I was in the middle of writing a different blog for today, but I’ve given up because I have a massive headache. It feels like it’s slowly turning into a migraine. I don’t suffer from them often but I feel the weather may be causing it. It’s very ‘heavy’ outside. So basically the other blog, which was about anthropology and food, has been abandoned until next week. It’s pretty much done, but I have perfectionist tendencies, and therefore cannot focus my brain enough to finish it to my own imaginary standards.

It’s something I have slowly been trying to turn around, especially being in academia. There are only so many times you can proof-read something, change it around, and then find your way back to the same spot again. Perfection is an impossible goalpost, yet I continue to set these requirements for myself.

In fairness, me staring at this screen isn’t really helping the situation. I’m going to have to put the laptop away soon, otherwise, it’s going to make me nauseous. This has turned into a stream of consciousness now. I normally put my blog up the night before and schedule it for the next day so this will be a strange one for you to read.

So this is a very quick blog post today, the fact of which actually hurts my brain. Does that happen to you? Like the fact that I will barely proof-read this and then put it up on my blog irks me. As if I’m accountable to someone. I’m the person who is the boss, the big honcho. Ok, so that’s it. Leave me a comment if you’re a perfectionist and therefore your own worst enemy.

Jaycee. xxx

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Traffic-induced Anxiety – Part III


We are being herded like cattle.

When I began commuting to Dublin in 2012 it was busy but bearable. Now it’s torturous. The transport infrastructure has not kept up with demand, as current traffic levels were not expected until 2020.[i] Some TDs are even calling for a second ring road to be built.[ii]

I’ve spoken about my anxiety here before, and nothing exacerbates my anxiety quite like traffic. When I’m in a room, or shop that’s too crowded, 9 times out of 10 I can leave. When I’m in Dublin traffic, there is nowhere to go, and I’m trapped. Not a good feeling when you have anxiety (or just when you are a human being in general).

I’ve tried many solutions. Trains and buses were out of the questions because they were far more expensive than my own car. (I am on a student stipend). Leaving earlier in the morning, leaving later in the evening was also doomed to fail, as the volume of traffic prevents this from being a viable solution. I’ve listened to audiobooks in an attempt to distract me from the stress and not waste those hours. I’ve even tried breathing meditations. Which work for about 5 minutes until a fellow road user does something completely inconsiderate and I’m back to square one. My only option was to work from home.

Yet I am one of the lucky few. Being able to work from home for most of the last 2 years comes from the flexibility in my career. There is only a need to venture into the city when I have a meeting or some other unavoidable human interaction. This has made my life infinitely better and I am more grateful than ever for my job.

Millions are not so lucky.

Humans continue to behave in ways our bodies were not built for because it is ‘expected’ of us. It is unhealthy for us to sit for 1 – 2 hours plus every day in traffic, with our blood pressure rising, and our mental health deteriorating.

No wonder there is an increase of road rage.[iii]

It’s not healthy for us to spend our days in pursuits that literally makes us depressed. Draining our vital mental energy, so when we finally arrive home, even cooking a healthy meal for ourselves seems like a cruel joke.

Remember, if your brain is sad, this will transfer to your body. That’s because, spoiler alert, your brain is part of your body!

People are out for themselves when they are driving in traffic. I’ve stopped a few feet extra from a red light, to let a car out of a perpendicular road, and I’ve actually been beeped, by the car behind me. More than once. Where is common decency when traffic is involved? People are so amped up and unequipped to deal with the misplaced rage. All we can do as an individual driver is to be the sensible one. Be the one who’s kind and let’s other drivers out. If someone is driving dangerously, get out of their way, because you could end up getting hurt because of their lack of human decency and consideration.[iv]

Working from home is not for everybody!” I hear this on a daily basis, people argue that you’re isolating yourself, or you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. That you need to work harder to prove your worth. As always I say there are positives and negatives to both kinds of jobs:

“There’s also evidence that some freelancers “overcommit” to work and find it difficult to disconnect or relax, which they say negatively affects their mental health. But overall, the health effects of self-employment seem to vary from person to person and—like office jobs—can be either positive or negative.”[v] 

For me especially the good outweighs the bad, because let me tell you something, it would appear that a large majority of workers who have to commute to work aren’t flourishing in that environment either.

Stress is horrible, stress kills, and although we all know this, for some reason we continue to run like hamsters on a wheel. Just because it appears to be the norm, doesn’t mean it’s normal. All of your friends and family are stressed out, so I should just get on with it, right? Wrong. Just google stress-related illnesses. It basically causes a huge amount and apparently autoimmune diseases too.[vi] If that doesn’t scare you it should.

Also, what about the massive amounts of people who die or are crippled on our roads each year? 78 people have died on Irish roads already in the first six months of this year.[vii]

The answer to all of this? Mindfulness. Be aware of who you are as an individual and a human being. Figure out what works for you. If a job is causing an illness and it’s not satisfying, find a way out. Trust me, working for less money, in a more fulfilling career is worth it. I know because I did it, and gave up a lot of luxuries most people think they cannot live without.

Traffic is one of the worst side effects of humanity’s rapid urbanisation. I literally dream of a house in the country. Not because I don’t want people in my life, but because it seems that as soon as someone gets behind the wheel of a car, a rational part of their humanity switches off and they forget common courtesy. We need to reduce traffic anyway for the environment, why not be one of the innovative individuals that changes their own lives for the better.

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In Defense of Pewdiepie

This week I had a blog post all planned. It was written just waiting in its folder to be edited for upload. All was well until yesterday evening, when I got offended by something. Now let me tell you, I’m a white girl and according to the internet, we have a propensity to get offended by things. So I’m about to launch into a rant because I was offended so it will be a tall order to get people to listen.

What has thus offended me so? Yesterday I came across an article written by a news source I had previously considered to be a relatively reputable, The Guardian. Their offering discussed YouTuber ‘Pewdiepie’ (whose real name is Felix Kjellberg). It was, in my opinion, a pathetic, click-bait-esque, joke. It disgusted me.

Thankfully I was not alone, and Philip DeFranco (also of YouTube) discussed it in his latest video.[i] I won’t link the article, I won’t give them the satisfaction, but the tagline they went with was, “ To call him an alt-right agitator would perhaps be unfair as he has never publicly identified with the proto-fascist movement. But he shares much of their culture and amplifies it across the world. People should pay Pewdiepie more attention.”

In other words, here is a trained journalist writing about a world they don’t understand. They are seemingly praising Kjellberg in a backhanded, superiorly arrogant way. The article is a mess, as the Journalist themselves doesn’t seem sure whether or not they should be chastising him or in awe of him. Let me answer that puzzle for you, it’s simple, be in awe. This one guy has 61,944,085 subscribers and an average of 3 million views on each video.

You are using his name so people will click on your pathetic media source. YouTube has allowed the rise of entertainers such as Kjellberg because people can choose who to watch. Views are the votes, and Kjellberg’s views speak for themselves.

We know the big media corporations fear people like Kjellberg because they represent the shifting tide. People want to watch entertainers who not only understand them and their dank meme posting, game streaming, internet humour lives, but they want them to be just like them. Kjellberg is not a trained actor, reading lines someone else wrote. Or a news anchor who is forced to read the same disclaimer about fake news. People watch him because he is a real person.

This is not a new phenomenon, but it stands that if you are going to report on something nascent like YouTube (10 years old) from a form of media like newspapers (100s of years old) then do some actual investigative reporting and understand why it’s popular.

By the way, Pewdiepie is not anti-semantic, and neither is Mark Meechan of Scotland. Who will now serve jail time, for a humorous video that the stuffy generation (not by age but by choice) didn’t understand.[ii] It wasn’t a joke that didn’t land well, it was a joke that conservative assholes failed to realise was a new type of satire.

Fuck mass media. Learn how the internet works before you make an ass out of yourself commentating on a YouTuber who is loved by millions of people. Do not call him a proto-fascist because you are afraid of him, that’s how people in America were killed during the cold war. They were simply called a communist and then they were ‘disappeared’.

Go watch 50 hours of Pewdiepie videos and you might have a clue what he’s about. Or, go back to writing about truly troubling public figures and stop wasting your time on things you don’t seem to understand.

I will probably write more about this, I image Felix will respond to the article. Until then you can see Philip Defranco’s views on the situation, and subscribe to him and Felix. Trust me. You won’t be disappointed.

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Snow… is evil…


“Ireland is gripped in the worst snow storm it has seen in 36 years!”[i] In fairness there is evidence to back this up, I’m not disputing the accuracy of the headlines, more the panicked frenzy it caused here. Brennan’s bread (sliced loaf to those of you who are unfamiliar with this brand), sold out, along with milk, in multiple supermarkets country wide. My dear friend is referring to it as the Sneachtpocalypse[1] which of course, is in jest. The country is basically closed down for the next couple of days. Seriously, a friend of mine from Portugal was due to fly today to visit, and he had to cancel his trip.

In the midst of the panic though, brought on by the usual unpreparedness of the Irish government and civil services, people are finding some joy. Snowmen are being built, and children along with dogs are experiencing their first snow ever (which could be true if they were born after 2010, our last snow). The general feeling of snow day reigns merry and bright. Some people even broke out their Christmas lights again, no joke, and are enjoying their white Christmas. Each to their own, I guess.

So it is with great tentativeness, (like the time I announced to my boyfriend that I don’t really like pancakes), that I tell you, I hate snow. Honestly, I cannot understand why people over the age of 12 like it. It’s horrible, cold, and wet for one thing. It causes dangerous disruptions to vital services such as healthcare and charities. It also comes in March, when the spring should be here and I should be full of the latter. It is of my opinion that snow should be one of those things, like spiders, that cause a natural unease within our reptilian brain. Snow = bad right? Surely? It would have been hard for our ancestors to find food and suitable shelter. We couldn’t keep fires lit for warmth, while the young and infirm would have died off. So why are we obsessed with this white death when it arrives on our shores? Surely not just because it’s pretty.

Whenever I am stumped by something like this, I consult my friends. The Books and Journals of course. So here is what I found if you are at all interested. You may click away now if you think I will be unbiasedly weighting the pros and cons of snow. In my opinion it’s all CONverse all-stars from here! I have a wonderful tome, (and I mean tome), called “Complete History of the World: The Ultimate Work of Historical Reference,” by Richard Overy. Now most of this book’s life was spent as a table for my laptop as I sat on bed, or for my straighteners before I got a flame retardant case. However it came in handy today! So regarding Ice Ages, “the human species today is the product of this long process of adaptation to the carried conditions of the Ice Ages.”[ii] According to the book, “the height of the last Ice Age or LGM (last glacial maximum) was reached about 20,000 years ago. As the ice expanded, the human populations contracted into a small number of more favourable habitats.”[iii] Quite rightly so. We are not build to survive such inhospitable weather. So why does the sight of snow storms not cause the existential dread that forced our ancestors to flee to more suitable climes?

Well the book goes on to further say, “Agricultural settlement spread in a broadband from northeast France to southwest Russia on soils produced by the weathering of loess – a highly fertile windblown dust laid down during the Ice Age.”[iv] Ok, touché receptacle of knowledge. Perhaps within the human mind we see snow as the beginning of an era of renewal. A time for the Earth to rejuvenate. So now what?

Most scientist who deal with weather, will tell you, snow is bad. It’s disruptive and people often don’t fully understand the danger it causes, leading to injury and sometimes, death. For example, “Wind chill and cold temperatures can cause exposed skin to freeze very rapidly, leading to frostbite.  Extremely cold conditions can cause hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition.  Protect yourself by taking steps to stay warm when you are outdoors.[v] This comes from a Canadian weather services website and I’m pretty sure Canadians know something about snow.

Does the love of snow come from learned behaviour wherein we ignore our defensive brain, which we do for many other activities. We associate it with winter holidays such as Christmas, and yuletide joy. Children don’t have to go to school, often businesses close and you get a ‘snow day.’ Snow is never as cold when you’re a child then when you reach adulthood. I’m still at a loss, and I know who I sound like. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas I still hate snow though. It causes discomfort and fear deep within me. Plus it’s wet and cold, if you like wet and cold then you’re weird.

So I’ll leave you today with some photographs of my back garden covered in snow, as we experience OUR WORST STORM IN 36 YEARS. *Coughs* Sorry sometimes you feed into the hype. Wherever you are, stay warm and cosy friends!

Jaycee xxx

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[1] Sneacth is the Irish word for Snow. So Snowpocalypse essentially.


[ii] Overy, Richard. (2004). Complete History of the World: The Ultimate Work of Historical Reference. Sixth Edition. The Times. Page 34.

[iii] [iii] Overy, Richard. (2004). Complete History of the World: The Ultimate Work of Historical Reference. Sixth Edition. The Times. Page 34.

[iv][iv] Overy, Richard. (2004). Complete History of the World: The Ultimate Work of Historical Reference. Sixth Edition. The Times. Page 40.



The Diet Drink Puppets

Diet Drink Puppets

Knowing that I have better things to be occupying my time with I offer you this question. Do you ever find yourself insulted or even just generally concerned by advertisements?

I tend to find certain advertisements sexist, something I painfully admit. Normally I let it go because my sense of duty to take my outrage further is usually halted by the simple fact that there is not much I can do about it. There are a few occasions however I find certain advertisements so offensive that I have to speak up. On many forms of media at the moment, there is an advertisement in regard to a certain diet version of a drink that I cannot let pass me by.

You will not find a much of a description of the advertisement here as I find this will be beside the point. The advertisers found the means to their end. As much as I may blame them for their actions, they are but one of many sexist advertisements in our current spot in history. It is not this one advertisement that is the problem but the accumulation of many more ads made in the same vein that is having a negative effect on the perception of women in modern society.

That familiar feeling of readers finding themselves ‘bored now’ of this rant and switching to something else pops into my brain. Unfortunately, this type of reaction is an apathy prevalent in our generation. We cannot complain if we are too busy to bother with a protest of any kind.

Despite the usual problems I have with these ads of the seemingly underweight model drinking the diet drink (with this particular diet drink they have made the models into puppets). They are perfectly sized, beautiful dolls in what is implied to be very expensive clothing and handbags.

Now although I find them offensive, I can see other views on the subject. Why would or how could anyone be bothered to be that offended by puppets? My brain refuses, as usual, to take what it sees at face value and I see deeper implications, different causes and effects. Advertising is so incredibly clever as an industry that is dominated by incredibly clever people. In my opinion the general public either doesn’t understand the harmful effects or they simply choose to be ignorant on the subject. People believe they have their own mind and will not be affected by advertisements unless they so choose. I can be quite certain in my declaration that they are incorrect in this thinking.

No matter how hard we argue that we remain unchanged by them, advertisements are one of the most influential entities in existence. They have wormed their way into every form of media. The pandering is so severe that I can only surmise they know us on a deeper level. For me though there is a certain aspect of advertisement we don’t consider, which most people would label as merely influence. In my own mind, I label as determining, especially when we consider the younger viewer.

Now the ads I’ve mentioned are on every form of media going at the moment. You’ll find them on television, popular websites, and radio. Young girls can see them and they absorb them more than any adult would care to realise. There are the usual outcries from advertising companies when they are accused,  they just go with the party line of, “Don’t let your children be exposed to the ads if you don’t want them affected by them.”

Excellent point, but what about the mother, aunt, grandmother, older sister etc… in their lives holding the diet drink? They are just as responsible as the big advertisement companies for the development of the child. If they say nothing, they cannot passively blame the ads.

Are we becoming Diet Drink Puppets?

If I have not said it quite clearly enough I will say it now, I do not enjoy the way women are portrayed in the media. It puts me ill at ease. These ads have a hand in shaping the future generations of women. The younger the child the easier it is for advertisements to influence their development. I truly believe that as people grow up, a part of them becomes what they have seen in the media. How much of us really belong to our own subconscious?

This is the danger I see. Are we allowing a generation of girls to grow up thinking they should be like the diet drink puppets? If this is true we are creating a generation of girls who think that their sole purpose in life is to be beautiful and possess expensive clothing.

That is enough of my ranting for now. I am also not that woman who says it’s not ok to be happy being like the diet drink puppets. I would just hope that it was the woman’s choice and not because a boardroom in an advertising company made her that way.

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