Updates from the Writing Cave: A Snowy February!

Hey everyone, I hope you had a good month πŸ™‚

Our February was a snow covered experience, full of many challenges, but we came through it mostly okay. Here’s what happened in the Writing Cave last month!

A grassy tree covered shore overlooking an icy lake with ice caves surrounding the opposite shore.

Blogging:

I wrote two blog posts last month as planned, an updates post and a post on writing confidence. I like my new schedule, but as I have quite a bit to say this month there’ll be three posts, including this:

16th March: Reading habits & preferences, quiz style post!
30th March: Why I don’t want to write scripts (following feedback on my MA project, which suggested I should consider writing scripts instead of fiction).

MA Creative Writing:

I got my results back, a 66, the lowest I’ve achieved during the course. As the overall grade is the same between 60-70 it doesn’t matter much, and a 66 is good enough given I was demoralised and nearly gave up towards the end of the course.

I think the main issue was the course wasn’t for me, as I adore TV and think/learn visually. I felt misunderstood, like an outsider on a course full of writers, and it was the weirdest experience. I need to rediscover the writer I was before the course, who enjoyed writing and didn’t feel like less of a writer for not reading as much as writers are ‘supposed’ to!

Pile of books and scrunched up paper surrounding a notepad. A pair of hands above the notepad hold a broken pencil.
I used to write for fun, but since starting the course I’ve struggled to write at all.

I’m not done talking about my MA, as I have a few posts planned about it (including a discussion on if I found it worthwhile overall), so stay tuned for those πŸ™‚

Writing:

I realised early in February my plan was in a bigger mess than I remembered and my 4 chapter goal was out. I had a huge collection of word files with different drafts and notes, and my outline needed editing to fit the NA genre.

I consolidated my notes, worked to redo my plot for what feels like the millionth time, and outlined characters/setting. Near the end of February I had an idea which would change the plot significantly, change an entire major character, and add a new one. It feels scary, as it changes the entire basic concept of my story, but I think it’s the right thing to do.

I still have planning to do, so I’ll aim to write a chapter by the end of the month!

Merlin:

I’ve been trying to get back to a regular routine, where I sit and write at the same time on set days in my office. Merlin loves this, as he gets to look out of the upstairs window and spy on the neighbour’s cat from up high!

Merlin, my ginger and white cat, staring at me from his perch on an upstairs windowsill. In the background are houses, trees and a field bordered by trees.
Merlin staring at me from his perch overlooking his kingdom!

He’s also became a lap cat again: When I stopped using the office in June, because I didn’t want to taint my creative space with my MA, Merlin stopped being cuddly. Now I’m back in the office he slouches on my lap when I’m writing, or stands in front of my monitor or on the keyboard! He never interrupts me for hugs during video games, only when I’m writing, but it’s nice to be cuddled again so I wont complain too much!

Snow & Hospital Trips:

Merlin was fascinated by the snow. He loved watching the flakes and jumping at the window to try and catch them. We got a pile of snow and brought it inside so he could play with it too, which was super cute! I adore the snow too, so we watched it together.

Snow is great, until you have to travel in it, and we had to make a trip to A & E in the next town, in a blizzard and a pandemic. I’ve never driven for more than 5 minutes in the snow, so a half hour journey in the worst snowstorm we’ve had in three years was nerve-wracking. In addition to that, I was panicked over going to A & E because my partner might have a blood clot, and I have a general unexplained fear of hospitals. It was a stressful day.

Large snow drifts covering all the grass in the garden, with an iced over pond in the middle and a few suspicious looking footprints!
Our garden was blanketed in snow, with large drifts over the decking and some odd footprints!

My partner didn’t have a blood clot, but because of his exhaustion and shortness of breath the doctor suspected the Covid tests we took the week before were false negatives. We isolated in case, and if it was Covid I suspect we’ve had it twice now: Last year we were both very ill with similar symptoms!

TV: Queen’s Gambit & Stranger Things 3 (Spoilers Ahoy!)

I watched Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, since a streamer I watch mentioned it. It was okay, but I didn’t enjoy the portrayal of addiction: Specifically that the main character’s addiction was magically cured when her friend visited. The rest of the show was good, I liked the characters for the most part, but that one point stuck with me, as overcoming addiction seems like it should be an uphill battle, not a walk in the park.

I also finished Stranger Things season 3. The finale made me cry, especially when Joyce decided to uproot her entire family at the end. That’s it, take your kids away from everything they’ve ever known, including their friends, right after all the trauma they went through. Sad. At least Robin and Steve are happy, they’re my favourites. It’s not often you see male/female best friends, and they’ll never be more than friends because Robin likes girls. I hope to see more of them next season, whenever that is!

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Thanks for Reading!

What did you get up to in February? Have any snowy adventures? Chat in the comments!

What Genre Do you Read/Write?

I’m a fantasy writer who dabbles in superhero and light science fiction, and all my stories have romantic LGBTQIA+ subplots. I read a lot of fanfiction, and used to write it too, because I kept getting mad my ships never sailed. Yes, I’m a shipper and a fangirl. I like reading stories with characters I can connect with and relate to, who have super-glue tight emotional bonds. I hate stories with superficial character bonds, adore M/F friendships that don’t become romantic, and love bromances that become romances πŸ™‚

111 comments

    • Sometimes I think cats enjoy watching the world go by more than anything else πŸ™‚ It’s great in summer when there are loads of dogs playing for him to watch. Thanks, he’s feeling mostly better, although still a little exhausted after work days!

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  1. Hi Louise! Great to see your posts, as always πŸ™‚ I’m excited to read your posts, esp. the ones about writing. I def wonder why someone said you should write scripts. But doesn’t script writing often involve fiction as many movies and shows are fictional? Anyway, I’m looking forward to your posts. I remember you mentioning how difficult and stressful and demoralizing the course was. I can’t imagine how rough it was. I can relate to how you feel in a way…I know many writers who read much more than I do and I often don’t recognize the books that they mention reading (and I start getting doubts and wondering if I’m a real writer). But you have my support and again, I’m looking forward to your posts. I’m here for you too. It’s not easy to change a plot significantly, but I believe in you and know you can do it! Go Louise! Aww glad Merlin is cuddling with you more. He’s a great and sweet cat, no? :). I’m so sorry to hear about the snowstorm and your partner’s illness. Hope he is feeling better!
    Yeah, addiction is really difficult and it sounds like they made it sound too simplistic in the show.
    Take care, my friend.

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    • Thanks Alex πŸ™‚ I think the scriptwriting suggestion came from a kind place, as I’d been waffling about how much I love TV throughout the course and the tutor didn’t know I already considered and dismissed scriptwriting three years ago!

      I think for literary writers, and writers who love reading no matter what genre, the course is great, but for me, who only wants to read things I know I’ll love, the recommended reading was a struggle.

      Reading less isn’t an easy position to be in, but you’re not alone, and you’re definitely a real writer πŸ™‚ My main issue is finding books I want to read, as I only want to invest time/money in things I know I’ll enjoy. I’m the type of person who becomes borderline obsessed with my favourite franchises though, so if I do find an author I love they better write lots of books in a series!

      I’ve planned 14 chapters of the new plot so far, with Merlin’s ‘help’ xD. He’s a big softy!

      We’re doing good now, although he’s still a little exhausted sometimes after work.

      Take care πŸ™‚

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      • You’re welcome. πŸ™‚ I think your struggle is understandable. Part of the reason why I lost my love for reading when I was younger is because I was assigned a lot of stories that I did not want to read. What were the recommended books about?

        Aww thank you. I honestly have felt a bit alone because very few of the writers that I know read less. But what you said brightened my day. Thank you :). I guess I kind of have imposter syndrome. But your encouragement helped! THat’s cool that you get really into your fave franchises! That is fun! πŸ™‚
        Lol did Merlin insist on you putting a cat character in your book too? XD Merlin’s a great cat. My best wishes go out to you and your partner. Hope he feels all better soon.

        Take care :). πŸ™‚

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        • We were recommended some poetry I didn’t understand, a lot of older creative writing craft texts, and some story excerpts that were full of description where nothing really happened. The only things I enjoyed were ‘Steal like an Artist’ and some of the psychology texts! My English classes at school were way better for good reading material at least πŸ™‚

          You’re welcome πŸ™‚ We should start a club for writers like us, and share TV memes πŸ˜€ I’m sure there are others who also feel alone for reading less. I used to have imposter syndrome, but that’s one thing the course helped with.

          Hahaha, there is a cat in my story, a Catwyrm (a cross between a cat and a dragon) and it has so much attitude xD But it was added before I got Merlin. Thanks, I think he’s mostly better now πŸ™‚

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          • Cool πŸ™‚ I like Steal Like an Artist :). Have you read “The Writer’s Journey”? I have it but haven’t read it yet. Sounds like a mixed bag of reading. What was your favorite English class book? πŸ™‚
            Yeah I’m sure there are others just like us :). Imagine us sharing Legends of Tomorrow memes. Haha Seriously though, I’m glad I’m not alone. And I appreciate your support πŸ™‚
            Haha does Merlin like Catwyrm? πŸ™‚ Sounds like a cool character – and I’m glad your partner is mostly better! :).

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            • I haven’t read it completely, but The Writer’s Journey was one of the books I referenced in my essay for uni. I liked it and might finish it some day. Definitely one of the better books they recommended! Given I’m not much of a poetry fan, my favourite from English class was probably Christina Rosetti’s Goblin market. I also liked Othello, but I totally spaced out in the exam and failed xD

              Haha we’d probably distract each other too much and never get any writing done. Same, it’s good to have friends on a similar wavelength πŸ™‚

              My Catwyrm is Merlin’s pet in my story, so I imagine cat Merlin likes it quite a bit πŸ˜€

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              • Nice! Was the Writer’s Journey a slow read or a faster read? I want to read it but am a bit intimidated by its size lol. And lol awww yeah, poetry is not easy. Was Goblin a horror story?

                Hahaha yeah we would distract each other a lot. But it’d be fun lol. Or we would geek out about superheroes lol :). Do you like to read comics too?

                Awesome πŸ™‚ Yes, I bet cat Merlin is a fan of Catwyrm πŸ™‚ :). Both Catwyrm and Merlin are rad :).

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                • I had an eBook copy, and I only skimmed through it, using the search function to find quotes for my essay, so not sure xD

                  Goblin Market is a story about being led away by faeries, so it’s like magical fantasy with a warning in the tale. Fun stuff πŸ™‚

                  Yeah it’d be awesome xD I don’t read many comics, do you? I used to read a lot of manga though, and I have all of Fullmetal Alchemist πŸ™‚

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                  • Haha no worries. Do you plan to read all of it one day?
                    Ooh cool. Goblin Market sounds neat! I’ll have to read it sometime. I wish I had such a cool book in high school.

                    I am reading several comics lol. How many FMA mangas are there? πŸ™‚ :).

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                    • Maybe eventually, but I’m so burnt out on reading technical guides about writing at the moment. I need to actually create stuff πŸ˜€

                      If you think Goblin Market sounds cool, my English lessons in middle school were even better: We studied the Star Wars movies. I think that’s where my love of TV as a study tool started: That teacher was the absolute best πŸ™‚

                      I think there’s 29 FMA manga? It’s a big series and takes up loads of room on my shelf xD What comics are you reading?

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  2. Hey Louise! For some reason, the reply button isn’t showing up, so I’ll start a new comment here. I think it’s understandable that you’re burnt out, especially since school requires so much reading and is stressful. Have you been drawing lately too? I’m hoping to start a new story…and finish an old one hehe.

    Your teacher is SO COOL!! I wish I got to analyze Star Wars movies for class! Which Star Wars movie was your fave?

    Wow, that’s a ton! I’m reading Red Atlantis, Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Sabrina, and a few more. I’m losing track lol :). Hehe.

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    • I think there’s a reply limit in WordPress, so we probably hit it xD

      Yeah the MA was much harder than my BA, which I spent most of procrastinating in the library! I even found the symbol from Ed Elric’s coat in a history book!

      I drew two pictures recently, I’ll show you when I reply to your email: Sorry it’s taking so long, things have been hectic and stressful for months.

      Yeah my teacher was the best! I only saw the original trilogy, a long time ago, but I think the first one was my favourite? Have you seen the other films?

      Wow you’re reading loads πŸ™‚ I should’ve asked my tutors what they thought about comic books. I wonder if they’d class them as reading?

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      • Haha I think we did. We talk a lot XD.

        Yeah graduate school is rough, definitely tougher than undergraduate. Whoa, is all of the mythology in FMA based off real life then? Very neat how you found the symbol in a history book.

        That sounds good! No rush. that’s okay. πŸ™‚ Take your time.

        Your teacher rocks! I’ve seen some of the newest ones and the original. Do you plan to see the sequels one day?

        Hehe yes reading lots of comics, but not as much non-comic novels. I need to balance that more. I hope your tutors would classify comics as reading. Unfortunately, some don’t see comics as books at all. Hope your tutors don’t feel that way…

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        • Haha yup xD I’m not sure about all of Fullmetal’s mythology, but definitely the philosophers stone and a few other things. I have a picture of that page in the history book somewhere, I’ll see if I can find it πŸ™‚

          Thanks πŸ™‚ I might see the Star Wars sequels eventually, but I like Star Trek better!

          There was one tutor I got on with really well who probably would think comics are reading. She left teaching soon after I finished though, to pursue her own things. I think the others probably wouldn’t though. It’s sad other methods of storytelling aren’t as valued by some English studies courses 😦

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          • lol that’s cool. Is it from ancient history or more recent history? πŸ™‚ Thanks for the info.

            Ooh what do you like more about Star Trek? I haven’t really gotten into Star Trek. I liked the live action films. But, I never got into the show lol

            Your tutor sounds wonderful. πŸ™‚ Was she pretty supportive? But yeah it is sad how other methods of storytelling are frowned upon. There are many different forms of storytelling and they should be embraced. Graphic novels are awesome, no?

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            • It was early medieval history, I studied older time periods because I wanted to read about castles and Merlin xD

              I always found the characters deeper and more interesting in Star Trek, whereas in Star Wars the characters felt more like tropes/archetypes than people. The newer live action films for Star Trek were great: I think there’s a third one I still need to see!

              Yeah Megan was the best tutor, I’m so glad she was my final project supporter πŸ™‚ Exactly, writers should embrace and learn from any method of storytelling (I even think songs can be stories to an extent!). I love anything with pretty pictures, so graphic novels are great πŸ˜€

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              • Wow, that’s awesome! Hehe that’s a great reason. You studied medieval history for your undergraduate degree, right?

                Cool. What would you say are the archetypes for Star Wars? Which Star Trek show did you watch? I heard there are several different shows lol.

                Awww Megan sounds like a marvelous tutor! She rocks and you do too. I agree that songs can be stories! They all tell a story :). I agree that graphic novels are awesome. Have you read some non-fiction graphic novels before? They’re great ways to learn a basic overview of a topic :).

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                • Yeah Medieval Europe, Anglo Saxon England, and Castles πŸ™‚

                  With Star Wars Luke is ‘The Chosen One’ archetype, Han is like the ‘tough guy’ archetype, Yoda is like the ‘magical wise old man’ etc. It wasn’t terrible, but as usual with popular stuff I don’t understand the hype xD

                  I saw some of the original Star Trek and quite a bit of Next Generation as my dad used to watch it. I’m going to watch a lot more soon though as it’s on Netflix. There are so many seasons it should give me something to watch for a while πŸ™‚

                  Thanks πŸ™‚ Musicals are the best type of story. I’ve never heard of non-fiction graphic novels, sounds awesome as I find it hard to pay attention to regular non-fiction books for long!

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                  • That’s so cool! It must’ve fun to study. Did you get to go out and travel to the castles for research? πŸ™‚

                    lol that makes sense. I didn’t think about it, but you’re right, they do fit archetypes. I guess the hype comes from partially how advanced it was given the year it was made and probably some relate to the characters and storyline of hope. But I can also see how they can seem more like archetypes than people. Do you like the original Star Trek or Next Generation more? I hope you have fun watching it πŸ™‚

                    Musicals do make for great stories :). Is there a particular subject that you wish to learn more about? If so, I might be able to think of a graphic novel suggestion :).

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                    • We had lots of field trips. Orford or Beaumaris castle are probably my favourites πŸ™‚

                      Yeah, I’m in the minority with Star Wars, but I always struggle to relate to characters a lot of other people like: I think the only characters I really liked were Han Solo and Chewbacca. Probably the original Star Trek because of Spock πŸ™‚

                      I’ve always wanted to learn more about different fighting styles, especially sword fighting, as I think it’d be useful for story writing, so if you know any graphic novels covering that, that’d be cool πŸ™‚

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  3. That is so cool, Louise! Did you draw some of the castles too? You had one of the coolest school projects that I’ve ever heard of πŸ™‚

    Aww no worries πŸ™‚ To each their own. I like Chewbacca a lot πŸ™‚ What do you like most about him and Han?

    Oh cool πŸ™‚ I’ll let you know if I come across any non-fiction graphic novels about swordfighting.

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    • Thanks πŸ™‚ And surprisingly I’ve never drawn a castle, maybe I should!

      Han and Chewbacca have a cool relationship, and they’re awesome bounty hunter types, so I think that’s what I liked most!

      Thanks πŸ™‚ In the meantime I’ll watch Fullmetal or something to learn how to write fight scenes πŸ˜€

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      • Anytime πŸ™‚ You would do awesome drawing a castle πŸ™‚ Do you like drawing buildings?

        Haha they def have a great friendship πŸ™‚ Did you see the Solo film?

        YW πŸ™‚ That sounds good. Have you read about writing fight scenes before? I guess I should lol but I just go with whatever seems right in my mind lol. :).

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        • Buildings aren’t as fun to draw as people, but it’s easier because they’re more linear πŸ™‚

          There’s a Solo film? I’m kinda out of touch as even before the pandemic we rarely went to the cinema!

          I find watching YouTube videos on fighting more useful than reading about them, and sketching out character poses to get my head around how the characters move πŸ™‚

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          • Yeah, people are way more fun to draw :). And I agree they are more linear. πŸ™‚ Do you have a type of building that you enjoy drawing?

            Yep, there was one. I believe it was from 2019. It wasn’t great lol. But, it was Han’s origin story and Chewbacca is in it. πŸ™‚ Do you plan to see it one day?

            Good point. Visualizing it is a better way to learn than seeing it, yes? πŸ™‚
            Do you usually use YouTube videos as references/research for writing fight scenes? :).

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            • I don’t draw many buildings, but I think I prefer medieval style castles and towers. Modern buildings rarely have any interesting details!

              Wow, 2019 seems like forever ago! I’ll look it up, I’m struggling to choose things to watch right now anyway, so even if it’s not great I’m sure I’ll learn something from it and it’ll give me something to watch πŸ™‚

              Yeah, I’m a very visually minded person so sometimes use Youtube. I watch anime and TV more though as ‘research’ πŸ™‚ I sometimes struggle to translate the images in my head into words though!

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              • Yes, castles are more interesting πŸ™‚ If you draw a castle, do you plan to put a moat around it?

                Haha this pandemic has slowed time down, no? Yeah, I think there is some neat lore in it :). Maybe it’s on Netflix or another service?

                THat makes sense. I too learn more visually. What do you usually research on YouTube? Yeah I struggle with putting images into words too. It’s hard to describe them at times, no? ^___^;

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                • Of course, moats are so pretty πŸ™‚

                  It totally has. Hopefully the worst will soon be over with πŸ™‚ I’ll check Netflix. UK Netflix isn’t as good as US Netflix unfortunately as we don’t get half the stuff America does!

                  YouTube is amazing. I was watching Yoga/Taichi videos the other week, and this week watching video game tutorials. And it is hard to describe things! I get the perfect images of a story in my head, but I tend to miss things out when I write it down πŸ™‚

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                  • πŸ™‚ Yes they are. Would you like to see castles and moats overseas too? πŸ™‚

                    I think the absolute worst is likely over, given that more people are getting vaccinated, but yeah it may take some time before we get near normal. But like you, I do hope it will end soon :). Oh wow, I wonder why UK Netflix is limited in availability of shows and movies. Maybe it’s due to copyright or distribution issues?

                    That’s cool! Do you do yoga or meditation often? πŸ™‚ The tutorials on YouTube help :). I am the same way – I miss things when I write it down too lol. I think beta readers have pointed that out. And sometimes I over-describe (like saying which specific finger a character is pointing with XD) Have you over-described before? lol.

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                    • If I could I’d do a world tour of castles πŸ˜€

                      According to our government ‘normal’ will be June 21st, but we’ll see. Very few people die of Covid here anymore, and as the death rates reach near zero they’ll have a harder time justifying restrictions on freedom.

                      Yeah I think the issue is Sky TV have the rights to shows like The Flash in the UK, and put them on their own in-demand service so Netflix can’t have them 😦

                      Nah I tried meditation a few times but I’m not good at sitting doing nothing xD I’ve never over described, but an issue I do have is too much dialogue lol, which I never saw as a problem but apparently characters should only talk if it advances the plot!

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  4. A world tour would be so cool! What’s the coolest castle that you’ve seen?

    I wonder how the govt chose June 21 as the date for normalcy? There seem to be some efforts to lift restrictions stateside too, but I’m a bit worried about that. There are many who do not wear masks, enter into large gatherings, etc. And stateside, it’s been a back and forth cycle where cases spike, and another lockdown occurs, etc. But hopefully vaccination rates will continue to increase and hopefully most will be vaccinated by summer or fall.

    😦 Yeah I can see how Sky’s actions would make it harder for the shows to be on Netflix. Does Sky offer any on-demand or streaming options for superhero shows?

    lol yeah meditation isn’t easy. I do it daily, but it’s not easy. I like walking meditations. Have you tried them before? And lol yeah that’s a good point, but I generally prefer writing dialogue too (even if it is too much lol).

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    • I really like Pierrefonds in France, where they filmed some of the Merlin TV show, but I haven’t seen it in person. The best ones I’ve seen are in Wales: Caernafon and Beaumaris πŸ™‚

      Our plan to lift lockdown has many stages, and each stage allows 3 weeks for the government to assess if cases are rising, staying the same, or falling: If they start rising the plan to unlock will be delayed. It seems very organised and they want this 3rd lockdown to be the last so are very cautious. Here if you don’t wear a mask in a shop you’re fined, and large gatherings are banned. Sounds like the U.S has a less organised approach though. Do shops have to shut? Anything ‘non essential’ over here has been shut for months!

      Yeah I think you can get Now TV from Sky to watch their stuff, but it’s another monthly expense so we haven’t bothered. Shame there isn’t one streaming service for everything!

      Wow, that’s dedication, well done on meditating πŸ™‚ I’ve never heard of walking meditations, what are they?

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      • That’s cool πŸ™‚ How did you like visiting Wales? πŸ™‚ I haven’t been to Wales, but have thought about visiting one day.

        That sounds like a good plan. Lockdowns here are done state by state, so each state has a different lockdown strategy. And while some cities do fine those who do not wear masks, many do not. So yeah, at least on paper, it sounds like the US is more disorganized. Some shops had to shut, but they became more lenient on that. In some places, they allow swap meets. And the number of cases appears to be rising again, and there are worries about another wave here. Do they plan to open all shops back up when the 3rd lockdown is over? (or just some shops?)

        Wow, how much does Now TV cost? Yeah it can be quite costly to get multiple streaming services.

        Thank you :). Walking meditations are kind of like exercise meditations. Like a sitting meditation, there is at least some focus on one thing- your breathing, the feeling of your feet on the floor, what you see, etc – but the focus is soft and gentle and you are supposed to still be aware of what you see. It sounds hard, but it gets easier over time and one thing that I’ve noticed is that I become aware of more things. It sounds paradoxical because you focus on one thing mentally (like the feeling of your feet touching the ground), but over time you notice more of your surroundings. Plus, you get to do exercise at the same time (walking). The Calm app might have some free walking meditations :). Hope this helps. And sorry for the last paragraph being a bit long- it’s hard to explain.

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        • Wales is great, but Cardiff was a bit disappointing and we got totally lost wandering around there! We didn’t see too much of Wales though, as we were heading more towards Cornwall, but I’d like to go back to some of the Welsh castles πŸ™‚

          Sounds messy, but I guess countrywide laws are tricky, so it’s easier to let each state make their own strategy? Shame the cases are rising again 😦 Shop reopening is due to happen on April 12th, but bars and restaurants will only be able to serve people sitting outside and other restrictions will remain in place, like no nightclubs etc. We’re opening things in stages, a gradual easing of lockdown, but the aim is for everything to be open by June 21st. International travel is a different story entirely, and I think that’ll be restricted for a long time.

          Now TV is Β£9.99 a month just for entertainment, way more than Netflix. Works out cheaper to wait and buy DVD’s of things I really want to see πŸ™‚

          Walking meditations sound pretty cool, might be easier for me than sitting meditations. I’ll have to try it when the weather gets nicer πŸ™‚

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          • How many days were you in Wales? Hopefully you can see more of Wales next time :). I bet it would be cool to see the Welsh castles. I wonder how long they’ve been around.

            Yeah, especially in a country as large as the U.S. I imagine it would be hard to have a nationwide law. I can see the case for each state having its own strategy. That does allow for one to adapt to local conditions and needs. Downside to that is that some states are fairly lax and that can lead to more cases. Are there any local restrictions that go beyond or are less strict than national restrictions in the UK for COVID? It sounds like a cautious reopening. Did they say what plans will be in place if there are any delays? Yeah I think travel will be restricted for a while – though I imagine that there may be some relaxation of rules for those who are vaccinated.

            I pay about the same price for Netflix here. But yeah, I can see why the DVDs would be a better option. Do they come out at the same time as the U.S.?

            πŸ™‚ Let me know if you try out a walking meditation. headspace might have some free walking meditations as well :).

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            • Last time it was just a day trip, we travelled from Bristol into Wales, but the time before was a few days. Beaumaris is 726 years old, and looking great considering πŸ™‚

              Yeah, with a large country I guess it doesn’t make sense to lockdown everywhere if one state has very few cases. Shame some are too lax though 😦 The UK tried putting county’s into a tiered system, with different rules, but it didn’t work. Wales and Scotland set their own rules though. They’ve not mentioned plans if there are delays, partly because I think they’re hoping this plan works πŸ™‚ They’re looking into ‘vaccine passports’ to attend large events here, so you have to prove you’ve had a vaccine, a recent negative test, or have antibodies, to go to concerts and large events. Some EU countries are doing the same for travel. I’m still waiting for the NHS to provide antibody tests as I’m curious about how many times I’ve had Covid and what immunity I’ve built, if any.

              I think DVD release dates are similar, if a few weeks behind because episodes air later over here. I tend to wait for people to gift me them at Christmas though πŸ™‚

              Will do, I think it’d be cool to try πŸ™‚ I wonder if it’d work whilst cycling?

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              • Wow! 726 years? Cool. Do you plan to take a longer trip to Wales next time?

                Yeah, it’s sad how some states are getting lax. I worry about spikes in cases there. Are Wales and Scotland more autonomous? I too hope the reopening plan works and that there won’t be any future waves of COVID. That’s interesting how they are looking into vaccine passports. I know the U.S. govt recently decided not to do that after many expressed concern and opposition, but I’m curious to see which other countries will do it. Did the NHS mention a possible timeline for antibody tests?

                Nice πŸ™‚ It’s cool how people gift DVDs to you πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

                πŸ™‚ Possibly. I did see a “Cycling” meditation on Headspace. Do you ride a bike often? :).

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                • Yeah, hopefully a longer trip next time, although I want to go to Ireland and Scotland first πŸ™‚

                  Hopefully things in the U.S don’t escalate too much 😦 I found it weird Wales and Scotland set different rules, given they usually do the same as the rest of the UK, but I guess it’s a unique situation. There’s lots of opposition to vaccine passports here too, but we won’t know more until the government debate it. Personally I think for travel abroad it’ll be essential for a while, and useful for large scale events on a temporary basis, but it raises all kinds of ethical issues and I wouldn’t agree with them for going to the shops, pub or cinema. I imagine when we’re allowed to travel again antibody tests will be brought in to act as proof of immunity, but no official timeline yet. (You can pay for them, but it’s Β£65!)

                  I used to ride my bike a lot, but we’ve had a cold winter and I wasn’t motivated. I need to get back into it πŸ™‚ Do you exercise less in winter too?

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                  • That would be cool! πŸ™‚ Do you plan to fly to Scotland and Ireland (when it is safe to do so)? πŸ™‚

                    I hope so too. The case numbers are increasing, and I remember reading that a few states have had a large number of cases. It is concerning though, especially with variants. Interesting – I wonder why Wales and Scotland have different rules. What would you say are the biggest ethical issues with the passports? (I actually don’t know enough about them to have an opinion either way yet, but I would definitely like to hear your views). Wow 65 pounds is quite a bit.

                    That’s cool πŸ™‚ Is it going to get warmer soon? Hopefully so πŸ™‚ I think I exercise a bit less during winter as it is harder to walk when it’s very cold and rainy…though this past winter was mild and dry, so I did manage to get some exercise in. Do you like to go for walks?

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                    • Thanks πŸ™‚ I’d probably drive, as I enjoy a road trip and my partner doesn’t like planes too much! It’s a long way, as we live in East Anglia, but I drove to Cornwall before so shouldn’t be too bad πŸ™‚

                      Yeah the variants are a worry. Has the U.S restricted incoming flights from some places too, to stop them being brought into the country?

                      The main ethical issue is giving businesses the right to demand access to people’s medical records which should be confidential. Also it’s not right to restrict people from going about their day to day life because they can’t or won’t have a vaccine. It’s a road to an exclusive, divided, society, especially given our government has promoted the idea vaccination is a choice not a requirement. Having said that, I think providing proof of a negative test to allow stadiums to open to full capacity for large events would be fine. It’s when you start demanding people provide proof to go to pubs, cinemas, etc, that I have a problem with it, especially as the vaccine is supposed to be a route out of restrictions, not create more.

                      Honestly I have no idea, the weather has been so crazy. Hot and sunny one minute, snowing the next! Glad you had a mild winter and got some walking in πŸ™‚ I don’t walk much, I prefer to bike as walking on my own doesn’t always feel safe, but biking I can make a quick getaway.

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  5. That’s awesome, Louise! Does your partner enjoy road trips too? I’m glad you have fun πŸ™‚

    Yes, I don’t quite remember which countries are restricted, but the U.S. has some travel bans in place. Is the UK restricting visitors from the U.S.?

    That is definitely an ethical concern – I agree that health information should remain private. And I can see how requiring a vaccine could lead to greater inequality. But yeah, I too can see the case for just requiring a COVID test as that wouldn’t require medical record/history release and can be done on the spot (the downside is that COVID can take days before it can be detected, but I can see how a COVID test would be better than having a vaccine passport system). Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Wow, those are huge weather changes. Totally understandable to prefer biking. I support you, my friend.
    I never really learned how to ride a bike XD.

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    • I think he doesn’t mind, but he’s more likely to get bored on long journeys than I am xD

      I don’t think we restricted visitors from the U.S, but currently in the UK it’s illegal for us to travel aboard without proving it’s essential.

      Of course πŸ™‚ I think our PCR tests are very good for detecting asymptomatic cases, but the rapid tests, where you get a result in 30 minutes, are going to be more practical, alongside antibody tests to prove immunity, for large scale events.

      Yeah, today temperatures are barely above zero, but the sun is shining πŸ™‚ Riding a bike is hard at first, I fell off loads, but it’s fun, and if you get a chance to learn I’d recommend it πŸ™‚

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      • lol has he fallen asleep on roadtrips? πŸ˜›

        That makes sense as traveling can increase chances of contracting the virus. Do you know if they will keep the travel restriction in place for a while?

        πŸ™‚ That’s true – rapid tests will definitely be more convenient and I can see them being used for large scale events too. Do you think there will be concerts in the fall as a result of lockdowns lifting?

        Wow, that is very cold. Hope it warms up soon. Glad the sun is shining though :). Aw I’m glad you had fun learning in spite of falling down a lot. I might try it out sometime :).

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        • Nah he tends to play video games :p

          Travel will be allowed on the 17th of May, apparently, but some countries will be on high risk lists and either be restricted or have strict isolation requirements after a visit there. I think travelling will be for the rich for a while at this rate, as no one on minimum wage will afford the cost of testing or to take additional time off work to isolate after a holiday 😦

          We already have football events planned, so I assume concerts will go ahead soon too, providing the easing of lockdown goes well. It’s not as if I go to either of those events, but I’m following the news anyway: probably a bit too closely to be honest as it causes me way too much anxiety!

          Yeah, it seems to be a really cold April. I’m hoping for lots of sunshine at least πŸ™‚

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          • Haha does he play video games for hours on road trips?

            I wonder if the U.S. will be one of the countries considered to be high-risk for COVID. But yeah, you’re right, traveling will be for the rich for a while, given their access to testing and, as you said, more time to take time off for quarantine. But as you mentioned before, maybe you could go on a road trip in the near future?

            Yeah the news can cause a lot of anxiety. Do you plan to take some breaks from the news?

            πŸ™‚ Hope there will be sunshine soon! All the best

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            • Yeah he does, I’m the only one who drives out of us πŸ™‚

              I don’t think the U.S will be high risk at the moment, but Canada might as the cases there are increasing. Definitely road trip in the future, across the UK πŸ™‚ (Especially as the weather is getting nicer, it’s so sunny today!)

              I try to take regular news breaks but it’s so easy to just check on my phone and I end up reading stories and getting frustrated. So many bad things happen and I hate having so little power to change them.

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              • πŸ™‚ How do you like driving overall? πŸ™‚ (general thoughts about it, not just for long trips)? πŸ™‚

                True. I heard there have been some big increases in Canada. Not sure why. But yes it would be so cool to take a road trip across the UK πŸ™‚ Is it pretty easy to drive around the UK? Hope the traffic isn’t too bad. It can be absolutely awful here in some cities.

                So true. It can be hard to not check. I don’t have any news app, but I find it easy to check news sites. I’m trying to spend more time walking/exercising outside though, but I remember you said it’s colder and snowing at times in your area, right (so that might not be an option yet for you)? I know what you mean though- sometimes, I feel like I can’t do anything about all the things going on.

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                • For the most part I like driving, but other drivers can be so dangerous and I have to pay a lot of attention to avoid their mistakes! Do you drive? I hear the roads are bigger and scarier in the U.S!

                  Driving in the UK is pretty easy, we don’t have freeways or interstates or anything like the U.S has, only motorways in a few of the bigger areas but mostly dual carriageways and single lane roads. It’s quaint and there’s lots of open countryside, and the only really bad traffic is in cities or sometimes motorways when there’s an accident. Bigger cities like London have restrictions to who can drive within the capital though, to ease traffic.

                  Exactly, even without the app, websites are easily accessible on my phone. I’m wondering if there’s a way to block myself from certain sites? Yeah it’s warm one day and cold the next here, so I have to make the most of good weather when I can πŸ™‚ It’s so easy to feel helpless, especially with how easily accessible the news is. I think bad things probably used to happen just as much, but because news wasn’t as widespread we didn’t hear about it so much.

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                  • I drive sometimes (much less now due to the pandemic and working from home). What would you say is the main difference between a freeway in the U.S. and a motorway in the UK? (Maybe less busy and fewer lanes?) I don’t particularly like driving – I’m a good driver, and I’ll drive, but I’m not a big fan of it due to how busy the roads can be and how risky other drivers can be (lots of tailgating and I’ve seen people drive at reckless speeds in the rain, etc). Glad to hear that traffic is quieter in the UK and that you enjoy driving overall :). Did you drive during the times you visited the U.S.? When I visited the UK, I did not drive, but I did enjoy taking the Tube and the double decker buses :). It was definitely quieter in London than other cities – though it took me a while to get used to traffic being on the other side of the road than it is in the U.S.

                    Great question- I’m not sure. Have you thought about limiting time you spend on news websites? Like maybe setting a one-hour alarm? πŸ™‚ Perhaps you can go bike riding on warmer days to help you get your mind off the news? You’re right – with social media and how fast news spreads, it seems like bad news happens more often (when it just is more widespread). But we do what we can and we can all make a difference – even the smallest steps can help.

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                    • Freeways seem bigger and have those massive intersections that cross over the freeway. Motorways are mostly smaller, 3 lanes each side, and the intersections aren’t usually as big. There also aren’t many motorways, and most of the country is single lane, or dual carriageways.

                      I used to find driving a bit overwhelming, but it got easier the more I did it πŸ™‚ We get people tailgating too, it drives me crazy! I didn’t drive when I was in the U.S: I wanted to, but apparently different states have different laws and it can get quite confusing! Also the traffic being on the other side of the road might be a bit overwhelming for me. The Tube is great, although I found it a bit scary the first time as being that far underground was strange. You found London quieter than other cities? Cities in the U.S must be really busy, I find London crazy busy! (Although I’m from an insanely small town so everywhere seems busy to me!)

                      I think I’ll try to limit myself to half an hour a day, an alarm may be useful though, thanks πŸ™‚ I’ve been cycling the past three days and it helped a lot too πŸ™‚ Yeah, we can only do what we can, and try not to beat ourselves up about the things we can’t change.

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  6. Wow, the motorways in the UK sound much more relaxing and less busy. More manageable to drive in too. By intersections, were you referring to how there can be multiple freeways in one area and they all connect to each other? That definitely can make it busier and more confusing. Interesting how in the UK country, there is just one lane. It must be pretty quiet there, no? πŸ™‚

    Do people cut each other off often in the UK? (And is there a lot of road rage?) there seems to be a lot of road rage in the U.S. Yeah, different states can have different laws, but I think the basics are the same (but yeah, the specifics can make it confusing, like with California, you can stay in the left lane, but in some other states, I heard you can only use it for passing). Good point about the tube – it is pretty far underground (perhaps more underground than the NY subway?). London is pretty busy, but the traffic doesn’t seem as bad as Los Angeles or New York. And while there are a lot of people, I think I felt like NY and LA are much more crowded. But then again, I might be forgetting XD. Would you say NYC is more crowded or London?

    YW πŸ™‚ Hope the alarm helps. Kudos for cycling :). It’s great exercise :).

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    • Yeah, where all the freeways connect: That always seemed very overwhelming. Our one lane roads are great, very quiet πŸ™‚ (Unless you get tractors driving on them, and because there’s only one lane it’s hard to overtake and you’re stuck going slow for ages!)

      Yeah road rage is pretty bad here too, worse in big cities for cars cutting others off. If I ever drive in the U.S I’ll have to look up all the laws in the states I want to drive in πŸ™‚ I found NYC and London about the same level of crowdedness, although I tend to not pay attention to the area outside my direct surroundings so who knows for sure?

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      • It can definitely be pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re lost and not sure which freeway to go on. It’s worse in big cities like Los Angeles – and even in smaller cities, it can be hard to squeeze in/merge into the freeway you want to get on. Did you mostly use public transit or use ride sharing apps to get around when you traveled? Sounds like it’s pretty peaceful on the one-lane roads. But yeah, I can see why it would be a bit frustrating when there are tractors driving on them lol.

        Yikes. Is there a lot of road rage violence in the UK? (I’m guessing the usage of firearms is less in the UK than the US but some road rage situations here have escalated into violence, including the use of firearms). But yes, definitely a good idea to look up the laws before you drive πŸ™‚
        Good point. They may be equally crowded lol. Either way, they’re both busy.

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        • We walked or took the bus/subway πŸ™‚ Ride sharing apps sounded kinda scary to me, I’m nervous enough in taxis!

          When people get violent here it’s with fists sometimes but usually just shouting matches. It’s not legal to carry firearms here thankfully, so we don’t have the same problem the U.S does with escalating violence: Which must be totally terrifying sometimes 😦

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          • That’s understandable. I think one reason why I was hesitant to use ride-sharing apps for a while is because I’m kind of shy (not always easy for me to meet strangers) and heard horror stories too, so I don’t blame you. As for taxis, I’ve been in some taxi rides where the taxi driver was very aggressive and nearly got in an accident. If you don’t mind me asking (no pressure to answer) are you nervous about taxis for that reason (risky drivers)?

            Yeah, it is terrifying. Gun violence is a huge problem here. Do police in the UK countryside carry guns? I know that most cops in London do not. But yeah, you’re right, gun ownership is widespread in the U.S. I think that’s why I honestly felt safer walking in London, Paris, and cities in Spain than I do in the U.S. (due to strict gun laws and lower rates of gun ownership).

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            • I’m more nervous about taxis because of the whole ‘getting in a car with someone I don’t know’ thing. I’m not great at meeting strangers either, and even if they’re employed, you never know what kind of person they are. But I also hate being a passenger in general, I get car sick unless I’m in control of the car πŸ˜›

              Our police carry tasers I think, and batons, but that’s about it. It’s so rare to see guns here: The only time I’ve seen them was at a London airport one time, and they had sniffer dogs too so were clearly after someone. The first time I got off a plane in America the amount of armed guards was pretty scary, and I completely understand you feeling safer where gun ownership is lower. Do you think American gun laws will ever change?

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              • That is understandable. I’ve gotten used to ride sharing after a while, but I do admit I did feel more nervous at first. And lol, I hope you don’t get too car sick. Our conversation reminds me of how traffic is on the opposite side in both our countries – and how the driver’s side is different too. It is interesting lol. How did you like the buses in the U.S.?

                Wow, it is definitely quite different in the UK. In the U.S., nearly all cops carry guns. Reminds me of how I saw a British TV show once (I think it was Luthor) and was surprised to see unarmed cops in that show lol. Were the armed cops in the airport (the one that you saw after you got off the plane)? I don’t think American gun laws – at least federally (in the states, they have changed) will change. The National Rifle Association has a lot of power and they’ve kept a lot of changes – even moderate changes- from happening.

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                • Ah yeah, I guess it’s something you can get used to πŸ™‚ I would be so confused with the driver’s side being different! Buses in the U.S felt very similar to UK buses, we got a double decker in Vegas and it was red. There seem to be a lot more long bendy buses though!

                  Yeah I feel it’s much safer here πŸ™‚ The armed cops with guns were in the airport lobby, outside the Costa Coffee shop. We sat and watched them for a while because they had cute dogs πŸ˜€ It’s a shame American gun laws probably won’t change. It’d probably make the country feel far safer, at least from my point of view!

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                  • Yeah, I think you get used to it over time. Are there a lot of rideshare options in the UK countryside? Yeah, it took me some time to get used to seeing the driver’s side on the right side haha. Was it a bit surprising to see traffic on the other side when you were in the U.S.?
                    Cool πŸ™‚ The buses in Las Vegas are neat.

                    Awesome πŸ™‚ Gun ownership is pretty restricted in the UK, correct? That’s interesting, was this in NY? I guess they had German Shepherds? πŸ™‚ Yeah, I would support some moderate changes, but it’s very hard to see any change happen here. Even some modest changes are seen as (by opponents of gun control) as infringement on the right to bear arms and as government overreach.

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                    • I’ve never explored rideshare options so I’m not sure, I don’t think so though. I think the traffic on the other side of the road wasn’t too surprising in the U.S because I was walking mostly. Was a bit weird as a bus passenger though!

                      Yeah, gun ownership is very restricted here. No, the German Shepherds were in London πŸ™‚ I find it so strange bearing arms is seen as a right. We’re not even allowed to carry other weapons!

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  7. I guess ridehare would be used more in big cities, like London? I imagine it must’ve been weird to see traffic on the other side while you were on the bus. How long did it take to get used to it? It took me a few days when I was in London.

    That’s cool. Do police usually use German Shepherds in the UK? Curious if they use the same kinds of dogs as they do in the U.S. That is an interesting difference in legal rights for guns in the UK and US. Does the UK require gun registration? And I guess there are no concealed carry allowances in the UK then, right? (I know the U.S. has concealed carry laws and some states allow people to openly carry guns).

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    • Probably. It wasn’t so bad for me because I’ve played plenty of video games and watch American TV shows, so it’s almost as if I’m used to seeing cars on that side of the road!

      Yeah the police use German Shepherds, I love that breed of dog πŸ™‚ No one in the UK is allowed a firearms license unless they have a ‘good reason,’ which is to hunt pests or target shooting, and definitely not to concealed carry or openly carry. People here are bad enough with knife crime, so I’m thankful the laws are so strict.

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      • That’s cool – do you have a favorite American video game? πŸ™‚

        Aww I love them too! Are they your favorite dog breed?
        That is very strict and the differences are so stark. Do the UK laws also limit the type of rifle that those with licenses can carry? (I imagine they wouldn’t be allowed to carry assault rifles, but I’m curious if they limit the type of other rifles they can own). I’ve heard about how the UK has a lot of knife crime, so I can definitely see the case for keeping gun laws strict to avoid further escalation. Thanks for the info – I like learning about how different countries approach various issues.

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        • Dead by Daylight’s my favourite right now, at least from America. My favourite game of all time is probably Star Ocean Till the End of Time. It’s an old JRPG but I played so many hours of it πŸ™‚

          Yeah they’re totally my favourite breed too πŸ™‚ I think it’s only basic hunting rifles allowed. The only assault rifle I ever saw was that one time at the airport, and they were military type security guards. You’re welcome, it’s interesting to hear about how issues are approached in the U.S too!

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          • Dead by Daylight is a horror game, right? Ooh what do you like most about Star Ocean? πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’re having fun with them!

            Aww they’re awesome dogs. That makes sense that only basic hunting rifles are allowed, given the limited legal reasons to own a gun. Would you say that mass shootings are fairly rare in the UK? I think I only saw assault rifles two times in the UK and both times were times with law enforcement holding assault rifles near government areas – like Number 10 (I don’t quite remember where the other location was, but I believe it was one of the Royal Family’s historic buildings).

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            • Yeah horror survival, it has a huge learning curve and although I have over 1000 hours I still play so badly sometimes πŸ˜› Star Ocean’s characters are awesome, especially Albel: He’s a bad guy who switches sides and I adore it when that happens πŸ™‚

              Mass shootings are super rare, I can’t even remember the last time there was one. We get the occasional terrorist attack too (I was actually in London during one!) but nothing like the U.S.

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              • Haha well it has a huge learning curve, so I’m sure even experienced players will struggle and play badly at times. What kinds of weapons do you get in Dead by Daylight? Star Ocean sounds neat πŸ™‚ I too like it when a bad guy becomes good or an anti-hero.

                Oh wow, that must’ve been scary. I hope you were nowhere near the attack. But yes, I think I hear much more about mass shootings in the U.S. It’s sad how many mass shootings there are in the U.S.

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                • No weapons in Dead by Daylight, it’s more about evading the killer until you complete your objective and escape. You have perks to help though, like running faster or being silent when injured. It’s super fun πŸ™‚ Star Ocean is epic. A lot of people hated the final plot twist but I thought it was actually pretty awesome, and it’s one of those games where you get different endings depending on how nice you are to the characters xD

                  The day of the attack was the one day I chose not to walk along the river, thankfully. If it’d happened the day before I would’ve been in the middle of it all! It’s super sad about the mass shootings in the U.S, and a shame nothing is done to stop them happening 😦

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                  • Wow, so you can’t fight the killer? Sounds like an intriguing game. πŸ™‚ Is it scary? (Dead by Daylight). Haha Star Ocean sounds cool! So if you are very kind, you might get a nice ending? πŸ™‚

                    Oh wow, I’m so glad you chose not to walk along the river that day! Was this the river by Parliament or a different location? I agree, it is sad how common mass shootings are and how there hasn’t been any significant action taken against them on the federal level. Even after the Sandy Hook shooting, a moderate gun control bill was voted down. I doubt there will be any action taken anytime soon.

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                    • Yeah it’s all about evasion πŸ™‚ I don’t find it very scary, although there are sometimes jump scare moments if you’re against a stealth killer like GhostFace or Myers. The game has lots of famous horror killers in it xD Star Ocean is interesting in that your character goes off on an adventure with the person who likes him most at the end. All the endings are good, but I prefer the one with my favourite character πŸ™‚

                      Yeah I was very lucky: I’d been walking along the river up to Westminster most days after my work experience, but that day I decided not to! I hope some day gun control improves, until then, stay safe πŸ™‚

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  8. That sounds very cool πŸ™‚ Is it pretty tough to evade them? Sounds like a tough, but fun game. Who’s the most famous killer in it? Star Ocean sounds neat. Who’s your favorite character in it? πŸ™‚

    Wow, I’m so glad you chose not to walk by the river that day. I care for you and am glad you’re okay. Were you on vacation or working that day? Thank you, I too hope it improves. Stay safe, my friend. Take care :). πŸ™‚

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    • At first it was so hard! But now it depends on the killer. Some I’ve gotten good at facing, like the ones with chainsaws, but others I lose a lot against, like The Trapper, who puts bear traps in the grass and I always get caught in them because I run around and don’t look where I’m going xD My favourite Star Ocean character is Albel the Wicked: He’s the bad guy who joins the team mid game and he has so much personality πŸ™‚

      Thanks, and same. I was working that day, but I had a headache and didn’t feel like walking far! Stay safe too πŸ™‚

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      • How do you beat the killers with chainsaws? I know you don’t have access to weapons in the game, but is it possible to use everyday objects for self-defense? Like, can someone pull a Jason Bourne and use a pen or book to protect themselves too? LOL Seriously though, that game sounds super fun. Albel sounds neat. πŸ™‚ I bet he and the team have some intriguing interactions.

        Wow. Reminds me of how my uncle left work early to avoid traffic due to the World Series game in San Francisco (1989). And, it’s a good thing that he did because, sometime after he left, there was a huge earthquake that day and part of the Bay Bridge collapsed. A lot of people died too. Sometimes, things that may not seem significant at the time (like my uncle leaving work early to avoid traffic) or things that are inconveniences (like headaches) can make a huge difference (like my uncle being safely away from San Francisco and you being far away from the attack).
        Thanks, my friend. Stay safe and take care :).

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        • You have to jump through windows against chainsaw killers or throw pallets on their head, which are propped up around the play area. You can also find flashlights to blind the killer, medkits to heal, and toolboxes to help with objectives. You should try it sometime, or check out ScottJund or Otzdarva on Youtube for gameplay videos πŸ™‚ It’s on pc and console, although much cheaper on pc I believe (Β£5 ish?). Albel has such harsh views on the world, which is awesome when he’s interacting with the more positive members of the group because he horrifies some of them!

          It’s amazing how things like that make a difference sometimes, your uncle was very lucky and I’m glad he avoided the earthquake πŸ™‚ Take care too and enjoy the rest of your weekend πŸ™‚

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          • Haha cool. Have you had a character jump too far out a window and thus hurt themself? XD That’s cool that there are toolboxes and other things you can use. Imagine throwing a book at the killer lol XD. Do you watch gameplay videos often? Thanks for the info! I will look it up πŸ™‚
            lol does Albel argue with the others?

            So true. The most random or seemingly insignificant events can have the biggest impact, no? You too πŸ™‚ How is your weekend (hope you had a wonderful one) :).

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            • Nah, characters take no fall damage, but they stagger when they land which gives the killer chance to catch up xD Yeah I watch gameplay videos (and streamers on twitch) more than Netflix at the moment πŸ™‚ Albel only speaks to the others when they speak to him, which isn’t often, but they never like his opinions!

              It was a quiet weekend full of Dead by Daylight and a little writing πŸ™‚ Hope yours was good too!

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              • XD yeah I can see why that would give the killer a chance to catch up. What has been your funniest experience while playing the game? πŸ™‚ How do you like Twitch? I’m not too familiar with it. And lol sounds like Albel has an interesting dynamic with the others.

                πŸ™‚ nice. I have the day off today and have been having a nice weekend. Hung out with (fully vaccinated) friends for some meals (and had ice cream) and also watched Shadow and Bone (I like it), the anime Yasuke, and The Flash. Glad you had a nice weekend and got in some writing too :).

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                • I think the funniest thing in the entire game is Ghostface. When he crouches up and down he looks hilarious, but he also makes me jump when he stealth attacks me πŸ˜›

                  Twitch is great, it’s fun to watch other people play games live and some of the streamers are really cool people who raise lots of money for charity πŸ™‚

                  Glad you had a good weekend and got to meet with friends πŸ™‚ We were only legally allowed to yesterday, so we’re organising a board game day for next week! I’ve been thinking about watching Shadow and Bone, but I didn’t know if it’d be my thing or not.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Haha does he look like a ghost? Sounds like an intriguing character lol.

                    Nice! I’m glad the people are nice there. Do you need an account to use it?

                    Thanks! So the restrictions have lifted for meetups? Do they allow people to dine in? Sounds like an awesome plan (board game day). Shadow and Bone doesn’t have any MC deaths, but some SCs do die. Sorry if that spoils too much, but I remember you want to know in advance of whether MCs die b/c such deaths (understandably) are heartbreaking. I remember there is some blood and violence. And it’s fantasy (supernatural fantasy of sorts). Let me know if you watch it. :). I haven’t read any of the books by Leigh Bardugo, but I was able to follow along :).

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Nah he’s actually GhostFace from the Scream movies πŸ˜› Dead by Daylight collects famous horror killers and the next expansion will be Resident Evil.

                      You can watch Twitch without an account, but you can’t interact with the streamers chat or follow people, and following people is useful as you get an email when they start streaming πŸ™‚

                      Yeah the restrictions for indoor meetups lifted Monday, but I won’t be going to any restaurants mostly because we never went much before the pandemic due to my dairy intolerance. We’re going to have dinner at mums though πŸ™‚

                      Thanks for the info πŸ™‚ My main concern with Shadow and Bone is from the trailers I’m not sure I’ll like the main character. I haven’t read the books either, but I know they’re super popular!

                      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh wow, so Dead by Daylight has a lot of fictional killers then? Does it also have real-life serial killers in it?

    It makes sense to create an account and follow and interact with accounts. (As well as to get the email) πŸ™‚ How long have you used Twitch?

    That’s understandable. A lot of food does have dairy, so it’s best to be careful. Hope you have a nice time at your mum’s place. Has she been able to get vaccinated?

    I like the MC. She’s determined and is a good friend overall and is brave. I like her bond with her best friend too. I can’t say much without spoiling, but she did annoy me slightly at one point (but overall I liked her a lot). I liked the side/heist characters more though :).

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    • No real life serial killers, just fictional ones like Freddy and Myers. I’ve used Twitch for about a year now, it’s fun πŸ™‚

      Thanks πŸ™‚ Mum’s had her first dose, second dose is due soon, although she had some weird side effects to do with her eyes from the first vaccine 😦

      I’ll watch the first episode and see how it goes πŸ™‚ The fact one of the guys from the Punisher is in it appeals to me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow lol. Was it hard to escape from Freddy? Glad you’re having fun with Twitch! πŸ™‚ It seems like a neat site.

        Aww wow. I hope the side effects aren’t severe. Is your mum doing okay?

        πŸ™‚ Hehe yeah I was surprised to see him. I didn’t know he was British – I thought he was American. He did a great job in the show and is a very good actor. May you please let me know your thoughts after you see it? Thanks :).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Freddy’s actually pretty easy, but he was super strong when he first came out! I like playing as Quentin, who’s Freddy’s paired survivor, and Steve from Stranger Things most on the survivor side πŸ™‚

          She’s mostly inconvenienced by it, not sleeping well and watering eyes. At her age she thinks its better than the risk of catching Covid, and hopefully the symptoms won’t get worse after the second jab.

          I thought he was American too! He’s super talented, which is a draw to the show for me πŸ™‚ I hope to check it out soon and will let you know what I think πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

          • Nice! So they don’t only have the fictional villains, but fictional heroes too? Now if only one could be the Punisher against them lol. That’d make it fun, haha.

            I hope the symptoms will go away soon. How long has she has them? Yeah, the side effects can be a pain, but I agree it is better than the risk of catching COVID.

            Yep πŸ™‚ He is a great actor. He reminds me of Hugh Laurie in that both were able to do accurate American accents to the point in which I didn’t know that they were British actors until I learned more about them lol. That sounds good. I hope you enjoy the show! :).

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            • Yeah fictional heroes and villains. Haha yeah they might not add The Punisher himself as he’s too strong. Generally they pick characters who aren’t known for fighting back as survivors as they fit in better with gameplay.

              Thanks, she’s had them since her first jab and that was maybe 8 weeks ago? Her optician blames the vaccine, and said if it doesn’t improve in two weeks go to A&E!

              Yeah, both are great actors πŸ™‚ I wasn’t impressed with the first episode of Shadow and Bone, but I’ll watch the second one as I liked the bad guys!

              Like

              • Hehe that makes sense. It would, perhaps, be too easy if they had fighters in there. Imagine if Mickey Mouse was in it too lol

                Wow A&E if it doesn’t get better? Hope she gets relief soon.

                Yeah episode 1 is not the best as it is mostly setup, but it gets better. I think Episode 2 is when Ben Barnes appears. How did you like the MC? Did you like the heist characters?

                Liked by 1 person

                • Lol they had a survey a while back asking what people want to see, and one of the options was Fullmetal Alchemist. I’d love to see Lust or Gluttony in Dead by Daylight xD

                  Thanks, I’m glad I watched onto episode 2 and beyond (I may have watched 5 episodes now). The heist characters (Kaz, Jesper and Inej) are by far my favourites, as they’re unique and interesting. I find the MC very bland: Orphan chosen one, and she doesn’t stand out much from every other MC out there. I will say at the end of episode 5 I finally started to warm to her a bit lol. I’ll review the series later, probably alongside The Irregulars πŸ™‚

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Haha that’d be cool! Do you think it’d be easy or hard to evade Lust and Gluttony? I’ve met the English language voice actress for Lust – Laura Bailey. She’s down to earth and awesome.

                    Nice! I agree, the heist characters are awesome! I like Jesper’s sense of humor, Inej’s strength and courage, and Kaz’s strategic brilliance (that and how while he seems tough, he is also very caring for Inej and Jesper). Do you like the character archetype where a character seems tough but also has a kind heart? Good point about the MC. While I do like her, I do concur that she is more like many other MCs. How do you like Mal? I’m excited for your review! πŸ˜€

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                    • Lust would be challenging, but I also think she’d be too similar to the killer they announced yesterday (Nemesis from Resident Evil). Gluttony would be hilariously fun xD That’s awesome, she has a very unique voice and she’s so good as Lust πŸ™‚

                      The character seeming tough with a kind heart is one of my favourite archtypes πŸ™‚ If you like the heist characters I’d recommend reading Six of Crows, which is based totally on them. Apparently the Shadow and Bone books don’t feature the heist characters at all, but the TV show combined the Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows book series. I’m looking for a copy myself πŸ™‚ I’m not keen on Mal either, but I really like Nina, who is also in Six of Crows apparently!

                      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh what is Nemesis like? Lol I haven’t seen enough FMA to see Gluttony yet. Was Gluttony a funny villain in the show?
    Yeah, Laura has a cool voice and has played a lot of characters. She’s awesome and fun to talk with too.

    Yeah I love that archetype too. Who’s your favorite character who is tough but has a caring heart? πŸ™‚ I bought Six of Crows. Do you plan to buy it online? I heard from fans of the two series that the show mixed them together and that SoC actually takes place two years after S&B. It’s cool how they combined them. Yes, I heard Nina is in SoC :]. How are you liking Ben Barnes’ character?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nemesis has a tentacle whip, which prompted all kinds of dirty jokes from the community, and he’s huge. He also has zombie AI allies which help him out. It looks really interesting πŸ™‚

      In the original Fullmetal, Gluttony’s in the first episode with Lust, and he’s kinda adorable but he can swallow people whole πŸ˜› Ed Elric has to be my favourite tough with a caring heart character πŸ™‚

      Yeah I’m trying to get Six of Crows online, can’t decide between kindle and paperback though. Ben Barnes is acting as manipulative and awesomely as he was in The Punisher. I wonder if he ever gets cast as a good guy?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lol he sounds like quite the character. How did you like Resident Evil?

        Lol oh wow. Does he attack people often? (Gluttony). I wonder what Ed thinks of him. Ed is a great character. I saw some of FMA Brotherhood and he was cool and Al too.

        Do you usually prefer paperback over kindle? Lol yeah I think Ben Barnes being charismatic and manipulative in the show gave it away for me that he was an antagonist – that and how he played a bad guy in Punisher lol. I heard he was in Narnia and may have been a good guy there. Have you seen Narnia?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ve never played Resident Evil so I’m not sure what it’s like. If I like the characters in Dead by Daylight I’ll probably play it though πŸ™‚

          Gluttony always asks for Lust’s permission to do anything, even attack: She acts like his mother xD

          On the one hand my Kindle is great as I can read at night easier (it has a backlight) on the other hand books are nicer to hold, so I still prefer to have the paperbacks of my favourite books. Not sure if Six of Crows will be a favourite or not yet though πŸ˜›

          I think I assumed Ben Barnes would be a bad guy in Shadow and Bone because he was a bad guy in Punisher xD I’ve never been that interested in Narnia, but I think I saw a film a long time ago?

          Liked by 1 person

          • I haven’t played it, but it may be worth trying out πŸ™‚ I wish I had more time to play video games. They can be so fun.

            Haha does Lust mind how Gluttony always asks Lust’s permission? I forget. That is a funny bond.

            That makes sense. Do you like hardback books too? Haha well if you read SoC, I hope you enjoy it.

            Lol yeah Barnes being an antagonist on Punisher made me think he would be an antag on Shadow and Bone as well. He kind of plays a similar character in both shows, no? I haven’t seen Narnia, but from what I heard, Barnes did not have a beard in the movie. Haha.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I sometimes wish I spent less time playing video games xD I think with the pandemic I’ve been so focused on switching off from everything and I find video games are the easiest easy way to do that.

              Lust prefers Gluttony asking I think as Gluttony doesn’t have the best judgement πŸ˜›

              Hardback books are reserved for my absolute favourites πŸ™‚ I got SoC in paperback and will review if I like it a lot.

              Wow Barnes looks so different in Narnia! I might have to watch it as it looks like he plays a good guy πŸ™‚ I usually avoid the Narnia series because The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe upset me as a kid xD

              Liked by 1 person

              • Haha do video games get too addictive sometimes? Have you had times where you say “I’ll just play for 5 minutes more” and end up playing for hours?

                Haha poor Gluttony. Do Gluttony and Lust get along well?

                That makes sense. Hardback books are heavy and not the easiest to carry around. I hope you’ll enjoy SoC. What kinds of books do you usually get in e-book format?

                Yeah, I saw a picture of him from the film and he looks younger and quite different without the beard, no? Interesting how he kept a very similar appearance in Punisher and S&B. lol What upset you about the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe? I haven’t read the books or seen the movie.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Yeah, I always play more than I should, and eventually burn myself out on my favourite games!

                  Gluttony and Lust get on really well, as far as I remember, it’s awesome πŸ™‚

                  I usually get self published books or free review copies as eBooks. Self published often don’t have paperbacks so eBooks are the only option. I also have a super tight budget so I only spend money on books when I’ve earned Amazon vouchers from Swagbucks, or I have birthday money, and eBooks are the cheaper option πŸ™‚

                  Yeah he looks way different, I never would’ve recognised him! Spoilers, but there’s a scene where they kill the Lion and it’s super upsetting. It’s really well written but as a kid I was traumatised by it!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Aww has taking breaks helped with cutting down on video game time?

                    That’s cool! I’m fascinated by them, just from hearing that. Did you watch the dub or sub version of the show?

                    Good point. Publishing is costly, so I’m not surprised to hear that self-pub books often don’t have paperbacks. E-Books are def. cheaper. How do you like Swagbucks and how do you get Amazon vouchers?

                    lol I think if he shaves his beard for a role, I won’t recognize him XD. It’d be funny if he did that. And wow, that does sound heartbreaking that they killed the Lion :(.

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                    • Taking breaks is making me play more games, but I’m getting eyestrain from being on a computer so much, so I’m trying to limit it.

                      πŸ˜€ It’s worth a watch. I watched dubbed, as the Fullmetal dub is pretty good quality. I usually only watch subs if it’s the only thing available, or if the dubbed version is terrible, like Yu-gi-oh.

                      Swagbucks is amazing, I do surveys on their website and earn points which I exchange for vouchers. I got Β£10 last week for very little effort, so I could get Six of Crows for free πŸ™‚

                      It was heart-breaking, and it’s marketed as a kids book/film too!

                      Liked by 1 person

  11. Time to take a break from a break lol. Kidding. But yeah, I struggle with the same thing – staying on the computer or staring at the screen too long. Have you been able to bike ride more to reduce your time playing video games and being on the computer?

    Nice! Glad to hear that the dub was good for FMA. I wonder why so many changes are made sometimes to dub versions.

    Do fill out surveys on Swagbucks daily? That’s neat that you got a voucher that made SoC free!

    Wow, I guess Narnia should be marketed for adults then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been cycling a little, but lately it’s either windy or the pollen count is too high.

      I know with Yu-Gi-Oh the dub was heavily edited because the dubbers thought it’d be better suited to kids as they’d sell more merchandise. Probably happens a lot!

      Yeah, I can do surveys daily, but I don’t always. Pretty cool to get free stuff though πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww well I hope the wind and pollen will calm down soon. Is there usually a lot of pollen in June? I hope it’s not making you sneeze too much while you ride your bike.

        Yeah I guess that happens a lot too. They also like to Westernize things in dubs. Did they do that in the dubs you watched?

        Haha nice. Swagbucks sounds awesome :).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks πŸ™‚ It’s not as bad as the pollen in May. Thankfully it rarely makes me sneeze, just makes me tired and sniffly.

          Yeah, they Westernize everything in dubs, from names, to removing hints to Japanese culture. Which is why I prefer subs πŸ™‚

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          • Glad to hear that it’s not as bad. And also glad that it doesn’t make you sneeze often. It’d be much worse for Steph; she’d probably send the bike flying from pollen. xD (with her sneeze). Does wearing a mask help w/reducing pollen?

            So true. I think they do that to try to get more viewership here, but it makes things worse. Besides FMA, is there another anime where you think dub is better than sub?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Haha Steph riding a bike in allergy season would be an experience, you should totally draw it πŸ˜€ I wouldn’t know how masks affect pollen, I’ve worn a mask twice during the entire pandemic, because that’s the amount of times I’ve gone shopping, and I’d never wear one outside in this town as it’s never crowded. I imagine it’d make it worse though, given pollen could get trapped in the material and held closer to the nose?

              Not that I can think of, subbed anime is generally always better, from Cardcaptors (which was shredded to pieces) to Full Moon wo Sagashite, subbed tend to retain the original meaning and not mess with the writer’s original intentions πŸ™‚

              Liked by 1 person

              • Haha if I do, I’ll let you know. She’d probably fly off a bike from sneezing due to her powers, but she has flying powers, so that’d be okay XD. Imagine her sending a bike flying too – and Peculiarexus catching it lol. Does your town require mask wearing outdoors or just indoors? Masks can prevent pollen from going in. They’re helpful and it may help you, though I’m not sure how comfortable it’d be wearing a mask while bike riding. You may want to look into that. They’re fine for walks, but not sure how easy or hard it’d be to ride a bike and wear a mask.

                Wow, so dubbed ruined Cardcaptors completely? I’m glad the dubbed version doesn’t ruin it and keeps original intentions :). πŸ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

                • That’d be cool πŸ™‚

                  It’s only law to wear masks in shops and on public transport here. Wearing them outside isn’t mandatory, thankfully, or necessary unless you live somewhere like London. I’m hoping the government will let us make our own choices over wearing masks on 21st June though, because with the vaccine rollout going as it is I no longer think it’s necessary. Thanks for the tip, but part of the reason I’ve only been shopping twice in a year is I find masks super uncomfortable and unsettling, especially when it’s hot, and I get super hot cycling. I’d rather deal with allergies πŸ™‚

                  Yeah Cardcaptors had a wonderful budding relationship between the two main characters, Li and Sakura, in the subbed version, but 4kids dubbed it out entirely and cut huge chunks of story too 😦 The subbed version is great though!

                  Like

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