The bathrooms on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu

Inca trail bathroom sign

If you’re thinking of doing the 4-day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu and you’re someone who appreciates modern plumbing, you’re probably wondering what the bathroom situation is like. Spoiler alert: not good.

I did the hike myself in early September of 2014, and because Google wasn’t that helpful in my pre-trip research in detailing what the toilets were like, I decided to document them and write this post for all of you Inca Trail hikers of the future. Here’s your poop trigger warning: some of these photos are gross. Also, I swear I’m not some toilet-obsessed person; I just appreciate knowing the details of what I’m getting into on trips, and bathrooms are a significant part of that.

This post is totally focused on toilets, so I’m abbreviating the rest of the trip. The quick summary: we spent a few days in Cusco to acclimate and hang out, then did the classic 3-night, 4-day hike with Inca Trail Reservations (who we loved and I recommend) to Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail was beautiful and amazing, and it felt like a serious accomplishment to do it carrying our roughly 30-lb packs ourselves.   (more…)

The polarizing brilliance of Tim and Eric


Image: Cathy A. Fisher

Originally published on Medium.

People who have seen Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s work either love it or hate it. There isn’t much in between. The pair’s cult following ranges from Adult Swim fanboys to high-profile actors like Jeff Goldblum and Bob Odenkirk, but vocal detractors say it’s just stoner humor with gross-out imagery that doesn’t make sense.

The people who hate Tim and Eric don’t seem content to just avoid it; they actively trash it. There are forum posts all over the web saying things like “They are talentless hacks that aren’t worth the air they breathe” and that “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” “has to be the most childish stupid show in existence.” It’s like Tim and Eric is a members-only club that denied them entrance in a spectacularly rude and personal way, and now they want revenge.

To be fair, I’m in the other camp. I once won Tim and Eric’s costume contest on their tour by crossdressing as Casey’s brother. I have quotes and songs memorized. I own and have watched every season of Awesome Show dozens of times, and I refresh YouTube mentions of Tim and Eric a few times a week for anything new that they’ve released or that mentions them. (more…)

12 terrible Instagram comments on celebrity photos

instagram commentsI’m pretty new to Instagram (I avoided it for privacy reasons), but two things are clear now that I’m here:

1. It’s fascinating; and

2. People leave creepy, desperate comments on celebrity photos.

Every time a celebrity posts something, there’s a string of horrible comments under it. Sure, obnoxious Internet comments are nothing new, but many of the Instagram comments have the same pathetic, fame-obsessed quality.

Instagram is a variable reward system where the reward is a reply or a follow from the celebrity, and each creepy comment is a press of the Skinner Box button. The commenters are so driven for that one digital interaction from their celeb hero that they’ll publicly embarrass themselves repeatedly to get it.

Here are a few examples of sad, creepy Instagram comments I’ve seen:

Aaron Paul instagram commentsClearly a photo of Aaron Paul’s wife where he captions that he loves her is the ideal place for me to profess MY love for him as well…in six separate comments.



RuPaul’s Drag Race vocabulary guide

Rupauls drag race dictionary vocabularyMy best friend Tyler is a doctor of clinical psychiatry who recently put his brainpower to work in an email thread introducing a friend to a dictionary of RuPaul’s Drag Race terms. In honor of the upcoming Season 6, I’ve pasted it with minimal edits below.

“Dearest ladies and lady-boys venturing into RuPaul’s Drag Race:

To minimize the jarring nature of your transition to euphoria, I’ve crafted a little insider’s guide to all things drag, particularly the nuanced lexicon in use by these world-class enterTAINTers.

Dictionary (the library is OPEN):

Jujubee from RuPaul's Drag Race in the library reading you to filth

Fishy: generally used to refer to a queen who seems “real,” in terms of femininity. Sometimes, this is used in a derogatory fashion (i.e., “She may be fishy, but she’s not that talented”). It is also possible to “serve fish,” meaning you’re going for a particularly “girly” look.

Ki-Ki: the process of gossiping with another queen. You may often hear reference to a “Ki-Ki session.”  (more…)

How to find a journalist’s email address in 8 steps

Sherlock Holmes hat and magnifying glass to show finding someone's email address

Most news sites don’t make their writers’ contact info easy to find. If it were, reporters would get even more slammed with pitches, spam, and crazy reader rants than they already are. The further down the digital rabbit hole the email is, the more effort it takes to find (and the more it weeds out uncommitted people and bots).

I’ve gotten pretty good at finding people’s email addresses, so I’m sharing my process here. Start at step one, and you should find most emails by around step four. The tough ones will have you going all the way through eight.   (more…)

Email Updates