When it comes to camping gear, few people stop to think that there just might be a difference between gear designed for men and gear designed for women. Of course, most people think that men will want gear to safely carry items like hand guns, crossbows and other ‘manly’ items, but is there any real difference other than perhaps color? Do you know the real difference between his and hers backpacks?

1. Women’s Backpacks Have Narrower Shoulders

The first real difference is in the breadth of the shoulders. Obviously, most women have narrower shoulders than men so the shoulder straps will be narrower to reflect this difference in anatomy. The purpose of a backpack is to carry weights safely, but the wrong width of straps can place the weight in the wrong area, causing major pain at the end of the day. A good tip here is to find a backpack with well-padded straps to keep your bones from becoming bruised – and believe it or not, they really can!

2. Hip Belts Are Different Based on Gender

Women are obviously a bit (a bit?) shapelier than men, so belts on a backpack will reflect this as well. The purpose of the belt is to take some weight off the shoulders, just like shoulder straps, and are meant to distribute weight evenly on the back. Finding the right belt on a woman’s backpack ensures that weight will be evenly distributed by working in conjunction with the shoulder straps.

3. Length and Overall Size

Let’s face it. Women are generally smaller than men. Yes, some women are six feet and taller, but that is not the norm. In 2010, the average height for women in the United States was approximately 5’4” and the average height for men was 5’10”. That is a significant difference, and as a result, the torso will be longer on men than on women.

The Ultimate Purpose of Backpacks Must Be Considered

Length is important when it comes to camping backpacks as they are going to be holding various amounts of weight. Remember that the ultimate purpose of a backpack is to ease the burden on the back, bones and muscles. Unevenly distributed weight can cause more problems than you would care to think about, some lasting a lifetime.

When you start looking for camping gear, there may not seem to be a huge difference between his and hers camping backpacks, but there really are significant differences. Make sure the pack you carry will not place undue strain on muscles and that the pack allows you to walk with proper posture. By ensuring the right distribution of weight you should be able to stand up tall and straight. The wrong backpack, too short or too long, will almost always put the weight where it isn’t supposed to be. Now, with all that said and done, it’s time to think about what to pack – but that’s another story for another day.

Dearest You,

Thanks for coming to see my on my 39th birthday. So far, the day is pretty good. Scrubby hasn’t peed on anything, yet.

But I am really writing to tell you that today is the last day I will post on this blog.

That’s right. I am killing The Cynical Girl.

I am sorry that I kept this secret from you, boo. I wanted to surprise you. The archive will be up for a month. After that, I will start writing under my own name.

You ask, “Wait — what’s different?”

I’m different, baby.

TheCynicalGirl.com was an excellent website. I am happy it brought us together. And our relationship made me a better thinker and writer. You also made me happy, which is no easy task.

Thank you.

Change isn’t easy, but I hope you come back and find me in early February on LaurieRuettimann.com — and I will miss you until then.


January 1st was a pretty easy day for me.

  1. I went to Starbucks.
  2. I ran with my husband.
  3. I sat on the couch and read through a stack of magazines.
  4. I had over 300 interactions on Facebook in about 30 minutes of total online time.

Not that it’s any of your business.

  • I participated in FB Messenger chats (“Happy New Year…”) with over 40 people. Some of those chats went on for a few rounds (“My kid puked in the hallway. We were in bed by 10…”) and some were very direct (“If I don’t get a new job, this year, I might die…”).
  • Then I liked and commented on nearly 200 posts.
  • Then I looked at a ton of Lil Bub pictures.

To be fair, I don’t live near my family or many of my friends. And a bunch of friends are newly engaged. Some just had babies. There were two birthdays. My ex-boyfriend’s son dressed up like Batman and set off fireworks, which was ridiculously cute. Carmen Hudson got married. And I feel it’s important to like almost all of Matt Stollak’s baby photos because his children bring me joy.

And, once again, it’s none of your business.

But I read an article on Business Insider about deleting your Facebook Timeline, and I thought, “I’m smart. Job seekers might want to know more about this. I should give this a go.”

Turns out that none of this is easy (as articulated in the aforementioned article) and none of it is really worth it.

I followed the instructions. I used two browsers and two different programs that run two different kinds of scripts. I cleared my cache, restarted my computer, let the programs run all night long, and watched the whole thing fail.

While some of my stuff is gone, it’s not all gone. Some of it is hidden. Much of it remains behind the scenes.

Screen shot 2014-01-04 at 11.49.19 PM

So FYI for job seekers: Fuck this shit.

  1. Don’t put yourself in a position to be watched or judged. Stay offline. Never use a credit card. Look for black helicopters in the sky. Or just live your life to the fullest — however you define it — and realize that some people won’t like it.
  2. Model good behaviors. If you are in a position to hire someone, make fact-based hiring decisions related to knowledge, skills and abilities.
  3. You do you. Stop explaining yourself and go have fun. It’s amazing how much power you have when you don’t talk.

Now excuse me while I go talk about Morrissey and look at food photos from people I actually like while wearing eos lip balm.

It’s time for you to learn the difference between cynicism, pessimism and nihilism.

  • Cynicism is an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest. Cynics are often skeptics.
  • Pessimism is a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen; there’s a lack of hope or confidence in the future.
  • Nihilists believe that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.

Many of my critics ride my ass and say, “It’s easy to be cynical, Laurie.”

Actually, asshole, it is not easy to be cynical. Cynicism requires emotional distance and solid critical thinking skills. It requires a writer to be comfortable with some very uncomfortable truths about human behavior. And it requires me to consider the tension between two opposite worlds: the dreamy world of human achievement and the sad world of limited human potential.

You know what’s easy? Being pessimistic and nihilistic. Both impulses are selfish. Neither perspective requires empathy or an understanding of the complexities of the human condition. Pessimists are always ready for the worst. Nihilists see everything as pointless. Why bother?

And I think it is very easy to be an optimist. You want to feel good and get something through nothing? You  want to see the best in everyone and have a fabulous brand experience? People like Jordan Belfort, Bernie Madoff, Jack Abramoff and Ken Lay are examples of men who benefited from of a shortage of cynics in America. And for every Gandhi-like figure on the international stage, there are hundreds of adults who are pulling their kids from the Boy Scouts, right now, and taking pot shots at gay kids in the process.

How lovely. This is why I’m a cynic.

But I also know that people can, from time to time, succeed in amazing ways that defy logic. Members of our military — along with firefighters, cops and other first responders — are paid to put themselves in harm’s way; however, many of them would do that work for free if they could.

And I am always amazed by strangers and first responders who rush into frozen lakes and pull out drowning dogs. That kind of bravery and selflessness is so rare. It makes me want to cry.

Being a cynic ain’t easy, but it ain’t empty or hopeless.

  • We are flawed.
  • We are selfish.
  • We make mistakes.

Life is messy and complicated. In between moments of suffering and pain, much of which we cause ourselves, we might experience joy and happiness.

I don’t take those awesome moments for granted. And neither should you.

That’s what it means to be cynical.

thinkware-was-directly-across-from-audi-where-we-spotted-this-pretty-lady-manning-the-front-deskHello, everyone. Welcome to the first Sunday of the rest of your lives. Did you have a good holiday season? Everyone make it out without too much damage?

I totally forgot that I was supposed to be at International CES, this week. I applied for a press pass, many weeks ago, because I was inspired to cover the booth babes who work at the show. While CES booth babes aren’t like auto show booth babes, they still exist. They aren’t going away. And these women make interesting career choices.

Who are they? Models looking for big breaks? Pretty women who don’t mind being ogled by tech nerds and industry analysts? I thought there might be a story wrapped up in there beyond the debate of whether or not booth babes are appropriate.

I wanted to ask, “What did you study in college? What do you dream about when you stand next to the refrigerator of the future? While you model the next juicer with a smart chip inside the motor, what’s on your mind? Do you really feel like this is the right stepping stone in your career? What do you think of Obamacare? Have you been paying attention to the ongoing issues in Syria?”

But then I forgot all about it until yesterday when I realized — Oh yeah, I have a press pass. I should go to Vegas, tomorrow. And I think Jessica Merrell might be going, and it would have been cool to hang out with her outside of a human resources event. (Go follow her on Twitter.)

But it’s my birthday week and I want to be home. Plus my running is about to start. And I have a corporate thing, next week, and then a few more things before I go over to London and Istanbul in early February.

No Vegas for me. I’m okay with that. But if you’re at CES, let me know how you enjoyed it.

And (oh yeah) I forgot to mention that some Boeing workers approved contract concessions. I think concessions are fine when they are fair and consistent. According to The New York Times, “A Boeing official wrote to workers saying they would still ‘receive market-leading wages and benefits.’ Many have base pay of $70,000 a year, with some earning $100,000 with overtime.”

Okay. Sounds like a decent wage. But James McNerley, the CEO of Boeing, had a total compensation of $13.36MM USD in 2012 and earned $64.44MM USD over the previous five years. And he has a nice pension, too.

Hmm. All I’m saying is that workers should be capitalists, too.

Now have a great week and make good choices!