enrichment activity

Beak Trims Are Not Normal

Parrot beaks are composed of bone covered in a layer of keratin, the same substance our hair and fingernails are made of. The keratin layer of the beak continues to grow throughout the life of the bird to replace parts that become worn down. Unlike fingernails, parrots should not ever need their beaks trimmed, this is not a normal grooming requirement.

A parrot with an overgrown or misshapen beak has a health problem or a lack of proper environmental enrichment. There are numerous causes of beak overgrowth including:

Liver Disease
Improper Diet
Lack of Proper Toys
Birth Defect
Low Vitamin A

Diets composed mainly of seeds are high in fat which can affect the liver and low in vitamins which directly impacts how the beak grows. Parrots on seed diets should be slowly switched over to pelleted diets supplemented with fresh vegetables.

Proper diets also help parrots because they must manipulate the food with their beaks which helps keep them worn down. This is also why having lots of toys and other environmental enrichment activities is important. Birds that simply reach into a dish to eat and don’t have to work for their food become bored and the beaks overgrow from lack of use.

Some parrots are on wonderful diets and have lots of toys and other activities and still have beak problems. Often these are due to bird defects like an over or underbite or trauma. X-rays are often needed to diagnose this and these birds do need frequent beak trims but this is not common.

Trimming a beak is not a simple task like trimming a nail. The entire beak has to be assessed and it must be correctly shaped. Simply trimming it short in one spot will change how pressure is applied to other portions of the beak which will cause even more malformation. An understanding of the physics of the beak and how even a small change will impact the entire organ is very important. Sometimes we have to make very small changes over several trims to slowly force the beak to grow correctly.
Because there are so many reasons the beak may be in need of a corrective trim it is very important to do a complete medical work up and find the cause. The concern is that if there is a medical problem not only should we address it and fix it, but the stress of a beak trim on top of an illness can actually be fatal in some birds.

taboot  asked:

Any advice on enrichment activities for quail and/or finches? I vary what food I give them + where I put food to encourage foraging and such and rearrange their enclosures whenever I clean them :>

Those all sound like good starts! You can also put novel objects outside their cage for them to observe (if inside would be too scary), drape fabric inside their enclosures or over their perches for different textures, or set a CD player to play them unique sounds/music. 

Staving off The Need for Another Fish

I know a lot of you get these insatiable needs to buy another fish/frog/reptile/etc, and I do too, so I thought I’d make a list of what my stipulations are, when considering a new pet.

-Can I afford the new enclosure and everything they need?

-When cleaning my current pets, would adding another one be pushing the limits of what I can handle?

-If they get sick, can I provide them with the care they need?

-Am I mentally prepared to take on another living thing?

How I stave away that urge

-rearrange your current enclosures, and buy new decor and plants for your tanks.

-Do a major cleaning of all your tanks, the work load will probably steer you in the right direction.

-Engage in enrichment activities with your pets

-Clean the room they’re in

anonymous asked:

*curtsies* I know this isn't really what you do, but any words of comfort for someone who feels numb and a little alone?

*Curtsies* I’m sorry you’re feeling down. I don’t remember where I saw this, but recently I ran across the following aphorism: “This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.” Sometimes life blows and you feel really low. There’s no way around it, and no amount of silver-lining BS is probably going to make you feel better. However, you can make you feel better. I find that the best thing to do is to stay occupied. Not necessarily busy–because the last thing you want to do when you’re running at 50% or less emotionally is have to put a brave face on and fake like you’re fine–but occupied. Engage with stuff that you find fulfilling. Go back and read old favorite books you haven’t had time for in a while. Go fishing for new music. Find low-stress but enriching activities, like going to the museum or just the coffee shop. Give yourself a reason to get up and get dressed and resist the urge to wallow. Take care of yourself. Get exercise, eat healthy, do stuff that matters to you. Do stuff you’re good at. If you’re feeling like you need some human contact, reach out to friends. Try for more meaningful contact that Facebook or text messages, whether that means a Skype date or a slumber party for two. If you have close friends you’re comfortable talking to, tell them you’re feeling bummed out. That’s what friends are for (or family, if you’re close to your family). Basically, feeling better requires a little bit of effort but usually has a huge payoff. So indulge in a little TLC, and remember that this is temporary. Like a kidney stone, it will pass.

on one hand when i watch jurassic park its like ‘predatory animals would never be so single-mindedly murderous’ but on the other hand it’s like well these were captive predatory animals held in relatively small exhibits and fed stationary prey without any apparent additional enrichment activities until they escaped, if i was in that position hell yeah i’d flip some cars and chase some folks because everything i’d have experienced prior would have been crushing boredom

anonymous asked:

Hey just wanted to say I really enjoy your headcanons. If you don't have too many requests piled up can you do headcanons for the aqours girls in college?

thank you very much!!!! ^_^

Chika: A hot mess. She’s the sort of girl who’s completely down to go to every party and make as many new friends as she can, but when it comes to actual classes? Save her. She’s always late to morning classes (that one kid who rushes in with a binder filled with papers falling everywhere going ‘sorry sorry sorry’) and many times she’s started napping in class. She’s not ready, bless her.

Riko: By this time, she’s practically a master at piano, as well as learning a few other instruments on the way AND being able to sing, so she’s taking a master’s degree in music. She’s brilliant in class too; she knows all the musical theory, and she becomes very popular with her fellow musicians.

You: So enthusiastic. In fact, overly enthusiastic. She’s like that one freshman in high school who would turn up to every class annoyingly early with a bag almost as big as them. Morning classes? She’s there, bright and early with a smile on her face, while everyone around her is still half asleep and drowning in coffee. She loves college, it’s safe to say.

Hanamaru: She’s lost af. Literally, she never knows where she is going. She always has her timetable out looking on where to go just because the campus is huge. Apart from never being able to find her way around, she’s actually a pretty good student and is taking a degree in English Lit.

Ruby: This poor baby despises college. As someone with very bad anxiety, she hates the sheer size of college, being surrounded by so many new people (especially considering how small Uranohoshi was) terrifies her. It takes her a long time to get used to college life, and she’ll definitely need at least Dia or Hanamaru by her side.

Yoshiko: Though she doesn’t let it show, she’s constantly stressed out by college. Did she choose the right courses? Did she remember her homework? Why don’t I understand this? She really has a hard time not being so stressed out, so she’s incredibly short-tempered with her friends: however, once they find out what’s troubling her, they will do anything to help her feel more relaxed.

Mari: She’s that one super popular girl who everyone thinks is basic, but in reality, the people who truly know her well know she’s the complete opposite: a screamo-loving, strange little lesbian. She doesn’t show this side to just anyone; she’s not ashamed, she just doesn’t feel the need. She gets many boys crushing on her (though she politely turns them down) and it majoring in Business.

Kanan: She is loving college life. Yes, you heard that correctly. She freaking loves it. She’s a very smart girl, and majors in some sort of science (probably biology or astronomy). Not only that, but she’s the kindest person on campus; making so many new friends and even helping out newbies and freshmen. She’s such a sweetheart.

Dia: Overworks herself too much. Save this poor girl, because she puts far too much pressure on herself. I’m talking extra classes, enrichment activities all the time and staying up ‘til the ungodly hours of the morning just so she can get her work perfect. She’ll seriously need someone to help her chill sometimes. She’s studying political science.

In America, education has become a prize for people who have already won. Those with money, connections, and access to technology travel a path that starts with private preschools, continues through SAT tutors and exorbitant enrichment activities, and culminates in college that costs more than the national median income. Washington University in St. Louis, for example, charges $63,373 in tuition, room and board, with tuition alone costing $47,300. (The next step for the children of the educated class is an unpaid internship or expensive and required graduate school degree, a grown-up sequel to the pay-to-play childhood.) By contrast, most American families struggle with a lack of early childcare options, subpar and underfunded public schools, after school jobs for teenagers meant to pay household bills, and massive university debt. There are two tiers and the divide begins not with the child’s ability, but with his or her parents’ income.
—  Generations Left Behind - Sarah Kendzior

anonymous asked:

Hi! I'm autistic but I struggle to imagine how I'd react in certain situations, so I thought you might be able to help with this. I have a story set in a boarding school, with three autistic characters, and I was wondering if you had any ideas about how autistic people would cope in that environment, and what sort of help the school might be able to provide? One character is very emotional and although she has a lot of friends, she finds it hard to connect and form real friendships. (part 1/4)

(boarding school anon) she has shutdowns regularly, where she goes non-verbal and avoids contact with people, but doesn’t recognise these as shutdowns as she’s undiagnosed. The second character comes across as quite emotionless, is very intelligent, and sticks to routines a lot and gets upset if these routines are broken. She struggles with socialising so avoids making friends and interacting with people, instead choosing to spend her time studying and researching her SI. (part 2/4)            

(boarding school anon) the third character is physically disabled, in a wheelchair, and is very honest and “brash”. He doesn’t really care about what people think about him, but does enjoy it when he has friends who he gets along with. He spends a lot of his time researching his SI, often putting his other studies aside for this. (part ¾)

(Boarding school anon) He has meltdowns rather than shutdowns like the others, and can’t stand sharing his space with other people, with them messing up/touching his things, etc. Thank you for any advice you can give! (Part 4/4)            

I will begin with a short disclaimer:

I have neither worked in nor attended a boarding school, so I am drawing from conversations I have had with colleagues who have attended or worked in boarding schools. Additionally, these colleagues all attended/worked in private boarding schools, apart from one who attended a school for teenagers with physical disabilities.

Right! So, first of all, there is a lot of variation between different schools in general, but even more between different types of school - I don’t know what the system is like in your country, but for the UK you could consider whether the boarding school is private, grammar, or maintained school; mainstream or special education; secular or religious. Each of these school types will have its own quirks that change how your characters experience the school.

Here are some possible ways that being in a boarding school might affect autistic characters:

  • many routines are likely to be consistent
  • meal times will be at the same time each day, and the choice of foods is likely to follow a schedule - the consistency and routine is likely to be good for your characters
  • a character with food aversions may struggle to get access to foods they find palatable, and staff may or may not be understanding of their aversions
  • characters may have to share a room with a room-mate or as part of a dormitory - messy, noisy peers may cause distress
  • characters might miss their families, and might not understand why they can’t just go home
  • the transition from home to school (and vice versa) is significant, and is likely to be difficult for some of your characters
  • there are different board types that might make transitions more of a problem - weekly boarders will have to make the transition from home life to school life more frequently, whereas full boarders might find the transition to be less frequent but more distressing
  • full boarders might well find that the weekends are much quieter (if most other students are only weekly), which some characters might find relieving (quiet at last!) but others might find distressing (more change)
  • all the people that I know who attended boarding schools have spoken about the “hi-jinks” they got up to (climbing on rooves, breaking into buildings, pulling pranks). This might be distressing for an autistic individual, particularly one who is very focused on rules
  • all the boarders at the school are going to spend a lot of time in close proximity to one another -
    - best case scenario, this means that your autistic characters might learn to interpret some of their peers’ expressions
    - if a character is experiencing bullying, they might find it hard to escape their bullies (they can’t even go home after school to escape)
    - I have heard lots of people talk about forming very intense relationships at boarding school - an autistic character might find it hard to navigate these relationships, or might feel isolated if the people around them are forming tight friendships but they have been unsuccessful in making meaningful relationships.

As for support that the school might provide, it is worth considering the school’s general attitude towards disability. Although in theory schools have a duty to support all students, in practise their attitudes vary hugely, as do the effectiveness of their strategies for helping students. Schools that have a positive attitude towards disabilities and neurodiversity will be more likely to put work into making sure students are given the tools and preparation they need to succeed, whereas other schools will instead punish students when the lack of support leads to meltdowns and poor results. You also need to consider whether the school picks up on your characters’ needs (or they might pick up on one student’s needs, but not the others’).

Here are some ideas for support that the school might provide:

  • teaching assistants during lessons
  • supervised study periods in the evenings for all students (a study period every evening, students have to attend either a study period or an enrichment activity, and attend a minimum of 2 study periods per week)
  • “homework club” for students who need additional support (where students can get support from teaching assistants during periods that other students are at enrichment activities or in study periods)
  • “social skills” lessons (I put “social skills” in quotes, because the quality of social skills taught is, err, variable)
  • an area that students can retreat to if overstimulated
  • an agreed procedure for what to do if a student has a meltdown
  • preparing students for changes in routine (for example fire drills and sports days)
  • preparing students for big transitions (holidays, change of teachers)
  • using “social stories” to prepare students for the previous two bullet points, and to help students talk about their problems
  • intervention lessons (one-to-one or small-group tutoring) for core subjects
  • school-based counselling
  • using symbols to help students navigate the school or visualise their timetable

Here are a few ideas for what an individual teacher might do:

  • use a character’s special interest as a starting point for a lesson
  • encourage a character to base a project on their special interest
  • provide balls or string to stim with during lessons
  • offer the option of working alone during group projects
  • follow set routines at the beginning and ends of lessons

Whew, I hope that helps! I have written this as a general post about boarding schools, but I have covered points that apply to each of your characters.

Do any followers have experience of being autistic and going to boarding school?

-Mod Snail

wild heart

yoongi is resident bad boy, and he’s untouchable. until he helps you from a stress-related breakdown. 

words: 3,572 | yoongi x reader | genre: fluff 

this is my first try, and it’s nerve-wracking. i hope it isn’t too slow and it flows nicely, and you enjoy it. thank you for your time.

“You know about me.” It is a question hidden in a statement.


“You’ve heard all the stories about me.”


“And yet, will you still let me kiss you?”

 There is no hesitation when you say, “Yes.”

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Tips for highschool?

I’ve been meaning to make a masterpost about this for a long time so I guess I’ll do that now. thanks for the reminder!

so, bear in mind that these are just things I’ve seen that work for me or friends. I’m breaking this into the main areas that I see need addressing: organization, grades, tests, balancing time, extracurriculars, college, social, general


  1. clean your room. this sounds sarcastic and mom-like, but honestly, going into high school is a really good time to reevaluate a lot of things because it is a transitional time in your life. I suggest making a few piles: throw away, rehome, relocate (in your home), and keep. find organizational systems for things (no more piles on the floor), and make your room a space that you’re comfortable spending time. if this means redecorating, do it! you’ll likely be spending some good time here, be it studying, hanging with friends, relaxing, or sleeping, so make it a space that’s enjoyable and multifunctional.
  2. keep track of your assignments. I like to keep mine with me in a 2-inch binder, divided into sections for each class(which are separated by dividers). then transfer these to an expanding folder with a section for each class every quarter or semester (whenever the binder gets too thick). I especially like using the binder dividers with plastic sleeves between each section so I can keep notes or papers I’ll need year round there. it is *essential* that you keep assignments till the end of the year. teachers mean it when they say that they want you to keep things. this will come in handy when studying for finals. other options include a folder for each class, a smaller ½-inch binder for each class, an expanding folder for all classes, etc.
  3. put assignments where they belong. do not just throw them in your backpack. it’s easy to do when you’re feeling lazy, but it ultimately causes more grief.
  4. buy a planner. this is just one system of organization but its worked remarkably well for me. spend some quality time looking at them. I’ve found that university supply stores often have a better selection than office supply stores, but they can be found in either place, as well as bookstores often. look through and consider what you do and don’t like about each one, and make sure that its shortcomings are ones you can overlook. you’ll be spending a year with this thing after all, and if you’re like me, you’ll be looking to it daily. here’s what I have to say on planners:
    • mine runs august-july, and I buy it towards the end of july each year (because I have a terrible memory & need to have one I can look to at all times). I use the mead brand, because I like the way they look and the font they use. I like to have a planner that has a monthly calendar with a box for each day, followed by a full page spread for each week with roughly ten lines below each day.
    • I use the full calendar spread to write all of my events out. my planner is color coded, using a six-pack set of highlighters (though I use them so often that I buy a twelve-pack so I can renew it halfway through the year). I have a color for school, one for social/misc, volunteering, sports, various extracurriculars, etc.
    • I use the weekly spread to write assignments and daily tasks beneath the day they’re assigned. I write them in “class–task” format. I’ve met other people who prefer to write lists of things that are due on the days they’re due. do whichever works, or a combination of both. I like to write check marks next to completed tasks, and x’s next to uncompleted tasks. other people highlight them or cross them out. you do what works best for you


  1. one of the most important pieces of advice that I’ve ever heard is to start school the way you want to finish it. the first three weeks of any class or year are going to be the ones where you make the habits that stick, so try hard and figure out what works for you then, and you’ll be able to keep it up all year long, especially by setting little goals like “get a B this quarter, now next quarter, etc.”
  2. if you use an online score reporter or grading program, have a regular schedule for checking your grades (ie. every other monday) so you don’t fall behind
  3. make sure to ask teachers about your grades if you notice anything different. that can be, “hey I saw that this assignment was missing but I’m positive that I turned it in on time?” or “hey I’m wondering why I got this score on this paper, what can I do to improve?”. teachers like to see this kind of determination


  1. google test stress tips, and figure out how to minimize your stress. the most helpful things I’ve learned are the following:
    • figure out where you carry your stress. ie. I carry stress in my shoulders, so I make sure to relax them while I’m testing
    • take deep breaths. corny, but effective
    • bring your stuff. remember to double check that you have your number two pencil or your calculator
    • do everything you can to prepare. there’s nothing more you can do than walking into a test and thinking to yourself “I’ve done everything I possibly could to prepare for this, and that’s all I could do. whatever happens now happens.” this applies to when you’ve spent weeks preparing, and for those times you forget till the previous night and cram as much as you can.

balancing time:

for a lot of people, high school is a really busy time. if this is you, then you need to figure out how to manage that time and balance it between your various activities.

  1. write it down. it’s really helpful to have a schedule, so you don’t surprise yourself with how much you planned to fit into a limited time.
  2. estimate your time. if you have eight assignments one night, write down how much time you think it’ll take you to finish each task. this will help you prioritize.
  3. SLEEP. sleep is so important. like…… SO important! even if you forgot your test till 9:30 the night before. you’re not gonna do well if you haven’t slept. you may think “well I’m not going to do well if I haven’t studied either…” but trust me, you need some sleep. realistically you need 9 hours. set a bedtime for yourself. but honestly in high school that’s pretty impossible so aim for at least 8. I personally put sleep before school. if it’s my bedtime and I haven’t finished things, I call it a night. (this is where being able to prioritize comes in handy).
  4. if you absolutely cannot put sleep over school. still go to bed! you’re not going to get anything done if you’re falling asleep on your textbook (yes I’ve done this). estimate how much time you’re going to need to study/finish/whatever, then set your alarm so you can wake up early to finish, and still have enough time to eat breakfast and get ready to go.
  5. you deserve a social life. believe that! I’ve found that I can’t study in groups, but if you can, then that’s a good way to see friends more often! I don’t see friends on weeknights unless I’ve miraculously finished everything, and still have energy leftover (this is a rare occurrence). figure out what works for you, but I don’t recommend spending time with friends till you’ve completed your checklist. it’s really easy to convince yourself that that reading that’s going to take an hour will only take 20 minutes when you’re out with friends and having fun.
  6. trying to balance extracurriculars too. read on…


doing things that aren’t 100% academic during high school are important. they push you to think and interact in new ways and settings, they’re fun, and they’re good résumé and application builders.

  1. do things you’re interested in. there is no reason to join a club that you’re not interested in. many high schools have dozens, and if not then they have an easy system to set up your own. if you’re committing your time to something, then you should only do so because you want to. if extracurriculars aren’t your thing? that’s ok. don’t do them. as long as you feel like not doing them won’t close any doors for you down the road, then that’s totally ok.
  2. try to find a variety. if music is all that you’re interested in, then that’s ok, but maybe try to find other interests as well. it’ll expose you to new interests and opportunities.
  3. try things out. at my school, most clubs have an info meeting where you can check out whether or not that club is what you’re about. even if your school doesn’t offer those, it’s ok to just go to one or two meetings. drop them if you’re not interested or too busy.
  4. get exercise. you do not have to go to the gym. you do not have to maintain your weight. you do not have to join a sports team. but it’s really nice to find a sport or activity that makes you feel good, even if it’s just walking or yoga. (some schools even offer yoga as a physical education credit!) it gives you space to clear your mind, and improves your focus in school.
  5. get out of your school. high school is not necessarily fun. it’s not everybody’s ideal age or time or environment. that’s ok. if you don’t want to be at school a minute past the bell, then that’s ok too. you can find volunteer, cultural enrichment, community, and athletic activities all outside of your school. they may cost money however.
  6. don’t overdo it. I’ve quit sports, clubs, and activities because the time commitment was too much. it’s ok, there is no shame in quitting. it’s a whole lot better than realizing that you’ve been coasting for months and finding yourself unable to restore your grades (or your mental health! seriously. take it easy). do not overwhelm yourself. do not let peoples comments about college freak you out. do what makes you happy.


  1. it’s not for everyone. seriously. I’m sure it depends on where you grow up, but almost everyone in my area goes to college, and it’s very frowned upon not to. that is unacceptable, because there is a whole multitude of reasons why you wouldn’t go. among these, you just don’t want to. be ok with that. you’ll be ok.
  2. consider the alternatives. trade schools and community college are viable options. as are gap years. as are jobs. as are just chilling out. be it your health (mental or physical), energy level, desire, whatever, it is ok to not go “the traditional route”. it is ok not to do what’s expected or wanted of you. for those who do want to go to college…
  3. think about it early. researching colleges as an underclassman gives you a huuuuge upperhand. chances are you’ll have more free time them anyways, so utilize that. and figure out what you need to get done! have a checklist so you can feel prepared by senior year. no scrambling.
  4. do lots of research. it’s really comforting to not go into the process blind.
  5. begin applications in advance. I suppose it depends on the application system, but I’d recommend starting six months in advance. it can be a huge relief to get them mostly done during the summer.
  6. go where you’re happy, not where you’re obligated. prestigious schools like Ivy Leagues can be nice for some people. other people would complain about the huge student bodies, lack of diversity, high tuitions, large class sizes, and number of classes not taught by actual professors. there are pros and cons to every option. figure out what works for you.


  1. do not date seniors as a freshman. their intentions aren’t right. just trust me, they’re not the magical exception to the rule that they seem to be.
  2. surround yourself with people who make you comfortable. honestly. don’t waste time on people who don’t accommodate you. you deserve to be accommodated and cared for.


  1. there is no set way to do school. I’m answering this based on my personal experience, but it’s certainly not the right protocol for everyone.
  2. put your health first. school can be really draining. if it’s becoming too much, consider altering your course load or taking time off. do it at your own pace.
  3. find what works for you. make high school the best it can be for you, even if it’s not “the best four years of your life!” like some people unfortunately tell you.
  4. you are under no obligation to do things by anyone’s standards but your own. that is all.

feel free to share and/or add to this!

Domesticated Loth-Cat Breeds Part I: The Manx

The Manx loth-cat is a very popular breed, used both for mousing and as a pet. It has a stocky build and has two variants: bob-tailed or completely tail-less. Its friendly and tolerant nature ensures that it is happy even in small enclosed spaces such as apartments or among other animals.

It can become quite greedy if encouraged with treats, so owners are advised to keep track of its weight and make certain it receives enough enrichment and activity.

anonymous asked:

While the other Mercs understand Scout can hold his own on the battlefield, they still feel personally responsible for the kid. Scout hates this, because this often leads to his days off being filled with "educational" and "enriching" activities.

“Yeah, yeah I get it.” Scout frowned at everyone else. 

“We’re just tryin’ to help.” Engie sighed, erasing the detailed drawing of how to shoot a gun that had been drawn for Scout by Heavy.

“You guys sound like my mom.”

autumnsneedle  asked:

Spurred by the question about dog breeds, I'm curious about what you'd need in a dog to fit your lifestyle. I always like hearing about how people choose dogs who'll fit them rather than on aesthetics alone.

The qualities I want in a dog: 

Independence. No velcro dogs, please, or dogs that can’t chill for a day while I’m out. I’d rather a dog that engages with me when one of us feels like it and then fucks off to do it’s own thing well. 

Ability to refocus / settle well after exercise or intense training. I’ve got some clients who just don’t have an off-switch, or who hyper-focus so hard on enriching activities that they’ll lose it when a training session ends. I need a dog that is intense at times but not always. 

A decent size. I grew up with Newfoundlands next door and anything small just seems wrong. I also don’t want a dog I have to worry about squishing if I trip on them in the middle of the night. 

Quiet. I get migraines and I’m super sound sensitive in general - I need a lot of peace and quiet. I refuse to debark dogs or use anti-bark devices, so I need a breed that either vocalizes with things that are not barking (howling, yodeling, tonal things are fine) or just doesn’t make a ton of noise. I don’t care if my dog is noisy when we’re out doing things or when they’re amped up, I just can’t deal with dogs that need to tell you how they’re feeling all the time. 

A unique brain / training mentality. I’ve always liked the idea of training exotic animals specifically because they’re not genetically modified to find your attention reinforcing the way domestic dogs are. I’ve found as an adult I tend towards dogs that aren’t super handler-focused inherently because I like having to work to build a training relationship that’s worth it for them to engage in and having to figure out how to motivate them. Either that, or I want a dog that constantly makes me work and stretch as a trainer - hound brains are great for that, they’re always guessing and looking for loopholes and inconsistency. I can’t do dogs that just want to do whatever I want because they wuv me so much. I’d get bored. 

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who participated in #GISHWHESTakesTumblr and our subsequent #givelovetoday gifting event last weekend!

We enjoyed running through Tumblr with you! Even more so, we were truly touched by all who took the opportunity to fight against the painful events of Sunday by sharing beautiful stories about one another. Your stories put a little more light back into the world on a dark day. Thank you.

You made an incredible impact- not only on us and on Tumblr, but also on the world!

Collectively, our winners donated:

  • 1 year of clean water to 30 families in Kenya
  • 6000+ feminine hygiene products to help homeless women at the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles, CA
  • 2 sets of enrichment activities for the Downtown Women’s Center, to brighten the lives of women in crisis
  • 4 donations of needed school supplies to Dreams2Acts: Nicaragua
  • 6 months of support for an orphan in Haiti
  • 2 $250 donations to Wounded Warriors
  • Sponsorship of a hearing ear puppy for Hearing Dogs of the UK
  • 2 Donations to LGBT support organizations in Orlando, FL
  • Support for 30 at-risk youth through the Trevor Project
  • 1 donation to Random Acts, llc
  • A goat & family farming package to a needy family through Heifer International
  • Funding of the surgery center costs for 2 reconstructive operations for breast cancer patients

Incredible! You made a real difference in the lives of others. Thank you all for your generosity.

GISHWHES  in August is going to be so much bigger than this event, so we hope you’ll join us!  Don’t miss out - Register today!


Thank you and thanks again for helping us take over Tumblr!

A student-written guide for those starting A-Levels this year

Some stuff I wish someone had told me before I started Sixth Form. Long-winded, yeah, but hopefully helpful? The information people are given going into college is ridiculously limited, not to mention biased. Just felt like there needed to be a student opinion out there somewhere.

  1.  Choosing subjects: I’m going to advise you take one of two strategies here, or a mixture of both. One; choose courses you know you are good at. Two; choose courses you know you will enjoy. I don’t care what you think you need to get into uni, if you suck at Maths, taking a-level maths will make the next couple years of your life miserable. And, you know what? If you aren’t great at it, and you don’t enjoy it, then you won’t want to put study time in and you’ll probably fail the subject anyway. Worth it? No. So don’t overshoot when choosing subjects. Three Bs in subjects you understand and find interesting are worth more than three Es in subjects that drive you crazy. It’s also worth pointing out that most sixth forms give you the option of switching courses in the first few weeks, so there’s really no excuse for getting stuck on a course that makes you miserable (you can also switch colleges within the first few weeks).
  2. Have a backup. Don’t feel trapped in A-levels. Apply for apprenticeships, check out vocational courses, all that crap. Knowing you have something easier to fall back on if things don’t work out takes a whole lot of pressure off.
  3. Try to figure out a way to organise your notes - I promise this will help you. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Four subjects? Four folders. Some of your subjects will be split into sections, and an example of this is English Lit, where you could be studying two texts at once, in which case you should split the subject into two separate folders. There are other ways of doing this, of course, but I emplore you to use some kind of system. It makes your life so much easier.
  4. Don’t worry about clothes. You’ve just finished highschool, there are no uniforms to hide behind anymore, and you have to somehow put together something acceptable to wear every day (even those days where you miss your alarm and have to run for the bus). This is an issue for both guys and girls, though guys will pretend it isn’t, and though there are those sorcerers who manage to do that every day while the rest of us look on in awe, most people will give up after the first couple of weeks and stop caring. Jeans and a shirt will do fine any day of the week, nobody cares enough to judge what you’re wearing so just buy comfortable stuff. College is stressful enough, don’t give yourself more things to worry about.
  5.  Grow some balls and join a club. Kick boxing, parkour, chess, newspaper, there will be tons of enrichment activities available. Here’s an example of where I don’t take my own advice, and wish I had. This one’s especially good if you’re starting a college where you don’t know anyone and need to make some new friends. It’s daunting, people might laugh at you, we get it. But what’s the worst that could happen? You figure out those people are assholes and decide that club isn’t for you. If you find yourself looking at a poster thinking, “huh, that could be cool,” then bite the bullet and try it. Also great for CVs and when applying to uni.
  6. Talk to your teachers when you struggle. In secondary school, I was the kid that none of the teachers could ever remember the name of, because I’d sit in the back and be ridiculously quiet and be terrified to ask questions. At some point I got over that, and decided that if I wanted to ask a question, I was gonna ask a goddamn question. And stuff got easier. Tell your teachers if you’re finding stuff difficult, they’re usually pretty great with pep talks, especially if you ever need to panic before an exam.
  7. Don’t stress out about revision. This one was going to be ‘don’t procrastinate’ but then I realised how ridiculously unhelpful that would be. Everyone procrastinates and, as far as I can tell, there’s no known cure. It’s not great, but it’s a fact. Try to start revision a couple weeks/months before hand. Try to attend your revision classes. But if you find yourself staring at a bunch of notes the night before an exam wishing you’d have started studying earlier… don’t panic, it’s not still too late to start. I don’t recommend it, but cramming a fuckton the night before an exam is not entirely useless and, in fact, does work for some people(ie. me). I got through most of my English Lit exams without ever reading through the full text.
  8. Lower your expectations. Sixth form is not easy. Sixth form is not always fun. Sixth form is nothing like the TV show Skins.
  9. Get plastered every so often. Or whatever else you find fun or relaxing, because obviously not everyone drinks. Stick to weekends if drinking though, because being hungover - or drunk, for that matter - in college really sucks. Stress relief is ridiculously fucking important for your mental health, I can’t emphasise this enough. You may be under pressure from parents or teachers or even yourself to stay focused and achieve, but your mental health always comes before your grades, I don’t care what people tell you. You’re sixteen (or seventeen), so make the most of that.
  10. Last thing. If you’re even stressed out about college, or home, or just sad for no reason, college-related or not, you can message me on this blog. I may not be the best person to talk to, but I’m around nontheless.

This got far cheesier than I expected, but I’ve written it now so I might as well post.

Send one of these to my character || Portal Edition
  • We hope your brief detention in the relaxation vault has been a pleasant one.
  • Your specimen has been processed and we are now ready to begin the test proper.
  • Before we start, however, keep in mind that although fun and learning are the primary goals of all enrichment center activities, serious injuries may occur.
  • Excellent. Please proceed into the chamberlock after completing each test. First, however, note the incandescent particle field across the exit.
  • Please do not attempt to remove testing apparatus from the testing area.
  • Please be advised that a noticeable taste of blood is not part of any test protocol but is an unintended side effect of the Aperture Science Material Emancipation Grill, which may, in semi- rare cases, emancipate dental fillings, crowns, tooth enamel, and teeth.
  • Do not touch the operational end of The Device.
  • Do not look directly at the operational end of The Device.
  • Do not submerge The Device in liquid, even partially.
  • Well done! Remember:The Aperture Science Bring Your Daughter to Work Day is the perfect time to have her tested.
  • Warning devices are required on all mobile equipment. However, alarms and flashing hazard lights have been found to agitate the high energy pellet and have therefore been disabled for your safety.
  • Please note that we have added a consequence for failure. Any contact with the chamber floor will result in an ‘unsatisfactory’ mark on your official testing record followed by death. Good luck!
  • No one will blame you for giving up. In fact, quitting at this point is a perfectly reasonable response.
  • Quit now and cake will be served immediately.
  • Fantastic! You remained resolute and resourceful in an atmosphere of extreme pessimism.
  • For instance, the floor here will kill you - try to avoid it.
  • If you become light-headed from thirst, feel free to pass out.
  • An intubation associate will be dispatched to revive you with peptic salve and adrenaline.
  • When the testing is over, you will be missed.
  • Cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the test.
  • Did you know you can donate one or all of your vital organs to the Aperture Science self esteem fund for girls? It’s true!
  • Due to mandatory scheduled maintenance, the appropriate chamber for this testing sequence is currently unavailable. It has been replaced with a live-fire course designed for military androids.
  • The experiment is nearing its conclusion.
  • The Enrichment Center is required to remind you that you will be baked, and then there will be cake.
  • Rest assured that there is absolutely no chance of a dangerous equipment malfunction prior to your victory candescence.
  • What are you doing? Stop it! I… I… We are pleased that you made it through the final challenge where we pretended we were going to murder you.
  • We are throwing a party in honor of your tremendous success.
  • Place the device on the ground, then lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides. A party associate will arrive shortly to collect you for your party.
  • Remember when the platform was sliding into the fire pit and I said ‘Goodbye’ and you were like [no way] and then I was all ‘we pretended we were going to murder you’? That was great!
  • Someday we’ll remember this and laugh. and laugh. and laugh. Oh boy. Well. You may as well come on back.
  • This is your fault. It didn’t have to be like this.
  • I’m not kidding now. Turn back or I will kill you.
  • I’m going to kill you, and all the cake is gone.
  • Because despite your violent behavior, the only thing you’ve managed to break so far is my heart.
  • You’re not smart. You’re not a scientist. You’re not a doctor. You’re not even a full-time employee. Where did your life go so wrong?
Productivity and leisure time

I am a supreme procrastinator.

I also don’t spend my leisure time wisely. Stick me in front of a computer with an internet connection, and I’ll amaze you with my ability to make time evaporate with little or nothing to show for it.

Suffice it to say, it really bothers me. As someone who doesn’t believe in an afterlife, I feel I owe it to myself to spend what little time I have being happy, healthy, and surrounded by people I love. Squandering that finite time doesn’t sit well with me.

So I made the following chart for myself. I feel ridiculous sharing it, but I hope it’ll keep me accountable and maybe help someone else in the process.

It’s comprised of two parts: a list of “approved” daily physical and non-physical activities that represent productive ways of spending time, and a flowchart to help knock myself out of time-wasting mode. The latter reminds me of John Boyd’s OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act).

For example, yesterday evening I found myself anxious at my computer with little to work on, so I grabbed a book and walked to a nearby park to read. Later I saw a movie and went to a friend’s show, and read a little more before falling asleep. A few weeks ago, I probably would have been tempted to spend the entire night on my computer.

Aside from using the chart to promote healthy living, I’m also trying to break bad habits. One being that I waste too much time noodling on my phone while walking (and in general). I once joked to a friend that “push notifications are worse than smoking.” It may sound absurd, but you’re essentially burning the candle from the other end—with smoking you’re reducing your overall lifespan, whereas checking frivolous messages on your phone is just inching yourself closer to death with minimal benefit.

My overall goal is to become more productive during my working hours, and when not working, only partaking in activities that enrich my life. That means minimizing wasted time, and ideally reducing my leisure time spent on a computer to near zero.

We’ll see how long I stick with it, but I’ve already accomplished more in the past few weeks than I usually would in a month. It’s exciting to feel at the reins again.