National Adjunct Walkout Day

MIT classroom flickrLast week, we wrote about preparations for the first National Adjunct Walkout Day, including one campus safety publication that advised security teams to purchase flex-cuffs and decide when it is appropriate to apply force.

Well, today is National Adjunct Walkout Day, and it seems like the worries about campus security were unwarranted. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reports:

Wednesday is being called “National Adjunct Walkout Day,” but nearly all of the activities planned do not actually involve anyone walking off their job. Instead, they focus on gaining support for adjunct instructors through information tables, posters, leaflets, meetings with lawmakers, and speeches and demonstrations on campuses. At the University of California at Santa Cruz, there is going to be a fake religious pilgrimage to a patron saint of adjuncts, “Saint Precaria.”

Here’s a pic from the University of Arizona in Tucson:

You can see more photos of adjunct demonstrations at @NationalAdjunct, which is retweeting photos sent to them from various campuses.

If you are on or around a college/university campus today, are people demonstrating or talking about National Adjunct Walkout Day?

Photo credit: Ryan Tyler Smith


One Ring To Rule Them All … And Bind Them

LOTR one ringA thought-provoking question recently submitted to Carolyn Hax about where finance meets romance has both micro and macro ramifications. The immediate issue to the letter writer is that after a serious accident LW’s friends and family came through with not merely moral support but also material help, totaling $3,500. LW was, and is, grateful.

Before the accident, though, LW had been saving up for six months to buy a long-term girlfriend an engagement ring. LW is in a better financial state now, for various reasons. If s/he is able to start saving again and to buy one soon, will the community think LW misdirected funds?

There are two interesting larger issues here to me, in addition: 1) what do we owe our friends and family in exchange for an unprompted, generous expression of goodwill; and 2) how important are engagement rings to a proposal, anyway?

Carolyn addresses Issue #2READ MORE


What Happens If You Put Placenta on Your Face?


“It’s, like, gooey.”
“Yeah, dude, that’s the placenta.”

After the incredible success of our first foray into the placenta-powered world, Jaya Saxena and Jazmine Hughes decided to go one further. We learned that putting placenta in our hair made it a little bit softer and smell slightly of cornchips (which men LOVE)—what would happen if we put it on our faces? Enter the Placenta & Collagen Premium Facial Mask Pack, available on the well-known site for as little as $5.95.

Here is the only information that the Amazon listing gives:

- Placenta & collagen mask pack with placentl liquid will give you a fantastic beautiful treatment
- Also gives your tired skin moisturizing effect and beauty effect
- Our placenta & collagen mask pack contains green tea, aloe, licorice, seaweeds extracts and so on.

Green tea! Aloe! Licorice! Placenta! All things that sound very chill and normal to put on your face. We were excited! Then we read some reviews:

I just apply the mask after I wash my face then apply the mask and keep it on for about 15-20 minutes, rub in the juices lol

It comes drenched in the baby sheep juice,so as long as you seal it up and don’t leave it sitting out in the air, it will stay moist.

Helpful and gross! It is far better to just stick to the official company description.

Undeterred, we opened the masks — Jaya was right; they were, indeed, incredibly gooey, and it was at that moment we realized what we were putting (placenta, if you forgot) onto our beautiful faces. We put on our masks and looked at each other. “You look like you’re a robot trying to convince someone they are, in fact, a real human.” “You look like Hannibal Lecter.”

Here’s how it went. READ MORE


Job Of The Day: Professional Selfie Retoucher

kim-and-kris-selfieDo you know how to construct a perfect selfie? Can you make an image look vibrant, lively, FOMO- and envy-enducing, and—most of all—flattering? More importantly, can you take an average selfie that someone snapped off Instagram and retouch it to include all of those qualities while still hashtagging it #nofilter?

If so, you might be cut out for a freelance career in professional selfie retouching.

OK Magazine reports that Kim Kardashian works with a professional selfie retoucher:

A source tells exclusively, “Kim used to ask a friend to fix up photos, but it would take hours. She finally decided to hire a pro who can be on call 24/7.”

How much does Kim Kardashian pay this selfie retoucher?

Kim “reportedly pays the pro $100,000 a year.” And the expert “has to keep a phone on all night, in case she’s traveling.”

Since we are all, in some way or another, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, this means there are probably other professional selfie retouchers out there, or other people seeking to hire professional selfie retouchers. No celebrities in your area? Maybe you could specialize, and become, say, a professional selfie retoucher for infants. Or you could work with bridal selfies, or high school graduation selfies, or any type of selfie where we’re hoping that the memory looks slightly better than what the smartphone camera can capture.



The Cost of Throwing Money at the Problem of Getting Sick


In early December 2014 I went to the doctor for a twinge. Fifty-six days, two surgeries, and countless tests later I’ve been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I could recount for you all the copay and medication costs, but let’s talk about all the things I bought that insurance doesn’t come close to covering:

• $99 – Parking for my various medical appointments thus far.

• $16 – Two Peapod delivery fees because I was bedridden several times over the course of that month and a half.

• $26 – Surgery preparation items from CVS: Gatorade and laxatives—breakfast, lunch and dinner of champions.

• $8 – Post-surgery incidentals: Sitz bath salts and extra gauze. My mom bought these while I sat high in my apartment. Then she went to Dunkin’ Donuts for a coffee before feeding her daughter who had not eaten in 39 hours.

• $35 – Panera bagels and cream cheese. I lost my appetite completely, except for bagels, so I drove there in my pajamas with a fever and then ate half of a blueberry bagel standing at their counter, spooking the cashier.

• $24/mo. – Over-the-counter meds prescribed by my doctor. READ MORE


Billfold Housing Survey Results: Are You a Millennial?

carl and russell

This week, we’re looking at the results of our Billfold 10-Question Housing Survey. Today, the question to end all questions: are you a Millennial?

As you’ll notice, I broke this question into two parts: “are you a Millennial,” and “would sources that track the Millennial generation as anyone born after 1980 consider you a Millennial?” Yes, some Millennials are turning 35 this year—but until the Homeland Generation comes of age, we’ll still be considered the babies of the generational family, perpetually young and worthy of hand-wringing thinkpieces.

So how many of us are Millennials? Take a rough guess before we take a look:



How Much Would You Pay For Mermaid School?

Look at this stuff isn't it neatWitches may be born, not made, at least in JK Rowling’s Potterverse. But in the more egalitarian, socialist-y paradise of Canada, anyone can train to be a mermaid — provided you can pay.

Canada and “whimsical sea fantasy” usually don’t go together. Recently, however, all that changed as the country opened its first ever Mermaid school dedicated to “the happiness of your inner mermaid” in Montreal. AquaSirène swims a strange path between cosplay and sport as students don fins for cardio and bond “through a shared fondness for mermaids.” As Montreal resident and part-time mermaid Marielle Chartier-Hénault explained to the CBC: “You become like another person. You are not yourself anymore—you’re the mermaid and the mermaid can do anything … You can do the style you want. It’s a magical creature.”

The website offers lots of options, including fitness classes for people aged 16 and up, though it cautions that “Introduction to Mermaid Swimming” is a pre-req and also that “students must know how to swim.” Cost: $300 for 10 classes of an hour each. Presumably that’s Canadian dollars, so the American equivalent would be around $240. Tail rental is an extra $10 (Canadian) per class. The site also makes clear that all genders, races, ages, and sizes are welcome.

But what if this is another hoax, a la “Send Your Enemies Glitter”?? READ MORE


Near a Drug Front in Montreal, a Two-Bedroom in L.A. With Five People, and Other Places I’ve Lived

1 - De Bullion St. Apt.

De Bullion and Prince Arthur, Montreal, QC – $500/mo. + utilities, 2005
In Montreal, many apartments are floors of a former single-family home, and have stairs on the outside as a result. Our landlord liked to perch on this staircase, literally right outside of my window, and argue with various contractors. Learning to subsist independently after my freshman year of college was tough, and my landlords, I guess, assumed that the best way to help with the transition was ambient conflict. Many mornings I awoke to the silhouette of two people arguing about some sort of repair work that I never witnessed.

Soon after moving in, some overeager construction worker tore a hole in our bathroom ceiling. We could see into the apartment above us. Our landlords covered this with some thin plywood and told us they would “get to it.” They didn’t get to it until we withheld part of our rent. Our windows had no locks on them, and a few months later our apartment was robbed. Between my laptop and the backup on my first generation iPod, I lost my music collection. Since this was 2005, it was mostly poor-quality Metallica songs mislabeled as Nirvana from Napster and Kazaa (Lite, I was careful). Another time, we moved our landlords’ “showcase” dish cabinet into the storage room after one of their contractors broke its glass door. We knew we would be blamed, and prepared for an eventual showdown.

Despite all these setbacks, we were determined to make it through the year. And we did! At our final meeting with the landlords, they demanded $1,500, mostly for this glass door. My normally very relaxed Trinidadian roommate led a charge, angrily listing everything they had done to us that year. After an awkward pause, we emptied our wallets to the tune of about $67, and walked out of there never to speak to them again. READ MORE


Life Hacks

Philips-Hf3470-Wake-up-Light-White-0-5Experiences over things—that’s one of the top “life hacks” on this Quora thread about things that people say have made their lives better:

It’s better to do things than to have things. I’m not rich, but I can do one or the other. I can afford nice things. I could have all sorts of great shit that people would look at and desire. I can travel and do things and have great experiences with my husband. But I can’t do both. Doing things together builds your relationships; having things seems to distract away from what’s important.


1. Don’t argue when you’re angry.
2. Don’t decide on something when you’re angry.
3. Remember the first two. Always.

These are nice to remember, but one practical thing I’ve done to make my life better is to buy the right alarm clock to make waking up more pleasant (I’ve got this one which uses light and natural sounds). Being able to do something simple like wake up and feel good about starting your day (instead of feeling groggy and annoyed and reaching for the snooze button 10 times) really does do wonders.

Another practical thing: Find a tool to help you cut down on the amount of time you spend on something you do on a daily basis. For me, this app that helps you autocomplete phrases you use regularly has helped me out a ton when it comes to answering emails or typing out HTML.

What about you? Are there any things you’ve picked up that’s helped made your life better?