Register to Vote!

I’m incredibly proud to live in a state where you can register to vote on the day of an election. That’s right, in Colorado you can still be bugged into voting by people all the way up to (and including) November 6th. This is extremely democratic no matter how you look at it. A strong democracy should do nothing to limit the voice (vote) of the individual citizen.

For some states the voter deadline was as early as yesterday — A whole month before the midterm elections. It’s no surprise that these states are largely Republican strongholds, as they’re the party who’ve done everything in their power for the last fifty years to suppress the votes of anyone who isn’t old or white. Presumably they’d also want to limit the female vote, but requiring extra, mandatory ID cards for “Uterine-Americans” does seem a little obvious.

Better people than myself have discussed the attempts of powerful politicians to limit the voting rights of American citizens, so watch this Last Week Tonight video from a couple of years ago (if you want to), as it has plenty of strong sources and case studies.

My point is that a strong democracy would do anything it could to help its citizens to vote, and being able to register until the day of an election (or at least the week of) is an excellent place to start.

For most states, the deadline to register to vote will be in the next couple of weeks, and I wanted to use my space today to plead a case for democracy.

As a new immigrant in the United States, I can’t vote in this election, or the next one, but maybe the one after that. It’ll be the 2022 midterms before I should be able to use my democratic voice in America for the first time, providing the paperwork goes through in time. So it’ll more likely be the 2024 elections. So, honestly, you should vote simply because I can’t.

I won’t tell you how to vote, because ultimately that should be your decision based on the issues you care about. I’d much rather you voted for a hard-right Republican than not vote at all. Which sounds counterproductive to my own personal ideologies, but it’s true. If you vote then you’re a part of the conversation, and it gives you the right to do that thing we all love to do so much — Complain.

I’m of the opinion that if you don’t vote then you don’t have the right to complain about anything in society that upsets you. If you only care about local issues, then smaller elections (especially during the midterms) are exactly how you can make a difference with fairly minimal effort.

Look to specific plans that local candidates are pushing for — Are those plans something you care about? Then vote for that candidate! The more people who vote in smaller elections, the more pressure that’s then put on the winner to fulfil their promises.

Why don’t we have a giant wall? Why isn’t Hillary in jail? Why haven’t we seen Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate? Well because President Trump lost the popular vote of course!

(Sarcasm, that was sarcasm)

It’s perfectly reasonable to have the opinion that all politicians are a bunch of thieving, lying, arse-holes. Especially as some of them are! If that’s the case then I encourage you to register to vote anyway, and then “spoil your ballot” with a protest vote. Write your opinions on your ballot paper, or simply ruin it by doodling a picture of a giant cat. You’ll still count as someone who voted, and you’ve successfully voiced your displeasure for the current system, as well as your pro-giant cat status.

Obviously there are more constructive ways to change the world, but personally I’d rather you did this than not vote at all. At least this way you can join the public conversation of general disgruntlement and wholeheartedly complain about the current establishment.

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I’m incredibly passionate about the idea that every vote matters, because it really does. I’ve witnessed a surprising number of recounts in the UK, because an election has come to within fifty or so votes. I’m certain it’ll be the same for some elections in the US. Think about the special election in Alabama last year, Doug Jones beat out alleged pedophile Roy Moore, but only by 1.7% of the votes.

Sure, your state/district might be absolutely safe red or blue, but by voting you help to either keep that seat safe, or to decrease the gap and make politicians worried. And at the very least your vote contributes to national statistics.

For example, if you hadn’t reluctantly voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election (you wanted Bernie, but hey ho) then Trump might’ve won the popular vote as well as the Presidency. Losing the popular vote gave people across the country hope — Hope that sane people still make up the majority. So thanks for voting!

One way to think of voting is that it keeps the tyranny at bay. Some people in office want as few people to vote as possible, so they can pass laws in their own interests. The higher the voter turnout, the greater the pressure.

Despite all of its flaws, I love America. It’s a great experiment of a society and aims to be a shining light for democracy across the world. In recent years however, it feels like it’s slowly losing grip on that goal. America is its people, and that means everyone, not just the wealthy white dudes at the top. The more people who vote, the brighter that light shines.

Please register to vote if you still can, and if you missed the deadline then remember to do it ahead of the 2020 Presidential election. It’s never too late to start caring. Your voice matters because it strengthens democracy and sticks two-fingers to the establishment in the most effective way possible. Wow, voting is punk-rock — It’s DIY, individualistic and you can change the world.

Click here if you haven’t registered, you’ll be helped by a friendly non-partisan website.

I’d love to hear that some of my readers are planning on voting, so comment below to let me know if you are. Also, comment below if you don’t plan on voting — I’d genuinely love to hear why, and I promise I’ll be kind, as I respect your individual choices.


Today is Wednesday, October 10th and I’m half-way through a complete new draft edit of my WIP. I have some feedback and everything is getting brilliantly real.

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WE are the Walking Dead

I’m a big believer in not having guilty pleasures when it comes to media. You like what you like and if you can justify the enjoyment it brings to you, then you should keep on enjoying that thing. People (like me) will reserve the right to say that thing is objectively terrible, but you should continue to defend it, because nobody can argue with subjectivity.

I both objectively and subjectively despise The Walking Dead, and yet I can’t stop watching. Help me.

I watched the season nine premiere yesterday, which made this the third year in a row that I ignored my instinct to stop. I think at this point it has become a form of punishment; You don’t deserve good things, so here you go Matt, watch fifty minutes of crudely constructed television that manages to mess-up despite an inexplicably high budget.

The first season of the show was groundbreaking, next-level television. The tight, six-episode story was refreshing for an American production, and at no point did it waste a single minute of your time. I’d go as far as to say that it’s one of the best “first seasons” in TV history, up there with Breaking Bad.

Season two saw a drop-off in quality, which we can largely assume was due to the departure of Frank Darabont. The show became less focused, but for a few years still managed to tell interesting-enough stories. Half of the characters were two-dimensional beings lifted straight from a serialised, soap-opera-esq graphic novel, but the rest were well-rounded, complex individuals.

Up until the second-half of the sixth season I can still recall story arcs and individual episodes that entertained me. And in a show with sixteen episodes per season (I thought we were done with this 20th century BS), that’s probably the best you can hope for. With season seven and eight, I felt like the zombie — Glued to the screen but completely dead behind the eyes.

I think the only reason I tuned in this year is because of new show-runner, Angela Kang. My hope was that we’d get a completely new direction, and a fresh pair of eyes at the helm. I didn’t think she’d be able to bring TWD back to the glory days of season one, but I hoped for the quality of season four or five.

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Season nine opens with a set-piece, in which most of the main survivors (and a few red-shirts) are at a large museum building, where they’re recovering old pioneering supplies. The biggest object is a covered wagon, which they slowly pull down the steps of the museum. The ground floor of the building is made of glass and, of course, hundreds of Walkers are below.

The group decides to carry-on with their wagon-salvaging attempt, despite it being the least useful of the objects they came to recover. The glass cracks and King Ezekiel is the one to fall. Surprisingly, not a single red-shirt fell into the Walker-filled abyss to build some tension. Ezekiel manages to avoid fifty sets of teeth and nails, to survive without a single scratch.

This opening sequence puts us back in the place we were last year; Zero reason to care emotionally about these characters because they survive the most ridiculous and complex situations. About five minutes after this scene a red-shirt is bit suddenly from behind as he goes to fetch a horse. Go figure.

Sure, protagonists should overcome difficult challenges, but if those challenges are painlessly conquered then I’m not going to care when they eventually succumb to whatever kills them off. The classic TWD example being that Glenn’s impossible survival and fake-out death ruined the emotional impact of his real death.

I did enjoy the small moments between survivors during the museum scene, particularly the scenes with Michonne. She looks to the history displays and sees words like “confederacy” and lots of pictures of old white people. In looks alone we get the sense she has anxieties about building America in the exact same way it was in the beginning. Later this is confirmed when Michonne and Rick are talking privately, and she suggests that they draw-up a charter instead of a constitution.

You can make the argument that race doesn’t really matter in TWD, and that a zombie-apocalypse is the great equaliser for society. However, the best post-apocalyptic fiction reflects contemporary society where it can, and last year the angered far-right went absolutely crazy at the introduction of a Muslim character. So I’d say an understated commentary about race is appropriate.

The second-half of the episode is about Maggie’s leadership of the Hilltop. It’s been a year and a half since the war ended and since then they’ve had an election. Maggie won the vote, against the scheming former-leader, Gregory.

Gregory opportunistically capitalises on the death of a red-shirt from the Hilltop, and convinces the grieving father to assassinate Maggie. This fails and Gregory is found-out, resulting in his execution at Maggie’s command.

I really enjoyed this storyline and I’m interested to see where they go from here. Maggie confronted Rick and showed her power as a leader in this episode, which is more actual character development than we saw from anyone else. I also liked the continuing themes of rebuilding society and the struggles that come along with it.

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Overall, the premiere was average. I’m excited about some things, but also nervous about others. There are far too many characters to truly care about any of them, so I feel as though they need to take an axe to the cast. It worries me that Negan is being kept alive, as that’s a poisonous storyline that should’ve just ended, never to be returned-to.

The previous show-runner once said that TWD could go until the fifteenth season, I hope that idea has died with him. I think I’m with this show for the long-haul now, because I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic fiction, and I still have fading memories of what once was one of the the strongest season premieres in recent history.

I am a zombie, the seven-million US viewers still watching are also the zombies. We’ve been told our role in this story, I just hope we can witness a few decent moments before we disintegrate into mush.


Today is Tuesday, October 9th and an Evangelical leader said this about Democrats; “The most intolerant people in the country are those that preach tolerance.” I thought the irony there was depressingly hilarious.

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Taylor Swift Does Politics Now

Back in school and sixth-form college, our group of friends were the political nerds. It wasn’t really necessary for the average young person to be socially or politically engaged, as times were (admittedly) a little easier. As easy as they can be for a sixteen year-old at least. So, not very easy at all.

It was 2010 and the far-right hadn’t yet rebranded themselves as the “alt-right” in an attempt to digitally recruit a new generation of fascists. Extremist views belonged to old people who were afraid of immigration, and that one kid who would yell racial slurs as he set fire to various parts of the school. Although we’re pretty sure that’s because his Dad beat the hell out of him, and he’d been failed by the system.

Now, in the Brexit of our Trump, 2018 — Young people don’t have a choice. Politics is everywhere because society has become pretty crazy for the first time in a while. I mean, if their schools are being shot-up because people don’t have access to universal mental healthcare AND it’s really easy to buy the weapon that results in the death of their classmates, then these kids are going to get politically engaged pretty fast.

Social media is filled with political “debates”, as people hurl insults at each other in two-hundred and eighty characters or less. Fake news is spread across Facebook, meaning their older family members believe things that just aren’t in-line with the world they’re seeing around them. Then, they go on YouTube to watch gaming videos, only for an “alt-right” recruiter to pop-up as a recommended channel.

Back in school, in college, all I wanted was for more people to be politically involved. I didn’t want us to be the only ones asking people to register to vote, or learning the ins and outs of voter systems. I wanted everyone to have an opinion that would be listened to, because then maybe we’d have a stronger democracy. Idealistic, I know, but not everyone was on social media, even eight years ago.

We had the benefit of being able to switch-off from politics whenever it wasn’t election season, or if nothing big was happening in the political world. Now, thanks to a reality TV President, politics is everywhere, all of the time. What I thought I wanted for young people, isn’t actually what I really wanted. I was wrong.

I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time, but I’m still here, typing away. I don’t want to think about putting my mind in the kind of environment children have to grow-up in today.

Imagine the pressures and anxieties of modern social media, but also you’re in high school and also, people are sometimes trying to kill you. The posh kid in the button-up invites you to a meeting with free cookies, but it turns out it’s so you can discuss how best to deal with the “Mexican problem”. You go visit your grandparents and they’re talking about how finally America is Great Again, and that you should be lucky to live in a world where you can be shot-at, cyber-bullied and self-harm, because they had it so much harder.

No thank you. I’m not sure I would’ve made it through high school were I born at a later time, especially in America.

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The reason why I’m thinking about young people in regards to politics is because Taylor Swift has political opinions now. The reality is that high-school kids probably won’t be listening to Taylor Swift, as she’s an artist closer to my own school years than theirs. She still emits a youthful brand however, and so I assume she still holds an influence over people in her original target demographic.

You know times are trying when Taylor Swift gets involved. She was the vapid, rich girl from school. The one who wouldn’t dare be seen with a political opinion in case it decreased her popularity, which ironically is a rather shrewd and overtly political standpoint to hold. Bravo.

I once tried asking the Taylor Swift of our school who she would vote for if she could, and her response was, “You know, if you talked less about this sort of thing, you might actually be able to get a girlfriend.”

Except this is 2018 and Taylor Swift, the daughter of financiers, who lives in deep-red Tennessee, has come out in support of the Democratic Party. I figure it’s because the left was owed an A-Lister after whatever the hell happened with Kanye.

In a lengthy Instagram post, T-Swift outed herself as a liberal. She showed support for an equal and fair society (yes white people, that includes us), as well as specifically highlighting a lot of issues regarding women’s rights — Including domestic violence and sexual assault. I’m sure recent events helped her to speak out, which is one of the positives we can take away from the last two weeks.

I’m in two-minds about people with Taylor Swift’s level of influence becoming involved in politics. On one hand she is showing young people that it’s okay to have a voice, especially one that goes against the current establishment — This is a great thing. On the other hand, I’m concerned that she’s riding a wave of whatever opinion is popular with her demographic, because if she truly was a “filthy leftie”, she’d seriously consider doing something with all that wealth she has.

I guess when the President is a celebrity, it feels normal and natural when A-Listers like Taylor and Kanye become outspoken on political issues. And as I’ve said, this isn’t 2010 anymore, this is a time where it’s impossible not to have an opinion on a social issue.

I just hope they don’t run for office in the future. I’ve already seen people joking on social media about West vs Swift in 2028, and that’s not a joke to me, that’s the next logical step after Trump vs Clinton.

We don’t need celebrities or career politicians to run for office — We need doctors, teachers, scientists and charity workers. We need people who’ve worked a vocation that’s in the business of helping those around them, because those are the people who will genuinely look out for the interests of others.

I’ve been saying all this since I was a fifteen year-old political nerd, and nothing changed. In fact, it got worse. So maybe politics is just an eternal depressant, one that shouldn’t involve our young people so heavily. Or maybe, just maybe, after we’ve ironed out the kinks of this modern, digital world — Young people will be better-off by having a voice, and Taylor Swift can go back to making her signature brand of mediocre pop music.


Today is Monday, October 8th and I’m hoping that one month from now, a sliver of moral light shines through the darkness.

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Mainstream Conspiracy Theories

I’ve always found conspiracy theories somewhat entertaining. As a young teenager I remember reading long-form blog posts about 9/11 being an inside job by the US government, or that American astronauts didn’t really land on the moon in 1969. I think I’ve always been attracted to them because of their narrative nature. That’s not to say I believe any, because it takes an ungodly amount of evidence to convince me of something, but I can’t say they’re not interesting.

Conspiracy theories are obvious stories presented as absolute truths. There may be some elements of truth to them, just enough to attract a susceptible or vulnerable mind, but fragments of the truth do not equal absolute fact. Dinosaurs once existed, tropical islands are a thing and billionaires fund ridiculous personal projects — But that doesn’t mean Jurassic Park really happened.

My favourite popular conspiracy theory — and you will absolutely have heard of it — are the beliefs held by the Flat Earth Society.

They’re pretty self-explanatory, their core belief is right in their name. Even though they structure themselves like a pay-to-win religion, they don’t hide behind a mysterious word, as Scientology does. No, they’re out in the open — They believe the world is completely flat, and that governments across the globe have been lying to us for centuries.

Yes, they use the word “globe” in social media and blog posts.

It’s part of why I believe it to be a giant joke that a few people are playing on gullible celebrities and people with spare cash. The society we live in is built on the idea that we all need to find ways to take money from other people, and if you can do that by spouting some nonsense which goes against total scientific consensus, then more power to you.

I like the Flat Earth conspiracy, because there’s absolutely no logic to it. There’s no rhyme or reason to tell this particular story and yet some people are invested in it nonetheless.

The fake moon landing, for example, makes some sense. In that you can see why the American government would want to have a victory over Russia during the Cold War. Telling the world that you’ve been to the moon is a very quick cultural win with your own citizens, as well as people who belong to neutral countries.

I still don’t think it was fake, as the technology existed, and thousands of people worked on it. So in some ways it would’ve been more difficult to fake the whole thing than to actually go to the moon. But I can see why that conspiracy theory exists, because there’s motive enough for a story — And boy do we all love stories.

With the Flat Earth folk, there’s absolutely no motive. What purpose would it serve governments to convince citizens that the Earth is a completely different shape? There’s no compelling story there; No characters or plot for us to sink our teeth into.

Of course, that’s why I like it so much, because it’s an anti-story. It contains none of the elements of a traditional narrative and yet some people still manage to see something in it — a story worth believing. Flat Earthers are the avant-garde, deconstructionists of conspiracy theorists. Don’t tell them I said that.

It’s because of the lack of motive — the flimsy narrative and the laughable idea — that “A Flat Earth” isn’t a dangerous conspiracy theory. We shouldn’t be worried that the next generation will grow up believing that the world is flat, because the only people who will legitimately fall for it, are people with more money than sense.

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What’s dangerous about President Trump’s tweet this morning is that you can see the motive behind his conspiracy theory. Something huge is at stake here; The ideological leaning of the Supreme Court. You can see why people would want to interfere in the decision that will likely be made this weekend.

Trump asserts that the women protesting in senate buildings during this last week are paid professionals, with his only evidence being professionally made, identical signs. These conspiracy theories originated in all the usual places, like Breitbart and Neo-Nazi message-board and “publication” The Daily Stormer.

Just to quickly address the president’s concerns; Yes, a lot of people did have matching signs, but in the same way that there are lots of identical MAGA and Trump/Pence signs, there are websites that help you quickly make signs that represent your ideological beliefs and opinions.

Members of different groups were in attendance, but that’s how protests are organised. You only sign up to a Facebook group if you agree and hold-true to the opinions of the group. Well, except that pyramid scheme group your friend from school continues to add you to without your permission. Just because you’re trapped in a directionless relationship, Katie, it doesn’t mean you have to suck us all down your spiral of online scams.

Having been to a few protests and rallies, trust me, nobody is there unless they believe what they are fighting for or against. And if people were paid, well, I didn’t see a dime.

The “elevator screamers” are survivors of sexual assault who feel a deep connect to the testimony of Dr Ford, and feel as though her voice is being ignored, as I’m sure their’s have been in the past. You don’t have to believe them by rule of law, as their attackers aren’t the ones on trial. But their passion, their anger? That is real — fuelled by real experiences.

I know a handful of sexual assault survivors and I don’t even get out much, so perpetuating the idea that women (and men) in this country have not been assaulted, and are being paid to be angry about an issue they don’t really care about? That’s extremely dangerous.

The President of the United States is Tweeting-out a conspiracy theory that his die-hard supporters will lap-up as absolute truth. This president is normalising conspiracy, he’s making it mainstream, no wonder he was laughed out of the UN last week.

The “elevator screamers” aren’t there to make the senators look bad. They’re present to have their free, American voices heard as citizens, and to test senators for basic empathy.

Have Kavanaugh, have your supreme court justice if that’s the decision made in a democratic environment — Absolutely. But don’t you dare insult survivors of sexual assault by reducing them to a living conspiracy theory.


Today is Friday, October 5th and my morning anger has reduced me to tears.

I normally put a tip jar at the end of my post here, but it doesn’t feel appropriate after the week we’ve had. Be good to each other, and be kind to those who’ve fallen for this man.

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Interview with Creed Bratton

You may have seen the “interview” with Drew Barrymore that found its way into an in-flight EgyptAir magazine. It’s a mishmash of misquotes, bundled together in order to resemble a one-on-one interview with the actress. There’s also conjecture and plenty of what appears to be personal opinion thrown onto the voice of the actress.

Apparently it’s that easy to secure an interview with a Hollywood A-Lister so I thought I’d give it a go myself. Now, I couldn’t quite fake-track-down someone of Drew Barrymore’s caliber — A lot of people on her level just aren’t fake-available. But I did manage to secure a fake-interview with TV’s Creed Bratton, known for playing a fictionalised version of himself on beloved sitcom The Office.

He was pretty hard to fake-get-in-touch with, but I fake-managed it. I figured that if EgyptAir are getting more attention for pretending to interview people, then maybe I could do the same for this blog.

Sorry if you were expecting an interview with the real Creed Bratton, Im sure if I’d reached out I would’ve gotten a response of some kind, but that’s not what this is about. This is fake.

So the following interview is obviously fake (because I’ve said it a thousand times to avoid libel), but it was the best fake-interview I could fake-get on such fake-short notice.

No wait, real-short notice.

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I sat down with Creed Bratton, star of The Office, over a public brunch of pastries, gammon and pickled eggs. Mr Bratton also had a side of scampi.

I first asked Mr Bratton what it had been like working on one of America’s most beloved sitcoms?

He responded promptly; Well it was just a blast you know — Being in that place at that time. Never been another decade like it, the sixties, they really were a magical time for all of us. Are you gonna eat that ham?

No — I — Go ahead. I mean, what was it like working on NBC’s The Office? It’s such a beloved sitcom.

Oh that old thing. Well it was what it was. It was great working with Michael, Dwight, the tall one and the woman. They were all great people.

*Nervous laughter* Well sure the characters were fun — But what was it like working with the legendary Steve Carell?

Which one was Steve again?

…Michael Scott?

Oh he was a total clown. Left me to my own devices, which was great for me of course, it meant I could run my own operations. Yep — Couldn’t have asked for a better boss. You have to try these pickled eggs, they’re real next-level stuff.

Hang on a minute, do you think you actually worked at Dunder Mifflin? The paper company in Scranton, Pensilvania?

Of course I did — I’m Creed.

Yeah but — Oh I see — I was actually hoping to get an interview with the real Creed Bratton, not the character from the show.

Well that’s your problem man, you’re inventing all of my words — Even these ones. So if you wanted an interview with the real Creed Bratton, then that’s what you should’ve written. Could you pass the ketchup?

I suppose you’re right. So does that mean I can just suddenly decide that you’re now the real Creed Bratton? In order to salvage this fake-interview.

*Inaudible, his mouth full of eggs*

Yeah that would be cheating I guess. Well, while I have you fake-fake-Creed — I guess I could ask you some questions about your time at Dunder Mifflin. Erm — Oh I know — Why didn’t you join Michael Scott Paper Company?

Too much of a spotlight. If I’d joined Michael with his little — what would you call it? Side Opperation? If I’d done that I’d have had the feds breathing down my neck at every turn. That’s not what I needed back then. Actually, it’s not really what I need now. You’re not with the FBI are you?

No. I mean — You know I’m not.

Oh right, yeah, because I’m you pretending to be Creed, who is in turn pretending to be the fictionalised version of Creed. Real tangle you’ve got yourself in here kid, how are those mental backflips for you? I do five-hundred a day, it’s how I keep my skin looking so youthful, like a god-damn basilisk.

Right. Except you don’t look that young, do you?

How dare you. *Slams ketchup bottle on table and glares intensely into my eyes* How old do you think I am? Go on — Guess.

Seventy-five?

Wrong! I’m ninety-six — Next question.

Okay…Well what’re your plans for the future?

Well after I finish up this little breakfast interview here, I’ll probably head on over to the local college, see if any of the kids there wanna buy any of my home-baked brownies.

Are they pot brownies?

Keep it down!? You narc!

Actually, I probably know if they’re pot brownies or not — Because I’m also you. So all I have to do is think about it, and then decide.

Now you’re getting it kid, feel the force.

I’m going to say they’re not. That’s a twist to the tale, because everyone expects them to be pot brownies. But it turns out they’re just delicious, gooey, chocolate brownies handed down through six generations of Bratton’s.

That’s exactly it! The student has become the teacher. Except — Get this — I’m gonna sell them as pot brownies anyway, to get a higher price. I’ll have skipped town by the time anyone notices a thing.

You’re a genius Creed!

No — You’re me — So you’re the genius! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to catch the next Ostrich downtown, President Nixon needs me to fix his sink.

What?

I don’t know man, it’s your imagination. *Hops on disgruntled ostrich*

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So yeah, I’ve submitted that interview to EgyptAir and I’m hoping to hear back from them soon. I tried to emulate their style as best I could, so, fingers crossed!

Images are courtesy of absolutely whoever owns them, it’s not like EgyptAir took those photos of Drew Barrymore — There are no rules anymore!


Today is Thursday, October 4th and my cat was sick on my feet immediately after I finished meditating this morning.

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Mocking a Victim

I make a point to meditate for half an hour at the start of each day. I do this for a handful of reasons, but one is because I’d always reach for my phone as soon as my bleary eyes held open, to see nothing but bad news. A half-hour of waking disconnect from the wider world, in a peaceful, mindful bliss is something that I value in modern times.

There are some days, however, where it doesn’t matter how tranquil you feel post-meditation, the second you plug back in you’ll be filled with a distant sorrow for the wider world once more. Today was one of those days.

At a rally last night, President Trump mocked Dr Ford’s testimony in front of a crowd of die-hard supporters. He mocked the back and forth between Ford and the Republican-appointed question-asker. I’m not being flippant here, I know Rachel Mitchell is a prosecutor, but that room wasn’t a court of law. She was essentially hired because eleven old men couldn’t talk to a survivor of sexual assault. But that’s a different issue.

Trump mocked the hazy memory of some of Dr Ford’s details, which was met with jeers and rounds of applause from the MAGA-base. Man, I would love to speak with some of those people as individuals, and to stop seeing them as a hive-mind mass of red-hats and hate-filled signs. I bet some of them are brilliant, hard-working people who’ve been told a lot of lies by a man they recognise from the TV.

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This mockery was in stark contrast to his statements about Dr Ford a few days ago, where he said her testimony was credible and compelling. He almost sounded presidential in those statements, in that a president shouldn’t pick sides on this issue, and simply let the process unfold how it may. He said good things about both Ford and Kavanaugh, and I thought that was the right move for him.

For those who don’t see the issue with openly mocking a victim of sexual assault — What can I do to help you? Who hurt you? Seriously, get in touch with me and we’ll talk. Not in public on this platform, as people via email.

Besides the ethical issues of mocking a victim (not believing someone is different to making-fun-of, I should point out), it shows troubling partisan roots. If the Democrats are guilty of trying to block Kavanaugh, then Trump and his merry band of white men are just as guilty for trying to rush without due process.

Trump behaves differently when he hasn’t spoken to an aide in some time, or when he’s faced with people who love him, as opposed to people who feel indifferent. If you ignore a lot of the things that Trump has said at rallies in the last year, you can almost pretend that he’s just a typical, rob-the-poor, give-to-the-rich Republican who lacks basic empathy; The devil we know and who we can at least dialogue with.

In the last twelve months he’s definitely made his worst comments at rallies, which you can read in a couple of ways.

The first is that he feels more comfortable around people who show blind love for him, and so he is more like himself; The words that come out of his mouth on that stage are the truest of Trump, and everything else we hear are just carefully prepared statements to make him palatable.

The second is that he sees the rallies as a performance. They remind him of the days when he just had to show up on a TV set and people would revere him. So therefore they’re exaggerated and he doesn’t 100% believe the words that are coming out of his mouth; He’s simply playing to a crowd.

Of course, neither of those are great. The first option reveals him as the person that everyone but his supporters know him to be, and the second is far worse. In that he’s willing to tell people exactly what they want to hear in exchange for a quick and cheap display of affection, even if those words are damaging.

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The fact that a man who holds the highest office in the land can mock a survivor of sexual assault is exactly why women are only now starting to come forward about their attackers. They didn’t think they’d be believed, they thought they’d receive threats, they thought they’d be mocked publicly. Well, in 2018 all three of those are still happening.

I’ve known victims of sexual assault and very few (one) went to the proper authorities about it. The court eventually decided not to punish her attacker, the reason being largely because he was young (21) and had his whole life ahead of him. There’s a reason that our society has the problem it does.

Maybe it’ll be easier when fundamentalists who’ve been raping their wives for decades because “marriage is consent” have died-off. Maybe things will be better when we have world leaders who at least treat victims with respect. Maybe we can start to combat this problem with proper education in schools, with frank discussions about consent and what it means to sexually assault another human being. Maybe.

My heart metaphorically (and possibly physically) bleeds for survivors of any kind of sexual assault, be they male or female. It’s clear from the president’s actions last night that we aren’t yet mature enough to handle the seriousness of their situations, and that their allegations will be handled exactly how they imagined in the depths of their worst anxieties.

Some people do lie, some people do make false accusations — But extensive research tells us that 98% do not. Call me crazy for siding with the statistical majority, and with those who face open mockery and persecution for speaking out.

This morning was supposed to be tranquil, so I’ve been listening to meditation playlists as I typed these words. I can only hope it mellowed me out a little.


Today is Wednesday, 3rd of October and America is getting its first panel-show in 2019. The British invasion is real.

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Back to The Good Place

The following jumble of words have been organised into a review of the season three premiere of The Good Place. If you have not seen this episode, or the rest of the show, then come back tomorrow when there’ll be fewer spoilers. I’ll probably write about Trump or Kavanaugh or Brexit — You know, the usual.

Actually before you go, here’s a quick plea — Watch this show. Stop watching whatever you’re currently watching and catch up on The Good Place. The cast are delightful, the writing is near-flawless and it’ll push the limits of what you thought possible of a twenty-two minute sitcom. Also, Ted Danson is better in this than he is in Cheers…okay bye, leave before you can rebut that hot take!

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We’re back with Team Cockroach — Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason — only this time they’re on Earth. In an attempt to prove to his superiors that supreme beings need to revamp the way in which human’s are treated in the afterlife, Michael, and his assistant Janet, are running a little experiment. Team Cockroach have been placed back on Earth, right before the moment of their death, where they’ll be saved by a passing stranger (Michael). This provides them all with a near-death experience, that will (hopefully) push them to become good people.

The plan works, for a while, as all four humans turn their lives around. However, remaining a “good person” proves to be difficult, and before long they’re back to their old ways. So Michael intervenes again, with some protest from Janet, and nudges them a little closer together — All so that Team Cockroach can meet on Earth and once again help each other to be better.

All of this while they’re being hunted by a pack of demons for breaking the rules of the bad place — Specifically Micheal, for being the demon who went rogue. But you know that, you’ve seen the show!

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The transition from the second to third season went a lot smoother than the first to the second. It appears as though Micheal Schur is set on flipping the script on the premise at the end of each season, by jumbling all the chess pieces into a different order, before moving them in roughly the same direction. This helps to keep the show feeling fresh, and both of the soft resets have made sense within the context of the narrative.

Last season felt a little jarring, and it took a few episodes of season two for the show to really feel like itself again. They haven’t faced the same problem this time around, aided in part by the season two finale giving us a little glimpse into what to expect for the third outing. Also because characters are very much behaving like their lovable, imperfect, archetypal selves from the get-go.

Ted Danson continues to give a career-performance, as he expertly blends his brand of sitcom delivery with heartfelt, uplifting monologues. Which isn’t to say that the rest of the cast don’t perform — because oh boy do they. We didn’t get too much of Janet in this episode, which is always a shame, as her arc as a computerised super-being slowly becoming more human is one of the most compelling on the show. Adam Scott’s character has returned, however, and we always need more Adam Scott on our screens.

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We’re introduced to new character, Simone, a researcher and neuroscientist from Chidi’s university who plans on helping Team Cockroach on their journey to becoming better people, by showing them the science-side of their near-death experiences. Her and Chidi hit it off instantly, leading to an incredibly cute scene inside of an MRI.

Eleanor encourages them to start dating, as she sees the overflowing chemistry between the two — Which is gut-wrenching for us viewers, who know that once Eleanor and Chidi become close in a timeline, they’re a great match for each other.

Still, it’s proof that Eleanor is fundamentally a good person, and I for one can’t wait until she’s promoted to the position of “God” or “Supreme Afterlife Guardian” by the end of the entire show.

Jameela Jamil, who plays the egocentric Tahani, continues to be the biggest surprise of The Good Place. Although at this point, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised anymore. Despite only recently venturing into the world of acting, Jamil was born to play the role of Tahani. Her opening Vogue-style web-interview is one of the best character reintroductions I’ve ever seen, and her celebrity name-drops are already on-form.

The highlight for Jason came as he bore his soul at a harbour in Jacksonville. Being the dimwitted member of Team Cockroach, Jason is quietly and innocently the most good-hearted of the group. We finally see the urban dance-crew he organises and manages, and although they all still resort to a life of crime, he’s genuinely trying to be a good person to the best of his abilities.

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Nearly every element of The Good Place works to perfection, and as long as Schur has a clear ending planned, then this may well go down as one of the greatest cult sitcoms of all time.

It’s an enjoyable ride with a likeable cast, so no matter what happens I’m in for the long-hall. However, once the show comes to a conclusion (whenever that may be, I can think of a premise for season four and five, but any more than that might be pushing it) we’ll be able to fully judge the overall narrative. I’ve been burned by too many shows with a meandering story that eventually lead to nowhere.

It’s the little things that make The Good Place so good…place; The subtle world-building, the forking curse-words, secondary characters for days, genuine philosophical lessons and Schur’s trademark reaction-shots.

The season three opener matched the overall quality of the show, so I can’t wait to see where Team Cockroach will go next.


Today is Tuesday, October 2nd and the days are getting darker. This is both a positive and a negative; Find balance in all things.

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If you like what I write and can spare a dollar, then it’d be a greatly appreciated act of kindness! If you like what I write and can’t spare a dollar then I greatly appreciate you! If you hate what I write and also can’t spare a dollar, then why are you still reading this?

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