The Dos and Don'ts of Teenage Dating - WeHaveKids - Family
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3) Encourage Variety: Teenage dating is a great opportunity for the young person to figure out what they want (and don't want) from a relationship, as well as learn more about who they are and the areas in which they need to grow.Encourage them to go out with many different people so they know what they want in a partner. In fact, make a rule that they cannot go out with the same person twice ... Seventeen has everything you've ever want to know about love and guys. From the best tips and advice to cute date ideas, we've got you covered when it comes to dating. I. 17 Dating Tips For Teenage Guys. If you’re single and dating, you may be surprised to know that the dating tips are actually quite deep and unlimited. First dates can make most of us anxious, especially for teenagers. Teenage is one of the most unforgettable periods in any boy’s life. Coping with Teen Dating – Tips for Parents Most parents have some fears of the day their child will start dating. It is the big sign that they’re growing up and are entering adulthood. Love can take you to new highs -- and new lows. You may have the strongest feelings of your life, which is great when things are good. But if things go bad, it’s devastating. Here are six dating tips to help you keep your head during this exciting time. Dating Tip 1: Take Your Time. Some teens date, some don’t. Dating someone who goes to the same school as you is often the most convenient and safest option for a teenage girl. A classmate is more likely to have a similar schedule to yours. This will make planning and going on dates much easier. Now obviously this isn’t a complete list and I could go on for days, but these tips proved to be the most important bits of dating advice I shared with my own teen daughters over the years. So use this as a jumping-off point and just start the conversation. Add your own advice and the opinions of the people you trust and then just keep talking. Unfortunately, too often teens start dating with no preparatory talks from their parents and then they can get into trouble. According to Planned Parenthood, about 10 percent of teenage girls in ...
I really fucked up myself
2020.10.18 09:02 ZlochinaI really fucked up myself
So, i just fully understood that i had missed several chances to go out with good pretty girls. I've been studying in the same lyceum for several years and i was that one guy that was in touch with everyone in class and that's mostly the reason several girls were in love with me or they liked me. Two of them were special. There is almost nothing to say about the first one. We were good friends and i missed all her hints of her liking me. On the last of our days studying together we met in group of our classmates and at the end of our conversation she told me that she liked me for some time. Thus i understood that i was such a naive kid in relationships. Our friendship with the second one, which lasted for one year, started with me unexpectedly sending her meme. And so in one year i started noticing that she gave me tips to go out. We discussed it by not saying things straight forward and we started dating. She was pretty cool girl. That lasted ONE WEEK. I told her that i liked the other one (not really, i just couldn't sort out my feelings). And that fucked all our friendship. Soon later she started dating the guy, whom she began sitting at the class with. I soonly understood the hell i had done and regretted it for half a year. And recently the group of my closest, even best, friends started their life with alcohol and weed. Of course i was dragged along. Though i meet them to get drunk or use drugs not so often as they do (like 3-4 times a month), i feel like that's not my thing (but this feeling awakens, when i'm left with myself for a good amount of time) and i feel that i want to go higher to reach my ambitions. But i can see all the pain losing these friends and being left alone in front of my ambitions and all the hard obstacles they have. Also i can try combining going up and having fun w/ my friends, but i can't see the way to do it, because of one simple reason. I'm teenager and the bursting emotions inside of me can't leave me with cool head. I fucking hate this teenager's life, cuz' of all the emotional shit happening to me, but i sincerely love it, cuz' of freedom it has. Fuck. This. Shit
2020.10.17 20:32 MajorZuma[SPOILERS] 'Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising' Review and Discussion
"For a thousand years it has been an island of calm within the Chaos. A center of power, a model of stability, and a beacon of integrity. The Nine Ruling Families guard it from within, the Expansionary Defense Fleet guards it from without. The Chiss Ascendancy." It has been a little over a month and a half since the release of Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising. I wanted to take a deep dive and write a review of the story. Depending on the reception, I will review more books as I would like to. Also I wasnt sure if this was the right sub for this, please let me know if it isn't. Thrawn is easily one of my favorite characters from all of Star Wars, I loved the character's debut in the canon and his strong legacy in Legends. The canon debut novel itself was amazing and then his screen debut in Rebels was even more amazing. Never in a million years did I think we would see a legends-made character acknowledged in such a big way. When this novel was first announced, I was excited but also skeptical. I thought one of the reasons Thrawn and the Chiss are so loved by the fans is because of their mystery, the allure of the unknown. As far as the new canon goes before this novel, we knew next to nothing about the Chiss Ascendancy, counting the few tidbits of information spread throughout Zahn's more recent Thrawn books(Thrawn, Thrawn: Alliances and, Thrawn: Treason). There is a ton of strong worldbuilding that happens throughout the book, but it should be expected as this is new territory for Star Wars Canon. I guess my fear was that taking a deep dive into the Chiss would be underwhelming since the mystery is so strong. However since I started reading, I feel confident in saying Thrawn Ascendancy has changed my mind. I loved learning about the Chiss and their ways, it was probably my favorite highlight of the book. Warning: Spoilers for Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising From the structure of individual names to the way they handle alien threats, the Chiss are fascinating. The power of the Ascendancy resides within Nine Ruling Families and the Expansionary Defense Fleet. The two branches provide a "checks and balance" system as one doesn't hold power over the other. The Chiss people themselves are motivated by bringing honor, respect and power to their family. Thus families are constantly in a climb for power against each other with rivalries and political schemes. All that along with their view of the Ascendancy itself: "Order and steadfastness, security and power, light and culture and glory. It was an island of calm amid the twisted hyperspace lanes and the ever changing pathways that slowed travel and stunted trade." (Supreme General Ba'kif's view of the Ascendancy) We also learn about the Chaos or as we know it, the Unknown Regions. The Chiss have a legend of why the Chaos is the Chaos. It's a really great passage: "Once at the dawn of space travel, it had been no more difficult to move between any of the Stars than it was now to travel in the Ascendancy. But then, millennia ago, a series of chain supernova explosions throughout the region had sent huge masses tumbling at high speed between the stars, some of them demolishing asteroids or whole worlds, others sparking more supernovas with their near lightspeed impact. The movement of all those masses, coupled with regions of heavy electromagnetic flux, resulted in the constantly changing hyperlanes that made voyage longer than a couple of star systems difficult." It was cool that they also point out how the Chaos is a double catch, on one hand the nature of the Chaos protects the Chiss from invaders, on the other hand it hurts trade and commerce. Throughout the novel we learn more and more about the Ascendancy ways and its long history. At one point during a memory, a young Cadet Thrawn and Cadet Ar'alani visited an art gallery where artifacts dating back to the Sith Empire could be seen. We also learn about the Chiss homeworld of Csilla and how a millennia ago it froze over causing the population to leave or go underground. Csilla still remains the capital but several of the Chiss families moved their homesteads offworld. These moments where we learn about the Ascendancy provide such an interesting look into the potential for great stories with the Chiss people. What side were they on during the Sith Empire vs the Republic? Ar'alani says it was a dark time in the Ascendancy's past, possibly alluding that they were allied with the Sith. What was Csilla like in its prime before it froze over? It's said the capital went from a population of 4 billion to 60 million. I love this kind of worldbuilding that provides just enough information and detail to make you wonder but doesn't tell you the full truth. In between chapters during the book we experience memories. These memories are a great look into a young Thrawn and young Ar'alani's past. For example we learn Thrawn was originally named Kivu'raw'nuru and he was a member of a lesser family called the Kivu. Vurawn/Thrawn was selected and then recruited by the Mitth family because of his exemplary skills shown in schooling. The Mitth are a powerful family and a member of the Nine Ruling Families. We also learn Ar'alani used to be Irizi'ar'alani or "Ziara" before earning her own name "Ar'alani" amongst the Chiss military. These memories throughout the novel usually provide background on events that are about to happen in the present day plot line, it's a writing tool that Zahn manages really well. A solid criticism of the novel is that in these memories and the present day plot-line, Thrawn's rise to power is much like his rise in the Galactic Empire. He is given special treatment because of his abilities and skills. A few times throughout the book, it's clear there should be consequences for his actions yet there doesn't seem to be any major ones a lot of the time. He finds enemies within the Chiss because his rise to power is abrupt and unprecedented. It's a little too similar to his rise to power in the Empire, therefore Thrawn skirts dangerously close to becoming repetitive and gimmicky. Which tends to happen with genius characters like Sherlock Holmes or Dr. House. The Prologue kicks off with an attack on the Chiss homeworld Csilla, specifically the capital city of Csaplar. The mysterious attackers are dealt with in efficient fashion but it sparks an investigation which is when Supreme General Ba'kif summons Captain Thrawn. We learn about how members of the Ascendancy view Thrawn through General Ba'kif having to decide if bringing him on the mission is worth the political risk. Its re-iterated, repeated and shown multiple times that Thrawn is a great military leader but a poor political one, often times clashing with the Syndicure and Aristocra(basically the Chiss politicians).The Syndics tend to come off as annoying, and even if it's intentional, they are annoying. Several times throughout the novel, we are reminded of the Chiss policy on no pre-emptive strike, which is a policy Thrawn has a hard time following. Despite these political problems, it never seems to result in any consequences for Thrawn. Before Thrawn sets out on his investigation on the Springhawk, we are introduced to his crew including the young Skywalker Che'ri and former Skywalker but now Che'ri's caregiver Thalias. The Skywalkers might be one of the most interesting and unique aspects of the Chiss. Skywalkers are young force-sensitive children who navigate the Chaos for the Chiss ships, they are highly regarded among the Chiss people yet Skywalker's tend to lose their ability when they enter their teenage years. They are a different kind of Force-sensitive unlike the Jedi or Sith. The relationship between Thalias, a former Skywalker and the young Skywalker Che'ri, takes on an unofficial "Master and Apprentice" dynamic. This duo tends to represent the emotional side of the story since Thrawn can be rather emotionless. The first real battle of the book happens when Thrawn decides to aid Admiral Ar'alani. This opening battle sets the tone for the rest of the space battles in the book. It's made clear the Chiss have superior firing power but the enemy can be overwhelming if they utilize guerrilla tactics such as swarming with small fighters as we see the Pataatus do. Thrawn's reputation as a strategist has made it exciting when, as a reader, we know a battle is going to happen. It's like Sherlock Holmes showing up to a crime scene, the space battle is Thrawn's element. And much like Eli Vanto, Admiral Ar'alani compliments Thrawn in more ways than one. Admiral Ar'alani and General Ba'kif both provide an interesting look at the upper echelon of the Chiss Ascendancy. Admiral Ar'alani is probably my favorite character of the novel. The strong but caring military leader provides a complimentary dynamic with Thrawn. She is Thrawn's senior and superior officer, and they have known eachother since their days at the academy. Unlike the rest of the Chiss she doesn't try to hold Thrawn back, in fact they both agree how they have been instrumental to each other's career. Though Ar'alani seems to pay the consequences more than Thrawn does, several times in the novel she finds herself answering for Thrawn's actions. After the victory against the Pataatus, Thrawn's investigation takes him to other worlds within the Chaos which is also a great piece of worldbuilding. We come across the body of a member of the Navigators Guild. The Navigators Guild are basically a ferry organization in the Chaos with navigators who use the Force, or The Great Presence as Qilori of Uandualon calls it. Once again we are witnessing an alternate way of travel and an alternate use of the Force. We learn about the navigator Qilori as he makes his appearances in both memories and the "present day" plot line. A sniveling coward who tries to play both sides, but I do think his profession as a Navigator is interesting. At one of these worlds that Thrawn is investigating, he comes across the Paccosh and through them we finally learn of our true enemy. We learn of The Nikardun Destiny led by Yiv the Benevolent and his conquest across the Chaos. We learn about the Paccosh and how their homeworld of Rapacc was already a part of the conquest. This whole interaction was so interesting and also very sad as we realize the Paccosh were forced to work for the very Empire that conquered them. In the first half of the novel, we are drip-fed information about the Nikardun as the main plot progresses with Thrawn's investigation of the Chaos. In some instances they seem very savage and primal, and in others they come across as advanced and sophisticated. When Thrawn manages to capture a ship to learn about them, the entire crew commits suicide. They would rather die than be captured. Thrawn's take on them is that they are cunning warmongers thanks to the way they strategically captured surrounding regions of the Chiss Ascendancy, slowly circling in on the strongest seat of power in the Chaos. The Nikardun warriors also seem very loyal, out of belief in their leader Yiv or out of fear of their leader Yiv probably differs on the individual. After the ship's crew commits suicide, once more we witness the annoyance that is the Syndicure. Antagonizing Thrawn over his mission capturing the Nikardun ship, constantly bringing up the policy on pre-emptive strike. If their threats ever amounted to something maybe I would take them more seriously, but to me the Syndics come across as stereotypical pompous politicians. From there, the Springhawk is still receiving repairs when Thrawn and Skywalker Che'ri as well as her caregiver Thalias are assigned to the Vigilant under Admiral Ar'alani. They are to escort a Chiss ambassador on a diplomatic mission to Urch. This diplomatic mission immediately falls apart when Thrawn and Ar'alani quickly realize the Nikardun's conquest has already reached the Urch. When Thrawn spots ships belonging to the Lioaoin Regime, he soon realizes that the Lioaoin and the Nikardun are allies. The Urch and the Pacossh were conquered by the Nikardun but the Lioaoin were allies. This revelation leads Thrawn to investigate how far the Nikardun's reach extends. Which means he is to head for the Garwian Unity. We are also provided a memory of Thrawn's first dealings with the Garwian Unity. Another segment of great world-building, I love all of the fresh lore hidden within the Chaos. It's like a seperate universe within Star Wars, away from the trials and tribulations of the Skywalker Saga. When Thrawn reunites with Garwian military officer Frangelic, Thrawn lays out what he has learned of the Nikardun Destiny. He points out how the Nikardun, the Pacossh and the Lioaoin stand together as part of Yiv the Benevolent's forces. Thrawn wishes to learn about the status of the Vak Combine and goes undercover as an Art Historian to the homeworld of Primea on a Garwian ferry. With Qilori as the navigator on the Garwian ship, Thrawn ventures to Primea undercover with a different alias. An interesting scene plays out as unknown to Thrawn, Qilori is heading to Primea to report to Yiv the Benevolent on his ferry territory of the Chaos. Until suddenly Qilori recognizes Thrawn and decides to actually bring him to meet Yiv the Benevolent. It's really thrilling how this sequence plays out and is one of the best moments in the book. In our first meeting between protagonist and antagonist, Thrawn and Yiv play a game of wits as Thrawn maintains his cover as an Art Historian. Opposite of Thrawn, Yiv is loud and generous, a supposedly imposing figure that is the center of the room. They verbally spar and the two strategists get a good look at their opponent. Thrawn and Yiv both recognize the intellectual ability of the other. Yiv let the disguised Thrawn leave but he intended to capture him via another way which also fell through. Initially I loved this first meeting between hero and villain where on the surface they seemed like opposites but deep down they weren't. Thrawn's admiration of Yiv made the Nikardun Commander seem increasingly formidable. But after completing the book, I find Yiv's scenes to be a bit wasteful as his character doesn't amount to much in the grand scheme of things. When Ar'alani is ordered to retrieve an undercover Thrawn but only if the Vaks of Primea willingly hand him over, it becomes apparent just how much the "no pre-emptive strike" policy hinders the Chiss in diplomatic matters. Ar'alani in her great imposing warship, The Vigilant, is basically trying to retrieve Thrawn with her hands tied. But fortunately for her, Thrawn commandeered a Vak fighter and managed to hop on board after the Lioaoin's open fire on the Vigilant. This is a good example of Thrawn's "plot armor" and him being a little too perfect for my liking, he is practically a superhero in some instances. Things get even more interesting as the attack on the Vigilant means the Lioaoin Regime has now officially attacked the Chiss Ascendancy. Thrawn comes to a great conclusion that shows all the moving parts: "The Nikardun wanted to destroy or capture The Vigilant but didn't want the Chiss Ascendancy's vengeance to fall on either themselves or the Vak Combine of Primea. General Yiv therefore called in a force from the Lioaoin Regime to take that risk and attack the Chiss warship." He also concludes that Yiv wants to see how the Chiss will respond to the attack from the Lioaoins. Yiv's desire to acquire the Vak territory is proven be a weakness as he doesn't want to ruin his relations with the Vak people. Every move that either Thrawn or Yiv made would be analyzed by the other. They were both playing the game steps ahead, like two chess-masters came to battle but their chessboard is the Chaos. Thrawn proposes to Supreme General Ba'kif that they send a scout ship to achieve information on worlds that belong to the Nikardun Destiny and learn General Yiv's strategies. When Thrawn sets out with Skywalker Che'ri, caregiver Thalias asks to take the Trials so she can become Trial-born, a significant rank in Chiss family hierarchy. It's at this moment that the book crosses over with the events of Thrawn Alliances. The events of that novel take place over the course of a few chapters in Thrawn Ascendancy. We see Thrawn and Che'ri in his scout fighter as he comes across Duja and Anakin Skywalker and the mission to find Padme on Batuu as well as Thrawn's acquiring of the shield technology on Mokivj. It's actually pretty satisfying to see two stories seamlessly connect like this, it's how you would expect stories to connect if they are in the same timeline. We see exact dialogue moments from Thrawn Alliances, it allows you take a second to go "I remember this, wow." I do find it interesting how all three Chiss: Thrawn, Ar'alani and, Che'ri note the strange coincidence surrounding the Skywalker name. The Force sensitive navigators of the Chiss are called Skywalkers and now they have met a Force Sensitive warrior named Skywalker, strange coincidence indeed. I feel like something is gonna be revealed there, Zahn makes it known he is aware of the name coincidence as if he is mocking us for wondering why. It's pretty neat how we see the stolen shield technology from Thrawn Alliances pay off in this book. I give credit to Timothy Zahn for playing the long game. The shield technology provides the Chiss with an unexpected advantage against the Nikardun that Yiv will not be able to prepare for. At this point in the novel, the pieces of the chess board have been set. The Nikardun have acquired the surrounding areas of the Chiss Ascendancy and are in the middle of acquiring the Vak Combine of Primea, clearly biding their time for a great assault. After studying the Vak culture during his undercover mission to Primea, Thrawn believes some of the Vak can be swayed against the Nikardun. He sends Thalias and Che'ri to Primea to return his stolen fighter to the Vak in order to score some positive favor with the Vak Combine. This is the moment where the final act gets a little predictable, thanks to Thrawn literally saying it, we know the Vak are probably gonna turn on the Nikardun, Zahn didn't have to spell it out so obviously. Thalias and Che'ri bring the stolen fighter to the Vak and so begins the first part of Thrawn's plan for Yiv the Benevolent. Yiv announces to the Ascendancy leaders that he has taken Thalias and Che'ri hostage and he demands Thrawn come to him alone above Primea. The announcement is a perfect embodiment of Yiv's character, it's loud and bold and extremely arrogant. The Ascendancy is outraged and immediately orders Thrawn and Admiral Ar'alani to retrieve Thalias and Che'ri from the Nikardun. When Thalias and Che'ri are taken and we see how outraged the Ascendancy is, I think this a good example of how Thrawn has obvious plot armor in this book. The Ascendancy's outrage should have ended in a real consequence for his actions. From a monologue that Yiv gives to his hostage duo we learn that he has clearly studied Thrawn extensively. Referencing events of Thrawn's memories that seemingly happened years before. This is another example of why I feel he was wasted when he was disposed of so easily, he had all the groundwork for a great villain but he didn't die so maybe he returns in future novels. He also strategically has his own navigator, Qilori of Uandualon, be the one to bring Thrawn alone to Primea in exchange for the hostages. Thrawn's awareness of Yiv's plan is clear yet he never loses his calm, cool and collected aura. Thrawn is being taken to Primea for what seems like an unwinnable situation with Yiv's victory not far away. Obviously that was not the case as Thrawn's plan was set, soon Ar'alani and her Chiss fleet separately arrived at Primea to provide support for Thrawn, as well as making contact with the Vak Combine of Primea. The Nikardun engaged the Chiss while the Vak observed from a neutral position, it isn't until the Vak are caught in the crossfire that the battle changes. Thrawn reveals to Yiv that he didn't have the loyalty of the Vak as he thought he did, showcasing his superior understanding of the Vak culture, showing how Yiv made a mistake. The Vak view an attack on any individual as an attack on the society as a whole. The final nail in the coffin for the Nikardun in Primean Space was when a lesser Nikardun Commander ignorantly ordered fire at the Vak. The Nikardun unintentionally tipped the odds in the favor of their Chiss opposition as the Vak joined forces with Ar'alani's fleet and destroyed the Nikardun Dreadnoughts. I thought it was really interesting and clever how we are constantly reminded of Thrawn's affinity for history, art and understanding of culture. And how in the final confrontation of the book, Thrawn's understanding of the Vak allowed him to gain the upper hand against Yiv. Yiv himself is disarmed and knocked unconscious by Thrawn when they meet via a tractor beam and Thrawn crashes his freighter to save Thalias and Che'ri. Thalias, following the plan, releases a drug toxin on their Nikardun captors. To be honest, for being this great big presence and the leader of this savage and primal conquerors, Yiv and the Nikardun went down a little too easy for my personal liking. In true trilogy fashion, at the end of the book we are given reflection and a cliffhanger of a mysterious villain by the name of Jixtus that had been observing the Nikardun's failed conquest. This whole final sequence is probably my least favorite part of the book. This Jixtus character promises to bring the end of the Chiss Ascendancy in a cliche ending where I feel like I could hear maniacal laughter in the background. TL;DR So my overall thoughts on Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising stand at a "Good" 7.5/10. I enjoyed it and if you like Thrawn you will too. It takes a big step away from the Skywalker Saga and familiar locations of Star Wars but honestly that step is welcomed. Learning about the Chiss and the Chaos was truly fascinating. It's significantly better than Thrawn: Treason and Thrawn: Alliances, but Thrawn Ascendancy still has its share of issues. The positives: Fresh worldbuilding and lore, strong characters and strong pacing. Unique setting. The negatives stand: an anticlimactic villain, Thrawn's "abilities" are borderline repetitive and gimmicky, and a predictable ending with a cliche lead into a sequel. Let me know your thoughts, if you agree or disagree, or if you think my review was way too long.
2020.10.17 19:37 FullPowerOfYouthIs it absurd to build my own laptop for gaming/work? I’ve built a desktop, and my 7 year old ASUS laptop just crapped out on me.
I searched the sub to see if this has been asked before, and I didn’t come up with anything based on the search terms I used. Anyway, I’d like to use a laptop regularly for both work and gaming - doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, just enough to run World of Warcraft since all our non-MMO style games are on our shared desktop. My husband uses the desktop for WoW, and I used my laptop (his old ASUS that I apprehended once we got married). I’ve never been much of a laptop person, but we have a toddler and I’m the operations manager of our company so it’s much more practical for me now to use one. I built a desktop when I was a teenager almost a decade ago when I had no real prior knowledge of what on earth I was doing. Obviously, building a laptop is different, but I don’t realistically know how much more difficult it would be. I know I could purchase a pre-built, but I would really like to make a custom one myself. What’s the price difference in regards to making a laptop oneself vs purchasing one? Is it worth the time and effort? Is it something I could actually do in a two month (give or take) span? I know it’s silly, but I’d like to have one by the time the WoW expansion releases. It’ll be the first time gaming with my husband in over a year and a half, and it’s our way of having date night when the munchkin is asleep. Also, any suggestions on where to start with all this would be greatly appreciated. I used Newegg for my desktop parts back in the day. I would love any tips and words of advice for this possibly ridiculous ambition. Thanks in advance!
2020.10.16 19:28 Tomrcb04So she said yes and I need help
So last Sunday, I posted here that I asked my crush out, and she said she would think about it. Today at lunch she snapped me saying she had half an hour before her driving lessons, and asked me if I wanted to spend that time with her, of course I said yes. Now we meeting again for my bday on Wednesday for a date. I need some tips on how I can avoid talking about myself. I'm naturally egocentric, today when we were talking, I couldn't help myself from just adding my story to everything. She laughed at those but I don't wanna seem egocentric. What can I do, to prevent myself from doing that, and any other tips for a coffee date would be great.
2020.10.16 06:18 amberfreyjaTrying to set boundaries with roommate
Hey friends I was wondering if anyone has any words for me. So I’m an autistic young adult (21F) with physical disabilities and I’m the depressed, anxious child of an alcoholic dad and an anorexic mom. I’ve got lots of issues with control but am maintaining a slow but steady recovery over my disordered eating issues, and i am also a former self harmer who’s been clean from cutting for about 4 years. I’m a college student. Ugggh i hope roomie won’t see this because this info is pretty recognizable. But they know I’m having issues with this so whatever here i go. I live with my gf (25f), we’ve been dating 3 years and we’ve lived together for about 2 years. My other roommate, the one I’m having issues with, is 21 and a non-binary person. This means that they use they/them pronouns and don’t necessarily identify with a specific gender. If you can’t be respectful of this fact, I ask that you don’t comment with your transphobic opinions. This person and I have been besties since we were 11 years old, and we’ve fought before, but i love them like a sibling. Let’s call them Angel. They are also an autistic person like me. Gf and i live in a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment. We’re both mentally ill but both working and living our lives and all that. She’s 7 months sober from drinking and I’m very proud of her. Now, our now-mutual friend Angel has abusive parents and a habit of dating some..... interesting people. Some have been flat out abusive and some just kinda were.... meh. But nobody really gave Angel space to just be themself. So when they left the latest person, they moved back to their parents house but quickly found that nothing had changed since they left home. The mother is awful and the father is an enabler. It became so bad they stopped Angel from getting a job. So Gf and I had a discussion and decided to clear out our second bedroom, which we had been using as an arts and crafts storage and work space, for Angel to move in. We made it verbally clear (or i thought we did?) that they were supposed to help me clean the house to take some load off of Gf, who works full time while I work part time and study. They also acknowledged that certain shared household tasks are physically painful for me and they would do those ones. And when they got a job they would start contributing money to household expenses. We put them in the lease. Now they’ve been here for almost 2 months and working a good job for a month and just tip toeing over boundaries, it came to a head when gf and i went on a 5 day road trip and came home on Monday to an absolutely trashed house. Smashed wine glasses on the floor, disgusting kitchen trash, a bunch of wine sitting front and center in our (dry) fridge, mugs of wine on the table, pieces of hair clippings in our master bathroom where they must have cut their bangs..... there’s more that I’ve forgotten but the worst was this. I am a plant lady. I’m very attached to my houseplants, they’re important as fuck to me. Like pets. They’re living things. So i left a table of delicate plants with the instructions to not let them get too dry, and water whenever they become dry. We came home to dropping sad plants, and several have been pretty well-damaged from lack of water. I got into the shower and cried my eyes out. House is trashed. It’s monday. Tried to have a gentle conversation with Angel the next day, no dice. Just laughing apologies like “haha dude sorry I’m so dumb!” Which to me is not telling me you feel sorry. I tried to press the plants issue a little bit and they start to look at me like I’m their abusive mom. I feel awful (after having dated a very manipulative gaslighter, one of my specific fears is that i am or will become abusive). Later They take out the smelly trash but don’t fix anything else. It’s Tuesday. Wednesday night Gf and i sat down with Angel and talked gently but honestly about how anxious our house being messy as fuck makes us both feel, and how nobody is getting kicked out but we want to feel able to move about in our home. They cried in front of us and then went into their room and sobbed. Now it’s Thursday night and Angel hasn’t cleaned, or spoken to us except when spoken to or texted. I feel like the parent of a teenage foster child right now but I’m the same age as them. I don’t know where to go from here but I’m a student with chronic pain so i know that i don’t wan to cave in and just clean, because it’ll make my physical issues feel worse and make it harder to study. Gf doesn’t know what to do because she was super triggered by all the broken glass and mugs of old wine sitting around, and she’s just trying to keep her sobriety stable. My mom says we need to be blunt and if we lose the friend we lose the friend. But this is basically my sibling, we’ve been attached at the hip for a decade. I’m so confused and upset. Got ranty a little bit but I’m frustrated with this. My best friend is making me feel so anxious in my own home. And the alcohol being left out, the empty cans and stuff trigger thoughts of my dad and his drinking. I’m also worried about Angel because of what seems to be their excessive drinking but i know it’s not my place to save them. It just sucks
2020.10.13 21:34 crazygoatguyStarting the adoption process next year, but have some cards that are stacked against me. Could really use some experienced direction.
*I understand this post is 10 miles long, but I'm trying to put everything out there so I can get some honest effective guidance.* *Just so I don't hurt anybody who might be sensitive certain topics, the second paragraph briefly and vaguely talks about sexual abuse* Like the title says, next summer I'm going to start the adoption process. But I've got some problems. (I am in all honesty NOT trying to be inflammatory here. Just blunt and to the point.) Being a 30 year old, single straight white man, with a little bit of a troubled childhood, I'm not exactly the poster boy for the "perfect family" or even "eligible parents". Brief history for reference to a later question: This is the first time I've ever let these words come out of me. I'm not going to go into details here, but between the ages of 4-6 I was raped and molested multiple times, twice involving some extremely rough themes. With that I ended up becoming "that boy". I had problems with acting up, acting out, and occasionally raging. When I was 13 I ended up getting involved with two boys that were family friends. It was found out and CPS, and the sheriff got involved. In the end no charges were filed as they realized that all of us were extremely sheltered, and unsure exactly what it was that we were doing. As part of the agreement I had to complete a short therapy treatment, stay out of legal trouble for 5 years, and the three of us never saw each other again. After that I really started shaping up, and haven't been "that boy" since I was 16. 26 years of keeping that a secret, it kind of feels good just typing it out. One of the bigger problems I have is the type of boy(s) I DESPERATELY want to adopt. I want to adopt a boy that has been in my shoes, hopless, troubled, misunderstood, "that boy". I want to give "that boy" the opportunity to have a parent who's understanding, can come to no matter what without any judgment, with his impulses, thoughts, and frustrations. Instead of trying to control them himself, or lose the battle all together. A parent who's been there, and done that. Who completely understands what he's going through, and completely understands why he's doing the things he's doing. Who doesn't view him as a pain, "monster", liability, or "that boy". With all that being said, here is where I need some guidance: At age 5 I was diagnosed with ADHD through "play therapy" due to my acting up and out. I haven't taken any of those meds since I was 17. Almost 5 years ago the VA diagnose me, using deceit, with "adjustment disorder with anxious mood" when I got out after my last deployment. I also had a seizure disorder and a speech impediment that was caused by head trauma. I haven't had a seizure in 3.5 years, and in fact have not taken the meds in 2.5 years. The speech impediment has cleared up except when I get extremely upset/anxious/scared. I've got an appointment coming up to get them to take that adjustment disorder off. So, do they look very deep in your medical history? I know they have you give them your medical records, I'm just not sure what's a deal-breaker, and if I should withhold anything. I'm not having mental health problems, and I'm still a little upset that they tricked me into talking to that psychologist. I am not hating on mental health professionals by any stretch of the imagination. My problem is the VA gets additional funding just for throwing diagnosis on people, instead of actually treating MH conditions. My visit with that VA psychology student was less than 2 minutes long. In 26 years I've been able to deal with what happened to me pretty well on my own. It would be nice to go back to my therapist from childhood and unload everything. Mainly because I kind of trusted her, and she knows what happened at 13. BUT..... In reading, listening, and what little information I got out of the pre-adoption classes we tagged along to when we were kids and my parents were trying to adopt, admitting you have been sexually abused in your past is a big mark against you when you are trying to adopt. Being a single straight white man, I'm going to have to explain WHY I want to adopt that type of boy(s). It's already going to throw all kinds of red flags just making that kind of a specific request. I will have to explain to them why, and then they are going to want me to have completed some kind of therapy in relation to it. Then we circle back to the last part of the above paragraph about it being a mark against me. Then we have that incident from when I was 13. How far back do they look during the adoption process? In the letter that the therapist wrote to CPS, county prosecutor, and the sheriff she stated that there was little to no chance I would do anything else, and that I was very receptive to treatment, understand now what we did was wrong, and remorseful. Obviously it's going to be a problem if they consider something from that far back. And I imagine CPS still has those files, even though the sheriff department was supposedly going to destroy theirs after 5 years. How much of a problem do you all think this could be? And how do you think I should go about it? Or should I even bring it up? If I do go back to my therapist, what things should I NOT talk about? Things that I've never told anybody that I should probably tell her: The rapes and molestations I got. Self-mutilation and harm from ages 4-15. As part of feeling numb/guilt/shame as well as for gratification. Suicide attempt at ages 8 and again at 11. I have not had any suicidal feelings since then, but since I was able to hide it nobody but me, and now Reddit knows about it. Got caught by preschool teachers at age 5 showing my best friend at the time how to do what was done to me. Not sure if I really want to talk to a therapist about that, only because it could be used against me in the adoption process. I've just felt really bad over the last 25 years about having done it to her. So that maybe could be something I talk about after an adoption (or if I even can). Another issue...... I have never been married, I have never been on a date, and I've never even had a girlfriend. I know this is going to throw up red flags. I've always kind of just been a little bit of a loner, and independent. I've wanted to be married and have kids since I was 16. But having the label of "that boy", and the fact that everybody found out about what happened at 13, the community we were part of didn't want me anywhere near their daughters. So I never dated as a teenager. Then I married the army, instead of focusing on finding a spouse. I don't have a girlfriend now because honestly I kind of got over the idea of being married at this point. Partly because the type of boys I've been wanting to adopt, are misunderstood the most by women. Having said that, I have a couple of female friends who have told me they would be more than happy to pretend to be an ex-girlfriend if it would help me with this adoption. So should I fake having dated before? Would this help my case any at all? And not to sound like DJ Khaled but......another one: I was home-schooled from 1st grade to graduation. I know from other people's experience this can be a big detriment to being able to adopt. It's not like we were stuck on the farm 24/7. We did a lot of homeschool group classes, and social events. Not your stereotypical weirdo homeschoolers. I am a born again Christian libertarian so I'll most likely have to go down the faith-based agencies route as the state doesn't take too kindly to people with those beliefs. This again isn't to stir anything up, or being hateful at all in any way. An extremely confusing thing to me is how some social groups can adopt, but then others can't. I know many really good families who have tried to adopt for years and keep getting told no. Even though they are the agency's or state's definition of "the perfect family" they're looking for. But then there was a gay couple in my hometown who adopted a couple years ago, and one of the husbands spent a few years in prison, and 25 years on the list as a registered sex offender. Nobody knows why that adoption was allowed to happen. Had a guy I've known since high school years who tried to adopt his own nephew after his sister was killed and was told no. But I've met two single women who've been able to adopt multiple kids. This seems like in an immensely steep, and confusing mountain to climb, but one that I'm willing to give everything I have to reach the peak of. Even though I'm single I have a great family support system as well as great friends. So it won't be like I'm doing this completely all on my own. I've never had debt. I my own house completely paid for, and have for the last 1 year and some months been starting a small farm, mainly commercial meat goats. I am very driven, and I'm willing to do anything to make this adoption happen. After reading all of that, I would appreciate anybody giving me any tips, or advice on what to say or do, and what not to say or do. I'm trying to get my ducks in a row before I go to my family and tell them my plan. They have done a kinship adoption a few years ago, so I will have them to assist me some in this process. The hardest part is going to be breaking to them what happened to me when I was a kid. It'll open their eyes to why I was, the way I was, but I know it's going to shatter them. So those of you who do I would appreciate prayers for that. I have desperately wanted boys since I was 16. I decided to go down the adoption path a couple months ago. My heart physically hurts for all of "those boys" especially the older ones. I don't want to let something that happened to me in my past go to waste if I can use it to give somebody else the chance at early healing I never got. To give them a forever home that they can come back to after they've grown up instead of being kicked out at 18 to figure things out on their own, and to sink or swim. Any guidance helps! For reference I'm in Kansas. Thank you.
2020.10.13 01:51 superawkwardturtleFinally, on my "own" and damn does it feel good
Shortly after my last post, my brother and his girlfriend dropped the bomb that they didn't want my ex and I around anymore due to the constant fighting (understandable) and were going to force sale of the home we all shared (ouch). That, coupled with my recent breakup with my husband of 10+ years led me into a pretty bad downward spiral. Luckily, with the help of an amazing therapist and incredible boyfriend, I was able to pull myself out and finally get my life going again! At the end of September, I moved into my own apartment. The house sale is finalizing soon, and other than occasionally borrowing my ex's car I have almost zero ties to him now (other than officially divorce, in the works). I have to say, it all feels fucking incredible. I've been dating again, and it's crazy how intensely different I feel when talking to others. I was so scared, all of the time, with how my stbx-husband would react to me being involved with someone else. How worried he would get over them being into the same things as him, or if he perceived them as being "more attractive". His hypocrisy when he would count the hours I'd spend with him vs other partners, even after ditching me for his friends on more than one occasion. How he would effectively trap me into 2-8 hour long arguments where he nitpicked all of the ways that I could have shown him I loved him, but didn't (to his satisfaction, at least). Now that I'm "on my own", polyamory feels even more important to me than I ever thought possible. I obviously still have my boyfriend, but I haven't had a hands-off partner like this since I was a teenager, over a decade ago! Even back then, I knew non-monogamy was going to be my future. But now, I feel like it can be on my terms. It's a good feeling :) If any ladies have any tips for dating while living alone I'd love to hear them, because, well, it's very new to me!
2020.10.12 04:10 tiredandoverdoneWhat's it going to take?
I masturbated to porn again today. Third, maybe fourth time this week, I don't remember anymore. I stopped counting the days a while ago. I thought things would get better. I've tried all the advice everyone gives. I've been going to therapy for years now, spending thousands of dollars. I've gone to church, hoping God would guide me on what I should do. I saw a psychiatric nurse practitioner, who prescribed me medication to help with my depression and anxiety, which to be fair has gotten better. I'm going to school for my dream job. I have friends I hang out with on a regular basis, a supportive family, and I've even started dating a girl I really like. And yet, the addiction remains. I always go back to it. If I really push myself and white knuckle I can maybe make it week without indulging, but I haven't been more than a week sober for years now. I hate this habit, this addiction, this demon. No matter how well things go, no matter how happy I may be throughout the day, eventually this ugly compulsion rears its terrible head once again, and I just let it do whatever it wants. It has complete control over me. I tell myself every time, "This is it, this is the last time I let this happen, I hate it so much." Then, after some time, my will crumbles and I fall back into the hole I dug myself into so long ago. I know all the negative effects. I feel them every single time. The lethargic feeling. The fog in my brain. Feeling like all my energy has been sapped away. The fragile self esteem. Trust me, I know all about it. But none of it has been bad enough to make me want to walk away forever, it seems. I don't know what to do anymore. Am I not applying the things I've learned over the years correctly? Do I let complacency get the better of me? Am I simply not strong enough to overcome this evil, dark force that has plagued me for so long? I have no idea. Every time I manage to work up the courage to pray to God I feel like I'm saying the same thing over and over again. "I'm sorry, I'm trying, I don't know what to do, please help me." But still, nothing changes. I feel defeated. I feel like it's won, maybe it already won a long time ago and I let it happen. What's it going to take? When will I finally be able to look at myself in the mirror and be able to say "I can beat this," and actually believe it? Because as I am now, I'm starting to think I can't. Do I have to hit rock bottom before I can summon the strength to actually move on? I see teenagers 10 years younger than me on this sub, beating their addictions and habits all the time. I'm happy for them, but I can't help but feel envious at the same time. What do they have that I don't? Why am I so weak? I feel really lost guys. I don't know how many of you will read this whole post. I didn't mean to make it so long and I apologize for that. I guess I've had these thoughts built up for a while. I just want to hear something that can give me hope, something that can finally tip me over the edge and help me summon the will necessary to beat this. I want to be free so bad. I'm so tired of it.
2020.10.09 23:17 nicholisdMy reps story and the sad effects of the hype beast market
First of all I’d like to apologize in advance for the length of this post. Most of you won’t read it to the end and that’s totally fine, but for those that do thanks for your patience and I look forward to discussing this with more people because I think things are getting ridiculous. I fell in love with the idea of collecting sneakers and participating in raffles to get the latest and greatest limited edition stuff about 2 years ago. I always loved shoes but never really got into the actual sneaker market, this “hype beast” market as it’s often referred. I’m 24 now and after 2 years of being involved in this industry as a consumer I think I just about had enough with Nike, Adidas and whoever else is involved with making this market the worst it can be. Let me explain. The first ever draw I entered was for the Off-White Nike Airmax 90 in February of last year. I of course did not win the draw for any of the three colorways. That was a bit discouraging but I thought ‘hey, not everyone is going to get one so maybe next time’, I wasn’t salty about it. Many many draws, raffles and drops later I only won a single pair: the Yeezy 350 True Form (which to this day is the only raffle/draw/drop I ever won). Keep in mind that at the time I knew about StockX, GOAT etc but I just could not afford the resale prices. I knew that there was a resale market, but as you’ll find out in the next paragraph I had no clue what was actually going on.. One random day I stumbled upon an Instagram account of what appeared to be a sneaker reseller. I was checking out his pictures until I saw one that was a while ago about the aforementioned Off-White Airmax 90. The caption said something along the lines of ‘pre-order available for all sizes, DM me’ or something like that. I thought ‘wait a second this post dates to before the release even happened, so how was this guy so confident that he was going to get the pairs he needed for the people that actually paid for a pre-order?!’ I started thinking about it and I thought that maybe these resellers enter the draws with multiple accounts? Or maybe they have connections that can get them the shoes at lower than resale prices? Well I was half-right. I found out that these resellers are indeed entering with multiple accounts. But not 1 or 2 more, no. They are using bots which are automating the buying process for them and they are using hundreds (if not thousands) of accounts each. I was astonished, I never knew this was happening. It all made sense; why the resellers always have retail stock for sale, why the resale prices are so ridiculously high.. With every extra piece of information I found, I got angrier and angrier until I realized something. I’m a web automation developer, that’s literally my full-time job. I know how to develop bots very well, both mobile and web bots. I thought that I solved the problem! I’ll develop a couple of bots for Nike and Adidas, another bot to generate accounts for each with my address and payment info and win in every drop! I started working on a bot for Adidas. Back then they had the ‘Waiting Room’ remember that? Now I think they moved to draws right? Anyway that’s besides the point. I thought that since Adidas for sure knew about this they must have some safeguards in place so I waited for the next Yeezy drop (I think it was Yeezys anyway) and I entered the waiting room and started working on my bot in real time. Before the draw was over, the bot was done. It’s ridiculous. Nothing was stopping the bots from entering. A simple captcha would have sufficed at least! But then it hit me. They want this to happen. They want botters to get all the stock because then they control the resale prices. The higher the resale price the more prestigious their shoe, and by extension their brand, looks. And the more prestigious their brand looks, the more demand they create for the next drop and this circular pattern repeats. Then I thought about how I felt every time I didn’t win a draw I was really hyped about and then how a kid feels when they are saving up for months to buy a shoe from a botter on StockX just because they didn’t win the draw and they now have to pay triple the price. Ethically I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t be a botter too so I never used it and I never developed one for SNKRS either. I was talking to a friend of mine a while after that, this guy is the definition of a hype beast. He spent a lot of money on StockX the past couple of years and is always entering draws for clothing, sneakers, you name it. For the sake of the story let’s call this guy John. John mentioned that a friend of his is thinking about buying a pair of Travis Scott Jordan 1s from Tony. I said ‘who the hell is Tony?’ And then he explained the rep market. Boy oh boy was I excited. I never knew this wonderful community existed. Jesus Christ so many problems have just been solved. I joined the subreddit, I started looking at sellers and QC posts and everything. I was in deep! My first order was a pair of Off-White Presto from the one and only OGTony. The shoe had some flaws for sure, but I was so happy that I got it. On StockX that shoe at the time was $1,444 for my size, I remember the number exactly and I bought it from Tony for $139. I was wearing them with pride too. I never claimed they are retail, never claimed I’m a rich boy, never bragged, that’s not what I’m about. I want the shoes I like, I don’t care if they are the most hyped or anything like that. For example Travis’ shoes, which have had the most hype ever, I don’t like any of them, not my style so I won’t even get them in reps. You know guys, I’ve been in this community for about a year, I understand that’s not much, I ordered a total of 6 reps (7th one just ordered today, the AJ1 Dior) and I’m here thinking what exactly makes these shoes ‘replicas’? People in the sneaker market are using that word as an insult, a slur. But why? Let’s take retail Nikes vs rep Nikes: both manufactured in China, neither factory is actually owned by Nike, the employees making the shoes are not Nike’s employees in either case, Nike is not producing the materials needed for the shoe instead they are sourced..from China...by the factory they are outsourcing the production to and they are both shipped (originally) from China. So the differences between a ‘replica’ and an ‘original’ pair are simply that the ‘originals’ were designed by a Nike designer, Nike put the purchase order to the factory and that when you order a Nike they are shipped from Nike’s warehouses. None of these 3 points have anything to do with quality. From what I can see in my reps the quality is fantastic (one could even argue it’s the same as Nike’s) and the QC in the rep factories is the same (one could argue even better than Nike’s). Now, many hype beasts talk about rep flaws. Okay let’s talk about them. Nike has made a ton of shoes with minor flaws. The stitching flaw on the Off-White UNC AJ1s that some pairs had is one example. Reps have visual flaws as well, most good batches have tiny flaws but they are still there sure. That doesn’t take away from the experience of owing the shoe you wanted though, at least in my case and many others’. It’s actually the opposite because with reps when you are not happy with the minor flaws your pair has in the QC pictures you can actually RL it and they’ll send you another one for QC. Nike doesn’t offer the same courtesy of course, they have hundreds of thousands of orders every drop. But it’s still an advantage for the rep market in my opinion. Remember the guy I mentioned earlier, my buddy John? Like I said he’s the definition of a hype beast. He really wanted a pair of AJ1 Travis and he didn’t get it on drop day (of course he didn’t..) so he decided to order reps. I was shocked because this guy didn’t even want to hear about reps in the past (it’s ironic that this is the guy that got me into this community right?) I was really excited for him. He spent a lot of money on StockX and I really wanted him to embrace this community because he would be able to get the shoes he wanted for a fraction of the price. I got him a pair from Tony’s GQ batch, at the time they were the best. He couldn’t wait for the shoes to get here, he was asking me every day when the package was arriving and stuff, he was really excited. When the shoes came I gave them to him. The shoes were fine by the way, Tony sent us a good pair and they were QC’d on this subreddit before ordering them, they were good, just needed a suede brush literally that’s all. Here’s the plot twist: this guy wore the shoes once and then sold them to a friend. I didn’t get it, I said dude what’s the problem? Why? He said it didn’t feel the same wearing reps. This guy saved $600 and he’s telling me it didn’t feel the same. Maybe some people just don’t get it I thought. With this story I realized something very important. Nike, Adidas, Yeezy, Supreme…these guys don’t even do marketing. Think about it, when was the last time you saw a Yeezys ad on Facebook? A Travis Scott AJ1 advertising poster on the street? Never. Because guys like my buddy John do the advertising for them with their Instagram accounts, their tweets, their discord groups for the best tips to cop on d-day. These brands went so far into their heads that they don’t even realize the conversation isn’t about reps vs retail, the conversation is how much of a sheep can you be? They are outsourcing production, they are selecting who ‘wins’ or ‘loses’ the chance to pay them for a pair of shoes, they are excluding people from getting their limited shoes so that botters can drive up prices for them. When will people realize how sad this is? When will people realize that if we keep paying these companies and giving them all this attention this will not stop? I know I’m not a genius talking about humanity’s biggest threats, I’m just talking about sneakers here but it pisses me off so much. The result of all this shit is to have people (mostly teenagers) growing up with the idea that the best shoe is the next one up the release calendar so they never stop wanting more, that people’s opinion on you depends on the shoes or clothes you wear and how expensive they are. It’s cultivating a whole generation of people who are obsessing over materialistic items like shoes and clothes. If you think I’m overreacting just take a look at the hype beast community and how toxic it is. Look at their posts online or a few videos on youtube. I look at them and I’m thinking that these people must have severe self esteem issues to be overcompensating so much. I’m not saying these companies shouldn’t have limited releases, I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a resale market. All I’m saying is that they need to make this process more fair for the average consumer, for the guy who saved up for months to pay a botter $400 over MSRP for a pair of shoes on StockX. This guy deserves a chance too on your prestigious d-day. Put some simple safeguards against bots on your platforms, it’s not that hard. If you read this far, I sincerely thank you and I look forward to discussing this with anyone who decides to drop a comment. In the meantime I’ll go order some more reps ;)
2020.10.09 20:12 throwawayaracehorseThe Massacre at Crybaby Bridge: An Oral History, Part 1
I was in preschool when it happened. I wouldn't hear about it until I was much older, though. I suppose they kept it from us back in those days, and rightfully so. Who in their right mind would expose a young child to such a story? Still, there was only so much the adults could do and as I came of age I heard about some of the occurrences of that terrible night. It was in junior high where I first heard about the death and destruction, the grief and gore. It was always worse around Halloween and every version I heard of the story seemed to be different. In some versions the killer wielded a chainsaw, in others a machete. He wore a mask or didn’t. The body count changed frequently. The causes of death, too. He had run over a guy with a brush hog, fertilizing a pasture with him. He strung a girl’s guts around a tree like tinsel on a Christmas tree. I chalked it all up to a junior high pissing contest, each kid trying to one up the other with each version of the story more gruesome than the last. Still, it gave me pause. I knew something had happened at some point in the town’s history. I would ask my parents about the killings at Crybaby Bridge and what Crybaby Bridge even was and they would deflect, tell me it was a bad accident that had happened years ago. Most small towns had them. If you lived in a place long enough you were bound to be witness to such tragedies. In college I majored in journalism. For my senior capstone I decided to uncover the truth about the Crybaby Bridge Massacre once and for all. I sought out the people who had lived it. I spent many months contacting sources, arranging interviews. The hours I put into the project were many. I got an e-mail from my professor a couple days later. She told me they couldn’t accept this, unfortunately. The subject matter was just too grim, she had said. It was just too scary for a general audience and most would find it hard to believe. I understood. It had even scared me while researching it, going through the areas of my hometown with that new knowledge was something to behold. I didn’t dare visit the sites at night. Knowing what I know now it just seems too risky. As for my professor, she gave me an extension to come up with something else. Maybe I could retool it to talk about small town traditions? Take out the grisly stuff. All of my hard work for nothing….and yet...someone told me of a place on the internet that would be interested in the full story. So here it is: ________________________________________________ PART 1 In any town, in any city, there are secrets and stories, myths and legends. The Crybaby Bridge legend is one that had been born out of the small town of Somerset and various other towns across the contingent United States. With regards to Somerset, there have been no historical documents to back up its truth or origin, yet that doesn’t mean that it didn’t occur. It has been passed down all the same. The incident that occurred in the fall of 2003 does have documentation however, and in the wake of this tragedy a new legend regarding this specific bridge has emerged, The Massacre at Crybaby Bridge. I have interviewed numerous individuals with firsthand knowledge of the event. The majority of the interviewees were high schoolers in 2003 and their grade at the time of the incident is given. Others have contributed to the story when applicable. Utmost care was taken to obtain many different perspectives, and in the end, I feel that I have obtained the definitive story of that tragic and terrible night. The wounds may never heal for those that lived it, but for the rest of us it has become a compelling and uncanny story. It is a story that feels most appropriate when the days get shorter and the nights are colder and the leaves start to burn, a story that crosses our minds when we hear something rustle off in the brush when we are all alone and feel a sudden rush of fear before calming ourselves by thinking, “nah, that couldn’t happen to me….”
SKYE BRIGGS, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR**:** It was my junior year at Somerset and really I was just not having it anymore, the whole high school experience. I didn’t really feel like I fit in with any particular group, I didn’t have a boyfriend and I spent a lot of time feeling lonely. Teen angst stuff, I guess. If I could jump ahead to my senior year and graduate early, then I’d definitely do that. I was ready to get out of Somerset and the small town life. STEPHEN PARKER, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR: Yeah, I guess that Somerset was kind of a shithole. I definitely thought so at the time. Looking back though and becoming more familiar with some of the other towns in the area, by comparison it was actually a pretty nice little town. Charming and homely, I guess. They have this quaint little downtown area with these brick streets and old buildings. There’s also a lot of trees that line the streets downtown. “Got a case of the doldrums? Have some time to kill and need to get out of the city? Why not take a daytrip to Somerset? But in all actuality we think you may need more than a full day to see and explore all Somerset truly has to offer, so why not make it a full weekend and stay at one of the fabulous hotels located conveniently next to the interstate or one of our very own bed and breakfasts? From parks and a city lake, to a museum devoted entirely to G.I. Joes, we have something for everyone! Visit our beautiful and historical downtown area, shop for antiques, and get a bite to eat at one of the many diners and cafes. Take note of the beautiful trees as well. We’ve been designated Tree City USA by The Arbor Day Foundation. Definitely a must-see during autumn when the foliage is beautiful. So come visit Somerset! Small town charm, big time heart.-Town Of Somerset Tourism Brochure, Somerset Chamber Of Commerce 2002. RONALD TARVER, SOMERSET CITY MANAGER: We cut the majority of the Main Street trees down in 2011 actually. There was an issue with excessive bird droppings. It got to be a real nuisance. STEPHEN PARKER, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR: Oh yeah, I forgot. I saw that they had cut all those trees down the last time I went for a visit. I was just passing through and wanted to take a trip down memory lane, I guess. I drove downtown, to the Sonic, the theater, and the depot. Down to the park. All those old haunts. Basically where everything started. I wanted to see if it triggered anything in me and it did. Man, it really did. SKYE BRIGGS, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR**:** In a town the size of Somerset, the kids would get creative when it came to entertainment. There’s stuff we did that people had never heard of when I went to college back east. One thing that a lot of people did back then was to “cruise town.” BOB SCHROEDER, LOCAL HISTORIAN: “Dragging main” or “cruising town” was a social activity that came to prominence in the area in the halcyon days of the late 1950’s. It was depicted in the classic movie, American Graffiti. Practiced primarily amongst teenagers, cruising consisted largely of the kids driving their vehicles slowly in a predetermined route that had long been established by the kids from the previous generation. At various points along the route kids would stop and park their vehicles and then get out and socialize. Cruising would occur primarily on Friday or Saturday nights. STEPHEN PARKER: You would just drive around until you saw someone you knew. Sometimes it would be like a bunch of your friends hanging out in a specific area, sitting on the back of tailgates, standing around, just talking and stuff. You never knew who would be around at any given time, you would just kind of show up and see who was there. It was basically like a chat room occurring in real life. Except with more fossil fuels, I guess.(laughing) DYLAN BAKER, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR; QUOTE FROM THE SOMERSET SABERTOOTH WEEKLY SCHOOL NEWSPAPER, 4/11/2003 : You never know what’s going to happen when you cruise town. You might run into some buddies who know about a kegger that’s going on and you pile into their car and go there. You might see a fight break out. You might find some girls that want to ride around with you and maybe fool around a little. You might get bombarded by water balloons launched from a whole block away by a slingshot. A kid could piss himself on camera in front of everyone for five bucks. Sometimes nothing happens at all, but you don’t want to miss out on the craziness, the opportunities. That’s why I love to cruise town. BOB SCHROEDER: Featuring the intermarriage between the U.S. car culture and the freedom of being a teenager with a driver’s license, cruising was the quintessential American activity, just pure small town Americana. However, like drive-in movie theaters, this vehicular pageantry has all but faded to nothing in the present day. SKYE BRIGGS: I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. I was never one of the cool kids and it wasn’t exactly my scene. The whole thing just seemed kind of stupid. It was this whole big ritual, see and be seen, y’know? Who has the coolest car, who has the biggest truck. Just people being idiots and looking for attention. I got drug along into it by my friends on several occasions though. I mean obviously. The night it happened I was hanging out with Hailey. It would’ve been a Saturday because it was fall and there wasn’t a football game going on. HAILEY ADAMS, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR: Skye was my best friend since kindergarten. I’m nothing if not loya,l and it didn’t matter to me that as we got older we didn’t exactly jibe on a social clique-y level. I mean she was all introverted and shy and not really outgoing. She liked music and art and movies and stuff and staying in on the weekends. I was the opposite, but she was a good listener, I could tell her anything and I trust her not to tell. We grew up across the street from each other. She was like a sister to me. “Shy Skye, My Ride or Die” —that’s what I liked to call her, haha. SKYE BRIGGS: I grew up across the street from her and we were best friends when we were kids. Once we hit high school it was clear that we were on different paths, though. I think we kind of grew apart, but she never acted like she was too good for me. If anything, I kind of blew her off because I didn’t like a lot of the people she was friends with. She was one of the most popular girls in school. Everyone wanted to date her. BILLY POOLAW, SOMERSET HIGH, SENIOR: Hottest chick at Somerset High? That would definitely have to be Hailey Adams. Bar none. STEPHEN PARKER: Hailey could’ve been a model. All the light in the room was drawn to her. She also seemed pretty chill. Not stuck up. I was still kind of intimidated by her. DYLAN BAKER, MSN MESSENGER CHAT TRANSCRIP TO STEPHEN PARKER, JANUARY 2003: I can’t get Hailey off of my mind. Since you have fourth hour with her do you think that you could get in good with her and ask her to lunch? She doesn’t have a driver’s license yet and I know she rides with other people. Maybe that’s my shot? If you and some other people were around, I think I could chill out a bit and get the balls to ask her out. DALTON FREEBOLT, SOMERSET HIGH, SOPHOMORE: Oh man. I had so many fantasies about her. She was like something from a magazine. Her body was just unreal. I really blame her for my whole cheerleader fetish. I got this costume from Spirit Halloween and my wife wears it sometimes, but it’s really just not the same. I’m still imagining it’s her when we're...y’know. Wait, are you going to quote me on this? Can you take that last part out? ALLISON McCORMICK, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR; VOTED FIRST RUNNER UP FOR CLASS OF 2004’s MOST ATTRACTIVE : I mean she wasn’t that pretty. BRYSON VANDERBILT, SOMERSET HIGH, SENIOR: Hailey Adams? Yeah I guess she was hot. Kind of a bitch, though. HAILEY ADAMS: Bryson said that? Of course he would. I was riding around town with him one day and we parked out by the depot and started making out a little. It didn’t mean anything. I was bored and it was just something to do. But then he started trying to undo my bra and I was like “nah, I’m good”. Then he was all like, “how about this then” and whipped his thing out. He looked like he thought I’d be impressed. It looked so little sticking out of the fly of his jeans and I just wasn’t expecting it. I started laughing and couldn’t stop. He yelled at me and told me to get out of his car. SKYE BRIGGS: (laughing)I remember her telling me that. Hailey was full of crazy stories like that. STEPHEN PARKER: Dylan was always coming up with these schemes to get chicks. He had this whole strategy in place before he would ask them out. He wanted to like endear himself to them, y’know? I think it was because he was kind of scared. He had it laid out where he wanted to first become a casual acquaintance, then become their friend, and then he would feel comfortable enough to ask them out. If in the meantime they came onto him first, even better. So this is why he liked to cruise town so much, why he put so much effort into his truck. He hoped he would stumble into these situations where girls would just fall for him. He was just clueless. I guess we all were. The thing was, he actually had quite a few girls out there that had crushes on him, but he never pursued those avenues. He had his sights set on the girls that seemed impossibly unattainable, gals he put on pedestals, your Hailey Adamses of the world. SKYE BRIGGS: Hailey picked me up that evening. I finally caved to her after she asked me several times. I hadn’t seen her much over the summer and we had only gone to lunch a few times that year. We’d kept in touch with MSN Messenger and the like, but that was it. I was actually looking forward to hanging out with her. I had been daydreaming about getting a boyfriend of sorts and there was this guy, Stephen Parker, that I had a crush on. We sat next to each other in Computer Science. He didn’t seem to be the cruising town type, but I remember that I felt this sort of anticipation that night before Hailey picked me up, that I would see him out there or maybe even someone else and something would happen. STEPHEN PARKER: Dylan and I were hanging out in the den at my house. We were watching a movie and thinking about smuggling in some beers down to chug and maybe fire up a video game. We had already smoked a joint out in the alley, but the mood was just off, though. It was like this malaise had set over everything.The den felt claustrophobic and the thought of another quaint night down in here with Dylan—staying up late playing video games and watching movies—seemed really depressing. Maybe it was Dylan’s antsy-ness rubbing off on me; he was fidgeting throughout the movie. “Wanna cruise town?” he asked. “Nick’s gonna be down there for a bit. Said there might be a party later.” I shrugged and said, “okay.” It seemed like a good idea at the time. SKYE BRIGGS: I said bye to my parents and got in Hailey’s car. They didn’t feel the need to tell me any specific curfew. I think they were just happy I was getting out of the house, that I was dressed up and going somewhere to possibly socialize. For the first time, I was actually excited about going to town. I had butterflies in my stomach and everything. I had this lyric in my head and it was from a Jimmy Eat World song, the lyric was “I’m gonna fall in love tonight.” I remember playing that song while getting ready and I was thinking about Stephen...well Stephen’s the one that introduced me to the song. HAILEY ADAMS: As far as I know, Skye had never had a serious boyfriend. I think she may have kind of dated some guys in band, made out a little on the bus here and there and stuff, but I think that was it. She was crushing hard on Stephen Parker. Said he had made her a mix CD and everything. I don’t know why he hadn’t asked her out yet or what he was waiting for. He seemed like the shy type. They would’ve been perfect together. If we ran into him that night I had full plans to be Skye’s wingman and get them hooked up. DYLAN BAKER, MSN MESSENGER CHAT TRANSCRIPT TO STEPHEN PARKER, SEPTEMBER 2003: Interesting that you are sitting next to Skye in Computer Science. Did you know she and Hailey are really good friends? I mean they used to be closer back in junior high and Skye is kind of goth or whatever, but I know they still hang out. Maybe if you get in good with her we could all hang out some night? I think she’s pretty cute. I’m not sure what your thoughts are. SKYE BRIGGS: First off, I wasn’t goth, okay? I’m well aware that in a town like Somerset, any girl that didn’t fit the norm of wearing Abercrombie or whatever and liked to wear dark jeans and band t-shirts from time to time and had a little fun with her eyeshadow was going to get some sort of label. Second, there wasn’t like any sort of goth scene or clique and I don’t think I would’ve been part of it if there was. I didn’t like to draw that much attention to myself. I shopped at Hot Topic every now and then and liked unpopular music. Big deal. STEPHEN PARKER: We found Nick De Luca down by the depot, sitting on the tailgate of his red Chevy. He was wearing a Black Carhartt half unzipped to reveal a white t-shirt and had a big fat dip in his mouth. He looked like some sort of redneck James Dean. Definitely putting out some cool loner vibes. Dylan pulled in next to Nick’s truck and we got out. He asked us where we had been, said there was a party going on out at Buster’s and was thinking about heading out there. He said there were rumors that there would be a keg. SKYE BRIGGS: The cruising path was laid out in a circular route, an elongated oval more or less with a few detours that snaked around and some area like the police station or the stretch of four lane highway . The turnabouts occurred at the Sonic Drive-In and at the old train depot. TOWN OF SOMERSET WEBSITE, INFORMATION FOR VISITORS: The depot was built in 1903 and was saved from demolition in the early eighties. The Somerset Historical Society has lovingly restored it to its former glory. When your tires rumble over our brick streets as you make your way to the depot, you might imagine you are in a horse drawn carriage or a Model-T, on your way to the station to ride the train or pick up a passenger! SKYE BRIGGS: We were sipping on Ocean Waters from Sonic, parked in the stall and listening to music. Talking. Chilling. Hailey had splashed some rum in our drinks from a pint that her older brother had given her. There were people standing around outside their cars talking and laughing. People from school. People I knew and people I didn’t know. Hailey didn’t have any interest in getting out at the moment and that was fine with me. Eventually, we pulled out of the stall and made our way through the route towards the depot. STEPHEN PARKER: “It’s her! It’s her!” I remember Dylan jumping around and saying when he saw Hailey’s red Mustang making its way up the main drag towards the depot. Nick just spit out in the street and looked over at him. We had been chilling a bit and seeing who all was in town before we headed out to Buster’s. Dylan looked over at Nick, his eyes pleading. “Can you get her to stop?” SKYE BRIGGS: Hailey said, “omg Skye, look who it is. Don’t you have a crush on that guy? Didn’t he burn you a mix CD? Oh and there’s Nick and Dylan. Nick’s waving us down. Wanna pull in and say hey?” I was getting nervous and could feel myself blushing. “Uhh, I dunno” was all I managed to say. “C’mon Skye, don’t be a puss. Let’s get out and talk a little. I’ve got your back. “Fine,” I sighed. HAILEY ADAMS: That was one of the definitive moments, us seeing them there and deciding to get out and talk. We could’ve just drove on by with a wave. None of this would’ve ever happened. It would’ve just been a Saturday night like any other. Forgotten. SKYE BRIGGS: I probably wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you if I had turned Hailey down that night. Sometimes—well actually lots of times—I think about how different things would’ve turned out if I had just stayed in, made up an excuse to not go out. Or if instead of saying, “fine”, I had said, “nah, keep going. Let’s go rent a movie.” Would the end result be the same? I don’t think it would. See I think it’s like a Jenga tower or something that was stacked carefully in such a way to create some sort of monstrosity. All these little events before the massacre were the foundation. You remove one of them and the tower doesn’t get built. It collapses before anything can happen. STEPHEN PARKER: Would this have still happened if I didn’t go out that night? Like a butterfly effect or something? Shit man, I dunno. Probably. I wish I didn’t go out that night, yeah. But you’re telling me you get a chance to pile into a car with your friends and classmates and your crush and you don’t take it? It seemed like a dream come true. I could see it playing out in my head. Fuck my curfew. Wherever the night took us, that’s where we would be. I could call my parents and tell them I was staying the night at Dylan’s. They could read between the lines. I knew they wouldn’t ask too many questions, just be happy that I was safe. SKYE BRIGGS: There were other moments, too. Moments when we could’ve called it a night and just gone home. I don’t know, how about the chainsaw and the blood and the screaming? The torn jeans soaked in blood and the flayed open leg? That would’ve been a good time to end it. STEPHEN PARKER: Maybe it still would’ve happened some other night. It’s almost like it was just lying out there waiting for us. BOB SCHROEDER, LOCAL HISTORIAN: What was the night like in which our intrepid youngsters departed? On the surface, it was a Saturday night like any other...except not. There was a palpable energy in the air. I know because I was seeing a movie at The Ritz, Somerset’s two-screen movie theater that sat on the corner and was adjacent to the depot parking lot. I exited the theater and the town was alive...glasspacks and exhaust tips rumbled and filled the air with their obnoxious noise crying, “look at me! Look at me!” There was the deep thump of bass from stereo systems, Kicker Amps stashed in trunks rattling windows and any sense of decency. Groups of teenagers congregated on various street corners and wherever convenient while their shouts and laughter echoed through it all. Perhaps our high schoolers were among them. The records show that they would have left at approximately that time period. I believe the film I had seen was Secondhand Lions starring Michael Caine and Robert Duvall and the Sixth Sense kid. Maybe it would’ve been more fitting if I had seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre which came out a few weeks later. I wouldn’t have had the option, however. Johnny, the owner of The Ritz, opted not to pick that film up out of courtesy for the deceased. BECCA BONEY, PECAN VALLEY FUNERAL HOME DIRECTOR: I think they did a good job with retrieving the bodies. Well, let me rephrase that. They did a good job with retrieving the bodies and all of their respective parts. You have to understand we were working over a large area and there are coyotes and other things. Some things were impossible to recover, but I’d say they got the majority. HAILEY ADAMS: It’s the sounds I can’t seem to shake. The images are blurry and I’ve managed to drink and drug them away into some hazy memory, but the sounds...the sounds are a different story. I still hear them. And it's not like I'm just replaying them in my head either. I mean I hear them out in the world. In the static of broken up cell phone coverage there will be a mechanical cry for mama, mama, mama. There's the screams that I can hear late at night, off in the distance. The goddam screams. I can hear each and every one of them. Even my own. A scream that came from somewhere deep within me, from a place I didn’t even know existed, a sound I didn’t know that I could make. Part 2
2020.10.09 15:28 PracticalShineI'm 32 years old, working as a Product Manager / Instructor in Toronto and making ~$78,000 (CAD)
This is an update of my MD from last year, which you can find here. All figures are in CAD. (Approx. CAD/USD conversion is 1 CAD = 0.75 USD. So my income is ~$58,240 USD. I've tried to note the change since last time where I could! Section One: Assets and Debt
Total NW: $81,100
Up from ~$58,000 last year.
Retirement Balance (and how you got there): $62,230
Up from $45,466 last year. I've been adding to my RRSP since my first "real" job in highschool - while my early contributions were miniscule, it got me in the habit of saving. My previous employer had a good match, which also helped.
Savings account balance: $11,290
TFSA up from $9,846 last year. Not a huge improvement - I focused more on my RRSP and Emergency Fund this year.
Emergency Fund Balance: $7,500
Was $1,103 last year.
Chequing Account Balance:
Almost everything gets autotransferred on payday to my retirement accounts, sinking funds, or a holding account where my bills are autopaid from. I only keep my "discretionary spending" money in this account.
Debt: None. I pay off my cc as soon as I make a purchase, and check my transactions/pay off any autopay on a weekly basis. I run all my purchases through my cc to get points toward free groceries.
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?: There was expectation, but not from family - I was the first in my family to go to higher ed. They saved and planned to contribute if I did want to go, but what I did after highschool was up to me. I was top of my class in highschool so there was a lot of expectations from the other adults in my life (teachers, school counselors, etc) that I would really make something of myself. My parents paid my tuition for two years of my undergrad, my grandparents gave me a few thousand dollars as a gift toward my expenses and the remainder I paid for myself with my savings from working part time and through summers.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances? We didn't have any serious conversations about money, but there was a lot of emphasis on saving long term, saving up for things we wanted, and occasionally if I wanted something expensive (like when I wanted my hair done for middle school graduation), a discussion about how mom or dad would have worked X hours to pay for it. I never felt hard done by, but there were definitely a lot of things other kids had or got to do that we didn't. Once I got my first job I didn't get any spending money from my parents anymore.
What was your first job and why did you get it?: In 8th grade I got a job at my school, cleaning tables during lunch recess (our school didn't have a cafeteria, so kids ate at their desks). The principal offered it to me and my best friend. It paid $50/month. It seems insane now because we were not old enough to work legally. In hindsight I think it was the school finding a way to subsidize the costs of the year-end school trip (a week-long overnight trip out of province) for two families who didn't quite qualify for the school's official aid but wouldn't have been able to afford it otherwise. All the money went to the trip, and I babysat to get some spending money.
Did you worry about money growing up?: Not really. There were some lean times but I never felt like I really wanted for anything. By the time I was in highschool things had gotten much more stable.
Do you worry about money now? Yep. Not about day-to-day spending, but I worry about longer-range money issues like whether I'll be able to own a home, save enough to retire, etc. A lot of my friends are a lot more comfortable and able to buy homes and generally be freer with money, mostly those in dual-income-no-kids situations - and I'm feeling that lag a bit.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?: I haven't received any financial support from family since I was about 20, but if my parents come to visit me they'll usually bring some grocery items from their Costco runs and refuse to accept payment for it. I currently have about 4 months' emergency fund saved, and could last another 6 on my TFSA if I needed to. Working on bumping this up!
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?: While I was in undergrad and paying my own tuition my grandparents gave me $2000 as a birthday gift to give me a little breathing room in my budget and so "you can do something other than work and study". They were hoping it would enable me to meet a husband and get my MRS (hahaha). It did not, but it did ease my stress about money.
Section Two: Income
Main Job Monthly Take Home: $3,816 after deductions. I got a 10% raise in July.
Deductions: Tax $882, EI $86, CPP $137, Retirement plan $210 (matched by employer)
PTO: 18 days + 5 additional during the holidays when our office is shut.
Bonus: I get a bonus each year from the day job as well. This year, $5500 pre-tax.
Side Gig Monthly Take Home: ~$900 averaged monthly
Varies year to year based on student enrolment and whether I get funding for additional content development time.
Salary Story (Averaged hourly earnings into approx annual earnings so it's more "apples to apples" comparison)
Pre-2010: ~$15-20k per year. Various jobs during highschool and university. Retail, farm and animal shelter work, tutoring, baby/pet/housesitting, factory job in the summers.
2010: ~$35k Intern, Retail, Nanny, Temp. I graduated university and started some postgrad certificate courses full time through summer. Had a PT retail job, a FT unpaid internship after summer classes ended, and was a nanny for a relative's kids in exchange for a steep discount on room and board. After my internship ended I picked up a temp receptionist gig that paid well while it lasted - I was able to save up to move out to my own place after Christmas.
Q1 + Q2 of 2011: ~$22k Freelancer / Assistant. The company I interned for hired me back as a freelancer at $19/hr, and I got a remote job as a "business assistant" (aka whatever they needed) at min wage, but I could set my own hours and work up to 35hrs/week. I crammed in as much as I could because my freelance job wasn't guaranteed.
Remainder of 2011: ~$36k - Digital Assistant. My day job offered me a FT position and I was so grateful for the stability (my freelance hours had been uneven) that I accepted their first offer not realizing it was less than I was making as a freelancer. I remind myself that at least now I have benefits and some security, and I still have my other job. Two weeks later they tell me if I don't quit my remote "business assistant" job I'll be fired since that company is in the same industry, so I do. Pushover!
2013: ~37k - Digital Assistant. Yep, two years, no promotion, small raise. Love working in the arts! /s. After I was forced out of my remote job in 2011 I started babysitting, petsitting, shoveling snow for my older neighbours - anything I could to bring in some extra cash, but I have no idea what I made from that work. Most of it ended up going out the door pretty quick on regular life expenses.
2014: $40k - Digital Coordinator. Promotion at last. I struggled a lot with depression throughout the end of 2013 and all of 2014 after some traumatic events, and I'm so shocked and thrilled that something good actually happened. I don't negotiate because I'm a husk of a person. By this point I'm not functional enough to keep up all my side gigs.
2016: ~$45k - Digital Coordinator / Instructor: After so much therapy I'm starting to realize my company is trash and my industry is a dead end for me, and I actually have the confidence to do something about it. I dump my shitty boyfriend. I get a part time gig as an instructor. My boss tells me in my performance review I have "no leadership potential" and I go home and immediately start looking for another job.
2017: ~$63k - Product Manager / Instructor: After many failed interviews, I finally get a new job offer at $55k - less than a PM typically makes in Toronto, but more than I was making before, and I was so hungry for a new opportunity I just jump on it. My new manager is really invested in my PD, within the first few months they have me speak on their behalf at three conferences and commit to $2,500 of PD spending.
2018:~$76k - Product Manager / Instructor: I get a raise at my day job (modest - about $2500) but it's a crackerjack year for the course I teach - it's a high enrolment year so I have more sections. Less free time, but now that I'm more experienced it's a bit easier and it'd be hard to find another side gig that pays as well for the amount of time I put in.
2020: ~78k - Product Manager / Instructor: Sensing a theme? I'm not much of a job hopper, which I know is impacting my salary growth, but I'm a "craves stability" person and I love my job, they are constantly giving me opportunities to learn and grow and investing in my PD. Plus a 10% raise.
Section Three: Expenses
Rent: $1,505 including utilities - just went up from $1,476 in September. I live solo in a one-bedroom in an old walk-up building.
Renters insurance: $29
Retirement contributions: $1,600
Sinking Funds contributions: $205
Emergency Fund contribution: $500, plus occasional random lump sums if I have discretionary funds left over.
Donations: approx $100/mo, sometimes more. I volunteer about 10-15 hrs/month with different organizations throughout the year, though it varies based on their activities. Been helping with a lot of digital admin/tech support/mailing list stuff this year.
Transit: About $14/month - I'm working from home, and my neighbourhood has everything I need within walking distance. I use transit a handful of times a month these days, so I just plonk some money on my card when I need to.
Therapy: $540 per quarter for BetterHelp, approx $168/month.
I get $800/year reimbursed under my work benefits.
Subscriptions: $27 - Netflix, Spotify, extra iCloud storage, and a Quip toothbrush.
Day 1 - Thursday ($42)
9am - Slept in! I have today and tomorrow off (using up some PTO) and am glad for the extra rest, but the construction work around my apartment building kicks off at 9:01 on the dot, waking me up. I browse the internet before showering and getting the day started. 11am - I have a massage appointment so I mask up and walk over. It’s a sunny fall morning, so an enjoyable walk. I’ve been in a lot of pain the last while after an unexpected hospital stay and medical procedures so I’m really looking forward to some relief now that I’m cleared to have this massage! ($30 tip for my RMT, insurance covers the actual bill.) I was nervous about COVID safety but this is a small clinic and they’re taking it really seriously (face shields and masks for all!), and it’s nice to have a massage - it’s the first “non-invasive, non-medical” human touch I’ll have since March, since I live by myself and have been strict about distancing. I have to say, it feels incredibly weird to be naked except a mask. Like being naked with a watch on. 12:45pm - I feel so much better! I walk a long route home to enjoy the sunshine and stop at a bakery and pick up some pumpkin, apple, and caramel scones ($12 for three, incl tip), since they have a little doorway table for service. Most cafes in the neighbourhood have restored indoor seating and I feel weird about going inside past unmasked diners. Once I get back home I have a scone, spend a couple of hours answering students’ questions for my teaching job, and wash some dishes in the kitchen. The afternoon sort of disappears into that, plus some random internet browsing/YouTube sewing tutorials. 6pm - Therapy call (prepaid - I use BetterHelp and pay quarterly - I’m due to pay in 2 weeks). I am so grateful to be back in therapy. Isolation has been hard on me, and my medical situation really left me raw. It’s scary to have a totally normal day and end it in an ambulance unexpectedly, and I’m still unpacking my feelings about it. 7pm - I sodastream some water, add lavender syrup, and hop on Zoom for game night with some friends. We play Jackbox games together and snort-laugh the whole way through. This is a new group I was just starting to befriend IRL in the weeks before the pandemic. These weekly game nights have been so great to keep the momentum. 9pm - I dress my last tortilla as a pizza, bake it, and then dump the remainder of a box of arugula on top after it’s out of the oven and eat it over the sink like a crispy pizza taco. After eating I text a bit with a guy I met on reddit (henceforth RG - Reddit Guy - same guy from my last MD.) He sends me a video of his dog doing tricks, and we count down and hit play on the same TV episode. We’ve been doing this little nightly ritual since the start of the pandemic, and it’s a nice way to keep this long-distance whatever-this-is going. Things have stepped up from merely flirty to decidedly romantic in the last year, but with the US/Canadian border closed for the foreseeable future who knows where this is going or if we’ll ever get to meet. 11:30pm - I have a quick warm bath before bedtime and after making a nest from all my pillows, fall asleep to a “sleep story” from the Calm app. Some smooth-voiced man talking about an island in Norway takes me away.
Day 2 - Friday ($69)
8am - I wake up before my alarm, laze around in bed reading newsletters and reddit. I open my work email, file away all the automated messages I get from our software, and close it again. I usually check it once a day on vacation just to clear that shit as a gift to my future self. 9:30am - I shower while listening to a podcast and check my messages while brushing my teeth. A neighbourhood pal asks if I want to have a coffee in the park with her before it gets too cold for these outside meetups. I reply and we arrange a plan to meet up. 10:15am - My friend texts and says she’s going to stop at Starbucks on her way to the park - do I want her to grab me anything? I mobile order a caramel apple spice ($5 - I’m off caffeine - doctor’s orders) and tell her it should be there waiting when she gets there. I bring the two remaining scones from yesterday’s bakery trip for us. We hang out at the park for a few hours on our distanced blankets, chatting until our fingertips are thoroughly chilled. Like a lot of my friends, the pandemic has had her and her partner seeking cheaper, more spacious dwellings out of the city. They’re moving in a few months. This is the fourth such announcement I’ve had this fall, so I’m better at being excited for them and asking questions all about their new digs rather than being openly bummed. But inside I’m a little gutted. It’s hard to watch my people move away! 12:30pm: I took the long route home from the park, then settle in with some mint tea and check on my students. I’m teaching online this semester and the course is “asynchronous” - meaning they move through interactive modules of written+video content at their own pace, so I post and reply frequently on the discussion boards, answer emails, and help them along. I have a chatty group this term - there’s a very active kdrama discussion thread in the “non-course related” board. I love when my online students still work at connecting with their classmates - I can’t imagine what it would be like trying to do fully online school and missing out on that in-person experience. 2pm - I whip up a quick chicken soup with some chicken and veggies from the freezer, some egg noodles and a bouillon cube and eat that before spending the afternoon cleaning up - vacuuming, laundry, and online browsing for some sewing supplies. I spend $64 on some additional fabric and bias tape I keep forgetting to buy to finish some projects. I can’t wait to go to fabric stores in person again someday. While waiting for my stuff to finish in the dryer, I do a short Yoga with Adriene video. 7:30pm - After dinner, a friend calls to complain about her boyfriend and we chat for awhile while I organize my craft supplies into bins I picked up at the dollar store last weekend. He’s been a grade-A dingus since the beginning of the pandemic, and just told her one of his roommates tested positive for COVID - on Monday. He stayed with her Tuesday and Wednesday and “forgot to mention it”. DUDE. C’mon! I tell her if she needs anything dropped off at her place - groceries, drugstore stuff, emergency ice cream or baked goods - just call. 10pm - I make some popcorn and queue up Kim’s Convenience with RG, we chitchat about the day and plans for the weekend. After a few episodes I crawl into bed while he tells me all about a COVID-safe date we could go on if we weren’t separated by a few hundred kilometres. It’s a nice daydream.
Day 3 - Saturday ($0)
~1am - My downstairs neighbours are suddenly blasting music so loud my bedframe is vibrating. At 1am. Shoot me. By 1:45 I’m over it and go downstairs to knock on their door. I bang on their door a few times, no answer. One of the other tenants down the hall comes out, we commiserate over the noise. He bangs on the door too, but the music blasts on. We shrug at eachother and go back to our apartments. ~2am - I’m losing my mind at the noise, which seems to be coming from directly under my bedroom. Assuming they maybe have the bedroom door closed and couldn’t hear the knocking, I go to the living room and grab my set of weights and start dropping them on the bedroom floor over and over again like a maniac hoping to catch their attention. It works though - after a few minutes the music is off. Sweet silence! 8:45am - I wake up, roll over, and doze a bit more before getting up to take my medication and instead of staying up, I crawl back in. I chat with RG a bit and send a check-in text to my friend with the crummy boyfriend. 10:45am - I finally get out of bed (I love laying around. If I’m going to be single with no responsibilities I am going to bask in every moment of it) and I eat leftover roasted cauliflower from last night’s dinner for breakfast. Afterwards I clean the bathroom, put away my laundry from yesterday, and log on to my online class to check in on my students and reply to their posts, and review the material that’s going up next week. 4pm - After the day spent with chores I finish putting together a meal plan for the week and grocery order for delivery tomorrow. I actually love grocery shopping in person, but with the uptick in cases recently I’m less interested in going. Afterwards I check my online class forums again (there’s an assignment due tonight so I want to watch for questions) and then go for a short walk around my neighbourhood. It’s nice to get out a bit and see the leaves changing. 6pm - I make a chickpea and lentil curry in my Instant Pot, adding an assortment of random veggies from my freezer, while RG shoots me a text about starting our “together time” a bit early tonight so we can watch Hamilton together. I agree, and after dinner work on some sewing. 9:30pm - Almost completely finished sewing a shirt - I’ll finish the hem another day and the neckline when the bias tape I ordered shows up. I put everything away and I eat some arrowroot crackers with nutella while watching Hamilton with RG. I’ve already seen it a few times but I love it. Midway through I exchange a few emails with a student who is rapidly approaching the midnight assignment deadline and just can’t get her code working. I can tell right away she’s made a teeny tiny typo that’s had a domino effect on her whole assignment. I point her in the right direction, she fixes it, and ends the night happy. 12am - Curling up in bed. I put on another Calm app story and fall asleep.
Day 4 - Sunday ($127)
7:30am - Trying to reacquaint myself with my alarm after a few days off. I roll over and doze a little until 8, then get up, take my meds, and hop in the shower. 9:45am - One of my American friends calls to chat. She was invited to a wedding and doesn’t want to go because the groom’s family are anti-mask QAnon types and she won’t feel safe there. We brainstorm about what kind of gift is appropriate as an in-absentia “Sorry you married into a family of nutjobs” gift. 10:30am - I wash the dishes from last night, then make a sandwich with hummus and sliced veggies and sit down to eat it while I download my students’ assignments for the week and reply to a few more discussion posts. I’ll get to grading later this afternoon. 1pm - Time vanished into a bunch of little tasks and a wormhole of researching possible holiday gifts for family members.I text with my brother’s girlfriend to get a sense of their whereabouts this week - I’m trying to get a birthday treat delivered to his apartment. She confirms a date and I place the order for some safe-to-eat-raw cookie dough in fun flavours ($37). I’m secretly jealous that this place isn’t local to me because it sounds delicious. 2pm - I sodastream some water, add lime juice, and heat up some leftover curry from last night and settle in to start grading assignments with some music. 4pm - My mom calls to talk about Thanksgiving (next weekend here in Canada). They really want me to come, but with cases rising in the province I don’t know how safe it is and I have a lot of guilt about bringing my city cooties to them in a rural area. They haven’t been that cautious - she talks at length about going to a party the night before. By the end of the call I’m frustrated and undecided. It’s pretty clear if I opt not to go I’ll be the “bad guy”, the daughter who abandoned everyone to move to the city and thinks she’s smarter than everyone else. But I have a lot of anxiety around it. 5:30pm - My grocery delivery arrives ($90, including a tip for the delivery person). I put everything away and eat a few pieces of dried pineapple and mango before getting back to marking. 7:30pm - I cook some salmon and roasted veggies and, while eating, text with a friend about my Thanksgiving dilemma. She’s in a similar boat with her parents, we weigh the pros and cons together but neither of us end up deciding anything. 10pm - I watch an episode of Kim’s Convenience with RG before he goes to bed (he has an early morning tomorrow) and afterwards do a Yoga with Adriene video, poke around on Reddit, and go to bed myself around 11.
Day 5 - Monday ($9)
7:15am - Alarm goes off. I wake up, but mostly scroll Reddit until 8. I desperately miss working from an office with other people and better chairs, but if WFH ever ends I will miss getting to stay in bed as long as humanly possible. 8am - Shower, moisturize and put on some lipstain - that’s the extent of my morning routine these days. I get dressed (I’ve been wearing the same threadbare jeans almost all quarantine. They’re so comfortable, but hideous). I make some tea and oatmeal and move over to my desk. 8:45am - I check my credit card statement online while eating. A return I’ve been waiting on is finally processed (+$41.28) - returns by mail are so slow - I put the parcel in over a month ago. I check my class boards too - no new posts to reply to. 9am - Log into work and post my “hello” message in our staff chat. We have a “Hellos and Goodbyes” room to keep track of people’s comings and goings throughout the day. Our CEO pings me and asks how my time off was. He’s been very attentive since my hospitalization and has been checking in about my workload, how I’m feeling. It’s nice to fee seen. 10am - One on one with my junior PM. We chat on Zoom re: what’s on the docket for our projects this month, and I take her temperature a bit re: work/life balance, how she’s managing our extended work from home and the pandemic. She has a lot of vacation days left and I encourage her to use them even if she’s not planning to go away - mental health and rest is important! 11am - One on one with my manager. She calls via phone since her teenage daughter is doing school on Zoom and their internet is overtaxed. She runs through what I missed last week and updates me on a new project I’ll be taking over from her later this month. I’m currently responsible for ⅗ of our major software projects and this will bring me up to ⅘. (Don’t think I won’t make a big deal about that when it comes time for our next reviews.) 11:45am - Answer a customer support email from someone struggling to use the site. After a bit of back and forth I discover it’s because they’re using a decade-old version of Internet Explorer. I hop on the phone, walk them through upgrading to Edge, and they’re a happy camper. We don’t have customer support at our org - the PMs and Junior PMs manage support for their projects. Some days I hate it, but most of the time it’s satisfying to tackle a small and solvable problem amidst the bigger-picture work. 1pm: Team meeting with my software team. We usually do these in the morning but one of the devs had to take his kid for a COVID test since he’s a bit sniffly - schools here are pretty strict. It’s a short meeting, just getting a sense of how everyone’s moving through the current open projects, and then a show-and-tell of pets, since the aforementioned sniffly kid joined at the end. I do not have any pets and am as delighted by them as the kid. 1:20pm: Lunchtime! I heat up some leftover curry and chat a bit with RG, who’s checking in about my stress level. Since my hospital stay he’s been worried about me pushing too hard and not giving myself time to heal. We talk about our mornings and he tells me he added some new songs he thinks I’ll like to a shared Spotify playlist, so I know what I’ll be listening to this afternoon. 2pm: I spend the afternoon working on spec writing for upcoming development projects while my developers investigate a bug a customer reported over lunch. 5:10pm - I set an alarm on my phone to go off when it’s time to log off for the day. I change into some pants with more structural integrity, mask and jacket up, and go for a walk. 5:45pm: While I’m at the pharmacy picking up my prescription, the pharmacist mentions they have flu shots in, so I get one while I’m there. ($8 for my prescriptions, $1 for the impulse coffee crisp bar, $0 for the peace of mind of being flu-free even if I barely leave my house). While I’m walking home, RG calls from his commute to ask what I’m going to do about Thanksgiving. He thinks I should go - it’s generally safe in my parents’ area (less than 30 active cases in the county), and he gently suggests that the fall is probably going to be pretty hard on me emotionally and it might be a good idea to take the opportunity to go away while it’s relatively safe. I keep thinking it over. 6pm - Cook some chicken and roasted veggies for dinner, and after eating, set up my sewing stuff to finish up that shirt hem and start cutting pattern pieces for another project, a robe, while listening to podcasts. 10pm - I set up my iPad on a stool next to my bathtub and watch Kim’s Convenience with RG on chat while soaking in the warm, bubbly water and drinking some chamomile tea, and eventually dry off and head to bed around 11:30.
Day 6 - Tuesday ($0)
8am - Did I snooze my alarm for an hour? You bet. I just couldn’t stay asleep last night. When I finally wake up, RG has left a little video message for me, which I watch, and then watch again, and then start getting ready for the day. I braided my hair before bed so I have those great post-braid waves today. 8:55am - At my desk, logged in and ready to go with some oatmeal. I drop a note in the staff Hellos and Goodbyes and peek at my class discussion board before picking up where I left off yesterday. 10am - Client call. This client is hoping to do something a little “off label” with our tools. We chat a bit about what they’re hoping to accomplish and what their goals are, and I answer a few data questions for them. 10:30am - Team meeting! We spend some time puzzling through my client’s “off label” ideas, do some digging on another client’s data issue, and then spend a little time watching a funny news blooper one of the devs screenshares and joking around. I don't mind a little fun in our meetings! 11am - Biweekly all-staff meeting. Our CEO gives a little roundup of how things are going big-picture, and then one by one each of my colleagues gives a brief update of what they’re working on. Many pets and children make appearances - as a group the general vibe with interruptions on zooms is “delight”, which I appreciate. Nobody’s trying to “keep up appearances”. It’s all a mess we’re in together. 12:20pm - Lunchtime. Check COVID case counts again for my parents’ area (still undecided) while chatting with a friend about her thanksgiving plans. She and her husband have been isolating at a family cabin since early summer, when their city apartment building started renovating. They’re planning a “so bad it’s good” movie marathon, so while I eat leftover curry we chat about our favourite bad-good movies. 1:25pm- Reacquainting myself with some material for my 2pm meeting. I’m on an HR Committee at work and we’re meeting to check in on our work/life and wellness strategies as we head into another WFH quarter. The transition to remote has gone (mostly) well for our company, but there’s always room to improve! 3pm - After the HR meeting I put together a custom report request for our database team to run for me, and then pull up our team’s roadmap for the fiscal year and make some tweaks. I share developers with other teams and I know a big project has dropped in for them elsewhere, so I adjust. We’re already close to hitting our metrics for the year so I’m happy to let the other teams keep my devs busy for awhile while I prep and spec some larger feature builds for them. 4pm - My friend with the dingus boyfriend texts. Luckily, both she and her boyfriend tested negative, but since he lives with someone who’s sick, they’ll both need to test again in a few days. She talks about wanting to break up with him. I encourage her to take her time thinking about it. I think they should break up - he’s a dope. But she’s the one in the relationship - not my call! 5:15pm - I log off for a bit. I’m feeling a bit drained today. I didn’t sleep well last night and I know my indecision about Thanksgiving is weighing on me. I do a yoga video and lay on the floor crying afterward. It happens, part of that good ol’ depression life. Sometimes you just need a lil cry. I’ve been really emotionally overwhelmed since my hospitalization, and some close friends have really broken my trust recently. I’m working on it with my therapist, but sometimes you’re just fresh outta emotional juice, and while I love my family, we’re not close - time with them would be nice, but it’s not restorative. 7:10pm - Alright alright. Time to rally. I log on to my online portal and reply to my students’ board posts and questions. They seem like they’re doing a good job grasping the material, which makes me happy. I never wanted to be a teacher but it makes me feel so satisfied when I can see their progress. It cheers me up a little. 8:45pm - Time got away from me doing that work. I throw some fish and veggies into the oven and call my parents. I tell them I'm still undecided about Thanksgiving, Mom complains that I'm taking things too seriously, I text her the graph of cases again. She tells me I can make a day-before decision if I want to, that they'll isolate the rest of the week, for real, but she just needs to know by Friday around noon if I want to be picked up. I appreciate the extra time to consider things. Then Mom asks me to place a grocery click-and-collect order for her (she's not good at internet). I say I will, and she proceeds to slowly text me a grocery list one item at a time for the next hour. LOL. Moms. 10:15pm - I drink some sparkling water while watching Kim’s Convenience with RG on chat. After one episode I’m wiped, so I go to wash up. By the time I’m getting into bed, RG has left me a video message - the first half is his dog adorably snoring. The second half is just him telling me everything’s going to be OK and apologizing that he can’t be here to do our own Thanksgiving. Cry again - happier tears this time.
Day 7 - Wednesday ($0)
8:20am - Cutting it close today, wakeup-wise. It took me forever to fall asleep last night so I snooze a lot today, but when I finally get up, RG’s left me another voice memo encouraging me to get up and kick this day’s ass. I’ll try! I have a quick shower, mist my hair to refresh the curl a little, and get dressed. 9am - Log on and say hi to the team, then help the marketing team with some content for our monthly newsletter. Once that’s done, I make a smoothie with frozen mango and dragonfruit, then head back to my desk to load some data into our internal dashboards for our CEO’s reports later this week. Once it’s loaded, he DMs me and we chat a bit about the comparison year over year, possible insights, nerd out about graphs a bit. 10:30am - Team meeting. Alongside the usual updates I’ve added extra time to discuss some upcoming features and the specs I have in progress. I don’t love speccing something without involving them - they feel a lot more ownership when they’ve had a chance to be involved in the process. They get really excited about the new build and ask if I can reassign them to this instead of the other project they’re pinch hitting on now. Nice try! 12:15pm - Lunchtime! Some colleagues and I hop into Netflix Party to watch an episode of Queer Eye together. When we were in the office we used to have occasional TV lunch parties so we’ve been trying to mimic that in our new WFH life. I eat the last of my leftover curry while our Netflix Party chat goes OFF in full home-porn-drool at the reveal of Bobby’s house makeover. 1pm - Back to work, more data audits for our research team. 2pm - Internal meeting with another colleague about a section of her project I’m pitch-hitting on - super productive. She runs a tight meeting and I really admire her. After the meeting I write specs for the rest of the day based on the meeting this morning. I put on some old episodes of Reply All and get stuck in. 5:15pm - Head out for a short walk around the neighbourhood to get some air and outside time, talk a bit with RG while he’s on his commute. Once I’m back home, I do some tidying up. 6pm - Therapy call, I talk a bit about my Thanksgiving dilemma but we move on to other topics too. Feeling a bit better than yesterday, but a little rough around the edges. These are the kinds of days where I tend to feel tempted to order in, and while I scroll UberEats, nothing really looks that good, so I close the app and decide to just cook what I’d planned. 7pm - Make dinner, chicken and roasted veggies again. What can I say, I’ll party down on garlicky roasted broccoli any day of the week. I wash dishes when I’m done eating. 8pm - Pop online to check out my students’ posts for the day and reply to some emails. I briefly scroll through stuff on the IKEA website. I’ve been hoping to get some inserts for my Kallax unit, but the ones I want aren’t in stock, still. 9pm - Shower and wash my hair. I get out a shower scrub from Lush and really go to town, I do the Aztec Secret clay mask too. Why not! 9:45pm - Post up on the couch with some sparkling water, ready for TV time with RG. We watch the last two episodes of Kim’s Convenience and chat a bit before bed about what to watch next - we have a lot of good options, but decide to just see what we’re in the mood for tomorrow. Weekly Total: $247
Food + Drink: $108
Fun + Entertainment: $0
Home + Health: $38
Clothes + Beauty: $64 on sewing supplies (future clothes + entertainment while I make them?)
Other: $37 (gift)
Reflections: I keep an MD 365 days a year so I can tell by comparison this is on the lower end of an average range for this year so far - I usually get delivery at least once a week (sometimes twice), but I wasn’t feeling it this week! My average spend has really been ticking down the last couple of months. While the pandemic sucks and the isolation is rough (shoutout to my fellow live-aloners), I’m enjoying not spending as much, and that my spending is really heavily weighted toward things that contribute to my sense of well-being.
2020.10.09 15:05 the_chapel_perilousA WandaVision series outline
I had been reading old Scarlet Witch and Vision comics when the WandaVision trailer finally dropped, and it all got completely stuck in my head. I needed to work out how it all made sense to me, and so had some fun putting together a potential series outline. Please enjoy! It's super long and I don't expect too many people to read it all. But I'd love to hear what you thing is wildly wrong or not likely or whatever. Also included is how WandaVision leads into Doctor Strange 2. --- WandaVision Episode 1 Scene begins in a black and white suburban home in the 1950s. Wanda is cleaning up. Vision comes home, seemingly from work. As Wanda is preparing dinner, a neighbor, Agnes, who they clearly know well, stops by. Wanda tells her they're preparing to have other neighbors, the Hearts, over for a meal. Agnes makes some wink-wink, nod-nod, jokes at Wanda's expense, clearly aware of what is probably about to happen, and then leaves. Wanda is upset, but she goes back to cooking. Scene cuts to the dinner. Everything is going well. Everyone is getting along. Life seams great. They talk about the town and how peaceful life is there. Wanda alludes to having had a stressful job in the past, but is now happy to be a homemaker. Then Mrs. Heart asks "and why don't you have children, yet?" Suddenly, the scene goes off the rails. Reality begins to skip and stutter, to repeat moments on a loop. Then . . . it breaks. Wanda is alone. She's in a modern home, in modern clothes, in modern Westview, but alone. She begins to cry. Monica Rambeau walks through a SWORD HQ. She's there with Darcy Lewis working on other-dimensional energy technology. They're friends, having bonded over both being personally acquainted with famous heroes. Cue a couple jokes about the otherworld adventures of Thor and Carol Danvers. Simon Williams welcomes them into a command room. He's the head of Williams Innovations, previously an employee of Stark Enterprises, but now works with SWORD by providing his dimensional tech. As they're reviewing some screens and data, they see a blip. Something somewhere has triggered a trans-dimensional frequency wave. Something they'll need to investigate. Back in modern day Westview, Wanda is with Agnes, who we learn is really named Agatha. Agatha had sought out Wanda post-Thanos battle, and invited her to the small suburban town of Westview where she could help teach her how to use her powers. Agatha is a sorcerer, and Wanda has been her student. They talk a little about the history of magic, Elder Gods, and Salem, etc.. As they walk around Westview, they run into Jimmy Woo, who has decided to leave the big city of San Francisco for a quiet life in a small town where nothing wild could possibly ever happen. Monica visits with her mother, Maria, and we get some more background on her character. While Maria had gone into the Airforce, Monica had briefly been in the Navy. But she left the Navy to join SWORD. They talk about Danvers, and that they wish she could have stayed longer after the battle with Thanos, but she had other things to take care of in space. Monica then tells her mother she needs to travel for work to look into something odd which they've discovered. She'll be home soon, she says. Alone in her home, Wanda summons another new reality into being. It appears to be the 1960's. Vision comes home again from "work." They embrace and have a romantic moment together. Time fast-forwards in a montage. They're happy. They're having fun. They're in love. They have twin babies, Billy and Tommy. Life is good. Except that Vision still questions who he is and how he's supposed to live without a backstory. There's another snag in the reality Wanda has created. It cracks and it breaks down. Wanda is alone, again, distraught. Another failure. Last scene. Agatha walks into her home and is startled to find she has a visitor. It's Necrodamus, and he's come to remind her that her debt is coming due. Rest of Season Agatha is not as good natured as Wanda had been led to believe. She in fact had a duplicitous reason to find Wanda. Decades ago, Agatha had made a deal with Necrodamus, agreeing to give him her soul at some future date. To get out of this bind, Agatha plans to teach Wanda how use and strengthen her powers so that she might use them to defeat Necrodamus. While under Agatha's tutelage, Wanda has been attempting to bring Vision back to life. Agatha is against this, knowing what kind of ill effects playing with life and death and alternate realities could entail, but she goes along with it because she will eventually need Wanda to help her. Monica, Darcy, Simon, and a few SWORD members arrive in Westview. Their tech has revealed the town to be the center of the odd trans-dimensional energy blip. They're walking through town, and they meet the Hearts. They run into Jimmy Woo, who is unnerved about SWORD members being in town; surely nothing awful is about to happen. While Monica is elsewhere, Simon and Darcy run into Agatha. Agatha is suspicious of them, though, and quickly realizes who they are, and that their arrival in Westview is a big problem for Wanda. She excuses herself and runs off to warn Wanda that she's in danger of being discovered. To get to Wanda she needs to pass through a dimensional portal, which brings her into a 1970s Westview... Time moves differently in the alternate-realities Wanda creates. The decades go by so fast that the twins are growing up slower than one would expect. They're aging as Wanda would imagine them to age, not for how much time has actually passed. At this point, they're still young children. Wanda and Vision are doing better at finding happiness. Agatha maybe even thinks this magic could work for Wanda, so long as she can help keep SWORD off their trail. But at some point during this 1970s reality, Monica is able to use the SWORD tech to enter into the other-dimensional bubble. She meets Wanda; even befriends her for a short time. But then her ruse is discovered and she is thrown violently out of this bubble reality. Because of Monica's breach, the false reality breaks down and Wanda is back to modern day Westview. Vision and her children are gone again. Necrodamus then reveals himself to Wanda in order to make a deal with her. He'll show her how to make Vision and her twins alive in the real world, if she agrees to do something for him: to turn on Agatha and help deliver her soul to him. The catch, is that in order to bring Vision back to life using dark magic, she needs to also steal the mind of another man. Could she bring back Pietro, she asks Necrodamus. No, he says (knowing that Mephisto has Pietro). She declines the offer, believing the cost is too great. She still feels confident she could bring back Vision on her own. So she creates another reality, hoping it's the last one. This time it's the 1980s. All seems to be going well again, for awhile. Except now, she's looking at Agatha in a new light. If only she could convince herself to turn on her mentor, she could bring Vision to full life. And while Necrodamus again reminds Agatha that her debt is coming due, she's feeling more confident that her plan will still work out. Wanda's powers are stronger than ever. Simon, Monica, and Darcy are still hunting for the cause of the dimensional disturbance emanating from Westview. Simon's brother Eric arrives, now a member of SWORD (though actually working undercover for Zemo). Again, using the Williams tech, they are able to enter into Wanda's 1980s reality, all of them this time, not just Monica. They run into Woo again, but he doesn't seem to remember them, which is odd. They keep exploring the town, awestruck at the weirdness of it all, they find Wanda and Vision. A fight takes place. The SWORD team is no match for either Wanda or Vision and they are pretty well defeated. But, the spell of the 1980s reality is broken by their appearance, and Wanda is again on her own. This time she knows she's in immediate danger. And very very angry. So she calls upon Necrodamus and agrees to his terms. The person she chooses to sacrifice is the man who most threatens her existence, Simon Williams. Not only is he her greatest nearest threat, he's also proved himself to be very intelligent. He's the perfect choice. She attacks the SWORD encampment, kidnaps Simon, and uses her newly acquired dark magic, sacrificing him to Necrodamus. Simon's body is left in a coma, while his mind is supplanted into Vision. Vision and the twin teenage boys have been brought to life for real. But it's a strange reality that oddly distorts everyone else's reality. The dark magic has had odd consequences. Two realities oddly merged into one. The stakes have just been raised to the highest level. Monica, Darcy, and SWORD use their tech to attack the new weird reality that Wanda has created. They locate it, get a hold of it somehow, and manage to pause it. But the pause doesn't affect Vision, because of his synthezoid magical nature. He steps outside to investigate. He looks around, seeing everything is stopped. He flies into the air for a higher vantage, and notices Agatha's car. Landing next to her, he taps the side of her head, bringing her back to consciousness. When she comes to, she's shocked. How is Vision alive in the really real reality? That's when she learns what Wanda has done, and that Necrodamus has likely turned her protege against her. She laughs, knowing her plan to defeat Necrodamus is almost certainly ruined. Wanda is now almost as much an enemy to her as Necrodamus. Agatha performs a spell which breaks the pause put upon it by SWORD. This causes the SWORD tech to explode, badly injuring Monica. When she awakes, she has some powers she did not have before. Now that there have been two massive uses of dark magic in Westview, it has caught the attention of a sorcerer back in NYC: Doctor Strange. Necrodamus is getting worried. Wanda is far more powerful than he suspected. He's a little scared that Wanda and Agatha working together could lead to his downfall. So he finds Eric, who he can tell is a duplicitous person. Eric isn't just out to destroy SWORD from the inside, he also wants to avenge his brother by defeating Wanda and Vision. Necrodamus gives him the power of Grim Reaper, in order to help defeat Agatha and Wanda. Wanda and Vision are getting used to being together again. They've been reunited, but it's strange. Who are they now? How is life different for them than before Thanos killed him? How do they deal with SWORD being on their tail? What do they do about Necrodamus? Wanda and Agatha's relationship is now antagonistic. Vision is coming to terms with having the memories of Simon Williams. Simon's life is, in a weird way, his own life. It means Eric Williams is also kind of his brother. Their family, including the twins, must therefore also include the Williams. It's all very complicated and hard for him to understand. Monica is coming to terms with her new powers. Her body, when she concentrates it, becomes a dimensional interface taking energy from another dimension. The SWORD tech registers the power within her body, helping to explain what has happened to her. Darcy and Monica are trying to use the tech to help Monica control it, as it's painful and wild. That's when Eric reveals himself as Grim Reaper and attacks the SWORD encampment. He reclaims his brother's body, and destroys all the Williams Innovation tech. Monica and Eric battle, but Eric gets away. With SWORD defeated, Monica realizes Wanda needs to be her partner. They have a shared enemy in Grim Reaper. And Wanda might be the only person in the world who could help her deal with her new, hard to control super powers. She sets out to find them and come to a truce. Final Scene Necrodamus decides this is the moment Agatha's debt is due. He comes for her, bringing along the Grim Reaper to end it all. Vision and Monica fight the Grim Reaper in combat. Wanda and Agatha battle Necrodamus. The battle between Vision, Monica and Grim Reaper gets personal. Vision sees Grim ReapeEric as actually something like a brother to him. The outcome he wants is for Eric to embrace him as family, not to destroy him. In the end, Grim Reaper is defeated, but Vision feels sorrow for nearly killing him. Necrodamus is at first winning the battle with Agatha and Wanda. But then Doctor Strange appears and the balance of the fight is tipped. In a moment of fear, Necrodamus calls upon his own master, Mephisto, by opening up a dark portal into a very dark dimension. Strange manages to best Mephisto, who is extremely powerful, by closing the dimensional portal, but he is knocked unconscious in the process. Wanda is then able to defeat Necrodamus, which she does by opening up a fold between two realities and throwing him into Limbo. The series ends with Wanda, Vision, Agatha, and Monica standing over the unconscious body of Doctor Strange. Billy and Tommy and others are nearby. They've all just witnessed the Dark Dimension, possibly Hell, which they understand will be a massive problem for them in the future. Through the portal which had opened up for Mephisto, they had seen hundreds of frightening monsters and creatures and powerful dark devils, zombies, vampires, etc. In these last moments, everything appears normal for the time being. Then the twins Billy and Tommy start to twitch. We see a hint -- only a hint -- that they now possess new superpowers. Everyone is staring at them, wide-eyed and jaws dropped. Something about the world is very different than it was before. --- Doctor Strange 2: Multiverse of Madness Doctor Strange is in the Sanctum Sanctorum in NYC. He’s sweeping up, dusting off ancient artifacts, making tea, changes the album on the record player. He sits down and leaves his body to do some mystical work in his astral form in another room. Suddenly, he realizes something is wrong. He races back to his body but he’s locked out of it. The room begins to melt and shift. Reality becomes distorted and super trippy. He sees his face in all kinds of things, and he finds it impossible to keep his mind straight. Then Nightmare appears and they battle. Strange does defeats him, but only as to escape. Strange wakes up in Westview, in the home Wanda and Vision, under their and Agatha's care. Speaking with Agatha, Strange realizes that he's going to need to the assistance of all the other sorcerers on Earth to defeat Nightmare and Mephisto. He sets out to find each one, but when he gets to them he discovers they've been de-powered by Mordo. Now it’s a race to get to the remaining sorcerers before Mordo does. At one point he arrives only moments too late, finding another sorcerer on the ground and Mordo attempting to escape. They battle while Strange attempts to reason with him. But it doesn’t work. Mordo is too determined, and he escapes. All the while, Strange is also being chased by Nightmare. So this double chase runs through dimension after dimension, universe after universe. Strange is finding it hard to maintain his sanity, but he must do so in order to catch and defeat Mordo, and then Nightmare, so that he can then take on Mephisto (in Doctor Strange 3). Along the way, we are introduced to a dozen different characters from all kinds of multiverse dimensions; likely Blade, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, Jack Russell, Dracula, Cyntha von Doom, Man-Thing, Clea. A descent into the Hell dimension briefly reunites us with Killmonger, Black Widow, Pietro and other dead heroes and villains.
2020.10.07 00:46 throwawayaracehorseThe Massacre at Crybaby Bridge: An Oral History - Part 1
In any town, in any city, there are secrets and stories, myths and legends. The Crybaby Bridge legend is one that had been born out of the small town of Somerset and various other towns across the contingent United States. With regards to Somerset, there have been no historical documents to back up its truth or origin, yet that doesn’t mean that it didn’t occur. It has been passed down all the same. The incident that occurred in the fall of 2003 does have documentation however, and in the wake of this tragedy a new legend regarding this specific bridge has emerged, The Massacre at Crybaby Bridge. We have interviewed numerous individuals with firsthand knowledge of the event. The majority of the interviewees were high schoolers in 2003 and their grade at the time of the incident is given. Others have contributed to the story when applicable. Utmost care was taken to obtain many different perspectives, and in the end, we felt that we have obtained the definitive story of that tragic and terrible night. The wounds may never heal for those that lived it, but for the rest of us it has become a compelling and uncanny story. It is a story that feels most appropriate when the days get shorter and the nights are colder and the leaves start to burn, a story that crosses our minds when we hear something rustle off in the brush when we are all alone and feel a sudden rush of fear before calming ourselves by thinking, “nah, that couldn’t happen to me….”
SKYE BRIGGS, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR**:** It was my junior year at Somerset and really I was just not having it anymore, the whole high school experience. I didn’t really feel like I fit in with any particular group, I didn’t have a boyfriend and I spent a lot of time feeling lonely. Teen angst stuff, I guess. If I could jump ahead to my senior year and graduate early, then I’d definitely do that. I was ready to get out of Somerset and the small town life. STEPHEN PARKER, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR: Yeah, I guess that Somerset was kind of a shithole. I definitely thought so at the time. Looking back though and becoming more familiar with some of the other towns in the area, by comparison it was actually a pretty nice little town. Charming and homely, I guess. They have this quaint little downtown area with these brick streets and old buildings. There’s also a lot of trees that line the streets downtown. “Got a case of the doldrums? Have some time to kill and need to get out of the city? Why not take a daytrip to Somerset? But in all actuality we think you may need more than a full day to see and explore all Somerset truly has to offer, so why not make it a full weekend and stay at one of the fabulous hotels located conveniently next to the interstate or one of our very own bed and breakfasts? From parks and a city lake, to a museum devoted entirely to G.I. Joes, we have something for everyone! Visit our beautiful and historical downtown area, shop for antiques, and get a bite to eat at one of the many diners and cafes. Take note of the beautiful trees as well. We’ve been designated Tree City USA by The Arbor Day Foundation. Definitely a must-see during autumn when the foliage is beautiful. So come visit Somerset! Small town charm, big time heart.-Town Of Somerset Tourism Brochure, Somerset Chamber Of Commerce 2002. RONALD TARVER, SOMERSET CITY MANAGER: We cut the majority of the Main Street trees down in 2011 actually. There was an issue with excessive bird droppings. It got to be a real nuisance. STEPHEN PARKER, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR: Oh yeah, I forgot. I saw that they had cut all those trees down the last time I went for a visit. I was just passing through and wanted to take a trip down memory lane, I guess. I drove downtown, to the Sonic, the theater, and the depot. Down to the park. All those old haunts. Basically where everything started. I wanted to see if it triggered anything in me and it did. Man, it really did. SKYE BRIGGS, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR**:** In a town the size of Somerset, the kids would get creative when it came to entertainment. There’s stuff we did that people had never heard of when I went to college back east. One thing that a lot of people did back then was to “cruise town.” BOB SCHROEDER, LOCAL HISTORIAN: “Dragging main” or “cruising town” was a social activity that came to prominence in the area in the halcyon days of the late 1950’s. It was depicted in the classic movie, American Graffiti. Practiced primarily amongst teenagers, cruising consisted largely of the kids driving their vehicles slowly in a predetermined route that had long been established by the kids from the previous generation. At various points along the route kids would stop and park their vehicles and then get out and socialize. Cruising would occur primarily on Friday or Saturday nights. STEPHEN PARKER: You would just drive around until you saw someone you knew. Sometimes it would be like a bunch of your friends hanging out in a specific area, sitting on the back of tailgates, standing around, just talking and stuff. You never knew who would be around at any given time, you would just kind of show up and see who was there. It was basically like a chat room occurring in real life. Except with more fossil fuels, I guess.(laughing) DYLAN BAKER, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR; QUOTE FROM THE SOMERSET SABERTOOTH WEEKLY SCHOOL NEWSPAPER, 4/11/2003 : You never know what’s going to happen when you cruise town. You might run into some buddies who know about a kegger that’s going on and you pile into their car and go there. You might see a fight break out. You might find some girls that want to ride around with you and maybe fool around a little. You might get bombarded by water balloons launched from a whole block away by a slingshot. A kid could piss himself on camera in front of everyone for five bucks. Sometimes nothing happens at all, but you don’t want to miss out on the craziness, the opportunities. That’s why I love to cruise town. BOB SCHROEDER: Featuring the intermarriage between the U.S. car culture and the freedom of being a teenager with a driver’s license, cruising was the quintessential American activity, just pure small town Americana. However, like drive-in movie theaters, this vehicular pageantry has all but faded to nothing in the present day. SKYE BRIGGS: I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. I was never one of the cool kids and it wasn’t exactly my scene. The whole thing just seemed kind of stupid. It was this whole big ritual, see and be seen, y’know? Who has the coolest car, who has the biggest truck. Just people being idiots and looking for attention. I got drug along into it by my friends on several occasions though. I mean obviously. The night it happened I was hanging out with Hailey. It would’ve been a Saturday because it was fall and there wasn’t a football game going on. HAILEY ADAMS, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR: Skye was my best friend since kindergarten. I’m nothing if not loya,l and it didn’t matter to me that as we got older we didn’t exactly jibe on a social clique-y level. I mean she was all introverted and shy and not really outgoing. She liked music and art and movies and stuff and staying in on the weekends. I was the opposite, but she was a good listener, I could tell her anything and I trust her not to tell. We grew up across the street from each other. She was like a sister to me. “Shy Skye, My Ride or Die” —that’s what I liked to call her, haha. SKYE BRIGGS: I grew up across the street from her and we were best friends when we were kids. Once we hit high school it was clear that we were on different paths, though. I think we kind of grew apart, but she never acted like she was too good for me. If anything, I kind of blew her off because I didn’t like a lot of the people she was friends with. She was one of the most popular girls in school. Everyone wanted to date her. BILLY POOLAW, SOMERSET HIGH, SENIOR: Hottest chick at Somerset High? That would definitely have to be Hailey Adams. Bar none. STEPHEN PARKER: Hailey could’ve been a model. All the light in the room was drawn to her. She also seemed pretty chill. Not stuck up. I was still kind of intimidated by her. DYLAN BAKER, MSN MESSENGER CHAT TRANSCRIP TO STEPHEN PARKER, JANUARY 2003: I can’t get Hailey off of my mind. Since you have fourth hour with her do you think that you could get in good with her and ask her to lunch? She doesn’t have a driver’s license yet and I know she rides with other people. Maybe that’s my shot? If you and some other people were around, I think I could chill out a bit and get the balls to ask her out. DALTON FREEBOLT, SOMERSET HIGH, SOPHOMORE: Oh man. I had so many fantasies about her. She was like something from a magazine. Her body was just unreal. I really blame her for my whole cheerleader fetish. I got this costume from Spirit Halloween and my wife wears it sometimes, but it’s really just not the same. I’m still imagining it’s her when we're...y’know. Wait, are you going to quote me on this? Can you take that last part out? ALLISON McCORMICK, SOMERSET HIGH, JUNIOR; VOTED FIRST RUNNER UP FOR CLASS OF 2004’s MOST ATTRACTIVE : I mean she wasn’t that pretty. BRYSON VANDERBILT, SOMERSET HIGH, SENIOR: Hailey Adams? Yeah I guess she was hot. Kind of a bitch, though. HAILEY ADAMS: Bryson said that? Of course he would. I was riding around town with him one day and we parked out by the depot and started making out a little. It didn’t mean anything. I was bored and it was just something to do. But then he started trying to undo my bra and I was like “nah, I’m good”. Then he was all like, “how about this then” and whipped his thing out. He looked like he thought I’d be impressed. It looked so little sticking out of the fly of his jeans and I just wasn’t expecting it. I started laughing and couldn’t stop. He yelled at me and told me to get out of his car. SKYE BRIGGS: (laughing)I remember her telling me that. Hailey was full of crazy stories like that. STEPHEN PARKER: Dylan was always coming up with these schemes to get chicks. He had this whole strategy in place before he would ask them out. He wanted to like endear himself to them, y’know? I think it was because he was kind of scared. He had it laid out where he wanted to first become a casual acquaintance, then become their friend, and then he would feel comfortable enough to ask them out. If in the meantime they came onto him first, even better. So this is why he liked to cruise town so much, why he put so much effort into his truck. He hoped he would stumble into these situations where girls would just fall for him. He was just clueless. I guess we all were. The thing was, he actually had quite a few girls out there that had crushes on him, but he never pursued those avenues. He had his sights set on the girls that seemed impossibly unattainable, gals he put on pedestals, your Hailey Adamses of the world. SKYE BRIGGS: Hailey picked me up that evening. I finally caved to her after she asked me several times. I hadn’t seen her much over the summer and we had only gone to lunch a few times that year. We’d kept in touch with MSN Messenger and the like, but that was it. I was actually looking forward to hanging out with her. I had been daydreaming about getting a boyfriend of sorts and there was this guy, Stephen Parker, that I had a crush on. We sat next to each other in Computer Science. He didn’t seem to be the cruising town type, but I remember that I felt this sort of anticipation that night before Hailey picked me up, that I would see him out there or maybe even someone else and something would happen. STEPHEN PARKER: Dylan and I were hanging out in the den at my house. We were watching a movie and thinking about smuggling in some beers down to chug and maybe fire up a video game. We had already smoked a joint out in the alley, but the mood was just off, though. It was like this malaise had set over everything.The den felt claustrophobic and the thought of another quaint night down in here with Dylan—staying up late playing video games and watching movies—seemed really depressing. Maybe it was Dylan’s antsy-ness rubbing off on me; he was fidgeting throughout the movie. “Wanna cruise town?” he asked. “Nick’s gonna be down there for a bit. Said there might be a party later.” I shrugged and said, “okay.” It seemed like a good idea at the time. SKYE BRIGGS: I said bye to my parents and got in Hailey’s car. They didn’t feel the need to tell me any specific curfew. I think they were just happy I was getting out of the house, that I was dressed up and going somewhere to possibly socialize. For the first time, I was actually excited about going to town. I had butterflies in my stomach and everything. I had this lyric in my head and it was from a Jimmy Eat World song, the lyric was “I’m gonna fall in love tonight.” I remember playing that song while getting ready and I was thinking about Stephen...well Stephen’s the one that introduced me to the song. HAILEY ADAMS: As far as I know, Skye had never had a serious boyfriend. I think she may have kind of dated some guys in band, made out a little on the bus here and there and stuff, but I think that was it. She was crushing hard on Stephen Parker. Said he had made her a mix CD and everything. I don’t know why he hadn’t asked her out yet or what he was waiting for. He seemed like the shy type. They would’ve been perfect together. If we ran into him that night I had full plans to be Skye’s wingman and get them hooked up. DYLAN BAKER, MSN MESSENGER CHAT TRANSCRIPT TO STEPHEN PARKER, SEPTEMBER 2003: Interesting that you are sitting next to Skye in Computer Science. Did you know she and Hailey are really good friends? I mean they used to be closer back in junior high and Skye is kind of goth or whatever, but I know they still hang out. Maybe if you get in good with her we could all hang out some night? I think she’s pretty cute. I’m not sure what your thoughts are. SKYE BRIGGS: First off, I wasn’t goth, okay? I’m well aware that in a town like Somerset, any girl that didn’t fit the norm of wearing Abercrombie or whatever and liked to wear dark jeans and band t-shirts from time to time and had a little fun with her eyeshadow was going to get some sort of label. Second, there wasn’t like any sort of goth scene or clique and I don’t think I would’ve been part of it if there was. I didn’t like to draw that much attention to myself. I shopped at Hot Topic every now and then and liked unpopular music. Big deal. STEPHEN PARKER: We found Nick De Luca down by the depot, sitting on the tailgate of his red Chevy. He was wearing a Black Carhartt half unzipped to reveal a white t-shirt and had a big fat dip in his mouth. He looked like some sort of redneck James Dean. Definitely putting out some cool loner vibes. Dylan pulled in next to Nick’s truck and we got out. He asked us where we had been, said there was a party going on out at Buster’s and was thinking about heading out there. He said there were rumors that there would be a keg. SKYE BRIGGS: The cruising path was laid out in a circular route, an elongated oval more or less with a few detours that snaked around and some area like the police station or the stretch of four lane highway . The turnabouts occurred at the Sonic Drive-In and at the old train depot. TOWN OF SOMERSET WEBSITE, INFORMATION FOR VISITORS: The depot was built in 1903 and was saved from demolition in the early eighties. The Somerset Historical Society has lovingly restored it to its former glory. When your tires rumble over our brick streets as you make your way to the depot, you might imagine you are in a horse drawn carriage or a Model-T, on your way to the station to ride the train or pick up a passenger! SKYE BRIGGS: We were sipping on Ocean Waters from Sonic, parked in the stall and listening to music. Talking. Chilling. Hailey had splashed some rum in our drinks from a pint that her older brother had given her. There were people standing around outside their cars talking and laughing. People from school. People I knew and people I didn’t know. Hailey didn’t have any interest in getting out at the moment and that was fine with me. Eventually, we pulled out of the stall and made our way through the route towards the depot. STEPHEN PARKER: “It’s her! It’s her!” I remember Dylan jumping around and saying when he saw Hailey’s red Mustang making its way up the main drag towards the depot. Nick just spit out in the street and looked over at him. We had been chilling a bit and seeing who all was in town before we headed out to Buster’s. Dylan looked over at Nick, his eyes pleading. “Can you get her to stop?” SKYE BRIGGS: Hailey said, “omg Skye, look who it is. Don’t you have a crush on that guy? Didn’t he burn you a mix CD? Oh and there’s Nick and Dylan. Nick’s waving us down. Wanna pull in and say hey?” I was getting nervous and could feel myself blushing. “Uhh, I dunno” was all I managed to say. “C’mon Skye, don’t be a puss. Let’s get out and talk a little. I’ve got your back. “Fine,” I sighed. HAILEY ADAMS: That was one of the definitive moments, us seeing them there and deciding to get out and talk. We could’ve just drove on by with a wave. None of this would’ve ever happened. It would’ve just been a Saturday night like any other. Forgotten. SKYE BRIGGS: I probably wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you if I had turned Hailey down that night. Sometimes—well actually lots of times—I think about how different things would’ve turned out if I had just stayed in, made up an excuse to not go out. Or if instead of saying, “fine”, I had said, “nah, keep going. Let’s go rent a movie.” Would the end result be the same? I don’t think it would. See I think it’s like a Jenga tower or something that was stacked carefully in such a way to create some sort of monstrosity. All these little events before the massacre were the foundation. You remove one of them and the tower doesn’t get built. It collapses before anything can happen. STEPHEN PARKER: Would this have still happened if I didn’t go out that night? Like a butterfly effect or something? Shit man, I dunno. Probably. I wish I didn’t go out that night, yeah. But you’re telling me you get a chance to pile into a car with your friends and classmates and your crush and you don’t take it? It seemed like a dream come true. I could see it playing out in my head. Fuck my curfew. Wherever the night took us, that’s where we would be. I could call my parents and tell them I was staying the night at Dylan’s. They could read between the lines. I knew they wouldn’t ask too many questions, just be happy that I was safe. SKYE BRIGGS: There were other moments, too. Moments when we could’ve called it a night and just gone home. I don’t know, how about the chainsaw and the blood and the screaming? The torn jeans soaked in blood and the flayed open leg? That would’ve been a good time to end it. STEPHEN PARKER: Maybe it still would’ve happened some other night. It’s almost like it was just lying out there waiting for us. BOB SCHROEDER, LOCAL HISTORIAN: What was the night like in which our intrepid youngsters departed? On the surface, it was a Saturday night like any other...except not. There was a palpable energy in the air. I know because I was seeing a movie at The Ritz, Somerset’s two-screen movie theater that sat on the corner and was adjacent to the depot parking lot. I exited the theater and the town was alive...glasspacks and exhaust tips rumbled and filled the air with their obnoxious noise crying, “look at me! Look at me!” There was the deep thump of bass from stereo systems, Kicker Amps stashed in trunks rattling windows and any sense of decency. Groups of teenagers congregated on various street corners and wherever convenient while their shouts and laughter echoed through it all. Perhaps our high schoolers were among them. The records show that they would have left at approximately that time period. I believe the film I had seen was Secondhand Lions starring Michael Caine and Robert Duvall and the Sixth Sense kid. Maybe it would’ve been more fitting if I had seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre which came out a few weeks later. I wouldn’t have had the option, however. Johnny, the owner of The Ritz, opted not to pick that film up out of courtesy for the deceased. BECCA BONEY, PECAN VALLEY FUNERAL HOME DIRECTOR: I think they did a good job with retrieving the bodies. Well, let me rephrase that. They did a good job with retrieving the bodies and all of their respective parts. You have to understand we were working over a large area and there are coyotes and other things. Some things were impossible to recover, but I’d say they got the majority. HAILEY ADAMS: It’s the sounds I can’t seem to shake. The images are blurry and I’ve managed to drink and drug them away into some hazy memory, but the sounds...the sounds are a different story. I still hear them. And it's not like I'm just replaying them in my head either. I mean I hear them out in the world. In the static of broken up cell phone coverage there will be a mechanical cry for mama, mama, mama. There's the screams that I can hear late at night, off in the distance. The goddam screams. I can hear each and every one of them. Even my own. A scream that came from somewhere deep within me, from a place I didn’t even know existed, a sound I didn’t know that I could make.
2020.10.06 14:29 CollegeWithMattieYou don't have to be spiky, but please don't be well-rounded
I'm possibly the least well-rounded person you will ever meet. I mean it. I suck at so many things. Just terrible. I can't do math, or draw, or cook, or sing, or act, or include the unbelievable artwork from my artist, Felicia Tzeng, on Reddit , or plan, or make a competent TikTok , or lift heavy things, or dress myself, or promote stuff correctly, or lightly edit a piece once it's live without the entire Goddamn universe crashing in upon me, or sit through a movie without biting my nails, or be normal even when I really need to be...the list goes on and on. I also wouldn't necessarily call myself "spiky." If I had a spike, it would be writing. But it's not like I'm out here winning Pulitzers. There's a reason I put my stuff out for free on Reddit instead of slamming it into a book. I tried that once before. No one bought the book. But along with writing, I'd also say I'm quite good at college admissions info, explaining new concepts and ideas...talking about myself, telling jokes, ummm, analyzing handwriting, ummm, Playing Smash Bros at bars, ummmmm… See? Not that spiky. But I get enough nice DMs to know I'm good at what I do. It makes me feel grateful for all the support I've gotten and proud that I've been able to capitalize on and combine what I am good at to make myself happy and give back to the world. That leads us to today's question: Hi! I'm a rising sophomore. I've read most of your blogs, and I think they're gold and make a ton of sense. But they also freak me out. How am I supposed to find a weird hobby? On top of doing well in school? And having amazing extracurriculars? And family stuff? And how am I supposed to have a unique life so I have "unique" half ideas? It's so much work, stress, pressure, everything. I guess my real question is do you have any tips to manage the stress of applying to college or thinking about college in the future and trying to apply all the stuff I read on the internet and be a good, cool, passionate, driven person that gets enough sleep? Sorry, no.
...Yes, I have an answer. This question cuts to the heart of what I find to be the single worst thing about college admissions. It is an objective fact that getting into college is not conducive to living a fun, care-free teen life. I'm smacked in the face with this fact every October 31st. That's the night before the first major round of EA/ED applications are due, and it is the first major checkpoint on the college application Grand Prix. For the first couple of years at my job, I would send out some "fun" Email congratulating my students on working so hard and demanding they do something to celebrate the holiday. I stopped after realizing that every student would then report they either fell asleep at 7 PM or were too nervous about submitting things to do much of anything. I extra stopped when a student responded, "did you do something fun?" No. I was up until 2 AM copy-editing, and then I watched a baseball game on DVR because I couldn't sleep. Being in the weeds with you students gives me a crystal-clear understanding of what modern high school life is like. It sucks! But, to be fair, it sucks in mostly the same ways it did in 2009. I played the game just as hard in high school as I do with students now. And in both cases, it's worked. That's why I'm not the guy to tell you a summer job and Flaming Hot Cheetos LORs will be enough. Not if you want to go big. So that's why I cringe every time there's some post on Reddit that's like, "remember to enjoy being a teen, you guys!" It's patronizing because it implies that every student here isn't "enjoying being a teen" because either they don't want to or because they don't have their priorities straight. And as College With Goddamn Mattie, I believe most of you have your hearts in the right place, doing whatever you can to achieve your goals. So what do we do about this? We avoid being well-rounded as hard as humanly possible. And in doing so, we cut out as much unimportant bullshit that makes us tired and unhappy as we can. --- I was inspired to write this after reading u/admissionsmom 's book last night. It's super good! You should buy it and read it and give it 5-stars! I ended up in the chapter about the well-rounded/spike debate, and Miss Mom described a 5-prong starfish. Instead of having endless stuff, she recommended students pick around five things they care about and go for those as hard as they can. I think my starfish would have three legs. Or like, two legs and one little toe. Anyone here ever play World of Warcraft? I know the answer is no, but I have to ask. It was the video game that made young men uninteresting before DOTA and League took over. In WoW, you made your little gnome or goblin or whatever, and then you had three slots to decide. Class: Sub-Class: Profession: So for example, I was usually a Mage as a class, a healer as a sub-class, and a tailor as a profession. I can feel people back-clicking I type, so I'll now convert those three concepts into what I think they should mean for your application. Class: This is what you plan to declare as your major. This was the first piece of content I published, and I feel like I agree with it even more now that I'm filling out apps again. You want/need to be spending a lot of time and energy showcasing the skills that you hope to be a professional in one day. If that's CS, I want you taking coding classes and building an app on Saturday. If it's writing, I want you on the school's newspaper and putting together that children's book alongside your artist friend. I also want you to get As in the hardest possible classes related to this subject and study hard to max out any standardized tests related to the subject. Sub-Class: This is the other thing you do. Might be dance, might be swimming, might be working at Target. Your sub-class will usually be -but does not have to be- a classic school extracurricular. But whatever it is, I want you to go for it. I like awards and Youtube videos and volunteer positions and internships - I want you to go as far and wide with this as you possibly can. Dare to be great. Profession: Here's where we can get weird. What do you like to do? Screw college, what are you into? I won't accept playing video games or watching television. But what else? Do you like to paint maybe? Or grow chia pets? This is where your weird hobby can come into play. Read this piece. I want you to do this, too. This is literally my job, and I am telling you that if a student came to me and had all three of those sections jacked up all over, we would 100% be in business. All I would have to do is get to know them, and then I would help them build narrative connections between the three + their personality + whatever else they had going on, and it would work. The key would have to be that this student had gone for each as hard as he or she could. I want the future doctor to have worked at a hospital and to have done lab research, and if she could have cured cancer, that would be great. And because she swims, I want her competing and winning at every damn swim event in the state. I also want her training little kids to swim for free on Saturday and working as a lifeguard each summer. And because she was the one student who actually took my advice to start a podcast on the medical benefits of swimming with her friend, we could get her into Stanford. (Someone, anyone, please start a podcast with a friend. It can be about college, sports, local school gossip, serial killers, or anything else you care about and want to chat about. Put it out every week, have a website for it, and get it to 100 weekly listeners, and I will happily join for an episode to talk about anything you like. THEN YOU WILL GET INTO COLLEGE BECAUSE YOU STARTED A PODCAST AND THE BOOMERS WHO READ THIS SHIT WILL LOVE IT.) Now, I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend you enjoy all three of these "spikes." I want you to go as hard as possible, and that's going to be a lot easier if you enjoy the concept itself. If you're a Frosh, I would prefer you to jump ship entirely than spend/waste so much of your time and energy on something you hate. But if you're a juniosenior, Iono. I think I'd tell you to suck it up and keep going. You can quit the second you get into schools. If it involves your major, my honest advice would be to play a good little soldier and apply with the background you have, then switch to another major you don't hate as soon as you get there. This all sounds pretty cutthroat, right? It is. I know what it takes to get into top schools. It's really hard, you guys. But here's the fun part: I don't want or need anything else. I mean, it would be cool if you had a personality. And A's in other courses that were fairly-competitive. And if you liked Pokemon or something. We could and would write about all that, too. But that stuff I find comes naturally. I never need to force students to be fun, playful, or to like what they like. I've had too many teenagers be remarkable and different and amazing with no coaching at all to believe that it doesn't come naturally. What I need to do is direct their limited focus. And that's why I think the concept of "being well-rounded" sucks and is a meme. I tend to really, really dislike bad advice. Especially advice that I feel like came from someone who meant well, but not well enough to think about what impact said advice would have in a real situation. The meme version of well-rounded is: Do whatever makes you happy! The shitty real version is: do as many things in as many subjects as you can until your life falls apart. I see the tragic end-result of an elite student being well-rounded. He or she brings me what I refer to as the list of stuff. It's their resume or EC sheet, and it just goes on and on and on. But there's no theme. No story. All it says about the student is that they are inherently excellent and achieve a lot, seemingly for the sake of achieving it at all. Then I ask them about what matters the most to them and why, and they don't know. And then they don't get in where they want. And then their parents blame them. It breaks my fucking heart you guys. Please don't be well-rounded. Please don't let your parents make you do a bunch of shit that you don't like, aren't good at, or don't see an obvious payoff that makes the time and energy required to seem worth it. I promise it isn't. I promise that it won't help you grow as a young person, and ...more relevantly...I promise it won't get you into the schools you want to go to. --- I'd like you to do some research on burnout. It's a concept that we, as a society, have deemed teens impervious to for some reason. FWIW, teenagers in 2009 weren't actually depressed; we were just moody. Both concepts are insane and dangerous. https://www.verywellmind.com/ten-signs-your-teenager-is-burning-out-2611230 https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm I've burned out at multiple points in my life. It didn't just make me unhappy; it got in the way of my work and made me worse at the things I did care about. I'm terrified of burning out because I know it will lead to my professional catastrophe. I have worked harder this past calendar year than at any other point in my life. I've been stressed, haven't slept well, and been occasionally terrified that nothing I was trying would work. But I have not burned out. Not once. I'm still stressed and can't sleep, but I am so thrilled to be alive and love getting to work with my teens over Zoom every day. (I call them my Zoomers!!!) The difference is I have goals and motivations, and that I love what I have to do. That is my personal theory on burnout: That it is less about hours spent or the ability to tolerate sleepless nights and more about whether you find everything you are doing worth it or not. When you try to be well-rounded, you end up putting unnecessary time and energy into things you either don't like or don't care about. Then you burnout. Then the things that do matter and you do care about start to suffer as well. So we're gonna cut a lot of that shit out. No, you don't have to learn a second instrument. Do something cool with the one you already enjoy. No, you don't need to learn Italian. You're applying Chemical Engineering; that's stupid. Instead, be that magical starfish wizard. Have a few - carefully planned - passions and go. Gogogogogo. THEN! Then you want to know what you can do? At some point, you want to combine your passions. Figure out a way to merge two or even all three of your "spikes" into a singular activity. Are your things math, volunteering, and knitting? You should be offering to look at the financials for the food bank you're at for errors. You should also be knitting custom number puppets and using them to teach algebra at the local elementary school. You should be building half-ideas while you are still in high school. Then, when it comes to applying, your essay topics are already created for you. And then go be a teenager. You are allowed to do absolutely anything you want. You wanna work at the mall? Go for it. Want to try baking bread? I love it. But do these things without a hidden agenda. There's no ulterior motive of how good does this bread need to be? Do things because they sound fun, or you want to know if you can. Then, maybe, if you like it, keep going with it and see what happens. But you shouldn't need to worry about it because you're already working your ass off at the stuff that counts. ...I do not know if this will work. Or at least, I can't prove it. I was not a Stanford Admissions Officer for three years in the 1990s, so I do not inherently know everything there is to know about modern college admissions. What I can say is that this is how I live my life. I showed up here six months ago and meant absolutely nothing. What I did know is that I can write better than everyone else, I'm funny, I analyze handwriting, I am willing to talk openly about my life to strangers, and that I am good with coming up with new ideas. Anyone of those concepts alone does not make me stand out. But what I did is actively combine the few things I knew I was great at as tightly and creatively as possible to make people notice me. It worked. I run my own college consulting business now - entirely with Reddit students. It has made me happy and successful to the point that it doesn't seem real. I am so unbelievably grateful to you all here that it does not seem real. But it is. Because half-ideas works, yo. If it worked for some guy in Palo Alto trying to jump-start his career, it will work for you trying to get into the schools you care about. You all read crappy advice telling you how important it is to "Stand out!" and "Showcase your passions!" Well, here's how you actually can. I build systems, and this is my system for getting into college. I didn't expect to be dumping my high-school consulting expansion thesis today, but here we are. I really like this piece, except for the fact that I didn't answer that kid's question, like at all. Let's try again. Hi! I'm a rising sophomore. I've read most of your blogs, and I think they're gold and make a ton of sense. But they also freak me out. How am I supposed to find a weird hobby? On top of doing well in school? And having amazing extracurriculars? And family stuff? And how am I supposed to have a unique life so I have "unique" half ideas? It's so much work, stress, pressure, everything. I guess my real question is do you have any tips to manage the stress of applying to college or thinking about college in the future and trying to apply all the stuff I read on the internet and be a good, cool, passionate, driven person that gets enough sleep? The way you achieve this is by thinking ahead. First, keep your grades up. That matters most of all. All As will take you further than any weird three-pronged sea creature ever will. Next, you're starting your sophomore year. That's still so much time to do what needs to be done. Take a step back, breathe, and then begin to plan a bit. What's your magic starfish? What's the stuff to prioritize? What isn't? Which of those activities do you not even enjoy? I think you should stop those activities that you don't like and don't feel contribute to your overall application strength directly. That should buy you some more free time. Maybe dedicate half of it to doing more and better things that do matter. Be smart about it. I mean it that if you like to swim, you should be volunteering at a pool or a beach. It seems so simple as I write it, but in the chaos of the admission frenzy, it's easy to lose track of the goal and go do a bunch of things that feel right without a valid reason why. I am telling you they're not. Well-rounded is such a meme, you guys. And with that other half? Do you. Download a calendar app for your phone. I use Google Calendar, and it works well except when I accidentally click a popup and get porn spam sent to it. I live through my calendar and have everything I must do graphed out in front of me at all times. It makes me waste zero time or energy wondering what I should be doing; I just do it. I once tried filling in social activities like "see mom" or even "write for fun" in the empty spaces, but that failed miserably. Instead, I punch in everything I must do and then know and respect that any blank time is mine. I try to build my weekly schedule to allow me as many decent-sized free blocks as possible. I plan and package my week so that every Friday night I have off to go on a date, and every Sunday I'm clear all day to watch football in bed with my cat. If I didn't, shit would just be everywhere, and I'd spend all week either working or awaiting working. I'm obsessed with efficiency. You should be setting your week so that you cut down on as many unproductive moments as possible. For example, you need to book that theoretical little-kid swim class either right before or right after your regular practice session. Doing so cuts out all the time and energy it would take to get ready and head to the pool a second time. That's an extra 90 minutes each week you just took back. Actively work to create solutions like these, and you'll be amazed just how much more time each week you can reclaim. It is possible to be a successful, hard-working, high-achieving person without everything else in your life falling apart. I try really hard to be an example of that fact. And weird hobby? Just have it on your mind. The fact that you are on this message board, asking a guy like me, and getting a Goddamn Masters thesis in return is an excellent sign for your future. I love this board so much because it's somewhere for kids to turn who absolutely give a shit about their future, but need advice on what to do. A place like this didn't exist when I was your age, and it pisses me off every day. Merely the fact that you are mindful of the type of content colleges will want to see in three years puts you so unbelievably far ahead of the game. You don't need a hobby nownownow. But try some stuff. Do things you might typically pass off as not worth your time, if only because some random dude on Reddit gave you the scoop ahead of time. Then, if you like it, keep going. I am not the person to ask how to get more sleep. And lastly: good, cool, passionate, driven person is not a trait you train for. At least not that I've seen. Instead, every teenager I have ever worked with I have considered a good, cool, passionate, driven person. I think it comes with the territory of the type of young person who cares enough to contact a man off Reddit to help them get into college. But also it's emblematic of a new generation of young people that are objectively incredible. One of my favorite lines is, "teenagers remain undefeated." I do not think you will be the one to break up this perfect season. - Mattie I wrote another thing! I had a big paragraph before explaining it but then I wanted to add a cute picture of a Starfish and Reddit LOST ITS MIND. For about five minutes the article ended at "Sorry, no - Mattie". GOOD TIMES. Look at him. He's adorable. https://feliciattzeng.myportfolio.com/ Anyways I wrote a guide to the "Why College" Supplemental. Bout 4,000 words. Worked really hard on it! It's on my site and will be sent to you in exchange for your Email. In doing so you'll be added to my mailing list and all sorts of fun stuff. Tinyurl.com/CollegeWithMattieis the link. Spread it around! It's good I swear! If you're on Discords, College Confidential, or other places I'm afraid of, it would be huge for you to share it there for anyone asking about this type of essay. I’m glad you guys liked this one.
2020.10.05 11:20 -Pepefied-I (15M) am going out on my first "date" with my crush (15F)
This post is quite long, so feel free to skip it, and if you're still interested in this post, but you don't feel like reading the entire post. Could you give me a few tips, jokes, questions, anything that would help me with the date later today? There's a TLDR at the end... Thank you! Anyways, let's get started, shall we? Context: I used to have self-confidence issues, but I manage to pull myself together earlier this year. The lack of self-confidence made it hard to interact with females around my age. There's no point lamenting on the subject. To sum it up, I'm inexperienced with females. The context takes place about three to four months ago - early August and early September. How did I meet her: To put it simply, we're neighbors, but I only got to know her because my little sister became friends with her little sister. We haven't met in real life, per se, but we've seen each other – as a peek. My step-mom (SM) goes to her family's house often, since my sister plays there -to pick her up and to do small talk-. Consequently, my SM became friends with her parents and has talked to my crush a few times. The way my SM then told me about her conversations with my crush. And to me, I thought she was, being friendly, but all of my friends told me otherwise. For example (not the exact quote word for word, but you get the point): "Pepefied should join my school, he'd like it, there are some french [I'm french] people at my school.". She proceeded a few days later to ask my SM to give her my number. when asked why by my SM, she said so that she could invite me to one of her parties. (where I live, COVID wasn't as bad: 8 cases in the entire country - now it's a different story 1000 a day. And before you panic, we were both tested negative. ) She sent a message my way: "hey Pepefied, It's -let's call her Mary- Mary, we should keep in touch.". I, completely overthinking everything, responded with: "Hi Mary, sure thing" (no punctuation because I'm a rebel). And that was the conversation for an entire month, no more, no less. After that, I decided to ask Mary out for some "overpriced" coffee. Surprisingly, she said yes, but asked to reschedule. Regardless, I was gleeful, and I couldn't stop smiling. Unfortunately, the summer holidays ended, and highschool started (I'm a junior - I skipped a grade -, and she's a sophomore.). My school system tends to flood their students with homework. And my already busy schedule;( I finish at 5 pm practically every day) left no place for hobbies, let alone going out on a date. "pfff, who needs a social life anyway ;)" ~ probably the person who created the french school system. Fast forward to today, I'm an inexperienced teenage male, yet I'm not all that nervous. However, I'd much rather be safe than sorry, so could you give me some tips. How to dress, what to say, - heck - even what to do! Thank you for reading until the end. It means a lot to me. :) TLDR: Got a date with a beautiful girl, confused about what I should do, help! PS: sorry for the formatting, I'm more of a lurker ;) ! EDIT: forgot to flair the post with advice :/
There are a few clinical trials assessing the efficacy of new treatments for LCA. Are you part of any or considered any? If you were aware and chose not to, any reason why not in particular?
This is such a great question. I personally don't want to be part of a trial, or even accept a cure if it becomes available. By this point I'm hard wired to be a blind person. The brains of congenitally blind people develop differently, and the thought of adding in all the sensory input from sight is quite disturbing. I'm in favour of treatments being developed to give people a choice, but it must be that, a choice. My concern is that in the future we will live in a society where if someone doesn't take the treatment, access to things like disabled student support services will then be removed, because the government will put the financial responsibility on the person for continuing to choose to be blind.
Of course, none of us know if this will happen or not but it is a worry. It's one of the many reasons why I focus so heavily on the need for universal design. If we build systems that are accessible to everyone, disabled people won't have to rely so heavily on additional support in order to access things like university.
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That is a really interesting response, especially your concerns regarding the governments stance on eligibility for support. What’s your experience of the RNIB been?
The library and shop are good. Hard pass on almost everything else.
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So are you saying that if you could choose to have sight safely and effectively, you would not take it?
Exactly that. would you choose to be blind? It would be a drastic learning experience and change my life. I already have the life I want, I travel, work and study. I go on dates. I do the things I want to do. Getting sight would involve a huge amount of rehabilitation to learn how to live with it, which might not even be possible because as mentioned, my brain developed differently. It's easier, from a neurology perspective, to adapt to a loss than it is to a gain.
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No, but that would be taking away a sense, not adding one. If I were offered something like...let's say echolocation; or the ability to read other's people's minds; I would take that. In a heartbeat. Not casting judgment. It just seems kind of odd that you would choose to not take sight. You could throw away all of the stuff you need to navigate the world. You could drive a car. You could do a lot more than are capable of doing right now, and I'm just surprised that you'd say no to making your life easier and...don't take this the wrong way...fuller.
That's your perception. I've been really clear about why I wouldn't, particularly in relation to the brain development of congenitally blind children. It wouldn't be like I was suddenly a sighted person. The reality is, I'd probably never be able to do any of the things you've mentioned, because my brain would be incapable of interpreting that visual information, even if my eyes could see it. People are viewing this in a far too simplistic manner.
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Can you explain further why you would choose to go without sight if given the choice? That just doesn't make any sense to me, no pun intended. I understand you grew up without it but if I were given the chance to have another extremely useful amazing sense that I don't currently have I would not hesitate for a moment.
I don't think you guys are fully appreciating that my brain has developed differently. I am not the same as you, I don't decode information in the same way. My visual cortex is likely activated when I read braille and process auditory information.
If I were to gain sight, there's a strong chance I would never be able to effectively use it. It might feel intuitive to you, but it would be like an alien had taken route inside my skull. The very limited studies that look at people who were born blind, or lost their sight early in childhood, are not promising. Mike May is probably the best example, and there's a reason he still lives as a blind person today.
And I couldn't just wear a blindfold. I'd then have to constantly have my eyes covered. Would I blindfold myself in the shower? How would that look in public. And what, ultimately would have been the point of any of it. The idea of gaining vision is distressing, more so than I think it is to lose it. Because when you lose it you can adapt. I'd never be able to adapt, and it would be there, sending my brain into overdrive and trying to use sensory processing resources that I just don't have. It would be like subjecting me to torture.
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I think some of the individuals here don’t really understand the neuroscience side. They think that there’s just an “unused” part of your brain that is waiting for sight input. Instead, since there’s no traditional sight input, the “visual cortex” is taken over by things you need, such as an expanded understanding of space. Not necessarily “better” senses but more utilization of the senses. Your hearing may not be better than mine, but you are better at using it than I am (as a sighted person). That “better at using it” translates in to more “brain space” needed. You’re right (of course) if you got sight, there’s no “spare neurons” waiting for input, it would be a learning/retraining and even some potential loss of something else. Overall, thank you for sharing your experiences, I have enjoyed reading them. I (like others) am so visual-focused that the seeing black part of things was also my misconception.
Absolutely, this perfectly captures what I was trying to say. Thank you.
I have RP ( Retinitis Pigmentosa ), so I am slowly going blind. And mental health tips?? :)
Hey, LCA is very similar to RP in terms of what it does to our eyes, we're just born blind. My best advice is to reach out to the blind community, especially in your local area if possible. Your blind friends can give you advice, they can teach you things, but they can also empathise when that's what you need. But keep your connections with sighted friends too, because they are just as great. Don't give up on your goals, look at them as an opportunity to learn something. By that I mean if you want to get a particular job, find out how other blind people do it and learn those skills. If you feel like you need professional mental health support there's no shame in getting it either. It is possible to go through this and come out the other side.
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Thank you for the heartfelt response. I struggle to accept my condition, and sometime looking for empathy feels like acceptance. But I think I will start being more proactive!
I can't pretend I understand, because I've lived my whole life as a blind person. But I can see how it can be difficult. It's best to start working on the skills you'll need while you have vision, because then when you lose it, it's not such a huge adjustment and you can continue living as a perfectly functional blind person. If you're in the US, reach out to the National Federation of the Blind and find out about their training centers.
I've spent some time as a software developer trying to make my software accessible. Are there any common mistakes in "accessible" software that makes it hard to navigate via screen readers? Is there any type of accessibility software that doesn't exist yet, that should? Where is the first place you want to travel once this pandemic bullshit blows over?
I think the hardest thing is when buttons aren't labeled correctly to interact with a screenreader. Though honestly I'm not a developer, good accessibility testing is really crucial. And as for travel...I'm not sure, I want to go back to the United States to visit friends, but we'll see.
This might sound stupid, but: How did you find out that other people could see? And when/how did you started to conceptually understand a little bit what that meant? I mean as a small child you just live as you know it, but at some point life forces you to become aware that others around you read the world really differently.
I think I realised very early on, because I learnt that I could demand information from others. But the implications of what that meant for me and my future probably took a while to sink in. There wasn't a moment in which I realised, in my mind I've always known, but throughout the years different experiences taught me what impact it had. Particularly in relation to how other people responded to me.
How do you think your life would be different if you developed blindness later on in life rather than being born with it?
Quite a few of my students, and also friends have lost their sight. I think you go through a different adjustment, because you're grieving a loss. I was born blind, I didn't lose anything and so I don't feel the loss in the same way. You'd have to relearn many skills that you had before, such as learning how to cook and travel as a blind person. But you'd also have visual memory and a visual understanding of the world that I don't have.
I hope this doesn’t sound rude but I’m unsure how to word it. Do you think you have a good grasp on what you look like? Do you ever wish you could see yourself? Edit: I’ve never gotten this many upvotes before thanks strangers!
Kind of. I think for me it's the hardest part about my blindness. I know facts about my appearance, but there will always be that extra layer that I don't have, something everyone else gets to see that I don't. My knowledge of my appearance is always filtered through the eyes of others.
I once watched a documentary on a young man who learned to navigate by using clicking sounds and hearing the echoes, and was tested to have a high degree of accuracy. Do you have any similar experience, say hearing a noise coming from a building to know you’re close?
Sure, most blind people use echo location, or flash sonar, to some degree. Much of it is passive, so the echo my cane makes when it taps something. I can gather a lot of information through that.
What is your career of choice? and what other careers are there for people who are blind/visually impaired?
I just qualified as a rehabilitation teacher, working with blind people who have lost their vision. But I'm going back to university to get a masters degree in social and public policy. I'd like to get a PHD and work in academia, but we'll see. Almost any career is open to people who are blind. I know blind lawyers, accountants, teachers, artists, software developers, physiotherapists...
It's vital if a child is born blind or loses their vision early on. It's critical if they are going to develop really strong literacy skills. I understand blind people who choose not to use it in the workplace, but it should always be a choice, rather than them not being able to use it because nobody taught them.
I've noticed that there's a cutoff point where my spelling gets worse. Usually it's when I haven't read about a topic in braille, so I'm missing the spellings of area-specific language. This is why I use refreshable braille as well so that I can access electronic text in braille and still develop those skills.
I am curious how do you navigate outside? I get frequently lost in my home city even with a perfect eyesight (and no innate bump of direction) 😄
I travel using a long white cane, which I use to detect things like steps and different surfaces. I use the information around me, such as listening to traffic patterns and other environmental sounds. I might also use gps technology and apps that will show me things like the bus schedule.
Sorry Reddit gave you a hard time about providing proof. My mom is legally blind, but she can still see light and dark and can get close to decent vision with the help of some specially made contacts and the thickest glasses I've ever seen. Do you have any vision at all? Is there any sort of contention between "legally blind" people who can still see and totally blind people? Thank you for doing this AMA, I think that awareness is super important and it can really only come from a firsthand source.
It's ok, they accepted another method of proof. And I think there can be but there shouldn't be. Ultimately we belong to the same community and should be there to support one another. I do have light perception, but I'm unable to see colours or shapes, so it really is just light and dark.
Hi CatchTheseWords! How do you find blind people are treated in society? What can people do to make the life of blind people on society more comfortable?
Often we're treated like we are less capable, almost like children. I've even been in a situation where a child is given more responsibility than me. The biggest thing is to respect that we are adults, we have skills and can contribute.
What is your concept of large objects? For example, are able to imagine an entire car at once like someone with sight can? I saw a video of a blind youtuber and he was unable to recognize what a toy car was by feeling it because he only ever touches a small portion of cars he comes in contact with, so he is unable to get an idea of what the whole thing looks like, so to speak.
I grew up playing with toys, so I'd recognise something like a car because I've touched the real thing, but also the toys. But if you showed me a model of a famous landmark I'd probably have no idea what it was.
I am slowly losing my sight due to two inherited conditions. I'm trying to adjust my life and thinking now for the eventuality. It's really silly, but my greatest fear about not being able to see is not knowing if I am about to touch a spider. Do you feel hesitant about reaching out because of similar fears?
Sometimes at night, or if I'm searching in the garage for something. But in general no.
What non visual things equivalent to body language do you notice about people when you first meet them?
Speech patterns are a big giveaway regarding a persons emotional state. But I do think I miss out on some information because I don't see body language, particularly if I'm the only blind person in the room.
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How are social cues different with an all blind group versus a sighted or mixed group?
When it's all blind people we tend to vocalise things more. There's no non-visual communication, so we're going to verbalise something if we want people to know. In a mixed group I might miss out on whole conversations because they take place through body language only.
Do you have any kind of visual sensations when you're dreaming? Have you ever taken a psychedelic drug and "seen" any hallucinations? This topic fascinates me. Also, what sort of entertainment do you enjoy? Most forms of entertainment that I enjoy rely on visual stimulation. Are you into music? Who are some of your favorite artists?
I dream as I live, so with my other senses. I didn't experience anything visual, just auditory and also I felt like time had a physical manifestation. Was a weird experience. I like watching films and tv and also reading a lot. For visual media like films I use audio description, which is an additional audio track that describes visual actions.
Have you dated much? Do you think you would prefer or avoid dating another blind person?
I have dated. I've actually never dated a sighted person. Like most people I can say I've had both good and bad experiences. I would be open to dating either a blind or sighted person, who they are is more important than whether they can see or not.
What is your primary form of entertainment? Of course I know that blind people still have television with descriptive audio, but do you enjoy this? Or are you more for music? Thank you for this chance to ask these questions!
Primary would be books. I love music and TV, but there's nothing like a book for me.
How you know if you look presentable before you leave for the morning?
Mostly by learning strategies like what colours go together, and how my hair feels when it's neat and tidy. If I'm unsure, I might use a service like Aira which provides visual interpreting through the camera on my phone to check.
What technology has helped or hindered you the most as you’ve grown up?
I think having access to a smartphone. I can read books, scan the packaging on food, read my mail, easily communicate with friends by text, use GPS etc. And I can use a product out of the box, without having to buy additional software. The economic cost of having a disability is huge, so when technology includes built in accessibility features it helps remove some of those economic barriers. We must invest in accessible tech, rather than specialised devices which cost thousands and have a small market.
Have you ever experimented with psychedelics? If so, what was your experience like?
I have. It was extremely weird. I felt like I could feel time, as though it had a physical manifestation. And I felt like I had achieved a higher sense of purpose and knowledge.
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That's an incredibly interesting answer. Thanks for that insight! Out of interest was it mushrooms or LSD?
LSD. Never tried shrooms.
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When I read your post, I immediately thought of this thread which I had read earlier about a person blind from birth who experienced dmt for the first time. Would you be interested in trying dmt ever?
Sure, why not.
As someone who makes websites, what can I do to make it easier for a blind person to use websites I make? What are common issues that annoy you?
Comprehensive accessibility testing is important and complying with web accessibility guidelines. But a big problem for me is images that aren't tagged with alt text.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about being blind?
That I'm still an adult. I can make the same choices about my life as other people. This includes where I go and what I do, and whether I do or don't want help. It's often forced on me.
Which country is the best for a blind person to live in? It said you travel a lot so I thought you would know more about the procedures other countries have.
I don't think there's one country that's best. Honestly I think a blind person should live where they want, and not base it around blindness. However, I do think living in a country with anti-discrimination laws, where you know you have a legal right to access education and employment, can help.
Does it suck having to touch things to read braille during a pandemic?
Kind of. I'm not really enthusiastic about having to read the braille on the buttons of lifts. But then that's the same for anyone pressing the button. I just make sure to wash my hands a lot.
When I imagine something in my mind I see images. When you imagine something what are your thought processes?
It depends. Mostly tactile, unless it's something like a flower or food in which case I think of smell or taste.
Do you have an understanding of color? Or is that just an unknown concept to you?
It's unknown. I can learn facts about colour and the science behind it, but I'll never actually understand it in the way someone who can see does.
I'm a dental hygiene student and I have to take dental x-rays of a blind patient tomorrow. It's only my second time taking x-rays and first time ever working with (or meeting) a blind patient. What are some things I should do to make the appointment most comfortable for them?
Honestly the best thing you can do is to ask them if there's anything specific they'd like you to do. My needs may not be the same as there's. For example some blind people would want to receive human guide around the room, but I would be happy to follow someone and use my cane.
Does being blind sometimes helps in a daily life?
I think it's made my life more interesting. I know people all over the world because I met other blind people online. Sure, sighted people meet people online too, but there's no way of knowing if I would have if I could see. I travelled abroad alone for the first time to meet blind friends, which made me love travelling so then led to all the other things I've done. In daily life I'm not sure it makes a huge difference to me, but I do think it's resulted in me having some cool experiences.
What ways have you been able to express yourself creatively? My father recently lost his sight and this has been a struggle for him.
I love to write, but I know a lot of blind people who enjoy tactile art. I'm just not really in to it.
Have you ever tried psychedelics? Or any kind of drug? If so how would you describe your experience? I’ve read some psychedelic experiences of blind people but almost all of them were people who became blind in life so they had a concept of vision. It would be interesting hearing from someone who has never seen anything in their life.
Yeah, it was all auditory and physical sensations. I really enjoyed talking to and petting my dog, and music was very intense.
Is it true that if you lose one sense, your other 4 are enhanced? If so, can you feel a higher sense of smell, sound, etc?
It's not true. I pay attention to my other senses more, so I may notice sounds you don't, but my hearing is technically no better.
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That's isn't necessarily true. Your auditory systems themselves are probably the same as any other person, but there has been research finding that blind people's brains have rewired themselves so their visual cortex is used for auditory processing. It is highly likely that your brain has more processing capabilities regarding audio, than those of us who can see.
That's probably true. I feel like I devote more energy to it, which enables me to filter sound differently. But my actual ears don't pick up more, and if a sound is really quiet I'm not going to hear it either. I hope that clarifies my response a bit.
Can you picture shapes after feeling them? Like if you picked up a bottle or something and felt where the edges on it are and the overall shape could you picture it in your mind? Kinda like drawing it out in your brain? Idk
No, I have no concept of vision so this isn't possible. I would imagine what it felt like in my hands.
What's the question you're most tired of hearing?
So many. How can you even use a computer? When are you getting a guide dog? How many fingers am I holding up? I get that one less often now I'm older but it happened a lot in school.
Idk if this is too much to ask, but how do you know/confirm when your period comes?
I track them in the health app on my phone. But I've also learnt to pick up on signs that tend to come before a period, like changes in mood etc. And then I might start wearing a pad a few days before just in case.
What's the correct way to approach a blind individual without scaring them?
I think if you just walk up and say hi and identify yourself it's fine. I'm only startled if someone creeps up, or I'm not expecting anyone to be in a room.
Do you know when a room is bright or dark?
I have a small amount of light perception, so yes. But people who can't see light can use apps or small devices to tell whether the lights are on.
Is it true you can recognize faces by feeling them?
I've never tried. It would be very creepy and invasive to touch someone's face, and would make me very uncomfortable. It's just a trope you see on TV.
what's your earliest childhood memory? Approximately how old were you at the time?
Walking across the stage in a Christmas production at my pre-school. I remember running my hand along the curtain. I must have been around 3.
What is your hardest daily task?
Mostly visual content creation. I create YouTube videos and write a blog, but part of that is knowing the angle of my camera, and where to place images in a post. It's a headache.
What was it like living in Spain and Colombia?
It was great. Spain was hard because it was my first time living in another country and I wasn't very outgoing. But living in Colombia was one of the best years of my life. I made a lot of friends and was able to travel a lot. It changed my perspective on many things, and made me realise that if I push myself, I can actually have great experiences.
How do you form mental images of people? Do you ever ask to touch a coworkefriend's face like portrayed in pop culture?
I tend to gather information. You can tell how tall someone is by where there voice is, for example. But honestly unless I'm interested in the person I don't tend to think about it. And I don't know of any blind people who actually touch faces.
Are there any TV shows or movies you like to listen to? Have you listened to the tv show, Avatar The Last Airbender on netflix? One of the main characters is blind and in the show her blindness is shown as a strength, as she is one of the best of her fighting styles in the world because of her blindness.
I do watch tv, but I haven't seen that one. I'll have to check it out.
What's one thing you wish people would stop asking you about?
On or offline. Online, how are you even blind if you're using a computer. Offline, so when are you getting a guide dog?
If you could see for a day, would you do it? Is there any special place in your mind which you are curious about how it looks? Thanks for doing this!
I imagine seeing would be very stressful and overwhelming, as my brain has adapted to being blind. Maybe for a day, but I wouldn't take a cure.
What is your favorite sound?
Great question, maybe the sound of wind in the trees, but especially at night, combined with the smell.
If you could pick one thing to see, what would it be?
I'm not sure. Because I've always been blind, I'm not sure my brain would even be able to interpret that visual information.
DO YOU FIND THAT PEOPLE TEND TO YELL WHEN TALKING TO YOU EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE BLIND AND NOT DEAF?
Sometimes, or they speak really slowly. Or put on a tone of voice like they might with a baby or puppy.
How do you know when to stop wiping? I know it’s a popular question but I’ve never gotten a real answer
It's just something you learn when you're a really small child? Honestly I'm baffled, do sighted people need to look? That seems...like an over-reliance on vision.
How do you perceive colours when reading or hearing about them?
I don't. They're an abstract concept and don't really interest me. I have to know about them for the sake of others.
What are your dreams like?
I dream very much as I live. My dreams consist of sound, smell, taste and touch.
Have you ever had self-esteem issues or feel uncomfortable about how you look? I mean, i know you don't know they way you look, but have you ever get too much concerned about it? Like thinking you're ugly, weird looking, disproportionated, etc. I have had self-esteem issues all my life and i find myself making me this questions a lot. Of course i can see the public figures and the "beauty standards", so it is easy to me to compare myself with them, but i'm sure you have heard a lot of "beauty people" descriptions in movies and stuff like that. Do you compare yourself to them? btw, english is not my first language, so i'm sorry if there are mistakes.
Definitely. We live in a culture that is obsessed with appearance. Even though I can't see myself, it's still something I worry about.
Do you prefer to keep your eyelids open when you're awake?
I do, though it's not really a preference, just something I naturally do.
Hi! If you do use them, how do you go about using dating apps? If you don't use apps, how do you meet people? (inb4 anyone responding with 'blind date' jokes)
I've thought about using them but I haven't tried very seriously. Mostly I meet people through work or university, going to bars, chatting online etc. I guess the ways most people my age meet others.
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I have quite a few (5) questions. 1. Does it take long to use the internet? I imagine it's way slower than reading, right? (compared to Braille)
With synthesised speech I can read at around 500 words a minute, though I'm working on increasing that. So it's actually very quick. The hardest thing is dealing with poor design, which braille wouldn't fix either.
2. The world and especially romantic relationships are quite focused on appearance. Is this weird for someone who can't see?
It's something I worry about. I do think it's weird, but also I get it, and I definitely worry that I won't measure up to that expectation.
3. Do you care about your own appearance and if you look good or not?
I do care. I have to learn which colours match etc, and it takes a lot of effort and doesn't feel natural, but it's important to me. I struggle with not actually knowing what I look like. Sure, I know I have brown hair, I know I have pale skin, but all of my information is filtered through others. I will never stand in front of a mirror and have my own perception of myself.
4. Would you want your partner to be pretty, or do you not care about this? How do other blind people think about this? I'm asking because I often see how blind people still care about their appearance and I'm wondering if those want their partner to care, too.
I care to a point. I definitely have felt attraction to guys who are stereotypically attractive. But I've also been attracted to people who aren't because I got to know them as a person.
5. Last question: Do blind people have a similar concept of being superficial with other senses? E. g. only wanting to date or have sex with the best smelling partner (rather than focusing on personality)
Kind of, I think voice can be a big one in that regard.
Were you good/bad/average at mathematics in school, and even now? I am a very "visual" learner, so things like graphs explain things better. Even counting objects is often accompanied with pictures at an early age. When you imagine "three" or "five", how do you perceive it? Still a set of repeated objects?
I was pretty good. I don't picture it, when I hear the number 3, I just think 3, as if it was a spoken word. I did use tactile graphs as well in my classes.
How did you feel when your parents told you you were blind?
I was diagnosed when I was 8 months old, so I grew up knowing I was blind. It was something we've always been very open about. My understanding of what it meant to be a blind person definitely developed over the years, but there wasn't a specific moment when someone told me I was blind.
A lot of people have this concept of love at first sight where they instantly find that they are strongly attracted to another person. What would your equivalent concept be?
I once met someone and I knew that first time talking to them that they were an important part of my life from that moment on. I've never felt that before or since.
What do you imagine seeing is like?
I don't. It's a totally unknown concept so it's impossible for me to imagine it.
What's the most common thing sighted people do for you that they don't necessarily have to?
Rush to grab and help me. Which is really not helpful!
How was it growing up being blind? Were other kids nice through out school, and if not how would you rate your peers when you were a kid/teenageyoung adult (on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is "monsters" and 10 is "saint-like")?
It's complicated. Some people were great, others weren't. I also had really poor mental health as a child which made me often shy away from interaction with other children, which didn't help.
What do you think of when you "picture" someone? Their voice? Do you have people describe themselves?
Sometimes. If i'm interested in a person I might ask others what they look like. But often it's not something that I think about.
What do you like to do for fun?
It depends. Go out with friends to restaurants or bars, read, watch films, go hiking, ice skate.
Do you use a smartphone? These days image processing is getting more and more powerful, so you can point your phone at something and it will tell you what its looking at. Do you use something like that? Also, when I see a blind person in the street, or the sidewalk more accurately, I always want to offer to help them. What's the best way to do so? "Hey blind man, do you need help" ?
I do, but usually for reading printed text like my mail.
If you want to offer help you can just approach and say something like "excuse me, do you need any help?" or "can I give you some assistance?" But always accept the answer you are given. If we say no, we're good and we really don't need the help.
Are there jokes about sighted people? If so, can you share some of your favourites?
I'm not sure if there are, but there should be.
What is one thing you’d like to know about seeing or sight?
I'm not sure of one thing. I just love learning new things. So it's always interesting when someone gives me information I would never have known otherwise.
Whats is it like walking to where you need to go, like how do you go about efficiently while using things such as a mobility cane, or any other method to make sure you are not bumping into things?
I use a long white cane so that I can travel safely.
Are you a fan of roller coasters?
They're pretty fun.
I didn't see this asked yet, but what are your dreams like?
Very much the same as my general life. I dream with sound, touch, smell and taste.
A couple of years ago, on holiday, I went to Dialog am Dunklen (Dialogue in the Dark) in Hamburg. I don't know if you've heard of it, so it a sort of interactive tour throughout different situations (city, forest, bar) but everything is pitch black. So sighted people get a peek into the experiences of someone who's blind. Is that something you'd recommend for people to do? Do you think it can help you if others understand even a little better what your world "looks" like?
I don't think it really lets you know what my life is like because you're being thrust into this sudden world of darkness with no skills training at all. You're probably going to fumble around, crash into things and come away with the perception that blindness is hard. And sure, it would be for someone who suddenly woke up blind. But this has been my whole life, and I have perfected techniques for doing things so that I can compete on an equal level with sighted people.
What are the biggest "do's" and "don't" you see people doing around blind people?
Just be relaxed, act like you would normally.
It's ok to ask the person if they need something, but don't feel like you are obligated to do that.
Expect them to contribute, whether that's to a friendship, or in a more practical sense. If everyone is bringing a dish to an event, there's no reason why they shouldn't.
Over police your language. We say see, look, watch and it's totally ok.
Grab us because you assume we need help. Ignore us when we say no and keep doing it anyway.
Since you can't see colours, how have you built your wardrobe over the years and what is your go to "look"?
Through learning different colour combinations. These days I live in leggings and long shirts, probably because it's a pandemic and I don't really need to do much beyond that!
Do you ever get lost in public? Do you usually prefer asking for help or do appreciate people come to check in if they think you need it? I’ve seen some blind folks look like they need some directions, but I always cringe a bit to ask but ask anyway. I’d rather just ask than possibly let someone wander around without help. I guess some nuanced etiquette tips would be helpful — I get not wanting to be infantilized, grabbed without consent, etc.
Sure. I view getting lost as a fundamental part of being an adult out in the world, it happens to anyone, blind or not. Sometimes I might want help and sometimes I just need to work at figuring it out on my own. I'm pretty good at speaking up and asking for help if I need it, but if someone asks I still have the choice to say I don't need help. It's totally ok to help so long as you accept the answer.
What are your thoughts on super-powered blind characters like Daredevil or Toph Beifong from Avatar: The Last Airbender?
They exist within a fictional universe, where people can have extra powers. So I just view them the same as I would any character within a fantasy or sci-fi universe. I get frustrated when a book is supposed to be realistic, but the portrayal of blindness is ridiculous.
What do you look for in a partner? Does physical attractiveness still matter or what other characteristics help you make the choice? Their smell, personality etc?
All of it. Personality is a big thing. But smell, the sound of their voice, certain physical features.
What is something you wish everyone understood about what it’s like to go through the world without sight?
That really, my life isn't all that different. I may approach tasks in a different way and I require things to be accessible to me. But I am capable of employment, of starting a family, of working towards my goals.
Can you still enjoy movies or tv shows?
Sure, using audio description.
What is it like being sexually intimate with someone? Do you think it's less appealing to you if it's impossible to see the person or the actions?
I've never been able to see, so I can't make a comparrison. But I feel like my sex life can be pretty great, like anyone I've had good and bad experiences.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well right now it's fucked up because of covid and I'm job hunting.
Wake up, shower, eat breakfast, job hunt. But when I was in the US I was working all day, so I'd get up and get ready, then travel to work. After work I might go out with friends and co-workers.
Have you ever walked through a spiderweb and how did that feel for you? Mainly asking because when I do it I have to close my eyes and wave my hands like an idiot trying to brush them off me
I hate spiders, so it's always awful.
What makes you the most scared?
Spiders maybe? I'm a wimp.
Does Reddit have a feature that tells you how many upvotes you’re getting?
It does, yeah.
What words are the worst/most often mispronounced for computers to dictate back to you?
Usually just bad spelling. I can't think of any specific words.
One thing that I love is to travel, but unfortunately many places around the world aren't accessible to those who lack sight. Do you have places you would like to visit, to try certain foods or listen to certain things or experiences? Assuming the accessibility of a destination isn't an issue, where would you like to visit?
I want to travel everywhere, even though I know it isn't a realistic goal. But if I could go anywhere, I'd visit Antarctica.
How do you date? Like what’s your experience been like? Some of the difficulties? Even some of the benefits?
It can be difficult because I worry that people won't see me as a viable prospect. I know there are people who overlook me because of my blindness, but I also have to remember that they aren't everyone. I have to be open to possibilities as well.
I guess a good thing is someone probably isn't going to bother dating me unless they really want to, because they've got to get passed all those misconceptions first. So when they do, it shows me that they are really interested.
2020.10.05 01:15 Mad-Hatter-BellaI really want a girlfriend
I’m 14 and I don’t know if it’s just teenage brain but I’ve been wanting a girlfriend now for so long. I keep thinking how amazing it would be to have someone because I’ve only ever dated a boy I didn’t like and that was because I didn’t want to hurt them. Just to clarify, I do know I’m bi, this isn’t me just figuring things out. I don’t know what to do about this though because I’m not fully out to everyone although I don’t deny it when I’m asked and I’m not good at finding people to talk to. Does anyone have any tips on how I can meet a girl?
2020.10.02 20:59 AlbertoAruI've just updated the links and quotes of the list of what the major dietetics and health organizations in the world have to say on veganism.
Back in 2014, when I first came by to this fantastic subreddit, I was concerned about my health, and someone (I think it was lnfinity) shared with me a list of what the major dietetics and health organizations in the world have to say on veganism (it's on /vegan/wiki/dieteticorgs). I loved it and I've been using it since that day but during all of these years some of the websites have changed their structure, links and contents; so some of the links were missing, moved to another part of the website or just re-written. In order to keep this wonderful resource updated so we all can use it, I checked the websites and keep it up to date (it's on /MyOwnVeganWiki/wiki/health). Here's how it ended up: All the major dietetics and health organizations in the world agree that vegan and vegetarian diets are just as healthy as omnivorous diets. Here are links to what some of them have to say on the subject: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.
Vegetarian diets (see context) can meet all the recommendations for nutrients. The key is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of foods to meet your calorie needs. Follow the food group recommendations for your age, sex, and activity level to get the right amount of food and the variety of foods needed for nutrient adequacy. Nutrients that vegetarians may need to focus on include protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.
Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthy and nutritionally adequate. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle.
A well-planned vegetarian diet (see context) can meet the needs of people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them.
Vegetarian diets (see context) can provide all the nutrients you need at any age, as well as some additional health benefits. Vegetarian diets often have lower levels of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than many meat-based diets, and higher intakes of fibre, magnesium, potassium, folate and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E.
Traditionally, research into vegetarianism focused mainly on potential nutritional deficiencies, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way, and studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.
British Dietetic Association confirms well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages. [From Plant-based diet: Food Fact Sheet] They are associated with lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, certain cancers and lower cholesterol levels. This could be because such diets are lower in saturated fat, contain fewer calories and more fbre and phytonutrients/phytochemicals (these can have protective properties) than non-vegetarian diets.
All the major dietetics and health organizations in the world agree that vegan and vegetarian diets are just as healthy as omnivorous diets. Here are links to what some of them have to say on the subject: **[Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27886704/)** > It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. **[Dietitians of Canada](https://web.archive.org/web/20191020162631/https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Vegetarian-and-Vegan-Diets/What-You-Need-to-Know-About-Following-a-Vegan-Eati.aspx)** > A well planned vegan diet can meet all of these needs. It is safe and healthy for pregnant and breastfeeding women, babies, children, teens and seniors. **[The British National Health Service](http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Vegetarianhealth/Pages/Vegandiets.aspx)** > With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs. **[The British Nutrition Foundation](http://www.nutrition.org.uk/publications/briefingpapers/vegetarian-nutrition)** > Appropriately planned vegetarian diets are nutritionally adequate across all life stages of the life cycle and can provide the nutrients we need. **[The Dietitians Association of Australia](http://daa.asn.au/for-the-public/smart-eating-for-you/nutrition-a-z/vegan-diets/)** > Vegan diets are a type of vegetarian diet, where only plant-based foods are eaten. With planning, those following a vegan diet can cover all their nutrient bases. **[The United States Department of Agriculture](http://www.choosemyplate.gov/tips-vegetarians)** > Vegetarian diets (see context) can meet all the recommendations for nutrients. The key is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of foods to meet your calorie needs. Follow the food group recommendations for your age, sex, and activity level to get the right amount of food and the variety of foods needed for nutrient adequacy. Nutrients that vegetarians may need to focus on include protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. **[The National Health and Medical Research Council](http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/n55)** > Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthy and nutritionally adequate. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle. **[The Mayo Clinic](http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/vegetarian-diet/art-20046446)** > A well-planned vegetarian diet (see context) can meet the needs of people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them. **[The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada](https://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/healthy-eating/specific-diets/for-vegetarians)** > Vegetarian diets (see context) can provide all the nutrients you need at any age, as well as some additional health benefits. Vegetarian diets often have lower levels of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than many meat-based diets, and higher intakes of fibre, magnesium, potassium, folate and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. **[Harvard Medical School](http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian)** > Traditionally, research into vegetarianism focused mainly on potential nutritional deficiencies, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way, and studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses. **[British Dietetic Association](https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/british-dietetic-association-confirms-well-planned-vegan-diets-can-support-healthy-living-in-people-of-all-ages.html)** > British Dietetic Association confirms well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages. > \[From Plant-based diet: Food Fact Sheet\] They are associated with lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, certain cancers and lower cholesterol levels. This could be because such diets are lower in saturated fat, contain fewer calories and more fbre and phytonutrients/phytochemicals (these can have protective properties) than non-vegetarian diets.
2020.10.02 12:40 KieselguhrKid13Gravity's Rainbow Reading Group Sections 66-69 Week 20
Alright, home stretch foax. This section's a beast. Hang in there and keep sharing your insights! All together now... Section 66 "You will want cause and effect. All right." (663) What an opening - it's almost confrontational, mocking our need for clear narrative structure and causality. We discover that Thanatz was tossed overboard in the same storm that sent Slothrop off the Anubis and off on his adventure with Frau Gnahb. Thanatz is rescued by someone even stranger - an unnamed Polish undertaker (think on the etymology of that word) who happens to be a lightening aficionado. I'll stop here and comment that, earlier, when Slothrop fell into the water before and after getting on the Anubis, it brought to mind the river Styx in Hades - another underworld. It washes clean one's identity and memory. Makes you forget who you are. And there's traditionally a ferryman, Charon, to help people cross it. Can't help but think that's who saved Thanatz here, carrying him from the land of the dead to the land of the unliving, the preterite detritus of WWII. (An aside: Speaking of Styx, has anyone listened to Mr. Roboto recently? That song has some Gravity's Rainbow vibes.) Our undertaker here is inspired by the Franklin myth and is trying to get struck by lightening in order to experience that "singular point, [that] discontinuity in the curve of life" (664) passing from a rate of change of positive infinity to one of negative infinity in the blink of an eye. Seems there's something of a conspiracy among those who have been through this point of infinite inflection - a secret society of lightening heads who are aware not of another reality but of a new layer of reality laid on top of our own. Insight into a higher level of reality, of hidden systems. We get an example of the content of the lightning-aficionado's publication A Nickel Saved and it's supposedly full of coded messages for Those Who Know, each part being a veiled reference to other topics that contain the true meaning, requiring a true paranoid's ability to see (make?) connections. For example, there are repeated mentions of April, Easter, and Spring - the season of rebirth. To an Amperage Contest and lightbulbs failing - Byron the Bulb's attempts to strike back, perchance? A screen-door salesman - what is a screen door except a permeable interface? But our undertaker isn't interested in secret knowledge - he just wants to be a better businessman - and he deposits Thanatz on the shore and rows back off into the storm. Here, Thanatz meets a group of 175s - men formerly imprisoned in the Dora camp for being gay - who have formed their own solitary community in this isolated section of northern Germany. I suspect some of this imagery may initially shock readers - concentration camp victims who want to return to their prison? Who set up their own 175-Stadt to recreate the conditions of their imprisonment? But think about it - just last section, we saw Katje, someone who's been used and abused by those in power, balk at the thought of being truly free because she had become dependent on systems of control. She had integrated those control systems as part of her identity, her sense of self. "She needs the whip," Blicero wrote of her (662). Just like Katje, these men became so conditioned to depend on a system of total control and rigid social hierarchies that they don't know how to function without it. Their 175-Stadt doesn't seem like such a ridiculously dark, inappropriate caricature now, does it? Because isn't that a central point of this book - that everyone has been conditioned to need control, to need Their System, to not know how to function without it? Slothrop was our perfect everyman from within this system, and look at what it took for him to actually be free (and even then, the ideal of America still has a colonial outpost in his head). But in their 175-Stadt, these men at least control their system of control. They built it, they staff every level of it, and it's entirely under their control. An isolated state, separate from the broader System. But is there a ruler in this system, a king? No, simply the figment of Blicero. His name, his specter, looming over everything. A system of control with no real king? We've seen that before. Not only that, but this micro-society is not based strictly on the SS command from Dora, but what the prisoners inferred about the rocket command structure in the Mittelwerke. So even their "recreation" of their imprisonment is an approximation of a different system. I'd also stop here to comment that, is this imagery really as ridiculous/insane as it first appears? I'd say no, since the queeS&M community absolutely took inspiration from Nazi uniforms as symbols of dominance and control, repurposing it into fetishwear. But then, as in this 175-Stadt, the control is by choice, as is the submission. As we've seen elsewhere in this book (Blicero's Oven-State), turning submission into a fetish can be a form of rebellion, since it subverts Their means of control (fear of pain) and turns it into a source of pleasure. Is it truly control if you're choosing it? Enjoying it? No one said this book asks easy questions of its readers... Thanatz keeps looking for answers, and gets swept up amidst the vast swarms of preterite Displaced Persons being shifted across the zone. What's concerning is that these supposedly-free, albeit displaced, people, are shuffled without purpose across the Zone, with minimal food, water, or medicine, being "herded into wire enclosure[s]" and shipped around in freight cars, "deloused, poked, palpated, named, numbered, consigned, invoiced, misrouted, detained, ignored" (669). It's almost impossible to miss the painful similarity here to the treatment of Jews and other victims of the Holocaust. Only here the mistreatment isn't out of some pathological hatred, simply a system without a place for so many people, and without the committed resources to actually, effectively help them. The thought is unsettling, since we like to imagine that only Naziesque hatred could prompt such brutal mistreatment, not apathy. Finally, he's rescued by the Schwarzkommando thanks to his knowledge of Blicero and the firing of Rocket 00000. Here, we learn a bit more about what happened that day. Looking into Blicero's eyes, he saw windmills reflected, though none were in the area. Another four-way mandala, like we saw last week with Slothrop. Thanatz isn't in great mental shape by this point, and he's beginning to equate Gottfried and Bianca both as his children. Why? Because he felt some sense of responsibility to them? Because he failed them? Either way, the Schwarzkommando learn all they need from him about that fateful noon on the Heath, though we do not. The section ends with a simple touch of hands between Enzian and Christian, a moment of connection, of trust. Section 67 Man, how do I even start summarizing this complete doozy of a section? As Weissenburger writes, "In this episode the narration begins to fragment." (344) Ya don't say... Well, here goes. We being one serious trip of a section with Slothrop, as part of a rather unimpressive team of quasi-superheros (the "Floundering Four") fighting against evil ol' Broderick Slothrop amidst the factory-state (a Metropolis-like iteration of the Rocket-State with movable buildings?!). Broderick, in the role of comic book supervillain, keeps trying to off Slothrop, but our hero has a lucky streak just wide enough to keep him alive. Right off the bat, we see another image of the chessboard - the whole factory-state is laid out in a grid, and it's all A Game of Chess, as der Springer already informed us, and our movements are limited. Crucially, "Your objective is not the King - there is no King - but momentary targets such as the Radiant Hour." (674) How can you win at chess when there's no King? How can the land be restored and the cycle renewed if there's no King to die and be replaced? Slothrop is joined by a truly slipshod lot: Myrtle Miraculous, the only one who seems to have actual powers; Maximilian, a suave Black club manager who can flow with all natural rhythms and thus able to navigate any scenario with ease, and Marcel, a mechanical chess player (an embodiment of the Mechanical Turk, but crucially, one without the hidden human operator. No hidden Grandmaster lurking inside Marcel here - nope, this android's the real deal. This section includes one of my favorite quotes from the book: "Decisions are never really made - at best they manager to emerge, from a chaos of peeves, whims, hallucinations and all-round assholery." (676) I can think of several times where I've been able to relate to that scenario all too well. Their chances for success and failure are equal, but these opposing odds don't cancel each other out - instead, the two opposing forces just create a "loud dissonance". The crew undertake some truly hallucinatory adventures through the Racketen-Stadt which I will not attempt to summarize, as that would be an exercise in futility. But we are treated to flashes of Slothrop, "Broderick and Nalline's shadow-child, their unconfessed, their monster son," (677) getting locked in an icebox, piloting a mobile building through the grid-streets of the factory-state like a giant chess piece. One line really jumps out at me, here, that I think is important: "Their struggle is not the only, or even the ultimate one. Indeed, not only are there many other struggles, but there are also spectators, watching, as spectators will do, hundreds of thousands of them." (679) Makes me think of the "glozing neuters," mentioned earlier - of the masses of people who are just trying to live their lives, neither part of any conspiracy nor actively aware of being subject to one. Must be nice. At the same time, the idea of other, simultaneous struggles, is noteworthy - it brings to mind the concept of intersectionality, and how people realizing their unique, individual struggles share common sources, and common traits, which they can work together to fight. We end this sub-section in an arena for these exact masses, where our heroes are on a stakeout, with Slothrop in full drag waiting in the Transvestites' Toilet for a message. You may be wondering about the multiple instances of cross-dressing, in various iterations, throughout the book. Slothrop in drag and Blicero in a wig and merkin come to mind. One aspect, I'd say, is that it reflects a blending of two (as far as society is generally concerned) binary opposites. A crossing-over, a transgression against the status quo and an option other than 1 or 0. Eliot, in his Notes on The Waste Land, wrote,
"Tiresias, although a mere spectator and not indeed a 'character', is yet the most important personage in the poem, uniting all the rest. Just as the one-eyed merchant, seller of currants, melts into the Phoenician Sailor, and the latter is not wholly distinct from Ferdinand Prince of Naples, so all the women are one woman, and the two sexes meet in Tiresias. What Tiresias sees, in fact, is the substance of the poem." (Emphasis mine).
Cue Crutchfield the Westwardman's world of only one of everything. Likewise, the women in Gravity's Rainbow often blend together, share traits or imagery. So do the men. The joining of the two sexes in Blicero, as well as Slothrop here at the end, is significant. The Low-Frequency Listeners The introduction here of the character of Rohr, the Keeper of the Antenna, specifically as a Jehovah's witness, was odd. It's such a specific subsect of Christianity. Then we see - he heard a man on the radio, dying, asking for a priest. Rohr says, "Should I have got on and told him about priests? Would he've found any comfort in that?" (682). In what? I had to look it up, but when I did, it clicked - Jehovah's witnesses apparently do not have priests, because they are all ordained. There is no separate priest caste in their church, and thus no Preterite/Elect division. In this section, we also learn that the Nuremberg trials are getting underway. Mom Slothrop's Letter to Ambassador Kennedy You start to feel even more sorry for Slothrop as you realize just how terrible his parents apparently were. His mom cares enough to at least write another letter asking Ambassador Kennedy as to what the hell happened to their son, but her letter quickly devolves into drunken ramblings complaining about striking workers and managing to make an innuendo about Jack Kennedy while also dismissing her love of her sons. Oof. Maybe Otto was right with his conspiracy of mothers... On the Phrase "Ass-Backwards" An entertaining linguistic debate between Säure and Slothrop on American idioms, specifically ones involving a reversal, as in the case of "ass-backwards". The section then slips into a story of Säure, in his youth, breaking into the home of a young woman, Minnie, who is unable to hear or pronounce umlauted letters, and thus manages to shout the word "helicopter" rather than "cute robber" well before the vehicle was ever invented. Her cry is heard by none other than a young aerodynamics student. The word is taken as a prophesy and a warning of the helicopter's symbol of the police state, with armed officers hanging out the sides, aiming down at their targets. My Doper's Cadenza It begins with a serenade from Bodine, and then an exploration of the tenement building "Der Platz" that is home to numerous drug addicts, dope peddlers, and general ne'er-do-wells. They are building an anti-police moat around the building, entirely underground so as to avoid detection, saving breaking through the street for the end. Shit 'n' Shinola Another idiomatic diversion for Säure. A beautiful line is tucked away in here - "from outside, the Hall is golden, the white gold precisely of one lily-of-the-valley petal in 4 o'clock sunlight, serene, at the top of an artificially-graded hill." (687) This building, the Schein-Aula (Seeming-Hall), suggests "persistence, through returns of spring, hopes for love, melting snow and ice, academic Sunday tranquillities, smells of grass just crushed or cut or later turning to hay..." (688) Yet again, imagery of spring, of a return to life from the dead season of winter, of the cycle. We return to the Roseland Ballroom, where shit 'n' Shinola do actually come together. "Shit, now, is the color white folks are afraid of. Shit is the presence of death, not some abstract-arty character with a scythe but the stiff and rotting corpse itself inside the whiteman's warm and private own asshole, which is getting pretty intimate. That's what that white toilet's for.... that white porcelain's the very emblem of Odorless and Official Death." (688) Here Pynchon cuts straight to the point - the almost pathological fear of death and its connections to fears of blackness, excrement. Shit, Death, and the Word. Edwin Treacle hit on this back on p. 276 when he tried to show his colleagues at the White Visitation "that their feelings about blackness were tied to feelings about shit, and feelings about shit to feelings about putrefaction and death." The cycle of life is too organic, too messy. Better to replace carbon with silicon, to hide shit with porcelain, to treat people with dark skin as "other" or sub-human to avoid acknowledging that their non-European, communal ways of life were, in fact, totally natural. An Incident in the Transvestites' Toilet Not King Kong, but a small, costumed ape comes up to Slothrop, who's wearing a Fay Wray dress while waiting in the bathroom for a still-unspecified message. We get a Miltonic blank-verse poem (thanks, Weissenburger!) about the movie King Kong, written in the voice of Anne Darrow (Fay Wray's character). It's honestly quite good - I love the line "in your own stone living space" - the internal rhyme there sounds really nice, and I like the riff on living stone / Livingston, both of which have popped up previously. In the poem, Darrow talks about when she was tied up, hung by the natives as an offering to "the night's one Shape to come" (689), echoing both Greta Erdman's scene in Alpdrücken and the Hanged Man card of the Tarot (willing sacrifice, sacrifice that prompts a return, a renewal of the cycle). Darrow says she prayed, "not for Jack," her suave costar, but for her director Carl Denham, "only him, with gun and camera... making the unreal reel / By shooting at it, one way or the other-" (689). Throughout GR, we've seen a film motif, and this really brings it home. The analogy of a gun to a camera, both of which make the unreal real (a camera creates films that interpret real life - the "unreal reel", a gun makes death, which we've blocked away and tried to avoid, real and inescapable). The director is in control of the movie, the actors, the story, of how it works and what is told. Darrow ends by asking Carl to "show me the key light, whisper me a line..." - a key light is used in cinema and photography to not just shed light on the subject, but to do so in a way that provides form and dimension to the subject and the scene. So Darrow is asking for the director to literally give her form and definition, to tell her what to say next. This ape, though, isn't so Romantic as ol' Kong though, and is much more direct. It hands Slothrop an anarchist's bomb straight out of the comics pages, and takes off. Slothrop freezes and is saved by a helpful transvestite who takes the bomb and flushes it down the toilet. But it explodes anyway, sending geysers of water up out of all the toilets. A Voice comes out of he Loudspeaker informing everyone that it was, in fact, a sodium bomb that explodes upon contact with water. Tellls everyone to get the "dangerous maniac" who threw it. That was supposed to be Slothrop, but he was saved by his indecision and the kindness of a stranger, who is now set upon by the other occupants of the toilet. A Moment of Fun with Takeshi and Ichizo, the Komical Kamikazes We now jump to a pair of comically-mismatched Kamikaze pilots stationed on a remote island well away from any conflict. One flies a Zero, the other flies an "Ohka device" which is basically a rocket-bomb with a pilot's seat. They get moonshine from their radarman, Kenosho, who mocks them daily for the lack of opportunities to fly to their deaths and who comes up with haikus that, while in the right format, really miss the heart of what a haiku is supposed to be. Streets Back to Slothrop, now, and a catalogue of the streets he's traveled down and what he's seen. We get a meditation on the absurdity of army chaplains, who worked for the Army and "stood up and talked to the men who were going to die about God, death, nothingness, redemption, salvation." (693) And it does seem a bit absurd when you consider that the Army that employs the chaplains is the same entity sending the men off to die. We see a bus driver (perchance our maniac bus driver from earlier?) driving through town in the night, his passengers looking out the windows, their faces "drowned-man green, insomniac, tobacco-starved, scared, not of tomorrow, not yet, but of this pause in their night-passage, of how easy it will be to lose, and how much it will hurt..." (693) Going back to the Waste Land, the phrase "I do not find / The Hanged Man. Fear death by water." is symbolic of a death without return (drowning) contrasted to the sacrifice/return symbolized by The Hanged Man. These poor passengers, it seems, aren't to expect any return. Slothrop also, at this point, learns of the bombing of Hiroshima from a discarded Army newspaper, the photo of the atomic blast placed in poor taste next to an image of a pin-up girl. The bomb's mushroom cloud is compared to the Cross, to a capital-T Tree. But which tree? Is this a meditation on the deadly, unforgettable knowledge of how to split the atom, or of the tree of life, with the citizens of Hiroshima as a sacrifice made... but to what? I'm honestly not sure. Would love your thoughts. Listening to the Toilet As others have noted, this book in many ways is about the drug counterculture and hippie movement of the 60s/early 70s. This is the most overt in this section, in which we learn that listening for the cessation of the flow of water to the toilet in the pipes is a cue that a police raid is imminent - shutting off the water being a way to prevent the flushing of illicit substances. But it takes a special ear to hear the cessation of a subtle, pervasive white noise. What if the sun, in fact, massive furnace that it is, emits a constant, low-level roar that is so incessant we don't even hear it? What if eddies in the current of the Soniferous Aether cause rare spots of true quiet, where the noise is no longer transmitted and anyone in that spot can hear their own heartbeat it's so quiet? Interestingly, there are "quiet rooms" designed to absorb nearly all sound, used for precise sound calibration. I remember reading that most people can't sit in one of those rooms for more than 30 minutes or so because it's literally so quiet that you can hear the blood flowing through your veins, and people have even reported auditory hallucinations as a result. But why this digression? Maybe because we need to be asking what other white noise is out there that we've become completely deaf to? I think Roger and Jessica found a pocket of this quiet, early in the book, where the "noise" of modern society and all its associated obligations was muted by the War. Witty Repartee A return to our Komical Kamikazes, and a meditation on the ubiquity of the Hotchkiss machine gun across nations, independent of alliances. We get an image of a false King - an inbred idiot lying naked in a dumpster, attracting the attention of potential revolutionaries. But they can't decide if he's "a diversionary nuisance planted here by the Management, or whether he's real Decadent Aristocracy to be held for real ransom" (698). While the would-be revolutionaries are debating in the alley, sentries with the aforementioned Hotchkiss guns take positions on the rooftops, aiming down... Heart-to-Heart, Man-to-Man A dialogue here between Slothrop and ol' Broderick, with dear old dad interrogating his wayward son about a modern electric drug. Slothrop reassures him that he'd never shoot raw electricity - no, they dope themselves with waves. Major pre-Cyberpunk vibes here, with Broderick warning "Suppose someday you just plug in and go away and never come back?" to which Tyrone replies, "What do you think every electrofreak dreams about? .... Maybe there is a Machine to take us away, take us completely, suck us out through the electrodes out of the skull 'n' into the Machine and live there forever.... We can live forever, in a clean, honest, purified Electroworld-" (699). Matrix, anyone? Not to mention the waves of radio, TV, etc. and the simple, episodic, controlled reality they offer. Pleasantville also comes to mind, with all its commentary on the shows of the era. Some Characteristics of Imipolex G We learn that Imipolex G is the first erectile plastic, stiffening in response to certain electronic stimuli. The potential of a layer of controlling wires just under the outer layer of Imipolex, making it a second skin - a synthetic interface. Alternately, there's the potential to control it via a projection of "an electronic 'image; analogous to a motion picture." (700) My gods, I made it through this section... Section 68 Tchitcherine now, dealing with a spook, Nikolai Ripov, from the Commissariat for Intelligence Activities. His pal Džabajev has run off with "two local derelicts" (700) and is impersonating Frank Sinatra and wooing the ladies of the Zone. We get the line, "While nobles are crying in their nights' chains, the squires sing. The terrible politics of the Grail can never touch them. Song is the magic cape." (701) - Seems another example of folks recognizing the game, the Grail quest, for what it was and checking out - deciding not to play and just enjoy themselves while the Elect lose sleep over the endless searching. Ripov explains to Tchitcherine how "the basic problem... has always been getting other people to die for you." (701) Religion used to serve as an effective control for that reason - death isn't quite as scary if you think you're going to heaven. But modern society has moved on, and needs more secular sources of control, like a commitment to "History" as if you're part of some great narrative, sacrificing yourself for some imagined end-goal of what society is "supposed" to be. Seems Tchitcherine was doping on Oneirine theophosphate. Wimpe, his dealer, argues that a man is "only real at the points of decision. The time between doesn't matter." (702) Points man again - the moment of decision, of choice, that splits the future in two. Points of control. Contrast that to:
"Datta: what have we given? / My friend, blood shaking my heart / The awful daring of a moment’s surrender / Which an age of prudence can never retract / By this, and this only, we have existed." (The Waste Land, Part V: What the Thunder Said - emphasis mine).
Both are arguing that it's these key moments, irreversible junctures in our lives that make us real. Not what comes next, not what people say about us, just our moments. Integrate those moments, run them fast enough (say 24 frames per second) and you might even approximate something close to a person... We learn that Oneirine apparently leads to "the dullest hallucinations known to psychopharmacology" (703) - hauntings of the mundane, the almost-normal. Tchitcherine's Haunting Tchitcherine hallucinates that Ripov is interrogating him, and he becomes fixated on the question of whether or not he was supposed to die. Seems like part of him wants to believe in life after death, in some hope for meaning, which goes against the Soviet doctrine and thus isn't exactly endearing him to those above him. Thankfully this is just an Oneirine haunting, except... wait, it's too real - no subtle violations of reality. He tries to escape, but is outnumbered. But no execution for him here - just a reassignment to Central Asia. A cold and operational death. Section 69
"The dearest nation of all is one that will survive no longer than you and I, a common movement at the mercy of death and time: the ad hoc adventure." - Resolutions of the Gross Suckling Conference (706)
In other words, they seek a nation that does not function independently of its citizens - one that is not some separate identity with a quasi-personhood (much like how corporations are legally "people"). Rather, a nation that is inextricably linked to the people and that will die when they do. No immortality, no denial of the cycle or death. But poor Roger's still dealing with Jessica, and now with Jeremy, too, who he's at least amicable with. But he's struggling with their acceptance of the System, their embracing of it. Jeremy's all about reassembling the rockets and firing them, asking "What else does one do with a rocket?" (note how disassembling it or at least not using the weapon isn't even an option...). Jeremy's even so kind as to invite Roger to a fancy dinner with a bunch of corporate bigwigs, including folks from Krupp, ICI, and GE, and hosted by one Stefan Utgarthaloki, whose name should be a giant red-flag that something's amiss with this shindig. Roger picks Seaman Bodine as his date, the two having struck up a rather theatrical friendship, dress in their absurdist best (Bodine in the mother of all zoot suits), and join the party. We get some insight here into the nature of rebellions, and the danger of them not only fizzling out or failing, but of being co-opted as a tool to "help legitimize Them" (713). Of either dying or "living on as Their pet" - it brings to mind the corporate branding of "rebelliousness" as cool, as "a phase" that it's normal to go through and eventually grow up from. Treating the idealism of youth, the desire to make the world better and to fight against the problems of the system before you become numb to them, as a normal phase of life is such an effective way to neutralize it culturally. How many people have heard the phrase "you get conservative [i.e. more resistant to change] as you get older"? How many of us have seen youth-led movements being dismissed as examples of immaturity, for example? Between that and companies stamping their logo on it (hello, Hot Topic), it's a way to change the cultural narrative around any movement against the status quo to one that's dismissive, just accepting enough to let people burn off their energy and eventually fall into line. Because how else can you continue to live a decent life in a society that refuses to change? You either go build a shack in the woods somewhere, die, or acclimate to the system and just focus on being comfortable yourself, not constantly fighting for change. It's a depressing thought, and I'm sure Pynchon saw a lot of that attitude in the 60s. I have to wonder - do non-industrialized societies have "teenage rebellion" as a normal part of life? Is that a part of human nature, like we tend to think, or is it an explicit reaction to reaching maturity in a system that is anti-human and anti-nature? Anyway, back to the dinner party - between the depressing, anti-social music (kazoos?!) and the lavish dinner, things seem fine, but there's a plot against the Roger and Bodine. Fortunately a journalist, Constance, tips off Bodine that they might just be the main course of this feast, so Bodine cues Roger to begin the evening show - an absurd gross-out session that they planned in advance with the aid of now-deceased Pudding communicating via medium Carroll Eventyr. The pair recite an increasingly disgusting list of alliterative dishes, triggering "well-bred gagging" and guests to flee, though a few find it all quite entertaining. But it's enough to break up the dinner party and allow our heroes to flee. Note: If you made it this far, actually read all this,thank you. Bloom warned me this was a longer section, and boy, he wasn't kidding. I think this is longer than some college essays I wrote... Damn fun, though, and I hope you've found my thoughts informative, interesting, useful, or if nothing else, sufficiently diversionary for a spell. I truly look forward to seeing what you other fine foax have to say on these labrynthine sections. Questions
In the lightning-aficionado's "A Nickel Saved" excerpt, are there any other references or hidden ideas you can find? I have to think there are.
What is the meaning of the windmill reflected in Blicero's eyes? How do you interpret the imagery in this scene in general?
175-Stadt. Oven-State. Hund-Stadt. Rocket-State. Factory-State. We've seen numerous examples of specialized micro-states across the Zone, experiments in different forms of society. What are your thoughts on these? Are they hints at ways to find alternate societies, or manifestations of humanity's tendency to divide by category and put of fences?
In the "Shit 'n' Shinola" subsection, Pynchon connects Jack Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Tyrone Slothrop. What do you make of this intersection?
In "Streets," the bombing of Hiroshima is presented as being similar to the Cross, "it is also, perhaps, a Tree..." - the capitalized "Tree" here could be the tree of knowledge, the tree of life, the tree from which the Hanged Man dangles, or perhaps something else. What's your interpretation of this imagery?
In Section 69, we see references to the Albatross, famous symbol from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. It's presented that Slothrop is the (now-plucked) albatross, but it's not clear who killed this bird, or who's wearing it around their neck. They? Any ideas?
2020.10.02 04:58 phd_dudeIf you feel life sucks as a teenager, you are correct. Some encouragement and 20 tips from a MD PHD in Psychiatry and Neuroscience who is rooting for all of you.
Hello Fam. I’m a MD PHD (MD degree, finalizing training psychiatry, PhD in Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology) and felt the desire to give y’all a shoutout. Being a teenager sucks. Looking back on it, I remember people saying “these are the best years of your life.” Let me tell you friends, nothing could be further from the truth. The happiest time in the life of someone from N. America is 65 years old. The amount of happiness you find during your teenage years hardly registers in studies they have done looking at happiness. Teenagers have an impossible task. Keep up with ever changing trends, battle raging hormones, get up for school earlier than is healthy, keep up with all pop culture, all funny memes (this effort is worth it), ace all of their classes, do one billion extra curriculars , never do anything embarrassing, be there for your friends, get a job and earn money. On top of this, you have very little control over your schedule, your free time, or the $$$ you have access to to accomplish all of this. Honestly, you all do so much and I’m constantly impressed that anyone makes it out of these years even somewhat functionally. Below are a list of 20 tips I wish that I would have been told and things I tell struggling teenagers that I have worked with. 1.) High school , for most people, is not the “best time in your life.” Instead, it is like some weird dream that you will look back on and say to yourself “what the heck was that all about.” College is way cooler and people generally accept people as they are there. Just hold on to get to this point. 2.) Popularity now does not equate to success later. Not even close. Literally no one I know talks about there sucks in high school. You only find out accidentally that someone was a cheerleader or a football quarterback back in the day. No one cares. In fact if you talk about this stuff after high-school you are considered a looser. 3.) Relation status (or lack thereof) does not predict happiness in your future life. Being single all or most of high-school may seem like the end of the world but honestly, you may have spared yourself a lot of drama with STDs and pregnancy scares. I’m not saying don’t try to date, but trust me, I’d you can’t or just don’t, it is more than ok. 4.) Grades matter but the work ethic you develop to get good grades matters more. A genius who never studies but gets a 3.9 is worse off to someone who works there but off and pulls a 3.4. My money is on the second one to be successful. 5.) The band nerds, the theater “peeps”, the weird music and the Dungeons and Dragon folks are having way more fun than the popular kids stressing out about their looks and the drama of those social circles. Trust me, I’ve been on both sides of the fence. 6.) Reach out to that weird kid and you may make an authentic friend. If you are that weird kid, reach out to others. 7.) People will not likely call you to do things. Get over it and call others to hang out. Just because you are always the person that initiated things doesn’t mean you don’t have friends. There are many many people just waiting for someone to call them to initiate things. You can become popular just by being that person. 8.) Friends fade but good relationships with your siblings can last a lifetime 9.) If you feel hopeless, serve someone. You will find meaning and forget your problems for a while. My high school life changes when I made a goal to find someone new to uplift each day. 10.) Instead of gossip, speak positively behind people’s back to others. This will genuinely help others see you as a cool and positive person to be around. 11.) Confidence is learned not inherently possessed by someone. Put yourself out there, fail with glory and hold your head up, and it will come. 12.) If someone makes fun of you saying “not cool” is one of the best defenses. Then keep making fun of how not cool making fun of others is. It will reach deep past their narcissism to the insecure core of their narcissism and they will back off. 13.) Your potential will not be realized during your teenage years. Instead, work on habits that will last well beyond these weird years (exercise, learning to make and keep friends, hobbies, music interests, video games you love, service you can be involved with, causes to join, the love of reading). 14.) Half of your anxiety is bad sleep behaviors. Literally half. If you need to, have someone take your phone at a certain time each night. 15.) Half of good grades involves three things. Attend and be engaged in each class, turn in every assignment completed, and let your teacher know your trying for good grades. You would be surprised how much the third one helps as they will cut you some slack if you make a mistake, give you tips and even grade you more kindly. 16.) Need to set a goal, learn about No Zero Days Here 17.) Lonely and don’t have friends? Read this post about how to stop being lonely and start making friends. 18.) Don’t know how to talk to strangers? Read this post about how to start a conversation 19.) If you think you struggle with mental health, reach out now. We joke about swing psychiatrist and therapists but honestly, I’ve seen people go from being completely depressed feeling that life was pointless, who after the right medication combo and therapy sessions be able to laugh and joke and smile and look forward to the future. 20.) Stress is going to happen in your life. Especially in the life of a teenager. Your body makes cortisol when it is stressed. That cortisol cannot be resolved without physical activity and will build and build, leading to more stress. Exercise isn’t just an “outlet” it is literally helping to resolve a hormone in your body that leads to stress and anxiety. Good regular sleep also helps to resolve that cortisol. TL/DR: It gets better. Please invest the time to read through all of this. Would love to hear your advice or arguments against what I’ve said. Keep fighting the fight.
2020.10.01 01:17 PurpleOrchidErosI (27f) have never had an orgasm in my life
Hi, I (27f) have never had an orgasm, with a partner or by myself. I've struggled with this for a long time and I guess I'm just looking for ideas for what I can try. Especially since I've read a lot of stories and they are all resolved differently so I don't think there is a simple answer to my problem here. Usually the answer to a lot of people who haven't orgasm that you have to guide your partner and show them how to get there but that doesn't help me when I don't know to get myself there so that is why I'm here. I have bought lots of sextoys to try masturbating myself and figure it out. I am not comfortable using my own finger and fingering myself, although I think it feels great when my husband uses his fingers on me. I have tried vibrators and dildos and they do feel good but it does feel better when my husband does it for me... but yeah. It feels good with dildos, feels better with vibrators, but when I do it myself a session lasts like 10 sec before it doesn't feel good anymore and I lose that good feeling, which sucks after warming youself up for a while. And my clit feels sensitive after. I never use the highest setting on my vibrators because it feels to intense but sometimes the lowest seems to intense. Honestly my husband has always been closest when it comes to getting me to orgasm, I have never been as close when trying myself. Also every sextoy seems to be too "big" when I insert them, even though they are not wider tha my husbands penis. I notice it with one of my vibrators that its wider on the tip then base. So I notice that I have to push a little more initially to get it in, and when I'm done it hurts a little when pulling it out when you get to the tip again. It's like my vagina is resisting it or whatever. I don't know if thats normal? I know theres conditions like vaginimus but if it is that then its really mild. It's fine if I'm having sex with my husband when its PIV. Will be buying new sex toys so if there are any recommendations go ahead and comment! I think that is the most relevant part but if it helps here is some background: As a teenager I never masturbated, and never felt the need to. I never felt any sexual attraction towards anyone so I was very confused when my peers talked about celebrities they would totally sleep with or etc. Everyone around me was talking about sex but sex was never in my mind and I never watched porn. At some point I thought something was wrong with me (I hadn't heard about asexuality) and I was afraid I would never be in a relationship. Then when I was 18 I met my now husband. Still didn't feel a sexual attraction but I loved the romance and we went on dates. It wasn't before 3 months in that we even kissed. 2 months later I lost my virginity with him. I think it was a few weeks before I felt that sexual attraction and after sex with him I seemed to be horny all the time for him, it was great. The sex is great, but I tried not to focus on not getting an orgasm. Everytime I googled about it the answers were usually to communicate to your partner and guide them so they know how to get you there. Which is great really, but how do I guide my partner when I have no idea how to get there myself? There has been a lot of frustrations since there have been times where I've been thinking about that goal so much that I put pressure on me and my partner and we never get there and I just end up upset. So lately I have stopped focusing on that since the sex is still great without the orgasm. I didn't grow up religious. My dad grew up in a Christian household and that's the reason why he generally doesn't believe in religions. My mother is Buddhist but never taught us anything about it relly, just wanted us to make our own beliefs. We never talked about sex though, and it was always awkward when mentioned.
2020.09.30 23:07 Wild-OppositeHow idealism and daydreams can destroy your dating game
Backstory I have a friend and I could never tell him this because.. I'm not sure how without causing a serious riff. So, let me tell you these insights and hopefully you can get something from them. We're now almost thirty and despite him being a very objectively attraction man in all departments, being on a good track, having an alright social network, excellent history, great personality, loyalty, humor, intelligence, fantastic lifestyle and all the other things most people deem important- he is an idealist. Despite him going on many dates, rarely women stick around regardless of even the quality they're giving as a partner. They'll sleep with him and keep him as a friend with benefits but they never let him be their boyfriend or be exclusive. Those who do, often end up eventually dismissing or cheating on him. His overall goal is to be in a long term, committed relationship with kids/marriage and the conventional route. So why does this keep happening to him? Idealism. He is an idealist, he believes in special connections, over the moon highs, he lives for the dopamine, the idea and what it entails... usually before even knowing the person. His life often revolves around dating, thinking of women, trying to get with women, pondering what went wrong with the last person and spending large quantities of time "getting over" people. Granted, some people we need to spend long periods of time to recover. How does this translate? 1. Desperation 2. Self neglect: Why should someone value you if you can't be bothered to value yourself? 3. Lack of self respect: Why should someone respect you, if you can't respect yourself? 4. Inability to face larger problems: Other areas are neglected including general health, social wellness, mental health, physical wellbeing, career aspiration, community involvement, studies, etc. 5. Superficial: "How am I special if he's so fast to tell me that? How many girls has he said this too? He says this to everyone. I want someone who values me for me." How do people pick up on this?
You're extremely fast responding to messages AND its clear you keep the conversation going/put in substantive effort/send too many texts or get covertly upset when replies aren't present
You apologize for not replying fast (fun tip: sometimes a useful way to see if someone has a crush on you.. if they apologize without prompt about their texting speed. "Hey sorry haven't been replying as much today, I've been x y z.".)
You drop your plans, arrange your plans constantly, make multiple plans, super quick to follow up constantly (sometimes people just have that spark), keep pursuing plans when the other person is growing colder, pushing.
Who it attracts: Note, sometimes the people attracted are normal.
Penny the Presenter: Constant partners in and out of their life likes attention; loves arm candy; enjoys validation.
Ingrid the Idealist: They're doing the same thing except when both parties realize the reality one another, often it ends poorly, even borderline tragic.
Emily the Exploiter: Opportunity is their middle name, can spot a blind spot a mile away.
How it can change your views of yourself: Often people who fall under the idealist, eventually find themselves labelled as a victim. In many cases, they are. If you want to grow from this, you have to recognize a pattern (not a one off instance) and accept you have chosen certain people for a certain reason. Taking responsibility even when its uncomfortable, will give you a sense of autonomy. This is the first step in getting on the right track, finding the person you want and getting your life in order. Warning: It's easy, quick and dangerous for idealists to view themselves in either a radical light where they hate themselves for their poor choices (and then they do nothing about it because why should they help someone they hate?) or they are the ultimate victim and life is out to get them. Signs you're idealist:
You have 1 hobby (usually video games/netflix) outside of women.
You know you have neglected your career, your education, your friends, making new friends, trying new things, learning something new, going through your bucket list, going on a bike trip, essentially just living your life because you're so wrapped up in finding a connection.
You daydream/think for over an hour unproductively about women especially if it changes every couple weeks to someone new (sometimes that big break up does last awhile...)
What you can do/the good, good news:
After the work has been done, use your imagination for creative, productive and loving things (projects at work, volunteering, writing, etc.)
Often idealism is a trait born our of deep rooted love, need to help, need to nurture and other really fantastic traits. They're just manifested incorrectly.
Get your life in order: Get a career, get a hobby, spend more time with friends- essentially, reactivate your life. Go do things you always wanted too
Develop emotional self discipline
Emotional Self Discipline: Questions and phrases to remember
Do I like this person?
Do I know this person?
Does this person align with who I am today and the person I want to be?
Am I being kind and fair to myself?
How can I take care of myself as though I were taking care of another person?
What would I tell myself if I were my own friend?
Am I respecting them and their boundaries?
Finally, our daydreams matter: Tap into your daydreams, what are you looking for? Common daydreams and association: You're taking care of her: You have a need to care/nurture. Consider a pet, volunteering, mentoring She's taking care of you: You have a need to be cared for. You feel neglected. Identify the areas you feel neglected, consider a therapist to help teach you self-soothing. You're kissing heholding hands: You have a desire for physical connection. Happens to everyone. You won't die without it though I know it sucks. You're accidently bumping into one another romantically: You have a desire for spontaneity and something new. Go to new places, order new food, watch new shows, new music, new clubs. Make newness in your life. You're proclaiming your love: You want to express yourself, investigate various outlets and other areas you want to talk about. If there are none, go find some. Reconnect with childhood or teenage passions. You're bumping into your ex while with a new partner: Emotions still tied to ex, using the other person as leverage. Take care of yourself, mourn your loss and if its been too long, next time you daydream, force yourself to stop or reject your ex in the daydream. ps: this also goes for women, just flip to whatever gender obviously.
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