Friday, 27 February 2015

Sort Of A Victory, Maybe, For Net Neutrality

There was some good news out there in the world yesterday. At least it seemed that way at first until you dug deeper. By a vote of 3-2 the FCC, or whoever was in charge (I believe it was the FCC) decided to vote in favour of "Net Neutrality". Net Neutrality would, at the most basic of levels, keep the internet free and open for everyone to use. One of the basic rules would be an internet "fast lane" where some websites would load faster than others depending on how much they were able to pay.
This show was another sad day for the internet. Lulz. 
Now this sounds great, but as I said it seems to be not so great when you really get right down to the nitty gritty. Apparently things still aren't over yet. The new rules can be blocked by the government, of the US, and even then the new rules are something like 300+ pages of guidelines and rules that can't be seen. The entire document won't be seen in its entirety unless the movement passes. So, basically, they want to impose rules on you without telling you what those rules are.
Imagine if people said you had to follow the bible, to the letter, without telling you what was in it. 
To be honest I'm not entirely sure how that's even legal. But I don't make the laws. I don't even follow the laws because those are US laws and I'm exempt from them. Take that legal drinking age of 21! Though I'm over 21 and could drink in the US anyway. Well I can still hit on 16 year old girls and only have it be "creepy" rather than "illegal".

But the fact of the matter is that if the US DID try to actively change the internet it would end up affecting the outside world too. Things like this net neutrality are global issues and were met with a global response. It seems politicians from every country can't resist fucking with the internet but, thankfully, the internet will always be there to stop them.

Thomas Jefferson (March 1801): "The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object."

Thursday, 26 February 2015

I Have Another Dream

In a sort of continuation of "Things I'd do if I was famous, and rich", I got another pretty cool idea yesterday for something I would enjoy doing if I managed to become a famous author who had enough money to do nice things for other people. I've actually had some pretty philanthropic ideas I've not shared in case I could never do them. They involve people close to me you see.
Thankfully I don't have stalkers.
I've talked before about how writing is a lonely existence. Everyone has. There's a whole other layer to it though. It can also usually end up being a bit of an expensive existence. Writing is one of those jobs where you're only paid when the work is complete, and even then you aren't really guaranteed much money. Not everyone becomes a millionaire writer, and not everyone gets the chance. I've managed to really trim down my expenses but if it wasn't for my dad I couldn't focus entirely on my writing like this and there are people who are in a similar situation.

I feel that not really being able to support yourself that well is something that is holding a lot of people back and that there might be a lot of potential out there we can't tap. The person working two jobs to earn enough to get by might be the most creative genius in the world, but the world would never know because he doesn't have the time to write and if he quit a job he wouldn't have enough money to support himself for the months it takes to write a book.

Should I find myself in the position where I have way more money than I could possibly spend, I would love to find a way to give it back to the writing community and support writers in their journey to write things. I would set up financial aid for people so that they could support themselves while taking time out of their busy lives to write. Not everyone can support themselves to such a level that they can write, and I'd like to do something about that.

If anyone does this I'll know you stole my idea. If you do this, please give me money kthnxbai. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Life Doesn't Sound So Bad

Something really unexpected happened last week. I woke up to a friend request and a message from someone I never expected to hear from again. An old ex of mine. Someone I hadn't spoken to in about six or seven years. I wasn't really against talking to her because it had been so long I just didn't care about it anymore. Plus there were some things about the relationship that I didn't have answers to. This lead to the whole "life summary" thing that you do whenever you meet someone that you haven't met in a long time. Or sometimes when you meet someone new and they ask you about yourself.
Oh Fluffmodeus, you so crazy. 
"Well to give you the long and short end of the past number of years for me...let's see here; I kind of floated around for a few years. My head was a bit of a mess and to be honest I don't really remember much about 17-19. I really don't. Even after then I never really focused on anything. I started volunteering at a charity shop which is when I started turning my life around a little bit. I cleaned myself up and acquired decent human clothing. I started writing too. I've had a blog now for the past few years and started writing properly. I'm in the middle of writing a novel and I've self published a few things on Amazon. No number of great sales but at least I can say "Hey I did something". I got fucked over by a publisher last year which is why I've decided to stick with self publishing. I've achieved no real level of success in anything I try except weight loss. I lost sixty pounds last year. That felt pretty good. My head is still a pretty big mess though. Oh and I have cats. Two of them.""

It's not much, but that doesn't sound as bad as I sometimes make things out to be when I put them into a much shorter perspective. The past seven days? Shit. The past seven years? Not bad.

How does your life look, looking back years rather than weeks? 

Friday, 20 February 2015

Won't Someone Please Think Of The Children?

I was at the gym with my boss P yesterday when he informed me about something going on with the charity we both work for. I might have given his name before but fuck it I'm going to start using initials now for real people in my life. It just makes things easier. Anyway, we were at the gym and he told me something. Something that made me make a post and is going to force me to reveal the charity I work for. Again, something I've probably already done.
That's right I work for the children's charity Barnardos. They do a lot of cool things with kids such as providing them with a lot of care and, as they say themselves, "giving children back their future". They used to have their own houses where they took in abandoned children but don't do that anymore. Actually our store has only one of two surviving "Barnardos Children". That's a pretty cool stat for us considering I live in the arse end of nowhere.
I personally LOVE IT
Our lovely little charity got in a bit of trouble that had completely escaped me even though it's been a bit of a country wide scandal. We have an Instagram account as well as other social media accounts. The scandal came when it came out that Barnardos had paid someone from a British reality TV show £20,000 (about $32,000) to partner with them on Instagram and do some promoting for us via their Instagram. The reality of the situation is that YES the "celebrity" was paid, but they were only paid a far more reasonable £3000 (about $4700). Still, people hate it when money raised by charity goes to non-charitable things. Especially when it goes to promotion like this. Apparently people are going as far as to boycott our stores.

These people are complete fucking asshats.

Every year we get together and celebrate Children In Need. A time when a metric fuckton of celebrities get together and do comical shit to raise awareness and money. Do you think these people do it for free? Of course they don't. Very few celebrities actually do the work they do for free. You know those god awful Sarah McCloughlin (I probably fucked her name up) ads that people either love or hate? Yeah she was paid a lot of money for that.

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the money that Barnardos makes goes directly towards helping children. My boss personally loves children himself too. So much so that he is willing to quit his job to become a foster carer so he can impact their lives even more so. When you say and do something stupid like boycotting a charity you're only hurting the people that the charity is helping.

The fact that you would refuse to give money to a charity means that the people they should be helping won't get anything. These children need support. They're the reason charities like Barnardos exist in the first place. I can understand being upset at what you feel is a misuse of a charity's funds. What I don't like is the idiocy being displayed and the lack of care being shown to the people the charity is trying to help. This is a charity that seriously believes in helping children, and so do a vast majority of their employees. They were only trying to spread the word and reach even more children than they already do.

Fuck you if you would punish them, and by proxy the children they help, for that.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Here There Be Dragons

After pondering for a short while what to make a post about I remembered that there was a post I had wanted to make a few weeks ago but, obviously, never did. So now I'm going to make that post. Yay for plans that fall through but come back later and provide a handy escape route.
Escape Rope powers activate!
It's no secret by now that I do some volunteer work at my local charity shop. Well one of them. We have about four or five now. It's ridonculous. Thanks to my busy schedule of writing and going to the gym and everything I can only volunteer once a week now, but I still get to see some pretty cool stuff from time to time. This is a post about some of those cool things.
Specifically THESE cool things

Look how freaking aweosme they are

Like what the fuck
 That's right folks; a few weeks ago we had someone donate a whole cavalcade of dragon figures. Some of these were pretty big and as a result were pretty expensive. A little too expensive for me to get in on the fun. Most of the ones in the glass cabinet sold on the day I was in and saw them. There were five or six sold for a total of £70 (about $110). They were supposed to be £90 but the assistant manager can be a bit...well I don't want to finish that sentence in case he reads it. Suffice to say I was taught to never lower the price but he does, as does the actual manager, for customers they like. Then when someone asks me for a reduction and I refuse I get light levels of abuse. Yayyyyyy. Though this time the manager shared some of my displeasure.

Unfortunately all the figures are gone now. I'm not sure if they all sold but I'd like to believe they were. Given how expensive they were I believe these would be sent to another shop if they didn't sell, rather than outright thrown out. I'd be pretty damn pissed if these guys were just thrown out. The dragon statuette I do have actually also came from the store. I can't remember exactly if I got it for free or just seriously reduced because of some damage. I've seen some weird shit at that store, and will inevitably post about that, but for now enjoy some of the coolest things I've seen there.

What's your all time favourite mythological creature? For me it's actually Phoenixes because dragons are totally real. Dragons would be my all time favourite real creature. 

Monday, 16 February 2015

I Can't Wait To Be Famous

I'd like to start this off by saying no real one incident caused me to just think "Fuck it I'm posting a rant on this" but just the fact that this seems to be how things are these days. Although there has been one pretty big example of it in one of the circles I'm a part of.

Well anyway; I can't wait to be famous. I can't wait to reach a point where I have a whole lot of people hanging on my every word. I can't wait to be in a position where I can positively influence the world and make a large difference in a lot of lives. I can't wait to be someone that will be listened to. Rather than being an intro to a rant that is actually also pretty true anyway. I think I have some pretty cool opinions on things but you need to be heard to be able to say those kind of things. Or be a raving lunatic people can't help but pay attention to.
If you ever feel like getting mad just search "Feminist" on Tumblr


See, instead of having people hang on my every word and do something pretty cool, when I get to that point every single action I take will be scrutinized. It'll be enjoyable to have people go through everything I've posted on social media, or here, and attack me for them. I don't know why it is but as soon as someone becomes famous and in the public eye they're supposed to be something above human.
"More Human Than Human" is awesome, and highly irrelevant! 

Famous people aren't really allowed to make mistakes simply because they've apparently become role models. They aren't allowed to have a dissenting opinion. They aren't allowed to curse. They aren't allowed to do anything most humans do. They definitely can't ever make a mistake.

People make mistakes. Lots of non-famous people fuck up all the time and no one gives a shit. When you elevate people like that then it just contributes to the idea that these people are above you. They really aren't. They're people too. In my time I've talked to some people I would regard as being above me and I've talked to people of relative fame. They're very down to Earth people for the most part. They're human beings and they deserve to be treated like that. Being in the public eye doesn't change how they behave. It shouldn't either.

Stop elevating people and let them make mistakes. Let them mess up and laugh at them when they do, just like you'd laugh at anyone who makes a mistake.

Except Kanye West. Fuck that guy.

Well this kinda got all over the place. I suppose a general summary would be "Don't hold people above you, and definitely don't hold them to impossible standards, no matter how famous they are." 

Friday, 13 February 2015

I Also Lost A Safety Net

In case you're wondering why the titles of today's post and yesterday's post follow on from eachother it's because I wrote them one after the other. There's nothing really wrong with writing posts in advance, especially when the news you're conveying is kind of old like this. It'd be pretty stupid to write a reaction piece to breaking news and schedule it for a week from now, by which point it would be old and not worth talking about.
Breaking news; news has broken. More on this news later. This is the news. 
I got an email about a month or so ago that was pretty scary. I've mentioned before that I've done a fair amount of work through the freelancing site Odesk.com. It's one of the freelancing sites I'm a part of and the first one I actually found some work. While the first few jobs were a bust I eventually found a few that got me some decent money considering the work I put in. They inevitably ended up becoming too depressing and I had to quit, but that's just the way the cookie crumbles. 
This picture was too awesome to not use again.
The email I got was a warning that, due to negative feedback I was receiving, my account was under review. If I failed to improve that feedback then I would have my account suspended. The problem? I had ZERO idea I was getting this negative feedback. My personal profile saw me rated at five stars and everyone who left me public feedback said I was great. I said before that the two people I was working for were quite sad to have to let me go but were nice enough to. While I was working written jobs I would send out applications for voice over work. As I understand it, the people who post jobs can leave feedback for the people who apply. This feedback is private and I'm not privvy to it. This feedback was, ultimately, negative. It was also enough to warrant them sending me a warning. The even bigger problem? I'd already quit by this point. 

I was working on Immortal Space and didn't want to take on work just to improve my profile. I was happy having left that work behind and focusing on personal projects. I left it and hoped that by not getting any more negative feedback, they might allow me to stay on. At the very least they might listen when I informed them of the situation. 

They didn't. 


I got another email this week saying that my feedback was still low and they were going to suspend it. I couldn't apply to any more jobs and instead could only finish the jobs I was already on and hope the feedback to those jobs was good enough to save my ass. I wasn't actually working any jobs at the time though. I had no way to save myself. I sent an email to them explaining the situation; saying I had no idea about this private negative feedback and pleading my case that everyone who hired me loved me. It wasn't enough though and apparently the fact that I wasn't working due to personal issues and therefore couldn't improve my feedback score wasn't enough for them. My account has been suspended and I lost a safety net. I told myself that if Immortal Space flopped I could at least go back to Odesk and pick up another writing job. That is no longer the case. 

Fuck. 

I still have a few other freelancing sites but Odesk is one of the best. Outside of their customer support apparently. They let you take skill tests and that was the reason I was hired. I scored in the top 10% for the tests that counted when it came to writing work. I have to hope now that my experience is enough when it comes to applying for jobs on other freelancing sites. I still get the occasional job from Fiverr but nowhere near enough to be able to support myself on even the most basic of levels. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

I Lost Some Weight

I don't know if I mentioned it or not but I was scheduled to be weighed this past Tuesday. I know it was only three weeks but my nutritionist is going on holiday for the next few weeks. For a lot of people she just went a longer time without seeing them but she said she was worried about me because I looked, and was, so depressed and upset after that six pound gain.
I'm also going through some very tough personal times right now
I won't be weighed again for another six weeks because of this holiday, so by then I can lose a lot of weight. But for now I can be content, and even happy, about the fact I lost four pounds in three weeks. Which is pretty decent. I know I fell off the wagon a little so I know if I can rein everything in and get back to how I was before I can lose a lot of weight. One major problem I now suffer from is that I'm doing too much exercising. Anyone who does a lot of exercise can tell you that the more you do the more you need to eat.
nom
The problem with that is that outside of my time at the gym, I continue to live a fairly sedentary life. That is to say that I don't do a lot of exercise or expend a lot of energy, which means I can't really eat much more. Guess I need to find some low calorie snacks or something. Morgan recommended taking in more liquids too. Sometimes you can feel hungry when you're actually thirsty because bodies are fucking weird.

I did also find out that she actually uses me as a story of hope for some of her other patients/clients. I'm someone who goes in questioning my success and not getting the losses I want, but over time and over a year I lost about sixty pounds by sticking at it even though I was questioning it. She kind of messes up though because she says I've lost half the weight I need to when I've actually only lost about a third but oh well. 

Now to get her to tell her other patients to buy my stuff. I can see it now. "Oh yeah, there's this guy who comes in here a lot. Like you he questions things and wonders if it's all worth it. A few pounds off here, a few pounds off there. Before he knew it he'd lost a ton of weight, a little at a time. He mostly cut food out and also went to the gym a couple of times a week. You don't need to worry about exercise too much either. This guy? Yeah he wrote a book during this time too. So he wasn't very active at home. You should check it out. You can find it on Amazon."

Okay maybe a little more subtle than that. 

Monday, 9 February 2015

The Publishing Process

In the week that we just said goodbye to, I was asked on two individual occasions if I had any plans of submitting Immortal Space to an actual publisher. To be honest it is, of course, something that I've considered. I've lamented before that I've not got the resources to really push a book myself. I also don't have the resources to get those resources. If I was to run a Kickstarter or something like that, then I wouldn't really succeed with it. 
Crowd funding requires a crowd...
I had a look at the publishing submission process. It was a little more than I expected. As well as submitting either the finished manuscript/chapter summaries/writing sample you need to answer some questions. It's the kind of thing you need to consider on your own anyway when I really thought about it. They ask you your scope, your audience, and your competition. This presents two problems; my chapter summaries are very basic and I'm also not very aware of my competition. I'm not sure on the other science fiction novels out there. I imagine people who enjoy the Star Wars novels would enjoy it but I can't really say "This book was released last year and I reckon people who liked that would like this." 
I'm out of the reading world. Boo.
I'm still considering it but right now I have serious anxiety issues. Not to mention you have to wait a few months before getting a response, if any. I'd submit something to the publisher then spend the next three months worrying about what happened. For now I'll probably stick to self publishing, but I suppose we'll see how I feel in a few months when the story is closer to being finished/is actually finished. 

Who knows? Maybe a publisher will see this and send me an email. Hi random publisher! 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Don't Feed The Trolls

In my continuing theme of responding to the news, it's time for another rant!
So basically, yesterday the owner and (presumably) operator of Twitter said in an official statement that Twitter is "shit" when it comes to handling trolls. He actually used the word shit, which I thought was a nice touch. Now it's true there are a lot of Twitter trolls, but I would say that Twitter actually has more than enough tools to handle them at the minute. For example you can block people, which is pretty much all you need. Someone is a cunt to you? Block them and you'll never hear from them again.

It's THAT simple.

There are two major rules when it comes to the internet that you need to keep in mind.

1. All men are men, all women are men, and all children are FBI agents.

2. Don't feed the trolls.

It's the same thing your parents or teacher say to you when someone is bullying you; just ignore them and they go away. Okay it's not very true when it comes to school bullies. I learned that the hard way. But it's very true when it comes to online trolls. Just ignore the fucking douches and don't respond to them. Or better yet just don't even look at your mentions on Twitter. I know several people who say they don't even look at their mentions and they feel so much better because of it. They aren't exposed to all that bullshit and it's great.

People also need to stop being such damn babies. As I said, I was bullied for years. I'm well aware that words hurt, and that "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is the largest crock of bullshit there is. Words can scar you forever. But only if you LET them. Words have no power over you if you don't let them have any.

So yeah; Twitter is filled with trolls. So is Youtube. So is Tumblr. So is every god damn social media site there is. Even Myspace has trolls! Heck even Blogger has trolls. Don't feed them. Don't acknowledge them. Just block them and move on. For God sake people it's not difficult to avoid abuse in the online world. I have all the sympathy in the world for victims of bullying but I just can't bring myself to care about cyberbullying. Just turn the computer off, or block them and move on.

I'm aware I might have taken a stance some people find surprising but really, after years of being trolled by the internet, I just don't care about online trolls anymore and I've accepted how damn easy it is to not subject yourself to them.

P.S sorry about all the coarse language. I think it's absolutely shitty to blame the owners of a website for the actions of it's users. They aren't to blame for the way their users act and they do everything they can. Stop being so sensitive and put on some grown up pants. You aren't 12. The trolls are. They're stupid, immature, and not to be listened to.

Yes I actively preach "Don't be a dick; it's not hard." but right now I'm also taking the time to say "Don't be a pussy either." I guess what I'm trying to say is we should all be assholes.

I'll shut up now or I'll never bloody shut up.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

In Light Of Recent Events

I think I'd be remiss if I really went without mentioning something pretty major that happened in the world this week. Actually a lot of things seemed to go down this week. It's been a bad week to be a person, and I say that as someone who is still trapped in my own depression. Even I can look out and say "fuck I don't have it so bad."

The event I'm referring to in particular is the latest video by the terrorist group ISIS. We recently had the Paris attacks that gained world wide coverage and now we had something that somehow managed to top even that. This week ISIS performed, and filmed, an execution of a man by immolating him; by burning him alive.

It was fucked up on so many levels and something that is actually expressly forbidden by the Qu'ran. They can spout all the nonsense they want about Jihad being allowed by the Qu'ran and everything they've done being permitted (which is technically accurate) but the use of fire as a punishment is actually clearly against the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran states that fire is a punishment reserved only for Allah and the fires of hell specifically.

This time, as well as messing with a country that won't stand for it (Jordan) they've managed to do something that is completely against the religion they say they fight for. As I said Jordan haven't taken this lying down. Unlike Europe, or America, who continued to condemn the actions but not really doing anything, Jordan executed the two prisoners it was holding in an attempt to trade them for the captured pilot who was killed. To make matters worse it turns out the pilot was reportedly killed about a month ago and they kept the video to themselves to try and secure the release of their prisoners and further scare the Jordanian people.

That's all this is; a scare tactic. The point of their executions and the public nature of them is designed as a scare tactic. They want to scare you in to giving in and its vital that you aren't afraid. It's kind of funny that terrorists like to say that if you kill one of them, they just become a martyr for more to take their place. The same has become true of the people they are killing. Some Jordanians are scared. Some people all around the world are scared. But many more of them have their resolve boosted.

ISIS are a step above regular terrorists when it comes to actually causing terror, but hey, if we in the UK and those in America and the rest of Europe took this incredibly serious and dedicated more manpower to this (which unfortunately we can't do because we're fighting on too many fronts now god dammit) then it would probably be over pretty quickly.

Don't let fear control you people.

Monday, 2 February 2015

#2Spoopy4Me

For those of you that don't know, "creepypasta" is a take on the word "copypasta", which is essentially a story (or just a wall of text) that is copied and pasted a lot on websites. Creepypastas are stories that are particularly creepy in nature. They deal with things like urban legends and things like that. There are some really amazingly well written ones that I really enjoy, and of course some shit. You guys have told me a lot that I should do readings of things. While I'm still trying to break in to that professionally for now I thought there was no harm in me doing some readings of other things for fun. One of the things I decided to do a reading of was an aforementioned creepypasta known as "The Devil Game", which outlines a way to summon and confer with Satan. I did the reading at two am, in the dark, to sort of add to the effect. An effect that was ruined when my cat decided to join the fun. Anyway, for your listening pleasure, here's a video of me reading a spoopy story. 


P.S let me know how the audio quality is. It's unedited so it won't be too great, but I am using my new headset which I think sounds better than the old one.

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