Tag Archives: fantasy

Growing up, Yellow, Fatigue and the Stinger….

I grew up, well sort of. I figured that it was time to get what my mother calls a “real job” and from Monday that entails me wearing a shirt and tie, something which I’m really not looking forward to.

I’m not sure what has come over me this year. I think it’s a mix of getting older and realising that there’s only so long you can live off of unstable work and also the fact that I really need more money in my life.

So from Monday, I’m a suit. While that will make my writing lifestyle take more of a backseat, it certainly won’t end it. I’m hoping that if anything it makes it slightly easier. Rather than laboriously working for hours at a time, I’ll take an hour or two here and there and it might not feel quite as intense.

On another, completely unrelated note, today I’m wearing yellow and I hope you all are too.

#WearYellowForSeth

I really try and avoid social media trends and everything that goes with them, but the sickness of any child is a horrible thing  that this world dishes out. This isn’t your typical trend either, this isn’t to “raise awareness” or “raise money” or whatever else. This is simply to show support to a small child with no immune system, to put a smile on his face. So even if you have yellow socks, wear them today and join in the love on Twitter and Instagram.

If I can do it with messy hair and an uncombed beard then I’m sure you can all join in too.

If you’ve been following my other blog about my journey to a healthier life then you’ll know that I lost almost 5lbs in two weeks. I was extremely happy with myself. I don’t know how I’ll fair at next weeks weigh in because I’ve been ill for the past few days after catching a bug from my nephew. My exercise routine has been virtually non existent and my appetite pretty much disappeared aside from some chicken cooked in soy sauce and rapeseed oil and brown rice two days ago. If my result next week isn’t as good as it should be then at least I know it was down to illness and not laziness. I did try to get some exercise done but my body was so fatigued and I struggled to breath with my swollen glands and agonising sore throat.

Yesterday I had to go and get a new photo taken for my driving license. I hated it. I hate those photos, you have to just look at the camera, and not use any muscles in your face. It’s like that look that you give someone when they say something that only they find funny.

Finally, it’s WrestleMania weekend. My favourite weekend of the year, being the big geek that I am. Next year I shall be in attendance once again but this year I’m watching from the comfort of my own home. There’s nothing like WrestleMania, whether or not the card itself is good, there’s still such a hype about it that you can’t help but get excited.

Sting has his first ever WWE match this year, and for the 12 year old child in me, that is the most exciting thing ever. Needless to say I will be giddy as hell come Sunday. Whether or not I actually manage to watch the event live is another question. It starts at midnight here and ends at 4am and as I said earlier, I grew up and got a real job and that starts at 9am.

There are no strings……on me

The title of this blog is there for no other reason than that one line in the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer still has me excited. Although this entry into the blogsphere will no doubt have some Marvel information in it. As I write that, it sort of gives away my way of writing blogs. I come in to them with no clear idea of what I’m going to write. Some of them are outlined before I sit down while most of the are just whatever tangent my mind decides to take me on….

I purchased a new book last week, well there were a few books, but the one that I’ve started reading is called “The Girl With All The Gifts” by M.R Carey. I recommend it to anyone reading this and while it’s hard to actually say what it’s about without giving away spoilers, I will say that it has me hooked with the twist near the start.

I also reread “The Dark Knight Returns” comic by Frank Miller a few days ago. While most people know it as the best Batman comic that there is, I often fear that it hinges on becoming idolised too much. However every single time that I read it, I realise that it really is the best one and the only one (in my opinion) that comes close is ‘The Killing Joke’ One Shot by Alan Moore.

DC are trying hard to make an impact on the live action scene. ‘The Flash’ is fantastic, I’ve been watching it for the past few weeks and it’s so different from ‘Arrow’ but it still has the same gravitas. ‘Arrow’ has really hit the ground running in season 3. The end of episode one really set the course for this season and episode two was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. ‘Gotham’ needs some work in my opinion. I like it but it just doesn’t yet seem to be consistent from week to week with its quality. The portrayal of James Gordon is fine but it feels like it could have a bit more to it. The James Gordon that I’ve always been familiar with was a layered individual but this version just doesn’t seem to have anything other than what you see on the outside.

Of course there is also DC’s line up of movies to come. ‘Dawn of Justice’ is still a year and a half away from release, something which still baffles me. I really thought that DC would want to capitalise on the boom in comic book movies sooner rather than later. It looks to me like Dawn of Justice will be in preproduction for almost two years which I just don’t understand.

Marvel however are still knocking it out of the park with movies. Yesterday saw the press event and the announcement of ‘Phase Three’ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The line up is a fantastic one and is as follows;

2015:
May 1: The Avengers: Age of Ultron
July 17: Ant-Man

2016:
May 6: Captain America 3: Civil War
November 4: Doctor Strange

2017:
May 5: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
July 28: Thor: Ragnarok
November 3: Black Panther

2018:
May 4: The Avengers: Infinity War, Part One
July 6: Captain Marvel
November 2: Inhumans

2019:
May 3: The Avengers: Infinity War, Part Two

I’m not going to lie, I lost my shit when the ‘InHumans’ announcement came. I was sat in front of my computer, watching the live newsfeed on Marvels website and when that announcement came I jumped with a cheer.

Chadwick Boseman being announced as the Black Panther is also a very interesting choice. I look forward to seeing him in the role.

Something else that caught my eye this week was Ewan McGregor and his comments about Star Wars fans…

“The people I meet are the f**kers who want me to sign Star Wars photos so they can sell them on the Internet or the people at premieres who are crushing children against barriers to get me to sign their f**king picture of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“They’re not fans—they’re parasitical lowlifes and f**king w*nkers

I’m not entirely sure if I see his point or not, of course I’ve never been a celebrity so I can’t see things from their point of view. I do however agree that there are some fans, no matter what they’re a fan of, who take things too far and have no respect for anything or anyone.

One final thing, which I shall leave here for you to watch is the exclusive scene released last night for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, it is attached to the start of the trailer in this clip and it just feels so big and epic.

Back to Normal

It’s time to take this blog back to some normality. The referendum for Scottish Independence is now over and I realise that my last few posts were all about that. For Scotland and myself, the fight continues but for this blog, it’s time to move on.

This is the time of year that every television fan gets excited about, it’s the new TV season. Old shows return and new ones make their presence felt in an attempt to make an impact. For me, having a subscription to USTVnow is such a relief, it means that even though I start having really late nights, I also get to stream the shows as they air across the pond.

Every year I have my calendar set up, each show is anticipated greatly and I love sitting down with a cup of tea to watch them. This year there’s a notable absence of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ ‘The Tomorrow People’  and ‘Dexter’ which makes me sad. It feels like over the past few years I’ve lost so many great shows from my planner and so far not many new shows have lived up to them. While there are other shows which gradually over time I’ve just lost interest in i.e. ‘Two and a Half Men’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’

I will get around to start posting on the shows which I’m enjoying. As time goes on I’m sure opinions will change and shows will get dropped from the planner.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D deserves a quick mention here, mainly because something has perplexed and shocked me. (SPOILERS BELOW)

Why kill off Lucy Lawless in her first episode? Was this supposed to set the stage for the rest of season and make the audience realise that nobody is safe? Or was it simply a bit of stunt casting?

I have to say that I was so happy to see The Absorbing Man added to AoS. It’s about time that the show had a real villain, hopefully they make the most out of him and this years season is a great ride to be on.

Also a quick mention to ‘Gotham’, I surely can’t be the only person who felt that there was no need to rehash the Waynes death yet again? I will get around to writing up a full review but I need to watch it again because after seeing that alleyway scene played out for the 100th time, all I could think about was how fed up I was of seeing it.

Time and the Cynic

In 1898 H. G. Wells wrote his most famous novel “The Time Machine”. In the novel, for those of you who haven’t yet read it, a Victorian man invents a machine that allows him to travel into either the future or the past. As such, he travels 800,000 years into the future and while there he finds a society completely different from the one he has become accustomed to, a society inhabited by the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi, on first appearances,, appear to live an idyllic life, but the time traveller makes the discovery that there is in fact a horrendous price that they must pay.

Looking back to some of the greatest novels every written and you can see that writers such as Wells, Dick and Orwell commented on their own current society. They would question the trajectory of “current” trends of the times, question what reality actually was and they would subtly disclose their fears of the future.

Stephen Hawking himself at one point suggested that time travel must be impossible, for the sole reason that if it were possible then we would have had visitors from the future. Since we have therefore never seen a tourist from the future he concluded that time travel indeed must be impossible.

There are many arguments to this point of course, many different ways of trying to refute Hawking’s argument. Some people say that if tourists did come from the future then they simply may not interested in us. Others say that perhaps they know the ramifications of letting themselves be known to others as being from the future. My personal theory (and this is a huge hypothetical “if”) is that in this day and age, where scepticism and the need to cry insanity is but second nature, would we openly accept that someone is from the future? That’s a question that only you yourself can answer. For all I would love the idea of time travel to be a reality, the possibility of seeing days long gone,  I know that deep down if someone claimed to be from the future that I would in no way believe them, I would want to believe them and I would try my hardest to do so.

Where do we draw the line between reality and fiction? Why are we as a planet so cynical of everything that is placed in front of our eyes? In C.S Lewis “The Last Battle” there is a point where the dwarves don’t believe that what they are seeing are flowers and grass and birds, instead they think it’s all just faeces, even though it is directly in front of them. As a planet, we often find ourselves being just as cynical of what we’re seeing. Is is down to years and years of media manipulation? Or is it just a natural evolution? I can’t answer that, I don’t think anyone can answer that.

“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.” – Oscar Wilde

Cynicism masquerades itself as wisdom, but in reality that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Cynics don’t learn anything and that’s simply because cynicism itself is a self-imposed blindness. It is a rejection of this world and it’s because we are afraid that it will in some way hurt us or let us down. Cynics always and without fail say no. This is because they don’t realise that saying “yes” causes things to begin. Saying “yes” is how to make things grow or that saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people and old people, it’s for everyone.

I think that part of my unrelenting quest to never let myself grow up comes down to a fear of cynicism. I just don’t think that I’m quite ready enough to let the youthfulness inside of me die. Not if maturity means becoming a cynic, not if you have to destroy the part of yourself that is naive and idealistic. That should be the part of you that you treasure most of all. Surely living life with the hope of idealisms is a good thing? Is it not better to die young but with your humanity intact?

So as I mentioned earlier. If someone met you randomly and told you that they were from the future, would you believe them?

One Less Gruff Billy Goat

The idea of fairy tales is one full of intrigue and mystique, almost all of us will have read a fairy tale at some point in our lives and without question every one of us knows of a fairy tale character. With the smallest amount of legerdemain the entire premise of a story can change, heroes can be either unlikely children or charming princes, villains can be witches or trolls. The possibilities within fairy tales are endless and the message is always one of hope.

The very first fairy tale that I can remember from my childhood was ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’. The premise is that three goats, discovering that where they live no longer has any grass for them to eat, set out to find new pastures so that they can become fat. However, their journey must take them across the river, where dwells a troll under a bridge. The first goat passes over the bridge but gets stopped by the troll who threatens to “gobble him up” (gobble him up is one of those lines that makes me laugh for no apparent reason) however the goat persuades the troll to wait for the second goat because he’s bigger and more of a meal so the troll lets him pass. The second goat comes along and the same thing happens as before and so then the third goat enters. I’ll stop it there, because I think that most people know how ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ ends, if you don’t then go and Google it.

Of course all fairy tales end with the standard “happily ever after” although recently I read “Arabian Nights” which is a collection of Asian fairy tales and they end with “they all lived happily until there came to them the One Who Destroys All Happiness” which I found odd yet poetic. ‘The One Who Destroys All Happiness’ meaning Death, the Grim Reaper as he’s also known. I was slightly taken aback at first, here were some fairy tales full of hope and suddenly they were cementing the fact that nobody lives “happily ever after” because death catches up to everyone.

The very first fairy tales are attributed to Aesop who lived in Ancient Greece around 620–564 BCE (slightly before our time I imagine). The power of fairy tales is so strong and so resilient that over two thousand years later some of Aesop’s’ tales are still being told to this day. I’m sure you will have heard of at least one of them, the main one that I can think of right now is ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. That story became so popular that two hundred years after it was written it became one of Zeno’s paradoxes (Google them, extremely interesting and thought provoking, the Arrow paradox is my personal favourite)

The Brothers Grimm famously wrote some of the most celebrated fairy tales in our history. Two German brothers, who were academics and even lexicographers, crafted some of the worlds greatest imaginary and magical characters. Although The Brothers Grimm did centralise their fairy tales on more darker hues they still resonated through the years with so many different people, even psychologist who felt the need to analyse them.

The fairy tale is an escape from reality, like most forms of entertainment. I do believe however that fairy tales give more power to the reader and open the imagination slightly more than any other form of literature and I’m saying that as an avid science-fiction fanatic. Whether it’s something written by Alexander Afanasyev or Hans Christian Andersen, fairy tales have the power to take you to a place where good almost always wins. The fairy tale is a door to the unknown world of endless possibilities where life feels good, Walt Disney realised that and that’s why he cashed in on so many popular fairy tales.

Nowadays people don’t write fairy tales, it’s somewhat a thing of the past which saddens me. My Dad used to make up fairy tales for me each night and they always made me so happy. They were tales of a young boy called Billy who lived in a house with a green roof. Billy went swimming with sharks and had magic powers, he loved ice cream and was my hero. My Dad doesn’t remember how any of those stories went and I was too young to retain the proper memories of them which is a crying shame because I would love to remember them in full.

The power of fairy tales will live on because they should live on. Albert Einstein once famously said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Can anyone really disprove that? Fairy tales are more than just true and not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. Every fairy tale has meaning and every single one is based on the same idea, the idea that peace and happiness can exist no matter what stands in your way.

“In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.”Charles Dickens

The pondering coffee cup…

As I dropped the ground coffee beans from the silver spoon into the bottom of my “With all due respect, fuck off” mug this morning I stared out in to the ocean of passing children making their way to school. I saw a plethora of things walking past but the main thing I noticed were the smiles.

Was I ever that happy to go to school? Especially on a Monday morning?

It then occurred to me that those were just childrens natural smiles. A child hasn’t yet been corrupted by the wickedness and ungodly nature of the world. While they may be unhappy to go to school, they’re not unhappy with life.

That coffee was to try and awaken me from both a mental and physical slumber. For it was one of those mornings where I just couldn’t shake off  the fatigue, even after a lengthy sleep. I then discovered that I was not alone in this, so I refer you to my post from a few weeks ago where I described a Science Fiction plot which lulled the country into a fatigued state before aliens invaded. It is the imagination of one who is currently writing a novel that devised this theory. In my normal “reality” I simply put it down to either the moon cycle or the late night for the Superbowl.

I often wonder what my normal reality is. Is it the world that I’m currently living in, with my flat and my newly shaven head or is it the world that I create with magical trees and passages created by temporal physics? The truth is, I know that it’s the shaven head reality but that doesn’t prevent me from wishing that occasionally I could cross through the void and into the fictional reality that started in my head. If, like so many others, you subscribe to the “many worlds theory” then you may agree that my fictional reality does in fact exist in another dimension.

Of course I realise that everything I have just written makes me seem a little bit  unhinged. I however would argue that point, owing to the fact that I am perfectly aware of what exists and what doesn’t exist.

I know that at this moment and for most of this year, there exists a battle of wits for Scottish independence. In this battle, for many months, I refused to take a side. However as I posted previously I have now woken up and smelled the coffee in my “With all due respect, fuck off” mug. I will be voting ‘Yes’ and I will be doing so for a number of reasons.

If we become independent then we would officially be one of the world’s richest countries – ranked 6th in the OECD compared to the UK’s 16th place. There are  twenty four billion barrels of oil remaining in the North Sea, according to industry body Oil and Gas UK. That’s roughly around £1.5trillion in today’s prices – half as much in value as has been taken out.

The truth is that an independent Scotland would prosper. We would become a self sufficient nation. The above reason is but one of many reasons why we should be independent.

For me, this has nothing to do with the Scotland/England divide. Anyone who looks at this as a battle of the nations, should have their right to vote revoked. This is about the future of our country and not about past relationships.

As I stood there this morning staring at the waves of children making their way to school, I wondered what they’re being taught about the referendum. I realise that they are too young to vote but this concerns their future just as much, if not more, than ourselves.

On 6 May 1999 there was an election to decide on a Scottish Parliament. When I was at school, we were taught nothing about that. It was mentioned very briefly but we were never really taught about what it meant. I just hope that with something as huge as the referendum, the schools are educating their pupils accordingly.

On another, semi related note. While I was doing my research, I discovered that there are approximately 1036800 cans of Irn-Bru sold per day. I find that extremely impressive. Irn-Bru is a wonderful drink and even though I have refrained from drinking any carbonated juices for the last 7 weeks, it still holds a place in my heart.

Before I take my leave for today, I urge any of you who haven’t yet watched it to sit down and watch The Musketeers on BBC One. It is so refreshing to see a portrayal of The Three Musketeers which isn’t overly camp and high on comedy. The original novel by Dumas was never written that way and so I’ve never understood why that’s how it was portrayed in film. However BBC have nailed it in my opinion. While it may not be Doctor Who, it is most definitely worth a watch.

How memories work…

Memories are peculiar things. Similar to paintings, they become cracked and distorted over time. The older the memory becomes the less clear it appears.

The thought occurred to me when I was recently speaking to an old school friend about something that happened when we were around the age of 13. As we progressed further into the conversation we both realised that our recollections of that particular event were slightly different. While both of us were certain that our own memory was the most factual series of events, we decided to ask someone else who was with us at the time. Strangely, when we got the third person to recount their memories they also had a different perception. This struck me as odd. All three of us had a very lucid memory of the exact same event and yet each memory was divergent.

Have you ever watched an old family video and thought “I don’t remember that”
I have, and I always seem to think it every time I watch one. Slowly but surely I have probably unknowingly rewritten the events from those videos in my mind and that’s why they always seem different when I view the recorded version.

I wonder how many of our most important memories have become distorted over time. The memories that we cling on to and the ones that make us smile.

I quite clearly remember the moment that my daughter was born or at least I think I do. Upon trying to envision the entire thing, I can’t. I can tell you that I was in the room, her mother was in the room (obviously, that would be some strange birth if she wasn’t) and that there were some other people. I can’t tell you who the other people were, I can’t tell you how many of them there were. I can’t remember anything that really happened in that room besides 3 small specific moments, which I now wonder if they happened exactly the way I remember them.

There are two quotations about memories which I think sums it up pretty well. The first is;

“Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart.”

A quote by a man named Thomas Fuller.
I truly believe that is an accurate description. Memories are just leftovers, they’re never the full picture. If I had a 12 inch pizza in front of me and it was untouched then no matter what way I looked at it, it would always be the same pizza, the same shape. If I cut that pizza up and eat 3/4 of it, what’s left of it can move around the plate, it can be moved into different positions and and even different shapes. The original shape in its entirety is now gone and I’m left with what’s left behind. I still know that it’s the pizza that was there at the beginning but it doesn’t resemble what was there to start with.

The other quotation is;

“Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false namings of real events.”

I feel that this one is fairly self explanatory. As a result of most of memory being distorted our mind automatically tries to fill in the blank spaces and ultimately we believe it to be true. If there is one thing that the human mind is programmed to believe then it is itself.

I am no expert on the human mind, as a matter of fact I know nothing about what sits inside the human skull or any other skull for that matter. A small part of me wishes that I did because the human mind fascinates me. The way we perceive things and the way we use logic is truly remarkable.

I’m sure that there are a lot of studies on memories and how they work and why they change. I should probably have researched them and made this blog more educational but the truth is I don’t want to know. I’ve studied many things over the years, I’ve been educated in a variety of wonders and I enjoy it, I enjoy learning new things. When it comes to my mind, as much as it fascinates me,I prefer the wonder and mystique of why it does what it does.

The human mind created Doctor Who, Comics and beer…..I don’t need to know how it works as long as it keeps doing what it’s doing.