With Further Ado #033: Where Are All The Toys?

With Further Ado #033: Where Are All The Toys?

Captain Marvel saved the universe this [past] weekend.  She did it onscreen but her economic dominance has hushed the hatred (even if it’s just a brief respite). As you may know, this movie suffered a backlash by a bunch of Neanderthals, who took to the internet to kneecap the movie’s success.  These hateful fans didn’t like what Captain Marvel stood for…or maybe they just felt aggrieved by the currents and eddies swirling about in the never-ending flood of today’s geek culture.

Captain Marvel crushed it at the box office this weekend, posting $153 million from 4,310 theaters. Overseas, this movie raked in an incredible $302 million (including $89 million in China), which is the fifth-highest international opening weekend ever.

Does that mean it’s a great movie? Not necessarily, but everyone agrees that succeeding financially is better than the alternative. I thought it was a lot of fun.

But once we get beyond all that nonsense, I have another issue to bring up: Where are all the toys?

Why isn’t every young girl wearing a Captain Marvel shirt? Or maybe a better question is: Why aren’t all kids playing with Captain Marvel action figures and dolls?

I haven’t seen a crush of Captain Marvel merchandise on store shelves. That’s what outrages me.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #033: Where Are All The Toys?”

Beat JENeration #028: Gen X is Having a Shitty Week

Beat JENeration #028: Gen X is Having a Shitty Week

Gen X’s having kind of a shit week. The death of our generation’s quintessential teen crush, Luke Perry, was just too much, too soon. And even though that alone was all it took to break my heart, on The Facebook and in conversations with my way-too-young-and-hip-to-be-in-their-forties friends, I realized the dawning of our mortality was closing in from other angles as well.

Somehow in an attempt to block out an Academy Awards I wasn’t invested in, I missed the whole Selma Blair chronic illness reveal in her gorgeous Ralph & Russo gown and custom monogrammed cane. Now that I’m caught up, I see she announced her MS diagnosis back in October and in doing so told a very familiar story of doctors explaining away her 2011 flair up as exhaustion and typical postpartum / mommy / women-y problems. I have been hearing tales such as these over the past couple-few years from friends and colleagues (all female, strangely enough, hmmmmm….) who have been lugging their undiagnosed and routinely belittled illnesses in and out of doctor’s offices. Treated as if their aches, pains, and debilitating fatigue was more emotional baggage than medical reality, they are slowly driven mad questioning their ability to effectively communicate what is happening to them. If they are lucky, the gaslighting stops once they get a diagnosis that makes their once vague symptoms finally seen for what they actually are.

But as members of Generation X, we’re a cynical lot, and so it’s not surprising that the actress who won an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss in 2000 (with Sarah Michelle Gellar for Cruel Intentions — I’ll wait while you rewatch that) had to air her medical woes on GMA to highlight this disturbing issue of middle-aged properly-insured women having to go into battle over their health care.

So, now America knows, but still we can’t help being pissy — and skeptical that things are going to change — but at least we’re starting to be heard.  Maybe.  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #028: Gen X is Having a Shitty Week”

Beat JENeration #025: Rules, follow them or Why I will never leave the house without wearing a bra again and why you shouldn’t either.

Beat JENeration #025: Rules, follow them or Why I will never leave the house without wearing a bra again and why you shouldn’t either.

Leaving the house without a bra on is never a good idea.

Not that I do it often, but it’s happened. And it’s just really playing with fate.

Some of you are shocked (a few of you pervs maybe even titillated,) but the moms out there know this is just a thing that happens. Motherhood is a helluva lot of personal growth bringing many joys, blah, blah, blah, but let me tell you a secret — it also makes you stop giving a shit. It’s partly because you realize what’s really important in life, but mostly it’s because you spent a great many hours showing your junk off to many, many strangers, while in the worst shape of your life. And it’s not like ridiculous pain or fear or heavy-duty drugs were the gateway to flashing your nethers to every person in scrubs (and maybe your mother-in-law too), it’s because modesty isn’t as important as getting the pregnancy over with.

“Yes baby, I want to meet you, but mostly I want you off my fucking bladder….and I want to sleep on my stomach again”.

(BTW, sleeping on your stomach is something I was never able to get back AND it’s been 16 years).

This isn’t a mommy blog, so don’t worry, I’ll wrap it up.

Long story slightly shorter, moms may seem to regain effort in their outward appearance by the time the shorties reach school-age, but fatigue is clearly a long game and when given the choice between getting yourself or your spawn out the door in a timely and presentable manner, it sometimes makes the most sense to just throw on a sweats (more than likely the stained loungewear type rather than some sort of sporty athleisure pre-meditated errand-running selection) and throw everyone in the minivan. We all know sweatshirts make bras optional in situations where you won’t be jostling around too much in public.  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #025: Rules, follow them or Why I will never leave the house without wearing a bra again and why you shouldn’t either.”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #026: If I had a million dollars…

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #026: If I had a million dollars…

The other day over on the Unshaven Comics Facebook page (you DO like us, right?), I offered up a little question of the day that sparked the largest block of engagement we’d ever seen on the page. While I’d hoped that it would be some fantastic and layered comic book debate… instead it was a bit of naval gazing instead. I proposed the always-good-during-a-long-car-ride prompt: What would you do with $1,000,000? I then specified (to detract from the typical snark that might come in tow…) that the money was after all taxes were paid. So, like, you wake up tomorrow and are a million bucks richer, no strings attached. What would you do?

Well, for those that participated on our page, it was a ton of practical answers that I both understood and frowned at. Truly, my ilk have all grown up when the most common answers all revolved around paying off debt and traveling. Not that any of those answers should be frowned upon, of course. But I was more hopeful for flights of fancy.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #026: If I had a million dollars…”

Beat JENeration #023: Tidying Up with Jen is not nearly as cute

Beat JENeration #023: Tidying Up with Jen is not nearly as cute

As promised last week, I embarked on applying  Marie Kondo’s KonMari tidying up principles to my own life. 

If you haven’t watched her Netflix series (you should) or read last week’s column (you should do that too) here’s the basics of KonMari:

  • Commit yourself to tidying up (because there’s a lot of time and effort involved. “Tidying up” sounds like a passive, casual exercise in housekeeping, but it’s not).
  • Imagine your ideal lifestyle (like a mental vision board — oh and don’t forget to thank your house in the beginning because you’ll probably say some mean things to it during the process).
  • Finish discarding the things that don’t bring you joy first (because once you put stuff in storage containers or adorably fold them into your dresser drawers you won’t properly assess them for their joy factor — and you’ll probably relapse).
  • Tidy by category, not location (because gathering all like items into one spot allows you to see all the shit you have and the volume alone will inspire you to be more selective in what brings you joy).
  • Follow the correct order: Clothes, books, paper, komono (misc) and sentimental items (because we just have to trust the method in her madness).
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Brainiac On Banjo #023: How Much Stuf Is Too Much Stuf??? By Mike Gold

Brainiac On Banjo #023: How Much Stuf Is Too Much Stuf??? By Mike Gold

If you need further evidence that the big money people are banking on wide-spread legalization of marijuana, you need not look further than the folks at Mondelēz International, current owners of Nabisco. They manufacture the all-time favorite food of stoners, Oreo cookies. And it seems the folks who make Oreos have a keen eye on the bounding weed market.

A couple days ago my editor texted me about this new product called “MOST Stuf Oreos.” More than Mega Stuf, more than Double Stuf, this stuff has enough Stuf to put your average American into a diabetic coma. She alerted me that it just came out, is a “limited-edition,” and is presently available at places such as Target, Walmart, and Rite-Aid. Well, there’s a Rite-Aid near me, and it is a drug store so it must be healthy, and I inferred my editor was making an assignment.

So the next day I labored out to the drug store where I secured the last package of Most Stuf Oreos they had.  Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #023: How Much Stuf Is Too Much Stuf??? By Mike Gold”

Beat JENeration #022: Tidying up was never so goddamn cute

Beat JENeration #022: Tidying up was never so goddamn cute

I am not a joiner and as such generally am too detached (lazy) to suffer FOMO. This is why you will not find me participating in the latest shit collectively stirred up on the internet. Birdbox…yeah, even as a devoted Sandra Bullock fan, I’m sitting this one out. Gillette Toxic Masculinity ad…haven’t seen it.

I am also not what you’d call a tidy person. I don’t love my clutter, but I learned to live within it. Though, occasionally, I have been known to make a half-hearted stab at improving my surroundings. There were a couple years were I went full-on Fly Lady for up to at least a month at a time. But generally, as long as I move house every decade and quarterly need to ransack my desk or nightstand for an important document, gift card, passport, or some other misplaced suddenly important item, I will keep myself out of contention for hoarders.

You know where I’m going with this, right? Tidying up with Marie Kondo Continue reading “Beat JENeration #022: Tidying up was never so goddamn cute”

Beat JENeration #020: If you really must make a New Year’s Resolution

Beat JENeration #020: If you really must make a New Year’s Resolution

Resolutions are bullshit.

Over half of them don’t see February, and honestly everyone sounds like a douche when talking earnestly about theirs. Just like veganism, carb negativity, crossfit/rock-climbing/SoulCycle/hot yoga, sugar shunning, sobriety, and juice cleansing normal people don’t want to hear about it. Intended or not, talking about all the good you do for yourself always comes off as passive aggressive.

Self betterment is best when you keep it to yourself, but I can’t deny that it has its place. Until the world decides to be Mark Darcy to our Bridget Jones and like us very much, just as we are, many of us will feel the pressure of peer perfection. And as such, one shouldn’t be shamed for making New Year’s Resolution.

Maybe we can make your resolution a little less bullshit together.

There’s no crime in editing your resolution in the first week to something that is as doable as it is meaningful. Though for god’s sake, if you declared to make a life change because of some  soulful post on a celebrity style guru’s IG or a whimsical Ways To Improve Yourself Lifehack I cannot help you refine. Just start over and concentrate on the three keys to living one’s best life.

Don’t put pressure on yourself. Embrace being basic. Don’t play into what society wants, man.  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #020: If you really must make a New Year’s Resolution”

With Further Ado #017: When Steve Rude Almost Saved Christmas

With Further Ado #017: When Steve Rude Almost Saved Christmas

Back in the early 90s, we needed to save Christmas and I almost got Steve Rude to do it.

I was in brand management when I was starting out my marketing career. I had the great fortune to be assigned to Nabisco’s OREO brand.  It was a lot of fun.  I worked on the launch of Mini OREO, introduced the Halloween OREO and a Christmas variant with red crème.  In those days, changing anything about Nabisco’s brand was a serious exercise only undertaken with the most serious thought and planning.   This is in stark contrast today, when every season there are several more flavor variants to the brand.

Christmas and cookies always go together, and one of the annual traditions for the brand was to create a collectible OREO tin. These were tins with a wistful, family-focused Rockewellian painting that would be sold with a 16 oz.  package of OREO inside it.  From a marketing perspective it served many purposes: it was one more reason for someone to buy OREO, the retailers had an excuse to build a display and we even had fans who collected them each year.

We typically hired a commercial illustrator to provide the painting of a family eating OREO cookies by the Christmas Tree. They were perfectly fine, but I had the idea that I wanted to step it up with one of my favorite artists.

Steve Rude had burst onto the scene the decade before with his brilliant Nexus series and other comics work.  His work was always exciting and fun to look at fun to look at, but one couldn’t help but be struck by both his brilliant design sense, and his ability to render expressive figures.  Many of the covers would be painted, while the interiors would showcase his impressive traditional comics work.  His paintings are what sparked my idea.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #017: When Steve Rude Almost Saved Christmas”

Beat JENeration #012: Damn Glam (Bag Plus)

Beat JENeration #012: Damn Glam (Bag Plus)

I love a subscription box. I do.

No, really, there isn’t a “but” coming this time, kids. I honestly love the concept with every fiber of my being. No matter the product, services like this work for me because while I don’t usually like surprises, I very much do enjoy opening a mystery package.

Even when the curation leaves a little be desired, I was raised to always be grateful. And I am truly grateful—because getting mail that’s not a bill or a catalog is freaking awesome.

I realize that eagerness in checking the mail every day says a lot about my age. But, you have to understand, I was the kind of girl who had a lot of pen pals (many of them from Star Hits, let that take you back — and can we talk about the OG FB — friendship books!). The mailbox was my gateway to the world and an escape from my boring suburban existence (though to be fair, most of my pen pals were from places just as suburban and boring, but with crappy weather). And then years and years went by and as an adult suddenly the post was far less exciting (and often actually terrifying.) Until… Birchbox.  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #012: Damn Glam (Bag Plus)”