Monthly Archives: February 2023

The Most Cursed Pokémon Plushies That The Internet Has Ever Seen

This week, I went down the forbidden rabbit hole of cursed Pokémon plushes. Please experience the stages of grief with me as I present the hidden gems I discovered on this journey.

I started off tame, with slightly deformed Togedemaru.

via Aliexpress

Then, found some Gyaradoses with large, deflated heads.

via Aliexpress

You could even say this Diglett is a bit endearing.

via Aliexpress


via Aliexpress

And where do I even start with the Eevee-lutions…? Jolteon, what did they do to you?

via Aliexpress

Shh, don’t laugh, or he’ll burst!

via @NotTyseir on Twitter

Mew, is that you???

via shootingxstardust on Tumblr

Ditto, ditto. Ditto.

via Etsy

And last, but certainly not least, Mewtwo:

via Reddit

The Last of Us – Episode Four

Let the Bonding Commence

The Last of Us Episode Four brings us back to Joel and Ellie’s storyline from that briefly gut-wrenching interlude we called Episode Three. 

Roadtrip time! Having freshly acquired a truck, and on their way to Wyoming we see more dialogue between the two characters as they make their through Kansas. Not only do we get to see some sweet, sweet scenic road trip shots as we’re serenading by Hank Williams, but we also get more backstory on both Joel and Ellie. Albeit the bulk of backstory given in this episode is about Joel and what he did after the apocalypse kicked into full swing.

Some of my favourite parts of this episode were the drone shot montages of Joel and Ellie driving through the country, crossing highways and bridges overgrown with flora. If the apocalypse is going to be as stunning as shown in this show, I’m officially going to be stocking up on all sorts of film stocks and developing chemicals. (if you want to see some of my own work you can click here) 

Like I said, this episode we got a lot of dialogue between Joel and Ellie, and we do also get our fair share of action towards the last quarter of the episode, but the main thing here is the bonding. I don’t know too much about the video game, but from what my friends who have played it told me is that the main thing that the show has to live up to is the relationship between Joel and Ellie. Apparently, they are to develop what seems to be a kind of father-daughter relationship. I can see that happening in the episodes to come as well. This episode, we do see the beginnings of that in the way Ellie pesters Joel with a book of pun based dad jokes, and then reciprocated in the way Joel teaches Ellie how to properly hold a handgun. This show is most definitely set in America…

Anyways, lets end the wordy part of this post out with a fun fact I learned from this episode:

Did you know diarrhea is hereditary? It runs in your jeans.

Send the hate mail to the show’s writers, they’re the one’s to blame for that one.

The Money Shots

Anyways here are just a few gorgeous cinematic frames. This episode was full of them.

The post The Last of Us – Episode Four appeared first on Watch With Zeh.

Deadlines Will Be The Death Of Me

The other day I had to hand in a big assignment and I was so happy because I loved the topic and I was doing incredibly well. I was writing at a good pace, I did not feel like the world was on my shoulders, I actually thought I could finish it on time, oh how naive of me (I really should be kinder to myself but I am mad and hurt and disappointed so kindness will have to wait a little longer). I could not finish the assignment on time because I was not strong enough yet to put boundaries and stick to them. My friend pressured me to hang out and I found myself agreeing when I did not want to. It messed up my whole momentum and I tripped and slipped and badabum I was late. And because I was mad at myself for not saying no and putting other people before me; disappointed that I could not just push myself further and finish on time; and deadlines are always anxiety traps, I just kept going down the rabbit-habit hole and long behold 3 days had gone by and I still was barely able to get out of bed.

Fortunately, my prof was really nice and let me hand in the assignment late, but the disappointment is something I am getting used to by now and I do not like it. Sometimes it feels like I have become this completely new person that cannot handle life and it makes me crazy. My meds are working and I was making progress but then it was deadline time and I was suddenly dead with half an essay done. And of course, instead of being able to crank it, I just shut down. For four days.

Bottom line is, I still don’t know how to be a student and a functioning human being. But I am working on it. My official Moto is “We learn. We grow”. And I do not want to be falsely optimistic, but sometimes I just have to cling to that hope like it’s my lifeline otherwise I would not have the energy to keep trying and I need to keep trying, I want to keep trying.

What really helped me start to move on from that little blip was art, I bought a ton of polymer clay (which of course made my wallet mad and made me feel slightly guilty) and got together with a friend to make some earrings. That was pure happiness, exactly what I needed. My roommate’s cat was also really helpful when he wasn’t trying to poop on my bed or step on my clay (and I say that with my heart filled with love because I love that cat).

Process Post 2: Personal Cyberinfrastructures

What is a personal cyberinfrastructure, and why should you care? What is your current cyberinfrastructure, how do you use it, and how does it use you? What do we take for granted in how the Internet works? What can we imagine differently? We will work on vision boards. By now, you will have completed your vision board. How did you work through the process? Did you use Venn diagrams? Were you able to narrow down your focus? Please post about the process.

Process Post Prompt*: Write a blog post about the installation and setup work you did this week: your decisions, your rationales; make sure you link out to at least a couple of other resources. How does what you’ve created so far relate to the vision board you made last week?

I had a lot of trouble setting up my blog. For some reason people could never access the blog and it was a slow process of fixing the issue. On top of that I messed up along the way and had to start all over again which had me falling behind. But, even if this seemed annoying at the moment, it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Initially the idea I had for my blog was to talk about my mental health journey and hopefully create a platform where people could relate to me and I could relate to others. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like I was missing something. And because I had to create my blog, delete it and create it again, that allowed me the space to really think about what I wanted from this space and what I wanted others to take from it. In the end I though why not connect art and mental health? they go great together and I am really passionate about art, this way I not only reach people who want to read about mental health but also people who are interested in art.

Once I had the idea to combine mental health with art I figured the tagline “For those out there struggling, let this be a place where art heals us” would be perfect. It suddenly came to me and it was just what I was looking for because it encompassed what I wanted this space to be. I wanted to create a place that would function as a sort of journal about my life and my struggles but also have people interact if they wanted to. And I wanted to include art because as my struggles with mental heath grow, my passion for art grows too and sometimes I feel like I cannot separate the two.

Because mental health can be triggering to talk about, I knew I had to include a resources page in case someone found themselves in need of more help than the one peers could provide. And I also wanted to have a community space where we had some ground rules about respect and kindness but where we could still connect with each other. I have never managed a space before, never managed comments and I am very nervous about people going crazy and being disrespectful and how to deal with those situations that arise on the internet because of the anonymity it allows. I guess I will face that as I go because I don’t really expect a lot of people to visit my page anyways.

I though really hard about whether I wanted to make this page anonymous or not. It felt almost too uncomfortable to be so transparent about my struggles and be open about my identity. I was not sure where to put the boundaries so that I would not feel like I did myself a disservice later on. I am still a little on the fence about anonymity. I think I could be more transparent if I did not have my face and name on the page but other times I think having that restriction on myself is good because I do not what to share too much. In class we thought about the question: Are we able to present ourselves however we want, or are we being controlled by who we think my be watching our personal cyberinfrastructures? And I as I think about the kind of platform I am creating and the kind of audience it might have I definitely find myself constantly thinking about the audience. They dictate half of my decisions about what to post when it comes to posting something personal. I have to be really mindful of whether this is something I want to share to the world or if I will regret that decision later. I especially focus on questioning whether I would have issues with my family or friends reading my posts and if the answer is yes then maybe I should not share what I want to. I would not say my audience controls my decisions on what I post but they definitely come into play when I am filtering topics for my posts, but in the end, because this blog is very personal, I am the one who decides what I want to put out there.

Blog Post #37: Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me Review

Hi everyone! I hope you all have been doing well. I just realized that it’s been almost a year since I’ve updated this blog! I’m really excited to start posting again.

This review is about another good one! I just finished reading Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me by none other than the Karate Kid himself, Ralph Macchio! With Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me, readers are transported back into the world of this iconic film franchise as he goes into detail about how it came to be and discusses the life-changing experience of taking on Daniel LaRusso’s character.

You’ll read about things like how “LaRusso” wasn’t actually the initial choice for Daniel’s last name, the ways Mr. Miyagi’s values/lessons have applied to Macchio’s actual life, and some ludicrous ideas people presented to him in an effort to continue the Karate Kid‘s storyline before the smash-hit spin-off series, Cobra Kai, ultimately materialized.

As a reader/fan, I also admired Macchio’s honesty pertaining to certain things. Throughout, he further reveals facing lulls in his career that followed the massive success he had during the ’80s and long-term frustration with being typecast. I’ve mentioned this before, but I always appreciate people’s openness about not-so-great circumstances/moments that they’ve experienced in their lives (whether these circumstances/moments were because of their own doing or not) and how they chose to respond to them.

I received this novel as a Christmas gift and, being a huge fan of both The Karate Kid franchise (I’ve watched The Karate Kid Part II more times than I can count) as well as Cobra Kai, I couldn’t wait to dive in. After finishing it, my first thought was: “I want more!” Overall, if you are as big a fan as I am, Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me won’t disappoint.

Find the Strength Within

You are Strong. It is not an opinion. It is a reality.

my lovely therapist

I absolutely loved this phrase my therapist told me once. We were talking about how everything was for me lately. I felt like I had become someone completely different to who I used to be. I felt like I could never keep up with everything going on around me, I felt like I was drowning. She insisted that I was strong though, that no matter how weak and beat down and tired I felt, I was strong.

This was an incredibly nice reminder, I always have trouble seeing my strength and recognizing my progress, especially when I am struggling, so to have someone say that to me was awesome (even if it took me a while to actually believe it… okay maybe I still have trouble believing it). In any case, I though it would be nice to share this because I am pretty sure I am not the only one out there that doubts themselves constantly. So that quote is for you as much as it was for me and I hope you really try to believe it because even when we are struggling, we are strong.

Freedom Is Not What We Think

This is from @theindigenousanarchist (with credit to @chiara.acu) and this is what they have to say:

One of our limitations to successful change is when the dominant culture is blocked from seeing alternative perspectives. While yt supremacy imagines freedom as individual control and autonomy … many marginalized communities imagine freedom as a responsibility to the collective. In fact tribal languages reflect this difference with many of us having specific words or phrases for our responsibility to the generations that come after us (and to those who came before). 

Within this context we see also why people often misunderstand anarchism as a system that would lead to chaos or violence. These people imagine freedom as ones right to do whatever they want without consequence. While Anarchism in practice is creating a cooperative world where leadership is chosen or spread through community responsibility. 

Similarly people have a difficult time imagining abolition or alternatives to policing because they’ve lived within a cultural paradigm that has taught them that people are cruel when left on their own and generally need managed from harming one another. This belief however runs contrary to both empirical evidence and historical examination. When we work collectively and folks have their basic needs met then society tends to flourish, humans create art – music – theater instead of fight or steal or work all day.

I really loved this post because the idea of freedom a lot of people have, specially in the US, has never made sense to me. You do not have to agree just think about it and open yourself up to new possibilities.

Why I Don’t Immediately Answer Messages All The Time

I saw this post the other day and I had to share it because it resonated deeply with me. All my friends know that I absolutely suck at answering messages fast and it is something that is very much a symptom of my anxiety disorder. But as much as it can be a nuisance sometimes I am grateful that the people around me understand that my time is mine to do as I wish and I will answer messages as soon as I have the capacity to do so. There are many reasons why I won’t answer messages immediately and there should not be the expectation to do so. I do admit I have to get better at communicating that I am going into one of my quiet phases, or “fuck off” phases as I like to call them, but this s all part of a process and I am growing, no matter how slowly or fast, I am growing and I committed to surround myself with people that support that growth, that support me through all my highs ad lows.

The (Much Deserved) Rise of the BIPOC-fluencers

The rise of TikTok, Twitch, and Instagram, content creators, has made way for more diversity in the social media world. There appears to be a notable increase in BIPOC creators making more content and getting more attention (rightfully so). Their rise is more than a reflection of the changing demographics of the internet, although that is also the case — it is also a response to the systemic exclusion and erasure of BIPOC voices in social media over time. With technology more accessible than ever,  internet connection has made it possible for people to create and share content with a global audience. This increases new ways for BIPOC creators who may have faced barriers before to enter traditional media industries and express their interests.

Such an influencer who has found recent success is Ahnesti Monet McMichael, who is a POC content creator making videos on TikTok, Youtube videos, and posting quite regularly on Instagram. She has a strong mid size following, and her followers are happy with her regular content. She has recently been mentioned in popular magazine Cosmopolitan, and multiple different Instagram accounts, congratulating her on her success as an influencer. In the beginning of this year, I was concerned for the amount of work POC women have to put in to achieve the same success as White women. While I still believe that is true, I think with the rise of the BIPOC community in media in the past few years, the gap between people of colour and their White counterparts is slowly (very slowly) but surely, bridging. Monet is a good example of that. She is attending the same brand trips as Alix Earle, a White influencer who found much more immediate success than McMichael, but they now appear to be on a similar level. They went on a trip together with the popular makeup brand Tarte. 

Monet’s social media posts highlighted the Cosmopolitan article and the Klout9 post about her, and as a POC myself, I am very happy to see a fellow woman of colour thrive in a space she loves and feels comfortable in. BIPOC content creators like Monet McMichael continue to challenge traditional media norms. For instance, they are rejecting the strict beauty standards that are promoted via fashion and beauty conglomerates. They are creating content that promote a range of different bodies, skin tones, shades, hair textures, and much much more. They continue to call out ways in which social media companies are exploiting and appropriating BIPOC values and culture, without ever giving appropriate credit to the artists, or compensation. When BIPOC creators like Monet create their own content based on their personal needs, they reclaim their voice, their identity and fight against the erasure of their very being. 

Conor McDavid

Most people agree that Conor McDavid is one of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) best players right now. His rookie card has thus grown in popularity among collectors. We’ll go through Conor McDavid’s rookie card’s wonderful qualities and why it has grown to be such a treasured piece of sports history in this review.

First and foremost, Conor McDavid is a superb athlete who, since his debut season in 2015, has had a tremendous impact on the NHL. He has received numerous honours, like as the Hart Trophy for the league’s most valuable player, and has been selected repeatedly to the NHL All-Star team. He is a fan favourite and a well-liked player to collect among sports card aficionados due to his skills and skill on the ice.

The fact that McDavid is a talent of a generation also significantly contributes to the value of his rookie card. His future as one of the greatest hockey players in history is widely predicted by experts, which increases the value of his rookie card. Each serious sports memorabilia collector should have his rookie card because he is a once-in-a-generation player.

McDavid’s rookie card is exceptional for a variety of reasons, including his extraordinary talent and position as a legendary star. The card’s design is first-rate, including a full-color picture of McDavid wearing an Edmonton Oilers uniform. His signature is featured on the card, giving it a special and individual touch.

The rarity of McDavid’s rookie card adds to its amazingness. These cards were only printed in a small quantity, making them a highly prized collectible. The card’s rarity increases its worth further, making it a valuable investment for sports memorabilia collectors.

Finally, McDavid’s rookie card is amazing because it represents a pivotal moment in his career. It marks the start of what is sure to be a long and successful career in the NHL, and owning a piece of memorabilia from this important moment is something that many collectors aspire to.

Conor McDavid’s rookie card is regarded as great for a number of reasons, to sum up. It is an extremely valuable object that commemorates a significant period in his career because of his extraordinary talent, his stature as a generational star, the exquisite design, and the rarity of the card. An essential piece for sports memorabilia enthusiasts is a rookie card of Conor McDavid.

Writing Sample – Blogs

Body Shaming

Body shaming is considered a big social problem today. Nowadays, if you start to judge a person about their body, you would get critic pretty harshly. Following social standards has ingrained deep inside our subconscious, so it is hard for anyone to get out of social norms. A few years ago, it started the trend to love your own body and self, and more people start to embrace the differences in each body shape. However, it is hard to erase the social standards due to images from models and idols, especially Kpop idols, the industry where many idols have to lose weight and keep fit in an unhealthy way. It also influences the audience because they would love to have a body that is beautiful as their idol. It is not a new trend on social media but a year ago, at the Oscars, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock for body-shaming Will’s wife. Social media see that a lot of people support Chris Rock because Chris is a comedian himself, so joking is inevitable. Of course, not everyone supports the use of violence but they also don’t feel pleased when people take lightly body shaming someone with alopecia areata. But no matter what, I still feel that body-shaming is not advisable even though the joke may be harmless. However, I can see some of the brands are trying to change for example The Parade, a lingerie brand has marketed its brand by having models with a different types of bodies and colors, which got a lot of praise from the customers who have got used to seeing same body type models for lingerie for some famous brand such as Victoria’s Secret.

The Last of Us – Episode Three

Before you get after me going “But Zeh you’re so far behind on the series!” 

I know. I’ll catch up don’t worry, just give me time to work up to a manic 24hr binge.

Anyways, Episode Three.


Have you ever finished an episode of television or a film, and everything around you seems so still? 

Like a sense of quiet peace has descended on the aftermath of a wrecked mind. Well that’s what it feels like right now. Quite literally as I type out this sentence, everything else around me has muted. The fridge behind me hums and my dog is sighing quietly in his sleep every now and then. Yet everything is still, and my heart is broken. 

Episode three of The Last of Us takes a break from the storyline of Joel and Ellie and instead throws us off the deep end rather unsuspectingly into the storyline of Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett, whom you may recognize from The White Lotus).  

This is no tragedy. Let’s make that clear. The episode follows Bill, a survivalist, who one day find Frank stuck in one of his boobytraps. Upon realizing the Frank seems to be an A1 guy, Bill cooks him lunch and lets him stay a couple days. A couple days turn to many years as the two fall in love. 

The episode has a lot of time jumps which I’m usually not the most fond of. One or two are okay, but this one had about four of them. Like I said, usually not a fan, but these were executed perfectly and didn’t feel like a cope out from storytelling. 

This episode was so heartwarming. Watching the two men grow old together despite the rest of the world quite literally having fallen apart was amazing. It felt so human, and intimate without being smutty in the slightest. I was also really shocked by Nick Offerman’s performance in this episode, the range demonstrated in his acting was incredible to behold. If I had an award to give, it would be given. 

Like I said a very heart warming episode, and then at the end you get burned. Not to be confused with heartburn. But like I said, this was no tragedy. I don’t give up many spoilers, and I’m not exactly here to spoon-feed you the plot. So what happened?

Life happened. And like any story, it too must reach a conclusion. And that’s exactly what happened. 

We witnessed life. We witnessed love. And through the amazing work of all the artists involved we experienced both as well.

This episode didn’t touch us as video game fans, or critics. It touched us as humans.

I chose not to add in any of my favourite frames for this episode because I didn’t have any. I can’t pick out portions of this, just as you can’t pick a favourite star in Van Gogh’s starry night. To do so for this episode would be a disservice and disrespect, in my worthless opinion.

For now, all I can do is continue to feel, as I’ve been freshly reminded of my own humanity.


The post The Last of Us – Episode Three appeared first on Watch With Zeh.

Process Post Five

A child's hand building a tower of toy blocks
Photo by La-Rel Easter on Unsplash

A discussion built upon “Contents May Have Shifted” by Erin Kissane for Contents Magazine #4


Are you afraid of change?

I am not. And, I would say that Erin Kissane isn’t either.

Yet those of us who work in the overarching “media” industry, more specifically journalism, publishing, and general editorial are no strangers to change.

Being some of the oldest industries out there, the boat has been rocked quite a few times. Whether we be talking about the paperback revolution, or the Big Bang of the internet age our industries have weathered their share of storms. Some professional pessimists have speculated the end of times as it were, time and time again. And, they have yet to be right. 

Reading Erin Kissane’s article I was extremely intrigued. Not solely due to my own vested interest in my own career, but because of the side by side analysis provided. From the webpage, to newspapers, and then to books, Kissane provides a truly insightful look into just how these industries are changing.

So what’s the big deal?

Well, if you ask me… nothing.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not disagreeing with anything in Kissane’s article. In fact, I wholeheartedly agree. Things are changing exactly as Kissane describes. And they must, for if we don’t march forward we’ll get left behind. At the end of the day, these industries are just that, industry, business. I’m not one to go on a capitalistic rant, and I won’t. What I’m slowly but surely leading up to here is that though our industries change, they’re still the same old industries they’ve been since 1436. Back in the good ole days of Gutenberg’s tinkering.

The Constant

It seems for us in these industries, we never escape childhood. And I love that for us. 

Even as “serious” adults in big businesses, pursuing professional careers, we are unable to escape from building blocks. Whether they be website blocks, in newspapers, or in the presses that craft our books. 

The block format is constant. 

I mean, it’s not the exact same as its always been. Even Coca-Cola has had to change their recipe, but it is still Coca-Cola at the end of the day. The same goes for us.

No matter how many times we re-invent the wheel, or in this case the block, it’s still the same. Now, you may be reading this and going “well that’s a no brainer” and it is. I’m not trying to blow your mind here. More so just appreciating the simplicity (or the building blocks if you’re feeling punny) on which not one, but many industries have been built upon. 

Blocks are stable things. So to my peers in industry, let’s try not to dwell on the statistics of the future but look at the stability of all that we and the generations before us have built.

The post Process Post Five appeared first on Watch With Zeh.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

For many years, collecting Pokémon trading cards has been a cherished pastime for the franchise’s followers. Many collectors and fans were excited to expand their collections with the debut of the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet trading card sets. In this review, we’ll examine these two sets in more detail and assess their advantages and disadvantages.

In 2021, the Pokémon Trading Card Game’s Sword and Shield period saw the introduction of the Scarlet and Violet trading card sets. Whereas the Violet set includes Pokémon with a more cool and collected aesthetic, the Scarlet set comprises Pokémon with a fiery and violent nature. Each set comes with 70 cards, some of which are new Trainer and Energy cards as well as Pokémon V and VMAX cards.

The calibre of the artwork in these sets is one of its advantages. Each card’s images are exquisitely detailed and accurately depict each Pokémon’s personality and character. The artwork is undoubtedly the set’s best feature, from Alakazam V’s calm manner to Charizard VMAX’s fierce expression.

New Pokémon V and VMAX cards are another benefit of the Scarlet and Violet packs. Some of the most well-known and recognizable Pokémon from the franchise, like as Charizard, Blastoise, and Venusaur, are depicted on these potent cards. The Pokémon Trading Card Game players now have additional tactical possibilities thanks to these gorgeous cards.

The restricted availability of these sets, however, is one drawback. The Scarlet and Violet sets have been challenging to locate in stores due to manufacturing challenges and supply chain disruptions, so many collectors have had to turn to internet merchants. Collectors who prefer to view and handle the cards before making a purchase may find this challenging.

Overall, the trading card sets for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are a wonderful addition to any collection or a perfect place for novice collectors to start. The new Pokémon V and VMAX cards give the game a new level of strategy and excitement, and the artwork is superb. Although some people might find it difficult to find these sets because of their limited supply, the high calibre of the cards makes them worthwhile.

Box of Love

For valentines day I was given the Lush valentines gift box, Box of Love. I’ve only ever tried a handful of products from Lush before, one being the famous Mask of Magnaminty and their Super Milk leave-in hair conditioner. I’ve really liked the Lush products I have used, so I’m excited to try out all the new products. 

Sex Bomb

For someone who doesn’t usually take baths this bath bomb has me seriously reevaluating my selfcare routine. I loved the soft pink colour that filled the tub, and the petals that appeared after the bath bomb dissolved in the water was a nice little touch that added to the relaxing experience and the love theme of the box. 

True Romance

I’ve never tried this type of product before, but I was quite impressed with it and how well it worked. Using the bar to message your body felt amazing, and afterwards my skin and muscles were thanking me. The bar left my skin deeply moisturized, and smelling so good. I highly recommend getting yourself a message bar, so you can rub away all the stresses of the day.


The Pious Squirrel

A Lyrical Argument for Nihilistic Error Theory

I wrote this poem a while ago for an ethics class. It describes how Error theory, the believe that we are always in error when we make claims about morality, challenges the common ethical claim that God is the author of morality. While Divine Command Theory, DCT is highly refuted today, even among theosophers, its impression is still felt through religious practitioners.

Just a note: this isn’t my metaethical belief, rather it’s just a fun way to demonstrate metaethics. 

What do you think? Do you agree that there are no moral facts? What system of ethics do you prescribe?


Dusk had arrived at the park by the sea. Once again, nature belonged to its forest inhabitants. The deer prefers leaves like the fox prefers meat; a chipmunk like myself prefers to contemplate. I emerged from my burrow and heard a curious sound of tiny paws digging through the ground. There I discovered a cousin of mine, a squirrel busying herself uncovering acorns to dine. I cleared my throat, “Excuse me, miss, but what are you doing? Those acorns you found belong to another. Is it not wrong to take from your brother?”

Without missing a beat, she refutes as a matter of fact, “Squirrels are not interested in matters like that. There are moral facts, it’s plain to me, but those are revealed by Great Oakley. She is all-wise and all-perfect and the author of all things true; more important is what she commands I do. If it was her will that squirrels don’t eat her crop, then what would be right is I ought to stop.”

Ah, Great Oakley, a squirrel’s deity, and this particular squirrel expressed piety. I scampered closer to make further inquiry.


“It’s curious to ask who authors what’s right; I suspect that there’s more than your divine insight. Your position is clear and follows my query, your position I call Divine Command Theory.1 What is moral is what Oakley commands, and what is not, She forbids. Does that sound right?”

“Indeed it is.”

“Permit me a bit more. Does Oakley command because these actions are right, or are they moral because Oakley commands them? You can see the dilemma, I’m sure. If the former, then it appears that what is right exists outside Oakley’s heavenly sight. In such a case, She’s hardly all-wise, and there is at least one thing she did not comprise. If the latter horn is true, this is equally difficult. How does Oakly decide what’s permissible? It would appear quite arbitrary, for it would be these reasons, not Her command, that justify morality. How could this be if She exists so perfectly?”

The squirrel’s heart turned.

“How wise, my cousin of mine, I never paused to commit this to mind. It seems in both cases, this position fails. Now I am inclined to believe that there are simply no morals for me to retrieve. In lieu of any objective moral fact, I am free to fill my cheeks as a non-moral act!”

She resumed stuffing acorns into her cheeks.


I laughed and sat with her, for even a chipmunk can enjoy a snack, “From my own thoughts, I agree, but I don’t believe in Great Oakley. Our forest is absent of moral claims, and far worse is they justify our chains. My position of why I am so weary is what I shall call an Error Theory.2 This world lacks moral features, and thus these judgements can never be true. Try as we might, our judgements are frail, and these descriptions ultimately fail. So it follows, as you plainly see, there’s no such thing as morality. If such objectivity exists, it necessarily requires categorical reasons despite our desires. It’s pretty convenient that Oakley’s commands just so happen to follow your hungry plans! Your bulging cheeks are evidence to me that you spoke in error about morality.” As she munched, I continued.


            “Error theory focuses on what’s metaphysically amiss and reminds of the strangeness if values exist.3

Objective facts are things we can justify, and unlike rain, values do not fall from the sky. A squirrel must eat, obviously, so your desire to eat is based on objectivity. But where are these values you held so dear? If you look all around, I think you’ll agree that values are not the things to be found. The advantage is that Error Theory corresponds to what positively is true, and it perfectly describes your desire to chew! So now that you have freed yourself from Oakley’s commands, you discover a true fact instead of moral demands. Recall morality tends to enslave, and to uphold it gives your control away. Consider if Oakley demands you to refrain, then it seems Her law would justify great pain. If that was her command, it would be quite dire, then it would seem what’s moral is for you to expire!”4

My cousin seemed convinced, but as I turned away, it appeared she had something more to say.


            “You gave me cause to accept what you say, but it seems to me morals aren’t easily explained away. Morality for digging out nuts may cause us suspicions, but how do we reconcile our greater intuitions? It seems that other circumstances are far from minuscule. Consider murder by a wolf; this action is impermissible. It causes great suffering; no one would abide by this action if done to themselves or their tribe. Where are these natural facts which describe our moral intuitions in matters like that?”


I was impressed. I couldn’t hide. I turned to the squirrel for a final reply. “Consider suffering as a positivist description. It is, or it isn’t; it’s a simple prescription. Now consider a claim built on an ought. There’s something else present than the positivist brought. The ought adds a value, and if you recall, a value is not represented in the world at all! How do we use reason to justify the truth of such value claims? A bitter truth, more bitter than acorn rot, is that reason does not justify an ‘is’ to an ‘ought.’5 While we agree, we’d rather not be a victim of a wolf’s murderous spree. The explanation that the naturalists give is this great intuition is our desire to live.” With everything said, she thanked me, so I took my leave beneath the forest canopy.


  1. Shafer-Landau, Russ. “Morality and Religion.” The Fundamentals of Ethics, 4th ed., 67–68. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
  2. Shafer-Landau, Russ. “Moral Nihilism.” The Fundamentals of Ethics, 4th ed., 311–312. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
  3. Mackie, J.L. “ The Argument from Queerness.” Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, 38–40. 1977.
  4. Inspired by Nietzche’s critique of slave morality. Wolff, Jonathan, and Nietzsche, Friedrich. “Beyond Good and Evil.” Essay in Readings in Moral Philosophy, 32–38. New York: W.W. Norton et Company, 2018.
  5. Wolff, Jonathan, and David Hume. “Moral Distinction Not Derived from Reason.” Essay in Readings in Moral Philosophy, 17–21. New York: W.W. Norton et Company, 2018.


Written after I learned that the studio I used to dance at closed down. An Ode to Spotlight, if you will.

Was this the place where little hands
first took to little barres?
The walls have shrunk, this studio
now bare, but once was ours.

The climb began for all of us
alike in dignity.
The first beat of a waltz, then we’re
bound in polyphony.

So pull the pins out of the floor,
we’ll have to sew our own–
the ribbons of our pointe shoes now
tied asymmetrical.

I’ll bid farewell to flushed red cheeks,
the ache of tired lungs.
It’s time we let the curtain fall,
and reach for the next wrung.

The lights blown out, the flowers thrown,
now ends this pas de deux.
It’s only when the rhythm fails:
a clean line cut right through.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Lucky Eggs

If you’re an avid Pokémon GO player, you might already have realized that your Pokémon have maximum CP limits depending on the level you’re at. Similar to how stardust is important to power up your Pokémon, Experience Points—or XP—define your Trainer Level, which affects your Pokémon’s maximum combat power.

It’s important to raise your Trainer Level in order to have powerful Pokémon, and to do that, you’ll need XP. While that seems straightforward, did you know that you need a cumulative total of 176 million XP across all levels to max out at level 50?

Don’t fret—it’s relatively easy to break through levels 1-30 with consistent gameplay. It’s when you reach level 30 that you feel the pace slowing, due to increased XP requirements per level—500,000 at level 30 and 30,000,000 at level 49—to reach the next.

And that’s why Lucky Eggs are so useful! Lucky Eggs boost your XP-earning so you can level up even faster, if you use them strategically.

What is a Lucky Egg?

A Lucky Egg doubles the amount of XP you collect for 30 minutes. According to the Pokémon GO Help Center, special in-game events or seasonal bonuses might allow your Lucky Egg to last longer, and you can even use up to 200 at once to maximize the effects.

You earn XP for anything you do in-game, but there are certain achievements you can reach that reward lots of XP.

High XP-earning achievements include:

  • Evolving Pokémon: 1000 XP (+ 1000 XP if you register a new Pokémon)
  • Catching new Pokémon: 1200-1400 XP
  • First catch of the day: 1500 XP
  • 7-day catch streak: 2500 XP
  • 7-day Pokéstop spin: 2500 XP
  • Hatching eggs: 1000-8000 XP
  • Completing raid battles: 10,000 XP
  • Friendship level bonus: 3000-100,000 XP

Additionally, check the Today view to the left of the Field Research tab for event bonuses—sometimes, event bonuses include double XP, which essentially means quadruple XP if you pair it with a Lucky Egg!

Best Situations For Using Lucky Eggs

To get the most out of each Lucky Egg, it’s best to plan around opportunities where you’re able to earn the most XP.

My favourite XP-mining combos always involve trying to line up weekly streaks and high XP-earning achievements. I’ve listed them from easiest to most difficult below:

Combine: First catch of the day + 7-day catch streak + 7-day Pokéstop spin and:

  1. Evolve Pokémon
  2. Complete a raid
  3. Hatch eggs
  4. Line up reaching a new friendship level among as many friends as you can

This yields between 21,400 to over 210,000 XP when a lucky egg is activated, depending on how many of each high XP-earning item you’re able to accomplish in the 30-minute timeframe.

With your remaining activated minutes, catch as many Pokémon as you can. Catching Pokémon is the most consistent way to earn XP, with 200XP per successful catch, and bonuses for curveball, Nice, Great, and Excellent throws.

Have fun racking up those Experience Points!

The Moon, Alone: How Deaf West Spring Awakening Changed the Landscape of Disability & Accessibility on the Stage

The cast of DWSA, (ph. Joan Marcus, Playbill.)

In 2006, German writer Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play Spring Awakening was adapted for the Broadway stage with music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater. The musical paved the way for the surge of rock-musicals, diverging from traditional musical theatre sonically, lyrically, and, in many ways, thematically. The play and musical focus on a group of school-aged German teenagers dealing with feeling unmoored and disquieted in their own bodies, and the unrelenting social structures that feed and facilitate this disquietude.

In 2015, six years after the initial production’s closing, director Michael Arden brought new life into Spring Awakening alongside Los Angeles theatre company Deaf West, aptly titling the revival Deaf West Spring Awakening (DWSA) – a revival that would change the scene of disability and accessibility on the Broadway stage henceforth. Deaf West is a theatre company known for their entire cast of D/deaf and hard of hearing actors, utilizing ASL as their primary source of language both on and off stage. DWSA was no different, performed in two languages concurrently with deaf characters being double cast with hearing actors deemed their “voice”, who had no tangible form or interaction with other characters. The inclusion of ASL meant that this show was entirely bilingual, allowing deaf characters to be played by deaf actors whilst still maintaining the classic diegetic music that defines theatre. 

But the function of the deaf cast was not simply to bring disability to the stage, as groundbreaking as it was (much like its source material). Director Michael Arden wanted the deaf characters to be an intrinsic and indisputable aspect of the narrative. Spring Awakening, both the original play and its 2006 adaptation, depends on a kind of failure of communication between characters. The climax of the show, and the multiple deaths amongst the young cast of characters all stem from these children being denied information. Arden has stated that this failure of communication as it presents itself in the original material served as the framework for introducing deafness into the property, as he didn’t want the deafness to be something injected into the narrative, but rather something that spurred it along. 

As such, the lack of communication in DWSA stems from the lack of ASL education and the interest in the hearing community to learn the tools that would help them communicate with their D/deaf peers, transcending the pre-established miscommunication in the text from one of ignorance and a preoccupation with purity to one of ableism – one that, unfortunately, reflects hearing/deaf ableism historically.

Indeed, Arden drew from the very real history of deaf culture, beginning with the Milan Conference in 1880 – mere years before the original play was written – a conference wherein officials deliberated the best method of dealing with deaf children in education. The consensus was that the most pertinence would be placed on speech and assimilating D/deaf children into hearing societal conventions through whatever means possible, a method called Oralism. As a result, anything that would remotely interfere with the development of speech was banned globally – including sign. This lead to thousands of D/deaf and heard of hearing children to adapt no language at all as the ban only alleviated in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. This era has been deemed The Dark Age of Deaf Culture. 

This age informed DWSA and DWSA’s deaf characters, all of whom struggle with a sense of failure, a lack of perceived ability by their community, or confusion and unrest about their bodies. This historical resonance permeates DWSA’s every decision. It is not simply a show with deaf characters, but a show about deaf culture. 

In 2016, Deaf West Spring Awakening would close its doors on Broadway (after a criminally short run), but its resonance is not lost on the industry. Deaf West would go on to produce countless more deaf interpretations of pre-existing musicals, and the Broadway community still shakes with the force that is DWSA and its conviction to unlanguage its source material, and, in turn, give language to a generation who was robbed of it.