Miss Ashley Pants

30Jul/140

Data usage: just another reason I hate my phone

About ten months ago, I quit painkillers for my back - and replaced them with yoga.

I quit benzos for my social anxiety – and replaced them with jedi-mind tricks.

But I had no idea that my long standing addiction to Apple would be as expensive as my literal other-fruit addictions are every week at Wegman’s. That is – not until I started getting those annoying little messages about using up too much data. I couldn’t figure out WHY. I rarely use my apps and I hate talking on the phone. I’d never seen this shiz before. So what could it be?

Hello, my name is Ashley and I'm a streamer.

whatisit

Yes, streaming.

It's smart phone suicide and I'm only recently learning that.

As I look back on the chronology of my smartphone junkie habits, I realized when I started getting the dreaded auto-texts about running outta data weeks before the usual bill comes. It happened around the same time I reformatted my laptop and Itunes suddenly wouldn’t let me upload anything that wasn’t bought through their program. It didn’t matter if it was a free download from the net, complete unabashed piracy, or something I’d legitimately bought on a CD two million years ago that I’d hoped to add to a playlist called “Nostalgic Nineties” – the mofo says no go every damned time. This combined with the fact that I’d lost half of my library was grounds for saying “eff it”. I wasn’t going to buy something I’d already bought just to appease the software gods. I was fed up.

So I came up with a genius plan:

I opted for quasi-piracy by boogying to musical booty that’s not actually stolen....

piratesmirk

...by playing Youtube albums on my phone.

It was the perfect solution. Until I realized I might have to become an actual pirate and steal Tom Hanks' ship in order to afford my new habit of listening to random tunes as I take a jog or walk or cruise across town for those brief few moments of the day where I can actually enjoy life with my eyes open. Alas! No more. Sick’a these push-notification pushers dealing their technological meth. Just another thing to cold-turkey quit.

Well, I mean, I will. I totally plan to. Right after today’s run.

Starting tomorrow. I just really, really need it like now, man. I just -

I just...

throwotherphone

I may need a sponsor for this.

30Jul/140

The party doesn’t start till I get home

So you want me to come to a party?

elsienothingtowear

For those of you who move past the stock excuses and decide to go out long enough to take snappies to convince yourself later you had an awesome time, there's at least one excuse you have to come up with eventually: how to leave without anyone getting annoyed or butthurt.

Ya know, I forget all that proper social etiquette because I don't do these things that often. But that doesn’t matter apparently – because the appropriate cocktail farewells seem to vary – depending on who you talk to and who’s holding the shindig in question. My southern belle buddy who posted about this on Facebook said she prefers people to bid her adieu pre-departure. Yet this sentiment accompanied an opposite-opinion article she’d shared about how it’s actually really annoying for a host to have to interrupt their current convo to make you special, stop the world , and say goodbye – over and over.

I say… that’s stupid. I mean, you’re entitled to your opinion. But all's I'm saying is... it’s wrong. It’s wrong because we (the people who’ve taken time out of our schedule when we could be stress eating or napping or ranting on the fake party that is social media instead of coming to your dumb IRL one that’s pretentiously trying to look like a Gossip Girl soiree and falling mortifyingly short) can’t read minds. Sure, we can read social cues.

Well... most of us. For most things.

Some kinda suck at it.

elsieshutdown

But according to what I’m seeing, even these are a crappy gauge to go by when it comes to how to gracefully get your ish and leave. If everyone else is stopping through to say goodbye, then “reading the room” would be – me joining in with the intoxicated flock of sheep ready to call it a night.

Right?

But now I’m reading that this practice is somehow inconvenient to the intense dialogue you’re having with four other night-owls which sounds more like a hen-house. Can you even hear each other?

elsiemimicking
#icant

Quick question before you all return to talking about how much better eachother’s kids are than each other: Does this oh-so-important conversation you’re having involve talking someone off a ledge? Negotiating a hostage situation? Finding your daughter who’s been stolen into sexual slavery and explaining to her kidnapper about your special skills?

No? Okay, then! Great news! Because it means that if we took the time to get outta sweats and walk on pointy playground slides we’re strapped into for a whole night so you could feel like a desperate Stepford housewife, then you sure as shiz can multitask your idle chat about nada by adding in a tokenistic farewell.

Bottom line? We’re not telepathic. And even if we were we’d still be too goddamned tired to squander it figuring out whether you'd like us to slither silently from your cocktail party or kowtow in reverse all the way out the door.

So screw your social cue Rubik's cube and you can get over your damned self.

'cause all's I wanna do is go home, eat my feelings, and pass out in a party dresses.

elsieeating

Kisses! <3

29Jul/140

Spidey’s vexed episode seems less Marvel-ous and more Rage

Once when I was a waitress, a table left me a fifteen cent tip.

It seemed like a horribly sarcastic thing to do, but I would have never thought to punch anyone in the face over it. Plus I was a really shitty server and accidentally forgot them for half the night (oops). But, apparently, punching people in the face over bad tips is exactly what other people in similar “just doing this to get by” gigs do. Take for instance, street performer spidey – who punched a cop.

Aaaand, that’s why this happened:

But, let’s backstep for a lil context, shall we?

So, faux Peter Parker’s just doing his job, prancing around with a fake web in Times Square when a tourist takes a snappy with him and then offers him a dollar tip. Then, the thankless spidey spurns the single – telling her he only accepts fivesies and above.

Personally, I would have given his silk spinning wrist an actual high five and parted ways. That, or told him if he was really good at his job, he’d use his palm powers to prize it from me while I walk away.

spideyweb

But boring “inside the box” mentality homegirl did the obvious thing: stuck around and argued with him. Deputy Dangle & Co. thusly heard the ruckus and intervened, assuring her that demanding tip amounts isn’t permitted and she could give him whatever she pleased. It was at this point that the avaricious arachnid superhero first told the cop to “mind your own fcking business!” and then, ya know, punch him in the face. Just like Tobey Maguire would’ve done back in two-thousand-and-whenever-my-ex-boyfriend-dragged-me-to-see-that-abomination-in-a-theater.

Usually I’m side anti nosy po-po. But this sounds like one of those cases where they were breaking up an argument between two idiots. I hear that these fairy-story folk tend to earn a whopping $50 a day. With an income like that, can you afford to be ungrateful? Especially when you rely on likeability for tips? If I see my insect-idol suddenly getting too big for his blue spandex over a four dollar disparity, the illusion’s shattered for me and probably a few of the other people who would have paid to take a snapshot with him, too. It’s a great way to lose the business from everyone else standing around seeing you turn from epic performer to a truculent two year old having a fit in his Halloween costume.

spidercry

On the other hand, this bish should’ve known better.

You don't hang around and argue with someone who’s clearly no more than a maniac in a mask. Street performers work for tips. Tips can’t be charged - much less in specific amounts. Surely she knew this? I hope? To stick around and debate a moot matter regarding your own money (especially when you know you’re right) is just jerking off irksome feelings. Pointless. And the only climax you can get doing that is if you’re the one punching spiderman in the face for being a greedy asshole and killing the dreams of middle-aged kids marveling at the Marvel comic character they’ve adored all their lives. But she didn't even do that.

Verdict?

People stupid enough to defend their spending to Peter Panhandler deserve to be Broadway robbed. But much like my serving days - should you get a shitty tip - take it as a literal tip:

Boost your game and be grateful you got anything.

saysomething

28Jul/140

Do distractions help or hurt mindful eating?

I’ve always thought it was interesting how most dogs are “self-feeders”.

Don’t worry – this isn’t going to be another dog post. But what’s fascinating to me is how when it comes to their own, regular, non-human food – they’ll eat a bit and say “put a fork in me” (not literally - that would be terrifying on several levels). But if you put some leftovers from whatever you’re eating down on the ground, they’ve got their dining bib back on in seconds.

Why is that? I tend to think it has more to do with all the excitotoxins and herbs and salts and spices we (and manufacturers) use to decorate every meal like a sacrificial Christmas tree destined for our tongue and gullet. We like variety because we get bored, so we spoil our mouths at meals. Is this bad? Not necessarily – but for some, it causes them to overeat because you get addicted to the seasoning itself - and go past the point of satiation in the process. And if you over-serve yourself food, you may eat the whole plate instead of saving seconds for tomorrow (and in effect, saving money, weight gain, and so on).

campbells
(Amy's is where it's at.)

But this recent study on portion control showed first that adults tend to lick the plate clean while kids turn their noses up at most stuff. And then "yes-and" analysts tried to expound on this study, claiming that distractions while eating make you consume less. I dunno about this because the “distractions” in the actual study had to do with more interactive things – like eating out at a restaurant and using a computer. Most people I know are actually more likely to overeat if they’re passively being distracted by a T.V. or sat in a movie theater and captive audience to the Platonic puppets playing on the silver screen cave wall.

Plus, I feel like another factor is whether you’re alone and just eating your feelings.

feelings
We can see that, honey :/

If you're a real foodie, even then the distractions aren't quite as alluring.

For me and most people I know, if we’re just hanging out outside and eating, the meal always ends with something left on the plate. It doesn’t matter if we’re at a restaurant, the beach, or on the deck outside of our own abodes. The only “distraction” or “entertainment” is the comfort of the natural surroundings and the way food tastes different when there’s fresh air mixing in with it.

Hey! Maybe that's why people get so effing fat in winter – because it’s so shitty outside and there’s nothing real to take comfort in. So we sit on the couch stuffing our faces with spiced up grub like birds voluntarily prepping for our final form as foie gras.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then by spring, we're too addicted to the seasonings to appreciate real food's taste.

Who knows? It's all supposition. Even science constantly contradicts itself on this. And -... wait are you still looking at that force-fed goose being tortured up above? Ah, you are. That's alright. After all, distraction's good for mindful eating, right?

Bon appetit!

28Jul/140

Are canines covetous? Or just playing along?

Your dog's got envy issues.

Don’t feel badly – so does mine, says science.

jealousadventure

It’s not necessarily the four-legged-third-wheel syndrome you see when you start dating someone. And it's not always even jealousy of other f’real dogs, either – it’s just envy about us directing any of our ardent attention enthusiastically onto something… that’s not them. Even treating inanimate objects like other dogs is grounds for a green-eyed canine. Such is what a recent study showed - while looking at dogs observing their owners’ interactions with inanimate things-that-aren’t-Fido and treating these objects like they were sentient creatures.

Before we proceed with my pontification, I’d just like to share this one part of the study:

“They recorded the behavior of 36 dogs in their own homes as their owners ignored them and played with 3 different items: a stuffed animated dog that barked and wagged its tail, a jack-o’-lantern or a book”

Wait – how do I “play” with a jack-o-lantern? And a book?

NVM. Figured it out.

jackgif

No? Doing it wrong?

We may never know, but what was seen time and again was the fact that the dogs treated the more animal-like interloper as a furry force to be reckoned with. They barked at it, tried to set a pet pick (by burrowing its body between the owner and the stuffed animal), and did every dog version of a toddler stomping its feet there is, all in the name of justifiably trying to halt this act of blasphemy and show this tresspasser how the hierarchy works in this household.

prisoner3

If I’m being honest, I feel like the “jealousy” element of this story isn’t 100% surprising. It’s the same thing cats do on a grander level – treat your attention like a resource - if it’s rare or being given to something else like a keyboard, it's precious (translation: something else will get trampled over and probably smell like eucalyptus leaves tomorrow morning). When you're ready to snuggle, they can't be found. But what never fails to amuse me with my dog is that stuffed-animal association. Whether I’m tossing around a fake creature or my dog’s just come inside after seeing another dog - something in her little skull Pinocchio’s anything from a toy to my faux “Welcome” yorkie made of wood into a temporary sparring partner.

Ya know - maybe they’re not jealous at all.

Maybe the dogs in studies like these just think their owners have gone batshit crazy - and they're only playing along to make us feel better about ourselves until our sanity's restored. Because it’d take a nutjob to genuinely favor fake pals when your IRL buddy’s right here waiting to play.

adventurefocus

Duh.

28Jul/140

Orchard Sorcery: Farmer Artist Builds 40 Fruited Tree

Art is nice, but let’s face it: a lot of times, it’s overrated.

So some super famous dude painted something that I also could have done. So what? Can I eat it or use it as a weapon it after the asteroid hits earth and basic life needs are all that matters? Probably not. I enjoy a good gallery exhibit, performance piece, or random installment as much as the next person – but if something aesthetic is also functional, it’s certainly got a leg up on the competish. And that’s why this farmer artist dude is on some next-level shiz with his creation:

A tree of over 40 different fruits.

witchcraft

When I first saw this, I had my doubts.

How? How’d he get apricots and almonds and plums and all of this other mystical deliciousness into one arboric collage? Was this piece of land he saved and cultivated actually imbued with seed bearing spirits? Fruit gods? As if there’s any other kind?

Nope. What he did was kind of like the more literal, natural, non GMO-version of frankenfruit. By using something called “chip grafting”, he was able to add extra varieties onto the growing baby tree as new, separate branches. Much like when you graft a bone and the body heals back to accept something foreign-but-similar as its own, this technique takes a slim slice off a fruit tree – bud and all – and inserts that bit into a pre-cut incision on the main tree. He tapes the whole thing into place, lets it heal together over winter, and hopefully it can be pruned back enough to turn into something that looks like it was nicked from Charlie’s Chocolate Factory come spring.

fortyfruit

I love this idea.

As a fruitbat, I get bored of this monoculture with the same old Cavendish bananas and more-often-than-not tastless strawberries. Once I tried the exotic stuff (or even just high quality regular stuff), going back to the waterlogged shiz made me feel like a sadomasochistic Hitler sentencing my own taste buds to daily genocide. While something like durian may never grow here in Northern Virginia because of the climate, there are still plenty of other fruits that do - and that could be more readily available and simply aren’t because it’s not cost effective and big business is douchey.

Homeboy was super smart with this too. He mapped out which fruit grows when, so that whoever buys these trees won’t be stuck with a ton of stuff they can’t eat. With 40 different fruits, you could buy this tree and have variety and abundance without being inundated.

You know, I was gonna put on my Sunday best to hit Wegman’s, but now I’ve got other plans.

farmer2
"She could be a faaarmer in those clothes..."

Bish, I can turn any clothes into farming gear.

Not sure if that's something to brag about...

Either way, so long as Monsanto didn’t fund this li’l artsy venture, I’mma pre-order mine now, nurture it like a newborn fruity infant, and then suck the life out of it like Mother Gothel for the remainder of my days on earth.

28Jul/140

Sell-out hippies won’t let me in their festival of awesomery.

Anyone here ever been to a hippie festival?

This video popped up on my Youtube sidebar recently with the title “Boom Festival”. I watched it (the thumbnail image of people having fun while half naked is always excellent clickbait) as I downed a bit of delicious homemade soup, and marveled at how awesome it seemed. People hop on their bikes and come from all over for this event of camping out, making music, dancing to music, getting massages, and all sorts of natural feel-good shiz.

There's probably drugs involved too.

But that wasn't spotlighted in the longer doc I watched that this is from:

It’s like that other festival - Burning Man.

I still don’t 100% know what that one's all about – but looks like the time of your life. For BM (hmm – bad acronym – I immediately regret this decision), the style of people is generally the same – lots of free flowing, dreadlock donning, parasol toting earthy sort. As they dance happily around, they all look positively liberated - and nobody’s rocking those judgmental elevator eyes you’d see sizing you up in L.A.’s latest night club. But the main event – for which the celebration is named – happens in the form of a giant burning dude (wait – is this where the Wicker Man idea came from?)

nicsmokin
(Oops. Wrong gif. Only Cage could make "self-immolation" a character typecast)

While we don’t get to see Nicolas Cage ignite at Burning Man, it does look pretty exciting to see this giant structure go up Roman Candle blaze style and then topple like flaming Jenga blocks (That might just be my inner pyro, though). When asked about the purpose of the “burning man”, one of the attendees said it’s supposed to be the death of the “old self”.

I like that – burning away your own bad habits and starting anew with cleared perception

That’s far better, in my opinion, than asking some external entity to change the world to meet your selfish needs. I can relate to this because I’d def need to do some old-self burning to even enjoy this festival that looks like a ridiculously fun weeklong party of mingling and enjoying life. Sure, my “fantasy me” version of myself says I could 100% enjoy this thing and life’s perfect and we all hold hands. But when I inject reality-me into it, reality me - heading there right now, on a plane with all I'll have in a satchel - would wonder: will there be running water? Where can I take a hot shower? How bad will it smell? Will my contacts stay clean? Do they have fresh fruit? Does my dog miss me? What if my electric razor runs out of batteries?

hippiechick

In the end, it’s like going on vacation or moving with the hope it'll solve problems you made with your own brain. Hangups follow you until you take 'em off the rack. Why waste all that money and energy if you’re gonna be fantasizing about creature comforts you don’t need but really, really want right right now?

I think there has to be at least a bit of internal burning-man’ing before people like me can enjoy the external sort.

But, then again, when have I ever done the right thing?

whoscoming

Wait - what? All the tickets are sold out and you won't let me in?

Whatever happened to free love and a planet sans borders?

Assholes.

28Jul/140

Can a Facebook quiz define you?

In the name of “research” I took a couple quizzes on Facebook.

Definitely not because I was bored or distracted.

Definitely for research.

Definitely.

rainman

On the first one, I had to stop halfway through. And by “halfway through”, I mean at the first question. The “how much of a good person are you?” quiz was particularly unfulfilling with its objective options. You can’t ask me “would I take a handicapped parking spot” and then fail to add among the four options “put up my dad’s handicapped placard, cut off the old lady waiting for the place, and take my sweet ass time shopping”. So,my first impression of these online quizzes was already off to a bad start.

Then there was the zombie apocalypse one.

Obviously – if you know me at all - my interest was piqued. Yet, it also failed me before I could get past question one. “What color do I like?!” Are we being serious here? Well, in present everyday life where people only eat creatures who can’t talk or defend themselves and not other people – I like normal colors. But in after-worldly dystopia where we’re all trying to avoid the Behemoth with the giant axe whose head spews out coins when you kill him (and I still don’t get that part of Residence Evil 3 – please someone explain it to me if you’re reading this, kay thx)? Yeah, AshleyPants’ pants are gonna be camo and blendy. ‘cause if Romero taught me anything, it’s that zombies are only half your concern. The point remains, however, that the color I like NOW has nothing to do with my apocalyptic fashion choices later. The only takeaway concession I can make in defense of this quiz is that it made me think – if the EAS comes on saying there’s been an outbreak, put on some drab ass clothes to mix in easily with my surroundings later - before procuring food and other supplies.

Option one:

bitchimfab
(Actually this is such a perfect apoca-ensemble it could've been done by Mattel. Move faster on skates and the trolley can zombie block to save you time as well as store food. Well done, World's End Ken).

But my biggest disappointment ironically came in the form of success: the 90’s music quiz.

I got maybe one or two wrong on this sound bite based quiz where you hear only the first second of a song. Considering the last time I heard some of these was back when I was still working on the John Travolta shrine that still hangs in my room, I was both elated and depressed. This feeling shouldn’t be new to a bipolar bear like me, but it was. Maybe it was nostalgia.

Or maybe it was the next quiz I took that guessed I look like Christina Hendricks (who, although gorgeous, makes my rhomboids hurt just by glancing at her girls).

hendricks

Or maybe I was just still upset about how half-assed all these questions were.

Much like the infographic going around listing the most likely names of crazy ex girlfriends (I’m number one – but don’t let that undermine what I’m about to say), these things are bullshit barometers of where you stand as a human being or where you’re headed. Much like religion or social constructs, they’re like a stupider version of reading your horoscope from the back of a fashion magazine. But even relying on astrological mysticism wrought from a bored brain and scrawled in between beauty ads is better than these ridiculous online time eaters. At least the former makes you stop and try to internally relate your life to the info Alice at Allure plagiarized from her fortune cookie at lunch.

But even then, it’s all the same at the day’s end. You know where you stand in life and what you’ve gotta do to change what you don’t like. You also know – deep down in your cardiac dungeon – whether you’d be eaten first when Resident Evil finally happens, or whether you’d make it to season 5 of Dead.

Not that it matters since Facebook's already spoiled the rest of season 4 for me.

walkdeadcry
Girl, who you tellin'? I cry e'rytime too.

And Facebook's also spoiled any hope I have for humanity with these viral quizzes. What if you were to make one of these things that you knew everyone would share - questions and answers and all? What would yours say? Could you be trusted to decide what's right or wrong or diagnose the ignorant with pop psychology labels they'll probably believe are true?

Bottom line: Facebook's not a crystal ball or a DSM.

And even if everything in your life’s dictated by the cosmos, it ain’t gonna show up in Cosmo.

27Jul/140

I majored in underwater backstroke weaving

What the flipper?

There’s a "mermaid academy" in the Philippines?

mermaidacad

Drop everything and pack your bags.

I can’t believe I’ve been wasting my whole summer learning to enjoy what I’ve been given in this life when I could have been transferring over money I don’t have and going into debt so that I could fly to this resort where I can finally live out my dream of becoming Ariel.

At this fantastical “academy” that’s more like an outdoor King Titan swim gym, students rock fake fins in the form of a body hugging sea-maiden wetsuit. That is - after doing a few stretches under the tutelage of a flamboyant merman, of course. Then they take to the pool and the well-seasoned mermaids who've clearly been practicing forever like they're eel-ympic training start showing off their skills for the camera crew.

These bishes move like aqueous sine waves with boobs.

I’m trying to figure out if swimming like this is really good for you, or if you come home with three fourths less disc-cushion between your spine bones every day you act out a double decade old Disney daydream. Either way – I want in. Like, yesterday.

Also, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention how the sexual appeal of the young ladies in this video is just as confusing as an actual mermaid’s (who have no compatible sex organs). Are they twenty? Are they twelve? Should Filipino women wear a sign with their age on it so we can all not have to wonder whether our internal "she's hot" monologue narrator is actually a descendent of Pervosaurus Rex? We’re gonna have to table this one and leave it at “Either way, I’m envious that you’re gonna look like you just got out of high school for the rest of your life as I slowly turn into a crumpled piece of tissue that was used to express my dog’s anal glands...

...and who will probably never get to fin swim."

seaweedgreener

Whatever, Jiminy Crawfish.

27Jul/140

Drone wedding photos (try not to get seasick)

I thought I needed my contacts updated…

…but clearly it’s just this horrible new wedding photo trend.

dronewedding3

Ya know, I get the 360 degree or panorama pictures. Those are fun because they make you feel like you're wherever the douchebag trying to make you jealous is. They teleport that same post-cardy sentiment of “wish you were here” and fully capture how it felt to be overlooking Mount Whatever-akalau in Hawaii on that trip I should have taken but couldn’t ‘cause I’m a victim of laziness induced poverty. But if I were actually there with you – be it on Oahu for a swim or some cement fortress looking church for a wedding - you know what view I wouldn't be taking it all in from?

The sky.

And that's why drone photos are stupid. Granted, the name is apt in describing about 99.9% of the weddings I’ve been to – a literal drone of perfunctory scriptural reading with about as much enthusiasm as my dog has on toothbrushing day. So, that’s my one and only concession. Well, I’ll make two – mayhaps – it was a fun photographical experimental idea... that failed. It’s the sort of thing where you say, “Might it be cool if we tried to use the government’s technology that’s used mostly to do bad things… to do something pretty instead?” But, again... The answer’s a resounding “No” on this one.

Don't get me wrong, this idea could be great at large scale events you can only appreciate from cloud-view: spelling out pretty pictures, making star spangled banners and eagles with dyed sheep, flying into nudist colonies, meandering over all the places that don't show up on Google maps to see if there's anything cool hiding down there....

castahelp

See? Lots of useful functions.

Just not at these atrocious angles lacking any aesthetic value - and not for an event where the focus is meant to be on capturing those few visible ephemeral moments of wedded bliss on the faces of the newly united before it dissipates forevermore. Or those of envious bridesmaids trying to conjure up their best “No, I’m totally happy for you” expressions and coming up short with the all too familiar “I haven’t shat yet today; will there be a full bar at the reception?” combo-face instead. Instead of what little fun weddings do offer in the form of embarrassing pictures of other people, this shiz just makes everyone need Dramamine.

dronewedding
(You know the insecure girls love this shot, “I look skinny from this cankle! I mean angle!”)

Verdict? Drone wedding photography is a thing to be scrapped, not scrapbooked.