Flight of the Conchords
Flight of the Conchords

1. We will do a Gollum / Smeagol impression from time to time. Sorry not sorry.

2. If we ever sit down to watch LotR, it will be the extended edition. Theatrical versions are exactly that: for the theaters. Although, if a theater decides to show the extended editions, we will be there so fast, Legolas will be struggling to keep up.

3. Second breakfast is a real meal to us. Some people call it “brunch,” but they’re just wrong. It’s second breakfast.

Fellowship of the Ring
Fellowship of the Ring

4. We’re going to quote LotR all the time. All the time. One does not simply walk into the frozen foods aisle without a jacket.

5. Yes, sometimes you’ll walk in and we’ll be cleaning, listening to the LotR soundtrack, and getting a little teary-eyed. It’s just sooo good! And the Shire’s recurring theme makes us homesick for Bag End.

6. Our idea of a perfect date is to stay inside and marathon all three extended editions.

7. As much as we love to stay in and marathon, we also LOVE going on spontaneous adventures.

An Unexpected Journey
An Unexpected Journey

8. We don’t have just one celebrity crush. We have a whole Fellowship crush (with maybe the exceptions being Gandalf and Gimli, sorry), and if any of them came into our lives, we would drop you like a hot honey-cake. If we tell you that we choose you over the Fellowship, we’re like seriously into you. (Also, Viggo, call me.)

9. Don’t mention The Hobbit trilogy unless you’re prepared for a heated lecture. We either hated them, and we’re going to tell you in detail why the trilogy was so bad, or we liked them, and we’re going to tell you in detail why the trilogy wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone is saying.

10. We might not readily admit it, but it’s secretly on our bucket list to do some LotR role-playing during le sexy time. (Everyone’s tastes are different, but if you can get your hands on some Aragorn and Arwen costumes, you’ll probably score major points.)

Fellowship of the Ring
Fellowship of the Ring

11. If we’re ever sad or having a bad day, just put on the extended edition’s bonus features. Nothing cheers us up more than the playful banter of Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, and the rest of the Fellowship cast.

12. If we open a present, and immediately clutch it and growl, “My precious,” it means that you got us exactly what we wanted, and we’re never letting it out of our sight.

13. If we look at you, cling to your arm, and growl, “My precious,” maybe be a little bit concerned.

Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings

14. We’re going to classify any one we date as soon as we meet them. Here are a few examples and what that might mean: If we classify you as an elf, you’re gorgeous and a little magical. Hobbit: humble, kind, and stable. Dwarf: loyal, a little stubborn, but with a very good heart. Basically, as long as we don’t say you’re an orc, you’re in the clear.

15. If you ever do anything absolutely horrible that you know we would be furious about, buy us tickets to Hobbiton in New Zealand. We’ll never be angry about anything ever again. TC mark

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Chris Devers
Chris Devers

1. I’ve invested so much effort already. I can’t just give it all up and start from square one.

2. If I give him the space and time he’s asking for, everything will go back to normal.

3. In the beginning, our chemistry was pure magic. It’ll be forever before I find someone else I can get so close to again.

4. It’s my fault things have gotten so bad lately. And it’s up to me to make things right again.

5. I should count myself lucky to have someone—even if he isn’t exactly there for me.

6. I just don’t see myself being any better off without him. I won’t be happy if I’m single. I’ll just be lonely.

8. If he’s not showing interest in me anymore, I should just be more interesting.

9. He wasn’t really flirting with that waitress, or those girls at the party last weekend. Even if he was, I’m strong enough to handle it.

10. Somewhere deep inside is the guy I first fell for, who treated me well and who cared deeply about our future together. He’s bound to resurface again. How can I walk away knowing that?

11. Relationships are hard work. I need to devote more time and energy to us. Nothing else matters.

12. Just because he says he isn’t ready for a serious relationship, doesn’t mean he actually feels that way.

13. Sure, it’s become more and more apparent that we have totally different values. But opposites attract. Maybe that’s why it worked so well in the first place. I can’t expect to find someone whose general outlook on life mirrors mine.

14. I’m about five blowjobs and ten sexts away from fixing this.

15. If I rearrange my priorities to accommodate his needs, things will get better. I just have to reshuffle my schedule a little so we can spend more time together.

16. We’re so comfortable in bed together. It’s not worth starting all over again with someone else.

17. He’s just not the gentlemanly type. I don’t need a guy to do nice things for me, or to be polite.

18. We have such a great story to tell our grandkids about how we met. That has to be worth holding onto.

19. It’s not that he doesn’t respect me. He just honestly doesn’t always know how to conduct himself like a decent human being. It’s not his fault.

20. Love and intimacy don’t just evaporate. It’s all there—somewhere. I just have to rekindle the flame, as they say.

21. It’s not like he’ll be this immature forever. As he gets older he’s bound to change. I can wait.

22. I’ll miss the way he [insert quirky habit here] way too much. I can’t let go of that.

23. It’s doesn’t necessarily mean anything that he wants to spend so many nights apart.

24. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t like any of my friends, or that he talks shit about them. They’re just not his type.

25. All couples fight. It’s healthy to argue, even if we never really resolve anything.

26. It’s okay to want completely different things out of life. We’ll just have to compromise.

27. If anyone can handle long distance, it’s us.

28. In a way, it’s a good thing he bores me. I shouldn’t expect to be entertained by my boyfriend constantly.

29. My parents might not think he’s all that wonderful, but he’ll grow on everyone eventually.

30. I should probably just get used to the fact that he’s so busy and stop complaining that the doesn’t make time for me.

31. Maybe he’s not perfect, but there’s probably no one else as perfect for me.

32. He’s a really good guy—at heart. TC mark

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For the ones we lost,
and we were never ready to lose.

Special thank you to The Starry Plough Pub!

I am in 4th grade when our class watches a video about our bodies and sex,
how things will change,
cartoon depictions of anatomy,
giggling from Tommy and Ricky,
Two girls with ringlet curls too embarrassed to watch,
so they bury their faces in skin.
I mimic the nerves of my peers,
but see, I kind of already know about sex and the proper words like
vagina and penis.
Because my parents talked to me about this stuff,
Held an open door policy
Questions never afraid to be asked,
so they were always answered.

Freshman year in health class, we learn even more.
We learn about things like STDs and protection.
Girls come in and speak about their experiences with teen pregnancy.
Bodies are not quite as funny anymore,
more present.
We see drawings of sperm swimming and where exactly the clitoris is located,
though some men still can’t find it…
Everything is explained.
But they do not tell us what death looks like.
I have seen pictures in textbooks
of things like herpes or the implantation of the egg in the uterus,
but nobody paints a picture of the grim reaper.
No class prepares you for what it looks like,
How death has a smell,
That it permeates the room,
The air becomes so thick
that sometimes you can almost taste it.
I am 16 when I first taste it
He is shrinking day by day,
this man who was never embarrassed
to talk to me about things other fathers shied away from.
I am 16 when I clean vomit stained sheets
and stay up all night with my ear pressed to the wall
so I can listen for his labored breathing.
I am 16 when cancer hits my world
in a way I never anticipated I would have to learn.

We are just a family of three.
Spilling honesty at the dinner table,
I remember it like a triangle of safety
someone once told me
this was a new theory on how to protect yourself during an earthquake,
Create a triangle of safety
and that’s what we did
in that small family of three.
Until adenocarcinoma asks for a plate,
pulls up a chair,
invites itself to every moment,
resting inside my fathers gall bladder,
working it’s way up his chest.
It becomes so greedy,
It stops my father from eating.
I am sick all the time,
but I am not the one dying.
Where is the pamphlet on how I’m supposed to survive?
I want to scream at my principal,
every instructor there trying to teach me,
Where is the manual
for my heart to keep beating
when his ceases?
Nobody can tell me.
Nobody can tell me.
That’s the thing about death,
that even with a doctor’s note
and a ticking clock,
nobody can tell me
how I’m supposed to stop my own bleeding. TC mark

For more from Ari, be sure to follow her on Facebook:

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Kati's Scribbles
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Nana B Agyei
Nana B Agyei

Dear Monica,

In 1995, I was three, living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., just miles from where you worked. And in 1998, I began kindergarten at an elite private school in the area, the classmate of politicians’ children. For us, 9/11 was real, tangible, in ways more so than it was for my college classmates in rural Wisconsin.

For us, the sniper attacks, the every menace and threat against the American political and intelligence institutions, were more real than they were to people outside our impenetrable bubble of power, money, and authority. It was something we were aware of as we grew up and began on tracks to follow in parental footsteps, whisked away to Ivy Leagues and state schools to, eventually, join the league of the firm hands guiding the country.

But there was one thing I never thought would be real to me: you. Your story, your life, your choice. I won’t call it a mistake – I won’t misbrand you like that. What happened to you, from 1995-1998, seemed just as you paint it, so vividly, all these years later: a media maelstrom, tenacious, vicious rumors, and nameless maliciousness.

But today, I am that. I am twenty-two, and find myself branded as That Woman in one of the most persisting microcosms of American society – a college campus.

There are, of course, differences. The object of my affection is not the President of the United States; there is no object, merely a string of short-lived flings that have left me shockingly less damaged than the gossip they incited.

It is not merely real to me because I have seen it happen in front of me; it is real because it has happened to me. I never opened my heart, but I opened my legs, and, by extension, myself to a world of unbearable humiliation, self-hatred, and shame. My schoolwork suffered, and after a year of self-harm, I took a semester off from school to let time heal my physical and mental wounds. Nothing much has changed. On a campus of 900 intimately connected students, there is little forgiveness, and even less forgetting.

My shame is not on the nightly news, but it is very real. My tormentors have names and faces, some of whom I know, some of whom I do not. While some of it is verbal, like yours the majority of it goes by the name of cyber bullying. Facebook “campus confessions” pages and their newer incarnation, Yik Yak, joined Twitter in the ring of online harassment. It was an agonizing blow every time I saw my name there.

But my intention is not to regale you with the woes of a coed. It is to thank you. Thank you for not only standing up against this kind of torment, but to thank you for, as you called it, taking back your narrative. Thank you for telling your story – whether it’s what everyone knew or not; for stepping up, even in the face of those who persist on their torment; for ripping off the faded scarlet A they pinned on your chest all those years ago, and making it yours. Because you did, it makes me feel like I could.

We may not have been twenty-two when your life became the center of everyone else’s’, but we are twenty-two now. We know your story in the kaleidoscope of retrospect and change, and for so long it seemed like a distant, unfamiliar, impossible thing. It was intangible, but no longer.

So I thank you, for being the voice. For taking your title, for using being scarred as “That Woman,” to become That Woman Who Stood Up and said, “No more.” That Woman, who took back her narrative. When I was a child, your life changed forever. Now I am where you were, living a shadow of your life, shades of it. When I am where you are now, if I could still be living shades of the way you do, having taken back my own story, I could be at peace. TC mark

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Gus ❤️FOLLOW ME :)
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The One I Love
The One I Love

My favorite weekend plans are the ones where I don’t have any plans. Relaxing in bed reading, eating snacks, catching up on my favorite shows, and basically avoiding my cell phone and the outside world is sometimes the best cure for a hectic week. I’m gearing up to have a cozy weekend inside. Join me in my unabashed laziness this weekend and check out some great things you can find on Netflix right now. Homebodies unite!

1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Everyone seems to be talking about Kimmy Schmidt right now and for good reason – the show is pretty funny. After being kidnapped and forced to live in an underground bunker in Indiana for 15 years Kimmy Schmidt is finally free and navigating the streets of New York on her own.

2. Garfunkel And Oates

Kate and Riki are a couple of singing 20-somethings in a duo writing satirical songs about their failed experiences in life and love. You might have season their viral video a couple years ago for “Pregnant Women Are Smug.”

3. Mad Men – Season 7 (Part 1)

The first 7 episodes of the 7th season is available on Netflix just in time for the final part of the last season to premiere on April 5th. I personally feel like Mad Men is best watched in binge sessions vs watching week by week as viewers are able to get a better sense of subtle character development.

4. The Thin Blue Line

Known as the documentary that saved a man’s life, filmmaker Errol Morris tells the riveting story of one man’s wrongful imprisonment for the murder of a Texas police officer in 1976. This is a great documentary not only for the content and story line but how the doc was filmed. Several of the techniques used in the film went on to become staples in documentary filmmaking.

5. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Johnny Knoxville is back to his old tricks again but this time it’s as the old grandfather to a young boy. This could easily be considered the best “Jackass” movie.

6. Heathers

Heathers is a great teen film but what I’ve always loved about it is how much darker it is compared to most teenage classics. Winona Ryder and Christian Slater are perfect for the starring roles and they deliver some of the most well known lines from the film.

7. 20 Feet From Stardom

We fall in love and admire some of the world’s best singers and performers but we never hear very much about the people behind the scenes who support our beloved legends. Oscar winning “20 Feet From Stardom” is an incredible documentary that takes us into the lives of some of the most talented backup singers.

8. Blue Is The Warmest Color

This French film is a sleepy romantic drama about a young 15-year-old Adele desperate to fall in love who ends up becoming charmed by a blue-haired girl she meets on the street.

9. Rich Hill

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary last year at Sundance, Rich Hill was made by a couple of filmmaking cousins who return to their roots in Rich Hill, Missouri. The film document the lives of three teenage boys living in deep poverty within the rural Midwest.

10. The One I Love

Starring Elizabeth Moss and Mark Duplass, “The One I Love” is about a couple who decide to take a weekend away together after being confronted with the fact they may be headed towards divorce. It’s a unique film with some Twilight Zone like moments and incredible acting from both stars.  TC mark

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Art has no rules | Merge picture together
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Flickr / Daria Nepriakhina
Flickr / Daria Nepriakhina

Are you getting the attention you desire, the praise you crave, or the appreciation you believe you deserve? You are a parent. You work hard at your career. You are a good friend. Each day you try, but it does not feel like you are ever fully valued for your efforts.

You may want to change your life in some way, to pursue something else. But you are afraid because you may not succeed. If you knew you would succeed before you tried, you would got for it. But without total certainty that it will work, you are too afraid to risk the unknown.

We think we are after a pat on the back or a change to our lives, but we are actually looking for a certain feeling. We want to feel fulfilled – to feel we are living our fullest potential and that we/our lives make a difference. We just go about it the wrong way.

The solution is to fix the way your prioritize your needs. If you focus on the need to feel certain about success rather than focusing on expanding your capacity, you will never find the fulfillment you desire. If you focus on the need to be seen, to be special rather than focusing on how you serve, you will never find real fulfillment.

Tony Robbins developed, The Six Human Needs. They changed my life and I hope they can do the same for you. Here they are and here is my best effort to explain why they matter.

  1. Certainty – We all want to feel certain about what is to come – that we will have success and avoid pain; that water or the lights come on daily. We want to feel like things will happen the way we hope.
  2. Uncertainty – Likewise, we need to have some variety; we have a need for change, something different.
  3. Significance – We need to be seen, be unique, be special, or be important.
  4. Love and connection – We need to have some connection in our lives. We may want love, but some of us settle for connection because we are too afraid of love. That said, we all need some form of connection.
  5. Growth – If we are not growing, we are dying. We need to expand, develop, and grow our capabilities.
  6. Contribution – a sense of service and serving others.

We all have all 6 needs.. We prioritize them differently in our daily lives. In other words, we spend more time thinking about some over others.

Take a moment and determine which two needs you focus on most. What are your top two?

  1. Do you need certainty that you will succeed before you can begin?
  2. Do you need things to be consistent most of all?Do you need endless variety, without which you bore easily?
  3. Do you need to be seen, heard, acknowledged?
  4. Are you focused mainly on connecting to others?
  5. Are you fearless and focused on the amount of love in your life?
  6. Are you focused on growth, personal development?
  7. Is life all about the amount of contribution you make?

Again, we all need all 6, but what are your top two?

If you are like most people, you focus on certainty and significance the most. To feel fulfilled, you must prioritize and focus on growth and contribution above all else.

The way you rank these needs in your life will directly influence your happiness.

Here is why.

Happiness does not come from purchasing more stuff. Happiness does not come from a moment because moments comes and go. Happiness comes from a sense of fulfillment and fulfillment comes from growing, developing yourself, and helping others.

Every time I want to feel certain that things will go one way rather than another, the stress I feel increases. Fixating on life moving exactly the way we desire only sets us up for pain because we do not control each moment of our days.

Striving to be seen simply backfires. Chasing significance only creates a desperation to be seen. It is like an endless vortex: the need to be seen, to be praised, to be famous, to be viewed as intelligent, or to be talented. No one responds to a demand to be seen, which creates more desperation to be seen. This desperation drives a further desire to be seen and the cycle never ends.

If you want to be seen, place contribution at the top of your list. You will be significant. A sense of feeling important, unique, or valued comes from being in service first. The people we most value in history or now are those who are in service to something greater than themselves. They are important and valued, not because they demand it or expect it, but because they have dedicated their life to something bigger than themselves.

And, when you place growth at the top of the list, you will develop as a person. Nothing is more fulfilling than reaching a new level of personal capacity or finding and unleashing our deeper potential.

Then there is love. Not the love that is guarded, safe, cool, sidestepping the fear of rejection – the love that scares us. The love that may not be reciprocated. The love that may not be seen. But when you love as a priority, love without expectation, love without fear, you can never lose.

So here is my answer for long-term happiness. Develop your skills. Place those skills in service of others or the world. And love until it hurts. TC mark

This post originally appeared at Emotional Obesity.

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