After being on both the giving and recieving end of many a rant, I've decided that there are too many bad mantras out there regarding how to talk to your friends about their problems. They are listed here. But let's start with a background:

Why do people talk about problems?
When I was 17, I would constantly, like, every other day, rant at my mom about some friends who I thought were holding me back. Mom would just kinda say nothing or "Oh." One day I wondered aloud, "Why do I keep talking about this?" I figured it was because I want to know that my words are geting through, and the examples I used truly do prove what these friends were doing. I told her this and she said "I agree! These people are bad for your progress!" And I was satisfied and felt no more need to tell the stories of being held down, for the most part.

What ranters want is either validation or an explanation of why they are wrong. We want our emotions to make sense, and if someone else explains that we are right or wrong, then we feel like we know it better. 

But we've been told a lot things about how to talk to our friends that are WRONG. So that you can avoid that advice, I have them listed here. Don't do any of these things.

1. Just listen and nod.
If I wanted that, I would talk to a brick wall. Er, a bobblehead maybe.

2. Assume you understand.
Example: Your friend Bob is mad at Sally for not driving him to a party, even though she promised three times.
Ask if you understand what he is mad about. "So, you're angry that she is not reliable?"
If you just assume that this is correct, you'll be talking to him about Sally's reliability. However, he may be concerned that Sally is avoiding him, or playing practical jokes. Asking questions is imperative; otherwise you (and your friend!) may never know what the problem really is.

3. Just tell them it's not that bad.
In the scheme of things, maybe it isn't that bad. But don't assume that it's ok.
Example: Bob is mad that Sally purposefully shot him in the eye with a BB gun.
BAD RESPONSE: "Oh, that's fine, I'm sure she was just trying to be funny, at least you have another eye."
PROPER RESPONSE: "WHAT THE FUCK?! Report that piece of crap!"
If you respond with the bad response, then Bob will feel like his emotions don't mean anything and are unfounded. Worse, he will consider that atrocious acts like shooting people in the eye are okay, and there's no reason why he shouldn't do it too, or back.

4. Just tell them that the other person is a big jerk.
This is what I see on all the time, especially on facebook. We do this because we like our friends and we think they deserve the best, and everyone who hurts them should be hurt back. Whatever problems they have need to be avenged. We also do this because we only know our friends side of the story.
Example: Bob is mad at Sally for inviting him to a rugby game, a sport he hates.
BAD (but typical) RESPONSE: "Wow, that is just really selfish. I mean, jeez, Sally isn't the only person in the world, why can't she think of your needs?"
WORSE RESPONSE: "You deserve better than this, Bob. I think you need to cut the chord."
BETTER RESPONSE: "You're mad at her for offering you something? Jesus, she was just trying to be nice, Bob."
If you respond with the bad response, Bob will become entitled and believe that everyone should treat him like royalty. If you respond with the worse response (and he takes your advice) he will soon end up with NO friends, and guess what? He'll eventually find a reason to hate you too.

5. Spout trite cliches.
We do this beause we think that we can simplify things by using short quotations. But they're stupid. Use EXAMPLES and ANECDOTES instead. They are less judgemental and at the same time much more useful.
Example: Bob wants to try running hurdles, but is concerned about hurting himself.
GOOD RESPONSE: "I ran hurdles for four years, and I never hurt myself. I saw lots of people get stress fractures and shin splints, but I never saw a single person get hurt doing hurdles. Even when you hit them, they just fall over."
When you respond with a cliche, it says that you didn't really think about it. It doesn't say if you would take that route yourself. Cliches do not consider the context at all, but true stories create their own context.

6. Give a premature verdict.
I've just outlined what kind of answers not to give, but sometimes you shouldn't give one at all. Just help your friend come to a conclusion.
Let's go back to the first example, where Sally didn't drive Bob to the party. You should ask Bob what he thinks his options are. Maybe now that he's put it into words, he has more clarity. Maybe he'll get over it, maybe he'll talk to Sally, maybe he'll not rely on Sally anymore, maybe he won't invite Sally out anymore, maybe he wants to cut off all contact. You could and should offer your opinion from what you've obersved, but make sure Bob knows what his options are first. You can tell him what you think of his plan.
Conclusion: Talking about your problems shouldn't be much different than a normal conversation. People do not want to be manipulated into feeling a certain way, and they certainly don't want to be lied to for their own protection. The best you can do is simply be HONEST!
Whether you're a journalist, an artist, a marketer an advertiser, or...anyone, you've gotta get people's attention. See chapter 4 for marketing ethics.
AllYourBass and I worked on this together. 

Want to impress your friends, or just be able to get away from the cops faster? Use this tutorial to learn how to jump over an obstacle, specifically a garbage can. 

What you’ll need:

A Garbage Can
An enthused onlooker
Reliable footwear

  1. Stretch. This is somewhat optional.
  2. Get your friend to hold your bag.
  3. Balance your Tchai. What’s Tchai? It doesn’t matter, just tell yourself you’re balanced.
  4. Start at a reasonable distance. To get enough speed, I suggest starting at least 20 feet away on even ground.
  5. Start running. Use natural but long strides.
  6. Launch.
  7. Land. Don’t forget this one.
  8. Prepare for jerks to say “I would have laughed so hard if you tripped.” This happens pretty much every time.
Congratulations, you are now a BAMF. 

Pretty cool right?

1. Research what kind of lizard is local. It's impressive to catch a lizard, but even cooler to know what it is. Shown above is a blue bellied/western fence lizard, or Sceloporus Occidentalis. 

2. Go hiking. It's fun!

3. Pick a long piece of grass or bring unscented dental floss to tie to a stick. Here, I took the wheat off a a long strand of wheat grass. 

4. Tie a noose in one end. Yes it's fine, it won't hurt Lizardo.

5. Keep your eye out for lizards. You may not find that many, but your company might point out a few.

6. Don't let him/her see you. It's important not to let your shadow get too close because shadows are the major way that they see. Also, of course, no sudden movements. With blue bellies, you're more likely to see a male. If they've seen you, they'll start doing pushups, but you can still try to catch them. They do push ups to show you that you shouldn't attack them because they're so macho.

7. Slowly slip the noose around his neck. Yes, he'll let you do it! This is because he's afraid of animals and people, not grass. even if the grass hits his face, he still won't care!

8. Yank the trap up quickly and then hold the lizard in your hand. Again, this won't break his neck or anything. Just pull him up kind of fast. He'll squirm, and with your other hand just hold his body.

9. Take off the trap. You can loosen it or break it. 

10. Show all your friends. Now you can tell them what you've learned about this lizard! In the case of the blue belly, you can tell them about the parasites behind their cheeks, or look at the little turquoise scales they have. 

Photos by Shanna Renee'. 

    Even if the economy wasn't particularly dismal as of late, it's always a good idea to save money. However, the frugal movement has gone largely unnoticed and unapplied, and it seems that many are even ashamed to buy cheaper, second-hand materials, to wear shoes without diamonds on their soles. However, it’s hip to be green, so try these tips, if not for your wallet, then for the planet.

      These tips are based on the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. By doing these three things, we have to buy less, and less goes to landfills as well. Save green, go green.

      The Scavenger’s Manifesto by Anneli Rufus and Kristan Lawson different types of scavengers and what they can do. Here are some ways listed in the book that students can utilize:

  1. Bring a re-usable water-bottle. I imagine that the first person to literally sell water for a dollar fifty a bottle must have been trying to prove that they could sell anything to sucker consumers. Try getting water from your sink or a water-fountain.
  2. Get your books at the library. That’s why it’s there.
  3. Pick your own fruit and vegetables. Yes, you can pick the fruit on public fruit trees. If it doesn't have a sign stating otherwise, you probably can pick the fruit, so go ahead and find out. I don't know why, but so many people think that fruit that doesn't come from the store is literally poison. You can also use to find public trees, and post your own trees.
  4. Get it second hand. It’s usually cheaper and always better for the environment to get things second-hand, and save it from a landfill. That includes going to garage sales, thrift stores, estate sales, craigslist, and flea-markets.
  5. Freecycle. That’s right, there is a movement for getting free clothes, books, music, technology, and whatever someone else doesn’t want any more. You can use, the “free” section on craigslist, or just check your parent’s closet for some vintage chic.
  6. Upcycle. If you don’t like something you have, you can freecycle it or upcycle it. Upcycling is the process of making something you don’t like into something you do. For example, I discovered this T-shirt upcycling community blog, which includes instructions on how to convert your frumpy tees into cute, customized style. also has lots of ideas for upcycling, including the instructions to make a juice carton into a wallet, a comfy chair out of paracords, jewelry out of Monopoly pieces, or a rubik’s cube from an old keyboard. Tell me that’s not cool.
  7. Dumpster dive. This may seem extreme to many people, but it’s a load of fun to do in a group. The idea is to scavenge through dumpsters to find food, clothing, and technology. Satisfy your inner anarchist and reject capitalism, man. Check out for safety, legal, and ethical tips before diving.
  8. Rideshare. Use craigslist rideshare, zimride, or just carpool with your friends.

     There are several ways to save money and live a sustainable life. They key thing to remember is that we don’t need to buy new things all the time. Be innovative and creative, and you’ll save money, help the planet, and have fun doing it.