For a few more hours, you might be able to get a free HIV test at a nearby Walgreens as part of a partnership with Greater Than AIDS for National HIV Testing Day.
Participating Walgreens locations will be offering the free tests—no appointment necessary—until 7 p.m. tonight. They’ll also have informational materials and on-site counselors who can talk about HIV prevention and treatment.
Greater Than AIDS stresses the importance of HIV testing as part of your routine healthcare:
Many Americans are not being tested as often as advised. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in seven people living with HIV in the U.S. today are unaware of their status. Testing is a critical first step in connecting individuals, regardless of status, to effective prevention and care strategies.
Not all Walgreens locations are participating in this event, so make sure to check availability here before you go. And if you miss today’s free test, you can still likely find free or low-cost testing, as well as treatment services, near you.
Hello you radioactive orgasm otters, and welcome to Ask Dr. NerdLove, the only dating advice column that survived Second Impact.
This week, we’re here to address the relationship problems you never expected to encounter. How do you tell your partner that she didn’t actually take your virginity? What about telling her that you actually lost your virginity to a sex worker? What do you do when you find out your oldest friend is openly cheating on his wife? And what happens when you want to get married, but your partner doesn’t believe in marriage?
It’s time to get in the fucking robot, Shinji. Let’s do this.
Dear Doctor NerdLove,
I’m 23. My girlfriend is 24. We’ve been dating for one year. We’re talking about having her move in and starting to make plans for it. I really love this girl and want to make a life with her.
But I’ve been keeping one secret from her. We were first introduced by a mutual friend, who told her I was a virgin. Which as far as most people knew, I was. However, I wasn’t. I had sex for the first time about a year and a half before I met her. With an escort. Yeah, I lost my virginity with an escort.
I was never ashamed of that fact, but I find it hard to talk about now. Three very close friends know, but besides that nobody does.
This girl thinks she took my virginity and she’s the only girl I’ve ever slept with. When in fact, I’d slept with two different escorts before meeting her. I used a condom both times and was very careful not to catch anything. My penis never showed any signs of possibly being infected so I’ve never gotten myself tested for any disease either as I didn’t want to tell any medical professionals what I’d done.
Some nights, this secret really bothers me. I feel like I should tell her. I’m really scared about how she’ll react though. She has an iud so we have sex without condoms all the time now. My penis is fine, her vagina is fine, fairly certain neither of us have a disease. There’s really no harm, no foul. But I feel guilty not telling her. Any advice would be appreciated.
Second First Time
Alright, there’re a lot of things tied up in this, SFT, so we’re going to take this in stages.
Here’s my first question, SFT: why in pluperfect fuckery haven’t you gotten tested anyway?
I realize that sex ed in this country is a blasted hellscape and you have better odds of encountering a coelacanth in the wild than you do of getting medically accurate sexual health education, but the fact that you two don’t have symptoms — or, critically, symptoms that you recognize as symptoms — doesn’t mean that you haven’t had positive contact.
So the fact that you two haven’t noticed anything weird about your junk isn’t a sign that you haven’t had anything.
If you and your girlfriend are going to be fluid bonded and have condom-free sex, then you two need to get tested. It’s entirely possible for one or both of you to have an infection you aren’t aware of.
And you don’t need to give your doctor a rundown of just who you were sleeping with. You can just ask for an STI test, period. And if you feel weird about going to your primary care physician, you can always go to your local Planned Parenthood, get screened and get your results anonymously. Even if your doctor is sex negative, Planned Parenthood won’t judge you for having seen a sex worker.
As a side note: contrary to popular misconceptions, most escorts are less likely to have STIs, more likely to go for regular screenings and more likely to insist on proper condom usage. The chance of positive contact is still non-zero — and it always will be, if you’re having sex, period — but the odds are much lower than sleeping with a random hookup from a bar or dating app.
My second question is: why did you go along when your friend told her you were a virgin? You don’t need to go into the details of how you lost your virginity — most people aren’t going to want the details, especially early on — but you could just as easily have said that no, you’ve had sex before.
It seems like an unnecessary complication to your relationship, to be honest. It’s a lie you didn’t need to tell or allow your girlfriend to believe, and the longer you go without correcting her mistaken belief, the bigger of a deal it’ll become when you DO tell her.
That having been said: I think there are far worse things in this world than letting her believe that she was your first. It’s not exactly on the level of “I lied about my name/second family/ fact that I’m a member of Hydra.” While it’s not exactly great, I don’t think it does any real harm, and people would have to bend themselves into pretzels in order to find a reason why a reasonable person would give a good god damn.
Unless, that is, it turns out you have an STI you didn’t know about. At that point you are going to have to tell her, because now her health is at risk and she needs to know.
Another question is: what are the odds that your friends will spill the beans? Are you dealing with a couple of folks who can’t keep their friend’s secrets, or are they going to take that secret with them to the grave? If you’re dealing with a metaphorical time bomb, then you’re likely going to have an awkward conversation with your girlfriend sooner rather than later.
If that happens? Well, you can tell the truth: You’ve had sex before with some folks you didn’t care about and it was easier to go along with your buddy’s story (assuming they knew) than to get into an awkward conversation about it all.
Similarly, I don’t think your girlfriend needs to know that you slept with escorts. Relationships aren’t depositions, and people in relationships are allowed their privacy and secrets, particularly about things that happened long before you two met. Especially if those conversations are likely to cause drama that is both unnecessary and easily avoided.
If you really feel the need to unload your soul about this, you can wait until you’re on your 10th anniversary together, get some drinks and have a “hey, let’s share all our crazy sex secrets” fest. Otherwise? I think it’s ok to let this slide.
I have a friend I grew up with that has been married to his wife for some time. Naturally, our friend circle is now also great friends with her. They have 3 beautiful children together and are great friends! Recently, he started having an affair with a co-worker. He kind of brags about it and it’s a really dick thing to do to his wife and his children. Naturally, we expressed our displeasure with this situation and advised that if he’s unhappy with his marriage he needs to address it with his wife and decide what to do from there. Not only is it unfair to her and the kids, but it could also be a divorce nightmare (he makes a decent wage). It also is unfair to us because we are also very good friends with her. If I wasn’t friends with him, I would let her know in a heartbeat that she was being cheated on, but I don’t feel like it’s my place. However, if she eventually finds out and then finds out that we knew the whole time and didn’t say anything, we will all feel terrible about it. It seems like a lose-lose situation for everyone. Should we tell her? Should we give him a chance to come clean (don’t think he will)? Or do we just bite our tongues? Anonymous tip???
Friends Without Benefits
This is a tricky situation, FWB. It feels like the obvious answer is “Yes, tell the wife,” but more often than not, that ends up being far uglier and more complicated than it seems on the surface.
I hear a lot from people who were told that their partner was cheating on them. You know what 90% of them said? That they wish they hadn’t known. Almost every time, they would rather have not known; finding out your partner cheated inevitably retroactively changes your memories and casts an ugly pall over what were once cherished and beloved moments in life. Many times people would rather have lived with the truism that ignorance really is bliss.
So my usual stance is “you don’t know enough, it’s not your business and you should keep the hell out of it.”
However, in this case, your co-worker’s made it your business by both carrying on so openly and bragging about it to you. He’s turned you into unwilling accessories to his crime and put you in a position you would never consent to be in. Now you’re stuck with information that directly affects a friend of yours and a series of bad choices, each shittier than the last.
So what do you do? Well, what you don’t do is give your friend an ultimatum of “end this or we’ll tell your wife.” The problem with this approach is that, by letting him know that you’re willing to tell his wife, you’ve given him the opportunity to poison the well long before you could get to her. If you give him advance notice, he has the chance to clear up the evidence and convince his wife that you all are conspiring against him for some strange reason.
Similarly, just going straight to his wife has the problem of “can you prove it?” If you don’t have actual evidence of your “friend” and his paramour — evidence that he can’t explain away as a misunderstanding — then you run the risk of his wife not believing you, as well as giving him a chance to throw you all under the bus as a way to cover up his infidelity.
What I would suggest is a blended approach. First, you need to tell your friend that you all are disgusted by his actions — both that he’s so openly disrespecting his wife but also that he involves you in it. Make it clear that you want absolutely nothing to do with his cheating. You don’t want to hear about it, you don’t want to see it and you really don’t appreciate being put into the position you’re in.
Second, consider the odds of whether — and how — his wife will find out. Considering that he seems to be cavorting openly, the odds are pretty good that it’ll come out without your having to say or do anything. But if you want to speed things along, a burner email or social media account that gives the information you have — times, dates, etc. — isn’t entirely out of bounds.
But even that runs the risk of her refusing to believe you, an anonymous source.
You’re in a shitty position, and all of the choices are varying levels of suck. Someone’s going to get hurt regardless of what you do. The most you can hope for here is to minimize the damage where you can.
Dear Doctor NerdLove:
I’m a first time writer and a long time fan of your columns and advice, so I’m a little nervous and unsure about how to start this.
I’m a 24 year old woman whose been in a long term relationship with my boyfriend of nearly 6 years. I love him dearly and I know he loves me too. We met during my first year at University, at our Uni’s anime society. Which nicely ties into the fact that we’re both a couple of weebs who share a lot of the same nerdy hobbies and interests. He’s my first proper boyfriend and I’m his first long term girlfriend. We live together now and he makes me laugh and he knows me so well and he’s so considerate of me and I’d like to spend the rest of my life with him.
This is all sounding pretty great right now, but there has been one issue that keeps on cropping up in our relationship and whenever it does it plagues my mind with worry and causes me to worry about our future.
The most recent trigger for this worry, and the reason why I feel compelled to write this letter to you, comes from a weird place. I’ve just finished watching the second season of Aggretsuko on Netflix.
If you don’t know of it, it’s an anime about the life of a red panda office worker named Retsuko and how she deals with the toil and pain of her office job, her sexist (literal) pig of a boss and her overbearing mother by unleashing all her frustrations and fury in a karaoke booth. Transforming into a death metal singing furry ball of rage (all from the creators of Hello Kitty would you believe). The second season came out recently and dealt more with Retsuko’s love life and what she wants out of a relationship, and sorry for spoilers but after meeting a new guy she falls head over heels for him, but then he drops the bombshell that marriage is pointless and he doesn’t believe in it.
Aggretsukohas always been a relatable show to me, but her situation practically mirrors my own. I love my boyfriend so much, but years ago he stated that he doesn’t see himself as the marrying type. He can’t see himself as married and believes that a piece of paper doesn’t mean all that much. In a way, I understand where he’s coming from. My boyfriend has said he loves me and truly wants to spend the rest of his life with me. Does being married really matter all that much?
But, like Retsuko, I can’t really explain why being married means a lot to me. It’s just something I had always imagined doing. It sounds like flimsy reasoning but being committed to each other legally and sharing our love with our friends and families is something I’ve always wanted to do with the man I love.
When he first told me, I was shocked, too shocked to take what he had said seriously. I loved him and I didn’t want to leave him so I foolishly swept it under the rug and pretended like it wasn’t a big deal. But that was a mistake and we have had several conversations about it since then, telling each other how we felt.
I know communication is key, so we’ve talked to each other seriously about why we feel the way we do about marriage. We both try to under each other about the issue. Our last conversation ended well enough; he still feels hesitant about the idea of marriage but he says he is keeping an open mind since he knows how important it is to me. He doesn’t want our relationship to end either. I don’t want to pressure him into doing something he doesn’t want to do and I don’t nag him about it. It’s a conversational we have maybe once or twice a year.
But I honestly can’t help but worry about our future. I’ve talked about it to my sister and she feels like we keep trying to sweep this issue under the rug, hoping we never have to make a definite decision about it. But the thought of drawing that line in the sand terrifies me. Like Aggretsuko, I’ve seen other shows tackle this issue and like Aggretsuko it always ends with the characters breaking up. And this makes me cry every time I think about it, that perhaps this issue will one day drive us apart. And I can’t imagine life without him. Is that selfish of me? There are times when I feel like I’m being silly, like I’m going to let the fact that we disagree about marriage ruin our amazing relationship. Yet the thought of never marrying him depresses me too. I feel very conflicted and worried about all this.
After watching the final episode of Aggretsuko season 2, I cried for a straight hour. And then I finally decided to write this letter to you, something I had been considering doing for a while now about this issue. Hoping that you can shed some light on these confused feelings of mine. Or at least tell me how much of a dumbass I’m being.
AggretsukoHit Too Close To Home
You’ve had this conversation before, AHTGTH, but has he ever explained just why he’s so seemingly afraid of marriage? That, more than anything else, will tell you where you need to go with this.
If we assume your boyfriend is communicating with you in good faith — that this isn’t some weird way of trying to get you to end the relationship, that he isn’t trying to keep his options open for finding a new partner in the future, etc. — then it comes down to why he feels like the label is so momentous. What, exactly, does he think will change for the worse?
It could be that he, like a lot of people, thinks that marriage is the death of sex and adventure. A lot of people see being married as the sign that it’s time to quit having all the crazy sexy times that they feel empowered to have when they’re just shacking up with their partners. Swinging from the chandeliers, freaky games, banging out in inappropriate places where you might get caught? That’s for boyfriends and girlfriends, not husbands, wives and parents.
Other folks have emotional associations with the label “marriage.” They may have negative memories or feelings that tie to seeing their parents’ marriage. Children of divorce — or worse, marriages where everyone stayed together “for the kids” — occasionally have that atavistic response to the idea of marriage because the only model they had for marital happiness were the mayor and deputy mayor of Dysfunction Junction.
Or hell, maybe he’s always convinced himself that he was going to be a lifelong bachelor and now he doesn’t quite know how to let go of his younger dreams.
(But if George Clooney and Warren Beatty can settle down and become devoted husbands…)
Maybe it’s just an issue with the label. Maybe it’s a fear of promising “‘till death do you part” when he’s afraid he won’t be able to keep that promise.
Or—and I hate to say this—he may just not be interested in marrying you and he can’t bring himself to be honest with you about it.
But to turn this around for a moment: have you been able to explain to him why marriage is so important to you? Would you be willing to forgo the label of marriage if it was marriage in everything but name? Would you — and he — be willing to, say, have a hand-fasting instead of getting married, if it would be fundamentally the same?
The only person who knows what’s going on in his head is him. And he’s the only one who can tell you why he’s so hesitant to consider marriage.
Since these conversations clearly haven’t resolved the issue, I think it may be time to bring in a third party. It may be well worth your time to see a relationship counselor to help facilitate the conversation. Many couples visit couple’s counselors not because their relationship is broken or in trouble, but to help with their communication. Having someone who can guide you to the right questions, tease out the answers and provide the vocabulary you may lack to express those ideas can be invaluable for breaking a relationship impasse like this one.
This doesn’t mean that he’ll magically come around on the concept of marriage. It also doesn’t mean that you’ll magically be able to give up your hopes of marrying him some day. But what it will do is help you both be heard and understood. Once you have that, you’ll be in a position to decide how you both want to proceed.
Did you lie to your partner about being a virgin or how you lost your virginity? Did you expose a cheater? Share your story in the comments below and we’ll be back with more of your questions in two weeks.
Ask Dr. Nerdlove is Kotaku’s bi-weekly dating column, hosted by the one and only Harris O’Malley, AKA Dr. NerdLove. Got a question you’d like answered? Write firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Kotaku” in the subject line.
Got a kink in your neck from lifting something a little too heavy, or getting too confident in your yogi abilities? You might want to get yourself a massage roller to use after every workout or after a night of sleeping a little funny. Right now, you can grab the Gaiam Restore Pressure Point Massage Roller for $8 on Amazon.
How I EatThe How I Eat series asks chefs, food personalities, and just plain interesting people how they keep themselves fed. We also ask for photos of their fridge, because we’re into that kind of thing.
Natalie Wynn has been called the “Oscar Wilde of YouTube” for the sexy, visually decadent, and wildly entertaining videos she makes for her channel, ContraPoints. In these videos, Wynn discusses a wide variety of hot-button topics including the alt-right, climate change, incels, and trans issues, but instead of feeling challenged, one often finds themselves seduced. It should be no surprise then, to find that this hedonistic sensibility bleeds into Wynn’s daily life, affecting how she lives and, of course, how she eats. Unafraid of controversy, Wynn was kind enough to share her opinions on McDonald’s breakfast, pineapple on pizza, and what makes a perfect bite of ice cream.
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Current gig: YouTuber with a focus on sex, drugs, and social justice
Do you eat breakfast?
I suppose I do. My meals are sort of hard to categorize in accordance to traditional Western norms. I eat when I wake up so I guess that qualifies as breakfast.
What do you usually eat?
First, a disclaimer that anyone hoping to get any kind of ethical guidance from me when it comes to diet is going to be very disappointed, because it just alternates between chaos and evil over here. And the moment I could afford to stop cooking, I stopped. Most days I eat nothing except UberEats.
I also have a bad UberEats habit.
It’s about a twice a day thing for me. Today I’m being good! I’m having a smoothie. I’m trying to get better, but to be honest my mainstays are usually a bagel with lox and cream cheese, which I love. That’s actually my favorite breakfast. So I have that a lot from a local cafe, and I’m also not above a sausage egg and cheese McMuffin.
What’s in your smoothie, if you don’t mind me asking?
This one is a Greek yogurt smoothie from Smoothie King. It’s Chobani and blueberry, strawberry, some kind of protein enhancement. It has probiotics and fruit. It’s pretty good, especially if you’re used to the McMuffin route.
Do you drink coffee or tea?
Yes, both. Although lately, I’ve kind of been relying more on energy drinks out of fears about teeth. I just had my teeth whitened so I’m trying to keep that up. I’d much prefer to drink coffee than to drink, say, sugar-free Monster Energy drinks, but at least for the next couple of months I’m trying to avoid coffee for the teeth reasons.
How do you usually take your coffee?
With milk or cream, no sugar. I also like iced lattes and that kind of thing.
Do you drink them in the winter?
Yes, I totally do.
When you get the Egg McMuffin, do you usually get the hash browns?
Yes. I do. McDonald’s breakfast—it really is, in my opinion, the best thing at McDonald’s by far.
When they added the all-day breakfast, that was very “helpful.”
It changed my life. Well it didn’t change my life. It changed my relationship to McDonald’s. It made me a regular customer. God, they completely control me.
Between that and UberEats—I don’t have a car so I wasn’t eating any McDonald’s, and then all the sudden I was eating way too much McDonald’s.
You could take a shower and get dressed—in my case—probably put on some makeup, leave the house, walk or drive somewhere, or you could just stay in bed. It’s a pretty difficult thing to turn down.
The choice is clear. Do you usually have lunch or snack throughout the day?
What do I do exactly? I have sort of three meals, I guess. There’s one when I wake up which is usually around—11:00 a.m. is pretty typical around here. Then I’ll have kind of a lunch-ish thing at like 3:00 p.m., and I’ll have dinner at 10 or 11.
Well that’s just European.
Yeah, that’s what we tell ourselves.
Can we see inside your fridge?
IconicPhoto: Natalie Wynn
What do you usually eat for lunch, or is there a “usual”?
On a day where I just want nutrition inside my face as fast as possible, I will get Subway. I don’t really like Subway—it’s no McDonald’s—but it’s fast, and I get the whole-nine-grain-wheat bun and I feel good about myself, and it’s fine. But usually though, if I want to eat something good, I really love Indian food. There are a lot of good places in Baltimore. I will sometimes get that and then just split it between lunch and dinner, and have the same thing twice because I’m a savage.
No, I do that. Sometimes if I get Indian food the night before I’ll eat it cold for breakfast the next day.
And sometimes you don’t want to eat a giant thing of rice and tikka masala in one go.
Do you get naan?
Usually I don’t, actually. I don’t know why when it comes to that I’m suddenly like “carbs!” I don’t know why that’s the line. I just don’t usually feel the need for it. There’s already so much rice. I’ll order naan if I’m with someone else because everyone else likes naan.
It’s always garlic naan too.
And see, I like the Kashmiri naan, the one that has fruits and nuts in it. I like that one better. But I eat it as a little dessert or something.
Do you like spicy food?
Love it. Yeah. I can’t get people to make it spicy enough. So, here’s where I’m macho. [Laughs] My favorite is goat curry. In Baltimore there are a lot of Nepalese Indian places and they have this dish—khasi ko maasu. And it’s a goat curry, bone-in—like a traditional butchery kind of thing. I will order that and the order instructions will say “extra spicy please,” and interpretations of that vary. I’ve had it arrive with just a bunch of sliced up serrano peppers in it. I love that.
I do love a bone-in meat preparation.
Yeah. it’s very flavorful. I don’t know why goat is my favorite, but it just is. It’s not something that I grew up eating. But it’s apparently healthier for you in a lot of ways than other red meat. I think goats are not factory-farmed in America. Don’t tell me if I’m wrong.
I haven’t researched it so I can’t I comment, but that seems correct. Besides Indian food is there another spicy cuisine that you love?
Yes. So, Mexican, obviously. I like getting tacos and things and hot sauce on them. Sometime tacos for me are just a hot sauce carrier.
Do you have a favorite brand of hot sauce?
Let’s see. My favorite very spicy one that I’ve tried is the the Tabasco Scorpion Sauce. That’s really good. I like Tabasco a lot, actually. I like the Tabasco Chipotle Sauce. That one’s not that spicy, but it’s flavorful and interesting. What else do I like? I like Valentina Extra Hot. And I said I was macho—it’s not really that macho. Because I hate the culture around hot sauce, like “give me the maximum, spiciest thing.” I hate that. It’s pointless to me, and a lot of these really, really hot sauces—they don’t taste like anything. It’s just a chemical burn that you’re adding to your food. What I like about the Scorpion Sauce is that it has mango in it like a lot of habanero hot sauces, and that mango sweetness adds something besides just heat. Or the Chipotle Tabasco is very smoky and vinegary, and it adds that to the food.
I know this isn’t Mexican food, but I have to ask because I’m garbage. Do you ever eat at Taco Bell?
Actually, no. For some reason Taco Bell just doesn’t resonate with me. I just never got into it.
It’s because you’re a good person.
I guess. I’m clearly becoming not a good person, though. It’s just accidental virtue, you know.
How is the Mexican food in Baltimore?
There are some good places. When I go out, there’s a place called Clavel, which is really, really good. That’s the best place I know of in Baltimore. I think the Mexican food is not as good as a lot of other cities. I used to live in Chicago. The things I really miss about about Chicago are really good Mexican food and a really good pho. On the Argyle stop on the the red line, there is this Little Vietnam neighborhood that has all these Vietnamese and pho places, and they’re really good.
Having lived in Chicago, do you have a pizza loyalty to them?
No, I don’t. I think I had deep dish there twice, and I like it, but it’s not really what I think of as pizza. It’s good, but I don’t know. To me, if I want pizza, usually what I would want is the more traditional, flat pizza.
Does Baltimore have a style of pizza?
Not that I’m aware of. I don’t think so.
I don’t think so either, but I didn’t know Connecticut had a pizza until I started dating a man from Connecticut.
I didn’t know Connecticut had an anything!
They have that clam pizza which I have never heard of, and he was so offended.
It’s a clam pizza?
Yeah. It’s like a white pie. I don’t think it has cheese on it.
Yeah, I don’t know about that. Might stick to New York on that one.
What toppings do you like on your pizza?
So, I realize I am again entering into very controversial territory, but Hawaiian pizza is good, actually. I especially love Hawaiian with jalapeños because of my spicy thing. So you have ham, pineapple, jalapeños— amazing.
I’m very pro pineapple on pizza.
Well, it’s objectively correct. Especially with a cured meat, like ham. The sweet and the saltiness—it’s good. It’s like wrapping slices of prosciutto around honeydew melon. I love that as a snack. The salty-sweet-savory combination. Oh! It’s so good.
If you had to pick between salty snacks and sweet snacks, do you have a clear preference for one?
Definitely salty. But I tend not to snack all that much. I know it sounds like I have a super high-calorie diet. This is where I’m making up the difference. I’m not someone who really eats chips or anything throughout the day. Do I ever eat snacks? If I’m just living normally, I kind of don’t. I just don’t have them in the house.
Do you have a movie theater snack?
My movie snack since I was eight is Raisinets. I don’t know why. No one else likes them.
I like them! It’s the only format in which I really like a raisin.
Raisins need some help, clearly.
Do you get a soda?
I drink Diet Coke a lot. I’d get that at a movie. I will steal little pieces of someone else’s popcorn but I don’t usually order my own popcorn.
It’s too big of a commitment.
It’s a huge commitment, yeah. I like the saltiness of it, but it’s just a lot of fiber. It’s like doing work. I don’t want to work while I’m at a movie.
And then if you get the butter, your hands are all greasy.
Yeah. It’s the same thing with Cheetos. I’m viscerally opposed to anything that leaves my hands covered in some kind of grease or powder.
I know people who eat Cheetos and popcorn with chopsticks for that reason. It’s a little extra.
Oh my God. Yeah, you have to be that person. Am I really gonna bring a couple of metal chopsticks into a movie theater? I don’t know! I’ve been experimenting with this kind of thing. I’ve been using a parasol in the sun. I mean that’s on the same level.
Do you have a “shame meal” or a “sad meal”?
Sometimes I feel like it’s all shame meals because I have this strong sense that I really should be vegan, or at least not eat so much meat all the time. I tried and just can’t do it. I’ve tasted the blood and now my body wants blood. I don’t know what to say. I guess I also feel bad about not cooking because I feel like I ought to cook, and my brothers both cook, my mom’s an amazing cook.
Well, it’s all about how you want to spend your time.
Well exactly, and I’m very busy. But the shame meals are so frequent. I’d say McDonald’s is not a proud moment but it’s so regular around here that the shame just has no sting to it.
Just to give you an example of what I mean by “shame meal” and to alleviate your shame: I’ve been doing this thing where I’ll just put shredded cheese in a little bowl and just melt that and then eat that.
Do I have a thing like that?
It’s okay if you don’t.
I’m thinking. Do I? Yeah, not really. See? There’s some moderation here. Because even though I know that in a lot of the big, regular ways that I’m supposed to be controlling in my diet, I’m not. But in little ways it seems in control because I’m not doing stuff like that. But I love that for you.
Thank you so much. Are you a burger person?
Yeah. I like a good burger. It’s not my everyday thing but that’s a good hangover meal for me.
Do you have a strong cheese preference?
I’d say cheddar or pepper jack depending on what the burger is.
Do you like a thin burger or a thicker one?
Probably a thicker one, because I like it kind of medium rare. That doesn’t seem to happen with thin burgers.
What about french fries?
I love sweet potato. Those are the fries I like. They’re my fave.
Almost everyone says the fast food McDonald’s-style french fry. I appreciate the variety in answer.
Oh, really? I’m not exactly a fan of the McDonald’s fries. The hash browns are amazing, but the fries I could kind of take or leave.
Do you do you go to diners ever?
It’s kind of a historical part of Baltimore’s culture, actually. I like going to diners especially if it’s late at night or something.
Do you have a go-to diner order?
It depends on the time of day. I’ll get a burger if it’s late at night, but I love breakfast at diners. That’s my favorite. Pancakes, eggs, sausages, coffee. Yeah, that’s my favorite. You feel like you’re in a David Lynch movie or something, sitting in a diner drinking coffee. I just have some kind of like primordial American association.
Speaking of American food: Do you eat hot dogs or corn dogs?
The best hot dog is the Chicago-style hot dog. Which is—what do they call it?—“dragged through the garden” or some expression like that. And it’s a hot dog on a poppy seed bun, with sliced tomato, a pickle, mustard, no ketchup, these things called “ballpark peppers”—these are little green peppers. I think that’s really good. Corn dogs? I guess I do like them. It’s kind of a joke in my videos—there’s a video where I eat like 16 of them in a sitting. The only good way to get a corn dog is at carnival. I’ll buy the freezer ones as props for my videos, but I’m not satisfied by a microwaved corn dog. It’s not really my vibe.
They don’t get properly crunchy on the outside.
You want that freshly deep-fried batter. You’re eating a piece of over-processed meat dipped in funnel cake batter—that experience is what I want.
I do remember reading an article about this ballerina who ate microwaved corn dogs for breakfast.
I remember that too! And I actually started eating corn dogs because of that! Because what I saw was a video where she talked the jouranlist through her diet, and it started with her doing stretches in the morning, eating a corn dog and I was like “now that’s my breakfast.” It’s not actually, because I don’t like them that much, but it kind of awakened me to the idea of microwaved corn dogs. I think it was like “You can eat a corn dog for breakfast and look like that? I know this doesn’t make sense because I’m not a professional dancer but, I don’t know, it still had a visual impact.
Speaking of videos, and stuff that’s in your videos: Do you actually drink Champagne?
Yes. It’s my favorite thing to drink. That’s not a pretense for the videos. I drink it on a regular basis, not just as a celebratory thing. It’s still my favorite.
Do you have a favorite producer?
If we’re talking “Let’s drink because it’s Thursday”—my everyday is Freixenet Brut, which is a cava, not a Champagne. It’s like eleven dollars. It’s really good. And then my favorite “special occasion” one is Moët, just whatever the regular one is—the Imperial Brut. Because it’s like fifty five dollars a bottle I could never afford it until a few years ago when I played Pokémon on a livestream and made two hundred dollars. That’s the first thing I bought with my Pokémon money. It felt pretty good.
Have you tried Veuve Clicquot?
Yeah! I’ve tried that, and I do like that a lot. I know a lot of people like it more than Moët, but I don’t. I think because Moët is more buttery or something and Veuve is more citrusy. That’s just my amateur taste description.
I’m not a big wine person, so I’ll just get whatever my snobby wine friends get.
Oh yeah. I’m like that too with most wines. I do have snobby wine friends who I just defer to their opinion because they know more than me, but with sparkling wine—from pure habit of drinking it so much—I have opinions.
I forget which video was where you said something about drinking Prosecco like a “like a peasant,” but I liked that.
Oh, that was “The Apocalypse” where I had this one character who’s just a lazy, horrible, climate change-denying person in the bath, drinking a bottle of Moët.
I related to that character a lot.
I related to her too. The only way I can think of to make a character that’s relatable is to find something in myself and put it there in isolation or exaggeration. I totally don’t understand the people who are just like “well the science is just wrong somehow,” but what I do understand is laziness, and hedonism. I can understand completely not wanting to do anything about climate change or factory farming or whatever. I completely understand that. And so that’s the only way I can think of to make this character have something sympathetic about her, because that person is totally a big part of me.
Are you a dessert person?
Sort of no, in that I eat dessert less than most people, I think. I usually won’t get it at restaurants. That said, I love anything chocolate. Chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate whatever—I just love chocolate.
Do you like a dark chocolate or a milk chocolate?
Dark chocolate is the best.
I’m really into like any kind of chocolate with salt in it.
I love that.
I’ll take a chocolate bar and I’ll take Maldon and just…
Put the salt on the chocolate…that’s such a good idea.
Oh yeah. I tend to not eat that much ice cream because, again, that’s one of the few areas, for some reason, where I put my foot down and am like “Eh! Calories!” But I recently had all this facial surgery, and my jaw was operated on, so it was swollen and I couldn’t eat solid foods very well for two weeks. And getting enough calories was a problem, suddenly, so I was eating a bunch of ice cream and I got into an ice cream habit. It’s been hard to kick, now that I’ve gotten used to it.
Do you have a favorite flavor or brand?
Ben and Jerry’s is the best that you can get in most stores. God, the one that I just can’t stop it with is Phish Food because of the marshmallows—the marshmallows and little chocolates, and the caramel. If you get a spoonful that has the caramel and the marshmallow and the chocolate, it turns into this gooey—ugh, it’s so good. There’s so much variety of texture within a single flavor. I recently tried switching to a Halo Top, but I just don’t really see the point.
I haven’t tried that stuff. What does it taste like?
It doesn’t really taste like ice cream. It tastes like some kind of frozen, fibrous, air-puffed snack that’s sort of related to ice cream. I can see eating it if you’re like, “I really need to eat ice cream right now. My body is demanding it but I really don’t want to eat that many calories, so I guess I’ll settle for this.” And then you’re sort of going through the motions of eating ice cream without the sense of pleasure. It’s like smoking CBD oil when what you really want is weed.
Autonomous driving company Waymo has launched its tie-in with Lyft, using a “handful” of vehicles to pick up riders in its Phoenix testing zone, per CNBC. To be eligible, Lyft users requesting a ride have to be doing a trip that both starts and ends in the area of Phoenix that it’s already blocked for for its own autonomous testing.
The number of cars on the road is less than 10, since Waymo plans to eventually expand to 10 total for this trial but isn’t there yet. Those factors combined mean that the number of people who’ll get this option probably isn’t astronomical, but when they are opted in, they’ll get a chance to decide whether to go with the autonomous option via one of Waymo’s vans (with a safety driver on board) or just stick with a traditional Lyft.
While Big Little Lies will be finishing up on July 21, Season 3 of Divorce will potentially be able to fill the void when it kicks off July 1. Other highlights coming to the network this month include Bohemian Rhapsody on July 6th and Red Sparrow on July 23rd.
While there’s a ton coming to the network this month, there are also a number of popular movies and shows leaving. July will be your last chance to catch hits such as Ready Player One, Life of the Party, Freaky Friday, and Never Been Kissed on HBO.
Ready to make your streaming plans for the month? Here’s the full list of what’s coming and going in July:
Original Programming: Hackerville (7/1) I Love You, Now Die, Part 1 (7/9) I Love You, Now Die, Part 2 (7/10) From the Earth to the Moon (7/15) Behind Closed Doors, Part 1 (7/16) Behind Closed Doors, Part 2 (7/17) Who Killed Garrett Phillips?, Part 1 (7/23) Who Killed Garrett Phillips?, Part 2 (7/24) HBO First Look: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw (7/26) Share (7/27) Unmasking Jihadi John: Anatomy of a Terrorist (7/31)
Series Premieres: Divorce, Season 3 Premiere (7/1)
Series Finales: Sesame Street, Season 49 Finale (7/13) Los Espookys, Season 1 Finale (7/19) Big Little Lies, Season 2 Finale (7/21) Years and Years, Miniseries Finale (7/29) El Jardin de Bronce, Season 2 Finale (7/29)
Estrenos: El Astronauta (AKA The Astronaut), 2018 (7/1) My Name Is Maria De Jesus, 2017 (7/1) Yo Soy Taino (AKA I Am Taino), 2019 (7/1) Lino, una aventura de siete vidas, 2017 (7/5) A Boy Called Sailboat, 2018 (7/12) Miriam Miente (AKA Miriam Lies), 2018 (7/19) Natacha, 2017 (7/26)
Starting July 1: The A-Team (Extended Version) A Nightmare on Elm Street, 2010 An Ideal Husband, 1999 By the Sea, 2015 Cyrus, 2010 Dead Man on Campus, 1998 Doppelganger, 1993 Elektra (Director’s Cut), 2005 The Hoax, 2006 I, Robot, 2004 Justice League, 2017 Keeping Up with the Steins, 2006 Little Fockers, 2010 The Manchurian Candidate, 1962 Me, Myself & Irene, 2000 The Mother, 2003 Mr. Right, 2005 MXP: Most Xtreme Primate, 2004 Notting Hill, 1999 The Ring Two (Extended Version), 2005 Rush Hour 2, 2001 Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, 2018 Term Life, 2016 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, 2010 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, 2005 When We Were Kings, 1996 Without a Paddle, 2004
Leaving July 31: The American President, 1995 The Beach, 2000 Blockers, 2018 Collateral, 2004 The Count of Monte Cristo, 2002 Crimes and Misdemeanors, 1989 Dangerous Minds, 1995 Dawn of the Dead, 2004 Freaky Friday, 2003 Ideal Home, 2018 In the Name of the Father, 1993 In the Valley of Elah, 2007 Isle of Dogs, 2018 Life of the Party, 2018 Love Potion No. 9, 1992 Never Been Kissed, 1999 The Outsiders, 1983 The Prince & Me, 2004 Ready Player One, 2018 Reign of Fire, 2002 Secret Window, 2004 Spies Like Us, 1985 Striptease (Unrated Version), 1996 Traffik, 2018 Valentine’s Day, 2010 You Got Served, 2004
Managing people is perhaps the most challenging thing most people will have to learn in the course of their professional lives – especially because there’s no one ‘right’ way to do it. But Ottawa-based startup Fellow is hoping to ease the learning curve for new managers, and improve and reinforce the habits of experienced ones with their new people management platform software.
Fellow has raised $6.5 million in seed funding, from investors including Inovia Capital, Felicis Ventures, Garage Capital and a number of angels. The funding announcement comes alongside the announcement of their first customers, including Shopify (disclosure: I worked at Shopify when Fellow was implemented and was an early tester of this product, which is why I can can actually speak to how it works for users).
The Fellow platform is essentially a way to help team leads interact with their reports, and vice versa. It’s a feedback tool that you can use to collect insight on your team from across the company; it includes meeting supplemental suggestions and templates for one-on-ones, and even provides helpful suggestions like recommending you have a one-on-one when you haven’t in a while; and it all lives in the cloud, with integrations for other key workplace software like Slack that help it integrate with your existing flow.
Fellow co-founder and CEO Aydin Mirzaee and his co-founding team have previous experience building companies: They founded Fluidware, a survey software company, in 2008 and then sold it to SurveyMonkey in 2014. In growing the team to over 100 people, Mirzaee says they realized where there were gaps, both in his leadership team’s knowledge and in available solutions on the market.
“Starting the last company, we were in our early 20s, and like the way that we used to learn different practices was by using software, like if you use the Salesforce, and you know nothing about sales, you’ll learn some things about sales,” Mirzaee told me in an interview. “If you don’t know about marketing, use Marketo, and you’ll learn some things about marketing. And you know, from our perspective, as soon as we started actually having some traction and customers and then hired some people, we just got thrown into it. So it was ‘Okay, now, I guess we’re managers.’ And then eventually we became managers of managers.”
Mirzaee and his team then wondered why a tool like Salesforce or Marketo didn’t exist for management. “Why is it that when you get promoted to become a manager, there isn’t an equivalent tool to help you with that?” he said.
Concept in hand, Fellow set out to build its software, and what it came up with is a smartly designed, user-friendly platform that is accessible to anyone regardless of technical expertise or experience with management practice and training. I can attest to this first-hand, since I was a first-time manager using Fellow to lead a team during my time at Shopify – part of the beta testing process that helped develop the product into something that’s ready for broader release. I was not alone in my relative lack of management knowledge, Mirzaee said, and that’s part of why they saw a clear need for this product.
“The more we did research, the more we figured out that obviously, managers are really important,” he explained. “70% of customer engagements are due to managers, for instance. And when people leave companies, they tend to leave the manager, not the company. The more we dug into it the more it was clear that there truly was this management problem – management crisis almost, and that nobody really had built a great tool for managers and their teams like.”
Fellow’s tool is flexible enough to work with specific management methodologies like setting SMART goals or OKRs for team members, and managers can use pre-set templates or build their own for things like setting meeting talking points, or gathering feedback from the colleagues of their reports.
Right now, Fellow is live with a number of clients including Shoify, Vidyard, Tulip, North and more, and it’s adding new clients who sign up on a case-by-case basis, but increasing the pace at which it onboard new customers. Mirzaee explained that it hopes to open sign ups entirely later this year.
Fungible, a startup that wants to help data centers cope with the increasingly massive amounts of data produced by new technologies, has raised a $200 million Series C led by SoftBank Vision Fund, with participation from Norwest Venture Partners and its existing investors. As part of the round, SoftBank Investment Advisers senior managing partner Deep Nishar will join Fungible’s board of directors.
Founded in 2015, Fungible now counts about 200 employees and has raised more than $300 million in total funding. Its other investors include Battery Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Redline Capital and Walden Riverwood Ventures. Its new capital will be used to speed up product development. The company’s founders, CEO Pradeep Sindhu and Bertrand Serlet, say Fungible will release more information later this year about when its data processing units will be available and their on-boarding process, which they say will not require clients to change their existing applications, networking or server design.
Sindu previously founded Juniper Networks, where he held roles as chief scientist and CEO. Serlet was senior vice president of software engineering at Apple before leaving in 2011 and founding Upthere, a storage startup that was acquired by Western Digital in 2017. Sindu and Serlet describe Fungible’s objective as pivoting data centers from a “compute-centric” model to a data-centric one. While the company is often asked if they consider Intel and Nvidia competitors, they say Fungible Data Processing Units (DPU) complement tech, including central and graphics processing units, from other chip makers.
Sindhu describes Fungible’s DPUs as a new building block in data center infrastructure, allowing them to handle larger amounts of data more efficiently and also potentially enabling new kinds of applications. Its DPUs are fully programmable and connect with standard IPs over Ethernet local area networks and local buses, like the PCI Express, that in turn connect to CPUs, GPUs and storage. Placed between the two, the DPUs act like a “super-charged data traffic controller,” performing computations offloaded by the CPUs and GPUs, as well as converting the IP connection into high-speed data center fabric.
This better prepares data centers for the enormous amounts of data generated by new technology, including self-driving cars, and industries such as personalized healthcare, financial services, cloud gaming, agriculture, call centers and manufacturing, says Sindu.
In a press statement, Nishar said “As the global data explosion and AI revolution unfold, global computing, storage and networking infrastructure are undergoing a fundamental transformation. Fungible’s products enable data centers to leverage their existing hardware infrastructure and benefit from these new technology paradigms. We look forward to partnering with the company’s visionary and accomplished management team as they power the next generation of data centers.”
This summer, I’ve been looking for kid projects that have some mileage in them—stuff that can be worked on over the course of days or weeks. I landed on an activity that’s easy, requires few supplies and makes me feel like a wizard: I blew up a coloring page.
Specifically, I uploaded a coloring page file on Staples.com and had it enlarged as a 3-by-4-foot engineering print. These are the large black-and-white prints typically used for engineering or architectural plans. For about $7, we now have a mural on our wall, ready to be colored in by my 6-year-old daughter, or whoever else feels like picking up some crayons.
The coloring page I chose is designed by PicCandle on Etsy. I wanted a print that had a good amount of detail, but not Where’s Waldo-level intricacy. Last night, the kid started working on it, and then I jumped in at one point, too. Coloring really is relaxing.
To make a supersized coloring page of your own, here’s what to do:
Choose a high-resolution coloring page. There are lots of free or low-cost PDF downloads online. If you have a very young child, you might choose a simple illustration, but for older kids with more patience, you can look into mandalas or other designs from adult coloring books.
Create your engineering print. Staples, FedEx and Parabo all allow you to upload your design on their sites for printing. You can resize your print on your own with Preview or an online image resizer, or use the printer’s “fit content to paper” option, if it has one. It’s okay if there’s some white space along the borders.
Tape your massive coloring page on a wall or lay it across a table or the floor, and then let your kid go at it. It’s a fun activity for play dates and parties, too. In the end, you have a giant work of art.
Amazon’s Prime Day event, now in its fifth year, is no longer just a big sales day for Amazon — it’s become the official kickoff to back-to-school shopping season and a new sales holiday that extends across the web among rival retailers. And those retailers’ competitive response to Prime Day is bigger than ever this year, according to a new report from RetailMeNot. In 2019, the firm estimates that 250 retailers will take part in Prime Day by offering deals of their own. That’s up from 194 last year, and up from just 7 retailers on Amazon’s first Prime Day in 2015.
The increased participation may be related in part to the size of Amazon’s sale this year. Prime Day has been stretched out over the years. In 2018, for example, Prime Day became a 36-hour sale and, at the time, the biggest shopping event in Amazon’s history.
But more retailers today are aware that offering an alternative sale will bring in the shoppers, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales also do.
Walmart, for example, is readying its answer to Prime Day by offering deals over a longer period of time than Amazon’s now 48-hour Prime Day 2019 event. Instead, of two days, the rival retailer is going for four. Walmart says it will offer “thousands” of special deals and Rollbacks starting on July 14 — the day before Prime Day starts. And these will continue until July 17, the day after Prime Day ends.
Walmart hasn’t announced what deals are in the works as of yet, beyond an HP 15.6″ HD Touch Display Laptop for $429 (currently $447), and the Dyson Multifloor Bagless Upright Vacuum for $154.00 (currently $175).
Target, meanwhile, is prepping its own answer to Prime Day with its biggest summer sale, Target Deal Days, which will take place concurrently with Prime Day (July 15-16). The retailer says it also will feature “thousands” of deals both online and in its app, with new deals each day. These deals haven’t yet been announced, either, but will expand across home, apparel, toys, and more, and will include both Target’s own brands and national brands.
While Prime Day brings the traffic and the sales, there’s some hint that the sale itself could be improved.
Based on RetailMeNot’s survey, 64% of shoppers are hoping that Amazon provides better deals on items this year, 58% want a greater selection, and 54% want more time to take advantage of deals. Nearly all also say they hope the overall Prime Day shopping experience this year is improved.
Back-to-school shoppers and parents will be dropping some cash on Prime Day, too, the report additionally found. 64% of parents say they’ll participate in Prime Day 2019 and will shop at 11 retailers, on average. Parents also plan to spend $162 on Prime Day and complete around 35% of their total back-to-school shopping during that time.