Why

I am angry this morning. Really, properly angry. I’ll need to get my passport renewed as a matter of some urgency, too, so I’ll put that on the To-Do List for next week. Everything that rich people do to keep them rich means fucking the poor and disadvantaged. It is insidious and desperately sad. The only way to deal with it is to vote out the rich people who keep doing this.

Is it really going to matter having people with no experience of governing into power when the people who’ve done it for decades are thieving, robbing bastards, who are utterly corrupted from the top down? No, I don’t think it is. Any change is better than nothing. That’s where we are now. Honestly, a bunch of trained Circus Parakeets would be more functional, and lie less.

As a result, it would be easy to be disillusioned and totally depressed today and not get anything done. Nope, that’s not going to happen. I have a decent chance of altering the environment I live in to the better in the next few months, and I’m fucked if I’m letting anybody else piss on those collective fireworks. Change begins with you. That’s where we are, and that’s what’s happening now. Let’s go.

All the Love in the World

It’s going to be a bit of/slightly more of [delete where applicable] a cesspit on Twitter until The High Overlord makes his first change to the playground rules. Until then, if he was worried that nobody would talk about him, that’s fixed for the foreseeable future. Given the choice between spending my money on making people like me or ending World hunger… I know which one I would have picked. I really don’t give a fuck what people think most days. That’s how you work smart online.

In the meantime, my side hustle in Advocacy, after what’s about five years of pushing, is finally beginning to become Important. I have a meeting Friday for which handouts have been made. I’ve spoken to more people by text message in the last 48 hours than I’ve probably managed in the last three years combined. It has absolutely been a transformative experience, and there is so much to learn that I could be at this for the rest of my life. Let’s hope so, shall we?

The plan here is to not do more than three paragraphs a day, so the drip of news is manageable, and I can keep momentum going. Until such times as they ban me, there’ll also be a Tweet as the only image. This seems like a good balance of ancient and modern going forward. Lord knows I could do with more writing practice along with the poems. It’ll be a measure of progress, and my ability to be succinct under pressure. Now, where’s that second cuppa?

The End (Redux)

As the World turns, change is inevitable. For me, that means an advocacy gig this morning that’s taken probably over half a decade to properly align. For nearly three years of that, Dean’s been finding pebbles to post on Twitter. I couldn’t tell you exactly *when* I started using them as prompts for poetry, but it’s been a while now. It’s hard to understate just how significant this has been in my evolution as a poet.

Like any skill or ability, poetry requires practice. It’s demanding and exacting, but simultaneously asks for freedom that is often impossible to properly encapsulate. A restraint of six lines was imposed, every day, until this morning when the moment demanded it wasn’t enough. I needed to say Thank You and this seemed like the best way. I will miss this part of the day terribly.

As a result, we will substitute Dean’s early morning wakeup with blogging. It’s not the same, but will ensure that the good work he helped me begin will be maintained. Even when the familiar leaves us, we must endure and move on. Dean’s legacy for me will now last a lifetime, and I can never really find the right way to thank him, except in verse. When a poetry book is finally published… he’ll find himself in my Acknowledgements. That’s a cast-iron guarantee.

The End

The last time I was here, it was February. I cannot count the ways life has changed since them, but the majority of those moments have played out on a platform that’s now owned by a bloke who I do not think is fit to own it. As a result, it’s probably time to make some changes.

We’d better get this place working properly again, for starters…

Silent Waves

When you were there at the start of worldwide, unfiltered discussion, stuff like this makes you laugh like a drain. You see, when you use organic growth to power your ascent to global brand leader, there are always some downsides. You know the speech: With great power comes GREAT RESPONSIBILITY and really, it does. Worldwide reach is not to be trifled with.

Except, more and more, Twitter don’t want you to think of this as a public space. It’s an individual’s space, curated to precisely fit the needs of the lowest common denominator: ignorant, narrow-minded stupidity. Most people don’t want to hear extremism, or have opinions maligned by randos. That’s not why anybody signed up to this. Except, of course, that’s a lie. Tons of us relied on this as a basis for communication when we felt we were alone and knew nobody else to talk to.

Without that, Twitter would never have become successful at all.

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How would a girl from the UK have so many US friends if there’s not been the opportunity to allow anyone to follow her? How would writers find and share new work if they potentially blocked all the other writers that didn’t follow them to begin with? For every bonus, there is inevitably a caveat, and for us all that’s where robot interference and nutters with an agenda need to remain constant. There HAS to be noise for us to be able to shout above it, or argue the truth with it.

The new tools, when added to the existing mute filters, will create echo chambers. It will stop being true participation, more and more becoming living a very well curated and sterile lie. You’re not taking part on a global stage if the same people reply, time and again. You’ve simply created a friends group. All the power, wonder and potential (very useful) conflict’s vanished. What’s the point in that?

It’s okay, I know exactly what the point is.

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This is the Internet on your terms. You don’t want FOMO, but at the same point don’t care about the same stuff I do. There’s stuff you just don’t want to see, and people you don’t want bothering you, and in that regard the new Twitter changes will make perfect sense… except, if you choose to platform contention in closed groups and won’t except any kind of counter-argument…? You’re no better than the people you’ve shut out.

If I find myself included in such discussions, I already know the best way to react. Those people will no longer be able to follow me, and I’ll stop listening to them, because there’s nothing worse than a hypocrite. If you want Twitter as a private chat channel? Jog on. The world’s much more than just your petty outlook. I hear there’s online forums for people like you. I reckon Mumsnet might be right up your street.

The world, as a reminder, does not revolve around you.

Material Girl

This PC is many MANY years old and finally I have realised it needs replacing. As my ethical standpoint has issue with buying such things new, I’ve got a reconditioned, older machine waiting for the weekend so that things can be swapped over with the minimum of fuss. It means watching videos on my machine will become viable again, which I miss greatly. A tablet is fine, but bigger screen = WIN.

Whilst we’re waiting for the weekend to turn up, a lot of stuff seems to be causing outrage of late. Gaming companies, police forces, football crowds, awards for books… all of these have caused Outrage Culture to enter my timeline. Once it would have been easy to be Outraged, because there was a right answer and a wrong answer and never the twain would meet.

Life these days however is not so simple.

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It’s never been simple, of course, and seeing the world in grey-scale is, apart from being aesthetically far more pleasing, simplest means by which everything is rationalised. However, in the last few days, something important has altered in my brain. In it’s simplest form, the process works like this:

  1. Read contentious opinion on Twitter
  2. Allow myself to knee-jerk a reaction IN PRIVATE
  3. After doing so, DO SOMETHING ELSE not related to thing that was totally engrossing my mind at Step 2
  4. Completely forget about the contentious thing whilst doing summat I enjoy/gain personal satisfaction from or is useful for someone else’s benefit AND STOP THINKING ABOUT STEP TWO COMPLETELY
  5. Return to Twitter where contention continues, apparently unabated
  6. Give a reasonable opinion based on having had time to allow personal contention a chance to dissipate

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What’s changed since last week? Step 4 didn’t exist. I knew I was getting sad last week, that pressure from the last couple of months was not being properly dealt with. The answer normally would be to throw myself into some pettiness online, or get obsessed with the current Outrage du Jour but not any more. I’m done with allowing others the opportunity to sour my mood. This girl finally got a clue, has other was to fill her days.

It will also provide some important content for my writing blog, which is really what matters more going forward. Before that however I have to work out how to get my D Drive out of this machine and into the new one, whilst ensuring nothing important is lost during transit. I know there are tools for this, but that process always concerns me slightly until everything is working smoothly again…

I’ll appeal for luck when the time comes.

We Used to be Friends

This discussion is of interest to me right now for a couple of reasons. The main one, undoubtedly, revolves around how change can happen in communities that, on a whole, really don’t care about doing anything except maintaining the status quo. The only example I have of this is how other people have gained notoriety or followers in my own sphere. If you want to be successful in my major Twitter habitat, here’s how you do it:

  1. Art,
  2. Streaming games,
  3. Social justice,
  4. Memes,
  5. Attacking other people,
  6. Becoming a ‘personality’.

Unsurprisingly, intelligent discussion features nowhere on that list: neither does poetry or writing generally. This was my first indicator that if I wanted to succeed at these things, I was in the wrong virtual space to capitalise. As I change tack and begin the process of building a new following, skills learnt are beginning to grant egress. Where you make your contacts matters.

Then we need to talk about what people don’t do, and how you define ‘friends’ on the Internet.

One of my biggest problems using this platform, without doubt, is the ridiculously high level of expectation I pin on other people. If a relationship really matters, you put in the effort. I try to do this with RL friends too, which used to be really tough (for reasons that may eventually be discussed in public) but now, undoubtedly, has become considerably easier because of my attitude to how life works.

The fact remains: if someone doesn’t want to put in the effort, or you’re not important enough to them, all the pushing in the World isn’t going to change their outlook. My mental issues have driven wedges into RL friendships and, in a number of cases, broken them beyond repair. It is what it is. Now, looking for people who understand what any relationship comes with as baggage is quite important.

That’s where the first major caveat comes into play.

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Understanding when to walk away is tough online, but with practice and consideration it becomes quite easy to know when you’re in the wrong space. I’ve had someone I enjoyed listening to this week make her quiet, drama-free exit from my feed: it’s only right therefore that her Instagram is unfollowed as acknowledgement we are no longer part of each others’ lives. On reflection, its no surprise.

None of the people who have me blocked are a surprise: I’m noisy, post often and often overlook proper filters. If you fuck me off, I’ll tell you so, that’s the joyous advantage of my mental situation. Except, of late it has become apparent that this often makes bad situations worse, and if you respect other people’s opinions and sanctity all that does is make you look like drama’s acceptable, when everybody really wants a bit of peace.

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The second caveat flips the picture. When I do make the effort, and attempt to leverage some enlightenment into someone’s frame of reference… do they care? Well, often that’s a job worth doing, there’s the signs of a point being made… but unless the person is open and sympathetic to constructive criticism, that is also often the point where any fledgling relationship ends. I didn’t come on the Internet for people to tell me I’m wrong, I’m here to escape from people doing that to me IRL…

It all depends, it appears, on why you’re here to begin with. If fame is the goal, the last thing that’s required is dissent over any game plan. You can tell the serial goal-setters a mile away, and that’s when a choice has to be made. Does this person listen, or are they simply appeasing you in front of an audience to prove how fair and equitable they can be? Will they in turn seek your feed out, read what you have to say, or are they only interested in the mention you gave them to begin with?

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Then its all down to the Curation Game: mute for a bit (is the feed better or worse without them, is there even a noticeable difference) then unfollow or, if the need is there block and move on. The smart people should know when the nuclear button is pressed why you’re suddenly no longer accessible, and there’s a good chance that if the point wasn’t made before, it is now: you did a bad thing, and we’re no longer going to talk to each other.

If the friendship really matters to the other person and you block them, it’s not like they suddenly became inaccessible. An email was sent once to someone asking them why a block was enforced, and their reply was a salutatory warning: I didn’t know this individual at all. The ‘person’ they were online was nothing like their reality, my kind of disruption or controversy was simply not warranted in their lives any more. These situations are the ones that need to be learnt from, as a warning going forward.

Redefining friendship parameters on a daily basis should be a part of a self-care routine.

Showing Out (Get Fresh at the Weekend)

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Sure Signs I am Run Down include acne breakouts, general aches and pains, increased sensitivity and the total inability to take a joke. This was me, yesterday, and that’s why going to bed at 10pm was the answer. It became abundantly clear I’d left the room when I sat through an hour of Ocean’s 8 which neither empowered me or left brain with a sense of being somehow enriched by a movie where women were the leads. If the script blows, you could cast shop mannequins and get the exact same result, which would have been more entertaining, to be honest.

Hollywood has a lot to learn about how the real world works.

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Talking of which, it is Oscars night, and never has there been less interest in what America thinks is a good movie or not than there is now. Once upon a time I’d have genuinely cared about the outcomes, but now the relevance of such institutions is fraught at best. In a world where criticism has been weaponised, it is no longer wise or indeed sensible to cherish opinions in public. Down this path only anger and sock puppets lie.

It’s why there’s a sad inward breath whenever someone on Social media decides to do the 1 like = 1 fact about me meme. It’s like covering yourself in feathers during Duck Shooting season and standing where all the hunters can see you. Someone will undoubtedly mistake poor disguise as prey, even though you resemble nothing of the sort. Having a point of view has never been so dangerous or destructive. Some days the only safe course of action appears to be selling other people and not you.

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For me, however, this is the moment to stand up and be myself, properly, for the first time in a decade. Undoubtedly part of the modern-day survival gear for any erstwhile blogger is a thick skin, plus the desire to find a hill to die on where as many personal principles as possible can be conveniently located. Don’t need adverts, don’t want a partner or a ‘collaborative opportunity’ as one potential advertiser tried to lead with recently.

Following me on Instagram because my hair looks good might work for some brands, but really I can see right through you. I only really believe friends who tell me I’m beautiful, but to everybody else there’s now proper understanding of politeness and acceptance. I can enjoy your opinion, whilst respecting it, yet still not ascribe to it. This might come as a surprise to some of you, but I’m only now beginning to grasp some of the finer nuances of communication. It has been a very long time in the dark.

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Some days, there’ll be editing of posts if there’s a desire to do so, pulling out an excess of personal pronouns, but today is most definitely an ‘I’ day: waiting for a Sunday delivery then it’s a walk to the Gym, where I have permission to muck about for an extended period before having to be home for domestic duties. There’s stuff that should be done but it is far more likely that Sunday becomes a planning day. Short stories, poetry, proposals… and the list goes on.

Hollywood seems to think that aspiration for women like me is female superheroes and women in remakes of all male movies. This is not my idea of progress or enlightenment, although to dismiss them is dangerous, for other women are not driven as I am. Aspiration for me is respect, debate, understanding and the chance to bring difference to a world which, at least from here, appears worryingly conventional. I get that I’m not reinventing the wheel, but this wagon has merit.

I just gotta make sure the wheels don’t fall off when it matters.

Not a Job

Day 7: Seriously, it’s only been a WEEK???

Giving blood feels like several months ago, not gonna lie, only a faint scar reminds yup, still recovering. Cycling has been a horrible, stressful bag of emotional stress as a result and today, after five hours kip (see the writing blog) there is no energy for anything except what’s on the Urgent List. Yes, one of those exists. I will knock off all outstanding gubbins, then throw myself on the sofa because if dinner is gonna be cooked from scratch, there needs to be more active consciousness than currently exists.

Time to go for simple.

All the decorations are still in the front room too, and one thing that should be done is to get them across the road to the garage so the front room is clear for YOGA. Gonna try at least once a week, maybe more, starting with my old MTV Yoga DVD before quite possibly finding summat better on YouTube. That’s what it’s there for, right?

Once there’s been a decent night’s kip we’ll get back on TOP QUALITY CONTENT.

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

I shifted my blog ‘life’ away from Google a while ago, deciding to come to WordPress where there was more of an opportunity to flex my creative muscles. Having now felt as if I’ve settled in, comes the realisation that for a number of years Blogger helped me live a lie. Though I know I did have a decent audience at the height of my gaming interest, a fair proportion of that did not exist. A lot of my traffic was using my sites as stop points on other journeys, or to inflate the worth of other sites and not mine. I had hoped that by shifting everything to WordPress I could finally say goodbye to the automated response, but now realise I’ve simply swapped one form of robot for another.

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Normally, 10 people liking your post would be a cause of celebration. However, all of these people did so in under a minute of the post going live. I don’t know a single one of them either, which means one of two things: they all happened upon my site simultaneously at the exact same moment my post was published and have all become overnight devotees… or, it was a robot. I know which version of reality I’m going to ascribe to here, and what it makes me question is why this kind of behaviour is considered acceptable. It distorts accurate statistics, feeds the fire of ‘all automation is bad’ and makes certain people believe their own worth far more than will ever be healthy to begin with.

However, I’m beginning to uncouple from an interest in metrics, as it becomes apparent their relevance is fast becoming pointless, at least for me.

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Yesterday I wrote two blog posts and placed them on different websites. I know they were both of interest to my core audience: one was promoted by me throughout the day, the other was not. By the time I’d gone to bed they were both equally read, and the promoted one continued to gain a steady stream of views whilst I was in bed, from a regular audience who turn up to my site regardless of what gets advertised. The fact I could probably name about 80% of these people is neither here nor there, my audience is now a fixed percentage of the people I interact with daily. Everybody else might take an interest from time to time but in essence, I do more business using Social media than I do via blogging.

It’s the future: people don’t have time for all that commitment shit any more.

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There’s also an emergent trend of people I know not using social media as much as they used to, that I’m seeing people forcing themselves away (as I have) to exercise and reconnect with reality. Those who remain strictly wedded to their platforms are becoming more apparent too, and I find myself thinking that if I’m honest, I’d rather pitch content to someone who can show that their existence isn’t just logging in the moment they wake up and not moving from the virtual unless pushed. It is a really delicate balancing act too for someone who’s now attempting to create a presence for themselves online. How much is too much or not enough?

At what point does one accept that the only true progress comes via hard work and consistency? For me, that point has been reached this month with more cash in the bank than I managed when using a custom-built crowdfunding platform. I now have a new stream of content, and assuming I can keep it all going for another couple of months, there will then be the opportunity to turn to people and point, before declaring ‘this is what you get from me, if you pay me we can make it better.‘ It seems a decent way forward, and the exchange of effort for cash then has some actual meaning, because I’m not asking people to fund controversial opinions they disagree with. This is art. You either like it, or you don’t, and if that’s the case then you don’t pay for it.

It’s really very simple, and needs no robots involved at all.

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I’m coming up for 200k Tweets quite soon, and although I might celebrate the passing, it will be with a sense of some irony involved. A vast number of those message have been GIF-based, and it is beginning to make me realise just how important that side of proceedings has become. As I’ll talk about on the Writing site today, the biggest revelation in the last 10 days has been my comic strip, and how art has subverted itself in my mind to a very specific and quite vital opening movement of what is clear will be a path I’ll never stop travelling on.

The robots don’t (and won’t) fool me any more. When success does happen, it will also make detection far easier.