A Social Media Love Story: Romance in the 21st Century

Let me tell you a story.

If everything goes according to plan, this post gets published on 13 April, 2014. Exactly one year ago, the Philippines was getting ready for mid-term elections. Senatorial candidates were shoveling bullshit down everyone’s throats willy-nilly, and there was a dire need for more substantive engagement. You see, debates between candidates for national positions might be old hat for most of you from other countries, but in the Philippines, that just doesn’t happen. This news article about one senatoriable refusing a debate challenge from another senatoriable is a perfect example. 

So when Rappler, a local news agency, announced that it will be organizing a small senatorial debate, I was excited. Rappler has always been a trailblazer–which isn’t surprising, given that its CEO is Maria Ressa, formerly CNN’s lead investigative reporter in Asia specializing in terrorist networks, and Esquire’s Sexiest Women Alive for 2010, citing her fearlessness in writing an eyewitness account of Al Qaeda “despite her size”. (Sorry, I love that woman.)

To recap the context: (1) the senate race was getting so heated up, even 7-11 was jumping on the bandwagon,

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Note that the leading candidate in that poll is a religious leader. Villanueva is the founder of the Jesus is Lord church. He ran for (and lost) the presidency in 2004 and 2010.

(2) Rappler was holding a senatorial debate,

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and (3) I was excited as hell, but it was going to be in Quezon City, which was way outside my comfort zone (i.e. it’s not walking distance from my house.)

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Quezon City is a scary place, and I’ll explain why in a second. It was as if the Universe didn’t want me to go too–it actively tried to steer me away from the event. The people I was supposed to go with cancelled last minute, I chose a cab over mass transport and was caught in traffic for what seemed like hours, and I had no idea where I was going.

Finally, after getting lost so many times it wasn’t funny anymore, I finally made it to the event venue.

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Sauron is asleep. Where the heck is Frodo?

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After my initial shock from stepping out of the cab and into Mordor, I finally found where the event was gonna happen and tried to find a seat.

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There were no snacks.

But I hitched up my big boy pants and approached the organizers to get a better seat.

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Richard Gordon and Grace Poe were senatorial candidates who joined the debate. The others were Risa Hontiveros, Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Bam Aquino, and Teddy Casiño.

As mentioned earlier, this is one of the first senatorial debates in Philippine history. Which means these people had no idea how to behave. Instead of it being a place to exchange ideas, some of the candidates carted in truckloads of their “supporters”, making it seem more like a street rally than a debate. It was disappointing. And annoying.

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Silver lining: Rappler has some of the brightest (and prettiest) journalists. I couldn’t help but be starstruck.

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The debate started late, primarily because some of the other candidates (read: Gordon and Villanueva) were late. Hontiveros was there like an hour early. (Let it be understood here that I supported Hontiveros throughout the elections. I don’t necessarily support her party, but I backed her as an individual 100%. Read about her. Seriously.)

Also, it doesn’t hurt that she’s seriously pretty.

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Throughout the debate, Rappler used an online polling service modeled after their patented Mood Meter. Basically, at the end of every speech or answer from each of the candidates in the debate, anyone with an Internet connection can choose among four reactions: happy, inspired, angry, and annoyed. The results were tallied and shown on a screen beside the stage.

This is an inspired concept, but the implementation was shit.

See, Filipinos don’t usually have internet connection on their phones, and the venue didn’t have Wi-Fi. So Rappler gave out smartphones with the app installed to members of the audience at random so they can vote. This would’ve been fine but like I mentioned earlier, the candidates brought supporters. So whoever brought the most supporters had the most favorable results (and Bro. Villanueva and Gordon brought truckloads).

This led to really stupid results. (I may be biased.)

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I went from disbelief, to annoyance, to outright outrage. I wasn’t the only one.

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Anyway, the debate was very substantive and it showed us just how much the candidates knew about what they’re talking about (which, for a lot of them, is a whole lot of nothing). The Mood Meter results were then tallied and posted.

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As expected, Hontiveros was at the bottom, along with the incumbent President’s nephew, Bam Aquino.

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Imagine if, instead of brainwashed masses, the audience was made up of independent-minded members of the academe. Students. Thinkers. People who actually knew what was going on. I bet the results would have been very different.

Anyway, the debate ended. The crowd slowly dispersed. Now, this is where it gets interesting.

If you’re still here after all the political crap I put up there, I wanna give you a hug. I promised a social media love story and all you’ve gotten so far is a tirade. I apologize. Hold on, though. Here we go.

See, I was out of my comfort zone. I had no idea how to get home.

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So, like any sane person in the 21st century, I turned to the Internet.

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Little did I know that that one tweet, born out of necessity, desperation, and the need to get out of Sauron’s kingdom, would lead to so much happiness. To so much love. To so much awesomeness.

Because who answered my tweet? Let’s see.

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And that, kids, is how I met my girlfriend.

(Of course, she didn’t know it yet at the time.)

Yes, kids. I met my girlfriend through Twitter. For diehard fans of this blog (hi mom), you may remember this post. This was inspired by my budding friendship (I took it slow) with this awesome girl.

Back to the story.

Immediately after she gave me directions and I got a cab, I checked out her profile. Something about her got to me…I’m still not sure what it was.

It was crush at first tweet.

But that crush grew and grew and grew as I went through her tweets. Man, this girl was smart. And she knew her politics. And she was a big Star Wars fan. What else do you need?

But I didn’t talk to her. I couldn’t! That might scare her off. And since this was the Internet, and I didn’t get her number or anything, I couldn’t follow the three-day rule. So what to do?

I resorted to creeping on her tweets because I’m crazy like that. Favorite this one. Retweet that one. After a few weeks, I started adding to her tweets.

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(Side note: she’s a big Hontiveros supporter. Imagine our disappointment when Hontiveros lost the elections by a wide margin. Man, the Filipino voting public needs an upgrade.)

These short conversations went back and forth. Sometimes she started it. Sometimes I did. Fun fact: I had a wide smile on my face every time. I have no idea why.

But we didn’t really get to have long, meaningful, actual conversations until June. That was when we really clicked, and the magic started to happen.

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This thread continued for days until, out of nowhere, she says this:

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“Not at all stalker-y.” HAH. That’s what you think.

Okay, to all you smart asses out there, I know it’s not exactly a declaration of love, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t get butterflies when I saw that.

No, not enough for you?

How about this:

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To quote every lone wolf who, quite by accident, felt their heart grow three sizes one day:

Fuck, I’m in love.

So what did I do? I wrote a blog post. Because I’m dumb. And awkward. A whole lot of stupid.

But you know what the magical thing is? Despite all that, she didn’t go running off in the opposite direction.

She stayed.

We started hanging out a whole lot. And we just sort of transitioned from weird friends who met on Twitter to normal people hanging out, maybe being more than friends.

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I remember that night so vividly.

I had a fever. I didn’t know I had dengue yet, I thought it was just some crap fever that’ll go away soon. We were at Jollibee Katipunan (I know, I know). I sat beside her. She was telling me about herself, writing on a napkin to illustrate her point. I was staring at her face. The way she talked. The way she scrunches her nose when she catches me staring. I couldn’t help it. My hand had a life of its own.

I reached over and held her hand.

She looked at me, surprised. But she didn’t take it away.

The next day I was puking blood in the hospital but god damn it, it was worth it.

This went on for a few months. I was happy, very much so. I thought I couldn’t be happier. I was wrong.

I asked her if she wanted to be my girlfriend. If we could make it official. If I could shout from the rooftops that she was mine.

She said yes.

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5 Realizations From Being Broke in Your 20s

If you’re in your early 20s and already financially stable, I have one thing to say to you: GO AWAY.

Being in your 20s is a confusing time for anyone: you just passed through the hellish, pimply phase that is puberty and have been thrust headfirst into adulthood and handed–*gasp*–responsibilities. You’re paying bills left and right and expected to earn and save money when barely a few years ago, you had to ask for permission to go to the bathroom.

So okay, we have all these obligations and responsibilities, and we’re broke as hell. Here’s a few things I’ve realized as a member of this exclusive club:

1. Instant Noodles Become Your Best Friends

Okay, show of hands. Who knows the instant noodles aisle in the grocery store better than they should? I bet you can tell the difference and quote the prices between all the noodle brands off the top of your head–who says you’re not good at memorization?

Instant noodles are like that guy (or girl) you have on the hook. I’ve written about this before. To reiterate, being in the Friendzone is like being a fish in an aquarium with one of those decorative castles. The girl you like is in the castle, waving at you and even coming out to swim with you from time to time. She has no idea you like her, and considers you as a friend she can hang out with.

When you’re on the hook, you’re not just inside the same aquarium – you’re tethered right outside her little castle like one of those plastic divers is holding you there in a death grip. When she wants you, you’re there – when she doesn’t want you, you’re still there. You get even less freedom than one of those dumb ass friend zone guppies, who at least gets to swim around and smash his face into the bowl to forget. When the other fish are ignoring her, or she doesn’t get enough food, or she gets fin rot, she comes down and you’re there to console her. When things start looking up again, or a bigger, manlier fish comes along, you’re left waiting while she swims off to get her swerve on.

The same concepts applies to instant noodles. When you have like zero bills in your wallet, you go for instant noodles. But when you’re a bit well-off, you abandon it entirely. Nobody goes for instant noodles when there’s a better choice. But you all go back to it when you’re in trouble.

Shame on you.

2. You Walk Everywhere

And no, it’s not for exercise, though that’s the excuse you give everyone. Even if they don’t ask.

When you’re broke, you need to save every penny you can. So if that means walking to work instead of taking the bus, so be it. So what if it’s 10 kilometers through a wooded trail that looks like a scene right out of a Supernatural kill zone? At least you didn’t have to dish out for the fare.

One time, I walked all the way home from work just because I didn’t want to spend Php16.00. That’s about ..36 USD. I was that broke.

3. You Start Appreciating The Little Things

The thing about being broke is that your relationships will suffer because your broke ass can’t leave the house because *NEWSFLASH* you have no money.

This forces you to do stuff you wouldn’t normally do if you had the money. Instead of going out with your friends for a drink at that expensive bar, you spend the weekend playing video games at your place, for example. My SO and I have also been spending time to stop and smell the roses the past few months (because I’m broke, in case that’s not clear) and it’s actually been really great. We watch movies on the TV, we have picnics at the park, or spend time book hunting all over the metro.

tl;dr Relationships will suffer, but you can do something about it. So get off your butt.

4. You Will Be Forced to Be Creative

Have you tried frying stuff in a rice cooker? I have.

How about living off of stale chocolate and mints for days because you were too broke to buy food before a massive storm hit? I have.

That’s just some of the many ingeniously MacGyver skills you develop when you’ve been broke for a really long time. It’s basically Cast Away–you have to make do with what little resources you have. Tom Hanks turned a coconut into a friend. I turned mints and chocolate into a three-day feast. 

Survival of the fittest, man. Darwin will be proud.

5. Piracy is a Lifestyle

I’m a big book junkie. Movies too.  And TV shows.

Now, I cannot afford a Netflix subscription. (Also, Netflix is not available in the Philippines so fuck that–but that’s not the point.) I also cannot afford to buy every Rick Riordan or Neil Gaiman book. Nor can I buy box-set DVDs of all the TV shows I’m watching (and I watch a lot of TV shows). But I can download them from P2P or browser-based file sharing sites.

I’m not saying I have, mind you. Piracy is wrong and illegal, and the victims are billionaire producers, directors, actors, artists, and authors. Those poor babies, staying up all night worried about piracy while their sports cars sit in the garage–next to their 16 other cars–of their multi-billion dollar home.

Piracy is wrong! (but if you get away with it why the hell not amiright)

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What I’m trying to say is, you’re not alone.

Everyone in their early 20s is financially unstable. Also, emotionally unstable. And mentally unstable. Basically, we’re all crazy.

Welcome to the club.

The 5 People You Meet in Flower Shops

We just went through another Valentine’s Day and this year, by some stroke of luck and an unexpected olive branch from the Universe, I did not spend it alone. Anyway, for a lot of guys (and girls too!) the flower shop is the busiest hub. Some of these stores even hire extra people in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, just to keep up. They attract a lot of people, but if you look closely, you’ll see they fall into one of five categories.

1. The Naive Boyfriend

This guy is so in love, he’s willing to blow all his money on anything that (he thinks) will make his girl happy.

We’ve all seen someone like this (or we’ve been him at some point). It’s probably his first girlfriend, and he’s not quite sure what a guy does in a relationship (hint: you’re not supposed to be a sugar daddy). So he’s a mainstay at the flower shop. He buys her flowers for their week-sary, monthsary, the monthsary of their first kiss, the first time they went out, the first time they had dinner, the first time she said she liked his tshirt, etc.

I don’t care much about the guy (he’s contributing to the economy), but his poor wallet.

2. The Guy with the Angry Girlfriend

One time, I walked into a flower shop and saw a couple of harassed-looking guys. One of them walked up to me and asked, “How mad is she?” What, just because I’m buying flowers, does it mean my SO is mad?

Apparently, most of the time, it does. These guys make up about 80% of the normal flower shop market. They also tend to buy really big bouquets: the larger the bouquet, the madder she is. So the next time you see a dude carrying a big-ass flower thingy, cut him some slack. He’s probably going through hell already.

3. The Guy Who Won’t Admit He’s Being Sweet

There are some guys in flower shops who just won’t admit that they’re doing something nice and sweet. They’ll give a lot of crap reasons as to why they’re buying flowers.

  • “It’s not for me, it’s for a friend!”
  • “She’s not my girlfriend! It’s just a joke! You know…a joke?”
  • “It’s for my dog, I swear!”
  • “I don’t support capitalist traditions, but she might get mad.”

There’s a lot of other excuses, and when you call them out on their bullshit, they get all red and shy. Huh. Macho crap.

4. The Guy (Or Girl!) Who’s Actually Buying It For His Friends

We’ve all met that one schmuck who actually buys flowers for all his lady friends. It’s a nice gesture, but given current flower prices, it’s a very very expensive gesture. 

I’ve also know girls to buy flowers for their girlfriends, especially during Valentine’s. These are usually cheap short-stemmed roses that they hand to their close friends. You can hear them screaming in happiness and mock kilig from miles away.

5. The Girl (or Guy!) Who’s Buying Flowers for Herself (or Himself!)

There’s nothing wrong with buying flowers for yourself. But it does get a little weird when you start sending flowers to yourself in class or at work then putting on your surprised face when it arrives so people would think someone actually likes you.

Lesbi-honest here: nobody does.

So just go cuddle with your cat and be sad.

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I’m just kidding. Valentine’s Day is for everyone. And remember: you don’t need one day in the entire year to show someone you love then. There are 364 other days (plus one more every four years).

Use them wisely.

5 Reasons Why You Should Date Short Women

Why do guys love short women?

This question’s been around for ages, and when you ask most men, they just shrug and brush it off. Men don’t really think about stuff, so if they find someone attractive, they’re not gonna stop and think about why they feel that way. It just happens. The question then is whether they’re gonna go after her or not.

But that’s not our concern here. What we want to know is why guys prefer short women. A friend asked me this a few days ago and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, which is why I’m here now, writing this. I’ve known a lot of short girls in my time–friends, colleagues, acquaintances–so I think I have enough experience for a stable foundation. And now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, allons-y!

1. She will look young forever.

The thing about short girls is that it’s almost impossible to tell their age. She could be 22. Or 12. You’ll never know. And never, ever ask. This comes with a lot of perks: one moment she can be this mature, independent woman, and next she’s looking like a kid who lost her mom while out in public. Adorable. [Warning: DO NOT LOSE HER WHILE IN PUBLIC. Especially in the mall or at a grocery with tall stalls.]

Also, I noticed that short girls are really in touch with their inner child. I don’t know if this has something to do with the fact that they look a lot like the inner child that never grew up, but if you find her intensely coloring in a Disney princess coloring book, don’t be surprised. Join in. It’s fun. Remember, Aurora’s dress is pink. Cinderella has the blue one. Belle has the gold, shimmering one, I think. Don’t mix them up.

2. She looks adorable when angry.

Remember Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy and his Phil’s-osophies? I’m twisting around my favorite one here:

It’s a universal truth: short girls look hella adorable when they’re angry, which is why dating them kinda makes a lot of sense. If you’re planning on a long, committed relationship, there are gonna be fights, disappointments. Look for someone who looks hot–or, in this case, adorable–during these moments. It will make everything a lot better.

But whatever you do, don’t think that just because they look adorable that this gives you leave not to listen to them. No matter how cute they look, they are still angry. Probably because you fucked up. Again. Remember Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory? You do not want to get on her bad side.

3. She shops at the store’s Kid’s Section. 

Okay, confession time: I want to go shopping for clothes at the Kid’s Section of department stores because they have really awesome designs. But a grown man browsing through kid’s clothing isn’t exactly the most socially-acceptable type of behavior, and my beard doesn’t help at all with the pervy vibe. But when you’re dating a short girl, shopping at the Kid’s Section is to be expected. And enjoyed.

Now I can buy t-shirts like these:

…and not look like a total pedobear while I do it. Awesomesauce.

4. You can carry her anytime. 

This is actually very helpful, especially when you’re in a tight spot. If, for example, the girl easily gets freaked out while jaywalking across a busy street, you can scoop her up no problem. When her feet hurt from wearing unbelievably high heels, you can give her a piggyback ride without even breaking a sweat. Or when she falls asleep on the couch during a Lord of the Rings marathon, you can carry her to bed and tuck her in. Just don’t hit her head on the door frame. She might just claw your eyes out before she’s even fully conscious.

This also has, uh…practical applications in…other…pursuits. You know, you can, uh…lift her…and stuff…for reasons.

Oh you know what I mean.

5. Hugs are awesome. 

Who doesn’t like hugging short girls? When their head stops right below your chin, and you can do the forehead kissy thing anytime without needing to stand on your tiptoes…it’s great. Also, is it just me or do short girls really give the best hugs? I mean seriously, a hug from a short girl is a moment to cherish. If you can, stretch it out to ten Mississippis, at least. It’s awesome, I promise.

And yes, I count Mississippily. Except in tanning salons. I don’t want to end up like Ross.

Bonus: What you should get from the five reasons I just went through is that short girls are adorable. But don’t forget they are also very, very hot. Short girls easily straddle that line between cute and sexy, and they offer the best of both worlds. So get out there, and fall in love with a short girl.

And once you do, let me know. I have. We should form a club.

Preparing for (and Dealing With) Natural Disasters: The Geek Way

As much as I’d like to start this post on a positive note, the strongest storm system on the planet this year is currently Falcon Punching the heck out of my country and I find it hard to be upbeat. Which is why I’m writing a doomsday manual. For geeks. Because we need to survive: so we can rise from the ashes and rule the post-apocalyptic world as masters of the human race.

But, sadly, I’m thinking that this is how some of you would react at the first sign of a disaster:

Just think of it like this: if you act like an idiot before and during a calamity, you’ll end up dead. And you won’t even have the time to clear your browser history.

So no matter what type of calamity might occur—be it a storm, an earthquake, a kaiju attack, an EMP burst, a zombie pandemic, or a full-on Day After Tomorrow, 2012 kind of apocalypse—you need to be ready. Below are five essential things that should always be part of your preparedness plan:

1. PROTECT YOUR ELECTRONICS

Okay, you’re a geek. Or a nerd. Whatever you are, you’re probably tied to your electronics like a dying man on life support. You can’t be unplugged. This is why you need to secure your lifeline. First off, your computer. Back up all your data (except, of course, what you don’t want to survive the calamity–yes, I’m looking at all that weird-ass porn you have). Try to back it up (heh.) both on the computer itself and on an external hard drive, just in case. Also, IMPORTANT, delete your browser history. 

Okay, other electronics. Charge your damn phone. No one’s gonna text or call you, of course, but you can use it to call the authorities (provided the government hasn’t fallen). Your consoles…you gotta let those go, man. I’m sorry, but you won’t survive if you gotta lug around an XBOX all the time. My advice: slowly wean yourself off of the consoles and become a PC gamer instead. I did it and it was amazing. (Microsoft, if you’re reading this, I can accept my fee for advertising via cash/check.)

2. FIND AN ALTERNATE SOURCE OF ENERGY

Of course, you can’t do shit with your electronics when their batteries run out. The best thing would be to get one of those personal generators at the hardware store. They’re relatively inexpensive, you can hoard gas beforehand, and you’ll be able to livetweet your daily struggle because of it. “Walker fell down the stairs LOL” Of course, you’ll be screwed when you run out of gas. The next best thing? Hoard potatoes then use ‘em high school science fair style.

You also need alternative communication solutions, since you probably won’t get reception during a calamity. Those cheap walkie-talkies at the hardware store can be a lifesaver since those things run on basically the same channels as other, more sophisticated, radios. You’ll need them for when you’re craving for pizza in the middle of the night and your phone’s not working. “Hello? Is anyone out there? Please, is anyone out there? If anybody’s listening to this…I am really jonesing for a pepperoni pizza. Extra cheese.

But, like this video says, you can’t survive with electronics alone, especially if society has crumbled. So what else?

3. LEARN NEW SKILLS

Let’s face it, you’re not really cut out for survival. You reading this post is proof enough. I’m willing to bet you also spend several hours of your day looking at cat .gifs or staring at photos of Emilia Clarke (I am not describing me at all, no). You’re Tumblr famous, your Facebook posts get a lot of likes, and your Tweets get retweeted dozens of times, but you don’t know shit about jerry-rigging household items Home Alone style, or even lighting a fire without a match.

Thankfully, you still have access to the Internet, which is pretty much an information gold mine if you’re willing to dig through the layers of horseshit first (and judging by how long you’ve been scrolling through 9gag, you are). A quick YouTube search will lead to dozens of videos, playlists even, that are designed to teach you how to survive in the wild. Of course, some of these are total crap done by amateurs who think that because they went camping once they’re wilderness experts. But if you’re a geek like I am, you can spot the good, helpful ones. Good luck.

4. HAVE A MED PACK READY

The worst thing about life–real life, I mean–is that you don’t get extra hearts. You can’t get hit by a turtle shell and expect to come back without a scratch like that Italian plumber with a mustache who just won’t accept that the princess isn’t getting kidnapped, she’s having an affair with Bowser. Jeez, Mario, get your shit together.

You don’t get save points either. You can’t save any time a la Mass Effect. You don’t get even those shitty auto-saves from the Batman: Arkham games. And there’s no Pokemon Center where you can get healed after wading through a shit-ton of zubats. You only get one life, are you really gonna risk going out there without a med kit?

5. STORE FOOD AND WATER

You’re not a video-game character. Unless the video game is The Sims (without the cheats, you asshole). You have to eat, and drink. Let’s talk about both.

Now, unless you wanna go all Bear Grylls on this whole survival thing, you need to store plenty of water. Be aware that water easily gets contaminated, so you can’t hope that the water that comes out of your kitchen tap is potable. Find a place to store clean, drinkable water, and do it now. Unless you have cash. In which case, you can get this straw that automatically filters water while you drink it.  Oh wait, it’s only $25. I’m totally getting one for myself.

You’re out of shape. You and I both know that, and I had to say it so we can get past it and move on. You’re out of shape. You eat too much and when food runs out, you’re gonna be the first to die. Unless you hoard food. And don’t share. You’re gonna live. They’re gonna die. And you’re gonna step over their dead bodies while munching on your M&Ms.

BONUS TIP: TALK TO THE NEIGHBORS

Okay, here’s a question for you: two other people live in apartments on your floor. One is an ex-army dude with extensive experience in the field (and probably has a gun locker somewhere), and the other is the pretty girl next door you’ve always had a crush on. Who do you talk to to ensure you survive come the calamity? The army guy, right?

It was a trick question. The answer is both. 

Why talk to the army dude is obvious, he could save your ass a million times. But why talk to the girl? You like her. Everything’s going to shit. When else are you gonna tell her?

And honestly, what is the point of struggling to survive if you don’t have even the possibility of love to look forward to?

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For non-geeks who are reading this and thinking WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON, congratulations on making it this far. I want you guys to survive too so I’d have a source of manual labor when I rule the world, so below are some links which might be of help:

I’m going to leave you all with the wise words of Mad Eye Moody, everyone. If you don’t know who he is, get off this blog.

Keep safe, everybody! If you do die, we’ll probably use your bodies as fertilizer so, thanks in advance!

5 Reasons Going to The Movies Alone Is Actually Awesome

It’s been more than a month since I last posted something here, mostly because I’m busy with work and partly because my trusty Lenovo (shut up) has been in the ER a few weeks now and finally passed on today. A moment of silence, please.

Anyway, her demise inspired me to write. While looking for a topic to write on, I remembered a few days ago when a friend ask me if it was okay for someone to go to the movies alone. I asked her why she was asking, and she said because she wasn’t sure if going to the movies alone was fine or if it’s considered sad and/or pathetic. I just shrugged, using a considerable amount of willpower to stop my lip from quivering.

I’ve been going to the movies alone for years now.

At first I didn’t really have a choice. I moved to the city for college and didn’t know anyone, but I still liked going to the movies, so I eased myself into the whole experience. That was it. I’ve never really stopped and thought about what other people thought of what I was doing. Until my friend asked. And planted the seed of doubt in my head.

But that doubt was promptly stabbed in the chest by common sense when I realized that fuck society, going to the movies alone is fun.

Why?

1. YOU CAN WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT

One of the worst things about going out with other people is choosing what clothes to wear. And don’t give me that, “I never really cared what I look like” crap. I’m sure you spent at least a few moments thinking about which shirt to wear and if your socks match your pants. If you’re going to the movies alone though, and unless you’re planning to flirt with that hot teenager at the snack counter, you can wear whatever you want. You don’t feel like wearing jeans? Cool. You don’t feel like wearing pants in general? That’s good too.

Remember that one time when you had to change six times and stressed on what to wear for two hours before your last movie date? This is not that time. Hallelujah.

2. YOU GET TO PICK THE SNACKS, AND NONE OF THAT WHO’S-PAYING-FOR-THIS AWKWARDNESS

I think it’s true for most people that they act differently around friends compared to how they act when they’re alone, like you order a respectable-looking burger when you’re with friends but order five burgers and totally pig out when you’re alone. The same concept applies here. I don’t know about you but the overpriced snacks at the movies make me feel fancy. In the words of another blogger, “And when you’re the only one picking the snacks, you don’t have to hold back! You can buy the kiddie snack pack or like do something disgusting and order two hot dogs. The only person you’re going to embarrass is yourself, so you might as well live it up.”

When you’re on a movie date, there’s always that awkward moment when you pull out your wallet and hope the other person stops you. Or wonder if she’s totally into the guy-pays-for-everything concept, or if she’s okay with the alternate thing, or if she’s a fiercely independent woman who likes paying for her own stuff. First dates are hard.

3. YOU CAN SEE THE MOVIE YOU WANT TO SEE, WHEN YOU WANT TO SEE IT, WITHOUT THE RESENTMENT, AND WITHOUT THE JUDGMENT FROM YOUR FRIENDS

When going out with your friends to watch a movie, there are a lot of variables in play that you have to take into account. Not everyone in the group wants to watch the same movie, and not everyone is available at a certain time. So there has to be a compromise, and sometimes that compromise does not go your way, hence the resentment.

If you’re going to the movies alone, you can skip all of these. You can choose whatever movie you want, when you want to see it. You don’t need to plot a friend’s demise because they won the coin flip on which movie to watch. And you don’t have to deal with your friends judging you for watching High School Musical 3 five times.

4. YOU CAN ENJOY THE MOVIE WITHOUT INTERRUPTION

I tend to be really quiet while watching a movie. If I’m with someone, I might sneak in a comment or two but otherwise I just revel in the experience. This is really hard when you’re with the type of person who keeps texting while watching a movie, then won’t stop asking you questions once they realize they missed an important part of the plot. If murder was legal, there’d be a lot of dead people, most of them these guys.

You also don’t have to share any of the thousand and one snacks you bought. Those Red Vines? All yours. Those four hotdogs? Enjoy. That super-sized soda? Whoa boy, take it slow. You don’t want to blow your bladder in the middle of the movie.

5. YOU CAN PEOPLE-WATCH.

This is one of the main reasons why I do anything alone. When going to the movies, there’s that sweet window of time in between waiting in line at the ticket booth and watching the first previews when you get to hear and watch girlfriends bicker, kids say totally inappropriate things, parents try to keep said kids in line and failing miserably, first daters make uncomfortable small talk, etc. It’s heaven, really. The best part is, eavesdropping and people-watching demand little to no effort from your end but provide an almost-endless form of entertainment.

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I finally got back to my friend (the girl who asked the question that inspired this post, as mentioned at the very start) and told her basically what I told you: People don’t care about you as much as you think. People will not point and laugh if you go to the movies alone. They will not knock that box of chicharon from your hands and demand that you leave the theater. Most of them are too busy dealing with their own lives, chatting with the person next to them, or staring at their phones to avoid awkward conversations.

On a side note, you going to the movies alone is also akin to issuing a challenge for society to change its ways. Staring at a screen should not be something that needs to be done in pairs. The same could be said for eating at a restaurant, playing video games, eating fondue, taking long walks along the beach, riding a Ferris wheel, and — if you’re a girl — going to the bathroom. You don’t need other people to be happy. ‘Alone’ is worlds away from ‘lonely’, and the two of them need to be disassociated with one another.

In the words of a fellow blogger: Enough is enough. It’s time for a revolution of thought.