Popcorn Is The Most Moreish Substance Known To Man.

Whenever I go to the cinema, I buy popcorn in the assumption that I will eat it steadily over the course of the entire movie.

However, once the first piece of popcorn touches my lips, all semblance of self-control disintegrates and I start to make my way through the bucket as if it is the first food that I have had after being lost in the wilderness for an extended period of time.

Popcorn is quite consistent in its flavour and texture so around a quarter of the way down the bucket, I tend to get a bit bored.

After a while, I get to a stage where I’m not really enjoying the taste of the popcorn enough to justify the number of calories I am taking on by eating it.

However, by this point, it is too late.

My hand is set in an unbreakable, mechanical rhythm and I cannot stop it from shoving handfuls of popcorn into my mouth, against the wishes of the rest of my body.

Eventually, I reach the stage where I am no longer eating out of hunger or enjoyment.

Instead, my desire to consume the popcorn is fuelled purely by a guilty obligation to finish the entire bucket in order to justify the hole in my bank account that I carved out when I bought it.

By the time the film actually starts, I have completely exhausted my supply of popcorn and am left with nothing but regret and the knowledge that I have paid about £100000 to have kernels permanently engrained in my teeth.

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4 Reasons Why Everyday Life Is Scarier Than Halloween.

Halloween is supposed to be the scariest day of the year.

However, I find it strangely calming.

I think this is because everyday life tends freak me out on a regular basis and, at least at Halloween, I have legitimate reason to feel this way.

Creatures such as ghosts, vampires, werewolves and witches are specifically designed to induce a sense of fear and anxiety and it is acceptable to be afraid of them.

It is less acceptable to be afraid of receiving a phone call from an unknown user ID.

To celebrate Halloween, here are four everyday things that scare me more than any ghost, vampire, werewolf or witch ever could.

1. Finances

As a fully-grown adult, I am expected to manage my own finances which is unfortunate really because I understand money about as well as I understand supernatural forces.

Just to clarify, I’d probably have a better chance of banishing an evil spirit from my house than I would completing a tax return form.

Fortunately, I have come up with some techniques to help me wrap my mind around my finances.

Unfortunately, these techniques aren’t very effective.

My current tactic for dealing with my student debt is pretending that it doesn’t exist which is extremely counter-productive.

Because it does exist.

And it’s going to be haunting me for years…

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2. Public Speaking

Sometimes, the fact that I am scared of public speaking makes me feel like a bit of a wimp.

People are scared of vampires, zombies and other Halloween creatures because they are legitimately dangerous – they either want to drink your blood, eat your brains or cause you some other form of significant bodily harm.

The only scary thing about public speaking is the collective judgement of others.

Unfortunately, the idea of being negatively judged by multiple people causes me to experience a paralysing fear that can be equated to the abject horror that Frodo Baggins felt when looking into the eye of Sauron.

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People often tell me that the way to conquer my fear of public speaking is to approach the situation with a positive attitude and visualise success.

However, whenever I try these visualisation techniques, I just end up unearthing the ghosts of all the previous times that I messed up on stage.

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3. Dating

Modern dating is terrifying, predominantly because it is so confusing.

Technological advancements mean that a lot of communication isn’t done face to face.

As a result, when you first start dating someone, most of your time is spent desperately trying to figure out what the other person is thinking.

Unfortunately, no two people think in exactly the same way and therefore trying to understand what another person is thinking through the context of your own thought processes is impossible.

For a lot of people, communicating with a potential partner is a bit like receiving messages from another dimension.

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Sometimes, you don’t get anything back at all.

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4. The Future

The future is scary because it is a complete unknown.

We can attempt to exert some level of control over the future by planning ahead but, for the most part, it is impossible to predict what is going to happen.

Some people find this exciting.

I find it absolutely terrifying.

I do not currently have a very strong sense of identity.

In fact, Halloween is pretty much the only time of year when I actually have a solid idea of who I am.

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Therefore, when somebody asks me who I am going to be in the future, my brain suffers a system malfunction and completely shuts down and I have to find a way to actively remove myself from the conversation.

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Whenever I can manage to haul myself out of my own narcissistic, self-absorbed, millennial mind bubble for a few minutes, I also get scared about the future of mankind and the planet.

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There is no need to invest in a horror movie when you can get the same effect by simply turning on the TV.

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I honestly don’t know how we all get out of bed in the morning…

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The World Is A Harsh Place Full Of Unfortunate Baking Incidents.

A few weeks ago, whilst I was watching the Great British Bake Off, I decided that I wanted to become a baker so I impulse bought a guidebook called ‘The Ultimate Guide To Baking’ in the assumption that it would instantly transform me into the next Mary Berry.

‘The Ultimate Guide To Baking’ is full of images of expertly constructed, pristinely decorated cakes.

Each image is accompanied by a set of instructions which are arranged in a series of ‘simple steps’.

In theory, following these simple steps will enable you to accurately replicate the cake in the book.

The problem with guidebooks is that they tend to be written by extremely talented people who have spent years honing their craft.

Therefore, what may seem like a ‘simple step’ to them, is actually quite challenging for the average person.

In addition, each ‘simple step’ is linked within a co-dependant chain of other simple steps so, in order to successfully replicate the image in the book, it is necessary to follow every single simple step correctly.

If you mess up one simple step, it directly affects all the other steps and the entire thing collapses – like a game of ‘simple step’ jenga.

I first learnt that simple steps aren’t as simple as they seem when I decided to learn to draw as a child and made the mistake of believing that a ‘Drawing Made Easy’ guidebook would transform me into a skilled and masterful artist.

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It turns out that 23 year old me can’t cope with simple steps either…

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I Wish That Anything In Life Could Excite Me As Much As Squirrels Excite My Dogs.

Autumn is an exciting time of year for my dogs, mostly because there is a significant increase in the number of squirrels running around in the park.

When my dogs encounter a squirrel, they experience a level of excitement beyond that which humans can cognitively process.

I could win the lottery, be offered a free luxury round-the-world cruise and discover the secret to eternal youth, all within the space of a single hour, and still not come close to scraping the surface of the excitement that my dogs experience when they see a squirrel.

Upon seeing a squirrel, my dogs become so excited that they are no longer completely in control of their bodies.

All they can do is run around, barking manically, their movements and actions controlled by the all-consuming power of their base instincts.

At this time of year, the squirrels are collecting food in preparation for winter which means that they spend a lot of time running around on the ground.

This puts them in direct visual range of my dogs.

Normally, my dogs can barely cope with the presence of one squirrel.

Seeing multiple squirrels sends their brains into overdrive and their squirrel radars switch to high alert.

This means that pretty much everything in the park has the potential to be a squirrel.

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I Should Not, Under Any Circumstances, Be Allowed More Than Two Alcoholic Beverages…

I like to think of myself as a sensible, graceful, sophisticated human being and like all sensible, graceful, sophisticated people, I know my limits when it comes to drinking alcohol.

I don’t tend to go out drinking a lot so my tolerance for alcohol is relatively low – on average, I only have to consume two drinks before I start to feel the effects.

Once I have had two drinks, I usually recognise that I have reached my limit and my rational mind prevents me from ingesting any more alcohol in an attempt to preserve my dignity.

However, sometimes, I get cocky.

Sometimes, despite prior evidence to the contrary, I become convinced that my body can cope with a further two units of alcohol.

Sometimes, I have a third drink.

This is the first in a series of stupid decisions.

For me, the process of getting drunk starts with denial.

Whilst I am making my way through my third drink, my brain comes up with a series of excuses to convince both myself and the people around me that I am still the dignified person that I consider myself to be.

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Eventually, however, the realisation that I am, in fact, drunk hits me with the force of a life-altering epiphany.

At this point, the fact that I’m drunk becomes the single most important piece of information in existence and I experience an unstoppable urge to share it with everyone in the immediate vicinity.

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For a couple of hours, the feeling of being drunk eclipses everything, including a sense of shame or social dignity.

This means that I am much more confident and much less socially inhibited than I am in everyday life.

Normally, I am quite a shy person who can be slightly apprehensive when meeting new people.

For me, making friends usually involves finding a person with whom I have a lot in common and then building up connection and trust over an extended period of time.

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2_LI (2)34_LIWhen I am drunk, I am happy to make friends with pretty much anyone as long as they are equally as drunk as me.

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Unfortunately, at some point in the night, I start to sober up.

The confidence and bravado that alcohol had bestowed upon me suddenly dissipates and is replaced by an intense vulnerability.

This part of the night tends to be quite an emotional time for me.

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Having an emotional breakdown tends to leave me feeling quite drained and, once I have attempted to fill the emotional void with various types of fried food, any remotely flat surface becomes a viable place to sleep.

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The Thing That Bugs Me Most About Summer.

I’m always secretly quite happy when summer comes to an end.

My dad is a redhead and although I did not inherit this trait, somewhere deep down inside of me there is a recessive ginger gene that protests whenever I venture out into the sun.

There also tends to be quite a lot of bugs around in summer and I don’t like bugs very much.

I understand that bugs are an important part of our ecosystems and that all life is beautiful and sacred and I am happy to appreciate their integral role in the circle of life… as long as they don’t come anywhere near me.

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I am aware that bugs have a vital role in natural processes such as decomposition but when a bug is buzzing around my head the only thing breaking down my ability to tolerate its existence.

The number of bugs present is proportional to temperature.

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So it makes sense that, as summer comes to an end and the temperature begins to decrease, so does the bug population.

In the past week or so, I have noticed that there are fewer bugs outdoors.

It is as if the bugs have sensed the impending drop in temperature and have migrated in search of a warmer climate.

Unfortunately, that warmer climate just happens to be inside my house.

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The other day, my room was quite stuffy so I opened the window to allow some fresh air to enter.

Half an hour later, it was as if Pixar had decided to use my room as a filming location for the sequel to ‘A Bug’s Life’.

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Having a load of bugs in my personal space made me feel all icky inside so I began to waft the bugs towards the window in the hope that they would go back out of it.

After a while, I was left with one stubborn insect who refused to leave.

I had an empty mug on my desk so I decided that the best way to deal with the bug would be to trap it under the mug and then transport it back outdoors myself.bugs_LI (2)

Once I had managed to catch the bug, I realised that I needed to slide a piece of paper underneath the mug in order to move it.

So I left the bug buzzing around inside the mug and went downstairs to get some.

When I came back upstairs, my room was silent.

I lifted up the cup and the bug was gone.

I looked at the empty space where the bug had been and almost immediately my imagination rushed to fill it.

Because I could no longer see the bug, my mind began to create scenarios to explain its disappearance.

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I became convinced that there were only two ways in which the bug could have possibly escaped:
1) The bug had sent out an SOS signal to its bug friends who had performed a rescue mission in my absence.
2) The bug had somehow managed to teleport out of the mug.

I didn’t know what was worse:
1) Dealing with a legion of vengeful bugs seeking justice for the capture of their friend.
2) Dealing with some kind of cyborg technobug, probably sent back from the future with the sole purpose of brutally assassinating me.

Logically, I knew that a bug not have the cognitive capacity to form strategic plans to bring about my demise.

However, in my panic, the rational part of my brain ceased to function.

I ran into my brother’s room and told him of my concerns.

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My brother’s complete disregard for my panic calmed me.

Maybe I was just being silly.

Maybe there was no reason to be worried after all.

For the next couple of hours, there was no sign of the bug and by the time I went to bed, I had forgotten all about it.

However, just as I was about to fall asleep, I heard a faint buzzing arise from the darkness.

I got out of bed and turned the light on.

The buzzing stopped.

I frowned and thought that maybe I had imagined it. Maybe my mind was just playing tricks on me again.

I turned the light off and got back into bed.

Two seconds later, I heard the buzzing again.

I got out of bed and turned the light on.

Once again, the buzzing stopped.

At this point, I realised that I had evidentially misjudged the situation.

There was no army of cyborg technobugs.

There was just one bug and it was engaging me in a much more intimate form of physiological warfare.

The bug was playing mind games with me.

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I couldn’t see the bug in the dark and I couldn’t hear it in the light, meaning that I was unable to pinpoint its position with any degree of accuracy.

As a result, I wasn’t able to locate the bug until the following morning.

When I finally found it, I felt like a heroic protagonist facing up to their arch nemesis.

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Except I looked a bit more like this…

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If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. I often have profound thoughts on important, life-affirming subjects such as dogs, social awkwardness and scary animals that freak me out.

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How Not To Pack For A Holiday.

I live in UK – a country that is notorious for having bad weather.

However, I would argue that problem with the weather in the UK is not that it is consistently bad but that it is not consistent at all.summer_LI

In summer, the idea of travelling abroad in search of more consistently nice weather becomes very appealing, especially as the internet provides us with access to thousands of websites advertising exciting holiday destinations.

This year, however, the number of travel destinations available to me has been somewhat limited by the amount of money in my bank account.

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I have decided to stay at home this summer which is probably for the best because I am not very good at preparing to go on holiday.

This is mainly because I have a tendency to pack significantly more than I need in order to compensate for a range of (often completely implausible) scenarios.

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My tendency to pack excessive amounts extends beyond clothing.

When packing, I am fully conscious of the fact that I’m going on holiday for a couple of weeks.

However, for some reason, I insist on taking enough toiletries to open up a beauty store.

I guess I find it comforting to set off on my travels safe in the knowledge that if I was unable to return home, I would have sufficient supplies to establish a living for myself in the local cosmetics industry.

I probably read about four books in a three month period.

However, when I go on holiday, I pack under the assumption that my reading speed will increase so drastically that I will manage to get through the same amount of books in the space of a single week.

Once I have gathered everything that I intend to take with me together, I tend to spend around half and hour glancing back and forth between the mountainous pile of clothes, books and toiletries and my suitcase, thinking that fitting everything in will require me to defy the physical laws of the universe.

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Any sensible person would approach this task in a logical way, neatly folding each individual piece of clothing before placing them one by one into their suitcase.

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In contrast, I attempt to shorten the process by adopting a more unrefined ‘shove it all in and hope for the best’ approach.

This involves throwing all of my possessions into my bag in the hope that they will miraculously adopt the physical properties of a liquid and adapt to fit the shape of their container.

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When this doesn’t work, I resort to sitting on top of the suitcase and using my entire body weight in a vain attempt to compress its contents down to a size where it is possible to close the zip.

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When this proves ineffective, I add the force of gravity to the equation.

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However, the sheer force of my possessions pressing against the confines of the suitcase is enough to create an equal and opposite reaction that overwhelms the downward motion of my body.

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Once I have realised that the force of my willpower alone is not enough to pack my bag, I tend to adopt the more tactical approach of rolling my clothes up like burritos in order to reduce their volume.

However, reducing the volume of the luggage only serves to increase its density, meaning that by the time my suitcase is fully packed, it is so heavy that it develops its own gravitational pull.

Getting to the airport becomes a struggle between my desire to move forwards towards the departure gate and the force of my bag dragging me backwards.

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If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. I often have profound thoughts on important, life-affirming subjects such as dogs, social awkwardness and scary animals that freak me out.

For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram.