Monday, 31 March 2014

Screw Education, I Play Sports

Please note I do not in fact play sports. People who do play sports include college athletes on sports scholarships. The kind that get an A- to bump up their average to ensure that they graduate. You know the ones I mean; They can barely read or write, yet somehow graduate. People would joke, albeit also pretty seriously, that they would get high grades because of their footballing skills. I've been informed that what the internet tells me college girls do for their A+s isn't actually true. It turns out though that the football thing IS.

A football player from the University of North Carolina submitted a single 146 word paragraph on Rosa Parks. That brave black woman who refused to give up her seat for whitey. If it wasn't bad enough that they only wrote one paragraph, it was also full of typos and terribly written anyway. They still got an A- for it though. The funny thing is that it's not some kind of crooked teacher either. It's not like they're passing a legit course for something like that.

It turns out that instead of just giving football players A's, they put them on bogus courses. The courses involve them writing a paper at the end of it for a good grade. It can, indeed, do wonders for their averages. In a way it's almost not a shoddy practice and more of a technical loophole.

The biggest surprise for me in all this though is that people were surprised. This seems like one of those things that everyone acknowledges but there's no completely concrete proof. The best way to hide is in plain sight. Famous Paedophile Jimmy Saville accepted the jokes about being a paedophile and even made them himself.

Not that I'm comparing the situations, I'm just saying I hope something changes. Then again it seems like changes don't really happen. I don't really know why I'm angrier about this than I should be. I think I just hate a really corrupt education system.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Well That Was A Disappointment

I got weighed yesterday and, as the title suggests, the result was a little disappointing. It was still a loss (after I took off my shoes) but it wasn't much of one. A measly three pounds in a month. I've been eating pretty much the same amount of calories, but I switched things up a bit. Mostly I got lazy and took the easy route. That meant I ended up cutting out some vegetables I would have normally had. I also ended up doing less exercise.

I was pretty sloppy in the first half of the month. Even though I tried to pick up the slack in the last two weeks, not enough slack was picked up. I was also weighed a week early. If I had been weighed next week I might have been able to knock off a couple more pounds but that would still have sucked. I was hoping to lose at least nine.

Still, gotta pick myself up and keep on going. I can tell myself what I did wrong and I can change it up next time around. I need to see what went wrong as a reason that it happened, and not feel like it was just an excuse. That's the biggest problem I have with things like this. I'll see the reasons they went the way they did as excuses, and just feel bad about them. But I have more fruit, I'm going to eat more vegetables, and dammit I'm going to call up the physio and see what we can do about my body.

I kinda screwed up this past month but I won't let it happen this time around. The nutritionist also had a few ideas of her own, and thought that maybe I was actually eating a little too little. Or maybe my body is just slowing down a little and I have to accept these small amounts of loss. Nuts to that though. I still weigh about twice as much as I should so there's no way, to me, that I've reached a point where my weight loss is going to come to such a grinding halt. I know when I get closer to my target weight I'll have to exercise more to come close to a good loss, and I'll accept that when the time comes.

For now, it's back to eating better and exercising more.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Manning The Hell Up

This post is inspired pretty much entirely by the Beer For The Shower Boys. After their comment on Monday's post I sent them an email thanking them for helping me out. They managed to dig up some stuff on Aaron and even offered some things that I'm not sure I can legally discuss. Most of all though they helped me see things how I really should have been seeing them and they made me feel better about the situation I find myself in.

One of the main reasons that I wanted to get published traditionally over being self published is that I feel that I don't have the resources. Being self published comes at the cost of having to do things like your own promotion, and everything like that. I have a bit of a fear of putting myself out there, and of course my crippling insecurities. I mean, Tulips did better than I expected, but it still could have been a lot better. There's a lot I could have done for that book but didn't. Instead of looking at it as a lesson, as I would encourage anyone else to do, I remained too bogged down by the negatives. Though, hey, it DID do so well that I got taxed by the American government. My dad pointed out how fun that was because thanks to Amazon I paid American tax, but, Amazon themselves are notorious for avoiding British taxes. I think they owe billions. I know Vodafone owe about six billion. I even got me a tax return. Unfortunately it amounted to 0.00 dollars.

Even though I didn't make much money, one of the main reasons was because I set the price at 99 cents. I only got a 30% royalty. Publishing a book really helped me see why books can be so expensive these days. I still don't understand why video games are but that's neither here nor there. The important thing is that I DO have resources, and I'll have help should I need it. Without being asked, Bryan and Brandon found out about this guy, and helped me out. My own blog might not have many followers but I know blogs that do, run by people who would be more than happy to help me. I'm part of a podcast that let's me plug stuff. Heck every time I mention my book the host does a sell job for me on the thing.

I have friends, I have support, I have what I need to make something of myself. I've never really been in this kind of situation before. I've never had a support network, and I've never used one. Hopefully it'll all still be there when I need it. I said on Monday's post that sometimes people don't even realise what they've done to you. Now I'm beginning to see that, sometimes, you don't see what you've done to others either, and what you really have. I just really hope this feeling lasts.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Working Out The Problem

I've finally realised just why I became so apprehensive about writing again. I write my blog of course (though that's more touch and go than ever really) but I don't write in Immortal Space as much as I'd like. That kinda bums me out and depresses me too. I'm supposed to be a writer/starving artist. I'm supposed to be the kinda guy who has a part time job to support his writing habits. But I'm not. Partly because I don't have a part time job and also because of my mental state. That probably plays a bigger part. I'd be pretty cool with a part time job. I think. Depends on the hours.

Well anyway, I'm sure you're all tired of hearing about my publishing woes by now, but that's the cause. To answer any questions you might have had the guy is called Aaron Yelenick and the company is called Proxy Publishing. I took your advice and tried to find out more about him but because "Proxy Publishing" is an actual industry term, I couldn't find out anything. The last I heard from him, I think I mentioned it on here. He told me that he needed some keywords for my story and I gave him some.

EDIT: I've since talked to him and we've smoothed things out and cleared things up.

I had plans. I was feeling on top of the world and writing a lot. I blazed through my Immortal Space rewrites and I made writing a habit again. I was going to have him publish The Beast, and then publish Immortal Space too. I was going to get off of unemployment and focus entirely on my writing. I was going to have the life I've wanted. Then reality kicked me square in my boyparts. The guy never published me, and I became depressed. I accepted that he wouldn't publish Immortal Space too. This made it incredibly difficult to look at it. It made it difficult to even write. Just writing made me think about that and depressed me. Writing is something you need to be in the mood for. It's something you don't realise the extremeness of until you try it.

I made backup plans; I decided to keep writing Immortal Space. I decided to send it off to other publishers. To approach them and take a risk. But the depression was there, as I said. I became unable to look at Immortal Space and going through it made me sad. I should probably try and write some more short stories or something but I really want to get through Immortal Space. I'd like to finish it and move on from this.

I'm getting tired of things not going the way I want them to go. I know in the end though they'll go where I need them to go, wherever the fuck that is. Maybe I do finish I.S and submit it to a publisher. Maybe they love it and sell it, and I get a little fame. Maybe I write short stories instead. Release another collection. Maybe I do something and just make something of myself.

I'm just damn tired of feeling like a failure. I'd like to look my dad in the eyes and say "I did something." Some people never quite realise what they've done to you.

Friday, 21 March 2014

The Day After The Day Of Happiness

I would have loved to have written this yesterday, on the actual International Day of Happiness, but unfortunately that was not to be. I only found out about said day the day of said day, and by then it was too late. I have very, very mixed feelings about such a day. It's okay though because it's over now. You can go back to being miserable and no one will care.

See that's part of it. I'm glad that people have taken a day out for happiness. You might argue that people should think about what makes them happy all the time, but you'd be wrong. They should, but they never will. It's why I love "X Day" holidays. If people only do it for one day, then at least they're doing it.

What I'm not so happy about though is the idea of just telling everyone to be happy. I have struggled with a depression for quite a large chunk of my life. I'm still suffering with it in many ways. I want to be happier and for the most part I am. Then I have times where I'm a very miserable person. The last thing I want to hear when I'm depressed is someone telling me to be happy. I HATE this idea that being depressed is a choice. Even people who are really, really, depressed find something they like and that makes them a little bit happy. It might not be what conventionally makes you happy, but it makes 'em happy. As happy as a depressed person can be anyway.

There wasn't much more of an insult than someone telling me to be happy. It's one of the things I clashed with my boss about. He wanted me to be happy and smile and such, but I just couldn't. I reached the point I couldn't even fake a smile. Be happy all you want. We should all be happier. The world would be a better place if people weren't depressed and if more people were happy. By God spread your cheer.

Just...don't be a dick about it. Rather than tell someone to cheer up or be happy, give them something to be happy about.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Zoos

After reading a recent post by Optimistic Existentialist at Musings of An Unapologetic Dreamer about zoos, I thought I would share my own thoughts. I need material folks. Zoos are, especially now more than ever, quite the hot controversial topic. There are people who feel that they just imprison animals that should be free, and there are people who view them as entertainment. I personally find that they fill out some very valuable roles.

To be honest I don't think I've ever visited what you would call an actual zoo. I don't even know where my nearest one is. I have however visited a marine sanctuary. They primarily focus on seals but they also have plenty of other things there including butterflies, a reptile house, a petting zoo and even penguins. God I love baby seals. Anyway, they are, in a word; awesome. They save seals and they encourage them to breed naturally. I asked them if they have breeding programs and they told me they did not. Seems there's a pregnant seal there almost every time I go though, and new pups that were born in the sanctuary. When they get old enough they get released to the wild. Same with the sick ones they rescue; they're healed and sent back into the wild. They even have a few frequent fliers that they've rescued on numerous occasions. I think we can all agree that animal sancturies do an amazing job. They rescue animals, help protect them, and they're regarded as good guys. Or at least I think about them that way.

Zoos on the other hand get a lot of stigma. Mostly because they are really just seen as entertainment. They have a lot of animals that are also perfectly healthy and very far away from their natural habitat. But zoos do go a long way towards helping the animals feel at home. They also have a lot of breeding programs and take care of a lot of endangered animals. One way to encourage people to care is to show them the animal in need. The main reason people care so damn much about pandas is that they're everywhere. Heck a Scottish zoo even bred some pandas. Zoos fill some necessary roles and, yes, they do make money, but those kinds of things are expensive to run. I can't say I blame them. The seal sanctuary I go to is really small but everything there is so expensive because of how much it costs to run the place.

If a zoo actually buys an animal from the black market, or poaches an animal themselves, then by all means regard them as evil. But try to see the good in them too. Because there is some there.

Monday, 17 March 2014

So It's Two Thirty In The Morning As I Write This...

And I have to be up in seven hours. What fun. I also realised "Oh snap I didn't have anything written for Monday". See, I wrote out nearly all of last week's posts in advance which means that I got lazy when it came to writing new posts and it sorta slipped my mind. My lack of sleep isn't helping too much either. I have an American friend I talk to every morning (American morning) and the clocks have changed for her, but not me. That means I gotta wake up an hour earlier to talk to her in the morning, but I'm not going to sleep an hour earlier, which kinda sucks for my sleeping. On the plus side though, I could probably keep this schedule when the clocks change, and get more done in my day. I'm actually not that tired. If I was, I would be sleeping more.

One thing I am though is in pain. It mostly happens when I exercise, but something seems to be wrong with my left leg. Whenever I do strenuous exercise it hurts like hell and gives out on me a lot sooner than my right leg, which is stronger than a proverbial ox. Not a real one though, those dudes are tough. I should probably get myself checked out. It's a problem I've had for a while now but it's only become a major problem recently. I can't stay on a bike for more than five minutes, which means that A) I'm more inactive than I wish I was, and B) I can't really practice my bike riding and get a full sense of balance needed to ride a motorcycle. The guy who runs the motorcycle school near me still has my dads £90 lesson fee (he charged in advance) and half of my driver's license. Here's hoping it's something that's not way too bad. Maybe some light exercise can fix it and it's just a product of being more inactive. Oh, how I long for the days I used to be able to do six mile walks and row on a rowing machine for forty minutes straight because I wanted to row 5k in one sitting.

Heh, sitting. See, cos you sit at a rowing machine.

Don't worry, I'll see myself out. If you're wondering why my left leg might be damaged in the first place it's because my laptop would predominantly be rested on my left leg. I guess the constant pressure got to it like someone who's not quite ready to commit.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Always Outdo Yourself

I do a fair bit of writing in my spare time. So much so that if I had made any serious money from writing I would consider myself a writer. As it is, I just consider myself a freelance writer. I do have a book out, and hope to have another one out soon however. So, I guess, I really can call myself a writer.

One thing that every writer out there wants, what every creative artist wants, be they writer, drawer, musician, or any form of art, is to create a magnum opus; That one piece that will go down in history as the greatest thing they ever made. Their best ever work, compared to which everything else they did just doesn't stack up. It's something that drives us and something that we strive towards.

For the longest time I thought that perhaps I had already achieved that. I wrote something that was spectacular and was received very positively. Something so brimming with emotion that people couldn't finish it because it was just such a barrage on their emotions. Admittedly that's a bit of a downside, but you get my point. It was truly the greatest thing I had ever written. It depressed me a little to think that I had already achieved the pinnacle of my potential. That's when I had a conversation with my friend about it, and they made me think, and what I thought is what I'm going to say now; the same thing I wrote as the title to this; your magnum opus does not exist.

You don't get to decide that something is your magnum opus and really it's something that shouldn't be decided until you're dead. Something for people who look back at your work to decide. You should always try and outdo yourself, and never settle for what you might feel is your best. Always strive to improve on your last work. If you feel that you have written your magnum opus, then read through it and see why. Take from it what made it great, and make your next piece even better.

If you reach what you feel is your creative peak then go a little higher any way you can. Even if all you can do is a little jump. If you really think you can't improve then, congratulations, everything you write will be a hit and you can live off your stories forever. That's a dream that is far more attainable than writing your greatest ever work. That little thing you threw away because you didn't think it was good enough might be discovered long after you're gone, and resonate with someone in such a way they argue it's your greatest work.
Write, create, do whatever it takes to improve yourself. Most of all, keep creating!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

So It's Come To This

I found this recently and, to be honest, even though I don't go out much (and never go out at night anymore) I have actually found myself feeling like this. It's not really a great thing to feel. I've noticed people I'm walking behind actually picking up speed sometimes. I've considered crossing the road to avoid walking behind someone, and then found myself thinking that if I did that, I might actually somehow come across as more rapey. Like I was crossing the street to make her feel more comfortable so that it would be easier to follow her.

I can kind of understand where a woman is coming from in this situation too. I saw a woman comment that one time she was walking down the street and a guy behind her crossed the road. She said she felt very comfortable when he did, and the same is also true of me. Given my sociophobic tendencies, I can feel like everyone on a street I walk down is out to get me. When I notice someone is walking behind me, I get very very tense and nervous. Sometimes I might pick up my pace or actually cross the road.

I don't really know what I'm trying to say in all this. I guess I'm just trying to say that we've reached a point where men are made uncomfortable just for being men. It's very, very difficult to try and preach a man's rights, or to go for actual equality. I urge everyone to drop all their preconceived notions; about themselves and about other people. Some men really are that self conscious about themselves and act like this, and I think we all need to be able to walk down the street safely and without fear, even of how we might be perceived.

Monday, 10 March 2014

I Kinda Want To Take Martial Arts Lessons Again

A very good friend of mine has started taking karate classes and it's making me think that I'd really like to do something like that again. She looks pretty badass in her gi and I know that stuff is a lot of fun. I think I said in one of my weight loss goals that I set myself the challenge that if I reach 250 pounds, then I'll go to one of the classes held in my local leisure centre. They have Jiu-Jitsu and I think they have karate too. I think I'd prefer karate but I'll probably take what I can get.

When I did tae-kwon-do when I was younger they were some great times. I enjoyed what I did and, more to the point, it made me feel pretty good about myself. I wasn't a big fan of exercise and rarely left the house, but once a week I put on my gi and walked up the road to the community centre where they held classes. For just a few hours a week I was mostly care free (I still got in trouble a lot for dodging instead of blocking) and I did something I enjoyed.

It also left me feeling pretty good about myself. Not only did I lose some weight, but I also managed to do a good job. I think I only did tae-kwon-do for a few months but I managed to earn my yellow belt. It felt even better because I did it by doing something I was terrible at; memorising. To earn a belt you have to perform a sequence of moves you have to remember perfectly. I was able to do that. I did something on my own that I could be proud of.

As I look back at that time in my life, and as I just read through this post, two things really stick out to me.

1) I really, really enjoyed my time doing that.
2) It filled me with a lot of things I could really do with in my life.

I think I'm still going to stick to my original goal and lose the weight before signing up, but once it's done I don't see a reason why I won't. Unless by then I'm still not really feeling confident about myself enough to even start something.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Two Sentence Horror Stories

I accidentally scheduled this for the wrong day, hence it being so late.

There's something new taking the internet by storm. Yes I know that happens every few weeks but this time it's something that's actually something. Something. They are, as the title suggests, horror stories consisting of only two sentences. They're short, sharp, and they kind of stimulate your imagination to fill in the rest. This is something that makes them pretty good. Anyone can just write two sentences but I say it takes a fair bit of skill to write two sentences that make you think of a whole story on your own.

I haven't actually written any myself so I can't take any credit for these. All credit goes to where I found them (Imgur.com) and their respective authors. Whoever they happen to be.





I quite like a good spooky story, so seeing them condensed to just two sentences made my day. See if you can come up with any of your own.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

My Childhood Was Probably Awesome

Like a whole lot of people out there (I'm not sure on the real number) I have Netflix. I also have Hola which allows me to watch US Netflix, as you guys have more stuff available than us thanks to licensing laws. You'd think after all this time Netflix would have more permissions than it already does. Anyway, it's a great way to reconnect with a lot of shows you loved as a kid if you had the privilege of growing up in the nineties like I did.

I watched a show on there that I watched when I was about ten, maybe early teens. It was a great show and, thankfully, it stood up to the test of time. I had a miniature nostalgiagasm when I saw that they also had Power Rangers on there. The original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Back in my day we didn't spell all our words fully. Now I'm a grammar Nazi and can barely ever allow myself to get away with it.

Power Rangers was a great show and in hindsight, a really, really weird one too. It was made by using footage from a Japanese show and mixing it with original footage of "American teenagers with attitude" as Zordan called them. There were scenes that looked really normal, and there were scenes that resembled a poorly dubbed Japanese movie which, effectively, they were.

Then there were the giant fucking robots. I love giant robots. As Megas XLR taught me; "Everyone digs giant robots." It is kinda funny though that as I got older, I came to really love all things Japan. I enjoy reading manga and watching anime, and I watch anime in original Japanese with English subtitles. So much so that I can't watch Pokemon in English, even though that's also on Netflix now. I just hate the dubbing job that 4Kids did. Yet I can still sit back and appreciate a show like Power Rangers.

I loved all things Japan before I even knew they were Japan, and I don't know of anyone who hasn't enjoyed at least one Power Rangers series. Given the kinds of shows I watched growing up, and what they were like, my childhood really must have been pretty awesome.

Monday, 3 March 2014

I'm...Something

This is one of those posts when I have no idea how it'll go. I have a bit of an idea, but no idea on how to actually do anything with it. Ideas are sort of the point of the post though. See, I'm pretty smart. I'm able to see and understand things pretty quickly. When I really give them a try anyway. I'm the kind of person who, for a lot of things, doesn't really need to read the manual. I can put a video game console together without reading what goes into where. I pick up controllers and things without even trying. I'm touch typing this as I write. That sentence sounded kinda redundant. This ventures out of video games and things though. I'll think about things logically and just grasp things. I understood dieting pretty quickly and I've reached a point where I think to myself "This is so easy, I don't get why some people can't do it." When I write, it just comes to me. It reminds me of something I read; "I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you."

Of course there's a lot of things I don't get though. There are times I see "life hack" pictures. You know the type; the things that encourage you to use things for stuff other than their intended purpose. Anyway, I look at those and I realise I would never have thought to do that. I imagine that the people who thought of that look at me the same way I look at the rest of the world, and just wonder how I didn't get it.

The point I'm trying to make? It's actually a little unrelated. See, rather than think that I'm smart, and I'm grasping concepts or getting things, I think that everyone who doesn't get it is an exceptional kind of dumb. I just won't give myself enough credit, and I really should. I'm hardly outstanding or anything, but I'm pretty good at the stuff I can do. I can put things together, and see them in the way that I do. There are other people who can't. Everyone has something they're good at, and are masters of their own field. I guess I'm saying I need to give myself more credit, and other people.

Albert put it better than I ever could.

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