How to Tell if Your New Followers Are Real or Not.

You may have noticed an uptick in new followers recently. This may have led to such thinking like:

“I have finally arrived.”

“That book deal is just around the corner.”

“Maybe I don’t need that job that pays all the bills?”

This is erroneous thinking–except in my case. Seriously, you should see the number of followers I have now, and I haven’t even written anything. People are really starting to get into what I’m writing, or in this instance, not writing. I have arrived, world!

But let’s get back to you. Your new followers. There’s a good chance they are not real. How can you tell?

This is why this blog exists, and why you’re following it, like all those other real followers who began following in the last few weeks. Follow these steps to determine if you’ve found a new loyal reader or soul-crushing robot bent on your complete annhilation.

1. The Blog Name

Sometimes you can determine real from fake simply by looking at the name of your new follower. Does it appear to have multiple consonants and strange characters like Zzzz*23ÖΦ¢zzzz? As far as I am aware, that is not the name of a human being. There are parents out there who live to give their children a unique (or you-neek) name so their children can forever be haunted by mispronounciations. For instance, I have seen this spelling for Jane: “Gn♥.” But Zzzz*23ÖΦ¢zzzz has yet to catch on.

Well then, you may be thinking: “Could my latest reader be a cat that has its own blog?”

Possibly, but cats are normally unreliable followers, and it’s best to avoid their overtures of friendship. Don’t kid yourself, if a cat has a blog, it wants something from you.

So what if your new follower has an actual name like my most recent follower: onlinedegreeonlinedegrees? I am suspecting that this may be some woman in her mid-40s writing about her personal journey toward learning how to play the saxophone or it could a diploma mill that offers bogus degrees.

When you’re uncertain the next step is to look at your new follower’s gravatar.

2. The Gravatar

Most people choose a gravatar that expresses a statement about their blog, like my gravatar of a nail being hammered into a brain. I’m saying “Ow. Knowledge hurts so let’s never learn.” Examine your new follower’s gravatar. Does it give off this kind of vibe?

spamblog

Then it is likely fake.

Some savvy spammers will use a picture of a human being to give the appearance of possessing an actual soul and conscience. Like so:

bullshitblog

Or it could resemble that tribal tattoo you got after a night of binge-drinking green beer with a weight-loss supplement that causes anal leakage.

Don't click on this. It likely has hepatitis.

Don’t click on this. It likely has hepatitis.

If you’re still unsure, then the next step is looking at the actual blog.

3. The Actual Blog

You’re sorry you did this. Yeah, me too. I noticed my computer has been acting funny. It’s requesting my social security number every time I launch Firefox, but if that’s what it takes, right?

A good indication that your new best bud is fake is your best bud’s blog doesn’t exist:

Did your one day of following me mean anything!?! I feel so used!!!

Did your one day of following me mean anything!?! I feel so used!!!

Or it appears to have little content:

Well, hello back at ya!

Well, hallo back at ya!

If only I could find a company family chicken dinner recipe somewhere...

If only I could find a company family chicken dinner recipe somewhere…

Or it appears to be a giant commercial for everything you’ve never wanted:

Hmm...seems legit enough. Sign me up, new friend!

Hmm…seems legit enough. Sign me up, new friend!

Uh...I'm sorry, you look exactly like a new follower of mine. Do you know iLoans, perchance?

Uh…I’m sorry, you look exactly like a new follower of mine. Do you know iloansdirect, perchance?

If you’re still unsure then the next step is to look at your new reader’s interaction with your blog.

4. Your follower’s interaction with you.

Does it look like this?

tumbleweeds

The barren blog landscape.

Then likely your new follower is following in incomprehensible name only.

True, 95 percent of your new readership was probably created in a dank cellar in some dark corner of the world, but keep in mind that only 10 percent of your followers actually read you anyway. And, boy, are your stats looking pretty dynamite right now.

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Unlike the majority of your new readership, the Official How To Blog is maintained by an actual human being. That makes you desperate to write for it, right?

The Official How To Blog is your one true source of all information and anal-leakage needs.

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How To Be a Writer

Today’s guest post is by Morgan of Dust and Soul. It is the essential how-to on how to be a writer without actually having to write anything. 

Being a writer isn’t about what you’ve had published or whether it’s any good; anyone can do that. Being a writer is about more than just writing things. It’s also about how you dress and whether or not you’re an alcoholic.

If you’re really serious about becoming a writer, you should dedicate yourself to being suicidal, drug-addled and destitute. If you aren’t suicidal, drug-addled and destitute then quite frankly, you have no business calling yourself a writer, no matter how many books you’ve written.

What you want to do is give people the impression that you’re a writer without having actually written anything. It’s easy. When people ask you what you’re doing with your life, tell them you’re a writer; when they ask what you’re writing exactly, say something vague like, “it’s a work of vast scope” or “it’s a genre-defying piece” or, “it’s about several generations of people and I’ve been working on it for a decade.” Onlookers will naturally assume that you’re a great genius and walk away, quietly admiring.

The next thing you’ll want to do is to buy a bunch of pretentious books in which you have little to no genuine interest. Anything from ‘Cult’ or ‘Classics’ or The Independent’s Top 100 Books of All-Time is fine. Try to choose hefty, intimidating tomes that will make you seem more cultured than you really are. Display them on your bookshelves, bending the spines to look ‘used’, then invite acquaintances to admire your collection, spewing the cliff notes from Goodreads in an imitation of great intellect.

Don’t bother actually reading said books, or going on any Creative Writing courses. Proper writers don’t actually write things, anyway. They merely talk about writing them, at parties and over coffee. They don’t need to prove that they are writers because they so obviously are, as is evidenced by the way they live, lurching disorderly between reckless nihilism and crippling self-loathing.

That’s the part you want to focus on, along with being suicidal, drug-addled and destitute, of course.

Sound complicated? Well, of course it is! No one ever said being a writer was easy. Luckily this author is at hand to provide you with a snappy how-to guide.

1. Your Personality

It takes many years to cultivate the noxious personality required to be a writer. For the greatest of literary legends it is a lifelong work, nurtured since childhood. Becoming just the right shade of arrogant and misanthropic is a great achievement in itself. Not everyone is cut out for it. But if you’re serious about learning the literary discipline, you will dedicate as much time as possible to being insecure, awkward, narcissistic, self-important and clinically depressed.

The more messed up you are, the better. Ideally, you’ll have a string of bland misadventures in your past (your one attempt at cutting, your parents’ divorce and that time the special needs kid accidentally touched your breast), which you can exaggerate out of all proportion and use as justification for being a twat.

2. Your Lifestyle

Shun all responsibility. Embrace debauchery. These are the key themes. If you can get away with not working or having any hobbies whatsoever, do so. Ideally, you will do absolutely nothing as often as possible, because writers need plenty of time for thinking. Be flighty and feckless, so that no one expects you ever to turn up for anything.

If you do do something with your time, make sure it involves indulging your amoral urges. Drink and drugs are must-haves for any writer. Writers are particularly suited to criminality and painfully intense personal experiences. How can you possibly be a writer unless you’ve been spat on by a crackwhore or kneecapped by your boyfriend? The more bad experiences you have under your belt, the more convincing you will be. In brief, you should systemically sabotage your life until such a fragile, hollow, turbulent wreck remains that there is no doubt as to your true calling.

3. Your Appearance

For the writer, physical appearance and personal hygiene are annoying bugbears, superficial burdens, the petty concerns of plebeians. Writers should always look shabby and malnourished. They have just three fashion essentials: black trench coat, moleskin notebook and a pair of dirty boots with holes in the soles. (Wayfarer Ray Bans optional.) You can tell a true writer from the hungry gleam in his red-rimmed eyes, his shaking hands and twitchy feet. He smells of damp and sweat and cigarettes; his clothes are crumpled, his fingers ink-stained, his hair unwashed. The fouler one’s visage and scent, the greater the writer.

4. Your Lovers

In general, writers are much better at writing about love than actually doing it. They are addicted to the idea of romance but too self-centred to properly invest. Most often they tirelessly chase a string of idealised objectifications of their own dark, twisted psyche, masochistically soaking up every ounce of emotional pain they can inflict upon themselves. While they may occasionally wax lyrical on the vast and epic nature of the human heart, real writers have little concept of what an adult relationship entails. Too much work. Love is merely an artistic abstract, like pointillism, or Jesus.

5. Your Family

If you’re a proper writer, your beleaguered family will no doubt be selflessly nurturing your grandiose sense of your own ability, encouraging you by suggesting that you might be truly great one day, like Dostoevsky or J.K. Rowling. Writers treat their families like slaves in order to dedicate themselves to greater things, leeching off them until drained of all money and hope, only to promise to pay them back via some insincere dedication in the acknowledgements of an unwritten book.

In certain cases, writers transform their families into a cast of psychological horror monsters, whose bizarre upbringing is ultimately responsible for the human stain they have become. They have a whole menagerie of Daddy issues, abandonment theories and Middle Child syndromes. Like I said, the more fucked-up you can become over what life dealt you, the better. If God hands you lemons, slice them up and pour their acid juice directly into your eyes. That sort of thing.

6. Your Friends

Writers don’t really need friends, but they do like to go to parties and fancy dinners where they can monopolise conversation. Writers instead amass large circles of acquaintances, all of whom can feed their insatiable need for validation without requiring any kind of commitment from them in return. If writers do have friends, they should expect to have their ideas stolen or mocked, or have themselves turned into unflattering caricatures. At the very least, they should expect to talk about themselves little in the company of said writer.

7. Your Personal Space

All writers need a place to write, a ‘Room of One’s Own’, but it is what you do with it that defines your true potential. Proper writers live in squalid caves in the middle of vast forests, heating themselves by burning book-fires and lighting waxy, atmospheric candles. If your personal space is clean and tidy, ask yourself how you are possibly supposed to derive inspiration from it? There is nothing literary about good domestic skills. Instead, you should allow your garbage to pile up and fester, so that you might see patterns in its putrid chaos. Your house or room should be a reflection of the state of your mind, therefore it must be as disgusting, confusing and shocking as is humanly achievable. Also, you should get a cat. All good writers have a cat.

8. Your Finances

Writers never have any money, even when they are very famous, therefore they are never expected to pay for anything. The more penniless you are, the more people will admire your dedication to your art. Make it a habit to beg, borrow and steal from friends. If they protest, make them feel guilty for not supporting your dreams, or accuse them of being jealous.

There are many ways for writers to make money, but writers are also very lazy people. As such, it is pertinent to refer back to the ‘Lifestyle’ section, where criminality is suggested as a choice life path for literary types. Not only will selling drugs and your vagina pay your rent, it will give you good fodder for dinner party anecdotes, or that novel you’re never actually going to write.

Remember: the bigger disaster you are, and the more unpleasant your personal conduct, the more interesting you will be to the legions of readers that undoubtedly await. Think of any famous author – Dickens, Shakespeare, Hardy, Rushdie, Maya Angelou… What do they have in common if not for being ginormous asshats?

Think on that.

How To Become A Better Public Speaker In 7 Steps

Public Speaking University (cover shot)

A lot of people feel anxious and even scared when they are speaking in public.  I know that for a fact because I used to fear public speaking for years myself, until I stopped speaking in public.  But it’s actually not too difficult to overcome your anxiety and become a better speaker if you just follow these 7 steps.

Step 1.  Relax. A well-known way to relax is to imagine that everyone in the audience is naked. If you are a blogger and you don’t have an audience in front of you, feel free to imagine anyone you want.  You know, Robert Pattinson or Megan Fox might be reading your blog right now.

patmeg

Step 2.  If you are Robert Pattinson or Megan Fox, please stop speaking and interrupting the flow of other people’s imagination.

Step 3.  Follow the example of an ancient Greek orator who had practiced his enunciation by putting pebbles in his mouth and trying to talk as clearly as possible. If your speech doesn’t go well, at least you’ll have a mouthful of excuses.

Step 4.  If imagining naked people does not help, consult with your psychotherapist. You may be suffering from what doctors call “nuduspopuluminauditoriophobia”, also known as a fear of naked people in the audience.

Step 5.  Use the help of your loved one to practice public speaking. Get into an argument with your spouse and remember that doesn’t count as not public speaking, unless your neighbors can hear you.  Hint: a sure way to start a lively argument is to mention how often you imagine Robert Pattinson or Megan Fox reading your blog.

Step 6.  Stop googling “naked people in the audience!”.  Now is not the time to conquer your fears.

Step 7.  When you make your speech, speak clearly, make eye contact, and don’t be afraid to use your hands.  Wait, no, no, that’s not the use of hands that I meant!  Oh God, stop that, please!  Eh… I give up.   At least try not to do THAT when you are speaking in public, and it shouldn’t go too badly.

How to peel a banana

Step one: When choosing a banana, make sure it isn’t one of those really big ones. They are very difficult to manage, and make quite the mess. I personally like mine on the moderate size, plenty firm and solid, with just a slight spongy texture.

Step two : A banana appreciates a compliment, so make sure you tell it just how perfect it is. In fact, you have never seen a banana quite like it before in your entire life.

Step three: With your fingers, gently peel each layer of skin peel back, until it starts to bear it’s delectable fruit. It might start getting a tad sticky at this point, so keep a towel handy.

Step four: Continue peeling down the entire shaft of the banana. Remember to compliment and thank the banana for this awesome opportunity. Show proper enthusiasm, because banana’s can tell when you are faking it.

Step five: Behold your peeled banana in all its hopefully unblemished glory!

Step six: Gently take your now unsheathed banana and take a big bite. Now,  doesn’t that taste good? Isn’t it smooth and silky? Worth all the effort, I’d say.

Step seven: Unfortunately, this is as much fun as it gets. Keep in mind though, there are many banana’s looking to get peeled out there. Now armed with the proper knowledge, you can peel as many as you like without fear.

How To Go The Urologist – Mens’ Edition

First of all, I’d like to point out that it was really cold the day I modeled for this. Also, I’m not actually all see-thru – that was what the painter called “artistic license”. (Image from urology health dot org)

There comes a time in every man’s life, when he’ll go to the urologist.  It’s often for one of two reasons;  Tinkle trouble or lack of pencil lead.  Sometimes we go for other reasons, but this is a “How To” guide, not a tutorial specifically designed for you and your icky medical issues.  By all means; don’t decide whether or not to go to the urologist on my account.  Relying on my dopey blog post for medical advice is like going to Honey Boo Boo’s mom for etiquette pointers obefore having high tea with the Queen of England.

The first thing you’ll notice about the urologist’s office is the waiting room.  Try to pick a seat without stains.  Seasoned veterans of the wee-wee doctor will bring their own magazine or a smart phone loaded with a few games.  To fully experience the first visit, leave your back issues of “Topless Sport Fishing” and “Consumer Reports – Best Jet Packs” at home.  Instead, delve into the offerings on the waiting room tables.  Articles may include such journalistic blockbusters as “Liver Spots – Badges of Honor or Oversized Freckles?” and “Yo Sonny – Pimp My Scooter!

Having perused the selection of reading materials, it’s now time to look around the waiting room.  You’ll notice that everyone there looks a little bit like that old guy from your childhood who called the police every time someone stepped on his lawn or set fire to his garden shed.  At any given time, half of the waiting room population will be sleeping while the remainder of them watch “Match Game ’73” on TV.  A toothy Gene Rayburn holds a microphone that looks like a very long pencil as he brays like an ass and trades double entendres with Charles Nelson Reilly and Fanny Flagg.  You are quite likely the only person in the room who realizes this is a rerun.  The show breaks for commercial and a decrepit Robert Wagner comes on the screen to tell you about the advantages of reverse mortgages.

Before the commercial can end, you can expect to be rewarded for your patience and called back into the exam rooms.  Someone who is not a doctor will escort you and take your blood pressure.  Don’t worry! : If you’re old enough to go to the urologist, you’re old enough to have your blood pressure taken – constantly.  Your pressure turns out to be slightly elevated, but what the hell did you expect?  The pressure taker will leave the room, promising that the doctor will be in shortly.

There is strong evidence to support the existence of some sort of code among urologists which bans reading material or water-color landscapes in exam rooms.  The only visual stimuli in the small room will be the medical posters on the walls.

Each poster shows images more disturbing than the last.  The first one features cut-away views of the inner workings of the tinkle system.  Even though they’re just medical illustrations, it will disturb most men to see a cut-away view of their most tender of regions.  While we don’t like to admit it, most men prefer to think that “Little Willy” does his work entirely with magical powers and not because of the elaborate network of nerves and blood vessels we see in this grisly poster.  A quick look at the artist’s name in the corner reveals that it was not painted by Lorena Bobbitt.  Repulsed and queasy due to the images on poster number one, rookie urology patients will find themselves switching over to poster number two for solace.

Many of us refer to

Some of us call them cute names like “Little Willy“, but if you refer to your manhood as a “Fire Breathing Dragon“, that could be a sign of an infection.  (Image from uncyclopedia dot wikia dot com).

Upon first glance, poster number 2 appears to be a collection of interesting, geometrical shapes.  Closer inspection will reveal that the various pretty shapes are in fact artist’s representations of the many types of kidney stones.  There are some which resemble blackberries (the fruit, not the phone), some which are more like river rocks, and still others which look like multi-pointed death stars.  The mere thought of one of these spiked orbs gouging its way down your whiz tubes may cause dizziness and/or cold sweats.

The first time I saw one of these on a poster, I decided to give up all dairy. After further conderation, I also chose to give up peeing. (Image from turbo squid dot com)

By this point, the best strategy for time killing is to avoid poster number three entirely and go directly to performing a close inspection of your shoes.  I recommend loafers with intricate stitching – counting stitches can kill valuable time and monopolize visual attention away from posters of calcified abrasion-balls from hell.

Before you’ve had the chance to count the stitches a second time, the urologist should make his appearance.  He’ll want to shake your hand.  It’s okay to ignore his grip, but the length and girth of his fingers should be noted.  Irrespective of how small his fingers may appear, one or two of those digits will soon seem much bigger.

Don’t worry!: If you’re old enough to go to the urologist and get your blood pressure checked, you’re old enough to get your prostate checked as well.  The doctor will have you “drop trow” and assume a comfortable position – as if these two acts weren’t mutually exclusive.  The fact that urologists cannot see the looks on the faces of their patients during prostate exams is proof positive that they have no idea how cold the lube is.

Good News: This guy will do perfectly! Look at those cute little digits!
Bad News: He’s not a urologist, he doesn’t even play one on TV.                                                                       (Image from east side dave country dot com)

Patients can choose from several communication options for dealing with the prostate exam;

The Stoic – also known as The Eastwood: The patient makes as little noise as possible, focusing on deep, even breathing, clenched jaws and squinted eyes.

The Chatty – also known as The Filibuster: This approach involves engaging the physician in small talk about any topic except how much further he can get those two fingers up your ass – golf and the financial markets are popular choices.  As always, religion and politics should be avoided at all costs

The Comedic – also known as The Dangerfield: This approach involves coming up with amusing quips about the doctor buying you a drink first or his ability to palm a basketball.  Patients who opt to go with the Dangerfield should accept that most urologists have already heard these lines, and if these guys really liked a good chuckle they’d have a mirror on the wall to enable them to see that funny face you just made.

Experts agree that early detection of prostate cancer is key to improving ones prognosis.  The first step in looking for prostate cancer is the manual exam.  If you’re old enough to go through all of this, you should have enough common sense by now to know that a finger or two where the sun don’t shine is a small price to pay for possibly saving your life.

On the other side of the coin, experts can’t seem to agree as to whether the diagnosis of an asymptomatic enlarged prostate means much in and of itself.  Do some research before making any big decisions regarding an enlarged prostate, even if it means getting a second opinion.  If you opt for a second opinion, feel free to bring a magazine or smart phone and pay closer attention to finger size this time.

How To Take Your Baby to Ikea

IKEAThe furniture and home store Ikea is one notch above Target in places where you can go and center yourself on a higher plane than is even attainable by the Dalai Lama. A Mecca for WASPy women the world over, it is an excellent place to bring small children who just learned to walk and are heavily entrenched in their oral phase. Taste the goodness of Nordic bargains, Baby! Here are some tips to get the most out of your day.

1. Go it alone. Spouse out of town? Babysitter booked for the day? No worries. Bring your kid all by yourself. It will be fun. Three floors of foondrin and nepsock will be yours at the taking.

2. Recall prior knowledge. When you went to Ikea in college to buy a colander, a bedside table, and curtains, you remembered seeing that Ikea has a daycare. That’s where you plan on depositing your baby during your visit.

3. Read the sign. Apparently, your baby has to be potty trained to be dropped off at the Ikea daycare. Your kid’s diaper is potty trained. Is that good enough? No? Verdict: Ikea hates babies. Screw you too, Scandinavians. Fine.

4. Load the kid up in a shopping cart. Babies don’t take up too much space, so there will certainly still be room for the king size bed you are planning on purchasing. If all else fails, you can balance the kid on your head like you saw those African women do on the National Geographic channel. You are so multicultural for a WASP who drives a Prius.

5. Go get a snack. Ikea is wondrous because it offers low-cost horse meat meals. You head to the cafeteria and start salivating over the offerings of marzipan hot dogs. But once again, the kid ruins everything and knocks your carefully-balanced tray of food onto the nineteen-year-olds shopping for purple polka dot curtains for their dorm rooms.

6. Grin and bear it. Some shopping will be a good distraction. You head to the Kid Section which you hope will look kind of like a toy store and Baby will be none-the-wiser. Instead of fixating on the giant Chuck E. Cheese ball pit-sized bin of stuffed animals, though, your child decides it will be way more fun to shake the kiosk full of tiny sharpened pencils and paper until every last one of them scatter to the floor, along with your idealized vision of Motherhood.

Lies. They're all lies.

Lies. They’re all lies.

7. Take your gloves off. Since you’re a good mom who parents her child even when the going gets rough, you decide that today is going to be a teachable moment. Baby starts wailing whilst you wrench the tiny pencils and picture-hanging sets from her hands, but instead of pacifying her like you normally do, you plop her back into the cart and maneuver her to the shelving area. Her volume increases as her face becomes redder, but you ignore her despite the death glares you receive from childless yuppies who curse you as the reason society is broken.

8. Get the hell out. With all hopes of having a relaxing shopping day with your tot dashed, you make a beeline for the checkout counter. Then you remember that you are on the third floor and checkout is in the basement mere meters from the Earth’s mantle. Thirty minutes later, you arrive at the stacked line. Since it’s Tuesday, only three registers are open and all the people preceding you appear to be buying all the furnishings for a Real World apartment. You abandon your full cart and whisk you screaming, beet-faced toddler out of the furniture emporium before the authorities are called in. You swear to never take her again until she’s off to college herself.

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The Official How To Blog is your one true source of all information and horse meat needs.

How To Tell If You’re Crazy

Today’s guest post is brought to you Victoria Sawyer of Victoria’s Angst.

Because I’m a certified crazy person myself, I am uniquely qualified to spot the crazy in others. Let’s start the assessment, no I said, let’s start the assessment. Listen to me…Do it. NOW!:

1. Your alcohol consumption. Does the alcohol actually talk to you? Does it beg to be sipped, delicately or does it demand to be chugged ASAP to drown out the fears?

2. Your tics. Do you feel the need to count stairs, or cracks or to have things aligned perfectly? Do you feel the need to organize things, control things, take control, be in control. CONTROL!

3. Your perception. Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, “who is that person staring back at me? It’s certainly NOT me. I’m an 18 year old super model. In my head, I’m whoever I wanna be! I am not this gross crummy aging body. WHAT GIVES!”

4. Your insomnia. Have you ever had trouble sleeping due to “brain seizures” or what I like to refer to as the kind of brain that needs to STFU? Do your thoughts race? Is your brain far too crowded? Are there too many people in there? Do you think your brain is out to get you? Can you feel it plotting in the night about how to ruin your life? Does it shoot drugs when you’re not around? Does it get irrational and talk at you when you should be sleeping? Does it stand outside the shower like in Psycho waiting for the right moment to plunge in the knife? Are you afraid?

talkingbrain

5. Your emotional state. Do you get into rages that last for days while cursing the existence of everyone around you? Do you feel that the world or your co-workers are “out to get you” and constantly plotting your downfall with every email? Are you having a bad day? Is everyday a bad day? Do you want to curl up in bed and never leave except than the thoughts begin to molest you and everything is 100 times worse?

6. Your heartbeat. Have you ever had a racing heart? No, not that one time you got on the Stairmaster by accident at the gym. That doesn’t count. I mean…like, for NO reason whatsoever?! Like, you’re sitting there at work, typing a boring email to a coworker (who you swear is plotting your demise by typing one word answers, like OK! with annoying exclamation marks) when suddenly out of the blue a full blown heart attack throttles your neck until you’re gasping for air like a beached whale?

7. Your hobbies. Do you have the desire to take “drugs” to escape from your life? Have you ever wanted to enter a fantasy land populated by unicorns and leprechauns or by people who have perfect sex all the time, like tandem triple-axel orgasms (which by the by, we know NEVER happen in real life)?

8. Your interpersonal relationships. Do you no longer venture into public? Sometimes when you are at the grocery store and you see that person you haven’t seen in oh about 100 years, do you think, “OMG, I can’t talk to them. HIDE. HIDE! The conversation would be too long, I don’t want to talk, can’t talk. CONTROL!!”

9. Your hypochondria.Do you fear that you could be “dying” or that you have some kind of terrible illness? Have you ever been sitting in your living room watching Doomsday Preppers and suddenly noticed that your arm hurts, like at the wrist and your first thought is of your everyday garden variety carpal tunnel syndrome due to excessively typing out your thoughts to get them out of your head, but then your mind gets the better of you (damn mind!) and you’re convinced you have a very rare form of wrist/bone cancer and the only cure would be eating a whole tube of ice cream?

10. Your hygiene. Are you afraid of germs? Do you build a bird’s nest in the bathroom? Do you wash your hands obsessively? Do you realize that if you wash your hands it HARDLY MATTERS because within moments your hands are as disgusting or worse than whatever happened in the bathroom? Do you realize that WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIEEEE!!

11. Your tolerance. Do certain words of phrases bother you? Have you ever wanted to kick someone in the teeth who said LOL. Or OMG or panties? Do you obsessively correct grammar in others? Are you hyper critical of yourself and others? Have you ever…JUDGED? Have you ever realized that you made a mistake and then spent the rest of the day thrashing yourself, wishing you had a hair shirt and a whip to beat yourself into submission with?

12. Your brain. Is your brain your worst enemy and your best friend? Do you have a closet full of scribbled journals with words like, Let ME OUT, TOO many thoughts! Characters talking, must transcribe conversation, because your mom always said, “write that down so someday you can take it to your therapist!”

 Interesting answers. Hmm…yes. I see. Ok. Fascinating. Let me tally up the responses. Now this is strange, give me a moment. Stop harassing me. I’m thinking. LEAVE me alone. Ok.

My judgment analysis deduction conclusion diagnosis educated guess is that you are either a Writer or you are certified Crazy. Congratulations! We’ll be mailing out certificates for your wall shortly, a la the ones your psychiatrist has that say P.h.D which we all know stands for Phuddy- duddy. Yea! Join the crazy train as we twirl around the room to Love Shack! 

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The Official How To Blog is your one true source of all stuff and things.

How to Talk About Game of Thrones If You’ve Never Seen Game of Thrones

You’re out and about, living your life. You’re looking to post a cute and snappy status update on Facebook like “Sunday? More like Wineday, amirite ladies” when your newsfeed is suddenly inundated with updates like these:

gameupdate

Oh Wildlingballs! Another season of Game of Thrones has started, and once again you will have nothing to talk about at Friday’s happy hour. You don’t get HBO. You attempted the books, but the pages and pages of the various Houses were enough to make you turn to Honey Boo Boo for brain sugar.

But not all is lost. Winter isn’t coming yet. These following steps will help you carry on a Game of Thrones conversation like a Dothraki Khal with a 48-inch long braid.*

*Full disclosure: I’ve read the first two books and just started the third and have no idea what the godswood is going on half the time or who anyone is.

1. The story. I’m not going to lie to you, there are about 700 to 14,256 storylines. There are the Seven Kingdoms, and that has imploded into civil war. Everyone hates everyone and is just stabbing with knives all over the place. About six guys think they should be king and the King’s Landing king is the worst person fictional or living. There’s the Wall and the world beyond the Wall, which is creeping with zombies and giants and rotting zombie horses and wildlings who wear camouflage animal skins, and snow, just shitloads of snow. Oh, and the wildlings, et al., want to war it up with the Seven Kingdom people. And then there’s this woman–she basically birthed some dragons–who also believes she’s entitled to the throne because her crazy-ass now-dead father was king. She wants to get her war on too. Your best bet is to say something like: “War, what is it good for?” and then hold up your hand for the inevitable high-five.

2. The characters. Okay so there are a lot of characters, somewhere between 175 to 134,562. There are the Starks, the Baratheons, the Lannisters, the Targaryens, the Flintstones and the Crawleys to name a few. They all have ancestors and long involved backstories. Unless you’re an avid fan, you spend much of the time saying “Oh it’s that guy! You know, the one who was kicked out by King Rat Face? Now he’s joining up with blondie!” There are really only two crucial things to know about the characters:

You hate King Joffrey.

kingassface

You love Tyrion Lannister. He is the only Lannister you like.

tyrion

3. The Geography. The Seven Kingdoms is made up of seven places…I think. You need to know Winterfell, King’s Landing and maybe Harrenhal–only because there’s so much torture and killing there. You can seem really knowledgable if you say something like “Jesus, sometimes I’d rather be a cook in Harrenhal than work in this office” and hold up your hand for the inevitable high-five. It wouldn’t hurt to toast “To Winterfell!”

The Wall is an actual wall that protects the Seven Kingdoms from the “wildlings” and “the others” and “Frosty the Snowman.” When men “take the black,” they give up everything including the figurative and literal Snooki to patrol a giant block of ice. Do not confuse these men with the men in black and mention anything about loving Will Smith’s sunglasses.

The dragon lady Daenerys Targaryen is in the east in some desert lands that have various names that I can neither spell nor remember. You’ll be fine if you say something like “Wow, just wait till she shows up with those dragons, huh? High five.”

4. Catchphrases. Believe it or not, they exist. Many of the characters are very long-winded, but some are known for their brevity like Ned Stark (when he had a head). He liked to say “Winter is coming,” which loosely translates to “Shit is going down.” It might be a cool thing to say if layoffs are rumored. You will look really deep. “A Lannister always pays his debts” is good to throw out when picking up the next round.

5. King Jerkface. This may be the best subject to stick to in a Game of Thrones conversation. He is a repugnant turdball cesspooled assjerk. I feel bad for the actor because I imagine he’s a nice fellow who would seem moderately attractive, but now represents everything that is awful about humanity. Just merely saying you wish for Joffrey’s slow and agonizing death will win you a friend for life.

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How to Go Fishing. . . For Compliments

This guest post originally appeared on For Love Of Makeup. Out of concern that The Official How To Blog readers were not sufficiently posing with the pursed lips of a duck for all photos, I decided to republish this here. Many thanks to Rhiannon for helping us all become the best us’s we can be–and by “us,” I mean “me.”
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Think you’re looking pretty bloody good? Want people to tell you so? Follow these simple steps and watch badly worded comments such as, “Ur so pretty hun” and, “Dayym those guns are sick!” come flooding in.
 
What will you need to do this?
 
• A camera
• A mirror
• A shameless and unwavering belief that you are much better looking than you actually are
• A social networking outlet
 
So, assuming you are in possession of the above, let’s go fishing!
 
Step 1.
 
There’s no point in going fishing if there are no fish in the water.
Now, this is probably the most important step and the foundation of the whole fishing trip. So, to set yourself up for a catch, you must first follow/ be friends with like-minded people who will leave you compliments with the hope that you will do the same for them. Alternatively, you could befriend perverts (no doubt they will find you eventually anyway) and they will also leave you comments. Although these are more likely to be comments such as “Do you have a webcam?” rather than the ego boosting compliments you were hoping for
Step 2.
 
Ladies:
In order to successfully gain compliments, you will first need to apply as much makeup to your face as you physically can. Basically just make sure you look nothing like your real self–no one wants to see that. 
 
Next, try to manipulate your inadequately thin lips into a pout to rival Angelina Jolie’s. Make sure you nail this as it will be your expression for all the photos you ever take. If you end up looking like daffy duck, or like this photo of Lindsay Lohan, then you’ve surpassed yourself.
lindsaylohan
Gentlemen:
 
For you, there is no requirement for makeup. All you need to be able to do is narrow your eyes in a seemingly seductive way, adopt a brooding, dangerous look, and flex the gun which is not holding your camera.
 
Step 3:
 
Take photos of yourself.
 
To make sure you capture the optimal pose, it may be best if you first look at yourself in the mirror to ascertain your best angle. Once you have looked at yourself enough and decided that the world ought to see the spectacle that is you, hold your camera up and take a photo of your reflection in the mirror.
 
Another option is to turn your camera to face yourself, and take multiple shots of your face, hoping that one of them is unrealistically flattering.
 
Step 4.
 
Examine your photos. Like what you see? Of course you do. Upload them immediately.
 
In some cases, you may want to add a completely irrelevant caption, to try to detract people from the fact that you were just taking photos of yourself in the name of vanity. Example captions could be, “Morning peeps! Have a great day!” or you could pretend that the purpose of your photo is actually self-deprecating and you could write something like, “Argh! I  so hate my eyebrows!”. This is a sure fire way to fish for reassuring and praising comments.
 
Step 5.
 
If you have followed the above instructions well, you are sure to haul in a good catch. If this is the case, you can just sit back and bask in the shower of compliments that will rain down on your album titled, “Me”.
 
However, if you have made the textbook error of befriending anyone who speaks their mind, you may find that you are told to politely, “Get over yourself you *!$*#*!”
 
So that concludes this step-by-step guide. I hope you have found it useful and will very soon enjoy the benefits of a boosted ego.
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