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Hello fine shopkeeper, I would like to buy a chocolate bar.

What?! Shopkeeper, I demand that you sell this man no chocolate. 

Why not?

Because you’re not allowed to have chocolate!

Who said that I cannot have chocolate?

It’s the rules!

That rule doesn’t make sense.

Who cares, anyway – you already have carob chocolate.

I don’t want carob chocolate.

But you have it!

So what?

Other people like carob chocolate.

And if that makes them happy, good for them. But I don’t want carob chocolate. I want actual chocolate.

Why isn’t carob chocolate good enough?

First, have you ever actually tried carob chocolate? Second, there are fundamental differences beyond taste – there are benefits that come with actual chocolate that you do not get with carob. And even if there wasn’t, actual chocolate makes me happy. Isn’t that the point?

But it will change my chocolate!

How? You already have a Mars Bar and I want to get a Snickers.

That’s disgusting!

Why?

It has peanuts in it.

I like peanuts. More importantly, my getting a Snickers is ideal for you, as it has no impact on your ability to enjoy your Mars Bar. If anything, it increase space on the shelf for more Mars Bars, should people who like Mars Bars want one. I don’t have any interest in your Mars Bar. Mars Bars are kind of gross.

How dare you?! Mars Bars are the way the Mars Confectionary Company intended them to be!

I think you’ll find that the Mars Confectionary Company also make Snickers. They’re okay with it. I don’t understand where this hostility is coming from – my Snickers will not turn your Mars Bar into a Snickers.

It’s disgusting! You can’t have chocolate! Next you’ll want a Funsize Snickers!

What do funsized bars have to do with anything?

That’s what this is about! You want to get funsized bars when they deserve to be with someone who has a Mars Bar to do whatever. It’s not right.

Given how many fun-sized bars are languishing in bags, or being moved from shelf to shelf, never actually being taken out of the shop,  if someone goes through the rigorous process of vetting, probing, and loss of privacy that is involved in getting fun-sized bars and is successful, then they more than likely deserves to have all the fun-sized bars they want. However, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue at hand, which is my getting a regular Snickers bar. Shopkeeper, may I ask why this person I have never met before is stopping me from buying chocolate.

IT IS THEIR RIGHT.

How? Why? Did they do something incredible like cure cancer or slay a dragon to hold this kind of authority over my ability to get chocolate?

NOT THAT I AM AWARE OF.

Then why don’t you just let me get chocolate and not have to deal with this weird conversation?

YOU SHOULD JUST TRY TO SORT THIS OUT BETWEEN YOURSELVES.

Why do you even want chocolate anyway?

Because it’s delicious, delightful, and is something I’ve always wanted. My friends have gotten it in other shops, I don’t see what your problem is.

Why don’t you go there then?

I live here. This is my local shop. I’d like to get chocolate here and be able to share it with all of the people close to me. Why exactly are you stopping me from getting chocolate? 

I’m stopping you because someone has to! My conscience demands it!

Would you prevent someone in a wheelchair getting a Mars Bar?

No, that’s racist.

I think you’ll find that it’s ableist, but yeah. Would you stop someone who is a different ethnicity to you from getting a Mars Bar?

No, that’s actual racist.

Okay – why? 

It’s wrong to stop someone from having rights for something about themselves that is normal and cannot be changed. 

So why are you being a homophobe?

I am not a homophobe!

By deciding that someone is not entitled to the same rights as you or anyone else because of something that is inherent to them – in this case, their sexuality – you are discriminating against someone and since said discrimination is based around their sexuality, yes, you are being homophobic. You are actively making a decision based on your viewpoint to deny them civil rights because of something fundamental to who they are. Being gay or lesbian, trans or queer, these are inherent and immutable to a person, not lifestyle choices.  You are preventing them from getting and enjoying the same quality of life as you.

I’m being silenced!

No. You’re not. You’re being a dick. #VoteYes.

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1. A glorious burning of the 200 or so papers currently scattered around Avengers Tower (my office) in a bizarre and likely nude and painted ritual in my back garden.

2. Advising my neighbours that this is a perfectly sane and rational approach to achieve closure.

3. Marker drawings, because marker drawings are the best.

4. Realise that I need to buy new Letraset/Copic markers because I have no red or something.

5. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. My reaction to that series is Pavlovian at this point.

6. No longer worry about the internet crapping out when I discover a (new) gap in the literature.

7. PHOENIX. WRIGHT. 5.

8. Team Fortress 2, because I’ve missed those glorious cartoon sociopaths.

9. Continue to avoid ever playing World of Warcraft. It’s practically a sport at this point.

10. PACIFIC. RIM.

1. Go to London and visit Claire.

2. Go to Westport and visit family.

3. Go to Dublin and visit Starbucks.

4. Feel bad about FemShep not being able to romance Tali BECAUSE TALI IS THE BEST.

5. Write the blog posts that have been my iPhone’s To Do list since January 2012. Seriously, that’s crazy town levels of procrastination, population cabbages.

6. Do something amazing for my bosses because they are amazing and not because there is the outside possibility that they may read this at some point. Those glorious and gorgeous golden gods and goddesses.

7. My Kiss Kiss Something Something Movie night on June 21st, because more people should have a double bill of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and a mystery movie. With drinking. Also kissing?

8. Another Kiss Kiss Something Something Movie night, because Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is awesome and should be watched every month of the year.

9. Start a new webcomic. Maybe. Comics are hard.

10. Stop writing these lists because otherwise I won’t finish the MSc and this will all be for nothing. Then weep for the lost hours of men and dwarves and elves as they face into the darkness of evil rising in the east because I also forgot to handle that whole One Ring scenario.

1. Blog more.

2. Blog at all.

3. Tumbl!

4. Drawr!

5. Finish my epic three game playthrough of Mass Effect 1 to 3 as a Paragon Broshep.

6. Play an epic three game playthrough of Mass Effect 1 to 3 as a renegade Femshep.

7. Explain to people that in number 7 I will not be romancing Garrus because that would be like flirting with a space bird version of myself, and while I like me I don’t like-like me. At least not that much.

8. Worry that I am okay with the grammar of the previous sentence. And this one.

9. Resume tidying the house and sorting through what I’m keeping and what’s going to the psychic and literal waste paper basket of doom.

10. Catch up on a lot of TV.

10a. Okay, really just Doctor Who.

1. Read the entirety of Homestuck.

2. Finish Skyrim.

3. Finish Saints Row the Third.

4. Read The Nao of Brown.

5. Enjoy my incoming 3DS XL.

6. Finish Cathy Duggan’s art page that I promised her two and a half years ago.

7. Remember that it was actually 3 and a half years ago and feel very ashamed.

8. Seriously, it was totally the best costume at my Historical Fancy Dress Bowling & Quasar birthday party.

9. Re-read A Song of Ice & Fire. Again.

10. Realise that at least 4 of these are genuinely likely to happen.

10 or so minutes into the film…

Olivia: Is that lens flare or an alien?
Brian: It’s a J.J. Abrams film.
Olivia: So there will be nothing aside from lens flare until the last ten minutes?

Anecdotally*, there’s been a lot of grousing, kvetching and general complaining from men who have been to see and have subsequently been disgusted by Bridesmaids. Without getting into an epic rant about gender politics, I do have to wonder: have the guys who disliked Bridesmaids ever had an emotionally intimate relationship with a woman? Because there is a very sharp divide on that basis between the men I know who liked** and disliked it***.

* Or, if a single source would suffice, the Mark Kermode Film Review.

** For the record, I thought it was witty, sweet, painful and so much better than its competition by actually being about something, someone, and having the confidence to take a break from the yucks and giggles from time to time to have quiet moments of frustration and frazzlement.

*** Those who disliked it and enjoyed The Hangover and or obnoxious stoner brah! movies will be going to a special sort of hell if I ever get any cosmic say in matters final. I may have to console myself with the knowledge that they will never have sex.

Captain America: The First Avenger is Titanic for boys. Think about it: a period piece book-ended by modern-day segments in which a young man is desperate to cross the Atlantic and make something of himself. On the way, he meets someone who appreciates his inherent abilities and charms, only to lose him in a bittersweet moment of self-sacrifice. The only confounding variables are that Steve Rogers is genuinely likeable and there is a lot more KickSplodeAction. But they both have ice, so it all works out

Sincerity is a lost gem of storytelling: Captain America is oozing with it and is so much more charming for it. It’s especially important given how easily the film could slip into jingoism, preaching or obnoxiousness. I loved that Captain America is the virgin superhero. Guys need heroes like that, because meaningless sex is too much set out as the be all and end all for them. School is depressing enough as it is without the belief that everyone but you is getting some and you don’t know how to dance.

Nekobukuro is the place Olivia visited most frequently in Tokyo. It is, in all honesty, an oasis of cutesiness and cuddlenitude for cat-lovers who either miss their mogs or have not the room for them. It’s a blooming cat zoo.

While I am a hateful, spite–ridden old man who holds no life precious save his own, I can admit to seeing the appeal of Nekobukuro. Most people in Tokyo are apartment-bound and simply don’t have the room or the lease or the ability in general to house a pet of any sort. Given that children who grow up with animals tend to be more sane and well-adjusted than those who go without (Rohan, 2007; Rohan, 2008; Rohan, 2010; Rohan, 2011), having a sanctuary where you can bring the sprogs for a few hours and minimal cost to spend time with an array of critters is a pretty good thing.

The cats mild irritation at children unintentionally smacking the animals aside, it’s in truth a pretty relaxing place to go to, filled with nooks and crannies with and through which the animals can dash, flee and generally aim in the direction of for freedom, space, quiet or the opportunity to lick themselves. Isn’t that what we all want?

Nekobukuro is to be found in Tokyo Hands, the place to go if you need to buy anything that is not food related. Honest to Science Fact: Tokyo Hands ranks highly in my Top 10 Things I Miss About Japan list. I’m pretty sure the majority of gifts and souvenirs we brought back for people were from there, and better yet, they are rife throughout the city. On the first morning of the New Year’s sale, the queue outside the Shinjuku branch snaked out, about and around for a ridiculous distance. We walked on to Kinokuniya, but the temptation to join the queue was… immense.

Man, spambots are getting to be impressive things – their compliments worked very well against my natural desire to take all praise irrespective of source as some epic victory for whatever I’m blathering on about at any given time. If they manage to fix up their grammar, they might even fail to arouse my suspicions! After all, who doesn’t want to be praised by the author of post-modern genius such as Fragging Cubism Engraver? I know I do!