All in On-Call Millennial

Lessons I Learned From Punk Rock

Punk rock first dug its talons into my brain during my days as a suburban high school sophomore, as I allowed bands like the Ramones and the Clash to destroy my eardrums one song at a time. I was a fan of the genre for years before I witnessed a legitimate punk show last summer, when I saw the California-based band Plague Vendor on a hot day in Minneapolis. It’s hard to match the sheer enthusiasm of a wiry front man springing around stage, howling lyrics at bone-shattering volume and hurling spent bottles at the audience. Underneath its savage and unruly exterior, however, there’s something genuinely inspirational about punk.

Finding Hope in Sci-Fi Flicks

We’re doomed. Or at least, that’s how we’ve been conditioned to think. If the sci-fi blockbusters of recent decades are any indication of our world’s fate, the only question is whether the killer androids rise up before or after thermonuclear war obliterates society. Even if we manage to survive that, an alien invasion will probably do us in for good.

It Is So Ordered: Celebrating 50 Years of Loving

I turned over in bed, embracing the cold of absence. My thoughts spun a web of sappy love poems and hopeless wishes, an eighteen year old's unrequited-love lullaby. I slept with my phone grasped in my hand, hoping to feel his heartbeat through it, or at least a vibration to suggest that he, too, was awake. This was the simplicity of lying on the precipice of love. Love often arrives with elegance--a  fresh bouquet of roses, incense, breakfast in bed, 100 candles burning in a field (come on, we’ve all seen Grey’s Anatomy).

Eat, Drink, and Be Well-Read: Food Pairings for Literature

I’ve always believed that the best way to get to know someone is to know their favorite books and their last meal. By “last meal”, I mean that slightly dark question of, “If this were your last night on earth, what you want the last thing you ate to be?” I think there is something so telling about the answers to these two questions.  As C.S. Lewis said, “Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably”, and I concur.

"Big Little Lies" and the Heart of Womanhood

Being a woman is complicated--just ask the women of HBO's series Big Little Lies. Set in gorgeous Monterey, California, the show's setting plays a large part in developing the narrative. The crashing waves and rising tides that lie just outside the women’s enormous glass houses testify to the waves of emotion and drama that sweep through both the women and their audience. 

Meaningful Life in Tedious Brevity: The Intricate Message of "S-Town"

Eds. note: The following contains spoilers for the recently released NPR podcast, "S-Town" 

There was already no doubt in my mind that Woodstock, Alabama was as much of an "S-Town" as John claimed it was at the start of the podcast. Since the election, I’d been trying to educate myself more on the Poor White American, and it seemed as though S-Town was going to dive right into the heart of the “beast” (yes, my Northern bias is showing).

Dear Future Feminist

Dear future feminist,

I’m writing you this letter because, first of all, I love you. You are my daughter, my sister, my neighbor, and my friend. You are (quite literally) the future of the human race. Secondly, you’re pretty B.A. And if that’s not a thing anymore, then you’re whatever the words for “on fleek,” “woke,” and “lit” are combined. Because you’re a woman, yes, but also because you’re a unique, gifted and vibrant person created on purpose with a purpose.

Game Night with the Enneagrams

INT. ZELDA AND GARY’S HOUSE - NIGHT

ZELDA (2) is wearing an apron and is pinballing from kitchen to parlor. She puts finishing touches on decorations and fills up the beverage dispenser with sparkling water.

GARY (6) triple-checks the internal temperatures of the poultry-based finger foods. He hears a car pull into their driveway. 6ARY peeks through the window, straining for a view of the approaching stranger. He fiddles his ironic mustache.

Textiquette: An Illustrated Guide

It feels so natural, so right—it’s like we’ve always done it. But text-messaging remains relatively new in the broader history of written language. Texting is social shorthand: personal when we want it to be, impersonal when we need it to be, sarcastic and noncommittal on our bad days, and influential and effective on our best days.

Democracy at Four Feet Tall

This morning I dropped my first grader off in front of our neighborhood elementary school at 8:15 am. I came back to pick him up at noon, right after lunch and loaded him into the car with his 3-year-old and 8-month-old brothers, wedged into our SUV beside the toddler I babysit on Thursdays. I had emailed his teacher the night before to give her the heads up that his education would be taking him outside the classroom walls today; he would be seeing democracy in action.

A Guide to Millennial Love Languages

Gary Chapman wrote his New York Times-bestselling book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate in 1995. It’s sold over 10 million copies since its publication. The “love languages” -- which he defined as the means by which human beings express and experience love -- include receiving gifts, physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, and acts of service. Chapman’s hypothesis is that you can better love a loved one through analyzing and discerning a loved one’s love language. I buy it.

The Internet as a Mirror: How Our Online Lives Reflect and Refine Us

Our largest, most comprehensive time capsule--the internet--enshrines every dog gif and over-sharing incident as a unique relic of human existence. Eventually, we peek back into this abyss and often find that it unmasks more pink cheeks than poignancy. When we encounter these remnants of our past and cringe, does the discomfort come from a painful truth in this reflection, or a perceived distortion of what we believe ourselves to be?

Winning at Last in Wrigleyville

The Cubs had already been losing for over a hundred years before I showed up in Chicago. And while the logical part of me knows that their World Series winning moment on November 2, 2016, would have happened regardless of my standing, covered in rain, sweat, and tears, under the smoggy Illinois sky, bathed in the neon red light of the iconic Wrigley Field Sign, there’s another part of me that wonders if it really would have.

Things John Mayer Told Me

It was November 2009, and I was a college graduate that was working at a coffee shop. I did not have a baby, or a husband, or even an apartment. I slept in my parent's garage. I had never been paid for a piece of writing, though I desperately believed I should be a writer. My one auto-debit charge each month was a gym membership that cost ten dollars, a charge which frequently overdrafted my checking account. I am telling you these things to explain them to myself as much as to you, because now it seems so far away from me.

Hope Is a Stranger Thing

The Netflix-original, Stranger Things, created by Ross and Matt Duffer, has been, to put it mildly, electrifying. Granted, not everyone found the 8-chapter-long drama to be completely magical, but on the whole, it’s captured us. It captured me. But why? What’s all the buzz about (literally, Buzzfeed has had more Stranger listicles than I can count)?