Reviewing "The Handmaid's Tale"

Reviewing "The Handmaid's Tale"

A spoiler-free review of the award-winning series.

Released in April of this year, The Handmaid's Tale became one of, if not the best new series of the year. The show is centered around an almost dystopian society in the United States, in which fertility rates plummet, due to widespread outbreak of sexually-transmitted disease and pollution, and a new religious group takes control, in hopes to preserve humanity. This society has "handmaids," whose sole purpose to this society is to bear children. The show follows handmaid Offred and her just trying to survive in this new world.

Since it release, the show has instantly become a hit. The show is based of the 1985 novel of the same name. Streaming giant, Hulu picked it up for an initial 10-episode first season in 2016, and has since ordered a second, set to be released sometime in 2018. The show has garnered almost universal praise. At the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards earlier this month, the series managed to take home 8 awards, including Oustanding Directing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, as well as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Alexis Bledel). Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Ann Dowd), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Elisabeth Moss). It also became the first show from a streaming network to take home the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, beating NBC's This Is Us, Netflix's House of Cards, The Crown, and Stranger Things, and HBO's Westworld.

This show deserves every praise it has recieved. It captivates you from the very first episode, and doesn't let up. It has some of the most moving and most powerful performances on TV today. It keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last second of the first season. It has twists and revelations that you don't see coming at all, and the entire series is wonderfully written.

If you have Hulu, I recommend you watch it immediately, and if you don't I recommend that you subscribe to it and watch it.

Cover Image Credit: Hulu

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15 Winter Olympic Events To Look Out For

Descriptions of the 15 Winter Games Events and US Athletes to Cheer For

For the first time in four years, it’s Winter Olympic season again. From the Opening Ceremonies on February 9th until the last medal events on February 25th, our television screens will be dominated by the constant slew of events. The games are hosted this year by PyeongChang in South Korea. The Winter Olympics include both team and individual sports, some of which are well known and some of which are not. At the PyeongChang games this February, fifteen different sports are included in the lineup. Here are all the different types of events that you can tune into this month:

1. Alpine Skiing

  • This fast-paced slalom down the mountainside is a test of daring, control, and skill.
  • There will be 6 different types of Alpine skiing for men and women: Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slalom, Slalom, Alpine Combined, and a National Team Event.
  • US Athletes to Watch: Bryce Bennett, Steven Nyman, Lindsey Vonn, and Jackie Wiles

2. Biathlon

  • Combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting.
  • There are 5 events for men and women: the individual, the sprint, the pursuit, the mass start, and the relay. There is also a mixed relay in which half the team is half male and half female.
  • US Athletes to Watch: Lowell Bailey, Time Burke, and Susan Dunklee

3. Bobsleigh

  • Daring riders take a steerable sled down a pre-made track. The sleds are either four-man bobsleighs, two-man bobsleighs, and women’s bobsleighs.
  • There are 3 bobsleigh events: 4-man, 2-man, and women’s.
  • US Athletes to Watch: Nick Cunningham, Jamie Greubel Poser, Codie Bascue, Elana Meyers Taylor, and Justin Olsen

4. Cross Country Skiing

  • This race of speed across no incline is a true test of endurance. Athletes must ist classic of skate-skiing techniques.
  • There are 12 total events; 6 each for men and women including: individual, skiatholon, sprint, team sprint, mass start, and relay.
  • US Athletes to Watch: siblings Erik and Sadie Bjornsen, Sophie Cadwell, Andy Newell, Kikkan Randall, and Liz Stephen.

5. Curling

  • This team event requires athletes to throw/slide curling stones down the ice while teammates sweep the surface to control the speed and direction of the stone.
  • The 2018 games will hand out 3 curling medals: men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles
  • Us Athletes to Watch: John Shuster, Nina Roth, and siblings Becca and Matt Hamilton

6. Figure Skating

  • One of the most beautiful and graceful sports in the games, figure skaters perform routines to music and are judged on both the difficulty and accuracy of the moves in their performance.
  • Five different medals will be given out this year in: men’s and women’s singles skating, pairs skating, ice dancing, and a team event.
  • US Athletes to Watch: Nathan Chen, Mirai Nagasu, and Maia and Alex Shibutani

7. Freestyle Skiing

  • This high flying, artistic event is often called “the circus on the snow.” Athletes perform mind-blowing acrobatics, flips, and twists.
  • Ten different medals in Freestyle will be given out, 5 events for women and 5 events for men including: moguls, aerials, ski cross, ski halfpipe, and ski slopestyle.
  • US Athletes to Watch: Maddie Bowman, Ashley Caldwell, Gus Kenworthy, Maggie Voisin, McRae Williams, and David Wise

8. Ice Hockey

  • One of the best-known team sports in the games, this team event is widely popular in many countries and includes teams of 20 players and 2 referees.
  • Medals will be handed out in both men’s and women’s hockey.
  • Route for Team USA is one of the Winter Olympics true all-team events!

9. Luge

  • In a small sled, the luger lays down on their back (face up, feet first) and sleds at high speeds down a 1,000 to 1,500 meters track that includes sharp curves
  • There are 4 medals handed out in luge: men’s and women’s singles, doubles, and a team relay.
  • US Athletes to Watch: Chris Mazdzer, Matt Mortensen with Jayson Terdiman, Tucker West, and Erin Hamlin

10. Nordic Combined

  • Like its name suggests, the Nordic Combined combines cross-country skiing with ski jumping into one event.
  • This sport includes three events, all for men: the Individual Gunderson NH/10km, the Individual Gunderson LH/10km and the Team Gunderson LH/4x5km
  • US Athletes to Watch: Ben Berend, brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher, and Ben Loomis

11. Short Track Speed Skating

  • The track is 111.12m (exactly!) long in a 60x30m ice rink. It is a true test of speed.
  • The 2018 games include 8 events divided evenly between men and women: the 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m and the relay. The men’s relay in 5,000m and the women’s relay is 3,000m.
  • US Athletes to Watch: Maame Biney, J.R. Celski, and Jessica Kooreman

12. Skeleton

  • This incredibly dangerous event has been in-and-out of the Olympic line-up for years. The athlete hurls down a track of ice on a toboggan at death defying speeds… head first.
  • Two medals are awarded, one for men and one for women.
  • US Athletes to Watch: Matt Antoine, John Daly, Katie Uhlaender, and Kendall Wesenberg

13. Ski Jumping

  • This high-flying sport requires athletes to speed down a slope at 90km/h to launch into the air and travel for distance, all while maintaining the proper posture.
  • Events include: men’s and women’s individual on normal hill and men on large hill, plus a team event.
  • US Athletes to Watch: Mike Glasder, Sarah Hendrickson, and Will Rhodes

14. Snowboarding

  • A sport born out of the United States, snowboarding has been a part of the Olympics since 1998.
  • For the first time, 10 medals are handed out in snowboarding divided equally between men and women: parallel giant slalom, halfpipe, snowboard cross, big air, and slopestyle
  • US Athletes to Watch: Jamie Anderson, Kelly Clark, Red Gerard, Ryan Stassel, and Chloe Kim

15. Long Track Speed Skating

  • Unlike short track the long track is 400m long, but racers still whirl around in a race of speed.
  • 12 medals are given out in long track speed skating: men’s and women’s 500m, 1,000m, and 1,500m. There is also a men’s 5,000m and 10,000m. The women’s longer distances are 3,000m and 5,000m. Both men and women also have a mass start race and a team pursuit.
  • US Athletes to Watch: Shani Davis, Joey Mantia, and Heather Bergsma.
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Being Lost (and Found) Online

And why the internet is the best and worst place to work at.

 You can consider me a millennial, if you’d like. I don’t, but I do fall into the appropriate age category. 

I do own a smartphone. I do have a Facebook account. I also have a Twitter account, which I never use. I do shop from my phone. But mostly from my computer. I am a manager, of a sort. These are not the only things that make me a millennial. The thing that most notably makes me a non-millennial, is my job. 

You see, I work in SEO. 

Getting lost online

For the everyday user, the internet is a great place – you can chat to your friends, share images and video with them and anyone else who is interested in seeing what you are up to. You can buy just about anything, and most often have it delivered right to your door. You can find the answer to basically any question that comes to mind. 

However, it is precisely this availability and readiness to use which can steer you off track. 

Let me illustrate that point. 

Let’s say the newsletter of an online shop you use and trust pops up in your inbox. You open it, and decide to check out the discounts. Two hours later, you find yourself still browsing random categories of products, and have even added a few to your basket. You may or may not end up buying them, but the two hours can never be turned back. 

Let me also mention Instagram – how often do you catch yourself scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling, and – while it can be an immense source of inspiration, and a great way to while away the time while waiting for the subway, it is still getting you nowhere fast. And nowhere is not where you want to be getting, is it?

Losing touch online 

The internet can also be a horrible, horrific place full of negative thoughts, abuse and belittling. Social media is rather awful in itself (I don’t even venture into the comment sections of YouTube, a battleground of fans and haters), but any comment section on a news site will also show you what I mean. I often wonder how influencers do it – handle all the hate and negativity. 

Then there is the lack of actual accountability. Anyone can be anyone, anyone can say anything, and most of the information you find is often either simply wrong, or twised so much it becomes unrecognizable. 

This is where my job comes in: I will never again view any Google results page like I used to. I simply know how to get to the top, which makes me question every single answer I get. Especially when it comes to concrete facts, even more especially when it comes to anything health or fitness related. 

Because, let’s face it: billions can be made online, and fortunes lost. All it takes is a little bit of content, some clever ideas, a lot of actual knowledge, but you can get there. With so much at stake, is it any wonder that SEO has become such a huge industry? 

There and back again 

Now that you have allowed me to paint such a bleak picture of the reality of our online existence, let me tell you why I love my job, and why I don’t see myself working “offline” again. 

Because, like I’ve said above, if you know what you are doing, you can do a lot. And I am not talking about making insane amounts of money, because that is the opposite of what I mean. 

To succeed in digital marketing in general and SEO in particular you need two things: a willingness to learn and a decent amount of creativity. Even without the latter, you can do a lot. It helps to be open minded, quick on your feet and a great juggler, but you can go a long way if you are simply willing to learn. 

Search engine optimization is by no means easy – quite far from it, it can be insanely difficult, intricate and baffling. It often is. But that’s what makes it so fun and so rewarding. 

Imagine you are starting a small business. Or a blog. You need to know where to begin with your SEO – and you can easily learn that, and learn more as you go along. After a few years of doing it every day, you will have enough experience to call yourself more than just a rookie. 

And the true power of SEO and online marketing is not just in the fact that it can be quite the lucrative and interesting career – it can actually do a lot of good, if applied properly, and viewed from the right angle. 

Which brings us back full circle to the beginning of this article. 

As millennials have more spending power than any other generation alive today, as they spend much of their time online, and as they do a lot of online shopping – will it surprise you to hear that only 6% trust online ads? What does that tell you?

The way to change that is to change the face of digital marketing – and turn the internet from a battlefield to a space where the right product, the right service, the right content is provided for those who are looking for it. Honestly, as much of my time I spend online, I rarely come across a piece of writing that I find truly valuable. 

I’m not saying that this piece will provide any actual value to anyone – but we do need a platform to begin the conversation, and change the way we live our online lives. They are already taking over our offline ones, and they are not at all pretty and are often quite pitiful. Spending your life trapped in an endless scroll sounds like a Sci-Fi nightmare, doesn’t it? It should, because if not, we might have already crossed the point of no return.  

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