Running Scared | Non-fiction by Nate McDonough

Images: Nate McDonough/Grixly.com

A Runner’s Thoughts Drift Toward Racial Inequality. Or It’s The Story of The Hurricane, Oh No Wait, Nevermind.


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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – The Labrecque Attack!

A review of the latest Star Wars film.


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Award Shows Are Fucking Terrible

Why all award shows are demoralizing mind rot.


Remember when someone took twelve years to make a movie and it was just okay? I mean, it still won all of the awards it was supposed to—the film industry is too mathematical for it not to—but I have to disagree with the folks over at Roger “we gave Gigli three stars” Ebert dot com’s assessment of Boyhood as “indescribably moving.” And not just because calling a thing indescribable is, itself, technically a type of description.*

Can you imagine the decade-long boner that this director had to have for himself, though? Just going to bed every night, knowing that in ten years he would be blindly issued a rubber stamp of approval by the fucking Methuselahs who vote on this shit. That all he needed to do was show up with a camera every so often and pay Coldplay some royalties. Think about the 4,383 days he spent believing he’s creating this haterproof time capsule, and that anyone who doesn’t want to look like an uncultured knave would have to nod along because it’s indescribably fucking moving!

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Sour Grapes – The Nine Types of Couples You Lost Your Friend To (And What to Do Now)

Images: Nate McDonough/Grixly.com

Everyone you know and like is married / moved in with their significant other. What now?


The odds of your friend’s partner being as cool as they are seem kinda slim. Out of the thousands of people you’ve met in life, there’s a minute fraction of a percentage you’re ready to call friend. The best case scenario seems to be that your friends find someone who you get along and has good jokes. That shit is RARE.

I remember the pathetically excessive amount of energy I put into getting a girlfriend when I was younger. After a while it started to seem like dating someone and being single are both nice enough. The sum pros and cons of each, though different seem equivalent. I turned 29 a week ago. Since middle school, the energy I put into convincing girls to date me just ebbed away. Now that energy goes into woo-ing my old friends into hanging out with me. Different situations require different approaches. Though I imagine there’s plenty of overlap between them, here are my ten archetypes and maybe a suggestion on how to see that old pal of yours again.
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Bury My Heart in Stars Hollow – How The Gilmore Girls Reinforced My Black Identity

“So where you from man?” He asked. He wore a flat bill hat that rested on his head at an impossible angle. Not quite 45 degrees and slanted to point upward, leaving the impression that it wasn’t adjusted purposefully, but it was, and any human who has ever worn a hat knew it. He was addressing a man with the same exact demeanor as himself. Slightly hunched to a point, to purposefully exude a carefree and relaxed nature. But, like the other guy’s hat, it was all show. Made to seem at nature with its environment but decidedly not at the same time.

“You know, I’m from Cleveland and shit man… You know. Around.”

“Word, word. Me too.” Said the first guy. He was all chin and all angles. They made geometry into conversation and I had to admire that. All juxtaposed into cool stances like a Picasso piece. Proto-Cubism in motion. It was at this point that they started to shuffle around each other awkwardly, hands stuffed in pockets, chin nods thrown at each other like rice at a wedding. Before long one asked the inevitable question; “So, like, where from around Cleveland?” The other guy reluctantly named a suburb to much the delight of his adversary. “No shit! I’m from-!” He lists another Cleveland suburb. It doesn’t matter which. I watch the whole shame dance as it unfolds. We’re all outside a bar in suburban Columbus, Ohio. I’m smoking a cigarette and I haven’t said a goddamn word.

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12 Things That Are Okay on the Last Day of a Music Festival

Illustrated by Nate McDonough

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Stop Appropriating My (Nerd) Culture!

As you casually wear that Superman shirt, do you know his backstory? Can you name any of the writers and artists that brought it to life? What of the ancient Els on Krypton? None of that “On my planet it means hope” crap either. See, a real nerd can’t just go home after watching the latest DC movie flop, lick their wounds and re-watch The Wire for the sixth time. Actual nerds turn to things like the Smallville podcast or obsessing through the Superman wiki—lest we torment our friends and coworkers with all the fan theories and canon discrepancies that we physically can’t hold back. Meanwhile, non-nerds have the benefit of catching a few episodes of Doctor Who and grabbing a Funko Pop doll, instead of agonizing over the Face of Bo’s timeline or if the Silurians have the same makeup in each iteration. Nerds wield the responsibility of having an encyclopedic knowledge of the inane—that comes up in no normal daily conversation—which is why we overflow with excitement when someone indulges our discussions about which Comic Book universe is better or which season marked the decline of The Simpsons. This culture has gotten to enjoy the fruits of our laborious tending while we watch our passions rot into oblivion. It’s fine to like stuff that’s cool but it’s become far too easy to claim the nerd struggle as your own just by transiently consuming various “nerd” things. Things like:

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Qué Onda Güero? – A Thorough Evisceration of the Mexican “Bistro”

Is there any quicker way to tell if your neighborhood Mexican restaurant is bullshit than if the food there is described as zesty? How about chalkboard wall menus detailing various brunch specials? Or perhaps the mere presence of brunch specials at all? For what purpose are there rotating taps of craft beer? Surely we all know at this point that Modelo is the only acceptable non-margarita beverage for Mexican cuisine. Look around you. Is that an all-white wait staff? I guess she’s kind of tan—nope, nope. This place is boojie as fuck. Taco Tuesday used to mean something, dammit!

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5 Things My Bratty Cousin Gets Wrong about Drug Testing for Government Assistance

Scientists have recently found a correlation in the brain patterns of teenagers and republicans. As it turns out, conservatives tend to have larger amygdala, the parts of the brain responsible for the majority of our survival instincts like fear and disgust, but also community and emotion. While people on the left generally have a more defined anterior cingulate cortex, the brain region most closely associated with coping, delayed gratification, and the ability to look at multiple solutions. This also happens to be the region of our brain that matures the slowest—not fully formed until age 25 or so—mainly due to the inherent dangers our species faced before this failed social contract of ours.

So in order for early humans to stay alive long enough to have children of their own, their brains needed to be hyper aware of anything that could potentially kill them; anything that could sap their resources; and all of the things that could take away their stuff. It’s not until we reach adulthood that the grey matter in our brains expands and the constant fight-or-flight triggers presumably subside.

Still, even though we can pinpoint the evolutionary and developmental reasons why, it doesn’t stop me from telling my nineteen year old cousin to go to hell when she passes around some Change.org petition to drug test those in need of federal aid. Here are five reasons Megan needs to shut the fuck up! Continue reading “5 Things My Bratty Cousin Gets Wrong about Drug Testing for Government Assistance”

“The Number One”

Poem by Rob O’Donnell

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