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Twenty Questions for That’s So Jacob

One of the most curious places on the Internet is Yahoo! Answers. Even though Yahoo! has been on a decline since the 1990s, but for some reason, Yahoo! Answers is still there. And people are still asking questions, every day, big and small. I haven’t yet asked any, but I’ve answered a few.

But tonight, I’ve decided to answer a few more.

I’m going to go on the site, answer the first twenty questions that come up, to the best of my ability, and post the responses here.

1. Michael asks:

Hi, I ordered a skateboard deck from amazon and the trackijg info on amazon shows the seller shipped the packaged today and the provided a tracking number. Below the tracking number in the status section it says 
We’re sorry. “We are unable to retrieve more tracking details for this shipment.” So I took the tracking number provided and checked all of the shipping companies and none recognized the tracking number. The company that’s listed on amazon as being used for shipping is FedEx SmartPost. I even called FedEx and they said they can’t see any package in their system. Why is my tracking number not recognized by FedEx tracking system and why doesn’t amazon have any info on its whereabouts?

Dear Michael,

Some things in life are meant to be mysteries.

All kidding aside though, sometimes it takes a day or two for the number to come up in the system. Other times, I’ve received things I’ve ordered online with that same message, and they’ve just shown up anyway.

2. Kayla asks:

I recently bought biotin at target because I heard it helped hair and nail growth. But then I further researched before taking the pills and I heard that it makes you break out in pimples. Are these true?

Dear Kayla,

I have no idea. I would probably rather rely on nature if I had a problem like that.

3. Alysha asks:

I have a membership card for Hot Topic that gives me points when I buy stuff or even visit a store. I was wondering if there are other stores with the same kind of cards? And if there, can anyone tell me? 

This is not a credit card by the way. It just gives me points so I can get discounts later or access to member events. I do not want credit cards or anything like that lol. Just ones that I get points for and get discounts later.

Dear Alysha,

Absolutely! So many stores have membership or rewards cards program. Starbucks has a membership rewards program as well, where you can download an app to get free drinks. Check your local supermarket to see if they have a club. Look at your favorite stores’ websites for more information.

4. Stephanie asks:

Like, I don’t get the difference between foundation and concealer. Okay, maybe. Foundation I think makes like the skin glow and give a pretty skin color look? And concealer might like cover acne and stuff? I don’t know!! I also don’t get like how people put it on. Makeup, I mean, basically. Like their routine, pretty much. I just put on makeup twice or once a week. I get foundation, smear it on and put on masara, a bit of eyeshadow and face powder. I don’t even know if I even do it right or not. Can someone just tell me how you put various products on, before or after another product? Makeup routines? The right way to put makeup on? Thanks!

Dear Stephanie,

One word: YouTube. Search for “makeup tutorials.” Cheaper than a fashion magazine!

5. James asks:

I feel betrayed and I don’t know what to do. This all happened a few days ago and ever since that day, I became very antisocial and did activities by myself. This is not how I wanted my summer to start -.-

Dear James,

Sounds like rough stuff. If my friends betrayed me, I’d ask myself…did I really want to be friends with them in the first place?

6. Jill asks:

I’ve read many times that regular makeup (oil based and creme makeups like Cover Girl and all those popular commercial brands) will not stick to silicone surfaces and look discolored, I understand that only silicone sticks to silicone. I learned that the best way to color silicone is alcohol-based makeup palettes, however, if silicone sticks to itself than would using silicone based makeup work? Like the Temptu brand or any other brands that use silicone in their foundations? It makes sense to me but I can’t find any information anywhere that it would work. If anyone does know, would this last over silicone all day and keep it’s color? Thanks very much.

Dear Jill,

I’d definitely say a silicone based makeup. Also, I think many spray products (spray tan, etc) use silicone.

7. Kiiashi asks:

My daughter is 6 months old and has been cutting her teeth in recently. Two are fully cut now and she’s cutting 2 more. Is she too young for me to brush her teeth now that she’s getting some in or do they need to be a certain age first?

Dear Kiiashi,

I was at Target recently and saw that in the baby care section, they have training toothbrushes that are small and soft. You could probably look at the age range on the back of them. Also, if she is not eating solid food, I guess that she’s not at risk of staining them with anything. Best of luck with your dental hygiene quest!

8. Naz asks:

Made a hair mask from Coconut oil, 1 egg, and vanilla/banana yogurt. 
Can I leave it in my hair overnight? 
Don’t normally use yogurt.

Dear Naz,

Put a shower cap on it, and in the morning you can pour it in a bowl for breakfast!

9: Holland asks:

Dorothea 

Theodora 

Ilithiya / Eilithia (pronounced, ill-ith-ee-ah & is a real greek girls name) my personal favorite 🙂 

I know Ilithiya is difficult to spell and pronounce but keep in mind we WILL be calling her Thea.

Dear Holland,

All those names are very nice! But remember, she’ll have to use that name on her college applications, credit cards, and when calling US Airways to book tickets to see her grandparents in Athens. I love the name Eleutheria, it’s Greek for “freedom” and she could be called Thea. There’s also Althea, Mathea, or even Cynthia. Whatever name you choose, she’ll still be your adorable daughter.

10. Kevin asks:

Where to get locator chip installed in my child?

Dear Kevin,

North Korea?

11. Colleen asks:

Do i need a work permit in the summer?!?! Im looking for a job (any job suggestions will be fantastic as well. Im a 15 year old girl in georgia)

Dear Colleen,

I had a summer job as a 15-year-old in Maryland. I got a work permit through a woman who was a secretary at my junior high school, who was also a notary. Popular jobs for teenagers include lifeguarding, babysitting, lawn mowing, deck washing, or tutoring kids. Good luck!

12. Lisa asks:

‘She have aids so I didn’t ask her out’ does this sentence make sense? Or should it be she got aids…?

Dear Lisa,

In this case, it’s past tense. “She had AIDS, so I didn’t ask her out.”

13. Sonja asks:

Favorite book?

Dear Sonja,

All of them.

14. Niamh asks:

It’s sunday morning and i have done an all nighter, will this effect my sleeping pattern as i have school tomorrow (monday) and i have to get up at 6;00, please help me out, if you have any tips on what i should do, please dont hesitate to give me advice.

Dear Niamh,

Sleep is important for restoring the body and aiding mental strength. Be careful and try to avoid too much sugar/caffeine lest you “crash” later.

15. Jacob asks:

I don’t really know what it’s called or how to fix it but if I do something stupid and embarrassing like everyone does eventually I will literally obsess over it for days and it drives me crazy…. any idea how to fix this

Dear Jacob,

First of all, awesome name. Second of all, you might have a type of OCD. I’m not a doctor, but remember…people won’t remember the things you did but how you made them feel.

16. Newty asks:

My friend is having problems reading and listen, some time he loose his consciousness for a seconds and comes back to normal. Is this something to do with neuroscience. What diagnosis should i suggest to him. He says that he has to read at least 3-4 times to understand the contents and he doesn’t like reading more lines as he get distracted soon. Also he finds himself distract when somebody is talking to him he misses out many points that were told to him.

Dear Newty,

I’d suggest focusing. No TV, no music, no interesting things in the room or on the walls or out the window. Maya Angelou used to write in a hotel room and request all the paintings be taken off the walls.

17. Jasmine asks:

I absolutely love people and wish I could easily talk to people. I’m 14 years old and had such bad social anxiety I had to be put into homeschool in 7th grade because I was fainting from anxiety attacks everytime I stepped within 60 feet of someone. I still am in homeschool and it’s just depressing to me that I don’t get to have the same experiences with friends and relationships as other teenagers. I’ve talked to people i’ve known since elementary school online and they say things like “we should catch up” and I say “yeah sure” and never get back to them. I’ve even canceled dates. It’s mostly because I feel weird looking and just well, weird in general. I don’t share much interest in things that other people do. I’m short (only 5’2), i’m curvy (not fat I have a flat stomach but a big butt and thighs), I have a weird face shape, I don’t dress very fancy just a tshirt and skinny jeans, I can’t even have small talk or be looked at without choking. It’s just horrible. Is there any advice anyone could give me to try to tackle this whatsoever?

Dear Jasmine,

I’m so sorry you’re suffering. I have had depression and social anxiety all my life, and I’ve tried a lot of things, and honestly, it’s different for every person. For me, it’s been finding out who I am, what I’m good at, and what I like/dislike; a strong sense of self is important, and in learning about yourself you might learn about others. I have good and bad days, but my best days are ones when I go out and do activities I like. Maybe joining a youth group or Girl Scouts would help you meet new friends your own age; don’t rely on the Internet. It’s summer, and I’m sure there are plenty of activities around you…look into taking a class in dance, acting, or public speaking, or audition for a local community theatre production. As far as inside of you, taking meds is not a shameful thing; seeing a psychiatrist might be beneficial. If none of these things feel possible for you yet, just do something small and creative, like a silly YouTube video or a funny blog; I have one. Good luck with things and remember you’re not alone.

18. Olivia asks:

I’m 14 turning 15 in a few months. I am really interested in modeling and acting. I have been for a few years. I have also started running to lose weight and working out. I have blonde medium length curly hair and blue eyes.
I’m about 5.5″ (that was a few months ago) and I’m close to Toronto Area.
I just need advice on how I could “break in” to the world persay. Also, both my parents work so they would not be able to stay on set or a shoot. Would this mean I would have to wait until I am of legal age to model/act? Is there any chance for me if I don’t have community theatre in my town (and the closest one is Musical which I strongly dislike)? And how could I model for companies like Garage, Walmart, etc? How would I find a legit agency? And would I have to pay them money or is it a scam?
Thanks to everyone who takes the time to answer!

Dear Olivia,

First of all, be VERY careful. Have a parent or older relative (aunt/uncle/sister/brother) with you, you never know who wants what.

Second of all, I think a lot modeling/acting “schools” are scams. Self-promotion is so easy in this day and age. Make a website and a resume, and a passport photo place could take a very nice and inexpensive photo; many high fashion models do their first series of headshots au naturel/very little makeup, looking straight at the camera expressionless. A white top makes it extra elegant. Camera phones have also evolved to take great pictures.

Third, I am sure you could act locally with your parents’ permission and possibly a waiver.

Fourth, if you live near a college/university, contact their theatre department; students are always looking for readers/actors.

19. Christina asks:

So I’m visiting my long distance boyfriend soon and I’m staying with him at his parnents house. (Both 18 by the way) anyways I got a blank thank you card with a gift card to his parent’s favorite resturant. How do I express my thankfulness to them? I’m not good at putting words that I express together. Thank you!

Dear Christina,

How about: Dear Mr and Mrs Jones:
Thank you so much for your hospitality. Please accept this gift as a token of appreciation for opening your home and your heart to me.
Yours truly,
Christina

20. D asks:

I’ve been getting a lot of social and mental problems lately and I feel I need to see a psychologist about it. I’m not wanting to meet one in person, I just want to be able to email one and ask for help in that way. Does anyone know any good psychologist sites and ones where I can email? Thanks 🙂

Dear D,

http://www.psychologytoday.com connected me to someone who really helped me a lot. Good luck!

You got questions?

I got answers.

Ask me.

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0

Tongue-Tied

One of the things I love most about going to class is participating in discussions. Since I live alone, there are only so many times I can rehash the same conversations over and over in my head, like why I should or should not sweep the floor today, or if I made the right decision about this or that in my life. So, going to class and participating in discussions is one way to hear other currents of information and contribute words of my own, words that may mean something to someone, or not. I’ve never been called out for lack of participation, and I do my best to keep my thoughts limited and on topic.

It’s rare that I have a moment like I did today.

So there I was, just sitting in class, listening in and taking notes on a discussion about societal values, symbolism, and political ideology. Even though I didn’t quite understand every word of every reading we had to do, hearing them spoken aloud helped me get a better perspective on things. This topic was one I had been unsure about, but a thought came to me as we discussed different levels of societies and the socially constructed methodology.

I raise my hand. (Even though since there are only seven students and one professor, most people just start talking, I still raise my hand, because I guess I like rules, or I’m bad at breaking old habits).

The professor calls on me, and all eyes turn toward me.

My brain says: Where did the carefully crafted thought I just had disappear to? I know it’s somewhere…and yes, it had to do with…

“The values of society can sometimes be as cut-and-dry as visual symbols, like…”

Like what?

“Like…Boy Scouts. And Girl Scouts.”

Okay, Jacob, good, keep going.

::silence::

Come on, you can do it.

“Whenever they complete a task that coalesces with a positive attribute of the fundamentals of their organization, they get a badge, and I guess that these badges are a way of exposing the values behind the organization and society of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.”

Keep going, you’re almost there!

“So, my point is, it can be as simple as a merit badge that shows the values of a society that values ethics, and children.”

Okay, wrap it up.

“They promote their own cause by presenting boys and girls with badges, that they wear across their chest, on their, um, clothing, shirt, vest, that thing, wraps around your neck, shoulder, shirt, vest, thing, so that it can be easily seen and understood by outsiders…”

????

“…the core values of their organization, which causes a sense of pride, validating their sense of community-mindedness, to their community, and their importance within their own society, as well as to outsiders, with the badges they wear, across, their shirts, vest, chest, the thing that wraps around…”

…..

::silence::

What? Where am I? Who am I? What am I saying? What is…what? I should just stop talking, this is dumb…

“I should just stop talking, this is dumb…wait…oh my God, I’m sorry…” ::bites lip awkwardly::

At this point, the professor jumped in, and said something like “oh yes, no, yes, that’s a good example, that proves your point, you did a good job with that…” and we moved on, with me still kind of staring into nowhere.

I think I quietly said something to myself like “ugh, that was terrible, that made no sense…”

At which point the girl next to me overheard me, patted me on the shoulder, and said in a small voice, “No, you’re good, that was good, you’re okay.”

Oy vey. That’s all I have to say.

0

Strategies for Talking with the Socially Awkward (Written By A Socially Awkward Person)

Awkwardness is alive and well in all levels of conversation, especially in 2013, when we can rely on text messages and emails to do our talking for us. The face-to-face is becoming rarer, and as we move towards an age of total social isolation, talking with people can be rough. I’d say about 75% of people out there would describe themselves as “socially awkward.” I am in that 75%. There’s no denying it; I am so socially awkward, most of it stemming from a childhood of limited social interactions with people (especially those my own age). Where I feel socially capable, however, is talking to the similarly socially awkward person, with hopes of decreasing or completely negating the mutually felt so-called social awkwardness. I had a conversation today with someone who is undoubtedly as socially awkward as I, or even more, and it went off beautifully, in part by employing these strategies:

1. Open with a fun greeting. Regardless of your mood, smile and say “Hey there!” or “How goes it?” or “Howdy!” Something to briefly catch the person off guard, showing you put some forethought into your greeting and are, dare I say, excited to meet/see the person.

2. Ask about the person, avoiding questions that leave room for a one-word answer. I personally love “How ya doin’?,” and saying it in a peppy manner is all the better, but opening the conversation with a prompting question rather than a…regular question…helps you glide right into actual person conversation. If you haven’t talked to the person in a really long time or are meeting them for the first time, sometimes you gotta reach a little bit. Saying “How’ve things been going?” or “Tell me about yourself!” works – something that’s inviting and lets them know that you want to continue the conversation, and are focused on them. “If you have talked to the person recently, you can ask them a question relating to something that happened in the interim since the last time you talked. For example, “How was your weekend?” or “What’s new in your life?” or “How’d your visit to the abortion clinic go?” Not the last one, but you get the point.

3. Focus on them, but not too much. I was seated at my conversation today, and I found that leaning forward and nodding my head was way more effective then sitting back and shrinking from the conversation. Also, because the chair was comfortable, and I didn’t sleep well last night, the sitting-back position was more likely to put me to sleep, so I adjusted myself periodically. Don’t always worry about sitting up straight, and if you need to adjust, don’t question yourself, just do it. Eye contact is important, but looking too intensely may scare him/her, so it’s okay to look down or to the side for a second. I was teaching a class once, and a guy in the front row was half-smiling and nodding and making eye contact with me, so as I was looking around the room doing the teaching thing, I kept coming back to him, and it made me feel a little bit special inside knowing that as awkward as I am, someone cared enough to listen to me. Either that, or he was a really convincing actor.

4. Listen until the end of the tape. If you remember cassette tapes, at the very end of the song, there’d be a tiny bit of empty hissing before the tape snapped and you had to rewind it. (God I feel so old.) Let his/her speech run its course, and then a few seconds longer, as if you’re waiting for the hiss or you’re on a three-second broadcast delay. (Better metaphor.) Don’t chomp at the bit with the next thing you’re going to say, even if you already know what it is – dial it back, son. Don’t make them feel like you’re controlling things; let him/her know that you’ve processed them for a second before opening your yap. Buuut…don’t wait too long, and create the Awkward Silence of Death (see number 6).

5. Be animated while you talk, but again, not too much. Nothing is scarier than a monotone, because most socially awkward people like myself get scared easily. Using your hands to gesture is fine. I’d suggest giving yourself some room lest you hit him/her in the nose. Act excited to be there, like “I’ve been so looking forward to this, and you, conversation partner, are just the bee’s knees, and I’d rather be nowhere else right now.” If you’re not, fake it, damn it. Don’t obscure your feelings; try putting your heart on your sleeve for a moment. Be vulnerable for a moment or two. Allow him/her to see your inner monologue and how what he/she is saying is directly influencing your processing of thought. Give them that power – for now – and then you’ll be like “ha ha, I am the puppet master of social interactions!” But don’t say that out loud.

6. Awkward Silence of Death. So many people have told me that silence is good in a conversation, but unless it’s with someone you’re really close to, it’s not. Keep silence at 3-4 seconds, max. Keep the conversation going, or you may let your guard down or allow them to retreat back into doubting their own social skills. I’ve been interviewed a lot of times, and the ones with awkward silences are the worst. Keep it light, and say something to bring your minds back into the conversation.

7. Know when to switch topics, and when to cut bait. Don’t EVER say “let’s change the topic…” that implies that you are either uninterested or insulted by what he/she is currently telling you. Try “In other news…” or “just apropos…” or if you’re feeling irreverent, “And now, for something completely different…” And when you switch the topic, don’t come out of left field, it might leave your awkward person tongue-tied. Ending conversations is tough…if you have somewhere to be, or something to do, or you run out of things to talk about and fall into the trap of “so…yeah… [trails off into nothingnowherenadaland]” make a move and a cheery exit, maybe even with a flourish, making your conversation partner look forward to the time when the two of you can be socially awkward together again.

Above all, keep it positive, light, upbeat, and breezy…the more you pretend that you’re a socialite, the better it works! But you’re obviously in possession of more intelligence than your average socialite (whoops, almost typed socialist) so you got it made in the shade.

If you’re talking to a person who thinks they’re not socially awkward, then either a) these strategies will not work for you, or b) it is likely that he/she is, in fact, more socially awkward than you.

This was a weird post, but if you’ve learned nothing, know this:

Social interactions are only as terrifying as you make them. Most people don’t have two heads, one speaking to you and one judging you. If you are in a conversation with a person with two heads, run and get your camera because you’re obviously going to want a selfie. If you are in a conversation with a zombie, just skip to number 7, cut bait with a cheery exit and a flourish, and then just run away because otherwise they will eat your brains.