Beautiful Dreamer

I haven’t yet had my first cuppa of the day, because I donated the last of the milk in the house to my daughter’s morning tea. If there may be a brief pause in which to amend this, that would be smashing.

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I have a few things to cover today, so let’s go.


The current fly in the gaming ointment this morning is that nylon isn’t as cool as canvas. TB yet again is spot on: yes, it’s a lie in the advert unless small print exists somewhere stating ‘items are for representation only, we reserve the right to substitute comparable products without warning.’  No, I don’t care enough about this to do the research, and remain staggered that anybody wants to pay nearly $200 for a video game.

These CE’s are a massive con, and always will be. They rely on companies getting brilliant deals on securing cheap, mass-produced merchandise, shoving on a huge markup and then presenting them as the latest Holy Grail for ‘customers’ to collect. They rely on us as consumers to be seduced by the idea of becoming a ‘true fan’ and therefore needing to own everything related to the game we so love.

It is a foolish woman who would tell anyone how to spend their cash, so I started with my own. Having spent a calendar year looking at how much was spent on such items, it became apparent that if buying ceased, enough could be saved to buy a new car. In the general scheme of things, prioritising purchases in the current climate is a sound financial choice.

Let people enjoy what they like. Standard caveats apply.


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There now follows a short message on how some people creep me right out.

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I don’t come with filters. As someone with ASD, what often happens is that subtlety and subtext from my responses is lacking. The flip-side to this is when people reply to me in a manner that they clearly think is acceptable, but ultimately ends up as crass or demeaning. I can see right through you people. The honest ones, those who are just here to talk and debate and be understanding/supportive are articulate and adult enough not to let their desires and motivations shine through.

The rest of you need to stop being so… well, obvious.

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Once upon a time I’d be told that it was my imagination, that the middle-aged guys replying to every woman’s lament in their timeline really did just care and wasn’t assuaging their own ego. Now, times have changed. At the weekend I watched someone who not only creeped on me but exploited me in the past get called out for the utter douche-bag that he is. If you do it to enough people, eventually, you will get found out.

If you’re genuinely interested in the people that are followed, start actual conversations. Try not to sound like everything you say is to make you feel better about yourself. Understand that sometimes, if you want to actually be appreciated and noticed, the best way isn’t to make it about you. Learn how to be critical without having to resort to demeaning or irresponsible language. Most importantly of all, if you’re making me feel like you’re creeping every woman you follow, then you probably are.

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Most importantly of all, help yourself. If social media is the place you come to as an escape, or the means to make you feel better about reality, that’s not right. Remember that everybody you follow can watch conversations that go on not just between you and them, but with everybody else too. You might get a bit of a shock when you stand back and see exactly what’s being said across a wider view.

If you’re creeping me out, you have a problem.


Two days until it’s December.

I’d better get on.

Strange Days

About once a week I think, perhaps a bit less, someone who I know is fairly prolific on Social media will vanish. If they’re a sensible type, there’ll often be a précis to this along the lines of ‘I need to take a break.’ It is becoming the norm, rather than an exception, and denotes that an individual has, quite sensibly, grasped how much of a controlling influence this medium can become. There’s a reason you take rest days in exercise, can’t eat the same junk food for months on end without at least injecting some healthy food groups. Everything in excess is dangerous.

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However, this may not help solve that persistent unhappiness that’s experienced via Global group interaction. Social media is neither soft drug nor cranial stimulant. It is the equivalent of talking to someone for an hour whilst simultaneously doing something you either love, hate or really aren’t that fussed about. If you’re in a bad place, there’s a 50/50 chance it won’t improve your mood, and then you have another important decision to make. Should you rely constantly on virtual encouragement when, if the power went out, you really would be on your own?

Why do I see people constantly using it as a crutch when in reality a ball and chain is the more realistic metaphor?

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There’s the key: appearance. What you see as one thing is completely different to someone else. That’s why we no longer just have glasses of water in the future, you’re either full or empty and let that be a lesson to you, young lady. Do NOT stand in public places and decry anybody else’s opinions as shonky, lest ye be judged as shonky yourself, for the future is being listened to only if your follower count is over 9000 and you’re a registered Opinion Haver. We are approaching the last days of independent thought: algorithms are already blocking your Tweets as noise to the people you really care about. They’re already leaving Social medias because grown men can get them the sack just by having a Reddit group.

Seriously, this is the future of the Internet?

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We dodged the bullet in Europe in the last week over copyright, but they’re already reloading the gun. People in the US are already seeing their net being throttled and metered: it is just the beginning. We will look back on these glory day in a decade’s time (assuming we’re all still here of course) and wish we’d stopped wanking amongst ourselves far sooner. This will be a place where you need to pay for an opinion, and then negotiate the various paywalls in order to have any chance of being heard. If you want emotional support from friends, you can bet it will come with a fee and conditions.

The Data Apocalypse is coming: don’t say you were not suitably forewarned.

Find Time

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Occasionally, the Universe likes to remind you of the obvious
. If you’re not paying attention, these revelations can be ignored for decades… but occasionally, the stars align, and you are able to understand the fundamental truths of existence. This morning was one of those moments for me, but because the story that prompted it is not mine to tell but somebody else’s, I won’t go into details. I can, however, summarise the basic gist.

There will be points in other people’s lives where how you react matters far more to someone else than it does to you. It might be as simple as encouragement where none appears to be needed, or understanding of an issue that is trivial to you but means the World to the person you are communicating with. In those moments, don’t listen to yourself as the arbiter of truth. Just because something works for you, does not mean it is applicable to everybody else.

Sometimes, this is not about keeping you happy.

There’s been a lot of stress about Dentistry this week, wrapped around an experience had as a child after an adverse reaction to gas and air after tooth extractions. An eleventh-hour about-face over the wisdom of pulling certain teeth from my daughter’s mouth resulted in a long conversation yesterday with our dentist, the result of which is a complete rethink of what was planned. In the end, when I accepted without argument the wisdom of what I was being told by an expert, her surprise was both vociferous and gratefully received. There’s a sense that not many people accept what my dentist says as truth. I wonder if she was male if that would be different.

In the end, gender or authority shouldn’t sway people as to how they react to particular situations, but they inevitably do. What ought to matter more is empathy and experience. Looking past what we see someone as being, to what they really are, is tough. As I’m easily swayed by certain combinations of visual stimulus, so are others. This is not what should dictate our experiences. It’s the same mentality that told me to ‘toughen up’ as a child, that still gets thrown at me now for not being hard enough sometimes. I realised this morning that sometimes, that’s the last thing I ought to be doing.

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The only way to truly learn about yourself is to accept that sometimes, you are wrong. Today, I was and after taking the time to listen, I hope that maybe it will make a real difference to two lives going forward. This acceptance can often make it difficult to understand when you’re right, but yesterday’s events prove to me that my gut is becoming increasingly adept at understanding truth and acting upon it.

Nobody said living your life would be easy or fair, you know.

Don’t Call Me Baby

We did Friendship on Wednesday. Today is Honesty. Some of you guys don’t like this as a concept on the Internet, that much is abundantly obvious. You’d rather maintain that air of mystery that helps make you look and feel like some kind of better, more worthwhile person. I’ll be over here, calling bullshit, and sticking you on mute. For everybody else, there’s a rule-set established in lots of other places apart from here. The basics bear repeating.

Put the fake disbelief away before you begin.

You’re a Brand, Charlie Brown.

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Please, enough with the indignation already. EVERYBODY on Social media who are using the platform to promote themselves COUNTS AS A BRAND. By far the fastest way to make yourself look like a total tool is to start a fight over ‘brand loyalty,’ and yet I watch people do it almost daily. Bait is surprisingly easy to spot once you’ve been here long enough… and the ‘well it’s my feed, I can post what I want’ excuse only works to a point. Learning your lessons on Social media means understanding when you stop selling, or start listening.

Most importantly, if you start a conversation with only one thing in mind and then get upset that your intent isn’t grasped? You weren’t clear enough, it’s your problem to solve. If someone else decides to hijack you and it all goes horribly Pete Tong? Mute + block if it gets messy, and just mark it down to experience. Or, you might get lucky and your nemesis vanishes because they finally got a life away from the Internet. Anything is possible.

Talking of bait…

Asking for Trouble has Consequences.

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I see you, dangling your controversial shit in my timeline. Yes, I’m pretty certain this is 100% brutal honesty here, but this is the moment to remind the room we don’t think alike, you and I. In fact, no two people do cognitive awareness in quite the same fashion. You may see that guy as a political extremist, I consider this the efforts of an attention-seeking twenty-summat desperate to be liked. Until they actually post summat I consider flagrant or fucking stupid, they can stay. The key here is to have people on your feed you don’t agree with. It makes stuff interesting.

There’s a point of course where honesty is fine until you decide to challenge it. Twice now in recent memory, someone’s made a comment about what I’ve posted and my response alone has been enough to trigger an unfollow. No, I will not do what you tell me to do. No, I’m not going to play along with games. I’m not a big fan of people making it about them when all I did was post what I felt, and yet it will keep happening because of those people’s perceptions of their feed. Every single thing I post is there for a reason. If I’m self-deprecating, there’s a reason too.

The ‘All About Me’ Party is No Fun.

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Twitter is not where you should do therapy, I have decided. This in itself is a fairly controversial opinion, for a generation who feel the desire to share everything both pictorially and aurally. I do realise that for some people Social media has become their escape and often the alternate reality required to survive the real world they are uncomfortable and nervous within. The fact remains, however, that to remain a functional member of society, solving all your problems via anonymity will only work to a point.

I have accounts that are periodically muted for this reason, but I don’t unfollow, and here is why. I have my own, complex issues, which on some days I struggle to deal with. When there’s enough strength to feel I could be helpful to others like me, I listen to everyone. When the days are darker or there’s a struggle, these people are quietly moved away from. It doesn’t mean I care any less, I’m just a shit listener and don’t feel I have anything helpful or useful to add. History has shown I’ve done the most damage previously when I don’t curate noise out.

I think some of you shouldn’t say half the stuff you do in public.


My honesty continues to get me into trouble. I doubt that will ever change: that’s best for everybody, even when the whole thing falls down on me with a thump. Now you know this is a brand, and this content is all part of a process of awareness not simply for peace of mind, we can all just carry on.

This Woman’s Work

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Last weekend, I watched the last episode of the current season of Dr Who. I didn’t mean to, it just happened, and even though the whole season’s only been absorbed via synopsis, I stayed to the end and was rather glad that happened. The last 45 seconds was so far out of left field as to be a genuine surprise: I won’t spoil it as this is still relatively recent, but fans have a very interesting situation at play, knowing at the end of the Christmas Special we’ll see another regeneration. However, I’m sticking to the assertion that unless the show’s creators break the mould so firmly it is indistinguishable from what has come before, my time with the franchise remains pretty much done.

Then on Wednesday, I read this in the Guardian:

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Okay then, so is this really a possibility? Phoebe has been in a number of critically acclaimed drama series but is hardly a household name. That gives her solid credentials off the bat (in fact I am reminded of David Tennant coming from Casanova to the TARDIS) and now I’ve done some research, yes she’d be absolutely perfect. Reminded that Mr Capaldi used the f-word as Malcolm Tucker more than a few times, Ms Waller-Bridge using the c-word in Fleabag seems almost acceptable as part of the entrance exam. The problem, of course, is that BBC3 hit comedy is going to be filming a second season in November this year which might put her off the radar in terms of availability… but hang on, why am I even considering that this woman could be the Doctor?

At some point, one of these so very British, male-dominated bastions has to be stormed.

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If you’ve paid any modicum of attention to my writing journey, you’ll know I’ve had a go at redefining the 00 Section in my own way. That sea change is probably even further off long term than Who is, lets be honest, but the fact that actors of colour and race are considered and summarily dismissed shows that hey, at least in that regard I’m not alone in wanting change. The problem, undoubtedly, is the notion of canon and traditionalism: Who and Bond remain very much a product of the ages they were created in. That age, for many people, is not to be disturbed or altered in any way, shape or form. For 007, the notion of insouciant masculinity as attractive clearly still rings true, but sadly the form that now takes is becoming less and less palatable. Only when that is deemed unacceptable by mainstream media, then perhaps the wind will change. Don’t hold you hopes out, though.

With a rapidly ageing population, many of whom are resistant to change (and if the Brexit vote is any indicator very much against anyone trying to make them European) the suggestion that you could have a Bond who didn’t sleep with anyone unless it was absolutely necessary and maybe cared more about teamwork than working alone is going to be met with very short shrift. In fact, when I hear many men talking about a female Bond it is in the context of simply changing this misogynist man into a sociopathic woman. That’s not actually an improvement, fellas, it simply gives you a whole new wank fantasy.  Real, developmental change involves you thinking outside of the bedroom, or outside the TARDIS, depending on your point of view.

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Dr Who used to be a fairly asexual affair until the Moffat bloke got involved. Now sexuality is an issue, that makes the woman/man lead role shift even more awkward for the Who people. Except, watching the last episode of Capaldi’s Doctor, and the two Masters effectively flirting with themselves? There was so much potential subtext to be read into that episode: countless references to how women and men do things differently, that sexuality is largely irrelevant in just about anything once you gain the ability to look past the people involved. Honestly, of the two bastions of Britishness, Who seems the one more likely to crack first.

Now I have to hope it will come sooner than later.

The Edge of Heaven

Christmas has come and gone, and I’ve already broken in the new Fitbit Blaze at the gym this morning. It was less of a stress than I thought, probably because on Christmas Day I dragged the family out to walk. That meant I did do 2k yesterday, but not *technically* as a run so I will count that as rest and made sure I did extra this morning. I’m cautiously optimistic that I can keep up the exercise throughout January, at this level, and think about making some headway into serious weight loss. I also have a new Sony digital camera, and fully intend to go take pictures of stuff, perhaps every day if I can manage it. I’m cautious about committing myself to anything at this stage, and if I can do it without it becoming a big deal? So much the better. 

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Today, I started the way I mean to go on. I’ve unsubscribed from over two hundred email lists. This includes online shopping, lifestyle newsletters, crappy shit I never remember signing up for but someone sold my information on, and Loot Crate. That company has lost my subscription this year purely and simply on the strength of the most aggressive and depressing sales campaign I’ve ever seen. There’s only so much useless crap someone’s prepared to pay for, and one box enough was enough, but they’d keep trying to sell me more, and more by e-mail and eventually, I had enough. Unsubbing is the best thing I’ve done for a long time, not just to save cash. It kick-started my desire to remove from my mailbox anything that is useless and pointless. So, I suppose I should thank them for making me so fucked off I went and sorted everything out.

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Now I’m trawling through months of useless mail deleting message after message with an almost evangelical zeal. I’m even filing stuff in folders. It will be fantastic to not have to wade through dozens of messages I have no interest in. Once that’s done I have my last calorie packed meal of the season and after that we can go straight to healthy shizzle right the way until 2017 and beyond. Another one of my unofficial 2017 goals is to try and learn to cook without the whole process freaking the fuck out of me, and being able to cook my own healthy meals is pretty much a requirement going forward.

Let’s see how much of this I can manage going forward.

She Used to be Mine

Today in the UK is Mother’s Day. I know this because Facebook reminded me, and now I want to punch things. This I object to, so much it is frustrating: a specific day a year being dedicated to Mothers, that greeting card companies and marketers pick this point to sell 24 hours where you’re *supposed* to remember that Mums need love too. Except this process should happen every single damn day, not just once a year. I don’t need a fucking badge of honour, and I sure as fuck won’t expect my kids to roll out the red carpet for me 1 out of 366 occasions just because Advertisers want to make some cash. Because maybe, just maybe, just making it okay for people to not necessarily worry about consideration every single day *except* one is an area where society’s been going wrong all this time.

Maybe this compartmentalisation needs to stop, for no other reason than getting people away from conforming to gender roles that seem to cause so much trouble of late. Black History gets a month, even Sharks get a WHOLE WEEK so maybe we could stop just assigning one day to a task that isn’t just full time, it’s often not undertaken by a mother. Make it the remit of advertising people to actually think about selling their wares without compartmentalising gifts to fit certain situations: sell me power tools without irony on Mother’s Day for starters and I’ll know that society’s actually getting the memo about real equality. Mostly don’t make my kids feel guilty that they didn’t buy into it and feel sorry that I’m sitting here eating yesterday’s croissant and a cuppa while they’re out enjoying themselves. If we still need to assign days where people are forced to consider their personal relationships in terms of flowers and cards? [*]

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This isn’t because I’m clearly frustrated that I don’t have that kind of relationship with my mum. I’m not doing this to upset people who no longer have mothers and remember them today. I’m doing this because the concept is outdated, pointless and actually completely shit. You spend YOUR ENTIRE LIFE being decent to people and celebrating what they are, when it matters. June 12th can be your Mum’s day if she does something amazing on it. November 6th is when you buy her flowers because she saved your arse. You don’t save it up and throw it all into a ‘birthday type celebration’ and then get the rest of the year to sit back and ignore the issues. In the end, I have more respect for those who understand the relentless, full-time nature of any caring role and reward it continually. That says more than any amount of expensive giftage or public demonstrations of affection. It’s why I only celebrate birthdays as significant and try and do my utmost to not only remember them, but provide respectful reminders of their passing. These things do only happen once a year. Mothers deserve your respect for life, as do fathers and indeed ANYONE who cares for you long term in an unconditional fashion. There’s another key distinction with the birthday ‘moment’ too: mostly, your friends don’t need to be there 24/7 to clean up your vomit or hold your hand when you’re scared. Parents and carers wander into unconditional love territory and that’s where the rules change.

Of course sometimes it goes that way with friends, but that’s a post for another day.

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If your mum appreciates the day, you’ll know this, and act accordingly. If, like me, she doesn’t give a toss, you’ll understand that too. Ultimately, respect is the key.

I just wish there was more of that and less shameless commercialism… well, everywhere.

[*] Don’t start me on Valentine’s Day. It will not end well.