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soaks77
10-16-2008, 09:19
Hello all WhiteBlaze AT thru-hikers. My name is Stacie and I'm writing a paper on the culture of thru-hikers on the AT. I hiked from Springer to Erwin, TN last summer so I got the bug, ya know. I have a ton of great info that I've found in books and journals, but part of this project has to include an interview or survey. Please feel free to answer as many questions as you would like, you don't have to do them all. Thanks in advance!!



Why did you decide to hike the trail and what kept you motivated to finish?
Did you ever use shelter registers as a way to communicate with other hikers?
Were you ever called Hiker Trash?
What is your stance on Blue Blazing?
How many times did you go through your gear to lighten your load?
What section of the trail was hardest physically? Mentally?
Can you share your favorite AT story?
What was the biggest misnomer about the trail before you began?
Have you ever gone to Traildays, or another AT gathering?
Was there anything you couldn't stand after your hike?

Lone Wolf
10-16-2008, 09:41
Hello all WhiteBlaze AT thru-hikers. My name is Stacie and I'm writing a paper on the culture of thru-hikers on the AT. I hiked from Springer to Erwin, TN last summer so I got the bug, ya know. I have a ton of great info that I've found in books and journals, but part of this project has to include an interview or survey. Please feel free to answer as many questions as you would like, you don't have to do them all. Thanks in advance!!



Why did you decide to hike the trail and what kept you motivated to finish?
Did you ever use shelter registers as a way to communicate with other hikers?
Were you ever called Hiker Trash?
What is your stance on Blue Blazing?
How many times did you go through your gear to lighten your load?
What section of the trail was hardest physically? Mentally?
Can you share your favorite AT story?
What was the biggest misnomer about the trail before you began?
Have you ever gone to Traildays, or another AT gathering?
Was there anything you couldn't stand after your hike?


1. i decided to hike it for something new to do and i quit in gorham, n. h. the first time
2. a couple of times maybe
3. well yeah, i pretty much coined the term
4. i'm the king of blue-blazing
5. i never go thru my gear to lighten the load. i take what i want
6. i never found the trail physically tough but it was tough mentally to keep going cuz at times it's mundane
7. too many to tell just one
8. what's a misnomer?
9. i've been to 17 Trail Days, 6 Rucks, 1 Trailfest, and 7 or 8 Gatherings
10. not really

Yahtzee
10-16-2008, 10:13
1. Just got out of the military and needed something to do with my time.
2. All the time.
3. Hopefully.
4. I was a purist on my thru-hike cos I knew I would be infuriated if someone diminished my hike because I took a blue-blaze. But generally, I am all for it.
5. I am constantly changing gear, usually to lighten, but have recently added weight to add comfort. At some pt., there are diminishing returns on lightening up.
6. Maine is both the hardest physically and mentally. Hardest because the climbs are stiffer than I had become used to and came with more frequency and tougher mentally because the trail underfoot slowed me down to the point that my internal pedometer was completely off and I was never as far along as I thought I should be.
7. My favorite story involves jail, offers of drugs, sex and money, and incest. Not on my part, but cripes it was strange. Happened in Hampton, TN. As if I walked into an alternated moral universe.
8. Hike you own hike. It is impossible not to become attached to a few people out there, to the point where you sometimes hike longer or shorter than you may want to just to stay with them.
9. Been to Trail Days 3 or 4 times and the Winter Warmer at the Doyle 3 times.
10. Peanut Butter. Still can't.

soaks77
10-16-2008, 10:41
8. what's a misnomer?


Lone Wolf...I'm pretty sure you're kidding, but here ya go anyways.

Misnomer -- What did you hear about the trail before you started and then when you started hiking that piece of information just wasn't true.

soaks77
10-16-2008, 10:50
8. Hike your own hike. It is impossible not to become attached to a few people out there, to the point where you sometimes hike longer or shorter than you may want to just to stay with them.


That's is an interesting point about an often used phrase. There is just too much human interaction on the trail to really hike the hike you want "All" the time. It seems that even if you start out alone sooner or later you will bend to the will of another. Even if it is just where to stop for lunch.

Serial 07
10-16-2008, 10:51
:banana
Hello all WhiteBlaze AT thru-hikers. My name is Stacie and I'm writing a paper on the culture of thru-hikers on the AT. I hiked from Springer to Erwin, TN last summer so I got the bug, ya know. I have a ton of great info that I've found in books and journals, but part of this project has to include an interview or survey. Please feel free to answer as many questions as you would like, you don't have to do them all. Thanks in advance!!



Why did you decide to hike the trail and what kept you motivated to finish?
Did you ever use shelter registers as a way to communicate with other hikers?
Were you ever called Hiker Trash?
What is your stance on Blue Blazing?
How many times did you go through your gear to lighten your load?
What section of the trail was hardest physically? Mentally?
Can you share your favorite AT story?
What was the biggest misnomer about the trail before you began?
Have you ever gone to Traildays, or another AT gathering?
Was there anything you couldn't stand after your hike?


1. the sense of adventure got me on the trail...determination (and some great support from family and friends) kept me on the trail...
2. shelter registers are a great way to communicate with others and learn about people that you can only really meet through their register entries...
3. in my dreams! not by any locals or anything like that, but i rubbed elbows enough with hiker trash that i'm sure i got some on me...
4. blue blazing is great because it lets the individual hiker choose his own path north...to me, the A.T. isn't just about seeing the white blazes, so taking a blue blaze with a couple of hikers is a great way to connect...also, the trail is so populated that the blue blazes are often times the better path for spotting animals...
5. everyday for the first two months, and then probably once a week the rest of the trip...
6. hardest part physically: the approach trail, i was carrying stupid weight...typically ignorant hiker...i learned quickly...
hardest part mentally: virginia...the only time i ever thought about quitting...
7. there is no single favorite, that's for sure, but i have fond memories of caratunk, ME...hanging out with maybe 20 hikers, drinking microbrewed beers, playing a lot of music (guitars) well into the night...that was a great time...
8. that i needed 5 lbs. of quinoa in my bag going up the approach trail...like i said, i had stupid weight in the beginning...
9. trail days...april fool's bash...
10. not being on the trail...having the friends that i have met and bonded with not coming home with me...

Lone Wolf
10-16-2008, 10:51
Lone Wolf...I'm pretty sure you're kidding, but here ya go anyways.

Misnomer -- What did you hear about the trail before you started and then when you started hiking that piece of information just wasn't true.

i didn't hear anything about the AT before i first walked on it other than knowing it existed. didn't know any past thru-hikers. didn't read any books on it. there was no internet to learn about it. i just winged it

buff_jeff
10-16-2008, 10:59
i didn't hear anything about the AT before i first walked on it other than knowing it existed. didn't know any past thru-hikers. didn't read any books on it. there was no internet to learn about it. i just winged it
I wish I could have done that. I've seen/read too much on the trail. It's still a blast everytime I head out, but it's really beat when I get to a view and I remember a picture I've seen or a section of a book.

I'm not reading a damn thing about the PCT or CDT before I head out, other than what is necessary to finish them.

Lone Wolf
10-16-2008, 11:10
I wish I could have done that. I've seen/read too much on the trail. It's still a blast everytime I head out, but it's really beat when I get to a view and I remember a picture I've seen or a section of a book.

I'm not reading a damn thing about the PCT or CDT before I head out, other than what is necessary to finish them.

it really is the best way to do it. folks are "planning" years in advance to go walking. no need for that. people get info overloaded

KG4FAM
10-16-2008, 11:20
it really is the best way to do it. folks are "planning" years in advance to go walking. no need for that. people get info overloadedThat is the way I have always done it. I have my book and it tells me how many miles to get to the next grocery store. Things like Max Patch are so much better when you just stumble upon them.

Peanut
10-16-2008, 11:21
At first, I agreed about Hiking your own hike being hard with a human factor, however, after thinking about it, I see a different way of looking at it. Hiking my own hike wasn't just about how far or how fast I wanted to go...my hike was also about who I wanted to spend my time with and where I wanted to spend my time...I might not have wanted to go as fast or as slow or as near or as far as I did on a given day, but maybe I really wanted to hang out with Joe or Ann (names changed to protect the innocent :)) or whomever. One sometimes much compromise...what is your priority at a given time, on a given day, at a given place? One can't always have both/all. What will make you happy? What will make your day more pleasant?

Footslogger
10-16-2008, 11:23
Hello all WhiteBlaze AT thru-hikers. My name is Stacie and I'm writing a paper on the culture of thru-hikers on the AT. I hiked from Springer to Erwin, TN last summer so I got the bug, ya know. I have a ton of great info that I've found in books and journals, but part of this project has to include an interview or survey. Please feel free to answer as many questions as you would like, you don't have to do them all. Thanks in advance!!



Why did you decide to hike the trail and what kept you motivated to finish?
Did you ever use shelter registers as a way to communicate with other hikers?
Were you ever called Hiker Trash?
What is your stance on Blue Blazing?
How many times did you go through your gear to lighten your load?
What section of the trail was hardest physically? Mentally?
Can you share your favorite AT story?
What was the biggest misnomer about the trail before you began?
Have you ever gone to Traildays, or another AT gathering?
Was there anything you couldn't stand after your hike?


1. Read about the AT in my Boy Scout Handbook at around 11 and decided right then and there that some day, some way I was gonna walk it

2. Used them a lot ...but more for reading than writing.

3. After my hike but not much during it

4. If it feels right ...do it. Walking the trail is about getting from one end to the other and less about touching every white blaze.

5. Twice

6. Whites ...cause I had been hiking the whole way with kidney stones and when I got to the Whites they really kicked into high gear.

7. Probably would be one of the random acts of kindness shown me by perfect strangers.

8. Wasn't under any false impressions when I set out. Biggest surprise were all the "false summits" along the way.

9. Probably 9 - 10 Trail Days; 1 Gathering (2003 - the year I hiked); and 3 Rucks. Had a heart attack after the last Ruck (Rockies Ruck 2008) so that might be my last.

10. Lots of noise and large crowds

'Slogger

Serial 07
10-16-2008, 11:29
it really is the best way to do it. folks are "planning" years in advance to go walking. no need for that. people get info overloaded


Agreed...

Blissful
10-16-2008, 12:01
Hello all WhiteBlaze AT thru-hikers. My name is Stacie and I'm writing a paper on the culture of thru-hikers on the AT. I hiked from Springer to Erwin, TN last summer so I got the bug, ya know. I have a ton of great info that I've found in books and journals, but part of this project has to include an interview or survey. Please feel free to answer as many questions as you would like, you don't have to do them all. Thanks in advance!!



Why did you decide to hike the trail and what kept you motivated to finish?
Did you ever use shelter registers as a way to communicate with other hikers?
Were you ever called Hiker Trash?
What is your stance on Blue Blazing?
How many times did you go through your gear to lighten your load?
What section of the trail was hardest physically? Mentally?
Can you share your favorite AT story?
What was the biggest misnomer about the trail before you began?
Have you ever gone to Traildays, or another AT gathering?
Was there anything you couldn't stand after your hike?



1. The AT is something I wanted to do since I was a teen. 30 plus years. So that was motivation enough to make it through the tough stuff.

2. yes. Great way to find out where your buddies are and to leave messages for those behind. Met many people through the registers as well who would say - oh yeah, saw your entries.

3. No.

4. Many times the most awesome scenery and waterfalls can be found on blue blaze trails. But I tended to be more of a purist and followed white blazes whenever I could.

5. At Neels Gap and then again in VA when I switched packs and went to summer gear.

6. Carter Range, NH and southernmost ME. Tough stuff and constant slippery rocks and steep grades. Mentally - Smokies (I was hot with the sudden temp spike and wasn't feeling good) and then in southern ME with the terrain.

7. The people we met along the way were great. Hikers, trail angels, people we got rides with, people who helped when I was injured or in other ways. It made the hike.

8. Not sure. Most of what people said about the trail were true. I thought Maine would be easier (southern part), but it is not and I should have listened more to the SOBOers who warned me.

9. Trail days three times, The Gathering this year.

10. Stuffing mix.

IceAge
10-16-2008, 13:11
Lone Wolf...I'm pretty sure you're kidding, but here ya go anyways.

Misnomer -- What did you hear about the trail before you started and then when you started hiking that piece of information just wasn't true.


Misnomer actually refers specifically to words, calling something what it isn't is a misnomer.

What you are looking for is their biggest "disillusionment" - A feeling that arises from the discovery that something is not what it was anticipated to be

smaaax
10-16-2008, 14:15
Hello all WhiteBlaze AT thru-hikers. My name is Stacie and I'm writing a paper on the culture of thru-hikers on the AT. I hiked from Springer to Erwin, TN last summer so I got the bug, ya know. I have a ton of great info that I've found in books and journals, but part of this project has to include an interview or survey. Please feel free to answer as many questions as you would like, you don't have to do them all. Thanks in advance!!



Why did you decide to hike the trail and what kept you motivated to finish?
Did you ever use shelter registers as a way to communicate with other hikers?
Were you ever called Hiker Trash?
What is your stance on Blue Blazing?
How many times did you go through your gear to lighten your load?
What section of the trail was hardest physically? Mentally?
Can you share your favorite AT story?
What was the biggest misnomer about the trail before you began?
Have you ever gone to Traildays, or another AT gathering?
Was there anything you couldn't stand after your hike?



1. I wanted to see if I could do it, see some mountains, do something different, accomplish something unusual.
2. Only a couple times directly. Mainly read for entertainment and wrote down some random thoughts just so my name would be there in case i needed to be found.
3. No, but I was prolly thought of as it a few times.
4. HYOH, I don't care.
5. Once a week in the beginning, once a month in the end.
6. Physically, maybe the deep south before I got my hiker legs. After that nothing bothered me physically. Went straight up the whites and maine without needing a breather. Mentally, the mid-atlantic sucked. Flatish and low, pretty boring.
7. Not gonna post that here...
8. There are rocks in Pennsylvania.
9. Not yet
10. Generally, the pettiness of most aspects of modern day living. Watch your first TV commercial after a couple months in the woods..

Haiku
10-16-2008, 23:25
Why did you decide to hike the trail and what kept you motivated to finish?
Did you ever use shelter registers as a way to communicate with other hikers?
Were you ever called Hiker Trash?
What is your stance on Blue Blazing?
How many times did you go through your gear to lighten your load?
What section of the trail was hardest physically? Mentally?
Can you share your favorite AT story?
What was the biggest misnomer about the trail before you began?
Have you ever gone to Traildays, or another AT gathering?
Was there anything you couldn't stand after your hike?


1. Being from Massachusetts, every time I traveled west on I-90 I passed under the AT. I don't even remember a time when I didn't know this long footpath from Georgia to Maine existed. In 1995 I hiked the CT section with two friends, and we all vowed we'd hike the whole thing "some day." After 9 years of "some day" I figured it was time to do it, so I thru-hiked in 2004. Along the way I met one of the friends I'd hiked Connecticut with (he'd thru-hiked a few years earlier). There was never a doubt in my mind that I'd finish. Besides the personal motivation to finish, I remember watching Lynne Wheldon's video Five Million Steps, in which a man with MS hiked the trail. My mother has MS, and can barely walk a few dozen feet without exhausting herself, so in a way I think I may have also dedicated my walk to her.

2. Absolutely. I knew people both ahead and behind me, and read messages left for me, and left messages for others. I had hikers ahead of me who I'd never met whose entries I read, and I felt as if I knew them if I ever did catch up with them. I met people on other trails who knew me from my register entries (and vice versa).

3. I was called it, and I called others it. I still do to this day, as a way to distinguish from the everyday hikers.

4. When I hiked the AT I was very much a purist. After hiking the PCT and CDT I'm all for blue blazing. I can't believe I was so stuck on an idea of the "purity" of white blazes. You're hiking over 2,000 miles; take whatever route makes you happy. Even though I was a purist on the AT I didn't fault other hikers who I knew who traveled other routes. I followed the white blazes for myself, not for others. If I ever hike the AT again (though it's more likely that I'll hike the PCT again; that's my favourite trail) I'll be a lot looser about the white blazes.

5. I started with an 8 lb. base weight, and I ended with a 12 lb. base weight. I purposely added weight to make myself happy, and didn't get rid of anything except to replace it with something heavier! That said, I had quite a bit of backpacking experience (though nothing more than two weeks) before I hiked the AT, and knew what was needed and what wasn't.

6. Maine was the hardest physically for me. I was trying to finish by a deadline so I could be in my friends' wedding, so I was pulling 20s every day in NH and ME. That's two mountains a day in Maine, and it was pretty grueling. I contend that Baxter to Katahdin is the hardest 5 miles on the whole AT. The section in Vermont north of Maine Junction, where you turn east and start crossing over the ridges instead of walking along them is a shock to the system. My toughest mental section was over Dragon's Tooth in Virginia - I was out of water and it was a blazing hot day. I was not happy. I wish I'd been in a better mood that day (or had more water) because I've seen other peoples' photos of Dragon's Tooth and it looks great. I didn't want to stick around and sightsee. Luckily the 4 Pines Hostel (now no longer there) was at the bottom, and I was able the recuperate there.

7. Which one? I don't know what my favourite is. For some reason I've been able to condense some of my CDT stories into pithy one-liners ("The time Border Patrol tracked my footprints for a day" or "The time I walked through a forest fire") but I haven't done anything like that for the AT.

8. I knew what I was getting into. I did my research, and had hiked for a week in VT a few years before thru-hiking. I met a lot of thru-hikers, and heard their stories. That prompted me to spend two years paying off all my debt and saving up for the Trail.

9. I went to Trail Days when I thru-hiked (2004). I was in Harpers Ferry, and hitched back for Trail Days. I went to the Gathering in 2005.

10. I couldn't stand working in an office. I'd quit my job to hike the Trail, and when I got back I decided I wanted to have a job where I could talk with people all day, and not be in an office. I've been a waiter ever since.

Haiku.

Dogwood
10-17-2008, 21:54
Hello all WhiteBlaze AT thru-hikers. My name is Stacie and I'm writing a paper on the culture of thru-hikers on the AT. I hiked from Springer to Erwin, TN last summer so I got the bug, ya know. I have a ton of great info that I've found in books and journals, but part of this project has to include an interview or survey. Please feel free to answer as many questions as you would like, you don't have to do them all. Thanks in advance!!

1.Why did you decide to hike the trail and what kept you motivated to finish?
2.Did you ever use shelter registers as a way to communicate with other hikers?
3.Were you ever called Hiker Trash?
4.What is your stance on Blue Blazing?
5.How many times did you go through your gear to lighten your load?
6.What section of the trail was hardest physically? Mentally?
7.Can you share your favorite AT story?
8.What was the biggest misnomer about the trail before you began?
9.Have you ever gone to Traildays, or another AT gathering?
10.Was there anything you couldn't stand after your hike?

1. Because the CIA, FBI, DEA, and child support kept knocking on my door. Seriously, to be one with nature, have time to resolve issues, and get away from all the manmade generated BS.
2. Yes, but only in code and when using an alias.
3. What?, ME no hiker twash.
4. HYOH, but be honest with yourself and others. If U haven't hiked the entire(syn. all, complete, whole, total, full amount) AT don't say U have. When someone asks U "did U hike the entire AT"? U have to honestly say "No". Now, I know that is going to upset the egotistical blue, yellow, and aqua blazers who like to boast "I hiked the AT".
5. Everytime I restuff my backpack.
6. The most difficult part of the 'journey' was that damn ass long bus ride from Atlantic City, NJ to Dahlonega, GA.
7. No, because those Govt. orgs, particularly the DEA, would be knocking on my door again.
8. The AT is all a "green tunnel" or "I heard the AT is like hiking from backyard to backyard"(obviously, from those who never hiked the AT).
9. Yes.
10. a.Greed, b.wastefulness, c.materialism, d.consumerism, e.the brainwashed belief that we have to live our existence according to what someone else has self- righteously determined is best for us, and the destruction of ourselves and the environment because of a.,b.,c.,d., and e.

NLena
10-22-2008, 07:34
1.Why did you decide to hike the trail and what kept you motivated to finish?
2.Did you ever use shelter registers as a way to communicate with other hikers?
3.Were you ever called Hiker Trash?
4.What is your stance on Blue Blazing?
5.How many times did you go through your gear to lighten your load?
6.What section of the trail was hardest physically? Mentally?
7.Can you share your favorite AT story?
8.What was the biggest misnomer about the trail before you began?
9.Have you ever gone to Traildays, or another AT gathering?
10.Was there anything you couldn't stand after your hike?


1. I don't think I decided. The fact that I couldn't think about anything else seriously for two years decided for me. I wanted the challenge and hiking the AT was the coolest thing I could imagine.
2. Yes, I used registers to communicate. I think it's a good system for hikers to communicate.
3. I was called Hiker Trash but mostly by other hikers.
4. Going into the hike, I never wanted to blue blaze. Somewhere along the way, it hit me that it didn't matter at all. The trail is what you make of it.
5. Only a couple of times did I shakedown my pack. I did however, often try to lighten my food bag on the first few days out of each town.
6. Hardest physically - I think southern Maine and the Whites. I think. Mentally - the part of Mass. where the moutains are big again. I so badly wanted to speed up but they slowed me down and it was tough to deal with. Not to mention at that point I was ALWAYS exhausted.
7. Not sure I can pick just one. If I can summarize - I'd tell the story about the trail restoring my faith in humanity.
8. Biggest misnomer? That there would ever be a point when it was easy.
9. Trail Days 2007; April Fools Hiker Bash 2007
10. Titles (like having to call some Mr. X because he is the CEO when really he's just another guy), cubicles, Lipton rice meals.

JAK
10-22-2008, 07:45
Misnomer actually refers specifically to words, calling something what it isn't is a misnomer.

What you are looking for is their biggest "disillusionment" - A feeling that arises from the discovery that something is not what it was anticipated to beThat's what I thought. I thought it was pretty cool that his use of misnomer was a misnomer, of sorts.

superman
10-22-2008, 08:43
Hello all WhiteBlaze AT thru-hikers. My name is Stacie and I'm writing a paper on the culture of thru-hikers on the AT. I hiked from Springer to Erwin, TN last summer so I got the bug, ya know. I have a ton of great info that I've found in books and journals, but part of this project has to include an interview or survey. Please feel free to answer as many questions as you would like, you don't have to do them all. Thanks in advance!!



Why did you decide to hike the trail and what kept you motivated to finish?
Did you ever use shelter registers as a way to communicate with other hikers?
Were you ever called Hiker Trash?
What is your stance on Blue Blazing?
How many times did you go through your gear to lighten your load?
What section of the trail was hardest physically? Mentally?
Can you share your favorite AT story?
What was the biggest misnomer about the trail before you began?
Have you ever gone to Traildays, or another AT gathering?
Was there anything you couldn't stand after your hike?


1. When I came home from Vietnam in 68 there was a big two-page article about a guy who had hiked the AT. I almost hiked it but I started dating my ex-wife instead. I wasn't free to hike it until 2000.

2. No, I didn't stay in shelters and I didn't stop at any that I couldn't see from the trail. At that time, I could hike without wearing glasses but my reading glasses were in my pack. I think I wrote "Superman and Winter stopped for a break...up up and away" but I don't know if anyone could read my scribble.

3. Only the equivalent on the FT.

4. Blue is a nice color?

5. Every town stop in the early part of the AT we took turns going through each otherís gear. It was a good way to get rid of the "gotta have" stuff.

6. VA was the hardest for me. The hike had settled into a routine. One of the other hikers said he kept picking things out up ahead for him to look forward to. That helped.

7. Early in my hike my hands were cold and I dropped my nalgene. It fell way down the steep slope next to the trail. There was no way I was going to go after it. I didn't expect Winter to do anything when I said, "go get it." She went down and brought the nalgene back to me and made it look easy. Winter was a much bigger help to me than I was to her.

8. The entire hike people kept telling us "wait til you get to (PA rocks,whites, Mahoosik notch, etc etc)." When we got to each thing we were cautioned about it wasn't so much.

9. We went to trail daze 2001.

10. I still hate hiking food. Any chance I get, I still carry real food as I did when I got to Maine. Cold cuts, loaf of bread and mustard is the way to go temperatures permitting.

jafrost
10-22-2008, 09:39
1. Just something I heard about when I was a kid and thought it would be fun. Telling everyone what you're going to do before you leave is a great way to motivate you to finish.
2. Yes.
3. No (just among ourselves in jest).
4. Not adverse to it. Sometimes the views were better.
5. Too numerous to count.
6. Physically, the Whites. Mentally, CT.
7. Calf Mountain Shelter, Shenandoah, NP: At about 10:00 pm, all hell broke loose when the gigantic rat who owned the shelter made an appearance. One hiker was pressed up against the corner and another was screaming like a girl. Five people grabbed their tents and went out in the rain to sleep. Me and another guy just zipped our bags up over our heads and went back to sleep.
8. Two dollars a mile.
9. No.
10. Being bombarded with politics in the run-up to the election.

--Jack Frost