The Going Solo Stigma

The other day I went to a concert by myself. Buying a ticket was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision so I didn’t have a chance to plan to go with a friend and I didn’t want tickets to sell out. The concert ended up being really good and I’m glad I went.

But there’s this social stigma that makes going to things alone seem uncool. Concerts are seen as a Squad Event, movies are for Dates, and eating out is for literally anyone but just you. But what if you only have a few friends? Or they don’t live near you? Or they can’t afford to go to things? Or they have different interests? Am I supposed to miss out? No. No way. I’ve missed out on a lot of things but I’m doing my best to not do that anymore. I’m a fairly independent person and in the last few years I’ve done a lot by myself. No shame!

Chris Treager is not lonely gif

Going alone to things is totally fine. Especially things like concerts or the movies. The fact that there’s a stigma on going to that stuff alone bothers me because it’s so fundamentally silly. All you do is sit quietly next to each other and watch the thing you’ve paid to watch. There’s no space to really interact much so what does it matter if you’re there alone or with three people? Are you worried about other people seeing you and thinking you’re lame? I get that because it’s something I think about, but the truth is, most people either literally don’t care or notice. It’s just a fear we have to get over.

Two years ago I went to FanExpo (a comic convention) by myself. The year before I had gone with a friend but she had to work the next year. The cast of Daredevil and Danielle Panabaker from The Flash were going to be there and I wanted to see them. So I bought myself a ticket and went by myself. I had a good time but I’ll admit that I didn’t like being alone there. Not because I couldn’t handle the task of going solo or I was afraid of judgement, but because at conventions there’s a lot of waiting in lines and walking around, and I found myself pretty bored by myself. I’m not one to easily strike up conversation with strangers, so I literally sat by myself quietly as I waited, rationing the battery on my phone.

If you’re like me and are a bit more introverted and shy, then I can understand not going to things like conventions by yourself. Being bored sucks. The year after that, my friend had to work again, and because no one I really wanted to see was going, I opted to skip out. It has yet to be seen if I’ll go this year.

The point of all this is that if I really listened to society’s stigma that says it’s weird to go to things alone, I’d have missed out on a lot. So I’m here to not let other people’s circumstances affect your enjoyment. If you want to see that movie, do it! If you want to go to the mall, do it! If you’re craving some fast food chicken nuggets, go get them! Don’t let chances and moments slip by because you’ll regret it. And I’m not saying going alone is better (though in some cases it can be—sometimes people are annoying/negative and ruin the experience). I still encourage you to invite people to events and try to share those experiences with your nearest and dearest, but if things don’t work out, don’t let that stop you from doing it yourself.

 live your best life gif

Help me break the stigma. If Jason Deruuuulooo can do it, so can I.

What’s something you attended alone? Did you enjoy yourself?

 

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What Is A Meme?

I’ve had to explain to my parents and to a few other people what a meme is many times. I’d imagine you’ve had to do the same, and it can be hard to do. So I figured I’d make all our jobs easier by making this post, so the next time your uncle asks for the third time what a meme is, you can just send him this URL.

A meme is an internet joke that is shared quickly via social media and edited so there are many variations. These variations are the key because otherwise, it’s not a meme, it’s just something funny.

An OG meme that you may be familiar with is this success kid:

Image result for baby sand meme

This image is a meme because the text that accompanies it isn’t always the same and it’s easily recognizable. Here are just a few examples of this meme.

Image result for baby sand meme Image result for success baby meme Image result for success baby meme

See, the image is the same but the text changes to create relatable contexts, and these get shared a lot. This is a meme.

Now, as I said, this is an old meme. This is a meme that the Facebook Moms have found and used. And in this day and age, new memes come up every other week. Sometimes there are several good memes going on at once. It’s fun. Though I should tell you that the above meme style (white block text on an image) is very old-fashioned and a sign that you’re not up on your memes at all.

Where do memes come from? They come from social media. Usually they begin on Reddit, 4chan, Tumblr, or Twitter. Some memes don’t make it to multiple platforms because they don’t get popular enough, or they’re not adaptable to the platforms. Right now, a meme that’s fairly popular on Twitter is this poll meme:

Harry Potter poll meme   Finding Nemo poll memeMamma Mia version of the poll meme

It’s a good and pure meme, if you ask me, and I very much loved coming across it on my Twitter timeline. This is an example of a meme that was very popular for a week or two, and only on Twitter, and will eventually die out. Some memes live long fruitful lives, but most end within a month or two when a new meme rises. People even put together meme calendars. Here is one made for 2017:

I remember most of these. Good times.

Anyway, that more or less is a meme. Of course, like anything, memes aren’t black and white, and there can be some discussion as to what is a meme (are reaction images/gifs a meme? Is imitation without alteration okay?) or how much reach a meme has to have before it reaches dank level (the danker the better) or if videos/vines are memes, but overall, most memes are just silly ways for the internet to have fun collectively. They’re a part of youth culture and a part of internet culture. The internet can be an awful place at times, but for the most part, memes are light and fun.

I hope you now have a good understanding of memes and their relevance to the internet now. Memes are not going anywhere any time soon, so it’s good to know what’s up. And I hope I’ve managed to explain it so everyone can understand.

What’s your favourite meme? Mine is the Shia LaBeouf “Just do it” meme from a few years ago. It was so random and adaptable and funny. (Watch a Vine compilation of it here)

That’s all for now!

 

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Monthly Look Ahead: June 2018

June is here! And it’s shaping up to be a busy month (though 80% of this MLA is all happening in one week…). Anyway, June has always been a good month for me, and I hope it is for you too. Make your own MLA and get hyped for it with me! Here’s what I have going on:

monthly look ahead logo

  • Marvel’s newest TV show Cloak And Dagger starts on Freeform on the 8th. I don’t know much about the show or the characters, but Marvel TV has never truly disappointed me, so I have faith. Plus it’s the summer so it’s not like I many other TV choices anyway.
  • Oceans 8 comes out on the 8th. I’ve seen the other Oceans movie and though they aren’t my favourite, I am kind of looking forward to this one because the cast looks amazing.
  • June 10th is the Tony Awards, which I always like watching because I like the performances. Unfortunately this year I won’t be able to watch it live because…
  • I’m going to see Darren Criss and Lea Michele on tour! They’ve got one Canadian stop, so as a treat-yo-self/grad present to myself, I bought a ticket. I was a huge Glee fan and they’re both so talented, so I’m very excited. Should be a good show!
  • My bookmaking class will be holding a book launch at a nice hotel downtown. My novel, The Time Company, is already available, but this is just a little celebration for us all where our family and other profs and people in the community can come and check out our books. It’ll be fun, even if I’ll have to dress up and read a part of my book out loud in front of strangers.
  • I’m graduating! Honestly, I’m not really looking forward to the ceremony, as I’m sure it’ll be long and boring, but it’ll be nice to finally be done school and have a diploma to prove it.
  • Incredibles 2 comes out on the 15th, and I am very excited. I remember going to see the first Incredibles movie in theaters and loving it. It’s one of my favourite animated movies (tied with Monsters Inc) so I’m very ready for this followup.
    Incredibles 2 poster
  • I’ll be turning 22 on the 16th!
  • Season 2 of Luke Cage drops on the 22nd, and I’m excited to see Misty and Claire again…and Luke, I guess. He’s cool.
  • Season two of the Queer Eye reboot is coming out on the 15th. Considering that season one only just came out in February, this is a nice surprise. I’m not in love with this show or desperate for more, but it’s cute and easy to watch.

So that’s my June. Hopefully my June will also involve finding a job. Cross your fingers for me, okay? Anyway, what are you looking forward to this month?

That’s all for now!

 

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An Archie Fan’s Perspective Of ‘Riverdale’ Post Season 2

If you were reading my blog at the start of 2017, you’d know that I was head over heels hyped for the CW show Riverdale, a darker and more dramatic twist on the light and long-running Archie Comics. I had been keeping up with news of the show long before it aired, and when it did air, I even wrote this blog post in which I explained my thoughts on the pilot. Because I was a huge fan of the comics and because I enjoyed the pilot, I obviously continued watching the show with enthusiasm.

But guys. I don’t think I’ve ever changed my opinion on a show so much so fast. Here we are at the end of season two (34 episodes since the pilot) and I can’t believe how disappointed I am with this show now. Everything I liked about it is gone and we’re just left with these over-the-top and unfamiliar characters and zany plots. I’ve watched a lot of shows, some of which haven’t been fabulous and some of which had low moments, but I’ve held on and been able to overlook the negatives because of the prominent positives. But with Riverdale as it is, I’m struggling to do so.

 disappointed gif
Me over the course of 35 episodes

The show has become trashy. It’s a bunch of wildly dramatic sixteen-year-olds acting like they’re twenty-five in the middle of a random mystery that isn’t even compelling anymore. I kind of hoped the Black Hood would kill them all, honestly. Season one, though not perfect, was decent. The episodes fit in well with each other and didn’t drag on, we got a good introduction to all the characters, and it was interesting enough to keep me watching. There was great music often, I liked some of the parallels between the kids and the adults, and I didn’t mind the modern and darker twist on the characters because it fit in well with the world created for the show. At times it was borderline weird or cheesy or cliché (with most of this coming solely from Cheryl/The Blossoms, so it was almost okay) but that didn’t linger. The show should have ended after season one with the mystery being solved.

Season two is just a whole new show and it’s a hot mess. The characters are more dramatic and annoying, their decision-making is waaaay out of the realm of a normal sixteen-year-old, and the drama is just tiring and unrelatable. No longer are there child/parent parallels or football vs music dilemmas or the core four enjoying milkshakes and smiles at Pops. Now there’s stalking and street racing and guns and gangs and blackmail and more. The plots are all over the place. One episode had Betty tearfully cutting ties with her friends so the Black Hood wouldn’t kill them, and the next one had them all being friends in public again with no mention of the killer or his connection to her. One episode would have Veronica loyal to her parents and their habits, and the next she was going against them all. There was no sense of connection or a storyline in season two.

Jughead sighing disappointedly gif
Me thinking about this show

I knew a couple people who watched the show and they have all called it quits. I do not blame them. I often considered walking away mid-season, but I didn’t for three reasons. One, I had nothing else to watch during its timeslot. Two, I have trouble letting go — I always have. And three, because I still (foolishly, probably) had hope that the show can get better. But I just can’t do it anymore. Season two is over and though the show has been renewed and I still don’t have anything to watch Wednesdays at 8pm, I don’t think I can keep going. I never want to become one of those people who consumes something solely so they can revel in their hatred for it online, so I do my best to keep my livetweets somewhat positive, but it’s so hard when the disaster of a show makes it so easy to be critical.

And speaking of livetweets, what really is shocking me is that people still seem to love Riverdale. I read tweets upon tweets from people invested in the show and loving every new dramatic moment. Are they watching it ironically or despite the awfulness? Or do they legitimately think this is quality television?

So this is me, breaking up with this show. It hurts me to do so considering how freaking pumped I was for it, but it hurts me more to watch the nonsense every week. I am disappointed, to say the least. And if you started watching the show because I told you to, I apologize. I should have foreseen this based off of the first few episodes, but I was a fool. I’ll go back to my Archie Comics, where things are happy and concise and enjoyable.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with this video I saw in my YouTube recommendations (which was weird, since I haven’t even watched any Riverdale videos lately) as it perfectly sums up what I’m saying here. The creator of this video has several other Riverdale follow-ups, so look into that if you care.

 

And if you found that interesting, there’s also this video that also breaks down why Riverdale is just so bad.

That’s all for now!

 

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Goodbye To ‘The Middle,’ An Underrated Show

Next week (the 22nd) marks the end of ABC’s family comedy The Middle. Though it started the same year as Modern Family and is quite similar at times, this show never got the same amount of love and attention, which is a shame considering how great it is. After nine years, this show is coming to an end. Luckily, it’s a planned end.

The Middle logo

I found this show by accident. Well, my brother and I did, about six years ago. It came on after something we were watching and we never got around to changing the channel. Next thing we knew, we were laughing at this family try to play a mish-mashed board game while camping, and I was flipping through a TV guide to find the name of the show. We made our parents watch it later as well, and even they enjoy it still.

For those who don’t know it (and shame on you), The Middle is about a lower-middle-class family in Indiana, the Hecks. There’s Frankie, the mom, who is overbearing and nosey, but caring and passionate. There’s Mike, the dad, who’s reserved and passive and calm. There’s Axl, the oldest son, who’s wild and sarcastic and outgoing. There’s Sue, the middle child, who’s bubbly and peppy and determined. And there’s Brick, the awkward youngest child, who’s quiet and quirky and has a bit of a disability (palilalia). They’re all dynamic characters and we get to see them grow and survive and face life. They are really average characters doing average things, but in that sense, it’s very relatable. In the nine seasons, we’ve seen them struggle with a lot, be it financial issues, relationship issues, family issues, and more, and it’s always done in a real and honest way. It’s similar to Malcolm In The Middle in this way, but better. My mom reminds me of Frankie a lot. There was one episode where Axl went off to college and Frankie kept constantly texting him to see how he was while Mike just let him be, and that is 100% my parents’ dynamic with me.

The Heck family

This show is also hilarious. Of course it has sweet moments and sad moments sprinkled in, but the show is primarily a comedy so mostly there are just plain funny moments. All the characters deliver the laughs in their own ways, and they work so well together despite their varying personalities. The family dynamic is so great, it feels a lot more real than that of Modern Family. And the humour maintained throughout. This past season, because the writers knew it was the last and gave it their all, was amazing. I was laughing every episode.

I’m really going to miss this show. It was always a pure 30 minutes in of my week. Though these characters weren’t always thriving and having a good time, The Middle is really a feel-good show because there was always goodness and family under everything.

I already said Frankie reminded me of my mom, and though Mike and Axl only occasionally remind me of my father and brother, I didn’t really find myself relating strongly to Sue, but I wish I did. Sue was always, always so positive and open and unique, and I wish I was more like that. Nothing got her down and she never let anyone stop her from doing what she loved. If I take one thing from this show, it’s how refreshing and wonderful characters like Sue Heck are, and how I should try to be more like her.

Sue Heck smiling gif

Anyway, if you’re looking for a light and underrated comedy show to watch that is a standout for family shows and comedy shows, give The Middle a try. It’s great for the whole family, and you, too, will quickly fall in love with the average relatableness of the Hecks. And to the cast, the crew, and the network: thank you for giving us such a great show and allowing it to be the quaint, endearing show it is. I hope it ends well, but know that even if it doesn’t, it’ll always have a place in my heart.

P.S. This is the 200th post on my blog!

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