Awake from hibernation

Awaking from hibernation ranks somewhere between rising from the dead (Lazarus) and waking up from a nap (college-age me, most days, around 4 PM). You know what hibernates, and also therefore awakes from hibernation? Here's a short list:

This guy probably hibernates ( img src )

This guy probably hibernates (img src)

  • Bats
  • Bears
  • Bees
  • This blog

All very ferocious, all seem very impressive. Yes, this is a thinly veiled announcement that there will be new HTSI content. Get excited. Chris and I have figured out way more ways to make you seem more impressive. One of them will probably be delegation - Chris is delegating me to write most of the new content. Anyway, here's a continued list of things that hibernate:

  • Squirrels
  • Hedgehogs
  • Prairie Dogs (not actually dogs)
  • Hampsters
  • Deer Mice
  • Common Poorwills (it's a kind of bird, apparently)
The common poorwill. It looks like a cross between an owl, a pigeon, and a rock. ( img src )

The common poorwill. It looks like a cross between an owl, a pigeon, and a rock. (img src)

Here's the takeaway: being ferocious can seem impressive, but also being exceedingly cute and found in nature can also seem impressive.  It's kind of like the opposite of pick your poison. If you hibernate, you get to choose what kind of impressive you want to be.

Okay actually this is a dumb metaphor. How does someone metaphorically hibernate? Rhetorical question. Don't actually try to hibernate - although if you actually pull it off and sleep through a winter, let us know. That'd be actually impressive. Or very frightening. Maybe see a doctor first if that happens. Anyway, we're out of hibernation.

Talk about your goals

So this would have been called Have some not stupid (or stupid) goals, but you know, rule of threes. Anyway, yeah, have goals. And actually, don’t talk about them too much. That’d be super annoying. So really, I guess the title should be Have goals but don’t talk about them too much.

So what’s the deal with goals? Short explanation: goals are proxies for doing something. Not even something interesting. Just something. It can be big or small (in scope, I try to be specific), long- or short-term, financial or social, black or white, spy vs. spy, now I’m just naming opposite pairs. You know some of the typical ones - get a new job, go to the gym, call your mother more. Those are often kind of boring, but mentioning one (especially once you’ve successfully achieved it) is a good way to stunt on your adversaries or the general public during a conversation. Here are some other more interesting, oddball ideas: dunk a basketball, sew yourself a shirt that isn’t ugly, watch every Discovery Channel Shark Week program every produced, build yourself a functioning helicopter using drones. I don’t know how you’d do the second-to-last one, but that’s part of the challenge, right? Having less a common goal might not inspire the same universal shame as accomplishing a common one (except dunking - that will definitely inspire shame), but it’ll make you seem fun, unique, interesting, and a little edgy, and isn’t that really the essence of seeming impressive?

Shark Week should cover the real issues: people MS painting sharks into anime things. This has nothing to do with goals. ( img src )

Shark Week should cover the real issues: people MS painting sharks into anime things. This has nothing to do with goals. (img src)

This single-sentence paragraph is to give you the directive and the time to come up with one goal.

Okay, now you have a goal. What do you do about it? Here are two suggestions to get you started:

  1. Talk about your plan to get there. I guess to talk about the plan, you kind of have to make a plan. So make a plan so you can talk about it. It doesn’t have to be a scheduled five-step plan with individual modules or check-ins or anything. Just break down your goals into more manageable chunks. The key here isn’t that this is practical or helpful (although it is both); it’s to sound like you are always accomplishing something, even if you are perpetually stuck on the first step. Yeah, I know, example: if you are trying to start running, make your first step researching the right running shoes. Second step can be buying them. Third step can be subscribing to Runner’s World or something. Fill in four through nineteen on your own. Step twenty can be actually going on a run. Maybe step thirty seven or so is racing a 5k. You know, it takes a while to find that really perfect pair of running shoes. Bring it up sparingly in conversation. Maybe a little more often when you actually make progress. Speaking of which…

  2. Actually take steps to achieve your goal. If you are doing this, you should definitely avoid talking about it excessively. You’re probably too busy doing real things now anyway. Along your journey, you’ll probably meet new people and learn interesting things. Not to spill the beans or anything, but that's something that might make you actually impressive, which is definitely not the point of this blog.

If they light up it means you did it right ( img src )

If they light up it means you did it right (img src)

Also, don’t do that 100 days project that was all over Twitter like five months ago. Even if someone cared the first two days, no one cares the seventy-sixth.

Talk about what you don’t do

This is a very contextual one, and should be handled carefully. You probably know what I’m talking about though right? It's that friend who's always confused when you call someone “such a Rachel” and respond, “Oh, sorry, I don’t watch F●R●I●E●N●D●S; I don’t really watch TV.” I realize that’s a dated reference and I don’t care. Secondly, I don’t even know what “such a Rachel” would mean because I didn’t watch F●R●I●E●N●D●S. Thirdly, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say, “Oh, I don’t watch Netflix or any streaming video,” so I can’t make the same reference for House of Cards.

The beauty of the internet is I knew someone would make a Friends/House of Cards mashup, and I was right.

Anyway, here are a non-exhaustive list of things you can not do and casually mention that you don’t do: watch TV, watch movies, watch non-foreign movies, watch movies that aren’t “films”, read fiction, read nonfiction, read?, listen to mainstream music, listen to the radio, listen to non-NPR radio, listen to non-classical radio, play ball sports, use an alarm clock, eat out, eat meat, eat fish, use Facebook, use Twitter, use Pinterest, use GChat, use AOL?, have a car, have a bike, have an iPhone, have a smartphone, have a phone, play video games, read blogs, buy clothes, buy cheaply made clothes, buy jewelry, buy stuff, work. You might be surprised this isn’t a bulleted list. That’s right, we change it up sometimes. Actually, I just couldn't figure out columns in this stupid blog editor.

To continue my thought, here’s the thing though - you can’t just go around spouting off about how you don’t read. People are just going to think you are illiterate. You can generalize that over the rest of the list. No, there are two rules to talking about what you don’t do. First, you have to do it in context. If someone is talking about the latest Fifty Shades of Grey book (also, with that many books in the series, wouldn’t you just sum up the shades, so it’s fifty in the first one, one hundred in the second, and so on? Also, how many actual shades of grey are there? Like, actual colors?) then you can mention you don’t read. Second, you have to give a reason, which usually involves you having being on some philosophical high ground. “You know, I don’t actually read. I think reading is a poor substitute for experiencing the world more viscerally, especially when it comes to Fifty Shades of Grey.” Actually, that’s a dumb sentence, but you can figure it out.

I really went down a rabbit hole talking about 50 Shades of Grey... ( img src )

I really went down a rabbit hole talking about 50 Shades of Grey... (img src)

In conclusion: don’t do stuff, then talk about how you don’t do it, and people will be impressed by you. Or silently judge you, but you know, that’s the risk you run with humanity.


Talk about going to the gym

Talking about going to the gym is fantastic, especially if you do it between February and December, inclusive. You are basically subtexting that you are better than everyone who has given up on his or her New Year’s resolution, or everyone who wants to lose weight/gain weight/look good but doesn’t do anything about it, which is basically everyone. Also, it’s really easy to do. You can do it on days you are planning on going to the gym and talk about what you are going to do at the gym that day. You can do this on days after you go to the gym and either celebrate or fake complain about your last workout. Heck, you can even wait two days and just complain about DOMS.

I definitely googled "Super Gym" and this was definitely the best result. You can buy it on a t-shirt. ( img src )

I definitely googled "Super Gym" and this was definitely the best result. You can buy it on a t-shirt. (img src)

That sounds like all you’d need to seem impressive, right? Like, we’ve done our job already. WRONG. Here at HTSI, we are all about taking it to the next level. Here are things to mention when you talk about going to the gym. Each one is one extra impressiveness point.

  • What you did during your last workout

  • What you are going to do during your next workout

  • Where you are sore

  • Where you aren’t sore

  • Where you want to be sore

  • Your general workout routine/schedule

  • What lifting/running/swimming/etc form you are working on

  • Your views on cardio vs. strength training

  • What you eat on your diet

  • What you don’t eat on your diet

  • What you eat that you aren’t supposed to be eating on your diet

  • Where you get your workout clothes

  • Your (hot?) spin instructor

  • The pump (somewhat NSFW)

  • How you are taking it to the next level

Also, obviously, the points aren’t real and don’t matter. More might not be better, I don’t know. Also, you can generally replace the gym with other exercise - basketball, tennis, golf, cycling, running, swimming, yoga maybe, hiking, rowing, fencing, rugby, chess boxing, you know the list is long. The secret is just talking about looking good without necessarily looking good.

“But what if I don’t go to the gym?” you might be asking. Well, you can lie. Or, start going to the gym. I don’t know, I don’t have this problem. Chris might. Maybe he will write about that.

Who vs. Whom

Look, honestly, if you want to sound normal, just use who for everything. That’s so okay that if you search whom on Wikipedia it just goes straight to the article on who. However, if you want to know enough to be able to judge people on when they use it wrong, here’s the deal. Who is the subjective pronoun, like I or he - it does the verb. Whom is the objective pronoun, like me or her - it has verbs (or prepositions) done to it.

Here are some correct usages:

  • Who touched my vintage Pokemon cards? I was going to do battles with those tomorrow!

  • She was the one whom he insulted when he said he wouldn’t date any women who preferred Samsung televisions over Sony ones. Yeah, I think that’s weird too.

Here are some incorrect usages:

  • Whom said that my farts smell more than average? How does she even know that?

  • Flo-rida, whom many think has the best Florida-based rapper name, is inferior in both name and music quality to T-Pain.

Honestly, I don’t know anyone has ever, ever said my second incorrect example. Anyway, now you know the difference. However, I want to reemphasize that you can live a very full life not every saying whom. Also, Shakespeare has used it “wrongly”, so whatever. Here’s more stuff from Wikipedia:

According to the OED (2nd edition, 1989), whom is "no longer current in natural colloquial speech". Lasnik and Sobin argue that surviving occurrences of whom are not part of ordinary English grammar, but the result of extra-grammatical rules for producing "prestige" forms.

But we are all about prestige forms. Well, I am. Also, now that you know, you can definitely silently (or vocally) judge the grammatically inferior. Also, if you hear someone say whom out loud, you can call them a prescriptivist as a weird insult, which my sister did to me once. If they are confused, you can revel in your superior vocabulary. Just don’t call yourself a Grammar Nazi. Generally, don’t call yourself any kind of Nazi. That’s a good life policy.