New Rose

The last couple of days have been tough on the brain, heat notwithstanding. I’m having to grasp a lot of things that I’ve intentionally steered well clear of in the light of this being my daughter’s last week of Primary School, many of which are wrapped around the nature of change. I’ve also begun to react to my surroundings in a manner which is not what I’m used to: mostly, if there’s an issue or a problem with things I tend to act as I do with Twitter: keep a discreet distance and say nothing. What I’ve begun to understand and really grasp is that sometimes, they’re not my fights. Maybe it is the understanding that I won’t have a chance to make a difference, and that actually intervention will make things worse. That’s why today I kept quiet in the virtual world, but didn’t in the real one.

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I spend a lot of time at my Gym. I’m beginning to get to know the staff who work there, who are lovely people, and who work hard I suspect for not the greatest pay on the planet. Today, in the restaurant/bar area, they were short staffed and instead of people trying to understand this, there was stupid. Lots and lots of stupid from people who should really know better, who weren’t listening to explanations that were patiently and politely given, and had decided that the enemy was the people who were doing their best to help, but simply couldn’t do it fast enough. I found myself thinking about the issues I’m seeing in social media over change in a computer game, and realised that actually, there’s a lot in common here. If all you want is to keep yourself happy? Sometimes, everything else just stops mattering, including the fact you are hurting real people with your condemnation.

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I watched the mum who’s son’s birthday it was, the heavily pregnant woman, and others come in to moan and be generally unpleasant, without grasping the situation and the explanations. They just wanted their food, and didn’t really care about anything else, and not once did the staff complain. They were brilliant and professional and focused and I sat and watched all this in the same way that I watch Twitter arguments, wondering if the people concerned grasped just how selfish they were being. Then I went and told the senior waitress she was doing great work as I know that if that had been me, I’d appreciate the gesture. The fact she hugged me back spoke volumes. Then I went and spent 10 minutes with the duty manager telling her the other side of the story, because sometimes it isn’t just the people making a noise. There’s another side people don’t see, and seldom grasp, that isn’t just them ranting.

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This does not condemn those with issues. They are not the villains in this piece, simply the antagonisers, the instigators. Whenever conflict occurs, it is up to both sides to try and reach a solution that works: some of the complainers did this, others didn’t. Many assume that because they pay a monthly fee, they should be provided with a decent level of service. This is undoubtedly true, but what that doesn’t take into consideration is that occasionally, stuff just goes wrong. Sometimes it isn’t just getting a refund or blaming the company for bad service. Occasionally, the fault is yours to take. What seems to be happening, more and more in this instant reaction World, is that fact is forgotten. It becomes just easier and simpler on both sides to blame anyone but yourself.

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Then, the individual really can make the difference. You don’t wade into the argument, instead you support a side, help the people struggling to cope. With the benefit of a step back, things become a lot easier to rationalise. Often, it seems to me, what helps people more than anything else is looking at both sides and not simply one. yes, you may have a problem, but there are things at play apart from those that you can see. Elements are involved beyond those that are obviously apparent. If you can help, then do but if you’re making things worse? Step away. This is the thing I’ve always been bad at, and today I did think before wading in, long and hard. That says to me I’m getting better generally with confrontation. Needless to say, everyone I spoke to was nothing but grateful someone could see the good in a situation.

In that respect, this has been a Good Day.

Together

Day Six: Yes, I’m fucking middle class, twats who love to label shit. I make no pretensions as to what I am. So when someone comes up with a bright idea to show your support for the open and welcoming nature of this county to ANYONE who wants to live and work in it? Yes, I’m gonna do that, even in a town where welcoming is often a dirty word, and where xenophobia isn’t just alive, its kicking your teeth in. Don’t start with me that this is an empty gesture and will do no good. You sitting there voting QUICK LEAVE EUROPE BEFORE ITS TOO LATE was what started this whole shit storm to begin with. I’m not a sore loser, I’m just fucking terrified because I know what’s going to happen. Nobody’s gonna save us now except ourselves. Don’t expect the Labour Party to step up and somehow salvage this situation, they’re too busy fucking self-destructing too.

In good news, it’s unlikely we’ll get to leave the EU until Parliament enacts a Bill, and good luck getting THAT through Parliament with the Scots as shit hot as they remain (absolute pun intended.)

Until that happens, I’m wearing a #safetypin, and if you don’t know why? Read about it here:

Then, there’s the Conservative Party elections. YOU SHOULD BE SCARED.

It is a sad state of affairs when you grasp that you’d rather have Cameron stay in charge than be replaced by the people who seem to want the job. In fact, having voted none of these twats into power to begin with? It all seems completely and utterly ludicrous. In Good News however I’ve only shouted at the radio once since 7am and that’s on 7 hours sleep, so things are improving.

At least the Football is back tonight, and Andy Murray’s still in Wimbledon.

It’s not Apocalypse Now, but it’s getting close.

Yesterday

First time I’ve missed a day posting for about five months. I didn’t have a particularly valid reason either, I just exercised, played games and have a throat infection. It is interesting how things run because yesterday I acknowledged, at least in my own head, that I’m not being strict enough on a lot of things I really should be more concerned about. This in turn led to a period of introspection, which would normally be the start of a a time where I don’t want to talk or be productive because I punish myself for what I see are failures that actually only need a rethink and a change in attitude.

That means that this morning when husband got up to do a bike race? I didn’t go back to bed, and have been active since he left. It means I’m thinking about how life works today and trying to make some quite drastic (for me) changes to outlook. It also means realising that, like it or not, people will attempt to derail me at every step of the way and sometimes I’ll get lucky and thwart it. Other times, I won’t. In most cases, it won’t matter anyway. I’m already prioritising the things that matter to me, and they are working out really rather well anyway.

Today therefore will be a lot of work, not much angst, and a real effort to steer the ship in the right direction.

Change

Evolution has always fascinated me, for as long as I can remember grasping the concept. Humanity is constantly shifting, altering its intellectual stance on all manner of topics, but the physical process of change is painfully slow. Ironically, we have begun to attempt to accelerate that development for ourselves as a result, clearly possessing no patience or indeed foresight, and genetic engineering is likely to cause a fair deal of contention in the years that follow. I’ve read enough science fiction to know how badly that can go, and sometimes I wonder if perhaps we’d be better served as a human race accepting that things just happen for a reason and maybe trying to change them is impractical.

This a dilemma I’m having quite a lot of late.

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Unless it’s you that’s affected, it is often easier to not grasp just how important hope can be to people when its offered. I’ve never been in that situation before, and am *very* grateful that’s never happened, but were I to find myself with those kinds of decisions? Yes, I’d take an experimental treatment in a heartbeat to extend my life. Mostly however you have to not just think of yourself, and realise that evolution means that millions and millions and billions of people died before you did to get us out of caves, into metal ships, and eventually to the stars. You may be just one person, but enough people have passed before me to make this path significant. If you look at the bigger picture, which so many people fail to do, there is the understanding eventually that actually, one person can make the difference. As soon as one person survives the treatment? There’s evidence to help them understand why, just as there is when another passes away. Nothing is a waste if you make it matter.

That’s why I find entitlement culture increasingly galling.

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I see it a lot in gaming, and its not (as many would have you believe) simply the preserve of the ‘white man,’ although for comedy purposes increasingly that’s where it’s best represented. I am sure there’s a lot of extremely entitled young women out there, and grumpy old women, with all manner of sexual orientations. It’s just easier to lump your ire on an easily identifiably demographic and have done with it. Yes, you deserve to be paid for what you do, and you have a right to be treated with respect if you work hard, but I hate to break it to many people but that’s not the whole story. Sometimes you do things and don’t expect a reward. Occasionally it isn’t about balancing the obvious set of scales. There’s a distinct lack of empathy in a lot of these equations and the default, inevitably, comes down to feeling aggrieved and hard done by. Sometimes you give and know full well there is no reward to be had, but that doesn’t stop the process. In fact, often it is the ability to give without the need for reward that progresses the process of evolution far more than those who expect there to be a payback for every action.

Most importantly, learning to understand yourself is a really rather huge deal. Change is possible, even in the most seemingly intractable of individuals. The problem for many is that they seem to think that what they are isn’t capable of any alteration. They’re ‘built a certain way’ or they ‘don’t know how to think differently’ and that’s the end of the discussion. ‘Arguing’ with these people normally ends up the same way every time, and you’d be best to ‘love them the way they are’ except I know that’s bollocks. I’m living proof that change can happen if you want it. Yes, I’m not like you at all, and I have no right to suggest you’re capable of evolving when I know nothing about you.

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That’s also bollocks too. If you want to change, you’re capable. That’s your choice, and it can happen. The biggest single issue with humanity undoubtedly is that we only see ourselves, and very rarely grasp the bigger picture. Those who are capable of stepping back and grasping that, are the ones that history will remember as the real movers and shakers, the true embracers of evolutionary theory without scientific intervention. If you truly believe you’re incapable of change? Take another look, if only with the realisation that once you hit a certain age you might both physically and mentally become incapable of making a difference to your own mortality.

Change doesn’t have to scare you, but it will. Time to face your fears and move past them.

How to Disappear Completely

I have a problem with letting shit go.

A lot of my mental health issues last year undoubtedly centred around how the World perceives me. It has become increasingly apparent that my more critical eye is something some people don’t like seeing, or indeed listening to. In fact, most of the ire I garnered in 2015 was because I decided to stand up and diss things/people that I perceived as wrong, stupid or ridiculous. Some people, when you use Twitter or Facebook, have obviously guilty consciousnesses and assume, often completely erroneously, that you’re talking about them when actually your anger is directed elsewhere.

Occasionally I’d upset someone totally by accident. Far more frequently, someone would pop up and berate me when they clearly decided that not liking something they liked had done was utterly wrongheaded. Mostly, if I’m honest, I wasn’t the problem, they were. Their overly sensitive indignation had caused the issue and I was a convenient means to highlight that they weren’t the problem in all of this. I unintentionally (and often conveniently) got patsied. Of course, on the counter to this, those same people would argue that as the attention-seeking whore in this relationship, I should be able to take this criticism to begin with.

Social media’s fucking hilarious when you actually break it down.

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Reassurance comes in many forms.

People build empires on line in exactly the same way they do in Real Life. The crucial diversion occurs when you understand that you have more control over your virtual environment than you’ll ever possess in the meat-based version. There’s a point for many people, in their Twitter ‘careers’, when they realise it becomes crucial to remove voices from their seemingly ‘free’ world or they simply cease to function correctly. You’ll watch this happen when someone’s followers hit a psychological barrier. It could be the number of followers, or perhaps after a particular incident. Occasionally, and this is pretty rare it must be said, someone cuts all their chords and buggers off completely. The lure of ‘fame’ is often too strong for many to do this, however, and that in turn causes further bitterness. Of course, the genuinely successful people just get on with it and don’t subject the rest of the World to all of this inherent drama.

Those are the people everyone ought to be emulating.

My Sky Header

Aim for blue skies, always.

Mostly, the World’s always looking for reassurance, because we’re still all kids deep down. It’s no surprise that the metaphor always returns to immaturity and inexperience, because for most letting go of those early years? That’s what keeps therapists in cash, Hollywood in re-makes and social media in drama. It’s no surprise how many people compare Twitter to High School/Secondary School, because it is. All the cliques, the mood swings, that bad hair… its all here. Human life, dissected and occasionally painfully exposed to both ridicule and disbelief.

Where you fit in the World is something most of us spend our entire existence trying to fathom. Some use it as a way to define themselves, and I realise this is where I’m beginning to shift. That means that, on days like today, I take the reins and make the last action mine. There are days when I won’t be able to control my environment, and then I simply have to accept my fate. On the days where I can, however? I’ll ensure that I’m the one who has the final say.

Because that, for me, defines what I really am.

10,000 Reasons

It started as an aside in my Twitter timeline yesterday, and by this morning the rumour had made the last article of national news. Twitter is considering increasing its character limit from 140 to… well, 10,000. This was enough to send the company’s share price down by a whopping 2%. To put this in context? Fitbit, the company who make my fitness watch, announced yesterday they’re going to try and grab a share of the Smartphone Watch market with their new Blaze. After that, their share price fell by more than 18%. So in terms of stock market panic? Trying to beat Apple is clearly more contentious than giving users more space to air their grievances.

It’s ironic that as I finally grasp how to use Twitter to my advantage with only pictures there’s the assertion that suddenly the social medial platform needs more than it has to somehow assure growth. I’m wondering at what point that became the indicator of success, that it seems that somewhere along this road I’ve travelled you’re only good if all you ever do makes increasing amounts of money. Materialism is all well and good, but ultimately it won’t be enough for many people, simply because you don’t quantify your worth with a number. It becomes a far more complex equation: happiness cannot be bought, however much some people might try to convince you otherwise.

However, in certain spheres, this is the only means to register whether you actually did a ‘good job’ or not.

It is not a surprise that the latest Bond outing’s getting its release date pulled forward by Sony. In relation to Skyfall, the 24th outing for 007’s not been the success that was hoped, and considering it now holds the moniker of ‘one of the most expensive movies ever made’  there’s some quite serious moolah that needs to be made back on hard sales. Sky Movies will undoubtedly be clapping their hands together with glee, as the movie will be available to stream on release via their ‘watch anywhere’ platform. I know this because they tell me at least once a day on their own channels, probably more, and I realise with a measure of depression that this is my future. If you fail in Place A, you’ll be marketed to within an inch of your life from B to Z. They’ve got Star Wars: The Force Awakens too lined up, but I suspect it will be a while before that’s on my mobile.

I don’t like this version of The Future: it’s too much about selling things as units and not enough about merit and interest. There’s no finesse when your making things based on a market share. I’m far more interested in making things because you can and you want to. That’s where we go back to Twitter, because even if they give people 10,000 characters the majority of users aren’t going to want to fill them. Advertisers want 10k characters, not individuals. Newsmakers want the chance to use the platform but in reality? This change is to promote more revenue from big business. Twitter’s overriding appeal right now is that it isn’t Facebook, insofar as it’s not full of adverts or the client itself trying to sell you shit you don’t want.

If this comes to pass? People like me will just leave and go to a place where you don’t get sold to. This isn’t rocket science, people.

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Mostly, I wish the World wasn’t the way it was, but ultimately I’m a realist. I make my place in the world a reflection of the person I am. That means I’ll buy a DvD of SPECTRE and watch it at my leisure. I’ll look at the Fitbit watch and if I think it’s a decent investment, I’ll buy one. As for Twitter? I think it doesn’t matter how many characters you have, if they’re all rubbish, then there’s no point. If all I do is use the words to sell and not educate? Waste of time and money, if you ask me.

The choices, ultimately, are yours to make and not for others to dictate.

From a Distance

On any given day, this Blog gets probably 40 visits tops. However, I know a large proportion of those people and actually? That’s absolutely fine with me. For many, the Internet means only one thing, and that’s selling themselves to anyone and everyone, and that’s just so wrong on so many levels. You’re nobody without the right social media markers. You don’t mean squat if you don’t have about.me or Kred. Honestly?

It’s the biggest con on the planet.

I had a bit of an exchange of opinion this morning with someone on Twitter and I looked up their bio, which led me to their website, selling their novel that was released in late October. They’ve written a slew of work, have an established publisher, and (it appears to me) only consider the Internet as a selling tool. This bothers me, far more than it should (I suspect) and it isn’t because this person has written work that’s been published. It’s the understanding that some people simply come to the place I call home to hawk their wares, and for them this isn’t a living, breathing source of inspiration, this is a revenue strand.

That mindset particularly apposite in my current situation.

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Here’s your Walther, away you go.

I am shortly to be inserted into the world of self-financing via the Internet. A venture I’m involved with is about to begin the journey into Patreon funding and I’m more than a little nervous, because (for me at least) crowd-funding is a grey area I’m not sure I’m entirely happy being a part of. However, the arguments are becoming more and more compelling, and it’s like I can’t look away. Yes, I’d LOVE to get a publishing deal but that requires an actual piece of work that I can sell, and despite all my self-assertion I’m still not there yet. I have a part-time, small fry writing gig and it’s never going to pay the rent. There is a realism to my life I shouldn’t and won’t ignore, and the understanding that this daily write is contributing to something new and different I can’t yet quantify, and I certainly couldn’t ask for funding for. ‘Pay me to do what I’m already doing but with better tea and cake’ just won’t wash.

One day, I hope to actually have a purpose. Until I do? I feel there may be a compromise.

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Not actual pants.

At some point this year, without fuss or bother, there’s going to be a ‘Buy Me a Beer’ button on my Gaming Website. No, I’m not going to announce it, and no I’m not going to promote it, the button will just appear and then we’ll wait and see. That will be my guide. If people want to contribute, then they can. Then we’ll see where we are.

Mostly, I’d like to be a legitimate writer. However, that needs work.