The Month of Jeb

If you’re anything like me, you start off the new year with great plans. You’re going to eat healthier, exercise more, clean more, get organized, get a Covid shot, or whatever and suddenly (well not really suddenly cause time just moves differently in a pandemic) February is over and you’ve already lost two months of the year. I am pleased to inform you not to fear, because you’re only missed one month, the month of Jeb.

I first encountered Jeb (the combination of January and February) a few years ago when I was a project manager for a large public opinion study on health insurers. The survey was in field all year, every year. Every year they would make changes to the survey to launch in January, and every year we would tell them the deadline to give us those changes, remind them of it on our weekly meetings, and every year we watched that deadline pass. Then we watched the real deadlines pass, because obviously we gave the client a much earlier deadline than the real one. So we obviously didn’t start fielding the survey on January 1st, but we usually got it going right before the end of January. We therefore couldn’t deliver a January data file (as we delivered data on a monthly basis), but we’d combine January and February and deliver a Jeb file.

I really like Jeb. When you think about, January and February are basically the same. They’re cold, they’re dark, they’re full of snow. Jeb makes it just so you have one month between the post-Christmas slump and the hope that spring just might actually appear. One month just seems more tolerable than two (I mean its literally half) especially in a year like this. A year where we’ll all spend months waiting around to get our Covid vaccines so we can finally move on with our lives and do the things we haven’t been able to do. Waiting one less month, regardless of how many months it is, just seem more tolerable. So if you’re not as far in your 2021 goals as you’d like to be, be kind to yourself, only the month of Jeb has passed.

I Finished the 4th Game of Thrones Book and Dany Isn’t Even in it!

Jon Snow is barely seen, no Bran (which makes his not being in an entire season of the show make more sense) and no Tyrion. George RR Martin decided to split the 4th and 5th books into events close to Kingslanding and events not close to Kingslanding, which is a choice. So we focused on Jaime, Sam, Sansa, Arya, Cersei (who finally gets to narrate!), Brienne (who also gets to narrate), whatever is going on in the Iron Islands, and the Dornish drama. 

Let’s start with Cersei. Girl is crazy paranoid! We eventually find out that when she was a kid she got her fortune told by a witch, who says her kids will die, we all knew that from TV though. What they left out of the show is that the witch said her brother would kill her. She assumes its Tyrion. So when Tyrion kills her father and confesses to killing Joffrey, she understandably freaks. But does this mean that Jaime is going to kill her in the books as a fakeout, will Tyrion do it and remove a potential plot twice, an unknown bastard of Tywin. If George RR Martin doesn’t get to writing we may never know.

I need to give Lena Headey a lot of respect for how she played Cersei. Reading Cersei’s narration, I think it would have been very easy to play her very one dimensionally. She’s consumed with power and does a pretty terrible job of ruling, so I feel like it would have been pretty easy to just play her as a mad power hungry woman.

Cersei wants to be near Tommen, which is understandable, however Uncle Kevan, who in the show is just generic old man to Tywin’s right, won’t serve as hand if she stays with Tommen. So he leaves to help Lancel who just got some lands through marriage (unforunately Lancel joins the Sparrows). Cersei picks a horrible Hand and pretty much every other position on the small council. She wants to keep the Tyrell’s away. When Tommen wants to learn how to joust form Loras, she flips out. She hates Margery and convinced she’s sleeping around. Also important to mention, Tommen in 8, so their marriage is most definitely not consummated. What’s really dumb is Cersei actually trusts one of Margery’s people as an informant, who I’m fairly certain is playing her, but time will tell. Anyway, Cersei does get Margery thrown into prison for cheating on Tommen (not sure if she does) but one of Margery’s “lovers” confesses to sleeping with Cersei, which gets her thrown in prison.

A bit about the High Sparrow. Cersei does not put him in power. The Septons vote on it, like with the Pope, and he wins. There’s been this movement of Sparrows as so many people have lost everything in all of the wars and find religion. Cersei does give him the power to arrest people and fight, which everyone says is a stupid idea and proves to be so. Also, Loras is wounded in battle, not arrested by the Sparrows. He and Renly are never really established as lovers. Loras’s sexuality is more hinted at, like one might say they’d be shocked if Loras brought a girlfriend to the wedding.

Sansa meanwhile does not go to Winterfell and marry Ramsey (yay!). She’s stuck with Littlefinger in the Eyrie, engaged to her cousin Robin (boo!). Robin definitely has epilepsy and is most likely being poisoned by Littlefinger. She’s pretending she’s Littlefinger’s bastard, but he’s still into her, so its creepy af!

Arya’s in Braavos, like before, but the Faceless Men really don’t think she should join them. They are like we will send you literally anywhere and let you be literally anyone and she says no! How dumb is that! Anyway, they send to spend part of her time selling shellfish and gaining information and part of her time serving in the House of Black and White. Also, the other young girl there looks like a young girl, but is really 35. Arya kills a man who desserted the Night’s Watch and when the Faceless Men find out they poison her so she goes blind (ostensibly because she’s not giving up her identity because Arya cares about deserts of the Night’s Watch, but A Girl does not). Also our boy, Jaqen, H’ghar, isn’t there, but more on him later. Arya also has a chance encounter with Sam. I’m hoping Sam is to the Stark children’s story lines what Pizza Planet is to Pixar Movies in that he will serve a role in every one.

So, like in the books, Jon orders Sam to go to Old Town to become a Maester. That’s where the similarities end with the TV show. Sam doesn’t want to go! Seriously Sam, you can just read, and learn stuff, which is all you want to do! No one will make you fight or make you feel like a craven. But he’s like my Dad won’t like it. Your Dad sent you away. You are not really is son anymore, buddy chill out! Jon also sends Maester Aemon, whos 102 on this voyage to Old Town and Gilly. Now, Mance Rayder had a baby, the mother died in childbirth and Gilly was nursing it. Because the Red Woman wants King’s blood, Jon and Maester Aemon design a plan where Gilly will leave her baby at Castle Black and take Rayder’s (who has King’s blood). Gilly is obviously not happy about this and cries most of the trip. Maester Aemon goes too because he’s a Targaryen, and, due to events, could have been King if he weren’t a Maester. Sidebar, can someone write some fan fic about Westeros being really well run if Maester Aemon become King Aemon? I’d read it. Anyway, they travel by boat, wind up in Braavos, where they stay a bit as Maester Aemon is sick and another sworn Brother deserts (the one Arya kills). He also freaks out after him and Gilly get together because of his vows, which is different than TV Sam who is like well she’s not my wife so the vow is not broken. Maester Aemon dies, but does learn about Dany and believes that she needs a Maester to help her and guide her. He’s sad he’ll die and not be the one to do ti.

Onto the Iron Islands. Balon Greyjoy actually has a bunch of brothers and there’s a different one who would be a better ruler than Euron. Another brother who is a priest, decides they’ll just vote on it (you know, like plunderer’s do) and Asha (Yara on TV) puts her candidacy up, but loses. Euron wins and promises he’s going to plunder the crap out of Westeros and will marry the Dragon Queen. He does not try to kill Asha, but she runs off anyway. Theon is presumed dead.

Some minor differences before we get into the DRAMA! Jaime relearns to fight from Ilyn Payne, not Bronn. Bronn marries this “slow” woman who during that riot against Joffrey gets raped and pregnant. Cersei convinced Bronn is helping Tyrion gets this woman’s younger sister and her husband to fight Bronn. They don’t succeed. It does not end well for them.

Onto some drama! Brienne is looking for Sansa at Jaime’s command. Podrick, who is a young boy, so sadly we’ll never find out what he did to those whores to make them give him his money back, follows her and she eventually takes him on. She winds up learning that the Hound has Sansa and pursues him. It is believed that the Hound pillaging like crazy. In her pursuit, she ends up on this island with a bunch of monks, she’s told the Hound is dead, so whoever is pillaging is just posing as him. My guess is the Hound is on the island, so like the Hound is dead, but Sandor Clegane is not, so the head monk wasn’t really lying. Anyway, eventually they get kidnapped while saving a bunch of kids from the New Hound by Lady Stoneheart’s (zombie Catleyn Stark) men. Gendry is one of them. Anyway, she’s super upset that Brienne has orders from Tommen to find Sansa and believes Brienne is going to hurt her, despite Brienne’s protests. Lady Stoneheart is going to hang her and Pod but doesn’t when Brienne agrees to find and kill Jaime!! I know, right!

I had to read some stuff on the internet, cause I got confused, but I think Jaqen is posing as a student studying with the Maester’s in Old Town. In the prologue there’s this student who gets killed, but then he magically appears with Sam in Old Town, at the end of the book but is a little different. So not sure what’s going on there, but I’m very concerned for Sam.

The real good tea, as the kids would say, is in Dorne! Everything is crazy different in Dorne. Oberlyn’s daughter’s are understandably upset their father is dead. Prince Doran Martell has them locked up before they can mess everything up. Ellaria Sand isn’t around and her children with Oberlyn are little and not involved. But, Doran’s daughter, who is heir to Dorne, because they get that the patriarchy is nonsense, wants to name Myrcella Queen of Westeros. She believes her younger brother, not the one engaged to Myrcella, is across the Narrow Sea trying to buy an army to take her claim. She thinks if Myrcella is Queen there’s a small chance he will be successful. She seduces Myrcella’s guard, win’s his trust and gets him to take her to be coronated. The plan gets thwarted, Myrcella gets hurt, but doesn’t die. When Doran finally talks to his daughter after she is captured, we find out Doran has been playing the long game. He was going to defeat Tywin (before he died) for ordering his sister murdered, but first was going to destory everything he holds dear. He was going to marry his daughter to Viserys Targaryen, but he died. So now he sending his son to marry Dany, so they can help her retake her claim to the Iron Throne. And that is some tea!

How Exactly Do We Move Forward From Here?

Wow, everybody! It has been a week!! Events have transpired! I’m angry, I’m scared, I’m depressed. I’ve spent the past few days rotating between thinking I should move to Canada (once they let us in) and join the CIA. I got a little bit of perspective this weekend and I’d like to share my thoughts.

You can only control yourself. It’s a tough lesson, but it’s true. I spent years working with adults with intellectual disabilities. I could not control my clients behaviors. Don’t get me wrong, I wrote behavioral plans for a living. So, while I gave them the tools they needed to succeed, I could not make those changes happen. I could only control how what I did and how I felt. Without violating HIPAA, some examples. I spent 10 minutes arguing with a client because I wanted him to do something now and he wanted to do it in 10 minutes. So once it hit the time he wanted we stopped arguing. I learned that I could not make clients stop stealing from other clients (insert beautifully written tangent about the horrors of institutionalization and how those behaviors still linger decades later). I could make sure their awesome cross-disciplinary behavioral plan was followed as best I could, which, decreased that behavior.

This is a long way to say, there are things I want to happen now, but there’s little I can do to make it happen. I want the government to spend an absurd amount of money and time catching every single person who went into the Capitol Building. I want every single one charged with a felony. Anyone who took anything, or broke anything charged with some serious crimes along the lines of terroism and insurrection. I want the RNC to theaten every single elected Republican that if they do not release a statement that there was no wide spread fraud in the 2020 election they will not receive funding. I want Trump Impeached, again, or the 25th Ammendment invoked.

I can’t make any of those things happen. I can, and should, sign petitions. I can not vote for extreme candidates. I can donate to candidates who oppose extreme candidates. I can donate to causes that fight white supremacy. I can donate to causes that fight domestic terrorism.

I can also work to stop the spread of false information online. I can make sure that every article I share or comment on is something I’ve actually read and from a source I believe to be true. I can’t think that just because my friend shared it that it must be fact. Even if I trust this friend. They may not have read it either.

I can not spread misleading headlines, even if the article is factual. Now, we’re all getting really into some weird stuff during the pandemic. I’m choosing Star Wars (as opposed to political conspiracies). So I see an article that has the headline along the lines of “Kathleen Kennedy Says Mandalorian is Lucky to Get a Second Season”. So you know, Kathleen Kennedy is the new head of Star Wars and some people do not like her, but they love the Mandalorian (so do I, I’m wearing a sweatshirt right now with Grogu, aka Baby Yoda on it as I type this). I read the article, and she says the Mandalorian is lucky to get a second season shot before the pandemic, so season 2 could air as scheduled. Now that’s obviously a lot different than the headline. Reading the comments, more than 50% we’re people being like “God I hate Kathleen Kennedy, Mando is the best thing to happen to Star Wars and she’s an idiot for trying to kill it.” So, here are all these people getting worked up over a misleading headline. Now this is a relatively benign example, but imagine if this was politically related information. People could get so worked up they might like storm Congress or something.

Now, I can’t make journalists write responsible headlines, but I can not share articles like this (Star Wars, political, Covid, and other non Star Wars related topics). When I see articles like this, instead of believing it, I can investigate it myself. I can read the article, and do some research, especially if I am not familiar with the website it was posted on. Make American Google Again (MAGA, too soon?, not soon enough?).

I can not aruge with people on the interent. I’ve never seen anyone change their mind based on a fight in the comments. Have you? I can post articles, from respected news sources. I can share my opinions (clearly labeled as such) and hope that people may change their minds based on that. But arguing just makes people angry and anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering (this is a Yoda quote, again I’m really leaning into Star Wars in 2021). If someone you know on the internet makes you so angry you want to verbally spar with them either unfriend or unfollow them. Not just if they piss you off politically. But that girl you maybe had English with who wants you to join her pyramid scheme business, unfriend her. That guy from junior high who is a cancer truther, unfriend him. It improves yoru internet experience.

I can condemn whenever protests turn violent, even if I agree with the general stance of the protesters. Violence is not the right answer. It’s not helping the protesters point and it never will.

If we all actually did these things we might be able to get some of this extremism under control. It wouldn’t fix everything, I’m not that naieve, but it sure would help.

Until next time. Take care of yourself and make good choices. Even though I can’t actually make you do that.

Happy New Year…I Guess

Well, we made it, 2021! Normally, I’m excited about new year, the plans that I have, the goals that I make, and often don’t keep. This year not so much.

My NYE was pretty low key this year, which is not typical for me. It was fun, but quite possibly the first NYE at spent at home just with my immediate family. Since I was a kid we either had parties or went to a party. As I got older, I started going out to bowling alleys, bars, and most recently the zoo (which is quite fun, relatively cheap, and not too cold if you dress appropriately).

The holidays are basically over. I mean I can try to make Epiphany hella lit, but then what. I’m staring into an abyss of days where its so cold my nose hairs freeze together, where I’ll be working, alone, staring at a screen that is damaging my eyes for the few hours a day where we have daylight, to then spend my nights staring at either a larger or smaller screen until it’s time to go to bed and do the whole thing all over again. Also, deaths from Covid will increase for a few weeks, there’s a new, more contagious strain, and if we’re being honest, I don’t like that we don’t know if we got all the murder hornets. They kind of feels like White Walkers, nobody paid that much attention initially, and then they were a BIG deal. Happy 2021 indeed!

So with that in my future, I’ve found myself getting a little hopeless, these past few days. I know that better things will come this year. I’ll get a Covid vaccine (and write the blog post, “Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot, Now I got my Covid Shot”). I’ll start interacting with the larger world again, see friends, family, and let me chin be visible from a radius closer than 6 feet (and write the blog post with the working title “I’ve Been Wearing a Chewbacca Onesie All Winter, How Can You Expect Me to Interact with Society Now?).

But all of that feels too far away for my hopeless brain to get excited about it. Luckily I remembered something I read on the internet once. Now, as my favorite Abraham Lincoln quote goes “You can’t trust everything you read on the internet.” (Get it, because there was no internet in Abraham Lincoln’s time, everyone knows Al Gore invented it (I read that on the internet too (get it, so meta!))) Anyway, I read that someone said you don’t have to be excited about the future, there just has be things that you’re mildly curious to see. So, while I can’t get excited right now about maybe letting my chin be visible at some unknown future point, I can be mildly curious about things. Also, I highly recommend this if you’re also feeling a little hopeless (if you are feeling depressed or are feeling this way for 2+ weeks, please see a licensed professional and don’t follow the advice on someone from the internet because of the aforementioned Abraham Lincoln quote). I find when I get hopeless I repeat some things I’m mildly curious about over and over and then I do feel better. It’s a little Sound of Music-y, but it works.

My list is below if you need help thinking of stuff. It’s super nerdy, because while some get politically radicalized during this pandemic, I’ve gotten super into my nerdier interests:

  • Watch “The Mandalorian” documentary
  • Watch the various Star Wars cartoon shows
  • Finish the two hook rugs I’m working on
  • Rewatch the Harry Potter movies
  • Finish the Song of Fire and Ice (aka Game of Thrones) books
  • I signed up for a 1000 mile virtual race in 2021, I’m curious to see how I do
  • I’m gonna read the additional “Catholic” books of the Bible this year. (Yes Cahtolics, the rest of us don’t have as much to read)
  • I submitted a question to The Office Ladies podcast and I’m curious to see if it gets answered.
  • The results of my AncestryDNA test (and write the blog post “I Just Took A DNA test, turn out I’m…”

It’s not much, but it’s something to help keep me going as we get through these dark (literal and figurative) few months.

You’re Going to Have a Not So Great Christmas, and That’s Ok.

Hi again! The holidays are upon us what was unthinkable in March is still here. Covid-19 is raging across our country. We’re losing well over 2,000 Americans a day. It’s scary, but what scares me the most is how many people care so little right now. I get it (not really) the holidays are here and you want to spend time with your loved ones, you want to do all the traditional crowded, non-pandemic safe things you’re used to doing. I often have not one, but two 20+ people gatherings involving hugs, eating, and not maintaining social distance. I see a Christmasy play every single year. The vast majority of my holiday will have to be different. It’s going to be a weird Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) and as someone who is an expert in weird and/or bad Christmases, let me tell you it’s going to be ok.

For the vast majority of these weird Christmases everything is fine. You’ll still fell like it’s Christmas, you’ll still get that warm fuzzy feeling of peace on Earth, good will to men, and not thinking Tiny Tim’s life is expendable because he has a pre-existing condition (see what I did there). In some respects they’re even more memorable. So baby’s first Christmas, first Christmas married, or first Christmas in the new house (maybe all 3, I don’t know your life) will be weird but it will be memorable. You’ll appreciate what’s really important even more and the next, presumably normal Christmas will feel even more special.

Now you’re probably asking yourself, why should I trust you Katie? How are you an expert in weird and/or bad Christmases? How dare you imply that Christmas will be ok, if I don’t insert high risk Covid activity? While this Christmas will definitely crack my top 3 weirdest Christmases, maybe the top 2, I’ve been there, I’ve done that and I know it will be ok. Here are my weirdest Christmases as more proof.

Honorable Mention: The Christmas Grandma Dislocated her Shoulder. Grandma slipped in the bathroom on Christmas Eve (which is when we celebrate with that side of the family) and my mom and my aunt had to take her to the ER. In order to try and keep the food going they had everyone else do some more intensive cooking prep. Pro tip: if your aunt puts a bunch of potatoes in front of you and says peel the potatoes, she doesn’t actually want you to peel all the potatoes. She will be mad when you do it, but will never be able to tell you approximately what percentage of the potatoes peeled will be appropriate. Grandma made it home safely, we still ate all the foods, and potato-gate led to many a potato pancake eaten between Christmas and New Years.

Third Weirdest Christmas: The Christmas Grandma was in Orthopedic Rehab Leg Surgery. First of all, don’t worry different Grandma than the last Christmas Injury Grandma. Second of all worry because the woman has so much metal in her legs she cannot float and her bones have been described as “Styrofoam” by a medical professional. I digress, Grandma had one of her many leg surgeries around Christmas and was still in rehab for the holiday. We gathered in the hallway of the rehab center. They gave us a conference room to put our food in. I don’t know if you’ve ever made your Christmas plate near a larger office printer but it is something else. We had to keep quiet due to the other patients. We couldn’t really mingle. My aunt tried to hook my sister and I up with a nice nurse to the extent that he finally had to mention his wife. But again, it was fine.

Second Weirdest Christmas: The Christmas Where I Finished Radiation. So back in the day, I spent from about right before Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve (so basically the whole holiday season) getting radiation. The particular type of radiation I got was not available in Chicago at the time, so my mom and I traveled out of state to get it. I was mostly away from my dad and my sister, let alone extended family, throughout the holiday season (sound familiar). I got my last treatment on Christmas Eve and my family drove the 6+ hours to Chicago through the snow. I can tell you two equally true stories about that holiday season. I can tell you one where we made it despite the snow, my energy held up throughout Christmas, total strangers helped our family, my Grandma independently cooked what may have been her last Christmas dish before she passed the baton on to make sure I had something soft enough to eat, and I got so much stuff for Christmas (people give you whatever you want when you might be dying). I can tell you another story about how I was so exhausted I basically just napped for weeks. My esophagus was so messed up from the radiation that I basically couldn’t eat any leftovers and lived on ensure for 6 weeks. I was under the constant fear that I was going to die. I know what it’s like to be Sick (big S) for Christmas. I do not recommend it. I’ll always love and cherish that year, but I do not wish it upon anyone. You want to do all you can to avoid this happening to you or anyone else.

Weirdest Christmas: The Christmas Where Grandpa Died. So, 5 years later, my Grandpa died on Christmas. I had been greatly looking forward to that Christmas as in the cancer survivor community, 5 years is more or less an all clear. But life had other plans. Grandpa had been sick, but really took a turn. I went to the hospital to visit him on Christmas Eve and then went to visit the other side of the family as we usually do. He passed a little after midnight on Christmas Day. It was awful. It did ruin Christmas that year. There were no warm fuzzy feelings. It kicked off what I can only describe as the Winter of the Dead Grandfathers (that is plural) and which reached its climax at the Weekend of the Grandfathers’ Funerals (again, that is plural). Losing two loved ones close together, as often happens with Covid, is terrible. I would not wish that upon anyone. You want to do what you can to avoid it.

So the good news is, while I had all these awful Christmases. I still love Christmas. It’s still my favorite holiday by far. One or five weird holidays isn’t going to mess it up forever. It’s just going to mess up this year. And to be quite honest, as long as you’re not dying, you can make the most of it. It’s harsh, but it’s true. Focus on what you have this year and try new traditions. Christmas has always been a marathon in my family, and I’m looking forward to having a relaxing time as opposed to the usual running around.

But you need to do the things. You need to wear a mask every time you’re within 6 feet of someone not in your bubble, even if it’s Christmas. You need to not gather indoors with people who aren’t in your bubble, even if it’s Christmas. The whole point of the holidays are to care about our fellow humans, so actually do it.

I Finished Reading the Third Game of Thrones Book and Fam, It was Really Long!

As my loyal readers know, I’ve been keeping busy during this pandemic by reading Game of Thrones (GoT if you’re cool, and I am cool). Reading about political strife in a fictional kingdom that isn’t as bad as what you have is a really nice distraction before bedtime, really clears the head. I finished the third book. It is long. Over 1100 pages!! That’s longer than the longest Harry Potter Book by at least 300 pages! It’s a lot, but it was good.

This is where the TV show starts to diverge in some pretty big ways. First and most major is
Catelyn Stark is not 100% dead after the Red Wedding!! I know, right? Wild! They spring this on us in the Epilogue, so I don’t know much. I know she did die at the Red Wedding, but is back now (probs brought back by the Lord of Light) and is working with the Brotherhood without Banners (more on them later) capturing Frey’s, trying to get another Frey to ransom the original Frey and killing the original and new Frey. Personally, I’d be trying to free Sansa from the Lannister’s, but it’s not my call.

Next major difference is Robb’s wife is an entirely different person. She’s the daughter of a minor Lannister bannerman. Robb captures the castle, but is injured and is nursed back to health there. When Robb finds out that Bran and Rickon are dead (we all know they’re not) she comforts him (you know, *winks* Biblically). So he has to marry her. It’s not determined if she’s pregnant. Though she tells Catelyn they’re trying at least once a day, which is a very weird thing to say to your Mother in Law when you first meet her. Finally, she is not at the Red Wedding.

Speaking of Robb, since he has no child he decides to make Jon Snow his heir. He doesn’t tell Catelyn as she hates Jon, and he never really gets over her letting Jaime Lannister go. Nothing has happened with this yet and I don’t know if it will because everyone is basically dead.

Speaking of the slaughtering of my Northmen, once again I was surprised by the Red Wedding. I knew it was coming, but there were so many chapters leading up to it. The book rotates between narrators and Catelyn is our only narrator involved in the Red Wedding. So she narrates a chapter about them leaving for the wedding and I’m like, ok Katie prepare yourself and it doesn’t happen. Then after some unrelated chapters there’s a second and maybe even a third of just them traveling in the rain. Finally they get there, and I’m ready, but it’s literally just them saying hi to Walder and making sure they eat because then its breaking social norms for Walder to kill them. So the second chapter at the Twins and I’m like this can’t be it, don’t get worked up, but then it happens. So sad because the TV actually cuts down on characters so more people you like die. So you’re like no, not the Great Jon Umber, not the Small Jon Umber, not one of several Lady Mormont’s (not The Lady Mormont, yet). Also, remember in the TV show when the Blackfish is like, I gotta pee and then everyone is slaughtered, but he is not as no one notices him (?). That had to happen because he is not at the wedding in the books. Also Catelyn kills Walder’s fool (his grandson or great-grandson can’t remember, but Walder probably doesn’t know either (he’s got like 90 descendants for my non GoT fans) with intellectual disabilities) not his wife.

Moving on to a wedding with less, but still some murder, the Royal Wedding. First of all, Margaery Tyrell is barely in the books. She’s just a lady who can’t seem to keep a husband alive. Joffrey’s still murdered just the same. Jaime isn’t there yet, but outside of that it’s pretty similar. Sansa has been meeting with Ser Dontos at night to work on a escape plan. Mostly he’s doing the working and she’s just hanging out. He tells her to be ready to leave the night of Joffrey’s wedding. We already know that Lady Olenna was a part of that plot. Sansa figures it out in the books. She’s sadly in the books less, but still a badass. Finally, there’s a few Tyrell sons and Sansa is promised to the oldest son who is not Loras, is a bit crippled, and we never see.

Onto the wedding with the less (meaning no) murder, Tyrion and Sansa. It’s narrated by Tyrion and you really feel for the guy. Part of the ceremony is him putting a cape and Sansa and she won’t bend down for him to do it and you feel so bad for him. He genuinely tries to be a good husband. Unlike the books he keeps hooking up with Shae. Also, Shae does become Sansa’s maid after the wedding. She doesn’t like Sansa. Tyrion does not try to get her to leave. As I’ve said before, she’s obviously not in love with Tyrion, so her betrayal makes more sense. Also, Tyrion is super hung up on Tysha his first wife, the one who is really a whore. So right before Tyrion murders with father and Shae, Jaime tells him Tysha was never a whore!! She did love him! Tywin had his troops rape her and made Jaime lie. Tyrion has spent his whole life thinking no woman would ever love him and one did. So his killing spree makes so much more sense now. So sad.

Final thing on weddings, the bedding is way more graphic. It’s not just your guests stripping you to your underwear while laughing and dragging you to bed. You are stripped completely naked while people make inappropriate comments and jokes! WTF!! Catelyn recalls hers at the Red Wedding, which means Ned Stark allows it! So Creepy!!

Moving on, the Brothers without Banners. Remember those dudes who kidnap Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie, the one keeps coming back to life when he dies because of the Lord of Light? Those are the Brothers without Banners, and there’s a lot more of them! They’re kind of Robin Hoodesque, ransoming the rich, stealing, and distributing to the people. They do not sell Gendry to the Red Woman, Gendry decides to join them. Also, Arya’s a warg!

I hate book Stannis a lot less than TV Stannis as we get his motivation more. TV Stannis is like I’m supposed to be King, so I need to sacrifice my brother’s bastard for the king’s blood, cause magic. Book Stannis is like, the Red Woman says I am the one who must defeat the Night King, thus saving humanity I need to sacrifice my brother’s bastard for the king’s blood, cause magic. Much better motivation. The bastard in the books is not Gendry as Robert was a Big Ole’ Ho and has a bunch of bastards. Davos saves this bastard too, but puts him in a real ship with a crew and not a row boat like the show. Also, when the Night’s Watch is attacked by the Others Lord Mormont has Sam send ravens to all the Kings. Stannis is the only one who shows up and saves the Night’s Watch! This is why he’s there folks! That finally makes sense to me! He leaves some of his army and tries to make peace with the Wildlings so everyone can just fight the Night King when the time comes, which is a decent leadership plan.

Lots of other exciting stuff happens North of the Wall as well. Mance Rayder’s got a pregnant wife, which they cut out of the TV show. Tormund is much, older, like old enough to be TV Tormund’s dad. As Brienne of Tarth is much younger in the books, this means my favorite love triangle ever (Brienne, Tormund, and Jaime) will probably not happen. This is unfortunate, as I was hoping book Brienne would wind up with Tormund (she can still hook up with Jaime) and they would make babies that will conquer the world. I just think in general it’s better to pick the guy who think’s you’re amazing than the guy who thinks your gross and learns to tolerate you. Btw, Jaime narrates now, he definitely thinks Brienne is gross, but like kind of likes her too. Back to Tormund, full of crazy stories, like he has 2 half-bear children cause he banged a bear, and that whole nonsense from the show about him nursing from a giant. Tormund does not join Jon and Ygritte in their adventures to fight the Night’s Watch.

Jon’s time feels a bit more stressful in the books, but still sexy. Basically, everyone thinks he’s going to betray them (which he does), but they’ll believe him if he starts banging Ygritte, so he does. He still likes her, they still do it in the cave, but it’s not their first time. Jon’s betrayal is a bit different as well. He’s at an abandoned castle (so’s Bran and the Reed’s), he takes his moment to flee, but the Free Folk almost kill him, but then Bran, wargging, into Summer saves him.

Bran’s still just kind of there. Sam helps him get North of the Wall, but not at Castle Black at one of the other abandoned castle. Sam himself was helped by a guy called Cold Hands (most likely uncle Benjun).

Arya and the Hound are a lot less fun in the books. However, the Hound doesn’t essentially condemn a poor farmer and his daughter to death by stealing and injuring them, so that’s a plus. Him and Arya don’t bond though. He doesn’t succeed in taking her to the Veil and her Aunt. He gets his ass handed to him (not by Brienne) and Arya robs him and leaves him to die. She tries to go North to Jon, but no ships are going that way. That’s when she decides to go to Braavos.

A few final differences. Oberyn Martell is barely in the books. He shows up, says he and Ellaria Sand want to have a three way. He says he wants to avenge his sister. He tells us he had the three way. He tells Tyrion he saw him as a baby and he wasn’t a monster. He fights the Mountain and he dies. Lysa Arryn, back when she was Lysa Tully got herself knocked-up by Little Finger. Her father forces an abortion. Ramsay Bolton in engaged to Arya (but it’s not Arya). The Lannister’s just found some vaguely Northern looking girl and told her she’s now Arya and she’s going to marry Ramsay. So hopefully life is less awful for Sansa. Finally, we see Little Finger’s lands. They’re pretty desolate. He rules like 4 people. He’s basically one of those dudes from a small town where that somehow hating that life becomes their personality.

Finally, my ideas for spin-offs.

  1. A Mandolorian type show as an Oberyn Martell prequel. Oberyn runs around the Seven Kingdoms and the Free Cities having adventures, and kicking some butt. It’s 100% more sexy than Mando (as we can see more than some occasional wrist), but 100% less adorable as there’s not Baby Yoda. Since Pedro Pascal probably doesn’t have time to do both shows this most likely won’t happen.
  2. Teenage sitcom of Brienne of Tarth as an awkward teenager.
  3. The Adventures of the Brothers Without Banners. They pull off heists. They travel around. I feel like there’s something there.

Book 4 is luckily only 900 pages!

I Want To Remind You to VOTE One More Time

Well folks, we’re only 2 weeks away from Election Day, which means we’re running out of time to vote. As I’ve said before, I love voting. I think it’s really awesome that I’m lucky enough to live in a country where I get a say in who makes the rules.

It’s important to vote in every election, but this election feels especially critical. The world is facing a once a century health crisis, and our country is losing at it, big time. Many just under the surface issues in our country are creeping up above the surface (systemic racism, police brutality, sexism, climate change, homophobia, xenophobia, and a way too many more) and whoever we elect in every position up for grabs is going to determine how we react to it.

While this election is so important our vote is also being attacked in a way it hasn’t in decades. States are fighting to not count some mail in ballots, which given the pandemic seems essentially unconscionable.States are revoking voter registration of citizens. Outside of that, many mail in ballots are going to be rejected because the unnecessarily complicated rules weren’t followed. One of the many, many things I have in common with Obi-Wan Kenobi is that my allegiance is to the Republic, to Democracy, so here are my voting tips.

1. Have a plan! Just saying I’m going to vote isn’t enough. Know what day, where, all that stuff.

2. If you are voting my mail, like me, read the instructions multiple times. If you are confused by them, ask someone else who voted by mail. If you’re still confused bring the ballot to a polling place and vote in person.

3. Mail, or drop off you ballot early.

4. If you can track you ballot, do it.

5. It is illegal for anyone to intimidate you at the polling location. If someone does, start recording on your phone and call the police. Make a fuss about it.

6. If someone official says there is an issue with your registration you should request a provisional ballot. They cannot deny you this.

Please vote! Please encourage everyone you know to vote as well. It’s a little late for letter writing (mailed my 200 letters encouraging others to vote on Saturday), but volunteer to text or call people to remind them to vote. Each thing we do to encourage the vote will only slightly increase the percentage of voter turnout, but if a lot of people do the things we can have a huge impact. With all the tomfoolery going on this election I fear we’ll look back on hanging chads with nostalgia. So it’s important that everyone who can vote does. We can not afford a close race this time.

My 200 letters fitting nicely in one bag, much to my surprise.

I Miss Traveling So Much I Pretended to Walk Through Australia

I love to travel! I literally went on 5 vacations in 2019. I was actually looking forward to fewer travels in 2020 so I and my bank account could recover. I was thinking more like 2-3 trips and most of them long weekends. Alas, I’ve only ventured as far as the Morton Arboretum in 2020, but I am by no mean relaxed or enjoying financial prosperity. November 3rd will mark one year since I have stepped foot on a plane, which is probably a recent record for me.

To deal with the monotony/ever escalating changes that is 2020, I decided to sign up for a virtual challenge. There are several apps with which to do this, I chose Yes.Fit (this is not an ad as companies don’t care to market to my dozen of fans) as they had a lot of longer races and I liked the idea of virtually walking through a places I have been. I chose the Great Ocean Road in Australia as my first race since Australia was one of my first big trips. I simply entered the distance my phone’s pedometer told me I traveled each day until I completed the 154.8 miles of the race.

I went to Australia in 2005 with an organization called People to People, which finds promising young high school students and invited them go on trips to other countries to learn about other cultures. I spent 3 weeks in Australia and New Zealand. I basically knew no one when I went. It was incredibly scary, but a lot of fun.

We went to New Zealand first and let me tell you New Zealand is incredible! It’s so beautiful. It was the first time this Prairie State resident had ever seen mountains and I loved it! The flora was beautiful. So many ferns. We stayed at a Maori house, repelled off a cliff, toured the major cities, and went to a sheep show. My only complaint is there are way too many sheep, 9.5 sheep per person. They could take over. We went to both the North and the South Island and I learned the North of the South Island is North of the South of the North island. If that’s confusing you can think of it as the South of the North Island is South of the North of the South Island.

Then we went to Australia. I loved it just as much if not more. Sydney is a phenomenal city and their aquarium walks a fine line of having clown fish souvenirs and not getting sued by Disney. I pet a kangaroo and held a koala. The Opera House, incredible. The Sydney Harbor Bridge, fun to climb. The Great Barrier Reef, is a global treasure and must be protected!

Check out some photos of photos of the trip (this was pre social media for me). Note the funny bit at the Tropic of Capricorn and how little I’ve aged. Also, apparently I was at all obsessed with myself at 17 and took very few photos of myself.

While I did not go to the Great Ocean Road, it was nice to reminisce about my trip, and add something to do when I go back there. Australia and New Zealand were wonderful to me. It gave me a sense of independence and courage at a time I needed it. The people were all nice and while so much was different (the toilets flush the other way) so much was the same. I genuinely miss being there sometimes and I cannot say that about any place I have ever visited. Let’s all try to stay safe so we can travel in the world once again.

I Really Want You to Get Excited About Voting

Hi it’s me, again, ready to talk about the election, again, because this is literally the biggest thing going on right now, so I have and will be talking about it a lot.

I am passionate about voting! I literally got made fun of in college for being so passionate about voting (which is very weird, but that’s what it is). In my opinion, voting is the easiest way to get your voice heard in this country. If you’re not voting and you’re unhappy with the direction America is heading in, you are doing the equivilent of eating a Big Mac while complaining about your weight. You are not helping the problem, and you’re actively making it worse. So you need to vote, in every election, including the primaries. If you’re unhappy with the candidates and you aren’t voting in the primary, guess what, you’re eating the Big Mac again. Primaries are great because they have more candidates with divergent political views. So if your views aren’t being represented, maybe someone in the primary better represents your views. But if you didn’t vote in the primary that candidate didn’t get support.

Local elections are important too. Do you want to defund or add funding to the police? The folks that make those decisions are elected in local elections. Want better quality water, or pot holes fixed on your block? Again, local elections. Again, eating the Big Mac if you’re not voting in these.

So we have this myth in America that all votes in Presidential elections are created equal. They unfortunately are not. We have this nonsense called the Electoral College. So when you vote for President you’re actually voting for a delegate who will vote for the President. Each state has a set number of electoral votes based on how many Representatives (based on their population) they have and how many Senators they have (2). So, this means that people who live in smaller states have more powerful votes than people in larger states.

To make things even more confusing, 48 states and DC have a winner take all policy. That means if 50.1% of the population votes for Candidate A and 49.9% of the population votes for candidate B in one of those states, all the electoral votes go to Candidate A. This is why swing states matter so much!

But does this matter, you ask? Yes! Shouldn’t this just mirror the popular vote? Not really. 40% of the elections that have happened in this millenium have had a President win who lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College!

Now, I know what you are thinking. Why did we do this? Congress couldn’t decide if they wanted Congress to elect the President or the people and this was somehow a compromise. It’s definitely a bit of classism. It would be racism, and sexism if anyone other than property owning white men could vote initially.

I know what you’re thinking now, Katie why should I vote if the system is rigged? My answer is very simple, if your vote didn’t matter they wouldn’t be trying to take it away.

Guys, Republicans are really trying to make voter suppression a thing. In case you haven’t heard, there’s a nasty global pandemic going on and people want to vote from home for that reason. Republicans are messing with the post office to make that hard. So if you vote by mail, try to find out if there’s a drop box that you can put your ballot in, or mail it early. And make sure you sign your ballot! They’re also doing really, really, awful stuff in some states (where local officials make national election decisions) like purging you for from voting registrations if you didn’t vote in other elections (more reasons to always vote). Other states are making it so your name for your voter registration has to match your name in another government database, but the voter id database allows for spaces in last names, but other databases don’t allow for spaces, so good luck to all the Del La Torres and Van Ivan’s of the world. Here’s some links on vote by mail and voting laws. https://www.voteamerica.com/absentee-ballot https://www.usa.gov/voting-laws

But Katie, you say, that still doesn’t solve this Electoral College malarkey! You’re right, but here’s some things we can do to help ensure a high voter turnout (high voter turnout = more likely to elect Democrat) in swing states.

1. You can donate money to the Democratic Party in general, The Democratic Party of a a swing state, or Joe Biden directly. Yes, you can donate money to a state’s party you do not live in. Corporations, the Koch Brothers, and other evil entities do it, so let’s level the playing field and do it too.

2. You can volunteer with the Democratic Party or the Joe Biden campaign.

3. You can volunteer with an organization that encourages voting. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve volunteered with an organizaiton called vote forward since 2018. https://votefwd.org/ I’m sure there’s others, but this one I know. You can sign up to adopt voters in groups of 5 or 20 (you can do multiple groups) and print out a page letter that goes to each of them. Most of the letter is pre typed, but you add in the individual’s name, a sentence as to why voting matters to you, and your name at the bottom. Then you mail it. So it costs the price of ink, stamps, paper, and envelopes, but I feel like most people can swing that for democracy. One thing I like is the return address is from the state you’re sending it to. So I’ve been doing letters for Florida, because I love a lot of people in that dumpster fire of a state, and it’s nice to fill out the envelope and pretend for the 30 minutes a week I work on these, that I actually do reside on a street called Island Way and obviously because I live in a more tropical climate, I have no problems.

Until next time, wear you mask, social distance, and fight the man!

My Thoughts on How to Fix Our Country

With Labor Day upon us, the summer is basically at an end, what a summer it was! Division is so high in this country right now, we’re fighting over whether or not masks can prevent respiratory illness and whether its ok or not that Black and Brown individuals have worse outcomes on just about every metric as white people. It seems so strange to me. I entered this summer having the belief that most people are reasonable. That when presented with evidence showing that wearing a mask could save your life and lives of people you love, most people would wear a mask. That when presented with overwhelming evidence that minorities have worse outcomes in our country, most people would believe systemic racism was a real thing. I thought that a lot of the debate came from how to fix these problems not whether or not they actually existed. Obviously, I was mistaken. I don’t know how to fix the US (sorry misleading title), but I do know we can’t do it with four more years of a Trump presidency.

In 2016, I worked for a company that did political poling. While I did not do it, many in my department did, so I do have a general understanding of what happened. At the end of the day, Trump won because voter turn out low and when voter turnout is low, the Republican candidate tends to win. Turn out was low because people didn’t get existed about Hillary. So the way I see it, the only way for Trump to lose is for people to get excited about Joe Biden.

Despite my first paragraph, I do think most people get that Trump is bad news and that they support Biden quietly, but quiet support is not enough. Everybody needs to get pumped about Biden!! Now, I’m not saying elected Joe Biden solves all our problems. It does not, but it does give us a shot. So if you’re on the fence about Biden or don’t want to talk about how you like him, see my rebuttals to reasons people don’t like him below separated by category: He’s Too Liberal for Me, He’s Not Liberal Enough, and But Bernie.

He’s Too Liberal for Me

Person: I’m worried it’s going to feel icky to vote for a Democrat!

Me: I hear you, and I see you. I voted for Republican Judy Baar Topinka in my first gubernatorial election over Rod Blagojevich. As a Licensed Psych Major, I didn’t like that Rod was cutting mental health funding. Also turns out the man is corrupt AF. It felt icky for a minute, but then I was fine.

Person: Ok, good to know! But isn’t he going to raise my taxes?

Me: Not unless you make more than 400k? Do you? Cause if you do, we should talk more. I miss you and would love to catch up.

Person: That’s not the point! People earn their money, why should the government take it in taxes?

Me: Because taxes pay for things like the police, fire departments, ambulances, libraries, roads, and other things you utilize regularly.

Person: Makes sense, but doesn’t he want to defund the police?

Me: No, he just wants to enact some basic reforms that will reduce the risk of people dying in police custody, like choke holds.

Person: But sometimes the police need to restrain people, if the person is dangerous to themselves or others.

Me: Tots agree! In fact, when I worked with adults with intellectual disabilities, I had to deescalate situations where people sometimes larger and stronger than me were doing dangerous things like choking someone, throwing tape guns, or throwing big old desktop computers. I always did this without using chokeholds.

Person: Wow! You must have received a lot of specialized training in deescalation and were paid a fortune.

Me: *Takes a minute to finish laughing hysterically* No, as a supervisor, I made less than 30k and the training was a half day once a year. Also, just to point out, defunding the police means taking money that would go to law enforcement and using it elsewhere. For example, schools could spend some of the money used to pay for police in the schools on counselors. Then the counselor could work to mediate issues between students, so then the students wouldn’t get into fights, which when cops are in schools, lead to arrests. This would probably be cheaper for the tax payer in the end.

Person: That’s fine and all, but I’m worried there will be a lot of riots with Biden as president.

Me: I have no idea if a Biden presidency will have riots, but a Trump presidency does.

Person: Good point, but I don’t think I can vote for someone who is pro-choice. Abortion is my number 1 issue.

Me: Ok, that’s fine. Did you know that abortion rates go down when countries make it legal? It’s weird but true. So, if your goal is fewer abortions, you want it to to be available.

Person: That’s a lot for me to think about, but I hear Biden is a socialist.

Me: Nah! In fact the socialists aren’t crazy about him because he’s too conservative for him.

He’s Not Liberal Enough

Me: You liked Obama, right? He was Obama’s VP. He did a lot of good in that position. If he’s good enough for Barack Obama he’s good enough for you. Do you think you are better than Barack Obama? Because unless you are Michelle Obama (which if you are hi! Thanks for reading this!), you are not.

Person: Yea, but Obama had to pick a white guy.

Me: Duh! But you know what government is full of, old white guys! He could have picked any, but he picked Biden. Then he didn’t just leave Biden out of the loop, he had him intimately involved in the running of our country. They even havefriendship bracelets.

Person: That’s a good point, but I wish he was doing things like defunding the police and enacting Medicare for All.

Me: I personally agree, but a lot of people don’t (see my above section) and the President has to take a lot of opinions into consideration. I’d rather have a president who sees police brutality as problem over one who does not and will enact policies to reduce police brutality. While Obamacare is by no means perfect, it is infinitely better than what existed before it and we partially have Joe Biden to thank for it. The Obama Biden team had to fight tooth and nail to get that bill passed and a lot of the issues with it come from the compromises made to get it passed. Biden will work to strengthen it. Trump will continue to work to destroy it.

Person: Great points, but he’s kind of a rapist.

Me: Obviously we should always believe survivors, but the lady who accused him lied about having a bachelor’s degree, so we need to take what she says with a grain of salt. Before you go there, yes, there have been some creepy pictures surfacing on the internet, but our choices are a creepy probably not rapist and definitely a rapist. I take creepy over rapist every damn time!

Person: *sighs but agrees* He’s voted poorly a bunch of times, pork barreled and whatnot.

Me: That’s not great, but try to find a person in congress that long who was not. Our nation was built on compromise, the only way to keep our nation going is compromise. Biden gets that.

Person: I’ll have to think about all you said.

But Bernie

Person: Bernie should have won the nomination.

Me: I get it, but he didn’t.

Person: That’s because people don’t get the term ‘socialist’. It’s not bad.

Me: Personally, I agree, but I don’t America is ready for that. Remember socialism was the bad guy until very recently. Imagine years from now, you’re older. You’re trying to figure out how to put your 2.1 kids through college, pay for alimony, pay off your house, save for retirement, and this new candidate comes on the scene from the Islamic Fundamentalist Party. You don’t think you’d be completely against everything he stands for and turn into a country song faster than you can say these’s stars and stripes don’t run?

Person: I’d research him.

Me: Ok, but do you think most people would? Remember everyone you ever did a group project with (Obviously none of my group project partners)? If they couldn’t Google the Louis and Clark Expedition even though it was like 10% of your grade are they really going to research candidates in their spare time.

Person: Fine, but Bernie never betrayed his principles and never voted against something he didn’t believe it.

Me: I doubt that. As Pam Beesley from the hit television show The Office would say, pobody’s nerfect.

Person: Actually, I think Karen Filippelli is better and should have wound up with Jim.

Me: *Flips table in anger*. Ok, we’re just trying to have a nice conversation. There’s no need to spread so much hatred and negativity. If you mean to say, that it was wrong of us to hate Karen and not watch Parks and Rec when it first came out because we didn’t need that man stealing ho to get her own show, then yes you are correct. Karen’s only crime was liking a guy who liked someone else more and who has not been there. However, that does mean she was better for Jim. On the Gay Witch Hunt episode of the Office Ladies podcast, we learn that Jim does not wear his sleeves rolled up for the entire season Karen is on, despite the fact that he does in every other season, in part, because he is not fully comfortable around Karen. He also clearly states to Michael in A Benihana Christmas, Part 2, that Karen is a rebound. Karen was a great character, but there’s this false narrative in the corners of the internet that she is a more independent woman than Pam. While any comparisons of this nature are inherently anti-feminist, here we are. Karen states in the episode Traveling Salesman that she did not move to Scranton because she values her career, but rather to be with Jim. In the following episode, The Return, Karen asks Jim if he still has feelings for Pam. He states he does. In the next episode, Ben Franklin, Pam states she has feelings for Jim. Karen remains with Jim, despite this knowledge for the next 10 episodes. Meanwhile, Pam has just called off her wedding. She gets her own apartment and car. Based on her conversations with Roy we are led to believe that this is the first time she is on her own. She begins taking art classes, thus pursuing her passions. When she does rebound with Roy, she insists things be different and done on her terms. Pam has the better character growth. Also, no woman, even Karen, would be fine with Jim’s Athlead/Athleap nonsense, to make a major financial and career decision without talking to your partner is wrong.

Person: Right, Jim is kind of toxic. He’s unnecessarily mean to Dwight.

Me: *Calmly resets table just to flip it again* Jim ‘Jimothy’ Halpert, is a flawed character, but he comforts Dwight when he is sad over things ending with Angela and helps him gain business at his bed and breakfast. He does this after Dwight stole 25% of Jim’s yearly commission in Diversity Day. Assuming Jim’s salary was 50% commission, Dwight steals 12.5% of Jim’s yearly income in one day. That easily amounts of over $10,000 each year that Dwight gets and Jim loses for the remainder of Jim’s time at Dunder Mifflin. Given the fact that show lasts for 9 years and there is a one year time jump between the penultimate and ultimate episodes of the show, this is easily $100,000. Little pranks seem small in comparison. But let’s stop calling fictional characters toxic. It’s counterproductive, and ruins TV shows in a time when watching TV is one of safest thing we can do. Look what we did to Ross. He was by no means perfect, but now everyone hates him and believes him and Rachel were awful together. Thus partially ruining the show. Also, Ross does some pretty selfless things. He doesn’t fight Rachel over the fact that she unilaterally makes the decision to take her child to another continent. He tells her that he loves her and he wants her back. And if she did not love him, he would have let her go.

Person: Wow! That was a long, but important tangent, I’ll stop trying to as the kids would say ‘cancel’ fictional characters for being imperfect. However, I still think Bernie is better fit to run this country.

Me: Ok, but again he didn’t win the nomination. Also, he has alternative theories as to what causes cancer by some reports did not pay child support for his son. I think we all know what happens when our leaders have alternative health theories (broadly gestures around our current pandemic). I say this not to disparage him or his accomplishments, but to point out that much like the various fictional characters mentioned above, Bernie Sanders has made mistakes and should not be idolized. It is in fact a similar idolization of Trump that has in part led to this mess.

Person: I’ll have to mull that over.

Wow, so it looks like I got everyone super pumped about Joe Biden! Yea me! So, we need to remember to vote and to encourage others to vote. If you have some time, consider volunteering with an organization like Vote Forward, https://votefwd.org/, that does a letter writing campaign to encourage people who are not likely to vote to vote in the upcoming election.

Remember to wear you mask, wash your hands, and do all you can to prevent Trump from winning the 2020 election!