Recently, I was shopping when something occurred to me: I had left my wallet at home. Also, I noticed that there was a large amount of shelf space devoted to various shaving devices. Lotions, creams, oils, all manner of blades, chains, whips, and soldering irons abound in the shaving section. Intrigued, I started querying a clerk about some of the more exotic items.

Close Shaves by Amanda Wood

“Fascinating items you have here,” I said, holding up a large instrument. “What do you call this?”
“Pruning shears,” the clerk replied.
“Ahh. And how does one shave with this?”
“Sir, this is a hardware store, and that is a weed whacker.”
“In that case, I wish to complain about this Wing Nuts breakfast cereal.”

After I had sorted things out with the store manager, my mind returned to shaving. How was it invented? And why? I resolved to find out. A trip to the library was in order.

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Baby brains are like blank slates, eager to be filled with everything imaginable in a graffiti-like fashion. They are unlikely to be the refined and commercially successful graffiti so many of us have come to know and love, but instead the basest vandalism. Here are some things to watch out for in case you need to set a baby back on the straight and narrow.

Baby Brain by Amanda Wood

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As someone who now has belonged to subscription services for: nail polish, condiments, winefresh ingredients for meals, and snacks, I thought maybe I had subscribed to some pretty ridiculous ones. I figured that pretty much anything can be one of these services now, so I have created some ideas that should come true.

Subscription Services

These subscriptions in general are addictive! Watch out: one of the above things listed is one I only signed up for while researching for this post.

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Very recently, I wrote an article mentioning that I have always wanted to be frighteningly good at anagrams. It has been on my mind partly because I have been struggling with cryptic crossword solving, but mostly it has to do with the fact that I have been playing Alphabear. I have been playing it a lot.

You probably have seen images from this game around, if you have friends who enjoy wiling away their time with apps that make them feel smart. And anything involving words and flexing your big vocabulary muscle counts as educational, so it can be played with zero shame. It can be bragged about in the way that only the proudly nerdy can do. “I just spelled a twenty letter word! Beat that!” OH I WILL. AND I WILL LOSE SLEEP UNTIL I DO. I will lose my friends and family until I do.


I’m a special sort of wasted brain, though. When Dollissa got me to start playing, I very quickly developed a game INSIDE the game. Of course, at this point, I hardly even play it anymore because my game is more enjoyable at the lower levels when it is easy to meet the point requirements for the board, and I also can only stay addicted to a game for about a full week. But that’s how brilliant candles that burn at both ends like me operate, babycakes. You can’t slow us down.

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We originally wrote about Duolingo two years ago for another website, with the caveat that you still needed an invite back then. Well it’s 2015 and things have changed!

Duolingo is a free website to learn a language. Currently, you can learn Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Swedish, Danish, and Turkish. You can also learn Norwegian (Bokmal), Esperanto, and Ukrainian, but these are in beta. I’m learning Esperanto right now. (There are actually a lot more ways to learn, if you want to learn English as a speaker of another language. There’s even a test to earn an English certificate!)

We love Duolingo, whether we are logging on to pretend to finish learning the language we chose 3 years ago or picking a random made up language in Beta. Read on for all the highlights of this great, free, useful website that makes language-learning into an awesome game.

Even though Duo the Owl no longer pesters you at each and every wrong answer, he appears to still be on the right side, crying over me not reaching my daily goal. Be good to Duo. He is there to help you on your journey.

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We have all seen the Fortune-Tellers in our local carnivals. If they are not working the Tarot Cards, they are Reading Palms. Palmistry isn’t just a vehicle for seeing into that person’s future, did you know? It can also be used as a way to see their personality! In fact, it is probably more reliable as a personality-figuring tool than as a fortune-telling tool, simply because they are always telling you that you “still have free will.” So any future-telling is meant as a guideline which you can change by making decisions that will lead you in a totally different direction. That will be $25, please.


Reading a palm is supposed to be able to tell you about the person’s character, too. An experienced palm technician can examine (which includes a fair amount of touching) the hand and know about this person’s traits and inclinations. Forget about the future! Let’s learn about now! On the INSIDE!

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Do you like Seinfeld, trivia, and board games? Chances are pretty good that you do.

Seinfeld Trivia Game by Dollissa

Now that Seinfeld is on Hulu (yes, all of it), here I am, providing you with information about a much-needed Seinfeld accessory. What good is loving it, if you can’t prove it to your friends?

This isn’t just a trivia game, it’s a board game, meaning it is the best of both worlds in nerdery. The game boasts more than 500 trivia questions. The questions come in two forms: easy and hard. However, the difficulty differences are indistinguishable and whether you know the answer will be due to a combination of chance, having even seen that episode (if you’re not a super fan), and memory skills.

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Have you heard of Neko Atsume? It is one of those app games that kids go crazy for these days and Dollissa and I are not immune to the hype, ourselves. Is there actually much hype over it? Not enough, I tell you. Not enough by a LONG shot! I will wait here while you immediately rush out to obtain it from your respective app store. It should only take a moment. Then, come back here to read the rest of this because you will be momentarily confused, giddy with possibilities and promises of round little cat drawings.


Step 1: Don’t Care That You Can’t Read Japanese

I’m sure the Japanese words are full of impossibly cute descriptions. Maybe you can read it and tell me it is true? However I, and I will assume most of the rest of you, can’t read it at all but that’s okay. You aren’t there to read, you are there to gather cats to you with food and toys.

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From time to time, I lose my mind and become convinced that I drink too much coffee. I know people are always doing some sort of martyred brag-lamentation about the truly colossal amounts of coffee that they drink in a day, but I’m not one of those. I drink very small amounts of coffee, only two to four cups a day, but I drink it EVERY day. Sometimes I notice that if my coffeedrink routine gets messed up, my personality takes a turn for the worse. Sometimes when I notice that, I become indignant! How dare coffee treat me like that! So then I resolve to show it a thing or two about dependency and I quit it.

I have heard of people quitting all of caffeine, but I have never done that. I just sometimes quit drinking coffee but then switch off to heroic amounts of tea. As great as tea is, it never seems to be a good replacement for the coffee caffeine that my body apparently has grown to need. Tea is there for drinking after the coffee has been finished for the day. Therefore, I have probably not even experienced actual caffeine withdrawal to the fullest extent. Even so, once when I quit only-coffee for two weeks, I had a seven day long headache that did not respond to medication, as well as feelings of impending death that lasted for the same length of time.

Maybe you have been thinking that you could use a break from coffee? Perhaps you are like me, and resent that you are apparently HOOKED. Perhaps you would like to prove to yourself and your coffee that you can stop any time you want. As a seasoned veteran of quitting the bitter bean, I am here to help you. Quick! Take my tremoring hand as I take you down the dark and frightening path to potentially healthier living!

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