Look Away

One of the most important things that ever happened to me as an impressionable 20-summat was a book that I was told to read as part of my University degree. I never realised that it was also a TV show in the 1970’s:

John Berger pretty much redefined a generation’s view of themselves and everything else with Ways of Seeing. If you have never read it I cannot urge you enough to go and do so, because what this book does is redefine a basic tenet: ‘the relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.’ It is a very significant point to make, now and always, that when presented with an image, it is not a truth. It can be defined in so many different ways, depending on the context in which you present it. I have a brilliant example of this: it’s my Giant Blue Cock:

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Yes, it’s a sculpture, but in my Twitter feed it is male genitalia that I couldn’t put there but people know exist in my head, my world view and therefore they accept the interpretation of that ‘image’ into theirs. It’s like pictures of Spotted Dick and Richard Nixon, you get the joke. It is the acceptance of your audience of how visual association works. That means by definition that if you present a certain set of images in a particular fashion, you’re making a point.

I have a perfect example of this right here.

https://twitter.com/Rosie/status/796939518167384064

This came from Rosie O’Donnell’s Twitter account. This is, I assume, a Democratic, Hillary Clinton supporting woman’s conscious decision, based on a very depressing point that wants to be made, and the disbelief in my head when I saw this was considerable, as it comes from someone who should really grasp the power of image when misused… and that’s what this is. I could google Mr Trump’s wife and find many, many pictures of her looking as all those other First Ladies do, but then what was would be the point of that Tweet to begin with? Mrs Trump was a nude model before she married her husband: isn’t the USA supposed to be the place where it doesn’t matter about your past, you can still be a success? I can only assume that this was posted to make a point, that somehow posing nude in ‘public’ makes you less worthy than other women, and certainly not worthy enough to be the First Lady.

This is, like it or not, the reality of my existence. It’s not just the images either: I doubt this article on the potential horrors that climate change could be bringing wouldn’t have ended up in my feed were Trump not now President-elect. If your job is to sell advertising and not educate people, how can you really tell what’s truth or what’s well-placed scaremongering? How do you make a distinction, when even the people you know will put their particular spin on your world view?

Everybody colours the World in their own way to survive. You gravitate towards people who you feel safe with and can trust. You view ‘the enemy’ with revulsion and terror, but if you were on the other side of the fence…? That’s exactly what you’d still be doing. My mate Vitt just took me at my word when I asked: here’s five First Ladies, all together, without a prejudicial bias. That’s just what they are. If you have no desire to make a point, and all you want is to help, does it really matter one iota which side of the fence you happen to be on? Nope, you just help each other. If all you’re here to do is be angry and cause trouble?

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However much you hate the Orange Man right now, for whatever reason, the fact remains he is only one part of a far more complex set of variables, a lot of which you really can do something about. Sitting there and throwing shit at those who won because you think this will make you feel better? Well, it might, but if you choose to do that in public, it is likely to do you far more harm than good. I’ve lost respect for someone today who I thought would know better, and am grateful to someone else for being a decent person. Your experience of life may vary, but one thing remains: we are all the same. Deep down, our basic DNA structures mean that, like it or not, everybody is human.

How you choose to demonstrate that is, of course, entirely up to you.

History

Once upon a time, I used to be a graphic designer.

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I wasn’t great, but I knew what I liked and I was SUPERB at copying other layouts and designs. I used to design t-shirts too, and one of the bags that will be going out to the Charity Shop this week is full of my efforts. None of them are relevant or important now, but at the time my world revolved around this form of ‘art’ and I realised recently I miss it. Therefore, I’ve been poking around the Internets for graphics programmes to tinker with.

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Right now, I am pounding the hell out of canva.com for no other reason that someone else does all the hard work and I just shamelessly lift the results. Yeah, I know how not big or clever this is, but half the problem I possess right now is the time to do all the heavy lifting. This site puts everything in the right place and I just fuck about with it, and frankly that suits me absolutely fine. I have all the pictures needed to make these things unique and special, and it will add a much needed breath of fresh air to my sites. This also gives me the advantage of looking as if I’m paying someone to do all this shit for me.

That’s the bonus that keeps on giving.

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It also means that while I’m struggling with diet changes and the remains of yesterday’s headache, I can do something productive to boot.

Coming Up

I’m never at my best at 5am. There was snapping at the kids, but also a lot of genuine understanding that Mum was crap, and she didn’t have to keep apologising. Once the plane was in the air? Absolutely fine. Novel got edited, I ate stuff and didn’t feel guilty. Once we hit JFK? Things became possibly the best they have been for a very long time.

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Once my brain wrapped itself around the five hour time difference and the fact it is quite warm on the Island at present, everything just fell into place. We’re able to afford this trip because there isn’t a hire car, and we’re effectively staying in a Brownstone for the duration. The advantages over Hotel accommodation are manyfold: no worries over dressing for breakfast, our own timetable, the Internet as our guide and an entire city to explore for a period of time that should afford a sizable opportunity to do just that. We set the eldest the task of finding a suitable place to have dinner last night, and he came up with the goods.

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The first revelation at Harlem Public was the beer (Grey Lady pictured, husband had cider and had to be forcibly dragged from the establishment) after which was the food. Son decided this was our destination due to the ‘Build your Own Damn Burger’ part of the menu, which he did. I had pulled pork, the like of which I have not tasted in the UK, but husband will tell everyone his peanut butter and honey bacon burger was better than everybody else and YOU FAIL. I have no doubt he was correct, and sitting in a bar less than three hours after stepping off a plane made this start to a holiday considerably more entertaining than anything I’ve done abroad for a while. I’m beginning to understand last year started a chain of events that have freed me from the self-imposed restraints I stuck on my life. Suddenly everything’s immensely more fun when you’re active and dealing with your fear.

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The plan today is to walk down Broadway until everyone falls over, which in 90 degree heat may not take very long. The phone camera is taking some lovely pictures (as demonstrated above) but the roaming charges are a little too steep for my liking so don’t expect much until I can find free wi-fi (looking at you Starbucks.) That means Pokemon Go takes a distinct back seat, and that’s no bad thing. Even with a cursory 30 minute walk to and from the bar last night I can see so much has changed since I was last here. Unlike then, I am gonna do my best to document everything I can on the way, because I’d like to remember everything with clarity.

For now, I might think about getting dressed and waking up the children.

This is the Day

In the end, it took two days to get the decent kip I wanted. I’ve inevitably put on weight whilst away. However, on return I can honestly say I’m ready and prepared for a massive push on many different fronts, and a return to daily writing that I hope is going to mark a new direction for everything in the months that follow. In no particular order, here’s what you can expect:

  • More on my health, mental and physical, as I make a big push to get to my target weight before I go away to the USA in August
  • For my 50th, I got to choose the holiday destination. That means New York. To say I’m excited is an understatement, and I will be going overboard with pictures and words. I’ll also be meeting some people I’ve wanted to since I ‘met’ them online, proving you can be friends with scary people who only exist virtually.
  • The Bond’s going to be done very soon and will start serialising in June. Watch the Writing Site for details.
  • After that? I have my first proper grown up novel which is 75% complete. More on that too as time goes on.

I think that’s more than enough to be going on with but there’s also a ton of other stuff in the mix that will rise and fall as time goes on. I just wanted to make sure I have it all written down so there’s no backing out in the weeks that follow. Tomorrow however will be getting a ton of new images and headers for all my sights permed from my photography and finally using Instagram on a daily basis. Considering how visual my life is? It only makes sense that this is part of the plan. Except my account is black and white only and I don’t intend to change that any time soon.

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Lots of changes are coming. Don’t say I didn’t warn you :D

Ramble On

This time tomorrow, I will be on holiday.

That thought alone is really rather gratefully received, as it’s been pretty full on for the last couple of months. I’d like to say I’m not going to think about ‘work’ while I’m away too but that’s never really true: whenever I go anywhere, I’ll write when I’m able. Normally I’d have pre-prepared five days’ worth of Other Blog content to cover the shortfall but this time there’s simply not been enough hours in the day. That means I’ll be being creative in the next five days or so, and working pretty much on the fly.

It should be quite interesting to see what I can come up with as a result.

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As I’m off to be fit for five days, there’s less likelihood of being distracted by tea and snacks, plus if the weather is good I have more chance to be outdoors doing stuff. I’ve also got a bit of cash earned to spend on some new clothing (as the place we’re at has shops on site.) It will be more expensive than normal, but I can at least try stuff on without needing to throw myself into a shopping centre. Mostly I have no idea what size I am any more: half my clothing appears to be far too large all of a sudden. There will be at least some time in the swimming pool, quite a lot of miles on the roads around the area and I suspect bike time too. I’ve not actually ridden a road bike since San Francisco last year, so I’m looking forward to seeing if all the work has finally produced an improvement.

For now, there’s things I must do before I start packing. I should probably try and find some shorts. Perhaps it is finally time to get my legs out for the summer.