Your Cheating Heart

The national side progressed easily into the last sixteen of the World Cup last night, but they didn’t do it properly. There were no magnificent scenes of victory. Nobody punched the air, except the Belgiums. A newspaper this morning calls this a ‘basic misreading of hypotheticals’ like that phrase means anything to begin with. A manager, for the first time ever, looked at the game after the one they’d be playing and made decisions based on a long-term outlook. Football fans can’t look past the next game, we all know that. If you’re not living in the moment, you’re dead inside.

There is a fundamental problem here that needs to be addressed.

I had a conversation with my daughter on the way to school this morning about how the fine art of thinking about shit is being lost. In the clamour to be noticed in a World that increasingly values the cheap gag or the funny meme above actual facts and logic, a valuable resource is being squandered. My opinion on last night’s game is valid, but as I am not Gareth Southgate how the fuck do I know what his plan is?¬†I have no right to question his tactical decision making now, I don’t get paid to be England manager, yet millions of fans like me feel they somehow now have a voice, because Social media gives them a stage.¬†We stop thinking, and start ranting, and then everything goes Pete Tong.


Some would argue it is just easier to get other people to think for you. That’s why we have websites like, who use SCIENCE to tell you that you can save money and feel awesome (no hang on, that’s the other lot). Except, if all you do is compare figures and don’t look at the ethical backgrounds of companies, is this saving worth the effort? So what if I can recoup ¬£1000 a year? There are far better financial decisions to be made than this that most people don’t want to think about because they won’t consider their own unique circumstances. Having a website tell you to save is all well and good, listening to an ‘expert’ pontificate on what’s best is great… but what if that advice is potentially more harmful than good…?

I didn’t know the possible consequences of a Keto diet when I began it, until my gallbladder finally gave up the ghost and I was forced into surgery to remove it. When I watch people expound on my Social media of the benefits of fat bombs, there’s still a chill that runs through me. My body could have given up at any point, but had I taken better steps to read through possible consequences, a lot of fear and heartache might yet have been avoided. When someone else tells you X has changed their life,¬†just blindly copying them may have its own consequences to shoulder. Thinking through options remains a better bet than simply chopping and changing when someone else tells you ‘this is a good idea.’


As less people think and just do whatever the fuck they want, the danger of disaster becomes all the more apparent. Handing over decision making to automation will not give us an easier life if our ability to think independently and critically is compromised. Giving people platforms to pronounce opinion has always been fraught with potential disaster, but if these people simply spew hate and anger from LEFT AND RIGHT, nobody wins. Sure, you can get angry, but if you let your hatred colour and pollute everything? There will be consequences.

It is then that we all need someone to cut through the bullshit and say the things we’re all too scared to speak aloud.

Lots of you people genuinely frighten me. If you don’t think Piers Morgan’s a twat, it’s also highly unlikely we’ll have much to say of any value to each other.

The exit is that way —>

Bang Bang


This morning, getting in from the School Run, I needed an iPad cable. Finding one, I then attempted to exit the front room, tripped over my feet and fell. This happens all the time, and normally all that is affected is my dignity and a shin/knee. This time I fell really hard taking all the impact on my left elbow and wrist. I knew summat was up when the lower half of my arm refused to operate, and then it was a case of deciding what happened next. A&E is 10 minutes walk away, but I was pretty confident nothing was broken. So, I called my Physio, and within an hour someone had established the extent of my injuries is bruising as of right now.

After that, I have a treatment plan, list of exercises to do, and instructions on how I reduce the swelling. It will be at least 72 hours before I can drive, which is a bit of an issue with acting as daughter’s taxi service. Today my son was a hero and took me to get her by bus, and I’ve arranged the last two days of pickups without issue. The only problem for her is a bit of an early start tomorrow and Thursday, but as Friday is Easter? We can sort this.¬†The biggest hurt for me is that I’ll not be lifting for at least two weeks, possibly longer. It will depend on what damage emerges once the swelling’s gone, and that will be at least a week :/

Yes, there have been a lot of tears today. But as I can still type, albeit with care and both hands? I’ll cope.

Bad Day

Two cars today, involved in an accident about six miles away, have effectively swallowed my morning. As we live very close to the main road between here and London, anything that happens on that inevitably grinds all traffic to a halt. Coming back from dropping off the youngest I abandoned the car in a side road so I could avoid the traffic, pop home for a wee and my handbag, before making my way to the Opticians round a less travelled path. I even had the foresight to phone ahead and tell them I’d be late, which I was. I now have a vital second pair of glasses on order. My eyesight hasn’t deteriorated, I just need the help a bit more now it is darker earlier and I’m driving more.

Yes, it’s another security blanket, and that’s just fine.


Once I’ve organised everything that needs to be done and have ensured my scheduling’s¬† all complete… I can finally start on getting Christmas gifts finished and packed, ready to be sent. Somewhat optimistically I have given myself five days to do all of this (including the family’s gifts) so I can concentrate on writing projects running up to Christmas. I still think it’s doable: I might be a bit knackered by the end of it but that’s going to remain the objective right until it appears I’m ‘aving a laff.

For now I’ll be on hold with an operator ^^

Under the Sea

Last night was the bottom of the hole. Now, it is a case of how long before body and brain decide to co-operate and mount an escape attempt. Brian, it must be said, is at least understanding the brief. However, I forgot how to do change at the Supermarket today and heard the woman¬†next to me muttering under their breath¬†‘seriously could you be MORE stupid in holding up this queue?’¬†and so I did what any sensible person would do and burst into tears.¬†As the eyes of the entire Supermarket checkouts were upon me I wiped a snotty nose on my sleeve, turned to the shitty person and told her that the next time someone’s struggling in her orbit, maybe she could stop being angry and find some sympathy.

Small victories, people. One idiot at a time.


I’m also beginning to suspect that hormones are fucking about with my body. I’ve gone from sweating buckets to freezing cold today, and there are no flu symptoms at play. It would make a lot of sense as to how mind is working too. Either way, a public display of embarrassment¬†did the trick: I still have fight in me.

This is better than it was.

Train in the Distance


I’m tired today, despite having slept better than has happened for weeks. The level of mental fatigue will not be assuaged by sleep.¬†I have to hold myself back from shouting at people’s willful ignorance, arrogance and general inertia. I’m struggling to cope with the simple stuff, all of a sudden, and I know it is because there’s just too much sensory input¬†right now. I stopped reading social media about teatime yesterday, and catching up this morning I marvel at how rich people deal with trauma. Yeah, I’d love to ignore Twitter for a day, but without it, I don’t make money.

Today is one of those moments when I wonder if chasing dreams is simply disappointment.


Strength, I have come to understand, is built in many ways by individuals. Sometimes it is forced upon you by circumstance, whilst other forms are simply there without understanding why. Compartmentalising life is all well and good until a point is reached where the depth of sensory overload renders action effectively useless. The part of me that understands the inevitability of certain parts of life is where the failure is occurring: I can’t make people like me, I can’t stop people dying, I can’t beat inertia and force others to act against the glaring injustice they decide simply to ignore and mute ‘for sanity’s sake.’

Today, I made time to meditate. My Mindfulness course suggests that a way to deal with an excess of thoughts is to distance yourself from them: they’re trains passing through a station, or scenes on a film screen. It’s a useful exercise, and today’s session has allowed an ability to at least sort my issues into better-defined spaces. Dealing with them all is not impossible, just takes thought that let’s be honest, I don’t have at the end of a busy week. The key here is knowing your limits. For me, that’s easily defined. I’m already at the end of the pier and have run out of land to run on.

Time to stop and not overload myself anymore.


I can still think and exist in this state, make choices and improve the world around me. What has to happen now is what I personally do to deal with this situation. I’ve done both therapy and counselling, and the point comes where expecting somebody else to deal with the issues might be the attractive choice, but it is not the right one.¬†I possess all the tools required to fix myself and have for some time, and now is the moment when I have to look past the fatigue and anger and do just that.¬†The time for eating cake and pretending life doesn’t exist is passed, at least for me.

If I want to move forward, there has to be pain.

I’d love to take a day and complain at social media’s ineptitude, but until the people with money and influence (that’s you, particular subset of successful men and women) stop wanking into/with your piles of cash and start acting? Not happening. For the rest of us, out here in the fields, there is no opportunity to boycott, just the understanding that if we ever make it to your level of wealth we SURE AS FUCK are not making the same fucking stupid mistakes you do. Yes, I’m angry, but I know now how to use that emotion not to self-destruct but to drive me onwards and keep me sane.

Time to think more about exactly WHY all this shit happens in the first place and then get it changed.

Only Myself to Blame


My daughter this morning was lamenting the fact that in Roblox, a game she used to love when younger, the ability to play as a guest has now been removed.¬†Apparently, it was fun to ‘roast’ guests, who often had no clue of the way certain games worked.¬† I told her that this was probably the reason why the ability has been removed: is it really the right thing to do when someone is new to the game to give them a hard time? Shouldn’t you be helping them out and not abusing them?¬†

I read yesterday an article discussing a forum post that Jeff Kaplan wrote last week, lamenting what a tough crowd the Overwatch fanbase is to deal with. The gaming community has always been a particularly brutal audience, especially when it comes to changes to popular characters. Here’s a man who admits that the attitude of this group of players is having a direct effect on him and his team. It’s a fairly shocking revelation because for years the Warcraft community pretty much destroyed their developers without anyone batting an eyelid.


Except last year an individual¬†was convicted of sending death threats to Blizzard. The line between threat and joke has now blurred to a point where everything has to be potentially considered as dangerous. There needs to be the means of ensuring that gaming remains a safe place to play, but at the same time, there’s an increase in the competitive elements. Overwatch is about to launch its own worldwide league. Pretending to kill people for fun is about to become big business.

Game companies will tell you, time and again, that their output is purely entertainment¬†and there is no direct link between video game violence and its real-life counterpart. It doesn’t matter that we allow our children to roast their ‘anonymous’ friends and do the same ourselves on Social media under made up names. Increasing social freedom is giving people free reign to simply say what they wish, often without any recourse because unless there’s a credible threat, it won’t ever be an issue. I keep being told not to try and understand why a wealthy, seemingly stable man massacred nearly 60 people, but keep coming back to the same conclusion.

Society doesn’t condemn this kind of behaviour anymore. We just accept it as normal.

Anybody can be a killer, or an abuser, and yet with each passing day, we allow and often encourage people to do the same.¬†Instead of asking everybody to look within themselves and to alter their behaviour, there is an automatic assumption there are just ‘bad guys’ and that if we eliminate them, everything will be okay. Don’t let people be guests, and suddenly the problem’s dealt with¬†is probably a simplistic solution: it would be better to be like Kaplan and explain why you’re hurting the game to begin with.¬†The problem comes when your killer has no criminal record, lived an exemplary life and showed no potential to be a psychopath. Sometimes, however hard you try, there’s no way to avoid a disaster.


The real truth is that thousands of people are dying every minute, around the world, of things we could easily prevent: malnutrition, via conflict, through systematic torture and subjugation. These stories never make the news because, yet again, we have become immune to our own inhumanity. In this respect, everybody has blame to share, especially those of us who publicly decide to ignore one side of a story to highlight the facet of most significance to ourselves. In that regard, news organisations, multinational corporations and governments are far more culpable than individuals, but perhaps if we stopped teaching our kids to shoot each other at an early age, there might be a change.

I wonder if it is truly possible to stop people wanting to hurt each other to begin with.

The Winner Takes it All

Apathy is the single biggest problem on the Internet. 

It isn’t trolls, toxicity, or the corporate giants who decide they’re going to algorithm us all to extinction. We, the vast majority of ‘normal’ users, are the ones with the potential to ruin it for everybody, and we do.¬†Most of the time you won’t even realise this is happening either, until someone turns up on your feed suggesting a course of action you disagree with. If you’ve already got a beef with their actions, that’s pretty much a guarantee that something is going to kick off.

Life is hard in the affluent Western World right now. There’s an almost daily assault of terror incidents, natural disasters and threats to national security. My country’s trying (and largely failing) to successfuly¬†leave a fourty year relationship. The American people are being governed (between rounds of golf)¬†by a white supremacist (allegedly.) In all of this, people continue to pin their affinity and loyalty to a dizzying array of virtual saviours, or pray at the altar of corporate churches with the the belief their brand loyalty maintains a safe and trusted output, however much money that might cost.

It is no surprise therefore that¬†compassion fatigue¬†is becoming recognisable in larger sets of online communities with each passing day. The main upshot of all this trauma is individuals becoming less and less willing to consider a contrary set of beliefs to their own, being more likely to fly off the handle with the slightest provocation, and feeling that as long as they don’t name names or continue to hide behind a virtual persona, they can get away with being toxic because nobody cares enough to call them out.

So, what happens when a safe and trusted organisation does just that, shaming the nasty people for what others say they are? Overwatch is big news right now, and the level of ‘toxic’ game play is never out of my Twitter feed, reported third hand by person after person.¬†So, when a company (that has never really been that keen on labelling anyone who pays for their games as anything other than a customer) takes the bull by the horns and starts calling out the bad people (and encourages players to do the same) what could possibly go wrong?¬†Why would anyone complain about a company taking steps to eliminate the toxic element in a game that’s clearly full of just that?

Here’s where I stop one train of thought and ask you to pick up a second.

For as long as I can remember, there’s always been a jocks vs nerds fight happening somewhere in my earshot. Whether it is disdain for ‘sportsball’ or esports being a ‘joke,’ the two groups seem to have nothing in common, and continue to be pitted against each other whenever possible. The fact that so many sports fans play games is neither here nor there: they come to the table with a natural advantage, which is often overlooked. It is only by understanding the psychology of team games, the importance of playing as part of a whole, that individuals really begin to understand the need for co-operation and empathy.

The basement nerd, used to playing alone, has a hard time grasping the mechanics of team sports. She’s not been taught how to play well with others, and immediately becomes a disruptive, confrontational force. This has one of two results: people either attempt to help her understand how to play, or they reject her as a disruptive element. Then, it doesn’t matter whether what she says about others’ game play is right or not, whether she’s prepared to do as she’s told becomes irrelevant. You choose to play by the rules of the game, or you don’t.¬†If the latter is your path, and there are rules in place that dictate these actions are against the spirit of this game?

Like it or not, you lose.

Overwatch’s decision to call out bad game play assumes that the majority of players just want to participate in a specific way. I wish them luck in making this stick, but when you are fighting ‘players’ who don’t understand what it means to be part of a team, or why that matters, you’re likely on a hiding to nothing. The internet is full of individuals who believe that their opinion, attitude and outlook are all that matters, that teams need them far more than the other way around. The concepts of loyalty, empathy and belonging are simple flimsy constructs for most; no real ‘friends’ just those who believe in a particular set of ideas, to a point, who refuse to allow reality to damage their persona. This is not just a white male preserve either, before you start giving me that look. I know countless women who perpetuate the shock/bitch persona. White men don’t get to die on that hill alone, oh no.

So what has apathy got to do with all this, the more astute of you will now be asking? This week came a powerful, personal revelation: sitting at a screen, being unwilling to name names when you see someone do something you don’t like because that just causes drama is slowly destroying everybody’s lives. It’s the lump on your arm that might be more than just a mole, but you’re unwilling to get it looked at and diagnosed in case the consequences end up as cancerous as you can’t handle the consequences to begin with.¬†At some point, if you want to be a real human being, there has to be an acknowledgement of what matters most. I’ve realised I’ve had enough of reading social media where individuals aren’t prepared to call others out when there’s been something they disagree with. If you don’t have the balls to put conviction to a claim, then shut the fuck up.

If you won’t, don’t expect people to keep listening.

In effect, I have implemented my own response to toxicity. Watching somebody else complain at others but not rock the boat too much themselves, when multiplied up thousands of times, becomes apathy that destroys communities. If there is a genuine beef with someone, then go talk to them.¬†If, after you talk to them, all that they’ll offer as explanation to your issue is glib platitudes and ‘well, I can hardly be expected to read my feed the whole time’ then it should be apparent your relationship is not as important as it appears was the case, and everybody should really move on.¬†If you’re playing an online games where there are teams of people and you flatly refuse to play by the rules set down by the majority? Expect to get royally owned by those who do, even if you feel you are the one in the right.

If you really want to succeed in the future: be the team player who understands that the rules only work to a point. Play games as just that, and don’t live them as if they mattered more than life itself. Most importantly of all, when someone upsets you online, don’t say a fucking thing about it to anyone, deal with the problem internally or away from social media, and just move on. The real winners don’t need to prove they’re right, they know in their hearts that they’re doing the right thing, and everything else is irrelevant.

In a world where nerds have become their own enemies, the only way to win is not to play.