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2020.12.03 11:33 niplav 2341bd13cdcb8f8974bdafe5d4fed391d4afac17267fbf60fae901b8fb4b11db – Preregistered “Abstinence from Masturbation and Success from Cold Approach”

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author: niplav, created: 2019-08-03, modified: 2020-12-03, language: english, status: in progress, importance: 2, confidence: unlikely
Members of the NoFap movement often claim that abstinence from masturbation increases male attractiveness. Experimental evidence is collected and shows that _.

Abstinence from Masturbation and Success from Cold Approach

interesting things happen along borders–transitions–not in the middle where everything is the same
Neal Stephenson, “Snow Crash”, 1992

Abstract

Members of the NoFap community frequently claim that male physical attractiveness is causally influenced by the frequency and duration since the last occurence of masturbation.
I present a method to test this claim (albeit imperfectly) by approaching 200 people in the street after 90 days of abstinence from masturbation and asking them for a date, and 200 again after a week of daily masturbation. The results are analyzed using a two-sample Student's t-test and various descriptive statistical methods and find that _.

Examples for the Claim

To prevent the accusation of straw-manning the views of the NoFap community, I hereby present comments that broadly make the claim that "male abstinence from masturbation results in higher attractiveness, even with fixed behavior."
The comments below were found by searching the /NoFap subreddit on reddit (one of the biggest NoFap communities on the internet) for the keywords "attractiveness" and "attractive" and collecting comments and posts from NoFap members that claim the practice had a positive influence on their attractiveness. Because the comments were hand-picked (with regard to the number upvotes), I tried including critical views or negative reports when they arose in the comment threads to present an even-handed picture of the views of the community.
Of course, a survey would have been more informative.
Yesterday i was at a party and im currently on 12 days nofap. Normally this really never happens but a girl wanted to Kiss me. I think it was because of nofap.
marijn420_gotu, “Nofap really makes you more attractive” on /NoFap (27 upvotes), 2019
Another user recounts a similar story:
I’m minding my own business in the laundromat, keeping to myself, this girl walks up to me and asks me if I can drop her off to her house, that she lives 2 minutes away. I look at her and ask her what made her come up to a complete stranger and ask such a thing, she says she doesn’t know, we have a little laugh. I drop her off, help her unload her laundry, and as I’m almost driving off she asks me if I need to head back, which I did, my laundry had 10 minutes left in the wash. I realized as I driving away that this stranger was literally inviting me in her house to get smashed, but I was genuinely trying to her [sic], I had no ulterior motives, and I wasn’t even that attracted to her. They literally smell it on you. I’m also 119 days hard mode. This shit is crazy.
TheMasterKey20, “They smell it on you.” /NoFap (237 upvotes), 2019
Note that the poster does not mention any specific action on his side.
A commenter suspects: "Must be able to smell the pheromones." (23 upvotes). Another user makes a similar claim.
There are also strong claims on a direct relation between masturbation and attractiveness:
I was on a 10 day streak before I took a week off from work. When returning people were saying "I look tired" (I Fapped 5 times in the 2 days before returning to work). And the chick that I work with that is normally all walkative and flirty with me was not so much and seemed to act like I wasn't even there LOL. […] On a 20 day streak one time I had one after another woman looking at me. I recall one was a receptionist at an office building and when I went in and walked up to her coworker she was just gazing at me almost that bite your lip look, and honestly looked like she was getting wet. […] It's almost comical how woman treat me when on a streak, and when off one. It's night and day different. […] off a streak or over ejaculation several times in a day, it seems woman look past me and don't ever look at me. I know it has something to do with the pheromones you emit when not spilling your seed needlessly all the time […].
cee9, “Fapping ruins your attractiveness.” (95 upvotes), 2015
Note that all typos and grammatical mistakes could be affixed with "[sic]" (the comment was copy-pasted).
This user claims there is a noticeable difference between the behavior of women in regard to abstinence from masturbation, and attributes this difference to "pheromones".
Another user claims this "difference in how people (both men and women) respond" is visible in both genders.
Another commenter agrees, but a response is critical:
I lost my nearly 28 day streak last night. Didn't notice a difference apart from thinking more aggressive at times and thinking average women were hot\wanting to bang them. Nobody ever approached me or started convos. Will try longer this time.
enrodude, comment on “Fapping ruins your attractiveness.” on /NoFap (6 upvotes), 2015
Other users try to condone him.
Since the claims are quite repetitve, I will now just list them and write down important key words from the claim (especially the time it takes for the effect to take place, the effect itself and the given explanation).
Sorry to all the doubters or people that it hasn't worked for. But this is my fourth time getting to 40+ days. And EVERY DAMN TIME I get to this point girls start hitting on me. Some people say it's placebo. But to that I say (even if that is the case) well then it still works. Whether it's psychological or physiological is irrelevant.
topdizzel, “I'm sorry, but no fap just fucking works” on /NoFap (606 upvotes), 2018
Effect takes place after 40 days, women started hitting on him, reason: possibly placebo.
A commenter agrees:
I will vouch for this. I'm on 84 days (nearly 90!) And I keep getting hit on.
a_jedi_in_bed, comment on “I'm sorry, but no fap just fucking works” on /NoFap (123 upvotes), 2018
Effect takes place after at least 84 days, women start hitting on him.
Haha I'd wish that'd happen to me. I've never been able to attract women, but that's just how it is. […]
meditate03, comment on “I'm sorry, but no fap just fucking works” on /NoFap (126 upvotes), 2018
This commenter disagrees.
I like to say they can 'smell the no fap' when really you're just being your true self, they can see you carry yourself in high regard and that shit is like crack for them.
NZbakedbanana, comment on “I'm sorry, but no fap just fucking works” on /NoFap (126 upvotes), 2018
This commenter attributes the higher attractiveness to higher self-confidence.
All men are trying to find ways to make themselves more attractive to the females around them. It’s a constant battle to outmaneuver the other guys around you. Luckily, most guys don’t know how NoFap can cause extreme levels of attraction. Here’s how this works; while you were doing PMO, you were masking your inner beauty. You were hiding your personality from all the girls around you. Once you stop doing PMO, talking and bonding with other people becomes much easier. Your outer look is only a reflection of your inner thoughts. Girls have a sixth-sense about knowing how powerful a guy is. Power is the thing that attracts girls the most. The more in control you are, the more girls are going to be able to sense this. […] To sum up – NoFap is going to make you more attractive to the opposite sex […]
debasish_patro0007, “Can NoFap Really Make You More Attractive?” on /NoFap (107 upvotes), 2019
It seems like this redditor claims that micro-expressions are the cause of higher attractiveness, though the "sixth sense" could refer to more "spiritual" way of transmitting information.
A commenter specifically refers to micro-expressions:
It doesn't make you "more attractive" in the physical sense, although it might support that as a side effect but not directly.[…] Here's the rundown on how it "makes men more attractive"; You constantly transmit micro expressions. You are a walking transmitter whether you like it or not. Women, they have a sharper decoder that men have, and they are much better, subconsciously, decoding the codes you transmit.[…] Fapping, essentially, other than a huge surge of dopamine that makes you lazy and self destructive, is also a simulator for the mind that you are getting laid. […] As long as you see naked women, hear them do the thing, and have your peepee touched, your mind perceives it as sex. […] So, when your mind is extremely satisfied (sex every day would be a fucking luxury for a caveman), your mind stops "supporting" your sexuality and the need to attract females. Your thoughts and desires become mundane, you stop focusing on yourself, you care less about your physique and looks, and you tend to communicate with females with a much softer sexual aggression […]. […] when you are in a long Nofap period, your mind is being rewired to suddenly care about your reproduction and gene survival, so your communication becomes more aggressive, therefore attractive. […] your body language improves.[…] This works with nofap too. When you're deprived of sex, your mind will help you make yourself attractive and will push you to desire sex.
NorsemanLewis, comment on “Can NoFap Really Make You More Attractive?” on /NoFap (145 upvotes), 2019
They also talk about increased amounts of flirting in conversations, higher sexual aggressiveness and higher motivation to find a partner, which should at least partially be testable during cold approach.
They don't seem to consider the possibility that masturbation is not a feature of modern civilisation, but rather a biological instinct. Widespread pornography, on the other hand, is a feature of modern civilisation.
Another commenter refers to this baseless speculation as "science":
A healthy dose of actual science on here. This post should be stickied IMO. Everyone on here would benefit so much if they understood the underlying mechanics of our natural biology and neuro chemistry. The NoFap movement would never have kicked off like it did if there wasn't actual science to back it up.
cheezeebreed, comment on “Can NoFap Really Make You More Attractive?” on /NoFap (4 upvotes), 2019
A commenter claiming to be a scientist says:
Well essentially due to the addiction. It causes lowered sensitivity to neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin this causes lowered motivation, dry skin, depression and anxiety. As a result of quitting porn ones sensitivity to neurotransmitters return and their neuropathways start functioning correctly (hence no brain fog)
ReAp_QS_Killzz, comment on “Can NoFap Really Make You More Attractive?” on /NoFap (19 upvotes), 2019
If this is true, then abstinence from masturbation should lead to increased mental health, but except "clearer skin" there is no obvious way in which this would increase attractiveness.
Another commenter claims that his "face has this droopy tired look" during periods of masturbation.
Increased sexual interest from others. Many rebooters claim they notice more signals of sexual attraction directed at them: more looks, more smiles, more flirting. Many believe this to be a side-effect of feeling more confident, while others theorize that rebooters simply notice more signals than they did when they were obsessed with porn.
NoFap.com, “Rebooting from Porn Addiction”, 2017

The Broad Picture

A broad picture emerges: NoFap claims that long-term abstinence from masturbation has noticeable effects on male attractiveness for women, this effect emerges at around 40 days or more (and doesn't diminish with the time since the last masturbation increasing further), it also has an effect on other men, though this is not really elaborated further. The effects are noticeable.
The reasons given for this increase in attractiveness are as follows:
Two of these reasons are independent from the attitude of a person towards NoFap (pheromones and microexpressions), while the others are dependent on being a NoFap enthusiast.
Given these claims, it should be possible to at least somewhat check the claims made by members of the NoFap community.
![Nice Hypothesis](img/masturbation_and_attractiveness/sagan_test_meme.png "(Zooming into face of Carl Sagan, looking smug) “Nice Hypothesis you have there. Would be a shame if someone were to test it”")
(Taken from Scott Alexander (2013))

Method

Relevant information about me: I am a male living in a european country, my age being in the early twenties. I seem to fall into the same demographic as most members of the NoFap community.
To test the claims by the NoFap community, I performed a small self-experiment.
Data was collected as follows:
I abstained from masturbating and watching pornography from 2020-11-13T23:00 to _, resulting in >90 days of abstinence from masturbation (which is also the period recommended by the NoFap community: "NoFap’s gold standard of success is our 90-day reboot.").
From _ to _, I went on the streets of a major european city and approached 100 people I read as men and 100 people I read as women alternatingly with the words
Hi, I know this is really spontaneous, but I just saw you and thought you looked really nice. What is your name?
The other person answered with their name, and I replied with
Nice to meet you, . To make a long story short, I'd like to take you out on a date sometime. When are you free?
In case of them agreeing to go on a date, a time and place were agreed upon, and I came to the date to check whether they had showed up.
The people who were approached were chosen by their attractiveness to the author.
In the week following the last approach, I masturbated once every day with the aid of pornography. Afterwards, I repeated the procedure of approaching 100 men and 100 women with the same words from _ to _.
Data that was logged included date and time of day (in ISO-8601), whether the approach was after abstinence from masturbation or after the one-week period of masturbation (1 for the part after abstinence, and 0 for the part after masturbation), perceived gender of the person approached ("m", "f" or "o"), and how far the interaction went:
Results were logged in a CSV.

Results Analysis

The raw data is available [here](./data/masturbation_attractiveness.csv).

Visualizing the Results

Cold approach is a conversion funnel: there are a number of different stages an approachee goes through, and each one can fail. This way, one can visualize how far the interaction went by making a bar graph of the people dropping out at a certain stage (ignoring the approach, stopping but not giving a name, giving a name but not agreeing to come on a date, agreeing to come on a date but flaking, and showing up to a date). Showing up to the date was considered a condition of success, but one could imagine further steps like having sex, getting into a relationship with the person, getting married with the person and having children with the person, though these were deemed excessive and out of the scope of a simple self-experiment.
The bargraph below shows how many people were lost at which stage of the funnel, ignoring gender. The white bars show the numbers during a period of abstinence from masturbation, after 90 days of abstinence, the black bars show the numbers after a period of weekly masturbation.
Code:
.l("nplot") .l("./load.kg") cgrid(["ignored" "stopped" "name" "rejection" "flake" "date"];[0 200 10]) text(20;400;"white: during abstinence, before masturbation, black: after masturbation") fillrgb(0;0;0) {bar(2*x;[email protected];12)}'!6 fillrgb(1;1;1) {bar(1+2*x;[email protected];12)}'!6 draw() 
![Gender non-specific loss in different stages of the funnel](./img/masturbation_and_attractiveness/dur_after_bar.png "Gender non-specific loss in different stages of the funnel.")
Gender non-specific loss in different stages of cold approach
Very similar diagrams can be made for male and female data points:
Male:
.l("nplot") .l("./load.kg") cgrid(["ignored" "stopped" "name" "rejection" "flake" "date"];[0 100 10]) text(10;400;"light blue: during abstinence, before masturbation, dark blue: after masturbation") fillrgb(0.4;0.4;1) {bar(2*x;[email protected];12)}'!6 fillrgb(0;0;0.6) {bar(1+2*x;[email protected];12)}'!6 draw() 
![Male loss in different stages of the funnel](./img/masturbation_and_attractiveness/dur_after_m_bar.png "Male loss in different stages of the funnel.")
Male loss in different stages of cold approach
Female:
.l("nplot") .l("./load.kg") cgrid(["ignored" "stopped" "name" "rejection" "flake" "date"];[0 100 10]) text(20;400;"light red: during abstinence, before masturbation, dark red: after masturbation") fillrgb(1;0.4;0.4) {bar(2*x;[email protected];12)}'!6 fillrgb(0.6;0;0) {bar(1+2*x;[email protected];12)}'!6 draw() 
![Female loss in different stages of the funnel](./img/masturbation_and_attractiveness/dur_after_f_bar.png "Female loss in different stages of the funnel.")
Female loss in different stages of cold approach
Another possible method could be to visualize cumulative survival rates for the different stages by percentage by showing a Kaplan-Meier plot. The overall graph for this would look like this:
.l("nplot") .l("./load.kg") cgrid(["ignored" "stopped" "name" "rejection" "flake" "date"];[0 1 0.1]) text(27;200;"light gray: during abstinence, before masturbation, black: after masturbation") setwidth(4) setrgb(0;0;0) plot({[email protected](_x)-1}) setrgb(0.8;0.8;0.8) plot({[email protected](_x)-1}) draw() 
![Survival percentages for different stages, overall](./img/masturbation_and_attractiveness/survival.png "Survival percentages for different stages, overall")
Survival percentages for different stages, overall
.l("nplot") .l("./load.kg") cgrid(["ignored" "stopped" "name" "rejection" "flake" "date"];[0 1 0.1]) text(10;200;"light blue: during abstinence, before masturbation, dark blue: after masturbation") setwidth(4) setrgb(0.4;0.4;1) plot({[email protected](_x)-1}) setrgb(0;0;0.6) plot({[email protected](_x)-1}) draw() 
![Survival percentages for different stages, men](./img/masturbation_and_attractiveness/survival_m.png "Survival percentages for different stages, men")
Survival percentages for different stages, men
.l("nplot") .l("./load.kg") cgrid(["ignored" "stopped" "name" "rejection" "flake" "date"];[0 1 0.1]) text(27;200;"light red: during abstinence, before masturbation, dark red: after masturbation") setwidth(4) setrgb(1;0.4;0.4) plot({[email protected](_x)-1}) setrgb(0.6;0;0) plot({[email protected](_x)-1}) draw() 
![Survival percentages for different stages, women](./img/masturbation_and_attractiveness/survival_f.png "Survival percentages for different stages, women")
Survival percentages for different stages, women

Descriptive Results

Before testing the hypotheses, one can compare the results using very simple descriptive methods. For this purpose, I used the mean and the standard deviation to compare the different parts of the dataset.
Here the table for the different mean values and their variances in parentheses (the botttom right cell contains the overall mean value):
during after
f μ_duringf (var) μ_afterf (var) μ_f (var)
m μ_duringm (var) μ_afterm (var) μ_m (var)
μ_during (var) μ_after (var) μ (var)

As one can see, _.
The code for calculating these can be found [here](./code/masturbation_and_attractiveness/load.kg).

Testing the Hypothesis

The NoFap community claims that abstinence from masturbation increases male physical attractiveness for women. This means that cold approach should be more successful after a long period of abstinence from masturbation than after a period of sustained masturbation. This assumption generates three hypotheses:
  1. H₀: $\mu_{during} \le \mu_{after}$
  2. H₁: $\mu_{during} = \mu_{after}$
  3. H₂: $\mu_{during} \ge \mu_{after}$
The result implied by the views of the NoFap community would be that H₀ would definitely be rejected, and that it would be very likely that H₁ would also be rejected.
Note that these hypothesis are not exclusive, and can all be accepted at the same time. It is merely the case that if a hypothesis gets rejected, the probability that it got rejected although it is true is lower than a given percentage (usually and also in this case 5%).
I used a two-sample Student's t-test to test the hypotheses, under the assumption that the distribution of results from cold approach was roughly normally distributed and that the variance of the two sample sets was also roughly equal. As one can see from the figures, this assumption of normal distribution _.
To calculate Student's t-test, let $\{X_{1}, \cdots, X_{m}\}=X_{i}\sim{\cal{N}}(\mu_{X}, \sigma_{X})$ be the first sample, and $\{Y_{1}, \cdots, Y_{n}\}=Y_{i}\sim{\cal{N}}(\mu_{Y}, \sigma_{Y})$ the second sample.
Let then $T$ be
$$T:=\sqrt{\frac{n+m-2}{\frac{1}{m}+\frac{1}{n}}}\frac{\overline{X}-\overline{Y}}{\sqrt{(m-1)S{X}{2}+(n-1)*S{Y}{2}}}$$

where $\overline{X}$ and $\overline{Y}$ are the sample mean of the two sample sets, and $S_{X}^{2}$ and $S_{Y}^{2}$ are the sample variances of the two sample sets.
Different hypotheses are then tested by comparing $T$ to the quantile function of Student's t-distribution. In this case, our sample sizes are bigger than 30, and so the quantile function of Student's t-distribution can be approximated using the quantile function of the normal distribution.
The two-sided Student's t-test can thus be implemented (the full code for different hypothesis testing can be found [here](./code/masturbation_and_attractiveness/hypo.kg):
.l("nstat") .l("math") tstt::{t::sqr(((#y)+(#x)-2)%(%#x)+%#y)*(mu(x)-mu(y))%sqr((((#x)-1)*svar(x))+((#y)-1)*svar(y)); :[t>qf(1-z);.p("μ_X≤μ_Y rejected (p≤",($z),")");.p("μ_X≤μ_Y accepted (p≤",($z),")")]; :[(#t)>qf(1-z%2);.p("μ_X=μ_Y rejected (p≤",($z),")");.p("μ_X=μ_Y accepted (p≤",($z),")")]; :[t
The argument x is the first sample set, y is the second sample set, and z is the p-value. The function tests all three hypotheses and prints the result.
One can now simply execute the test:
 tstt(duringf;afterf;0.05) μ_X≤μ_Y _ (p≤0.05) μ_X=μ_Y _ (p≤0.05) μ_X≥μ_Y _ (p≤0.05) 
As one can see, _.

Problems

No Objective Decision Process for Approaching

One possible criticism of the above experiment could be that no clear method of establishing of whom to approach was used. This is a fair criticism, since attractiveness is a subjective evaluation criterion. However, one must also consider that subjective judgements of attractiveness correlate strongly both within cultures as well as cross-culturally (see [Coetzee et al. 2013](./doc/masturbation_and_attractiveness/cross_cultural_agreement_in_facial_attractiveness_preferences_coetzee_2014.pdf "Cross-Cultural Agreement in Facial Attractiveness Preferences: The Role of Ethnicity and Gender")).
Another possible method would have been to approach people completely randomly, which would have reduced bias significantly. However, it would also have made the result less useful, since it seems like people who practice NoFap care about their attractiveness to a very certain demographic (namely, conventionally attractive women from their late teens to early thirties). On the other hand, it might have been interesting to observe how older people would react to cold approach.
Yet another method could be to put the decision of approaching to second person who doesn't know about the duration since the last masturbation. This person and the person approaching would meet twice, at least 90 days apart, and the decider would choose who would be approached by the experimenter. For me, this didn't work, since proposing this to any acquantainces would have been not socially acceptable.

Perception of Attractiveness may vary In Regards to Masturbation Behavior

Another possible bias in choosing whom to approach could be that abstinence from masturbation changes the perception of attractiveness. In fact, many members of the NoFap community claim that women who are of average attractiveness for men who masturbate become more attractive for men who abstain from masturbation. This could lead to the average attractiveness of the women I approached during the period of abstinence being lower than the attractiveness of the women after masturbation. If the attractiveness of the approached person has an effect on their response to cold approach, this could introduce a bias (although it isn't clear in which way that bias would go).

N=1 on the Approachers Side

Since I was the only person to do the approaching, the data is highly specific to me. It could be that I have an unusualy judgment of attractiveness, or that my body doesn't respond to abstinence from masturbation as the bodies of other men. All fair and well, this reduces the strength of the findings of this text to a personal observation, though indicating the direction of a trend.
It would have been better, of course, if there were more people approaching in this experiment. Since the topic is too weird to share among friends & none of them would be interested in the answer / willing to give up masturbation or sex for a little self-experiment, I was alone with my endeavour. However, I encourage others to attempt replication – the code is available for all, and I could also analyze data if it was sent to me.

Typical WEIRDness

WEIRD usually refers to "Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic" – the demographic of the average study performed with college students. In the context of this experiment, all five of these factors apply to the experimenter (myself), but it is much less clear how many of these characteristics can be found in the people approached. Due to homophily, it seems likey that they will be strong, but a priori, only western and industrialized necessarily apply – the experiment was performed in western europe.

Gender was Determined by Perception

I didn't ask the respondents for their gender because sometimes that might have been impossible to do (in the case of being ignored) or might have corrupted the data (people being aware of it being an experiment). Because of this, I had to determine the gender of the respondent by subjective judgement, which might become a problem. By using the code in a section of [this piece](./estimated_life_expectancy.html#Gender-was-Determined-by-Appearance), I arrive at a probability of ~21% of encountering at least one trans person & misgendering them (N=400).

Different Settings, Clothing & Weather

A possible objection could be that the clothes I wore might have been different in the approaching periods during & after the abstinence from masturbation. To counter such effects, I wore the same clothes in the two approaching periods (washing them in between, of course). If I had changed my clothes from one day to the other, I tried changing my clothes the same way in the second approaching period (for a similar number of approaches).
Influences from weather were harder to control. During the first approaching session the weather was _. During the second approaching session the weather was _.

Strawman of the Views of the NoFap Community

Some people might claim that the view "masturbation increases physical attractiveness" is a straw-man of the views of the larger NoFap community. I believe that I have provided ample evidence in the section “Examples for the Claim” that the NoFap community contains at least a very vocal subset of people who have this view who are not actively opposed by the rest of the community.

No Differentiation Between Pornography & Masturbation

The NoFap community is not entirely clear on whether the negative effects it claims arise from pornography consumption or masturbation in itself. The two ideas seem to be considered as basically the same thing most of the time, although it doesn't seem necessary (one could watch pornography without masturbating, or masturbate without pornography (using ones imagination instead)). It might be useful to have different experiments that examine whether abstinence from pornography specifically influence attractiveness, or only abstinence from masturbation, but with pornography. While it would certainly interesting to perform these experiments, I didn't do them for several reasons:
  • I didn't have the necessary statistical knowledge to perform an analysis of the data that wouldn't look like p-hacking
  • It would have taken at least three ninety-day periods with subsequent approaching sessions to test these hypotheses: Ninety days of abstinence from both masturbation & pornography, then approaches, then 90 days abstinence from pornography, but not masturbation, then approaches, then 90 days abstinence from masturbation, but not pornography, then approaches, then masturbation & pornography for 7 days, then approaches.
  • The marginal value of the validity of these hypotheses would have been very low, since I assigned a very low credence to the validity of the central claim altogether.

Conclusion

This experiment shows that _. So we can conclude that _.

Appendix A: Preregistration

Preregistration

To avoid p-hacking and other practices, the bulk of this text was written before the actual experiment and data analysis was conducted, and posted on the subreddit /niplav, with the SHA256 hashsum of the text as the title. The SHA256 sum of the content was put into the title to prevent tampering with the content of the article, because reddit titles can't be changed by users of reddit.
The raw markdown, pre-registered version of this article can be found here. Two appendices and all comments were removed from the markdown to reduce the character count, which allowed the markdown itself to be posted on reddit.
Its hashsum was computed as such:
$ sha256sum masturbation_and_attractiveness_preregistered.md 
The pre-registered hypothesis shall thus be: Let $\mu_{during}$ be the expected value of cold approach with women during a long period of abstinence from masturbation as described in the section Method, and $\mu_{after}$ be the expected value of cold approach with women after a week of regular masturbation. Then there are three different hypotheses:
  1. H₀: $\mu_{during} \le \mu_{after}$
  2. H₁: $\mu_{during} = \mu_{after}$
  3. H₂: $\mu_{during} \ge \mu_{after}$
There seem to be different possible strengths of convictions on this issue:
  • I define the Strong NoFap Stance as predicting that H₀ and H₁ will be rejected, and only H₂ will be accepted.
  • I define the Weak NoFap Stance as predicting that H₀ will be rejected, and H₁ and H₂ will be accepted.
  • I define the Neutral Stance as predicting that all 3 hypotheses will be accepted.
As a pre-registration, I subjectively assign a probability of 60% to the Neutral Stance being correct, a probability of 17% to the Weak NoFap Stance being correct, a 8% probability to the Strong NoFap Stance, and 15% to any other result.

Reasoning

If it were true that abstinence from masturbation increased attractiveness to the opposite sex, evolutionary pressure would have selected men who abstain from masturbating, since they generate a higher number of offspring. This would be true regardless of the specific way in which abstinence from masturbation increases fitness, be it pheromones, microexpressions or any other reason. Indeed, one could suppose that masturbation is reproductively beneficial, since it has apparently been selected for by natural and/or sexual selection. "Major mechanisms that do not contribute to fitness do not survive in evolutionary equilibrium." ([Ng 1995](./doc/better_words/towards_welfare_biology_evolutionary_economics_of_animal_consciousness_and_suffering_ng_1995.pdf "Towards Welfare Biology: Evolutionary Economics of Animal Consciousness and Suffering") p. 9).
This reasoning is imperfect, because it may very well be that masturbation is an adaption that was useful in environments with low numbers of people, but is not very adaptive in industrialized, anonymous and big societies where not reproduction, but sex is the most important consideration. For example, it could be true that masturbation keeps the sperm count high, but has negative side-effects on attractiveness (such as dry skin).
submitted by niplav to niplav [link] [comments]


2020.12.02 18:00 IndieheadsAOTY Album of the Year 2020: Car Seat Headrest - Making a Door Less Open

Album of the Year 2020: Car Seat Headrest - Making a Door Less Open
Hello everyone and welcome to Day 2 of the indieheads Album of the Year 2020 Write-Up Series where the users of indieheads go in-depth on their favorite albums of the year throughout the duration of December. Up today, series founder u/ReconEG talks Car Seat Headrest’s polarizing Making A Door Less Open.
May 1st, 2020 - Matador
Listen:
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Background
The time period between Car Seat Headrest’s Matador debut, Teens of Style, in 2015 and the 2018 remake of Twin Fantasy was a massive, massive breakthrough period for the band. Starting off as a solo project of sorts by founder Will Toledo, the band had expanded its lineup to seven members for the Twin Fantasy tour, taking songs Toledo recorded initially in his car and filling them out to play in bigger and bigger venues, peaking around February 2019 when the band opened for Interpol at Madison Square Garden.
Behind the scenes though, Toledo was year 3 into writing the follow-up to Teens of Denial and Twin Fantasy, sporadically entering the studio between one elongated tour after another to work these ideas out with his core lineup of drummer Andrew Katz, guitarist Ethan Ives, and bassist Seth Dalby, which was solidified in 2016 after the recording of Teens of Denial. While the band was praised for its resemblance to indie royalty acts of the 90s and early 2000s, they were all getting kind of sick of making music in that vein, all clearly pushing for something different.
It was Katz especially that Toledo confided in as a collaborator, as seeing him work on his 1 Trait Danger project opened up new songwriting possibilities, taking these songs he was writing and making them work around Katz expertise in EDM mixing. While early versions of the songs and ideas that would make their way into this follow-up album were more indebted to early new-wave than anything else, things would drastically shift by mid to late 2019 when they entered the studio proper to record this album, as at this point Toledo began to devise the album as a collaboration with 1 Trait Danger, with Toledo writing the songs as the gas-mask-wearing character Trait.
The sessions concluded in October, but Toledo and the band kept tweaking and working on the album, even after turning the album into Matador twice for vinyl and CD pressings, as the album was only officially completed weeks before it came out on DSPs. By the time the album’s second single, “Martin”, came out, the band was forced to delay (and eventually cancel) their tour for MADLO, where Toledo would have performed as Trait, wearing a custom-made gas mask (as seen in the music video and various press photos) with LED-eyes.
In the press release/album description, Toledo said the following about the mask:
Bob Dylan said, “if someone’s wearing a mask, he’s gonna tell you the truth...if he’s not wearing a mask, it’s highly unlikely.” He never actually wore a mask onstage so I don’t know why he said that. But I decided to start wearing a mask for a couple of reasons. One, I still get nervous being onstage with everybody looking at me. If everyone is looking at the mask instead, then it feels like we’re all looking at the same thing, and that is more honest to me. Two, music should be about enjoying yourself, especially live music, and I think of this costume as a way to remind myself and everyone else to have some fun with it. I don’t think it changes anything else about the songs or how you feel about them to be able to drop it for a second and have fun with it. If you can’t do that then you’re in a bad place…
Making A Door Less Open was released on May 1st, 2020 via Matador, and the band’s activities since its release have been limited, with Toledo playing a couple of acoustic live streams on his Twitch channel, the band performing “Can’t Cool Me Down” on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and the upcoming release of Katz’s second video game, Lombardi's World (For the sake of transparency, I got to play the game early in a press session a few weeks ago), the objective of which is to kill Matador Records founder Chris Lombardi. The game is also being published by Matador Records and Trait (voiced by Toledo) appears as a playable character.
Write-Up by ReconEG
Prologue: 2016, The Life of Pablo, and Falling Out of Love with Kanye West & In Love w/ Denial
Remember when we all weren’t sick of Kanye West? Or at the very least, remember when we could tolerate Kanye West’s bullshit? It seems like a lifetime ago, but there was a time where Kanye West made records that, even with a ton of baggage, were unfathomably great. Coming into 2016 though, I had a lot more fear about the next Kanye West album. While 2014 was mostly a quiet year for him in terms of new music, 2015 saw Kanye spending a year ramping up to something. What that was was hard to guess. Whether he was showing his soft side on “Only One,” attempting to pivot back to pop on “FourFiveSeconds” or trying to make an arena banger in “All Day”, almost nothing he released this year landed for me. The fact that my favorite Kanye song in 2015 was a leaked reference track for Rihanna speaks volumes to how bad of a year this was for him.
But in 2016, the slate was cleared as Kanye began to properly set up the release of a new album. I’m sure most of you reading this have some sort of PTSD related to the release of The Life of Pablo so I won’t make you relive much of the events, but overall after going back and forth for at least a solid month or two, I realized that I was falling out of love with Kanye West. While there were still bits of genius in Pablo, it was simply disorganized, messy, and at times, straight up bad. While interesting in theory, updating the album like a video game with various patches over the next few months ended up making it worse and worse.
When artists like Frank Ocean, Angel Olsen, and Car Seat Headrest were releasing their own ambitious projects that actually felt like they were fully conceived, I didn’t really need Kanye West anymore. My decision feels more and more justified by the day.
Chapter 1: 2018, Twin Fantasy, and Bad Times at Delmar Hall
Considering we won’t get to have traditional live shows again for another year or so, it feels weird to complain about past concerts. Hell, it feels weird to complain about concerts that were overall good, but left a bad taste in your mouth by the end or just wasn’t up to snuff. While many praised the Twin Fantasy tour and the monstrous 7-man lineup Toledo put together including the members of Naked Giants, it just didn’t really land for me when I saw them in St. Louis on September 27, 2018. It doesn’t help that I wasn’t the only one as the crowd felt deflated for about half the setlist which was filled with unique re-arrangements of classic CSH tunes & obscure covers.
It seems Will Toledo could figure this out to, as towards the end of their cover of Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ “Tell Me When My Light Turns Green”, he threw down his mic and bum-rushed off the stage to the exit, causing his band to quickly wrap up the song and make their way off the stage, never to return despite calls for an encore. I chalked this up at the time to general tour fatigue as the show at Delmar Hall was their second-to-last for that leg of the tour, and as I wrote this on my blog at the time about the show:
While my first reaction to Toledo and the band skipping the encore was anger, it quickly turned into a feeling of understanding, as from many different interviews with many different bands, it was clear that Toledo was simply burnt out. When you’re on the road for up to two months at a time, away from home, friends, and family, and playing shows almost every night, burnout just becomes an inevitable, especially when you’re just a few days away from the tour being over. Toledo has suffered from tour burnout before, as in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, he cited a 2016 European tour as the low point of his past two years, saying “being on that bus with no sleep and just the same task day after day and feeling like we’re getting nowhere,” with the band’s drummer Andrew Katz confirming that sentiment in an interview I did with him on the Indieheads Podcast.
Now while I love going to shows, I have to realize I’m unknowingly supporting a cycle of emotional hardship that hundreds and hundreds of bands have to go through on a regular basis just to have a career in music. With the industry moving towards streaming being the hottest new consumption method, it leaves a lot of artists in the dust as streaming royalties across the board are ridiculously low, forcing them to travel across the world for months at a time just to make ends meet.
So, I’m not saying don’t go to shows or don’t support artists, as if you really do love them and want them to keep making music, this is the best way to do it as of now. However, to quote a line from “Drunk Drivers / Killer Whales” off of Teens of Denial: “It doesn’t have to be like this.” With the Music Modernization Act recently making its way through Congress, hopefully things will change for the better in the next couple of years, but the music industry seemingly always finds a way to screw over bands/artists no matter the size. So, if you happen to be reading this Will Toledo, I think you’re listening to too much classic rock and probably need to calm down a bit. But really though, I’m just hoping you’re doing well and enjoying your time off the road. I know it can be a rough life being a touring musician and I hope you’re fully recharged the next time you head out on the road.
Okay I’m gonna get really, really bummed if I keep thinking about the havoc COVID-19 and the U.S. government’s lack of response has wreaked upon the live music industry, so let’s just wrap this all up real quick. I was bummed about this show and it gave me great skepticism about what was next for Car Seat Headrest if this was the direction he wanted to take the band. Much like I doubted if I needed Kanye West at the end of 2016, by the beginning of 2020, I wasn’t really sure if I needed Will Toledo anymore either.
Chapter 2: WinteSpring 2020, The Singles, and Early COVID-19 Times
When Making A Door Less Open was announced towards the end of the winter in 2020, I was both excited and worried. Considering that the band had only officially released one bit of original material written by Toledo in-between Teens of Denial and now, I was excited to see what he had spent the last few years cooking up. But upon hearing the lead single, “Can’t Cool Me Down”, that bit of skepticism crept back up once again. I knew I liked the song, but there was just something… off here that I couldn’t quite place.
But soon the song and the album announcement went into the memory hole, as only a month after its release: everything went to shit. Even though singles kept on rolling out for the album throughout the rest of early spring, I couldn’t be bothered to care all that much. “Martin” came out when I was planning the Indieheads Festival so it didn’t leave much of a mark on me, and like many when “Hollywood” came out, I was appalled. So with two okay singles and one disastrous one, expectations for this new album were low. It turns out that was probably a good thing for me.
Chapter 3: Late Spring 2020, The Rollout, and What Happens When You Start Hanging Out with That Andrew Katz Boy.
So while the singles helped set some low expectations for the album, that wasn’t the full story. Compared to the other big indie record labels that are willing to experiment now and again with album rollouts and how things are timed out, Matador plays things pretty nice and traditional. Their albums are usually announced about 3-4 months in advance and 3-4 singles are spread out in that time. For most artists, this works out fine. For Making A Door Less Open? Eh!
One of the biggest head scratchers about the album’s rollout was that there were going to be three versions of the album, with the vinyl, CD, and digital versions of this album all being different. Similar to The Life of Pablo, Toledo was working right up to the deadline to finish the album and it seems some sort of compromise was made so that Toledo could finish the album past the deadline & make sure physical copies were pressed on time. I honestly chalk up this album’s mixed response from critics to be because of this mishap, as it seems like most of them received an advance of the CD or LP version, which have the following tracklists:
LP Version
  1. Weightlifters
  2. Can't Cool Me Down
  3. Hollywood
  4. There Must Be More Than Blood
  5. Hymn
  6. Deadlines
  7. Martin
  8. What's With You Lately
  9. Life Worth Missing
  10. Famous
CD Version
  1. Weightlifters
  2. Can't Cool Me Down
  3. Hollywood
  4. Martin
  5. Hymn (Remix)
  6. There Must Be More Than Blood
  7. Deadlines
  8. What's With You Lately
  9. Life Worth Missing
  10. Famous
If you love the album like me, you’ll notice a number of cringe-worthy sequencing choices here throughout both versions, like “Hollywood” being pushed up just a bit too soon, “There Must Be More Than Blood” being either the centerpiece or way too early in the album, and “Deadlines” in its original version being so far back (and also it being the original version of “Deadlines”). Similar to LCD Soundsystem’s american dream, a lot of the songs on this version of MADLO are good, but when they’re placed where they are within the album, they lose a lot of their possible impact.
I stress all of this because the thing with MADLO is that this album should have been a disaster. And this isn’t even mentioning the mask stuff which I’m not gonna say much in the review besides saying if COVID didn’t happen, it probably would be pretty cool and work really well seeing them live. What’s most important about the mask is that it allowed Toledo to escape from himself a bit after years in the spotlight, being able to write songs from a slightly different perspective.
While on tour, drummer Andrew Katz conceived the 1 Trait Danger project as a way to cure boredom and make himself and his bandmates laugh, with Toledo quickly latching onto the project as he played a much larger role on the project’s second album, 1 Trait World Tour. This role constituted creating an alternative persona for himself called “Trait”, who wears an orange hazmat suit and appears to be some kind of small bunny? Or a small dog man? Or… um? Look, it doesn’t matter what animal Trait is as the most important element here is that when Toledo and his band hit the studio to record MADLO, 1 Trait Danger’s EDM sound inspired Toledo to look past the medium sized concert halls his band was playing and onto huge crowds at the music festivals he and Katz had made fun of on World Tour.
Speaking with the New York Times earlier this year, Matador Records founder Chris Lombardi said the following about Toledo:
“Before this album was recorded, he told me he wanted to make an album that had the sonic capability of competing with some of the other new pop or hip-hop acts at the Coachellas of the world, or the Lollapaloozas of the world,” Lombardi said, so “when he was going onstage, he wasn’t being overshadowed by whoever else was playing a more futuristic type of music with a more electronic type of palette — that he would be able to compete against them and win.”
Of course, this mindset seems extremely passé now considering that there are no pop or hip-hop acts to compete with at these festivals because these festivals aren’t going to exist again for quite some time. Whatever the case though, Toledo saw something in Katz’s sound that he wanted to bring over to Car Seat Headrest. When recalling this conservation in that same Times piece, Katz said “I’m thinking to myself, ‘The label’s going to freak out. Andrew Katz is about to ruin Car Seat Headrest.’”
So, did he?
Chapter 4: Summer 2020, Making A Door Less Open, and the Eternal Question of “Why Doesn’t Everyone Have Brain Worms Like Me?”
Considering the title of this series, it’s safe to say that Katz did not ruin Car Seat Headrest. For me at least anyways. The jury’s still out overall, as you’ll probably find out reading the comments of this post. But what I learned upon my first listen or two to MADLO is that I should never doubt my loyalty to Will Toledo. I should never doubt the way this man and his music have made me feel. I shall never express doubt towards him again because he knows how to wire into my brain and express feelings I don’t know how to articulate myself.
A lot of people focus on the new bells and whistles Toledo and Katz have added onto the MADLO project, and while they’re important, Toledo has not lost his abilities as a writer here, even if he’s a little less wordy than he usually is. Maybe it’s because of his age, maybe it’s to inhabit that festival music mindset, maybe it’s something else I haven’t quite latched onto, but even with fewer turns of phrase, there’s something about Toledo’s words that grab onto me.
Take “Deadlines (Hostile)”, which hooked me pretty quickly due to its resemblance to something off of Teens of Denial. For an artist who is pretty self-aware about their awkwardness, this first version of “Deadlines” we hear on the album is the most swaggering and confident we’ve heard Toledo, as it turns out inhabiting Trait kind of makes Toledo sound cool? Or at the very least, he’s pretty damn good at making himself sound cool as his tale of forbidden attraction just fucking hits. As someone who spent much of their late teens & early 20s slowly building up their self-confidence via empty hookups and short-lived long-distance relationships, “Deadlines (Hostile)” encapsulates these conflicted feelings so perfectly as Toledo repeats “Am I, am I, am I, am I on your mind? / Is it, is it, is it, is it what you like?” early on in the hook.
The perspective seems to shift to the other party though on its counterpart, “Deadlines (Thoughtful)”, which sounds much more in-line with the rest of the album, sounding like an early Crystal Castles (FUCK ETHAN KATH AKA CLAUDIO PALMIERI, ALL LOVE TO ALICE GLASS) cut with its blistering synths and hard-hitting sequenced percussion. The song centers on the lines “Oh compassion, it’s transforming me into-”, with Toledo unable to finish that thought as he explained to Apple Music:
The line ‘Oh, compassion is transforming me into’—it’s an unfinished thought because I think that the ellipsis is the end of the thought. In a way, it kind of ties back to ‘Martin’ and ‘Just when I think I’m gone, you change the track I’m on.’ You have a slightly different idea here of compassion taking you off that track, whatever track you go down where you just kind of get narrower and hollower as you get older and it just turns you into something vaguer, you know? And I think that it seems like when people get older, they either get sort of ground down to the basics of their personality and they can’t change out of that or they kind of just drift and they get weirder and they just don’t define themselves and that allows them some sort of freedom. That line is sort of pointing at keeping compassion alive as a way of allowing yourself to drift and become something different, someone different or possibly nothing at all, but just resisting definition for one more night.
These fears of getting older and what that does to your personality and sense of self are seen all throughout the album, but its most notable in the album’s opening and closing chapters, “Weightlifters” and “Famous”, with the former hitting especially different in quarantine times, as the song touches on hints of body dysmorphia and the buried feelings that cause it. I was already struggling with my weight & body image issues prior to COVID but things have been especially worse now, as it’s simply just hard to find the inspiration to want to get into shape when you’ve got 50 other mental blocks you gotta get through to get there. It’s not the best feeling getting out of the shower and looking in the mirror and just feeling disgusted and awful looking anywhere below my chin. As Will Toledo quietly ponders on the hook “‘Cause I believe / Thoughts can change your body / It’s all on me”, it feels like he’s hooking directly into my brain when I take these looks at myself.
These thoughts on thoughts come back full circle on “Famous” as Toledo repeats “Change your mind” over and over before he asks “Did you change your mind?”, getting ready to ask that question once more before cutting himself off, much like he cut himself off in “Deadlines (Thoughtful)”, leaving things unanswered once again, as one does sometimes when dealing with this. From my own experience, sometimes my brain just shuts down when I think too long about my body, eventually finding its way to fixate on something else for a bit. One thing about my issues with my body is that I don’t talk about it enough, as I haven’t been able to prioritize therapy since the initial lockdowns but even then, I just hate bringing it up to any of my friends, so when Toledo sings “Someone will care about this / Please let somebody care about this”, it just… hurts. In the right way.
These feelings of just wanting someone to care about me go far beyond my body dysmorphia and fully extend to my mental health at large, as one of the worst things about depression is that it’s extremely good at isolating you from everyone in your life with the feeling of “nobody cares about you.” I had a very good friend in my life recently fall victim to this and it’s been devastating to see. They were someone who I always considered to be such a beacon of hope and optimism and to see these feelings ravage them and our relationship hurts more and more every day and I feel powerless to stop it. While “I should start lifting weights” is meant literally in “Weightlifters”, I can’t help but feel like it's talking about the weights of depression and how hard they can be to lift also.
Anyways, let’s talk about the global elite pedophile cabal and MADLO’s most polarizing song, “Hollywood.” Possibly the most abrasive CSH song since their early Bandcamp days, it’s also one of their poppiest, with the song peaking at #29 on Billboard’s Alternative Airplay chart, where it charted overall for 14 weeks. Even before I hosted a podcast series talking about butt rock, I already swung around pretty quickly to liking this song as first and foremost, the main riff is sick. It’s big, it’s fat, it’s meaty, it’s rock and roll baby. Toledo mostly takes a backseat on this song as a vocalist, letting Katz try out his best Fred Durst impression as he destroys his throat screaming about how disgusting LA/Hollywood is. It’s essentially a Conner O’Malley video but as a song, and for that I have to stan. I wonder if Andrew and Will listen to TrueAnon?
But since we’re on the topic of Andrew Katz, let’s talk about his overall influence on the album, as while I don’t think he’s affected Toledo’s songwriting all that much (the poppier leanings of this album do seem to fall solely on Toledo), he has affected the sonic textures this album explores, with his experience in EDM mixing getting shown off in a variety of ways. Sometimes it's subtle and tasteful like on “Martin”, with the frantic percussion perfectly tying into Toledo’s lyrics of past figures of people in his life and the feelings and reminders of said feelings that pop up every now and then. Other times it’s more pronounced like on the previously mentioned “Famous” or “Hymn - Remix”, as in its original version, “Hymn” is like a combination of something off of Tim Hecker’s Love Streams and Radiohead’s “Morning Bell/Amnesiac”, with the remix turning that into something that can best be described as Car Seat Headrest meets The King of Limbs.
Radiohead ends up being a not so surprising touchstone regarding this album as much like Car Seat Headrest, Radiohead turned to electronic music after a period of tour burnout following two critically adored and highly regarded albums. Though, it might be more apt to compare this record to a different 90s alt rock band, The Smashing Pumpkins. While Adore is technically the Pumpkins’ electronica record, a lot of the electronic touches on that album are more textural, much like MADLO. Adore was Corgan trying to re-ground his band, as you simply can’t keep making albums like Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness over and over again, just like we can’t expect Toledo to keep making more albums like Teens of Denial and Twin Fantasy. As an artist, it’s sometimes hard finding a middle ground between pleasing your fans and chasing your creative dragon, but more often than not, I’m gonna respect an artist who continually chases that dragon, even if the results might vary.
Before the album came out, it already felt like Toledo was on the defense regarding his creative choices on the album and its promotion, as he literally gave a PowerPoint to Matador Records going over everything about the album from its cover, the Trait character, what the title meant, etc. Even on their comedown record, Toledo and the band still have plenty of chips on the table, and that’s the dissonance that I love the most about MADLO, as the high melodrama and extended lengths of Teens of Denial and Twin Fantasy don’t quite appeal to me like it used to. They’re both great records that I love dearly, but at this point in my life, I’m much more aligned these days with the person I’m hearing on MADLO.
Chapter 5: Fall 2020, The MADLO Manifesto, and Ah Goddammit How Do I End This Ahh!!!!
The song I loved the most on the 2018 version of Twin Fantasy was “High to Death.” It’s probably the most drastically changed song from the original version of the album and in my books, the most vastly improved. One important change the song had was the addition of a voicemail from artist Hojin Stella Jung (who did the single artwork for “Beach Life-in-Death” and “Nervous Young Inhumans”) to the Nevada Museum of Art:
Hello, my name is Hojin Stella Jung, I'm a senior at McQueen High School, my portfolio is a collection of paintings - that was created during last summer, and the first half of my senior year, and it's called "The Lady", and I didn't feel very well when I painted the first, and I didn't feel very well when I painted the last. It was intense, it was an intense process, and it was how I was trying to - very hard, personify that intensity, but it's hard to talk about her now, because I think she wasn't me, at least that's how I feel and I'm trying to figure out what to do now.
But she represents fervor in woman, she is powerful, yet fragile, she dares but also averts her gaze, and I love her, at least - I did, and - but now I feel lost, and I'm unsure of what to think and feel most of the time. But I did believe in her, "The Lady", and maybe, there is a different form now that the intensity takes.”
The intensity of my early college years that I felt is all there in Teens of Denial and Twin Fantasy. I was truly passionate about what I was doing or trying to do in college radio and it was a frustrating experience. I wasn’t seeking therapy at that time so instead of working out my emotions in a healthy way, I was probably taking things out on people and things that didn’t deserve it. But now with four years removed from that time, I’ve gone to counselling and met the love of my life, and I’ve learned to work that intensity into healthier things and spreading it out in ways where I not only don’t hurt the people around me, but not immolating myself in the process.
While at the time it was clear to tie “The Lady” as a parallel to Twin Fantasy, I see “The Lady” more now as a parallel to Car Seat Headrest as a whole. When talking about writing those previous records, Toledo doesn’t look back fondly as Teens of Denial particularly was written during a “very depressed and angry phase of my life” according to his interview with Huck. He described a similar scenario when talking about writing Making A Door Less Open, saying “I don’t think I was quite so angry or depressed, but it just felt like a hollow useless time. I was doing a lot of stuff that I felt wasn’t going anywhere.”
And right now, that’s where I’m at. While 2020 was an extremely busy year for me where I was doing a lot, I still feel like I haven’t gone anywhere, as I’m still stuck in the same bedroom in the same financial situation I’ve been stuck in for years where I’m doing so much but yet it feels like so little. One of the most honest things about MADLO is that there’s no true resolution. Will Toledo ends the album where he started, hoping his thoughts could change his situation and desperately begging for such. Even throughout the album’s various versions, this doesn’t change. The route to get there might be different, but point A and B stay the same, because it’s a loop.
I hope to break it one day and someone cares as I try.
Favorite Lyrics
'Cause I believe
That thoughts can change your body
It's all on me
If thoughts can change your body
I believe
That thoughts can change my body
It dawned on me
Your body can change your mind
  • “Weightlifters”
I was thinking people never change
But there's a new taste of dread that I cannot explain
And the thoughts that make up my life
Get reflected in others from time to time
  • “Deadlines (Hostile)”
Don't go back to Oklahoma
What's in Oklahoma?
  • “Hollywood”
I'm tired of coming home sick
Someone will care about this
Please let somebody care about this
  • “Famous”
Talking Points
  • Prior to the album’s singles, what were your expectations for the next Car Seat Headrest album?
  • And alternatively, what were your expectations looking like going in after the release of all its singles?
  • Do you think the influence of Katz was a negative or positive thing for the album as a whole?
  • What are your thoughts on the songwriting shifts Toledo makes on this record? Do you think this record would have succeeded in creating a base for the band to compete with festival acts?
  • If you haven’t returned to the album since its release, what are your thoughts on it now that we’re pretty well separated from its release and hype cycle?
  • And finally, where does Making A Door Less Open rank on your AOTY lists?
It’s u/ReconEG writing this outro part so I’ll just pull my head out from behind the curtain to thank you for reading this massive, massive piece and I hope you enjoyed it! Tomorrow, my pal from the Indieheads Podcast, u/radmure, will take on The Microphones’ mystical and reflective “comeback” album, Microphones in 2020. In the meantime, discuss today’s album and write-up in the comments below, and check below for the schedule and previous write-ups from this year's series.
Completed
Date Artist Album Writer
12/1 Fiona Apple Fetch the Bolt Cutters u/roseisonlineagain
12/2 Car Seat Headrest Making a Door Less Open u/ReconEG
Schedule
Date Artist Album Writer
12/3 The Microphones Microphones in 2020 u/radmure
12/4 Owen Pallett Island u/BornAgainZombie
12/5 Perfume Genius Set My Heart on Fire Immediately u/Pianist-Euphoric
12/6 Phoebe Bridgers Punisher u/American_Soviet
12/7 Hot Mulligan You'll Be Fine u/darianb1031
12/8 Bill Callahan Gold Record u/stansymash
12/9 Jónsi Shiver u/thesaboteur7
12/10 Dogleg Melee u/stringfellow2316
12/11 Elysia Crampton ORCORARA 2010 u/vulni0000000
12/12 Adrianne Lenker Songs u/danpono
12/13 Trevor Powers Capricorn u/The_Lords_Favourite
12/14 Fleet Foxes Shore u/smasherx
12/15 Illuminati Hotties FREE IH: This is Not the One You've Been Waiting For u/ClocktowerMaria
12/16 My Morning Jacket The Waterfall II u/ProbablyUmmSure
12/17 Rina Sawayama SAWAYAMA u/PlagueLords
12/18 Geographic North A Little Night Music: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North u/WaneLietoc
12/19 Destroyer Have We Met u/LordAlpaca
12/20 Christian Lee Hutson Beginners u/waffel113
12/21 Tim Heidecker Fear of Death u/sara520
12/22 Jessie Ware What's Your Pleasure u/tartorange
12/23 Tennis Swimmer u/danitykane
12/24 The Soft Pink Truth Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase? u/feetarejustshithands
12/25 Neil Cicierega Mouth Dreams u/mr_grission
12/26 Oneohtrix Point Never Magic Oneohtrix Point Never u/modulum83
12/27 Cindy Lee What's Tonight to Eternity u/PearlSquared
12/28 Backxwash God Has Nothing To Do With This, Leave Him Out of It u/meme__creep
12/29 Dirty Projectors 5EPs u/PieBlaCon
12/30 The Strokes The New Abnormal u/remote_man
12/31 Roisin Murphy Roisin Machine u/LazyDayLullaby
NOTE: In case you haven't followed the process for putting together the series this year, here is a quick recap. The lineup was culled from over a hundred pitches sent into us in two threads, one in mid-October and one in early November. If you are wondering why a certain album didn't make it to the lineup, there was either not a pitch for it, or there were other pitches we liked more. As with almost every year we've done this series, the schedule above is subject to change, but there will only be minor changes at that (moving of dates or maybe an album or two being replaced at most).
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2020.12.01 05:22 HobbitLord_720 The final hour - TLDR: NNN changed my personality, my future, and my life for the better.

The current time as I am writing this is 11:03 pm EST. I have less than one hour.
It is in this time that I would like to share what No Nut November has taught me, and why I participate.
In 2018, I did no Nut November. I did it because I had just come out of a relationship that was hot, heavy, rushed, and overall a train wreck. But I missed the intercourse that came from it. I was addicted to nutting, unironically. I can admit that now amongst comrades. I probably should have sought help from a therapist due to my other unhealthy post-breakup behaviors. But then November grew near. As I browsed reddit, I stumbled on my first NNN meme. This lead to me stumbling on the NNN subreddit. I promised myself I'd participate. I went from messing around on average 3 times a day to none, cold turkey. It hurt, and I was challenged so tirelessly to break my promise to myself. But I stood strong. I lasted the whole month. Then, on December first, I looked inward. Before my first NNN I was a f***boi. I saw it clearly now. As the previous month had gone on, I slowly began appreciating my female friends and classmates more as people now, and less as objects of reproduction (I know, pretty crumby of me). Realizing the change I had actually undergone, I continued. I went an entire year without nutting. Many people don't believe me, but it was my personal journey so I don't care what you believe. It was during my year of anguish that I met a beautiful girl. Our paths had crossed before, and we had even dated once for a few weeks, (She left me because of my aforementioned f***boi qualities). We began dating again sometime in the spring of 2019. The period of 8 months or so that passed between when we started dating and the end of NNN 2019 allowed us to build a very strong foundation in the absence of sexual behaviors due to my continued nut abstaining. Then in December of 2019 we became your normal amorous teenage couple. With the worst qualities of me having been purged thanks to NNN 2018 and the my No-Nut-2019, we remained together.
Today I sit at my computer a man, nearly a year and a half into my final relationship. I found my future wife. My keeper. My forever one, all because I did NNN in 2018.
This past month has been hard with it being our first time away from home at university. But I have survived the temptation of dorm room intercourse.
I stand with you my brothers, and all those spirits of comrades fallen. United, stronger mentally and emotionally than ever before.
Looking back on who I was before NNN 2018, I was on a bad path, most likely with an unpromising future. Now I'm a STEM major at a D1 school, playing on a school team and going to tournaments.

The time is now 11:22 pm EST. Thank you for joining me on this journey, and I'll see you next year...
HobbitLord_720

(P.S. My YouTube channel is "BeanMan" if you want to check me out)
submitted by HobbitLord_720 to nonutnovember [link] [comments]


2020.12.01 02:01 SGer12_ Was this emotional ab*se or manipulation?

  1. Allegation of cheating (2018, 1 year into the relationship): My friend told me that my (ex) boyfriend flirted with some other girl (also one of her friends) behind my back on IG. She told me that he was being very persistent and didn't even feel the need to mention that he was dating me at the time. The girl who he flirted with wanted to tell me but she didn't know me that well so instead, my friend was the one who told me about everything. I was never shown screenshots by my friend but I know she wouldn't tell me anything if it weren't true. When I confronted my boyfriend about it, he got kind of defended? He asked, "Who told you this" and then in all caps "WHO TOLD YOU" he then called but I didn't want to talk because I was borderline crying. Anyways, he mentioned that he wasn't flirting but just "joking or playing around". He then resorted to telling me "I'm not the type of person to do this, but I don't want you speaking to *insert friend name here* anymore so all of this can just blow over." I told him I would limit contact with her but I would still be seeing her since we did research together. He then supposedly cried and said he didn't want to lose me. He never denied anything lol so I guess that was sus and he never provided me with screenshots to calm me down so lol.
  2. A plea for communication during the pandemic turned into an argument with no resolution (2020, May-ish): I hadn't seen him since our colleges had resorted to online learning. I figured that since we won't be seeing each other as often, I thought it would be cool to facetime each other. I had asked if we could facetime but he mentioned that he didn't like to. I said okay. A few weeks to a month later, I brought up calling since he supposedly hates to facetime. When I had asked that, he left me on read and didn't answer me until the next day (he sent a meme, completely unrelated to what I had asked the day before) I was then being dry and he then asked me what was wrong. I then told him what was wrong instead of bottling up my feelings (I've done it before because I didn't want to get him upset). When I told him what was wrong, I had told him that I felt annoyed that he didn't answer a simple question about communicating via calling and he then resorted to telling me "You're still mad at that" and "you're getting upset over dumb shit" and "this happens all the time, its annoying me". I felt shitty as FUCK and it made me second guess myself because I told him how I felt. After he got mad, I then apologized to him. He then read my message and didn't speak to me for three days. When he came back from his little hiatus, he then sent me memes and didn't even apologize for his actions. I was then being dry and he noticed and then he called me. When he called me, I had to hold back tears because I was genuinely upset af. He said he was sorry but nothing was resolved. I was then still kind of upset over text and he still kept telling me that i had nothing to get mad over and that he was simply "studying" for the three days he decided to dip lol.
  3. Anniversary date turned breakup: This one's the big one. After several months of not physically seeing each other and no attempt to call or facetime me (I've tried calling him out but he just doesn't respond so I gave up a long time ago), he then dm'd me saying that we should go out for our anniversary. He asked where I wanted to go and I told him. I then also mentioned if he wanted to change the restaurant or even add any activities that we can do together. In other words, I didn't want to be the only one planning this. I then mentioned of a beer garden in his area but he mentioned that he had gone with his friends a week or two before and that I could drink by myself if I wanted to (I declined because that's just fucking stupid to do). So we agreed on a date to go out. The day before we were meant to go, he had to cancel due to a small familial emergency concerning one of his parents. I was initially thrown off but I just wanted whats best for his family and to feel better. We (I) rescheduled for that next week and he said he was okay with it. As the days went by, communication was hot and cold. I didn't mind it, I don't freak out if he doesn't talk to me for the whole day (idk if thats a bad mentality to have) but idk, I was lowkey worried.
A few days after the plans were made, I asked if we were still on for our date. He kept saying yes, but I didn't get my hopes up. A day or two before, I brought it up again, but he mentioned that we couldn't go anymore due to the same emergency. I was confused because, why would you say yes and keep your word but then say no in the end of it all? Anyway, I chose not to reschedule because that was on him now. After that, I told him that I was there for him if he needed anything at all. I also asked him what had happened with his parent but instead of telling me anything, he left me on read and didn't respond to me for 10 days. It would've been longer if I didn't break up with him on that day. During those 10 days, I called him twice (no response from him), texted him telling him to not push me away because I've always been there for him. I even told him that we needed to talk because it had been almost a week that we haven't talked (no response). I then dm'd him on IG (no response). During that time, my chest hurt like a mf. I was beyond nervous and just anxious because that was the longest he hadn't spoken to me. I kept telling myself that I did something terribly wrong.
I then broke up with him through text because I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought I could give him a week or three more days but I just couldn’t. There’s been so much shit that has happened in this relationship (there were good times too) but holy fuck. When he read my breakup text, he then decided to call me. We even FaceTimed for a bit (lol) the first time he said on the phone call was “are you serious? You know I’m going through stuff with my mom (the parent that was sick) and my birthday is coming up, who am I going to celebrate it with?” I then said why weren’t you communicating with me and he said “I’m communicating now” I was furious lol. There was more to the call but that’s all.
submitted by SGer12_ to relationship_advice [link] [comments]


2020.11.30 05:00 AutoModerator Newcomers look here! - FAQ & Simple Questions Thread

Hey Choombas,
Feel free to use this thread to ask any simple questions you may have surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 the game, it’s lore, merchandise, or anything else related to it!
Here is a link to our (old) faq; please check first to see if your question is answered there!
Remember to sort by new and if you can, provide a source for your answers. As well, all top level comments must be questions.
If anyone is spreading false information (or breaking any other rules), please report the comment. If you have any other concerns, feel free to send a message to the moderators
FAQs:
Will they release Cyberpunk 2077 early? What about a demo? Character customization early?
As cool as that would be, it is very unlikely.
When is Cyberpunk 2077 releasing?
Cyberpunk 2077 releases on December 10, 2020
What time does Cyberpunk 2077 release?
1am CEST (sourced by various launchers. i.e. Steam, GoG, Xbox store, PSN...). Please see this (unofficial) post for time conversions.
Will you be able to preload the game?
A non-verified source said December 8. It is unclear if this is12am CEST and even then, is unconfirmed.
What is the size of the Day one update?
We don't know yet.
What kind of PC should I build? Do I need to upgrade my PC? Can I run it? What are the minimum specs?
Check out our PC Specs Megathread!
What if I don't know which console to get it for?
Check out our Console Questions Megathread!
Will Cyberpunk 2077 have mod support?
Not on launch. Possibly later.
If I pre-order the physical edition for PC, what do I get?
A code to use on GoG.
Can I get the physical pre-order goodies, if I pre-order the digital version of the game?
No. You need to pre-order physical to get physical bonuses.
Can I play the game in third-person?
No. The game takes place almost entirely in first person. Some cut scenes and driving sequences will take place in third person.
If I buy the game on current-gen, do I get a free upgrade to next-gen?
Yes for Xbox One/Xbox Series X and for PS4/5!
Will there be a true next-gen version?
Yes.
When does it come out?
We don't know yet.
Do I get it for free if I've already bought the game?
Yes.
What about cross-save?
Confirmed for upgrading from current-next gen on Xbox and Playstation. No word on cross-platform saves.
When can I get my next news fix? (i.e. Night City Wire)
We do not currently know
What are the character customization options?
6 skin types, 35 hairstyles, 17 eyes, 8 eyebrows, 17 mouths, 17 jaws, 17 ears, 8 pieces of cyberware, 9 types of scars, 6 types of tattoos, 11 piercings, 5 types of teeth, 8 types of eye makeup, 5 types of lip makeup, three types of blemishes, 3 types of nipples, 5 types of body tattoos, 2 types of body scars, 2 types of dicks, 1 vagina option, 5 types of pubic hairs, and a range of dick size options.
Can I play without any augmentations/cyberware?
No, some will be required for a quest. An example is the Kiroshi optics and subdermal grip from the 2018 gameplay demo.
Can I perform a purist (no killing) playthrough?
Yes!
Are there any Cyberpunk books, movies, games, music, etc, that I can look at to fill my hype for now?
We have a list here!
Subreddit Specific FAQs:
Why was my meme removed?
See rule 7. Also try posting again on 'Free Talk Friday'.
What is 'Free Talk Friday'?
Explained here!
Wait, where can I find the rules?
They are in the sidebar! You can also click here.
Where can I find the last book club post?
Click here!
My post was removed unfairly!
Send us a modmail.
More FAQs will be added as they are asked
submitted by AutoModerator to cyberpunkgame [link] [comments]


2020.11.29 23:49 trooper3169 Christmas Day 2018, I woke up to a dude knocking on my driver’s side window in a gas station car park in the backwoods of Pennsylvania.

“Damn bro you spent Christmas Eve in your car?”
….My mouth was dry and tasted like shit… My eyes focused and my thoughts finally sobered up enough to give a response. “Yeah mate. I was too fucked up to drive.”
A ridiculously large, half empty bottle of Jameson sat in my lap, which explained the charred chalky taste in my mouth. The guy laughed and offered me some coffee…
Now I can’t tell you what to do when you find yourself in such a situation, I can only share with you what I’ve learned. None of what I’m about to tell you is purposed to gain any kind of affirmation or recognition. Just needed to share something that went against the usual grain of my FB wall content of crass memes and vulgarities.
No one is a stranger to life being an absolute C#NT. Difficult times can take its toll on your life and may even derail your plans. But one thing is definite about harsh times; it’s only and is always temporary. My sister taught me that.
Self-reflection and self-care are often hindered when your emotional health is co-dependent on another person. So please be aware of that moving forward.
I entered 2018 engaged to be married, and then by July I wasn’t. The best way to get over someone, is to be inside another, so by “weaponizing” my Australian accent, I went through a slut phase and sampled many of what North Eastern America had to offer, swiping my way through the Tri-State area. Each time, I tried creating a relationship with girl after girl. Which in hindsight I knew was a bad idea. But it was better than sleeping alone. And I don’t mean being physically in bed with someone. But going to sleep with the belief that you have someone to wake up to the next morning. Needless to say it always ended badly. I convinced myself I was impervious to any pain, as long as I was prepared for it. Lesson number 1. I was not.
Around the same time, communication between my daughter and I started to dwindle. It became more difficult to get in touch with her and a response to any of my texts were seldom if not non-existent. Her mum wasn’t helpful either and evidence of her exacerbating the divide between my daughter and I became clear. Lesson number 2; When a woman I love ignores me, my heart breaks. When my daughter cuts communication with me – I AM BROKEN.
November rolls around. I felt like a failure. I dubbed myself as the common denominator in why all my relationships end up failing. And I wore that title with a fine whisky stained robe, I hid behind, with dark humour and explicit tales of my debaucheries, to distract my audience from my collection of half empty liquor bottles.
In every aspect, my confidence was depleted. However I remained excellent at my work and never failed at being a good Motha’ Fuckin’ Marine. Oo-Rah!
Days were spent purposely drowning myself in work, often seeking more projects and responsibility. Countless accolades and praise from my chain of command served as a point of focus, to blur my vision on what was happening internally.
Intimacy became scarce despite the abundance of outlets I could reach out to. Sex was now a necessary labour. Coming became reduced to taking a girl doggy style and spitting on her back, following through with a pathetic performance of climax just for effect. Those who were on the pill were much easier to convince.
I grew fearful that I have successfully killed the one ultimate intimate act you could ever share with another human being. Lesson number 3; Sex does not equal intimacy.
December 2018; I returned home to Australia, and after an unsuccessful meeting with a mediator between my daughters mother and I, regarding the encouraging and facilitating of consistent communication with my daughter, I found myself longing for that empty embrace from my pseudo girlfriend/s back in Pennsylvania, only to arrive to the news that she had moved on and fucked some random guy because she was “lonely” from my 2 week absence. That was the tipping point for me.
December 23 2018 at 0200, there was a rapping at my chamber door ‘’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.” Nah…It was the fucken cops, and I was awoken by the sounds of them trying to break down my door. Spotlights lit up the room as I was hunched over the kitchen table, drunk. It turns out I sent some pretty worrisome texts to a friend of mine which prompted him to call the police.
Needless to say, news of the police visit reached my chain of command, resulting in being ordered to see the Wizard. The wizard was an older Italian lady, probably in her 60’s with a thick New Jersey accent. I gave her my spiel and was unsurprisingly declared a low-risk in harming myself, and was just scheduled a follow up after the Christmas Break.
December 23, 1600; our unit was dismissed and I made my way home for the Christmas holidays. I left my phone in my car throughout the day so as soon as I got home my phone had exploded with notifications on IG, FB, YouTube and REDDIT. It turns out that I wrote a full manifesto on how I was going to end my life on Christmas day. Messages from Marines, Soldiers – STRANGERS, flooding my inbox.
I don’t remember writing it. I was too drunk to recall. I responded to one of the messages. “Who the fuck are you and how did you get my IG?”
“Brother, thank you for responding, a lot of us have been trying to reach you to make sure you’re okay.”
He provided me with the link to my so-called suicide note. And I might say, Drunk me is quite the word smith. Lol.
I deleted it immediately. My roommates at the time were preparing to travel home for the holidays, when there was another knock on the door. It was my Master Sergeant and another Staff Sergeant. “Hey, You need to come with us. The Colonel wants us to take you to Walter Reed” (Military Hospital in Maryland, a good 2 hours away).
Looking back at this memory, I remember protesting the idea, and making jokes about how the Marine Corps is turning into an institution of pussies. But now that I think about it, I felt ashamed that someone else’s Christmas plans were being fucked with because I couldn’t keep my shit contained.
I performed an encore of the song and dance I had staged previously, with the last wizard, much to the same effect as before. Low-Risk of self-harm. Fuck yes. I was allowed to have my Christmas liberty 96. But more so, the Marines who took me, could proceed with their plans without any further disturbances from me.
Christmas Eve, 2018; I hastily rented an AirBnB. A cabin by lake Eerie. It cost me about $1500. I just needed it for one night. The liquor store in Harrisburg is conveniently close to the Home Depot. Purchases that day consisted of the following supplies for my impromptu road trip.
  • A handle of Jameson
  • A bottle of Crown Royal
  • A garden hose
  • Roll of duct tape
The drive to the cabin, through the wooded back roads of Pennsylvania is absolutely beautiful on a snowy day. Picturesque and peaceful. My mind was on auto pilot, taking large swallows of whiskey, wincing as I sharply inhaled to counter the burn in my chest as it finally settled at the bottom of my stomach.
I was running low on petrol and decided to pull up to a 24/7 service station in the middle of nowhere. There weren’t many cars apart from a couple of semi trailers and a mini van. The station was manned by an elderly black man. Speckles of white tufts peppered his unshaven cheeks. He had a soulful demeanour, the kind that only those stereotypically, cool black guys can pull off and they typically make anyone else they come across, feel just as cool .
“It’s cold out there brotha, no way I can walk around in this cold with just that cardigan on. But hey you look fly so I get it dawg. Merry Christmas brotha.” He said with a deep receding laugh as I grabbed my beef jerky.
I sat in my car, further liberating the contents of the Jameson bottle.
People-watching. The last few customers at the service station reembarked onto their journeys. I noticed the mini van again. It hadn’t moved. The sliding doors were open with 3 small children no older than 9 years old between all of them, bundled up in layers of thick winter coats and blankets. The man whom I assumed was their father sat in the driver’s seat playing with his phone, periodically taking sips out of his coffee cup. The mother tended to the children as she struggled with the lid of the cup, gently blowing on the hot beverage to cool it down for the kids to drink. The children were too engrossed into their iPads, as the blue haze of the monitors lit up their eyes, to notice their mother offering them something to drink. The view into the van windows were obstructed with mountains of bags and what looked like small furniture. Perhaps they were moving? Who fucken moves on Christmas Eve?
….My mouth was dry and tasted like shit… My eyes focused and my thoughts finally sobered up enough to give a response. “Yeah mate. I was too fucked up to drive.”
“You crazy dawg! Hahaha. Come inside and get some coffee bro...On the house ma ‘mayn. Merry Christmas!”
It took a while before coming to terms that my daughter was just growing up, and I eventually made peace with the idea that maybe her dad isn’t the person she wanted to reach out to at that time. It took a while to admit to myself out loud that I was afraid of being alone. It took me even longer to admit, that I needed to be.
I continued to see the therapist from Jersey. My daughter eventually started texting me and calling me again.
I woke up one day to a phone call from one girl I was hooking up with at the time. Verbatim, she said; “Come over and fuck me”. I declined. I think I made up an excuse about, how I’d love to, but having had to work, I wasnt able to. But really… I just had No. Desire. To.
A couple weeks later another girl whom I was occasionally with at the time, texted me. Again, I declined. This time without making up an excuse and just told her I didn’t feel like it. She did not like this response and so it ended there.
The idea of sex at that point was no longer a source of intimacy for me anymore. That feeling of ‘wholeness’ usually associated with laying with someone and tasting them upon your lips, just didn’t possess the same grandeur. So I started doing things alone. Though not on purpose, I remained abstinent. Just wasn’t in the mood. And for the first time in my life, although alone…I didn’t feel lonely.
It was about 5 months before I started dating again. But it was different. I was more confident. I felt that I could walk away from possible toxic situations if and when I wanted to. And I knew what I wanted and I knew who I was and what I brought to the table.
Since then, there has been many disappointments, but not heartache. There has been many failures, but not without growth. And quite honestly, I’ve been happy ever since.
Again, I’m not here to tell people what to do in times of despair. I am merely sharing my experience on the chance that someone might read this and relate to some of it, and hopefully provide some kind of clarity in a place where there wasn’t.
It’s been a difficult year for everyone, but believe me when I say that it wont stay like that.
Stay frosty my friends.
Cheers.
submitted by trooper3169 to USMC [link] [comments]


2020.11.29 16:50 viclin92 Is it better to be the partner or to be the one who got away?

So I was dating this 31 year old guy in 2018 for about a year and half on and off until mid 2019. We contact each other on and off just to send memes or stuff like that - nothing crazy. Since then, he has been dating some new girls and try to be serious with them as well. I do realize I do still have feelings for him ( we are separated because of distance mostly and we were both immature then). I did some dating but nothing sticks.
I have been in no contact with him since March until September and I was over him fully until somehow we chatted again in September when I just stopped seeing the guy I met for a month. I said to him ‘gosh can we just date again’ jokingly (maybe it’s me subconsciously still wanting him and also me being fed up with my dating life)
I’m surprised he took it super seriously and he said I’ve been thinking about you in the past few months and I’m considering that seriously. He is dating a new girl then but he doesn’t feel gaga over her. Then he proceeded to tell me ‘ I always felt that by 35 years old, we will somehow get back together’
I was shocked and my feelings start rushing back, I think the fact that he said that makes me remember the old time again. But obviously with distance, covid, job, it’s hard to gauge where can I move to his town again even though I’ve always wanted to move near his area because I felt at home there.
Then I told him why don’t you focus on the new girl and forget about me. If we end up together we will be together if not, you will be happier with the new girl.
However, obviously, I’m now longing about him given I decided to stop dating altogether. Then last week, I found out I have some issue that probably will make it harder to go back to his place and I decided to call him to break it off completely. He said he still have feelings for me even though not as strong and he tried hard with the new girl even though he has been feeling the same since before and he keeps saying the new girl is lovely.
I wonder, is it better to be me, who is the one who got away or is it better to be the current gf who doesn’t know that he still thinks of me from time to time? I guess I just need affirmation that I’m doing the right thing by breaking it off. I’m not sure. Thank you so much for the advice!
submitted by viclin92 to datingoverthirty [link] [comments]


2020.11.27 13:07 House_of_Suns /r/QOTSA Official Band of the Week 30: TRUCKFIGHTERS

Like most of you, I was introduced to instrumental music as a subject in elementary school. I started first on the recorder (HOT-CROSS-BUNS) and then learned to play the saxophone. I vaguely remember some level of choice in this around grade 7 or so. Really, the biggest choice was between brass and woodwinds. Sure, some lucky kid got percussion, but that was about it.
I played the saxophone through high school. I never really gave this much thought, as I simply believed that all kids had to play an instrument, and it had to be either brass or woodwind or percussion. To be fair, there were some kids in high school that played guitar or bass or piano, but they were usually the kids that either took private lessons or learned on their own. Oh, and there was also Choir, but that was nothing like that TV show Glee.
The net result was that school taught me a lot about John Philip Sousa and not a lot about the Beatles or Black Sabbath. Also, the cool kids that started bands were the ones that (often paradoxically) weren’t in music classes at all.
Sweden does the opposite. See, in Sweden, kids overwhelmingly learn to play guitar, bass, drums and to sing vocals in school. They mostly have to go to private education to become trumpet and clarinet players. So I guess that it is not surprising that, in a nation of just over 10 million people, they have turned out a disproportionately high number of internationally popular bands - Abba, Ace of Base, Roxette, and Neneh Cherry among them. Oh, and not for nothing, but the home of Ikea is also the home of all kinds of Nordic Death Metal. It’s like an entire nation dedicated to School of Rock.
And if that nation with a population roughly equivalent to Michigan or North Carolina can be that rich in music, there is no reason why they can’t produce Stoner Rock too.
Yep, you guessed it. Today we’re visiting the great deserts of Sweden. This week’s band are TRUCKFIGHTERS.
About Them
Do you hate trucks? Do you love fighting? Coincidentally, do you also smoke marijuana? If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, then you may be Megatron be Starscream sexually identify as a Decepticon be interested in today’s featured artist.
Truckfighters are a stoner rock band from Örebro, Sweden.
Örebro, as we all know, is a chocolate cookie with creamy filling that hangs out wearing a popped collar and cheap sunglasses.
The band is really two guys - Oskar Cedermalm, who goes by the pseudonym Ozo on bass and vocals, and Niklas Källgren, who goes by the pseudonym Dango on guitar. Both are absolute beasts on their instruments. Källgren routinely starts shows by tossing his T-Shirt into the crowd and then jamming out all night. Ozo matches him note for note and belts out the lyrics. They are one of those bands that sounds great in their recordings but blow the doors off when you hear them live. They have to be experienced to be believed.
Ozo and Dango have been joined by an absolute parade of drummers. Seriously, these guys have a massive problem keeping anyone behind the kit. I am not even kidding. Since they formed in 2001, they have had eleven different drummers. ELEVEN. WTF.
The drummers that the band has had (in order) are Paco, Pezo, Pedro, Frongo, McKenzo, Pancho, Maco, Taco, Lobo, and Enzo ~~ and Bingo was his name-o.~~ The current butt in the seat goes by the name El Danno.
Fuck me but that sounds a lot like the cast of Fraggle Rock.
Truckfighters actually formed in 2001 as a side project for members of another Stoner Rock band called Firestone. Firestone had been together since 1999 and had released two albums. Truckfighters originally had four members: Ozo, Dango, drummer Paco, and another guitarist named Winfred Kennerknecht, who was known by the pseudonym Fredo in the band. Presumably, when Fredo left the band it was to go drop a ring in a volcano or something.
They were able to cut a couple of EPs in their first two years between their commitments to Firestone. The first of these was the six song Desert Cruiser EP in 2001. Most notably, this had the very first recording of the title song, which is their best known and most iconic tune. They followed this up in 2002 with the five song Heading for God’s Warehouse EP. Between the two releases and their previous band’s material, they had enough songs to begin to tour in Sweden.
Firestone came to an end as a band when they released Truckfighters vs. Firestone - Fuzzsplit of the Century. QotSA fans will see a complete parallel in this third release with the Kyuss/QotSA split EP that bridged the gap between those bands. Firestone had run its course; Truckfighters were now the main event.
But what is more important than the EP was how it was released. Källgren had started his own record label: Fuzzorama Records. This was one of the first releases on that new label, and it allowed the band to own and distribute all of their music. The band had essentially doubled down and committed to not just recording music, but to distributing it and promoting it as well.
This was an enormous undertaking, and a huge risk.
They needed a hit record or they were sunk.
Fortunately, they got one.
Gravity X was recorded in the winter of 2004-2005 and is an absolute monster of an album. It mixes Psychedelia with Desert Rock with Stoner Rock with a hint of Heavy Metal. Most of all, it has more fuzz than a three week old loaf of bread. The album has become synonymous with the band. Go grab a great set of headphones and listen to it track-for-track. You will be bobbing your head before you know it. Desert Cruiser appears again and kicks off the album. You then have another hour of pure, solid sound to enjoy. Momentum is a behemoth that is over seven minutes of pure power that draws you in and then punches you right in the face at the two minute mark. Add to this Gweedo-Weedo and Manhattan Project and A. Zapruder and the ethereal album ender Altered State and you have one hell of a record.
Gravity X gathered critical acclaim and an international audience. The band hit the touring circuit and had gigs all over Europe. Remember, these guys had been playing together for a while. To the new fans they appeared out of nowhere, but anyone who knew the inside story would not be surprised that they were astonishing in concert.
Simply put, their shows were an event.
If you met Dango or Ozo or any of the Fraggles on the street, you’d probably not give them a second glance. But put instruments in their hands and give ‘em a stage, and they absolutely transformed into a hurricane of sound. Concert goers lost their shit (and their hearing) upon seeing them live. Truckfighters quickly garnered a reputation as a must-see band. Their touring brought an audience and a demand for new music.
The band went back into the studio in 2007 and recorded their follow-up album Phi. Tracks like Atomic and Chameleon and Warhead pick up right where Gravity X left off and do not disappoint. The album is heavy and fuzzy and full of bangers. The strength of this record got them a touring gig with Fu Manchu. Fu Manchu is notable in connection to QotSA because it was former Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork’s band (though he’d been replaced by this time).
It was after this album that Fredo left to go on his quest to Mordor. Ozo and Dango and Bingo (A placeholder title for the resident drum muppet) were invested at this point and had to support an entire record label, so they decided to continue on as a power trio: Ozo, Dango, and some NPC on drums.
The newly reduced band released Mania in 2009. If you didn’t know that they had lost a member, you’d never notice a reduction in sound. If anything, the fuzz got thicker and louder. Monte Gargano (and the weird video which is some kind of mashup of material from someone’s old home movies) showed that the band were here to stay. The more than thirteen minutes of grooves and jams in Majestic reinforced this. Heading back out on the road, they toured with The Atomic Bitchwax. They kept up this unrelenting pace through 2010 and 2011. They finally crossed the Atlantic to do shows in America that same year.
Not for nothing, but The Atomic Bitchwax is my nickname for my ex-girlfriend.
German filmmaker Joerg Steineck had seen Truckfighters in Europe and decided that he wanted to chronicle the rise of the band. He put together a documentary called Truckfighters Fuzzomentary. Fu Manchu and Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri appear in the film, and express incredible admiration for the band. Josh, a guy who knows what he likes, called Truckfighters “the best band that’s ever existed.”
Steineck’s film (which is 84 minutes well invested, and shows Ozo and Dango and Nintendo to be ordinary guys living ordinary lives who are extraordinary on stage) brought even more fans to the band. The film and the new album and the no-shit endorsement by Ginger Jesus saw the band tour the US and South America and Australia. They reissued their back catalogue and it sold out. They played shows all over the world and were now regulars on the festival circuit.
By 2014, they had released the album Universe, which was a kind of thematic album with songs as chapters in a story. No, don’t worry, they didn’t go all silly and high concept. They stopped with the song titles. The fuzz on this disc is relentless, as shown in Mind Control and Get Lifted. There is even a shot at another band we’ve covered in the closing song of the album, titled Mastodont. I guess they don’t like it when drummers sing (not that they’ve had one stay around long enough to find out).
Their final album, V, dropped in 2016. No, it is not a reference to the campy 80’s sci-fi TV show. It denotes that this was their fifth album. It is seven tracks of pure power, led by The 1 and Gehenna and Calm Before The Storm. That last track is a real builder that takes you to the edge and then pushes you right off.
Interestingly, I really only got into Truckfighters in early 2018. They showed up on my Spotify recommended list and I took a deep fucking dive. I was super excited and even started looking up concert dates near me.
That was when I found out that they had broken up.
Fuckity Fuck Fuck Fuck. I had just discovered them and they had already called it quits. That sucked worse than the time I bought all those shares in Blockbuster.
...but I digress.
The band had been keeping up an unrelenting pace of touring and, simply put, Ozo and Dango and Oreo were tired. They needed down time and a rest. QotSA fans remember that our own desert heroes did the same thing between Era Vulgaris and ...Like Clockwork.
Turns out that the rest was all they needed. In 2019, they hit the road once again. This time they were doing a tour in celebration of their landmark first album. The tour, entitled Gravity X: From Finish to Start, had them play the entire album in reverse order. They toured with fellow Fuzzorama artists (and an amazing band in their own right) Valley of the Sun.
You bet your ass I saw them on this tour. Front row center in Detroit. They killed it.
Believe the hype. I have seen QotSA multiple times, and they are always amazing. But these guys put on a show that you just have to experience. They are that good.
Links to QOTSA
Josh and Nick and the rest of Kyuss invented the desert sound that Truckfighters play.
Truckfighters have become a staple of Fuzz that play at festivals all over the globe in celebration of the glory that is stoner rock, and they have toured with Brant Bjork’s old band Fu Manchu.
Josh is well known to be a huge fan of the band, as evidenced by his appearance in the documentary about them.
Their Music
Desert Cruiser - live at Wacken Open Air 2015. Before you ask, yes, Dango is naturally that sweaty. It is even more apparent when he jumps at you directly off the stage. I am not fucking kidding.
Momentum - “Roses are read, Ikea is blue, When I listen to Momentum, My neighbors do too”
Manhattan Project - Fun fact: the whole nuke thing was actually named after this song out of respect to the sheer power of its riffs. [Citation Needed]
Chameleon - 10 minutes of pure, powerful build. Sit back and enjoy the sludge.
Atomic - complete with a 5 minute video advertisement for nuclear power (and by that I mean a sick fanmade video featuring a fuckload of nuke test footage).
Monte Gargano - A music video that reaches the true potential of home recordings, in that it consists mostly of squash, shitty disco bars, and nude women.
Majestic - 13 mins of fuzz.
Mind Control - I guess you could say that they’re not only in your mind, but in your mind fuzz (wait, shit, wrong write up).
The 1 - Since it’s off the album V, playing this song 5 times actually means you’ve listened to the entire record.
Calm Before The Storm - One hell of a song, with one hell of a dark video.
Show Them Some Love
/Truckfighters
Only 128 members. Fuck me, the band has had more drummers than that.
Previous Posts
Band of the Week #1-25
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
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Pixies
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https://preview.redd.it/hyl9ssbfns061.jpg?width=299&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=21da6e8bff982fbf662df7d882bf5a51b69f84c4
submitted by MundeStar to u/MundeStar [link] [comments]


2020.11.22 11:05 Safyire [BanG Dream! Girls Band Party] The mystery of the artwork that never appeared again

Hello all, this is my first time writing for anything related to this topic. I saw a post here about a lost piece of media once, so I hope this kind of event is allowed here. This is an ongoing event, so I will most likely update this post once more information surfaces.
Background 1: What is "BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!?"
BanG Dream! (colloquially referred to as "Bandori") is a music/anime franchise owned by Bushiroad. The franchise involves seven bands (each made up of five girls) with their own unique discography, with four of the bands also having their members' voice actresses (also called "seiyuu") play their own character's instruments in live concerts. Girls Band Party! (shortened to "Garupa") is the franchise's mobile game, which is a rhythm game with a card-collecting gacha aspect. This writeup will focus on the cards, which tend to have high-quality artwork like this to entice people to collect them.
For reference, the Japanese version of the game released on March 2017, and the English version released on April 2018 (but that's not relevant right now.)
Background 2: How game events work
So the way events in Garupa work is that, every one or two weeks there is an in-game event that features a side story to develop the characters further, while also releasing new cards that are immediately put in gacha "rate-up" banners so that people are more likely to get them during the event. Events are the game's primary way of releasing new cards and songs, and they happen very often (with only 1-2 days of downtime between each event), so they're a major part of the game for every player.
Part 1: "Midsummer Rock Fest" appears for the first and only time
Sometime around March 31, 2017, the day after the game's very first event (Sakura Blooming Party) ended, people were waiting for the second event to be revealed. Seemingly out of nowhere, this Twitter post surfaces. The first/left image shows a gacha banner with the character named Moca, which appeared abruptly in the middle of the event downtime. The name of the banner (on the top right) translated is "Midsummer Rock Fest." The person behind the tweet then refreshed their game and now saw what is in the second/right image, which is a gacha banner of the character Yukina who is the "intended" featured card of the second event.
It's worth noting that the Moca card appears lower-quality in that first screenshot, as if it wasn't in the correct resolution. Another aspect that made it more mysterious is the very plain-looking logo of the banner, which is unorthodox from the game's usual very stylized logos for their gacha.
A video showing the out-of-place Moca banner was also uploaded. In the video the player shows that this indeed occurred after the first event, shows that the Yukina card from the tweet's second picture is apparently in the banner's pool, and also did a test pull to show that the banner does indeed function. From all accounts that could be gathered from this whole thing, it appears that the card that involved that Moca artwork never existed in the game nor the pool.
Despite being an active gacha game, datamines existed even then for unreleased content. What came of it were these two pictures of the "lost" artwork, which appeared abnormally stretched with one of them being a heavy recolored version for some reason.
Everyone at first just passed it off as a glitch or some kind of mistake for a future card, as the game was apparently known to have a lot of bugs of that kind early in its lifetime.
As the game progressed however, even to this day, that specific artwork of Moca never returned again. Attempts to bring an investigation together on the source of the card met with inactivity, and things never really took off further from a "glitch" that people moved on from.
Part 2: Reigniting the interest
Just less than a day ago, on November 21, 2020, a tweet talking about the incident brought the topic to the game's English community. With it, research began taking place on what exactly this art could've been.
Possible theories came together on this specific artwork:
  • It was a scrapped version of this card, which has the same skill name depicted in the old screenshot of the lost art
  • Because the details of the lost artwork were different and more intricate than the other card artworks at the time, it was also theorized that this "Rock Fest" was an early version of this game's "Dream Fest," which is a gacha held on special occasions that releases higher-quality but limited-time cards.
  • It was simply early artwork that, for whatever reason, was never used in any context.
From my own and the community's research so far, many attempts to find an answer about its existence remains mysterious. Some in the community even came to call it someone's April Fools' joke, as the date of the original tweet and video date to March 31st, with others arguing that it was too high-effort for a joke like that in a game that was very early into its lifetime. So far, the Twitter community is filled with both surprise and questions about the card, now dubbed the “Forbidden Moca.”
Whatever the case, people took a heavy interest into this artwork, as the Bandori tends to be very art-centric and cards from the mobile game take up a significant part of the franchise.
Edit: The official English version Twitter acknowledged it. It’s posted in a meme-y way, since the account’s known for posting like this once in a while. It’s still a surprise though!
submitted by Safyire to HobbyDrama [link] [comments]


2020.11.21 18:19 spartan_samuel Military Subreddit Census 2020

Intro

Census 2020 Survey Link
Hey all you cool cats and kittens! It's that time of the year again. Y'all ready to sit down, buckle up, and get weird?! Too late, I'm weird as shit already. ANYWAYS, the link at the top will bring you to my survey. In it, I try to finger your pul... PUT my finger on the pulse of this subreddit and many subs like it. Not sure if that sounded better or worse... One, because y'all are hilarious. Two, it helps your mods learn what you're really thinking in order to do their jobs more effectively. As y'all go through this, please let me know on this post what kinds of things y'all are interested in me changing for next year.
The survey asks about you and your military experiences. None of the questions are mandatory unless they are built to lead you to specific sections of the survey. I don't ask for emails or any PII (I think), and if you don't feel comfortable answering any particular question don't feel pressed to do so! Leave it blank and move right on to the next question. Won't hurt my feelings none.
Boilerplate: Please don't share this census outside of the subreddits in which it's posted. The intended audience is strictly the current user base of these subreddits, as the results are intended to be used as a pulse check for our specific communities. I've contacted the mods of each of these subreddits and have acquired permission explicitly for this. Some subreddits have told me they're not comfortable with this, so please help me honor that by not crossposting this anywhere else.

FAQ

  • Do I have to take this survey?
    • I'm just a random stranger on the internet. Do you always do what folk like me tell you to? Hey, since we're on the topic, I've got some of the most delicious candy in my van down by the river...
  • May I submit a FOIA request for the results of this Commander's Assessment?
    • Noooooooope! Just kidding. I'm leaving the survey open for submissions for a week. On Monday morn, 30 November, I'm shutting her down. Then I'm going to start parsing through the results so I can give the mods the feedback appropriate for their subreddits. Last, I'll sift through the data and find the best and funniest stuff for your specific subreddit and post the results. I'm going to do my best to get these results out before Christmas, but since I'm actually putting thought and work into the results instead of just letting y'all figure it out I can't guarantee a release date for those. ESPECIALLY if I'm doing any comparisons between branches, or from this year to previous years.
  • Is this actually anonymous?
    • I'm not tracking your username nor google account when you submit this. On top of that, ain't nobody got time to delve into someone else's life when I don't have my own together. Seriously, my shit is in so many socks right now. Why do I have shit in socks? I don't know anymore.

Historical

Subreddit Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
AirForce 2017 p1 / 2017 p2 2018 2019
AirNationalGuard N/A 2018 2019
Army 2017 p1 / 2017 p2 2018 2019*
Military N/A 2018 2019
NationalGuard N/A N/A 2019
Navy 2017 p1 / 2017 p2 2018 2019
USCG N/A 2018 2019
USMC 2017 p1 / 2017 p2 2018 2019
submitted by spartan_samuel to army [link] [comments]


2020.11.21 15:03 AmericanNewt8 Begun, the Drone Wars have: Turkey, Libya, Syria, the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict, and how drones are changing warfare

When you were voting, I studied the drone. When you were having coronavirus, I mastered electronic warfare. While you wasted your days at the firing range in pursuit of vanity, I cultivated force projection. And now that the world is on fire and the barbarians are at the gate you have the audacity to come to me for help.
--Anonymous Redditor, 2016 [translated by AmericanNewt8 into 2020ese]

A new kind of warfare has taken the world by storm this year. While most of us were preoccupied with the election, the coronavirus, and the other exciting events that have taken place over this year when decades happen, a small number of people have kept a close watch on distant battlegrounds in the Middle East; where the face of war has changed since January in ways that few would have predicted--and with it the region as a whole.

1. In the Beginning

But let's go back a ways; to the ancient world of circa 1980. Drones were not a new technology in any sense of the word--but they weren't particularly of interest beyond hobbyists, target drones, and occasional odd military projects like the D-21 reconnaissance drone. However, things were changing with the introduction of digital cameras and increasingly capable processors and transmitters as computers rapidly developed--and so it was only a matter of time before someone took advantage of that. That someone was the Israelis. Israel has a high level of technical expertise, large defense needs, but a relatively small industrial base, so it often pioneers technologies of this sort, and so it did with the Tadiran Mastiff.

This innovation quickly proved to be of significant utility in the First Lebanon War. Besides spotting Yasser Arafat, leader of the PLO, they played a crucial role in the still-infamous "Bekaa Valley turkey shoot" in which Israeli aircraft supported by UAVs destroyed a massive quantity of top-of-the-line Soviet hardware--almost 90 Syrian aircraft and 29 surface-to-air missile batteries at the total loss of minor damage to a pair of F-15s and one UAV shot down. Electronic warfare and AWACs control also proved crucial in this conflict, which in many ways paved the way for the successes of Desert Storm and the 2003 Iraq invasion; and reportedly shattered the self-confidence of the Soviet Union in its air defenses.

Since that first incident; UAVs have become an increasingly prominent part of the arsenal, particularly of the United States; though Israel and China also manufacture numerous UAVs and theirs are more popular in the export market due to lower prices and fewer scruples about "human rights" or "political stability". UAVs have become key reconnaissance assets and popular for precision-strike counter-insurgency missions. However, neither the United States nor China can claim credit for the latest developments--and Israel, at best, has played a peripheral role. The nation that everyone is watching now is Turkey.

2. Turkey

For most of history, Turkey; or at least the geographical area of Anatolia, was a great power of some shape or another. The modern Turkey, however, rejected the idea of empire and foreign adventurism under Ataturk; the father of the Republic. While it has generally tended towards the West--directed in that way both softly by the allure of Europe and drive for modernization; and with great force by the military, which has tended to depose any government that even hinted at reintroducing religious or Middle Eastern aspects back into the aggressively secular Republic, Turkey has not been a particularly major player in the past century. Despite joining NATO for protection against the Soviet Union--which despised Turkey's chokehold on the Bosporous--it never had much appetite for interventionism.

In the era of the "Great Convergence", where nations seem to be returning to historical norms of influence and power, it should be no real surprise then that Turkey has become more assertive. It has grown much wealthier thanks to its association with Europe; and that wealth is actually created by the Turks, not dug up out of the ground like it is in much of the Middle East. It is more educated; more progressive [this of course being a rather relative term] and, importantly, much better at fighting, than most of its neighbors.

Turkey has been working to build a domestic armaments industry with great success--barring a handful of key items like jet engines which hardly anyone can manufacture well, Turkey can do most things. In between indigenous development and picking up knowledge from South Korea, China, Ukraine, and so on, Turkey has one of the world's better arms industries--I'd say it's about reached the level that South Korea was at ten or twenty years ago, which is pretty good. Its drone program, however, started because of a different problem.

The Turks wanted drones back in the early 2000s for what we in the business call "reasons". Evidently the United States saw through this; because, despite allowing Turkey to license-assemble F-16s and build parts for the F-35, it did not sell Turkey drones for fear that they would be used against the Kurds[a perception that proved to be correct as Turkey has indeed used its UAVs against Kurdish insurgents]. As a result, Turkey decided to do it themselves, and started building up their own drone program from scratch. By the beginning of 2020, Turkey had a large drone program and advanced electronic-warfare equipment. But nobody was really paying attention to their drone program; it was a sideshow of limited interest compared to the big players, that would presumably be of some utility but not a game-changer. I mean, their premiere drone literally used an engine made for homebuilt aircraft and was the size and weight of a smart car. Nothing too impressive. That is, until January.

3. Libya

The Libyan conflict is a deeply convoluted one that is difficult to explain. In essence; Libya has been in some sort of civil war since Gaddafi was deposed in 2011, but the most recent division is between the GNA, or Government of National Accord--the UN-recognized government of Libya located in Tripoli--and the "Tobruk Government" which acts as a rubber-stamp body for Gaddafi wannabe General Haftar. Haftar started off this year with things looking pretty good. After breaking the second cease-fire agreement in as many years, flush with cash and support from the United Arab Emirates, Russia, and France, Haftar was on the move, pushing for Tripoli itself. It was going to take a while, but nothing could stop Haftar from defeating the ragtag GNA militias.

Nothing, that is, until Turkey unexpectedly showed up because of a completely different dispute over rights to the seas around Cyprus. Libya [the GNA to be precise] was willing to delineate its boundary with Turkey in a way which cut off Greek and Cypriot claims, and, in return, Turkey arrived after a highly contentious vote in the normally placid Turkish Grand National Assembly, with Syrian mercenaries in tow; but also a large number of drones--mostly the Bayraktar TB2-- and KORAL land-based standoff jammers.

What happened next was a deep humiliation for Russia in particular. Russia and the UAE had supplied General Haftar with a number of its premiere short-range air defense system, the much-vaunted Pantsir which was designed to shoot down UAVs, cruise missiles, and other small munitions. Unfortunately, the Pantsir proved much worse at shooting down Turkish drones than serving as target practice for them. Estimates suggest 23 systems were destroyed [Turkey even captured one system and presumably picked it apart for intelligence] while perhaps ~16 Bayraktar TB2 drones were destroyed--which doesn't sound terrible until one remembers that those drones caused significantly more destruction than the air-defense systems and come in at a third of the price; and becomes even less favorable when one realizes that as the conflict went on the ratio flipped increasingly in favor of the Turks. Ultimately, the Turks achieved their goal, with Haftar being pushed back to Sirte and another cease-fire agreement being signed. This conflict, however, has contributed significantly to the increasing rift between France and Turkey, and their respective relations with Russia.

4. Syria

Russia likes to test its luck--to see what exactly it can get away with. Invading Crimea, shooting down a civilian airliner, attempting to murder exiles with Novichok. Often, it does get away with it. But when nations actually push back, they often find great weakness--for instance, the infamous incident where Americans killed 200 Russian "mercenaries" in Syria after Russia denied they were Russian soldiers, or when American cyberwarriors shut down Russian trolls during the 2018 election. Nowhere is this more illustrated than in Syria, where, early this year, a "Syrian" airstrike killed 29 Turkish soldiers even though Russian involvement was an open secret.

What followed was not the usual vague condemnation and angry letter-writing that one might have expected. Instead, Turkey responded with a substantial escalation of force, again largely done by drones. Ultimately, around 200 Syrian government soldiers were killed in this short offensive--along with 45 tanks, 33 artillery pieces, 33 transport/utility vehicles, 20 armored vehicles, a pair of Su-24 aircraft that attacked a Turkish drone, and several SAM systems, which again proved largely ineffective against Turkish drones. While the conflict stopped before it went any further, the lesson was clear: Turkey was willing to escalate beyond where Russia was willing or able to respond, and there wasn't anything they could do about it.

Besides having a nice moral--extremely hard pushback is the best way to respond to Russian provocation, because they aren't expecting it and can't fight back since they lack effective escalation methods--this conflict proved again that Turkish drones were highly effective even against a state actor [albeit a weak one, like Syria]. The world watched--but nowhere else as closely as Azerbaijan.

5. Artsakh

Artsakh is; or perhaps more aptly was, an Armenian state--not recognized by any other state--within the borders of the former Azerbaijan SSR. It emerged out of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, one of the nastier conflicts resulting from the breakup of the Soviet Union. In short; the Soviet Union put an ethnically Armenian area in the Azerbaijan SSR that was semi-autonomous; called Nagorno-Karabakh, that Armenians viewed as rightfully part of Armenia. When the Soviet Union broke apart--even before it had done so completely--Armenia and Azerbaijan were already engaging in low-level fighting; and in scenes reminiscent of the Partition of 1949, Azeris living in Armenia fled the country--as did their Armenian counterparts in Azerbaijan.

Then, as the Soviet Union properly collapsed, both sides geared up for war. The Soviet Union had left quite a lot of stuff lying around as it collapsed; and Azerbaijan ended up with the bulk of it due to the disposition of Soviet forces. Both sides bought black-market weapons and armaments from conscript soldiers in the confusion of the the collapse. And then they went to war.

The result was a years-long, brutal conflict that killed tens of thousands of people--in two relatively small countries--and, despite Azerbaijan having more equipment, more men, and more foreign support--from Turkey, which never had much love for Armenia and was building ties with the Turkic peoples of Central Asia [of whom the Azeris are one], and from Israel, who saw a potential new partner in a dangerous region. Armenia had some support from Russia, largely due to connections through a shared religion, nervousness about the Turks, and feelings among the Russian elite that were more sympathetic to Armenia.

However, against all odds, the Armenians emerged victorious. In 1994, with the Armenians poised to break out of the mountains and attack the heart of Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan exhausted from years of war, a cease-fire was signed.

From that day onwards; both nations began preparing for the return of conflict. It was only a matter of time. Armenia had not only taken Nagorno-Karabakh, they had taken large portions of ethnically Azeri land as well, including sites that were of paramount cultural and historical importance to the Azeris. They also engaged in ethnic cleansing, and to this day Azerbaijan, at least nominally, has hundreds of thousands of refugees from the conflict.

In the intervening years, however, things changed. In particular; Turkey rose to a newfound regional prominence, and Azerbaijan, though being careful to always maintain a measure of proximity to Russia sufficient to not cause its rulers concern, slowly drifted towards Turkey and Israel. Ties with Turkey stretched to a mutual defense agreement. Ties to Israel included offering potential basing in Azerbaijan, the sale of oil [not many nations would sell Israel oil until recently] along with shadowy intelligence connections--Mossad operations in Iran are believed to be launched out of Azerbaijan [for a number of reasons, Iran and Azerbaijan don't like each other very much]. And Azerbaijan, noted for its oil reserves as far back as the Second World War; collected large revenues which it sunk into military spending. Meanwhile, Armenia, despite making large purchases from Russia, fell behind in military readiness, and in its economy--not helped by the fact that, because of a mix of pro-Azeri Turkish policy and Armenian distrust and even hatred of Turkey [thanks to the fact that Turkey argues over whether even discussing "those unfortunate events of 1915" is okay], the Turkish border remains closed--meaning that trade can only go via Iran or Georgia.

Meanwhile, the peace process dithered on, with occasional small skirmishes breaking out. The regular theme was that Armenia would hand over the Azeri-majority [now unoccupied] territory it captured, and Nagorno-Karabakh would, in return, be recognized, or become autonomous, or something of the sort. The Minsk Group led these efforts; though not particularly well--all three members had significant biases. The Russians were pro-Armenian though not anti-Azeri [mostly, they were in favor of the status quo, which favored them], the French were pro-Armenian [on account of disliking Turkey and having a politically influential Armenian population much like the Cubans in Miami], and the Americans were sufficiently pro-Azeri that they created manuals like this and defending the fictional nation of Atropia [which just happens to be an oil-rich, pro-Western autocracy that is exactly where Azerbaijan is] against foreign invaders became a meme among the US military--you can buy "Atropia Veteran" swag, and it became so transparent that Europeans complained about "defending autocrats" in the exercise and Turkish officials complained that "Limaria" [Armenia] included areas that should have been in "Kemalia" [Turkey].

Ultimately, by 2020, a few things had changed. After victory in clashes in 2016, and purchases of new arms, Azerbaijan was confident that it wouldn't fail due to military incompetence like last time. Armenia had elected a new leader, more distant from Russia [especially since he came to power in a 'color revolution'], complicating any Russian response. Not only that, but Armenia had begun settling in territory that was formerly ethnically Azeri, and had attempted to rewrite history so the land they had taken was somehow always Armenian, making a land swap less tenable--especially after the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh was renamed to the Republic of Artsakh. Domestic protests about a lack of action on the issue further spurred action, but perhaps the most decisive factor was Turkey's drone-fueled rampage and Russia's no good, very bad year elsewhere [from the domestic economy to the chaos in Belarus].

So at the end of September 2020, they went to war.

6. Curb-stomp battle

Course of the conflict by Liveuamap

Initially, the war looked like it was serious, but not out of line with previous escalations. Azeri and Armenian forces clashed along the border--but then Azerbaijan made a major incursion along the southern border, which is flat and nearly completely unpopulated, and through the rest of the war pushed through there until they ultimately cut the single road leading to Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia when they recaptured Shusha. At that point, Armenia capitulated.

While the exact details of why this happened are of relatively little importance, what does matter is what drones did. Armenian air defenses proved completely defenseless against the onslaught of Azerbaijan, with even larger and heavier systems like Russia's S-300 being destroyed by Turkish-manufactured drones. Even the An-2, a literal Soviet 1940s cropdusting biplane, proved lethal to air defenses when rigged with the right equipment.

As a result, Azerbaijan swept across Armenian forces with drones, targeting anything larger than a bicycle, destroying tanks, artillery pieces, and surface-to-air-missile systems alike. While initially Azerbaijan didn't advance, they pursued a strategy of attrition against Armenian forces--and were quite successful at it. Nowhere was safe for Armenian infantry--even miles behind the front, drones were still a risk. After a few weeks of this, Azerbaijan began their offensive. This was interrupted by several ceasefires, the most successful of which lasted around fifteen minutes.

In the meantime, Armenia and Azerbaijan engaged in tactics reminiscent of the War of the Cities. Armenians made rocket attacks on Azeri civilian targets, and even ballistic missile strikes with SCUDs and Tokchas against Ganja, an Azeri metropolis, with later attacks also taking place against Barda and other targets. Virtually all sources agree that Armenia conducted a deliberate policy of targeting civilians in retaliation from the advance of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan, meanwhile, adopted what I would characterize as a callous indifference to Armenian civilian lives. We have relatively little documentation on exactly what they did, but it is likely that major war crimes were committed against Armenian prisoners. However, we do know that rockets and cluster munitions were used against civilian areas of Stepanakert. By and large, though, Azerbaijan's government is mindful of global sensitivities and would rather avoid making itself a bigger villain than it has to be.

7. Ending

By the first week of November, despite appearances, it had become clear Armenia was losing. While they still held most of the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azeri forces were rapidly closing in on the major road [1 of 2] that connects Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia proper. Armenian forces were demoralized and lacked heavy equipment. Civilians fled; with most of the population of Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, fleeing before the road was cut. Analysts had few doubts that, within another few weeks, before winter arrived, Azerbaijan could take all of Nagorno-Karabakh.

But fortunately, several factors coincided. First, Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan realized the situation Armenia was in, and presumably began talking about peace. President [and resident dynastic autocrat] of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev had achieved most of the territorial gains he wanted, but as far as I can tell had little to no interest in making his country notorious for what would surely be the ethnic cleansing of tens of thousands of people. Russia was interested in making sure that any deal possible happened that could salvage its privileged position in the region. And since Azerbaijan had acheived its major goals, Turkey was alright with suing for peace as well.

The final impetus was provided by the Azeris taking Shusha, the second-largest city in the region [and one of tremendous cultural importance to the Azeri people], and, at around the same time, the Azeris accidentally shooting down a Russian attack helicopter on the border.

The ultimate deal was incredibly favorable to the Azeris, which should be expected given that they could have taken the rest of the region with relative ease. It involved Armenia vacating most of Nagorno-Karabakh and all the ethnically Azeri land they had taken, bar the Lachin Corridor. Of particular importance to Turkey, and to the Azeri economy, was that the deal created a corridor through Armenia to Azerbaijan's western exclave, and hence to Turkey, for transit. While still an indirect route, it is nowhere near as difficult as traveling around through Georgia. Russia also got to pretend like it still mattered by deploying a few thousand peacekeepers for what seems likely to be a limited time.

Azerbaijan celebrated. As far as anyone was concerned, they had won. Turkey also celebrated--they had, in their view, not only supported the Turkic Azeris in a victory against the Armenians, but also won a battle against Russia to see whom was the real dominant power in the Caucasus. Russia didn't celebrate, but felt that it had at least maintained some sort of influence in the region when initially things looked like they might ultimately sideline Russia entirely. Armenia, however, unsurprisingly, was enraged, and rioters smashed government buildings and forced Prime Minister Pashinyan into hiding; however, it looks like the Armenians realize that they really had no chance of winning and aren't going to resume the conflict.

8. What Now?

In a strange twist of fate, there is some speculation that peace is now more likely than it was before the war. In particular, some think that Turkey will be interested in finally coming to terms with the Armenians and opening its border with Armenia--which would significantly reduce Russian influence in the region and promote economic development--and some speculate that Azerbaijan may now be willing to make a lasting peace deal since it has, essentially, all that it wants.

This war chronicles one of this year's themes--the decline of Russia, and rise of Turkey. I would expect to see more conflict between them in the future, and I'd expect to see, in a strange historical irony, Turkey coming out on top. Russia has not had a very good year at all and I think this conflict is really just the latest example of how far it has fallen in its military capabilities and political influence despite what Putin shows off.

Small drones are now the obsession of every military planner, as is trying to figure out a way to shoot them down reliably. Already a number of nations have expressed interest in buying the Turkish drones that had such a decisive impact on these conflicts. It seems likely that this will especially transform lower-end conflicts where foreign powers can now intervene without risking more than a few million dollars in equipment, and where local powers can now field their own drones and precision-guided munitions while being, for the moment, largely unopposed.

Whatever the ultimate impact, though, it is undeniable that this change in warfare has been one of the more important and interesting bits of 2020 thus far, though it's behind some truly massive things. Unlike the coronavirus, or Donald Trump, however, these trends are probably with us to stay for a while. I don't think we've heard the last of the drone-warfare revolution yet.
submitted by AmericanNewt8 to neoliberal [link] [comments]


2020.11.21 04:36 phillypal20 What was the last year you truly enjoyed?

The last good year for me was 2016 for several reasons:
-Having off from school for almost an entire week due to Winter Storm Jonas -Receiving Confirmation -Getting a Gym Membership -Middle School Graduation -Starting High School/Fun Fall Semester -Meeting some awesome people in school and online that I’m still very much in contact with today -Hanging out with friends almost every weekend -Slither.io, PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator and other app games being popular -Great year for EDM music -My street holding it’s first and only block party to date -4 Day Camping/Hiking Trip with my family (first time being in a state other than PA or NJ) -Best Summer for Weather (Barely rained any days and was sunny all the time) -Watching the Summer Olympics -Amazing and Emotional Year for Sports (So many great games and moments) -Creating my first YouTube channel and hitting 100 subscribers in the same year -MrBeast Worst Intros Series (Back when he didn’t care about money and just made videos to make people laugh) -Many classic memes being popular that year (PPAP, Arthur’s First, We Are Number One, etc.)
The list goes on. Now I know that 2016 gets a lot of hate and I understand why, it was the year when American Politics started to become toxic like they are today and several terrorist attacks occurred, but not even that stuff can take away how great of a year it was for me personally. It was honestly the 3rd best year of my life with only 2010 and 2013 being better. Unfortunately I did not realize how good 2016 was for me until after it ended. 2017 was pretty boring for me, 2018 started off fun but the second half was depressing, 2019 was also pretty depressing for me and 2020 needs no explanation. Even though 2020 probably would’ve been 2016 part 2 if Covid never happened. I will probably always consider 2016 the last good year I ever had. I would do anything to relieve that amazing year.
What was the last good year of your life and why?
submitted by phillypal20 to decadeology [link] [comments]


2020.11.20 14:55 The_Fugitora I'm Tired

Looking for some validation here,
Been a Ye stan since Late Registration, got a shot of his MSG TLOP party framed in my living room, I only say this because I don't want the first comment to be "FaKe fAn".

Ever since the run up to Yandhi back in 2018 and the huge let down followed by the perpetually never ending "Its coming", to the memes, to the "Probably never coming", and every other project announcement that has came and gone since them, I'm just tired, I just want to be able to trust my favorite artist ever, like it really sucks that I can no longer even feel much hype with a feat, song, because I feel like they are all just throwaways without much substance. I don't understand how anyone is finding excuses for anything or even have hope anymore, it honestly feels like he just doesn't care about music anymore. Like yea I know that since like 2010 he started to move towards fashion and other ventures, but music is still his craft, and I hate to say it but seems like lately he is only doing it (Making announcements and what not) to get the public eye to promote his other ventures. smart business wise yes, but a slap in the face to all the real fans.
And for the record, I'm ok with the album delays and everything, but I hate how, even in every interview, he never acknowledges all the stuff he said he was going to drop and as the masses of us know, the release dates have become practically meaningless.
I'm Tired of waiting.
submitted by The_Fugitora to Kanye [link] [comments]


2020.11.20 05:20 Liars-Syndrome [TV/Fandom] After years queerbaiting, Supernatural staggers to the finish line

The second the confession scene came out, I knew I wanted to do a write-up on this. Someone else kind of beat me to it, posting the night the episode came out to explain what happened. However, I knew I wanted to include the next two episodes and the context behind it, as well as some results of Destiel that truly feel like falling down a set of stairs.
So… What’s Supernatural?
For the uninitiated, Supernatural is (was?) a TV series that started in 2005. It followed two brothers, Sam and Dean, who hunted monsters. For the first three or so seasons, it was mostly a monster-of-the-week type deal, and later progressed to overarching stories dealing with the mythos of the world, many of it biblical inspired, though it does incorporate other mythologies (ie Norse and Roman). After season three, the cast began to expand, including fan favorites like the angel Castiel and the demon Crowley, whereas previously it had mostly been the two brothers plus occasional side characters.
Supernatural was wildly popular, being part of the megalithic fandom known as Superwholock, a combination of Supernatural, Dr. Who, and Sherlock. This fandom was more or less killed overnight by Dashcon between seasons 9 and 10, and, aside from a brief resurgence during the 11th season, Supernatural has been declining in ratings ever since.
Dean and Castiel are Totally Just Friends
As early as season 1, fans began to Headcanon Dean as bi. Many interpreted Dean’s characterization as that of a closeted bisexual. People even made episode-by-episode lists detailing Dean’s bi moments. Although not all fans who liked the idea of Dean being bi wanted him to end up with Castiel, a very large portion did, and “Destiel”, as the ship was called, was ridiculously popular.
Destiel’s popularity was only inflated by the show’s relentless baiting surrounding the pair, to the point that Supernatural is common cited as the queerbaiting show. It’s really hard to impress upon non-watchers the extent of the queerbaiting that went on, as there’s just so much of it. Here’s a handful of highlights:
  • When Dean and Castiel got separated in purgatory, Dean spent months searching for Castiel and prayed to him every single night.
  • Season 8’s finale reveals that Castiel is being mind-controlled by angels in heaven, who force him to kill thousands of copies of Dean until he can do so without hesitation. Unsurprisingly, Castiel ends up fighting and nearly killing Dean. He is broken out of his mind control by Dean telling him “I need you.” Castiel then heals Dean while cupping his jaw.
  • In 12x10, they talk a Lot about human/angel relationships. When the episode antagonist, Ishim, an angel who was in love with a human, fights Castiel, he tells him that he’s going to cure him of his “human weakness” and then tries to kill Dean.
I really want to impress that these types of scenarios were common in Supernatural, and that’s not even bringing in body language. For example, here is a series of gifs of Dean reacting to Castiel drying his hands. Seeing how the show treated these two, it’s hard to blame fans for thinking or hoping there may be something more. There’s only one problem.
Dean is straight. He’s straight. He’s straight. STRAIGHT.
Despite its popularity, and the fact that Destiel was regularly baited, everyone involved in production seemed resistant to the idea.
Guy Norman Bee, a director for the show, tweeted, “I'm not sure how people get upset and offended when a story line that doesn't exist... doesn't exist.” WB executive Chad Kennedy said, “I support the idea of bi lead [characters]. But on this specific show, it is not our intention for these [characters.]” He later clarified that “if it served the story, I would support it.” (note: I cannot find the original tweets, but multiple articles have referenced them.) Questions about sexuality were even banned after a New Jersey convention in 2013. During a Q&A segment, a fan directed a question at Jensen Ackles, Dean’s actor:
Fan: “I just wanted to say, uh, I love your character becoming more comfortable with himself this season; I'm bisexual and I've noticed some possible subtext—”
Ackles: “I'm thoroughly confused. Really? The first question? You know what I said about being happy to be in the east coast? I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Don't ruin it for everybody now.”
Fan: “I do not mean it as disrespectful at all.”
Ackles: “I still don't know what the question was--I'm gonna pretend like I don't know what the question was. I'm gonna take a cue and move on.”
For what it’s worth, the fan apparently posted her side of the story to tumblr, and was not angry at Ackles and defended New Jersey con for being a wonderful experience. The original post appears to be moved or lost, but you can read a transcript here a little ways down.
As noted above, in 7x17, Dean breaks Castiel out of brainwashing by giving him a big speech that ends with "I need you." The original script read "I love you", but Ackles argued that it felt out of character. Writer Robbie Thompson later said he agreed with Jensen.
At Jaxcon 2018, a fan approached Ackles with an essay entitled "Spoiler Alert: Dean Winchester is Bisexual", and showed it to him. After signing it, he added "? No." after the title.
As interactions like this began to build, accusations of homophobia began following Ackles. It got so big that actual research articles were made, analyzing whether or not this was true. To be fair, there are also plenty of examples of him interacting positively with LGBT+ fans. Personally, I find it hard to blame Ackles for his reactions; I can only imagine what it would be like to have fans constantly harassing you about your character’s sexuality, though he certainly could have handled these situations with more tact. However, I also don’t blame fans for feeling hurt by how he responded. Regardless, it was clear that no one involved in the creation of the show had any intention of making Destiel canon.
They Probably Shouldn’t Make Destiel Canon
Supernatural has had atrocious handling of queer rep in the past. For reference, counting each and every character listed on the Supernatural wiki’s “Queer and Gender Diverse Characters” page, even literal background characters, a dog, and angels (who may or may not even be gender diverse), there are 39 characters that fall under the somewhere under LGBT+ umbrella in the whole show. Many of these characters die, almost all are one-offs and minor side characters.
But then they brought in Charlie Bradbury, a lesbian introduced in season 7. At the time, she was one of three recurring queer characters, along with Crowley and God. Crowley was, well, a demon, and not a very good person, and God was only once mentioned to have dated men in a throw-away line. She quickly became a show regular and fan favorite … only to be brutally murdered in 10x21, by a nazi, at a motel, in a bathtub.
People … did not take this well. The tags #BringBackCharlie and #DarkDynasty (the name of the episode) were flooded with devastated fans. To make matters worse, Robbie Thompson, the writer who created her and had worked on every other episode she appeared in, wasn't told about her death until after it had happened. Apparently he tried to talk them out of it, and even offered alternatives.
ComicCon rolled around, and a fan asked showrunner Jeremy Carver why Charlie was killed off. The cast seem delighted by this question, with Mark Sheppard (Crowley’s actor) applauding and Ackles propping his feet up. After a bit of fumbling, Carver eventually says something to the effect of “that’s just where the story took us.” This response was booed.
She … kind of? got revived in a later season, though it’s technically an alternate universe version of her, not the original. Regardless, everyone agreed this was handled terribly and that it’s probably a good thing Destiel isn’t canon, because who knows what they’d come up with.
Destiel Becomes Canon
On November 5th, 2020, 15x18 aired, and it broke the internet. Twitter and Tumblr exploded with memes—but not just any memes… Superputinnevada memes. Everyone was on tenterhooks, waiting for the election results from Nevada (and Philadelphia and Georgia, but mostly Nevada) when Destiel dropped. And at the same time, UK tabloid The Sun published rumors that Putin will be resigning in early 2021 due to Parkinson’s; this news was further spread by US tabloid NY Post. This unique combination made for a storm of memes—people were discovering both the Putin rumors and the fact that Georgia and Philadelphia flipped blue from the Destiel memes.
But that wasn’t all. Although those three were the main memes, the more you scrolled, the more insane information you discovered was also happening at the same time. There was a famous artist on Twitter, Mo0gs, revealed to be roleplaying as Ted Bundy; BTS rapper Yoongi underwent surgery for a shoulder problem; Bolivia’s President-Elect Luis Arce was attacked with dynamite; Republican David Andahl, who died from COVID-19 the previous October, was elected to the North Dakota House of Representatives; famous comic book writer Grant Morrison came out as non-binary; Bird Flu arrived in the UK; System of a Down released a new album for the first time in fifteen years; rumors of a 5th Sherlock season began circulating; the Carameldansen girls came out with a new song; Johnny Depp was fired from Fantastic Beasts… For the record all of this was also happening on the tenth anniversary of Megamind.
But wait! There’s more! As the memes began accumulating, more and more information about the episode in question began to surface. And as it turned out … Destiel was—not canon.
Okay, so, the Empty is basically Super Hell, but specifically for non-humans such as angels. Inside the Empty is the Cosmic Entity, a being which has been around since before the existence of God and the Darkness; it holds domain over the Empty. Back in season 14, a half-angel character named Jack Kline died. Seeing as Angels are supposed to go the Empty upon death, and Jack is half angel, the Entity invaded Heaven to drag his soul into the Empty. Castiel made a deal with the Empty to take Jack’s place. The Entity accepted, but decided to let Castiel continue living his life until the moment he's truly happy, because Castiel was the one who woke the Entity up, which made the Entity really mad, because all it wanted to do was sleep (long story).
Fast forward to 15x18, Castiel and Dean are being chased by Death. Realizing the Entity is one of the only ways to defeat her, Castiel confesses his love to Dean, which causes him to feel true happiness. As per their agreement, Castiel is immediately dragged into super mega turbo hell for all eternity. Dean looks… well, he looks like a Straight Man receiving a gay confession and does not return the sentiment. It is revealed in the script that Dean thinks of him as a friend. If you’d like to see this scene in all its glory, here you go. Even if you’re not interested in watching it, I recommend scrolling down to read the screenshotted replies, because each and every one is pure gold. The episode continues without Dean speaking another word, and ends on a shot of him alone, sobbing with his head in his hands.
Suffice to say that the decision to finally canonize Castiel as a gay man, only to have his feelings be one sided, and then immediately be sent to hell v2, is an … interesting choice. Given the fact that the setup for this was way back in 2018, it also raises the question of just how long they knew this was going to happen. Considering that Supernatural has been going on for almost two decades with rampant queerbaiting the entire time, almost everyone found the entire situation hilarious.
So … What Happened Next?
Well, in terms of meta, Ackles and Misha Collins (Castiel’s actor) both nearly died after shooting that scene. The plane they were in (coincidentally owned by Jared Padalecki, Sam’s actor) had an engine explode mid-flight. In a meet-and-greet, Collins confirmed that Castiel’s confession was romantic. Ackles said that Dean’s reaction was due to being unable to process it and that he was glad it was left open for interpretation.
In terms of the next episode, a couple of new developments go down. For context, God is one of the few characters, alongside the Entity, that have the power to retrieve people from the Empty. Jack Kline, the half-angel from earlier, becomes the new God (long story); Jack does not revive Castiel despite being devastated by his death. Archangel Lucifer makes a brief return; he has only ever impersonated past lovers in order to trick people, and impersonates Castiel to trick Dean. Dean is understandably crushed when he realizes what happened.
Nevertheless, some continued to hold out hope, especially as in 15x4 the writers themselves said that an ending without Castiel was a bad ending, and that people would be mad if it ended with just the Winchesters.
Onto the final episode.
After a vampire hunt gone wrong, Dean gets stabbed and dies halfway through the episode. Sam gets a call from a sheriff about some bodies that turned up, and sadly and dramatically goes to help him. Dean appears in Heaven. He meets Bobby, who tells him that Jack reformed Heaven with Castiel’s help, and that Sam would “be along shortly” because time in heaven moves differently. Presumably Castiel did this before dying. I don’t know for sure because Dean doesn’t ask. Bobby asks Dean what he’s going to do, Dean says he’s going to go for a drive. He does.
Cue montage of Sam’s life, up to his death. He appears in heaven as Dean gets out of his car on a bridge. Rolls credits. The End.
The Legacy
So… where does that leave us? Well, Mo0gs is cancelled, Luis Arce survived unharmed, the North Dakota Gov. appointed Wade Boeshans to the House, Sherlock season 5 is to air in 2022 or 2023, and Superwholock is alive and well on pinterest.
Okay, but really. Buckle your seat belts, folks. Here are two actual, honest to god, non-fandom results of Destiel.
Firstly, we have Destiel to thank for Riverdale’s infamous “I’m weird, I’m a weirdo” episode, as well as the lesbian epic rescue from conversion therapy. You remember the question from the 2013 New Jersey convention that got discussion of sexuality banned? Well, Britta Lundin was apparently inspired to write her YA novel, Ship It, based on this incident. Based on its GoodReads reviews, this books is, uh … messy. For some godless reason, this novel got her onto the writing team for Riverdale, where she went on to write said episodes (and edit for many others).
In a domino effect, Destiel actually contributed to Georgia flipping blue in the 2020 elections. Yes, really. Let me give you the run down. Generally speaking, the reason why Destiel exploded was because of Wincest. Many people were relieved to have a non-incest ship for the show, and this explosion of interest shot the show back to prominence, bringing in many new fans, among them Stacey Abrams. Georgia was flipped through grassroots activism, particularly by Tamieka Atkins, Helen Bulter, Nsé Ufot, Deborah Scott, and Stacey Abrams. During season 10, Abrams was annoyed by Sam’s choices and lack of communication. This frustration apparently helped form some of her opinions in her campaign. She runs for governor and narrowly loses. She then spends the next two years advocating for expanding voting access, an effort that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of first time registered voters. Presumably, she celebrates by unwinding with a nice relaxing episode of Destiel-is-canon.
And, of course, fandom is in shambles. Everybody is screaming. Many consider the ending pretty nothing, on top of just keeping Castiel buried. For reference, at the time of writing, to get to a fic wrote prior to November 5th, you have to go back 126 pages on AO3. Perhaps the most well-known of these is a fic in which Castiel is the owner of Four Seasons Total Landscaping and Dean owns the adult shop next door. There is already a live reading of it up on youtube.
TL;DR
Supernatural is a complete mess of a show widely known for burying gays and queerbaiting the pairing of Castiel/Dean, two of its main characters, for nearly two decades. Two episodes from the series finale, it decides to have Castiel confess his love for Dean and immediately die. Sam and Dean both die and go to heaven; Castiel is only briefly mentioned once more, and it's unclear if he remains in super hell. We don't know for sure because Dean didn't ask.
Aside from fandom discourse, Destiel is also indirectly responsible for some of Riverdale’s worst moments, as well as for flipping Georgia blue in the 2020 elections. Fandom is currently burning to the ground.
I personally would like to thank Supernatural for orchestrating a two decade long hate crime, and with that I’m just going to leave off on my four favorite Destiel memes.
submitted by Liars-Syndrome to HobbyDrama [link] [comments]


2020.11.19 13:45 kittehgoesmeow What A Day: GSA It Ain't So by Sarah Lazarus & Crooked Media (11/18/20)

"You're going to play gotcha questions with me?" - Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), asked if he thought Joe Biden won the election

Don't Wayne On My Parade

Eleven days after the election ended in decisive victory for Joe Biden, Republicans’ continued performance of uncertainty about the outcome is as appalling and dangerous as it is unrelentingly embarrassing.
  • On Tuesday, the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers briefly refused to certify the election results in Michigan’s largest county, for a very valid reason that definitely wasn’t “Detroit has a lot of Black voters and we don’t think their votes should count.” (Against all odds, a white man in a polo shirt summed up this stunt best.) The Republicans reversed course on Tuesday night, for a very badass reason that definitely wasn’t “reporters started finding all the racist memes on our Facebook pages.” As a cherry on top, Donald Trump missed the memo and congratulated his would-be coup enablers on their courage, after they had agreed to certify the results.
  • His hopes of stealing away Michigan’s electoral votes dashed, Trump has turned to Wisconsin, a state he lost by more than 20,000 votes. The Trump campaign has filed a petition for a recount, but only in Wisconsin’s two largest, most Democratic-leaning counties, for a very solid reason that assuredly wasn’t “we’ve been through this, that’s where all the young and Black voters are.” That partial recount cost the campaign $3 million, but if you can pay Rudy Giuliani $20,000 a day to rattle off conspiracy theories at an exasperated judge, what’s a few million dollars to lose Wisconsin again?
  • As profoundly dumb as all of this is, it is also incredibly corrosive. It’s no particular surprise that Trump fired DHS’s cybersecurity director Chris Krebs for the crime of debunking his lies about the election having been stolen from him, but it deserved immediate, unanimous condemnation. Instead, Democratic lawmakers have spoken up, while Republicans, with a few half-hearted exceptions, have sat on their hands. What will it mean for future elections that a defeated president fired an official who safeguarded this election’s integrity and then told the truth about it, and a whole political party said “sure”?
Republicans might be blowing up democracy in slow-motion, but at least most of them aren’t pretending to agonize over it.
  • Sources who have spoken to General Services Administrator Emily Murphy say she’s been struggling with her unilateral decision to delay the presidential transition, and feeling like she’s been put “in a very difficult position.” Boy have we got great news for Emily: This one’s actually super simple. There’s no real doubt about who won the election, so you can just go ahead and sign that piece of paper! Get a marketing job and move to Paris! You’re free!
  • In the meantime, Joe Biden has been pushing ahead with transition briefings from outside experts. Those briefings have limitations, as advisors outside of the government won’t have the most up-to-date information, and can’t share classified intelligence. The White House has refused to provide even basic coronavirus data to the transition team, and in spite of the lives hanging in the balance if sabotaging the transition creates problems with vaccine distribution, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the department won’t communicate with the Biden team until the GSA signs off.
Each of Trump’s far-fetched coup maneuvers has flopped, but way too many Republicans have been happy to give them a whirl, and there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t try again in an election with closer margins. Whatever surreal elements of this year we eventually shove down the memory hole for our collective sanity, that fact can’t be one of them.

Look No Further Than The Crooked Media

On today's Keep It stream, Ira, Louis, and Aida discuss Candace Owens and Ben Shapiro's fervor over Harry Styles wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue: "The hilariousness of 'bring back manly men.' Where do you want them brought?" Watch and subscribe → youtube.com/crookedmedia

Under The Radar

Donald Trump just gave the worst possible job to a former speechwriter who was fired for having white nationalist ties. The White House dismissed Darren Beattie in 2018 after it came to light that he had spoken at a white-supremacist conference, back when that was something the Trump administration could still be shamed about. Beattie then took a bunch of taxpayer money from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), in a violation of House rules. Following that proud interlude, Trump has welcomed Beattie back into the administration fold with an appointment to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, which was established for the specific purpose of preserving the memory of Holocaust victims. Sixty-three days until the Inauguration.

What Else?

The official U.S. coronavirus death toll has surpassed 250,000, and more than three million people are estimated to be currently contagious. Doctors on the coronavirus task force warned Vice President Mike Pence that the U.S. could see an average of 2000 deaths a day by Christmas (Scott Atlas was presumably in the bathroom), and urged Pence or Trump to stress the importance of mitigation efforts from the White House podium.
Neither of them has any scheduled plans to do so, but White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany called statewide coronavirus restrictions “Orwellian,” if that’s helpful to anyone?
New York City’s public school system will shut down for in-person learning on Thursday (though bars, restaurants, and gyms are still open, lol), and Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) has joined a growing number of Republican governors in issuing a mask mandate for the first time. All straight out of Animal Farm.
The FAA has cleared Boeing’s 737 Max to resume flights, 20 months after grounding it following two fatal crashes and roughly 100 years before we will agree to step foot on one.
Trump has ordered the rushed withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, though not the total withdrawal he had campaigned on. According to one administration official, this is part of the White House’s galaxy brain strategy to light more fires than Biden can put out.
Well, here’s unelected Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) violating Senate ethics rules by soliciting donations from a federal office building. Let’s send her home, yes?
Donald Trump was terrified he would be cut in half by lasers at the opening of his Atlantic City casino in 1990, while “Eye of the Tiger” was blasting over the loudspeakers. Just a nice little image to carry close to your heart.
Rockefeller Center’s bummer of a Christmas tree has been widely deemed a metaphor for 2020. The tree’s resident owl who was just minding his own business before getting dragged into midtown can confirm.

Be Smarter

One of the biggest takeaways from this election has been “Latino voters are not a monolith,” and while much of that analysis has focused on Florida, it’s just as true everywhere else. In Texas, Trump became the first GOP presidential candidate in a century to win Zapata County, which is more than 94 percent Hispanic or Latino. Dissecting the result the requires understanding the specific character of South Texas, where most Spanish-speaking residents self-identify as Tejano. Most consider themselves American above all else, wouldn’t identify as people of color, and have positions on gas and oil, guns, and abortion that are closely aligned with the Republican Party. The Trump campaign recognized and effectively targeted that specific community, and Democrats will need more than generic messaging to win it back.

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Is That Hope I Feel?

A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s policy of using the pandemic as an excuse to turn away migrant children seeking asylum at the border.
Pfizer now says that its vaccine actually seems to be 95 percent effective, and, implicitly, that Moderna can eat its shorts. Pfizer plans to apply for emergency use authorization from the FDA within days.
The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for the first at-home rapid coronavirus test.
Tiara Mack has become the first openly LGBTQ Black person elected to the Rhode Island state Senate, at age 26: “I'm going to be unapologetically Black, I'm going to be unapologetically queer, and I'm going to be unapologetically young, and I'm going to push back against the system that tells us we don't deserve justice now.”

Enjoy

Philip Michaels on Twitter: "This Senate hearing looks like the tale of a marooned lighthouse keeper and the robot butler he built to stave off loneliness."
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2020.11.19 11:27 kikychap09 5 year LDR relationship question

So two years into the relationship I found out my bf was saving images of chicks on his phone from Instagram. Most of them were chicks I went to school with, FYI I went to an all girls school. I found all the images saved in his phone, this was the first time I found images. I confronted him and told him I didn’t like that so he deleted them. Second time I found the images he said he deleted saved in his computer plus images from ig influencers and random chicks from Snapchat he’d screenshot from their stories. I confronted him and almost broke up because I don’t tolerate that crap. I almost left him and he apologized and begged me to stay. We had a deep conversation about it mind you he always talks about our future and plans for it but I don’t understand why he needs images of chicks. He says it’s just to pleasure himself. But some of these people used to be my friends before I moved away from college. This happened in 2018. Now last night I was going through his imgur app and found out he had two accounts, one for his memes and one for his “porn” stash. I accessed the second account and found conversations where in 2018 he was asking for nude albums from random individuals. And one particular conversation with a chick to send him her weight loss butt progress. And the chick sent three images with her back and wearing different sexy panties. I honestly don’t understand him, we talked all night about it and the conversations were all dated for the year 2018 which was around the time I caught him the second time. He told he me hadn’t mess with that since then because he meant it when he said he’d stop. But I honestly don’t know. I’m upset he did that, I felt somewhat cheated. He basically said that he did that back then because we barely saw each other and he’s hasn’t been doing that only thing is that he left the conversations untouched since then. But idk. I’m conflicted. I’m upset but I’m also not surprised. He’s not a bad guy, he treats me well but I don’t understand if I’m overreacting or not. Like I get it porn is fine but there’s no need to save it on your phone or ask for random peoples nudes when they are offering it through Imgur. He says everything I want to hear but I’m just not sure if this is normal. Btw I do send him nudes because we’ve been ldr for 5 years but these past two years I’ve been seeing him for longer time. And we’re closed on closing the gap.
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