would always dump you off at the birthday party and run back to the car - returning at precisely the time given by the host parents.
  7. School music programs give you appreciation for actual music.
  8. You get to read this book - knowing it is going to be a real help to you in a real talk in the near future.
  9. Irrational fear of spiders, the dark, Republican Presidents, and more spiders are all things you have to treat with actual sincerity.
  10. You've created a captive audience that you can "introduce" to your musical heroes Paul, George, Mick, Bryan, Jay-Z, Alanis, Mozart, and Missy Elliott.
  11. There will come a day when they will read to YOU. And you'll cry. And they won't understand.
  12. Learning to bite your tongue on a whole host of subjects from the best flavor of jam to why their mother is not perfect sorta becomes your "thing".
  13. Arguing for no apparent reason becomes something you regret initiating but really regret responding to.
  14. You can now blame someone else for your incessant "lateness" . . . even when the kid is with her mother for the weekend - and you're on a business trip anyway.
  15. WHY run out for ice cream on a Tuesday night? The kid wants it. ONLY the kid. You're just the designated dairy driver.
  16. Doodling, arts, crafts, puzzles, building blocks, comic books, toys, and juice pouches. 
  17. The realization that two minutes really, truly IS forever . . . and you get to endure it twice a day while the kid pretends to brush their teeth, all the while they are just swallowing their toothpaste anyway.
  18. Pop music is dreadful, infectious, and forever.
  19. Teaching important life lessons - like "snooze button" strategy and morning schedule shortcuts.
  20. You'll officially never get out of student debt. And that is okay. Because education is everything.