Fantasy Life Update: I’m Published!

Uh, yeah, I took a screenshot of the brief moment I was on the front page of Cosmopolitan. I'm very cool.
Uh, yeah, I took a screenshot of the brief moment I was on the front page of Cosmopolitan. I’m very cool.

In the last couple weeks, I’ve gotten a couple pieces of great news for my freelance work. Little bitty ole Chronderlust led to my new column on the Hairpin, Ask A Fancy Personand a job as the society reporter for Charleston City Paper. Someone passed that along to an editor at Cosmopolitan, and I had my first piece published there this week! I couldn’t be more excited about these fun things I’m getting to do and write about. Thanks so much for reading Chronderlust, and keep your eyes peeled for more of my writing around the web and in print! I wouldn’t get to do any of this if you weren’t reading this here.

And We’re Slow to Acknowledge the [Gaping Holes in Our Security], or Heart It Bleeds Some More

Summary of my understanding of what’s going on here. Don’t feel bad.

So if you’ve been living on the internet for the last couple days, you’ve probably heard about Heartbleed, a staggering security bug that is ravaging somewhere between 1/3 and 2/3s of the internet, depending on who you ask. Or maybe you live on the internet and haven’t heard about this– that’s okay, too. I’ve been pretty surprised that this isn’t front page news, a trending topic on Twitter, and the name of a vegan cafe in Berkeley already; it’s hugely important but flying mostly under the radar.

This isn’t a tech site, obviously, and I’m not any kind of expert on computer security, but I try to be helpful and explain stuff in layman’s terms. If this ends up getting like, three of my readers’ ish locked down, I’ll consider it worth it. I talked to a couple tech-y friends (some in security, some just more knowledgeable about systems, and a few bona fide geeks who love this stuff), took a ton of notes, asked a lot of questions, and got some info about what’s going on, how concerned you should be, and what steps you should take. If you’ve been paying attention so far, you probably saw that this is almost certainly going to touch you in some way, so maybe take some of these steps.  The right people are pretty freaked out about this– I plan to take their advice and I think you should too. The worst thing you can do is assume this is no big deal and take no action.

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You Should Know How to Do This: Be Clean

Everyone who knows me, with the notable exception of my mother, agrees that I am a Clean Person. Staci’s house is kept at all times at hospital-grade sterility and Pottery Barn catalog levels of lovely, and she considers the Dairy Queen to be the absolute height of filth, so in recent years I decided her opinion is not one I can take into account. Sorry, Mommy! Everyone else, though– they all agree I keep a real clean house. There’s pretty much nothing worse in the whole world than staying the night with a friend, or being invited to your cousin’s for dinner and finding that everything is covered in a sticky film, or that there’s cat pee staining the rug. I’m not saying you’re that cousin, but if you are, I want to show you how to dig yourself out with a minimum of cussing and sweating.

It was not always this way. To paraphrase 1  Corinthians, when I was a college student, I swept as a college student, I laundered as a college student, I Windexed as a college student. When I became a grownup, I put the ways of college behind me. I first got my own space about four years ago. Initially, I was so pumped because any mess I made was my mess, and I was the only person I had to clean up for. I had a washer and dryer at my place for the first time ever and I had a dishwasher. After four years in dorms and keeping it as clean as I could in the wake of seven suitemates, I was in tall cotton, and I let it get filthy. I embraced dimmer switches and lived out of a series of piles.

No, of course this is not mine. That coverlet is ugly.

That worked for me for about 3 months and by September or so, I hated everything. I had always dreaded cleaning as a kid– and to be honest, it’s not like I love it now– and I didn’t want to devote my whole Saturday to Windexing baseboards and polishing silverware. I was also living on $12,000 a year, and couldn’t afford stuff like Pledge wipes, which were suddenly a luxury item. So I decided to change.

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You Should Know How To Do This: Be a Morning Person

The entire point of being a morning person is so that you can be a complete and total jerk about it all the time.

I am a morning person. I am a complete ass about it. Like, “oh, you just got up? I went to barre class, made some scones, did all my laundry, and read six chapters of Ulysses. Also, they were not sold out of maple bacon doughnuts when I got there. I wish you’d be there! Would have saved you one! They’re super good. One day!”

This is the beach at 5:30 AM. Look, you don't have to share.
This is the beach at 5:30 AM. Look, you don’t have to share. There are no kids trying to bury you in sand, and no drunk people/gross catcallers ruining your run, swim, or lounge.

It was not always this way. Back in the day, when I was a baby Kentucky, I would sleep until noon, no problem. This might be because I was a teenager and apparently teenagers’ circadian rhythms are on like, 27 hour cycles or something. One time, my dear grandmother woke me up at like, 9:30 and I complained bitterly for about a month.

When I was in college, I needed to work in addition to taking classes, so I scheduled all my classes on Tuesday and Thursday so I could sling overpriced lipstick the other five days. This effectively means that I was in class from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on those days, which is kind of a feat for most students. It’s not ACTUALLY a feat, but if you’re in college and you tell someone you take 8 a.m. courses, they think you’re some kind of sainted freak. After that, I got a job that started at 7 a.m. where they would fire you if you were late, so I just kept the ball rolling. ANYWAY. I learned a lot about getting up early and its benefits.

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You Should Know How To Do This: Look Good On Skype

The phenomenon of the webcam girl is perhaps the most baffling of all things in the modern world. How is it possible that there are people who look so good on webcam that there are other people willing to give them actual money just to look at them on webcam? I feel like the weird lighting of your house, the graininess, and the requisite sound delay make the whole thing unsexy by default. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven that you look 87% less hot on Google Hangout than in real life.*

This is my "pre-doing all the advice" look. This is what you will look like if you do not follow my good advice.
This is my “pre-doing all the advice” look. This is what you will look like if you do not follow my good advice. I took this about 10 minutes before the “after advice” one, so do with that information what you will.

But in this, our rapidly shifting universe, there will come a time when you need to make yourself presentable via Skype or something like it: Friends and lovers move abroad, get deployed, or decide having a cell phone is a racket, you decide you want to look at your sister’s face and she’s off at college in Vermont, a company in Seattle wants to make sure you don’t have a face tattoo before they hire you sight unseen, whatever. It’s incredibly stressful, because not only do you have to look like yourself/professional/hot, you also have to give the other person your undivided attention and make eye contact, unlike phone chatting. That said, there are some steps you could take so you can feel confident and attractive.

My first, and best, suggestion is to be really good looking in real life. That will get you pretty far in this whole Skype game. Barring that, check out some ideas after the jump.

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Lazy Sunday, 14 July

I hope you’re enjoying yourself as much as I am.


It's not just me!
It’s not just me!

Hi! I missed you. I moved, started a new job, got food poisoning, and have generally been so unable to blog it’s been kind of sad. But I’m back now, and I’m excited to be with you again.

In the meantime, aren’t you just SO glad to learn there’s a word for my weird book hoarding?