The Millennial Almanac: July 23-August 22

Folksy wisdom for your quarter-life crisis 

July 23-August 22

Welcome to the Millennial Almanac!

ICYMI: Before Gutenberg made a Bible, he printed an almanac. The ancient texts were first produced by Babylonian astronomers, but they have guided beleaguered farmers, seasick sailors, and armchair witches for thousands of years since. From the scientifically-validated to the fringe conspiracy, the exceedingly practical to the absolutely absurd, almanacs offer non-judgmental advice on every aspect of living. And who could use a bullshit-free guide to life more than you? Now get scrolling. 

Moon and Stars

Suddenly feeling extremely XTRA? That’s the power of Leo season, baby. Kylie Jenner, Madonna, Jennifer Lawrence, that guy who plays Thor—you cannot escape their roar. First identified by the Mesopotmains some 4,000 years ago, the long-tailed constellation is now associated with the Greek story of Heracles. The first of his 12 labors was killing the Nemean lion, whose golden pelt was impervious to man-made instruments. Heracles strangled the mighty animal, skinned it with its own paw, and then wore its pelt around as armour. Dark. But the coming month is a great reminder of your own leonid strength. Now’s the time to ask for what you want, and loudly revel in the reward. 

Finances

The convenience of home delivery has been questionable ever since Sears Roebuck spurred the creation of the credit surveillance system. Today's life-hacks have little difference. It's hard to so much as order a pizza without potentially robbing your driver of the dollars on an hour he or she made to deliver it.

But there's a reason that the convenience economy has bloomed for millennials: we're just as screwed. If you work 12-hour days, don't own a car, and have to share your kitchen with five roommates, suddenly the temptation of a food delivery can be overwhelming. 

For this column, we're going to start adding in ideas to swap out some of your less ethical choices for more ethical ones. This month we'll start with a few quick tips on food delivery. Drop us an email for your own money holes you'd like some alternatives to!

Tip #1

Always tip. Then tip more. Thanks to increased scrutiny on the food delivery industry, it's at least becoming clearer who is completely scamming drivers out of the tips you give them (looking at you DoorDash). But GrubHub, UberEats, and Postmates all have their own algorithmic tradeoffs that might make you feel worse about ordering from that McDonald's you could have walked to in five minutes. If you're not sure if you're tipping your driver enough, you're probably not. And if you really want to make sure it ends up in their pocket, try the old fashioned method: handing them cash.

Tip #2 Opt for ordering ahead instead of delivery. Lots of apps allow you to order ahead at a click of a button, still saving you some of the inconvenience of waiting in line or picking up the phone. Apps like Ritual even allow you to connect with other coworkers to buddy up and take turns picking up deliveries. Admittedly carpooling lunch is a bit easier than dinner, but it will get you in the habit of realizing walking down the street isn't THAT bad.

Tip #3 Meal prep. See our earlier newsletter for advice about meal-prepping specifically. Or spend all night reading Buzzfeed listicles like I do and you'll be fine.

Home and Garden

I have many gripes with my basement apartment in the summer: mosquitos, freak flooding due to global warming, creaking walls. But the temperature isn't one of them. The one benefit to residing in a virtual dungeon is that it's always a solid ten degrees cooler than the outside. And even what that is way too hot for comfort, I have air conditioning in every room. If I'm not careful I end up needing to wear ten sweatshirts before the night is out.

But I remember many times where I was not this lucky. During the most recent living situation this applied to, I just finally broke down a bought a window unit out of fear that I'd have a heatstroke working from home. If you already have an air-conditioner -- or want to in the fleeting weeks of summer -- my big advice to you is to learn how to take care of it (no you really shouldn't leave it in the window year round).

If you don’t want (global warming, electric bills) or can’t get an air conditioner (they’re expensive, small windows, etc.), the best investment you can make is in improving your house. Both blackout curtains and window insulation can help beat the heat while also serving secondary purposes (better sleep and protection in the winter). A good box fan, while still a bit pricey, can also be a worthwhile investment for small spaces like your room.

Want to beat the heat outside your house? Public pools (though be careful about staying out in the heat too long) and libraries are normally free AND open late during excessively hot days. Both are a lot cheaper than endless frozen drinks at brunch. 

Trends

  • Fat-shaming dinnerware replaced with the ultimately body positivity move: finger foods

  • Everyone wears a tie on debate night

  • No one wears a tie on debate night

  • Everyone gets too drunk to remember who wore a tie on debate night

  • Cis men disavow model trains

Best Days

July 31: You owe yourself a lobster roll. 

August 1: A new moon. The new few days are crucial for your heart. Try committing to a new cardio routine or, if you’re brave, telling someone whose been pulling at your heartstrings how you feel.

August 7: Right now is a good time to schedule any check-ups for “down there.”

August 10: Eid Mubarak! Prepare your favorite meal. 

August 21: The moon is in Taurus. Force your friends to go to karaoke but only if they sing ABBA with you.

Folklore

It’s that time of year: sand is attached to every inch of your hair, house, and clothes. If you were expecting advice to follow this #relatable lede, you’re out of luck. There is no good way to cope with these clingy granules and anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. Instead, you must learn to appreciate them for what they are: the bedrock of civilization. 


As Vince Beiser writes in his book The World in a Grain, sand is the foundational ingredient in concrete and cement—the core ingredient in modern roads and buildings. But it can’t just be any sand. Only water-eroded sand that washes up on ocean shorelines or settles at the bottom of lakes and rivers, is the correct shape for mixing. And there’s not enough of it to meet current demand in developing countries. It may be all over everything you own, but sand mafias in India are literally killing for the substance. Whatever way you look at it, life’s a beach. 

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