One Life Stand

I have had enough.

I’ve been quietly removing increasing numbers of items out of the house via the Minimalism Game’s T&C’s: getting to 18 things today was a bit of an epiphany moment. There is so much in this house that is not mine to claim ownership over, after all. I am but one quarter of a family. However what I now realise is that I could remove so much of all of our lives from this house and have no noticeable affect on the way current life operates: if you work on the theory that if you’ve not worn anything for 90 days, all of my summer wardrobe would be fit for disposal. The fact that much of it does not fit me any more is a different story altogether, and tomorrow is D-Day. I am going to sort and shift everything that I’m holding onto, I suspect in the fear I go backwards and end up getting overweight again.

It is not going to happen, and things are going to change for the better.

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Tomorrow EVERYBODY gets to have a clear out. My desk is once-overed and EVERYTHING not being used is gonna be trashed. I’m making a proper, sensible list of what is going to be removed from each room of the house, before THE WHOLE LOT gets cleaned. The filing cabinet will finally be filled, and the front room dresser cleared. I’m going to set up the old flatscreen PC as an Amazon Fire portal plus a SSD for streaming. The covers come off the sofa and if I can shove it in the washing machine, it will get washed. Too long have I just lived in this house and not taken care of it, and that is going to change.

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It’s just another part of the regenerative process, when all is said and done.

Sometimes, it is as much about the place you live in as the work you do.

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

I’ve been doing this for a while, but the point has come to stop pretending that I can stay the way I am and still make parts of this journey work successfully. There has to be give and take in every successful relationship, and I have reached that point in proceedings in my writing. Therefore today I am going to ask you for some help.

Starting later today, I’m going to ask you if you read a piece I’ve written and you’ve enjoyed the words in herein, that you retweet that work to your feed. If you see my work on Facebook, please could you share it there too.

That’s all I’m asking from here on in. I know you won’t enjoy every day’s content, and I’m not asking you to lie. All I’m trying to do is increase the reach of my blogs and attract new readers. As I don’t have a stream, this is the next best way.

I’ll be keeping tabs on who does this in the weeks that follow, and you will be personally thanked on Twitter if you’re willing to help spread the word for me.

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The Disco Cats are grateful for your time and attention <3

Walkaway

It is important, as we mentioned last week, to be able to step back and be objective when living in any space whose rules are defined not just by us. Obsessing about anything can be both destructive and ultimately dangerous, and nowhere is that more true than in an environment where it is easy to shout into the void and never experience dissent. The ‘echo chamber’ concept of social media’s used as a stick to beat me with on an almost weekly basis, and I thought it bore more investigation after the latest incident where someone cited the concept as the reason why a relationship had failed.

Wikipedia considers a media echo chamber as ‘a metaphorical description of a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a defined system,’ which in this case will be your own feed and blogs. Effectively an individual ignores basic points which are obvious to those outside the space as not being fairly represented within, if at all. It is a basic concept of curation but executed at the expense of truth: as you remove people from a space which you can and should control and organise, it can appear from certain angles to be censorship of those who disagree with points of view or who cause contention when doing so.

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Since the US Election, I’ve made a point of being more politically active, and this has upset a significant portion of my existing readership, enough to cause many of them to leave of their own accord. It also happened in the run up last year, when it became apparent that being disparaging of Republican ideas and sentiments was going to get me into trouble, and yet I’ll still peddle this line regardless. The key here is that I’m not singling out anyone in my feed as an issue, but by being disparaging of a wider viewpoint, those who hold it as sacred will logically assume I’m attacking them. The same feeling is undoubtedly true when I won’t agree with people’s views on Warcraft, feminism, cosplay, breasts, chocolate… and the list goes on and on.

At no point do I ever single someone out as being unreasonable until the Unfollow button gets hit, and only then does it becomes personal. The very act of removal is confirmation to them that something has happened that I don’t like. That’s why Mute can often be considered the coward’s solution to a problematic follower: far easier just to remove them and kop the flack. In fact, it would be fair to assume that had I been more careful and considered my choices to begin with, then there wouldn’t be an issue, but it is often hard to form considered opinions of people when they’re not standing in front of you: that’s why Facebook’s friends of friends concept is such an addictive one. If person X knows you and two genuinely close friends, their choices will be people who mesh with you, right?

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The truth is, of course, utter bollocks. That’s why some of us refuse to allow Facebook to dictate terms, and will reassess ‘friends’ on an almost weekly basis. That’s even more true when there’s a contentious issue: I am more than happy to disagree with people, and that happens with predictable regularity. What I’m not prepared to entertain, at any point, is someone else deciding a) what I am thinking and b) what I should do as a result of this. We can not vote the same way, like the same music or even agree on anything at all. I am able to do civil and polite with the entire planet right up to the point where someone points a metaphorical finger at me and states what I have to do because this is what is wrong.

That is the moment when trust is lost, but not always for good.

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I’ve disagreed with people before, but if when engaging them in dialogue I can believe that there is still a basis for communication, that’s how it works. Everybody can not see eye to eye from time to time, after all. If it becomes apparent that there’s no point in trying to communicate because what I believe isn’t considered either relevant or important, then it is time to reassess. Maybe it is not just my outlook exacerbating the situation: this same person isn’t listening to others either, apparent by the interactions with others I can read and see taking place around us. If their interest is unnecessarily obsessive, or inward facing, or they’re just a shitposting troublemaker? Time eventually shows up the flaws.

If you wait, everybody fucks up eventually, and it is how those moments are dealt with that becomes the real measure of their online persona.

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Why do I do all this navel gazing, I hear some of you ask? I learn from it and it helps me understand how this part of the World works. It allows me to grasp how human beings react in certain situations. Many people, often without realising, reveal sides of themselves online I suspect they wish weren’t as public as are currently the case. It is a delicate balancing act, which most of the sane and sensible individuals deal with by not pressing Tweet or posting on Facebook to begin with, because their real lives are more important than the virtual one. As a writer I balance between disparate worlds on a daily basis, and sitting here trying to find the right sentences to use becomes another part of the understanding process. To communicate successfully to others is no mean feat, I am now discovering, and to make the best job takes far more effort than may people ever really grasp.

It is never an easy task to shout anywhere; to have confidence in a virtual space is not as simple as many would believe. What matters more is to find a voice, and once that is accomplished to learn the best means by which you can explain yourself to a wider audience than just yourself. It is a vital part of human development, and without that internal belief it can be a hard and painful journey to take alone. More importantly still, thinking why things happen and to understand you are as responsible for events that happen around you as anyone else is an important means by which one defines your overall significance (or otherwise) in the communities you are a part of.

The people that surround you are as much a measure of your personality as you are yourself, and knowing that means a constant reassessment of your aquaintances can never be a bad thing.

If You Love Somebody Set Them Free

The truth is a difficult topic for discussion around these parts.

Many people have, over the years, attempted to divert the course of history by presenting their version of the truth. The movie above is a fictionalised version of someone’s attempt to stop a previous US President in his tracks. Depending on who I believe, there’s plenty of other stuff in progress to derail the current incumbent too:

The truth can be created on all manner of computers, both ancient and modern.

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The overriding problem with ‘truth’ when it comes to politics is knowing who to believe, and what ‘version’ of the truth is the one most important to ‘expose.’ When you consider the last President to decline an invitation to the Correspondent’s Dinner was one R. Nixon Esq., there’s a reason for thinking that maybe the truth that involves Russians and hacking might hold some traction. All the noise That Man is making about it would certainly suggest that he’d rather people stopped digging, but will this eventually be the truth that destroys his aspirations of power? More importantly, what is it about actors and the truth (albeit in a sanitised form) that helps us as mere bystanders better grasp the real changes going on around us?

Hollywood needs to reflect a truth that politicians try to supress, and although it may annoy many people to hear that in a speech where you’re more interested who designed the actors clothes than the message they give, this stuff matters. A blue ACLU ribbon on a red dress, a Planned Parenthood button on shimmering gold… these are not overt signs of affinity, but a new form of quiet revolution. These are people who know very well what the truth is and the significance of upholding it. Last night’s Oscars may be remembered by some as a mix up when an actor just read what was on the card before thinking through the consequences. For me however, it was about a major part of American institutionalisation finally holding up a hand and admitting that it wouldn’t fuck up like it has in the last few years ever again, because it now grasps the worldwide consequences if it does.

The truth can set you free, but only if you allow yourself to fully embrace it.

The future is about challenging the perceived truths that surround us. If you pick a visual representation of your ideal mate, and then are presented with 8 ‘versions’ of that truth, how do you look past the superficial and find someone you can truly connect with? Maybe the reality you need has nothing to do with facts but can only be assuaged by going to pick up rubbish in your Community, or volunteering for unpaid work with people crying out for assistance. Perhaps you will stand tall with others in a demonstration, or teach your children that to question the world and be ‘different’ is neither bad nor wrong, but should be positively encouraged. This however is not the time to stop caring and leave it to someone else. Here we stand, with the need to understand not only individual truths, but the larger issues that bind our realities to each other.

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These truths are not real or fair. This is not what I want the future to look like, and yet this is what my government and others believe is the only truth that matters: if you were not born here, you do not belong. This is not a truth I ascribe to and yet the reality of our existence now is this chaos of one hand pulling and the other pushing, when both should encircle and care. Why has truth deserted us? That’s simple: people are afraid. My elderly parents, both unhappy that their future means uncertainty remaining in a community that’s provided peace for decades, somehow felt that we’d be better off living as isolationist, poorer in both minds and pockets. I’m sorry the other 52% of people who caused our chaos couldn’t see beyond their own selfish needs, but their truth has always been a lifetime away from those who don’t just see their own desires as paramount.

The truth, ultimately, will never be enough to change a selfish reality.

I’m getting tired of being told the truth will come out. I’m sad that my future is decided by people who don’t care about anybody but themselves. I want a better world, and am beginning to realise that the only way this happens is if I do it myself, and so I will. All I can hope is that if enough of us stop being bystanders, afraid of what might happens if someone else doesn’t act, that perhaps together we can turn things around. There has to be hope, and right now that matters more than the truth.

I hope I can find a way to make things better for the children I am leaving this Planet to.

Moving On Up

This week, as you will know if paying attention, is the first in which I’ve started doing the writing gig ‘properly’ and by that I mean I’ve shifted my focus towards stuff that is a wee bit more adult. As a result, I went and bought a larger, more flexible monthly planner, and instead of using pencil (which has been my go to medium for a couple of years) I’ve forced myself into writing with a pen: the Uni-Ball Gel Impact (1mm) as it happens, because I’m beginning to grasp there’s a whole cottage industry around people writing stuff on pages and then taking pictures whilst not typing at all. Therefore, today is Day Two of Planning Like a Grown-Up.

#365photochallenge #blogger #smm Small steps into a larger Universe ✅

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Going from pencil to pen is, I realise now, a signal of intent. I can’t rub out mistakes, so everything stays visible. Old ideas don’t vanish but remain to inspire further thought going forwards. There’s the need to stick to plans to allow other things to come to pass. It is a step up from weeks of planning and organising that was focused in one direction, and now I have shifted that to what matters most to me, brain has become considerably lighter. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact gaming is still part of the landscape, but now it is accepted that isn’t where things need to travel long term.

The new direction is far larger and more interesting.

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This does also mean that Drama has the potential to be far more significant, but I think several years in the cesspit of the Internet before Normal People discovered how horrible and unpleasant it is, will be good endurance training going forward. This has been several years in the planning and making, but I only had the confidence last week to push myself past the step where it was all thought and no direction. Now that balance is readjusted, there is only one way, and that’s forward. Whatever happens now, I’m just going to go for it.

I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?

Yesterday

Been a funny old week, Brian. In fact, I’m not really sure were I should begin.

I announced this to Twitter via a series of GIFs on Saturday but I suspect there’s going to be a quite serious diversification of interest going forward. There’s a lot to write about too, and I’m keen not to price myself out of any potential market as a result. More importantly, as I keep applying for jobs, there’s gonna be a point when I start writing about actual work and as this may not include gaming as part of the remit? Well, I should be honest. I still love the faff side of my life, but it might be time to be a bit more serious for a while. In good news, I suspect the people that matter will be sticking around regardless, which is great.

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I have a new Hard Bastid Exercise Plan up on the wall. I managed another two sessions of stupid exercise last week, plus I upped my step count, but there’s still a lot more that can be done. It is 23 days in and I’ve slipped up twice since I started on sugar removal. Once we get to the end of the month I will allow myself the occasional flapjack and the odd spoonful of honey here and there in tea but until I’m back to target weight? No indulgence, that’s the rule. I really need to earn my cake this time around. I’d love to say my weight’s shot down but no, it is a gradual and almost frustratingly slow process, but I only need to look at myself in profile to know that my waistline has reappeared with some force. Yes, it is working and no, I cannot get it done by tomorrow.

However, it might happen faster than I’d hoped, so there’s a bonus.

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This is week 4 of the year, for those of you paying attention. I’m behind on a few things, and this week the plan is to write more novel. I’m not going back to the start again as I always seem to do, but with a break in tradition, and for sanity’s sake, I’m gonna start again where I stopped and see how far I get. There’s about another 40k’s worth of plot that needs to be down on paper before I attempt the process of editing again, and I want that set in stone sooner rather than later. If I get bored, there’s a draft letter to Peter Sellers that needs finishing (as it never got done last week because I applied for a job) and a piece of erotica around aubergines that I can poke at. It’s not like I’ve got nothing to do.

On that note: I won’t bore you with every application that fails. I expect there will be a lot of them. Right now I have one extra job which looked brilliant on paper, but in reality is pretty much a millstone already. That’s why I’ll be applying for summat better as a matter of priority so I can disengage myself from what I have and move forward. This is the aim, ultimately, to just keep shifting upwards until I’m in a position to be happy. I have no doubts this is going to be a balls-achingly long and painful process, but as I don’t have gonads to worry about? BRING ON THE PAIN. I’m ready, willing, and more than capable of busting the ass off anything in my path.

Now I have the impetus? Nothing is gonna stop me.

Running Scared

Those of you paying attention will notice a new page has appeared in my menu bar, and that there’s two new writing projects on the table under ‘Non Fiction’ in the Work in Progress area. I’ve never really considered working on projects outside the comfort zone of gaming before, and whilst you’ll see everyone and his bro opening up their gaming portal or starting a You Tube channel dedicated to some aspect of gaming or geek culture? I realised over the summer my underlying strength is the words, not the pixels. I may really love playing this stuff, but I now enjoy writing more, and that’s what is guiding my thinking going forward.

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‘Learning to Breathe’ will, I hope, help anyone who’s looked at the road to physical fitness and been unable to feel confident they can make it. It won’t just detail where I am with my own journey but is now going to cover the process I’ve begun, to learn to run successfully as an asthmatic. I know that a lot of my issues have nothing to do with my own level of fitness and everything to do with the voice in my head that says I’m not capable. I make no bones over the intensely personal nature of the journey either, but what I am now, like it or not, is tied into my level of physical fitness. I hope to make strides everywhere (no pun intended) and all the relevant posts will be stuck in a dedicated area for your perusing pleasure.

‘Letters to My Heroes’ isn’t as straightforward as it sounds, and you’ll find that on the dedicated writing site. I have, in my head, at least a basic list of those people, living and dead, who I’d like to ‘talk’ to as time goes on, to explain why they ended up positively impacting my life over the last 50 years. I’m sure some of you can guess the identities of a few of the early recipients, but when I start thinking about the business of heroism… well, there’s a lot here to cover and not simply the initial planned first set of twelve letters. I’m not trying to sound mysterious, but there are reasons, and they will be revealed as time goes on.

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I still want to spend a bit of time documenting my t-shirt collection, and that’s gonna appear under the ‘Favourite Shirts’ banner as I get around to pulling together pictures. At some point I’d also like to review all 24 Bond films too… and as I sense there may be a Bond 25 announcement on the cards sooner rather than later? It’s all content for the future. 

For now, there’s plenty planned, and I hope I can cover it all.