Don't even bother going to see Atomic Blonde

Last night I saw Atomic Blonde. I was pretty excited. Despite the fact that I can't really handle looking at violence, I like action movies and I like watching women kick butts. Win-win.

You know how there were scores of women crying in Wonder Woman action scenes, because we were so overwhelmed to see such a strong woman represented on screen? Well, Atomic Blonde did not give me that same reaction. You know why? Because it's not a very good movie.

(Minor spoilers to follow!)

The story is convoluted and presented in such a way that the "twists" at the end are completely uninspiring. You know how at the end of Ocean's 11 you're like, "Oooooh SNAP! They were successful all along! BOOYAAAAAH!", and then excitedly watch the roll out of how they were in control the whole time? This movie could have had similar result, if it had been structured in a way to care at all about what's going on.

Story aside, I have three primary feminist complaints about the movie that basically boil down to: it was made by men for men. The male gaze was alllll over this thing.

Complaint number one: sexiness. Before I saw this movie a friend of mine asked if I wasn't bothered by how sexily she is portrayed and I said no, because action movies almost always have a sexy protagonist. There are exceptions, but it's a trope of the genre, so I figured it was just equal opportunity sexiness. Ah! But I had not yet seen the movie! In fact, the TWO (there are only two) women in it are not only thoroughly sexualized while the men remain un-sexy, but they are very... naked. The camera lingers.

Complaint number two: there is lesbian action in the movie that is clearly male fantasy girl on girl fun, not interesting "sexuality is fluid, let's explore this," lesbianism. Eye roll.

Complaint number three: There is a scene where a very sexy woman is alone in her apartment wearing a lace teddy (because that's how sexy women dress when they're at home alone), and then gets attacked and murdered by a man in a ski mask. Really? REALLY? A lone, sexy woman, being attacked in her home by a masked male intruder???? I'm exhausted.

Wait! I have one more feminist complaint! One more! Despite being about a Very Strong Woman going around punching everyone, she is basically controlled by men. The entire thing is framed by her reporting to the men she works for and the big reveal is that a different man controls her than we expected. For a hot minute you think that maybe she is actually following her own orders. She is not. The story-framing voice over monologue at the end even comes from a secondary male character.

Good things:

The music is top notch. If this movie came out 12 years ago, I would have considered buying the soundtrack. (Although I still can't believe that they failed to include the song ATOMIC by BLONDIE. Come on, guys. At least during the credits.)

There was some excellent endurance humour in the fights, where both parties were completely exhausted, trying and failing to catch their breath and get back into the fight.

The cinematography was pretty fantastic.

If you like fighting, there is some super-powered fighting.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Book Club: Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

I picked up Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things To Me thinking it would be a bunch of funny feminist essays, à la Lindy West.

Boy was I wrong.

The first essay is a little bit funny, as she tells the story of a Very Important Man mansplaining to her about the book she wrote. Then she draws a straight line from mansplaining (a relatively benign way to silence a woman) down to more aggressive and violent ways that women are silenced and have their power taken from them.

That's what the rest of the essays were about.

Don't get me wrong. They're all very good. They are smart and engaging and well-researched. She takes you along for the ride, for sure.

It's just also... not what I expected when I brought the book along to read on my camping trip.

I read Men Explain Things to Me on my camping trip. Not exactly the relaxing read I was expecting.

Here are some quotes that I wanted to come back and ponder:

On Virginia Woolf:

"She is always celebrating a liberation that is not official, institutional, rational, but a matter of going beyond the familiar, the safe, the known into the broader world. Her demands for liberation for women were not merely so that they could do some of the institutional things men did (and women now do, too), but to have full freedom to roam, geographically and imaginatively."

How many people are confused about the necessity of feminism since we are "officially" equal now? A lot. It is beautiful and disheartening to know that, many years ago, Virginia Woolf was trying to explain that it is important to have the freedom to go for a walk alone at night.

On those who claim feminism has failed and we should give up:

"A woman goes walking down a thousand mile road. Twenty minutes after she steps forth, they proclaim that she still has nine hundred ninety-nine miles to go and will never get anywhere." 

"What doesn't go back in the jar are ideas. You can whittle away at reproductive rights, as conservatives have in most states of the union, but you can't convince the majority of women that they should have no right to control their own bodies. Practical changes follow upon changes of the heart and the mind. Sometimes legal, political, economic, environmental changes follow upon those changes, though not always, for where power rests matters."

Sometimes it feels like nothing has changed. Then you remember that a lot has changed, and we just have more to go. The ideas are the most important part, and the most heartening thing is to see that these ideas are being held up by people of all genders, not just women. It's spreading! We shall overcome!

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Let Queen Celine be a guide to us all

I have been a fan of Queen Celine ever since she ushered me into the world of contemporary, secular music. (I know, right?) My friend just posted this video and it gave me ALL THE FEELINGS.

1) Speaking of "secular" vs "religious", I am pretty sure this is a What Would Jesus Do-type response. I won't speak for other religions, but I'm quite confident that Christians should be following Celine's example, both in action AND feelings.

2) She just feels everything on such a deep level and I love it. Sometimes Celine gets flak for being melodramatic, and she is, but it's HONEST melodrama. This woman feeeeeeeels.

3) Maybe there's another hurricane happening right now that could use help. At least a certain famous pastor finally buckled to social media pressure and opened up his church to people who need help.

4) I just love her. I mean, what woman contains everything in that video, and then does this:

All Hail Queen Celine!

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Inspiration! Roundup: Don't mess with the Gulabi Gang, one letter movies, Bunny Lucille, and more!

This Week's "I want to go to there": A cuddly friendship walk seems nice.
Photo by Annie Spratt.

Don't Mess With the Gulabi Gang

This is a gang of aunties in Northern India who wear bright pink saris (gulabi means pink) and wield bamboo sticks. They protect women in their region, punishing oppressive and abusive men and trying to make them see reason. They only use their sticks if the men become violent.

I love these women.

Abandoned Islands

Fabio Araujo's artwork, creating islands out of images of abandoned sites, caught my eye.

One Letter Movies

Take one letter out of the title of a movie. Now it's a different movie! What started as a Reddit gag is now a series of hilarious artwork.

Stick Figure Girl

I used a gif by Stick Figure Girl recently in my post about killing all the plants. Well, she deserves a shout out, because she makes a ton of adorable little gif animations that deserve attention. So cute!

You Laugh, You Lose

One of my favourite improv games to watch is the one where nobody is allowed to laugh. The improvisors try desperately to do a serious scene, and suddenly everything is funny.

This is like that, but with dad jokes. And it's hilarious.

Bunny Lucille

Go check out Bunny Lucille on Instagram. She is a "curvy" woman, recreating the images of famous pin up star Hilda to help improve her self-image. The pictures are fun, beautiful, and hilarious.

Secret Studio

This secret art studio, suspended on the underside of a bridge, is terrifying and amazing.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

What is this feeling?

Hey! This is my art. You can buy it at Society6!

Last week I went to go see a workshop performance of a show one of my besties has been creating.

It was so amazing! I felt SO MANY THINGS, watching her!

First, obviously, I was enjoying the beautiful, funny, interesting, entertaining show. I was also so proud of her and excited that she wanted to do this big thing and she did it! SHE DID IT! She not only did it, but did it well. How often can people actually say that???

I was also jealous. Very jealous, actually.

What was I jealous of? Not her acting or improvising skills. Not her singing. Not even the fact that she had put on a show. These are things that I may have been jealous of in the past, but I was not jealous of now.

I was jealous that she is doing a thing. An amazing thing. And she was doing it so well. And there were so many people there who loved her and admired her.

I want to do my amazing things. And I do, some of them. Sometimes. And they are not always amazing. Are they ever amazing? I don't know. Often, they go nowhere, because at some point when you are creating art other people need to show up and they don't always show up.

Here's something else I was jealous about: she oozes talent and blends it with hard work and dedication so that it's truly remarkable.

I fumble. I have some talent, but overall I don't know that it's anything special. I try to give it attention and practice, but life is busy and I only get so far.


Jealousy is a sign. Jealousy is a big, giant sign with flashing lights pointing at the thing that your heart wants and doesn't have.

I am jealous that she had a passion in her heart and she acted on it. I am jealous that she treats her talent with care and nurtures it. I CAN DO THOSE THINGS TOO, and the jealousy crawling around in my chest tells me that I should.

The other people stuff, I don't have control over that. But I can start to remember my past projects with some accuracy and know that people have shown up for me in the past. I can also try to learn to value that less and stop being so worried about external validation and feeling special and all that junk.


PS: I also left the show with a bunch of notes jotted on the back of a receipt of ideas that she inspired in me. So the moral of the story here is get over yourself, be happy for people, be inspired, don't compare, do your special things.

PPS: I was looking up pictures with the key word jealous, and look what came up! Poor little lamb.

Photo credit: Per Jensen via / CC BY-NC-SA

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Cute! Roundup: Gertie is officially cone-free! Also, other cute things.

Here is Gertie, in her cone-free GLORY!

The moment of freedom:

A post shared by Andrea Loewen (@andreaxuaxua) on


"What do I do now?" This is the face of unexpected success.

These curly-haired kittens are going to be the death of me!

Did YOU know guinea pigs could jump like that?

Pygmy goat happy dance.

This baby took too long to throw the ball.

This is what it's like to be famous. Paparazzi surround Bill Clinton's cat.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Singalong! Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush

I was introduced to Kate Bush by my way-cooler-than-me university friends who were a combo of artistic, hippie, punkish, and just socially superior in most ways. She is so weird and evocative, don't you think? When one of those friends was moving away, a few of us learned the dance from Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights and performed it for him. My favourite move is the "bad dreams in the night" zombie walk with spirit fingers and furtive eyes.

by Kate Bush

Out on the wiley, windy moors
We'd roll and fall in green
You had a temper like my jealousy
Too hot, too greedy
How could you leave me
When I needed to possess you?
I hated you, I loved you, too
Bad dreams in the night
They told me I was going to lose the fight
Leave behind my wuthering, wuthering
Wuthering Heights
Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy
Come home, I'm so cold!
Let me in-a-your window

Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy
Come home, I'm so cold!
Let me in-a-your window
Ooh, it gets dark, it gets lonely
On the other side from you
I pine a lot, I find the lot
Falls through without you
I'm coming back, love
Cruel Heathcliff, my one dream
My only master
Too long I roam in the night
I'm coming back to his side, to put it right
I'm coming home to wuthering, wuthering
Wuthering Heights
Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy
Come home, I'm so cold!
Let me in-a-your window

Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy
Come home, I'm so cold!
Let me in-a-your window
Ooh, let me have it
Let me grab your soul away
Ooh, let me have it
Let me grab your soul away
You know it's me, Cathy!
Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy
Come home, I'm so cold!
Let me in-a-your window
Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy
Come home, I'm so cold!
Let me in-a-your window
Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy
Come home, I'm so cold!
Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy
Come home, I'm so cold!

Sing along with Kate Bush!
Animation by Louise Boulter

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

HOLD THE PHONE: Taylor Swift has a new song out!

Its.... underwhelming.

This is the first time I've called anything "basic" - luckily I was talking to a very hip 20-something when I said it, and she confirmed that I was, indeed, using the phrase correctly. Is she... trying to be alt now? Or something? It feels like a chill remix of an Avril Lavigne song.

On the upside, the lyrics video is quite stunning.

Now cleanse your palate with some old school T Swift (I chose Trouble), or just look longingly out the window and remember when she had game.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Learning! Roundup: Arts-lovers are better people, photography and the brain, edible CO2, and more!

According to science, arts-lovers are better people! We knew it!
Photo credit: New York Public Library via / No known copyright restrictions

Arts-Lovers are Better People

You know what, I'm not surprised. New research shows that people who engage in the arts (either by observing or participating) are more likely to also engage in charitable giving and volunteering. Obviously, it's because we are the best kind of people.

Photography and the Brain

There is a growing wealth of research out there on the impact of taking photos on our memory of experiences. You know, because we take so many photos of the things we are experiencing. Some suggests that we are more likely to forget things we photograph, due to "cognitive offloading" (our brains choosing to forget information they know is stored elsewhere), but new evidence suggests we remember things more when we choose to photograph them.

Edible CO2

Scientists can now turn CO2 into a food source that contains protein, carbs, and a handful of nutrients. It all happens through electrolysis and the addition of a few nutrients, and then bam! You've got a powder that you can mix with water and consume. Apparently they think that we will all want to have machines that do this in our homes, which I guess means we're just going to step right into that post-apocalyptic future when all that's available to eat is a weird nutrient-rich sludge?

Drug-Carrying Nanoswimmers

In further science fiction-like news, researchers have developed "nanoswimmers", little-bitty self-propelled devices that mimic cells' movement. They should be able to carry drugs to specific sites in the brain.

Oxygen-Free Living

Goldfish can go months without oxygen, because they convert carbohydrates into alcohol that is released through their gills. That's how they survive winters in ponds that have frozen over.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Good morning, sunshine: what would your morning would look like if you were Gwyneth Paltrow?

Morning routines are supposed to be the thing that turn your life from drab to fab. Have you ever wondered about the morning routines of those most fab? Lucky us, I have a secret power to see the morning routines of the deities of our world: celebrities.

Photo by John Townerjpg

Good Morning, Gwyneth Paltrow

When Gwyneth wakes up in the morning, it's because a Beam of Sunshine kissed her toes.

Beam of Sunshine is what she calls her children. One of her children is kissing her toes. Is that weird?

Weirdness, as a concept, does not exist in Gwyneth's world, only true paths and false selves.

Toe-kissing demonstrates love and adoration for Gwyneth's motherhood, as well as the humility that can only come from connecting to one's power. It is a true path.

(As an aside, her toes are always perfectly pedicured, yet she has never been seen holding nail polish because of chemicals. Perhaps they are naturally coloured.)

After considering pretending to still be asleep, she remembers that she is grateful for everything, including wakefulness. She embraces the morning, along with all experiences.

She looks at her jade yoni egg, set upon a golden, bejewelled pedestal that looks like one of the rejected chalices in Indiana Jones. With the power of her womb it disappears from its display and materializes inside her. She thanks and worships her matriarchal lineage for giving her such a strong uterus.

It is a 45 minute meditation where, to look at her, you might think dear Gwyneth is dead.

Now she is up, and awake to her power.

Her Beam of Sunshine has begun crying loudly.

She breathes and focuses on the vibrations of her womb space. She does a secret, more powerful version of yoga only available to third-tier GOOPers wherein her body actually transforms into the animal that will act as her guide for that day. Today she is a porpoise. She flops around on the ground for two minutes.

As Gwyneth transforms back into her human form, she whispers, "You must connect with the sea to find your righteousness."

There is now a new article on GOOP that will make landlocked women worry they will never be able to find said righteousness, and thus will never be able to say, "I'm sorry if my truth hurts you, but I cannot worry about your rightness, only my own."

She opens her arms to her sobbing Beam of Sunshine, and in her embrace, the tears turn into deep self-assurance.

Hand-in-hand, they walk/float downstairs to where their breakfast oxygen infusions are waiting.

The day has begun.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Inspiration! Roundup: Robert E. Lee's descendants name white supremacy, baby dances, dumb hobbies, leafy art, and more!

This Week's "I want to go to there":
The earliest photos of a solar eclipse.
Photos by William and Frederick Langenheim, courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum.

Robert E. Lee's Descendants Speak Out

There has been a lot of hate spewed in the name of Robert E. Lee of late and his heirs are having none of it. They are in favour of moving his statues to museums or other, less public, locations, and denounce any and all racism happening in the Lee name.

Sure, it would be great if they also named the racism that Lee fought to preserve during the civil war, but they are standing up now and denouncing those who speak hate, and in a time when the freaking PRESIDENT won't even do that, this is meaningful.

Read all about it in the Washington Journal.

Baby Dance

This is super cheesy and I love it. Their joy and fun and love for each other is infectious!

As Far As Hobbies Go, This One Sucks

"At the very least, this is a dumb hobby."
-Seth Godin, on beating ourselves up

The man's got a point.

Dark World

Artist Frank Kunert is making miniature scenes that all have a dark twist to them. Some are obvious, some you have to look for. It's like a Where's Waldo of brutality.

Leafy Art

Artist Raku Inoue makes art out of plant life. I love it.

Embrace Change

"Nostalgia, which fuels our resentment toward change, is a natural human impulse. And yet being forever content with a spouse, or a street, requires finding ways to be happy with different versions of that person or neighbourhood."
-Ada Calhoun, To Stay Married, Embrace Change

Change can be hard. Sometimes really hard. And it's one of the reasons frequently giving for leaving someone or something, be it a partner, a group of friends, a job, or a neighbourhood: they've changed.

Sometimes the change is too much, irreversible, or extremely negative. But why would we expect anything or anybody to stay the same?

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Book Club: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Like all women cautiously observing America's politics, my book club recently read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

There are SO MANY THINGS to say about this book! If you keep scrolling down below the photo, you are giving permission for me to spoil the book, because this is going to be full of spoilers.

First of all, like all of Margaret Atwood's dystopian futures, this one seems frighteningly possible. You read it and think, "yes, this could happen." Then you read more and think, "that could happen, too." In fact, I think the only thing that keeps us truly safe from a Handmaid's Tale-style takeover is that it was brilliantly planned and executed in the novel, and I don't think today's Men's Rights Activists are capable of this level of organization.

Plus, a clean execution of the removal of female rights also depends on electronic funds being the only way people access money, so as long as cash holds on we have some modicum of safety.


Okay, now let's talk about Luke, her husband pre-takeover. He appears to be a pretty solid, egalitarian-type guy. They both have good careers and independence and I got the impression reading it that they both were invested in equal care of their child.

Yet, once she loses her job and access to her funds, there are some quiet and incredibly disturbing moments. He comforts her, saying it will be alright and that he will take care of her. When I read that, it felt wrong. Upsetting. Because he shouldn't be soothing her. He should be furious. He should be making plans to escape. This also bothers her, but she is too afraid to ask because she needs him to survive.

How about Serena Joy? What a fascinating woman! Someone who once was a key public figure in the movement, now relegated to home life. She must live the life that she preached, and she clearly hates it.

Nick! What a mystery. I believe that he was a part of the resistance all along, but of course there is just enough ambiguity that this may not be the case. I was so happy for her to have the small solace of her nights with him, enjoying her small rebellion, and yet so afraid the whole time that she was securing a terrible future for herself.

My book club read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It is brilliant, terrifying, and fascinating.

Here's something: you know a society is just the worst when living as a prostitute in the brothel seems better than being any other female role. The rich ladies get married off as teenagers and seem to be unable to leave the house. The handmaids are basically cattle, given the "choice" of being walking wombs or terrible death. At least the prostitutes don't have to pretend that they serve some holy purpose. At least they don't have to live with their rapists and their wives.

The women designated as cooks and housecleaners may actually have it the best. It seems that they just do their job and don't have to be raped at all (although who knows). They are comfortable enough, certainly, to pass some judgement on the handmaids. It isn't clearly stated, but it seems that only women of colour are housekeepers.

Speaking of rape, in the book, Offred says that it's not rape because she had a choice. "Not much of a choice, but a choice." I will state the obvious and say that when your choice is between death or unwanted sex, it's not actually a choice. Either this is a product of the book being written in the 80s, or it's Offred trying to mentally justify her life and make it seem less bad.

Offred herself is a magnificent character. She is clearly a strong, feminist woman, and she has many flaws. She sometimes seems to believe the rhetoric of her oppressors. She doesn't hug her best friend for a month after she comes out. She is complicated in her attempt to survive and maintain dignity and imperfect in her judgements of others.

Confession: I didn't figure out the way their names worked (that they are "of" the man they are living with) until she met Ofcharles. Offred and Ofglen just seemed like weird names. Not only are they stripped of their previous names, but they don't even get a name that follows them through life.

Two more notes of brilliance in the book:

The academic speech at the end. It is jarring to suddenly shift to an academic analysis of Offred's story, and it also more tightly draws this world into our current understanding of the world. There is one part where the speaker cautions his audience to not judge this society too harshly, citing the many stresses they were under. It reminded me of the academic rhetoric now when we discuss other cultures or past societies' terrible treatment of women. We are always cautioned not to use our Western standards, or current standards, to judge them, as if there is no standard of humanity to which we must all be held, regardless of when or where we live.

The second moment of brilliance is the arrival of the Japanese tourists. You suddenly realize that the whole world isn't like this! Not even the whole country! And it's not even a closed-off society like North Korea, it's open. People are coming, seeing this horror show, and then walking away with some interesting photos of a strange culture. Nobody does anything.

Nobody does anything when they see it with their own eyes, and then in the future, academics suggest they not be judged.

Welcome to humanity.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Confessions of a plant killer

Fact: I want to be a person who has a garden. I want to go outside and harvest my homegrown kale, select some fragrant herbs, and maybe pick some pretty flowers for my table.

Fact: I kill every single plant I touch. It doesn't matter how "hearty" the plant is, how "low-maintenance", or how it is so "easy" to take care of. In my care, it will die.

I started with some flowers. They turned into husks faster than you can wonder the last time you watered them.

I thought maybe I'd do a better job keeping plants alive if they were functional, so I got some herbs. I even set a reminder on my phone to check on/water them. They died so hard.

My realtor gave me a peace lily when I moved into my place, saying that it's the easiest to keep alive and none of her clients have ever killed it. TO MY CREDIT, it survived a whole year in my care.

My dad gave me some pretty tulips and I forgot about them. They did JUST FINE on their own, and then I started trying to care for them them. Now I have a nice pot full of tulip carcasses and weeds on my balcony.

I have been getting down on myself for my inability to keep plants alive, but you know what? I keep MYSELF alive, I keep MY CAT alive, and I work REALLY HARD to keep my hopes and dreams alive EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Isn't that enough???

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Cute! Roundup: A dog with skillz, the most adorable ghosts, and adult human cuteness

My dear Gertie is still being forced to wear her cone of sadness, so let's look back to pre-surgery Gertie, lounging on a couch like it ain't no thing. She has no idea how free she really is.


The beginning of a beautiful friendship!

This pup's got mad skills.

This is what it looks like to feed a month-old penguin.

The sweetest little pair of ghosts.

Fear is a dog in a zebra mask.

Usually cuteness doesn't involve adult humans, but something made me go "awwwww!" about this group of adults and their responsible partying.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Singalong! Volcano Girls by Veruca Salt

Everyday is the right day to put the grrrr in grrrrl with some 90's alt-girl rock.

by Veruca Salt

Leave me, lying here.
Cause I don't wanna go. [x2]

Tell me, tell me
what you really want from me.
You gotta let me know.
I'm falling off and
I need you terribly.
One down and one to go.
Volcano Girls,
we really can't be beat.
Warm us up and watch us blow.
But now and then we fail
and we admit defeat.
We're falling off,
we are watered down and fully grown.

Leave me, lying here.
Cause I don't wanna go. [x2]

A million miles of running and
I hit the wall,
I bounce back and I run some more.
But this is it, I'm giving up,
I'm calling quits.
So get down and meet me on the floor.
Way to go, way to flip off everyone.
I steal your thunder then I try to bolt.
But I could stand a little pity now and then.
I'm falling off,
I am watered down and fully grown.

I told you about the Seether before.
You know the one that's neither or nor.
Well here's another clue if you please,
the Seether's Louise.

Leave me, lying here.
Cause I don't wanna go. [x3]
Leave me, leave me, leave me.Go..
I don't wanna go [x5]

Put the grrr in grrrl with this 90s alt-girl singalong.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Learning! Roundup: Stop kissing babies, less rich sperm, and whatever happened to the Canaanites?

Science Says: Kissing babies is BAD!
Photo credit: taylormackenzie via / CC BY-SA

No More Kissing Babies

Apparently kissing newborn babies is super bad because all the germs in our mouths. I almost didn't share this because I loooove kissing babies! How else are you supposed to get close enough to smell that sweet newborn baby smell?

Will the 1% Shrink?

A meta-analysis of 185 studies shows that sperm count is dropping in the richer countries. Buh-bye rich kids! (Oh wait, if you're reading this, then you are probably in that category, because you probably live in a rich country and are probably a holder of extreme wealth when measured on a global scale. Soooooo... buh-bye to us having kids!)

Smartness and Stereotypes

We generally like to say that stereotypes can be eradicated with more education, but it turns out that the smarter someone is the easier they will observe and learn a stereotype. So... that backfired.

What Happened to the Canaanites

The Bible tells stories of the total destruction of the Canaanites, but a discovery of DNA from the bronze age shows that Canaanite DNA is present in modern-day Lebanese people. So they lived on! That's nice.

Sexual Violence and Women

There is a pervasive image of women as the victims of sexual violence, but new research analysis by the UCLA School of Law shows that female perpetrators of sexual violence is quite common, but that female offenders are less frequently convicted and have lighter sentences when they are convicted. This study used legal records, so there are of course issues with reporting to consider, but it's still meaningful to consider.

The Fastest Growing Religion

It's not Christianity, nor is it Islam. The fastest growing religion is non-religion.\

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

I got rejected by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

SFMOMA has a new promotion going on to help share the thousands of pieces from their collection that never see the light of day.

It's called Send Me SFMOMA, and you're supposed to just be able to text 572-51 with the text "Send me" and then a feeling, emoji, or colour, and they'll text you back a picture that they think matches.

Sounds fun! I want in on this! I texted a sad-faced cat emoji, because OF COURSE I want to see what artwork they will think matches the sad-faced cat emoji.

Nothing. Bubkes. Emptiness.

Look at that big space with NOTHING IN IT. (Except the cool text background pattern, because I just figured out how to do that. So at least my rejection from the SFMOMA is attractive to look at.)

Maybe it only works for Americans? I don't know. You try and tell me if I am special in my rejection or not.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Here's something for the wish list: a floating desktop cloud

Since we store our entire lives in The Cloud, why not have a visual reminder of that on your desktop, in the form of a free-floating cloud?

This is neat, right?

Via: Richard Clarkson Float

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Inspiration! Roundup: Think and become, Xinona, Dan Mangan, DIY retirement homes, and more!

A round up of inspirational things, past and present! Love this retro dress.
This week's "I want to go to there": Let's have a vintage party dress party!
Photo credit: vieilles_annonces via / CC BY-NC

Think It

“What we think, we become.”
– Buddha


I have never experienced a film like this before! A scroll-through animated storytelling experience, Xinona is a thing of beauty.


This Dan Mangan video is just stunning.

"Seems there is a lot of anger in the world. Anger can be important. Anger can topple tyrants. Anger can be a catalyst to growth. But if it becomes the default lens through which the world is seen, it can blind us from the redemption or beauty that can be found in this absurdity of errors. This video does not intend to incite anger, but it does rally to work through it and find the other side of it. To find resolution, forgiveness, and peace."

DIY Retirement Home

These women in England built themselves a retirement home because they didn't like how elder care was being treated by the state. There are many things I love about this! 1) They took their fate into their own hands! 2) They persisted when it was a struggle. 3) It's basically a beautiful model for commune living that I want to copy.

In a Heartbeat

I think most people were falling in love with this video about a week ago, but here it is if you missed it.

Raise Your Own Little Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Inspired by RBG? This is a collection of advice on how to raise a child to have the drive and bravery to blaze her own trail, but then it could be great advice for all of us. My favourite: "Encourage them to set aside their worries--and simply achieve."

I'm going to let that one nestle its way into my head and heart right now!

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Get your eyes rolling with Cynical Cindy

I am generally pretty optimistic and into seeing beauty and spiritual connections everywhere. Other times, I am a Cynical Cindy. Nothing gets my eyes rolling like meaningless platitudes.

I recently came across this quote:

“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye.
Life will reward you with a new hello.”
– Paulo Coelho

Sometimes you just need to be a little bit cynical.

Ugh. Nope. Sorry. I don't think so. Not how that works.

Sometimes you say goodbye and are left with nothing but an empty hole in your guts, because that's just reality.

You might argue that, in this case, the "hello" the universe is rewarding you with is yourself. That mayyyyyybe there was no external hello, but the act of bravely saying goodbye introduces you to a new side of yourself that you are delighted to meet. Sure, if that happens that's nice. It also doesn't always happen and it's not really the same thing.

Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Come on! Cynical Cindy is rolling her eyes SO MUCH!

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Would you eat this?

Photo credit:

Apparently engineers in Japan have made an ice cream that doesn't melt.

They say it's just regular ice cream, made with the addition of polyphenol extract, found in strawberries.

So that's cool and all (see what I did there? Hahaha!), but cue the usual cries of, "That's unnatural!" and, "Ice cream isn't ice cream unless your hands are a sticky mess at the end!"

Would you eat it? Me neither. I mean, probably? Maybe? I don't think I would. But I might. It's only strawberry juice, right? So what's the big deal? It's kind of weird, but you've got to try. Or do you? Is that what they said about soylent green?

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Cute! Roundup: Gertie the annoyed Elizabethan, baby animals in pockets, and more!

My dear Gertie had to go in for a minor surgery on the weekend. It's not a big deal (she just had a growth on her leg that needed removal), but she still got stitches and has to wear a cone as a result. At least I got a photo where she looks kind of like an annoyed Elizabethan in an exaggerated collar.


Warning: there are a bunch of baby animals in pockets on the other side of this link.

This is what happens when an adult human has never held a cat before. (The cat is a good sport, it seems.)

Please, sir, can I have some more?

It looks like a baby bear sleeping with a dog. I am told it's actually a puppy. We'll see.

Catch the water!

The love of your life.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Singalong! Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

This song brings me back to driving around in summertime, windows rolled down, wind in my face. Seventeen years old, imagining I've escaped the suburbs, singing my heart out about the dark side of the life I hoped for.

by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Psychic spies from China
Try to steal your mind's elation
And little girls from Sweden
Dreams of silver screen quotation
And if you want these kind of dreams
It's Californication

It's the edge of the world
And all of western civilization
The sun may rise in the East
At least it settles in the final location
It's understood that Hollywood
Sells Californication

Pay your surgeon very well
To break the spell of aging
Celebrity skin is this your chin
Or is that war your waging

First born unicorn
Hard core soft porn
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication

Marry me girl be my fairy to the world
Be my very own constellation
A teenage bride with a baby inside
Getting high on information
And buy me a star on the boulevard
It's Californication

Space may be the final frontier
But it's made in a Hollywood basement
Cobain can you hear the spheres
Singing songs off station to station
And Alderaan's not far away
It's Californication

Born and raised by those who praise
Control of population everybody's been there and
I don't mean on vacation

First born unicorn
Hard core soft porn
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication

Destruction leads to a very rough road
But it also breeds creation
And earthquakes are to a girl's guitar
They're just another good vibration
And tidal waves couldn't save the world
From Californication

Pay your surgeon very well
To break the spell of aging
Sicker than the rest
There is no test
But this is what you're craving

First born unicorn
Hard core soft porn
Dream of Californication
Dream of Californication

Sing along with Californication by The Red Hot Chili Peppers! We've got the lyrics, you've got the spirit.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Learning! Roundup: How to have the hottest of all the sex, buying happiness, perfectionism and suicide, banning homework, and more!

Photo credit: AveLardo via / CC BY-NC

How to Have the Hottest Sex of All

Wanna have super-passionate sex? New research shows that the best way to do that is to harmoniously integrate your sexual passion into yourself and your life. That's right, the best sex actually does come when you are a whole, integrated person, not from "chasing tail" or whatever.

One More Way Money Can Buy Happiness

We already know that money can buy happiness if you spend it on experiences or other people. Well, now we know that spending money on things that save you time also buys happiness. Interestingly, this is not affected by income. No matter how much money you make, you'll still be happier if you buy yourself some free time.

Eat Your Lectin

If you hear anyone say that lectin is the new gluten, run away.

Perfectionism and Suicide

A new meta-analysis of research on suicide found that perfectionism is linked with an increase in suicidal thoughts.

The Best Way to Eat a Crunchy Taco

I straight-up avoid crunchy tacos because of the mess they make -- or rather, because of the mess I make while eating them. I'm already a messy person! Why would I eat something guaranteed to fall apart in my hands??? Well, apparently there is a right way to eat a crunchy taco that doesn't leave you with a handful of taco salad. We'll see.

No More Homework

Research has shown that traditional homework does nothing to help increase students' learning outcomes, but time spent reading does. In a gutsy move, one superintendent is actually acting on this research and banning homework! I am impressed.

12 Stages of Burnout

It's easy to get yourself on a burnout path without realizing it, so I was happy to find this guide to the 12 stages of burnout. Interestingly, I think I only made it to level seven before I started to get really worried and ultimately went on antidepressants.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Who started throwing people under busses?

Photo credit: Antonio Manfredonio via / CC BY-SA

You know those moments when you realize that the English language is strange and if our sayings have any literal meaning behind them, we are truly horrible people?

In light of that, what do you think are the origins of the phrase "threw someone under the bus"?

I don't want there to have been a time when people were ACTUALLY just throwing their supposed friends or colleagues under buses, because that's terrible, but then, most of our sayings seem to be based on some strange literal historical event (there actually was an Uncle Bob that the saying "Bob's your uncle" was based on, after all.)

Turns out that the history of throwing people under busses is actually really boring, and I admit that I am a bit disappointed by this fact.

It came from British politics, of all boring things. Apparently, in the 70's and 80's, politicians would play a game called Let's Kill the Leader where the current leader went "under the bus" and they would imagine what happened next. Sort of like the "what if our boss gets hit by a bus" succession planning conversations we have at my work, except I imagine these politicians were a bit more gleeful.

The first person got thrown under the bus (as far as anyone can tell) in 1982 when a journalist referred to President Galtieri pushing some lady-politician under the bus to get rid of her.

And now? There are imaginary busses getting people thrown under them everywhere! This must take a massive psychological toll on those poor fictional bus drivers.

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

The trouble with Instagram: a kind-of-solution

A little while ago I posted a plea for someone to save me from myself and invent an Instagram "like" blocker, so that I could joyfully browse my friends' photos without seeing the tally of likes that inevitably leads to comparisons and bad feelings.

Well, I still haven't found a solution that can be unilaterally imposed on my Instagramming, but I have found a partial, interim solution!!!


It's self-control.

I know, gross!

Here's how it works: when I look at Instagram (yes, I still look at Instagram, I'm not just cutting myself off like some heartless robot!), I just don't look at other peoples' likes.

That's it.

Sometimes I can't help but see them because I am trying to read their caption, and the likes counter is right there, but I was surprised at how much I actually don't see.

It kind of works, you guys! Kind of!

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Inspiration! Roundup: Chrysalis time, insecurity, de-objectifying female heroes, and more!

Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images via / No known copyright restrictions

Chrysalis Time

A good friend of mine recently sent me this email from Tara Sophia Mohr about a phase she refers to as "chrysalis time": the time when we cocoon in order to transform.

I just love how she describes the working out of a vision and figuring out "what's next."

Visions for what is next – your next creation, your next job, your next way of moving through the world – don’t arrive fully formed or with a how-to plan. They come through fragments, whiffs, energies in the body.

In chrysalis time, there are big blanks in our picture of the future, but there are also always words and pictures and ideas we can access about what wants to emerge.

If your vision for what is coming next in your life or your work is 95% blank, articulate the 5% you can see – the little fragments, the faint intuitions, the general direction.

Sometimes It's Good to be Underestimated

There are questions as to whether this is true, but the week-old rumour mill has it that she pretended she doesn't speak English in order to avoid having to speak to Trump at a dinner. If this is true, this woman is an inspiration to us all. Way to stick to the bit, Akie Abe!


“It is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar.”
― Anaïs Nin

I can vouch for this!

Trees into Animals

Illustrator Alfred Basha has created some beautiful sketches of trees growing into animals. They remind me of Andreas Lie's double exposure photography, and I like them.

How to De-Objectify Women in Comics

Oh my goodness, the is what we've all been waiting for! I am so inspired by Renae De Liz's quick how-to guide on presenting heroic women in a way that is not objectifying. (Spoiler alert: they can still be sexy!)

Whenever I see someone break down a problem like this, I feel like changing the world is actually possible.

We Are All Time Lords

I mean, a bunch of the atoms in our bodies came from across the universe and have existed basically since the beginning of time. So from that perspective you can certainly tell yourself that you are basically a magical creature made up of space and time itself.

Everyday Whimsy

Street artist Tom Bob transforms everyday objects into fun and funny things. It's adorable.

A post shared by Tom Bob (@tombobnyc) on

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

Book Club: The Four Hour Work Week

I am kind of embarrassed to admit that I read The Four Hour Workweek.

I don't think I should be embarrassed by it, who wouldn't want to find ways to increase productivity and income on less time, after all? It's just that it's a five-year-old cliché and one of those classic self-help books making audacious claims (you know that Tim Ferriss works more than four hours a week, right?)

Still, I read it.

At first, I could barely get through it without gagging. It's just so COCKY. I don't just mean Timothy Ferriss himself, although he is definitely cocky, but the book itself. The words felt slimy as they went through my eyeballs and into my brain. In the beginning it's all about cheating the rules, winning on technicalities instead of skill, and bragging about achievements made on the backs of others. Gross.

(Okay, it's kind of that throughout. Cheating the "game" and winning on technicalities in order to get rich and do very little is basically the bread and butter of this book, so that shouldn't be a surprise.)

Book review of The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss - overall, I found it to be a cocky, slimy read with a few nuggets of good advice

Still, there is some pretty useful and non-slimy stuff.

As his main argument is about how much time we waste in work and life, there are a lot of useful time management and prioritizing/goal setting strategies in here.

For example, the first thing he has you do is define things: your fears, your goals/dreams, and the specific income needed to get there. He calls it Dreamlining (like creating time lines, but with dreams, so clever), and it's based around the question of what you would do if there was no way you would fail, under the categories of "being", "having", and "doing", for the next 6 and 12 months.

I am all about this kind of activity - being ruthlessly honest with yourself about what you want your life to look like is incredibly useful. Of course, I had trouble listing things in the "have" category. I just don't really care about having fancy cars or whatever.

The elimination chapter is also super useful. It's all about identifying the things you are doing that are a waste of time and then eliminating them, focusing instead on the areas/clients/activities that garner the most results. Since he's trying to turn you into a Nouveau Riche world-travelling champion, it's pretty ruthless: one of the instructions is to stop reading the news or caring about world events, for example, because it doesn't actually help you achieve goals and wastes time.

He also provides a pretty excellent how-to guide for setting up a business that can operate more-or-less without your involvement. He really includes every step except for the actual business idea (and even then, he provides some inspiration for business ideas).

So what's the problem?

The whole concept really depends on taking advantage of others. There's a whole chapter on outsourcing your life and business responsibilities to overseas call centres for $5 an hour so that you can windsurf all day, and trusting your employees to do more so that they don't waste your time.

So, basically, other people have to work 40+ hours a week to fuel your fortune so that you can travel the world and write books about how easy it is to live a life of leisure? Hello, hierarchy? (I realize this is basically the foundation of all business, where the boss makes a lot more for doing, operationally, a lot less, but they are still working so it doesn't seem so bad.)

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!

You've got to fight for your right to - repair your own things? What?

Photo credit: wwarby via / CC BY

We all know, thanks to Twisted Sister, that we have to fight for our right to party (or rather, paaaaaarrrrrtaaaaay!), but these days we're having to fight for a lot more, like the right to fix things that we already own.

Farmers can't fix their own tractors anymore, and we can't fix our devices.

Apple and other phone and tech manufacturers claim that it would damage their copyright to release repair manuals to their products, or that their products are just so darned complicated, nobody could figure it out. So instead, they're doing us a favour by forcing us to go back to them for super-expensive repairs.

If this doesn't seem like a huge deal to you, because you just get a new phone every year anyways, think about the fact that pretty much everything is becoming a "smart" technology, from kitchen appliances to televisions. If you (or a mechanic) can't fix any of it, life is about to get wayyyyyy more expensive.

So what are we gonna do about it? Sing it with me: We're gonna FIGHT for our RIGHT to REPAIRRRRRR OUR STUFFFFFFFFF! (Or to go to a reasonably-priced repair shop instead of the authorized dealer who charges insane sums of money!)

If you are in America, The Repair Association is there for you. Everywhere else, it's a good old phone call to your political representative. Let them know that you care about your ability to repair your own devices!

More info via New Scientist.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!