​​I am an unquenchable fire,
The center of all energy,
The stout heroic heart.
I am truth and light,
I hold power and glory in my sway.
My presence
Disperses dark clouds.
I have been chosen
To tame the Fates.


It’s 2024, y’all. The fuuuture!!! In the Chinese zodiac, 2024 is the Year of the Wood Dragon. The dragon is fifth amongst the 12 animals of the Shengxiao a.k.a. Chinese zodiac. As Theodora Lau, author of The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, describes in the 1979 poem “Mary as our Lady of the Dragon” quoted above, dragons represent tenacity, wisdom, and auspiciousness. They revel in challenges, spending countless hours working towards and conquering opposition. Both Bruce Lee and Martin Luther King, Jr. were born in dragon years—case in point. These mythological, fire-breathing creatures are symbols of power and luck, and 2024 is predicted to provide oodles of these things. 2024 is also an election year, so let’s all hold hands, metaphorically and literally, and pray that the dragon ushers in some kind of luck, wisdom, and intelligence on November 5th. In order to usher in a fresh start to the new year, it is tradition for Chinese families to clean their homes the day before it begins. The word “dust” (chén) is a homophone for the word “old” in Chinese, so cleaning represents sweeping away all of the previous year’s grimy luck. In 2024, let’s kick that old, stinky energy to the curb and harness our inner Falkor, fiercely carrying wisdom and happiness with us every day. Now let’s get to the tips, friends!

How do I clean my stinky yoga mat?
Cleaning your yoga mat is a very important thing to do, my friend. If you aren’t cleaning that thing regularly, you’re rubbing your sexy, fit frame all over the bacteria, dried sweat, and oil from your bod. Yuck! Add a tiny squirt of mild dish soap and two tablespoons of white vinegar to a 16 oz. spray bottle of warm water. Spray your mat and wipe it all over with a moist rag. Wipe the mat again with another moist rag to remove the suds. You might have to repeat the sud removal step a few times to get rid of the bubbles. Clean in this manner on the other side of the mat, then hang it over a shower rod or some such thing to dry fully. If you want to go a little deeper (and who doesn’t?) and your mat can be submerged, add a few drops of mild dish soap and a cup of white vinegar to a bathtub filled with warm water and lay your mat flat in there. After letting it soak for about 10 minutes, give it a light rub all over. Drain the tub, rinse the mat thoroughly,  removing all the suds, and hang it over the curtain rod to dry. A good way to fully remove your sweat after your hot yoga class is to sprinkle some baking soda over it; this will soak up your fluids and your smells. You should clean your mat at least once a week, but I highly recommend wiping it down after every class. Namaste.

I just bought a bunch of records at a thrift store. How do I clean them?
I hope you got the 1981 Judi Sheppard Missett Jazzercise album! There are a few ways to clean your vinyl: cheap and easy or expensive and unnecessary. The first option, which lots of record enthusiasts that I know swear by, is washing the wax. Pour a stream of lukewarm distilled water over the LP. Be sure to use distilled water, as tap water contains minerals that might scratch the record. Squirt a small blob of dish soap onto a soft sponge. Hold the sponge lightly against the record, whilst gently rotating the record along the grooves; do not rub the center label of the record. Next, rinse the vinyl under a stream of lukewarm, distilled water, and then place it on a clean cotton towel to dry. Dab the label lightly with a cotton towel to dry it; do not rub it. To remove any remaining water, grab a soft cotton rag and dry it in the same rotating motion that you made when cleaning it. If the label is still damp, grab a hair dryer and adjust it to the lowest heat setting. Hold it about two inches from the label and dry’r off. Another cleaning option is to grab two microfiber cloths: one dry and one dampened with distilled water. First, wipe the record with the dry cloth to remove dust and debris. Now lightly rotate the damp cloth around the record, along the grooves. Now grab the dry microfiber rag again and move it in the same motion that you used to clean it. If you want to be fancy, you can buy a record cleaning kit. These kits usually include items such as cleaning brushes galore (velvet brush, microfiber brush, stylus brush), cleaning solution, and a storage pouch. If you are a totally anal vinyl geek or a professional record person, you might invest in a record cleaning machine. These machines basically do exactly what your hands can do but cost lots of money, from around $70 all the way up to $2,000. May your records gleam!

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