just making it simple and possible to download for you all

Tips for when studying is the last thing you want to do!


1. Write out on sticky notes the name of objects in your room, then go ahead and stick them on everything. Next time you turn on your light, make yourself look (or at least glance) at the word. Next time you open your drawer, look at the note. Any time you turn on your lamp, your laptop charger or your speakers, you’ll always have that vocabulary there and you’ll learn each of them in no time.

2. Play the radio/podcasts or a Korean show for background noise. Most of us don’t like to sit and scroll through Facebook in total silence. I recommend 슈퍼맨이 돌아왔다 (which is available on youtube!) as it is centred around children and any vocabulary you pick up will be helpful. Others include:

• 2 Days 1 Night

• Hello Counselor

• 이웃집 찰스

• Hello Baby

3. Write down phrases on flash cards. Break down the words. Some people have more success reading phrases on flash cards rather than just single vocabulary. Stick these in a place you’ll sit at often, or you could also stick them on items they pertain to just like in tip #1.

4. Just once a day, when you’re out and about or even just at home, search the dictionary for a word. Say you’re out eating, and you don’t know the word for “to order”. Whip out that phone, search it up and try to commit it to memory. One word a day is 365 words a year, and odds are you’ll pick up more than that anyway!

5. Google Play has a selection of multi-language books. Buy a Korean and English children’s book and try to read it (if you’re up to it). The English translation will always be there, so it’s less brain power for you to go and search up everything you don’t know! Plus, you might learn some small phrases in the process.

6. Watch Korean YouTubers. YouTube is fun to watch, so why not watch it in Korean?
- 영국남자 (Korean Englishman) is an English man who is great at Korean, he always has English and Korean subs on. By the end of a few episodes you’ll know what “ 남자답다” and “살아 있네!” Means!
- Pony’s Makeup is a great channel if you love makeup. You’ll pick up makeup related vocab and phrases, as well learn new techniques and styles.
- Maangchi is a Korean lady who teaches you how to cook Korean food. It’s mostly in English but she talks about Korean words sometimes.
- 꿀키 is another cooking channel, however there’s no talking, only the blissful sounds of soup boiling and onions frying! She puts small instructions on her videos in both English and Korean. Take notes!

7. Download a widget on your phone that gives you a new word every time you swipe to unlock. Simple, easy and there in your pocket.

8. Fill your social media with Korean. Follow Korean study blogs (though don’t rely on them 100% as most are run by non-fluent speakers), follow Korean daily vocab twitters and Facebook pages. Everything you see will be Korean and you’ll start to pick up on words that you see all the time.

9. Don’t feel discouraged if you haven’t studied for a week. Don’t feel like you’re the worst at Korean, or that you’re so far behind everyone else. Everyone learns differently and at different paces. Me, I’m competitive and need to absorb as much as is humanly possible in a short amount of time. Others stick to a schedule. Some learn stuff here and there. There is no right and wrong way to learn.
Do you.
Remember, just one word a day equals 365 a year. 2 words a day is even more!

Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off (Sebastian Stan x Reader) Pt. 5

A/N: hello lovelies! part 5 is finally here! This chap gets hella angsty AND steamy! ;) I hope you guys like it! ENJOY! - Delilah

Warnings: Angst. Sexual pictures. NSFW. Online relationships. Swearing. There is a very graphic picture at the end so beware lol!

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Top 6 Apps for Learning Mandarin Chinese

Last summer, while I was supposed to be studying French intensively, I accidentally started studying Mandarin instead. These things happen! The best thing about Mandarin compared to some other languages I’ve studied (specifically Persian and Korean) is that there are a huge number of resources available to help learners, including a lot of very well-designed apps. After months of obsessively checking the iTunes store for the best apps and trying them out, these are my favorite six (plus a few more worth mentioning). They appear in ascending order from my least favorite to my most favorite.

Worth mentioning: A couple of apps not included on this list but worth mentioning are Pleco and Skritter. 

Pleco is a highly-regarded Chinese dictionary. I have it on my phone and do use it, but I left it off the list because I prefer another (#6 on this list). Since I’m still very much a beginner, a thorough dictionary isn’t quite so important to me right now. However, it seems like every advanced student of Mandarin recommends this app, so I had to include it.

Skritter is another app that’s highly regarded among serious students. I believe it focuses on helping with character recognition and writing. It has a subscription service that is a bit expensive, which is why I’ve never tried it; however, everyone seems to rave about it. If you’re a serious student, you should definitely look into it.

Also, I recommend downloading some Chinese-language apps designed for preschoolers. I found several of them online in the iTunes store, and a lot of them include short stories with simple words, practice with basic characters, etc. Using these apps gives you some immersive listening practice, which is fun. They can be kind of hit and miss, so I recommend downloading all you can find and seeing what you can figure out and what you like. They won’t replace any of the apps below, but they still serve a purpose.

6. WCC Dictionary This is the dictionary I use instead of Pleco. I like it primarily because of its beautiful design (something Pleco doesn’t really have). This app is mainly a dictionary, but it offers a lot more than that. For example, it has a character scanner (so you can look up words you find in books by taking a picture of the character). It also has a “story library” with a few simple books to read (with Pinyin, the characters, an English translation, and the ability to listen to the story being read). Characters are color coded if you use that as a device to help you with tones. It has a flashcard program with pre-created word lists, extensive example sentences, a section on radicals with example words, and stroke order animations. It also offers a “character of the day” and daily “homework” to motivate you to use what you learn. The dictionary itself is free, but there’s a lot of content that you have to pay to unlock, although there’s also a way to buy the content using “coins” that you earn through using the app.

5. Mindsnacks Mandarin A lot of you are already familiar with the Mindsnacks app because it’s offered for a lot of different languages (and a few school subjects like geography). This app uses games to teach Mandarin, mostly focusing on vocabulary (not grammar or sentence construction). It’s a bit limited, but it can be a really fun way to learn. After a while, the games start to feel repetitive and can get boring, but the app also has you move through levels (which allow you to unlock new games) and uses other incentives to keep you playing. The audio is an actual human, too, which is a big benefit since many apps and programs rely on Google Translate robot voices. This is a paid app, which could be a drawback.

4. FluentU This app is the reason I started learning Mandarin in the first place. I tried using it for French, but I felt like my French was too advanced to gain much from it. Even though there were advanced-level videos with vocabulary I didn’t know, FluentU doesn’t do a good job of adapting to your level and guessing which words will give you trouble. That’s perfectly fine for a beginner, though, since every word will probably give you trouble, which is why I used it for Mandarin. I think the makers of FluentU are Chinese speakers, and they seem to have focused more on Mandarin in their app. They have a built-in course you can follow, using videos they made themselves for teaching the language. The videos are pretty good, and you will feel like you’re learning a lot. There are also a lot of other videos if you want to branch out, including some catchy songs and clips from commercials or TV shows. The built-in flashcard system is a good way to review, but there’s no way to adjust their algorithms, so you might end up reviewing the same words way too often. I stopped using the program when I had 400+ words to review every day, and I just couldn’t keep up and continue advancing. This app is also very limited in the free version, and the paid subscription is VERY pricey, in my opinion, especially considering that there are other apps out there that offer more features. All of the videos are on YouTube anyway, so you can still use them to learn as you advance (or if you have a friend who can help you). I recommend this app if you want to pay for one month and use it to study intensively and advance quickly. That’s what I did, and I think it helped me out a lot.

3. ChineseSkill This is the first app that was designed to be a “Duolingo for Mandarin,” and it has a lot of great features. There’s the typical “tree” like in Duolingo, where you advance through different lessons one by one. It teaches character recognition, pronunciation, and grammar. The lessons can be really challenging for a beginner (sometimes too challenging, I thought), but it covers a lot of material. I’m not completely happy with the order in which lessons are taught (for example, there’s a lesson on shapes near the beginning that has you learn words like “triangle,” which seemed unimportant to me). The other drawback is there isn’t an easy way to review what you’ve learned (like on Duolingo when your gold-level lessons start to fade). It’s possible, but not super easy to access. Other interesting features include a tone game, a pinyin chart, a “survival kit” that’s like a travel phrasebook, and practice with stroke order. Also, this app is 100% free, which is amazing! I definitely recommend this app.

2. Social Language This app is really different from the others and is probably the most useful if you believe in speaking a language as soon as possible. I don’t think a lot of English speakers know about it because it seems to be marketed mostly to Chinese speakers. It’s a bit hard to explain, but I’ll try my best: basically, there’s a tree like you have for Duolingo, but the exercises are all to improve your speaking and pronunciation. You work through the lessons, and Chinese-speaking users rate and comment on your recordings. They can even leave voice messages to help you improve. You can do the same for them (in fact, you have to if you want to unlock higher levels). That alone makes the app worth downloading, but even better is that it includes a CHAT FEATURE that makes it very easy to interact with native speakers. You can see the profiles of hundreds of Chinese speakers who are online at any given time of day, and you can send a text or voice message to them and later add them to your friends’ list. What’s more,the ratio of Chinese to English speakers heavily favors English speakers. You will find hundreds of Chinese speakers eager to practice their English, and often you will be one of only a handful of English speakers on the app, meaning you have instant access to a chat partner any time of day or night. Have a question about your homework, something you read, or a phrase you don’t know how to pronounce? Instant, free tutoring is available 24/7 on this app, which is also FREE! I met some really nice people here without the pressure of a more formal language exchange. You can have a casual conversation any time you want, and it’s like text messaging so there’s less pressure if you’re shy about speaking Chinese. The only drawback is the same as with all language exchanges, which is that it’s sometimes difficult to balance the two languages. Also, I had problems with sending voice messages in chat, which can be frustrating. Overall, though, I’d say Social Language is a must-have.

1. HelloChinese This app didn’t exist last summer when I was looking for a Mandarin version of Duolingo, but I discovered it last week and fell in love with it. It actually has fewer features than ChineseSkill, but the pacing seems much better, and it focuses more heavily on pronunciation (though the speech recognition software isn’t perfect and you will sometimes need to skip a speaking question just to keep moving forward). It comes with some good grammar explanations and a really basic flashcard program for review. Honestly, I feel bad for rating it higher than ChineseSkill since ChineseSkill has been around longer and offers a lot more features, but I feel like HelloChinese just makes more sense and is easier to stick with than ChineseSkill. Like ChineseSkill, it’s also 100% free! I consider HelloChinese to be my “core” app for casual study, with the other apps acting as supplements. If you’re a more serious student, HelloChinese might not be your #1 pick, but it’s great for beginners who like the structure of an app like DuoLingo.

‘Ello, studyblr! Maths (or Math, whatever) can be quite / extremely / obscenely frustrating at times and very simple at others and it’s sort of hard to find a bridge between that. You can’t exactly cram for it either or study in under a week for finals so after flunking my first term epicly, I came up with a strategy of sorts and now my grade’s an A+ (yay!!). Anyway, thought I’d share ‘cause this shit could have saved me a lot of tears.

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Actually, I have a fairly good idea of exactly WHY tumblr ads suck so hard,

 and why they’re failing so badly at appealing to youth, and they never seem to be paying attention to the HEAPS OF CRITICISM, even when most all the notes on their sponsored posts are specifically telling them, in detail, why they suck. 

(sorry for the long post)

First of all, they are actually listening. 

My dad works in advertising and graphic design, he’s in this industry, and he certainly listens to me every single time I talk about the memes, the culture of the internet and today’s youth and all the hip things like that. He’s gotta. This is his job, his paycheck really depends on whether or not he knows exactly how to appeal to whatever target audience the company wants him to appeal to. He’s got to be hip on all the memes, internet slang, popular music and media, because if he doesn’t, he’s gonna get replaced by a younger guy fresh out of art school. So you bet your ass he’s gonna listen and pay attention and ask questions whenever his 19-year-old daughter’s talking about DWC, the new game that Blizzard just released, or Hillary Clinton’s pathetic attempts to get the youth vote. 

As you can imagine, everyone in marketing is trying their damned hardest to make sure their content appeals. By this point, they know exactly why content doesn’t appeal, because they’ve analyzed why things do and dont appeal from every possible angle. People literally go to school for this. They attend workshops. 

So if that’s the case, then wtf is happening? 

Why do we get shit like this

spammed all over our feeds? 

Well it’s a bunch of factors, and not all of it is the age of the people making this content. 

See, the internet and social media has actually brought a kind of mini-crisis upon the marketing industry. They have to constantly be appealing to kids these days, or they quickly become irrelevant, uncool. Every day, individual advertisers, and the industry as a whole, has to ask themselves what appeals to this generation, what can they offer that would appeal to the kids these days? 

They’ve got a crisis on their hands right now, because, to put it simply, we all hate advertisements. With a burning passion

And they’ve noticed this, they’ve noticed that internet youth as a whole will go to any possible lengths to avoid ads, that we’ll download extensions, avoid websites, even fucking pay money if it means we won’t have to deal with any goddamn ads, and then when we do see ads, we’ll relentlessly mock them on every possible flaw we can find. 

They had a whole decade to notice their audience’s overwhelmingly negative response to anything that’s trying to sell them shit. They are fully aware how annoying their very existence is to us. 

So right now, what they’re trying to do is make ads that don’t look like ads

The first thing they figured they should do, was that instead of doing banner ads and sidebar ads and video interruptions in your youtube and spotify, they should be doing sponsored posts: write up their ads in post form, put them up on a designated corporate account on a popular social media site, then pay the site to seed those posts on everyone’s feed. There you go. It’s an ad, but it doesn’t look like an ad. Maybe the internet people won’t be as annoyed now, because it’s just a post in their feed, it’s not disrupting their experience in any significant way like other ads do. 

Well, they tried that, and it didn’t work. It didn’t really matter that now it was all in accordance with the natural functions of the site, pretty much all of us could see that this, 

is a fucking ad. That’s a goddamn ad that’s being put on our feeds against our will. Nobody followed fucking Microsoft, why in fuck would we do that? there’s nothing but ads on that account, and who the fuck wants ads? 

So now they have to go back to the drawing board, and figure out another way to make these ads appealing, even though they’re ads and everyone hates ads. 

So the marketing guys noticed how a new meme causes everyone to suddenly gain interest in a new piece of media, and how quickly viral content will spread in general. How, say, all those Doritos and Mountain Dew in MLG montages are basically free advertising, or how the slew of viral videos featuring horse head masks caused the sale of those particular horse head masks to skyrocket, etc etc. 

In the memes, they found a possible solution to this near-impossible conundrum that the industry is trapped in.

Basically, the way to make your ads not look like ads, is to make them look like your average viral content. You have to turn your brand into a meme in order to appeal. 

It was actually probably Denny’s that figured out the formula first, and they’re probably still one of the most successful examples. 

Think about it. Did Denny’s even HAVE to sponsor their posts? Or did we just all willingly reblog them because they were so fuckin weird, and we couldn’t believe a corporation was doing this shit? 

But now here’s the problem, and this is why the ads are failing to appeal, even more than obvious reasons like “they’re all putting existing and outdated memes in their ads, and its really uncreative and out of touch”: 

The problem is there’s no direct interaction with the audience. 

You know how the Denny’s blog answers asks? That’s exactly the sort of thing that’s lacking from all these corporate blogs, that’s why they’re still really obvious adspewers, and thus, why they’re so damn annoying (other than all the piggybacking on outdated memes, ofc). 

Other than Denny’s, I’ve only seen two isolated situations where a corporate blog actually responded to feedback of any kind: 

  1. That one time that a visual novel app actually announced two lesbian love interests in response to someone demanding gay content.
  2. That one time Episode got self-aware and mentioned Tumblr in an ad

The first response garnered actual respect for the app, while Episode’s ad caused everyone to burst into mock panic (which was par for the course, given how their strategy seems to be “become infamous for our wild ads, and maybe someone will be curious to try out our app”). 

Given how most of us will accept ads in the form of “signal boosts” from fellow tumblr users, it’s basically a given that, as a whole, we respond much better once we’re assured there’s an actual genuine person behind the ad, who is sincerely trying to reach out to us. 

So you know, why the fuck do all these marketing blogs, Episode, Battlecamp, Funyuns, Game of War, etc. 

why do they

never

actually

talk to us? 

It’s simple:  

they can’t actually talk to us. 

Corporations have rules, regulations. These advertisers running the marketing accounts aren’t CEOs, they’re not even managers, they’re most likely low-level workers in the midst of the marketing branch of the company, a branch that, for the most part, has to follow the rules of the company, and are under extreme pressure (from company lawyers and the PR department) not to do anything out-of-line. 

Actually responding to asks or reblogs are a huge risk, and the people who command the guys who run these blogs have a bajillion reasons why they don’t want some bloody grunt to go saying whatever the hell they want on the official corporation’s tumblr blog.They could say something off-color and cause a scandal, or they could ruin the company’s professional reputation just by acting like a human being. When they log into that blog, the low-level grunt is supposed to be representing the entire corporation, a body made up of hundreds or thousands of people. You’d better damn well make sure they’re saying the right thing.

Running the official Denny’s blog probably takes a very organized and deliberate effort, along with a hella lot of risk, all to make those weird posts, reply to asks, even to figure out the perfect blend of surrealism and mundanity, while at the same time ensuring their product actually looks appealing. it probably takes a whole team to run that blog, if we’ll be honest. There’s probably 10 mods, who all have to be in close contact with not only each other, but with the boss. The boss has to trust them to not fuck up. It probably took a lot of careful planning and communication in order to figure out a stable system for all that. 

Episode couldn’t make a response to tumblr that wasn’t formatted like one of their usual ads, and they only made their (pseudo) response after a string of increasingly weirder ads convinced them that such a daring move like mentioning tumblr wouldn’t be a total disaster (well, more like convinced them that “total disaster” is something that should actually be their marketing ploy from now on).

Kisses and Curses (the aforementioned paranormal romance app) obviously was planning the female love interests already, and saw in that single comment a good opportunity to officially announce them. They also are most likely a smaller company, probably a single team that’s doing double duty on both content creation and marketing, giving them much less red tape if they wanted to answer a question like “but do the lesbians die,” or model future content after the desires of their target audience. They have a lot more freedom to be human, is what I’m trying to say. 

And while it’s fully possible that something can reach viral status and be beloved as a brand without having to respond directly to their audience, it’s pretty impossible to intentionally pull that sort of thing off, especially when you’re advertising a product or service. That kind of viral fame depends on being unexpected and unexplained, an enigma, really, and as a result, any strategy you find that actually works will only ever work the first time. The second person who tries the same thing will be labeled an obvious copycat.

TL;DR: the field of advertising is struggling to figure out how to adapt to an audience that hates the very existence of ads, and their only strategy is to make their ads less and less ad-like, and make their marketing accounts more like actual users and content creators. 

However, due to the structure and size of the companies themselves, they can’t actually do that. Fully committing to their emulation of content creators would mean they’d have to let the employees who run these blogs freely respond to their audience, and actively communicate with them. That’s a risk that no company is fully willing to take, and thus, all these advertisers are forced to make shitty content bandwagoning off the latest trends, and cross their fingers that someone finds the mess appealing on an ironic level. 

Everyone’s pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place, and the only way out of the shitty ads is to literally redefine the whole concept of marketing, because we just flat-out hate all ads nowadays, no matter what they are or how they come to us.  

Start of Something New

Gabriel Reyes x Reader

WARNINGS:

Implied Sexual Tones

Implied non-con (nothing actually happens)

An obnoxious repetitive beeping woke you up from your slumber. Light was beginning to peep from underneath the curtains, swaying softly from the soft breeze of the open window. You blindly skimmed your hand across the bedside table to push several buttons to turn that damn alarm off.

You’d been working at Overwatch for the past year or so. Secretly. You don’t think your parents would approve, they were very much.. against the Omnics. To say it kindly. Your parents weren’t for peace and justified protests, expecting you to do the same. However, you loved your job and you wouldn’t trade it in for anything else. Your job consisted of buying in ammunition for the agents, from shotgun shells to handcrafted arrows and shurikens.

A quick shower, brush teeth, comb hair, and get dressed. You had to think what you needed to do before you left the comfortable confines of your warm bed.

Just a few more minutes..

* * *

“L/N.”
“Yes, sir?’
“Reyes wants to see you. Now.”
“Yes, sir.”
You had become accustomed to calling everyone ‘sir’, or ‘ma'am’ in the time that you had been here. Strike Commander Morrison had made sure of that.

You made your way through the grey corridors of Watchpoint: Gibralter. To an outsider it may look very much like a military base, but to you it was home. You passed by a couple of agents, nodding in acknowledgement, heads close no doubt whispering about an upcoming mission. You reach the office of Gabriel Reyes, the head of Blackwatch. Blackwatch is a unit of Overwatch, that carries out black ops missions not so legally. To the public, Blackwatch didn’t exist which is why you had to swear secrecy when you joined Overwatch. You were no stranger to this side of the of watchpoint, delivering confirmations and news of deals as you also had to buy ammunition for the unit.

You knocked at the steel door.
“Come in.”
Your hand went to the handle and turned it, letting yourself in. Reyes was sitting at his desk, some holoscreens open which were swiftly shut.
“Commander Morrison said you wanted to see me, sir?”
“Yes, Y/N. I have a proposition for you.”
You waited in silence, respectfully.
“Blackwatch need something. You are the perfect candidate, gatita.“
Your eyes slightly fluttered at the pet name, something only Reyes calls people when he wants sweeten them up.
“Unfortunately, some of our other agents are on missions, and some just aren’t.. suitable.”
Your right eyebrow slightly raises.
“Y/N, we need information. There’s an event that Morrison and I are attending this Friday night. This is where you will retrieve said information.
“Sir, may I?”
Reyes looks at you, leaning back his chair, waiting.
“I.. Sir. I’m not an agent. I buy in ammunition, not use it.”
“Gatita, you haven’t even been briefed yet and you’re declining?” He seemed amused.
“No, sir, I er-”
“Y/N, McCree taught you to fire a gun, sí? Jack has taught you hand to hand combat, sí?”
You blush slightly. Reyes wasn’t wrong. It had been compulsory that you learnt the basics of combat, long or short range.
“Yes.. sir. But may I enquire as to why you chose me?”
Reyes bows his head, pushes his chair back and stands up. He walks around his desk to stand directly in front of you. Reyes puts his finger underneath your chin and tilts your head to look up at him. You can count on one hand the amount of times you were alone with the leader of Blackwatch. Never have you had the chance to study his features this close: his coarse beard hair, the slightly dark tints under his eyes, his eyes. Wow. Dark pools of chocolate staring into you.
“Niña. You are the perfect assett. Attractive. Naturally flirtacious. Which is exactly what I need you to be this Friday. It’s a gathering of government officials; everyone dislikes each other but put on a mask as they are the ones that sign off our pay checks. However, they don’t know your face and wouldn’t expect you to pull of something so.. risky.”
The corners of his lips tugged up slightly at seeing the reaction from your face.
“Don’t worry, gatita, you won’t be in much danger, plus Morrison and I will be there. A simple in and out, if you will.” Reyes smirked.
You nodded. You weren’t in a position to decline, both mentally and physically, as Reyes’ finger hadn’t moved from your chin and he was still oh so very close to you.
“I’ll send the whole brief over to you later today. You’re dismissed, L/N.”

Your back to the cool steel of the outside of Reyes’ door, you let out a breath you hadn’t realised you were holding. A black ops mission? With Jack and Gabriel? You were excited, but incredibly nervous. He said you weren’t going to be in much danger - what exactly did he want you to do?

McCree snapped you out of your thoughts. When did he get here?
“Y'all okay, Y/N? Look like ya seen a ghost.”
“Yeah, thanks, Jesse. Just some er, unexpected things going on is all.”
“Why’re you outsida Reyes’ door?”
“Jesse, please-”
“Has he got you goin’ on a mission? Oh my God Y/N if he has you gotta let me kno-”
“McCree. Leave L/N alone.”
Reyes had somehow opened his door without either of you knowing, making you both jump a little.
“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.” McCree scurried off, leaving you two alone, again.
“Y/N, I forgot to mention - don’t tell anyone. Especially McCree.”
“Yes, sir.” You dropped your head slightly and walked off, making your way back to your desk.

* * *

You had made it back to your apartment, only after a long day of thinking about your conversation with Reyes. The holoscreen of the brief he had sent you was hovering above your coffee table. You were perched on the edge of the sofa, elbows resting on your knees and hands clasped underneath your chin.

You were to arrive outside of the watchpoint at 7pm, adorned in this dress that Reyes had picked out for you. Black, floor length with a thigh high split, sleeveless but not quite low cut. You had to admit, he had good taste. You were to pose as his ‘partner’, oblivious to Blackwatch and ignorant to other political happenings in the world. Once Morrison and Reyes had distracted the higher ups, you were to say you were going to powder your nose, while actually looking for the Target’s office. From there, you were to insert the drive, download whatever is on the computer and leave. Nice and simple. Everyone important enough should be distracted and if the worst happens, you can always play ignorant and say you got lost. Easy.

* * *

Fresh air drifted across the back of your shoulders; you’d have to talk to Reyes that although his tastes were good, he forgot a bloody jacket. You were standing outside of the entrance to the watchpoint, scuffing your black heels on the ground as you waited for the commanders. You were a bit early, but you’d rather impress your higher ups than be late on the first mission.

Reyes and Morrison arrived together, and boy did they scrub up well. Morrison wore a pair of navy trousers and a matching blazer, with a white shirt that had the few buttons at the top undone. Reyes had on an onyx black suit, with a black shirt and a black tie. To say you were impressed would be an understatement. You did however feel a tad more relaxed that you weren’t the only one dressing up tonight.

“Sir. Sir.” You looked at them both and nodded your head slightly.
“Y/N. Ay Dios mío. You look..”
Morrison had leaned over to Reyes and whispered something in his ear, then gave him a little nudge.
“..Very good. Erm, well done.” Reyes swiftly turned around and motioned for you to follow him, no doubt in the direction of the mission.
“So. Although the building is in walking distance, we have decided to bring the dropship along just in case things do decide to get hairy.”
You nodded at Morrison’s explanation.
“Y/N, you will stay with Gabriel until I give the all clear. Understood?”
“Yes, sir.”
The rest of walk was in comfortable silence, as Morrison had said the journey wouldn’t take long. You could hear the sounds of people talking and fake laughs, just around the corner.
“Y/N, hold my hand.”
You couldn’t say no. Well, it was in your brief that you were acting as Reyes’ girlfriend, but you’d imagined it more being his actual girlfriend than a faux one on a mission. You took his right hand in your left, your other hand occupied by a black clutch purse containing the drive. Your face burned a little, Morrison and Reyes were whispering at this point, too quiet for you to hear but there were a couple of chuckles, and a few squeezes on your hand from Reyes. Whether it was reassurance or they were talking about you, you weren’t entirely sure. Before you reached the entrance, you all stopped.
“Y/N, this is for you. You may have seen the other agents wear them.”
It was a tiny earpiece, almost invisible.
“You just put it in there, yes, like that.” Reyes brushed your hair back over your ear to see if you had inserted it correctly. To anyone else it looked as though Reyes was being affectionate.

“Ah, good evening Gentleman and what I may say, a fine lady.” The greeter at the door bowed slightly and smiled at you. He opened the door with a curt nod to the security. “We hope you enjoy your evening. There’s an open bar and canapés will be arriving shortly.”
Free drinks and food? You smiled at the greeter, and made your way in through the open door towards the mass of people that had gathered in the bar area.
“Y/N, where do you think you are going?” A sharp tug on your hand made you suddenly stop. You turned back, eyes wide and eyebrows raised.
“I was going to get drinks. You want this to go as smoothly as possible, don’t you?”
“.. Let Jack get them.”
Morrison smirked slightly as he made his way through the crowd, leaving you and Reyes in the middle of the tiled floor.
“Come, let’s go grab a seat.”
You led him over to one of the bar tables that luckily still had three chairs free. Reyes hadn’t let go of your hand, and was making small circles on your knuckles with his thumb. A small awkward silence followed once you both had sat down. You looked over towards the bar, seeing if you could see Morrison with your drinks.
“What, missing our company already?” You could hear a hint of sarcasm in his voice. What was going on with him lately?
“No, I er, was just seeing if I could see him with our drinks.” You inwardly cursed yourself. You were alone with Gabriel Reyes for goodness sake, the commander of Blackwatch. The majority of people in Overwatch have at some point fancied the likes of him, and now here you were.
“It’s okay, gatita,” His thumb making motions on your knuckles again. “You’ll do great.”
You smiled slightly at his praise. You were about to take a breath in to say something before Morrison came back with his hands full of glasses.
“Open bar, my ass.” He set the drinks down on the table. “Oh ‘Sprite and Coca-Cola are free but you have to pay for the alcohol’.” He was clearly impersonating what seemed to be a very Californian accent. Reyed chuckled slightly, and raised his glass in a toast.
“To Y/N’s first.”
Morrison nodded and clinked his glass with Reyes’ then with yours. You tapped your glass with Reyes’ and took a large gulp.
“Sir, I thought you said you had to pay for alcohol?”
“I did, Y/N. And please call me Jack. People might start gettng ideas if you call me that in public.” Morrison squinted his eyes at you and smirked. What you couldn’t see was Reyes glaring at Morrison, his mouth twitching slightly just itching to say something.

“Ah, yes of course, the highly praised Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes. How are you both?” A what it seemed very high up official shook both Morrison’s and Reyes’ hands, before turning to you. “And who is this absolute treasure that you have found, Reyes?”
“This is my girlfriend, sir. New to the scene, should we say.” All three men chuckled at that. New to the scene? You suppose you had to play along. The man gently took your hand and brushed his lips against your knuckles.
“Enchante.” He winked.
“Pleasure.” You returned.

An hour and half of mingling, and you had made your way to the centre of the crowd. A light tap on your elbow from Morrison signalled your cue.
“Gentleman, if I may be excused, I must go powder my nose.”
A smile and a nod from Reyes granted your leave. You turned and headed towards where the ladies’ were, pushing the swing door open and silently thanking that there was no one else in here. Setting your purse down next to the sink, you looked at yourself in the mirror. This dress had done you wonders, probably because of the split up your thigh and the tightness around the waist. You brushed your hair behind your ear and push the button to turn the earpiece on.
“Testing. Can you hear me?”
“Yes, Y/N. We’ve moved away from the crowd a bit so we can talk to you more freely.”
“Okay, good. I’m just making my way there.”
You stepped out of the ladies’ and began your course of navigating this maze of corridors. Your heart was beating louder than usual, all down to nerves. Your heels clicking against the tiles made you feel empowered; there was just something about that noise that you absolutely loved. You stopped at the wooden door with a wavy glass pane, at the end of the hallway as instructed by the brief.

Well of course it was locked.

Reyes had prepared you for this. This building was incredibly old, and had not been updated to preserve the history. You took out two bobby pins that were in your purse and straightened them both out. You had bent the tip of one to make it almost look like an alan key, and slid that into the lock. The straight pin slid underneath that one, and with some pressure in the right places and a turn of the pins, the door clicked open. You hastily stepped inside and quietly shut the door. A quick look around the office, and you found what you were looking for: the Target’s computer. You perched on the edge of the chair behind the desk. Reyes had said all you would need to do would put the drive into the slot and it would do all of the work for you. You inserted the drive, the holoscreen lighting up and a progress bar slowly making it’s way 100%.
“The drive is inserted. It said it should take approximately 8 minutes.”
“Well done, gatitio. Let’s hope everything carries on as smoothly as it has done.”

You had time to spare, so you being as nosey as you were decided to have a look around. A few papers here and there, folders strewn about. You picked up a letter and skim read it. Something about Omnics. When was it not? You tilted your head as something caught your eye.
‘L/N, Y/N.’
Wait, what?
’D.o.B:…’
What is this? Why do they have information on you?
“Y/N, time?”
“Oh, er, 2 minutes and 24 seconds.”
“That’s not enough. Y/N, they’ve noticed a breach in security and have armed guards patrolling. You need to get out now. We’re on our way.”
Shit. Could you not hold off for a few minutes? Your heart was racing now, your palms clammy with the thought of being caught. To be safe, you hid against the wall where the door was, that way if anyone looked in, they wouldn’t be able to see you.
You could hear several footsteps.
Your shoulders tensed, arms up and fists clenched should you need to fight.
“I er, zink it vas zis one, boss.”
“Well go on, what are you waiting for?”
Those voices weren’t familiar. Those voices were close. You heard a click of the door being opened but you sighed in relief when you realised it was the door opposite to yours.
“Zhere’s novun here.”
“No shit. Keep looking.”
The door closed and a few taps on the tiled floor. Your door clicked open.
“Look, novun again.”
“Jesus, Maksya, you haven’t even loo-”
You think your heart stopped when the ‘boss’ walked in. Shit. You weren’t an agent. You weren’t trained for this.
“Well, well, well. What is this?” Boss man walked over to the desk and with some expert swipes flipped the holoscreen around. “Download complete? What the fu-”
Now was your time. You launched forward at the boss and brought your right arm around his neck, securing it in place with your left. The other guy shouted in surprise and brought his gun, level to where you were. You swung the boss around, so he was being used as a human shield.
“Put the gun down.”

You had hoped your would have sounded a bit more threatening, but your dry throat made your voice crack. The gun man chuckled.
“Boss, it’s zat Reyes’ bitch. You know the vun that has been showing off all zat she has to offer all night?”
A sharp, unsuspecting jab to your ribs from the boss man made you let go, clutching your side. He grabbed your hair at the base of your scalp, crying out in pain, and kicked the back of your knees to make you fall down on the floor. Shit. Your hands clawed at the boss man’s hand in your hair.
“She’s feisty.” Boss man’s eyebrow raised. “Tie her up.”
Oh no. You weren’t going down without a fight. You eyed the guy with the gun like a hawk, until he went behind you. You heard the clunk of the gun being put on the desk, and then some rustling. Was he taking off his belt? Your arms were brought down behind you, you couldn’t move unless you wanted to rip out half off your hair. Your thoughts were confirmed when you felt leather digging in at your wrists, and then being cinched. The boss let go of you hair, only to be replaced by the other guy’s left hand, and feel of cold metal against your temple.
“Pretty. Hands behind her and on her knees. I can think of several ways to make her talk.”
The gun man cruelly laughed with his boss.

“Gatita, we got held up. Did you get out okay?”
You couldn’t reply. You couldn’t let these strangers know you had contact to the outside. You were supposed to be gone by now, not held hostage in a a stuffy office.
“Y/N?”
Your heart sank. It wasn’t rare for an agent to die in the field, but it did happen. You just never thought it would happen to you. Tears sprung at the corners of your eyes, threatening to fall. You weren’t an agent. End of.
“Now. We know you must be working for Overwatch, hmm?” Boss man stood in front of you, his hand clenched around your jaw to make you look up at him. “That you must be Reyes’ new whore, and got you to do the dirty work, hm?”
Your eyebrows creased into a frown. You weren’t going to talk. Feign ignorance. The metal pressed harder against your temple. This was it. A hard slap across the face sent you spinning. You were still held in place but your jaw hurt and you were sure your lip had been cut open. A sharp yank of your hair sent your head further back looking almost directly above you.
“If you’re not going to talk, then we’re going to have some fun.”
Boss man produced a knife from his back pocket. He brought the blade up to your face, your eyes widening as you were now being threatened by both a knife and a gun. You had always hated knives, even more than guns. There was something so.. personal about being threatened by a knife that had you shivering in fear.
“Oh boss, I zink she’s scared.” He chuckled again.
Boss brought the blade lightly down your right cheekbone, enough to cause pain and make beads of blood appear. He looked at you, almost as though he was questioning why you weren’t talking.
“Y/N??”
You heard your name again, but not just from the earpiece. They were running down the hallway, feet stomping on the ground.
Boss man grimaced and looked at his colleague. You were brought to your feet by a sharp yank of your hair, the gun now gone from your temple and given to boss man, pointing at you. The blade now pressing against your throat. The door slammed open. Both Reyes and Morrison had their guns already aimed, sweat beads on their foreheads.
“Let her go.”
“Or what, Reyes? You’ll shoot me?”
“Sí.”
Clear as crystal. Their mocking tones made you think they have some kind of history.
“Fine. Maksya, let her go.”
As soon as the blade dropped from your neck and the hand left your hair, boss man had pulled the trigger. Everything seemed to be in slow motion: the pulled trigger, the bullet hitting you, Reyes and Morrison pulling their triggers on the boss. You fell back against the desk, sliding to the floor. You’d been shot. On your left side. Above your hip. You cried out in pain, tears finally falling from your closed eyes. Adrenaline took over and everything went numb. You heard footsteps come closer to you, and another gunshot. You daren’t open your eyes. Your hands were suddenly free and tried to cover your wound in vain. A slump to your right told you the other guy had been dealt with.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen, I am so sorry, so so sorry. Jack, we need Angela, we need to get Y/N to the ship, now.” The urgency in Reyes’ voice scared you. You tried to open your eyes but they were too heavy. Reyes was still talking to you, his voice becoming distant. He gingerly picked you up, bridal style. Your head leaned into him and your left hand fell down, finally giving into the darkness.

* * *

A bright light was all you could see through your eyelids. The sterile smell and clanging of metal on metal told you that you weren’t in heaven, but rather a hospital room. A faint repetitive beeping brought you fully out from your sleep. Your eyes fluttered open and your thoughts confirmed. Pristine white sheets, a metal tray with tools, an uncomfortable looking chair with a sleeping Reyes.

You looked more around the room. The window was open, and you could hear the crashing of the waves on the rocks below. Sunlight was streaming in, creating a warmth that you didn’t know that you needed.
“Ah! Y/N, you’re awake.”
Your eyes shifted over to the source of the voice: Doctor Angela Ziegla, alias Mercy. She was the resident doctor, Swiss, stern but incredibly friendly.
“Yes,” you smiled. “I suppose I am.” Your body was aching, and there was a dull throb on the left hand side of your waist.
“I managed to remove the bullet and heal you up fine. Healing from a bullet wound is a long process; it could take several weeks, even months. However, you should be back to normal in no time. You may have a scar om your cheek too.. but only time will tell. You were out for about 36 hours..”
You frowned at this. Upon seeing your reaction, Dr Ziegler stepped closer to you and reassuringly put her hand on your forearm.
“Gabriel hasn’t left your side. He’s been worried sick.”
You glance over to him, and can see the prominent dark rings around his eyes. His eyes that were now looking at you.
“L/N. You’re awake.” Reyes stood up next to angela, a slight frown crossing his face.
“No need for formalities here, Gabriel.”
“Of course, Angela. How are you feeling, Y/N?”
“Achy. Tired. Hungry.”
Both Dr Ziegler and Reyes chuckled at that.
“Well, I’ll leave you two alone, and let you catch up.” Dr Ziegler smiled as she tool her hand back, picked up her clipboard and walked out of the room.

Reyes had moved the chair closer to your bed and sat back down in it. He picked your hand up and held it in his own.
“Gatita, I am so sorry.” His brows were furrowed.
“Please. It’s okay. Dr Ziegler said I’d heal fine and-”
“That’s not the point, I put you in danger!”
“Danger that we couldn’t expect to happ-”
“Y/N. I care about your safety. Hell, I care about you. Anyone could have delivered all those confirmations to Blackwatch, but I always asked for you.”
He still wasn’t looking at you. Your eyes moved from him to directly in front of you, taking in the bunch of pastel flowers that you had missed.
“Gabriel- may I?”
Reyes nodded.
“Gabriel. No one could have guessed what would have happened the other night. No one. Don’t beat yourself up for it, because it looks like you have. You have panda eyes, you know that right?”
Reyes smiled but it quickly faded.
“Panda eyes are better than a bullet wound.”
“Very true. I don’t think any amount of cucumbers will help the bruise that I’ll get from being shot.” You started chuckling at your joke but then grabbed your side as the pain shot through you. Reyes half stood out of his chair, concerned.
“Do you need anything? I can bring back Angela?”
“No, thank you. I’ll live.” You grimaced.
“How about I teach you?”
“Teach me what?”
“How to really defend yourself. To shoot, to fight, to be an agent.”
“I.. I don’t know. Yes, it sounds exciting but..
“But what?”
“What about my job and well the way that I’m currently in?”
“You can teach someone and we’ll wait until you’re fully recovered.”
You think that Reyes has been planning this. Taking you on a mission, being taught basic combat. You just weren’t sure.
“Y/N, I promise you won’t get shot on every mission.”
“That’s if I accept.”
“You didn’t say no last time.” Reyes smirked.

God damn, Gabriel Reyes. He was going to be the death of you. You, however, didn’t mind one bit.

anonymous asked:

do you happen to have that gutloading info/illustration, with the empty taco shell analogy? I cant for the life of me find it or remember who i saw it from...

It’s wasn’t me! I don’t find that graphic to be particularly accurate, though doing a search I couldn’t find it again. 

Feeder insects are indeed deficient in some nutrients. However, they are more like full tacos missing only one or two ingredients, and just feeding healthy fruits and veggies to them will not help with those deficiencies.

Insects have nutritional content without being gutloaded. They are adequate for most minerals other than calcium, and they contain fat and protein. 

Here is some nutritional content of common feeder insects, without gutloading.

Not all feeder insects are fed at all before feeding – for example, it’s best to keep BSFL cool and unfed before feeding them to your pet. They have a very good calcium:phosphorus ration and don’t even need to be dusted, though they are deficient in some vitamins. (As with most larva, smaller BSFL are lower in fat than larger ones, so the smallest that will be accepted by the reptile should be fed.)

The main issue is that most commonly fed insects have a poor calcium to phosphorus ratio, and lack vitamins. You typically want your pet’s food to have a 2:1 Ca:P ratio. 

Here is information on various insects’ Ca:P ratios.

Now, this can be fixed in a variety of ways. One is to dust the insects with proper calcium and vitamin supplements. 

The other is to use a gutload that actually works – and there aren’t many of these. The only one I can recommend is T-Rex Calcium Plus Food for Crickets. From that first link, “It should be noted however that many commercially available gut-loading diets failed to increase the calcium content of crickets presumably due to improper formulation.” Most tested gutloads simply didn’t correct the Ca:P ratio or help with the lack of vitamins. One thing that seems to be a problem is most gutloads use too large a calcium particle and the insects literally eat around it. (It is cheaper than using the extremely finely ground calcium. This is also why it’s hard to make your own gutload; it’s not easy to find calcium ground fine enough and readily ingested.)

Note that gutloading is very different from simply feeding your insects a nutritious diet. The term has been diluted to mean maintenance feeding, but this is inaccurate and not helpful in the discussion of feeder insect nutrition. Formal gutloading must be done within 24 - 48 hours of the insect being fed and no longer (and nutritional levels decline after 24 hours), and is a very specific high-calcium and vitamin diet. Simply feeding the insects nutritious food like veggies will not correct the Ca:P ratio! Feeding an insect colony gutload constantly will likely result in die-off so they can’t be fed indefinitely. 

Maintenance diets are important to create a healthy, nutritious feeder overall – obviously a starved feeder will be less nutritious than a healthy one. Ideally they should eat a moisture-rich, vitamin-rich, varied diet for the feeder’s own health. 

I recommend using this guide to choosing vegetables (focusing on the “green” rated veggies whenever possible) for your feeders’ maintenance diet, and feeding a nutritious grain-based staple with less than 20% protein as well, such as DE-free poultry mash (Purina Layena Sunfresh Crumbles or  Albers’ All Purpose Poultry Feed are the two I know of), Total Cereal, or Natural Bearded Dragon Food Adult Formula. Just keep in mind, this diet is not a gutload.

Here is a really good study which covers why gutloading is difficult and sometimes unreliable (rates of ingestion at different instars [ages], optimal ways to offer the food, etc.).

I don’t believe these articles are available for free online (however, you can purchase and download them if not) but I highly recommend these studies evaluating different commercial gutloads available:

Finke MD. 2003. “Gut loading to enhance the nutrient content of insects as food for reptiles: A mathematical approach.” Zoo Biology 22: 147-162.

Finke, Mark D., S. Dunham, and Christabel A. Kwabi. 2005.  "Evaluation of four dry commercial gut loading products for improving the calcium content of crickets, Acheta domesticus.“ J Herp Med Surg 15.1: 7-12.

Finke, M. D., S. U. Dunham, and J. S. Cole. 2004. “Evaluation of various calcium-fortified high moisture commercial products for improving the calcium content of crickets, Acheta domesticus.” J Herp Med Surg 14.2: 17-20.

These studies are why I only recommend the T-Rex. Some commercial gutloads such as Mazuri Hi Calcium Gut Load rate higher than a maintenance diet, but I don’t know if they properly correct the Ca:P. Other gutloads have come out since the study was conducted, but because we don’t have any scientific analysis of them I can not recommend them.

In addition, feeding insects with plant-based vitamin A gutload may not translate to the reptile being able to use that vitamin A, particularly in strict insectivores. There have been many cases of reptiles like chameleons suffering from vitamin A deficiency despite eating gutloaded or dusted insects. Make sure that for strict insectivores/carnivores the vitamin A in the supplement is retinol (animal source), not carotenoids (plant source).

Alternatively, one can dust insects and feed a nutritious maintenance diet. My reptile vet is anti-dusting (he only recommends T-Rex gutload and no other options) but this is definitely not a universal view from reptile vets. Many will recommend dusting. My vet’s concern is hypercalcaemia from the fact that dusting supplements are not measured or exact, or vitamin D overdose (the latter is definitely a problem with certain dust brands; here is a clip from an article on vitamin D overdose from Douglas R. Mader, DVM). 

The two dusting regimens I personally recommend are:

Dusting with Repashy Calcium Plus with every insect feeding.

or

A schedule of rotation for different feedings through the week, using a calcium with D3, a vitamin supplement, and possibly a plain calcium. 

I waited until several breeders and other keepers had good success with the Repashy Calcium Plus before switching to it, since it seemed like an all-in-one wouldn’t be adequate or might result in excesses of some nutrients and lack of others. But it’s well accepted and seems to work! If anyone has encountered problems with this supplement I would like to hear it, though.

Not all dusts are created equal, just like gutloads. For plain calcium you have many options, such as human grade calcium powder. For calcium with D3, I have had good success with ZooMed Repti Calcium with D3. I also like ZooMed Reptivite for a vitamin supplement. 

Avoid these supplements:  Fluker’s Calcium with vitamin D3 (too much D3),  Rep-Cal Calcium with vitamin D3 (too much D3),  Exo Terra Multi Vitamin (beta carotene instead of pre-formed vitamin A, no B12).

Note that dusts must be used immediately before feeding the insects, as many insects will quickly groom them off.

The amount you use is far lower than you’d think! Read the instructions and be sure you’re *lightly* dusting with the vitamins and calcium with D3 on only the number of insects recommended for your pet’s weight.

I personally do not suggest using T-Rex (gutloading) and dusting, as the risk of hypercalcaemia and vitamin overdose increases. Both are adequate on their own for most animals, though laying females may benefit from additional plain calcium. It can also be dangerous to use both a supplement with D3 and UVB lighting, which is why there are different “indoor” and “outdoor” supplements available from many companies. Not all UVB lamps are created equal so this may depend on your setup. Always be sure your animal can choose between basking under the UVB and finding a shady place.

I know this isn’t the short and sweet infographic that you were looking for, but I find those graphics misleading and lacking very important information. Reptile nutrition, gutloading, and supplements is not a simple topic!

This is just my interpretation of the scientific data available; I hope the links and resources provided will help others come to their own conclusions. 

That said, now I really want tacos.

how i organize
  •  one-subject notebooks. 
    • These saved my life. I know everyone’s always saying to keep your stuff in one place and keep track of it all at once, and the way to do that is (apparently) thick, 5-subject looseleaf notebooks and 3″ binders. These have never worked for me, and here’s why: the larger the notebook, the more it catches and rips and doesn’t close right. 
    • Plus, the larger the notebook, the longer you use it, and the longer it has to survive that wear and tear! (Bonus: without having to worry about the notebook being destroyed, I also don’t have to buy the more expensive and durable brands; now I only pay for quality of paper and pretty colours!)  
    • So, I use one-subject notebooks for each class and go through multiple (I’ve never noticed a significant cost difference). A single one-subject notebook lasts me 4-6 units, or about one quarter/half a semester. When I complete a notebook, I simply begin the next, and carry only the newest one with me places. The previous notebooks are kept in my study space so I can always reference them as though it’s one large book, and I rarely need the previous chapters for in-class work. 
    • I start with one notebook per class plus one notebook purely for scribbles or rip-out looseleaf paper, and keep a supply of empty notebooks at my permanent study space.
  • central grade collection. 
    • I do this because it’s easy to reference back to. Soooo many terrible teachers who simply don’t trust their students. Feels nice to whip out a test to prove you were right (and aced it!). Calculating the grade myself makes me more aware of what’s going on with my academics. My biggest downfall this year was not paying attention to my grades!
    • I used to use an accordion folder for this, but this year I’m going to try combining that with a digital file.
    • Whenever I receive a grade back, the paper copy goes in a physical folder and the percentage/grade itself goes onto a file on my computer.
    • The physical folder is organized by classes. As I receive grades back, the newest goes in the front, so each class is naturally ordered chronologically. I tried organizing it further by putting flags to tell apart tests, quizzes, essays, etc. It worked well but eventually I just didn’t bother.
    • The computer file is actually multiple files (again, one for each class). An excel spreadsheet or a simple word doc works well. I specify the material as much as possible (for example, “Unit 1: Trig. Quiz 1: Identities. Date: 7-4-2015″ using both words and numbers) so I can easily search for it later. Next to it goes the numerical and letter grade. I’m thinking of incorporating a note-taking system as well, listing what went wrong and such.
    • This sounds like a lot of work, but it takes very little time and is well worth it. Logging the grades take about 5 minutes, tops. I often find myself putting off work by organizing grades. Obviously it’s hard to log things instantly, so I keep a stack of “to be graded” on my desk until I get around to it.
    • Oh, and keep the physical folder safe in your room/dorm. Carrying it around for spiteful moments is not worth the risk of losing all your grades!
  • separate days.
    • I don’t know about you, but my school has something similar to a block schedule. Monday, Wednesday, Fridays all have the same classes. Tuesdays and Thursdays have the same classes as well. My method works for real block scheduling, too, for even/odd or on/off days. I once had a chronic problem of bringing in the wrong day’s homework. Not anymore!!
    • Basically, just keep the two workpiles separate.
    • I have two cabinets on my desk: one for MWF classes, one for TTh classes. On my desk at all times are my “daily” tools: laptop, charger, planner, pencil pouch, water bottle, etc.
    • In the morning, I always put my dailies in first so I don’t forget, then I check the calendar. Tuesday? Shove in the TTh stack. It’s as simple as that.
    • When actually doing my homework, obviously, prioritize. There isn’t a hardfast “do your homework the day you get it” rule, especially since studying is a process! But when nothing’s especially urgent and I don’t have a favourite assignment, I literally flip a coin.
  • computer files have to be neat.
    • I have so many subfolders I don’t know what to do with them.
    • Separate everything, again, and again, and again. And label it all to hell and back. You can never have a file title that’s too long.
  • You know how you can make multiple accounts on your computer? Admin vs user? Yeah, do that.
    • Make your admin account your free-time, slacker account.
    • Make your user account your work account.
    • Make all the settings admin-only accessible. Don’t get distracted by downloading random crap while doing your homework. Put restrictions on internet usage, gameplay, etc. To get distracted, you have to make the effort to enter an admin password every time you get off task.
    • Bonus: during presentations, you never have to worry about accidentally opening something embarrassing. Everything embarrassing should be in your personal account!
  • Lastly: don’t stress! 
    • When I stress, everything gets disorganized. My mind gets cluttered and so does the rest of my life. I used to stress so hard about grades.
    • If you don’t think you can make the deadline, don’t. One grade is not worth a night of sleep and mental health.
    • If the grade is super important (not all grades are like this: prioritize!) work on it as hard as you can. Don’t stress; put all that stressful energy into the work. Focus your ass off. If you can’t do that, it’s time to stop.
    • Talk to the teacher the next day. Take responsibility for your mistake. Apologize, and do not give excuses. Show to your teacher that you care more about the learning than the grade; it will pay off in the long run.
    • The day after missing a huge assignment is rough. Don’t let it get to you! Dwelling on this assignment only sets you up for failure on any other assignments you have that day. Focus on those and not on what you did wrong. Have yourself a good break, snack, jog, and get back in there. The world isn’t over!

a victuri fic rec: part two! ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ♡ 

part one (x)

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Parental Glideance Review aka My Headcanon the Episode

Say hello to the new Rainbow Dad!

Thanks to our Canadian neighbors up north, this episode came out sooner than when we Americans will be able to watch.  Which is good and bad depending on if you consider this a spoiler.  So as fair warning, I will be talking about the episode… mostly.  If we can get pass the part where I gush over Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles that is.

First, let me address the rainbow colored elephant in the room.  I think I can say that a LOT of people were upset that Rainbow Blaze turned out to be not the father of our rainbow bruiser, Dashie.  Can you blame them?  Hasbro did a pretty bad job at trying to decide if they should make Blaze RD’s canon father.  In the TCG, he was named and given the title of “Rainbow Dash’s Mentor”.  Which is a pretty big deal when it comes to establishing a connection with a main character.  When you have a mentor that is rainbow colored, male, an adult pony when Dash was still a filly, and you have everything you need to conclude that Blaze and Dash are related.

According to one of the designers in the staff, the pony in the flashback in “Games Ponies Play” was not intended to be Rainbow’s father but just another horse entirely.  A lot of people can argue that the physical similarities are way too strong for that statement to be true.  Ofcoarse, it is possible that she had meant that on the production side of things and Blaze was just a happy little accident.  In any case, whether intentional or not, Blaze clearly had a huge influence on Bow Hothoof’s design.  The color scheme being the biggest tip off along with their cutie marks having a cloud and rainbow trail in them.

As somebody that had been working on this blog since Blaze first shown up, I was highly anticipating this episode since the characters’ names where first announced.  On that day, I knew that my ask blog is completely noncanon instead of being semi-noncanon.  So seeing whether or not Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles can meet my expectations was an annoying tingle that festered my brain for months.  Now that the episode is out, I am glad to say that the two have passed the test.

You see, I had two clear visions of what RD’s parents would be like.  One of them, as you may have already figured out, was the Rainbow Dad blog.  Single dad taking care of his daughter by himself.  A mix of being an incredibly cool dad and a super embarrassing dad towards Rainbow.  Somepony that Dash can get along with, but not be seen in public with.  Pretty much a loving but overbearing dad.

The second headcanon of mine is just like the first, but in stereo.  I knew that if Rainbow Dash ever did get parents in the show, they would be the super enthusiastic supporting types.  Dashie has always been a very ego driven character so it stands to reason that her parents are the type of ponies to fuel that fire.  She is also seen as somebody with hidden insecurities as well.  So I always figured that, whether it be just one or both, that her folks would be one of those “super fans” you see at sporting events.  Being so loud and obnoxious about their cheering that Rainbow Dash would feel incredibly embarrassed by them.  They would be just too much.

And oooooh boy!  That is exactly what we got and I love it!  It is like they took a page from my unwritten book.  They even had Rainbow Dash NOT tell her parents that she is a Wonderbolt.  If I had been more competent with my own ask blog updates, that would have been the big reveal during the Hearth Warming Eve arc!  Like…  Dang!  Are the staff writers secretly downloading the contents of my brain or something?  This is just freaky.

As far as character designs go, you already have a good idea how I feel about Bow’s look.  He is an older version of Blaze with a scruffier face and he has a buzz cut.  Meanwhile Windy Whistles is a clone of Rainbow Dash except she has freckles and hair that is not a rainbow.  I am actually really glad for that last one.  Having both parents have rainbow hair or a mix of rainbows did not appeal to me much at all.  Rainbow hair, I feel, should be a rare recessive trait among ponies.  The red heads of pony society.  It would be a bit conceded if the only two ponies with rainbow hair decided to get together and make a rainbow haired kid.

It is also good that much like Twilight’s mom, Windy Whistles is also a throwback to the 80′s toyline and cartoon in the form of Windy Whislter.  Not quite Firefly but if you reverse the color scheme then you would have something to reach for, right?  Hopefully more people will catch onto the Windy Whistler part though.  Firefly got to be the first Wonderbolt.  Let Whistler be the baby mama, guys!

Now then, how was the episode?  This was suppose to be a sort of review, right?  Well, yeah.  I like it.  Though I might be a bit bias for obvious reasons.  The episode is pretty simple.  Scootaloo meets up with Rainbow’s parents, we spend time watching the three fangasm over her, Scoots brings them to Rainbow Dash and they embarrass her, she gets mad at them, she learns to appreciate that they meant well, she apologizes to them, and everybody is one big happy family.

The lesson of the episode is pretty good if a bit situational.  Not all parents are like Dash’s so it is not a lesson that can universally fit into everybody’s life.  Another lesson that parents might get out of this episode is how you should be supportive of your child, but be aware that there is such a thing as too much.  Scootaloo was really good in this episode.  She is both the catalyst and the solution.  We also get a lot more subtle insight into her family life.  It is not made clear if her parents are dead or just very neglectful (in a too busy for bonding way).  She brings insight that Rainbow needed to realize her folk’s good intentions and repair the strain she had between them.

To any Rainbow fan, I can recommend this episode.  There is a lot to enjoy.  The many callbacks to previous episodes and some entertaining jokes and background gags.  Rainbow’s parents also pass with flying colors by my book.  I am not even mad that they replaced the Daddy Rainbow Blaze headcanon.

anonymous asked:

ahhh thanks for answering! Can you make a full tutorial? Thank you!!! :)

Sure!

I think it’s best to start with Allura’s coloring, since this one’s more tricky. 

I think this would also be a very interesting tutorial for those who want to edit/gif POC but fear they might accidentally whitewash them due to the ligher effects. Well, fear not, because there is, in fact, a way to make everything pretty and pastel and still make your character’s skin tone as dark and consistent as it originally was.

So here’s the gif we’re going to start with.

And with the effects applied, it looks like this:

As you can see, I managed to make Allura’s entire surrounding pastel, including her eyes and clothes, without making drastic changes to her skin color. Her skin is slightly more reddish and darker, but that’s because of the coloring rather than the lighting-effects.

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Themis

PART 1 OF 5

Pairing: Soldier: 76/Genji Shimada/Hanzo Shimada/Reaper x Reader

Summary: The sudden appearance of a mysterious figure leaves more than just annoyance within the minds of these broken men.

Word Count: 3,129

WARNING: violent deaths + strong language

heya! can we have genji, hanzo, soldier76, and reaper realizing they’re falling in love with someone who always wears a mask?

- Anonymous

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Cinderella Phenomenon – A review, kind of

I finished Cinderella Phenomenon and really need to get my thoughts about it out of my head. It’s gonna be a long post. But the short version of it is: I really enjoyed this game and I think it deserves all the love and recognition it can get!

I will keep the first part of this post spoiler-free. Short bits about the actual routes will be put under the cut.

1. General

The game is for PC, it’s available on Steam, and it’s free! It seems the whole development was covered by a kickstarter project. Once downloaded, the full game is yours. No internet connection is needed for playing. So … yeah, getting this game can’t possibly get any easier.

2. Gameplay and game mechanics

It’s a visual novel. Klick through the story, choose between two or sometimes more choices every now and then. There are some useful functions: Skip, forward, and go back. So no need for a log if you missed a line, which is awesome. The save/load function is also really user friendly – there are more than enough slots, and saving or loading is always possible.

The choices you pick change the story and determine the outcome. There is an indicator to show if a choice was the right one – “right” meaning the one that leads to the good ending. I strongly recommend either saving at each choice or using a guide/walkthrough, because these right choices are not always obvious.

3. Look and sound

This may not be the prettiest otome game ever, when compared to big titles. But it still has a nice interface, great backgrounds, and nice and carefully drawn characters. Sometimes there are even simple animations. Everything considered it looks honestly good, has a lot of great CG’s and shows attention to details.

The background music is thoroughly amazing, no ifs or buts. A lot of piano and strings. It’s never obtrusive, but always fitting. There are quite a lot different themes for different moods … 27 pieces all in all.

4. Plot

Premise: In a world where fairies and witches draw power from two magical crystals … and where this power has of course become unbalanced … there lives one edgy teenage princess who gets cursed for her haughty, cold-hearted ways. She is afflicted by a so called “Fairytale Curse”, and just like Cinderella went from rags to riches, she went from riches to rags overnight. With no one besides the witches, fairies and the cursed to remember her, her whole life gets turned around. Then she goes through a life changing journey full of danger, love and friendship and self discovery.

The story, plot twists and developments are not exactly unpredictable. But the plot is still multilayered, interesting, and everything comes together nicely. It provides humor, and tragedy, and heart-warming fluffiness, and this charming fairytale leitmotif. I enjoyed the story a lot.

5. Characters

The MC

As mentioned, the player character is not your regular otome game heroine. This princess is far from the sweet and pure damsel I got used to. She starts out angsty, bitter and conceited, but she has a genuine side to her that’s all the more endearing. She does fall back into some otome game tropes and did make me facepalm occasionally … but she makes up for it by also making me laugh with her blunt, snarky attitude and by her really great character development. I actually cried more than once because of her. The MC has a canon name, Lucette, which can be kept or changed.

Love interests

There are five of them. They are all actually good, kind hearted people, so they can help thaw the ice princess MC. No jerks, no extreme tsunderes, no yanderes, no sadists. The character flaws they have are usually obvious from the start and as their characters are explored they only become more likable. Each has their own special dynamic with the MC, and though I do have favourites, I think every route feels right and genuine.

I recommend the “official” route order when playing. New revelations and knowledge from prior playthroughs felt balanced this way. Also, the story becomes gradually more … dark and heavy this way: Rod, Karma, Rumpel, Fritz, Waltz. I want to add what to expect from each of their routes, but will put that under the cut. It may be a bit spoilery.

Others

The supporting cast stays mostly the same and each character plays their own, distinct, and important role. They tend to be sweet and/or fun, and lovable, and their stories are gradually explored in the different routes. My favourite is the witch who cursed the MC, her snark is just delicious. The villains also have motivation and personality, but still clearly deserve what’s coming for them.

One fair warning, though: Supporting characters are not always safe in this game, not even on the way to good endings.

6. Now about the different routes …

I put this under the cut. I won’t give away all the spoilers, but I want to write a bit about what to expect from the guys and their routes.

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Select your gem; Vernon’s Route? [Yes/No]

Genre: Fluff/Romance/Humor 

Word Count: 4644

Characters: Hansol Vernon Chwe/Original Female, various Seventeen members

Summary: Inspired by Mystic Messenger. You find a dating app way better than tinder, and slip face first into the diamond life, specifically with the gem that is Hansol Vernon Chwe. 

It started much like any student would do to pass time in their perpetually mundane lives. Finagle around the internet for a couple hours, and anyone can end up finding some pretty weird stuff. My best friend offhandedly mentioned some phone app a few days ago, saying that it helped her get over her last breakup. I admit that she was slightly crazy as she described the contents of said program, and I accepted her insistence with a grain of salt. I had no idea how an app could correlate to her last relationship, so that’s how I spent my restless Friday night, downloading an app.

Slip into the Diamond Life. Weird. My phone started to glitch uncontrollably, and I felt a strange vibration pattern from its weight, bothering my palm as it shook in my grasp. The screen glowed an eerily pleasant shade of lilac and rose, and I felt a strange sense of foreboding, as if I was getting into something that’d probably consume me in the best possible way. An address book popped on the side screen, and in faded sky script, the notification gestured to a list of users.

Select your gem.

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Takin’ Commissions - A Beginner’s Guide

Do you draw? Do you want to make money drawing? Are you like, sixteen, and unable to get a job? Well no matter your age or skill level, being open for commissions is a great way to practice your craft while making some cash. Taking commissions is pretty simple, but the hardest part is getting started. And I’ve learned the hard way over several years that there are lots of little obstacles that can get in the way of taking commissions efficiently. So if you’re interested in starting your own little art business, let me be your guide!

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anonymous asked:

How do you make gifs?

This is fairly long as I tried to be as detailed as possible because I know when I first started making gifs it was all very confusing. Once you get the hang of it though, it really is quite easy!

By the end of this post you should be able to make gifs with text and a very simple colouring like the one below :)

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I have previously posted a text on plausible summer plans, and this is a post that focuses on the study part of summer, aka what to study during summer, how to prepare for studying during summer, and to devise a study plan.


What to study during summer?

  • Review: If your courses continues for more than a year, it is very important for you to look at last year’s work
    • This includes going through you test papers (tests, finals and more) to figure out the chapters or concepts you are unfamiliar with
    • It’s also very important to review subjects thoroughly like Math and Science, because they require a strong foundation to continue
  • Preview: the best thing to read is your textbook
    • it is an important foundation of knowledge that may help you to catch up (or even get ahead of everyone else) in classes
    • you don’t want to prepare every single thing (e.g. all the handouts, assignments or even lecture notes from others), otherwise you are gonna lose interest during class thinking that you know everything already
    • You should read your textbook using active reading (like SQ3R), so as to find out the main points, difficult areas, and areas that you can think of some questions
      • Note those questions down
      • Try to annotate your textbook
      • Or outline them if you have the time
      • Make flashcards to summarise the chapters so you have an idea of what’s going to be taught next year
      • Do some simple practice questions (e.g. those included in your textbook to test your understanding)
    • Remember you don’t have to know all the concepts and force yourself to understand everything, it’s enough to mark those difficult areas down so that you can pay more attention regarding those parts during class
    • You can also prepare a question booklet for all the classes and have a collection of questions you want to ask after school starts

Preparing for studying during summer

  • If you have your textbook list, purchase your textbooks as soon as possible (I usually bought them right after the end of the previous academic year)
  • Go to your teachers/lecturer to ask about what should you be studying during summer, you may ask about:
    • The topics that most students have difficulties with
    • The topics that are essential and fundamental to understand other topics
    • Or the chapters that your teachers think you fail to grasp well in the previous year
  • You may email them or just find them during their office hours
  • Go to your school website or anywhere you can find your course syllabi and areas to be examined (for next year) - this will give you an outline on what you should specifically focus on

Devising your summer study plan

  • One of the major problems about studying during summer is that your schedule tends to be very flexible, and that makes it difficult to estimate the amount of time you have for studying
  • So it’s very important to be honest with yourself, and try to schedule a suitable amount of stuff for each day
    • For example, i tend to schedule two hours of study per day during summer. It’s not a lot of time but it definite helps.
    • Try not to squeeze your summer studying into one week or two, it never works well. The best choice is to study little by little.
    • You may also set a fixed time to study everyday, like 6-8pm in the evening. If that’s the case, try not to hang out during that time and save it as your own study time


Summer Study Plan Printable

This is a very simple version of summer study plan that I currently use for planning the events I have during summer, online courses I intended to take, and books i want to read, as well as things I want to review and preview for the next academic year.

If you are interested, you can download the pdf version here for free.

I personally first plan on these printables, then schedule the tasks using a monthly planner (I use iOS calendar, so I just click print for the month of July and August. It has all my scheduled events and appointments on it so i can estimate the amount of free time I have).


From my personal experience, summer study helps so much because it really does allow you to be more confident with yourself during class (so you can actively participate), to be ahead of others and to increase your curiosity to learn during the semester. I was a super average student before and ever since I started studying during summer, I became one of the top students in the next academic year. It’s definitely worth a shot, especially for people who tend to think that they have already put so much effort yet were still unable to get the desired grades.


#11 || Link to my Study Tips Series - I post once a week here! (strive-for-da-best