Review | Problems and Other Stories by John Updike

Genre: short stories, realistic fiction
Setting: all over America, 1970s
# of Pages: 285
Rating: 3.5/5

The skinny: Updike chronicles the painful mundane: life and love in America.

The fat: This collection of stories is one of the best portraits of everyday life in America I’ve ever come across (and I hate short stories usually, so that’s saying something). “How to Love America and Leave It at the Same Time” is especially poignant, and in the titular “Problems” the mathematics of emotion plumb unexpected depths. Updike harps too long on certain themes (divorce, infidelity) and all the main characters seem to be cut from exactly the same cloth (middle-aged while male divorcés–shocker, this is the ’70s) so that the stories start to feel repetitive, but overall a good, thought-provoking read.


Just a quick video I recorded while thinking about the season 2 finale that is going to air next week for Star Vs. The Forces of Evil. What do you think is going to happen?

REBLOGS are appreciated!


The 1975 | By Your Side | Single Review

i’ve got a lot of good things to say about a song that a lot of people had bad things to say about

I’m sitting on our old oak porch,
dreaming of ways to break away.
Romantic scenarios meant for the big screen.
Hoping my life would be that pristine clean.

I drift away to my happy place
and I wonder what it would be like to just run,
through the fields,
through the trees,
to a place suited for me.
A gush of wind comes along,
that thought doesn’t last for long.

The sun’s going down,
all the neighbors security lights are flickering on.
I, once again, wonder what it would be like to just run,
over the fences,
under the nights,
on this warm summer night.
Tonight I planned my break away,
but it only sealed my fate.
I’m less of an escape artist,
more of a runaway.

So I’m back on this old oak porch, thinking of the life I could have lived if I were born on
a different day,
a different year,
a different country.
I go to my happy place and I smile.
I smile because,
out of all the days,
all the years,
and all the countries,
I was born here.
Written by Murphie Matheson



Review : This was a really great piece and I thought you were able to connect your thoughts wonderfully. It had a nice flow of your ideas and I think you did a good job here overall. Keep writing! ❤


Freetom Uncut 4.5″ STP Review

So this is going to be a long review on all 3 of the Freetom Uncut 4.5" stps I have owned.

#1: Skin tone Warm Rosy (no paint plus)

#2: Skin tone Tan (paint plus)

#3: Skin tone Caucasian (paint plus)

Now I’m sure you are probably wondering why I have owned basically the same prosthetic so many times, well as you can see even though they are technically all Freetom uncut’s they all have a very different cut from the mold. 
The first one I ordered (the warm rosy) was just a test to see how I would feel with an uncut prosthetic, I didn’t have much hope in the cup because of how weirdly shaped it is, however I loved it. So I decided to update to a paint plus version (the tan) which I also loved, but the cup was cut a little short in back and the skin tone was a little off. So I recently bought the last one (caucasian) which is by far my favorite out of all 3 for the following reasons:

The prosthetic was made with the softer silicone which I thought I was not going to be a fan of because the softer silicone seemed to have a way floppier cup, making me personally unable to pee. But this one was bought used so i thought why not give it a try. 

Packing: For the first 2 I packed with a man view jockstrap with no leg straps that I cut a hole in to put the stp through with boxer briefs or briefs. While the 3rd prosthetic I use my miracle jockstrap harness from peecock with the same types of underwear. The softer model seems to definitely be the most comfortable for packing, I never really realized it because I didn’t want to give it a try out of fear of a failing stp, but it is a lot less noticeable against your skin, which I know a lot of guys prefer. The bulge with all of them seems to be very similar and is not boner like at all and very manageable in my opinion. The softer silicone also has A LOT more texture in my opinion, which includes little bumps basically everywhere (I will include a picture later in the review!) and I really love the feel, it does seem to collect more hairs however. Soft: 10/10 Hard: 8.5/10

(Here are photos of the harnesses, first photo is the peecock harness) 

(Here is how it packs in briefs (brand Calvin Klein if that makes a difference?)

Here is an up close photo of the detail, I used baby powder on the prosthetic before hand to really show off the texture because capturing a photo of it is really hard, so just keep that in mind.

Peeing: It did take me a very long time to get used to peeing with the prosthetic but the prosthetic mentally clicked so well I couldn’t give up on it, and I’m glad I didn’t. How I found to pee the easiest way is to hold the hole your pee flows into as closely as possible to the opening of your urethra, then push the balls against your body to form a seal, lean forward a bit, and go! I have only leaked with the first two maybe twice each?? But I just had to get used to the prosthetic is all. I won’t lie and with a bigger cup it is easier, but the smaller cup was not impossible by any means and the smaller cup does make for easier packing because the cup doesn’t stand up from your skin pushing the prosthetic out more. Another thing I would like to mention is that the uncut’s hole that your pee flows into seems to be a lot wider then any other freetom I have owned before which definitely goes towards an advantage as you do not have to control your flow as much because of this. Another thing I managed to do for the first time with any prosthetic with the last uncut is pee while having sweatpants on. I have always found it impossible when there is no fly, so I always ended up having to pull my pants down past my knees. However, recently I managed to do it by pulling my pants down slightly then just “plopping” the shaft over the edge of my sweat pants, pressing the cup to me through my sweat pants, then peeing! 7/10

Paint Plus Vs. Non-painting: So many people often ask or wonder if the extra money for the paint plus is worth it. And well I definitely do think it is, as before this prosthetic I used the Emisil as my main stp and the detail is absolutely amazing, so I just couldn’t go back to an unpainted prosthetic. However, I do know guys often cannot afford this, so there is another option! You could dye your prosthetic yourself :) I have not personally done this but I will add a link now to someone who has very good instructions on how to do so!:


I’m not very good at describing things and thought this review was going to be way better worded, but it isn’t, So! If you have questions please don’t hesitate! Comment or message if you need anything at all

anonymous asked:

So I know an anon told you they didn't like the HVD fic, and they are entitled to their opinion, but I think you should hear from someone who really enjoyed it too. I totally understand the bath. Sometimes when life gets too much, you don't have time for yourself so someone else seeing that and allowing you that alone moment is them helping care for you too. Plus, when you're older flowers and choc just doesn't feel right always. I really liked it, it was very well written and you're wonderful.

That’s exactly what I was going for! I’m so so happy that you liked it and you’re wonderful for leaving me this message.

Thank you!!!


Believe the hype: ‘Hidden Figures’ is as great as it looks

The choice to give Hidden Figures an Oscar-qualifying run ahead of its wide release next year was a wise one: This movie is a home run, a veritable fist-pump of a film that celebrates the tremendous success of these women while never forgetting exactly how difficult their journey to the stars was.

Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe are all terrific — the latter coming off an incredible debut year as a film actress, having also co-starred in Moonlight — and the supporting ensemble is strong across the board. (Hidden Figures makes for a great best ensemble SAG nominee.) Their performances, with Schroeder and Melfi’s smart script in tow, keep these figures from becoming mere chess pieces in history. Their wants, their needs, their loves and their pains are rendered with specificity and sympathy.

In truth, Hidden Figures would have been required viewing no matter what because of its historical importance. But now, it’s a movie you’ll be anxious to see again minutes after walking out of the theater. Read our full review

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How to Annotate Literature

Many times language and literature classes require students to annotate the books that are given to them, but in many cases tips and advice on how to do so is lacking. I will be sharing my personal strategy for efficient and successful annotating that will not only help your understanding of the text but also gain the love of your teachers!

The tips have been divided into 5 components, each with their own explanation.

Sticky Tabs are Your Best Friend

I don’t know how I would manage to annotate without my sticky tabs. They help me organize and navigate the book before the reading, remind me what to look for while i’m going through the text and help me find whatever I may need once I get to further analysis for the class. 

Create a key for your tabs, personally I use five colors each having a few specific purposes based on where I place them in the book. Most stickies are accompanied by a specific note that will remind me of what I wanted to point out, these stick out of the right margin. 

  • Pink- Anything to do with characters, be it development or certain traits to remember. It can also be used for when you have questions about character related aspects of the text.
  • Orange- Refers to setting, in plays it is also applicable for stage directions.
  • Yellow- Is used for literary devices and use of language (tone, diction, patterns) and syntax, if there is a particular word the author used or a structure you want to take note of, this is the color to use. 
  • Green- Applicable to any important plot events, notable scenes or things that you think will be significant later in the story.
  • Blue- Themes and context of said ideas, anything to do with time, place and space in which the text takes place. It can also relate to how your context (a student reading a book for a literature course) impacts your perception of the text.

These are the things teachers usually look out for and it is certainly useful in any kind of further task! 

The top and bottom margins can be used to divide the book in to sections, such as chapters or scenes, mark the most important pages and to also highlight text to text connections. These colors you can pick yourself!

I do not recommend having more than 5 sticky tabs per page, otherwise it gets too crowded and they lose their purpose! (but you will still need to buy aaa lloootttt)

This is my key for the book I am currently annotating, Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. 

Don’t Overdo it With the Highlighter

Find one color highlighter that you like the most and use it to mark explicit words or phrases that catch your attention, you can also use them in correlation with you sticky tabs! 

I prefer to use a yellow highlighter because it seems to bleed the least, and I usually use it in relation to the the yellow and blue tabs because those are the ones that relate to the most detailed and minute parts of the text. Once again you can find your own preference! But don’t overdo it, otherwise, like the tabs, the highlighter will lose its function to highlight important points. 

This is an example of how much highlighting I usually do. For non-fictional texts or parts of a book (like in the introduction you see here) I reserved highlighter for dates and names. 

Have a Conversation With the Author

This is one of the first tips that my high school teacher gave me and it’s really one of the most important ones to remember. And I know, it may sound kinda silly, but I find that it really helps me in developing my ideas and remembering exactly how I felt about a certain aspect of part of the text. 

Whether the text is fiction of non fiction, anything in between, you can always do these few things

  • Ask questions- As if you were going to get an answer, ask questions, write them down and write down as many as you want. Writing things down helps people remember so then it is more likely that in a class discussion you will be able to recall your queries or wonders. 
  • If you don’t like something, or you’re surprised by something, write it down! Use exclamation marks, use words that you would use in a regular conversation. I always write ‘WOW!!’ or ‘OMG’ when i’m especially impressed, and having such vocal- well written vocally- emotions will bring you closer to the subject of the text. 
  • Talk to the characters as well, if you are questioning a character’s actions ask them and provide an explanation as to why you speculate they may have acted a certain way. Not only does that further contribute to your involvement (also making things more entertaining) but it also deepens your thought!

What i’m trying to say is write down anything that comes to mind, your first response is your true response, and it is a valuable addition to your notes! And if you want to write a whole essay in between the lines… Actually, i’ll come back to that later! 

Pens, not Pencils 

I used to make notes completely in pencil but my approach changed when I realized that overtime the pencil would rub off and get illegible. I think it was because I used my book so much, but having switched to pen I realized that it helps me in quite a few other things as well. 

The good thing about pen is that you can’t erase it and let’s say you started writing down a note, scan down the page and realize what you are taking a note of is completely wrong. That’s ok! That’s actually really good! Don’t scribble out what you just wrote down, but instead continue and explain why you may have thought a certain way and what your understanding is now. That relates really closely to the previous note. 

Evidently pen also appears darker on the page, then there’s no possibility of it ever disappearing. It also won’t smudge or bleed as long as it’s ballpoint! That’s a good thing when drawing arrows between lines, underlining in addition to your highlights and circling/boxing whatever you deem necessary.

Time, Effort and Commitment

It’s clear that this post took me a while to make, and it took me a while to develop this system with all of the things that I have considered. So it must be self evident that using this type of annotation won’t be quick. It might get tiring at some times, and for me it really does, but at the end I find that it always pays off! You have to stay committed to this technique, you have to put in the same amount of effort for every page, which means you need time. So here are a few final general tips I will leave you with.

  • Don’t procrastinate! As goes for any task, and this one more than any, don’t waste time getting to it! I advice you check how many pages you have in total and make sure that you do a certain amount per day (usually 5-10 pages a day is good!)
  • If you go off on massive tangents in the side bars, make sure that you don’t get too distracted by them because they will take up a lot of your time. But one now and then may be good! Be sure to mark it for later reference!
  • Play mind games with yourself. This one is actually pretty interesting but it personally gets me a long way. If you have 20 pages left, don’t look at it as 20 pages but instead as 4 times 5, then the amount will seem a lot more manageable! It’s a kind of self encouragement!
  • That can also be said by looking now and then at how far your bookmark has moved through the book and giving yourself a pat on the back for all of you hard work!

That’s all I have for now! If you have any further questions for advice or explanation please message me and I will be more than happy to help! And I hope that this helps some people out too! (I’m counting this as 21/100 days of productivity as all I did today was related to annotating.)

Viola Davis gives the single greatest performance of 2016 in ‘Fences’

There have been other great performances in film this year — Mahershala Ali in Moonlight, Molly Shannon in Other People , Annette Bening in 20th Century Women — but Davis’ is different. Watching Davis is watching a master craftsman build a cathedral without so much as breaking a sweat. She is unparalleled and reason enough to see Fences , no matter how uneven an adaptation it may be. 

Viola Davis will be remembered in history as a legend. We’re just fortunate enough to live to see her working at her peak. Read more

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Reading some of the netflix reviews from people who didn’t like ASOUE because the ‘writing was nothing like the books’. If you didn’t like it because you didn’t like it then fine what-the-fuck-ever, but don’t fall back on that as your argument. Why? Bitch. Daniel Handler wrote the screenplays.

The author wrote the series.

He’s writing ALL. THE. SERIES.

Sit your ass down and stop assuming you know the tone of the books better than the person that fucking wrote them just because you’re a purist literary snob.

Math class like...
  • Friend: do you have the equation?
  • Me: i do.
  • Friend: what is it?
  • Me: (Levi + Jean) x (murder × psychological trauma) - 10 months of sleep = Killing Stalking
  • Friend [donw with my shit]: really?
  • Me: the basement.
Why I Like Zootopia, In Case You Were Wondering

So I’m sure no one gives a shit but I wanted to flesh out the reason I really like Zootopia and put it as my number one pick for BEST DISNEY MOVIE in that video I made.

I see a lot of people disagreeing there, which is totally fine, you can like whatever movies you want, but what’s bothering me is the large number of comments saying that Zootopia isn’t a good exploration of race issues, which I think is just untrue. Of course, the MAIN reason I like the film is for the main characters and their fantastic dynamic. I’ll briefly address that before the race stuff because it’s more fun.

POINT 1 - The Main Reason I Actually Like Zootopia Has Nothing to Do With Racism.

Despite being populated with animals, the two leads in Zootopia are the most human characters Disney has ever produced. Trust me, I just watched every film they ever made. Why is that? Well, it’s because of the little things. Little moments that really shows how two adults might interact with each other. My favorite of these is in the Judy’s Apology scene. After Nick accepts her apology, about a dozen little things happen in quick succession. 

The moment where Nick jokingly holds up the pen and says “A-Are you just tryin’ to steal the pen? Is that what this is?” Then Judy half-heartedly makes a grab for it, as she really had no intention to steal it.

THAT right there. THAT is perfect.

Why is that perfect? Well I’ll tell you. Only one thing needed to happen in this moment, and that was a single cue to the audience that the two characters had made up and are going to catch the bad guy. Instead they threw in about a dozen little things that just add so much personality to the two characters. Judy’s little hiccup-laugh in the middle of her crying. Nick teasing her even as she goes in to hug him, with a jab overgeneralizing bunnies of all things (clearly a joke as Judy JUST apologized for overgeneralizing foxes). Instead of hugging him she lets her head comically fall on him, which shows a lot more than a simple hug would, and then they play that little game at the end.

Look at that! Look at that paragraph of personality they just injected into a single action! Character interaction shows so much and these two are just amazing at it. Every scene is like this.

Remember that one exchange in Hercules where Meg is talking to Hades about how Hercules might not be all that bad?

That’s a great moment, isn’t it? Really shows a lot of character, just in the way they banter. Now imagine that for an entire movie instead of just one line.

That. THAT right there is why I love Zootopia.

Anyways, let’s talk about racism!

POINT 2 - “But Animal Species Aren’t the SAME as Human Races!”

I’m seeing a lot of people quoting other reviews of the film that revisit a few major problems, the biggest one being that ”the allegory for racism doesn’t work because while humans are the same physiologically despite their racial differences, animals are not the same when they are different species.” I think this criticism is… a little silly. Of course it’s true that race is different from species, but no allegory is perfect and I think it’s well within our capabilities to use our suspension of disbelief and focus on what the message of the story is. The animals are all the same level of sentient, and they’re all functionally represented as basically human. I didn’t watch Disney’s Robin Hood and think “Hey wait a minute! If Little John is a bear, why isn’t he attacking Robin Hood!? This doesn’t make a lick of sense!” You might think that’s different, but no it isn’t.

The point of this movie isn’t just to say “Don’t be mean to people who are different than you!!!” It’s not a GI Joe PSA. The message is not to give into fear or popular misconceptions just because of what you’ve heard about a group of people, whether that’s from the media or a friend and family member. To not let fear control your prejudice.

Take a moment to think about the Night Howler Savagery as, say, terrorism in America and the stigma against Islamic people that has resulted because of it. Because a few members of a select group (Predators in the movie, Muslims in real life) have been linked to a frightening event, many citizens have become scared of all of them, even though really there isn’t any proven link between them. Can only predators go savage? No. Correlation is not causation. And in this point, I think the movie succeeds very well. While Bellwether is not an especially compelling villain on her own merit (though she is a believable one), she represents the greater theme of giving in to senseless fear and hearsay, and that’s really what the movie wants you to think about.

I’ve also seen people say “Of course Judy should be scared of a fox! He’s a fox!” That… that’s not how the rules work in this universe, though. They’re all presented at the same level. And if you think “but the Predators can get really dangerous if they go savage!” Well so do the Prey. Remember? That’s the whole point.

POINT 3 - “Preachiness and Subtly”

People also frequently point out how “overt” and “preachy” the movie’s themes are. This reminds me of when people said they hated Wall-E for being “preachy” about the environment. Yeah, it’s not a secret that that’s what the movie is about, but I don’t think that’s a problem. In fact, the main reason I think Zootopia is successful is because of the subtle things it does. Stay with me here.

I enjoyed the movie the first time I saw it, but I fell in love with it on a second viewing. This is because the first time I saw the film I went in thinking Judy would take on the role of the oppressed minority against a cruel society that looks down on her because of her race, which is mostly true, for the first act! In the second act it becomes clear that Judy is actually also pretty racist! Wow, imagine that two-way dichotomy! Now imagine a 400-way dichotomy! Oh hey, it’s just like real life! Judy just shows her prejudices in different ways, like the fox repellant she carries. This, of course, is not subtle. Nick points this out in the movie.

Now coming in knowing that Judy is also prejudiced makes the rewatch a bit more interesting. It makes adds a lot to certain scenes and exchanges. For example, after Judy meets Nick for the first time in the ice cream parlor and helps him get a jumbo pop for his son, she’s impressed with how nice he is for a fox! Foxes in her experience have been dicks, so the following exchange happens:

JUDY: Well, I just wanna say, you’re a great dad and just a… a real articulate fellow.

NICK: (With apparent sincerity) Ah, well, that is high praise. It’s rare that I find someone so non-patronizing.

I absolutely love this exchange and I’ll let Reddit user TehSneakySnake explain why.

By calling Nick “articulate”, Judy is suggesting, (or at least partially implying), that not all foxes are as well spoken, or well behaved, as Nick appears to be. (“…You’re not like them.”) Nick thanks Judy for the complement and claims that its rare for him to come across someone non-patronizing, which is basically a back-handed comment, masked with false sincerity, towards Judy. We later learn that Nick noticed the fox repellant she was carrying, (symbolizing her prejudice against foxes), and the fact that Judy defended and later complimented him on being a good dad leads Nick to conclude that Judy was simply taking pity on him for being a “good” fox, despite the fact that she immediately found him to be suspicious upon first sight. By calling her “non-patronizing” when she clearly WAS being patronizing, Nick is subtly calling Judy out on her prejudice towards foxes, which goes right over her head.

It’s a pretty hard joke to get, but its pretty hilarious once you understand.

Look at that! It’s a microaggression! Something not a lot of movies bring up in regards to race relation! And there’s a bunch of little moments like that. That kind of leads me to my next point:

POINT 4 - “This Won’t Make Racist People Un-Racist!”

Another thing I’ve heard is that “the movie is preaching to the choir because anyone who is racist already isn’t going to stop being racist because they saw this movie.” To that I say: well duh. Of course people aren’t going to be skipping out of the theater suddenly unbigoted. That’s… that’s not how THINGS work. That’s not the point. The point is to bring things to the conversation. To introduce children of a younger generation to little things like the above microaggression and show them moments like Gideon growing up, growing as a person, and apologizing for his behavior.

You don’t change a cultural zeitgeist in a day. You pepper it here and there, patiently, consistently, until slowly people begin to see the things you’re trying to show them everywhere around them. That’s how the world changes for the better.

AND briefly just to counteract myself, here are some things I don’t like about this movie:

  • In general, the supporting cast is pretty bland. Looking at you “fat cop that likes donuts” character.
  • I don’t think the villain is AMAZING, but I think she is fine for the message the movie is trying to get across.
  • Chief Bogo is ridiculously antagonistic just so the movie can have an antagonist in act one. I can buy him being racist, but attempting to fire Judy for insubordination one day after she was inducted by the mayor is literally so stupid it’s unbelievable.
  • Also he asks her for her badge before their 48 hours deal is even finished and that bothers me more than it should.
  • The buddy cop plot is a lot of fun, but it’s not breaking any new ground in Plot Convention Town.