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OMG Moments from Pretty Little Liars’ Summer Finale

PLL Summer Finale

Have you watched the Pretty Little Liars 7a Summer Finale yet? WARNING! There are SPOILERS ahead! Don’t read this blog yet. Go watch it (trust me, it’s worth it) and then you can come back and gasp with me!

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Have you watched it yet?

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I’m warning you!

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Okay, I’m going to assume, if you’re reading this then you HAVE watched the summer finale of Pretty Little Liars, and in that case: OH MY GOSH WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?!?!?

Questions Answered and OMG Moments of the Summer Finale

  • Alison is Pregnant!  Something we were all expecting with the rumors of a pregnancy on the show going around.  Time will tell though if this is a just your average pregnancy or if it’s another plot by A.D. (I mean, we still don’t know what happened to Emily’s eggs so there’s that creepy possibility.
  • Noel Kahn is not Mary’s 2nd child!  Though that doesn’t stop him from being or working for A.D. But he’s VERY decapitated right now so I have a feeling we won’t be seeing anymore of his antics.
  • Caleb and Hanna get back together! And have a steamy hook-up on the floor next to a fireplace that’s not used unless it serves as a plot device or cool backdrop. Because everyone has reunion sex next to a fireplace, right? (e.g. The Notebook)
  • Emily currently has the most game of all the girls which is surprising since she’s literally been the one struggling the most in the relationship department since the time jump. No, since FOREVER.  Honestly, though, as much as I like Paige, she’s being a total creepster, and Alison is just too…manipulative. I never know what she’s really after. Sabrina is literally looking like the only person who might actually be good for Emily if she could learn how to share her stresses and secrets.
  • Spencer gets shot! In the chest too, so it’s not looking good for this girl. (And she’s one of my favorite characters!) But if we’re answering the question of the “spectacular death” that would probably go to Noel.  Spencer is still technically alive and I’m hoping she’s not gone for the last 10 episodes!
  • Toby and Yvonne get into a car wreck! Why? How? Was A.D. involved or was this just an unfortunate coincidence? And are either of them alive?
  • Nicole is found! And Ezra is there and not on a plane home to Aria. I guess we should have known that the girl got a happy ending too early in the season for it to last. My Ezria feels are disintegrating.
  • Spencer is Mary’s 2nd child!  This is definitely the biggest reveal of the night, but I wouldn’t say it comes as a total surprise. I’ve been reading comments since the reveal of Mary Drake that suggest that Spencer is somehow related to Mary Drake. They just look too similar since the time jump. Plus there is their creepy first meeting that just felt…off somehow.  And now we know why!

So we get lots of reveals during this episode, but as always we’re left with so many more questions.  However, I will say that I can feel this story tying up which is a welcome feeling. But until then, here’s what we’ll go into the second half of the season asking:

Questions We Still Have or Are Now Raised

  • How screwed up is the Hastings family? I mean, REALLY? They’re looking just as bad the DiLaurentis’s at this point with all the half siblings and adopted children.  Why did no one know or tell Spencer she was adopted?
  • Has Spencer really known all along and she’s working for A.D. or Mary or SOMEBODY. I highly doubt this, but it’s still a question that needs answering. If she dies, we won’t know.
  • Who shot Spencer? Jenna’s last words after being kidnapped by A.D. suggest that the blind girl was shooting blindly and didn’t hit Spencer.  That it was in fact, someone else.
  • Are Emily’s eggs in anyway involved in Alison’s pregnancy?
  • Why did Noel and Jenna set the #PLLDeathtrap? What do the girls “know too much” about?
  • Why are Mona and Caleb always teamed up together when we all know that they’re the one’s who can think the fastest and get the girls out of a bind? Split them up!
  • What’s going to happen now that Nicole is back in the picture? This is a sad, SAD situation for everyone involved. I love Ezra and Aria, but Nicole and Ezra obviously had a thing and she’s been in captivity for several months/years. This is something that needs to be resolved delicately.
  • Are Toby and Yvonne going to survive? There’s a cruel part of me that just wants Toby to survive so he and Spencer can be together but I know that’s not fair and brings all kind of baggage with it.
  • Who bought Toby’s house? (I feel like A.D. did…)
  • Are Hanna and Caleb officially back together? Please!?
  • Where is Lucas? I feel like he’s going to show back up here at any time.
  • Where is A.D. taking Jenna?
  • What’s up with the slimey Archer Dunhill? There’s no way his story is over quite yet.
  • Finally, who is A.D.? We’re running out of people here.

As you can see, we have more questions than answers, but those questions lead us to some fun predictions for the last 10 episodes of PLL ever!

Thoughts and Predictions on the End GAme

  • Hanna and Caleb get married. I feel like that’s the more likely “wedding end game” than Ezra and Aria. Especially since we started the time jump with Hanna being engaged.
  • My crazy prediction is that Spencer has an identical twin who is actually A.D. Or really I want SOMEONE to have a twin or split personality. Someone who’s totally evil and crazy and pulls it off better than CeCe. I’d be satisfied with either Spencer or Aria. Hanna and Emily are just too good and loyal for it.
  • There’s also the thought that Archer Dunhill actually has a twin and he’s A.D., but I don’t really know why he would be.
  • Or Lucas. Because…I don’t know…he’s Lucas and he always ends up being the scapegoat.
  • I want Ali to keep the baby. She’s got ZERO real family (other than Jason when he dains to show up in Rosewood), and while her child would be a product of some kind of twisted lie, abuse, or science experiment, I think if she could handle raising a kid, it would do wonders for her character. She had a horrible mother and comes from a family of horrible parenting, I feel like it could be redeeming for her raise and love a child the way she should have been raised.
  • Mona needs to get the heck out of Rosewood.  She’s too smart for this stuff.

So what do you think? What were your OMG moments from the summer finale of Pretty Little Liars? Do you have your own theories about the end gAme? Tell me in the comments so we can discuss!

 

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YouTubers in North Korea

YouTubers in NK

I want to write about this.  But I also know it’s very controversial, and what I really want is to give another perspective to counteract the vehement criticisms lodged against Louis Cole and Lane Terzieff for their time spent and video content produced in North Korea.

For a little background information in case you’re completely new to this controversy. Louis Cole (FunforLouis), a popular travel vlogger on YouTube, and Lane Terzieff (Lancifer), a singer/songwriter and humanitarian, traveled to North Korea in July 2016.  It was a state-sponsored trip and they vlogged about their experiences as well as created a music video titled “Surfin’ in the DPRK” which they claimed was the first music video from North Korea.  They’ve received some pretty heavy criticism including claims that they were creating North Korean propaganda and that Louis (as the better known YouTuber) is naive in his positive outlook in the video.

What I’d like to suggest though is that you look at this situation not as a political analyst or an angry opinionated social media vouyer, but as a YouTube content creator.

There are different content cultures on YouTube.  There is “Comedy-for-Comedy’s Sake” content  where the videos can be inane and vapid but have a mass appeal to young audiences.  There is “Glass Half Empty” content which incorporates ranters and skeptics and the social justice crowd.  Generally people who tap into the anger and feelings of injustice we have and use the Internet as a place to air out grievances, make fun of or argue with people they disagree with, and find support in their frustrations.  And then there is the “Glass Half Full” content.  I’m a bit biased here because I consider my content to fall into this group most of the time, but I think this positive-focused content while not as popular as “Comedy-for-Comedy’s Sake” or “Glass Half Empty” is actually the most important content online right now.  The world feels like a dark and scary and unhappy place right now, and people go to the internet to escape it.  With “Glass Half Empty” you just end up wallowing in it, and “Comedy-for-Comedy’s Sake” ignores it completely.  But “Glass Half Full” content addresses the issues we’re struggling with or worrying about and talks about it.  It tries to find the positive outlook amid all this negative hubris.

So when Louis Cole and Lane Terzieff went to North Korea, I don’t think they were making propaganda or too naive to realize their positive tone of the video showing the “fun” things they were doing like visiting a waterpark or teaching kids to surf and skateboard seemed inappropriate.  Positivity content creators are not stupid people.  They know the realities of the world and want to do something to change it, but the only means they really have is through their attitude and their online content.  It may not seem like much, but media has always been an incredibly powerful tool of influence.  And online content is no different even if you still don’t feel like it’s mainstream.  So I want to suggest that you look at what they did and what they created from it not as purposeful ignorance of the horrific reality that exists in North Korea. (Of course, they couldn’t show that. Not if they wanted to leave the country alive to tell any kind of story.) But instead look at the subtle context within the video.  Their incredulity of Miss Kim not knowing who Justin Bieber is. The housekeeper who they thanked with flowers and was overwhelmed because no one had ever done something like that before. The children who when offered free skateboards wouldn’t take them.  The roughly corralled children yanked away from the American group as they practiced skateboarding.

Their talk of loving on people and connecting with the people (that they were allowed to interact with) is not naivety, but a calculated outlook on life and a chosen presentation for their niche within YouTube.  They are not investigative political journalists.  That should not be required of them just because they were allowed to enter a mysterious and sinister country with video gear.  They are a part of a smaller culture in media that wishes to pull out the positive while subtly acknowledging the negative (for you can’t have an authentically positive message without showing the negative place in which this reaction stems).  Perhaps it’s a generational reaction to the negativity of the mainstream media.  Or young people just want to try a different approach to understanding the world around them (is it really going to pot or are we just more aware of the awful things that happen now?)  Whatever it is, I’m a fan of positive content even if it feels controversial for it’s lack of negativity.  I feel like you can still find a positive outlook on a negative situation without diminishing the severity of it.  Louis and Lane may not have accomplished it perfectly, but I think they did well with what they had available to them, the restriction placed on them for safety reasons, and for their YouTube audiences.

Videos referenced in this blog: 

Surfin’ in the DPRK Music Video on FunForLouis’ channel

Lancifer & Louis Cole in North Korea 2016 // VLOG

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Dealing With Online Stalkers and Creeps

Stalker - 0

I am a woman, and I have an online presence. These things do not come without the price of creepy people finding you and trying to get as close to you as possible. I feel like I’ve been pretty fortunate in my 5 years on YouTube to have had as few run-ins with totally creepy people as I’ve had. But recently, one has really made my skin crawl, and I wanted to talk about it and get some outside opinions because I just don’t know anymore.

Meet Adrian, a YouTube commenter with a foot fetish and no sense of boundaries.

Stalker - 1

He first started commenting on my videos 10 months ago with pretty harmless things like “What’s her name?” (Which was pretty funny because I literally start every video with “Hello YouTube! Kaitlyn here!”) but quickly devolved into him spamming the comments of my videos with awkward attempts to contact me.

Stalker - 2 pt1

Stalker - 2 pt2

I usually just ignore comments like this because I know nothing good will come from me responding, and I’d pretty much forgotten about him until last month when suddenly his comments started appearing again and this time they were way more creepy and direct.

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I haven’t responded at all, but his comments have been so absurd/disgusting that some of my subscribers have been responding to him and trying to figure out what’s going on. He’s backed off pretty quickly, saying that he’s just trying to get my attention. But now, every time I upload a new video there’s always a new comment.

Also, as a side note, the best way to convince someone that you’re an overweight bald guy living in your mother’s basement masturbating to YouTube videos of young women giving self-esteem advice is to say you’re not one and in fact, you’re an ex-model. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.Stalker - 4

So now I’m stuck in this rather weird position. Do I block him so I don’t have to see his comments and be creeped out anymore? Do I just keep ignoring his comments and hope he eventually gets bored and moves on to another YouTuber? Is there a third option I’m missing? Unfortunately, there’s not really anything you can do legal-wise when someone stalks you online especially if you have a public online presence. I went to a panel at VidCon a few years back where a female YouTuber recounted how the police told her “Wasn’t she basically asking for this?” by making videos. This was disgusting to me, but I can see how many people would feel this way. Actresses are asking for paparazzi. Online creators are asking for stalkers. Girls in short skirts are asking for rape, right?

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There’s also the underlying worry that if block him, I’ll make him angry. And an angry stalker is 100x scarier than a creepy but satisfied stalker. He wants to think that I’m getting his messages even if I’m not responding. But if I block him, it’s possible he’ll realize that I’m not getting them. In fact, no one is seeing them so my poor, unsuspecting subscribers can’t even accidentally play into his narrative by responding. And I imagine this wouldn’t deter him from trying to reach me, but rather anger and embolden him.

Now, Adrian may just be a creepy commenter with a foot fetish who will eventually get tired of commenting with no response and move on. That’s what I like to hope. But since I started making YouTube videos and intentionally building an audience, I’ve been fearful of when the creepy commenter turns into the angry stalker. You don’t know when it’s going to happen. You can only take so many precautions to protect yourself and your identity from people like that. And many times I even feel guilty for being this fearful. For example, I typically don’t respond to messages that start out with things like “you’re cute” because it makes me skeptical as to why they really want to talk to me. But then I feel bad for ignoring these messages when part of my M.O. as a YouTuber is to be someone people can contact, ask questions, and depend on.

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So I don’t really know what to say. It’s not your fault if someone is stalking you. You can certainly try to protect your personal information as much as possible to keep your real life and identity as separate from your online brand as possible (that’s just common sense). But don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re “asking for it” by having an online presence. And also, as a person who interacts with strangers online, be mindful of what you say and how you say it. Don’t make people uncomfortable—that’s definitely not how to make friends.

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Anxiety and Change

Anxiety and Change

The last few years have been pretty rough for me emotionally. I’ve basically been living life in a way I didn’t want to be and couldn’t find much joy in which is why change is a welcome development in the narrative of my life. However, if you’ve read much of my blog or followed me on YouTube, you know that change is not really my thing. Change—no matter how desired—still causes me to resist. And change (or at least fear of the repercussions of change) gives me anxiety like you wouldn’t believe. So the last two weeks have been some mixture of dream come true and nightmare.

The Positives:

  • I got a new job!
  • I get to move to Richmond!
  • I don’t have to live with my parents anymore!
  • I get to be near most of my friends and my boyfriend!

The Negatives:

  • I have to leave my current job and deal with all the guilt that comes with leaving my heavily pressed team right before a conference.
  • I have to do all the “adult things” that involve moving and changing jobs and starting something new in a new place.
  • I have to deal with the guilt associated with leaving my family (aka what I went through in college and now 8 years later, I’m basically going through the same thing again).
  • I have to figure out how much LIFE costs and make a budget and figure out a way to save money when I have a bunch of new and different expenses.
  • I have to move all my stuff and find furniture otherwise I’ll be living in an empty apartment. It seemed much easier in theory than in reality. Now I kind of understand why my boyfriend slept on a pile of dirty clothes for the first week or so after moving to Richmond.

So what does this all mean? It means, I’ve been walking around with my stomach in knots and my mind multitasking all the things and my chest tight with more worry than it should be.

On a positive note, for the first time I finally got to accept a job offer without weeping or crying on the phone to my grandmother/boyfriend/parents about how I don’t want it but I need it. Essentially, I finally got to accept a job that I wanted rather than I job I needed. And that feels significantly different. Especially after setting my mind on being employed by a particular organization and actually fulfilling that goal.

But the prospect of change quickly overwhelmed the golden glow of a “New Job,” and I’ve found myself paddling furiously in a stormy sea of anxiety. There’s fear and guilt and shame threatening to drown me during a time that should be very happy, but because I loathe change so much even when I need it, I have a hard time seeing through the storm. I’ve had more than a few moments when I think, “I could just call them and say I don’t want the job and tell my office I’m not leaving and just go on living in my parents house, working a job that doesn’t fulfill or challenge me, and staying lonely and miserable. No change.” That’s a real thought! Doesn’t it sound crazy? But it’s still there, nagging at the back of my mind. The mean and negative little voices in my head trying to get me to quit before I’ve even started.

But despite all the anxiety and fear and questioning of what I’m doing, I start a new job next Monday. Change is going to happen one way or another. You can either take it by the fist and swing on the vine with it screaming like Tarzan or you can let life push you down the river on your life raft where you think you’re not changing, but you can never escape the effects of time.

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The Truth About Long-Term, Long-Distance Relationships

Long Term Long Distance

Long distance relationships suck. There’s a certain level of freedom that you can fool yourself into believing is kind of a cool benefit of not having your significant other around all the time. And then there’s the fact that when you do see each other, it’s just one giant extended date. Like even sitting on the couch, eating popcorn and watching TV still seems special several years into the relationship because you do it so very little.

And sometimes I think people glamorize long-distance. (NOTE: People who are not and have never been in a long-distance relationship). They say, “Oh, you’re so committed to stay together over such a distance for such a long period of time!” or “You get to extend the honeymoon phase of your relationship so much longer, don’t you? I’m jealous!” And you just kind of have to grin and bear whatever expectations they put on you and your relationship.

There is also the rather unhelpful older generation that says “Why don’t you just get married!” after two dates, like that fixes any of the problems of living and working in two different place. While I understand the sentiment, I’m growing up in a very different world than my parent’s generation did. Long-distance is no longer a relationship killer, but when jobs in your field are hard to come by, “just getting married” really doesn’t help. Unless you want to move from the uncomfortable reality of having a long-distance boyfriend to the pretty unbearable awfulness that is a long-distance husband. (Military spouses are doing this already and with legitimate reasons. It seems kind of silly for me to get mixed up there when the thing standing in the way is a viable career option rather than fighting for your country.)

So here are some truths about my life:

I’ve been in a long-distance relationship for four years (five if you count our year of “casual dating” when I was on holiday breaks from university). In that time period we have lived either one or two hours apart (so between 60 and 120 miles). In the entirety of our relationship, we’ve never actually lived in the same area unless you count when I first met him, and he slept half the week on a cot at his place of work to minimize travel. We’ve gone through periods of seeing each other at least twice a week to seeing each other only once or twice a month. We’ve met in the middle and switched off on who does the majority of the traveling because of fluctuating incomes. All-in-all for most “long-distance” relationships, we probably see each other more than average, but I also feel like we’re in the unique place of starting and building our relationship from a place of distance which I think made the seeing each other as often as possible so important. I think if we hadn’t been as committed to making the trips, it would have ended a long time ago. And honestly, many of our biggest fights and times of hardship came from travel and distance issues. It’s made us sacrifice a lot of our time—weekends can’t just be for “fun,” they’re dedicated time to build our relationship. That means friendships and familial relationships sometimes had to take a backseat because it would become a choice between spending time with family/friend or the boyfriend. Or when I’ve tried smashing it all into the same small time span, I usually end up with deteriorated health and morale.

So I guess you could say that I haven’t had the WORST long-distance relationship (not by far!), but as you can see, it hasn’t been a walk in the park either. Which has lead me to some truths about long-term, long-distance relationships that I thought I’d share with you.

  • No one understands your relationship as well as you do – People will try to tell you how to run your life and how to work your relationship. Don’t listen to them. They don’t know what they’re talking about. Sometimes there’s some good advice that can be gleaned from the mess, but usually, its just people who’ve never been in a long-term, long-distance relationship, trying to tell you how to run yours. Always trust your gut before you listen to these “helpful friends.”
  • If you can’t see each other on a Wednesday night when one of you has had the worst day, it’s long-distance – Sometimes people would argue with me about whether my relationship was actually long-distance. They’d say because it was “only 100 miles” and not several states or a country away, then it wasn’t “real long-distance.” And it’s true, the first few months, even the first year of 100 miles—a two-hour drive—doesn’t feel so long or tough. But that’s where long-term comes in. The longer those 100 miles go on, the farther those 100 miles seem. You wonder if it’s really worth it. If you’ll actually see the other side of this relationship. If a future will actually come out of it. If you’re fooling yourself in thinking you’ll ever live in the same area.
  • It only ever gets harder – Most things, with practice, get easier with time. Long-distance relationships do the opposite. However, I will say that if you’re able to weather the hardness of it, you will find strength in yourself and in your relationship that you didn’t know was possible.
  • Know when to give up and when to push through – There have been several times in the last 5 years of our relationship that we gave up. Fortunately, we’d find that the moment we gave in, we realized we were far more miserable that way than the uncomfortableness of long-distance could ever cause. And it always brought us back stronger. However, I know this can’t and won’t work for everyone. Which is why I think it’s important to periodically reevaluate your relationship. Sometimes it means that the only time you see each other will mostly be taken up by not-so-fun discussions about how you’re feeling and where you’re at emotionally in the relationship. There will probably be a lot of tears. But I think it’ll save you from either harder heartbreak later or from mismanaged expectations from your significant other.
  • You have to take time for yourself – Long-distance is so much about giving. You have to give and give and give to your significant other, your family, and your friends in order to stay sane and with well-functioning relationships. But where does that leave you and your own mental state? What I think we forget (as people in long-distance relationships and those supporting those who are) is that we do have to take time for ourselves. Sometimes my boyfriend and I need a weekend apart. Which, depending on schedules, can either mean two full weeks or even a month apart. Long-distance relationships are always about sacrifice. They’re about sacrificing your time and money and energy to make a harder-than-average-because-of-physical-distance relationship work, but they’re also about sacrificing time with that loved one in order to take care of your own mental and emotional needs. Whoever you’re in the long-distance relationship with has to understand this sacrifice. He’ll need to make it for himself, and respect it when you make it too.

So don’t listen to the haters or the naysayers. Your long-term, long-distance

relationship is all about you and your significant other. It’s about your choices and your happiness whether you live 100 miles away or 1000 miles away. Distance has created a barrier in your relationships, and you’ve decided to fight against that barrier with the hopes of one day bringing it down. I can’t give you anything but praise. It’s a hard job and fight.