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The Effect of Time on my Psyche

Our discussion on Thursday is what inspired this blog post. It’s kind of a personal, memoir type piece that I couldn’t get out of my head once it was in, because I have had a very personal experience pertaining to time and how it messed with me for a very long time (and still kind of continues to, but not to the level it used to). Writing about it felt weirdly relieving. It’s kind of long, be warned.


I wasn’t very young when my parents divorced. Ten years old, it was just old enough for my dad leaving to impact me profoundly, especially after a childhood of anxiety and constantly being terrified that the people in my life would leave me. One of my greatest fears came to life the night he decided he couldn’t live with us anymore.

Time became important to me, an essential part of my life.

After he moved out, somehow my brain started to think that it was only a matter of time before my mom left too. That couldn’t happen.

My dad moved to a house literally about a four minute drive from my house, which is not far by any means. I was happy for this, and I willingly visited him every Saturday with my brother for our court mandated visits. From 9am to 5pm, it was routine. I would wake up at 8, get ready and my mom would drop the two of us off just on time.

“See you guys at five!” My mom would tell us, give us a kiss and once she made sure we were safely inside, she would drive off.

The day itself would go by easily, filled with domestic activities or fun trips. The only catch in my mind was we had to be back home by 4:30 so that if mom was early we wouldn’t keep her waiting. If she wasn’t, which she never was, it would be okay because then I could spend the next half an hour eagerly awaiting her arrival, trying to ignore the doubts in my head.

What if she never comes back? 

Nonsense. You’re being ridiculous. She said she would be back at five, so she will be.


Only fifteen minutes left, I double checked my bag and made sure I had everything. I double checked my brother’s bag and made sure he had everything.


I start to imagine what we’re going to do for the night. Will mom take us to get some DVDs so we can have a movie night? Will she have groceries filled with snacks? Did she make our favorite vegetable soup for dinner? Did she go on any fun adventures today?


Five minutes left! My heart rate always picked up at this point, a mix of anxiety and excitement to see her face and go home. At this point I was fully ready to leave, standing on the landing just outside my dad’s second floor apartment, staring out at the street and waiting for her car to appear.

I know my dad was always behind me, watching me with concern as he knew the likelihood of her coming exactly at 5:00 like I expected was low, and preparing himself for the outcome.


Sure enough, she didn’t show up. The thoughts immediately intruded.


Oh god, where was she? Alright, it’s fine. You’re fine. She’s going to come.


Calm down.


Almost a minute, she’s still not here. Where is she? Why am I being like this, it’s not like she’s going to come right at-


At this point I was picking up the shitty $99TTD cell phone that my mom got me to use solely for calls to her. Dialing the extremely familiar number, waiting for her to pick up. The 50/50 chance of her either picking up or not had my heart pounding.

Most of the time she wouldn’t answer.

The logical, and usually accurate explanation for this would be because she was driving, or her phone was on silent. Sometimes she was just ignoring me, knowing my tendencies to freak out unnecessarily.

The weight of the time passing every minute past 5:00, had my chest hurting and my heart beating at speeds I was sure were unhealthy.

“A waiting pot never boils,” My dad told that to me once, and I had to ask him what he meant, “It means that when you wait for something to happen, it will feel as though it’s taking much longer.”

The explanation didn’t help me at all, but for some reason I always thought of it. Was I messing up cosmically by waiting for her? Were my incessant calls, voice mails and text messages pushing her away from me? Was the universe out to hurt me by making her show up late, or even not at all? Did the universe want to spite me by making me wait longer?


Where is she?!

At this point usually the tears would start as I paced the floor of my dad’s living room, waiting for her to call back. The worst scenarios ran through my head, awful images that I would see sometimes in my dreams. Car crashes. A plane flying away, with her in it. Any possible ‘wrong place wrong time’ scenario. My dad would tell me things, I would never really hear what he was saying in my frenzy. I wouldn’t let him try to hug me, I didn’t want to be consoled, I wanted my mom. She might be gone.


I’ve stopped moving, the only thing I’m capable of doing at this point is curling up on the floor with the phone in my hand trying to regulate my breathing after feeling like I was about to pass out.

My dad is still trying to help me, my brother just looks confused as he stands there, not understanding the potential implications of what her being twenty minutes late might mean.


My phone rings, I shoot up and frantically press the green button to answer.

“Mom?” I asked shakily. I hear her sigh on the other end.

“I’m outside, honey,” She tells me, and I instantly feel dumb for ever thinking she would leave. My reddened cheeks get slightly redder with the embarrassment, but it’s all overshadowed by the relief I feel knowing she’s right outside.

This happened for months, almost everywhere I went, effectively ruining my 6th grade social life and making it so that it was almost impossible for me to leave my mom’s side if she wasn’t back right when she said she would be. Time was all the mattered, because when she was away from me doing whatever she had to do, time seemed to be the only thing I could count on. I didn’t realize how dependent I was on it until therapy, and even after I’m still painfully aware of it most of the time.

Time affecting the psyche brought back a lot of memories, not particularly good ones, but I’m being honest when I say that writing this actually helped. And hey, now I can look back on that time knowing that I’m now in university, thousands of miles away from my mom in Egypt, and I’m pretty fine.

Interesting, how time was my worst enemy, best friend, and now after all this time, I’ve gotten much better.

Does that make sense?

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The Panopticon of Res Life

I’m not sure if this will turn out as more of a rant than a chill commentary, but hey. It has relevance to Foucault. I think.

Alright, so a key part of living in residence at all universities is that of having an RA whose job it is to look over the students in their charge and make sure that they don’t do anything stupid and abide by the rules. We know this. I respect this. We do need someone to look after us and ensure our good behavior. However, it just so happens that that person lives next to me.

Yep. I won the RA jackpot.

I promise you that I am a good, quiet, respective person who acknowledges and heeds the rules of my house. I try my absolute best to follow them and make sure my friends do too. And for the most part, I do. Except for the dreaded quiet hours.

Weekdays from 9pm – 7am and weekends from 1am – 7am we are expected to be so absolutely quiet that you can hear a pin drop on the carpeted halls. Over-exaggeration, sure. But that’s how it feels when you share a wall with an RA who enforces this rule like her life and the lives of everyone in this house depend on it. I’m sure you can imagine how having an RA is kind of panoptic, in the way that there is one entity in charge of many, and we all have our own rooms with our names on the doors and she knows all of us and can observe us easily enough.

Now, I am aware not everyone has this problem with their RAs, and for the most part my RA is cool. But I swear to god I’ve become paranoid at night.

Half of the time I don’t even know if she is in her room, yet as soon as the clock strikes 9:00pm, I am whispering. Now this may seem like unwarranted paranoia, but guys, here’s a small compilation of the times I’ve been told to be quiet.

  1. Watching Netflix at 1am when the volume is so low I can barely hear it, but apparently she can.
  2. Having a coughing fit in my room (yes, a coughing fit).
  3. Talking to my mom at night (because of a time difference that she is very aware of, yet ignores). I’ve even been told to be quiet when it wasn’t quiet hours. My mom can now barely hear me at night on Skype. Great.
  4. Having a normal, quiet conversation with my friend across the hall in her room (she threatened to write us up that time. We were talking about her Mandarin class).
  5. Walking to the bathroom and being falsely accused of talking when it wasn’t even me and in fact some neighbours who were talking. I tried to clear my name, but alas. Was still accused.

Apparently I am the loudest member in this house. You’d think so. But I think she has the ears of a bat.

I believe from this simple sample of the times I’ve been told to be quiet is enough justification of my paranoia, and the thing is that you can’t knock on her bedroom door to see if she’s there. I mean, you can, but here’s the thing; you knock once, she’s there. You make up an excuse for knocking and then say goodnight and report back to your friends that she is there so be quiet please dear God. Everything is fine. Next night, you knock again. No response. It’s safe enough to believe she isn’t there so you can actually talk at a normal volume. Night three, you knock and she answers. Honestly, at this point even though she’s only answered twice it’s a really weird coincidence that you’re knocking at 9 or later to ask some dumbly mundane question and she’s not dumb, she’ll start getting suspicious. You can’t risk that. So you always have to act like she’s in her room, unless you happen to know for sure otherwise.

Does that make sense?

It’s like Schrodinger’s RA in a Panopticon.

Does that make sense?

Well, that’s about what I wanted to say. Took me like two weeks to come up with it. It was a lot harder to write out than I thought it would be!

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The Sci-Fi Sandman

If you’re reading this, I warn you, it’s probably going to be a long one. I’ve worked on it for a while. 

After reading Hoffman’s The Sandman, apart from the song constantly getting stuck in my head I also couldn’t stop thinking about a Doctor Who episode that took the legend of the Sandman and reinvented it into something that, as my title suggests, is a bit more sci-fi. It’s kind of confusing, but I’ll try to explain.

The title of the episode is brilliant in its own way. “Sleep No More” basically describes what the episode is going to be about, but is still vague enough that you wonder what it is going to be about. It is set in the 38th Century, after the Great Catastrophe where India and Japan are the ruling powers. The Great Catastrophe has basically led to humans fleeing Earth to find a home on Triton, one of Neptune’s moons. The episode itself is actually set on an abandoned ship that is orbiting Neptune, with a four person crew assigned on a rescue mission to see why the ship fell silent. The episode is pieced together in a found footage style using footage from the crew’s helmets and security cameras in the ship, with narration by the scientist Rassmussen, whose voiceover on a black screen warns the viewer not to watch the video in the beginning, “You must not watch this. I’m warning you, you can never unsee it.” (0.00 – 0.22). Naturally, this would typically make someone want to continue watching.

Now, initially when I re- watched the episode I thought that perhaps I’d find parallels between the episode and Hoffman’s short story, but I realized when I was grasping at straws that there were none, so I looked up an interview with the writer of the episode, Mark Gatiss, who said that his inspiration came from his experiences with insomnia throughout his life. Now the title makes even more sense.

What I love about legends is the way that they can be transformed into anything, from Hoffman’s story, designed to blur the lines between appearance and reality and freak you out, to the children’s movie Rise of the Guardians (Ramsey, 2012), in which the Sandman is a lovable guardian who helps children fall asleep and makes sure that their dreams are happy and bright. I think you can imagine though that my favourite interpretation of the Sandman is Mark Gatiss’ version. Back to the episode.

Rassmussen claims that he is the one who put the videos together in an attempt to explain what is going on, making it seem that he is the sole survivor of whatever is occuring. Through the footage we meet the crew, who go into the ship and run into the Doctor and his companion Clara who have also just arrived on board. My first grasp at straws was the name similarity between the Doctor’s Clara and the Klara in Hoffman’s story, but really the only similarity is in the sound of their names. You hear Clara say that she feels as though she’s being watched, and the Doctor explains it as paranoia. The leader of the crew tells the two that they are now under her command, and they resume their scope of the ship. Another camera catches the Doctor and Clara talking when the Doctor sees a layer of dust just under the camera, swipes it up and remarks that the ship must have been dead for a while before blowing the dust in the direction of the camera.

After further exploration of the ship and an incident with crew member 474, a Grunt who, in the 38th century, are a breed of human solely made for their strength and brute force, a monster is attracted to the team and begins chasing them. They run away, 5 out of the 6 people in this newly enlarged team barely making it through the doors to a room. They close the door on the monster’s arm, the arm disintegrating into a pile of dust. The Doctor takes a sample to find that the dust is actually made of mostly dead skin cells and mucus. Inside the room they’ve found themselves in are a line of bulky, pod like devices. The crew explains that these are Morpheus Devices, named after the god of dreams, but that they are more than just sleep pods. Clara activates one to find that when activated, they play a holographic video of The Chordettes singing the famous “Mr. Sandman”, a song with a chirpy, upbeat melody and slightly unsettling lyrics. The song itself may even invoke a sense of the uncanny, and it especially did in this context. The device then opens up and traps Clara within it, for only a minute before the Doctor is able to get her out, pulling the wires from her and waking her up. She gets out and they find that her pod wasn’t the only occupied one, and that the pod at the end is not empty. Clara is able to talk to whoever is inside and convince them to open up their pod, and they do, only for us to find that it is Rassmussen inside the pod, hiding.

To elaborate the whole ‘it is more than a sleeping pod’ thing that I mentioned earlier, Rassmussen activates another hologram that explains to the Doctor and Clara what exactly the Morpheus Devices do. As it turns out, by targeting the sleep centres of your brain and altering your brain’s general chemistry, it concentrates your sleep down to only five minutes a month. In this five minutes the device gives you all the chemical benefits of rest but without the time it takes to actually get it. The crew reveals that these devices are commonplace back on Triton, where efficiency is valued. Rassmussen then proudly reveals that the Morpheus Devices are his invention, but Clara and the Doctor are disturbed by this society’s need for efficiency going so far as to allow the fundamental chemistry of their brains to be changed in such a way. Chopra, one of the rescue team members, agrees with them. In fact, he is the only crew member who doesn’t use the devices.  This is where the Doctor devises a theory.

The Doctor’s Theory: The monsters that inhabit the ship are actually made out of the dust that forms in the corner of your eye when you sleep.

Explanation: This mucus crust is made of blood and skin cells, and the electronic pulses that Morpheus sends into your brain to alter its chemistry actually caused the cells to evolve into a carnivorous life form. The longer that you are in Morpheus the more dust builds up, until it entirely takes over the host. The dust conglomerates and then can mold itself into human form after it eats its host. It’s quite an adaptive creature, actually.

Here is where I skip a ton of drama that goes down by saying that a ton of drama goes down, the gravity shields that keep the ship from being pulled in by Neptune’s gravitational pull are deactivated (but the Doctor reactivates them), and this further breaks up the crew and the monsters kill Rassmussen. The Doctor hacks into the leader’s helmet cam to review earlier footage of Rassmussen being eaten, finding something odd in the way the monsters do so. We see a pod being transported somewhere and then the cameras cut back to the Doctor and Clara dubbing the monsters ‘Sandmen’ before the Doctor remembers something the leader mentioned earlier; she said that their helmets are not equipped with cameras. The Sandmen break into the room that they’re in and that’s when the Doctor sees that the Sandmen are blind. Rassmussen cuts in here, showing that he’s alive. The Doctor, Clara and the leader all escape the Sandmen and the Doctor now shows us that there is footage being taken wirelessly and stored somewhere, but there are no cameras anywhere doing that job. The Doctor explains this with his line, “[T]he dust has been watching us. Each little organic speck, just a tiny spy, drifting through the air. The monsters have been with us all along. That’s why the Sandmen are blind, their visual receptors are being hijacked! But by whom? And why?” (31.52 – 32.16).

The biggest twist in the episode happens when the Doctor points out the reason for the PoV footage that was shot. The rapid cutting and the amount of people in the group, in addition to the amount of different angles that we got from the dust specs alone was enough to trick the audience into thinking that the PoV footage was shot from every person’s perspective. It wasn’t. There were two people whose perspectives we never see; and those are the Doctor’s and Chopra’s. Everyone who had been inside Morpheus had a PoV, even Clara. This leads the Doctor to theorizing that being in the Morpheus Devices for even the shortest time begins the process of becoming a Sandman. This revelation was enough to send a chill down even my spine.

So the Doctor figures it out, even finds that Rassmussen is still alive and they corner him. Rassmussen tells them that he was willing to sacrifice himself for the betterment of the Sandman race, that the Sandmen spared him because he promised that he would find a way to get them off of the spaceship and into Triton so that they could spread. He plans to use Patient 0, the box that I mentioned was seen being transported earlier, the first Morpheus client who hasn’t slept in five years, and release him into Triton to spread his spores. Rassmussen explains that the Morpheus Devices are constantly evolving and changing and as a result, so are the Sandmen. Their ability to infect others goes beyond the devices now, they are able to use spores to infect their victims.

The Doctor finds inconsistencies with Rassmussen’s story, and tries to figure them out but they don’t have time. They have to get back to the TARDIS and escape, but are blocked by Sandmen. The Doctor then destroys the gravity shields, causing Neptune’s stronger gravitational field to pull apart the Sandmen. They get into the TARDIS, but not before the Doctor looks around and yells, “It doesn’t make sense! None of this makes any sense!” (42.12).

The episode ends with Rassmussen getting up from the seat that the leader shot him down in earlier, explaining that the whole story in the video was really just a ruse that he put together to embed the same electronic glitch that Morpheus used in the sleep process into the video, therefore kickstarting the Sandman process in the viewer and spreading the ‘virus’ to whoever watches it. With one last smug smile, he rubs his eye and it crumbles into sand, the rest of his body following suit.

Whether or not Rassmussen was successfully able to release the video is not known, and the episode ends without us knowing the fate of the Triton people. We do know Clara survives, but that is about it.

Believe it or not, that was my shortened summary.

As I said before, I love when legends are recreated and revamped into different genres and made into their own original stories. Within this episode I mentioned the Freudian uncanny of the song “Mr. Sandman”. But even the Doctor seemed to feel his own sense of the uncanny when he realized that the story just wasn’t adding up, and to the Doctor that’s the worst kind of conclusion.

Not to mention Darwin would have had a field day in this spaceship, analyzing the components of the evolution and creation of the Sandmen.

What I appreciate the most about this episode though is the annoyance I felt when I didn’t initially understand what was happening, and then the annoyance I felt seeing that Rassmussen had created this whole story in the end solely for his own purposes, to fulfill his own agenda. I mean, talk about unreliable narrators. Not to mention just overall confusion that stayed with you throughout the episode, only for it to be resolved into utter annoyance knowing that the hero of the story, the Doctor, didn’t see the ultimate plan of Rassmussen’s to release the video he created. Ultimately, the hero lost without properly realizing it. That’s not supposed to happen. Well, I mean, welcome to Doctor Who, where things that are dead don’t stay dead, races that are supposed to have been wiped out turn out to be alive and thriving, and a pansexual time traveler who doesn’t take life seriously ends up being the oldest being in the universe. And that last one I’m not even referring to the Doctor.

I just hope that there’s a sequel in the future.




“Sleep No More.” Doctor Who. Writ. Mark Gatiss. Dir. Justin Molotnikov. BBC One, 2015.

“The Chordettes. “Mr. Sandman.” Mr. Sandman, Cadence, 1954.

Rise of the Guardians. Directed by Peter Ramsey, DreamWorks Animation, 2012.

Hoffman, E. T. A. The Sandman. 1816.

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My Opinion on Others’ Opinions

You know how people are constantly telling you not to listen to what other people say, and it’s only what you think about yourself that matters? I know I’ve been told it a million times, but, and I think Rousseau would agree, that little saying doesn’t work.

Much easier said than done, am I right?

Ideally, it would be perfect to completely block out the opinions of others and just listen to yourself, but that’s not a good idea! Now, I’m not sure I wholeheartedly agree with Rousseau’s idea that we are shaped solely through the opinions of others, but we do need those opinions! Naturally not all of those opinions others have about you are going to be good, but a lot of the times it comes as a surprise when you hear good things about yourself coming from an outside perspective. I think as humans we need others to be there to reaffirm us or to be honest with us when the time comes, but it doesn’t mean that what they say defines who we are and who we perceive ourselves as.

I’m a firm believer in the saying that we’re always going to be our own worst critic, namely because that’s the case for me and for a lot of the people I know. Could you imagine being stuck with your own criticizing thoughts 24/7, with no external input? That would be hellish. Sometimes you need those external views to be able to step back and look at yourself through someone else’s eyes, and maybe you’ll learn a thing or two you didn’t know. That doesn’t mean that how that person sees you defines who you are, because that thing they saw was already there. It just means that they brought it to light, and that now you can see it too and integrate it into your conscious mind.

All in all, it’s really just a combination of ourselves and the people around us that help us to understand ourselves better.

Weird, right?

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The Magic of Theatre

Magic has always appealed to me. Just the idea of it, the stories of spells and potions with the ability to do a range of things beyond what our mere human abilities allowed.

This play is filled with magic. There’s Prospero, who controls Ariel. From the start of the play I found myself taking an interest in Ariel, because as an extension to my interest with Magic I also have an interest in Magical beings. Ariel, the sprite, is a particularly intriguing one, who takes the form of a Sea Nymph to carry out Prospero’s plans. In addition to taking the form of a Sea Nymph, in Act 3 Scene 3 Ariel enters as a Harpy (a mythological hybrid creature with a bird’s body and a woman’s face). With their wings, Ariel makes the banquet that was set by spirits disappear into thin air.

There are many elements of Magic involved on the island, which is easy to imagine but a bit harder to carry out on stage.

After some research I found that I wasn’t insane, but that The Tempest indeed has some of the most stage directions out of Shakespeare’s plays. These directions give us insight as to how certain tricks were performed on stage, or just simply let us know what the scene looked like so that we can infer further as to what was done.

The simplest of illusions was not an illusion at all, but was when Ariel became invisible to all but Prospero. That just required acting and blocking, blocking presumably so that Ariel could move through and around the characters in a way that normally would be seen as abnormal if the characters could see it. Choreography also would play a role, as I imagine that sprites would have a light, flitting way of movement, almost like a constant dance.

The heavier, more intense illusions come in the form of technology, with Shakespeare having to pull off things like the food disappearing when Ariel closed their wings, or Ariel appearing and disappearing with the thunder later on in that act.

Shakespeare gives us a clue as to how the wings trick was performed in his stage direction, “Enter Ariel, like a harpy, clasps his wings upon the table, and with a quaint device the banquet vanishes” (3.3, 166). After some more research I found that said quaint device could have been a table with a false top, that could turn over with the flick of a switch, either activated by Ariel or a stagehand. Ariel’s wings would disguise the act, so that the table could rotate and then when Ariel moved away, the fake table was now cleared of food.

Later on, Ariel disappears with the sound of thunder, and then the shapes enter again. From a basket disguised as a cloud that Ariel both descended and ascended in to wires attached to Ariel’s wings to Ariel just simply leaving the stage, there are many ways that this could have been staged. The stage direction doesn’t really tell us about the how, just that it happened. “He vanishes in thunder”  (3.3, 168). I actually find the second part of the direction more riveting, as “Then, to soft music, enter the shapes again, and dance with mocks and mows, and carrying out the table [they depart]” (3.3, 168). I imagine darkly dressed dancers moving around the actors and the table, making good use of the space until they finally get to their places at said table. The soft music creates a magical, mesmerizing atmosphere that the dancers play with so that it isn’t just the audience watching stagehands remove a prop, but it is something more.

I think I could honestly go on and on about how I imagine each scene to play out, and I’m not even a director. In the end, magic was created on stage by us “mere humans”, and it all happened live in front of an audience. That’s why I love theatre, because it always (to me) feels like a close second to actual magic.



Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Edited by Stephen Orgel, Oxford University Press Inc., 1987.


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Being Good in the Eyes of Procedural Crime

You know that a text is on your mind when even when you’re watching or doing things other than reading the text, the text is still able to connect back to whatever you are doing. In this case, I happened to be catching up on NCIS‘ new season. The name of the episode that I was watching was called ‘Being Bad’, and the premise followed as such:

In the beginning, you see a high- school reunion going on. These two men, both very nerdy looking, are walking into the gym when a grade- A douchebag looking guy (you know the type: peaked in high-school, never grew out of it) approaches them and antagonizes them, just as he did back in the day. Neal, the nerd, isn’t really taking him on, that is until Bruno (the douchebag), throws a punch at him. Neal then grabs his arm and flips him over onto his back and delivers this line that made me jump in pride: “Hey, so what’d you end up doing after high-school? I joined special forces.” (1:38). I was like ooooohh my GOD! Yes!

A minute later, Bruno is dead. Poisoned. *Cue NCIS opening theme*

The episode takes a load of turns as the team finds out that Bruno had hidden a bomb in a locker, a bomb that had the ability to kill everyone in the gym. Obviously things aren’t looking good for our douchebag. Tries to beat up a nerd, commit mass murder, and then they find out that he was involved in a major theft ring that Metro PD had been trying to solve for years. He was the guy on the team who broke into the houses and stole the stuff. The latest thing he stole was a painting worth over a million dollars, but no one could find it. As the investigation continues, the team finds out who else was involved in the theft ring; a group of 5 people, Neal (our nerd), included. The other three also all went to the same high-school, and they came up with the idea for a massive theft ring when the five of them (from drastically different social backgrounds and classes), had a Saturday detention together.

It was like the Breakfast Club, just with less musical montage and more illegal activities.

Bruno is really looking like a bad guy here, but the thing is that one of the group members is insistent that Bruno would never want to kill people. Then another group member speaks up and says that he was a nice guy, and that he even staged the fight with Neal so that Neal could look good in front of the ladies. If you want to know what happened to Neal, he kills himself so that he doesn’t have to go to jail. Not before he confesses everything via video and a typed out document, though. Thanks, Neal.

Another bit of evidence turns up when it’s found that right before putting the bomb in the locker, Bruno had tampered with it and deactivated it, so that the ‘pretty girl’ (the mastermind behind the bomb idea) of the ring couldn’t detonate it. At this point, Abby, the forensic scientist, and Gibbs (the team leader), while talking say something that I think Mengzi would definitely agree with:

(This is after finding out about the bomb being deactivated)

Gibbs (about Bruno): Bad on the outside, good on the inside.

Abby: Maybe he got cold feet. Decided he didn’t want to be a depraved mass murderer after all. See, this is why I’m a people person. Because the good on the inside, it always-

Gibbs: Abbs… (and so the dialog continues)


Okay, so Gibbs interrupted Abby when she was JUST getting to the Mengzi part, but I think we can all conclude what she was about to say. That the good on the inside, it always shines through. That definitely relates to Mengzi’s innate goodness theory. When she started to say this, I got unreasonably excited as my brain instantly made the Mengzi connection.

As the episode comes to a close, we find out that Bruno’s landlord killed him to steal the painting for herself, the remaining members of the theft ring are arrested and sent to Metro, and one last piece of evidence for the case of Good Guy Bruno is shown: they found a laptop in Bruno’s car, on the laptop was an email that confessed everything and outed everyone. He never got the chance to send it. Agent Torres tells Gibbs of this development in this exchange:

Torres: … Guess he figured which version was the real him (about Bruno).

Gibbs: The good guy.

(40:40- 40:53)

Basically, I think that if Mengzi was here today he’d really like this episode of NCIS. It showed that even though this guy had stolen millions of dollars worth of items from peoples’ homes, and though the police themselves had absolutely no leads on who was behind it all, he still had a conscience. He showed his inherent goodness, and it shone through. He was literally being a good guy until his last breath, which is sad to think about. But at least in this case, Mengzi’s theory rings true: that we all have the capability to be good.

I believe it too, and I think Abby would also definitely agree.



“Being Bad.” NCIS. CBS, WBBM-TV, Vancouver, 27 Sept. 2016

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Socrates: Throwing Verbal Rocks at these Mediocrities?

Okay, so here’s the situation: me reading Republic at like 1 in the morning, not understanding a word of what was going on. Something something Socrates challenging Thrasymachus… wait… how did he get from point A to point upside down A? Did he just flip Thrasymachus’ whole argument?? What just happened?! *Cue me re-reading Book 1 about five more times*

I just kept staring at the interaction between Socrates and Thrasymachus, and I remembered a lyric from the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton: “If not then I’ll be Socrates/ Throwing verbal rocks at these mediocrities!” And I was like HEY I finally understand what he meant when he said that! Socrates is a savage with these words! Isn’t it funny how rhymes in the form of rap can improve your understanding and break complex ideas down a bit?  And then I thought some more, and I came up with two lines:

Yo, how many times do I have to tell you
that my take on justice is the better view?

I gasped, dropped my book and ran out of my room. WHAT IF SOCRATES RAP BATTLED THRASYMACHUS?! Like the YouTube channel; Epic Rap Battles (ERB)! (Their stuff is awesome if you haven’t already checked it out, you should. There are also a couple rap battles in Hamilton.) I was motivated, so I spent the next couple of days refining my rap which is coming up. I have my own rhythm for it that I came up with, and you can read it like a kind of weird poem, or you can come up with your own rhythm to make it flow, the choice is up to you. I would have included an audio link to me actually rapping it, but that’s just embarrassing. This is only the beginning of Socrates’ part because I did not have time to come up with Thrasymachus’ response (though I did have plans for it).


Yo, how many times do I have to tell you
that my take on justice is the better view?
Here I am asking ’bout what justice means,
I see your mind turning like the wheels of a machine.
I gave you my attention, I gave you my time,
The first words out your mouth should’ve gave me a sign
Of how pointless this conversation would be,
when I likened your words to a slice of beef.

According to you, it only works one way;
justice helps the stronger, but what I say
is if we break down what you said into tiny little pieces,
we’d soon realize the error in your thesis.
First of all, what you’re saying is such,
justice only helps those who are better than us!
We obey the rules, we obey the laws,
but what is it that happens when a ruler has flaws?
A king that makes rules that don’t help him out,
are we still gonna say that’s what justice is about?
Well, yeah, we still do what we’re told,
So if this is what you’re arguing, I’m not sold.


Then Thrasymachus would come in and accuse Socrates of not even saying his view on justice in the first place and of only breaking down what others are saying, it would be great. Thrasymachus would even have his own unique sound and the beats would switch up, if you could hear it in my mind it would sound awesome. Unfortunately, I don’t have months to work on this. If I did, Glaucon would have his own song with the melody being played using a ukulele.

So, that’s basically what popped into my head and stayed there until I finally wrote it all out! Since I had to create a rap on this, it actually had me read the text more critically and therefore I was able to understand it better, and that translated for the rest of the books as well. Thank God for 1 a.m. inspiration, am I right?



Lin- Manuel Miranda. “Non- Stop.” Hamilton, Atlantic Records, 2015.

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