Friday

Change is inevitable. However much you fight against it, the world’s doing stuff you can’t control. When this happens, a proper guard is essential or else someone will come in and bloody your nose. So, there’s a choice: do you just keep flailing, or is it time to defend yourself? Having spent far too many years attacking anything that I thought remotely was a threat, it’s time to be more sensible, thoughtful. Everybody’s waving carrots around but very few of these surrounding followers are hungry. That’s fine. It’s time to find those who are.

It’s the moment to accept that very few people I know actually listen to anything I say.

It’s okay, and yes, that’s absolutely a criticism. If you’re following me on Social media, why are you here otherwise? The entire point of it being ‘social’ is just that, except as human beings we can only manage about 150 meaningful relationships, with probably 5 BFF’s within that. However, that’s a pathetically small follower number. We all know social media’s abut finding monsters to point at and deride, and newspapers are beginning to work out that if they want people to access their paywalls, any publicity is good, even their own journalists pretending they’re the enemy.

Everybody’s on the take. That’s the game. If you’re not paying, you’re the product… except now, the lines are being more clearly defined. Without that precise delineation, it’s hard for people to know what they are actually paying for and as Facebook becomes more aberrant, and trust me it really is possible, other providers are gonna step up and just give people what they want, and if they have the reach, Facebook could and and might yet die. The next couple of years will be crucial. Australia is already showing what happens, and their climbdown so fast is a warning to everyone. We need robust government to make the changes, but not TOO robust or everybody suffers.

Let’s see how that goes.

There are a lot of catch-up mechanics in play right now. My Pokemon Game’s realized that the problem with having six expansions in play at once is that people who missed the start won’t keep playing if you don’t provide an opportunity for them to collect the old stuff. So, we’re getting weekends of retro content. Twitter know they’re missing a trick by not providing a sub service when they can cream off a percentage of the fees as an alternative to advertising. Everybody’s out to make money, and suddenly being free will become a selling point. I hope you’re making notes here, there’s a lot to keep up with.

What matters more than anything else is being flexible, and knowing that sometimes you don’t charge. Exposure is a dirty word for a lot of people, because yes you should absolutely be paid for what you do, but there are points where not doing so isn’t an advantage taken or a moment lost. Knowing when you ask, or when you can insist, is as important as knowing when to offer as a courtesy. In fact, it’s becoming its own saleable commodity. If I got offered the support slot to open for two big-name poets, I’d ask them what they’re being paid and then negotiate accordingly.

The key is to be honest to yourself before you worry about anyone else.

The Sound of the Suburbs

Told you I’d be back, and yes this morning was just Stress à la Mode. Things that are bad enough without a Pandemic, just with added pandemic, and getting a 15-year-old motivated before 8am. All of this is now DUN. I have caffeinated and had chocolate and really, no excuse to not just run down the rest of the hill until Friday. There is a lot of negativity and anger I could write about too, but fuck that. Really, had enough of being dragged down by other people’s versions of reality.

Time to do shit differently.

A PHENOMENAL amount of content has been submitted this month. Very little is new, as it transpires, most of the work being existing content, repurposed, except there’s been some portions that have really vexed me. Selling yourself is hard work. I won’t know for some time if any of this was worthwhile or not either, which makes it even worse. For now, all I can do is hope for the best and that something hits the target. I understand why the rules exist, and why it is important to follow them. It doesn’t mean however they’re either a) correct all the time or b) applicable to everything.

I am reminded of the number of times whilst writing before this point where other people turned up with their own drama, but decided to make things my fault. What is done here is my business, if you’re offended it’s your problem and not mine. Similarly, if I complain about something, it is with the knowledge that my ability to alter that is largely dependent on how much of the thing there remains personal influence over. Moaning about other people’s entry criteria is pointless. If they only want a certain type of person in their club/spending their money/promoted in their brand, however good you are is irrelevant. If you don’t fit, that’s nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

Except, increasingly that’s no longer true.

Once you tick the standards box, and the content box, it is down to how your shit will sell. It’s that Hollywood staple, that once one person’s making a disaster film they’ll all do one to cash in on the other. It’s how repetition becomes a joke, after a while. New stuff is both edgy and inherently dangerous. Except, if truth be told, most people wanna retell old stories with their ideas of appropriate protagonists. It makes sense, because then everybody understands the motivation, and it can all then come down to your syntax and execution. Originality is becoming very hard to find.

The best I can hope for, ideally, is my own voice being heard and appreciated. That’s where we’re going to start, and then we’ll see how things go from there. Everything else, like it or not, depends too much on other people. At least here, that will never be a problem.

Respect

‘Run’ is a broad term. My times will tell a seasoned runner that, a lot of the time, this is a pseudo jog, or a very fast-paced walk. They know what their splits are, where weaknesses lie. I’m here, right now, trying to breathe from my diaphragm and not pass out. This is about betterment and empowerment in ten second improvements. However, in the next week we’re gonna open the throttle a bit and see what we can do.

My best 5km is 46:27. I reckon 30 seconds off that’s doable on this new course I have organized for myself. So, the first part of this is a sub 46 minute result. The second set is endurance and practising active recovery over distance. That means seeing if 15km is doable tomorrow. It should be, with a route pre-planned. Gonna be the warmest day of the year so far as well, so…

Only one way to find out.

Who’s Sorry Now

Life is changing around me. It’s odd to not only watch, but perceive that alteration taking place. For instance, I guarantee you that without Harley Quinn, we’d not have a Disney villain getting a whole film to herself. The era of Empowered Women has been on the cards for a while, but the Disney/Fox merger really made it something special. Whether the stuck in the muds like it or not, refusing to embrace this change will become a liability for them because, like it or not, this is not the same world we lived in eighteen months ago.

They may be slow to change, but others aren’t, and it’s really beginning to show.

It staggers me what people post on Social media with absolute sincerity. It is almost as if a) they think their view of the World is the only one and b) they have no real grasp of anything else except what they know. It’s like those people who will undoubtedly look at that Emma Stone movie and decide that honestly, only a bunch of derivative tropes, when that’s all everything has ever been since the dawn of entertainment. You need to understand context, and motivation and so much more but mostly have to grasp that not all entertainment is yours to be critical of.

However, if you choose to intentionally ignore things you refuse to try and understand, there will be consequences.

This week I have learnt that things that rhyme get more tweets than those that don’t. Now, I could just ignore this and keep going my own sweet way, or I could learn from it. Guess which one I’m going to do.

You either want to progress, or you don’t.

Just For You

A weekend of game-playing did the trick. I am back on track and in the groove, and this is progress because instead this morning of playing a game over breakfast, there was exercise instead.

I promised myself something, every day this month, even if it’s just a walk, and that plan has been kept to pretty well, even with the awful weather (and personal news) last week. It’s become the foundation for everything else and no, it’s not all about to go out of the window. That would have been the old me. This, better version understands how everything just goes sideways when you don’t prioritize your own mental health over everything else. In that regard, this is a very decent place to be right now.

It’s also right that only with the ability to heal and address the issues does any significant progress get made. Many people will never have that luxury in their lives, or never feel the need. That latter revelation took a while to grasp: trying to get other people to confront their own demons is not your job. If someone wants to talk, you let them, but there is little or no point in pushing that. Only your life can be altered, and no-one else’s.

Knowing what matters is a big deal now. Making sure that the priorities are kept is still at the habit-forming stage.

We’ll get there in time.

The Number of the Beast

How did the last four days go? As it happens, not bad at all.

Valheim’s overriding hook, for me at least, is that I’m the one in charge. Animal Crossing got frustrating because you’re constantly chasing an aesthetic that someone else dictates, and with the best will in the world you need some peril, after a while. Just collecting stuff gets boring, trust me I know. This game has just enough toolkit to keep it interesting, will kill you if you don’t pay attention, and doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. It’s effectively Minecraft as Purgatory: I hope Hell does look as good as this because the sunrises and sunsets are fucking breathtaking.

As I’m no longer a games journo there won’t be any Guides either, this is happening as a way to untangle my brain in a period of very high stress. Suffering some very unfortunate fatalities is a reminder this morning that the second major boss isn’t happening for quite some time, until there’s far better armour, consumables and lots more practice. However, as a displacement activity, with player housing and combat, it is pretty much perfect, and I suspect those people playing this in PvP will be having a whale of a time.

I need to build a Raft as a matter of some urgency…

If I Had a Heart

Today I should be writing something here, but all my creativity has been thrown into two Patreon videos. The Best Man’s funeral is set for this time next week and I’m still really angry. I cannot find the enthusiasm to do strength workouts at all because I want to be doing them in the Gym and not stuck at home. Right now, there is a lot of frustration and discontent quite close to the surface, and the last time this happened I snapped and it wasn’t pleasant, so here we are knowing there’s a problem and working out how to solve it.

My PC isn’t near smart or powerful enough to run Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, even though I’d love to so this (recommended by a friend on Steam for a fraction of the price) looks like a good alternative. This weekend therefore I will find some time to just sit and allow myself the opportunity to unwind. Work is great and everything, but honestly there comes a point where you don’t want to, and exercise becomes all well and good, but it won’t pull apart the knots in your psyche nearly as well as learning a new gameplay system.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

This is How We Do It

What this weekend has taught me is that trauma is a really great way of forgetting an awful lot of great stuff that happened to you. Whole swathes of my life, it appears have completely vanished from my memory. My husband, however, recalls the past with a clarity I have to say I am somewhat jealous of. Needless to say, he cannot inject these things into my head, and so the pictures will have to do. It has been a rather detached exercise therefore watching other people this weekend deal with grief.

This is, for many years, the only way I was prepared to be photographed when alone. Of course this is back in the days of film and no constant reposing, so fucking up was commonplace, but I do recall getting very good at not posing. I also became wonderful at pretending nothing was wrong when everything was, a habit I’ve now managed to permanently ditch. Last night came the acceptance that no, actually, I don’t need to go back to counselling as I thought might be the case late last year. This is good. I am coping very well.

This is how we do this going forward.

I am disappointed, perennially, at how other people conduct themselves. Waiting until someone dies before remembering you had a life with them is not a good look. This last few days has only reinforced my utter hatred for Facebook and the complete hypocrisy of those who use it for their benefit, and theirs alone. We all know those people, and they are a long way away from the ideal. I also know, without a shadow of a doubt that my husband will never, ever be one of those people and he is, without doubt, a fucking hero.

Pick your friends carefully.

Auld Lang Syne

Today would have been the birthday of someone who was a significant part of my life in my 20’s and 30’s.

He was Best Man at our wedding. We went to the US with us to go watch The Phantom Menace. He was a lodger in our house for several years and the year Lee Evans won the Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Award (1993 I believe) we spent a couple of weeks with him at the Festival. He was a singularly lovely bloke, and to have learnt of his loss is a considerable portion of my life summarily displaced. However, as I don’t do Facebook, and haven’t for quite some time, this is a loss I will consider from a distance as opposed to my Husband, who spoke to him daily.

It makes me think how these ‘things’ work out, because we parted on less than equitable terms.

A lot of my life from this period has been quietly thrown away. My husband and his mates were planning a reunion last year, but of course COVID got in the way. I’ve never really understood the importance of bringing people back together after decades apart to celebrate what is now the past. That person I was bears absolutely no resemblance to the person who’s sitting here, typing this, and it would be REALLY hard for me to go into a pub with these people and get drunk like I did back then. This guy was the one who wanted to get everyone back together too, and I think I know why.

Of course now, I will never know for certain.

I am really very angry right now. This guy absolutely did not deserve to die. Nobody with COVID should have been a casualty, but an entire generation will be scarred by loss, in ways too numerous to adequately record. For me, it is the reminder that life remains incredibly precious as a commodity, and taking it for granted is the most foolish thing you will ever do. Wear a fucking mask, wash your hands and don’t be a dick, because the person you could kill will be someone’s friend, and that loss need never have taken place.

Rest Well Stevie P <3