8 Reasons to Hate Octopuses

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.

A Poem about Bella Ferraro (by Lee and Jordie)

whatever happened to
bella ferraro

why did she have to go
so far, oh
with her shaky hands
and her
inability to remember
she told us to be
she told us to be
but who the hell
we fell so far behind.
so meaningful, so beautiful
were her many melodies
strung together.
she hated school, she felt lost
so she quit
so close to the end
as she enchanted us her mother watched
and wiped beneath her eye as though
she was having trouble with her contact.
her coach did her wrong in many ways
and she lost the competition
but won over our souls.



we are 

our hearts
in gmail.

Long Live Eurovision (a post by Anna)

Eurovision 2015 was one for the books. Austria brought flaming pianos, Slovenia brought air violins, Georgia brought crow feathers, and I brought Static Guard.

En route to Eurovision!

Before I dive into my Eurovision 2015 experience, here’s an overview of this mind-blowing annual event for the newbs:

Eurovision is an international song competition that’s the most watched non-sports event in the world. Recently celebrating its 60th anniversary, it’s one of the longest-running annual television broadcasts. Think: American Idol meets the World Cup, where every country performs a song with more pageantry than you can possibly imagine. Songs must be original, the performance must be shorter than 3 minutes, and no more than 6 people are allowed on stage. Past years have included rapping astronauts from Montenegro, techno vampires from Romania, and my favorite twin brother Irish duo named Jedward. It’s all for ultimate European glory because the winner gets to host the next year’s competition. We can thank Eurovision for introducing us to artists like ABBA and Celine Dion.

Eurovision 2015 was held in Vienna, thanks to last year’s moving performance by Conchita Wurst, who hosted the green room this year. I got insider info from my Austrian friend Elaine, who told me Vienna turned into a Eurovision haven for the month, complete with a Eurovillage and Euroclub. All public transit announcement featured Conchita’s voice, and the crosswalk signs were modified to feature same-sex couples. They even attached speakers playing old Eurovision music to the gutters. All in the spirit of Eurovision!

Vienna's Eurovision traffic lights

Vienna’s crosswalk lights during Eurovision

The final competition aired on Saturday May 23 at 9pm in Vienna, so we Americans made a day of it. As I left my apartment, Gwen grabbed a camera for the equivalent of parental prom photos, only this time I was dressed in metallic, had crimped hair, and in my late 20s. 

First stop: MAC Cosmetics to get Eurovisioned! Erica had the foresight to sign us up for free makeovers MAC was doing, as promotion for a new line of eyeshadow. I misunderstood this to mean that MAC was doing Eurovision makeovers and shared this with everyone I know. It wasn’t until we arrived at the Lincoln Center location that I realized most of the MAC staff had never even heard of Eurovision. Despite their confusion about our early morning Euro glam, we all became fast friends.

Getting Eurovisioned at MAC.

Then we migrated to Hibernia in Hell’s Kitchen.  It was PACKED.


There were raffles. There were brackets. And there was non-stop cheering.

Things are getting real!

In the end, Serbia rocked it, Israel rapped it, and Belgium got its rhythm back. The UK’s light-up costumes reminded me of that time I went to the Holidazzle Holiday Parade in Minneapolis, and for a country of amazing talent, they once again let the rest of Europe down (or up, depending on how you think about it). Although Australia was denied future hosting rights, they took at stab at the crown this year for the first time ever; I was an insta-fan because I love Guy Sebastian’s Lupe Fiasco solos.

After each of the 27 performances were over, we watched all 40 countries announce their votes with building anticipation.


Montenegro! (Their votes were later disqualified for complicated reasons I can’t fit in this caption.)

I stared at my Eurovision app, feeling jealous that the US was left out.

The iPhone app forbade me from voting.

Eventually, the Eurovision executives got on the screen and announced they had done the maths.

Swedish singer Måns Zelmerlöw won the gold, which meant he got to sing “Heroes” again, with the exact same set-up and choreography as every other time he’d performed that song in 2015.

The balloon drop at Hibernia was easily as epic as the one going on in Vienna.


Best balloon drop of my life.

Other awards and observations were noted by my friends:

Just when I thought the excitement had ended, the University of Melbourne announced that they’re adding a course on Eurovision this fall. The syllabus is amazing. The subject looks at Europe through the powerful prism of the Eurovision Song Contest, and it’s all I can do not to move to Melbourne right now. Until then, guess I’ll just listen to this Eurovision playlist on repeat. See ya in Sweden!