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  It’s happened to the best of us, we sit in front of the TV on a Sunday afternoon with the honest intention of only watching one or two episodes of that cool new Netflix show. After that, we earnestly promise ourselves, we will get lots of other, much more productive things done. Flash forward to 16 hours later, you’re still on your couch, wiping tears from your eyes, as the credits scroll on the final episode of that same new series. You look around you, aghast at the empty crisp packets, sweet wrappers, and empty mugs that sit in idle judgement. You’ve lost an entire day to Netflix. But what exactly is happening to our neurotransmitters when we binge watch something?     By The End Of Episode One Many studies have shown that by the time you reach the end of the first episode of a show, all brain activity has shifted from the left hemisphere of the brain to the right. In other words, you have switched from logic to emotion. This switch is coincided with the release of endorphins. This raises the serotonin levels in your brain and boosts your mood and overall sense of well-being. An increased level of serotonin is the hallmark of all addictive, habit-forming behaviour. Endorphins are also known to induce a relaxation state. The heart rate slows, breathing regulates and brain activity slows right down. This is sometimes referred to by scientists as your ‘reptilian brain’, where you are reduced to the most basic of cognitive function and awareness. This is known as ‘automatic attention’: everything is washing over you in an endorphin fueled haze. The literal meaning of ‘Netflix and chill’ After A Few Hours After a number of hours fixed in front of a TV screen, we eventually move from the automatic attention phase to whats known as the ‘controlled attention’ phase. During this phase your brain becomes slightly more active. It occurs most frequently when we have been watching the same show for a number of hours. It involves the connections our brain makes with characters and situations we see on screen. Very engrossing scenes or characters we feel very strongly about will trigger this phase. Cognitive response happens in perpetuity, and these two neural states are fluctuating constants. While this fluctuation is happening, the ever changing content of what we are watching is lighting up the brain’s synapses and triggering emotional responses. This is why, for example, we feel genuine sadness if our favourite character is going through an onscreen trauma. The Aftermath When you finally get around to turning off the the TV, or laptop, or what ever device you use to watch, you might find that you are tired and irritable. This is because, like any addictive substance, once you stop taking it, your endorphin levels drop. You then experience an emotional and physical crash. You can feel exhausted, experience low levels of energy and motivation, and even feel slightly depressed. The residual feelings you had at the end of what ever the last thing you watched was can linger. This could mean lingering warm and fuzzy feelings after watching something like Queer Eye. But, it could also mean lingering feelings of violence and aggression, if the last thing you watched was something like El Chapo!  
As we grew up we were Friends, had Sex in the City and eventually became Heroes, or Misfits, and that’s How I Met Your Mother. All these episodes, storylines and characters have had a different influence on us, and even though all the binge- watching can be held responsible for some of our worst hair choices, there was some useful stuff for us queers. Whether we knew about our sexuality, or came to understand it as we saw others be proud on screen, some TV characters have definitely made it easier to come out and live our queer life.  Santana Lopez – Glee Glee was huge, which made Santana Lopez’s coming out HUGE. She told us not only that it is OK to be gay, but also that it is OK to be gay, popular and a total bitch. Because why be quiet if you don’t feel like it, and what if you want to throw slushees at people’s faces? Ok, Santana might’ve been bad influence, but she was bad ass. Also, she taught us that you can be gay and open about it in high school. If everyone was, Tumblr would probably go bankrupt. James Stinson -How I Met Your Mother Barney’s brother was certainly not the first gay character on screen to get married and have a baby, but he still taught us it was cool to be boring, have a family and monogamous sex with a beloved partner. He is kind of the only character of the series to have been both a total player and a classic boring married dude. How amazing is it when the token gay character is actually more complex than most of the straight ones? Nomi Marks – Sense 8 You’d have to be very very young to have grown up with Sense8, but don’t we all grow up a little with every character that teaches us something? On that deep note, let’s acknowledge how hot, badass and insanely clever Nomi was in Sense8. Now let’s repeat the lesson again and again : being LGBTQIA+ is amazing, but it’s not more important than having a great brain. Piper Chapman – Orange is the New Black She might be one of the most annoying TV characters ever written. However, she knew something that most people don’t: being bisexual doesn’t mean you owe anyone an explanation. Piper just goes for whomever she wants, and that’s alright, because the real problem about her is obviously the constant emptiness in her eyes. These are just to mention a few, but there is no doubt that many kiddos have looked up to Captain Raymond Holt (Brooklynn Nine-Nine), that cute lesbian couple in the amazing Black Mirror episode, or even Emily from Pretty Little Liars whose hotness was definitely helpful growing up. #acp_paging_menu, .acp_wrapper {display: none;}
Whether or not you consider yourself to be an art aficionado, you have most likely heard of Banksy. The graffiti artist who made street art mainstream. He is also famous for being infamous. Despite being active since the 90’s, his identity remains a mystery to this day. Recently Banksy found himself the centre of media attention once again, when a piece of his artwork, ‘Girl With Balloon’, sold at auction for $1.4 million. As soon as the hammer had fallen on the sale, the piece began to shred itself, using a hidden shredder inside the frame. Over the years, many of his pieces have caused a great deal of controversy. Here, we take a look at some of his most controversial works to date.   Love Is In The Bin On October 5th 2018, at Sotheby’s Auction House, a crowd looked on in horror, as the Banksy piece ‘Girl With Balloon’, began to shred itself. The piece had just been sold for $1.4 million, and it is now thought, that the half shredded piece is now worth an awful lot more than that. Art critics have said that this was a commentary on the fact that that art is being chocked to death by money. The decadence and hedonism of the art world is completely contrary to what lies at the heart of street art. Pest Control – Bankus Militus Vandalus In 2004 an employee of the Natural History Museum in London noticed something strange as he was walking around the museum. This little taxidermy rat, complete with all of the tools of a graffiti artist, had been installed overnight without anyone’s knowledge. It remained in place for two hours before finally being removed. The piece has been shown at other exhibitions since, and has a small inscription underneath it which reads: “Recently discovered specimens of the common sewer rat have shown some remarkable new characteristics. Attributed to an increase in junk food waste, ambient radiation and hardcore urban rap music these creatures have evolved at an unprecedented rate. Termed the Banksus Militus Vandalus, they are impervious to all modern methods of pest control, and mark their territory with a series of elaborate signs. Professor B. Langford of University College London states: You can laugh now… but one day they may be in charge.” Banksy At The West Bank Wall In 2005 Banksy went to Palestine. While there, he managed to create 9 different illustrations on the controversial West Bank Wall, without detection. The wall is extremely heavily guarded so this must have been no mean feat. The West Bank Wall separates Palestine and Israel and is 425 miles long. The pieces he painted are provocative and striking. Whilst in the middle of creating one of the pieces, Banksy was approached by an old Palestinian man. The man told him that his painting made the wall look beautiful. Banksy thanked him, but the man responded with: “We don’t want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall. Go home.” The paintings were designed to highlight the fact that the wall is considered illegal under United Nations rulings. Banksy has said that the wall: “Essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open prison.” Di-Faced Tenners In one of his many public stunts, Banksy notoriously printed one million pounds worth of what he termed: ‘Di-Faced Tenners’. In them he replaced the Queen’s head with Princess Diana’s. The counterfeit cash also had the words ‘Banksy of England’, in stead of ‘Bank of England’, and ‘I Promise to Pay the Bearer on Demand the Ultimate Price’ printed on it. The back of the note had an image of Charles Darwin along with the slogan: ‘Trust No One.’ The notes were scattered at the Santa’s Ghetto Exhibition, The Reading Festival and at the Notting Hill Carnival. This act was hugely controversial due to the notorious rivalry between the people’s princess, Diana, and the Queen. It’s also, obviously, illegal to produce counterfeit currency.  
Ah Millennials, those lovable, self-absorbed, social media obsessed, selfie taking rascals. We hear over and over again that Millennials are self obsessed, lazy, entitled and unreliable. But is this really the case, or is it just that each generation thinks that the next one that comes along is not as good, or not doing things right? Can you really stereotype an entire generation of young people? Every generation thinks that the one that came before was worse than them, and that the one that came after is too. By comparison to the generation before them, Millennials have access to an awful lot more technology, resources and information. The rise of social media has meant that information and connections come much easier to the current generation. That being said, the ease of access to these things does not necessarily mean that Millennials are inherently lazy. We have an aging population of Baby Boomers and Generation Xer’s who missed out on what it means to work in such a technologically advanced age. Working from home is common place now, jobs like being a ‘social media influencer’ exist, and people can become YouTube stars from the comfort of their own bedrooms. This doesn’t mean that they are not working, just working differently. Most Millennials you meet will tell you that they have an array of different interests, hobbies and even jobs. A finger in every pie so to speak. Just because they are not holding down 9-5 jobs does not mean that they are not working hard. The way we make money and the way we interact and make new connections has changed exponentially over the last 15 years. For Baby Boomers, coming into retirement age this is an incomprehensible idea. The fact that someone could make money by sitting in their room playing video games is lost on them. Unfortunately, human nature is such that often times the automatic response to things that we do not understand is either fear or ridicule. A Cultural Shift Both Baby Boomers and Generation Xer’s had a strong work ethic drummed into them from an early age, but a very specific and rigid one: go to school, go to college, start your career. They then also had similar life expectations hoisted upon them: get married, buy a house, have children, hope you don’t die of heart disease by 40. Now however, we are seeing the parents of younger children, (and have seen the parents of Millennials), encourage their children to stray from that set path. Parents are encouraging their children to do things like take a year out from college to travel or explore other avenues other than school, college and marriage. Parents are finally accepting that we are not all cut from the same cloth. What the parent wants for the child is not always going to be what the child ends up wanting, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Individuality is being celebrated more and more these days. When Millennials were just children, parents had begun to reprioritise what mattered, allowing a certain amount of importance to be allocated to social interaction and events. This has taught this generation that it is OK to be different and it is also OK to live in the moment and worry less. This does not mean that previous generations were doing things wrong, it just means that this generation is doing things differently. It will be news to some, but despite what you may have heard, different does not necessarily mean wrong. The only thing wrong with Millennials is that they caused a huge cultural and societal shift that not everyone was ready for. Dedicated, Creative, Non-Conformists The freedom that was afforded to them during their upbringing has resulted in a serious dedication to what ever they end up committing themselves to. This potentially creates a hugely innovative young workforce. It has been proven that forced societal constructs eventually crumble under their own weight. The Millennial work ethos has caused conformity in the workplace to be significantly minimized. We are seeing less and less offices who force staff to wear full suits, tattoos and piercings are widely accepted in the workplace etc. This has also allowed for many individuals to feel enabled or empowered enough to follow their dreams. They feel this way regardless of background, education or social status. They are creating a more tolerant, inclusive and accessible world, and everyone looks set to benefit from it. They may appear lazy and self absorbed to the untrained eye, but their stubbornness to accomplish their goals can be quite powerful. A Generation Of Innovators However easy it may be to tarnish an entire generation with the one brush simply because we do not understand the way they do things, it is more honest to accept them for who they are. Millennials are a generation who started off with very little when it came to prospective employment. Most of them came of age in the middle of a global economic crisis that was caused, incidentally, by the Baby Boomer generation. They had to change things. Things simply couldn’t stay the same, they weren’t working anymore. Millennials have turned the tide for themselves and found new and creative ways to turn a buck. Really, the shape of our future has changed and the relevance and importance of civil convention has all but gone away. Maybe it is time to take a leaf out of their book and stop trying to categorize and label everything, but also accept this brave new world that is burgeoning upon us. We need to work in tandem with the younger generation, not against them, if we are to see true societal and cultural growth. #acp_paging_menu, .acp_wrapper { display: none; }
Tired of your mates telling you how they saw your mom on Tinder last night? That’s understandable. However uncomfortable you might be thinking of the lady who gave birth to you as sexually active, be aware that you did not fall from the sky. Also, based on your own personal experience, you should know how getting your mother in a good mood could be beneficial for her, but also for you. No more endless phone calls, no more passive-aggressive comments on your non-existent love-life. Get your mother on a dating website, and all your problems will be solved. The website was created by a visionary marriage counselor, Neil Clark, in the late 90s. The fact that it still attracts senior singles is a good sign, however doesn’t guarantee the quality of their algorithm. Need to be reassured? Take a look at the testimonials available on the website. If your mother likes a good love story, read some to her, that’ll convince her. Compatible partners If your mother isn’t that much into men, we suggest that you still give her a hand. It’s not easy to find love as a senior, let alone as a gay senior. Luckily, the online process covers pretty much everything a human could be looking for. Compatible Partners will try to determine the client’s personality before matching them with their same-sex soul-mate. Classic, but specific. Cougar Life Tired of your mother hitting on all your friends? Don’t blame it on her taste for youngsters, but on her lack of choice! If she had thousands of younger and hotter ones around, do you really think she’d go for Andrew? Exactly. Don’t be so narrow-minded, help your mother release the wild feline inside of her. Zoosk One of the most famous dating websites. Based on a personality test like most dating websites, that one is very online-chat based. The website is also an app on iPhone and Android. Soon, you’ll be telling your mom to put her phone down, at dinner time. Acknowledging that your parents are human beings and moreover sexual ones is hard. These great apps and websites will allow you to convince yourself that all your mother does is purely virtual. Just remember to never, never open her phone or computer uninvited anymore. #acp_paging_menu, .acp_wrapper {display: none;}
Music festivals are generally synonymous with warm sun, feel good tunes, and happy summer vibes. With the majority of the most famous European and UK festivals happening during the summer months, it would be easy to assume that the festival season ends in August. Thankfully, this is not the case. Here we take a look at some of the best winter festivals Europe has to offer, after all, what’s cooler than cool? Ice-cold. Awakenings Eindhoven – Netherlands Another dance music offering from the Netherlands, Awakenings takes place in Eindhoven each year. It is housed in Klokgebouw, a renovated industrial building that has the capacity to hold up to 9,000 party goers. Awakenings is a staple of techno culture and any dance music enthusiast should try to make to at least one of these in their lifetime. Snowbombing – Austria Snowbombing is the largest winter festival on the snow. It has a varied and eclectic line up each year, and takes place on the slopes of the world renowned Mayrhofen ski resort in Austria. Along side the regular stages there are also a whole host of other fun and interesting things to see and do. Including an igloo rave, street parties and even an enchanted forest. This world leader in winter music festivals is a wonder to behold and goes on for an epic six days. Horizon Festival – Andorra Horizon Festival is held in the ski resort of Arinsal, Andorra. Taking place over the course of a full seven days, this lineup of many international DJ’s bring the party to a number of different venues throughout the resort. Incorporating mountain top stages, and secret forest raves, there is also a welcome acoustic chill-out area. There are even workshops available for up and coming, or novice DJ’s and producers, to learn a few tricks of the trade, or, hone their existing skills.  
While the aesthetics of Anime and Manga lends itself well to a younger audience, many TV shows and movies that are animated in that style are far from kid friendly. Many are violent, gorey, and deal with very adult themes. Many would also just fly above the head of the average youngster. Visually stunning, most anime is a joy to watch with intricately woven storylines and stunning imagery throughout. Here, we take a look at some of the best anime movies and TV shows with dark, adult themes that you should not miss. But be aware that these are not for younger viewers. Cat Soup What a peculiar, surreal joy this movie is. Cat Soup is the perfect example of Anime as an art form. The story essentially follows that of a little boy and girl cat as they go on an odyssey to reclaim their souls from the land of the dead. The movie, however, is full of surreal, sexually suggestive imagery and vulgar suggestion. Paranoia Agent The second entry from Satoshi Kon to this list, Paranoia Agent, was Kon’s one and only attempt at episodic TV. This is a masterclass in suspense, paranoia, and mounting tension, that any live action director could seriously take notes from. It tells the story of ‘Little Slugger’, an urban legend about a mysterious, rollerblading kid, who can put you out of your misery if your life’s falling apart.  After a vicious attack on a young female as she makes her way home from work, two detectives are called in to investigate. They discover that Little Slugger may be more than just a rumour, and soon, more and more people fall victim to his attacks. But more than just thuggish attacks, as the detectives dig deeper, the reality they thought they knew begins to crumble around them.  Full of violence, with just a smattering of sex, Paranoia Agent takes you in the kind of paranoid, surrealist trips that only Satoshi Kon could deliver. Wicked City This absolute gem of a movie flies under the radar for some strange reason. It is a neo-noir detective drama set in a futuristic city. It tells the story of two worlds that have existed in harmony for centuries, Earth and the Black World. The Black World is a realm of supernatural beings that most humans are unaware of. A military group called the Radicals are intent to breaching the peace and returning men to their former heritage : as slaves. Two special agents, Taki, a human, and Makie, a supernatural, are called in to prevent the Radicals from seizing control. The two form the Black Guard who must protect a 200 year-old man named Giuseppi Mayart, the only man who can keep the peace from being broken by the Radicals. This smart, stylish and eerie Anime is one of the early Manga greats. Dead Man Wonderland When the sole survivor of a high school massacre, Ganta,  is framed for the crime, he is incarcerated in Deadman Wonderland, a strange and sinister private prison. This prison has a perverted and insidious take on incarceration, and what inmates must endure. During the massacre, the real killer embeded a red crystal inside Ganta. This crystal imbues him with powers, and he soon learns that all of the prisoners at Deadman Wonderland must entertain the public, by performing in dangerous games, in exchange for privileges. All of it is televised, and performed in front of a live audience. Ganta soon forms alliances within the prison and soon develops a rag-tag band of misfit friends. Together they must fight for survival, and find out what is really going on in the prison.  
  Just because you’re a Hollywood movie star with the world on a string doesn’t mean that everything goes perfectly well for all of your movies. Sometimes even the most famous actors have bad days or bad attitudes that lead them straight out of the show. These 15 actors got fired right on set ! Robert Downey Jr in Gravity This one won’t be about disputes or behaviourial problems, but simple technology was the culprit when the director had to change Robert Downey Jr for George Clooney. All the equipment used for the movie was a bit too much for the actor to cope with. Thomas Gibson in Criminal Minds One could wonder why the production would fire the main actor after more than 12 seasons. Well long story short Thomas Gibson, aka special agent Hotch, got fired because he hit one of the writers of the show, which is why he just appeared in the first two episodes of the next season. Megan Fox in Transformers 3 After a hefty argument between the actress and Michael Bay, mostly about the way he worked and portrayed her, Steven Spielberg decided to drive her away from the production and replace her for Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Kevin Spacey in House Of Cards The actor got fired after harassment complaints, and after some internal investigation, the production decided to go on without him for a 6th and last part of the show, with Robin Wright as the main actress.  
If all you’ve got so far is that December is « Don’t get too drunk » and April is « Find the eggs/Hide the eggs (depending on your age) », be aware that other months have great challenges happening too. Most of them artistic, they will either leave you with a great sense of satisfaction, or a complete loss of faith in your willpower. If you were looking for something to get anxious about every day for thirty days, here’s a non-exhaustive list for you. Creative Challenges Inktober Started by Jake Parker, who had decided to improve his inking skills by producing one drawing per day for a month, it has since become huge. Every year, a new theme list is released to inspire drawers from all around the world. The best thing about it is that nothing is mandatory, neither using ink or following the themes. It’s all about getting creative, having fun and polluting people’s Facebook timelines. Health Challenges Movember Raising awareness through hipster looks? Why not. Movember encourages men to grow their beards, run and raise money for men’s health. Could you actually combine it with NaNoWriMo, happening the same month?! Maybe, if you’re lucky enough to be unemployed. Dry January A challenge from the UK, where the heavy consumption of alcohol is known to have poor consequences on its citizens’ health. Even though the benefits of a sober month are hard to measure in the long-run, it’s always good to cleanse for a few weeks. Random Challenges Fap Free February It is hard to retrace the origins of Fap Free February, a challenge that’s become both a joke and a thing on the Internet. For the pure and innocent ones, fap is Internet slang for masturbation. Encouraged by the members of No Fap, a forum for fap addicts trying to recover, the idea is to stay « clean » for a month, or more. Life can never be boring again, with all these new personal records to break. What’s nice about these challenges is that there will always be a community to understand and support you while you’re doing it. There are other monthly challenges out there, just try to find the right one for you! And please, please share the results on the social networks to make everyone else feel lazy and guilty. #acp_paging_menu, .acp_wrapper {display: none;}
In every story with a hero, there’s always a villian too, it’s the classic tale of good versus evil. That’s not to say that they are there just to be the opposition to the heros or that they are fundamentally detestable, in reality, these are deep characters with their own motivations, with specific traits that can almost make them “good”. Sometimes, the baddies are much more memorable than the main character: their appearance and their attitude are sometimes much more charismatic and they have a much more lasting effect on us! Here are the coolest baddies and villains from the last couple of years: Pagan Min in Far Cry 4 The son of a Drug Lord in Hong Kong, Pagan decided not to follow in the footsteps of his father: instead he became a warlord of a region at the base of the Himalayas and self proclaimed himself as King of Kyrat (all while wearing a pink suit). And with this achievement, he scatters his mothers ashes over his self proclaimed Kingdom.After meeting this dictator at the start of this game you get an idea of the magic of Pagan Min. When you play, your character is kept captive, but you have the chance to escape if he leaves for a moment. But if you decide to stay, a different type of game starts, a game of scattering ashes and trying to escape through a tomb. Skull Kid and Majora in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask If any villain is the star of this list, it’s got to be Skull Kid, the little malevolent being who spends his time torturing you. Originally he was just a little shy boy in a forest but by putting on the mask of Majora, he becomes tormented, little by little the mask strips him of his personality. Majora is a little evil and deranged spirit, who takes possession of Skull Kid, who is responsible for lots of monstrous acts throughout the game. His sad destiny all comes to a head when he arrives at Termina. It becomes a fight against the clock, Skull kid only has 72 hours to be able to change back. The Troubled Man in Mass Effect This is certainly one video game character that is intimidating, posed with a cigar in his mouth, settled down beside a dying sun. The troubled man is the leader of a racist organisation in the game, which preach the superiority of the human race against the rest of the universe and use heroes to achiever their aims. What’s more, the character is dubbed by the actor Martin Sheen, who gives an excellent performance in this video game. Edgar Ross in Red Dead Redemption The head of the FBI in Red Dead, he is responsible for kidnapping women and the son of the antihero of the game John Marston. After having taken the members of the old gang and taking them apart entirely, John begins to live a normal life with his family on his ranch. This calm doesn’t last for long however even after paying his debt, John is discovered by Ross. After the end of the game the player can play as this character and you won’t doubt what comes next: he tracks down and finds the useless cops to finish him off. The Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2 After witnessing his parents death, Jack goes to live with his grandmother who tortures him physically and psychologically. As a result of this traumatic childhood Jack becomes an evil antihero. With his cynical spirit and humor, he never hesitates to use torture, betrayal massacre and other such nice things to achieve his aims. Vaas Montenegro in Far Cry 3 ” Madness is doing the exact same trick without stopping and hoping that it will change” . Despite having just a cameo role his statement has had an effect on lots of people starting the game. Not being the big baddie of the game, not even being created within the conception of the game, it was the performance of an unknown Canadian actor which pushed the team to include the character of Vaas and give him such importance. The excellent work on this characters script and his particular type of craziness have even managed to eclipse the real boss of the game Hoyt Volker. Pyramid Head of Silent Hill One of the most charismatic baddies in the history of horror games, Pyramid Head is the personification of Horror: his head is covered with a pyramid shaped metal cone and he carries a bloody butchered body. The scariest thing about him is that we never hear his approach, but long after he is gone we sense his malevolent presence. The Creepers in Minecraft Imagine that you are enjoying a nice calm video game, doing what you want, exploring little villages … you decide to take a closer look at something and then “BOOM” all of a sudden it’s game over! If this has happened to you, this was surely your first encounter with one of these little green beings, the creepers are discrete and violent so beware.