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The Sea Witch.

You’ve heard of The Little Mermaid, right? The Disney animated film about a mermaid who gives her voice to a sea witch for legs, in hopes of marrying a human prince.Disney-Princess-Screencaps-Princess-Ariel-Ursula-disney-princess-35433582-5000-2813

The Sea Witch notices the mermaid is getting a little too close at having the prince, so the witch transforms herself into a beautiful woman to tempt him with the angelic voice of the mermaid.

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Again, we have a story of the Youtube glory days. When content was far and in between and it had yet to blow up.

Meet Ysabella Brave. She found Youtube in 2007 and quickly took the internet by storm. With her angelic voice, Ysabella enchanted viewers. She made you feel loved, too, with the addition of her Talk Channel. She’d offer advice, talk a bit of her personal life and sometimes say a prayer.

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Ysabella was an angel, for sure.

But, in 2008, she was struck with illness. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue System. She stated she had more illnesses, but this was what she chose to share. She also ran into trouble when her videos were flagged for Copyright.

So, with her being ill and many of her videos gone, Ysabella faded away from the internet. Another Youtube great, gone. I was saddened.

I had forgotten about her, as time went on. However, she popped into my mind this January. I wondered, had she gotten help? Was she better? Was she still singing?

So, I looked her up. The first result was the Wikipedia page. The second link caught my eye. YOUCARE. I clicked it.

Youcare is a donation service, much like GoFundMe. I was shocked reading the information. Ysabella was out of a job and needed money for her medical expenses! My heart sank, just for a second. Then, it occurred to me… was this real? As far as I knew, Ysabella was MIA from the internet. Was someone profiting off the angelic Youtube Star?

I did a little digging, and could not find any information from Ysabella herself. This was concerning. Surely, if a person needed money, they’d post a video or note on their website, right? RIGHT?

All I managed to find was a 5 minute video, “Help Ysabella…” from March 31, 2014. So, something fairly recent.

The video is a string of text, put to angelic music. “Ysabella’s life has been at risk for years…”

“She can not afford food…”

“She can not keep food down…”

“Many illnesses…”

“Ysabella can not operate a computer due to her condition…”

At this point, I was utterly convinced this was a scam. It was just too convenient that Ysabella herself could not communicate with her fans. She had over 34,000 subscribers. A two minute video explaining her situation would be plenty and serve as proof.

Still searching for proof that this was in fact from Ysabella, I found her facebook page. It was public, so I cruised the activity. The stuff “she” was putting out was strange. Really Evangelical. Ysabella had mentioned God in some of her videos, but it never had seemed extreme. There was also a lot of I’M SO ILL. NEED HELP. MONEY NEEDED. All over the page. It just seemed strange to me. Red flags were popping up all over. There was this exchange with a ‘fan’ where you can see Ysabella becomes enraged that she’s being questioned at all:

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Then, Ysabella is going to “set fire to the world” if she can’t find a video chatting application:

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Before I had begun exploring the facebook page, I had commented on the “Help Ysabella” video. I was polite, as I expressed my concern.

So, as I’m reading her facebook, I get an email. Someone has responded to my comment on the video. Then, another email. The responses were blowing up. One was from the video creator, someone who appeared to be speaking to Ysabella frequently. The other comment told me to “read Ysabella’s response.”

And there it was— from Ysabella’s own Youtube profile: “This has been going on all my life.”

What followed though, was nasty. Very, very nasty.

I replied back, saying I felt she should make a video to better explain the situation.

FEED YOUR HEAD, she said.

I couldn’t understand what was going on. Was this really Ysabella? Was someone pretending to be her?

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We talked back and forth a bit. Nothing good. “She” was so upset she was being questioned. She could not understand why I didn’t just believe her. Why doesn’t she just send me her social security number and her ID, she taunted.

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Elsewhere on the internet, Ysabella was being questioned by other fans. People with legitimate concern. One person even said they had been donating to her fund, but stopped, when the money seemed to “just be going into a black hole.” You can see that thread here:  http://www.reddit.com/r/youtube/comments/2vy2fw/ysabella_brave_scammers_profiting_from_former/

The thread then has responses from someone defending Ysabella. Andrew. He was not the person who had posted the video, but seemed to be in close conjunction. His responses were long. Linking to pictures of Ysabella supposed “ailing condition” and reasons she couldn’t get help from government programs.

His language was similar to that of the Youcare page, leading me to think he had been the one to set it up.

The situation died down— as the Facebook page went missing and the Youcare page was being investigated.

But, our story does not end there.

No. Because on May 21st, 2015, a new video arrived. A broken Ysabella appears.

“Hey guys, guess what… I’m not dead. I’m alive. So in my email, my facebook…”

“I’ve been reading a lot, from my friend, from my Youcare page… I wanted to say a few things…”

“I’m grateful for those who believe me…”

“I do need help money wise…”

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She then mentions seeing communication about people wanting identification, pictures of her in the hospital, etc. I never saw any of that, specifically. I only saw the one comment of a fan asking for a general photo… not from a hospital bed, just of her. And, people wanted her ID? Well, she had accused me of wanting hers, but I never asked her for it.

Then, halfway through the video, a man slides into frame. ‘Andrew’. Her ‘biggest fan.’ And he’s ‘going into debt’ trying to help her. The Youcare page is real, she says. She assures us that all donations from PayPal do go to her. She coughs a little then.

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It doesn’t end there.

“For those who are skeptical, I get it. Here’s your video… “

She says it in a manner of kindness. She understands why people were concerned and wondered if this was real. But why then, did she give me a hard time? Why did she attack me by SHOUTING and linking me to a video from CLUE suggesting I was stupid?

So, once more, I commrented on the original donation video.

“I’m glad she made a video… but why did she give me hell?”

Some hours later:

From Ysabella:

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Now, is this how you respond to people who are concerned?

In the blogosphere, I happened to find this: http://insurancevideos.blogspot.com/2007/08/ysabella-brave-investigation-and-other.html

Someone was ‘investigating’ Ysabella way back in 2007. For what, I don’t know. But Ysabella was harassing the poor woman, apparently. I have seen a bit of this anger.

The bottom line is this:

There are several red flags going on here. Ysabella always projected this angelic energy. But, now, she seems bitter and cold. Was she always this way? Is she even really ill? The thought did cross my mind, that she may very well just be faking this entire thing.

And, where does Andrew fit into all this? Who is he?

I don’t wish her ill will. If she’s sick, that of course is horrible. However, I can’t understand why she is acting so cruel to me and others who are wondering if this is legitimate.

And so, we come full circle. The Little Mermaid.

Who Is Ysabella, really? Is Ysabella in disguise?

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FACADE, the interactive play.

So. There’s this little game. You might have heard of it: Facade. I came across it when researching writing and I was extremely interested in it. The download is free, which sometimes is a sign of poor quality. But, that isn’t the case here. This is a nifty game. In fact, I feel Facade is a great experiment of what games could be.

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What is Facade? You play yourself. You’re an old friend of Grace and Tripp’s. They’ve invited you over for dinner. It’s been awhile since you’ve all visited. But, within seconds of getting through the door, Tripp and Grace seem to be fuming with one another. Your job is to either fix their marriage or tear them apart.

How does the game work? Via the keyboard, you’re able to type what you want to say. Based on what you type, Grace and Tripp deliver prerecorded dialog that moves the story forward. The game is billed as an “interactive drama.” I’d go as far as to compare it to a lucid dream.

I’ve only had a few lucid dreams in my life. These are dreams where you are aware you are dreaming and have some control over what’s going on. I relate the two because, in regular dreams, we simply watch our conversations with characters. In lucid dreams, we directly control the conversation.

The game has a lot of replay value. I’ve played many times and in my last play through, Grace said something she never had before. (Tripp has a secret!) It was so astounding. I thought I had heard every piece of dialog, but I know now that I haven’t.

You might be thinking, “Well, okay. But lot’s of game’s let you talk to characters…” Yes, that’s true. But, FACADE does it differently. Most role playing games allow you to speak to characters via dialog options. You could have three, maybe four pre-set questions you can ask a certain character. While you are picking which questions to ask, it somewhat feels limited. It doesn’t feel real.

What makes Facade different is the allusion you’re controlling more than you are. We can type any word we want when talking to Grace and Tripp. While the questions are not directly posed to us, the story is moved by the prerecorded dialog. We feel like this is real because we can say or ask anything we want.

Sure, we are limited by how many lines the actors can deliver and exactly what those lines are. But, there are hundreds of lines. We also feel more in control, because of how closnit the story is. We’re at someone’s house and the couple is fighting. In the context of being in this environment, we’ll say things that relate to marriage, answer questions they ask, and so on. We feel as though we can ask Grace and Tripp anything that pertains to them. And this is not something many games have.

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There are countless adventure games where you can roam around the environment freely. In that respect, we have games that make an environment seem real. But, role playing games still have aways to go where the characters seem real. This is where Facade succeeds greatly. I believe this game opens the door for other game designers. There needs to be more games where the characters are the focus and players truly feel that interaction with them is unlimited.

The creators of Facade where creating a second game, THE PARTY. One could assume that the set up would be similar to Facade, but there would be more than two characters to interact with. But, as of 2013, it has been confirmed it’s no longer in production. That is truly saddening.

As I said, I found this game through research on writing. Besides it being a “game”, it makes an excellent study on story, character and dialog. The story is tight. The characters are well-rounded. The dialog doesn’t come across as a written line, but as someone would actually speak. It’s something you need to experience to really understand. The game has been called an interactive play. So, why not take your shot at it? FACADE can be downloaded here.

Some elements of this article come from: http://aigamedev.com/open/review/facade-ai/

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“Broadcast Yourself”

On Nov 6, 2013, I logged into my Youtube account.

Everything seemed normal at first. I watched a few videos and then decided I wanted to comment. I clicked into the comment box, but my cursor didn’t appear. I thought my computer was having a moment. But soon, an interface box appeared. One I had seen before. One I had X’d out of nearly a thousand times.

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An example of what you will see when you attempt to comment.

This was the ‘Connect to Google Plus’ box.  It attempts to get you to link your Youtube Channel with your Google Plus page. This link also will display your full name. While I could still close the box, commenting was still not working. I soon realized, Google has now made the acceptance of this feature mandatory, if I wanted to comment.

I then saw I had a few messages in my Inbox. I clicked on it to read them, but saw this instead:

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Are you kidding me? Why would I want to use Google Plus to read comments from my Youtube videos? Why do you want me to use my real name when commenting?

Side Note: I originally connected my G+ account, under the choice “Use User Name”, but when I commented on a video, my real name displayed.

If you read the news, Goggle is saying they’ve implemented the G+ integration to cut down on spam. I think this a lie. I believe this is a tactic to get users onto G+, which, let’s face it, is a failed social network.

Let me also remind you that in 2011, it was against Youtube policy to use your real name. Goggle has since rewritten the policy, clearly so they protect their butts from getting sued.

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Screenshot from the 2011 policy, verses the 2013 version.

Some may say that the change is good. But, I would tell you to take a look at some videos and their comments. Spam Bots are rampant and  ASCII artwork is now allowed in comments, which people are using to post offensive images.

'Drawings' that appear in YouTube Comments.

‘Drawings’ that appear in YouTube Comments.

Comment boxes now allow links, in which Bots are placing viruses.

Some news outlets are reporting that many users are abandoning commenting altogether. I am one of those users. This really is an unjust change and it has me fuming with anger.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Install Adblock in your browser. This extension blocks ads from running, which will cause Goggle to lose money.
  2. Write your opinion on the Youtube facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/youtube
  3. Write your opinion on Larry Page’s G+ profile. He’s Goggle’s CEO. : https://plus.google.com/+LarryPage/posts
  4. Refrain from linking your G+ account. You can even delete it.
  5. Refrain from commenting on Youtube.

It is important to combat this change. Google is becoming too powerful and too controlling. They are trying to remove anonymity from the internet completely, and that is not good.

All of the big Youtubers, Shane Dawson, Pewdiepie, Smosh and Ray William Johnson have reminded quiet on this issue. They make serious money from Youtube (Google), so it is fair to say they don’t want to lose their checks. But,  Jawed Karim, a co-founder of Youtube, commented on his channel for the first time in 8 years:

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So, please join the fight against G+ and let us hope Youtube returns to normal. 

EDIT: PewDiePie, The most-subscribed youtuber has spoken out against these changes. He had this to say, in his most recent video description box:

Turning comments off until they are working properly.

Due to the recent changes of the YouTube comment system I’m forced to disable comments.
Since front page/top comments are filled with: Links to virus sites, Advertisers, Self Advertisers, Spam, Copy and paste pics of dogs (I’m ok with those though) :p … Anyway, the list goes on.

Sorry about this, it’s not an easy decision since I love reading your comments! But I hope this will get fixed soon, my proposal would be to let us disable top comments (as we could before).

Until then I’ll still reply on Fb and Pm’s

-Pewds

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BIG BROTHER: It doesn’t have to be trashy

Well, BBAU has ended. (Big Brother Australia.)

The program was such a treat. It was a breath of fresh air, after the disaster that was BIG BROTHER 15. (For those who don’t know, this was the latest US edition.)

Like with any reality tv show, my opinions of the HM’s (House mates, as they are called here) changed throughout the season.

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Tim, who was a trickster with a heart.

I didn’t like Tim at first, but then, appreciated his humor and was happy to see he did have a heart, showing kindness throughout the experience.

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Jade, who proved to show compassion and did not think she’d make it to the end.

Jade came in, with us all thinking she was the ‘pretty girl model’ who had nothing to offer. But, she proved to have compassion and was a good sport. She was blinded by her love for Ed, but the Jade we knew was there returned when Ed was evicted. I was so happy Jade made second place, because, she represented the good, while Tahan was the ‘bad.’

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Tahan, a HM who cared more for her make-up than her experience.

Tahan, while she was fun to watch in the beginning, proved to be a spoiled little girl, who was most interested in her hair dryer and a Kim K clutch bag. Tahan also has a famous boyfriend, which no doubt, added to her votes in keeping her there until the final three. It angered me that the show portrayed her as being “extremely honest.” Tahan did not exibit honesty. She exhibited bluntness, which is different.

I wanted Jade to win. But, ultimately, Tim winning was a good fit. The jokester with a heart made it to the end. You could tell he appreciated it, that he really felt ‘in a dream’—- congrats!

BBAU is a step up from the US version, it’s incredible. There’s drama, yet it isn’t tasteless. People cry when people are evicted. There were only personal attacks by two HM’s at most, verses almost the entire house in the US. The audiences are much larger, the HM’s feel more like this is an EVENT. An interview with an evicted HM is on average, 8 minutes, verses the shorter of the US. I mean, I could go on, but you get the point.

Allison Grodner needs to take some notes and overhaul the Us version of BB.

BBAU proves that ‘Big Brother’ can be a truly enjoyable show and doesn’t have to be a liar’s game with backstabbing and personal attacks. 

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On this version, all HM’s are evicted and the winner is decided by a public vote.

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Moving?

For a minute there, I packed my stuff and went over to BLOGGER.

That site is nice and money can be earned for views.

But, WordPress has such cleaner formatting and I don’t have the viewership to earn income.

So, I’m staying here. And I’m fine with a small audience,

Hey, at least I have one. 

“Trying to Slim Down?”

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I was out to dinner with my mother. We went to The Native New Yorker. It’s a hoppin’ place that has great burgers, sandwiches and darn good wings. We only been there once before. We sat in the bar. For Tuesday night, the place was pretty packed. But we found a nice table near the back and sat down.

 

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Soon, the waiter came. I would say he was in his mid-30s. Right away, I could tell he had a sense of humor. I’m shy, so I don’t particularly want to be conversing back-and-forth with my waiter. Don’t misunderstand, I’m polite and everything.   I understand serving is a really tough job. But I don’t want to have long drawn out conversations.

We order our drinks: a coke for me, a Miller Light for my mother. The waiter notices our table is sticky and says he’ll be back and clean it right away. He does so, as my mother and I look over the menu. The restaurant has a very good selection of food. It’s one of the very few places in which I struggle to choose what to order. I noticed a bacon cheeseburger. However, I decide I can’t order that because if I do, my mother will say something about my weight.

I settle on the “Turkey on the Rye.”

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It’s a better alternative, and there is absolutely no comment from my mother. She orders the Reuben. The waiter takes down our orders and comments that the food will be so good that he wants to sit down and join us. My mother and I nervously laugh and off he goes.

My mother and I make casual conversation as we wait for food. I don’t particularly like the bar for a couple of reasons. One, I’m not much for drinker. Two, I’m quite short and I don’t like the high-rise chairs or tables. But my mother enjoys a drink once in a while when she goes out to eat, so I’m happy if she’s happy.

Our food is brought out by a waitress. I see my mother’s Reuben. But, my sandwich doesn’t look quite right. I’m not one to send back my order. I don’t like confrontation and I don’t like making waiters or waitresses uncomfortable. There are couple very picky eaters in my family, and they always send their food back. So, I’ve grown accustomed to let little mistakes go by with no trouble. However, it’s the completely wrong sandwich. I’m very polite and tell the waitress that it’s the wrong sandwich. She apologizes and says she will go and fix it right away.

Our waiter comes by when he sees I have no food in front of me.

“Is there a problem?”

“But there was an error, they brought me the wrong sandwich.”

“I’m so very sorry sir. I must’ve written down the wrong order.”

I can tell he’s very embarrassed and feels bad about the mistake. It’s not my intention to make anyone feel bad and honestly, I have no trouble waiting for my food. I explained this to the waiter, everything is good, and I am happy to wait.

“Would you like a salad while you wait?”

I found this question quite odd. I didn’t anticipate waiting very long for my order, and I’ve never had a server pose this question when foods been wrong.

“No, no, no,. It’s quite all right, I can wait.”

“Ah, trying to slim down?”

I nervously laugh and tell him I’m fine waiting. The waiter says he’ll come back with my order’s ready.

It wasn’t until later that I actually realized what he said. I’m a bigger guy, and I wonder if his comment was innocent, a slip of the tongue – – – or if it was a jab at my weight. I really don’t know, but in thinking about it, I don’t think it was something he should’ve said. We are in an establishment that deals with food. Why on earth would you make a comment about a person trying to slim down? The waiter might’ve made an innocent comment, not trying to hurt my feelings.

But needless to say, I went home feeling ashamed. Do you think the comment was out of line? Should comments of eating less or more be made in a restaurant?

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Big Brother 15: The Dreadful Final Three

Well, here we are.

Big Brother 15 is about to end. The final three has been decided, and fans everywhere are saying it’s the worst final three in history. Personally, I’d have to agree. This reminds me a lot of season nine. That final three consisted of Sheila, Ryan, and Adam. I was rooting for Sheila. But when she left, I didn’t really care who won because I didn’t particularly like the final two. Ryan was a blah of a person and Adam was like the really drunk guy you met at the bar.

Let’s break down season 15’s final three and talk about each player individually:

Spencer:

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Let’s talk about Spencer’s game for a moment. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know everything there is to know about this game. However, I am a devoted viewer. And I would call Spencer a floater. By my definition, a floater is someone who sleeps most of the time, does not particularly win competitions, and is not particularly loyal to any one person.  (And game talk is far and in between.) Now, I realize that Spencer was in The Moving Company and is currently in The Exterminators. However, the moving company fell apart and Spencer was most arguably the most expendable member. He didn’t win HOH until a few days ago, and he’s only won one veto. I will be talking about the exterminators later. But, in short, Spencer truly has not done much in the game. While he was on the block for eight times, he was kept around because he was a floater.

Now let’s talk about Spencer as a person. Spencer does have good qualities. I’ve seen them. There are little moments where you see a gentle human. The best example I can give, is Spencer’s HOH blog. Within that blog, Spencer emerges as an articulate, intelligent, and kind man. So we know he isn’t all bad. But, it is hard to forget his child porn joke, exposing himself while walking down the HOH stairs, and talking about how he would love to trap Elissa in a room and kill her. I could go on, but you get the point.  He’s mainly just awful and him winning would be a huge tragedy.

GinaMarie:

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GM is an interesting case. Early in the game, she was besties with Aaryn. Along with Kaitlin, the three became known as the big brother mean girls. GM was second in line with the racist comments. Commenting that Helen should do her nails, Candice was already on the dark side because she was dark, and who could forget GM claiming she had “N…” Insurance.

For a good while, GM was hated outside of the house. However, she then began to exhibit moments of likability. She would have hearts to hearts with Helen, she wouldn’t lie to your face, and there was a certain kindness to the girl who loved the boy with the blue hat. Many laughed at GM’s breakdown when Nick got evicted, but I didn’t. You saw raw emotion from the woman. And a hateful person doesn’t ever exhibit that.

And just when you began to like her, her ugly side emerged again. As Candice walked out the front door, GM commented , “At least I got a mother that likes me…” (Candice is adopted, so this was a bash at that.)  Again, there are countless other examples. But you can clearly see the dilemma. Judd, a person clearly with no knowledge of the outside perception, is rooting for GM to win and said she was very loyal. And this is true. GM has been loyal to a fault. She has won competitions and she does do a lot of game talk.  It does appear that on some level, GM has had a very good game, considering. I would not call her a floater. However, if she wins, her initial negative comments will cause her to be the black sheep of the big brother family.

Andy:

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Here is where things are going to get a little tricky. When I saw Andy’s pre-season interviews, I loved him. I loved his energy, I loved his strategy plan, and he just seemed like a very nice guy. Now, apparently Andy has said very nasty things about Elissa. believe the nastiness of the others hasrubbed off on him. We have to remember he never said anything racist or homophobic. It is true he never spoke up for anybody, but I don’t think he has  ever bashed anyone except Elissa.I’m not excusing his behavior but we must remember she got a lot of help from production and she is the sister to a big Brother winner. I can see how her unfair advantage would get under people’s skin causing them to say nasty things about her.

Moving on, let’s talk about Andy as a floater. I hear a lot of people call him that. But I don’t agree. There are several definitions of this word but in my eyes he is not one. Andy is well-liked in the house. To me, if the majority of the house likes you, this means your social game is on point. Remember that montage of HG’s in the diary room? Six or seven HG’s said they felt he was trustworthy and on their side. You can get mad at Andy for playing every side there is to play, but I wouldn’t call that floating. And I will admit, I did not like this aspect of his game.  (I was on the rat train for a week.) But when I saw an overwhelming amount of criticism of his game, it made me angry. I thought about the situation more and my opinion changed. In terms of the competitions, he has won them when he needed. To me, that’s all fine and dandy.

Now, let me talk about the recently formed alliance. The Exterminators hasn’t been around long. I cannot remember Dan Gheesling’s exact words, but he also brought up the fact that the alliance was formed when virtually no one was left. When you take into account season 12’s alliance, The Brigade, was formed very early on— and those members stayed faithful until they absolutely had to turn on one another— The Exterminators sure seems like a “We’re the only ones left” kind of deal. How and when it was formed does not give it any points and it will not go down in history,

I personally believe this is a dreadful final three. But, this was the hand we were dealt, and we must live with it. And in my opinion, of the three available, I would say Andy deserves to win. And I know, there are people reading this angered at him for what he has said since Elissa has been evicted. I know it’s horrible. It’s not that we are to ignore that aspect, but we must look at the positive attributes he exhibits. Of the final three, Andy is the lesser of the evils and him winning would not be a total loss. I think GM or Spencer winning would certainly have much more dangerous consequences due to the really, really, really nasty things they had said.

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Overall, I think we can all agree this was the worst season ever. I know every season someone calls it the worst season. But truly, we can all agree that finally we have had the worst season of Big Brother. Never before have we had such an awful group of people. There may be one or two bad apples in a cast. But this year, we had five bad apples. Six bad apples if you want to count Andy. With that many awful people it’s hard to enjoy the season.

However, even though this cast was a total flop, I do not want an All-Stars next season. I want casting to be reworked and reevaluated and newbies next year.

Now keep in mind, this is my opinion. I am a fan, just like you are. The difference in opinion is what makes the show fun. We all like different people for different reasons. I hope you can see my point of view just as I have seen others when it comes to Andy and so on and so on.

Who do you think deserves to win out of this dreadful final three?

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Drugs and Suicide: The Bitter End (Meeting Tyler #5)

My friendship with Tyler always had cracks. They’re easier to see now. They were always there. However, the cracks really began to show my second year of college.

Tyler had periods where he was distant and during this time, those periods were becoming more frequent. Finally, after asking about it, he revealed to me he had ventured into drug use. He had attempted to keep it a secret from me, but it was too much for him to hide. He told me he was only smoking weed. He told me it wasn’t dangerous and that it made him feel good.

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Of course, I didn’t like this at all. He knew my stance on drugs and it made sense why he was keeping his secret from me. He would never admit it, but I knew the drugs were a coping mechanism. He was having trouble with his father, his job, among other things.

From that point on, the friendship went downhill faster and faster. We’d hang out, but he would be high. As time went on, he’d be higher each time. Some times, he’d giggle forever or he’d just want to watch tv and snack. Hanging out with him was boring as shit. But I didn’t have many friends, so I overlooked his flaws. But, it soon became too much to ignore.

Before long, I was covering for him. One time in particular, RACHEL, the girl he had been crushing on, made an unannounced visit to his apartment. “SHIT!” he said and ran into the bathroom. I followed him and watched as he placed drops into his eyes. He blinked and screamed, “Do they look clear? Fuck, what do they look like?” They were still red, so I told him I wasn’t sure. He rushed into telling me to stall Rachel and he slammed the door.

I let Rachel in. She was always polite. We hugged and she asked me how I was. I had to turn my acting face on and not let my panic show. “Fine! I’m great. It’s so good to see you!”

“Where’s Tyler?” she inquired. I stammered for an answer. But, right on cue, Tyler emerged from the hallway, wearing sunglasses. I couldn’t believe how dumb he was. I knew enough that sunglasses hiding bloodshot eyes was the oldest trick in the book.

Rachel giggled. “Sunglasses? Inside? That’s strange.” She said, giving Tyler a hug.

“I just found these bad boys… I had been looking for them forever…” He then removed the sunglasses… and his eyes were pretty damn clear.  Tyler was a masterful liar as this moment proved. He was convincing, Boy, did he ever dodge a bullet.

I was very angry with Tyler after that. I argued that he needed to tell someone, that he needed help… but it all went on deaf ears. Combined with my insecurity and my social anxiety, I began to crumble. I had relied on Tyler as my support for years by this point… and he was unable to fill that role. He was always high or drunk. And, I soon learned he had ventured into acid and other drugs.

By this time, I was an emotional wreck. My friend was no longer the guy I had first met and I was in a deep depression. Our friendship was very unhealthy at this point. Tyler would say things to me that scared me. He would say, “Who else are you going to hang out with?” and “I won’t be your friend if you tell anyone.” These sorts of comments increased.

I remember one particular night where he said the most chilling thing. I had texted him late in the morning and asked to see him. He had been my ‘therapist’ since the beginning and I was sick enough to still call upon him in his drug use. This night, he actually came. We met outside the dorm and sat on the bench.

I remember it was cold and I could see his breath. I’m sure he was high, but I’ll go ahead and say I think this was the most lucid I had seen him in months. He calmed me down like he had in the past and I was relaxed. He then said he had to go. I can now say I saw him wanting to leave as abandonment. I didn’t want him to leave. I wanted to hang out with him. So, I confronted him, saying he never called anymore. He never responded to texts. He never did this, that– He was not the old Tyler.

We were two sick people. I was a doormat and he was a manipulator. After I called him out, he began a monologue of hatred.

“You do realize I just came and talked to you… I just sat here and listened to you bitch and moan like you always do….”

In this moment, Tyler’s opinion of me mattered. So, as he went on, my emotions got worse and worse.

“You don’t do anything for yourself. You just drain me all the time… “

His words then took a more devilish turn:

“You need to know, I’m the only reason you have friends. People get so annoyed with you. But I stick up for you. I tell them you’re a good guy. I was the one that pulled you into the group. No one wanted you there. But I was the leader so they all did what I wanted.”

And then, he ended his tirade with the most evil, vile thing he could have said:

“You know I could make you commit suicide if I wanted too, right?”

Our friendship was still “in tact” a little after that. But, he never returned calls or texts. I would talk with Rachel and other people he knew. But no one could make him talk to me or resolve the problem. I went back and forth of trying to rationalize his behavior to wanting him to feel a lot of pain.

One night, after months of nothing, He answered his phone. I was so happy he answered but realized he was in no shape to talk. He was “shitfaced” meaning he was drunk and very high. He slurred his words, had long silences and eventually hung up on me.

I was pissed. Anger overtook me. I wanted his world to crash down and I was on a mission: I texted his younger brother. I was very dramatic in my text: You have to know, your brother Tyler has a secret. He’s been doing drugs for awhile. I think he needs help.

I never got a response.

A few weeks later, Tyler called me up. I thought, “Oh shit… I’m in trouble…” But, he wanted to hang out. He sounded sober. We went for a drive and grabbed some fast food. We had a nice talk and all seemed fine. He opened up that his life was chaotic right now and he apologized for “all the shit” that happened in the course of his use.

I thought about telling him I had texted his brother. But, it had been weeks and I figured his brother had shrugged it off…

Well, that was the last time I saw Tyler.

Obviously, his brother eventually talked with him. One day I called Tyler and I heard a message saying I had been blocked from calling the number.

For two years, I struggled with guilt and attempted to get a hold of Tyler. I wanted to talk with him, explain that I acted out of anger… I was sad for a very, very long time.

He made good on his threat. “You tell anyone I’m doing drugs, I won’t ever talk to you again.”

Looking at the situation now, Tyler was extremely abusive emotionally and he was manipulative. He knew not talking to me would drive me insane and it did cripple me for a long while.

As I think about him now, he is not a bad person. He is just very sick. His anger, his sadness— led him down a certain path of no return.

I can not claim my life is in perfect shape. But, I can say that I am taking steps to better myself and to live. I have bad days, still. But, I am no longer in a constant state of sadness.

While I haven’t heard from him myself, I sometimes hear through the grapevine about how he’s doing. I know his pain has increased and he does not know what to do with his life. And I also know that a majority of the people we both knew no longer talk to him.

Tyler took so much pride in being the most popular person in the room. As I think of what he told me that one night, how HE was the reason I had friends— and knowing he no longer processes the social power he once did— I smile.

I smile because my greatest fear was being alone. And after it all, I’ve maintained friendships with the people he proclaimed only spoke to me because it was his wish.

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Fighting Tyler Durden (Meeting Tyler #4)

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The wrestling mat was in the backyard. Large lights had been placed on two opposite sides. The fights had apparently started. Tyler wandered near the front of the ‘arena’, while I stayed near the back.

Now, to be honest, it was not meant for anyone to get injured during the fights. However, it still was pretty brutal: punching was allowed except in the face and you couldn’t hit anyone in the balls. Unlike the “Fight Club” Rules, you could wear a shirt if you wanted. Most of the men did, as I recall.

The fight taking place was between our tallest built member and a shorter, yet very quick member. The tall fellow was my next closest friend in the group, and I was surprised he was participating. Yet, I did notice he wasn’t overly tough in his punching, but he did still win the fight.

And now, it was my turn.

I got onto the mat and I was shaking. This was out of my comfort zone by a million times. I watched as Tyler put on open fingered gloves and took off his black sweatshirt he always wore. As I said in my first entry, Tyler was not a psychically imposing man. He was average height and was on the thinner side. But, he was strong. He wasn’t the strongest man in the group, but his strength was certainly above mine. I knew he could punch well and I knew he was quick. I had no training in any athletic capacity and this was obviously a mismatched fight.

“Um, how do we know who wins?” I asked Tyler.

He laughed. “You’ll know.”

Someone shouted the fight had started and Tyler was coming at me fast.

I put my fists up like I knew what I was doing. Tyler came at my left side and punched me hard. It didn’t hurt exactly, but it caused me to lurch backward.

 POW! He hit me in the stomach that time. That one hurt. I managed to pull myself forward and braced my fist toward his right shoulder. I missed. BAM! His fist rammed in my chest. He had used full force this time and I was winded.

Non of the men were cheering. But, the women were. My name was being shouted, as were things like, “You can do it!” “Hit him hard!” “Take him down!” And, my favorite, “We love you!”

Tyler did not like me getting all the support so he hit me as hard as he could in the stomach. This knocked me down. I didn’t move what felt like forever, hoping the fight would end. But then, a man shouted, “Come on, get back up! You got this!”

I got to my feet and stared Tyler in the face. “That hurt,” I told him. He smirked at me. A sort of devilish smirk. A smirk I would see later in our friendship as well.

After sort of jumping in place, Tyler began coming toward me again. I could tell he was coming for my shoulder… I realized there was only one way I would win this thing…

BLAMMO! I punched at his jawline as hard as I could. Tyler was shocked and fell down. The men let out a gasp. But, the women let out a cheer. I couldn’t help but smile. But when I saw a bruise forming down his lip, I knew I was in trouble.

“You hit me. In. The. Face.” Tyler exclaimed, glaring at me from down on the floor. And then, like a snake in grass, he crawled very fast toward my leg and pulled me down. He rolled me onto my back and got on top of me and was ready to kill me. He began to punch me on the sides— he still had enough willpower to not aim for the face. This only lasted a couple of seconds before he was pulled off by some of the men. But, the damage was done. My left side was sore. And as I write this, a phantom pain has overcome me.

It goes without saying, Tyler was extremely upset with me the rest of the night— and didn’t talk to me for a few weeks afterward.

Next time, the series will come to an end as I reveal what the straw was that broke the camel’s back — and how this unhealthy friendship came to an end.

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