Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Blogger: Let's Talk About Reader's Block

For at least two years I have had a big problem that has been weighing down on my shoulders. I have found that talking about these, or more priceless, writing about these issues has been a great help in overcoming many of my problems. Funnily enough, when I was suffering from a severe writers block after the passing of my grandmother, I could only find my way back after writing about those movies that got me into reviewing and screenplay writing in the first place. That was a long six months, and even after talking about it, in my entry "The Comeback", I still had to wait a good couple of weeks before my rhythm or even just willingness to create and to jot down letter after letter came back to me. I have now been suffering from a similar kind of mental block, that manifested itself in a different area of my life, and I want to talk about reader's block.


Have you ever looked at a page and just could not comprehend any of the letters? Did you just re-read the same sentence over and over again and still have no idea what you are reading? Did you try to get pen and paper so you can - maybe - take notes and that way understand it? Have you then looked at your notes and those letters don't make sense either? So you re-read the same page again, this time, making sure that you really do pay attention to every comma, every dot, every stress mark... and nothing. You cannot recall anything on the page. Your attention span has reduced itself to five seconds, which is the first 10 words approx., and then, you feel extra frustration, because you already know by heart the beginning of the sentence, so why re-read that? Yet you still have no clue what the end of the paragraph holds... And over and over again through every reading material you find yourself in front of. ... The pages might as well be blank. 

Now, I do not know if there is a medical terminology for this kind of "blank" state in one's brain. I call it reader's block because it strangely resembles the state of writer's block. And by that I mean, that writer's block too does not touch every single area, I for example had no problem writing assignments for university, as I was told exactly what to write about. And I still had my poetry to fall back on, but when it came to my blog (which has now entered its ninth year, despite the intermission), I just stared at the screen and nothing came of it. It was very scary, because I did not know if there was a way out of it... just because at the age of nine I decided that I want to be a writer, does not mean that I will be able to do it when I do grow up. Even now I doubt my ability to become a published author with one of my fiction pieces (as some of my academic articles made it out there already, and yet I did not feel that same satisfaction as I hope I will if I get a book out there). Now that I did find my way back to writing I do hope that there is a way to get out of all of these slumps, and the answer is not that we have to learn to live with it, because reading and writing and drawing and music even, all of these... all are various forms of art, some we are better at, the others we need immense practice in, but I find they are overall the base of what makes human life worth living. So I knew, that even if I could not write, and then, cannot read, I will have to get it back someway.

"Everyone has one book in them. Almost nobody has two."

I find that not being able to read is is something actually a lot of people experience, yet I have not had the pleasure of talking to anyone about it. One of the possible reasons I think is the same as the above mentioned with writing: it only manifests itself in certain areas. Think of the fact that you probably just read an article online (which was stored in some other place of your brain, than where you keep all of your knowledge of Harry Potter), yet, you keep looking over to your bedside table and see that big novel that you did not open for months now, although you promised yourself you will read it every night before falling asleep. There is an incredible sense of failure that grows within us, isn't there? "Great, I didn't read... again!" But the pattern does not change, just each day we grow more frustrated with ourselves as the book gets its newer coat of dust.
I do believe that it is all about "time". And I know that we all have the time to read, however, we do not have the time to get lost in a story. Which is ridiculous as we should all be able to get lost in a world, even if it is for a little bit. I am saying this knowing very well that I am the same. I take a book to my bedside table every month, and then take it back to its place on the shelf, unopened, at the end of the month. I also measure the time it takes me to read 10 pages, for example, and if I am not gonna sit still for that amount of time, then there is no point in getting out the book either. I also catch myself looking at the length of each piece I want to read, ensuring myself - perhaps - that I will not die before I finish reading it, because I do want to know the ending once I decide to get started (and that goes for academic paper as well, incredibly boring and dry academic papers that reveal in the introduction exactly what you should expect and there are no sudden deaths, or dragons, lurking among the thickly written pages of any paper I had the pleasure of having in my hands so far). I am fairly certain, that this is where we make our biggest misstep, in thinking that any time can be too little to open a book. 

You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do so. It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written, but I know it’s true. If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but 'didn’t have time to read,' I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life. I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in … Reading at meals is considered rude in polite society, but if you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered anyway.
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

So how to beat this block? I have absolutely no idea. But I do know what helped me: (1) I waited. This was not something that I could just jump start... but when enough time passed, that was exactly what I did, decided to force myself. Of all the books I had on my shelf, and on my e-book reader, I reached out for the one that I was most curious about: John Green's Looking For Alaska. My partner has read all of his books, and after becoming a great admirer of the author himself, I decided to get into it. It was very hard, in the beginning, and it was not the book's fault, as it was written wonderfully. It has hard because I too wouldn't let myself be transported to Culver Creek High unless I could spend at least 20 minutes or more on it. In fact, I finished the book on a three hour flight to Barcelona, which shows, that if I do have the time (and am physically unable from doing anything else), I cannot be stopped from indulging in a story. (2) An issue is that so many things surround me that seem to be much more important than reading (and thus the idea of reading before bed), that even if curiosity kills me, I cannot help but put the book last on my list of things to do. So, how to overcome that? I had to trap myself in situations where I would read. One way was taking the book in my hands and going with the bus that takes longer: this way, once in hand, it is very easy to open and the travel time was always longer than just 20 minutes, so I had no excuse not to read. (3) Another way was disconnecting the internet in my apartment, so no phone, tablet, or laptop could even rise the suspicion of being more interesting than my book. This is probably the hardest one, but I find that some things are better if you earn them, and if you set a daily reading goal (or a monthly/yearly one), then getting around to doing something else, even just using up your lives in candy crush, is still very rewarding.

And if length is a problem, plenty of short stories out there that deserve to be read as their impact is sometimes far greater than some 600 page books I have read in my youth. This is the final, (4), technique I have mastered in regaining my strength to read: finding the shortest thing possible, and growing slowly. That means that the next one will not indeed be a 600 page book, but I am gonna get there again, and so will everyone else. So far, just by using the method of reaching towards the thing I want most I have read Let it Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren MyracleJ.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (which I have been pushing off due to my crippling phobia of certain reptiles), and The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco (in the original Italian of course).  [Allow me to thank John Green here, for having all these stories that I can turn to. I do believe that my break in this seemingly endless blockade of blankness was partly thanks to his variety of books, written about incredibly complex characters at all ages. He captures something I have not read from many before. I cannot wait to continue through his series of books!]

What I am trying to say is that you are not alone. And I can say that because I saw all the faces sharing my pain when I talked about my difficulty when it comes to reading. I am also sure you recognized yourself, as you are reading this on your phone and can clearly see that book on the bedside table, as if tried to move just and inch closer to you, but it will not be opened tonight. Or maybe... maybe it will. Maybe talking about it is the first step. I know it helped me, did it help you?

Let me know!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

What's Next On My List? The Birdcage

I have compiled a list of movies I have seen since as long as I can remember. Now, I am going through that list and just writing down movies that I would like to talk about a little bit. These were surprises, hated movies, and some that just worked their way into my hear unexpectedly. So let us get in deeper:


Val, son of Armand and Albert decides to get married to a young modern girl, who, however, comes from a very -- family. Her father is a senator responsible for bills and plans that have been linked to stopping and making uneasy the life of same-sex couples. To ensure that the parents give their blessings, Val's family invites them over, but even if they try to disguise themselves, it is hard to hide the drag bar they own downstairs...

I think it is movies like this that I saw when I was a child that helped me become the liberal and accepting person that I am today. All these stupid arguments about whether or not we are allowed to show certain things on TV baffles me... this movie is from 1996 - and it shows a happy gay couple that raised a very smart boy, who then found a very smart girl for himself. If my kids see this, what am I supposed to tell them? That love is love. And I find that this one quote in particular from Armand highlights the most important message of the whole story: "Yes, I wear foundation. Yes, I live with a man. Yes, I'm a middle- aged fag. But I know who I am, Val. It took me twenty years to get here, and I'm not gonna let some idiot senator destroy that. Fuck the senator, I don't give a damn what he thinks." And I wish I could live in Armand's world. 
This movie is based on a stage play that is still playing in theaters today, especially in Hungary. and the movie itself was very well received when it came out. Originally Williams was supposed to be the drag queen husband of Steve Martin, but he did not wish to play that role, instead, due to scheduling conflicts they ended up with Nathan Lane playing Albert, and I can honestly say, it was the best possible casting I can imagine. This movie is one of my childhood favorites and it truly holds up after all these years as well... I find that the topics discussed and the relationship dynamics are still the same I encounter in my everyday life. This movie is a great example of why we don't need the government or other people to tell us how to be happy: we make our own happiness.

Watch it? Definitely. I find that the scenes with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane alone are worth a fortune, their interactions kept the story going flawlessly. I wish there were more movies like this, portraying the bigotry of the unknowing opposed to the beautiful and happy life of same-sex couples. 

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _ 

Robin Williams - Armand Goldman
Gene Hackman - Senator Keeley
Nathan Lane - Albert
Dianne Wiest - Louise Keeley
Dan Futterman - Val Goldman
Calista Flockhart - Barbara Keeley
Hank Azaria - Agador

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Blogger: De-Clutter As The Year Starts

Every year, before January comes around, and I have to put away the Christmas presents, I love getting out the bin for plastic, and paper, and the general waste and THROW EVERYTHING OUT. I do not know when I fell in love with de-cluttering so much, but there is an incredibly rewarding feeling for me in getting rid of things I know I will never need again. There is also a form of control in knowing all the things that I actually own in my house. And when I am done cleaning I also feel more ordered inside and relaxed. Over the years I have tried to help my friends get rid of extra and unnecessary clutter as well, and this is not just about getting rid of what doesn't cause you joy, the Marie Kondo way, although that is a great first step. I have found that sometimes necessary can outweigh joy (like medical papers I feel hardly cause joy...). What is important is finding if it is necessary for you or for someone else, because if it is the latter then you can easily pass it on to those who can use it. And I am sure that knowing that it is not wasted and it does not only go to the trash is a big help for some to finally look over their things and get rid of what is only taking up space. There are a couple of things I always look through at the end of each year, and I thought I would share my thoughts on it, in case you too need a hand in getting rid of some old junk!

Transcendence (2014)

“Everything I learned I learned from the movies.”
― Audrey Hepburn
I'm sure you also have a good chunk of DVDs on the shelf that is doing virtually nothing but collect dust. For the exception of those five to four that are now scratched so hard that you cannot really watch them anymore anyway... I personally love buying DVDs up to today: there is something about owning something physically that is virtual, that fills me with joy. Especially if it is a movie with an actress or actor who passed away... I know already that I am not getting more, so I am also sure to re-watch those movies. However, movies are the gift that keeps on giving. Think of libraries, schools even, places that might actually turn to DVDs and have no money for it. Now look at your shelf... you can find at least 3 romantic comedies your siblings got you, two more random action movies that came with a magazine you read regularly and at least half you bought for your children or they were on discount. Trust me, if in two years you have not touched those DVDs, you do NOT need them. I find it fun to have a list of the things that I have owned, for the future (because we also know at least one person who has two of everything), so I don't buy them again. But overall, there are still places that look for DVDs which are slowly becoming vintage, so you just need a tiny bit of research to see where you can put them and go for it! [I would like to emphasize that if your thing is collecting DVDs, please disregard this paragraph!]

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
Just like movies, books are another gift to humanity. I can already tell you which books I will never read on my shelf, and I can also tell you that they are no longer on my shelf. At a Starbucks in the city they were collecting books for schools and that reminded me of how much I actually love to get used books. There is something about knowing that others have read that same book, let it be the same copy or simply because it has been around for a while, that I feel connects me to others. I much more prefer going to old book shops than new ones. I also love ebooks, my kindle is probably my best friend. As a result, even if some books I like to have on my shelf, I am not embarrassed by passing on others (sorry to those who get me books, I still read them, I just want to give a chance to others to read it as well). And actually leaving books in one place and saying "Take one!" is magical. People not only take them, they do so in bulks, and sometimes return them the day after as they read them quickly. We all L-O-V-E buying books, that is a general human trait, for some more than others, but there is something about it that does indeed spark joy. And I find that is the main reason why I am able to pass them on. But in a world where so many things are reachable in digital format, I find that instead of forcing people and the industry to invest in 4th and 5th editions... let's just pass on our books and let others enjoy them as well. Look over your books, write down what you have and give the others away (you can always also sell them!). Try and recall everytime how happy you were at receiving a book for free and try to give that same joy to someone else! And you magazines also qualify here: cut out the article you bought if for and do yourself a favor: admit that you will never open them again.

"You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it." 
― Edith Head
For many this is the hardest thing to get rid of, because you look at it and you might wear it again... girl. No, you are NOT gonna wear that again, remember how it made your chest look? Exactly. But the reason it is so hard to throw out is because we associate feelings with clothing items: when you bought it, who you were with, how much time you spent putting money aside for it, or actually, you inherited it (and only then did you find out that you look terrible in it). I understand, this was incredibly hard for me too, and if feelings are involved, I do think that the joy method does not work properly. I can only tell you what my technique is: put everything you haven't worn in a year into a bag, and put the bag aside. Keep it for now, from a min. of 6 months to 1 year. Then, if in that period you did not remember ANY of the items in the bag, not once did you go looking for that terrible yellow shirt, then once the year passed DUMP that bag. Do NOT look inside again! Feelings are gonna come back and it will be impossible to put the out again! If in a year you have not remembered a single item that is in the bag... trust me, you will never need it again. And hey, there are hundreds of places that accept donations, if they were not in terrible shape (and the probably are not), then make sure you pass it on to someone who can use an extra pair of jeans or a coat, unlike you, who still has 20 other in the wardrobe.

"Like my father, I would never as a child throw anything away, keeping old toys, electric motors and bits of broken machines under my bed in what I called my Box of Useful Things."
― Nick Park
I find that there is only one way at dealing with toys: categorizing. First, you will need a group of (1) "toys my children will throw out, cause I can't", then (2) "toys that should already be in the trash", then (3) "this is still good but it has no value to me", and finally (4) "I don't even think this is mine, whose is this?". I think that once you look at the name of the categories is becomes super easy to decide what stays and what goes. First, if you have siblings, your parents very likely threw everything in the same place, so have fun remembering what belongs to whom, because if you throw out something that wasn't yours, well... enjoy World War III! But, second, once you made these differentiation you will see that some toys are perfect still to be give to charity. And do yourself and everyone else a favor: wash all the plushies. It either collected dust or your marvelous body odor for years. They can use a big cleaning even if you are keeping them. I find that if you minimalize category (1), you are doing great already, and it is useful to keep some toys for friends with kids who are coming over every now and then, not to mention that you don't want to take all the toys away from grandma's house. But if you see a way to reduce your toys to the valuable things and be open to charities, then you are on the right track. 

“Shall I explain the game? I have to, I'm afraid, even though describing video games is a little like recounting dreams.”
― Nick Paumgarten
Sharing video games between friends should not stop after high school, I find. I would love if there was a bigger sharing community for video games, because some are f*&king expensive. Even with discounts... 10%??! Really? And if the console isn't sold anymore there are no games for it like... dude I still have a perfectly working PS3, give me games for it! I can afford the game, I might not afford the new console, help me out here! I understand that I should invest in the newest thing, but I cannot afford it for the life of me. You are now cutting of a buyer I have gone years without playing games simply because I did not have the newest thing and I did not care - not gonna go bankrupt over a console. So what is left to do? The problem is that there are consoles that can do anything, and most people also only get things for their PC, so it is complicated... but my point was going to be to START sharing! Most people never replay games after they are done with them and (again, if you are a collector, you don't qualify) pass on your game. Actually, this is the best and easiest way to make some quick money: if your copy is in good quality, somebody out there is looking for it for sure! I think that money is a great motivator when it comes to getting people to get off their ass. Instead of having a copy of something that is collecting dust, try and look for a new home for it!

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Is your cupboard also overflowing with sweet you got over the holidays? Charity. Seriously, you don't need that chocolate bar (and not because of your weight), you just simply don't need a 16th bar of something... Give it to the needy, give it to anyone, take it over to friend's house, take to work, SHARE. I am not a religious person, but I do believe that if you have more you should build a bigger table. I am right now staring at a whole table full of things that should not be in a single person's apartment: candy canes, chocolates, fancy and cheap ones, chips, walnuts, and even some mints. I have displayed them so every time someone comes over I can shove it in their face and not eat it myself (I am not huge on sweet anyway). But I will take some to work, I will take some over to friend's place and will give to anyone in need who crosses my path.

If you read again what I wrote, you will see that my advice isn't to throw everything away, but making sure that it is not wasted. Let if be through charity, or by re-selling some of your items, or well, actually, admitting that certain things have an expiration date and should long be in the trash... if from all this post you only take home that you should share and be smart about what you keep around, then I have achieved my mission. 

Have a clutter free home and 2020!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

What's Next On My List? (Games) DmC: Devil May Cry

I rarely write game reviews, and the reason for that is that I also rarely play them. I am, as you might have gathered from all the comments I made so far, quite busy. However, there are a couple of franchises and movie-based games that I really want to get my hands on, and when I do, I just enjoy writing about them. The next game on my long list was from one of my favorite franchises:


The story: Dante goes back to his roots, he is not yet the demon hunter that we know him as, and his childhood seems to be a mystery, but for some reason he is already followed by demons that want his head. Slowly we find out that him and his twin brother Vergil are the children of a demon and an angel, and as a result, they are the only threat to the power of Mundus, the most powerful demon in charge of both the limbo and the human realm. Dante works through the minions of Mundus, as he finds out that it was him who killed his parents, and with the help of his twin, he is able to defeat him and release the world of humans from his grasp.
Gameplay: I did not know what to expect, of course, and having fallen in love with Dante over the course of many games, I was pleased to learn his backstory, and see him become the white haired bad-ass human defender that he is today. The game handled beautifully, I obviously died in the dumbest of places, but that is just my inability to wait when the game requires it, but the choice of weapons was possibly my favorite thing in any game I have played ever. Not to mention, that the "game over"s were very nice to you: even if you died, you could start over from the same place without any repercussions (at least I did, but I did not die more than 3 times at once). In the event of a boss-fight, you did have to restart, but that is still very generous (considering that if you were in the position of a Gold Orb you could continue the fight right there and then). Another wonderful thing was the dialogue... I need to praise the writers of this game as rarely have I enjoyed interactions between the main characters, or cut scenes in general before this game. It is always rewarding to enable a cut scene and to be able to progress in the game, but in this game in particular each interaction was a gift to the gamer. I loved the way we progressed, the way we got to know the characters and although we now know where the complicated relationship of the brothers is headed, it was still a treat to see there before it all begun.
Mini-bosses: They were INCREDIBLY hard. First, you can see the mechanic of the smaller demons and there is a way to beat them, of course, but if some showed up at the same time (eg. the witch with any of the bigger ones), then it was just a countdown to your death... I actually died several times trying to fight off multiple little enemies, than I did with the mini-bosses. That said, the mini-bosses where indeed hard, but very rewarding. Each required a different set of skills, and I like the weapons I gained as reward.
The Boss fight: Honestly, this was the most ridiculous part of the game. I find that perhaps the game was rewarding you for getting this far, but I am used to dying at least 16 consecutive times, then cry, then curse, then die 21 more times, and then finally defeat the boss. Here, killing Mundus was way too easy. Here you can debate me and tell me that Vergil was the real boss fight, but I didn't even die when I was fighting him. Yes, why am I complaining about it not being difficult? Good question. I should be happy, and honestly, I loved that there was no way to brute force the fight with Vergil, even if you focus your upgrades on one weapon (which you should definitely NOT do!), you still had to be smart about how you defeat him. Overall, being smart about it was much better than it being way too easy. Nonetheless, each boss required a different set of skills, and because of that you reach Vergil with the knowledge you need to make the best of your arsenal, and I find that the biggest problems games have is giving you all the tools and the forgetting to force you to actually learn them. The weapons in this game would have been a waste had they all not contributed to one fight or another. My sword was the strongest, because of my upgrades, but I could use everything to my advantage, and I could NOT just beat the game with a sword.

What didn't work? My only complaint would be the puzzle at the very end of the game. Although I enjoyed doing it, feeling like I suck at it and trying to look up help (which didn't help, so I still beat it on my own), I would have liked more puzzles in the game. That last one kind of came out of nowhere, and yet I like the idea of puzzles... perhaps one like this, on a smaller scale would have worked, so when I reach it I know the mechanics but still have to put in the work to solve it. But, that was truly the only thing that I found weird, no other complaint.
What worked? Everything. This is gonna be one of my favorite games of all time. I do think that the range of weapons and the upgrading system is awesome, first I unlocked everything for Dante, then I went weapon by weapon, and I really loved looking for the little elements in order to get as many points as I could. You see, in here, there are a couple of extra missions, but looking for lost souls or extra orbs was never a side quest that took you out of the game. No matter how linear the game was, there were always at least two paths you could take and the curiosity was killing me, which means that I am very likely to replay the game just to see what else I can gather and get all the upgrades possible.

"- You made it. We make quite the team.
- I'm stronger.
- I'm smarter. 
- I'm better looking.
- ... and I've got a bigger dick."

I can only recommend this game. No matter when you play it in the franchise, if you start with this one, or go in order, you are bound to have a good time. During the credits we are shown scenes of behind the scenes and how the game was created. I am mesmerized by the grotesque beauty of this game. My stomach isn't very strong, yet, just because of how gorgeous this game was rendered I was not bothered at all. I love it when I can see the work put into a project, how the developers have clearly enjoyed and loved making this product, for me, the player. I truly only have good things to say about my experience and I hope everyone checks it out.

Until the next game on my list!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Blogger: 5 Things That I Still Don't Understand

Over the past year I have become a big fan of the podcast Dear Hank And John, hosted by the VlogBrothers (about whom I have spoken a couple of times in the past entries), where, the two answer questions e-mailed by listeners, give "dubious" advice and talk about the weekly news from the planet Mars and the 3rd tier English football club AFC Wimbledon. Now, since I have been listening to it, I have reached two conclusions: people have fascinating brains and I have a million questions about the world that I never would have thought about asking from two strangers. There are things that I of course wonder about, but I never say them out loud. Also, once you fall in love with these two men, and how can you not, they are simply wonderful human beings, you too will want to have hour long conversations with them about literally anything. Around me a lot of people emphasize how it is the end of the decade, and how important that is, and well, I want to write down at least these five big questions so they do not torment me anymore in the next decade. Maybe the universe will answer me!

About Hollywood...
1) Why the make-up department doesn't give men beards when they have to make them look older?
This is something that makes me mad... first of all, yes, being attracted to facial hair is a fetish, here you go world, women have fetishes too that is not restricted to the kitchen and having a clean apartment! But most important, even if say I DO prefer EVERY male actor with ANY kind of facial hair, I just know by fact that a man with a full grown beard simply looks older. I do not understand the hours they spend on giving them lines around their eyes and mouths instead of covering their face... Especially because it is at an old age that men have enough of having to shave so often. Once the missus doesn't care, trust me, the razor goes into the bin. And of course, beards are usually associated with those men that don't really take care of themselves, or do not have the possibility to shave whatsoever, but if anything, the hipster revolution (that is what I am calling it) showcased that there is fashion and value to a well groomed goatee or mustache. And here, I am not talking about men who themselves do not like to have facial hair, but simply the make-up department and the person responsible for the look of the actors on set: GIVE THEM BEARDS IF YOU WANT THEM TO LOOK OLDER. Imagine, for a second, search for pictures of Daniel Radcliffe with a full on beard, and tell me that the last scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2, that ridiculous scene where they all still look 16, would not have looked better had Harry and Ron been covered by a beard instead of a fake, what, beer belly?! That scene had "divorce" written all over it, and it made me feel like perhaps these people are way to young to be having sex... ANYWAY, culture has spoken: a well groomed beard is sexy, it is not a sign of neglect anymore, so get on it Hollywood!

About growing up...
2) Why aren't people warned about the price of cheese?
Photo by wahlerb from FreeImages
I have been living alone for a couple of years now, and dear god, I still read lists of things people compile over stuff nobody warned them about when it came to adulthood and I am offended that NONE of them list cheese! How the f*ck can a family afford cheese? Especially at the rate of which we are eating it! OK, manufacturing perhaps isn't that cheap, but think about it: there was always a slice of cheese in your sandwich growing up, how?! We are conditioned to have cheese as a necessary component to enjoy, really, ANY food at this point, come to think of it, but its price is simply outrages to me. Imagine having to go shopping without your parents for the first time in your life, and you buy 6 items, and 50% of the money you paid is just that one triangle of cheese... I am furious. I can't let this go, why did nobody warn me?!

About faith...
3) Why is climate change a question of belief?
Every single person you have a conversation with, let it be a 70+ person, or one who is only 15, will tell you that summer/winter "wasn't like this when I was young". First, it is scary that a 15 year old, someone born in the 2000s already experiences changes in the weather to this degree. Second, I find that saying that it is a Chinese hoax is no longer an argument, if you yourself are telling me and admitting how the world has changed. And my issues comes here... I do not think that the idea of climate change should be excluded because of your religious affiliations. My father told me a joke once, well, more of an example of stupidity, in my opinion, but it goes like this: Flood arrives to a little town, an old man sits in his kitchen, neighbors arrive and tell him to go with them before the flood takes over, he says "No, thank you, God will take care of me". Water rises, and he sits up on his table, when another group of neighbors arrive and ask the old man to go with them, he says "No, thank you, God will take care of me". He has to climb higher, and sits on top of the house now, when a small boat passes by and a group of stranger ask him to go with him, he says "No, God will take care of him". The old man dies and at the gates of Heaven asks God why he did not save him, when God answers that he had sent three different people to help him and he was the one to refuse their hand. I find this to be a perfect analogy, because, just looking at Noah's Ark, you cannot tell me that it would be unprecedented, if indeed your belief is that there is an omnipotent being above us, that this climate change might have been his doing. Look at pollution, look at plastic waste, at cars... we made this. If your belief dictates that you can be punished for your wrong-doing, even the kind that was involuntary, I just do not see how this does not fall into the same category. I, myself, do not believe in this entity, but from all that I have learned on religion I cannot see how one cancels out the other, unless you have a stupid preacher who focuses on one or two pages of the Bible instead of its overall teachings. #Burn. But in that case, I invite you to start looking around you not through the pages of a book, but between the lines and see what experience dictates to you.

In the kitchen...
4) Where does 1/5 of my water go when I fill it up for tea 
(while the teabag is inside)?
I know what you are gonna say... the teabag soaked it up. And yes, that is the only logical conclusion I could come to, however, when I squeeze on the bag to let out the excessive water, it is never the same amount coming out (actually, it is never more than a few drops). This is especially frustrating when I fill up my cup, and have just enough water, and then I look back and almost half of it is gone... I am not looking for a very tasty SIP of water, I f*cking want a cup of tea!!! I do not know how many times I was just sitting there watching the cup, and you know what is fun? Water NEVER disappears when you are actually looking at it, it only does when you turn away to put the kettle back. I know, I know, I should just stare at it all the time, thanks, you are very helpful... And I know I can put more water in, but I still get to be upset!

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In a social setting...
5) Why does everyone feel the need to share their own method for stopping hiccups every time another person actually has the hiccups?
"You know what works for me?" No, Karen, and I don't give a f*ck either, because I am 30 and I had the pleasure of stopping a couple hundred hiccups already in my life. You can hold your breathe, take small sips of water, big sips, while holding your breathe, or swallowing a lot, and you can jump from a bridge and die because hiccups are the f*cking worst... HOWEVER, you telling me what I am doing it wrong, when I try to stop it makes me want to punch you over and over again. There is nothing constructive about this interaction, as I find that nobody is actually trying to give advice here, we are just all undermining the other's ability to stop their own effing hiccups. I can tell you that EVERY single time a different method worked for me, and I actually have to go through all of them to get rid of it every once in a while. And unless you can actually tell me something that does not involve me breathing differently and a combination of water intake, then you can keep your method to yourself, thank you very much. (Does this reaction come from the same part of our brains that claims "It's not cold once you are inside!", when we are trying to get someone to come into the water? Because that interaction has about the same value, which is 0.)

While writing this entry I got into thinking and I decided to include an extra question, as I experienced one of these just 5 seconds before posting my last entry of the decade. Thank you everyone for reading, liking and sharing my posts over the years, I look forward to year 9 of the blog! Have a super Happy New Year!

The extra question...
+) When someone says "What?" why do we only repeat the end of the sentence?
".....mhhmhhmh and Pikachu." What? "Pikachu!", oh my god, 99.9% of the cases you do not hear what someone says because you are not paying attention at the BEGINNING of the sentence. Yet, all of us, me included, always just repeat the end of the sentence. Where does that come from? Is it coded into us? I feel that this is such an instinct that we do not pick it up from our parents, or adults around us when we get older, but we do because we are wired to do so. And I find it funny, that I still do it, knowing how frustrated I am, because once I realize that someone is talking to me I do look up, listen, but only catch the end of the sentence. Let us exclude the fact that most times we realize we did in fact hear the whole sentence by the time the other repeats it, but I still find it fascinating that I cannot kick this bad habit. But let us all try, in 2020, to repeat the WHOLE sentence, not just the last word.