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Philosophical Timbits

I don’t know if it’s a joking-is-easier-than-acknowledging-something-uncomfortable thing or what, but I’m a little scared of people lately.

intervention

Several times in the past week, I’ve shared a story of street stalkers, bar creeps, and cat callers to a different person or group of people, and received very different reactions from each. One thing that scared me, however, was the general response from my male friends.

“What are we supposed to do?”
“What do you expect?”
“Well, that’s what you get for being a hot girl”

are you fucking kidding me

Now, I’m friends with good people. I associate myself with people I respect and enjoy, and these sentences without context seem pretty severe and unkind (to me at least, but apparently I’m in the minority here), whether purposefully or accidentally.

But seriously?

“What are we supposed to do?” WALK THE FUCK BY. You can check someone out and think all the nasty things you want, but are you so uncontrollably motivated by aggression that you can’t keep it to yourself? You don’t know what else has happened that day, that week, or over their life, and there’s no reason to push a stranger’s buttons.

“What do you expect?” This one is almost my favorite. What do I expect? This seems like women should expect men to be inconsolably unpleasant and degrading, captives to their testosterone and nothing more, and that you’ve accepted this as well, and that’s about the saddest thing for the future that I’ve ever heard.

“Well, that’s what you get for being hot…” Yeah? We’re going down this road? This feels like dangerous territory, entering into slut shaming and “asking for it.” One thing I will say is that nobody deserves to feel any shame for calling people out. Control and free will are nothing to be ashamed of. This is not any sort of request to watch what you say around women; changing relationships and walking on eggshells isn’t a solution. The point that needs to be acknowledged is that it shouldn’t be a reflex to slut-shame in the first place.

STOP

Nobody understands being a woman and you don’t have to, you just have to understand how to be a decent human person to the rest of your species. A good start would be to replace the offhand twistedly backhand compliment remarks with ANYTHING ELSE. There are less insulting ways of trying to compliment a girl than telling her she’s worth a stalk or a rape.

By calling people out on offhand reactions that aren’t okay, even just once, a thought is instilled in the mind of the uninformed, and a step is taken in the right direction.

Rather than teaching your kids not to go out late at night for fear of rapists and muggers and crazies (oh my), teach them that people shouldn’t attack people at any time of day. Teach them respect, for both men and women and personal humanity. Raising a new generation of genuinely good people, even if it’s just in your own family line, could change the world.

 im just sayin

Be happy, be free,

Sydney

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With all these “100 Things” and basic How-To live your life articles floating around the internet, I figured I’d put one of my own out there.

1. Go tanning.

Tan on the roof, on the beach, on the patio at lunch, everywhere, at all costs. Say NO to sunscreen and hats, and YES to bronzing beachside. Get some wrinkles on that skin. Oil up.

tanning gif

2. Eat a shit ton of food. And don’t stop.

Pizza, cheesecake, and coffee galore (not a food, shut up I don’t care) is the way to go. You know you love food, and food loves you too. While there may be some slight disagreements along the way, you and food go way back. Why would you turn away a friend that has helped you survive life thusfar? Maybe you shouldn’t have pizza every single day of your life. Maybe. But didn’t “they” decide pizza was a vegetable earlier this year? Pizza earned your trust and deserves it. Ain’t nobody got time for some list to come in and soil the beautiful relationship between me and my pizza.

eating chandler full

3. Have lots and lots of sex.

Good sex, bad sex, drunk sex, sober sex. You can have it all. While responsibility and stupidity should always be taken into consideration, the moral of the story is that sex is good for you. It teaches you self awareness and confidence. Ignore what people tell you about “your number” and enjoy your prime. Indulge while you can.

friends with benefits

4. Spend money.

spend money

Get used to it. And good at it. This is basically unavoidable whether you want to look 60 at 30, 90 at 60, 20 at 30, etc etc etc.

5. Watch television.

Different kinds of television. Strain your eyes. Self-heat the couch. Subscribe to Netflix. Seriously, why television gets a bad rep is beyond me. There is so much intelligent and crazy television available to the world right now, from HBO to SHO, AMC and back again, and to lump all reality TV or “trash TV” into one unintelligible category is ignorant and assuming. Television has become more immersive than ever before and deserves some props.

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6. Make friends. And enemies. And try not to judge them.

Hopefully they’ll try not to judge you too.

omg not judging

7. Make excuses.

And get good at that, too.

girls do you realize

8. Never assume ANYTHING is an end-all-be-all.

Nothing is as one-dimensional as a list. An extreme advocate of lists myself, I hate to admit it, but it’s often a use of sweeping generalization, and shouldn’t be taken completely at face value. However, when the list is a horror story of subjective and offensive “rules for life” slathered in sexism and assumption, it deserves to be called out.

welcome to real world.

9. Stop reading articles on the Internet for life advice.

Nobody should be living according to a set of ridiculous guidelines that were written to gain web traffic. Hypocritical, sure, but I’m not writing to put you down. I like my snooze button, and I’m not going to stop using it because it’s on a list of things “every twenty-something” should realize.

Sure, not everything on these lists is total bullshit. “Drink lots of water” is great advice.  But when it’s preceded by a statement like “It is morally wrong to be obese,” it’s hard not to call bullshit and get offended. You don’t need to live in New York, time is not an illusion, you don’t need to want what you can’t have, and you don’t need to listen to infuriating bullshit like “If you sleep around with a lot of people, then you are a whore.” Statements like “They stopped making good music in the 90s” come from a closed mind, a mind that will never know true comfort or satisfaction. Living by a set of preconceived notions like “being smarter does make you the better person” and “you don’t have ADD” isn’t living at all.

Every twenty-something should realize they have their own way of living life, and if you can wake up, get ready, and get to where you’ve got to be with a snooze button, there’s not a pretentious list on the planet that can tell you to do otherwise. Facebook, oily pizza, casual sex, blasting headphones, maxed out credit cards, giant tattoos, hashtags, love bites, drugs, bullshit, cell phones, depression, euphoria, family, friends, fake I love you’s, oral sex, free cake, mistakes, dirty sex, yoga, violence, high expectations, crap food, and cheap liquor are where experience is born and life is lived. Fuck the rest.

Sure, it sounds dramatic. Anything that “changes your life” is going to sound dramatic, honestly, because it is dramatic. You’re changing your life. Everything is different now.

epiphany omg

From the second you picked it up, you knew it was different. It flowed differently, it read to you. You couldn’t read fast enough, and as the pages flew by, you didn’t have a choice. You read it with feverish excitement, fierce engagement, and ferocity. You couldn’t wait to get to the end, but you can’t imagine it ending. And what happens after? The story just worked, and whether you were reading from a downtown subway car or under your bedsheets ’til dawn, it didn’t matter. You read breathlessly, with fervour, hanging off of each syllable, using the chapter breaks to catch your breath. You are a slave to this novel, mind, body, and soul, and there’s no use fighting it. It will steal your time, money, and brainpower, and you will accept it wholeheartedly.

book gif

The story envelops you as no story has since you were a child. The author knows exactly what you need; but how can they know you so well? This book will become a filter on your life, affecting everything you think and feel for all of time. You will feverishly seek out everything the author has ever written. The book came at the time that you needed it most. It’s not like it was the first book you’ve ever read, but this one had something different. Something memorable. Like your first pet, you feel a sense of commitment and maternal fondness that only grew with time. Like your first love, you feel an overwhelming sense of adoration and intimacy that takes you by surprise. Like your first time having GOOD sex, you can’t believe what you’ve been missing. Like your first time living on your own, the freedom is astonishing. You’ll wonder how you lived with so many rules for so long, and how you never noticed.

bookoutwindowgood

Books don’t talk back. They won’t use up all of your internet bandwidth, and they want nothing more than to be enjoyed. They seek no electricity, no nourishment, and they will never, ever ask you for your Wi-Fi password. They’ll never run out of batteries, and never ask of anything in return.

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
-Mark Twain

I’ve always felt that everything written is co-related. A major part of writing as a youth and young adult comes from what you write in school. We’re taught essay structure and planning. We’re taught to balance arguments and lead strong, life lessons that passed most of us by because we were too busy hating high school English (compulsory English means 80% of the kids don’t want to be there, and the other 20% weren’t ballsy enough to fuel a decent academic environment). State your point, elaborate with your three arguments, and restate your point by the end. If the essay is good, you’ll understand their points. If the essay is great, those points will affect your course of thought. A great novel does the same. It changes your perception. It takes you out of your world and into another, one with ideas and frivolities and dangers that open your mind.

im ready

You will remember this book more than 99% of your high school, 80% of your first year of post-sec, and much of your childhood. It will find times to make you laugh, cry, and ironically show up when you need it most. It will torture you, punch you in the face, and throw you down an elevator shaft, only to meet you at the bottom with another swift kick in the teeth. And when you’re finished, it’s like the first day of summer. Where do you start next?

dita read

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
-George R.R. Martin

If you’re lucky, this book will start an inevitable change in your life, and you will unleash upon yourself the mind-blowing abilities of what it’s like to really be a lover of books. You will read so many stories of different places and people and times that your memories and your books will become entwined. You will become overcome with historical wanderlust, and you will begin to judge people on their taste in books (or lack thereof). As the digital revolution progresses, there will always be a small, nagging fear in the back of your mind that they will stop printing books altogether, but you quell that thought with another stockpile purchase from Chapters whenever it arises. You will learn that there is a right timing for everything in life, especially books. You will catch yourself buying a second copy of your favourite book so you can freely wear out the first one without guilt. You will fall in love with books in a way that changes everything else in your life and makes falling in real love even more extraordinary. Welcome to Crazy, we love it here.

1jim carrey

“Do not pity the dead, pity the living, and above all those who respond “I don’t read,” to the question “What’s your favorite book?”

1. Thou shalt not have sex with unconscious people. Even if they were really, really into you before they passed out.

davematthews

2. Thou shalt say nothing behind a back that would not be said to the face.

bitch nicki

3. Thou shalt not hate thy job for more than a few months. Be happy. If you really, really hate your job, balls up and quit. Quitting a job doesn’t have to be a giant scene or the end of the world. Not all work is for everyone. Do yourself (and all the people you complain to) a favour and find something you enjoy.

good job bb

4. Thou shalt not lie when answering “How do I look?” That shit is sacred. If someone is genuinely asking you, don’t bullshit. Constructive criticism: no need to be a bitch (…unless need be).

you look beautiful

5. Thou shalt not be a digital idiot. It is 2013. Keeping your personal pages employee-friendly, and remembering that every photo, video, and word recorded online can stay in the system forever, is important. It is also important that you outgrow unnecessary habits that may have formed in high school due to the explosion and timing of Facebook: chronicling your relationships, TMI-ing your relationships, relying on your relationship status for any kind of confirmation of anything, and not-at-all-subtle whiny song lyrics directed at people.

texting who

6. Thou shalt not answer a question with a question. It’ll be easier for people to respect you when you sound like you believe yourself. Be confident. Be sure, like Ryan Gosling.

gosling don't go

7. Thou shalt know thy drinking limits. If thou shalt blow chunks, thou shalt apologize profusely upon sobriety, and owe thy caretaker big-time. Drinking doesn’t always have to end in smudgy mascara tears on the toilet bowl and a tangled half-ponytail knotted in a pukey frenzy. Experiment with different wine and beer and learn how to order at a bar. Drink well.

drinking amy

8. Thou shalt recognize that nobody, anywhere owes you anything. You are not entitled to anything from anyone else. You are not owed a job, money, or goodwill. You are not entitled to these things because of your gender, your race, or where you’re from. Life is hard. You will have to work. You don’t deserve more than anyone else because of anything except hard work.

stop condescending

9. Thou shalt stop interrupting. You are not a child, you can be patient. Self-control, baby.

supcat

10. Thou shalt not take one’s youth for granted. Go out and do what you want. Seriously. Whether you feel like it all the time or not, being young means being resillient. Your heart will crack and break and get Magic-Bullet-ed back together, and your friends will change and move and revolve and you will learn to love the ones that stay like family. You can bounce back; and you will be more broke than you ever thought, and you’ll save and splurge and figure out what works for you. The world is your oyster, your playground, your dance floor, your blank canvas, whatever you want to call it, it’s yours. So smile, cry, go outside, date interesting people that will open your mind, read something that will change your life, and don’t let your health and vigilance go to waste. Do something!

happy jump anchorman

When I heard about the whole Steubenville trial, I was blown away. It’s already a touchy subject, teenagers and drinking and rape. But when you throw in that people tweeted threats at the victim, texted details and pictures, and the rapists actually took photo and video of the victim and posted them online? I don’t know what I was most upset about: these teenagers for giving young people a bad name, the fact that all of this happened while nobody helped, or the rapists themselves.

Just watch the first minute or so if you’re not familiar with the story.

I would have thought it was difficult to make a situation like this worse, but apparently not. It’s one thing to rape, but to genuinely throw away someone’s pain like this, to brag on the internet and show off your malevolence and complete disregard for the simple humanity of another soul… I just can’t understand. I can’t understand why these people had no regard for moral etiquette or tact (partygoers engaged in the online discussion and social media spread, rather than reporting or stopping the situation). I can’t understand why the photos were on Instagram. I can’t understand why the coach (who was fully aware of the situation) did nothing to punish the boys, and actually blamed the girl, saying “The rape was just an excuse, I think. What else are you going to tell your parents drunk like that and after a night like that?”

500

While the world has people like that, it also has people like me. And people like you. And people like your friends, and your family, and their families, and the random people you walk by on the street. These people should be believed, trusted, respected, and treated with humanity. You don’t even have to be a good person to treat people like people.

Immanuel Kant’s greatest philosophical legacy comes from his idea that people cannot treat others as solely a means to their own end. In other words, if you’re using people like they’re tools, and tossing them aside… no good. If your sex life is basically masturbation with another person… no good. If you recently assaulted a sixteen year old with your friend and posted it online because you’re seriously that ignorant of a person… no good. It’s mind-blowingly inhumane, and just not okay.

Why can’t a woman walk into a bar with the sole goal of going home with a man? Well, we can, but it’s much less socially acceptable. Men do it every day. They can freely bar crawl to their heart’s content, getting shot down and trying again until they reel in a winner, but we can’t?

whatryan

Have sex, ladies. If you want to. Sexual freedom isn’t limited to the Barney Stinsons of the world; take the world by the bedsheets and live. Hiding from sex and muting discussion don’t help anything. Rape becomes a problem when we don’t talk about it, and when we keep it taboo. Talking things out makes life easier, puts everyone on the same page. Why wouldn’t you want life to be easier?

slutshi5
So have some sex. Have as much sex as you want. If you’re using protection and not being stupid, there’s no reason to limit yourself because of:

a) how many people your friends have slept with
b) how many people you’ve slept with
c) how many people you think you should sleep with because you saw that Anna Faris movie and it made you judge yourself and everyone else and Chris Evans is just so delicious, if you met fifty different versions of him, you’d probably want to have sex with most of them, and there shouldn’t be shame in admitting that, right? Mmmm, Chris Evans.

number1 number2
(What’s Your Number, 2011. Good for a bad movie, FYI. Half-decent chick flick.)

Have sex when you want to, and don’t have sex when you don’t. You’ve got hormones, use ’em! Being a slut may not be for everyone, just like kiwi aren’t for everyone, and tequila isn’t for everyone. But keeping track of numbers isn’t important, and nobody should be judged on “their number.” Calling other girls sluts won’t change your number or theirs, and doesn’t accomplish much.

slutmon
And why does being a slut have to be a bad thing? Cringing at the word won’t make it go away. Sluts take charge. Knowing what you want and how to get it may qualify you as a “bitch” or a “slut,” but as the oracle of Fey once said:

bitches
If a man doesn’t have to worry about being assaulted if he passed out, why should women? It’s not even a feminist issue, it’s an issue of humanity. There are things you just don’t do, and there are too many people with morality complexes that don’t understand that.

So ladies, life may not change in a day, but take charge. Hold onto your sexuality and wear it with pride. Take a page from the book of JLaw:

And maybe a page or two from my own story:

slut2
What Steubenville brings to light is this: they weren’t techincally breaking the law, so they thought their actions were okay. These boys legitimately cannot recognize right from wrong (minds that consider morality would have recognized their actions as inhumane and horrible, but these boys did not see it that way). They were raised this way, and it’s not just the small town of Steubenville that supplies this culture.

Rape culture has become a hub of blame-throwing and name-calling, and it’s time to stop. We can learn from Steubenville. Teach morality. Practice right and wrong. Bringing up the future on a solid ground will make the difference. #realmendontrape (Photo above from Toronto Slutwalk 2012, read my post about the walk here.)

As a little summary, here’s a video that puts everything into PERFECT perspective. Watch from 4:00. I just can’t put it any better.

So I leave you now, with a list: 20 things that are NOT an invitation to rape.
Brush up, humanity.

1. Drinking. (A cup in hand is NOT the same as yes.)

2. Drinking too much. (A bottle in hand is NOT the same as yes.)

3. Being so wasted you can’t walk. (Laying down is NOT the same as yes.)

4. Being so wasted you can’t talk. (No answer is NOT the same as yes.)

5. Being so wasted you lose your shoes. (Drunk is NOT the same as yes.)

6. Being so wasted you can’t get home. (Lost is NOT the same as yes.)

7. Being so wasted you pass out. (Unconscious is NOT the same as yes.)

8. Being passed out. (Seriously, why the fuck do people think it’s okay to fuck unconscious things?)

9. Being asleep. (Zzzzzzzz is NOT the same as yes.)

10. Being single. (Available does not mean yes.)

11. Being out with the girls. (A night out does not mean yes.)

12. Dancing. (Sometimes, girls really do just want to dance. Which is not a yes.)

13. Being a girl.

14. Being a child.

15. Being a virgin.

16. Being a slut. (STILL not a yes.)

17. Having tattoos.

18. Being young.

19. Being old.

20. Being there.

Need I go on?

Follow me on Twitter here.

You know how sometimes you feel like you’re spending all this money on school and getting nothing in return? I mean, I don’t. But I hear that question way too often in university, and In my attempt to stay up on my school work (hence the weeklong writing hiatus), I read an article, or rather, an excerpt of a book – Reality is Broken, by Jane McGonigal – about gaming and how games positively affect your life. That’s right, from Diner Dash to God of War, games are GOOD FOR YOU.

what

So, when did playing turn into a bad thing? As kids, we looked forward to “playing,” in any sense, but as we grow older, we try and avoid players and guys that “play games.” We’re all anxious little knots of creativity just waiting to find our niche, and playing games can help you get there. I learned a few general things about games, and it’s time for you to, too:

You follow the rules because you WANT to.

At the age where rule-breaking is socially acceptable and encouraged, games are a place where following the rules is a part of the fun (loooool yeah that’s actually a thing). You follow the rules entirely of your own accord, because you want to. While we may enjoy playing on easier levels or taking certain routes (ahem, using the map to make your directional decisions in Mario Party, which I will ALWAYS believe is TOTALLY cheating), we do follow a general set of rules. From restrictions as simple as using a putter to play golf (rather than kicking or throwing the ball into the hole), to waiting your turn; separate teams themselves are an accepted rule of many games.

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Winning a game is literally addictive.

It’s been proven that the feeling of overcoming adversity and accomplishing something (after beating a level, beating a score, you know that throw-your-arms-in-the-air HELL YEAH feeling? That one.) activates the part of the brain that reacts to addiction and reward. It’s also defined in one of those words-that-exist-in-other-languages-but-not-in-English, in the Italian word fiero. I have a random fascination with words that we don’t have in our language, and fiero is the Italian word for overcoming a particularly challenging adversity, and the pride that comes after. So, pretty much Italian for “OMFGFFJKILSHDUEKFXPEJDQZFUCKYEAH.”

fuckyeah

“Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.” -Bernard Suits

Unnecessary obstacles like not screen-peeking. Unnecessary obstacles like separate teams. Unnecessary obstacles like Pacman’s ghosts and wearing skates and different sides of the dodgeball court and advancing difficulty. Philosopher Bernard Suits stated that definition in his 1978 book The Grasshopper.

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The opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression. When we go on weeklong procrastination benders, we come out feeling lazy and blaahhhfhiueerkduer.  Granted, nobody wants to be buried in work all the time, but being lethargic and getting bored doesn’t actually make you feel any better. You know the feeling, you’re on the second disc of Entourage and you’re starting to get a little anxious. Is there anything else you should be doing? You’ll flick through your phone, maybe read a few quips on Twitter, salivate over your friends’ dinners on Instagram, and probably settle on half-watching Adrien Grenier on one screen, and playing Temple Run 2 on another. We look forward to lazy, easy, “relaxing” fun, but when it actually comes, we’re fidgety and negatively stressed. It’s scientifically proven that little accomplishments generate positive emotion, and genuinely improve morale.

goslingfuckyea

When I finished reading the chapter, I could barely contain myself from running out and switching my major to game theory. It’s one of those things from school that I actually enjoy (aka: SOFUCKINGINTERESTINGFSLKDJ), and this is my version of shouting from the rooftops. Finding something you enjoy, “work” that is hard enough to keep you engaged, as well as something enjoyable and stimulating, is important. Whether it’s writing, doodling, playing sports, or whatever your niche is, find it and play hard.

So really, games and life aren’t all that different. My favourite realization/game-to-life-connection is that you don’t always want to win. Sometimes you can’t. Sometimes the goal is just play til you lose, or as long as you can. Think Tetris, think Temple Run. You know you’re going to lose eventually, whether it’s because you couldn’t resurrect yourself in time, or because it’s totally fucking impossible to get past level fifteen on Tetris because oh my god how can people move that quickly, seriously? We want to live, not just kill time. Tetris, Temple Run, they’re challenges within challenges that you can overcome over time, but you will never WIN. And somehow, after 170 million downloads of Temple Run, we are still entertained.

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AVAILABLE ALSO IN TED TALKS!

1. Video game sounds. A never-ending background soundtrack of guns shooting, shit exploding, and general anarchy is not a positive environment. I’m not ripping on video games, but if you’re not the one playing, having the general background noise of a high-tech war zone is stressful. Turn down the volume, turn up some music, or put on headphones, and your brain will thank you for eliminating the white noise.

2. Junk email and Adblock. When you’re already having a bad day, checking your email and having 35 unread emails – 33 of which are junk, and one of which is a a chain letter fwd from your mother – doesn’t make it any better. Taking ten minutes to actually scroll through and click “unsubscribe” will give you one of the greatest simple pleasures online. Not to mention how much better life is without ads – Adblock even does adorable things like replacing ads with cats on April Fools Day. Seriously. Google it, it’s easy!

3. The music you’re done with on your phone. Nothing is more irritating than “hating” every song on a playlist you used to love. Clear it off, and give yourself some time to forget why you loved the song in the first place. It’ll be way more exciting when it comes on shuffle next time.

4. The Broken Shit. Anything that you’ve been “meaning to fix/alter/adjust/make/do” for the past two years: do it now, or throw it out. Set aside a day to go through EVERYTHING: clothes, school things, kitchen and housewares, movies, boxes, everything you’ve got. If the clothes don’t fit, if the disc is scratched, if the buttons are missing: FIX IT. Sort through your half-life and form it fully. You’ll be surprised what you can afford to get rid of, and how much cleaner you’ll feel when you’re done.

5. That thing that’s been making you miserable. Whatever it is, get it out of your life. A habit you’ve started, a frenemie you’ve been loathing, or just a feeling, figure out what caused it, and get rid of it. Whether you’ve noticed you’re in the wrong program, or you’re trapped in a job you hate, figure out the best way to get out of it, and do it! Figure out what you want.