Lies

With the virtual world awash with fake news and unconfirmed rumour, navigating the Internet’s never been more fraught. How can we tell what’s real and what isn’t? In most cases, I use more than one ‘impartial’ news sources for a confirmation on big stories: Reuters, the Associated Press and the BBC News sites may not be everybody’s providers of choice, but if all three are simultaneously flagging up breaking news, that’s normally a good indicator of actual validity… if it happens in a country that is not mine (as was the case with the US pipe bomber story) then national news in that country is the way to follow things as they develop.

However, accepting that nothing read online as fact is becoming the far more sensible default state. Yes, you’ll encounter experts in your travels, and I’m not belittling anything such people say, but honestly you should start fact checking. Wikipedia isn’t bulletproof, but there are third part sites that can help separate wheat from chaff. There has been a story circulating on Facebook (for instance) suggesting a supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park is ready to erupt (a la the movie 2012) for… well, a long time. It’s all complete bollocks, part of a slew of urban myths and legends buried ‘in the cloud.’

However, there are more insidious lies being told of late that I find increasingly disturbing.

Twitter thinks it can fool me, but I know better. It doesn’t help that I run three separate accounts through my phone, and that on one there’s a lot more followers than the other two. This means that the phone thinks when I’ve read something the night before, I might want to follow that person the next day via the other accounts… that’s not how this works, and you know it isn’t. It’s like telling me 126 people I am friends with retweeted this picture and therefore why don’t I want to do the same? This is not organic engagement, algorithm. I see through your ploy. GO AWAY.

I knew that inbuilt paranoia would finally have some use.

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There’s a bigger issue here, of course: laziness. You wanna look like you’re up with news and current events, so you like all that stuff, and retweet those things… and after a while it is easier to let the AI think for you. Except, we all know how that ends up working out. Writers create dystopia for a reason, and a lot of it is wrapped up in those for whom fake news is easier to swallow, whose opinions don’t seem to mesh with the majority. For every individual shocked at the depths of depravity others can sink to, there’ll be someone seeing how much worse they can manage and still get away with it.

Welcome to human nature, which is only as restricted as the information that gets crammed into the average brain. With the Internet as our playground and AI the arbiters of space, time and knowledge…

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This is also where those of us who have mental shortcomings need to get quite tough, and the more sensitive or vulnerable to suggestion end up as prime vehicles for exploitation. It should not be a surprise that it is AI driving negative rhetoric either, it is a perfect vehicle for such dissemination. If you cannot distinguish noise from imitation, blocking out everything is just easier and less stressful, yet along the way a vital level of rationalisation simply withers up and dies. The truth can (and will) set you free but only if you are capable of distinguishing it from everything else that’s masquerading as the exact same thing.

When trustworthy companies intentionally blur the lines of truth to improve their third quarter figures and throw shade at their competition, we should be up in arms, but time and again, it never happens. There is a reckoning coming, like it or not, and it will end up with large groups of people happily sending themselves into wilful oblivion, probably based on a Facebook Poll which secretly took their assent by making them click on pictures of cute animals. As we stand in the smoking, dystopian remains of the planet, yet again, we will only have ourselves to blame.

Stop letting the Internet lie to you, because it is.

Sadeness

I have registered there’s twelve years until Armageddon. I wonder how long it takes everybody else. Probably need a cuppa before continuing as a result.


The plan was to do an early Gym but today, like it or not, life has said no. Instead of getting all grumpy, the day’s just been rearranged a bit. TONS has already been achieved.

Sometimes, not being able to go to plan is exactly what you need.


Life needs to change going forward. It is already beginning, and by the end of this month the hope is to embrace the most significant parts of a targeted shift of direction. More people need to be interacted with, that are out of comfort zones. The only means by which the phobias and shortcomings that exist are challenged is to conquer fear. It is the mind killer, Frank Herbert knew his stuff.

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It is time to use the Internet for good, too. I have already begun this process and can only hope things will continue to become more satisfying over time.

For now, it is high time everything got finally organised, once and for all.

The Long Road Home

It could be far worse. That’s the take-out from yesterday’s physio meeting: there’s still a ton of damage in my elbow joint, and until that heals, I’m mostly off anything overly physical. I’ll be writing this and walking to the Gym again today to go and organise a Rehab plan with my PT: I can still cycle, and do core exercises, so that will be the plan going forward. I suspect resistance work will come into play too, and there’s a good chance if I can keep myself healing fast by sensible eating and lots of sleep, it could well be less than a month before mobility returns.

The last thing I want to do is be moping about, feeling sorry for myself.

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It’s also time to stop making this blog material. Assume I’m getting better, working hard and not dwelling on my own stupidity, and as of Friday, I’ll start writing about stuff that is far more self-centred, because that’s also what this needs.

The time for navel contemplation has passed.

Lucky Number

Today, my Blog is seven years old. I got up early, went to the Gym, and will ride 55km on my bike later. That’s the diary bit of this project done, now to the point.


Once upon a time, that was pretty much all I blogged about. Now, I have a life that is often worth sharing. There’s places to go and things to see. I have goals and dreams and things to attain, but most important of all there’s a self-awareness that simply did not exist before. Mentally and physically, 2011 is a world away. Make that several worlds.

This is the life I wanted when the Journey began, but now I have it there’s a realisation that it is not enough. There needs to be more work, and better planning, but most importantly a constant challenge to what counts as ‘enough.’ Pushing, challenging, questioning and reassessing… these were things that were too frightening or difficult. Not anymore, and that is brilliant. Long may this continue.

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There are other changes too. I’ve managed to persuade others to look at their lives in a different way. I can (and do) make people think. Slowly, surely, evolution is happening. It is seen and heard, and that is what gives each new day the impetus to be better than the one that came before. This is how real change can take place. This is not about having my name on a plinth or a legion of adoring fans. In fact, if you’re obsessing about me and what I do that’s the exact opposite of what should be happening. The plan remains to be anonymous but useful.

This is a Journey I’m enjoying, and I hope you’ll join me at some point to keep me company :D

I’ll be There for You

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Yesterday, my Husband sent me a text message, cheerfully informing me that he’d registered a WordPress domain. I will admit, there was a measure of surprise over this. I’ve been suggesting that, for about three years now, he might like to write about his passion for cycling: he creates a very good blog on company time, is my #1 Proof Reader of Awesome, and is the purveyor of good stories (although he does tend to ramble, but it is endearing.)

Then, things got serious.

The first batch of output last night was initially liked and then summarily rejected. A discussion was had over the brief, what this particular logo should really be like, and what it was my husband wanted to achieve from the exercise, and suddenly I was back at my first job, designing stuff for people. I’ve now sent him a selection of ‘new ‘ content, and am awaiting word on whether I’ll have to try again again. Between you and me, I think I like this one the most:

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(If you want to go see what’s going on, the blog is here.)

Normally, doing work for family would be a fraught, uncomfortable affair. This time around that is not the case: I’m even considering offering my writing services to Mr. Alt to talk about cycling from a ‘this is fucking scary’ PoV. Mostly, it is me pushing him to share some of the amazing stories he has gathered (especially when he went to Italy last month) and the frankly amazing work he’s done to restore a bunch of metal frames with wheels.

If you have a passion, I think it is your duty to share it with as many people as possible.

Shut Up

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I had my first decent night’s sleep since… well, sometime last week. As used to be the case when this happened during the sleepless nights of two early childhoods, I’ve woken up a bit confrontational. All that stuff that pissed me off whilst I was tired but I didn’t possess the energy to deal with is now all in my head simultaneously. There’s a lot I could address, but let’s take the old bloke by the shops yesterday that cat-called me and then made a lunge for my waist.

You really think women make this shit up, men?

Some people do, undoubtedly, to get attention… it would be churlish to think otherwise. However, they are such a pathetically small percentage of the real problem as to absolutely beggar belief. There are women who grope men who shouldn’t be allowed to do so either… then men who do it to other men. Women do it to other women. All over the civilised world, there are fucking thoughtless individuals who only care about themselves and their own individual gratification. These are the people who ignore personal space, boundaries and most importantly, the notion of respect.

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Many of these people are not smart. A lot of them (over a certain age) are never to be forgiven. Senility, ignorance, male privilege… I don’t care what it is, but just because you see a pair of breasts at 10.35am does not give you right or dispensation to fixate on them. JUST NO. The randomness of such events is enough to push half this fucking county into cars so they never have to deal with people on the ground. That’s unacceptable. I should be able to walk to and from places without the fear of being abused.

I have lost count of the places where that’s happened over five decades.

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For me, the worst thing of all is the women who defend men for doing this. There is a special place in Hell for those individuals, and I know they exist. I’ve seen them work, using other people’s situations to manipulate themselves out of the firing line. This is not powerful or aspirational behaviour. It is frightening, demeaning and ultimately as destructive as the men who do the same. It is directed at EVERYONE who ever thought it was smart to use other people for their own ends, and it’s just so utterly wrong as to beggar belief.

I saw people amazed at the number of #metoo hashtags on Social media yesterday.

Just because you’ve never experienced a problem, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. In this case, you’re a very lucky person indeed.

It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World

NaNoWriMo 2017

I’m going to talk today, both here and on the writing site, about my NaNoWriMo choice. The latter gets a more clinical attack on subject matter and motivation but here I feel compelled to discuss an issue that continues to irk, and has made me stop and think about what it is I write and how. My main protagonists in this story are a white man and an Egyptian woman. There’s a really good reason for this: I feel really comfortable writing them.

On many days, I believe I’m a true mixture of both.

There is absolutely no doubt I am completely happy being biologically female, especially now the curse that used to afflict me monthly has gone. I’m at ease with the body I am rebuilding and feel no desire to alter the fundamental construct. However, it would be disingenuous to say I believe I think and act in the way I see a large number of women do. Makeup holds no allure. I do not desire to dress or act in an overtly feminine manner anymore, and the same is true of tending towards masculinity as an alternative. In terms of appearance, androgyny is increasingly appealing. However, my sexual appetite and desires remain unchanged.

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There is a part of me that wishes we didn’t need to make specific social groups the enemy, but feminists need white men to hate them and people of colour and ethnicity deserve the right to hate everybody who is white because they’re in charge. I get all this, I really do, the complex social and ethnic strata that now damns and defines every action taken as a writer. Yes, I could make my male protagonist Afro Carribean but I don’t feel comfortable appropriating because no, I sure as fuck don’t have permission. 

My Egyptian woman comes from a time period I know a lot about and (again) feel I can write with a measure of conviction. The key here is confidence, not political correctness or social mirroring. I am very much a product of my age, but the characters that are chosen as my cast need to have believability in the story told. In that regard, supporting characters mirror the ethnicity of the World but are not at its core. There’s a reason for this, as will become clear in the narrative, but for now, I’m happy with why my fictional people are the way they are.

normality

A lot of this is down to simple biology, as this is a story with science at the core. There has been a crucial change however to the sexuality of a number of characters, based on acceptance of what I am becoming as a human being. In many ways, this story has the potential to become hugely autobiographical, if I allow that to happen. However, what matters most is the sanctity of plot and action. I’m not here to make a political statement, simply reflect what I am when writing.

Mostly, last night I stayed up late and stared at my work in progress and found myself thinking ‘somebody will hate this because I made a white man the hero.’ Then came the more significant revelation: whatever happens, someone will be upset. If I spend my life worrying about the reaction of others and don’t simply do what matters most to me, then there will be no progress at all. This is about narrative on my terms, and as a result… we stay with the plan, and I stop stressing.

Whatever I produce will be the best of what I am.