We need to have a chat, people writing internet comments.
On behalf of many good and decent citizens out there in the world, I would like to take a moment and educate you on a fun little punctuation tool called the ellipsis. Why, you ask? Well to put it simply it's because you're using it so fucking wrong it makes the rest of us want to go to your house and smash your keyboard over your hands until there is nothing left of either but a pulpy soup of letter keys and metacarpals.
The insult to people who weren't raised by jackals that is ellipsis use in internet commenting has gone on long enough. You don't need to put 8 dots after every complaint about millennials you cobble together under an article about avocado toast you didn't actually read, Sharon, you heinous shrew. They are called commas and periods, fucking learn when to use them.
I am not claiming my mastery over the written English language is impeccable, I'm like 80% certain I misused a comma before the name Sharon in a paragraph belittling a hypothetical woman for not using punctuation correctly. However, I do make at least a marginal attempt not to type like I'm slipping in and out of a coma between every sentence and want the reader to experience what that feels like through my use of punctuation. I don't think it's too much to ask that others do the same.
In case you are not familiar with the terminology, an ellipsis looks like this: ". . ." Three dots each separated by a single space. There is a lovely source you can check out here, which explains in what some might describe as excruciating detail exactly what the ellipsis is and how it is used. The TLDR version is as follows:
The ellipses in it's formal use is a punctuation mark that is used to annotate where something has been omitted from a quote. The informal or colloquial use of an ellipsis is the one with which we are going to be concerning ourselves. It is used to indicate when a thought trails off before it is finished, or that there is otherwise some marked pause or hesitation which requires something with more punch than your standard comma provides. It's like the pause for dramatic effect mark.
Here is an example:
"Six ellipses in three sentences is worse than. . . UGH!"
What is it worse than, person being quoted? Hitler? Adult-onset chronic swamp ass? Nickleback? We don't know specifically because of how you appropriately trailed off, leaving your thought incomplete before changing gears, but goddamn if we don't understand the emotion of helpless frustration you are currently feeling over some pigeon-toed jackanapes not knowing how to write like a civilized human.
So! Now that we all understand how to appropriately apply ellipses to our everyday internet commentinglet's look at some examples of people who are single handedly responsible for ruining society for the rest of us.
Let's start with our friend from the beginning of the post, why don't we?
Perfect example of somebody who doesn't know what the fuck he is doing around a keyboard but isn't going to let that stop him from trying to make people feel bad on the internet.
Sir, you wrote four sentences and ended three of them with ellipses. Why? Were you trying to give the reader ample time to recover from each of your fucking burns before continuing on to the next one? Am I supposed to be like "OH FUCK A RON WHITE ONE LINER FROM 2004 THIS GUY JUST SLICED MY FUCKING NIPPLES OFF WITH HIS RAZOR SHARP WIT HOW CAN I EVEN CONTINUE READING. . . Oh, thank God, he's incorporated some convenient dots forcing my brain to take what feels like an inappropriately placed pause while reading his comme-OF FUCK MY WAFFLES JUST AS I WAS RECOVERING FROM THE FIRST ONE HE JUST HIT ME WITH SOME FORREST GODDAMN GUMP SOMEBODY GET A MOP BECAUSE I JUST SPILLED MY GIBBLETS ALL OVER THE FLOOR FROM THE INTENSITY OF THE GUT PUNCHERS THIS GUY IS THROWING OUT ONE AFTER ANOTHER."
The only guess I can take as to why people use ellipses this way is that they think it gives each sentence more gravitas, not understanding that all it does is make the reader think the author is slightly less literate than a fourth grader who only scored in the 20th percentile for not writing like a fucking asshole.
In fact, the only sentence this person DIDN'T end with an ellipsis in the comment above was the last one which is in fact the only one he fucking wrote where it would have made sense! Not only did he select that particular sentence as the only one that somehow didn't need drama dots added to it, he didn't punctuate it at all. There are nine periods in that sentence you corndog, you couldn't have spared one more for the end of your thought? You've failed me, guy who is apparently mad at a person or group of people he considers stupid. You've failed us all.
Alrighty, you used the correct form of 'their' so credit where credit is due, but I have a lot of problems with this next one. In no particular order:
- You shouldn't be allowed to make your profile picture a sweet adorable puppy and then start herniating yourself yelling about fake news and democrats, it's false advertising. I don't like being lulled into a false sense of security by that 10/10 good doggo only to get purple-nurpled by the fact that the comment appearing next to it was written by a butthole.
- Demwits is a pretty ok burn, but the fact that they emphasized it demWITS instead of DEMwits the way they should have ruined the wordplay. Like, the part of the word dimwit that you replaced with 'dem' from democrats is where you place the stress when you make the pun, get it together, we're trying to have a society over here.
- One of those ellipses has four dots instead of three because apparently they weren't satisfied butchering their comment with the use of poorly placed pauses, they had to be inconsistent about it.
While those are bad enough, I could overlook it all if it weren't for this part:
Let me explain why this is an abomination through use of a visual aid representing exactly what "...LOL..." would look like:
Take heed lest you too should ever be inclined to write . . . LOL . . . in the fucking middle of a thought and come off as if you were kicked in the head by an emu at a petting zoo when you were a child.
I could go on for ages about how abusing ellipses in your internet commenting makes you sound like a half-assed Captain Kirk on a mission to boldly go where no one with at least a sixth grade reading level and any sense of self respect has gone before, but instead I'll leave you with what to me is the most perplexing question I find myself asking in all of this:
Why is it that you see ellipsis abuse used almost exclusively for the purpose of ranting about politics by far right people over 40 years of age?
I don't know if FOX news has some sort of weird subliminal messaging that makes people misuse punctuation but goddamn if it doesn't seem like 90% of the people I see do this are Gen X/ Baby Boomers typing their little fingers down to stumps, about liberal snowflakes beneath some Tomi Lahren video. Think about it. Have you ever seen this comment?
"The Large Hadron Collider is a marvel of science and technology.............. CERN is really pushing the boundaries of how we understand the universe around us.......who knows what we might learn........... from their research....Higgs Boson.....Amazing"
I certainly haven't. It seems like it's exclusively some red-in-the-face white person telling libtards to go fuck themselves beneath an article about how they made it legal to shoot endangered baby seals in the mouth because it will somehow help oil corporations oppress Native Americans or something. Always.
Hopefully we've all learned a little bit about how to use ellipses today and a whole lot about each other. Namely that there are a lot of us out there who are just the worst. Go forth now my children. Go forth and spread the gospel of being slightly less of a trash bag full of used bandaids. Do it for me.
Do it for us all........................................................................................
You put up with my bullshit. And for that, I love you.
Because it really is a lot of bullshit. Happy Anniversary.
Because of Google maps I keep having to have this conversation with people:
Me: We are going to drive up to [insert literally any place in the known universe that a person might drive to] this weekend for a family thing.
Other Person: Oh, that sounds like fun. What route do you usually take to get there? Do you go Hergleflergen road to route 324567890 and then take the turnpike over to. . . [insert the sound of blood rushing in my ears while all of space-time passes before me as the names of roads and directions are rattled off]
Me: . . .
Me: . . . . . . . . .
Me: . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Here is the thing. Because of GPS I don't know how to get anywhere, I don't know the names of any roads and I don't know where anything is in relation to anything else. The problem is I don't know how to politely get out of the conversation with people over the age of 50 I keep having to have where they want to talk about driving directions and I have to employ every trick of conversational ninjitsu known to man to make it seem like I am following along instead of thinking about how full body sized hand driers would save a lot of time after a shower.
It's not like I can just hold up a hand and be like "Lemme stop you right there Todd. I haven't learned what exit I get off at on any highway since 2006. I'm going to put the name or address of my destination into my phone and then play a game of follow the colored line for the next two hours until I get to where I wanted to be. You trying to discuss route information with me is about as useful as explaining the best way to cook a steak to a militant vegan. Neither of us are getting anything out of the exchange and the more you talk the more I hate you."
Even worse is if someone has to give me directions somewhere and they don't have an actual address or searchable business name but just insist they can explain it to me. News flash buddy; you can't. After the first one or two turns into the directions I've given up hope of actually reaching the intended destination in any amount of reasonable time. God forbid they toss a cardinal direction in there. Oh, just drive over to Chestnut lane and head east? We'll tell my wife I loved her and that it's ok to remarry because I'm going to fucking die in the wilderness trying to find the location of this christening.
If GPS navigation were to disappear forever while I was on a car trip out of state I've come to terms with the fact that I'd just have to start a new life in Kenton Delaware and hope everyone I've ever known or loved is happy without me back home. I'm basically the personification of how technology has ruined my generation and made us all completely worthless as adult humans and I'm fine with that, but the anxiety of having to fake my way through conversations about directions might be giving me an ulcer. Either I have to wait it out until everyone born born before 1965 dies or I've got to figure out a strategy to get out of discussions about 'what the best way to get around the city at rush hour' is that doesn't involve actually learning where I'm going.
If anyone out there has any ideas please contact me. I am open to ideas involving smoke bombs and strategically hidden trapdoors.
Sometimes I spend a long time trying to think of how I am going to turn something into a post. I'll get hung up on if I want there to be some sort of message, or what angle I want to take on something, how to make it funny and a lot of time I just give up on an idea and tell myself "there's no post in this".
Other times I realize I have a bunch of pictures of baby ducklings and nobody gives a shit what I have to say if there are pictures of adorable peeps to look at, so I should just shut up.
With that in mind. Here are a bunch of pictures of ducklings for you to look at. Enjoy:
We found these little guys outside our house when my wife spotted a couple of them sitting on the side of the road near our mailbox. It turns out their mother got hit by a car leaving them to wander around and get separated from one another.
By the time we found them they had gotten spread out so that some of them were on either side of the road, wandering around in the underbrush peeping little distress calls. Normally, the rule is that you don't go messing with baby animals since it's easy to cause more harm trying to help them. In this case, since we knew for sure they had been orphaned, we decided to try and catch as many of them as we could to bring them to a wildlife refuge since without their mother they would just get picked off by predators or die from starvation/exposure.
If you've never chased a week old duckling through a bunch of underbrush and leaf litter as he waddles his little butt of trying to get away from you, be thankful. It took us over an hour to chase down and catch these five assholes and get them all put in a plastic tub to take to the rescue.
We got them all packed in the car and took them to a Wildlife Refuge near us called Cedar Run. With our five ducklings: President Mallard Fillmore, Captain Quack Sparrow, Duck Dodgers, Duck Norris, and Jeff in tow we made the thirty minute drive to drop them off where they will be raised until they can be released back into the wild.
Turns our our little ducks are wood ducks, which are a little more uncommon in our area and require some special care in order to raise them, but they should all grow up to be healthy duckkos with duck families of their own.
Ask a Husband #3: Bed Etiquette
Originally posted August 8th 2015
Got a few questions all along the same theme for this one:
“How can I get my man to stop farting atomic bomb level farts in his sleep.”
— Courtney W.
Well Courtney, I've got a couple of thoughts.
Solution 1: Go to the store and purchase industrial strength gasX or another similar product. Begin crumbling it up and sneaking it into his food daily. This is a great option for those fussy significant others who won't take their pills, and it's a lot less fattening for your man than rolling them up in slices of cheese.
Solution 2: A wine cork is probably just about the right diameter.
“Why do I have to share my feelings if she won’t share the blanket?”
— Dave M
You're right Dave. how can you be expected to open up emotionally when you're exhausted all the time from not getting a good night sleep because your partner is pulling a burrito on you every night?
I recommend investing in one of those mummy sleeping bags. It will solve both your problems. In bed, you'll never have to worry about getting the covers yanked off you, as you'll be enveloped in a nylon and synthetic papoose of body heat trapping goodness.
As for your issues with emotional vulnerability, just keep the sleeping bag on. It's swishy embrace will simulate the safe space of your mother's womb allowing you to get in touch with your emotions in a way you never thought possible.
In fact, just keep it on all the time. Live your life as a gigantic manarpillar, inching around on the ground, constantly swaddled in your own personal security blanket. Flop through life as a limbless invertebrate until the day comes for you to encase yourself in a gargantuan human sized cocoon made from stitched together parts of other sleeping bags in order to undergo a glorious metamorphosis from which you will emerge reborn.
On second though, you'd scrape your face all up inching around all the time. Just buy a flat sheet and comforter for the next size up to the bed you have the extra width will make it so that there is plenty of extra on the sides to protect you from a severe covers hog.
“The snoring is KILLING me! What do I do to stop it?! I haven’t gotten a good night sleep in weeks!”
Well, Exhausted... You might think to yourself, "Hey, this is probably the sort of question that would have been better posed to some sort of medical professional."
It just so happens you are in luck. Seeing as this is the internet...
As you can see by my completely real medical license I am in fact 1,000% qualified to help you with your problem.
Anyone who knows anything about modern medicine knows that snoring is caused by what is known as T.A.G syndrome. T.A.G is an acronym for the three combined causes of snoring. Built up toxins in the body, an out of balance Aura, and excessive amounts of undigested gum.
In order to cure your partners snoring you should follow these medically proven steps:
- First you need to hard boil a dozen eggs and then leave them to soak in a pot full of vinegar and mayonnaise (actual mayo, not miracle whip. Don't be an asshole). Set that in your basement for two to three weeks depending on how severe the snoring is.
- Once the eggs have had time to properly soak, have your snoring partner eat two a day for six days in the morning and night. (The vomiting and diarrhea are normal that's the toxins leaving the body.)
- After the sixth night of the egg purge load up a pair of white tube socks with cinnamon applesauce. Have your loved one cram their feet on in there and get into bed.
If all of that fails, you can always resort to the cork method as proposed in the response to our first reader's question. (It is strongly recommended that you use a different cork.)
That's all for this installment of Ask a Husband, hopefully I've helped a few folks out there with some sleeping arrangement issues. It warms the heart to know there are some good folks out sharing a bed like champs thanks to my sage advice.
Until next time, my friends.
This post was originally put up on a portion of the site that no longer exists. The content that was on there has been archived for the past few years, but I decided to put it up rather than let it rot for eternity. This is the second of these archived reposts. You can start from the first one here.
Ask a Husband #2: The No Spouse Rule
Originally Posted July 20 2015
“A few months ago, when planning a group event with about 6-7 people one member of the group laid down the “no spouses allowed” rule meaning it was a night for just us friends to get together.
We all agreed although we noted that, at the time, he was one of the only single people in the group. Recently, however, at a similar group event where the rest of us had again followed the “no spouse” rule the same person who had been adamant about this rule for all get togethers brought his significant other along.
How can we speak to our friend about being hypocritical and rude to our significant others without attacking him?
Inviting or excluding significant others is always a touchy subject. It starts when we are teenagers, waiting all day to hang out with our best friend after school, only to be devastated when he brings his new girlfriend along and you spend the whole day uncomfortably trying to play Halo as they dry hump each other two feet from you in your parents basement. It's like f&k you Steve, I wanted to beat The Maw on legendary today, not spend four hours avoiding eye contact with the boner lump in your sweatpants.
Even into adulthood you run into it from time to time. My wife gets invited to weddings without a plus one every once in a while even though we're married presumably because the couple to be is trying to keep head count under control. If we're being honest in this situation, this is fine with me as I have no interest in attending Janet the HR person's wedding so that I can spend three hours at the weird leftovers table with someones socially awkward work friend Peg, the bride's asthmatic cousin Barry with the lazy eye and sweating condition, and a suit jacket that sits by itself on an empty seat all night because whoever was assigned to that spot did the smart thing and got the hell out of there.
I guess what I'm saying is that in all stages of life, sometimes there is going to be friction over when you do or don't bring along significant others.
That being said, this seems like it is much more commonly going to be a dating conundrum than a married person one. Married couples tend to have integrated into each others respective groups of friends, so it becomes less of an issue as opposed to when you are just dating someone, especially if it is a new relationship. Even so, I get the appeal of the no spouse rule on occasion for everyday social situations. Sometimes you just need a night with your friends minus significant others, it's healthy.
Now, it seems in your particular situation we're looking more at boyfriends and girlfriends as opposed to spouses. When you throw significant others into the mix with a group of friends, especially a 'new' significant other where they don't know anyone besides the person they came with it changes the whole dynamic of the group. Sometimes that's fine. In the sage words given to us by the Spice Girls "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends". If a significant other is going to be around for a while, they've got to become familiar with the group at some point, otherwise you end up with that friend nobody sees anymore because his new girlfriend or boyfriend is dominating all their time. Still, sometimes you just want to go bowling or something with the old gang.
I don't know any of the people involved in this situation, so I can only speak in the most general of terms and operate on some basic assumptions.
The first basic assumption that I am making is that your friend is pretty much a good guy and not a raging self-centered douche scooter. With that assumption in mind, I don't see the request for the no spouse rule at the first gathering as totally out of the blue. As I mentioned, sometimes it's nice to just hang out with the old gang, and really nobody wants to be the only one at Applebee's who can't order the 2 for $20 because he's by himself. Is it maybe a little selfish to institute the no spouse rule if the rest of the group isn't really down for it? Sure, but I can sympathize with being socially uncomfortable as the odd man out. I feel for the guy, so I can't get too bent out of shape over it.
Now the second get-together is maybe a little harder to justify. To play devil's advocate, I guess I can understand after having been the only single guy in the group and now finally having a boyfriend or girlfriend to bring along he was excited to show them off to his group of friends. It's mildly annoying but really I guess it depends on the fit of this new significant other in to the group. If they turn out to be awesome and get along with everyone, no harm no foul for the most part. If they are an insufferable mule that makes everyone want to slam their hands in a car door so they have an excuse to leave early not so great.
As for how you proceed with this friend, I'd like to introduce you to a philosophy by which I try to live my life. A philosophy that I believe keeps me from being an insufferable piece of garbage in many situations where folks tend to take the aforementioned human garbage route. I always ask myself "Is the aggravation of pressing this issue worth the potential reward, versus just letting it go?"
Let me give you a few examples from my own life of the application of this mantra:
I used one of those photo printing kiosks you see in drug stores or Walmart to print up a few pictures that my wife wanted to frame. On one of the pictures, the printer screwed something up and left a black ink smudge across the center of the photo. I could have gone back to the store, shown the incorrectly printed photo to them, asked for a refund and had the pictures redone. Or, I could eat the $2.14, not have to fight with anybody, and just reprint that picture. I did not consider the reward of maybe $2.14 and some sort of pointless moral justice for my screwed up picture worth the inevitably awful interaction I would have had to have with an employee. I just reprinted the picture.
An additional example: Once something malfunctioned with our cable and took out our TV and internet service. I spent an hour on the phone with customer service troubleshooting before it was determined that a technician was going to need to come out and replace hardware. When it was all said and done, by the time they were able to get someone out to us, we were without TV or internet for three days.
I love my wife dearly, but there is no reward too small for her not to go through any amount of headache in the pursuit of justice. She insisted that I call our service provider and demand a refund for the time we were without cable.
To break that scenario down, I would have started this process by spending a minimum of an hour on the phone, most of it likely listening to hold music as I resisted the urge not to bite through my tongue and bleed to death rather than listen to another second of a synthesizer rendition of "I'm sailing away". Once I finally reached someone I would then have to petulantly demand that I be reimbursed for my inconvenience. I would be making this demand to someone who has likely already had this conversation approximately eighty-seven times today and gives exactly zero fucks. After all of that, presuming that I don't walk away empty handed and get I my reimbursement what have I actually won? If I pay $140 bucks a month for cable, I'm paying roughly $4.60 a day which would come out to a whopping $14 reimbursement for the days we were without service. Thanks, but I'll take not ruining my evening for maybe getting fourteen dollars or maybe getting politely told to go fuck myself by Verizon's customer service associate and have the recording of it immortalized for quality assurance purposes.
Now, apply this principle to this trouble with your friend. You may have a different barometer for your hassle/reward ratio than I do, but were I faced with this situation, at least where it came to the two get-togethers already passed, I would just let it go.
At best it goes well and you have a decent conversation with them about it, but still ends up being a whole thing. You can't get away with just texting them "Hey Ur GF can't hang with us anymore LOL!" and be done with it.
At worst they get offended and defensive and everyone gets dragged into a fight about it. A poorly handled no spouses rule violation helped break up The Beatles, don't let it happen to you and your friends too.
In all reality probably the best thing you can do is let what is done be done and take a proactive approach for future outings. Knowing that this friend has a history not quite getting the memo just realize you've got to be extra clear with them on expectations going forward.
If you do find yourself in a situation where this person is the dissenting voice in the group on if significant others should or should not invited along, avoid terms like "hypocritical" or "rude" even if they may be fitting. If you put someone on the defensive, they often shut down and you get nowhere with them.
Demonstrate that you understand their point of view and offer them your alternative. Try to make your points focused around the group as a whole rather than singling this person out as a problem. If you can win them over to the rest of the group's way of thinking without making him feel like you lectured him or hate his partner's stupid face it'll make life a lot easier for everyone.
If the group is looking for a "no spouse night" let him know that you all still like his significant other and would love to plan something soon for everyone, but that tonight other folks have already worked it out with their own significant others and you'd like to keep to the plan this time.
If its the other way around and he's pouting about significant others tagging along, make it clear that there will be plenty of opportunity to have a "just the gang" night, but it's important to welcome the partners of members of the group into the fold as well.
As I said before, this all operates under the assumption that your friend is not a rabid uppity twit and is capable of being reasonable like an actual person. I don't know him, so maybe he is in fact a giant bag of assholes. If that's the case my advice is the group just tells him to jog on.
Good luck, and may all your future outings be trouble free.
So back when I first started this website, I did a few installments of this thing where I took some general relationship questions that people sent me and wrote a post in a mock Dear Abby sort of advice column. The few of them I did ranged in how serious the advice I gave was. This one despite being largely about cat sweaters and discontinued cereal (you'll see) I felt actually addressed the question that was posed. Others were far less helpful.
I eventually stopped these as I didn't really enjoy doing them. I took that part of the site down and it's been buried ever since. I came across the posts while digging through some old stuff though and remembered I did actually think some of them were kind of funny, so I decided to re-post them on the main site. I'll put them up one at a time over the next few weeks, and possibly even post one that never saw the light of day in the first place. We'll see.
Here is the first ever Ask a Husband. Perhaps 'Ask an Idiot' would be a more apt title now.
Ask A Husband #1: Joint Finances
Originally posted July 19 2015
For the first ever installment of Ask a Husband, I'm going to discuss a question that I got a few times. That topic is "Joint Finances"
“A newlyweds guide to managing finances together.”
— Paula S.
“How to make his and her money “our” money while both still being able to spend as wanted!”
— Ashley M.
One of the big things that must be dealt with as a newly married couple is figuring out how to make the transition from maintaining separate bank accounts to managing your finances as a joint entity.
Before I begin dishing out advice on this topic, let me start with a disclaimer. On this matter, there really is no single correct way to do things. You and your significant other are going to have to talk things over, figure out what is going to work best for you and go with that. If you're having a tough time coming to a consensus you can always point them to this site and tell them "Hey, when that guy isn't writing stories about farts and giggling about unintentionally phallic objects he has a few thoughts on joint bank account management you should look into." That should pretty much seal the deal that I'm a totally credible source of information.
It's a whole new experience sharing your finances with someone
The prospect of someone else having access to all your financial information, as well as your purchasing habits once you get married can be unsettling at first. Who want's to face having to explain to their angry spouse why they bought a forty dollar box of Rice Krispies Treats Cereal on Amazon? Certainly not me. (Because they're goddamn delicious and you can't get them in stores anymore FYI)
Going from having complete and total control over how and when you spend your own money to managing everything with another person can be stressful, especially if you end up feeling like your unable to have any 'fun money' to spend on the occasional frivolous item for yourself.
If this resonates with you, perhaps the same method of managing finances that works for my wife and I will fit you and your partner. We organize our finances so that we cover some things together, whilst still maintaining a portion of our incomes independently.
The Future is now!
First I'll say this. I love the continued progress we are making in the world towards not having to interact humans for basic services. When the inevitable robot apocalypse occurs and humans are overthrown as the dominant life form on the planet by the new master race of robo-murdertron 9000's and I'm hunted down and pulped to make some sort of battery recharging slurry my last words will be "At least for a while I was able to do my banking without having to talk to anyone".
Setting up multiple accounts with your bank and managing them from your computer or phone is awesome. In our household, we've got all our accounts at our fingertips and can move money around at will. It makes maintaining multiple checking and savings accounts which we've designated for different purposes a snap.
I highly recommend if you are not already doing so, get yourself set up to do mobile banking with accounts you both have access to. It will help massively with managing your budget and keeping you both on the same page with your finances.
Getting your budget in order
Before we get to the part of managing your finances together where you get your own money to blow on headphones for your cat or something, you should make sure all of your other affairs are in order.
In other words, the order of importance of figuring out where your money is going looks something like this:
- Bills and essentials
- Cat Headphones
Seems simple but it's really easy to forget that you need to make sure you've got all your bills payed and you're putting something away for later before running out to buy a new gadget. Especially if you're younger and just starting out. Way too many times have I heard things like It's okay to be broke now, your just starting out, you're supposed to be broke. You've got time to save later. As justification for spending on things you really can't afford. A word of advice: It is okay to be broke, and it is okay treat yourself, but do so responsibly. Always be putting at least something away for later. Even if it's just a few bucks a month at first. Even if it just means going out to dinner one less time that month, that's twenty bucks more than you had before and it adds up over time. You may be glad you've got a few hundred or a few thousand bucks in reserve down the road in an emergency.
How We Do It
What we did for our money management was work out a system where all of our recurring bills are payed from a single joint checking account that we set up solely for that purpose. We each contribute 50% towards bills like rent, utilities, food, cable, ect, while putting in 100% of the cost towards any recurring bills we felt were individual responsibilities (things like student loans and individual car payments).
This works for us as it has all of our money going out from one account for easy tracking, and in a situation where my monthly expenses are much higher than her's due to my student loans and the fact that her car is payed off already, it doesn't put that financial burden on her. Everything is nice and even.
Once we had the bills covered we each took whatever was left from each of our monthly incomes and split it up in several ways. These boil down to: Long term savings, incidentals, and fun money.
Long term savings is money we put aside in addition to what we are each already contributing to our respective 401k and retirement funds. This is money that we don't touch, but have readily available in an emergency. (Like if one of our jerk dogs breaks through two secured gates, gets into the kitchen and eats seven ears of corn and needs emergency surgery, to provide you with a highly specific example).
Incidentals is for the various things you inevitably need to purchase that aren't covered in the monthly budget. We move a certain amount of money to this account each month and use it for the random purchases we make throughout the month (like 95% of it being the twelve consecutive trips I end up making to Lowe's every time I try to fix something stupid around the house like the outside hoses.) As we are still in the process of furnishing our house we periodically try to let it build up over a while and then make a large purchase like a piece of furniture. (We never buy anything we can't afford to pay for then and there. Credit card debt is the writhing spawn of Satan's housekeeper Norma.)
Now onto my personal favorite: Fun money. We have together fun money, and we have individual fun money. Each month after we've moved the designated amount of money for our bills, incidentals and long term savings, we take whatever is left over and put it into the fun money accounts. We have one that we share, which we use primarily to save for vacations, and we each have a separate account that the other person doesn't have access to.
With the bills paid and some money being squirreled away for a rainy day, the money in this personal account is considered ours and ours alone to do with as we please. If I want to buy a 40 dollar box of cereal on the internet, I can do so entirely guilt free. She loves getting her nails done, if she wants to go do that, great! If I purchase a sick cat sweater, we have a talk about being embarrasing in public but hell if that's not my money to spend on cat sweaters if I want! Having that little bit of money set aside each month that is entirely yours to spend on whatever you want is, in my opinion, a healthy way to maintain that balance between "his and her" money and "our" money.
The other benefit to managing things this way is that it forces you to be more responsible and deliberate with your purchasing. If I want to blow all my money on Cat sweaters and Cereal, I'm free to do that, but I only put so much money in my fun money account each month. If I spend it all, there is no dipping into the other pools of cash, I've gotta wait. If I want to buy something more expensive, I've got to be happy with the sweaters I already own, and whatever bran flavored box of disappointing adult cereal we have in the house for a couple of months. Ultimately I find it makes purchasing that new laptop or expensive gadget all the more rewarding because the anticipation of saving up for it made it that much more sweet when I actually got my hands on it.
Bottom Line, have boundaries set and stick to them
Now before you run off and buy a purebred Welsh Corgi which is genetically proven to be a 99% genetic relative to the Queen of England's third favorite dog and name him Colonel Stuben Crumplebuttons, or roll out to the gentleman's club and make it rain singles on a dancer named Cinnamon who's "just working her way through nursing school", realize that while fun money is meant to be for you to spend on things that make you happy, you are still in a relationship.
Don't go pointing the finger at me when your significant other is pissed that you got a dog without consulting them or come home smelling like glitter and broken dreams. "The cat sweater and cereal guy said I could spend this money on whatever I wanted!" is not going to fly, I promise you that.
Make sure if you are purchasing something that will affect the other person, you consult with them before doing it.
Like in all things in a marriage, you can usually avoid conflict by talking things out with one another and being on the same page with your plan. That goes not just for how you are spending your fun money, but for setting up your budget and establishing how any leftover money is being handled after the bills have been payed in the first place.
As I said before, the plan I outlined is just how my wife and I handle things. That's what works for us, but it might not be what is best for you. Figure out your plan for your finances and once it's in place, stick to it. Before you know it you'll be rolling in all the cat sweaters and cereal you could ever want.
Somebody sent me this quiz where you answer like, ten questions about what kind of ice cream you like, what picture of a beach most matches your personality and what character from Friends you think is the most dateable (Gunther, because he's eager to please and seems like he'd be a gentle lover) and it tells you what animal your patronus takes the shape of.
In case you are pop culture illiterate and don't know what a patronus is, it's more or less the Harry Potter metaphor for jerkin' it. It's basically where you close your eyes, squeeze your magic wand real hard and think happy thoughts till a milky white thing comes shooting out of the end.
You're welcome for the visual, internet.
Anyway. I took the quiz and got something like an Otter or a Fox or some other equally likable and/or adorable creature as my result. Just out of curiosity I took the quiz a bunch of times answering differently each time to see what kind of stuff you could get. Predictably, there was a small handful of different results based on your answers and they were all pretty much the kinds of animals you would expect; Stag, Wolf, Fox, Otter, Terrier, Doe, Eagle etc. etc.
Of course, it's an internet quiz designed to generate webpage clicks for ad revenue so they just threw a handful of animals people like or think are cool as possible results, job done. It got me thinking though; not everybody can possibly have a cool or interesting patronus, right? All I know is that there are 7 billion people on this planet and a finite number of cool, likable animals. I don't mean to burst anybody's bubble, but we're not all soaring eagles or majestic lions on the inside. 80% of us are like, a sea cucumber or something; most of us are getting screwed.
Sure, I'd love to take an internet quiz and be all like, "My patronus is a cool timber-wolf because I'm an aloof loner, but I'm also strong and loyal", but the realist in me is like, "Bitch, you a tubby beagle AT BEST and we both know it."
You know who is a guy I don't want to meet? The guy who has the worst patronus. Objectively he exists out there somewhere, right? Congratulations Greg, you got a Blobfish. Of all the people in the world, you're the one who's got a loogie with a face for a patronus. We all voted; you're officially the worst, now please leave because it's making us sad to look at you and if we're being honest, creeping us out a little.
Is there even a rule that says it has to be an animal? Can a patronus just be some random object? What if the thing that best represents my inner soul is like... a desk lamp? Or a half-eaten roast beef sandwich?
Maybe I ate a really delicious roast beef sandwich in 2004 and when I'm old and grey I'll cast my spell and that fucking sandwich appears and my wife will be next to me in our twin rocking chairs like, "Even after all this time?" and I'll be like "Always."
All I'm saying is the Harry Potter universe has not been clear on the intricacies of patronus forms. I think they've left room to speculate here and that could leave some of us in real trouble.
"No, Mrs. Stevenson, I swear I don't know why it looks like that." says the guy who's patronus takes the form of a dumpster full of prosthetic legs when the topic comes up at dinner with his significant other's parents.
Anyway. Here are some of my thoughts on real world Patronuses. Leave a comment on Facebook with your own ideas and maybe I'll draw some of the best ones.
Ever wondered what a 14 dollar carrot would look like?
Wonder no more. here it is:
As it turns out, a 14 dollar carrot looks suspiciously like a regular carrot that somebody cut in half, heated up and put on a plate with a few artful mooshes of unidentifiable shit.
The 14 dollar carrot is what you get when you go to a very fancy vegan restaurant in Philadelphia.
Perhaps some backstory.
My wife has been a vegetarian for almost a decade and while I support her lifestyle choice, I personally continue to eat meat. Partly because I like meat and partly because most vegetarian/vegan foods taste like what I assume getting a degree in Latin yodeling then being sad for the rest of your life because you're unemployable and in a mountain of debt would taste like if it were food. In other words: disappointing and unpalatable.
Despite the fact that I am not a vegetarian myself, I'll occasionally bite the bullet and try whatever form of weird grass-fed lettuce she wants me to eat for the sake of marital compromise. She tolerates me cooking meatloaf, which even as a person who likes meatloaf I can admit is fucking disgusting, so I figure I owe her one every now and again.
We happened to have a gift card to this fancy vegan restaurant in the city that she'd been talking about trying for ages. We'd never actually made the trip because the place has a reputation for being a bit pricey and I've got the pallet of a third grader, so it wasn't likely I was going to find anything on the menu appetizing. With the gift card though, I thought why not; if I'm going to subject myself to choking down some upper crusty vegan nonsense as a meal at least not having to pay for it makes me feel better.
I made a reservation a few weeks in advance and surprised Emily with a dinner date in the city.
I pretty much anticipated the place was going to be an insufferable den of hipster bullshit and I was not disappointed. It was a veritable smorgasbord of flannel shirts, buddy holly glasses and wrist tattoos of anchors up in there. I felt out of place immediately upon entering the building in that I'm positive they could tell I was an outsider as if I had a visible aura around me that indicated to them that I don't own a fixed gear bike and think Cochella is stupid. The restaurant itself was very nice, but walking in the door was like a way more passive aggressive version of when a city-slicker walks into an old west saloon; If there had been a guy in suspenders and a bowler hat playing a piano he'd have hit a flat chord and come grinding to a halt while everyone in the room turned to glare at me.
I mean, there absolutely was a guy with suspenders and a bowler hat, but he was just there having drinks.
The dining experience was generally as expected; every single ingredient used in every single item on the menu came equipped with its own own resume of qualifications on how vegany it was. This equated to roughly a six hour seminar just to hear the specials. We get it Becky, the tofu is free range, cruelty free, contains no gluten, is organic and donates it's free time to underprivileged urban children on the weekends. We all get to claim moral superiority for the next twenty-four hours for having eaten here over anybody who had the audacity to eat a cheeseburger at a TGI Fridays tonight like a fucking plebeian; Can we please just move on with our lives?
On the bright side, all of the extra time it took to listen to the life story of every vegetable on the menu was offset by extremely fast service; It wasn't five minutes between when we ordered and when our food showed up at the table. I suppose when your entire menu only consists of three different ingredients, one of them is a carrot and the other two are soy paste it doesn't take all that long to prepare a dish so I guess that isn't a huge compliment but credit where credit is due. It may have been some warmed up vegetables, but goddamnit if those warmed up vegetables were not in front of my face pronto.
Here's the highlight reel of the experience from the time we sat down at the table until the time we left:
Everything on the menu was weird stuff. Fancy Radishes? Fuck off. Unless you put little tophats and a monocles on those things and give them a trust fund they're still a shitty mostly tasteless tuberous root that you washed dirt off of six seconds before you fed it to me. Also, I saw someone order the Glazed Romanesco. I don't know what shit you people are trying to pull, but that was a piece of lettuce with some stuff drizzled on it.
I've got to hand it to them at least, looking through this menu, there is not a single item on here that can possibly cost this restaurant more than a dollar a plate. they are successfully charging people out the butthole for this stuff.
Before the Meal
This is the vegan restaurant version of bringing bread to the table. It's 'carrot soup'. It was warm-ish, served in a shot glass and tasted like spicy carrots strained through a tube sock. It had the consistancy of baby food and I did not care for it.
For our meals Emily got the previously depicted 14 dollar carrot and I got this tofu because it enraged me the least out of everything on the menu. No, that is not a trick of perspective, that is in fact a 15 dollar meal consisting of a single piece of grilled tofu only slightly larger than the head of a fork.
Also whatever this shit was that looked like what you pull out of the bottom of your lawnmower when it gets clogged up.
The one thing I will say is this: The outside of that piece of tofu was fucking delicious. It may have been the single best marinade on a grilled piece of food I have ever eaten.
No matter how mouthtacular the glaze was, there is a singularly detrimental issue with this dish, which I have depicted in a handy diagram below:
And again for further clarity:
Not even all of the top hats could disguise what essentially boils down to eating a mostly tasteless lego brick of pressed bean milk. They can grill any flavor they want onto the outside of a piece of tofu but the entire interior is always going to taste like licking a kitchen sponge. I ate it though. So help me I ate it with nary a top hat or monocle to be seen to fancy it up.
If the rest of the meal up until this point was a parade of overpriced pretentious crap where they put a single vegetable on a plate and drizzled a sauce on it, dessert made up for it in spades.
I got this thing that was different toffee, caramel and peanut butter flavored stuff and it was good. Not even like, good for being vegan food. It was regular food good. I couldn't even tell that the dessert had been made of sadness and a sense of moral superiority (the only vegan ingredients left when you remove dairy from an ice cream based treat). I would come back to this restaurant just to eat that.
The thing that looks like a hockey puck of monochrome cat food in coffee grounds I understand was some sort of ice cream with chocolate dusty stuff that Emily got. It was also very good I am told despite perhaps less than stellar curb appeal.
All in all, my expectations were met regarding our dinner at the vegan restaurant. I went in assuming I was going to find the general demeanor of the establishment vaguely annoying, and that I was going to force feed myself something way too expensive that I found moderately appetizing at best. I was correct on both counts.
Emily seemed to enjoy the experience though, and I am not devoid of an ability to at least fake proper dining civility once in a while for her benefit. I doubt I'll be rushing back to any vegan restaurants any time soon, but if you are a vegetarian, vegan, or have an abnormally tiny stomach and some spare cash, you could do a lot worse. I can certainly see why people who, unlike myself, are not complete barbarians would very much like the place.