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Check out this short film a reader made out of one of my stories

/u/chewyguru did a great job bringing my pie story to life. Be sure to check it out!

Here’s a link to the original story.

10 Really Minor Life Pro Tips You Won’t Read About Anywhere Else

1. Use fresh milk for your second bowl of cereal

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Flickr / Melissa Wiese

 

When I eat cereal for breakfast, after I’m done eating, I invariably wind up with almost half a bowl of leftover milk. The obvious solution is to pour in some more cereal, which always worked for me, seeing as how one bowl never really satisfies my morning hunger. But why is that second bowl never as good as the first?

It’s because that leftover milk has already been used. It’s not cold out of the fridge anymore. And if you’re eating a sugary cereal like Cap’n Crunch or Waffle Crisp, that first serving of milk is going to be overly sweetened. The result will be a second bowl that leaves you questioning why you chose cereal in the first place. Just add a little bit more cold milk to your second bowl, just enough to cut through the warm, overly-sweetened older milk.

2. Start paying your bills

I kept getting all of these collection notices and harassing phone calls. The envelopes always said “Past Due!” and the messages on my voicemail warned me about destroying my credit score. And it was all true, the bills just kept piling up, my credit score kept sinking.

And then one day I went online and paid some of my bills. I kept paying them and eventually they turned my cell phone back on. Now that I have service, the threatening phone calls are getting fewer and farther in between. So just pay your bills, and keep paying them.

3. Unroll your socks before you put them in the washing machine

For years I would scratch my head in confusion, wondering why my socks always came out of the washer and dryer still wet. Worse, by the time I got around to folding my laundry, the wet socks would have been sitting there sometimes for days, totally defeating the purpose of washing them in the first place. None of my other clothing seemed to suffer from this dampening. It was just the socks.

And then one day I made the connection: when I take my socks off at the end of the day, they always wound up rolled into a ball. Maybe it’s the elastic in the socks, or perhaps it’s the way in which I scrunch them up and throw them into my laundry hamper. I don’t understand the specifics. But what I do know is, if I can take the time to unroll my socks before I run them through my machines, they’ll come out nice and dry.

4. Brush your teeth

I used to think that people who spent money on toothbrushes and toothpaste were the dumbest of the dumb. Come on, those fossilized Neanderthal skeletons always have teeth, and they probably didn’t have toothbrushes and toothpaste. But everyone kept complaining about my bad breath and lack or oral hygiene.

Finally one day I went to the dentist because of a toothache. He told me, “Rob, you really need to start brushing your teeth.” He even gave me a free toothbrush. I thought, OK, I’ll give it a shot. And you know what? It worked. My teeth actually feel pretty great now.

Read the rest at Thought Catalog.

Online Hate, Misogyny, and Racism: A Defense of Reddit’s Effort to Clean Up the Internet

I’m usually the first person to mount some sort of a defense on reddit’s behalf. When people mention the misogyny, the racism, the various strains on online hate and digital bullying, I’m quick to point out that the large majority of redditors are fairly decent people, that on a site with something like nine million daily users, it’s unfortunate that a vocal minority of losers are granted a megaphone with which it can spew a steady stream of garbage, tarnishing reddit’s reputation as a whole.

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Yesterday the reddit admins made the long-overdue decision to ban several of its more toxic subreddits, most prominently, a group called /r/fatpeoplehate. As its title suggests, /r/fatpeoplehate served as nothing more than a petri dish of body-shaming and name-calling. And much like reddit’s infamous cardboard-boxed collection of various bodily fluids, /r/fatpeoplehate thrived in the darkness, amassing an army of followers who relished in the opportunity to share embarrassing photos and regurgitated hate-speech, all from the cowardly confines of their homes.

I spend a lot of time on reddit, but recent events have made it harder to say anything positive. If you were online yesterday, you know what I’m talking about. Instead of its usual stream of mildly interesting gifs and dank memes, reddit’s front page was filled with outrage, directed at the admins and especially at reddit CEO Ellen Pao. As we speak, some of the site’s most upvoted content is nothing more than insults to Pao, calling her a Nazi, the c-word, you name it.

What went down yesterday requires a little bit of backstory, which, even if you’re familiar with the front page of the Internet, it might not make too much sense. Like I said, I’m on reddit all the time, and I’m still trying to figure out where all of these lunatics came from.

I guess it’s important to state that the hate was always there. Maybe you won’t see its more overt face on mainstream web sites, but try typing even the most depraved fringe ideas into Google and you’re guaranteed to find a shadow Internet of likeminded bloggers and trolls. It’s there because it exists in the real world, it’s amplified by the anonymous nature of the Internet, and when you throw in a massive content aggregator like reddit, founded on the tenets of free speech, it’s natural that those venomous ideas will unfortunately find a place to multiply and be heard.

The hate exists on reddit. It’s not just /r/fatpeoplehate. There are the blatantly racist subreddits. There are dumb movements like The Red Pill or Men’s Rights which serve as a violent backlash against feminism. And then there are the more insidious hate groups, subs like /r/cringe or /r/punchablefaces, community boards that offer nothing more than a place to post a picture of a person thought to be ugly or different, all while the rest of the group spews out its vomit, unfortunately elevating its most upvoted content to reddit’s front page.

That’s how these groups get attention. Every once in a while the hate will whip itself into an especially frothy frenzy, and due to the nature of reddit’s system of upvoting and downvoting content, it’s possible for massively popular posts to break out of their respective subs and onto the front page.

/r/fatpeoplehate had been garnering more and more attention recently. The only reason that I became aware of its existence was because I’d increasingly see the wreckage of its diarrhea-like content spilling over into the more general, default subs. The mods of some of the larger defaults did a pretty good job of banning and deleting offensive users, but eventually the problem became so pronounced, the reddit admins took the unusual step of banning the entire sub.

The reaction was swift. Almost immediately after /r/fatpeoplehate was deleted, /r/fatpeoplehate2 sprung into existence, the same 150,000 users picking up exactly where they had left off. Only now they felt provoked, justified in their own nonsensical belief that they were the victims of censorship. “Free speech!” became the self-righteous rallying cry under which the scummiest of reddit’s slime lashed out against the admins, and against Ellen Pao in particular.

People might see the resulting hate and its prominence on reddit’s front page as proof that reddit was never anything better than a sugarcoated version of its bad reputation. And when you click onto the front page and see nothing but top post after top post celebrating the violent denigration of its woman CEO, it’s hard to make an argument otherwise.

I’m seeing arguments online like, “This is what you get when you poke the bear!” I guess the logic here is that it’s better to have the racism, misogyny, and hate all cordoned off in its own field. But all I can say is, I don’t think the hate on reddit is a bear as much as it is an infestation of cockroaches. Just like when you have a house overrun with insects, as soon as you try to confront the problem, as soon as you drop a bomb right in the heart of its nest, you’re going to see the bugs scatter everywhere. Sure, they’re going to crawl out of the woodwork and everything is going to look gross, and no, you’re not going to be able to kill every last bug. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before they crawl into some other dark hole and start the repopulation process once again. But just because the hate will always be here doesn’t mean that we have to stand idly by and honor its desire to exist. Reddit made exactly the right move in trying to clean up a long overgrown mess.

5 Signs You’re Currently Running For The Republican Nomination For President

People tell me all the time, “Rob, I’m definitely not running for the Republican nomination. No way.” But are you sure? More and more Republicans are throwing their hats in the ring, and as the race fills up with 2016 hopefuls, the statistical likelihood that you’re one of them shoots up accordingly. “But Rob,” you’ll say, “there’s no way. I’m not even a Republican.”

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Again, are you positive? I’ve heard rumors that former New York Governor George Pataki only yesterday found out that he was officially a Republican presidential candidate. “Really? Well that’s certainly news to me,” Gov. Pataki was heard to have said upon seeing his name in the papers for the first time in years. 2016 is reportedly still wide open for the GOP. Here’s how to find out if you’re in the running for the Republican bid.

1. Are you from Texas?

I only ask because, aside from insisting that Dr. Pepper is the best soda on the market, or spreading lies on the Internet that “real chili doesn’t have any beans,” there’s nothing Texans love to do more than run for President. George W. Bush was President, and that guy habitually screamed “Texas!” a minimum of 10 times at random points throughout the day. Yee-haw!

This year isn’t any different. So far we’ve got Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Texas born businesswoman Carly Fiorina, and Texas former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush all officially in the race. And this is still early. There are dozens of Republicans expected to join in before the week is over. How many more will be Texans? Enough is enough. We get it Texas, you’re big, you were once your own country, Austin’s weird, and you don’t like to be messed with. Can we please give some other states a shot? It’s like America is trying to watch a movie, and Texas is always swaggering in, sitting right up front in the very first row, and refusing to take off its giant cowboy hat. We can’t see back here!

2. Do you think you’re tougher than Hillary Clinton?

Have you ever tried to convince someone else, or yourself, that you’d be tougher on national defense than Hillary Clinton? That’s a red flag. Do you feel in your heart of hearts that the Hillary Clinton Secretary of State email scandal made America less strong at home and abroad? That’s another red flag. And although you’d never admit it, do you look at Hillary and think to yourself, I could totally rock that pantsuit better than her? That’s three red flags.

If there’s one defining characteristic uniting the entire Republican field, it’s that Hillary Clinton is not so tough, and that you’d be a lot tougher. So while your insisting that you’d be tougher than Hillary Clinton doesn’t necessarily mean you’re running for President, there’s got to be some reason that you won’t stop talking about her toughness, and if you’re going to keep saying “Hillary” and “tough” over and over again, it’s a little less weird for everyone if you just admit that you’re running for President.

Read the rest at Thought Catalog

19 Important Differences Between Long Islanders And New Yorkers

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1. Long Islanders are better at basketball.

2. Long Islanders root for the New York Islanders. New Yorkers wait until playoffs, and if the Rangers make the playoffs, then they root for the New York Rangers.

3. New Yorkers think they’re eating the best pizza and bagels in the world. Long Islanders actually have the best pizza and bagels in the world. And Chinese food. And gyros.

4. Long Islanders and New Yorkers alike head east every summer to enjoy a hot day at Splish Splash water park out in Riverhead, but you can always tell which ones are the New Yorkers: they run around barefooted. Long Islanders always wear flip-flops.

Read the rest at Thought Catalog.