The End is Nigh (a post by Lee)

It has been well documented that I fear and detest octopuses, as any rational person ought to. I feel vindicated in this terror as now things have taken a turn for the worse: They’re coming for us

Why. They control the whole sea, must they snatch the land from us, as well? And how dare they invade under the security of darkness, these nocturnal hellbeasts. I reject this reality and the entirety of 2017.

And We’re Gonna Be Royals (an announcement by Lee)


Today I made a wonderful decision while my colleagues were out of the office. I became nobility.

Here’s the deal.

During the Second World War, the UK built illegal fortress islands in the North Sea’s international waters to prevent German invaders. In the 1950s, as these fortresses became obsolete, they were pulled down.

All except for one.

This singular fortress—captured by Roy Bates, of Pirate Radio fame—became a sovereign principality in 1967. He named it Sealand.

For a nominal fee, one can pay to earn a noble title from the Principality of Sealand.

My subjects, I paid this nominal fee; I am now Baroness Lee of Sealand. I cannot promise to be unaffected by this—indeed, I may only become even more insufferable, should that prove possible—but I vow to use my title for the greater good.

Sincerely yours,
The Baroness

8 Reasons to Hate Octopuses (a post by Lee)

There are many reasons to hate octopuses. Here are only 8.

1. They are full of venom and hatred.

2. They have beaks. Their beaks are on the sides of their heads. They use these beaks that are on the sides of their heads to peck into enemies, inject them with venom, and then consume them.

3. The beak is the only hard part of an octopus’s body. This is how they’re able to squeeze through tiny cracks.

4. They can squeeze through tiny cracks.

5. They have suckers on their tentacles that can break through flesh.

6. They have four pairs of arms. I don’t trust anything with that many arms. (I also don’t trust animals with no arms; HOW DO SNAKES MOVE.) If they lose an arm, even if they deserved to, they can regrow it. I don’t trust anything that can regrow arms, especially not arms they don’t deserve to have.

7. After mating, the male will wander off to die, which is all well and good. However! Once the eggs hatch, the female octopus (which can lay up to 400,000 eggs, which means endless.octopuses.) will experience mass cellular suicide and die.

8. They are intelligent lifeforms that can do things like open jars using one of its many arms. I have no interest in intelligent, venomous animals that can fit into any opening, grow up to 30 feet in length, and crush me using its multiple pairs of arms. Also, having 3 hearts means they’re practically unstoppable.


Ice-olation (a post by Lee)

EDITOR’S NOTE: I apparently wrote this post two years ago and only today found it in the drafts folder. I sprained my wrist last night slipping on ice, so this seems timely. 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I should not often be left to my own devices.

Unfortunately, the weather necessitated that isolation be the case today. I arrived at work, after spending 35 minutes pathetically scraping ice off of my car using a car key and the salt from my tears, to discover that none of my coworkers could make it to the office due to the conditions of the highway.

After a few hours of lonesomeness, someone finally called my office number. I was so pleased that I sent an email to my missing colleagues about it.

Subject: Mr. K—— Called: A Dramatic Retelling of a Mundane Phone Call

It was about 11:06am on a day most unusual for Houston — quiet, cold, a subtle wind unhappily creeping into the spaces between your scarf and your neck. Sitting here enjoying my coffee (drank not for pleasure but for heat generation), I suddenly recalled that I left my iPod in my car. Given the current weather conditions, it seemed unwise to allow it to remain there. I put on my coat in preparation of facing the elements, grabbed my car keys, and made my way to the door.

Just as the door was closing behind me, I heard the phone ring. A beat; a pause; a moment’s hesitation. I spun on my heel, sprinted back into the office, and grabbed the phone just after the third ring.

With barely enough time to collect my breath (I need to exercise more often), I answered the call.

“Good morning, this is Lee! How can I help you?”

“Hello, this is A—— K—–.- I’d like to provide you with my credit card information.”

And provide me with his credit card information he did. I dutifully updated QuickBooks with the information, then went out and retrieved my frozen iPod.

Ten minutes later, my coworker responded.

i’ll call in a bit to get the number, thanks!

The Time I Actually Used My MFA in Design Criticism (a post by Anna)

This whole world is full of surprises. And I got a big one when I was looking for my article in Dwell Magazine’s February 2016 issue and realized I wrote the cover story. It’s about a modern home renovation in McAllen, TX!



This Feb 2016 issue is currently on sale all over the place! Thanks for the support, yall.

I Wore a Mosquito Costume to the Global Citizen Festival (a post by Anna)

One of my biggest disappointments involved both a mosquito costume and the NYC Marathon of 2012. My sister worked for the United Nation Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign to fight malaria, and they needed someone to run a section of the marathon in a mosquito costume. I was beyond excited to be their bug.

When the NYC Marathon of 2012 got canceled 36 hours before go-time because of Hurricane Sandy, it was for good reason. Even so, I’ve spent the last three years of my life thinking about the time I was so close to being a bug for a day. So, naturally, I freaked out when I was asked to be the mosquito for this year’s Global Citizen Festival in Central Park.

My job was to represent the Nothing But Nets campaign at the festival as their mascot Mozzie the Mosquito. Before becoming a mosquito, I memorized some key facts. Nothing But Nets is a global campaign that raises awareness and funding to fight malaria. Every 60 seconds a child dies from malaria. Nets only cost $10. Send a net – save a life. You can help!

Since Nothing But Nets is based in DC (shout-out to Lee Mimms), they had to bring the costume on the train to NYC for this event. The person who had the honor of carrying the massive mascot bag told me that more than four people on the commute asked her if she was carrying a dead body.

Thorax revealed!

Getting into this bad boy was no cake walk. But with the help of two fantastic UNF staff, I was transformed into the best bug you’ve ever seen.

Mozzie the Mosquito and Nothing But Nets Champions!

Over the course of the day, I was asked if I was a bedbug, a scorpion, and even Wolverine. I spent hours buzzing around and accidentally whacking people with my gigantic wings. I answered as many Nothing But Nets questions as I did questions about where to find the port-a-potties. I even made a baby cry! It was unreal.

With 60,000 people at the event in Central Park, there was no cell service and, therefore, no photo posting. Never have I wanted to post photos more! Luckily, I can always rely on Twitter/Instagram to document all my greatest life achievements.

I ended the day by seeing Steven Colbert, Hugh Jackman, Beyoncé, Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, Bono, Sting, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Malala Yousafzai, Leonardo DiCaprio, Connie Britton, Usher, and costume rival Big Bird.

I’ll leave you with this video that represents everything I stand for.

RIP Li’l Hitch (a poetic eulogy by Lee)

No robot is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is an autonomous vehicle,
A study in kinematics.
If a bot be destroyed by a Philadelphian,
America is the less.
[I’m running out of robotics terms,
Something about cyborgs.]
Each AI’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in the future.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls.
It tolls for thee.