The Definitive, Indisputable 30 Under 30 List

The Forbes 30 Under 30 list is out, and as a 31-year-old I would like those successful children to get off of my internet lawn, please. Nobody likes 30 Under 30 lists except the honorees and their usually-rich parents: not people under 30, not people over 30, not the poor guy who has to write glowing bios of all of these talented-but-also-lucky youths.

I also can’t help but notice that these lists are really, really inaccurate. These are the REAL very best things that are under 30 years of age:

30. Idris Elba

He’s, like, 45 years old but listen: I’m still angry about People’s Sexiest Man Alive blunder and I want him on MY list.

29. TGIF

TGIF, ABC’s Friday night lineup of family-friendly shows, debuted in 1989. It is under 30 years old and we love it so much that we live-blogged TGIF favs like Step By Step and Dinosaurs all October long.

28. The Frapuccino

Only 22 years old and already a cultural icon.

27. The Addy Doll

Ever wonder what the longest-running American girl dolls is? I googled. It’s Addy. She’s under 30, but also kind of 160-ish, and I’m glad she got that dress she wanted for Christmas.

26.  AIM

AKA, AOL Instant Messenger. I am not surprised that it went caput this year after 20 years, but I am surprised that it was released in 1997: it went from nothing to ubiquitous over the course of my sixth grade school year.

25. The Chicken Pox Vaccine

Can you believe it, fellow elder Millennials? Parents no longer have to arrange the Worst Playdate Ever so that their kids can catch Chicken Pox on purpose. There’s a vaccine for that, and has been since 1995.

That means that half of the people on the real 30 Under 30 lists ALSO never had to get chicken pox, which makes me happy for them, but also kind of begrudge them even more.

24. Smart Phones

The order of this list makes no sense. Pay no mind. Point is, smart phones have given so much more to our universe than all of the other 10-year-olds who haven’t appeared on Stranger Things.

23. Once On This Island

The musical Once On This Island is pretty great, and it’s getting a revival, AND with a 1990 debut, it’s under 30 years old.

22. Text Messages

If you’re not really a calling-people-person, text messages are the greatest invention since Alexander Graham Bell ruined our peace and quiet by inventing the telephone. The text has been around since 1992 but didn’t catch on big-time until the early 2000s.

21. Online Bill Pay

I just think I would be really stressed out if I was constantly sending paper checks through the mail.

20. MP3s

First we lived through clunky Walkmen that never picked up radio stations, trying in vain to time your fast-forward to get to your favorite song. Then we upgraded to the Diskman, which skipped constantly and ate batteries like zombies eat brains. The MP3, invented in 1998, still feels like a little digital miracle.

19. The album Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly is over 30 but the purest pop album of the 2010s is not.

18. The Rachel

The haircut The Rachel turned 20 a while back. It was not great looking but it is always a solid pop-culture reference.

I know I could have just put the show Friends on the list but that’s not really how things are going.

17. Movie Rental Kiosks

I know we’re having a cultural moment where it’s trendy to miss Blockbuster – and it was fun there! they even had overpriced movie theater candy in boxes! – but remember when movie rental kiosks like Redbox came onto the scene and you could rent movies for a dollar a day?

16. Netflix

Speaking of which.

15. – 6. [Reserved]

Not to pull back the curtain on you or anything, but my laptop broke and I’ve been typing this draft in Notes on my phone.  I’m a senior book editor in real life and I’m going to take a page from my authors, who will mark whole blocks as [Reserved] when they actually just didn’t get around to writing anything. I’m onto you, guys. It’s a cute trick.

5. The Marriage Of Barack and Michelle Obama

This marriage is 25 years old and it’s by far my favorite under-30-year-old marriage.

4. Babies, Generally

Babies, who are always under 30, are super cute and have not developed the capability to let us down, unlike practically everybody else in 2017. Go babies.

3. The World Wide Web

I remember what it was like having to find out everything using the yellow pages, a card catalog, my parents’ 1976 encyclopedia set, and conversation. It was AWFUL. A world of information at your fingertips is truly extraordinary, and it’s only been around since 1990.

2. Almost Every Living Cat

I’m not even trying to make this a cat person-dog person thing, it’s just that cats thrive on resentment and they’ll get more joy out of this than being number 1.

There are a few 31-year-old cats who have to be judged against the rest of us over-30-year-olds.

1.Every Living Dog

I’m older than every dog alive, guys.

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Fall Memes Make Me Feel Fine: Me On Election Day 2016 vs. 2017

Election Day 2016 was a year ago today. A year that felt like walking uphill through knee-high mud that’s like 50% sewage and every time you start to make progress more orange mud slides down but you keep going and then the mud starts tweeting at you. On November 8, we were sweet summer children who looked like Shirley Temple and now we all look like Norman Bates’s mom in Psycho.

It’s been a year.

But here, let’s let my favorite election meme of the year – Me On Election Day 2016 vs. Me On Election Day 2017 – tell the tale:

I’m always here for Sissy Spacek, is all.

Like Eleven in season 2 of Stranger Things, this has been the journey from pretty to bitchin’.

They’re not all going to be ’70s/’80s themed, but we are all sweet innocent baby Drew Barrymore vs. Firestarter Drew Barrymore, right.

I think this is my favorite: a classic portrait of Jesus painted by a renaissance master vs: the work of an elderly Spanish woman with a lot of ambition and zero face-drawing skills.

Election night 2016 was (Good Place season 1 spoiler!) that moment when you find out you were really in hell all along.

And here I thought punching Nazis was just a thing my grandpas got to do in World War II.

I saw Triumphant Peggy (Mad Men) vs Handmaid June (The Handmaid’s Tale) as a 2016 vs 2017 comparison earlier this year, but it’s perfect for election day.

I love the ones that paint our 2017 Election Day as badass superheroes but sometimes it’s more like Sad Andy Dwyer.

We should have learned not to make jubilant predictions from Titanic, right?

What I don’t want lost in the above is that I LOVE Britney Spears and think 2007 Britney, in hindsight, was awesome.

One more Stranger Things one? #WinoForever

It wouldn’t be us if there wasn’t an Orphan Black reference. 2016: Alison Hendrix. 2017: a blood-splattered Helena.

In Jessie Spano speak, 2016: I’m so excited. 2017: I’m so scared.

Sidebar: I WISH I had been Canadian on Election Day 2016.

For my fellow Old People: From Gidget to Norma Rae.

I’m 31 and feel personally attacked.

You don’t know how long I searched for Chilton-era Rory Gilmore vs Handmaid’s Tale Alexis Bledel.

Fun fact, you can pick any two images of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, from Seinfeld, Veep, or both, and they will work for this.

I should have known hooded Kermit would make an appearance; I’m sure tea-sipping Kermit is out there somewhere on Twitter, too.

 

 

A Letter To My Past Self (On November 7th, 2016)

To: Past Self (November 7th, 2016)
From: Current Self (November 7th, 2017)

Tomorrow is Election Day. It’s the day the world has been anticipating for months years. Countless debates, a tough primary, campaign appearances left and right: it’s all coming to a head tomorrow. But tomorrow – prepare for the worst.

Prepare yourself for the unimaginable. Prepare yourself to see a divided America like never before. Prepare yourself to be constantly shocked but not surprised by what the next four years can bring. Prepare yourself for an election night you’ll never forget.

You’ll see the numbers start trickling in. You’ll get so nervous you’ll start watching The West Wing for comfort. You will think that all the media outlets have made an accounting error. You’ll wait for them to come back like Steve Harvey admitting he crowned the wrong woman Miss Universe. You’ll start to wonder if the electoral college should be a process we should still adhere to when the person with the popular vote loses. You’ll never get over the 3 million more votes. You’ll dread every time you scroll past your Tumblr draft of Lorelai saying, “See you when Hillary’s president” because you were saving that for when she actually was elected president. You will ugly cry. You’ll feel like throwing up (it’s not food poisoning, it’s America). You will feel like you’re in a nightmare. That feeling might never end. It’s not a night you’ll particularly want to revisit ever again.

Wednesday will not be a good day. Going to work will feel like going to a funeral. It will be eerily quiet. Thursday and Friday won’t be good either. For that matter, neither will Saturday, Sunday or the following week. You’ll go through the five stages of grief (even though acceptance might never be complete).

You will see the worst in people. You’ll see the worst in people that you hoped would never happen but does. It will happen immediately. Like within 24 hours immediately. You’ll see stories of DT voters yelling at strangers to “get out of the country, Apu”,  his name graffittied on the door of the Muslim Students Association at NYU, and two white male college students driving to Hillary’s alma mater Wellesley & parking outside a house for black students, yelling Make America Great Again. And it won’t stop.

In fact, you’ll see the KKK decide not to hide behind their white shrouds anymore and lead a march with tiki torches, resulting in the death of a protestor. You continue to ask if it’s still 2017 or 1957. The term “on many sides” will have a new meaning after this event.

So many bad things will happen that even when you try to track it all, you can’t. There will be a Muslim travel ban. A ban against transgendered people from joining the military. Denial of climate change by promising to pull out of the Paris accord. A threat of “fire and fury” on North Korea. He & the Republicans will confirm a Supreme Court Justice all thanks to the Senate deciding to change the law in their favor. He’ll encourage police brutality. He’ll bully the mayor of San Juan and continue to ignore Americans in Puerto Rico. Russia. To name a few.

It will get so bad you’ll actually get nostalgic about George Bush and reconsider if Mitt Romney’s “binders of women” was actually just an adorable joke and nothing more.

But the thing is, you’ll also see the best in people. You’ll see strangers come together in a Burbank park the day after the election to talk about their emotions and eager to take action. You’ll never call or contact your representatives in D.C. as much as you will after this day. You’ll have some of them on speed dial. The term “She Persisted” becomes a new slogan for women. You’ll learn that because of the results of this election, thousands of women will be inspired to run for public office and serve within their own communities. Organizations like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU will receive unprecedented donations (some made in VP Mike Pence’s name). You’ll see brave people stepping up and defending strangers against bigots, with some even losing their lives to fight back.

The day after the inauguration, you’ll see millions of women, men, and children across the country come together in unity to advocate for equality. And not just in America, but all over the world, with 5 million people taking a stand against hate and standing for love. But the activism doesn’t stop there. Grab a sign and go to the airport. March for science. March for impeachment. Weekends are busy because Protest is the New Brunch.

Just like Pearl Harbor or 9/11, those who lived through Election Day 2016 will never forget it. Nor will they think they’re the same before and after those official results came in. And neither will you. You’ll wake up every morning for the next 365 days (and probably until his entire administration is out of office) and check the Twitter trends to see what fresh hell awaits you. But remember to never sit back and watch it all unfold. Do something. Encourage others to fight the too. And most importantly, don’t give up hope. Hope that our country actually will be great, but it’s up to us to achieve that.

To take a page out of the Obama Speech Archive: “I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”

Fight. Insist. Resist.

Questions, Comments, Concerns: The Lion King feat. Beyonce

Welcome back to Questions, Comments, Concerns, a feature we usually reserve for Lifetime movies we’ve seen instead of Disney movies we haven’t. Ready?

Comment: NAAAAANTS ingonyamaAAAAA.

That feels better.

[Thing REAL 90s kids will remember: Having made-up nonsense that you thought were the real Lion King lyrics for decades. I’ll admit it. I did think it was Naaaaa S’ven’yahhh for a long time. And I do have a friend who thought the part a little later in the song was ‘Pink Pajamas Penguins On The Bottom.’]

Comment: I want to go to a mountaintop and triumphantly raise this cast listing into the air in front of awed wildlife.
Question: Can we get more Adult Nala?

It’s Beyonce, and doesn’t it feel like Adult Nala doesn’t get to do much except playfully wrestle near a waterfall and make bedroom eyes at Simba? The point is I want a new song.

Concern: I hope the new songs are good.

I want a new song, but I want it to be really good and fit in well with the Lion King vibe. I’m sure it will, because they need a new number for Oscar eligibility, anyway.

Comment: Good on them for keeping James Earl Jones as Mufasa.

Can you imagine anybody else as Mufasa?

Question: But can we get some more of the original cast back, too?

What I’m saying is, I want JTT to have a cameo as a zebra or flamingo or whatever.

Comment: These children are amazing!

When we tweeted Hairspray Live, I remember commenting that Shahadi Wright Joseph has the world in her pocket. In addition to Hairspray, she has appeared in the OBC of School of Rock and was the youngest Broadway Nala in, you guessed it, The Lion King. Kid’s going places fast.

As for JD McCrary, this isn’t his first collab with Donald Glover. He’s the kid on Childish Gambino’s Terrified and has racked up a nice number of TV credits. He also does a more-than-good M.J.:

Question: How would a live-action Lion King work??

Short answer: it’s not really live-action. I’m sure I’m not the only person who was super-confused on this point. Like, humans in costumes a la the Broadway production? I love Julie Taymor, but that sounds distracting. Living animals? Bloodbath. After some searching, the answer is that it will be realistic CGI, like the Jungle Book remake that came out not too long ago.

Concern: I love that this is happening but I’m greedy and I also want all of these actors to appear together in a film where we actually get to see them.
Comment: LEADING MAN DONALD GLOVER.

We’re both longtime fans of both Donald Glover and his rap alter-ego Childish Gambino, and in the Beyonce of it all it took me a few hours to realize that Donald Glover is the lead in a major motion picture – with many more to come, if there’s any justice in the world.

Question: Who the heck is Kamari?

I can see that it’s Keegan Michael Key (love!) but I mean as a character, I have zero recall of ever seeing a Kamari.

Comment: Banzai and Ed are still up for grabs.

Whoever it is, it’s going to be good.

[Edit: I hear that Kamari and Azizi are the new Banzai and Ed? OK.]

Comment: THE PRESS TOUR.

What Your Childhood Halloween Costumes Said About You

In celebration of Halloween, we’re pulling this one out of our archives. It’s all in good fun – your childhood costumes meant NOTHING – but it sure is fun to look back at the best afternoon party of the whole school year.


Your childhood never really leaves you. As we discussed in What Your School Portrait Backdrop Said About You, the choices that you – and your parents – made in your early years say a lot about who you were then, and who you were likely to become. This is never so true as with Halloween costumes. What you wore on October 31 really laid it all out there – your finances, interests, skills and beliefs.

The Super Deluxe Tier at Party City

This is either called Georgia Peach or Disgruntled Bridesmaid.

Remember when those Halloween costume mailers would start coming with the Sunday paper?  The company used vague category names so nobody’s feelings got hurt – but kids aren’t dumb. The “quality” costumes were for normals, and “super deluxe” costumes were for rich kids. Scarlett O’Hara, Southern Belle, Pretty Witch – these costumes were the best.

If you wore one of these, you probably came from a family with disposable income or were an only child. But there’s also a chance that your non-crafty parents felt bad they couldn’t make your costume, so they only bought you the best. Or maybe you were just really into Vivien Leigh. Either way, you probably knew that some of your friends were shopping in the Quality tier, but you didn’t let that stop you from going for what you really wanted. You had money, and you had ambition, and you were raised to believe that you deserve the good costume. None of those are bad things.

Elaborate Hand-Sewn Costumes

These costumes really meant you had it all — a high costume budget, a parent with advanced sewing skills, creativity somewhere in your family line, and a parent with enough time to devote to making it. In my day, big plush M & M costumes were in vogue. In fourth grade, one girl was a Queen of Hearts – she was not only dressed as a queen but her face was somehow embedded in a big playing card. One kid was Mini Me from Austin Powers, with a metallic jumpsuit and bald cap. If my awed tone 20 years later didn’t tip you off, these kids were pretty damn enviable. Money, imagination, and a quality family situation – these kids were on the road to success.

Low-Budget Costume You Made Yourself (usually with thrift store involvement)

Faces covered to protect the innocent. I’m the tiny apprehensive one.

As a person whose childhood costumes all came from Goodwill, household items and borrowed clothing, this is me. One thing that cobbled costume kids have in common is a sense of silliness and imagination. How about the year my whole family dressed as a six-pack of Diet Coke? Or in sixth grade, when I created an over-the-top Marge Simpson costume complete with a two-foot-tall hairpiece? My mom even got in on the action in a sort of Andy Kaufman-esque way. She was a teacher and would dress up as Mrs. O’Brien, an elderly ‘substitute’, every year. She had a voice, mannerisms, everything. A good subset of the kids could never figure out if it was really her. The kids who did know were sworn to secrecy for the next year.

It hasn’t stopped. A few years ago I dismembered a cheap baby doll to become Junice from SNL. The year before, I mined a Goodwill to become Clarissa Darling. A while ago, I took my nephew to Salvation Army, where we pieced together a curly-mustached villain from a 1920s silent film. We didn’t break character for hours. Cobbled costume kids: we may not have had the most money or skill in our corner, but we worked hard and weren’t afraid to look goofy.

Dollar Store Costumes

Not even Joanie loves Chachi enough to wear this mess.

Oh, you poor dears. You didn’t have a costume budget, you didn’t have time or inclination to make something, and nobody in your family could sew.  These were the costumes that had a cheap, hot mask was secured with one of those white elastic strings that you find on birthday hats, and it always broke. The worst part was the plastic smock that came with these. It was a tunic that was about the same consistency as a plastic grocery bag and – most offensive of all – it usually had the name of the character on it. Come ON. Spider-man doesn’t walk around wearing a shirt that says spider-man. Holly Hobby doesn’t wear a shirt that says Holly Hobby.  Dollar Store Costume Kids had some good qualities, though. They had to be content with what they had, and appreciate the joy that even a low-budget costume could bring.  I bet most of these kids are non-materialistic, well-adjusted adults now.

Half-Assed “Scary” Costumes

You all were playing lip service to the spooky part of Halloween. You know who you are – the boy with the cheap nylon vampire cape and a single streak of red lipstick as “blood.” The girl with the regular black dress and the witch’s hat. The zombie who was just wearing normal clothes with a latex mask. You don’t shun the crowd – you dressed up, after all – but you don’t get all swept up in it either. These days, you use your trusty Nokia and shake your head at the folks waiting for the new iPhone.  When your friends reminisce about stupid trends they followed, you laugh with them – but you are secure in your knowledge that nothing about you has been so over-the-top that you’re embarrassed later.

Legit Scary Costumes

Sometimes a kid would come in looking so creepy that even though you knew who it was, you were still skeeved out by them. These guys had the same creativity as the Goodwill costume kids, but with the budget of the Party City Deluxe Crowd or the skill of the Elaborate Hand-Sewn kids. But they had something else that set them apart — a sadistic joy in creeping out other people. These kids had to be innovative, but they also had to know how to read people in order to know what would sketch people out the most. They took an idea and really ran with it.

Superheroes Or Disney Princesses

You were maybe guilty of a little hero-worship, but you were drawn to charismatic characters and you emulated them. That’s not all bad, and can serve you well in your adult life.

Of course, it’s not that simple. Did you get your Batman costume from the Dollar Store? Did your parents buy the Super Deluxe Jasmine? Your childhood interest in popular characters is only part of the story – you have to look at what KIND of superhero or princess costume you had. It’s like when you’re born at the cusp of two Zodiac signs – you will have traits from both categories.

Occupation Costumes

well this is adorable.

These can be a tough sell with kids: it’s Halloween, not a Social Studies unit on community helpers, right? But kids who went in for these are probably the ones who had researched colleges by Sophomore year of high school, never changed their major, and update their five-year plan every six months. The closest I came to this was one (non-Halloween) day in fifth grade, when my friend and I decided to dress like teachers, with turtlenecks, thick tights, and embroidered vests. I get the appeal — when you’re not a grown-up yet, it’s fun to play at it. Plus, if you actually dressed up as something you became as an adult, that’s adorable.

 

A Fall-Themed Outfit Instead Of A Costume

Your parents were the reason the school had to change it from a Halloween Party to a “Harvest Celebration.” Your very presence – and the letter your parents sent the school board – reminded us that not everyone celebrates Halloween.  If you were a kid whose parents didn’t believe in Halloween, but you wanted to dress up and trick-or-treat really badly, you probably learned how to do without and then asserted the heck out of your independence once you were 18. If you agreed with your parents, I have to commend a kid who sits out of something that all of your friends are excited about because you think it’s wrong. So, I kind of hate to be the one to tell you this, but Halloween is the coolest. I think you always suspected that, though.

Fall Memes Make Me Feel Fine: First of All…

This meme is so played out.

First of all, no one was asking for your opinion.

Which means I’m gonna do it anyways. Folks on Twitter are always sassy, but when this meme came about, it brought out the sassiest of us all, and I ain’t mad about it. Basically these meme is a series of dialogue where one person says something, but the other fake person in the situation says a rebuttal by starting off with the phrase, “first of all…”

It makes much more sense with examples. Here are just a few of my faves from the past few weeks. This is why the internet can still be the greatest place ever.

How to fend off unwelcomed advances:

How to fend off unwelcomed friendships:

How to fend off unwelcomed conversations:

Too real situations:

Just A+++ for use of this photo:

When celebs get into the memes:

When companies get into the memes and shut it all down:

Inappropriate Reactions To Harvey Weinstein Bingo

Anyway, here’s a BINGO board.

Inappropriate Reactions To Harvey Weinstein
[Condemnation from somebody who still supports D.T.] “price of fame” “hush money” “Out of the woodwork” “To play devil’s advocate…”
“Our friends/sisters/ coworkers/ daughters” “He said/she said” [He never did anything to me so he never did anything to anyone] [Silence] “As the father of four daughters”
[Blame Hillary Clinton] “innocent until proven guilty” Free Space

Free Space
“he’s mentally ill” [H.W.’s net worth as motive for fabrication]
“If they had spoken up sooner this wouldn’t have happened to anybody else” [Calling man over the age of 25 a “kid”] “When men and women work together…” [I interrupt this comments section to defend Bill Cosby] “Why wouldn’t they say something at the time?”
“Things were different in the [60s/70s/80s]” “What are they asking for? Trouble.” “knowing that he’s married…” “What do you expect when…” [I interrupt this comments section to defend Woody Allen]

TTYL, AIM. LYLAS.

Well, it’s the end of an era. Our childhood is dying and we are all dinosaurs.

Last week, the folks at AOL announced that its trailblazing program, Instant Messenger, would be shutting down for good in December.

Like many millennials, I haven’t used AIM in years, but it was such an integral part to our lives when the internet was just becoming a thing in the late 90s/early 2000s. Before Snapchat, Instagram, GChat, Twitter, Facebook, and kinda before texting, there was AIM. It was social networking before we knew what social networking was. We’d spend all day at school with friends, only to go home and turn on AIM to talk to friends some more. We’d perfect our AIM profiles with the right quotes and shoutout to friends using their initials – it was a precursor to perfect a Facebook profile. It’s where we first learned how to abbrev – “brb”, “a/s/l?”, “nm, u?” etc. AIM let us make our first internet identities with vague SNs (screennames duh) that gave others a hint of our interests and/or hobbies (one of my first ones had “BSB” in it). We’d sneakily put our crush’s SNs on our buddy lists and get giddy when we heard the sound of the door opening and their name flash up on our ~*u kNo wHo*~ buddy list (1/1). If we were super bored, we’d open a new window for Smarter Child and see what they were up to. We’d put up elaborate away messages with way more info than we ever should’ve given out. Or if you’re like me, you’d just keep an away message on 24/7 even though you’re sitting in front of your computer and not, in fact, away.

Because I’m a hoarder of sorts – I like memories, OK – I was one of those people who installed a secondary program which automatically logged conversations with my friends. My archive only goes back to like, 2004 right before I started college, but boy oh boy did I find some gems. Re-reading all these got me thinking – why? Just why? But also, making an away message was like a first generation Facebook status update (IE: “Traci is… really upset that her VCR decided not to tape the last 5 minutes of the American Idol finale.”) It told a story about your mood, what you were doing, where you were doing it, who you were do it with, who you were thinking about while doing the thing – it gave a lot of details away – information superhighway, amirite?? After going through my archives, I noticed a few trends that made AIM the iconic fly trapped in amber that it is. Here are some of my favorite/questionable away messages, not only of my own, but also of some of my friends. Don’t worry, your identities are protected. To reiterate, these are REAL.

Various Ways to “Hit the Cell”

Following the popularity of AIM, cell phones became more and more common, specifically for use of the texting feature, which was basically like a portable version of AIM. So when you couldn’t sit and have a conversation with your friend because you’re in class, hit them on their Motorola Razor and you’d get in touch instantly. But what we needed to put at the end of the away message was the prompt. And as for me, I know I wanted variety. I can’t say, “leave love or hit the cell” all the time. Which is why some popular variations of this included, “cells good”, “hit the digits”, “make it vibrate” “make it ring”, “cell’s avail”, just in case you were confused that my phone WASN’T available. These days I don’t want anyone to contact me at all.

Deep Song Lyrics

“Deep” is a relative term. Here I am using lyrics from underrated Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin'”, which in my defense, was like our high school group’s theme song.

Ashlee Simpson? Yeah I guess I can’t really defend that.

I was a theater nerd. I went to a college with other theater nerds. This is actually too mainstream theater for school standards.

A Convo Between Friends IRL

First off, I’d like to say I was not offended by this conversation. Second, this was what AIM was really for. Having funny convos with friends and showing it off online to your other friends.

A Convo Between Friends on AIM

And the other half is having “hilarious” convos with friends online and copy and pasting into an away message because that’s cool. This isn’t even that funny. But it was funny to us at the time. A majority of our away messages were inside jokes that 5% of your buddy list would understand. But we did it anyways.

Taking a Shower

Like, why? Why did we do this?

Legitimate Schedule of Events

To continue from the shower bit, why? It was certainly a different time in terms of people being able to easily find your information and cyberstalk you, but we got so specific with our schedules. This was my friend’s day as an acting major.

this is my friend/co-worker who specifically asked his friends to call him, because, yes, that’s right, he has a life.

Meanwhile, I also gave a breakdown of the imporatant events in my day – a nightly TV schedule. And the last line isn’t a shout out to my homestate. It’s literally the VH1 reality TV program “I Love New York” featuring Tiffany “New York” Pollard.

Some Kind of Countdown

The away message not only told people when you were away and what you were doing when you were away, but it told a story of your future. Another popular trend was a countdown to whatever event you were looking forward to. “6 Days Until Spring Break!”, “1 More Day Until DF, TW, & SP ARRIVE!”, and “T-Minus 4 days until Project Turkey”, which was a thing I used freshman years of college for a v embarrassing thing.

Elaborate Text Art

I was such a sucker for these. It took creativity and skill to make an elaborate away message, even if it was just a few words (that could’ve been shortened to BRB).

Remember wingdings?! Or was this a webding? I could never tell the difference.

Farewell AIM, we’ll miss you. Put up a good away message for us before you go, ok?

TGIF Month: A Family Matters Live Blog

Welcome to the first installment of TGIF Month! Every Friday through October (and the first weekend of November), we’ll be watching and live blogging the pilot of five beloved sitcoms that aired during the iconic ABC TV block of programming, TGIF. Why? Because we can. Also, because a lot of these shows are now available on Hulu for the very first time, so we’re taking advantage of the nostalgia while we can.

First up is Family Matters, which centers on the Winslow family, a middle-class black family living in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the longest-running non-animated sitcoms featuring a predominantly black family, having run 9 seasons. It was one of the biggest shows to come out of the TGIF lineup, and brought us one of the most iconic characters on TV history. #DidIDoThat. Let’s take a look back at the very first episode featuring the Winslows.

Season 1, Episode 1: The Mama Who Came to Dinner

Original Air Date: 9/22/1989

Pilot Plot: Mother Winslow asserts a little too much authority when she comes to live with her son Carl and his family.

T: Did we all know that Family Matters is a spin-off of Perfect Strangers (another TGIF program available on Hulu)? Because I definitely forgot that fact.

M: Definitely never knew it in the first place. We compared notes of our Perfect Strangers memories, and both of us just remember the opening credits. To be fair we were like 3.

T: There’s no cold open in the pilot, and it launches right into the opening credits with the unforgettable theme song, “As Days Go By”. It was catchy like a lot of the other TGIF theme songs – which makes sense, because many of them were written by a dude named Jesse Frederick, who’s probably super rich rn. Also, this reminds me of when we did our Cheers recaps because it LOOKS like the ’80s.

M: I still get warm, cozy feelings watching this theme song. It feels like being home after school during the winter when it was dark out early, to name a very specific cozy feeling.

T: This is an extended version of the theme song!!!

M: You know what doesn’t happen anymore? Those opening credits where (A) it’s a long – and I mean LONG – song and (B) they show little clips of the characters from the episodes.

T: Everything in their house looks so dark? As in the wood trim and paint look much darker than I remember? But that just might be a result of the TV pilot structure, when a lot of things are different than when they are in the rest of the series.

M: Funny enough, this came up in our Cheers recaps too – that it was so dark, not in tone but the actual palette. It is also of a fuzzier quality than I remember. I specifically remember watching ’70s sitcom reruns and being super-proud of the better picture quality of our early ’90s shows.

For what it’s worth, I’m sure the paint was brighter later. It’s a very dingy beige. The house is all shades of brown, like a McDonald’s meal.

T: I probably haven’t seen this show since I was living at home at watching reruns on Nickelodeon, but I don’t remember Carl having such an adverse reaction to his mother being around? Or is my memory just horrible and that was the entire premise of the show?

M: In my memory, the grandmother was BELOVED.

T: Is everyone overacting? Was that a 90s sitcom thing?

T: I’m V into Harriette’s sweater.

M: It’s the brightest thing in that whole drab house, is what it is.

T: Remember extemporaneous daughter Judy? I barely do.

M: In my memory she was Aunt Rachel’s child and they both moved, leaving Richie behind for whatever reason. Wrong. Just a childhood head-canon to make sense of Judy’s departure.

T: Eddie’s adorbs.

M: This show started when we were LITTLE (age 3) and as a result I always saw Eddie and Laura (and Judy for 5 seconds) as big kids. Oh my god, they are all absolutely adorable.

T: Wait, are they living in an apartment??

M: In later episodes the front door came from outside/the front porch, but here it definitely looks like an apartment hallway. Which is weird, because the house is, like the Full House house, ENORMOUS with extraneous doors and hallways everywhere.

T: Kind of upset this episode doesn’t have Urkel in it. Didn’t realize that he wasn’t introduced until halfway through the first season!

M: That’s right…  he wasn’t planned to be a big part of the show, but audiences loved them some Jaleel White.

T: Do they ever reveal why Rachel is a single mother?

M: Now I’m picturing 1990 execs suddenly realizing they had put a single mother on TV and pulling Rachel during hiatus.

T: This is the type of outfit I always picture Mama to be in.

M: I like how old people on TV always used to be stuck in another century. Speaking of which, I IMDB’d it and Rosetta LeNoire (Mama) was born in 1911. WHAT. Time is a crazy thing. We’re youngish adults in 2017 reminiscing about a lady who was born when the Titanic was still a promising venture. And her godfather was Bill Bojangles Robinson!

T: UPDATE: Rachel’s husband Robert died so that’s why Rachel and Richie had to move in with Carl and fam. It’s like Full House but Danny Tanner is a supporting character.

M: True Story: My brother and his kids moved in with my parents after my sister-in-law died and I always refer to our family situation as “a real Miller-Boyett production.” Also, why does Rachel ask Laura if she “remembers” an event that had to have happened a couple months ago, and is a huge deal? (Exposition, is why.)

Harriette: Girls, don’t argue at the dinner table.

Laura (to Judy): Ok, let’s take it outside

Do not mess with young Laura.

T: THIS BOLO TIE ENSEMBLE

M: If I was several years older I’d have been all about Eddie. Despite those pleated slacks.

M: Mama says “it’s almost the 90s.” Did we know that “it’s the 90s” as a catch-phrase started before the 90s even did?!

T: Carl’s heart-to-heart with Mama included a musical cue of emotional music as soon as he hit the main talking point in his conversation, which I just realized is a common denominator in all these 90s family sitcoms. Danny Tanner assuring Stephanie he still loves her after accidentally driving a car into the kitchen? Cue the emo music.

M: My main thing is when the emotional music is THE THEME SONG SLOWED DOWN AND INSTRUMENTAL. Full House always did that, but the Brady Bunch perfected it first. “it’s the sto-o-o-ry of the lovely la-a-a-dy”

T: Eddie moved to the attic to let his grandma stay in his room, but it still looks like an attic? Like they couldn’t have cleaned it up and moved the misc. furniture and knick knacks to another location?

M: And they live in Chicago, so that attic will be hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. And there’s a grandfather clock in the attic and downstairs. How many grandfather clocks does a family need?

T: Of course Harriette, Rachel and Mama are singing He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands and OMG THEY JUST PANNED OUT THE SHOW THE FAMILY IN THE WINDOW SURROUNDING THE PIANO AND SINGING, WHICH IS IN THE CREDITS!

M: During the credits I almost said “this show involves far fewer family old-fashioned piano parties than the credits would have you believe.” Which was all-the-way wrong.

T: I feel like I’ve never even seen this episode before, and despite the fact that it’s corny like most 90s sitcoms, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

M: I also don’t remember this one (and haven’t watched Family Matters since I was a child), but I could see putting on episodes as sort of soothing background TV now that it’s on Hulu. Love those Winslows!

Fixed It For Ya: Popular Tweets, Inflated To 280 Characters

The 140-character tweet is pulling a 280, like it or not. It feels a bit like your third-grade teacher assigning a haiku then saying “but it can be as long as you want.” That’s not a haiku, it’s free verse; 280 characters isn’t a tweet, it’s a screed. Besides, with so much vile speech spewing from Twitter, do we really need it to be twice as long?

To play around with the new confines, I’m looking at some of the most-liked and most-retweeted tweets of all time  and inflating them to 280 characters.

A note: most of these come in well under Twitter’s 140 character limit to begin with, and that’s the real takeaway here. Even if the Twitter character limit doubles, you can still be as brief as you wanna be.

Before:

After:

HELP ME GOD, OH MY DEAR LORD, WON’T THE PEOPLE OF TWITTER COME TO MY AID, PLEASE. I IMPLORE YOU. A MAN – THIS MAN, ME, CARTER WILKERSON, NEEDS HIS NUGGS. NUGGETS. I NEED NUGGETS AND I NEED YOUR RETWEETS. THERE ARE 18 MIL RETWEETS BETWEEN ME AND ONE YEAR’S SUPPLY OF WENDYS NUGGETS

Before:

After:

If only Bradley’s arm was longer. If only Angelina lifted her head a few inches. If only four subjects weren’t in the same outfit. If only we had included one unattractive person for contrast. If only we had all agreed on a filter. This would truly be the Best photo ever. #oscars

Before:

After:

Hi everybody! Back to the original handle. Is this thing still on? Ok good. Michelle and I are “off on a quick vacation” AKA I’m still president but we can’t tell the other guy. DON’T TELL HIM, OK. Gotta make it look like I’m Eat Pray Loving for 2 wks then we’ll get back to work.

Before:

After:

LIMONADA.x
I’M INTERNET FAMOUS & COULD PUT ANY RANDOM NOUN/EMOJI COMBO HERE & GET A CRAZY NUMBER OF RTs. IT WAS LIMONADA🚊 BUT COULD’VE BEEN
BIBLIOTECA🚀
OR
MAQUILLAJE 🧗‍♂️
OR
PAYASO🕰️
REMEMBER THAT REALLY CLEVER QUIP YOU MADE YESTERDAY THAT GOT 0-2 LIKES?
ANYWAY HERE’S LIMONADA