2019 films I’m most excited for

2018 was a pretty good year for films in my eyes, all the new MCU films were good and DC seemingly started a bit of a course correct with the release of Aquaman and well as shitloads of other decent films being released. The year is nearly over though it’s time to look forward to what 2019 has to offer, and with in mind I thought I’d pull together a list of my ten most anticipated films for 2019.

I didn’t realise until I did some research just what was out next year but you’ve got things that I’m looking forward to like the new Terminator film, others I’m cautiously optimistic for such as Aladdin and Angel Has Fallen and the ones where I’m really unsure like X-Men Dark Phoenix. All that aside these are the 10 films I’m definitely most looking forward to in 2019.

10 – The Lion King: A “live action” version of the classic cartoon in the same manner as Disney did with the Jungle Book. It’s going to be heavily scrutinised given the love people have for the original version (myself included) so you’d hope that Disney are going to make sure it’s amazing to avoid people thinking it’s a cynical release and getting shit for it. It doesn’t hurt that it’s got a pretty impressive cast, including James Earls Jones as Mufasa because how do you replace a voice like that.

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9 – How to Train Your Dragon 3: I got into the series just before the release of the second film and it’s one of those series that’s good to come back to and re-watch now and again. The third film looks to tie things together and (seemingly) end the film series on a high. If it’s even half as good as the second film then it’ll be very good indeed and I’m intrigued to see just how things tie together and whether it’ll wind up being a bit of a bittersweet ending.

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8 – Joker: When this was first announced I was indifferent as it didn’t feel like a film that needed making and when I saw the first pictures of Joaquin Phoenix out of Joker costume this was pretty much reinforced. Then shots started to emerge of the Joker costume and make up and it put me in mind of a combination of Cesare Romero a little in terms of the make up and Heather Ledger in terms of the suit and suddenly I was intrigued. It could wind up being an utter trainwreck of a film but it’s going to be interesting finding out at least.

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7 – The Lego Movie 2: I definitely didn’t expect much of the original film when I first went to see it and actually I wound up thinking it was superb so I’m hoping they can make something equally as good. It seems to have all the original cast back and it’s being written by the guys behind the first film so all being well it should have a similar atmosphere to the original film. I’m just hoping it doesn’t wind up being a massive bag of shit as that would be a little sad.

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6 – Toy Story 4: I really thought Toy Story 3 would be the last film in the series as it felt like it ended on the perfect note but I’m not going to say not to another film as it seems to be a series that has managed to avoid putting out a shite film thus far. The only thing I know about it so far really is that there’s a character that’s a spork which has been turned into a toy so it looks like there’s going to be an element of weirdness there if nothing else.

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5 – Glass: Unbreakable is one of M Night Shyamalan’s best films, and his output since then can generously be called of mixed quality. Then Split happened and he got back to his roots a little and then linked it to Unbreakable which was a delightful surprise. This film links these 2 films togther and acts as a sequel to both so I’m naturally excited to see it while hoping that Split wasn’t a one off and he reverts back to shite like After Earth.

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4 – John Wick 3: John Wick was a pleasant surprise when initially released, gloriously simple and violent it turned out to be a lot of fun, and while the sequel wasn’t as good it was entertaining and left a nice set up for the third film by essentially having John go on the run. This essentially sets the scene for a string of people to come after him and most likely die in excessively violent ways with sounds like a nice throw back to more old school action movies. I’m essentially hoping that they stick the landing here and don’t fuck it up.

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3 – Detective Pikachu: I love Pokemon, as it may have become obvious as it’s come up a little bit in pieces I’ve written in the past so this was realistically always going to be on the list, if only out of morbid curiosity to see it it was going to be a Mario-esque travesty of a film. As it happens so far the signs have been encouraging as the CGI Pokemon look suitably cute, with the exception of Mr Mime who appears to be as horrifyingly creepy as you’d expect. Ryan Reynolds voicing Detective Pikachu himself also has the potential to be a lot of fun.

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2 – The new Marvel films: I’ve cheated a little and lumped Captain Marvel, Avengers Endgame and Spiderman Far From Home into a single entry, this is for 2 main reason. The first is that I’m equally excited for all of them and the second is that it’s my list and I’ll do what i want. They all have definite plus points, Captain Marvel is a hero I’m not familiar with so looking forward to seeing what she’s about, Avengers obviously is the follow up after Infinity War’s cliffhanger and Spiderman is the first film post Avengers when the dust has in theory settled from that.

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1 – Star Wars Episode 9: It was always going to be Star Wars realistically, I enjoyed The Last Jedi personally but I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s been divisive and I can see why. There were a lot of decisions made that pissed quite a few people off by all accounts so it’ll be interesting to see if those decisions pay off in the final instalment. I’m interested to see if they continue making Kylo Ren an unrepentant shit and what role Luke has in proceedings. Ultimately if it’s to be the last entry on the so called “Skywalker saga” then I hope it’s a bloody good one.

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So yeah those are the films I’m most looking forward to in 2019, I’m sure there’s going to be loads of others that I’m going to want to see as they come out as there always seems to be a pretty steady flow of interesting films to be seen. Hopefully I won’t be subjected to anything that’s exceptionally wank but you never know I guess, I will always be the man that was suckered in by Aliens Colonial Marines after all.

For reference this was originally written for my mates website http://www.twobeardgaming.com

 

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My 20 favourite Marvel films (so far)

A friend and I recently read a top 10 of the best Marvel films ever and I feel pretty confident in saying it was an utter pile of horseshit. With that in mind I decided to do a top 20 of my favourite Marvel films, turns out it’s harder than it looks as some stuff I really like had to make way such as X-Men First Class, Antman and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I will point out that this is entirely my opinion so feel free to disagree, the beauty of films is that people will usually find things that make films more personal to them/

20 – Ghost Rider: This really shouldn’t be on here as it’s essentially just a vehicle for Nic Cage to overact (it is nowhere near as bad as the sequel though). It’s on here though as it’s a film that I think falls into so bad it’s good territory. It’s silly bollocks and Nic Cage chews scenery like a bloody lunatic but it’s also dumb entertainment. I apologise for it’s inclusion essentially.

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19 – The Punisher: Te previous big screen iteration was Dolph Kundgren with dyed hair back in the 80s. This is a far superior film and Thomas Jane makes for a pretty decent Frank Castle overall. It’s nowhere near as violent as the recent Netflix series but still has some pretty creative violence. it also has a soft spot for me as The Punisher was one of the first Marvel comics I got into.

18 – Spiderman 2: This would potentially be a lot higher on lists for other people and it is an excellent film. Sam Raimi got this film pretty much spot on, and is easily the best of the Tobey Maguire Spiderman films. It’s a film that is well focussed and does a good job of realising Dr Octopus which good as he’s such a key villain, and also when you consider how wasted Venom was in the third film.

17 – Iron Man: The introductory film to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and very much the tone setter for pretty much everything that’s come since. It’s a entertaining film and Robert Downey Jr is pretty much perfectly cast as Tony Stark and he gets to be appropriately snarky which is a lot of fun. There’s also nothing wrong with Jeff Bridges as the villain.  

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16 – Iron Man 3: Another controversial one I’m sure but I really like Iron Man 3, I like that it humanises Tony somewhat by showing that the events of the Avengers impacted him significantly and the dialogue is well written which you’d expect from a Shane Black film. The argument is that Tony spends most of the film not being Iron Man but for the the house party protocol makes up for this.

15 – Avengers: A few years ago this would have likely been top of the list as I think it’s superb, it’s a nice culmination of the first Marvel films. There’s some really fun character interactions throughout the film, Thor and the Hulk offering a couple of funny moments and Loki is cements himself as one of the best villains in the whole MCU. I also think bringing in Mark Ruffalo to replace Ed Norton as Bruce Banner was an inspired move.

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14 – Captain America Civil War: This works surprisingly well given the number of characters the film revolves round, my only really complaint is that it’s too long. This is also the film that introduces Black Panther and, more importantly, Spiderman into the MCU. Spiderman appearing in the MCU was a huge deal at the time and for me he’s possibly the best thing in the film.

13 – X-Men Days of Futures Past: First Class was good but this for me is better, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender seem more comfortable in their roles and the the story is quite grim and manages to work in Wolverine for a starring role rather than a cameo and it works well thankfully. It has pretty much every character that’s ever appeared in the entire series and yet somehow newcomer Quicksilver manages to steal the show.

12 – Deadpool: This was the only other Marvel character that I was familiar with from comics before seeing the respective film. It’s a huge upgrade for Deadpool compared to the previous appearance in X-Men Origins which was a shambles. This does an excellent job of capturing the character while also being really funny and not afraid to take the piss out of itself.

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11 – Guardians of the Galaxy: I wasn’t initially fussed about this right up to the last trailer which got me interested. The suspicion from a lot to places was that this would be the first mis-step of the MCU and thankfully everyone couldn’t have been more wrong. It was an absolute joy, Chris Pratt is perfectly cast and Drax is gloriously funny. The dance off at the end is just ridiculous in the best possible way.

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10 – Doctor Strange: I was intrigued by this going in as it had a great cast and was going to be introducing magic into the MCU. It’s very similar to Iron Man in the sense that the lead is an arrogant prick who has to learn to be better person. It’s a film that really shows how Marvel have developed as it’s visually stunning and it plays into the larger MCU pretty seamlessly.

9 – X Men 2: The original was fun and worked really well all things considered but this ramps things up considerably. They clearly realised that Wolverine was one of the standard characters first time round and the film is much more focussed on him so it’s just as well that Hugh Jackman was up to the task of carrying the film. It also sets up the third film but I won’t hold that against it.

8 – Black Panther: As the other stand out character for me in Civil War I was really looking forward to this and it didn’t disappoint. It has one of the better villains in the MCU as they gave him a pretty decent backstory, and as usual with MCU films they seem to get the casting pretty spot on. It also represented the calm before the storm as it was the last film release before Infinity War.

7 – Logan: Potentially the closest thing we’ll see to the Old Man Logan comic, this is a bleak film set in a future where shit has definitely not gone to plan. It’s also incredibly violent as the success of Deadpool showed them that there was a considerable market for a film where Wolverine was allowed to be the best at what he does, which seemingly is kill people in mildly gruesome ways.

6 – Spiderman Homecoming: I genuinely think in Tom Holland they’ve found the perfect actor to play Spiderman, he plays him how I always heard the character in my head when reading the comics. And a film that casts Michael Keaton as the villain and manages to make him a sympathetic character is clearly doing things at least partially right. It helps that it’s a really fun film and doesn’t rely too heavily on Tony Stark’s involvement in the story.

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5 – Antman and the Wasp: Both Antman films have come after Avengers films and acted as a pretty awesome palette cleansers. This is predominantly because they don’t take themselves seriously at all. I prefer the sequel as it’s a lot more comfortable in itself and seems to be having a hell of a lot of fun with the concepts established in the first film.

4 – Deadpool 2: Absolutely gloriously insane, it builds on what worked from the first film without falling into the trap a lot of sequels fall into where a bigger budget means the filmmakers cram too much in and lose sight of what worked previously. The addition of Josh Brolin as Cable works well and Ryan Reynolds continues to show that Deadpool is essentially a role tailor made for him.

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3 – Captain America Winter Soldier: The Winter Soldier is one of my favourite Marvel characters so I was happy he was going to be focussed when this was initially announced. It helps that the film turned out to be a cracking film that was genuinely tense in places. It also had a really good twist with the Hydra reveal and led to the Heil Hydra meme which was usually good for a laugh.

2 – Avengers Infinity War: It’s a 3 hour film but never seems like it as it whips along at a decent pace. It assumes hat you’ve seen everything that’s come before so doesn’t waste any time on needless exposition and I really appreciated that. It’s great fun seeing characters interacting that haven’t done previously such as Dr Strange and Tony Stark. It also ends on a fucking depressing cliffhanger which has made the wait for Endgame slightly frustrating.

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! – Thor Ragnarok: There was only ever going to be one film at number one, I bloody love Ragnarok. It’s incredibly funny and everyone in the case seems to be having a laugh pretty much constantly as the film really does seem to revel in the ridiculousness of the premise and fully embraces it. It also has Jeff Goldblum in it which is always a good thing in my opinion. Hopefully Taika Waititi will get to do a few more films in the MCU as a few more like this would be most welcome.

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So that’s it for now though I fully expect that to change as next year you have Captain Marvel, Avengers Endgame and Spiderman Far From Home out from an MCU perspective and I think there’s a couple of X-Men films due out too so there’s a good chance that some of those will make it onto this list but we’ll see.

For reference this was originally written for my mates website http://www.twobeardgaming.com

 

2018, not too shabby overall

Well that’s 2018 done and dusted and it’s been something of a mixed bag on a personal level. I didn’t have any specific plans going into the year a I’ve made resolutions in the past and have felt that I’ve put undue pressure on myself which is a little walk, so for 2018 there were basic goals for look after myself a bit better and work on my happiness and to be fair some progress was made on those fronts.

The first thing that happened was that I got myself a new job. It’s at the same company but was a promotion in a completely new department I’d been looking to move into for a couple of years and doing a job I’d been interested in for at least as long. It came at the right time too really as I’d been in my previous job for 5 years so the new challenge was definitely needed.

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I finally started getting my sleeve done at last. made some good progress and need to get the inside of the arm filled in at some point (though may pussy out of that and just get something else there) and get my older tattoos gone over as the new tattoo makes them look even older and faded than they already are. That’s going to be the plan for the start of this year as well as figuring out what to do to fill out my forearm and cover the scars that are there.

Another thing i’m pretty pleased with is how much I’ve been writing over the course of the year. My mate started a gaming website (www.twobeardgaming.com) so I’ve been doing blogs and game reviews for that. I think having a specific subject to focus on, I think my brain having so many things going on is why I struggle to write on my blog of late, I struggle to nail down topics and stick with them. Hopefully I can use this as a springboard to get back to my actual blog, and have some proper topics I want to write about aside from games.

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I got to take a couple of pretty awesome holidays which was obviously nice. I went to Lisbon in September for the wedding of a friend, and some other friends and I decided to make a week of it. Lisbon is awesome, though not ideal for lazy fucks like me as there are a lot of slopes and steps, and the wedding was pretty damn special. I also went to Tenerife in December for a long weekend and it was great timing as it was a few days in the sun rather than the shite British weather.

Pretty much the highlight of the year though as the safe arrival of my nephew towards the end of it. It’s been a tough road getting to this point for my brother and his wife but they finally got there and he’s a pretty cute little guy, and I say this as someone that normally maintains babies all look the same. I’m really looking forward to seeing him grow up that’s for sure.

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There’s not been too many negatives really, I got ill towards the end of the year and chest infections are apparently a thing I get which is delightful, but I took the time to recover rather than just trying to blow through it which is a positive for me. Plus it’s the only illness I’ve really had over the whole year so I can’t really bitch too much about it given it could have been a damn sight worse.

There have been the usual bouts of depression which while shitty are a little easier to cope with it seems. I know for the most part they’ll pass and I’ve gotten better at being a bit more open with the people I care about which has made discussing it all a lot easier when needed, I’m pretty lucky to have so many supportive people in my life really. I’m starting the new year off with one such bout and it’s a bit crap, but I think it’s starting to ease off now so it’ll most likely be much of the same this year, with my being careful to monitor if it gets worse than usual to the point where I need to do something rather than just riding it out.

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I think the biggest concern to come out of the year is that I feel myself slipping back into certain behaviours I’ve tried to move past. There have been times when properly drunk where I’ve behaved like a prick and treated people in a manner which I’m ashamed of. Thankfully it’s not been a common theme (that I know of admittedly) but it’s something I’m keen to nip in the bud as soon as possible. Part of that is going to be trying to avoid getting too pissed, merry is one thing but getting arseholed is completely unnecessary with the added “bonus” that I feel shit the following day. It’s something that I’ll be monitoring on top of the depression though, and if I feel like I’m turning back into that wanker then I’ll be going back to counselling straight away.

Going into the new year I don’t have any specific resolutions really, I’ve found that I put undue pressure on myself that where I feel I have to do what I’ve said which is obviously horseshoe to normal people. Essentially the aim as it stands is to focus on being a better friend and person overall, write more, continue getting my sleeve tattoo sorted and to start watching the films I’ve bought that I’ve never actually bothered watching. I’ve made a start on that last one and it’s been pretty good fun so far. 

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The theory is by keeping things simple I’m going to be more open to unplanned things that happen. Who knows, maybe I’ll even brave online dating again and see about actually going on a date again, stranger things have happened after all. That’s essentially all the planning that’s going into the new year though, and to finish up this article I’ve broken it up with Thor Ragnarok GIFs because why the hell not.

Getting older: Partly shite and partly not too shabby

I’m getting older as various younger friends like to gleefully point out to me on a constant basis, predominantly because they’re bastards. There are a great many downsides to this process but a few upsides too from a personal standpoint. Before that I want to give you an idea of what I was like when I was younger just so it makes the rest make a degree of sense.

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Late teens, early twenties me was a bit of a prick all told, I was an arrogant, know it all arsehole with a massive chip on his shoulder and a general disregard for other people. I was also ridiculously skinny to the point where I looked ill, it didn’t matter what I’d eat either, I just wouldn’t put weight on. There’s also the small matter of having depression and not really knowing what was going on with me and largely ignoring it because I just assumed it’d go away on it’s own.

Here we are a decade and a half or so later and quite a lot has changed both physically and mentally. Let’s start with the old metabolism, which is well and truly gone. I’m now considerably heavier than I was and while I don’t look ill any more I’m definitely overweight and really need to start doing something proactive about it in terms of doing more exercise. I appreciate that I was always likely to put on weight at some point, I think I just wasn’t expected quite so much. And it’s clearly only raging alone and nothing to do with my love burgers!

I have the usual things like the receding hairline which has been going on since I was 17 in all honesty, admittedly it’s getting thinner at the front now which kinda sucks though push comes to shove I’ll just shave it off if it gets to bad, fuck this clinging on to it malarkey, ain’t nobody got time for that. I have barely any grey hair though so every cloud and all that. I still can’t grow facial hair worth a damn though which is annoying as all hell.

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Eyesight wise things have held together remarkably well for the most part, I have a slight precription which I have glasses for but don’t really need to wear. I tend to really only wear them when my eyes feel tired or I have a headache. Irritatingly though I’m now deemed a glaucoma risk due to my eye pressure and a history of it in the family which means yearly appointments at the hospital to check my eyes aren’t fucked basically. So far so good, though I hate going as some of the checks are bloody unpleasant though I suppose it’s better safe than sorry.

Next lets talk aches and pains because I have a shit load. The back is a particular delight which I suspect is partially due to my job and partially due to years to slouching and hunching. My groin aches regularly from a hernia I didn’t get seen to for far too long and my knees are essentially fucked. Numerous football injuries and an injury I had when I was a kid mean that they ache quite a bit a fair amount of the time and in winter when it’s cold it can be especially bad, I’ve had instances (thankfully rare) where I’ve not been able to sleep due to the pain in my knees. I figure I’m going to need shiny new ones at some point hopefully far in the future.

There’s in an upside to the increased weight, my alcohol tolerance has become much better than it was when I was skinny. A couple of pints back then and I would have been shitfaced whereas now I can put away quite a bit more before the inevitable, I also very rarely chunder due to booze nowadays which can’t be appreciated enough. On the flipside hangovers are absolute bastards, they last 2 days if I’m lucky and if I head out for a proper night out then I’ll essentially feel bollocks for the best part of the week.

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With the physical out of the lets talk about the mental. My depression seems to be a reasonable starting point given I’ve discussed it before. Obviously I have a much better understanding of what it is, how it impacts me and what I can do to help myself a bit when it sets in. I also now that anti depressants don’t work for me but counselling does which has been helpful in the past. I’ve accepted that it’ll likely always be something I struggle with but I also know that I determined not to ever let it get the better of me.

I’ve never had anything approaching a healthy relationship and I think I’ve finally learned to spot a situation which will end badly for me which is handy. I’ve also learned that you can’t make another person responsible for your happiness, it’s not fair on them and it stops you taking responsibility for your own happiness. This is has been an important lesson, learning it has made me think that I’m better prepared to avoid a toxic relationship in future and also makes me believe that I’d have something decent to offer in a relationship, though I also concede that this currently imaginary person would require the patience of a damn saint. Confidence wise not a lot has changed over the years, I’m still painfully shy around people I like and I have more than a fair amount of self doubt when it comes to taking risks with people I’m interested in, and I’m still utterly clueless as to whether someone likes me which in terms of combinations is as fucking useless as you’d expect.

I still the same smart arse bastard I always was, the difference is that now I’m well aware that I don’t know everything and have a lot to learn. This is actually something I’ve come to enjoy over the years, learning new things and new challenges helps keep my brain active in a positive way which is needed. I’ve also always been a fan of having weird and trivial knowledge about weird things, there’s nothing quite like relaying some freaky or disgusting fact to a friend and watching their look of horrified fascination.

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I’m a lot more self aware now, I know the kind of person I want to be and I try and make an effort to make sure I work on that as much as I can. I’d like to think my friends know how much they mean to me, I certainly try to make sure that they feel valued. I’ve also decided that changing aspects of what make me who I am because I feel that’s what growing up means is fucking stupid, unsurprisingly it turns out that I’m far happier just being who I am, shocking to think how long it took me to that particular realisation.

In my efforts to be the best version of me I’m capable of being I’ve learned a few things that have been useful. Things like patience and control of my temper, I used to have an awful temper and getting to the point where I’m calmer has been incredibly useful but has also been incredibly challenging. This has been worked on mainly because I didn’t think it was healthy to be so angry all the time and also because I was capable of being a properly spiteful prick at times. Ultimately it’s definitely a change that’s made me feel a lot happier in myself and I tend to offend people marginally less as a result.

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I have an appreciation for other people’s ideas and opinions where this wasn’t always the case. The issue with arrogance is that you tend to think your opinion is the only one that matters which is obviously fucking ridiculous. One of my favourite things about making the effort here is that it’s opened the door to discussing opinions with people and debating with them in a respectful and often incredibly interesting way. I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has altered or enhanced my way of thinking about some things. Life is a lot more interesting if you’re able to swallow your pride a little.

As a kid there was only one thing that really scared me, thoughts around death. I’ve always been terrified of dying and of the people I love dying too, it’s a little silly in a way as it’s a natural part of life but the idea that you essentially cease to be at some point down the road is something that scares the shit out of me. And the issue with getting older is that you begin to realise that the constants in your life like parents and grandparents aren’t going to be around for ever. The bittersweet part is that this realisation can make you treasure the time you spend with these people that much more. I know that when people go it’s heartbreaking but from a personal standpoint I know that I’ll have lots of really great memories to look back on.

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Getting older can add a few more fears into the mix, not always rational and definitely not helpful and I’ve got a few, I worry that I’m going to go through life never knowing what I actually want to do with it, I’ve fallen into a career of sorts in something I”m reasonably good at and that potentially gives me chances to progress in different directions but it’s also a job I don’t think I’m well suited to personality wise. I’ve kinda lucked into a current role that seems to embrace the person I am but that hasn’t always been the case so there’s always a nagging doubt in my head-on that front.

I also worry that I’m going to end up alone, which in a way is fucking ridiculous given the fact that I have a number of good friends and that I’m pretty close with my siblings, all of whom seem to enjoy my company and make the effort to spend time with me which is obviously nice. The worry is that I’ll never meet someone and actually have something approaching a healthy relationship, which is obviously compounded by my own fears of being rejected getting in the way of me actually attempting to instigate something with someone I like which is definitely something I need to work on, That being said better to be alone and happy with myself that in a shitty, toxic relationship that gradually changes me as a person in a negative way.

There’s obviously instances where I look back and wonder if I should have made different choices in my. Things like whether I should have stayed at college or made different job decisions, crap like that. There’s an element of wondering how things would have turned out in those circumstances but I never really dwell on it too much as it’s largely pointless and because it’s due to the choices I’ve made that I’ve got the friends I’ve got and I would change that for anything really.

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That being said I’d probably give the younger me some advice given the opportunity. I’d like let him know the importance of his friends just so that he’d not wait quite so long to make that connection, I’d also have a serious talk about depression so that this could have been identified a lot sooner and a decent amount of bullshit could have been avoided. I’d also advise lottery numbers as standard just so as to be rich enough to do things like travelling and all that kind of stuff, but who wouldn’t do that given the chance.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the person I’ve turned out to be for the most part, even if I’m essentially falling apart. I think too much a lot of the time but it’s also made me a pretty decent person who is incredibly loyal to the people I care about which seems to be appreciated. Obviously there is always work to be done but it’s something I’m quietly confident about being able to achieve, it seems like a degree of wisdom has come with age so there’s a pretty decent chance that this continues to be the case as I get older.

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Minimalism is a pain in the arse

I’m a hoarder by nature, this is something that I’ve apparently inherited from my mother as she’s pretty bad. I understand her rationale to an extent, my folks didn’t have much money when we were kids due to them paying for our education, so she got quite good at spotting a multi buy deal, something she has continued to this day god love her.

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I’d like to say that my hoarding is based on something as understandable as this but it isn’t, mine is a combination of laziness, a refusal to accept that I don’t need something and a misplaced optimism that I will eventually find a use for an item. That being said when I do have a clear out (which is nowhere as often as i should) it tends to be quite a brutal affair where it turns out i can actually be quite ruthless.

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One of those clear out periods is currently in progress due to the fact that my room has essentially become an utter shithole and it’s about time I did did something about it. The upside to living at home is that it’s just the one room I’ve managed to turn into a dump rather than an entire house so every cloud and all that, I didn’t realise quite how much shit I’ve managed to accumulate though.

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I’ve already started to make some changes to buying habits. I’m buying far more stuff digitally than I ever used to. I like having the physical copies of stuff but actually book, film and TV series are tend to be a bit cheaper digitally and there always seems to be offers on which is nice. Games companies haven’t quite got the memo with the new stuff yet which is inconvenient.

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Day one of the clear out has has involved moving all my old comics out of my room and Jesus H Christ I had a fuck load in various parts of my room that I wasn’t even aware of. The other thing was to stat clearing out old packing boxes that I’d been using to store stuff in and to start lobbing stuff that had no purpose into a bin bag to be chucked out at the earliest opportunity.

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There’s going to be a tip run to get rid of some this shit at some point this week, and I’ll be a good son and get rid of some stuff tomorrow. The issue I have is that after day one my back and hamstrings ache like a bastard, turns out I’m aa fucking mess who needs to start doing some exercise once this self inflicted soreness wears off, which I’m hoping will be sooner rather than later.

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The likelihood is that then that’ll be it for another little while with my room as I’m a lazy shitbag and I tend to get distracted by other, more interesting things. The aim though is to actually try and stick with this while I’ve gotten some momentum. I mean I’ll never be totally minimalist but it’d be nice to enter my room at some point and not feel mildly ashamed at the disgraceful state it’s in.

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The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same

It’s been an odd few months since March. I finally got myself a new job, which has been pretty awesome as it’s been the job i’ve essentially been waiting on for the past couple of years. It’s working with a really good team who I get on well with and generally have a laugh with and based on feedback I’m doing reasonably decently which is always nice. 

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I’ve also been doing more writing for my friends gaming website which has been a nice outlet and it’s been fun writing about things that interest me. I’d definitely say being interested in what you’re writing about. I’ve been slacking on the personal blog front though which has been a little bit shit, and kind of follows on from writing about what you’re interested in and I’m not always that interested in myself.

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Which leads me neatly on to the purpose of this blog, for all the progress I’ve made on some levels of my life other aspects continue to elude me. This is either due to my own idiot brain or due to my seeming inability to pay attention when my body is telling me things. I’m the dickhead that once worked through a chest infection saying was a cold in spite of my manager at the time nagging me to go to the doctor.

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Last year I burnt myself out with work, there was a huge project that loads of people were working on and I was given the opportunity to contribute. I did a shitload of overtime and didn’t take much time off, to the point where come November I had about 4 weeks of holiday still to book which given I had about 5 and a half in April gives you some idea of how little time off I’d had.

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I swore to myself that I’d take better care of myself this year in terms of not focussing as heavily on work and taking more time for myself, and to try and be a little healthier. This has sort of come to pass though also not really as demonstrated by the fact that I’ve been feeling run down in the last few weeks to the point where I’ve decided to take a week off work to just chill and veg out.

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I always know when I’m getting rundown as I start to get shitloads of ulcers in my mouth and occasionally my throat (which is pretty bloody unpleasant) which has definitely happened. This time has been slightly different though as I’ve also gotten incredibly spotty. I get spots from time to time but not with this regularity or concentration, which has been fun as I’ve been feeling a little low about my appearance anyway.

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The self consciousness was essentially brought about by an absolute awful photo a friend took of me after we’d crashed at a mutual friends house. Frankly it may be the worse picture of me I’ve ever seen, I look really fat and bloated in it which understandably hasn’t exactly been great for my self confidence, I’m hopeful of using it as the kick up the arse I need to actually start doing some regular exercise though.

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This is where the issues of the exhausting and self consciousness have hit though, I’ve been snappier with friends than I normally am, and because I don’t feel great about myself I’ve also avoided social interaction with certain friends as I’m at a point where I say something as a joke and it sounds like I mean it in the most offensive terms possible. It’s almost like I turn into the biggest prick in the world even though what I’m saying isn’t any different to usual, it’s just the tone makes everything sound far harsher than it’s meant.

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The other thing that’s been odd is that I’ve been over sensitive, which is fucking weird as I’m usually incredibly difficult to offend. I work on the policy of I can’t mock other people unless I can take being mocked and it’s a sound policy. But The last couple of weeks I’ve taken umbrage at things people have said to me when normally I wouldn’t even give these things a second thought.

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All in all I needed a break so I booked a week off work to chill out a little. The basic plan for this week is to build the Lego Voltron I now own, play some computer games and do some reading. I’m also aiming to get some more of my latest tattoo done as that’s coming along pretty nicely an hopefully should only need a couple more sessions doing to be completely finished.

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The good thing about the initial couple of days of the break so far has been that I’ve made a point of having an extra hour or so in bed of sleep and it’s helped make me feel a lot more normal than I’ve been feeling of late which has been pleasant. This also shows that a little bit of effort in looking after myself occasionally is probably a worth while endeavour.

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I also have holidays booked for September and December which gives me something to look forward to. September is a trip to Lisbon which will be cool as I’ve never been and I’m attending the wedding of a real good friend and then December is a long weekend in Tenerife with my best friends for an all inclusive trip which will no doubt be a  shit load of doing nothing and a few cheeky drinks.

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I guess on the plus side at least I’m actually taking the time so there’s that at least, I think I also need to make some other changes at some point so that I’m not sitting around with my own thoughts a lot of the time as no good really comes from that. At least there are signs that I’m learning lessons even if it takes a shit load of time. I guess it’s just a question of making sure I don’t regress into bad habits of running myself into the ground.

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Tattoos – My way of advertising that I’m a huge geek

I’m at a point in my life where I have a few tattoos, I’m up to 13 so far and have plans for a few more at least before I’m done. I’ve limited myself to my arms so far and I think that might be where I draw the line, I may venture onto my legs at some point by nothing on my torso for sure as I no longer have the physique for it. I’m going to talk about the ones I have a little, the geeky connotations for them where applicable and also about some of the personal significance behind some of them (some I just got because I liked the design).

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I’ve always waited between 6 months and a year before getting a tattoo done once I’ve found a design, the logic behind this is that by doing this it means I only get something done that I definitely want. I feel quite fortunate that thus far I’ve not ended up with anything I regret or wish I hadn’t got done. I do need to start getting them touched a little though as general wear and tear means some of them have faded a little bit.

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A Samurai symbol – From doing extensive research before I got it done this means duty, this came about after watching a film called The Last Samurai and going through a normal bout of obsession where I read up on things excessively. I was fascinated by the code of the samurai and picked the symbol for duty out of it as I always try to keep my word where I give it so it was a reminder for me to keep at it. I’d like to think that thus far it’s worked out reasonably well.

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The kanji symbol for wolf – For years wolves have been my favourite animals and I’d spent a while looking for a good wolf tattoo. When I couldn’t find one I started looking at alternative options. I stumbled across the kanji symbol for wolf which I liked the design of and after a lot of checking to validate that’s what the symbol meant I got it done.

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A Buddhist zen symbol – I was reading a boo about zen during a period when feeling depressed and trying to find things that helped, this symbol came from the book and stuck with me so I got it tattooed as a reminder of that struggle with depression. It also ties in nicely to a game called Okami where you you get powers that are triggered by simulated paint brush strokes and this symbol resembles the power that causes the sun to rise in the game, which I think is a nice little coincidence.

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The Roman numerals for 3 – Three is my lucky number, I’m not even sure how that came to be at this point or how lucky it’s actually been for me in the grand scheme of things but it was something I wanted to get done and so I did. Again I can’t say that the tattoo has brought me any specific luck or prevented any misfortune but it makes me happy to have it and it makes for a conversation topic if nothing else.

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The Summoning Dark – This one was taken from a Discworld book called Thud. In it Vimes (who is my favourite character) becomes possessed by a dwarves spirit of vengeance and is left with this mark on his arm. This seemed like a perfect one to get as it serves as a tribute of sorts to my favourite character in the entire Discworld series as well as the series itself.

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The Meta symbol – I like a web series called Red vs Blue rather a lot and it’s based of Halo, a game series I also love. In one of the later seasons a character is collecting AI fragments to try and achieve metastability which in the Halo universe is where an AI can essentially be considered as human. Anyway it’s another two for one geek reference of things I’m super interested in.

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The 4 elements – This one is pure geekiness, I was (and still am a little) obsessed by two cartoon called Avatar and Legend of Korra. This tattoo covers the four elements that the Avatar has to master – earth, water, fire and air. There were a few options in terms of an Avatar but the others I had in mind were far more obvious and on the back of my hand which I have other ideas for should I decide to get that tattooed.

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Kirkwall crest – This one is another geeky one, it’s take from the compute game Dragon Age 2 and is the crest of the city of Kirkwall. It’s stylised representation of a dragon and it’s taken from a game series that I am pretty obsessed with and have been since the first game. I also had been looking at dragon tattoos for a while so it was nice to find one that was unusual and tied into the game too.

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A wolfs head – I did eventually find a wolf design I liked while watching Final Fantasy 7 Advent Children, an anime sequel to the Final Fantasy 7 game. This was a happy accident really as the game was the first RPG I really played and it helped give me a huge appreciation for story driven games so to find a tattoo of something I’d been wanting for ages that linked me to a game that was hugely important to me was awesome.

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Chinese symbols – The symbols mean waiting for serenity and this one is a pure geek tattoo as well as the symbols are taken from the ship Serenity in the TV show Firefly. The show is one that I’ve loved for about 17 years at this point even though it only had one season and a movie. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve recommended it to over the years.

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The Paragon symbol – This tattoo is lifted from a game series called Mass Effect, which I’ve mentioned more than once. It’s the symbol that represents a moral choice within the game that’s classified as good. I always played the paragon route in game and personally in life I try to a decent human being for the most part so this acts as a kind of reminder to be the best person I can be as much as possible.

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The Jolly Roger – Everyone is fascinated by pirates and I’m no exception. This tattoo was the by product of watching all four seasons of Black Sails in a fairly short amount of time. I did a lot of reading up on pirates afterwards, particularly on Jack Rackham who was my favourite character in the series. It turns out he designed the most well known version of the Jolly Roger which seemed perfect for a tattoo.

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The Arishikage symbol – This ones my favourite and takes me back to being a kid. I watched a cartoon called GI Joe and my favourite was a ninja called Snake Eyes, this is the symbol of his clan and he had it tattooed on his arm. It was a tattoo I always remember wanting it. I decided to get it done after completing counselling for the first time as a bit of a treat and actually upon looking into it more found out something else that made it a little more apt for the time period when I got it done. It’s actually also a symbol from the I Ching, an ancient Chinese book of divination and this particular symbol means completion. This seemed pretty appropriate to how I was feeling after completing the counselling.

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This is what I’ve had done so far, I’ve got ideas for what I would like to get done next too. The initial plan is to turn my left arm into a sleeve, the upper arm I’d like to be a sort of autumn leaf motif to go with what I already have there. I’m brainstorming ideas for my left forearm as there’s a number of scars on there that I want to cover up, they aren’t hugely noticeable to other people but they are to me, possibly because I know they’re there due to a period where I self harmed and I’d like them to be covered so as to try and lessen the reminder of that period of time.

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An example of what I’d like to work in at some point is the Nightwing logo. For those who’ve read a little you’ll know that Dick Grayson is my favourite comic book character for a great many reasons. As you can see a continuation of the other geeky tattoos but I figure it works for me so why not stick with it. If nothing else they’re an amusing talking point with people which is not necessarily a bad thing.

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