Friday, October 26, 2012

Obligatory Hallowe'en Blog!

Yes its that time of year again- No, not the few times a year I actually get around to updating this thing, I meant Hallowe'en! So obviously I have to do some kind of holiday special....Yes, one of my most favourite holidays of the year, where you get an excuse to run around in costume and scare children! AND there's free food! How much better can it get?

I'll tell you how much better: Free scares too! (Yup. Just when you though I'd gotten around to actually writing something, I go cop-out with posting other peoples' stuff. But seriously, take a look! Don't worry there's going to be some actual thought in this one.)

So, Creepypastas. "Creepypasta" derives from "copypasta", which is a kind of urban legend on the internet; the name comes from the fact that they are usually copy-pasted between forums and message boards. Creepypastas specifically are meant to be internet ghost stories. Something I've found with quite a few creepypastas is that they like to ruin your childhood: cartoons and beloved games especially are twisted and darkened just to give you chills. "Low blows" you may say- "fair play" says I, I like to get spooked just a little and I prefer the lingering kind of horror to the gory stuff. I've grown fond of creepypastas, especially because most of them are text-based, making you READ them and letting your mind fill in the gruesome details. ooOOOoooOOoooh!

For this blog's spook-tacular, I've compiled a few text and video creepypastas suggested to me by friends and the good people of the internet, along with quick explanations (if needed) of what I know about what lies beyond.

Without further ado and arranged in no particular order:

1: Squidward's Suicide
(Yup, breaking out the big guns for the first one, hope it doesn't scare you off!) This is one of the first "legit" creepypastas I ever read, found on the long-running "Scary Thread" on the Escapist Magazine forums (I'll link it at the very end, no worries). This one actually kept me up late a bit, though that could be because the mental images were also blended with a few other pastas and videos I'd watched that day. If you are a big fan of SpongeBob Squarepants, maybe don't read this one.

I believe this particular pasta is derived from a slightly older story called "Suicide Mouse" which involves lost Soviet-era footage of a very disturbing Mickey Mouse cartoon. The progression and tone of the two stories are very similar (I read the "original" but never could sit through the video. Feel free to look either of them up). I believe there is also a Squidward's Suicide animation somewhere on YouTube. I have included a wikia entry with text and a few stills only.

2: Pokemon: Lost Silver
Let's give your eyes a rest for this one, it's a video! I'm not terribly familiar with the Lost Silver pasta or how it came about, but there seems to be quite a bit of YouTube/assorted web coverage and repostings of it, so I decided to check it out. Due to its infamy, there was even a ROM-hack mod made in its honour, which is the video behind this reading. It's not terribly scary, just unsettling in its own way. There seem to be quite a few Pokemon-based horror stories, myths and creepypastas. (There's at least one more in this blog I can tell you that!)

3: Candle Cove
This is a shorty but a good one. I asked my friends during one of our Pathfinder meetings if they knew any good creepypastas since I felt I had worn out YouTube and I was in the lazy phase of research. One of them just said "Candle Cove" and left it at that. Thank you good sir for your suggestion. I'm not even going to explain this one, just read it, it's short.

4: Where Bad Kids Go
While we're on the topic of children's programming, here's one I found on the Escapist Scary Thread. I was clicking around random page numbers and the image of the video caught my eye. (For those interested, I believe the video is just a ferrofluid -an iron solution- being held in that spiny formation and rotated so the spines jiggle. It's not really there for any reason other than to be a bizarre background image.) This is a short one as well. Best not to give it much thought....

5: Cedar Cove Incident
This was was within a single link of Candle Cove on the Ichor Falls site, so I gave it a look. Some pretty good scary imagery in this one, it's short as well. Unfortunately I couldn't find the fabled video to go with it- this is a good example of a real-sounding pasta that's obviously fake. Still, not a bad diversion.

6: The Russian Sleep Experiment
Another video, two videos in fact. These ones are just audio over stills. Unfortunately the audio is very quiet so you'll have to turn up your volume (I recommend muting programs that have alert sounds like Facebook chat, Msn Messenger and Avast Antivirus to avoid both deafening yourself and risking a heart attack). These videos don't have any sound-related jump scares so you won't get deafened by them.

7: Pokemon: Strangled Red
(Obviously I was more successful in finding video creepypastas than text ones because I'm lazy and I can multitask while listening but not while reading.) This is another pair of videos, actually narrated by the same person as the previous pair of videos. I found this one before the previous pasta, but I wanted to put some space between the Pokemon-related posts. I really liked this one, the story has a good progression and is well-written, the narrator has wonderful delivery and the imagery stuck with me for a while after. 

8: Haunted Majora's Mask Cartridge 
I feel like I've tread this ground on my blog before. If I have I apologize, if not, YES I GET TO POST THIS!

This is probably my all time favourite set of creepy videos and text together. It's a long one, I warn you (these pastas seem to get longer as we go along, sorry)! But it is definitely my favourite out of all the pastas I've seen to date. The videos are good on their own if you don't feel like reading all the tiny text (this is some other guy's blog, I couldn't find a version that had both the text and videos together within easy linking reach, thankfully I've linked the version with "NEXT" buttons so it's not all one big post).

This post as far as I can tell is very true to the original, having both Jadusable's full text and the videos in the proper order to go with them. Really you don't have to read beyond "thetruth.txt" but you can if you want the whole experience. The videos are the best part in my opinion and certainly stand on their own. The inherent wrongness of it all to anyone who's played Majora's Mask is just brilliant.


9: Ted's Caving Story
This one is a LOOOOOOOOOONG one. No joke, it took me two days to get through it in between homework and classes. I've stuck this one at the end for a reason! If you really have nothing better to do, go read through it! It's....well, it's an older one, It was last updated quite a few years ago (2001) and as such the formatting is a little outdated (highly recommend using a browser with AdBlock to view this one otherwise there will be banners and popups galore). I won't spoil the ending, but don't hate me for how it concludes, I didn't write it!

Here you are, brave wanderer:


Just so you don't hate me for how the Caving Story ended, here's a bonus creepy video! Not exactly a creepypasta in and of itself, but certainly one that freaked me right the heck out when I first watched it in....oh grade 10 I think, maybe even earlier. It's made its rounds of the internet and there seems to be two reactions to it; either very disturbed or completely nonplussed. I haven't watched it for a while so I can't attest to whether or not it still scares me. I'm going to watch it right after posting this though, so we'll see! if claymation wasn't bad enough, eh?
(UPDATE: Nope, watched it again, still freaky.)

Here's "The Scary Thread" on The Escapist I mentioned earlier, in case you masochistic types are still looking for more:

So that's the Obligatory "Scary" Hallowe'en blog! I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you all sleep well tonight!....MwahahahaHAAAAAAAAA!


Oh ok fine! Here's a funny one to ease your minds! Geez you guys are such crybabies!

Until next time!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Revelations on Dorm Life

Being probably preemptively depressed about being jobless again this summer, I've decided it's high time I sit down and actually write something for once in a long while. (This post is very very late due to school. University consumed more of my free time than I thought it would. Also an advance apology for uncalled-for levels of snark that may follow.)

The following is directed at high school students planning to move into a dorm/residence for their first year, university students who have never lived in a dorm and are going to in the coming year, and university students who are returning to a dorm and may have forgotten what it was like because they partied themselves stupid over the summer.

Sable's Guide to Dorm Life:

1) I hope you don't mind LOTS OF NOISE
Even in supposedly "quiet study" areas (like the one I thought I was in) people are going to make obscene amounts of noise. Now, they may not be your neighbours or even the people immediately above/below you (depending on how the rooms are laid out), in fact, these boisterous people are most likely to be strangers that are friends-of-friends of your neighbours or random passers-by.

I had the good fortune to have quite agreeable neighbours overall, except for one group of girls who shared a room on the level below mine. I never really saw much of these girls except when I was trying to find them through the crowd that gathered in and outside their room in an effort to get them to quiet their guests down. I got the distinct impression that they didn't actually know any of these people and that they were friends of the friends that they had invited. Occasionally I also had to deal with people using our hallway as a shortcut of sorts; these people were usually variously intoxicated and/or very loud for no reason.

Bottom line: be a party-er (if you think your grades can handle it) or get a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones (if you're an introvert like me).

2) Leave your musical instruments at home
If you're not in a music program or established local band, LEAVE YOUR INSTRUMENTS AT HOME. I say this for a number of reasons:
-Dorm rooms are small, you're lucky if you find a place to store it that isn't a vital few cubic feet.
-Dorms are very unsecured despite what your school may say, there's a good risk it may be stolen or damaged.
-You're not as talented as you think you are, your neighbours will not appreciate you strumming or caterwauling while they're trying to actually get things done
-Your guitar will not get you laid, so don't even try to fool yourself

3) Pack light, seriously light
You might be staying there for eight months but you don't need eight months worth of clothing. I made this mistake when I moved in and brought way too much clothing with me. Bring maybe two weeks worth of clothing, plus sleep/bumming-around gear (ie. sweatpants and the like), appropriate outer wear (ie. coats, mitts, scarves), and maybe a few nicer things for going out on weekends or whatever you people do. You're going to be re-wearing things several times before you wash them anyways so you don't need as much as you think you will, and storage space is limited. Besides, when winter break, reading weeks and long weekends roll around you can always bring home whatever you won't need for the change of season and switch up your wardrobe that way (provided you can travel back home).

4) Look after your laundry
My residence building had two large public laundry areas. While the rest of the building was kept relatively orderly, the two laundry rooms were a no-man's land where anything goes. People had their laundry stolen, vandalized and even thrown into garbage cans. I'm not exaggerating. I highly recommend you guard your laundry when you put a load or two in. Personally I like to sit on or near the machine with my stuff in it. This is a good opportunity to get any non-laptop related work done, such as textbook readings or note-taking. I got most (if not all) of my leisure reading done while guarding my laundry, it was a nice break.

Another pro-tip: do your laundry in the evening or on Sunday mornings ("morning" is kind of relative, I've been there close to 1 pm and it's been dead quiet), that's when I found my local laundry rooms to be the quietest.

Also you should actually know how to work a washer and dryer, the appropriate amount of soap to use and suchlike. If you don't know these things, learn them ASAP because you really ought to know by now.

5) Endear yourself to your neighbours
It's not that hard, actually, and move-in day is a great opportunity to do this, especially if you move in early compared to other people and plan to stay afterwards. Helping your new neighbours/roommates move things is a great way to bond with them and get an idea as to what they're like. I had a great year with the girls on my floor and I learned a lot about them because we all bonded pretty quickly. Plus it's always nice to have that emotional safety-net close by if you start getting anxious about being separated from your family and other friends (if you've moved far from home).

Another plus to loving thy neighbour is when you need to start borrowing things. I didn't have to but I lent out a few things now and again, just little things, but if you're on good terms with the people around you they won't mind at all if you have to call in a favour.

6) Keep active, you lazy thing!
Don't make the same mistake I made and sit in front of a computer all day when you're not sitting around in class! You may have heard of the dreaded "Freshman 15" from family members, the supposed 15 or so pounds a freshman gains due to a combination of greasy cafeteria food and a sedentary lifestyle. Well, don't let that happen. I don't care so much about gaining weight, I'm concerned more about you casual athletes and people of relatively fragile disposition.

Let me explain: I take karate classes twice weekly, but my university was out of town and I couldn't find any local dojos. To remedy this, I did absolutely nothing, and that was my mistake. I wasn't terribly buff or toned to begin with but I lost basically all of my already meager muscle mass and tenuous endurance. In short, I am now even more out of shape than I was when I left home. My advice, join a sports team or get a membership at the school gym and just do some things to keep yourself active, if just as a break from work.

Another thing you may not know; physical activity keeps you sane, so find something that you enjoy. I get really bad cabin fever if I sit inside too long for too many days in a row, so I took to hiking around the school's arboretum or just going for walks around downtown for something to do. If I had been exercising regularly I don't think I would have gone as nuts as I did (though my dorm room being an underground cinderblock cube with just one tiny window may have had something to do with that too).

7) Make your room your own
Ladies, I'm sure this advice doesn't need to be spoken to some of you, but others and guys, you may want to listen. I lived in a cinderblock cube for eight months and MAN it was depressing at times. Bring a few things to brighten up your room and really make it your own space. Posters, knick-knacks, whatever, just bring something. Potted plants are good too, a little green always brightens up a space. I had the good fortune to have a school that sold potted plants during Orientation Week so students could have one for their rooms. If you're not so lucky, get one or bring one from home. If you know you're hopeless with plants, get some bamboo. I kid you not, that stuff is basically indestructible as long as you keep it watered. I've got some bamboo in my room in a clear glass vase with glass beads to keep the stalks upright and it's been there for years. (Clear glass is good so you know when it's low on water!)

8) People do stupid things. Very stupid things.
And sadly there isn't much you can do about it. We had all of the shower curtains from our floor bathroom stolen; we never found out who took them or where they went. We also had many, many, MANY fire alarms throughout the year, never one before 10 pm. Once we had two in one night around midnight and 1 am-ish. The point is that despite colleges/universities being a home of education, they are the sites of horrible but anonymous crimes of utter stupidity. I don't care how smart you like to think or hope university kids are, they're probably worse (yes, WORSE, I said it) than high school kids.

So I give you fair warning, settled, educated and mature readers. I do not condone these acts of stupidity but rather warn you that they will happen and it's best just to grin and bear them. It's a part of life, specifically first-year life if I have heard correctly. Some people just don't know how to handle themselves when they don't have parents to say "no" to them. For your own good, ignore them.

And with that, I bring this rambly blog to a close. I hope the length and attitude make up for my previous several-month hiatus. Oh yeah, and I hope this also helped some of you get a better idea of what a year in a dorm/residence is like. It's not all that bad but there are bad parts, as in everything in life.

As always,
until next time.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Pep-Talk and Male Bonding

Gentlemen! Dudes! Young men between the ages of 16 and 25, whatever you call yourselves, come hither and listen! There's no boobs in this post but it's important, so you might want to stick around.

Now this entry starts with an anecdote so hang in there, I'll get to my point once I've illustrated it. Then you can go back to surfing.

Recently a friend of mine came to me over IM and mentioned he wasn't in a very good state, but he didn't really feel like talking about it. So I asked if there was a way we could tackle the issue indirectly but he came out and told me anyways. Honouring the implied secrecy of the private IM chat and our close friendship I won't say his name or issue exactly but he mentioned he'd actually had some suicidal thoughts. (This isn't going to be some preachy teen-suicide blog either so don't worry, I'm just elabourating!)

We chatted it out and I got him out of his rut and he turned in for the night feeling considerably better, and for that I am thankful.

But here's the thing.

Young do I put this? It's going to come off as sounding weirdly sexist but....young men aren't empowered enough! ...There I said it!

You hear a lot about womens' empowerment and how young women have to take control of their lives and be strong individuals and think for themselves and all this wonderful stuff. But you never hear that for young men, and it's weird because a lot of the most concerning issues for teens and young adults statistically affect more males! Suicide, death, injury, violence and drop-out stats are all male-dominated.

That's NOT a good thing, in case you weren't paying attention, gentlemen. I'm trying to help you out here!

Young men in our Western society are in no way encouraged to go out into the world and claim it as their own in the same way that young women are. It's....really weird....I can't place the blame on the feminist movements because I really don't think suffrage and equal wages have somehow emasculated the entire male youth population of the 21st century.

It's just a zeitgeist thing. A weird attitude of our era that makes it not just allowable but IDEAL for young men to be brainless hedonistic slackers. Young women get called some pretty foul names for exhibiting these behaviours. But guys? Nah, it's cool...apparently

So here's my proposal. Guys, you still with me? Hang on to your pants because this is going to come as a shocker...

I want you (yes you, young sir) to be more like a GIRL.

I want to see young men who are driven and empowered. Who are in charge of their lives and know what they're doing with that life. I want to see guys who are honestly social and socially honest; not just guys who put up a front for the crowds just to lie their way into some girl's bed.

(Yes I realize that's important for many of you but consider your life OUTSIDE the bar and bedroom. Just consider it for a moment. What does it consist of?)

Here's another "girly" trait I think a lot of guys should learn. How to pick your friends.

Let's do a little exercise here:
Who's your best friend? Ok, now who's your best friend of the same gender? Do you have a "best man"?

If no, why not? Let me guess, "cuz it's GAY" right? Well no. You're wong and you should be ashamed for being so insensitive, but please keep reading, perhaps we can reconcile this.

Guys, you need to pick your friends the way we girls pick our friends.

*First, you must share some common interests. NOTE: Chicks, booze, and partying are NOT valid interests for exercise. All of these are a given for people in your age group, find somehting else to bond over. Music, movies, video games, shared talents or hobbies. (Yes, you can have hobbies, it's ok!)

*Next, you must share some common ideals, opinions or outlooks; be they religious, political, ideological, get the idea. I want you to use your head that has the brain in it, that's what it's there for. As humans we are made to think and think in depth! Put aside the animal for a bit and be a man!

*Lastly, you must be able to TALK to this person. No, this is NOT "Gay." Think back to the anecdote I shared about my friend in distress. I talked him through his problem. This is something that girls do but it shouldn't just be limited to us. Guys, I know you have feelings too, and it's not "gay" or "weak" to have to share them, especially if they're weighing on you. You'll get a lot more respect for being honest with people than you will putting up a front and acting tough and detatched. (I'll let you in on a secret, it's a lot more attractive too!)

This last point is crucial. Your best friend, your "bro" or whatever you want to call him, should be someone you can earnestly talk to and who can talk to you in turn while still (and this is the imporant part) RESPECTING each other's privacy and feelings. If your best bro shares some deep stuff with you and you go and make fun of him for it with other people you know...Well you're a horrible person and I'd be ashamed to call you a human being. Simple as that. I have no insult for you. You're just a horrible heartless thing.

So girly! That's the best way I can put it. You have to take charge of your lives, be your own person! I know it's tempting to just be some face in the crowd, it's so much easier when no one knows who you are, but what's the point, then? Are you really living?

Now I'm not telling you to abandon your current circle of friends and strike off on your own. Everyone needs friends, even guys need friends. And sharing your thoughts or feelings isn't "gay", okay? It's a normal human need. Maybe you're just not used to it, so you should give it a try.

Here's my challenge to you. This is a GIRL issuing you a challenge, sir. Will you accept?

Go find your "best man", "bro", "wingman" whatever you call him. Go find your closest male friend and ask him something personal. Not too personal, start with something bygone like a childhood fear. Maybe ask him if he was afraid of the dark as a kid. Were you? Admit something to him, something simple like that. (I'll start you off, I was deathly afraid of spiders as a kid, even the little ones.)

Congratulations; once you've got this exchange going successfully (be persistent if he shrugs you off, maybe try asking while you're both distracted with something, maybe while gaming) you're sharing! Huzzah, your growth as a sensitive and perceptive young adult has begun! How does it feel? Not too different, right? I told you it wasn't gay.

Try striking up a heart-to-heart with a female friend next, you'll find we're easier to talk to about this sort of thing. (If she asks why, say another girl dared you to become more socially aware. She won't get it but it'll help break the ice.) Once you've got some practice with heartfelt conversation, you're well on your way to being more of a human.

Until next time.