"Scandal:" Team Jake Or Team Fitz?

"Scandal:" Team Jake Or Team Fitz?

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
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I recently started watching the award-winning TV show "Scandal" starring Kerry Washington and Portia de Rossi, among other stars. I was hesitant to watch it, as I didn’t know much about the plot before pressing play. I’m a big fan of crime shows — "Criminal Minds", "Law and Order", "Blue Bloods" — and thought "Scandal" was more of a soap-opera than my usual series.

I was right to think that it’s more dramatic and there’s quite a bit of backstory, but I had no idea how much I’d come to love the show. To put it in perspective, I’m in the middle of season four and I started just a few weeks ago. Maybe this is indicative of how skilled I am at procrastinating and watching too much Netflix or maybe it’s indicative of how addictive and spectacular this show really is.

To summarize the plot, it centers around Kerry Washington’s character, Olivia Pope, and her crisis management firm of Olivia Pope and Associates. The associates, a group of very different people all connected through their illegal or secretive activities, have all been “saved” by Pope at some point and have worked for the firm. Some of the players include an ex-CIA killer, a former money-laundering man connected to terrorism, and a former friend abused by her husband.

This eclectic group forms a tight family that relies on each other as a group of “gladiators in suits," as the money-launderer likes to say. They put everything on the line for their fearless leader, Olivia Pope, and they help clients get justice and keep the world spinning. The scandalous nature of the show is ever-present, however, as Olivia continues her years-long affair with the President of the United States. There’s also her father, the commander of a secret CIA sector that murders enemies of the Republic, and her mother who is a known terrorist. Basically, the complexities are deep and intense in this show, and there are constant revelations and connections being made across episodes, across characters, and across different seasons.

I think this show is incredibly entertaining and addictive, as any good TV series should aspire to be. The creator, world-renown Shonda Rhimes, creator of other hit series including "Grey’s Anatomy", actively tries to confuse and force viewers to think. This show isn’t your run-of-the-mill entertainment, but rather an intense and fast-paced detective novel played out onscreen in which the audience is directly involved. We are forced to form opinions, have biases, root for one guy over the other, and ultimately still love Olivia Pope even after all that goes on in the show.

One of the main questions in this show is if you are Team Jake or Team Fitz. Jake Ballard is the Navy man who becomes intertwined with the secret, murderous CIA organization that is responsible for the deaths of some of Olivia’s friends. Fitzgerald Grant III, on the other hand, is the President of the United States with whom Olivia is having an affair and who has his own secrets and slightly murderous activity in the past.

If you don’t watch the show, these two guys sound like pretty terrible options and you might say Olivia should look elsewhere altogether. This struggle between the two is central to the show, however, and fans are completely split on who Olivia should choose. I am not caught up on the most recent episodes, but I’ve watched enough to form my own opinions.

I’m Team Fitz all the way. As much as he is morally crucified in the show for a good reason, I think he cares about Olivia more than Jake does and I think he’s far less shady than Jake. Sure, Jake wants to protect Olivia and ultimately he’s a good guy, but he’s responsible for killing Olivia’s nicest friends such as James Novak, the amiable husband of White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene.

I think that’s the point of the show really, that as much as Fitz and Liv shouldn’t be together, they ultimately will end up in their giant house in Vermont a few years down the road. At least I hope that’s how the show ends, anyway. There’s too much history and too much at stake for them to remain apart forever.

This series often gets judged for just being a show about the scandalous activities between Olivia and the President, but there’s a lot more to it. There’s an incredible amount of learning done on the audience’s part about the United States government and how much goes on in that big white house in Washington. There’s also a lot of themes that hit home for viewers, such as the death of loved ones and children, different relationships between children and parents, sacrifice, war, women’s rights, and foreign policy. If I haven’t sold you on this show yet, then at least watch an episode for the thrill factor that it gives. If you watch it, you’ll have some great one-liners to employ in your everyday conversations, and you’ll feel pretty empowered when Harrison, the money-launderer, asks, “are we gladiators or… are we b*tches?”. Be a gladiator.

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Top 5 Tips for getting your music discovered online

A musician’s guide to SEO
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  1. Pick a unique band name

Usually, I’d say the name of a band doesn’t matter; but, in the cyber world, this can make all the difference. Picking a name that is easy to rank for on Google is essential for new fans to be able to find you! Ranking for keyword searches on google is very easy when the keyword or long tail keyword (combination of words) isn’t something many people search for. Let’s take the band “Real Estate” for example. This band has over 1 million monthly listeners, and over 40 thousand Instagram followers. With a quick google search of their name they rank…nowhere on the first 5 pages. Now let’s look at my high school band “Olympic Formal” (this isn’t me trying to plug my music I swear). With just over 50 followers on SoundCloud, and less than 700 followers on Instagram, all our sites pop up at the top of the first page. You think anyone is searching for “Olympic Formal” and not looking for us? PICK A GOOD BAND NAME! 

2. Stop using hashtag music 

When people are searching for new music, a lot of times it happens on Instagram or twitter, but #music has over 180 million posts. You are not going to rank for that hashtag. I promise. Instagram’s new algorithm discourages people from using a ton of hashtags, and doing so can lead to you even being “shadow banded”. So pick 5 or 6 relevant hashtags that are more niche than the umbrella terms people usually use. It’s a lot easier to rank for something like #bostonhiphop than #hiphop. 

3. Make a WordPress

Many people think Blogs are a thing of the past…and they’re kind of right. The likelihood of getting people to engage with a website that’s not a major social media platform isn’t nearly as high as it was in the early 2000’s. However, using a site like WordPress allows you to repost all your pictures and videos from Instagram and Facebook and add “alt text”. Alt Text is the description that is behind the photo that no one sees. Having the name of your band or other keywords in the alt text of your WordPress allows you to show up for searches on google images. 

4. Links are key

Google uses things called “Spiders” to search every page on anything that is relevant to your search. One of the things that these siders look for is internal links to relevant content. So if you want your Bandcamp page at the top of a Google search, be sure to post links to all your social media pages and websites, as well as have other sites (personal accounts/blogs and professional blogs) link your sites within their posts.

5. Content is king

The days of just putting out music are over! Musicians have to realize they are not in the music business, but also the entertainment business! The single best way to get your music discovered is by having something that lots of people engage with. It’s a hell of a lot easier to have 1000 people watch 1 minute Instagram video of a jam session than it is to get 1000 Spotify streams. It’s all about that content baby!

  

1. Pick a unique band name

Usually, I’d say the name of a band doesn’t matter; but, in the cyber world, this can make all the difference. Picking a name that is easy to rank for on Google is essential for new fans to be able to find you! Ranking for keyword searches on google is very easy when the keyword or long tail keyword (combination of words) isn’t something many people search for. Let’s take the band “Real Estate” for example. This band has over 1 million monthly listeners, and over 40 thousand Instagram followers. With a quick google search of their name they rank…nowhere on the first 5 pages. Now let’s look at my high school band “Olympic Formal” (this isn’t me trying to plug my music I swear). With just over 50 followers on SoundCloud, and less than 700 followers on Instagram, all our sites pop up at the top of the first page. You think anyone is searching for “Olympic Formal” and not looking for us? PICK A GOOD BAND NAME! 

2. Stop using hashtag music 

When people are searching for new music, a lot of times it happens on Instagram or twitter, but #music has over 180 million posts. You are not going to rank for that hashtag. I promise. Instagram’s new algorithm discourages people from using a ton of hashtags, and doing so can lead to you even being “shadow banded”. So pick 5 or 6 relevant hashtags that are more niche than the umbrella terms people usually use. It’s a lot easier to rank for something like #bostonhiphop than #hiphop. 

3. Make a WordPress

Many people think Blogs are a thing of the past…and they’re kind of right. The likelihood of getting people to engage with a website that’s not a major social media platform isn’t nearly as high as it was in the early 2000’s. However, using a site like WordPress allows you to repost all your pictures and videos from Instagram and Facebook and add “alt text”. Alt Text is the description that is behind the photo that no one sees. Having the name of your band or other keywords in the alt text of your WordPress allows you to show up for searches on google images. 

4. Links are key

Google uses things called “Spiders” to search every page on anything that is relevant to your search. One of the things that these siders look for is internal links to relevant content. So if you want your Bandcamp page at the top of a Google search, be sure to post links to all your social media pages and websites, as well as have other sites (personal accounts/blogs and professional blogs) link your sites within their posts.

5. Content is king

The days of just putting out music are over! Musicians have to realize they are not in the music business, but also the entertainment business! The single best way to get your music discovered is by having something that lots of people engage with. It’s a hell of a lot easier to have 1000 people watch 1 minute Instagram video of a jam session than it is to get 1000 Spotify streams. It’s all about that content baby!

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5 Surprising Reasons to Take Up Ice Fishing This Season

Why Ice Fishing is the Best Fishing
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Winter has arrived and since we live in the real world and not in Game of Thrones universe, it won't last for years. That's why instead of being cooped up in your own house, you should make the best of this season. And how can you do it?? Of course, by ice fishing. 

Yes, I am perfectly aware that, when we hear the word 'Winter', fishing is not the first thing that comes to our mind; but it should. 

Ok, I admit that winter is cold, bleak and sometimes boring. However, ice fishing is the best way to spice up our winter. There is no activity that would cheer you up in this gloomy weather more than fishing through the ice. Yet, if you are still skeptical about ice fishing, then below I have given 5 reasons that would certainly convince you to take up ice fishing this winter. 

1. Saves Money

Money matters to everyone, unless you are Bill Gates or his lucky lad. And, you can save a lot of money by fishing in winter rather than in summer. For, during the summer, in order to catch fish, you must own or rent a boat, and a boat requires maintenance, and all of this will cost you a huge sum of money. 

On the other hand, in winter you won't need a boat, and without a boat, there would be no maintenance. This would certainly save you an ample amount of money. Besides, instruments of ice fishing aren't expensive and you can purchase them for less than $100. However, you must make sure that your equipment such as rods, auger, and fishing reels are top notch to ensure that you are fully prepared for any kind of fish. 

2. Perfect for family outing

One thing that I particularly love about ice fishing is that we can do it with our family, unlike fishing in summer, as it is quite difficult to go fishing with 5 or 6 people in the boat. It is also worthy of note that ice angling is extremely popular among kids as a winter activity as they love playing in the snow, and their happy faces will certainly brighten up your mood. Thus, it won't be an exaggeration to say that an exhilarating fishing adventure is the best outdoor activity for family outings in this freezing weather. 

3. No sunburn

Sunburn is a cause of concern for most of the anglers, and rightly so. Because overexposure to the sun can cause us severe skin damage. However, ice anglers don't have to worry about sunburn unless you are one of those who prefer to fish in a state of undress. 

Nonetheless, it would be wise for you to put on some warm and comfortable clothes of high-quality as it would protect you from hypothermia. And, if you are you terrified of cold weather, don't worry, for, with a new technology called ThermoLogic line by NTA Enterprise, you can control the temperature of your own fishing apparel. Therefore, put all your worries into the closet and remember, before embarking on the ice, you must bundle up. 

4. You Don't get bored

It could be quite frustrating when the fish is not biting. But you shouldn’t trouble yourself, as you can try a lot of other activities instead of waiting for the fish to get hooked. For example, you can play cards, hockey (my favorite) or enjoy a hot tub out in the open. Besides, you will have all your fishing buddies alongside you. But if you are one of those who like to fish alone, then divulge in skating or you can try your cooking skills while keeping an eye on the hole for fish. Hence, rest assured, boredom is something that you won't suffer from while ice fishing. 

5. Great for health

I am sure, you have heard this phrase 'health is wealth', but did you know that you can preserve your 'wealth' by ice fishing? Yes, you can. But how??? Well, It has been scientifically proven that being near to water is greatly beneficial for our health, even when the water is frozen. 

An Australian study has revealed that water can have a great effect on our overall fitness. For, it reduces stress (which is vital for our heart), helps breast cancer patient's recovery,and aids to tackle chronic illness or mental problems. Therefore, by taking up ice fishing in this winter you can get both pleasure and health benefits.

So Do You Feel The Itch?

By now, you should feel the bubbles in your stomach for ice fishing. It has fun, adventure and what not! Let me know your thought on taking up ice fishing this season in the comment section below.

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