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About this blog

life through the eyes of a simple mark

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A response to 9876gwen

GDC user 9876gwen said some stuff, and she actually said what a lot of people think so, here we go.

Why are these people doing this? Blocking major traffic routes, breaking and entering into a Macys in New York, fighting the police, and waving a doughnut in cops faces. Why protest over a verdict?

I'm assuming you're aware of the fact that pretty much every right you have today as a citizen of the United States was brought about by people protesting once upon a time. It's the same thing in this situation except for one crucial difference - these protests are largely being staged over intangibles, whereas in the past they were very concrete things. The fact of women not being able to vote, for example, was easily observable fact, and success of the protests was obvious and demonstrable when women set out to cast their votes. The change that is currently being fought for is a change in attitude. More specifically, the attitude that leads to black males in the US being 80x more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts, and the attitude that has led to unarmed black males being killed by police at a twice-weekly rate in the country. The statistics are appalling and unacceptable, but there's no magic wand that can suddenly make it all better.

The recent non-indictments have been protested over because they've been such crystal clear examples of a so-called 'justice system' going out of its way to protect murderers.

He was just like any other kid who got shot or killed by a cop so why bother? Countless others have been killed by the police and you don't see their family and friends or random strangers making protests over it.

You don't see what's so concerning about that first statement? "Any other kid who got shot by a cop?" -- is the problem right there. It happens far too much, far too disproportionately towards the black population. Non black unarmed (hell, sometimes even armed, like we saw of that depraved murderer that killed several people in a cinema and was still taken alive by police) people just don't tend to get killed by police.

You're right though, it was happening all the time before Mike Brown and it's happened after Mike Brown, and I'm not quite sure what it was about him in particular that incited this badly needed action. If I had to guess, I would say it was the way in which he was left on the street for four hours before they cared to cover him or take him inside. That's a fear tactic the lynch mobs employed in the 1960s and was not accidental.

Is it because he was black? Because the cop was white? If a black cop killed a white boy you wouldn't see a protest or even a news article on it.

Would you guess which instance happens far, far, far more often? And you're right, the times that does happen there are no protests and no news articles - because those cases are always given due process, as they should be. If a black cop shot an unarmed white boy like Darren Wilson did Mike Brown, he would have been in court yesterday. His excuses about why he failed to file an incident report and why he lied about how far away Mike Brown was would have been shot to bits, and he'd be in jail, right now. The reality is though, white police officers can do that and walk free without punishment or even without legal process.

The protests also seek to destroy the mindset that make the Darren Wilsons in the world so trigger happy in the first place. Blacks are treated with more hostility by police forces than everyone else, and it leads to situations where they "feel" threatened despite not actually being so. A police officer a few weeks ago had this mentality so much that he shot a twelve year old boy in the park, point blank, and stood watching him die. It's fucked on so many levels but it's what's happening and what needs to change.

Media coverage and police conduct over the protests themselves has been on a whole other level of sickening, but that's another blog post for another time I think

I've seen posts on Facebook and Tumblr basically summing up to a black person saying you can add on to their thoughts on how horrible it was and give sympathy but if you're white you have no right to. You want us to feel sorry but you won't accept it because we aren't black?

I have no idea what you're referencing, but if you have thoughts there are a lot of smart people on GDC and elsewhere, a Ferguson protests thread in General where all the issues from this have been discussed etc

I know that you're personally annoyed at being inconvenience, but protests by nature are designed to inconvenience, because an unjust social order cannot be allowed to function unchecked. The 'powers that be' know that, which is why they're trying to batter and tear gas peaceful protesters into submission. They pose a threat to the social order that benefits the powerful -- kind of like MLK did, and the US government ended up killing him for that, so.


So anyway I'm feeling a bit ticked off today but luckily I thought of something that could work as both a great new blog feature and a de-angry for me! Because who doesn't love looking at pretty people?

Anyway I watched Now You See Me a few nights ago and in honour of that, my first featured Beautiful Person is Melanie Laurent!!!


(oooo, prettyy)

She comes from like France or something, and you might know her from that time she played Shosanna 'BAMF' Dreyfus in that one film


(Uber Parisien!)

Anyway, dat face. Dem eyes. Dat everything. Also I never realised head hugging was a cute thing


It's a cute thing.

Maybe I will do this another time. Maybe I will never do this again. Maybe I just like looking at beautiful people. Maybe


I'm Totally Nerding Out, Bro!

Just when I thought wrestling couldn't get any more interesting. I'm doing an extended project on wrestling (basically a 5k word essay that'll end with me getting an A level qualification) and the topic title I chose, or more accurately stumbled upon, has made me focus a lot less on the wrestling itself and more on it as a... world evaluation, if that makes sense. Wrestling is the purest Comedy available to us (not comedy as in ha-ha, Comedy with a big C) so as a result it's worked as a social litmus test in more ways than I initially realised.

As any scholars and literati would tell you, western society post-9/11 suffered a massive, collective change in psyche due to how profoundly our everyday lives were affected by the event. In terms of literature, many people look at the spike of popularity in dystopian fiction as a 'symptom' - books like The Hunger Games and The Fifth Wave represent our deep-rooted helplessness and acute awareness that everything about our lives could be turned upside down in a matter of minutes.

In terms of wrestling, it's not nearly as hard to read. An essay titled "Wrestling and the End of History" cites the end of the Cold War as the end of using 'foreign heels' to get over; wrestlers like Nikita Koloff were Russian, and therefore their evilness was evident in of itself, and that was due to the political climate. However 2005 (mere days after 9/11, relative to world history) saw the debut of Muhammad Hassan, a self-identified Arab-American, as a wrestler in the WWE. The boos, of course, were deafening, and that's not for any particular fault on his part. Hassan performed acts typical of any average wrestling 'heel', very disproportionate to the strong negative reactions he received. That is because America had found itself a new enemy, formally known as "terror", but always a named un-named: Arab Muslims. Most surprising to me as a wrestling fan is the fact that kayfabe exposure didn't make a dent in the massive heat he got.

Anyway the short of it is, I never fully realised where and how wrestling fit in in the larger scheme of things, and it seems like I'll find out, thanks to this project. Also this excerpt from "Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels" made me smile/shudder:



On Saturday I went to see the Green Day concert at Emirates stadium, which just so happened to fall on my birthday. I arrived at around 7.30/8ish, and to my surprise hardly anyone was about. Maybe fifteen people at my West S turnstile and some few others around the stadium. Some campers called out to me as I walked past and said hello. Once they realised it was my birthday they all sang me happy birthday, and when they heard it was my seventeenth to boot they encored with Coming Clean. Mushy feelings part one, check. I don't know who they were (or if they're on here??) but I thank them for that.

I said hello to Bryony, Liam, Paul and Lindsay at the other queues, then I went and sat down at my queue along with Kelsey. Some guys from crew came around at about 9am to hand us wristbands -- already a marked improvement on what was reported about Muse the weekend before. Much banter ensued with us alongside an old friend I'd bumped into and two other girls we had started talking to, and the hours slowly (incredibly slowly) whittled away until it was time. 4pm. The guardians of the gates lined up along the barriers in their orange fluorescent jackets like some mystical custodians of nirvana. I had already had the jitters (actual nervous shakes about an hour before doors, I lapped the stadium once to get rid of them) and now it was Kelsey's turn. Shaking like a leaf!

I expected to be there ten minutes longer than I was, but then something over someone's walkie talkie was barked, and the shutters were slid across. Opening! Kelsey went through the barrier next to me, but mine hadn't open for some reason, so after a quick WTF? I opened it myself. Scan you fuckin ticket, scan... there it is! I push through the barrier, and naturally, trip. My crap falls everywhere, and the guard politely informs me I've dropped some of my things. Too late now.

In the stadium the steps are a lot more long and narrow than I'd imagined, but I quickly devise a 2 at a time method of hopping down them, thwarted by some huge dude that refused to go faster, or move to the side. Living in Britain, I can't bring myself to barge past even at this urgent time, but thankfully he soon makes space and the race is back on! Kicking my little legs as hard as I can, I hear a guard say, "slow down! there's no need to rush!" A guy behind me helpfully yells "yeah there is!" and I silently concur, keeping the goal in my sights at all times. There it was, the barrier! I grabbed it like I was drowning, letting it fully sink in. Barrier at a Green Day show! On my birthday! It didn't get any better than this. I soon realised that a) Kelsey was right next to me and b) I was bleeding! The second one was realised aloud, and the guy two people down from me said "they might have to pull you out and take a look at that" in mock concern. Ha, not on your life. A quick look over my totally punk battle wound told me I was fine. I looked like I'd punched someone out, but I was fine.

Support acts next. All Time Low were very impressive; Alex Gaskarth has the stage presence of a frontman that cannot be teached, and the rest of the band looked right at home too. Towards the end of their set, he decided to get right close and personal with the fans, and that meant right by me! Actually he had his crotch in Kelsey's face, but as I looked up to him I thought "This is an opportunity. What would I do if I were ATL's biggest fan?" So I decided to rub my hand up his thigh appreciatively. Thank you Alex Gaskarth.

The Kaiser Chiefs were next. Ricky Wilson has awesome charisma, but the rest of his band were wet lettuce. Especially the bassist, who was right in front of me. They were enjoyable still, so no big deal.

They left the stage, and the electricity in the air was tangible. It was time, for the main event of the evening! Green Day began right away with 99 Revolutions and the party began. Once I heard the opening chords to Letterbomb, my face was like a child on Christmas morning. My six year wait to hear that song live was over. Cue tears of joy (i). A lot of clapping, bopping, waving and hey-oh-ing later they played Oh Love, and I felt time almost stand still. I thought, "oh god, is this really real? Is this actually my actual birthday?" and tears of joy (ii) were witnessed. I tried to pull myself together because security were looking at me like I didn't have it together and I didn't, but still I had this strange paranoia that they were going to deem me unfit for the pit and drag me out. Many wonderful songs and much awesome eye contact with my new bestie Mike Dirnt later was the end of the concert. I didn't get ANY footage, which was a slight bummer (my camera played spider man and escaped my pocket; I found it hanging from the guard rail once the show was over) and I strongly suspected one or two of my ribs were cracked, but I was smiling big. The best live band in the world had come to play for me on my birthday! It literally (Traeger literally) does not get any better than that.

Cue tears of joy (iii)


Why Do We Fiction, Indeed? -- 30/01/13

This is a response to the blog post Eric (RevDrFunk) made a while ago, which I've only just got round to writing (sorry about that.) The delay was mainly because I was aware the magnitude of the task and its importance to me and tbqh, I wasn't about that life.

But as with most tasks of the verbular form, it takes a spark to start the metaphorical flame. And that spark, today -- actually yesterday -- was me crying when I found out the planned release date of Kung Fu Panda 3. You're probably wanting to know when that is, and why I hold such ardent passion for some goofy kids' movie franchise. The first answer is March 18, 2016, and pretty much speaks for itself. Literal ages away. The second answer - besides the very simple initial one of "I'm a fucking pansy, okay?" - I hope can serve to tie in to Eric's very pertinent question asked all those weeks ago. After all, it is rather illogical spending time with works of fantasy that have little bearing on the real world, when, as my brother put it, "You could read a really good non fiction book and actually learn stuff."

The overall gist to my love of Kung Fu Panda 2 is that it is so much more than it has any right to be. It reminds me of reading Louis Sachar's "There's A Boy in the Girls' Bathroom" way back in the summer. These are supposed to be silly, insubstantial little kids' stories that get them into reading, or in the case of KFP2, keep them busy for an hour and a half. Right? That's what you'd assume. Yet both of these are two of the most compelling stories I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Reading TABITGB, a book whose target audience probably still have milk teeth, made me cry. And not just a tear or two in the corner of my eyes; hot, anguished sobs that make me sniffle a little bit right now just thinking about them. It's telling of the power a good story has over us, and it was that book that made me realise childrens' storytellers might be the most masterful of them all. So what exactly in KFP2 makes it so supposedly amazing?

Simply: it is beautiful.

And I don't mean purely in the aesthetic sense, although they did absolutely knock it out of the park in that aspect. -- the scenery, the colour schemes, the characters; seeing the main villain Shen in action is positively breathtaking at times. Po's experience of overcoming his obstacles by finding inner peace is the definition of the word, and demonstrates one of the main appeals of fiction. It shows us things we otherwise could not see, teaches us lessons that we otherwise could not learn because oftentimes real life just does not work out that way, even if it should. The best characters stay with us long after we finish their stories, and we learn from their faults and mistakes as if they were our own. We sympathise with their plights as if they were our loved ones'. We feel when they feel, and I think, in a way, our fiction is what reminds us how to be human.

Uhh. Boy, where did that post go? Thank you for reading my extremely tangential ramblings - and sorry for putting you though that. I'd be interested in reading what you guys think about the phenomenon that is fiction. Feel free to comment, or even make a blog post. That'd be froot. Also thanks Eric.


Favourite People Ever - 07/01/13

CELEBRITIES!! Who doesn't love them? They're a weird modern conception resulting from the wide spread of media and the fact that you can watch someone in a video and laugh with them and appreciate them and fall in love with them a little bit like they're actually they're when they're not at all, and have probably never heard of or seen you in their lives. Basically a series of uneven relationships on a mass scale that humans were not designed for and the reason many of us are left in front of computer screens clutching our chests because of 'the feels', as they are commonly referred to.

But beyond the negative aspects of celebrity culture (of which there are obviously many), there is a beautiful side to it too. Ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things make us feel like we, too, can achieve anything. That's how I feel about a lot of people, namely Frank Turner, Casey Crescenzo, Adam Copeland (Edge, whose face I made a blog post about yesterday. Be fair, it was 4am.)

What about YOU, fair reader? Who are your favourite screen-people, and what warm tingly feels do they inspire in your heart? Answers below, for real this time.


The Logistics of Swearwords - 30/12/12

Wrap your head around this one: if you call someone a tit, it's the same as calling them a dickhead, or an idiot in other terms. But you only call someone a pussy if they're being a wimp, and you call them a cunt if they're being a prick, that is to say they're being an asshole.

Why is that?


An Ode to PaulS

Paul is an awesome, kind, intelligent, wonderful guy and everything, but the reason I'm making this embarrasing blog post actually has nothing to do with that. It has to do with this forum's Fuck or Chuck thread. For those of you unfamiliar, it is what it sounds like it is: person a posts a picture of a person, person b replies with fuck, indicating that they would pursue relations with this person, or chuck, indicating that they would not.

Throwing my mind back to how it used to be, it almost makes me tremble at the thought. You could post a face blessed with the kiss of an angel, and, most likely, the odd looking hair coming out of their head or the slight curve of a nose would get a loud, resounding, often quite painful CHUUUUCK from the other end.

Then one day, as if by magic, a saviour by the name of PaulS came to rescue us. And suddenly the Fuck or Chuck thread became what it should have been all along -- that is, a refuge for the shallow and superficial to bask in the attractiveness of other people! I'm probably way too happy about the revival of the Fuck or Chuck thread, but tbh why even care.

Oh and also: Paul gives great and well thought out advice. And he's really nice. And handsome! It's true, check the Picture thread if you don't believe me

The Fuck or Chuck thread is awesome. So, so awesome.


**FANGIRLING** - 27/10/12

So today I met Adam Copeland, best known as Edge (the wrestler guy) and referenced it as the 'best day ever'. There's a backstory on who he is and why he means what he does to me; he was always the source of entertainment and a funny, charming all round talented guy that I liked to watch on Smackdown. But learning about how he got to where he did is what caused him to become more: a source of inspiration and even an idol of sorts. He was born in a small town, his father left before he was born and so it was just he and his mum, and they were poor, not 'slightly unwealthy', they had to move into motels on more than one occasion from having no money to pay the rent. But he had one constant dream as a child, to work for the WWE as a wrestler like his hero Hulk Hogan (BROTHER!!), and it was a dream he shared with his best friend Jay. The difference between them and every other snot nosed eleven year old that wanted the same thing, is that they actually did it. You sort of have to be a wrestling fan to understand how hugely they pulled this off. Together, they were arguably the greatest tag team of all time. Edge became recognised all round as one of the greatest stars of all time, especially for his work as a rudo. He was put into the Hall of Fame this year (his first eligible year) in the headlining spot, for all the things he's done for the industry.

So yeah, since he's done everything, it's made me feel like I could do everything I dream of too if I wanted it and worked for it. That's had a profound, noticeable effect on my mindset and life in general, and I strangely feel like any sort of success I have from now is 'owed' to him. 'Thank you' was never enough.

But yeah so anyway, I finally met him and that was pretty awesome/hilarious. I got to talking with the girl behind me in the queue and we started a group fangirling session of OH MY GOD LOOK AT HIM. LOOK AT HIM. And then she was like "he looked at me!" and we collectively swooned. Her boyfriend left, lol.

When I got to the table I told him about that boyfriend who left while staring daggers at him, and he was like "oh well. not like he was going to do anything about it." Ha, exactly! Because he's huge. You should see the pecs on him.


03/09/12 - Life philosophy is froot

These blog entries were meant to be a lot more frequent than this, I think! Shout out to Cat C for giving me directions to the 'add entry' button.

Anyway, I was staring at this website wondering what to do, because it's Monday night (Tuesday morning) and that means I can't go on any of the other websites I frequent because they all include wrestling in one way or another, and spoilers need to be avoided until I watch the taping of the show that's being recorded now, live, in an arena in some distant and faraway place. Which reminds me of another blog post I was going to make, about the similarities between WWE and High School Musical and how similar features of both things are what attracted me to them. I would have made it sooner if the damn blog update button wasn't so hidden, ahem. Look out for that one soon, I guess.

Sarcasm mentioned something about teenage angst in the Regulars Club and it made me wonder who on this tiny blue planet has been hogging all of mine. Where is it, or where has it gone? I admittedly went through my fair share in my earlier teens (look at me all mature and wizened, I actually have earlier teen years now *sips coffee which I don't even drink*) but somewhere along the line it evaporated and left me completely. I never get angry, and rarely get genuinely upset, yet these are supposedly meant to be the most volatile years of my life. Imagine me in my mid thirties then. I will relax myself into a coma!

I think my relative emotional calm has a lot to do with the time I spend on my music. Partly because the songs I listen to are aurally pleasing (try saying that word out loud -- you have to say "ow-rally" otherwise it comes out as orally. My English teacher taught me that one. Freaky.) and partly because of their lyrical content. I'd like to consider myself a wordsmith, but I suppose it'd be more accurate to say I am a mark for words. If you're confused by that then you never read the blog title and instead of an explanation I shall only offer a "shame-on-you". Hmph.

Anyway. I think I may have mentioned in an earlier blog post that the saying "They're only words" is probably the stupidest ever coined. Words will never ever cease to fascinate me. And I feel like the words of these perfect strangers who I feel I actually know (isn't it interesting how this happens with celebrated personalities?) have actually resonated a lot with me and made me the all-smiles happy person I am today. There are a lot more, but I'd say these are definitely the top three:

Is it really worth it? Is any of it worth it?

Life is just a game we play that we can never win.

Better times are coming.

The first two are somewhat of a reiteration of the same thing: shrug it off, it doesn't matter. He doesn't like you back? There's hotter where he came from. Didn't get invited to the cool kids' party? Have one of your own. Didn't see your favourite band when they swung by your city? (THIS one I can actually speak from experience about) They're staying around, and they'll come back when you're old enough to get into the shows that pack 100 people in and have the front man singing "It's Fuck Time". This one pretty much reminds me to ask myself, is it really worth getting upset over? Like, really? Miz really? Most of the time it never is, and it never really was.

The second one is for every time I get tempted to compare myself to anyone else. Take the aforementioned party for instance. So they had a wild weekend while you sat at home reading your novel. So what? So what? So what? (Favourite song, sorry I had to.) Do they win extra "life points" for that? Are they going to suddenly up and disappear into an 8-bit graphic because they reached the required cool points for this round and are now leveling up? Nah. No one is better than you. Everyone is a person on this planet that feels the same fears and anxieties and sadness you sometimes feel, because we're all just clueless individuals trying to figure out the best way to get through the oddness that is life. No one "wins"; not the strung out cocaine addict, not the tall handsome millionaire and certainly not anyone you may ever feel jealous of.

The third one speaks for itself, but you kind of have to hear how it's sung to fully get it. The first time I heard the song it was mid-2011 or so and I thought it was just a catchy bridge. Bit by bit those words and the entire song just took over my heart completely. And do you know what? It's true! It is very true, or at least it has been in my experience. If things can get even better from here as well, then I honestly can't wait for it.

---the songs quoted in this post are The Real Damage by Frank Turner, Home by The Dear Hunter and Peggy Sang The Blues by Frank Turner. Three amazing songs, especially the latter two for lyrical content

---I don't expect anyone to read this but if you do: thanks. Thanks a lot.

---pic not really related. I just had to include it because aww matching shirts


We Laugh, We Cry - 03/04/12

For any professional wrestling fan, the time around Wrestlemania is like a second Christmas. Building up to the day creates a tangible buzz of anticipation as fans prepare for everything to culminate on the "Grandest stage of them all", as well as the many other events WWE hold around the time.

One such event is the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which takes place every year on the night before Wrestlemania. A handful of retired wrestlers are chosen to enter it every year, as recognition for their contributions to the WWE and the professional wrestling industry in general. It is the highest honour a person in that profession can be given.

This year's class of 2012 was a memorable one, not just because it consisted of some of the most notable names in wrestling history, but because of one very special inductee: Adam Copeland, better known as Edge. I watched the partial footage of the ceremony that WWE released, and as they took us through the life of Edge I found myself simply unable to believe that any of it was happening.

Here was a young boy from a small town, with no father and not a lot of money. He achieved his dreams of wrestling for the WWE, and over thirteen years we watched him come from being a relatively unknown, small time name to one of the biggest superstars in WWE history. What's remarkable about this is the change he's gone through, as well as the lack of change. Although the audience witnessed him mature as a performer and a person; at heart, he is still the young boy from Orangeville Ontario with the same best friend and the same outlook of life. A point he made very clearly as, right before his speech, he motioned for the cameras to look down and catch his socks that he wore for the occasion. They had bright orange sasquatches printed onto them. Of course.

That young boy achieved things he probably never thought of in his wildest dreams. He was the headlining inductee into his class, a fact that is so significant because of the people he went in with. Among them are the Four Horsemen, the greatest faction professional wrestling has ever seen and a group Edge himself grew up watching. Mil Mascaras, the iconic Mexican luchador and one of the most celebrated figures in all of Latin America, in his prime. Even boxing sensation, "Iron" Mike Tyson, inducted into the celebrity wing for his role in the late 90s with Steve Austin and Degeneration-X, massively helping build the hype for Wrestlemania XIV. All of these heavy hitters, and it's Edge that they've chosen to represent the class.

The significance of that truly hit me as I watched the Hall of Famers being introduced on the Wrestlemania Sunday. Edge stood shoulder to shoulder with Ron Simmons and Arn Anderson (a very big deal, in case you were wondering) as Howard Finkel read out the names of this year's class. It hit him, too, and tears sprung to his eyes as he received a standing ovation from nearly 80,000 people in Miami.

The fact that he achieved all of this through sheer want and passion for the business simply beggars belief, and watching that gave me an overwhelming sense of pride. The boy from Orangeville did really, really well for himself, and no one ever expected it.

Edge finished off his Hall of Fame induction speech with a phrase he said he lived his life by: "Decide what to be and go be it." And he did. And now he's a Hall of Famer.

The advice seems simple enough to follow, and I'm thankful for it. Sorry WWE, but I definitely have to try this one at home.


Art - 15/02/12

Chris Jericho once said "Art is when you make something out of nothing." Physics tells us this is impossible, but physics is boring and mundane and I don't want to talk about it here. Jericho is referring to the wonderful act of creation that is the driving force for nearly everything we do. The lick of paint on canvas that turns into a masterpiece. Words placed after certain words that become anything from a rolling piece of poetry to a speech that moves millions. Art is everywhere, and it makes sense from the catastrophic confusion that life can be.

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Jim Demonakos, co-creator of 'The Silence Of Our Friends', a graphic novel about civil rights movements in the 1960s. In this conversation he talked about the medium of comic books not being taken seriously as an art form. As a wrestling fan I knew all about that, but I found it a shame. I'm not massively into comic books, at least not yet, but even I could see the idea of this movie/novel hybrid as something that can be enjoyable and fun, but also something that deserves recognition and legitimacy. From speaking with him I got the sense that his profession was often dismissed as something 'for kids'.

I think the people that think like this are only depriving themselves. Art makes this listless loveless world into something special and worth living. It's what we enjoy ourselves with, it's what we bond with. So instead of sticking with what's safe, try something new today! And yes, I did just shamelessly steal a supermarket slogan. Every little helps.

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