Tag Archives: bloggy

No. Mad. Intro

This is the intro to a new series/section of my site, as I’ve grown to love/appreciate another way of life: nomadic living.

While I’m currently not living nomadic, I thought it’d be fun to document the process I went through to get from point A to point B. (Also, figured it would help all the other newbs out there who don’t know a damn thing about it)

So, let’s start with the basics:

What the heck is ‘nomadic living’? A ‘nomad’ is a ‘a member of a people having no permanent abode, and who travel from place to place to find fresh pasture for their livestock’. While I don’t have any livestock, I have always wanted to travel and see the world. The one thing that has been stopping me (aside from lack of funds) is the fact I can’t take my house with me. Seriously, I want to travel and see the world, but not leave the comfort of my own home. Maybe that sounds a little ridiculous to some of you – doesn’t that defeat the purpose of travelling? Maybe, but if you aren’t comfortable, then there’s not really a point, is there?

This is why I was super excited to learn of an alternative way to live, called tiny living. The tiny house movement has been picking up steam in recent years as people realize that living in mansions isn’t exactly sustainable. Maybe you’ve even seen some articles or pictures on Instagram about it.

Most people who live tiny reject the social norm of staying in the normal 9-5 grind, and decide instead to live in smaller houses, buses, RV’s or even vans and travel around the globe. It’s essentially the ideal definition of ‘living the dream’ just… smaller.

Since you’ll be living in a smaller space (usually no more than 400sq ft is considered a ‘tiny house’), it will kind of force you into a minimalistic lifestyle, too. And, most tiny lifers are often nomads as well, since their homes are on wheels.

There are so many different Youtube channels/videos dedicated to this way of life, too. Some of my favourites include:

  • Living BIG, In a Tiny House (1st Youtube channel I found about tiny living, Bryce tours absolutely stunning tiny homes all over Australia)
  • Eamon and Bec (one of the most rockin’ couples I’ve ever seen [and would absolutely love to meet in person, one day!] who live out of their van, are from Toronto and vegan! They break down van life into easy to understand videos, and often vlog their travels)
  • Tiny House Nation (These two guys go around helping people build tiny houses, and make clients dreams come true by going so above and beyond what they initially asked for it’s insane)

There are many amazing tiny house builder companies all over Instagram as well. I follow a lot of them for inspiration, though I already have a floor plan of what I want my tiny to look like. I had first discovered this tiny house movement around this time last year (late 2018/early 2019), when I was beginning to think seriously about what I wanted my own home/life to look like.

… I just now realized that up to this point – since this hasn’t been a lifestyle blog – none of you really know who I am. That is in part my fault, as I was told by some trusted colleagues not to disclose things like my age, gender, etc. since I was trying to break into the world of writing. I think I’m established enough now to disclose the truth, so here we go:

Hi, my name’s Ater. I’m a newly 24 year-old (birthday just passed Feb. 15th which is actually funny b/c I’m writing this waaay before my b-day) woman who is currently still living at home. No you will not get to see pictures of my face. I believe I can both maintain my privacy and share what I want from my life with you. Also, when I get famous for my writing, I don’t want to be swarmed on the sidewalk. (And in case you couldn’t tell, this is partially sarcasm. I’m pretty sarcastic, and no, there’s no font for that) My feelings toward this may change in the future, but as for right now, I hope you can respect my privacy.

The place I’m currently in is scheduled to be knocked down in 2023, so I thought that would be a perfect timeline for moving out on my own. (Since I’ll have to pack up all my stuff anyway)

My ultimate dream is to be able to live off my writing/blogging while I travel the world and live as compassionately as I can. I’ve already begun to take steps to make myself profitable, and align myself with a more compassionate way to live, and I’m hoping to become (one day) self-sufficient in the sense I can grow most (if not all) of my own food, and be 100% off-grid.

My plan right now is to get a 25 foot coach bus to convert and travel in. I’m hoping to get an EV Star as it’s a solar-powered vehicle, and I really don’t want to have to buy gas. At the time of writing, I currently don’t have a full license – in Ontario, we have something called Graduated Licensing – but am working toward it. It would suck major balls if I bought a bus I couldn’t drive! The EV Stars are also not currently available for residential purchase, so I may have to bite the bullet and get a regular bus.

The title of this section ‘No. Mad’ is a play on the word nomad, as I mentioned above, but I broke it up in the way I did so that it also can be read as ‘no anger’, as in living compassionately. I think this simple title is a great way to encompass everything I want this part of the blog to reflect/be about. This section of the website/blog will be a lot more conversational as I open up about my lifestyle and I just want to say here, that if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment! I’m just a regular gal trying her best, and I bet I could benefit from some of your advice.

Aaand, I think that’s where I’m gonna leave this intro. We’ll be going into the topics of traveling, tiny living and living off-grid in the articles to come. Don’t worry, there’s a lot of material to cover as I live, grow and learn. And, hopefully by letting you in on my mistakes, I can help some of you from repeating them.

So… yeah. Welcome to No. Mad., ladies and gents!

4th Year Veganversary

I don’t want to start each of these with ‘isn’t it crazy’ but…

It is crazy! Being 4 years vegan feels awesome to say!

And as cliché as it is, it really feels like I’ve been vegan forever. For almost two decades of my life, I was contributing to such atrocities and I didn’t realize what I was doing. How someone could see the proof of what’s happening and remain uncaring is such a foreign concept to me, my brain seriously doesn’t compute it. Why would anyone willingly choose to be cruel?

I’ll admit, I was taught in school that beef comes from cows, pork from pigs, etc., but for some reason, as a child, it didn’t click to me that those meats were the flesh from the animals. It’s not exactly like they tell a bunch of kids that in health class. It’s not an excuse by any means – the info was always there to be learned, and I am ashamed it took me so long to begin to look into things – but as soon as I started to research I was so sickened by what was happening, I vowed to stop contributing to that right then and there.

While on the subject of the horrors that happen, if you haven’t checked out Earthlings yet, I highly recommend it. It’s pretty graphic, but if you can’t stomach what’s happening to the animals, maybe you shouldn’t be paying other people to do that on your behalf.

I also think it’s kind of funny that the year I went vegan was the same year I put out my first three novellas. I’m not saying it’s at all related, but well… three in 1 year is a lot.

Last year, I focused more on the food aspect of being vegan, so this year I think I’m gonna focus on all the good you can do for the planet.

 

Exhibit A:

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Tips - 4th Year Veganversary - Vegan anniversary, vegan food, animals saved, veganism

Look at those stats! I’ve saved 1.6 million gallons of water, 43,800 square footage of forest, reduced my CO2 emissions and saved 1,460 animals lives – all by just changing my diet!

Now, veganism is much more than just a diet, but even just by changing what you eat, look at all the good you can do!

To put these into perspective for you:

The average 8 min shower takes 17.2G of water. Saving 1.6 million gallons is the equivalent of 93,023 showers – this is about triple the amount the average person will take in their lifetime! (The average person will take 28,000 showers)

For baths – which use 70G of water per bath – this is the equivalent of 22,857 baths.

The average person eats 300lbs of grain per year. 58,400 lbs of grain is enough to feed 1 person for 194.6 years. (or 2 people for an entire lifetime [provided they die at 80])

Would you rather not shower/bath or eat for literally your entire life (and then some), or just give up animal products for 4 years???

Exactly.

If you’re interested in learning how to go vegan, to save not only animals, but the planet you live on, I recommend checking out my Vegan Tips page. I have everything from where to start to the answers to some of the most common misconceptions.

Before I went vegan, I consumed roughly 7,300 animals. That means I still have 5,840 animals to save – or 4 more years being vegan until my scale is balanced. While it’s sad for me to think about all the animals I carelessly consumed before I knew better, it helps to know that I’ve since stopped that and am working hard to not continue the cycle of horror.

Since going vegan, it’s made me much more cautious of not only what I put in my body, but to also be wary of what others tell me. I try not to take anything at face value, and I recommend you do the same. Don’t just trust some stranger-on-the-internets’ opinion – do your own research and come to your own conclusions. You may learn something about yourself, like I did.

I learned that while I liked to think of myself as a good, compassion person, I really wasn’t living that way. So I decided to do something about it. That’s the great thing about life! If you don’t like something about yourself, you can take steps to change it!

One of the biggest values I have is being self-sufficient. Should shit hit the fan, and a global disaster happens (let’s face it, we’re not very far from something happening), I think it’s important to be able to rely on yourself, and know that you have the skills to survive without relying on ‘society’ – especially because ‘society’ as a whole isn’t the best.

Let’s be honest, living in a way ‘society’ deems ‘unworthy’ or ‘weird’ usually just means you think for yourself. Why would you want to be part of a culture, city, etc. that frowns upon making your own opinions?

I hope to one day be able to live in a way where I’m doing the least amount of harm as I can. This means using less single-use plastics, growing most (if not all) of my own food, finding reusable resources for everything I can, and using renewable energy.

And, (not that I planned that), that actually brings me into a great segway into introducing my new article series: No. Mad.

It’s a new section of the website I’ll be making to chronicle my upcoming adventures of travelling around the world, learning about solar panels, and living as naturally as I can. You guys will come along with the ride and will get articles and a great inside look into the world I’ve been slowly working toward.

The No. Mad. Intro will be published March 3rd, so be sure to keep an eye out for that!

Aaand I think that is the perfect place to wrap up this article.

I can’t wait until next year when I get to say I’ve been vegan for 5 years, 10 years, etc.!

Oh, and, I still haven’t died from nutrient deficiency. 😉


Like this article? Check out more here!

PSA: 2020 Posts

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you all had a rockin’ holiday (and a relaxing few weeks to recover).

I wanted to let you guys know that the first fic of the year will no longer be going up this Friday (Jan. 17th). Instead, it will go up Jan. 31st. I got unexpectedly busy with launching Patreon and a few other ‘real life’ happenings,  so I will need to push it back.

I apologize for the semi-short notice – I was trying to get it done, but it’s looking like I’m not going to be able to meet Friday as a deadline.

I don’t want you to fret though! Since you can keep yourselves busy reading all the other fics I’ve already posted.

So yeah… Enjoy yourselves rediscovering old favs and I’ll see you all in two weeks!

Ater

PSA: New Posts

Hey guys!

As you may or may not know, my newest book, The Haunted Corpse is coming out October 18th.

Now that it’s crunch time, I’m going to focus all my efforts on releasing the book, so there will be no new content now until the 18th.

After the release, we’ll get back on track with Surprising Vegan Chips on Oct. 21st , and a Halloween fic on the 25th. Then it will be back to regularly scheduled posts every 2 weeks, until December 9th, which will be the last post of 2019.

I apologize again, but right now putting the book out is my number one priority.

I will still be posting on social media, etc. just no new content until the book release.

If you’d like to support me, please feel free to check out my other books, (perhaps drop a review?) and by getting excited with me for the newest release!

The Haunted Corpse is going to be not only my longest book to date, but it’s also my first non-collection book. (My first book that is just 1 continuous story.) It’s a dark fantasy and is the first story I wrote way back in gr. 8 when I first started seriously considering becoming an author. I can’t wait for you guys to get your hands on it!

If you want a little preview, part of it is in First Try, though I’ve since changed/added some elements to it.

Oh, and so you know what to look for:

The Haunted Corpse Cover

3 Year Veganversary





I can’t believe it’s already been another full year! It feels like just yesterday I was writing my 2nd Year Veganversary article – and now I’m already writing the next one? It’s crazy!

Again, it’s hard to know what to say in these posts – do I encourage you to go vegan with me? Do I talk about some of the hardships of going vegan?

Wait, I know. How about a quick food montage? Back before I was vegan, I basically ate the same three things over and over. But since I’ve been vegan? I’ve tried so many different kinds of foods, and even discovered some foods that I didn’t know existed before! (Like Nooch, seitan, oyster mushrooms and black salt)

I not only have expanded my taste buds by trying premade vegan products (like Daiya, Gardein and Tofurky), I also learned how to cook, and I’ve gotta say, I can make some pretty kick-ass things in the kitchen now, compared to the not knowing how to boil hot-dogs before.

Check out all the cool, new shit I learned how to make:

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - PETA SolFood Vegan's Spicy Fried Chicken Burger - seitan, vegan food, cooking adventures

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Seitan Bites - vegan food, cooking adventures

This is literally wheat gluten, water (or vegetable broth) and spices. It’s magic! And tastes awesome. I love getting to spice the food right from it’s conception – it gives it so much more flavour, instead of starting with a whole, plain slab of meat and then only putting the seasoning on the outside.

Also, you can turn this into any meat you want – the way you spice it gives it it’s flavour. And, because you’re hand shaping, you can also make it look like whatever you want.

Need some chick’n ‘breasts’? No problem.

AterImber.com - Seitan Chick'N Vegan Recipe

Sausages? Sure thing!

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Spicy Seitan Sausages - vegan food, cooking adventures

Need some wings? Got that too.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Buffalo Seitan Wings - vegan food, cooking adventures

What about burgers?

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - PETAs SolFood Vegans Spicy Fried Chicken - seitan, vegan food, cooking adventures

Yep! Still not a problem. These were actually the first time I made seitan, and was taken from PETA’s SolFood Vegan’s Spicy Fried Chicken recipe.

You could even just leave it together and make a roast out of it, if you really wanted.

The possibilities with seitan are damn near endless.

And it’s got 62g of protein/1C. So, y’know you don’t have to worry about dying from protein deficiency.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Meatball-less Sub w/ Taquitos - Vegan food, cooking adventures

Taquitos? I didn’t even know these were a thing before I discovered them at Good Rebel, and then learned how to make a homemade version.

Side note, if you live in Toronto, you should definitely check Good Rebel out. They’re small, but it’s like a vegan wonderland in there, they have so many products! Also, their egg and sausage breakfast sandwich is amazing.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - The Vegan Zombie Mozzeralla Cheese Sticks - vegan food, cooking adventures

Mozzarella sticks is something I never had before going vegan, let alone know how to make. This recipe I actually got from The Vegan Zombie.

There are a lot of different foods I never tried until I went vegan. Not even just ‘typical’ vegan foods – like seitan, or durian (which admittedly I still haven’t had) – but ‘normal’ foods, like garlic bread, poutine, milkshakes – pretty much anything that had milk in it, I never tried.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Cooking Adventures - Sushi - vegan food

Uhm, hand-rolling sushi with no fish? Oh yeah, I did that, too. It was fun! And apparently because of my small hands, I was naturally good at rolling them.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - HotforFood - HotforFood's Cookbook: 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face - Cauliflower Wings and Ranch dip - vegan food

These I made from my favourite vegan Youtubers, HotforFood. Lauren makes amazing vegan food videos, and makes a lot of ‘regular’ foods (ie burgers, wings, etc.) and not just salads. I highly, highly recommend you check out her channel, and that you buy her cookbook 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face. I was lucky enough to get her to sign it at this past years’ Vegandale festival and have made only a few things out of the book, (one of my favs is her Ranch dip) but am very excited to continue trying out more of her recipes.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmellows and Chocolate Drizzle - vegan food, vegan cupcakes, vegan desserts

I learned how to make chocolate cupcakes from scratch, and was pleasantly surprised that my vegan egg substitute of applesauce for eggs worked! The last time I had tried this switch, I was making brownies, and it didn’t exactly work out.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vanilla Cherry Pie Cupcakes - Vegan Food - vegan desserts

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Chocolate Cherry Pie Cupcakes - Vegan Food - vegan desserts

I also invented my own Cherry-Pie Cupcakes after learning how to make the cupcakes above. I’ve made these the past 2 years for my dads’ birthday and he absolutely loves them. (These pictures are a bit ‘foggy’ because I had icing on the camera)

It’s not even just the foods I’ve learned how to make, there’s also a whole world of restaurants and pre-made foods I never would’ve discovered had I not got into veganism!

Pochiche Poutine - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Poutine! It’s always a win. Look at that deliciousness!

Globally Local Crispy Chickn Burger - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Globally Local I’m a fan of – and they’re not even available in Toronto yet! I had the great fortune of trying them at the festival both years, and neither was disappointing. (With the exception that they aren’t in Toronto!)

AterImber - The Veg Life - Hogtown Vegan - Unchick'N Ceasar Wrap - Vegan food

Hogtown Vegan is in Toronto, and this thing is amazing, too. It’s giant, delicious, and was actually the first time I ever tried seitan – and that was even before I went vegan! It’s since become my ‘regular’ order when I go there. Some of my other favourites of theirs is their poutine, mac n cheese and chick’n burger. I highly recommend you check them out as well, if you’re ever in the neighbourhood.

These guys I only tried once, but again, was blown away. The sandwich was awesome, and it saddens me that they’re all the way in Texas. Also, those were oyster mushrooms? Whaaat?

Kellys Bakeshop Salted Caramel Cupcake - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Salted Caramel cupcakes are a must! I loved these so much and was very upset I was only able to buy one.

I won’t give you the total play-by-play, I’ll leave my food adventures on my Instagram. Also, if you want to check out the reviews I did of the above restaurant foods, you can find them here.

With all the awesome vegan restaurants opening, and all the new products that are becoming available, it’s becoming so easy to go vegan.

Also, if the food wasn’t enough to convince you, maybe this will:

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - 3 Year Veganversary - Vegan Calculations: animals, water, and forest saved

Whether you’re thinking about going vegan for the animals, your health, or the environment, you can’t argue with numbers like these. 1,000+ animals saved in the 3 years I’ve been vegan by doing nothing else but changing my diet? Can I get a hell yeah?

Being vegan is one of the most passive ways to help save the planet and animals that I can think of. You don’t have to go out and protest, you don’t have to talk about it. You can be a quiet activist and vote with your dollar.

With so many great options available, and so many stats outlining the dangers of not going vegan, I’m truly baffled that some people haven’t gotten on board yet. I mean, I haven’t been vegan forever, but I don’t think I ever tried debating that animal agriculture was good for the environment, or that murdering innocent beings was right.

Seriously, how are there still people who think veganism isn’t the answer?


Want to check out how much YOU save by being vegan? Do so here!

Want to learn more about veganism? Check out more tips here!

Last Post of 2018

This is the last post of the year!

I’m taking a vacation starting today (Dec. 17th), and I won’t be back until Feb. 1st, where there will be a brand new TAF waiting for you. (Feb. 8th) Don’t worry though, I’ve already uploaded this years’ holiday fics. You can find them, as well as other fics here.

I can’t believe it’s already the end of 2018! Wow.

What a year, huh? I started a Subscriber List, started a new vegan series, got new/more merch in my Zazzle shop and published my debut, non-fanfiction book! (Which is 50% off until Jan. 4th!)

And, that’s not even counting the Vegandale Festival I went to in the summer. So much has happened!

I can’t believe how much this site has grown in just two years’ time. It was really only last year when I had decided on focusing on the website. And now look at it – it’s amazing to see the difference.

See for yourself:

AterImber.com - Bloggy - Original Website Design

I know, it was pretty bad, right? That was called the Aladdin theme. (In case you were wondering) And that terrible, terrible very first Don’t Get Caught cover… *shudders*

Needless to say, I’m very proud of how far it’s come since then. And it’ll only keep getting better!

I have some new things in the works for you guys, including new merch, my second non-fanfiction book, and more! Sign up for my subscriber list (linked above) to keep up to date with all the news.

One thing I’d like to do is to try moving farther from fanfiction for the Throw Away Fics. I’d like to start posting more non-fanfiction short stories, with the exception of posting fanfiction on holidays. So that will be one change you can expect to come.

All the content on the site will stick to the posting schedule it’s already on, so there’s no need to worry about that.

For simplicity sake, here’s the schedule:

TAF: Every 2nd Friday (starting Feb. 8th, then Feb. 22nd, etc.)

Articles: Every 2nd Monday (beginning Feb. 11th, then Feb. 25th, etc.)

Product Reviews: 13th of every month

And of course, none of this would be possible without all you guys out there who read/visit the site. I want to thank all of you so much for your support of what I’m doing.

That’s pretty much everything, I believe. Oh, during my vacation from posting, I will still be posting on social media, so feel free to follow me if you’d like to keep up with all the holiday baking/cooking/etc. I’ll be getting into. (You can follow me by clicking on the I’m Over Here Too! icons in the left side-bar)

Okay now that’s everything.

I hope you guys all have a wonderful, relaxing holiday season, and I’ll see you all in 2019!

Why Jigsaw Isn’t Actually A Horror Movie Villain

Chucky, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Scream – these classic horror movies have one thing in common that, when put against Saw, well, something just seems off. I’ve heard many people complain about the franchise as a whole. People say that it’s not good, doesn’t deserve to be on lists with other classic horror movies, etc. and, they’re right. But not for the reason they think.

People get so irrevocably enraged when they see Saw in lists with other classic horror movies. But why?

Because John Kramer isn’t actually a horror movie villain.

Okay, that may not be their reason, but it’s mine.

And here’s why:

(Spoilers ahead – read at own risk!)

1. He’s Never Actually Killed Anybody

Whether you hate, love or love-to-hate the franchise, you can’t deny that, upon watching the eight (yes, eight) movies, you never actually see John Kramer stab/shoot/behead or otherwise kill a character on screen with his own two hands.

He puts his subjects in games and always gives them a way to survive. It’s not shown once that John Kramer himself straight up murders anybody. That’s one of the biggest differences between him and the classics.

The closest John gets to actually killing somebody would be in the first movie, two detectives are about to arrest John, when, he slashes Detective David Tapps’ throat. He does this in a bid to escape, (which works), and though it’s never outright said whether done on purpose, Detective Tapp survived the attack.

 

2. He Doesn’t Condone Murder, Either

There’s a scene in the 3rd Saw movie where it’s revealed that one of his disciples, Amanda had killed someone who had survived one of the traps. At this point, John tells her, he ‘despises murderers.

In the same movie, Amanda designed a trap to kill Detective Allison Kerry. John again, tells her, ‘I selected you for the honour of carrying on my life’s work. But you didn’t. You didn’t test anyone’s will to live. Instead you took away their only chance. Your games were unwinnable, your subjects merely victims.

John also voices his thoughts on intentionally killing again in the 5th movie. John is talking to Detective Hoffman, who had killed a man in a Saw-style trap. John took issue with the fact Hoffman hadn’t given the victim a chance to escape (much like Amanda), as evident by the following:

J: ‘They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I find it somewhat distasteful to be given credit for work that’s not mine. (Holds up newspaper with the headline ‘Jigsaw Killer Responsible for Pendulum Murder’) Especially inferior work. …Vengeance can change a person. Make you into something you never thought yourself capable of being. But unlike you, I’ve never killed anyone. I give people a chance.’

 

3. The Whole Point of The Games Is Rehabilitation

This is something that John has said multiple times throughout the movies, whenever someone asks him why he does what he does, or what the point of it is. These movies aren’t slasher movies! He takes no pride when the people in his traps die, and he doesn’t want them to.

Here are just a few quotes (not including the ones from above) from the man himself on his work:

  • It was the police and the press who coined the nickname Jigsaw. I never once encouraged or claimed that. The jigsaw piece that I cut from my subjects was only ever meant to be a symbol that that subject was missing something. A vital piece of the human puzzle. The survival instinct. (Saw 2)
  • You can dispense justice and give people a chance to value their lives in the same moment. (Saw 5)
  • Until a person is faced with death, it’s impossible to tell if they have what it takes to survive. (Saw 6)
  • Once you see death up close, then you know what the value of life really is (Saw 6)

There are many other quotes, but I feel these are some of the best to represent the point he, and I, am trying to make. He’s not a stone-cold killer – he hates murderers! He believes that if you push a person to the limits, they will have a newfound respect for their life. And, call me crazy, but I can understand that train of thought. Not saying him putting them in life threatening situations is rational or a good idea – just… I can see the logic.

 

4. When People Pass, He Helps Them

Amanda is probably the biggest example of this in the series. Once Amanda passed her test, he congratulated her on surviving, took her in, and gave her life a purpose. She was lost and he gave her what she needed. She’s the one who kept messing it up. He kept testing her, and she kept failing. He was giving her chance after chance, even admits to wanting to leave his legacy to her but no. She went off the deep end and look what happened, she ended up getting killed because of her choices.

Doctor Gordon is similar. After he passed the test, it was revealed John took him, cauterized his leg and nursed him back to health. Both ended up being so grateful, they wanted to help John continue his work. Because being in the traps gave them a new outlook on life. (Aka, his rehabilitation worked.)

 

5. He Has No Signature Weapon

Freddy has that claw hand, Michael has his machete, Leatherface has a chainsaw, Ghostface uses a knife, Chucky is a doll – all the great horror movie villains have that one weapon you see and instantly associate with them. John… doesn’t. Sure, the traps used in the movies are very specifically his, but he doesn’t stick to one type of ‘killing method’… mainly because his objective isn’t to kill.

Even putting the fact he doesn’t use the traps to murder aside, he’s still used everything from an incinerator (Saw 2) to spraying someone with cold water until they froze to death (Saw 3), to a cyclone powered by a motorcycle (Saw 8). Perhaps the most notable trap used during the series was the reverse bear trap, but not because that’s the one John preferred over the others, or that it was the trap that was used the most – it’s just because it’s really friggin’ cool.

You can’t deny you can’t be a notable villain without having that thing.

 

6. He Tells His Victims How To Survive

He literally tells them, every time without fail what they need to do in order to survive the game. He makes it a point to be the first thing that happens when they wake up: the tape/thing with the rules on it plays automatically. He makes it hard, but fair. They always have a way out, every. Single. Time. The only traps in the whole series that aren’t escapable, aren’t even his! And, once he finds out what they’ve done, he yells/reprimands them and tells them that’s not what they’re trying to accomplish.

In what other horror movie does the killer say, ‘if you run this way you’ll escape,’ or, ‘my weakness is *insert random object*,’ ‘I can’t swim! Better hope you don’t head for the lake!’ No. None of them give their victims a chance. The only objective on their minds is to kill, just because they can.

 

7. He Doesn’t Get Pleasure Out of It

Another classic horror villain thing: killing for pleasure. John would probably scoff at that if someone accused him of such things. Just as he never adopted the Jigsaw nickname, he doesn’t put people in traps for the fun of it. He uses it as a learning tool. (Albeit an extreme one) When the people in the traps don’t make it – though he left it ultimately up to them – it’s not hard to see he even looks sad when they don’t make it. You can see it pains him that they didn’t have what it took to survive. Though it’s never outwardly said in the franchise, you can tell in his face when they talk about victims not making it, it pains him.

 

8. He Doesn’t Use His Back Story as an Excuse

Let’s be honest, losing your unborn son and then learning you have inoperable cancer has got to suck, but all things considered, he handles his past pretty well. He doesn’t burn down a school because people were mean to him *cough, cough* Carrie! *cough cough*, he doesn’t blame a voice in his head for making him murder, and he most definitely doesn’t pin his kills on avenging his mother.

It would be so easy for someone as smart as John to use the traps for straight up murder, or, even screw the traps and just go on a killing spree like other horror villains, but, instead, he allows his past to give him a new purpose. He instead, dedicates his life to helping other people. He openly tells people throughout the series his beliefs and what he plans to do. He’s never dishonest or lies to the people in the traps to get what he wants. He omits certain truths, or withholds certain information, but never straight up lies. He doesn’t need to.

 

9. He’s Got a Plan (And Doesn’t Deviate)

If you’re not on his list, you’re most probably safe. He doesn’t suddenly switch targets because that person happens to be closer/easier to kill then the one he was planning on getting. He doesn’t distract himself with people not already on his radar. He’s got a very concrete plan in his head of how everything’s going to go. His plan even accounts for when his disciples inevitably differ from what he expects them to do. He’s ready for it. He’s anticipated every possible angle and outcome and is rarely (if ever) surprised/caught off guard during the series.

Throughout the series, and, perhaps one of the coolest parts about it, is that it’s revealed everything ties together in the end. Even characters you had no idea even knew each other all had an affect on the events that transpired. It’s one of the things I hands-down love most about the series.

10. He Doesn’t Hold Grudges

Most (not all) of the notorious big baddies in horror movies all have the same M.O: Revenge.

You could argue that John does get revenge by placing the people who he feels have wronged him/their mistakes somehow affected his life in his games, but he doesn’t do it from a selfish stand-point. He doesn’t put you in the game unless you deserve to be there. And, almost all of the people he puts in there belong. Throughout the movies it’s always explained, even the seemingly random people at the beginnings who die before the title shows up – throughout each movie, (if you pay attention) they reveal how all the characters are connected. It’s actually one of the cooler aspects of the movies.

 

So, whether you love, hate, or love to hate the Saw franchise, I hope this list has helped you realize that John Kramer doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with Freddy, Jason, Chucky or the rest of the horror movie baddies.

He might be a bad guy, but there’s no denying he’s just not a bad guy.

Top 5 Pros/Cons of Working From Home




You don’t have to get up early every morning, deal with rush hour, you’re your own boss, you get to work on your schedule. What could be better, right?

Wrong.

It’s not all sunshine and good times. Working from home is actually a giant pain in the ass. It’s one of those things you love-hate. On the one hand it can get pretty stressful/hectic, especially because you’re trying to do everything, but on the other there is no way in hell you would trade the stress for a ‘regular’ 9-5. I’m not saying it can’t be great, but there is much more to it then what meets the eye.

Below are my Top 5 pro’s/con’s of working from home:

#1: You’re Your Own Boss

This is absolutely the number one best and worst thing about working from home. Being your own boss means you don’t have anybody to answer to. Sure, this means that if you forget a deadline you won’t get yelled at, and you have the freedom to move said deadline to whatever you want. But the flipside is: you have no one to answer to.

Nobody’s going to hold you accountable for missing a post, not writing an article, skipping a day because you’re bored/lazy/just don’t want to. There’s nobody else writing articles for you, scheduling your social media – basically nobody’s there to save your ass. If you aren’t doing it it’s not getting done. No matter how much you wish it would do it by itself, you have to dedicate a bit of time to everything in order to keep things running. And, trust me, when you really sit down and start trying to plan all the things you want to accomplish, things can get stressful very fast. I’m not saying it’ll all fall apart and all your readers will leave if you miss one post, but they’ll at least be disappointed if it doesn’t come.

Think that doesn’t apply because you’re just starting out and don’t have anyone looking at your stuff? Not quite. If you’re just starting out, sure it can be tempting to not post if you don’t feel like it because nobody’s watching, but if you want to grow and get people to start looking at your stuff, you’re gonna have to post at least somewhat consistently.

#2: It’s Hard To Detach

Another big con is that since you’re already home, it might take you longer to get out of Work Mode. Also, since you work from home, even when you do decide to relax/shut it down for the night/take a day off, the temptation is always there, and you might find yourself feeling guilty during your days off for ‘slacking off’. It’s tempting to say, ‘my laptop/notebook, etc is just upstairs/in the other room, I should be working, not wasting time doing nothing.’This is something I’m certainly guilty of.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a writer or what, but I always feel like I’m ‘on’ anyway, whether it’s scanning crowds of people for character descriptions, accidentally listening a bit too hard to that conversation on the subway for a funny line I could put in a story, or running over whatever plot-line I’ve been stuck on when I’m supposed to be not thinking about work – I feel like writers/singers/artists are in a weird state of limbo between working and not working that ‘regular people’ just don’t understand. Our jobs while amazing, make it hard to truly turn off Work Mode.

We’re constantly scanning our life for inspiration, which makes it hard to truly be done at 5pm like most other jobs. Most other jobs you go to the office, work on whatever and then punch out at a certain time. For artists that’s not really an option. It also makes it hard to find the line between ‘I’ve worked enough today’ and ‘I should be cramming as much work as I possibly can into each day because I work from home’.

Is there any fix for this? Not really. It’s always gonna be hard to detach from work, but one thing that might help is trying to put some sort of organization/structure to your work.

For example, I post on my website every two weeks, on Fridays and Mondays, so I try to break up my weeks like this:

Week 1 (Non-Post Week)

  • Search for/work on freelance work
  • Begin new articles/stories for next week
  • Finish at least 2 (other) short stories/articles (to throw in The Vault [so their ready for other weeks])
  • Work on upcoming novel/books
  • Think/Begin new designs for merch
  • Schedule posts for social media (usually done on weekends)

Week 2 (Post Week)

  • Make sure article/short story for this week are done
  • Schedule posts for respective days
  • Finish merch design/s from previous week and add to store
  • Keep working on/finish other short stories/articles from last week
  • Schedule social media posts

If you give yourself some sort of structure like this, it should help ease your guilt when you decide to call it a day, because then you can at least say you ticked off everything you wanted to get done. If you organize everything you need/want to get done, it can also help manage your stress, instead of trying to do everything at once, once you write it all out, you can sort it into whatever you feel are your top priorities and work on those first.

And, this of course you should make sure to schedule days off for yourself as well. I like to keep it simple, and stick with having the weekends ‘off’. (I do ‘easy’ stuff on these days, like photoshop) You can’t constantly be working all day every day – seriously, look it up, it’s bad for your health. Make sure to cut yourself a break every once in a while. You’re the boss, you’re allowed. (Just don’t give yourself too many days off)

#3: Ignoring The People Around You

In this same line of reasoning, with it being hard to detach, it’s not just hard on you. The people around you can feel jaded when you’re constantly blowing them off to work, or, if they work all day, come in and you’re still working. It can feel like you’re actively ignoring them in favour of work. While that might not be your intention, it can (and will) start to wear on those around you if you can’t find a dedicated ‘stopping time’.

I personally have had conversations with the people in my life about this issue. Now that it’s been brought to my attention, I try not to do that, but it’s not always that simple. Sometimes it’s hard to stick to my self-imposed ‘quitting time’, especially if I’m on a writing roll, or, if it’s someone’s day off. That’s when I feel really guilty.

Also, I feel like sometimes they assume since you work from home and you can do it whenever, (especially when you’re just starting out) and they might not see why it’s so important this thing gets done on a certain day. Stick to your guns on this. Sit them down and explain why this is important, and what you need from them first.

While it’s tempting to give in, it’s also important you talk to the people around you so they understand exactly why you have to do things the way you say, and why it’s important you don’t skip the work days.



#4: You Can Focus On What You Want

A giant plus of being your own boss? You get to push your blog/business in whatever direction you want. You want to write about why puppies aren’t really that cute? You can. Why ‘not all men’ say ___? Go for it. You don’t really like cake? Sure, that works too.

One of the biggest pro’s is that you don’t have to write/focus/dedicate your time to someone else’s vision/dream – it’s all you all the time. Whether or not you’re 100% sure of where you’re going doesn’t matter, as long as you’re pushing forward.

Nobody likes writing about a topic they don’t like (or worse, have the opposite view-point on) and working from home gives you the freedom to write what you want, how you want.

#5: You Can Work In Your PJ’s

Definitely one of my favourite things in life is getting to get up and not have to wear any uncomfortable ‘work’ clothes to get my sh*t done. Nobody sees me so if I don’t wanna get dressed? No problem, I can type in just about anything, pj’s included.

I don’t recommend doing this all the time, but every once in a while it’s nice to literally roll out of bed and then get to work. I usually do this once every few Fridays, since it’s the end of the week, it’s kind of like my version of Casual Fridays. It also helps to get some of the stress of the rest of the week out of my head. Pj’s are comfy, so they fit perfectly with the ‘do some work’ vibe I get on Fridays, instead of the ‘try to do everything in the universe’ of the rest of the week.


Like this article? Check out my other Writing Tips!

Family Emergency

Update: My grandfather is finally out of the hospital and is in a rehab center. (He’d suffered a stroke while there) He’s doing much better. I want to thank-you for any positive vibes you’ve sent my way. I should be back to posting on my regular schedule. (TAFs every 2nd Friday, articles the following Mondays, and Product Reviews on the 13th)

I wanted to make this post to let you know I won’t be posting any new stories/articles this week.

A family member is in the hospital (they’re bleeding into their brain), so I’m going to be focusing on family for the next little bit. We’re not sure yet about how long they’ll be staying (it’s already been a week), but I’m keeping hopeful it’s not much longer.

I hope you can understand that this takes precedent over posting articles/stories, and I’ll do my best to get back to posting when I can.

Thank-you for reading/understanding, and I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you by not posting.

AI

2nd Year Vega-versary

Two years. I can’t believe it’s already been two years of being vegan. I don’t even really know what to say. I could go cliché and say that if I could do it, you could too. Or I could go into detail about why I went vegan, but I feel like I’ve already covered that. I did have a post I wrote about my 1 Year Veganversary, but apparently I didn’t post it, and after re-reading it, it didn’t really say much except for, ‘wow! I can’t believe it!’ So, I’ll spare you. In case you’re wondering (although I’m pretty sure I’ve written this out somewhere else) here’s why I went vegan:

New Year’s Eve 2015, I decided to make my New Year’s Resolution to be vegetarian. There wasn’t really anything specific that triggered it, I just wanted to do something different that year. (Usually me and my family just made stupid resolutions, anyway) I was ‘successfully’ vegetarian until about June or July. By that time, it had gotten to be 40+ Celsius, and, me being the idiot I was, I was on the subway and didn’t eat breakfast or drink any water.

Guess what happened next.

I started getting dizzy and had black spots dancing at the edges of my vision. I got home okay, (luckily) and chugged some water. That incident didn’t do very well for quelling my mother’s concerns about it being an okay/healthy diet. And, while now I know why that happened, at the time I somewhat agreed with her. So, after that, I decided I’d be pollotarian (someone who only eats poultry), but was still curious about vegetarianism, and I had ended up stumbling across a Reddit thread that said something like, ‘If you want to go vegan, watch the following documentaries’. Being a curious person, I decided to check out the documentaries.

The first one I watched, Vegucated I didn’t really like, because they were coming at veganism as an aid for weight-loss. A few months after that, I watched Earthlings, and well… let’s just say that one stuck. Even though I still didn’t really know anything about the products, or this or that, I just couldn’t continue non-vegan after that. It was pretty much an instant resolve to stop, which was a bit hard because I still lived with non-vegan family. So I started researching, anything that related to veganism, I read. That was back in Feb. 2016, and I’m still going.

I’ve learned so much within just the past two years, it’s crazy. It seems all that was so long ago!

I do still have some non-vegan items, and while I’m not proud I still have them, I’m not ashamed to say I’m not 100% vegan yet. (But, I mean, is that really a thing?)

During the first year I went vegan, I had focused on just switching over my diet, because while I wanted to immediately change everything overnight (… can you tell I’m an ethical vegan?) that was neither practical nor possible. I didn’t have thousands of dollars sitting around to allow me to switch over everything I own, so I decided the best place to start would be the kitchen, and I could continue to replace other aspects each year/couple months, once I found out more information, had the means to do so.

And, I’d like to say, if you’re thinking about going vegan, but think doing something like the above (not immediately getting rid of every non-vegan thing in your house) would mean you’re not a ‘true vegan’ – don’t even go there. You are 100% a true vegan as long as your heart is in it. Don’t worry too much about being perfect.

It’s not a cult. No Vegan Police are gonna show up and haul you off to jail. Relax. Change over in your own time, as long as you’re committed to doing so, you’ll get there eventually. And, by you even just thinking about changing already puts you on the right path. It’s about getting on the right path, not being dropped at the end of it. Life is a journey and all that crap.

Also, unless you were born with literally all the knowledge ever, you’re going to make some mistakes, or use something that you’d think would be fine (like, say, a plastic bag, or your phone) only to discover later that it’s actually not vegan. And that’s fine. You’re not gonna throw your phone off a bridge – that’s just not practical. There are, unfortunately, some items you use/have to use in today’s society that aren’t vegan.

That does not mean you are a lesser vegan, or aren’t a real one at all. It’s about trying.

Hell, the definition is even: Is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

So, again, relax. As long as you’re trying, and not eating straight up flesh you’re doing fine.

During this second year, I focused my efforts on beginning to switch non-food items, like toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, etc.). I even discovered some ‘hidden’ food items that weren’t vegan I was unknowingly eating. Lays plain (original) potato chips, for instance is made with pork enzymes, and food dyes such as Red #40 is made out of crushed cochineal beetles, and the others (Yellow #5, 6, Blue, etc) are tested on animals. Sad to discover, for sure – especially because Lays doesn’t have the information readily available on their website. The only reason why I even found it was because I was doing research for the vegan cookbook I’ve been working on, and stumbled upon a comment on some vegan forum somewhere. From there, I had e-mailed the parent company (Frito-Lay) about multiple products, and only after asking about it, was I linked to this list* that has all the chips that are made without pork enzymes. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s disappointed to learn some of the plain chips contain enzymes.

Things like this always bring about the same question to me: how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?

Obviously, pork enzymes is pretty bad, as well as food dyes tested on animals, but should I be expected to contact the parent company every time I’m faced with a situation that is a bit unknown? Of course, I contact the company as often as possible, so that I’m making the best decision, or, if I don’t know, and aren’t able to get an immediate response, (say, for example at a family gathering, where I wasn’t expecting to have said item called into question) I’ll always just pass. Or, if it’s something they bought/cooked ‘specifically for me’ I’ll research, call the company (stay on hold for as long as it takes), or (if I’m not able to get a response, or get an ‘I don’t know’), I’ll take the item home (if able) and continue researching until I get an answer.

It sucks to do that for sure, having to stop the fun of the party or make that person worry when they thought it was fine, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some of you reading this might think that’s rude and will say to just accept it, even if it’s questionably vegan, but I say: why would I put something in/on my body if I don’t know what’s in it, whether or not I was vegan? I don’t think I’ve ever done that, I’ve always asked what’s in something, not even just because I had an allergy, but because I honestly am confused why people would just accept something. There could be literally anything in that, and you don’t know. I’d much rather not eat/use it, and offend the person for a minute, (or, better yet, share the new information so they can avoid the mistake in the future) then have something that I use/is in my mouth when I find out it wasn’t vegan. It’s just… ‘safer’ to not accept it.

If they get offended (which, c’mon, really?) just apologize and tell them you appreciate the gesture, and (if it was a ‘hidden’ ingredient like the food dyes, or something else) tell them they were so close/on the right track! It’s not their fault companies don’t list everything on their packaging (going back to the Lays Original, no where on that bag does it say it contains pork enzymes), so please, please don’t get mad/upset at them for not knowing. Try to remember that not only is it not their fault, but also, would you have known that before you went vegan? No, so don’t go shaming them for not doing hours upon hours of research. Also, some items do say Cruelty-Free or Vegan and have the food dyes or honey, so they might’ve assumed (the same way I’m sure you do sometimes) that if it says vegan right on it, it’d be safe.

Going back to the how far down the rabbit hole thing, I really think it depends on the person. Same as how some vegans eat honey, while others don’t. (I don’t, in case you wondered) It’s all about perspective, and, while it might seem blatanly obvious to some, others either don’t see it that way (and never will), or, haven’t done enough research to know, so they eat/use it unknowingly.

Bottom line: It takes time to learn what’s vegan and what’s not, so don’t be ‘that guy’ and be an asshole because they don’t know something. Instead, why don’t you try helping them discover information. For example, if your non-vegan friends come over, get them to try some vegan food. Don’t force it down their throats, but maybe make it a rule: when you come to my house, you eat vegan. That’s a very reasonable request, and if any of your friends cause a fuss, then tell them they’re not welcome in your house. It’s not that hard. Or, (if you’re okay with it) tell them they can bring their own non-vegan dish (that’s already cooked, unless you don’t care about having non-vegan food ‘contaminate’ your kitchen). It’s your house, you can set the rules, and if they don’t like it, or (for some reason) aren’t comfortable with that, well, then maybe they shouldn’t come over?

You know, as a living, breathing vegan that you don’t need animal products to survive, so if they really can’t eat those 2 out of how-ever-many-meals-you-eat-in-a-lifetime vegan when they come over, then that’s definitely a problem. Also, don’t be afraid to bring subjects like this up with your friends. Don’t attack them, obviously, but ask them their views, and if they’d be okay with it. Present your point of view, and why it’s important to you, for example, to keep your kitchen vegan.

That said, again, it’s 100% up to you, what you’re comfortable with. No one can (or should) tell you what you’re okay with.

It’s been awesome so far, I’ve discovered so many new, amazing products. Nooch is now a staple in my kitchen, when only two years ago I didn’t even know it existed. Same with black salt, and a bunch of other products. I even went to my first vegan festival this past year! That was such an amazing experience, I’m definitely going again this summer. If you haven’t seen it, you can read my review of it here.

I’m super excited to discover even more vegan products in the coming years. I can’t wait to see what else they come out with!


*That list is just the Canadian one, this is the US one, and I haven’t been able to find one for other countries. I recommend getting in contact with them to see if there’s one available for you’re country. (I know usually, UK and Canadian products are produced pretty similar in the ways that they’re produced, so if you live in the UK, I’d suggest using the Canadian list if there isn’t a UK one)


Want to learn more about veganism? Check out The Veg Life, for awesome recipes, product reviews and more!