Tuesday, August 29, 2017

News and Things: August Favorites

Normally, I'd be complaining about how every month speeds by so quickly... but honestly? I've pretty much been waiting for August all year.

Between a week spent in the Happiest Place on Earth - don't worry, plenty of pics and a post forthcoming! - and my current Happy Place of Sunriver, Oregon, I've been anticipating our personal designated vacation month since school got out for my siblings in June. While that hasn't amounted to too much reading time, that doesn't mean plenty hasn't been going on in my life, and in the world.

Like I say every month, I've got some News. I've got some Things. So, now it's time for News and Things! 

Allison Page is a comedy writer and director, but as she details in this Medium article, sometimes the experiences of auditioning male comedians - as a woman - can be a lot less than funny. My favorite quote from the article: "Check the staff page, bro. You’ll see my estrogen shining right out of your screen like a terrible beacon of woman-light; my pronoun throbbing away in my bio, nestled in the digital universe that is the company website." 

Just when you think the "women in STEM" issue is starting to see positive change... we encounter people like this month's disgruntled, whinerbaby Google employee. We can keep inviting more diverse populations into the conversation, but as long as there are systemic issues like this holding them back from meaningful work, then the dialogue is just going to get stuck.

I remember in my sophomore year of high school, when some of my friends and I were taking a Home Ec - style cooking course together, my teacher threw a copy of Clean Eating magazine down on the table, and shook her head. "What does this mean?" she asked us. "What does it mean, to you, to 'eat cleanly'?" While some of the more People-magazine members of our class began to espouse the ideals of detoxifying juice cleanses and eating gluten-free vegan, all they got in return was more head-shaking and a lecture on the importance of non-processed food, and moderation. I think she'd feel vindicated, so many years later, that this kind of food-based moral absolutism is facing more criticism. 

Didn't get to catch the eclipse this month? Experience it secondhand with Annie Dillard - one of my favorite memoirists - in her classic essay, "Total Eclipse," which reran in The Atlantic prior to the astronomical marvel.

These dog days of summer leave you feeling guilty about all the work you're not getting done? Don't worry! Take the afternoon off, and enjoy the sun, because you're not alone: in this list from The Cut, 25 famous women detail what kinds of guilty pleasures they like to indulge in every once in a while, too.

As a pretty much broke-and-parentally-reliant college grad, I absolutely love The Financial Diet, and this personal story from Chelsea Fagan about how excess has become the status quo was so needed, especially in months packed with as much fun, food, and spending as summer

There's been a lot of sucky stuff in the news this month, especially out of Washington, D.C., and I'm not going to pretend not to be disturbed by the currently horrifying state of our country. But instead of firing off on those in positions of blatantly misused power - which is what everyone in my Twitter feed / immediate vicinity gets to hear -  I'll just leave you with this Aeon editorial, courtesy of University of California Riverside Philosophy professor Eric Schwitzgebel, with a formal classification of what constitutes a "jerk."

And, of course, my heart is with those affected by the intense flooding and fallout of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, especially those in the Houston area, and along the coast. While there are plenty of resources available for searching what kinds of causes to donate to, two of my favorite blogs have compiled some of the most comprehensive lists I've seen yet, covering everything from diaper donation banks for small children in need, to protecting pets and shelter animals (who aren't allowed to stay in major relief shelters!). Here's the list from Cupcakes and Cashmere, and from The Everygirl. 

One of my favorite digital creators has a new TV show! Hannah Hart, the optimistic genius and bestselling author behind the YouTube series My Drunk Kitchen, has made the media jump, with a new Food Network show called I Hart Food. While it's a little more stylized than her own produced web content, I'm still stoked to see her light up my screen Monday nights at 10pm.

One of the highlights of our Disney vacation? The coordinated wire-frame floral Mickey ears my sisters and I wore. We each picked the homage to our favorite Disney Princess - mine was Belle (no surprise there), and theirs were Ariel and Rapunzel - and rocked them in the Parks, racking up a ton of compliments from visitors and cast members alike. While there are tons to choose from on Etsy, we had a great time with The Mouse Project!

I've talked about being a fan of the YouTube series Drunk Disney - from Practical Folks - before, but recently, one of their members, James A. Janisse, branched off to form his own side channel, Dead Meat. The horror channel's hallmark is the "Kill Count" series, tracking the kills in scary movies, and the recent rundown of one of my favorite series - the Scream franchise - have been some of the best episodes yet!

The Bachelorette is finally over, and whether you're excited about Rachel's chosen one or not - for the record, I'M NOT - there's someone who's taking the results a little harder than others: Bon Appetit. They recapped every meal throughout the season - all of which were left uneaten throughout production due to time constraints and unappetizing nature of watching people eat onscreen - in memoriam of all the great food lost.

I've been a fan of Damon and Jo - from their eponymous YouTube series - for like a year and a half now, and while there are plenty of travel vloggers with Instagram-perfect, eternally cheerful videos on the platform, none usually get quite as real as Jo did six months ago, after she was shot in the back during an attempted robbery, when visiting family in Brazil during Carnival. Here she talks about the lessons she's learned through the trauma, and how, thankfully, it's not going to deter her from traveling again.

What have been your favorite News and Things of the month? What are you excited for in September? Let me know, in the comments below!

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