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Tag Archives: advice

How to make enemies and alienate people

We’ve discussed here before how to win social media, both on Facebook and Twitter. Most of the advice boils down to Wheaton’s Law, which is:

Surprisingly, this is very, very difficult for a lot of people. I’m not sure if this is because they truly like being dickish, or they don’t REALIZE they’re being dickish, or it’s too hard to think, so therefore they just say whatever crosses their minds the minute they sit down at a keyboard…but whatever the reason is, the dicks seem to outnumber the people with something real and helpful to say online, most specifically in the comment sections.

Most people I know are, for good reason, aware that if you read an article online, you don’t, under any circumstances, read the comment section. Why? Well. Because here be dragons, of course.

For every kind, helpful and relevant comment online, you have to wade through people being racist, sexist, or just downright weird, and it starts to turn your stomach and despair for the human race.

But what about if you CAN’T avoid the comments? What if it’s your job to be the one to POLICE the comments?

I will never not love this guy. FAVORITE POLTICIAN EVER!

I will never not love this guy. FAVORITE POLITICIAN EVER!

One of the aspects of my current job is social media. Five days a week, I’m in charge of the work Facebook page and Twitter account (along with my other multitudinous tasks, of course. I’m a busy bee. But I am a HAPPY busy bee, so there’s that, then.) I not only schedule the posts our readers see, I’m in charge of reading their comments for a few reasons – to see what they’re saying (it might come in handy in the future); to see if there are problems (sometimes they tell us about typos/errors in the article or on the site, which we can hopefully quickly fix); and to make sure things aren’t getting off-topic or squirrelly.

Things often get off-topic and squirrelly.

Twitter isn’t bad, only because people in this area don’t use Twitter as much as I wish they did. (It’s a great resource for a newspaper – we can get the news out almost immediately and have a constant stream of it going to our readers. It just hasn’t taken off around here like it has in more populated regions. I think it will, eventually; we’re just late adopters.) The people who follow us on Twitter are respectful and polite, for the most part, and I never feel like I’m wading into The Princess Bride‘s Fire Swamp when I check our Twitter page.

fireswamp

The Facebook page, however, is a very different beast.

Now, please don’t go into this thinking I don’t appreciate – and even enjoy – a vast majority of our commenters. We’d be nowhere without our readers, and I love that they’re out there and paying attention.

It’s the fringe contingent that worries me. And keep me busy hiding their comments. And sometimes shaking my head and thinking, “oh, I don’t…oh, oh no.”

SO. For those people, I’d like to give you a quick list of pointers. You are very quick to complain when your comments disappear, vocally and angrily; you are very quick to shout “CENSORSHIP!” and “THANKS, OBAMA!” when you think you’ve been silenced. Hopefully, this will help you navigate the waters of our social media more successfully.

HOW TO NOT BE A DICK ON PUBLIC SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES

  • Watch your language. I don’t know if you’re aware, but Facebook has a helpful function for those of us that moderate a public page. We can choose to have comments with swear words immediately hidden, so only we can see them. We very much utilize this function, as we have every intention of being a public page, and the last thing we want is some hapless child stumbling upon you cussing the hell out of a news story. Also, you kiss your mother with that mouth? Good grief, yo.
  • Stay on topic. Of course, there’s leeway here. I’m not saying there’s one path to greatness, people. But if we put up a post about, say, a fundraiser picnic, and you start rambling on about how angry you are that there are so many mosquitoes this year and there’s no global warming because of that LIAR AL GORE!, that’s just confusing and you might be a conspiracy-crazy. I’m not saying I’m blocking it, but people are going to think you’re a looney.

    Except for you, Mulder. You can comment any old time.

    Except for you, Mulder. You can comment any old time.

  • Remember: since it’s a public page, everyone on your timeline, as well as anyone in the world, can see what you’ve said, and hover over your icon and see your profile. It’s just the way Facebook is set up, my little chickadees. You give up your anonymity when you comment on a public page. If you’ve got your page locked down, when they go to look at you, they won’t see much…but you’re still not anonymous. Your name is there. EVERYONE NOW KNOWS YOUR NAME. And your comment shows up in your friends’ newsfeed. I have a friend of a friend who’s very involved with commenting on social media sites. Every time he comments on our paper, my friend says, “I see So-and-So commented on your work Facebook page again!” Everyone’s seeing what you say. Keep that in mind when you comment. If you’re not being a jerk, you have nothing to worry about. If you are, however…well, your mom’s probably seeing that (assuming your mom has Facebook. My mom doesn’t. I’m one of the lucky few.) Do you want your mom seeing that? Are you sure?
  • Personal insults? Really? What grade are you in? We have had to take down entire posts because people randomly started insulting the other commenters, the people in the article, random politicians (seriously, if I never see another non-ironic “THANKS, OBAMA!” it’ll be too soon), and, in one weird thread, God. (Yes, some guy started really insulting God, like, over and over. SO MAD AT GOD.) That counts as off-topic, and it counts as just downright mean, people. STOP IT. I get it. You are filled with all of the hatred. You are ready to explode like a hatred volcano. Sometimes *I* am the target of the hatred volcano. Sometimes my beloved coworkers who wrote the articles are (and it takes every bit of my precarious self-control to not respond with a very biting “WE ARE RUBBER YOU ARE GLUE!” rebuttal, because when it comes to my coworkers, I am such a Momma Bear.) But if you go too far, I’m hiding your comments, buckaroo. I don’t like meanness. I don’t like the idea that people are walking around with a stomachache because someone was mean to them for no reason on our social media. Make a new plan, Stan, and screw off home.

    Oh, is THIS who's to blame. UGH THANKS OBAMA

    Oh, is THIS who’s to blame. UGH THANKS OBAMA

  • Why you gotta be so dirty? SO MUCH NAUGHTINESS. I’m immediately hiding your comments saying female politicians got to where they are “on their knees” or that the local taco place sells “fish tacos that remind me of my ex-girlfriend.” Seriously? What are you hoping to accomplish with this comment? Like, cracking up your friends with a “HEE HEE DIRTY COMMENT ON A PUBLIC SITE?” or “UNGH I AM SO SEXY THIS IS LIKE AN OBSCENE PHONE CALL FOR *EVERYONE*!” I don’t even know. I have ALMOST the least tolerance for this. The LEAST tolerance is saved for…
  • On my watch? No racist, sexist, homophobic comments. Not going to happen. Don’t even try. And if they happen when the other people I work with are on social media, I’ll sometimes randomly check and hide your comments EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT WORKING. Yeah, you heard me right. I FEEL SO STRONGLY ABOUT THIS, I DO THAT SHIT FOR FREE, YO. You don’t get to have a public forum to spew your hatred. Sorry. I know, right, FREE SPEECH? Well, we run the page, and you lost your right to free speech when you commented on it. We have the right to moderate. And until the day my fingers fall off, I will not allow you to put hate speech on our site.
  • Acting too cool for school is actually the stupidest thing ever. We get a lot of “who cares?” or “slow news day” comments. Did you really take time out of your day to write that? Actual time you could have been spending on something else? YOU obviously care, because you took that time out of your day. And no, it’s not a “slow news day.” There’s no such thing. If we posted the article, we think someone can benefit from reading it; if it doesn’t resonate with you, maybe…oh, I don’t know, don’t feel like you have to comment? It’s not like you have to comment on everything. No! Really! You don’t have to! I know, freeing, right?
  • Maybe spell/grammar check? I’m a little more stringent about this than others. I hate ALL typos. It’s what I do for a living; you can’t really blame me. Most people don’t care if you make a few. But I’m talking about the people who write a comment like “For teh all people eat fodo there waffles, good yunger.” I don’t…what does this mean? Do you even know what it means? Is it a puzzle? If I solve it, what do I win? (Is it waffles? That’s a worthy prize. I’ll take it.)
  • Don’t try to sell me a car. We randomly get a Ugandan businessman who spams about 15 of our posts with a huge long “CARS FOR SALE!” comment. We block him; he comes back in another incarnation about a month later. We’re going to keep blocking you, buddy. No one wants your used Buicks. And how would they even GET here from Uganda? Logistical nightmare.

These all seem common sense, right? Yeah, you’d be surprised. If you’re looking at the comment section of a public site, know that most likely, even though your blood pressure is up? Most of the worst comments HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAKEN DOWN. I know. Humbling, right?

So the next time you’re going to comment on a public page, take a deep breath, think, “Is this a dick move? Should I do this? Am I building someone up, or knocking someone down? Do I have a valid point? Is there even any REASON for me to make this comment?” If you can answer all of your questions and still look yourself in the eye in the mirror…you are welcome! Comment away! If not…maybe start a blog where you can say what you want, with no fear of The Powers That Be shutting you down.

...or you'll make Ron Swanson annoyed. You don't want to make Ron Swanson annoyed. Trust me.

…or you’ll make Ron Swanson annoyed. You don’t want to make Ron Swanson annoyed. Trust me.

And, to those of you with actual, helpful, intelligent comments to make? THANK YOU. You make my day/month/year. Keep on keepin’ on, you guys. You make what we do worthwhile.

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Confessions of a night owl

I’ve always been a bit of a late-night junkie.

When people in my family hit puberty, we lose the ability to sleep. It’s like clockwork, really. HORMONES BAM WHY DO YOU NEED SLEEP? It’s impossible to FALL asleep, and once you’re there, you have to be very, very careful to STAY asleep, because once you wake up, all bets are off. You might get an hour’s sleep, or six hours, but if you wake up too much, there’s no falling back to sleep. Or you might wake fully up for no reason at 3 a.m. and there you have it, then! That’s all the sleep you need! (It’s not. Not at all. You’re sleepwalking all day and you yell at people, and sometimes walls and/or your own feet for being stumbly.)

My grandmother and great-aunt never used their beds because why bother? They slept in their recliners with the televisions on. That way, they figured, if they woke up, they could at least watch some fine late-night television. My dad’s currently getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night. That’s actually quite a bit for him.

(Ironically, Mom sleeps like the dead. She’s in bed every night by 9 and up by 4-5 a.m. and she’s one of those “I’m up, let’s sing songs of little BIRDIES!” people that make you want to throw things. Talk about opposites attracting.)

A normal 9-5 workday never worked out for me. I hate alarms. I hate getting up early. I hate going to bed before I’m tired. If you’re an insomniac to begin with, going to bed when you’re not even tired is a waste of time. You just lie there and every stupid thing you’ve said in your ENTIRE LIFE goes through your mind.

I was a little nervous about the new job. See, I’m working weird hours now – til 1am three weekdays a week and over 10-hour days on the weekend days (I have to get up kind of early those days, but I get out at 8.) I worked the late shift at the answering service quite a few times over the years, and it never bothered me that much (things always slowed down a lot, and mostly we could chat and laugh, which was always good) but a job where you were actually WORKING and expected to be MENTALLY ALERT until 1 a.m.? Eeesh.

Well. Come to find out, this works PERFECTLY for me. Who knew the solution to over almost 30 years of insomnia is shifting your sleeping/waking hours? (FINE, I’m sure some scientist knew this. Everyone has Circadian rhythms, right? Well, who’s to say mine aren’t much different from everyone else’s? I mean, my brain seems to run at a different weirdo speed than most of the world; I wouldn’t be surprised if my rhythms are all off, as well.)

It took a bit of getting used to (a month or two, to be honest) but come to find out this is kind of perfection. I get to go to bed when I’m tired. I only have to set the alarm twice a week. I can let myself sleep as late as I want 5 days a week. Let that sink in – I can sleep until NOON if I want to FIVE DAYS A WEEK. (I don’t – I usually get up between 9:30-10 – but I COULD.) I’m actually perfectly alert until 1 a.m. (well, most nights – some nights the copyediting and proofreading is very, very dry, and my most favorite cheerful goofballs happen to have the night off, and there’s a lot of hurry up and wait, and on those nights I get a little yawny. But who wouldn’t, even during a normal day of work?) Then I get to go home, and it takes about an hour to unwind, and I’m off to bed. AND I CAN ACTUALLY SLEEP. I’ve been getting almost 8 hours of sleep a night for months. IT IS GLORIOUS.

ME EVERY NIGHT. (Plus about 40 years, let's be honest.)

ME EVERY NIGHT. (Plus about 40 years, let’s be honest.)

(Well, side note, not EVERY night; there’s a certain cat who’s QUITE sure that once the sun comes up, it’s playtime. So he leaps into my bed and tromps all over me and says “MEOW MEOW MEOW” all up in my face and I say sleepily “No no good boy go lay dooooown” and he is VERY EXCITED to hear my voice and then there is MORE tromping and meowing and “HEY MOM HEY MOOOOOM maybe it is time for wet food? Mom mom MOOOM! Meow meow meow PURR IN YOUR FAAAACE!” and sometimes there’s tickling my nose with his whiskers, which is not optimal, and sometimes even WORSE, there’s licking of my forehead, which he knows makes me giggle and squirm and put my head under the covers. That’s a VERY fun game for him because it means he’s won! Man, is that guy lucky I adore him.)

BUT! If you work nights (or want to sleep many hours into the sunrise) you have to follow many rules, such as:

  • DARKNESS! I had dark curtains but they weren’t enough. Em recommended blackout curtains and I got some for Christmas. They make ALL the difference. Those, plus closing all the bedroom doors most of the way (sadly, not all of the way, because there’s a certain cat in this household – YES, the same cat mentioned ABOVE – who cannot bear closed doors and would caterwaul and throw himself at the doors until I opened them, and that’s not going to help you sleep, because he needs to come and go or he can’t handle his FEEEEELINGS – are keeping my room dark like a TOMB and it is GLORIOUS.
  • QUIETNESS! There’s only so much of this I can get, because of the cat, you see, but quietness is important. I live on a somewhat-busy street, and the cars start being loud early, as do the children waiting for the bus and the upstairs neighbor who has a normal schedule and gets up early in the morning. I have mostly solved this with a very loud fan. I suppose I could use a white noise machine, but those make me nervous. Someone gave me one once, and my choices were “forest” (every now and then this very loud frog would be all “RIBBIT!” and how is that white noise?), “ocean” (which would have been fine but whoever recorded this put on screechy seagulls and also it made me have to pee all night), “wind” (which kept having these gusts which made me think the house was about to fall down and I was having nightmares about Auntie Em and the storm cellar) and “storm” (rain is soothing, except for the having to pee part, but random VERY LOUD THUNDERCLAPS are not. I’M AWAKE NOW IS MY HOUSE ON FIRE?) So I just turn on my fan and angle it away from my bed and it makes just enough whooshy white noise that I don’t hear much of anything except for the time some man came to my house trying to collect a debt from the prior tenant and knocked on my door AND all the windows (and you can be sure I reamed him a new one and he left apologizing and I think is so scared of me now he will never return.)
  • MEDICALLY INDUCED COMA! OK, so this one might not be for all of you, but I’ve been on meds for my sleeping issues for…oh, most of my adult life, and I take a teeny tiny pill every night that helps tip me over into slumberville. It doesn’t always work, but I’d say 90/100 times it does the trick. Aaah, prescription zzzzzs.
  • BEING COMFORTABLE! Comfortable sleep clothes are a MUST. You can take your sexy negligees and wear ’em to your heart’s content, my friends, I’m wearing flannel and t-shirts and, on very cold nights, a sweater over that, and maybe furry socks. And sometimes the cat is allowed under the covers because he is a warm little furry hot water bottle. You also need to know what kind of covers you need. Lots? Few? (Me, I’m a 4,000 blanket person. I like to feel MUMMIFIED under blankets. So I can barely MOVE. It is just my best thing.) How about pillows. Squishy? Hard? Feather? Foam? GET YOURSELF COMFY, YO. The more your bed’s a happy safe haven, the more you’re going to want to stay in it longer. There’s nothing worse than waking up because you’re freezing or in a pool of sweat. Plan ahead. And, related to this…
  • DO NOT DRINK ALL THE BEVERAGES BEFORE BED. Seriously, do you want to crawl out of that warm little cocoon you’ve so carefully constructed to pee like 14 times all night long? Especially when you KNOW when you get back the cat will have taken the warm spot in the bed and then you have to move him and he’s all “MEOW MOM YOU ARE THE WOOOORST” and then decides “Well, I’m awake, can I climb on you like you’re a mountain? Who cares, I’m gonna” and it takes forever to get back to sleep. Just curtail your orange soda after a certain time of night. You’ll be fine, my little gumdrops. You can drink all the soda in the morning, if you want. I won’t tell anyone.

SO, to sum up: I am getting the best sleep in my life by working weird hours. And when I tell people what hours I work, I get that face. That “oh, I feel so BAD for you” face. But I get to work with people who are ALSO happy to be working weird hours, and we’re kind of like kids who get to stay up all night and sleep in all day, and if anyone says anything about it we can say “I WORK NIGHTS” and this makes people kind of back away from you as if you might be radioactive (you kind of might) but little do they know, you’re actually kind of working the best hours ever.

(This all might be moot if you have children, or are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t understand weird hours. I decided about a month into this I was only allowed to date either other newspaper people, or writers, or maybe people who do long-distance truck-driving because who else is going to be up at these hours?)

Also, there is nothing better than doing errands in the middle of the day on a Thursday. NO ONE IS IN THE STORES! You can get in and out and it is like MAGIC! Yes, all of the employees think you’re unemployed, but who cares? YOU WIN QUICK SHOPPERY! Also, if you leave work at 1 a.m., no one’s on the roads, so you can drive really slow when the weather’s bad and NO ONE IS THERE TO CARE! It’s all very “I own the world, this is mine now” and empowering.

Now you know a secret: people working at night don’t always hate it, after all. Just don’t tell anyone. Then EVERYONE will want to work nights, and who’d open the stores early then? THE WHOLE AMERICAN ECONOMY WOULD COLLAPSE. I’d feel TERRIBLE. Eek!

And if anything goes on before, say, 10am on a weekday, you guys will let me know, right? Good, good. Much appreciated. All the love. *smooooch*


Kind-of-Sort-of-Ask-Lucy a.k.a. I CAN ANSWER THAT! (Volume 19)

Howdy, folks! How do you feel about answering some questions today? Super-good? Yeah, me too. It’s like giving back, right? That’s supposed to make you feel good about yourself. And it’s much less scary than, say, giving a ride to a hitchhiker with one eye and a knife poking out of his belt. No, that wasn’t a euphemism.

We didn’t get a ton of questions this month, but we got some doozies. We always do, round these here parts. It’s inevitable, really, much like the sun coming up, the tides to-ing and fro-ing, and Dumbcat starting to beg for treats around 6pm even though treat time is 8pm, because he cannot read a clock.

So, in case you don’t remember, or are new here, or maybe your mom left the parental control off the laptop when she went out with “Uncle” Harold, here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening. Because the search terms posts tend to be insanely long, I break them up into two posts: an open letter to people who find my blog accidentally and a post with just the QUESTIONS that drive people to my blog. And I answer those questions to the best of my ability, and I give advice, some of which is more serious than the rest. Yesterday was the search term post, so, as you can see, today’s the question post. Nice how that works, yeah? Sure is.

So, yet again!

Welcome to…

Kind-of-sort-of Ask Lucy.

Subtitled: I CAN ANSWER THAT!

These are all ACTUAL SEARCH TERMS that brought people to my blog. So these people totally need my help, obviously, because they came to Google SEARCHING FOR HELP. And they obviously didn’t find it, because they ended up here. And as much as I like the traffic, I do feel bad for people who are weeping and wailing because they’re lost and alone and somehow trapped on Lucy’s Football island, even though it’s a wonderful place to be.

how many times a week to shave hands men Whoa whoa whoa. Shave your HANDS? OK, I know some men who have, like, super-hairy backs or chests or even shoulders or something, and they get waxed, sometimes, but I have to honestly say I’ve never heard of any man shaving his hands. Help me out, people, anyone ever heard of this? My answer for this is never. Never times a week. Leave your poor hands alone. You’re welcome, waxing’s better for such things, anyway.

how to make statue from string I think you build a structure from balloons, then wrap the balloons with string soaked in either glue or papier maché, then you pop the balloons and the structure stands on its own. You’re welcome, aren’t you glad I know things like this because I did set construction at theaters for years and years?

See? Like this, only larger-scale. Easy enough.

See? Like this, only larger-scale. Easy enough.

i was alienated from my mother by my father and stepmother how to fix Jeez, it’s like you’re living a terrible fairy tale. I’m so sorry. Talk to your mom; explain the situation. It might take some time to repair things; things don’t just get back to the way they were overnight. Be kind to your mom. Apologize. And what’s going on with your father and stepmother? They sound a bit wicked. Maybe distance yourself from them for a bit until everyone grows up a little? You’re welcome. Good luck, cherry blossom.

is a cat a rodent Oh, Andreas will love this one. No, a cat is not a rodent. A mouse or a rat is a rodent. A cat is a feline. (Also a carnivore, I suppose, if you want to be all sciency.) You’re welcome, you know you can Wikipedia these things, right?

This is also a feline; it will, however, eat your face.

This is also a feline; it will, however, eat your face.

is amy a common name? Unfortunately, yes. I think it’s less common now, but in the 70s, when I was born, it was the #1 girl’s name. There were so many Amys of my age that I was just one of many. I had a locker right next to an Amy who had the same last initial as me, as well. I’m not a fan of my first name. I wish it was something a little more jazzy, frankly. But it’s too late now. I’m not changing it. People would just be too confused if I showed up one day and was Zoë or something. You’re welcome, please name your kid something more original.

should i shovel snow if i’m sick Nice way to try to get out of something, trickster. I mean, if you’re DYING, no. Probably not. But if you just have the sniffles, sure. Get on out there and shovel that terrible white stuff. It’s awful while you’re doing it, and it hurts your back, but on the bright side, it’s excellent exercise, and when you’re done, you feel very accomplished. You’re welcome, stop dog-ate-my-homework-ing your household chores.

the best hooker for a spaceship OMG! The best hooker! Well, the answer is obviously Inara from Firefly. But she wasn’t as much a “hooker” as she was a “Companion.” I’m curious, are you building a spaceship? And populating it with hookers? You’re welcome, and also a little weird.

No question, this is the one you want.

whats worse porn or literotica Well. Worse is a little subjective, isn’t it? Is there anything wrong with either, if used properly? I mean, if you don’t get all obsessive, or think they’re real, or expect real women or men to act the way they do in porn/literotica, or read/watch really violent things and then act them out with unwilling partners, or something. I don’t judge these things. I assume everyone likes some sort of porn. It’s the way the world works. You’re welcome, don’t be so hard on yourself. Not a euphemism.

why always stupid people got big mouth Why always, indeed. Well, I think it’s that you’re annoyed by them, for whatever reason, so they seem super-loud and bothersome. Maybe someone you love seems stupid to someone else, and therefore would seem big-mouthed to that person, you know? It’s all in how you see it. I mean, it could also be that the stupid people have low self-esteem so are louder, I suppose. There are a lot of ways to look at this. You’re welcome, maybe invest in some earplugs?

why am i such a shut in I need more info. Are you injured, and therefore can’t leave the house? Are you suffering from severe agoraphobia? Do you hate people? If you don’t like how shut in you are, do something to change it – and that’s usually get out. Look in the paper and online, find something you like to do that’s going on, and go to it. Don’t let it daunt you. Go with someone, or go alone, but have a good time. And each thing you go to gets less scary and less scary until they’re not scary to go to at all anymore. Seriously. Or, alternately, get some medication that makes going out of the house easier to deal with. Worked for me. You’re welcome; I hope things get better for you.

why are lane bryant stores so expensive Because they know they can charge us more; there are very few good plus-sized stores out there, and people will pay a premium for nice clothes that fit (somewhat) well. (I recommend shopping elsewhere; I’ve had excellent luck at thrift stores, Peter Harris Plus, online, and Target. All for a fraction of what I’d pay at Lane Bryant.) You’re welcome; if they’re overcharging, choose to spend your money elsewhere.

why people shouldnt have butterfly knives Because they’re easy to hide away and ultimately stabby, I think. Not really sure. If you ask Dad, he’d say “THE GOVERNMENT!” or “BECAUSE OBAMA!” so don’t ask Dad. You’re welcome, maybe buy some nunchucks.

Yeah, THIS doesn't look dangerous at all.

Yeah, THIS doesn’t look dangerous at all.

On a scale of one to ten, one being WTH WAS THAT and ten being THE BEST THING EVER, how helpful were those answers? 4? I’ll take it.

Until next month – may all your questions be answered, and may your February be warmer than your January. Because no one likes the frozen wasteland of tundra of his January. NO ONE NO ONE.


Kind-of-Sort-of-Ask-Lucy a.k.a. I CAN ANSWER THAT! (Volume 18)

Whoo! Night of craziness around here; hoping to get this up for tomorrow. I’m still hellbent on getting on the road tomorrow for the holiday. See, I’m a stubborn little donkey. Some might say jackass; they wouldn’t be wrong. However, the weather for where I’m going is…not great. Not great at all.

See the 8-12″ area up near Canada? That’s my parents’ house. I’m driving right into the purple. Because I am a JACKASS. I might end up backing out at the last minute, but I’m all packed and ready to go because I really want to go. I really want turkey and family this year. My mother is convinced this will be my death and even TALKING to her about it makes me want to throw something across the room. “Do you think all thousands of people who are traveling tomorrow will die?” I asked her. “Maybe,” she replied. MAYBE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WILL DIE, PER MOM. (I’m not telling Dad I’m coming. This is a surprise for Dad. That’s another reason I want to go. I so, so badly want to go.)

ANYWAY. Let’s get on to answering your questions, why don’t we? I mean, I can’t let you go into the holidays with your questions all unanswered. That’d be a dick move.

So, in case you don’t remember, or are new here, or maybe are a time-traveller from the 1890s and are confused about the glowing box with the words in it, WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE HERE?!?!, here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening. Because the search terms posts tend to be insanely long, I break them up into two posts: an open letter to people who find my blog accidentally and a post with just the QUESTIONS that drive people to my blog. And I answer those questions to the best of my ability, and I give advice, some of which is more serious than the rest. This month there were a lot of questions. I guess you’re all just adrift and seeking guidance. Which makes me sad, because I’m like the worst person to give that advice. But for you, little jellybeans, I keep on tryin’. I like you just that much.

So, yet again!

Welcome to…

Kind-of-sort-of Ask Lucy.

Subtitled: I CAN ANSWER THAT!

These are all ACTUAL SEARCH TERMS that brought people to my blog. So these people totally need my help, obviously, because they came to Google SEARCHING FOR HELP. And they obviously didn’t find it, because they ended up here. And how can I not answer their questions? I ask you that! I mean, that’s like walking past a lost dog. YOU CANNOT DO IT. That poor dog. It wants you to help it, with its sad eyes and mournful whimpers. HELP THAT DOG, DAMMIT!

HELP HIM HE IS LOOOOOST!

HELP HIM HE IS LOOOOOST!

are the children really our future Well. I guess, in like an existential sense, they are. They’re going to be taking care of you in the nursing home someday. But that’s not the only reason you should be nice to children. They’re like these little PEOPLE, you know? And they’re AMAZING. They’re like little information sponges. And they look up at you with these huge eyes and they think you hung the moon. How can you not live up to the person they think you are? How can you let that little person down? It’s not that they’re our future. They’re our NOW. You’re welcome. Be nice to the little ones in your life, ok? They deserve the best possible you that you can be.

can raccoon dogs be pets No. No, they cannot. They are wild animals and they are bitey. Stop trying to make wild animals pets. SIDE NOTE: Andreas saw not ONLY a raccoon dog but ALSO a hedgehog recently in his land of Finns and they aren’t always around. This makes me think that most likely the animals I most want to see are migrating back to Andreas’ island because they heard I was coming to visit soon (LESS THAN SIX MONTHS FROM NOW!) and they want to meet me. I am excited to meet you, too, raccoon dogs and hedgehogs! But, as much as I want to, I will not bring you home with me in my luggage – BECAUSE YOU ARE WILD ANIMALS. Wild animals are not pets. You’re welcome; be wise in your choice of pets or you’re going to get eaten by them.

I am not your pet; I will eat your face. Thank you.

I am not your pet; I will eat your face. Thank you.

how many curtis lumber accidents Ha! Like, at the Curtis Lumber store? I would hope not many. Are you implying that like a stack of lumber would fall on the shoppers’ heads or something? Do you know something I don’t? I just looked online and there have been a couple accidents, but they were employees who got sucked into sawmills or something, and now I have the shivers. Thanks a lot, searcher, YOU GAVE ME THE SHIVERS. You’re welcome, stop giving people the shivers.

does zak bagans have a skype account Why would you want to know this? Are you going to call him up and Skype him? He’s not going to accept your call. He’s going to be all, “this is a stranger” and ignore you. Also, he’s a douche. Why do you want to talk to Zak Bagans? SIDE NOTE: the other night, Dad said, “You know who’s still pretending to find ghosts? That guy with the gas mask. Whenever I’m flipping around channels and I see him I think, that guy is the worst and I’m not going to watch that show but if Amy was here she would make me watch that show just to laugh at that guy and she calls him the Ghost Douche.” You’re welcome. Maybe just Skype with people who won’t give you long-distance STDs?

how do i not get in trouble by my mom I don’t know, don’t do things that piss your mom off? Or don’t get caught, I guess. It’s a little of each. Or practice your saddest face when you DO get in trouble, your “OMG, MOM, I got in trouble, but LOOK HOW CUTE I AM!” and maybe that’ll help. Best of luck to you. You’re welcome. Behave yourself, kiddo.

how much is a mummyfied squirrl worth WHOA! A mummyfied squirrl! I don’t know how much a mummyfied squirrl would be worth, or even how much a mummified squirrel would be worth, to be honest. I’m thinking not much. One time I found a somewhat-mummified squirrel in my bed. TRUE STORY! I went to camp and we were making up our beds and when I went to do so there was a dead mummified squirrel in the bed. It also might have been frozen. It was a long time ago. All I know is that it was dead and I was all, huh. There’s a dead squirrel where I sleep. This is a worry. And Mom was all GROSS! And Dad was all, let’s throw that outside, ok? And then I made the bed. Things don’t gross me out much. Oh, you’re still waiting for me to answer your question. Um…let’s say $10. Does $10 sound ok? You’re welcome. Good luck with your mummyfied squirrl.

This adorable red squirrel is unimpressed with your mummification, my friend.

This adorable red squirrel is unimpressed with your mummification, my friend.

how to accidentally get someone to see your blog Hee! Accidentally. Well, a lot of people seem to accidentally see mine through misguided search terms. But I haven’t a single idea how to rope those people into seeing your blog by accident. I could give you a bunch of tips about search engine optimization and such, but you’d have better luck finding those elsewhere. Here’s my main tip: write a lot. If you write a lot, eventually people will start stumbling upon your blog. You’re welcome. Best of luck with everything.

how to deal with accidental homophobia in your friends Accidental homophobia? Like, someone accidentally gaybashes or something? Or calls someone an offensive term but then apologizes? No, I’m completely serious, I’m asking, what does this mean? OK, let’s assume there’s this strange “accidental homophobia” amongst your friends. I would think the best way to deal with it was to say, “hey, Friend, casually dropping that term in conversation really wasn’t cool; you better check yourself before you wreck yourself.” No? Fine. This is how I would deal with it: “Did you really just say the word ‘fag’? Sincerely? I kind of want to punch you in the neck right now.” Sincerely. I’m a mouthy broad. You’re welcome, I think, even though I don’t totally understand your question.

how to use your common sense in giving guidance If you have to ask, then I can’t help you with this. No, sincerely, I mean it. Common sense isn’t something you can learn. It’s something you have – or you don’t – and if you have to think about using it when giving advice, I’m thinking it’s too late for you. Some people are better at common sense than others, is all. I’m usually decent at it when it comes to others; I’m not always great at it when it comes to myself. I think a lot of people are like that, honestly. You’re welcome; just do your best. It’s all anyone can do.

is the world being overran by sluts No. No, I don’t think so. And I think the casual use of the word “slut” is demeaning and childish. And I think you WISH the world was being overrun by “sluts” but honestly, even the question shows you’re a small little person with a mean streak and you think you’re allowed to pass judgment on others. I’d say you were welcome, but you don’t even get that from me, because you’ve kind of pissed me off, to be honest.

what can you use for a rainbow bright costume if you don’t have the address The address for what? For Rainbow Brite? Like, her mailing address? This question confuses me. I think you could use whatever you want for your costume. Make it yourself from fabric from the craft store, I don’t know. I just want you to tell me what address you’re talking about. You’re welcome. I hope you’re the best Rainbow Brite of them all.

Look, I found you a pattern! Make your own costume! TA DAH!

Look, I found you a pattern! Make your own costume! TA DAH!

what does it mean if somebody says you are the lucy with the football That you’re mean and tricky and a tease, I guess. That you keep dangling things over someone’s head, but pulling them away at the last minute. That you’re kind of a jerk. I hope that’s not you. You’re welcome; be nice to people, ok?

what happens if my car is hit in the middle of the night with my insuarance agency I assume the same thing that happened when mine was hit while I was in the theater; if no one sees it, and there’s no one to blame, you pay your deductible (which is usually a lot) and get it fixed. I think there’s something about no-fault states but I don’t know which states are no-fault and I’m not 100% sure what it means, to be honest. I find car insurance very confusing. I think you decide whether it’s worth driving around with your car all jacked up, or fixing it yourself, or calling your insurance agency. I found that my gecko was not very helpful when I needed them, to be honest, but they’re cheap, so whatever, I stick with them. You’re welcome. Sorry about your accident.

what to give to to your boyfriend whan he is leaving A kick in the ass? A well-timed insult? Copious weeping and pleas for him to stay? Oh, you’re probably asking about gifts, yeah? In which case, I’m going to assume you still like him? Then I guess give him something so he’ll remember you. NO NOT NAKED PHOTOS. Those are never a good idea. Something with meaning for both of you; maybe music or a photo, I don’t know. I don’t know your life. Just stay in touch with him while he’s gone, you know? Call and text and email and Skype. Distance doesn’t have to be so bad, if you make an effort. You’re welcome. Best luck, little marshmallow.

That was a lot of questions. I’m totally weary.

Until next month – may all your questions be answered, and may you have a month of joy and wonder and very few pokes in the eye with a sharp stick. How few? Less than 1 is ideal. Aim for that.


Kind-of-Sort-of-Ask-Lucy a.k.a. I CAN ANSWER THAT! (Volume 17)

I may or may not get this up for Wednesday; I’m cutting it close tonight. I had other things to write, and then I have ANOTHER thing to write before snoozetimes. I tend to have too many things to do and not enough time to do it. It’s a thing with me; I’ve grown to accept it.

So, in case you don’t remember, or are new here, or have that thing wrong with you like Drew Barrymore in that sappy Adam Sandler movie where you forget everything when you wake up in the mornings, here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening. Because the search terms posts tend to be insanely long, I break them up into two posts: an open letter to people who find my blog accidentally and a post with just the QUESTIONS that drive people to my blog. And I answer those questions to the best of my ability, and I give advice, some of which is more serious than the rest. Somehow there were more questions than search terms this month. I can never predict you guys, You’re tricksy, you are.

So, yet again!

Welcome to…

Kind-of-sort-of Ask Lucy.

Subtitled: I CAN ANSWER THAT!

These are all ACTUAL SEARCH TERMS that brought people to my blog. So these people totally need my help, obviously, because they came to Google SEARCHING FOR HELP. And they obviously didn’t find it, because they ended up here. And how can I not answer their questions? I mean, that’d be the rudest thing ever. Think of the bad karma that’d get me! I can’t afford to rack up bad karma, I’m still trying to work off all the bad karma from when I was a callow youth!

are there any real followers of wordpress blogs Ha! Well, lately, I DO have to wonder. My followers are mostly blogs with names like “truerealporn” and “vaccuumsforsale” and I’m FAIRLY sure those aren’t, like, real blogs with real points of view and such. But, yes. There are real followers; I get comments from them daily (and sometimes even new ones, which is always nice! Hi, new people! Who are really real humans!) WordPress, take note: people are searching if there are ANY REAL BLOGS on your site. This is your wakeup call to crack down on the spammers. You’re welcome. Spammers, take a hike.

do autistic kids get merka Good grief, I don’t even know if *I* get Merka. What kind of question is this? This has me extremely perplexed. I don’t know that ANYONE gets Merka. Weird conservative people talk a lot about SAVING Merka, but GETTING Merka, that’s a whole different thing, isn’t it? And what the hell does autism have to do with it? I’d say you’re welcome, but your question is weird, and it’s also vaguely offensive, so you get no thanks from me, Odd McGurk.

MERKA!!!!

MERKA!!!!

what are helpful services for crossdressers to be more feminine Aw, I love how polite this question is.  You’re very sweet. Helpful services! Well, I’d say it’s all in the clothes…and your clothes start with your support items, I think. I don’t know much about crossdressing, but I believe you need good lingerie and such. I believe a good scarf or turtleneck would cover your neck (I’ve been in situations where I’ve tried to tell if someone was male or female…don’t ask) and as for your hands? Not really sure. But if I have anyone who knows about such things, time to speak up. Look how polite the question was, yo! You are welcome. I have much love for crossdressers; I’ve known some lovely ones in my time.

how to write a i meant nothing to you letter I’m confused again. Who writes a “I meant nothing to you” letter? Those are letters you RECEIVE. And they’re more “YOU meant nothing to ME” letters, aren’t they? (And who writes these things anymore? I think people break up with you via text nowadays. Or, in my case, they just stop talking to you, and then you’re like, “oh, are we broken up now?” and they’re like, “we were never together” and you’re like, “oh, huh, well, that hurt, you bastard.”) I guess if this is something you NEED to write…well, just write the damn thing. I’ve had equal success and failure with letters I’ve drafted for days and with letters I spewed out at 1am because I was so upset I needed to get the words out…so there’s no hard and fast rule for such things. You’re welcome; I’m sorry you meant nothing to someone. That person sounds like a douchecanoe, if it helps at all.

Nothing! NOTHING!!!1!

Nothing! NOTHING!!!1!

is there a way to hang out with cartoons Um. I don’t…do you mean like you want to enter a Roger-Rabbit-style world and rub up on Jessica or something? Or go into a video game? I don’t even know what to make of this. I suppose you could learn to draw and draw yourself into a comic book or something? You are aware cartoons aren’t REAL, right? OK. Just making sure. You’re worrying me. You’re welcome; maybe go out, hang with some real people, see how that works out for you?

I'll hang out with these cartoons. These are my peeps.

I’ll hang out with these cartoons. These are my peeps.

do you know any lonely men who have sex with blowup dolls blogs I can say, unequivocably, that no. No, I do not know any blogs that are specific to this exact thing. I would think those people were much too busy to be blogging. What with the sexing plastic dolls and all. And they’re probably too sticky to be typing. What? I’m just SAYING. You’re welcome, maybe read something a little less…sad?

examples of signs to post so people clean up after themselves you made the mess now clean it for house Well, here’s the thing. You don’t seem to need an example; you can just type up “you made the mess; now clean it” and hang it up. BAM. SOLVED IT. I mean, you COULD write something disgustingly cute like “Your mama doesn’t work here, so clean up after yourself!” or something, but just a simple sign like “Stop being a huge hog and wipe up your mess, you gross pig” will do just as well. You’re welcome, I’m sorry people are gross in your house – but I do have to ask, if it’s your HOUSE, you obviously KNOW the people, can’t you just TALK to them?

what are some symptoms of monkeyphobia An irrational fear of monkeys. You’re welcome; some questions are easier than others. (Also, Andreas would kill me if I didn’t tell you it’s either called maimouphobia or pithikosophobia but it’s definitely not called monkeyphobia, although that word made me giggle.)

TERRIFYING! Urgh. Stupid monkeys.

TERRIFYING! Urgh. Stupid monkeys.

talking in sleep keeps me awake,what to do This has totally happened to me. To my dad, too. It runs in my family. (Once my dad said in his sleep, “Get that dog outta the garage! Go to the phone booth. THERE ARE BIRDS!” and when I said something to him the next day, he was all, “I would never say that. That doesn’t even make SENSE” but he totally did.) My roommate used to tell me she heard me talking in my sleep through the wall but she could never hear what I said, exactly. (That’s good. I was probably sharing really important secrets.) I don’t know what to do, exactly. Maybe go to a sleep clinic? I hear they can fix such things. Me, I’m too nervous about sleeping in front of people STARING at me to even try such a thing, but why don’t you do it and report back? You are welcome. Best of luck, my similarly-afflicted friend.

what are the places no one goes in ohio that are to scarey OMG TO SCAREY! I don’t know. Are there “scarey” places in Ohio? Maybe corn mazes? Haunted mansions? Places no one goes. This is pretty open-ended. Ohio people, please feel free to chime in on “scarey” places no one goes. My Ohio knowledge is pretty lacking. You’re welcome, if you go ghosthunting, remember to wear a gas mask like that douchey Zak Bagans.

Look, I found what seems to be a Ohio zombie strip club. Is that your thing?

Look, I found what seems to be a Ohio zombie strip club. Is that your thing?

what are some very very romantic love stories VERY VERY ROMANTIC. That’s pretty subjective, bub. What I think is very, very romantic and what you think is very, very romantic are two different beasts, most likely. For example: when I was younger, I thought Wuthering Heights was pretty romantic, until I grew up and realized the relationship those two had was more obsessive and abusive than romantic. Fine, some romantic things I can think of off the top of my head: The Time Traveler’s Wife, One Day, The Princess Bride, Eleanor and Park, Outlander (and don’t you even; I have already defended this choice. I understand it’s unpopular with some people based on content; I’m not going to defend my choices again.) You’re welcome; I hope you find the romance you’re looking for, and that romance isn’t between a sparkly vampire and a clumsy high-schooler.

was marlin perkins homosectual? I have no idea if he was gay or not, but I’m QUITE sure he wasn’t homosectual. I wasn’t even aware there was such a sect. Is there a dress code? Kicky hats, perhaps? Feather boas? You’re welcome. You’ve given me a LOT to think about.

what is the name of those piercings that go by your eye It’s just a microdermal piercing. It doesn’t have a specific name. I just read that they reject like 90% of the time. NINETY PERCENT. And you have to get them CUT OUT OF YOUR SKIN. And they SCAR. Your FACE. I’m voting no on this, anonymous searcher. You’re welcome, stick to things that are less scarry, ok?

what is it called when a guy cries or begs over you Sad? Worrisome? Unbalanced? Something you don’t want to happen, even if you think you do, because I promise you, it’s not as romantic as you think it is? You’re welcome. Life’s not a rom-com, babe.

SO MANY QUESTIONS MY GOODNESS!

Until next month – may all your questions be answered, and may you stay away from the wendigo. What wendigo? Best you don’t ask too many questions, really. Best for EVERYONE.


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