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The After Times-Gazette-Picayune

Editor’s note: Since our first edition last Friday, we absorbed the End Times Gazette into our operations. New name, same great taste! Many things are linked throughout too, so don’t forget to click and enjoy!

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The Failing NFL! The president scolded the NFL for not forcing its players to stand for the anthem. While the editors of the Times Gazette-Picayune think that this issue has become more about kneeling and less about protesting the murder of unarmed black Americans by police, we include this story to inform you that the NFL has not made moves to mandate players standing for the anthem. It is important to note that the reasons that are being used for making them stand include (1) disrespecting the country and (2) disrespecting the military because our next story covers…

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HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS SIGNING UP FOR: First the president stated that previous presidents didn’t make calls to bereaved families of fallen soldiers, and then he told the widow of one of the soldiers killed in Niger that “he knew what he was signing up for.” It is basically the norm now to experience this kind of hypocrisy and it is almost impossible to avoid the issue of race and how the president and others are just mad that blacks are being “uppity” and also what’s another black/brown life lost? But don’t disrespect our military…as long as they are white. Otherwise they should have known that they could die, what do we even owe them? But they die for the players to have the right to protest, but we don’t want them to protest because it’s disrespect for the military…I’m dizzy! It’s like a merry-go-round of insanity!

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Bernie Sanders vs. Ted Cruz in the Thunderdome: CNN debates between politicians are a thing? We’re not in an election season just yet, right? Does anyone really need to see Ted Zodiac Killer Cruz and Bernie Fucking Sanders yell at each other about taxes? Here, we’ll save you some time with the short summary of the debate below, but the link above will take you to the CNN highlights.

Bernie: HEALTH CARE FOR ALL

Ted: CUT TAXES

Bernie: RAISE TAXES ON THE RICH

Ted: CUT TAXES

Ted: zodiac killer

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NAZIS! In local news, white supremacy gives a speech in Florida! Richard Spencer came to the University of Florida to explain to alligators why white people are the best and also that we should cleanse the world of all non-white people. The governor of Florida and snake person Rick Scott declared a state of emergency ahead of the event, expecting another Charlottesville, but at the time of this publication it looks like all ended peacefully. Enjoy this short video of Richard Spencer being punched. PUNCH NAZIS, BE FREE.

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2022 Winter Olympics in China: Beijing doesn’t have any snow, but is somehow hosting the winter olympics. So they are forming a “snow affairs work team” to figure out how to make and preserve enough snow for an entire Olympics in a city where is hardly ever snows naturally and has no mountains; they are already planning to send competitors to neighboring rural locations via high speed rail for events at “sports clusters” and I’m not sure what that means but basically I don’t see how this won’t be a very expensive disaster.

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Rap Snacks! Apparently there are potato chips that are linked to “famous” rappers that you can order and consume on the internet. I have an Echo Dot and Alexa decided to give me this information randomly in the middle of my Saturday evening without being asked and now it’s something I can’t unlearn and neither can you. Enjoy Fetty Wap’s Honey Jalapeno or Lil’ Boosie’s Louisiana Heat Ripple Chips, and the food may even make their music more enjoyable too!

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Archives:

October 13

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Eyes Up, Guardian

Destiny

As some of you know, I play quite a lot of the video game Destiny on Playstation 4. The basic idea of the game is that there is this large, spherical technology called the Traveler that travels through space and terraforms worlds into more advanced societies, makes planets typically unlivable habitable, and brings more enlightened feelings to the society under its gaze.

traveler

It came to Mars, Venus, and Earth, making all better and for the former two, able to be colonized. This was the Golden Age of discovery and learning, humans’ lives were extended, and other races such as the Awoken and Exo came to exist beside humans.

races

Then a collapse occurred. The details of this collapse are poorly documented, and we are not sure what caused it, but at this time the Traveler falls silent, and sends out small pieces of “light” called Ghosts, that are apparently tasked with traveling the cosmos to find and revive individuals of great strength and perseverance. The initial people to be raised from the dead became warlords who used their power to lord over people, but then the good triumphed and those risen became Guardians – of the light, of humanity, of good.

ghost

There are 3 kinds of guardians: Titans, Warlocks, and Hunters. Titans are the defenders and those at the front lines in the face of conflict. Warlocks value knowledge and learning and want to inform their attacks with deep understanding of their enemy. Hunters desire stealth, quickness, and precision kills. These can be human, Awoken, or Exo – the three races of the game.

classes

So we go out and we fight “the Darkness” which manifests in the motivations of the different enemy races of the game. The scavenging Fallen, the mysterious Hive, the time-manipulating Vex, and the monstrous destructive Cabal.  All four have their own pasts and their own motivations for pursuing the Traveler and being our enemies, all you need to know is that the Fallen are the easiest, the Vex are the most difficult, and they are all fun to shoot.

enemies

I love this game for so many reasons. It makes me feel like I am good at something. It allows me to be a leader and a teacher for other players that I play with online. It allows me the space to imagine that I could be a consciousness inside a robot who is immortal and exists to protect and defend and murder evil in all its forms. Some nights if I play too late I have dreams about being able to fly and form fireballs with my fists and leading a team to victory over some weirdo alien. My brain drinks up the lore, the story, the armor, the legends, all of it to combat the fucking insane dumpster fire reality that is now. It even makes me dream that I might wield some kind of weapon against it.

Books and video games for me. How do you escape and refuel?

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All Grown Up

All Grown Up

This is a city girl book that will speak to any girl who has gone another way through her twenties and thirties. The setting moves between New York City, Chicago, and New Hampshire, and our main character Andrea has to navigate her own addictions, relationships, passions, and obligations in a world where nothing really seems to matter very much.

Her father was a heroin addict and she battles with her own addictions, mainly to alcohol, and primarily after her father passes away from an overdose in their home. He haunts her because she loved him so much, and he was torn from her so suddenly. So we see her dealing with pain with a glass of wine or something else of that nature.

Something about the book that the casual reader might take for drowning out the feelings is her tendency to bounce from man to man, but I chose to view this as her being an independent woman who enjoys sex. It is difficult to get past that societal stigma of women who have sex with many men equaling sluts, but we’ve got to start somewhere. She gets a (treatable) STD in one of the chapters that deals with her twenties, but otherwise she is pretty safe.

Her family is complicated. Her mom ran $10 spaghetti supper-type dinners for “men” after the death of Andrea’s father, and so when she would arrive home from school there would be men of all ages lying everywhere in their apartment, cloaked in the sight and scent of marijuana smoke. She is poked and prodded and once almost raped (which causes her mom to finally open her eyes and stop the dinners) but thankfully these money making endeavors never cause any major harm.

Her brother marries a woman that she idolizes and respects, and they have a daughter that is terminally ill and uses up all their savings and never grows very much and they have to move to New Hampshire to be closer to a hospital and to be able to afford to live. Andrea doesn’t deal with this development well, and doesn’t go to visit very often or even help very much. I’m not sure if she views this as the baby stealing her family from her or just that it’s too stressful to take, but either way she avoids dealing with this situation for almost the entire book.

Outside of family and fucking and drinking we see her interact with many different individuals and she has the typical exchange that women who don’t get married/don’t have kids tend to have with people who don’t understand that marriage and children aren’t a necessity or a requirement for womanhood anymore. It’s frustrating and irritating and somehow despite her knowledge that this is who she is, she walks away from these encounters feeling demeaned and diminished. The one thing she holds true to through the entire book is the fact that she has no interest in marriage or children, and not in that “doth protest too much” kind of way but a “this is just my day to day life” kind of way.

The aspect of the book that won my heart was her departure from being an artist. She went to school for it, it was what she worked for her entire life, and then suddenly it just wasn’t. It’s something she pines for, but then realizes it’s just never coming back no matter how much she wants it, and then she tries to have a piece of that by buying art or going to museums or sketching casually, but these all just remind her that she was going to be an artist, and it makes her melancholy again. Facing this idea that going to college and reaching your late twenties/early thirties having accomplished nothing that you wanted and are suddenly faced with the decision what now then? is something I think more people my age are dealing with than we hear about. I lived this very timeline and I count myself lucky that even though I despise it, I have a degree with job opportunities that I can take advantage of while I figure my shit out. But the world is not suddenly solved because you majored in the thing you loved, because you pursued your goal with passion. Reality is a real bitch, and she’s a bigger bitch to my generation and I can’t imagine the cunt she’s about to be to the next.

Go find and read this book. It’s a 200 page, 1 day read that will make you realize that you are not alone and that maybe everything’s going to be okay, even if it’s not in the way you imagined it.

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All About Me Monday: Just Keep Swimming

I have always thought that everyone wants to tell their story. Everyone wants to write a memoir, to explain their life, and even more than that, to simply be seen. Social media provides a taste of this feeling, but often screaming into the void of Facebook or Twitter does not provide a full picture, or a too shiny one.

The problem is the issue of context. Begin to tell one story and you find that your readers won’t understand it unless they hear another, and that one is tangled with yet another, and so the story becomes so overwhelming that giving up or telling a jumbled mess become the only apparent conclusions, which means your story never gets told.

So instead of reaching into the past to try to help you explain how I got here, I’m going to tell you stories in the now and link to the past when necessary.

After losing my job it was tenuous whether I could continue with my accounting degree. I’ve been working on it for a long time, since 2011, because I have had to pay out of pocket, because I used up my student loan availability on my previous degrees, my previous search for the end of the rainbow. Without the extra money I made teaching online, I was unsure if I could afford the two classes I would need to take.

I signed up for two classes though, as you can take the entire semester to pay as long as you also pay late fees. If the money came, it came. If it didn’t, then it would be over and I wouldn’t pay anything. I selected a basic statistics course and a French 1 course, the former because I’m teaching Probability and Statistics in my new job and it would be a good refresher, and the latter because we are still hopeful that we will make it to Paris next Christmas and the more French I can relearn the better. Both because I didn’t want to take the chance of failing or not affording actual accounting classes.

I was ready to do well in these classes in case they would count, but then the hurricane happened, and my teaching job demanded more of me than I initially expected, so I fell behind. I have managed to keep my head above water because they are both online courses, but it has been difficult.

Today I had to go to campus, as the online French course has in-person exams for the midterm and final. I hadn’t studied, I had forgotten about the midterm. I almost took the time this weekend to look things over, but I do not learn well from cramming. I have to split my learning up into smaller chunks and my brain just collects the facts like a bouquet of flowers and arranges them in a way that makes sense and is easily recalled later. So instead of frustrating myself doing something I knew would yield no results, I enjoyed my weekend and left today to take the exam.

I was there 5 minutes tops, answered 70 questions, and got an 83%.

I took 3.5 years of French in high school 16 years ago. I have spent a total of maybe 2 hours each week doing the assignments for the class, and I have not read the textbook.

This is me, figuratively crawling through the mud, keeping my mouth out of the muck and the wet long enough to take a breath, to extend my arms one more time to pull myself another inch, another centimeter towards what might be a better future. I am doing the best that I can, but it is not my best. I constantly want to give up. I constantly want to let the mud consume me and just accept my fate.

Some small spark keeps me crawling. As long as there is a chance, I’ll keep working. Keep breathing. Keep trying.

So I got an 83% on a midterm and turned in all my work this week. It’s so much less than I could do, but it’s exactly what I can do right now, and that’s all that matters. When you get older and have to make the choice between accepting what you have and striving for something better, it’s always easier to give in and accept. It’s very difficult, at 34, to keep taking classes and to believe that change is possible. And it only gets more difficult. But today I decided to keep going, and hope for the money to appear so I can pay for this semester and head into (hopefully) my last one.

Not time for giving up.

Yet.

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The After Times-Picayune

Welcome to the After Times-Picayune, where we cover all things in The After Times!

This week:

  1. California is on fire! Fires and tropical storm force winds are ravaging the counties of Napa and Sonoma (northern California) and some of the images are just devastating. Cars are overturned and basically turned into charcoal, homes are just…gone, disappeared, and already 15 are dead and dozens more unaccounted for. So I’m definitely glad we spent the first part of the week trying to decide whether Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, called Trump a moron or a fucking moron. (pic not photoshopped, this is an actual picture of my TV in the midst of MSNBC’s nightly news lineup.
    moron
  2. Sexual assault is being punished! Harvey Weinstein or The Weinstein Company (Good Will Hunting, Django Unchained, The King’s Speech) was fired from his own company this week because many, many, MANY women came forward to tell their stories about his decades of sexual harassment and abuse. The link provided is from The New Yorker and shares some of the victims’ stories. I would make sure you are in a place where you can be shocked and disgusted before you read it.
  3. Will we or won’t we with North Korea? I GUESS WE’LL FIND OUT. With such notable quotes as “only one thing will work” and “I guess you’ll find out soon” and “this is the calm before the storm,” Trump reminds us that behind all the Tweets and corruption there are nuclear weapons and he’s still the president. But if there’s something you want to “stay tuned” about it’s either Real Housewives of *insert city here* or WW3, amirite?
  4. Puerto Rico is still a disaster area and our president threw paper towels at them. If you don’t understand what this might be like, imagine having no power, no water to drink, no food, no internet, your house is destroyed or flooded, and your fucking idiot president just threw you a roll of generic brand paper towels and said “have a good time!” I’M ANGRY AND I’M NOT EVEN THERE HOW WAS THERE NOT AN IMMEDIATE RIOT oh yeah these people are hungry and thirsty and hot and tired and scared and probably didn’t have the energy to start one.
  5. GIANT SNAKE FOR DINNER: Okay fine this was last Thursday but JESUS CHRIST CAN YOU IMAGINE CATCHING AND KILLING A SNAKE THAT BIG? IT’S THE FUCKING BASILISK FROM HARRY POTTER AND THEY ARE GOING TO PIG ROAST IT. “It may not be able to see you, but it can still hear you.” “Okay, nightmare luau.” LOOK AT IT’S FUCKING MOUTH. Jesus our world is fucking terrifying.

Honorable mention: My post from last week about gun control and the Las Vegas shooting.

From big fires to big jerks, big storms to big snakes, we have all things you need from this week, here in your After Times-Picayune! See you next week when we’ll discuss another assortment of the inevitable fresh horrors that are sure to grace our reality!

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New Release! Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

Out October 3, 2017.

I’m not sure what it is about the books I’ve been reading this week but I’ve gotten halfway through them and been like, “Why is there still 50% of this book left?” I am starting to write this review as my Kindle sits at 43% of Egan’s Manhattan Beach, and I do not plan to read any further.

As opposed to the reviews earlier this week, my hesitation to continue is not based on vapidity or avoidance – it is rooted in the need for a riveting story, no pun intended given that our main character works in a naval shipyard measuring rivets during WW2. I just don’t care, even though there are pieces that have the potential to grab my attention. The mystery of where Anna’s father disappeared to during the Great Depression, her desire to enter the male-dominated profession of diving to repair naval vessels, the setting of the entire book, her mom dancing with the Follies – all of it a treasure trove of historical fiction and I just. Don’t. Care.

At 43% her crippled sister has succumbed to her condition and died, and her mother is going away to live with her family in Minnesota, leaving Anna in their apartment in New York that she was already paying for with her naval yard paycheck for the entire family anyway. She is faced with newfound independence and I should feel something for her situation. Shuffling off the weight of a burdensome family is right in my wheelhouse. But at the beginning of chapter 14 my brain said, “Look, I don’t care about her father anymore and it’s been too long since that was even teased as a mystery. Her connection with this ‘gangster’ Dexter Styles doesn’t matter either, because we already know he’s going to give her the information on her dad and help her lock in a job that she wants. The gangster gets redeemed and she discovers her full potential PUT THIS FUCKING BOOK AWAY AND GIVE ME SOME RED MEAT ALREADY.”

This book gets a hard, boring shrug from Angry Angel Books. I hear her other stuff is good though so I might check it out, but this one was a flop for me. ON TO THE NEXT ONE.

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On Podcasts: Unhappy Hour with Matt Bellassai

unhappy hour

This fucking podcast is everything I wish that my podcast could be. I love Matt Bellassai so much. From his Buzzfeed web series “Whine About It” to his current series “To Be Honest” to this new podcast, there is nothing I enjoy more than listening to this lovely person complain about shit.

He makes fun of weirdo news stories, picks on well-known celebrities, and complains about the world while drinking with celebrity guests. His segment called “Deep Dive” goes into detail about a certain topic. The one they did about Texas was HILARIOUS but also terrible and you should go listen to it immediately.

Combining this podcast with The Read (with Kid Fury and Crissle) and Pod Save America will ensure that I get my fill of anger for the week in The After Times. I love podcasts that are mean but also funny and also like hanging out and gossiping with friends.