Go Your Own Way

This is my scheduled CONTENT REMINDER ALERT that it is totally okay to make something that I want to make that everybody else hates. It’s also perfectly okay to argue that with people, but honestly… there’s not much point, because they’re going to be right regardless. You know how the Internet works by now. Take it out of the place where it is causing contention, leave it in your space, and if these people really care they can come find it.

Except, of course, most of them don’t.

Perception is a difficult thing sometimes. What you might consider as cool and smart, others could ignore or find fault with when presented in a certain way. They key is, of course, learning when and where is the best time and place to present. Some days, you think you’ve cracked it, then it becomes apparent your idea of clever is just that, and probably not simple enough. Then, the epiphany hits.

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The problem is belief in yourself. All of this navel gazing and contemplation is based on an inherently false premise: it doesn’t matter. None of this is important. If people agree with you that’s great, but it also doesn’t matter if they don’t. This is not the path to validation, and never will be. The validation comes from yourself, and when you’re tired, it is easy to forget that fact.

It is hard sometimes to let go of the past, because the belief remains that somehow, there might be a way to go back to things the way they were when you were happy. The bad stuff amazingly gets forgotten, even when it’s still very much apparent. This is not about forgiveness, either. Everything changes eventually, despite what some might have you believe. History repeats when we allow it to.

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This is where this .GIF gets wheeled in, reminding that what matters most of all is understanding deep down what’s true to me. The opinions others form based on how they believe I think and act is irrelevant, it totally is. If these people really care, that’s what they will show, but if all they are doing is talking at me? The difference is abundantly apparent.

The only way people really know what I am, is when I choose to show them.

This is your scheduled reminder that your path is the right one, and you need more tea.

Northern Star

I’ve loved the Philip Pullman books for a very long time, and The Golden Compass, despite all it’s flaws and shortcomings, did a better job of introducing Alternate Oxford than the BBC version managed last night. However, in everything else, the BBC/HBO series is light years ahead of anything I suspect could or would have been considered possible a decade ago.

These books have always been subversive and courted controversy, that’s what made them so very compelling. Alternate worlds, ruled by evil men, where normal people are used as pawns and cyphers. So what if your soul has an animal form? Those feelings and beliefs manifest regardless, and in the world of Lyra Belacqua it is the importance of innocence before corruption that makes the narrative so very seductive.

In that regard, last night, the pre-credits sequence mattered a very great deal.

The time and care that’s been taken to get this adaptation right is apparent in every single scene, particularly when we are introduced to the Gyptians for the first time. The pace and plotting of the episode is tight and cleverly ties together the abduction of Lyra’s only friend Roger with the growing crisis of missing Gyptian children. No, Gobblers aren’t just a children’s story in this world. Evil lives in plain sight.

What sold me in this first episode, without doubt, was the first time we see the Magisterium in London, which if it wasn’t imposing enough from the outside… well, within shows a truth that screams totalitarian regime. Men love to build massive monuments to their own perceived superiority, after all; we can tell immediately who is good and bad. Casting and adaptation really are both spot on.

I didn’t notice CGI at all in any of this, for the record. That’s how good it was.

Knowing how this story ends however is no issue: in fact, that only further increases my anticipation of what I know is already coming: Book Two’s being worked on. If this kind of narrative is being considered for TV adaptation, it gives me hope that other complex ideas like Iain Banks’ The Bridge or his Culture series might yet be considered for an airing. If something as massive as The Expanse series is worthy of airtime… who knows.

I also suspect I’ll see the BBC’s much-anticipated adaptation of The War of the Worlds soon in the 9pm Sunday spot and when that happens… I’m gonna need a comfier spot than the floor in which to watch TV back to back. There’ll probably be a second watch of the first episode on the iPlayer this week, because I need to learn how to make animated GIFs and, to be honest, His Dark Materials is a fantastic place to start.

Time

In Shock News [TM] there will be two blog posts today. The reason for this? We need to talk this early in the morning about ethics.

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Someone I follow, of significant note in their field, made what I consider a considerable misstep a while back. Instead of keeping personal business off Social media, they made a decision to use it as content. Personally, I feel this was a massive mistake, and as a result a fair glob of respect for this person has been lost. How one conducts oneself in this form of public forum is incredibly important.

The same goes for the large company who tried to make amends for a massive faux pas yesterday at the start of their annual content celebration… yes, there was a public apology, but nobody mentioned what it was about, or the place where the contention came from. It was as staged and managed as it was possible to get, and as a result… well, was it really an apology at all?

In the modern world, ethical conduct is becoming increasingly important.

Living your best life in fraught and troubled times is becoming increasingly important for mental health: do you boycott the company who simply enforced the terms of their own contracts, however heavy-handed that action may have been perceived to be? Are you willing to forgive the content creator who’s now beginning to grasp that nobody may approach them again for fear of becoming a story?

These are hard, involved choices to be made on an individual level for some of us, but the real truth is that nobody else really cares. So many people, trapped in their own bubbles of influence and importance, do not even realise just how damning their actions might be on a population becoming increasingly self aware of the chaos around them. It is, of course, all the fault of social media. 

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Racism, sexism, attacks on non-binary people, environmental activism… and the list goes on. Once upon a time, a sensible ruler would just keep everybody poor and hungry so they were in no position to cause trouble. Then the Romans turned up and made everybody realise that you didn’t need to revolt if everything to keep you happy was provided… except, of course, that assumes everybody’s happy not to think too much.

Many of us think rather a lot about these things: when people or companies do things that are contrary to our own beliefs or ideals, there has to be at least some questioning of the motives. It breaks an important wall between ‘us’ and ‘them’ too: going forward, the relationship changes forever. It bothers me a lot that many people never think about such issues: all that matters is if they are happy.

Except now, on quite considerable reflection, it makes increasing sense.

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Is it worth hamstringing your own enjoyment to be angry at a company you can do nothing to change? Should you care that someone else has made themselves look like an idiot? Life, undoubtedly, is too short to cut off your own nose to spite a face that’s becoming increasingly less careworn. As a recent convert to the Make the Most of Every Moment camp, ethical responsibility’s a really tough balancing act.

What’s a girl to do?

If people want to listen to what I think, they will. If they don’t, there’s really nothing I can do. If you’re gonna be an utter creep and stalk me however, that’s unacceptable, as is attacking me for deciding to have a good time. Life is a constantly changing balance of feeling, action and consequence, and as long as I feel what I am is ethically sound, that really should be enough.

What I can change will be, and the rest we’ll work out on the way.

Black Cherry

Yesterday was Regional Shopping Hub (with the realisation that there were a number of retail units, even in this mecca, that were covered with hoarding, therefore not in use.) One new unit was opening November 1st, whilst another was about to close. One of my favourite retailers has downsized. The ridiculousness of Brexit, plus changing patterns in buying, have altered the shopping landscape for good. Welcome to the mini-brand store.

An election, let’s be honest, could not have come soon enough.

It’s Halloween, and it seems only appropriate that I start the Journey to Redemption today. I feel this is an especially grandiose title for having to pull my fucking finger out, eating an actual healthy diet and sticking to it… because once I hit the actual levels of red blood cells and cholesterol that should exist as a healthy adult there will be absolutely no point in going back to old habits.

Journey to Normality doesn’t have quite the same ring of excitement and danger, now does it? Maybe that’s why so many of us find comfort in food and indulgence, because the world is either mind-numbingly mundane or ridiculously stressful in equal measure. There’s a larger, more endemic issue at play, of course. Finding happiness used to be the label so much got sold to us on… attaining peace matters more. 

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Many, MANY things will change, starting today.

Let’s go.

Work That Body

Apologies for absence yesterday, but I’m on a bit of a mission. Now this new desk is set up, and the new machine pretty much established, it is time to get a long-ignored set of issues done and dusted. Over a decade’s worth of detritus needs to be organised, much of it removed. Right now most of that is sitting in the middle of the front room. That’s Saturday afternoon’s task after the Gym. Speaking of which…


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Every exercise session I do with my heart-rate belt gives me a MYZONE Effort Point (MEP) score: August was the low water mark, for obvious reasons. I have another five days of exercise to do, and that should then exceed that monthly exercise total. It has been a really interesting week too, with some quite distinct improvements in both fitness and ability.

Those of you paying attention will know I have a historical hip injury that’s being treated with physiotherapy. In the last week, legs have been pushed a lot, especially on gradients, and the effect that had on my left side, particuarly on Thursday, was significant. In fact, at one point, it was as if that entire side was so hot it could be burning. There wasn’t pain, which is still a surprise… but that sensation was not pleasant.

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The highlight undoubtedly was Thursday.

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It should be noted that there’s not a single red minute in any of this. That’s only seven of yellow effort too… so why is this so good? I wasn’t tired at all: there was constant, sustained effort, and good use of both weights and exercises. I split jumped for the first time, and ran on an eight percent incline for thirty seconds. Thursday was a day of solid, undeniable progress.

I’m also raring to go this morning, once I’ve knocked some chores off and cleared a portion of the pile of stuff to my left. Enthusiasm to work has never been a real issue: problems would arise not being strong enough to do what I wanted to do. That is no longer a problem. The strength is here.

That’s all that is really needed.

Goodbye

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This morning, my old PC finally decided it was done. Fortunately for me, there’d been a plan to switch hard drives from the dead machine to a very much more workable alternative. As it transpires, both of my hard drives are not only usable, but fairly robust, and were remarkably simple to refit from one unit to the other. I’ve now got nearly 3 terabytes of disk space to play with.

Nothing has been lost either: I’d been worried that three days worth of NaNo prep had vanished, but the save file from yesterday evening is intact. The only problem now is to get all the new things plumbed in, but first I’d like to have a bit of time sorting out the detritus in various folders which really does need archiving sooner rather than later. This is the stuff that really needs to be done before everything crashes again.

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It’s amazing how well this has all worked out: normally such catastrophic crashes end up with weeks worth of work lost, and a similar amount of time to reconstruct the damage. My previous job as repairer and sysadmin has stood me in good stead: the OS on the SSD drive was unhappy, and had been for some time. The graphics card was overheating and eventually shorted the motherboard.

I made do and managed as long as I could with both, and now it’s time to start again.

Being able to do this myself matters an awful lot, understanding how stuff works and where you plug things in without destroying your warranty. Being cautious with data means there is a backup from last week regardless, but still. This is my livelihood here, years worth of work that will now be properly archived and put aside. With all this space and new impetus, it’s time to make the most of the new kit and push forward.

I already have some ideas for the future that deserve nothing less than my full attention.

Mad as Hell

No, this isn’t an exercise rant, they are now consigned to Saturdays only. Today isn’t a rant at all, if truth be told. It’s just a quiet, inescapable realisation that enough is no longer that. It’s a fight this one, and has been for quite some time, between those who are kind and quite obviously well-meaning, and those people who are fed up with being told that stuff cannot be done.

If you want me to ‘just be me’ then that’s not acceptable as improvement.

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Me is inherently lazy, and always has been. Me was scared and frightened for decades and unable to work out the true reasons for that until other people finally got through to me and staged what was a much-needed intervention. Most importantly, me was selfish often beyond belief. All those negative qualities still remain, removed from my main being with a combination of brute force and exercise.

I get the whole ‘you are enough’ mentality and on days when everything that’s been well planned and organised to keep me sane won’t work together or becomes hindrance to the journey, sometimes it helps to be reminded. Beating myself up over a lack of achievement can be done in many ways, and not all of them need to end up as counter-productive. In the end, there’s not enough time to be a dick any more.

Speaking as someone who can still do that, seriously, it’s not worth the effort.

charliebrownspecial

Everybody is special, and unique and beautiful. No really, I’m serious here, and if you end up deciding that everyone is selling snake oil, delusion becomes very real indeed. Not dicking on their lives is really important: if you do, you’d better be really very prepared to defend any position. Being enough is okay when you’re a saint, but if there’s room for improvement? Should that fact be realised or not?

That’s not your choice to make, except so many of us feel it is. 49% of my country keeps trying to dick on the other 51% whilst the majority seems to have totally forgotten that not only does a minority exist, but it deserves a voice too. There are villains in every story, many not as obvious as others. In the midst of all this chaos, it’s hard mentally to keep yourself afloat, and yet now, for the first time in three years, I can cope.

bondhobby

Reinventing yourself on a weekly basis is fucking hard work but here I am, changing my physical appearance whilst beating my mind into shape as we go. The man above’s favourite hobby, apparently, is resurrection. As I don’t get the opportunity to come back from the dead, staying alive is what matters, and doing it well. That means, every single damn day, however tired I am, there has to be some forward momentum.

Today, this is it.