The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Welcome to February 29th, a day that only exists once every four years.

There is something magical about an experience that only comes around once in a while, it occurs to me. I woke up full of determination to make this as productive a time as possible, so I can say the extra 24 hours I was gifted is as properly utilised as I can manage. Mostly, people will be doing another Monday, but I love the idea of this having an extra relevance. The start of this week is somehow less traumatic, more exciting as a result, and it occurs to me that perception really does matter in the general scheme of things. HOW you see is almost as important as what is there to observe.

Having come to some quite revelatory conclusions about my own mind in the last week, I’m also starting today in a deliberately relocated head-space. Now I realise that there are those literally desperate to deflect me from my path, it is time to make sure I’m focussing in the right places. Despite numerous assertions to the contrary, some are literally so desperate to attract attention they will indeed do anything for that vital moment in your gaze. Once you understand that you’re not actually the problem? Everything else becomes a heck of a lot easier to rationalise. That means today I write, I Gym and then I write some more, but all of this in the knowledge that I’m making genuine and sustained progress, and most definitely not going backwards.

Make you extra day count, people, because you have no idea where you’ll be in another four years, and as a result you should have something to show for that which actually matters.

Secret Agent Man

There is a point in Spectre, after the first snow-based chase sequence of Daniel Craig’s tenure, when Bond confronts Madeline Swann, having rescued her from the bad guys. She asks: ‘Why should I trust you?’ before a clearly exasperated Bond replies ‘Because right now I’m your best chance of staying alive.’ The audience already knows this is 007’s love interest, that you don’t chase a blonde across the snow and destroy millions of pounds worth of plane and Land Rovers unless you’re clearly indebted to the woman you’re pursuing, and here in one beautiful exchange is my entire problem with this film. It looks fabulous, contains all the elements that should be in a Bond film… except not one made in 2015. This is so obviously a love letter to Bond’s past, and the criminal organisation that gives the film its name also condemns the whole thing to become, in the end, a worrying parody of it’s own genre. Because while Mike Myers made Austin Powers a beautiful pastiche of everything 1960’s including Bond, Sam Mendes makes this 007’s outing a mirror of all the faults that keep the secret agent the way a certain generation of men will always remember him: tortured, brilliant, invulnerable and ultimately hollow.

What makes this saddest of all is that the two and a bit minute trailer for the movie I saw back in the early part of last year is actually a better presentation of the plot than the movie ends up itself being, because once you know that twist, you’re done: its Game Over. When it becomes apparent who Christopher Wentz is? You know how this will conclude. There is no surprise, or amazement, and everything becomes almost embarrassingly predictable. From the ridiculous set pieces to the record breaking explosions and the beautifully composed tableaux, it is all pointless when you know why Wentz is there, and instead of the homage to 23 other movies I suspect Mendes sold this as, you get an almost depressing understanding of where everything is heading. I thought I knew this Bond, I watched him get his 00 designation. I shouted at the screen when a colleague shot him and happily accepted his return from the dead, but when it became apparent her surname was Moneypenny? This path was already laid, and I was annoyed with Mendes, an anger that actually surprised me. All that hard work in two and a bit movies to build Bond as a tenable and acceptable 21st century reboot was removed in a five or so minutes of clunky and ill-conceived lip service at the end of Skyfall to a Spy who should have been left dead and buried in the 1970’s. But no, the World loves Bond. Misogynistic, womanising, invulnerable Bond. Shame on you for using Naomi Harris to do this, too, for just so many reasons. Women clearly give up everything for Bond, happy to be demoted from Field Agent to glorified PA without a line of real or believable dialogue. Oh, give me a fucking break.

Some of us can see right through you, 007.

Spectre is a disappointment, even more when I see how great the British press thought it was. It is almost as if nobody will ever diss James as he’s clearly a national treasure: after all, he jumped out of an aeroplane with the Queen in 2012. It doesn’t matter how earnest you make the relationship with Swann, it’s a joke, because she leaves him in Act 3 and you’re just holding your head in your hands, because if there’s still X minutes left everybody knows she’ll be back. It’s as if this script was written by a bunch of men who understood just how far they could push the envelope and no more, that what really should have transpired wouldn’t have made for a suitable homage anyway because Bond can do no wrong. Monologuing your bad guy works when he has you tied to a chair attacking your exposed genitalia. It becomes less acceptable on his personal Island surrounded by clearly cosmetic server units, and when you reach the stark stylised nature of your deserted desert based lair? Sorry, but no. We had three movies that actually presented a secret agent with a relevance to the 21st century. This means the pre-credits sequence for Bond 25 will either be breaking Bloefeld out of jail so he can spend two and a bit hours being all menacing, or Eon will see sense and actually break the mould. Because with all the interest in an Oscars ceremony where a complete absence of diversity in the film industry is becoming more and more difficult to dismiss?

wtfmal

This franchise doesn’t need another white, male Bond on a reboot. I’m really hoping Daniel Craig is done with 007, because if he walks away now I’ll maintain the respect he granted me by making Bond finally be the James I thought worked best, who I as a woman could actually believe had a soul. I’ll forgive him about 70% of Spectre where he’s clearly only doing what the script told him to do, and remember the broken man who picked up Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd from the wreckage of the house she died in, and made me cry for the first time ever in a Bond movie. Because then, 007 was real and brilliant and now he’s become a parody of a parody.

You really need to give Idris Elba or Tilda Swinton the designation. Tom Hiddleston won’t do, and if you pick an unknown white guy again? NOPE. The only way I could see you saving this whole sorry mess is giving it to the BBC and letting them take 007 to Television. You want to keep people happy when you do?

Make Bond openly bisexual.

Yeah, that would work.

 

Did it Again

This morning I wake up and find myself laughing at the stupidity of the World, because on most days at least one person will read my Blog Posts and assume, always erroneously, that I aimed that comment just at them. Ironically, in the last few weeks I have actually taken the time and effort to do this at a single person, to make the point to them that I wasn’t interested in being part of their World. Mostly this was for one reason alone: they didn’t get the point that I wasn’t interested. It is almost as if, in this Digital World, that others genuinely believe they own the rights on your actions. They’ll read a comment and decide that this was directed at them, because their own guilty conscience believes that clearly, obviously, you’re having a two person conversation. 

In shock news, I don’t do this. If I have a problem with you, I’ll tell you directly, and this is actually what happens. I take the time to DM those I think who are getting too close to obsessive behaviour and warn them. However, if they clearly fail to take any notice, I don’t give any further warning, I’ll just leave. You don’t get the choice in this, it just happens and that’s it. When I watch this happen to people at a distance the reactions are in turn sad and depressing, because many of the most self-centred individuals who constantly obsess about others assume they’re not at fault, it was the other person who hates them. Yes, they left because you’re not listening. If you were listening you’d stop being like this, and maybe take a step backwards, but in a lot of cases that self-assessment simply doesn’t exist.

That’s why a discussion I had yesterday’s making me think that ‘don’t feed the trolls’ is never going to work with a certain type of personality.

justno

The default action when you interact with someone who ultimately wants more from a relationship than you are prepared to give is to withdraw, but by then it doesn’t matter, because the other person’s already created a bond between you that simply doesn’t exist. That means they feel totally justified in throwing abuse at you in front of their friends because you’re not responding, and threatening you as you withdrew ‘your’ friendship. That’s not healthy. Getting a guilty conscience when you see someone cross (and assuming it automatically about you) isn’t healthy either, and I know from personal experience how easy that can be to misinterpret on social media. That’s why, if I see it happen and I believe I may be at fault, I’m sending a DM before anything else happens. I can attest that this works, and when you identify people who you know will react in this fashion? There are two choices. You see if the other individual respects you, and if they do? There’s room for progress.

If all they do is continue to be exactly as they were? You’re probably going nowhere.

nevergonnagiveafuck

Here is where being a ‘person of interest’ in a social media sphere becomes problematic: because if you start trying to blackmail someone that you’re a fan or you care a lot and that’s why you are the way you are, alarm bells will start ringing and trust me, any respect that person may have had for you is likely to quickly evaporate. In my personal case, what matters far more is that people can and do respect me as a person. That means you don’t sit and obsess, or imagine ‘what if’, or any of those sad and depressing things that I know happen sometimes with those people you consider as ‘aspirational.’ How do I know this? I’ve done it myself, and it’s really, truthfully not healthy long term to live in a  world where you believe being with someone you’ve never met is more preferable to existing with the people you actually know. Ironically, I am aware of at least one person who started off as a fan and ended up marrying the person they idolised. It does happen, but not that often. As a rule, this is not the default.

That is why sometimes telling someone who you believe might actually listen to back off could be seen as being better than silence. That then gives that person a clear and very public marking of borders, and it allows everybody else the chance to digest this in light of the choice. There’s no misinterpretation either: ‘look, I tried to be nice about this but you’re not listening, so please just back off and that’s that’ is clear and should be not that hard to grasp. Of course, if that person keeps pushing, they then end up showing quite obviously they aren’t listening, so you acted correctly. If it were ever that black and white this should be enough, but with the murkiness of the water in certain parts of the Internet, this probably isn’t going to work. However, if you’re happy that you made an effort? That is enough. If you have the confidence to be that person and stand up? Then you’ll be able to hold your own when this takes place. That step’s a big one to take, but it is possible.

MLGslapfest.gif

When all you’re talking about is an Internet Slapfest when it is all said and done, most people should feel that you never need to be beholden to ANYONE who’s just there to take what they need and never give back. If you think you really are friends with someone, I’d ask them first before you start ploughing on with that Fan Site or tattoo, because the chances are they may not even know you exist to begin with. Most importantly of all, if I unfollow someone on Social media the chances are I just gave up trying to communicate with them. Just because you turn up doesn’t make you a friend. Your lame jokes don’t always deserve a response, and that witty retort that sounded funny in your head was pretty fucking lame when you sent it, so maybe you should reconsider what you say, too. Maybe, if you want to talk to me you could just talk, but if you’re too scared then you have things to sort out with your life that aren’t my problem to solve, they’re yours.

I’m not your Senpai, and if you really were a true friend you’d not be reading this Blog Post and thinking I was talking about you to begin with. So actually, you’re not a friend. We’re acquaintances, you and I, and that’s probably best for us both.

Big Time

Yesterday, as it happens, went quite well.

I thought long and hard about writing, but in the end came to the conclusion that most of what transpired I have no desire at all to ether remember or commemorate. All you need to know is that, after what’s probably a decade, I went and said a lot of things to my parents that should have been said a lot sooner but weren’t. Now that’s done, everybody can move on. Mostly, it’s done now. So that’s that.

Yesterday, therefore, was quite a hard emotional day.

Today is different, and I need to be in the Gym by 10am. So, let’s sort that first.

The Test

Today’s Blog post is in two parts. This is the ‘before’ section, and once I’ve done the Thing I need to do, there will be an ‘after.’ because today is a test of my ability, to see how far I’ve come, and to guage whether I’m truly able to be the Mistress of my own Destiny.

I’ll see you later.

Reality Bites

Everybody needs a reminder once in a while, that the World they live and work in doesn’t always operate in their favour. You can whine and moan all you like, but there are days when you just don’t get the breaks, and that’s exactly the way it should be. Yesterday, as it happens, was a fabulous day for my brain to get stuff in order and organised, and a LOT of problematic stuff has righted itself. I also wrote one of the most grown-up articles about gaming that I’ve managed for some time, which is due for publication today. I’m coming up for 50 ‘serious’ pieces on the site I work for, as it happens, which is small fish in my general output but significant nonetheless.

However, domestically things are an utter mess, and I need to try and redress the balance in the next few days.

23603691983_87075e0dca_o

I’ve also started weights at the Gym, which is a fairly big step forward for me. As a result my weight’s gone up AGAIN, but as I know this is that muscle v fat debate, that’s not a big deal. Right now I have to wait for deliveries but once that’s done I’ll be out in the cold, walking to and from my daily session. It has become a daily thing now, and actually I miss it and feel guilty when I don’t: this needs to become the default setting.

Yesterday was also fairly significant in terms of learning about my emotional needs. When I’ve had time to digest the consequences, I’ll let you know.

Change

Evolution has always fascinated me, for as long as I can remember grasping the concept. Humanity is constantly shifting, altering its intellectual stance on all manner of topics, but the physical process of change is painfully slow. Ironically, we have begun to attempt to accelerate that development for ourselves as a result, clearly possessing no patience or indeed foresight, and genetic engineering is likely to cause a fair deal of contention in the years that follow. I’ve read enough science fiction to know how badly that can go, and sometimes I wonder if perhaps we’d be better served as a human race accepting that things just happen for a reason and maybe trying to change them is impractical.

This a dilemma I’m having quite a lot of late.

justasyouare.gif

Unless it’s you that’s affected, it is often easier to not grasp just how important hope can be to people when its offered. I’ve never been in that situation before, and am *very* grateful that’s never happened, but were I to find myself with those kinds of decisions? Yes, I’d take an experimental treatment in a heartbeat to extend my life. Mostly however you have to not just think of yourself, and realise that evolution means that millions and millions and billions of people died before you did to get us out of caves, into metal ships, and eventually to the stars. You may be just one person, but enough people have passed before me to make this path significant. If you look at the bigger picture, which so many people fail to do, there is the understanding eventually that actually, one person can make the difference. As soon as one person survives the treatment? There’s evidence to help them understand why, just as there is when another passes away. Nothing is a waste if you make it matter.

That’s why I find entitlement culture increasingly galling.

Mrcraigflipstheboard.gif

I see it a lot in gaming, and its not (as many would have you believe) simply the preserve of the ‘white man,’ although for comedy purposes increasingly that’s where it’s best represented. I am sure there’s a lot of extremely entitled young women out there, and grumpy old women, with all manner of sexual orientations. It’s just easier to lump your ire on an easily identifiably demographic and have done with it. Yes, you deserve to be paid for what you do, and you have a right to be treated with respect if you work hard, but I hate to break it to many people but that’s not the whole story. Sometimes you do things and don’t expect a reward. Occasionally it isn’t about balancing the obvious set of scales. There’s a distinct lack of empathy in a lot of these equations and the default, inevitably, comes down to feeling aggrieved and hard done by. Sometimes you give and know full well there is no reward to be had, but that doesn’t stop the process. In fact, often it is the ability to give without the need for reward that progresses the process of evolution far more than those who expect there to be a payback for every action.

Most importantly, learning to understand yourself is a really rather huge deal. Change is possible, even in the most seemingly intractable of individuals. The problem for many is that they seem to think that what they are isn’t capable of any alteration. They’re ‘built a certain way’ or they ‘don’t know how to think differently’ and that’s the end of the discussion. ‘Arguing’ with these people normally ends up the same way every time, and you’d be best to ‘love them the way they are’ except I know that’s bollocks. I’m living proof that change can happen if you want it. Yes, I’m not like you at all, and I have no right to suggest you’re capable of evolving when I know nothing about you.

judgedme.gif

That’s also bollocks too. If you want to change, you’re capable. That’s your choice, and it can happen. The biggest single issue with humanity undoubtedly is that we only see ourselves, and very rarely grasp the bigger picture. Those who are capable of stepping back and grasping that, are the ones that history will remember as the real movers and shakers, the true embracers of evolutionary theory without scientific intervention. If you truly believe you’re incapable of change? Take another look, if only with the realisation that once you hit a certain age you might both physically and mentally become incapable of making a difference to your own mortality.

Change doesn’t have to scare you, but it will. Time to face your fears and move past them.