Category Archives: Lifestyle

Constantly trying to be a better person

I’ve gone back and forth on whether to post this or not given I don’t think it paints me in a great light. I’ve decided to go for it though as I feel like it also shows that I’ve gotten better and am trying to be better and figure that’s not a bad thing to talk about. 

I’ve been what I’d consider to be very lucky in my lifetime, I grew up in stable home with parents that loved each other and me, and the people I went to school with were largely the same. I never met anyone who had divorced parents until I started working at 17. As such I had a very specific view of the world and there was things I didn’t really understand or consider outside of my particular experience at that point.

With the benefit of hindsight a fair few of my viewpoints have been dickish at best, the way I’ve acted towards people has sometimes been problematic, especially towards people I consider friends. I’ve been incredibly lucky over the years as I’ve made incredibly good friends who I’ve learned from, who’ve been patient with me and who have stuck by when I’ve not always deserved loyalty like that. It’s been humbling and incredibly enlightening. 

These days I consider myself to be reasonably open minded, I’m open to learning about things I don’t understand and I want to be someone that doesn’t hate people or mock people because of circumstances outside of their control, traumas they’ve suffered, choices they’ve made or just who they are. It’s just odd to get to a point where you’re used to a certain way of thinking and then gradually that way of thinking is changed as a result of the people you surround yourself with, be it friends, family or work colleagues.

It’s something that’s been hugely eye opening over the years, turns out I was a bit of a prick when I was younger. I still am now to be perfectly honest, I think I’m just much more self aware than I was back then, coupled with the fact that I want to be a better person. As such I try to learn and listen to people, it’s taken time to develop that particular skill being the stubborn, opinionated prick I am but I have to say it’s been one of the most personally rewarding things I’ve done.

There was never any hatred in my thinking when I was younger, I was just the typical idiot who didn’t consider other people when I’d be joking about things. I was also the typical dickhead who thinks making jokes about topics like rape and calling your friends gay as an insult is the height of comedy, and you brush it off as just having a dark sense of humour. In my case I was just an oblivious wanker that didn’t really know much about the world and Jesus it showed more than I’d care to admit.

I think my view of things started to change when I started working at Virgin Megastore when I was about 20. I worked with a decent number of people that were gay or bisexual and basically realised they were just people. This seems so bloody obvious to me now and I question why I was so stupid but I’m just glad I was able to get past that way of thinking as it led to me making some really good friend, becoming more comfortable with myself as a person and just generally making myself more aware of some of the crap they have to deal with from people like I was or worse.

I think and hope that that’s the crux of the human experience, you meet people you care about and you learn to empathise with life experiences that differ from your own. I’m friends with people that have been raped and that immediately stopped me making jokes about it, that perspective of them having to have dealt with that kind of trauma just instantly stopped it being funny to me. For me it was one of those things where it made me angry at myself to think how callous I was and hoI could just make throwaway jokes about things like that. This is the wonderful thing about hindsight, it’s very easy to beat yourself up for past actions.

There’s loads of little things like the above examples that have happened over the years which have been really eye opening to me. From personal experience it’s very easy to just ignore things that don’t fit my worldview and don’t impact me but I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that not everything is about me. It’s been fascinating (sometimes morbidly so) learning more about these things, and I’m a little proud of myself where I’ve taken myself out of my comfort zone to do so, though I appreciate trying to be a non shit human should be the bare minimum.

I’d say I’m not sympathetic in the conventional sense, I don’t think I’m especially great knowing what to say in situations like that. I think I’ve become pretty good at listening and being a bit of a sounding board as I try to approach things from a logical standpoint. This has led to conversations with friends about things like counselling where I’ve had some experience which really helped me. I had a conversation with a friend about it once when she was considering and she said that talking to me about it had helped a little with the way she approached counselling and as a result the she found it a bit useful, it’s nice to know that while I’m learning from other people I have things to offer too.

I think that’s been the thing about my depression, I’m way too hard on myself. I’ve beaten myself up over the years and to be fair on my friends for the most part I don’t think they’ve had a problem with how I’ve been. Sure there will be disagreements about things but I’d like to think that they know I listen to them and take stuff seriously. If anything I’m hyper aware of how I can come across now, probably way more than I need to be in all honesty.

It’s weird because I see the way the world is changing, with racism being called out and with everyday sexism women deal with being highlighter it feels like we may actually wind up living in a world where people are capable of not being dicks to each other and if not necessarily accepting the differences of other people but being respectful and not being wankers about it. I suspect it’s going to be a slow going process to some extent but I figure any improvement of situation for people who are treated badly for things such as race, sexual orientation and things that have happened to them has to be embraced and has to be expanded.

Ultimately I am who I am now as a result of the people I’ve met, talked to, cared for and essentially wanted to learn from. I used to think as a kid I was open minded but I’m not sure I was, at least not on some topics. I’m not 100% sure I am fully now to be honest, I’m still very stuck in my way of thinking on alot of topics but I’m also trying to move away from that. I’m at least open minded enough to acknowledge I don’t know everything and to listen to people who know more about things than I do, which I figure is a decent enough 

This has extended to my friends, I’m trying to be a little bit less argumentative with them and losing my temper when they’ll sometimes say things I disagree with. We’re all stubborn and opinionated so no good tends to come from getting wound up about stuff. I’ve taken this to the point where if things start to get as little heated in our group chat I’ll remove myself from there for a bit to cool off and make sure I don’t say anything I regret. I like to think I’m a slow learner in some respects but I do learn eventually.

I’m not sure how effective it’ll be but I know I’m at least willing to accept when I’m in the wrong and not get offended about it which seems to be the very least I can do. Ultimately though I want my nephew to grow up being someone can see past all these issues and just knows to treat people with decency and respect, the person I aspire to be in essence. Based on how he is at 2 and wanting to be friends with everyone I suspect I’m going to wind up being very proud of him, and probably learning a few things from him.

When all said and done I just want to be the best version me I can be, I want to be there for my friends and help them wherever I can and I want them to know how much they mean to me and the regard I hold them. I don’t want to hate people as it’s exhausting, but if I do hate someone I want it to be because they’re an arsehole rather than for any other reason. And most of all I just want to make my little corner of the world a little better where I can, it doesn’t feel like much overall but at the same time it feels like I’m doing something at least.

If you happened to have read this and stuck with it to the end thank you, I’m not really sure what the purpose of this was beyond trying to convey my mindset a little while also trying to make sense of it myself. I overthink alot so this has been rattling around in my head for weeks now, as a result it may be a little all over the place but I also like to think it comes from a good place and makes some kind of sense.

2021 – Here’s hoping for a good year

As we’ve established 2020 was wank, the pandemic fucked up alot of things. Tons of films got delayed, and it was really difficult to go away anywhere due to the various lockdowns. Honestly it’s been a mercy to see the back of that shit show and hopefully 2021 can’t be any worse, though I wouldn’t surprised if it found a way to be an even bigger load of bollocks. That being said there are a few things I’m looking forward to and am hopeful for so I though I’d discuss them a little bit.

Movies – A lot of films got delayed last year (understandably) to be released in 2021 instead, things like Black Widow and Ghostbusters which I was really looking forward to and then there’s things like the new Matrix film that I’m intrigued by too. Plus there’s always loads of things that come out that I’m not even initially aware of that pique my interest so I’m sure there will be lots of other films I’ll want to see. I think the biggest question will be how that will work after all the Covid shit, will cinemas be able to re-open and things go back to how they were or are we looking at things moving more into the streaming space like some films did in 2020. I honestly hope I can get back to the cinema experience as there’s honestly nothing like getting to see certain films like that.

Holiday – I got a week away in Newquay last year but that was realistically the only proper break I got, I did a pretty shit job of looking after myself. I’m going into the new year with loads of holiday still to take for the remaining holiday year, not sure if I’ll be able to do anything with those aside take time off work but hopefully I’ll be able to do something aside from being sat at home. Hopefully as the year goes on though things will settle down a bit and I can start looking at properly getting away somewhere. I’ve got thoughts on places I’d like to go in the country, there’s the potential of going out to Malaysia to visit a friend if things are less shitty and then maybe I’ll go to Iceland to see the northern lights which would be a dream come true. Essentially I need to take time off work, take the time to actually get away from normal life and chill out while also getting to go exploring and discovering cool new places.

Endlords – Sometime pre 2007 I started reading the Sword of Shadows series of books by JV Jones, like a few other books around that time this was started by randomly looking at book covers in shops and then reading the blurb on the back to see if there was an instant appeal and with this series it resonated with me much more than initially expected due to what I personally thought was excellent character work and an interesting premise. At that point there were 2 books and since then there have been a further 2 books with the last being released in 2010. I’ve then had to wait for the fifth book to be written which may also wind up being the finale to the series so it’s one I’ve been anticipating for a while. I know the author had issues getting it started but since then it seems to have been going a little better for her, I have no idea if the tentative release window of 2021 is accurate but I’m obviously hoping it is as at this point it’s possibly the book I’ve been anticipating the most for quite a while.

TV – There’s been alot of good stuff I’ve watched over the course of 2020, the streaming services have offered a pretty cracking selection of options. There seems to be a fair bit coming out in 2021 that immediately appeals, you’ve got stuff like the Marvel shows that fit into the MCU, the third season of Cobra Kai (which I’ll have probably hammered before this actually gets posted) and then Star Wars shows nearer the end of the year. There also stuff like Ozarks which I really want to watch but haven’t got round to yet. I’m sure there will be stuff that I’ll miss that will be recommended to me as well which I’ll obviously give serious consideration to as that tends to work out quite well generally. I’m also really hoping for season 4 of the Dragon Prince, I know it’s in production currently but no idea what the turnaround time is like, at worst there should be some news about it at least.

Seeing people – 2020 has largely been a pretty difficult year for seeing friends as much as I’d have liked which was unexpected given alot of the time I find being social quite tiring. I managed to see few people which was nice but it’s been oddly lonely in spite of it being easy to stay in touch with people via the phone. I’m really hoping that I can see people face to face more often and do normal things like going to the pub, out for a meal or to the cinema to watch a film. Some of my friends live a little ways away too so being able to go and see them potentially means getting away for a little bit which would be lovely too. It’s been weird not seeing my best mate and his kids as much as usual, where we’d usually do something at least once a month so I’m definitely looking forward to future fancy beer nights and what not.

Games – This will be the first year of the new console generation so there’s hopefully going to be some good stuff coming that hasn’t been announced as yet. Of the stuff that has been announced I’m really looking forward to the Mass Effect Trilogy remaster and Halo Infinite and I’ll most likely wind up getting Cyberpunk too. I really hope they fix Assassins Creed Valhalla as I’m currently stuck on the story due to a bug that doesn’t allow me to progress which is infuriating. I’ll also likely make a decision on whether to get a Playstation 5 this year though that’s going to depend on what’s coming out as there’s currently nothing out that makes me want one, I know there’s going to be stuff coming out it’ll just depends on whether it comes out this year or not. I’m also hoping for an E3 return so that my mates and I can do our usual thing of watching the conferences and commenting along with the reveals as it’s really fun.

Nightwing – It’s been a hard couple of years as a Nightwing fan, the Ric Grayson arc was incredibly hard work. That’s over now so I was obviously looking forward to Dick Grayson being back and doing his thing. Then DC made an announcement that Tom Taylor was going to be taking over the writing in 2021 and I won’t lie I got a little emotional as he’s a writer I think is pretty amazing and in interviews since the announcement he’s said he wants to be working on the book for a long time and wants to establish Nightwing as a character on the same level as characters like Batman and Superman which is a huge deal. It honestly has gone from something I was looking forward to to becoming something I’m genuinely excited about. I can’t wait to see how it’s going to pan out and what adventures await, and I’m also really interested to see how Barbara Gordon is going factor into it all. I have high hopes and honestly can’t wait for March to get here to read the starting point.

So yeah I’m really looking forward to this year, providing things start to go back to some semblance of normal I think there’s a lot to look forward to. It’s nice to have things to look forward to after the last 12 months. There’s always the possibility of unexpected things happening too which generally winds up being a positive thing. All in all after last year it’s pretty much impossible for me to not try and look for positives so fingers crossed it’ll pan out to be a cracking year.

2020 – a bit of a review of a bollocks year

2020 has largely been an utter shit show, Covid has basically meant that pretty much everything has been delayed or closed at various points in the year so normality has been very much disrupted to a pretty awful extent. As it stands I thought I’d discuss what I’ve been doing with my year to try and essentially make it through and how I’ve been doing mentally over the course of the year as it feels like something that’s worthwhile to discuss.

I think the big thing has been work, I’ve been working from home since about February and I’ve been grateful to have had the work to maintain some kind of structure to my days. It’s been insanely busy all year and it’s been way too easy to work longer than normal and I’ve not really taken much holiday as there’s not really been much point due to not really being able to go anywhere so it’s been exhausting at times which hasn’t been great overall. You’d think I’d have learned this lesson over the years but the unique circumstances of this year have meant that’s all gone out the window to some extent.

This obviously had some impact on my mental health, depression thankfully hasn’t been too bad compared to how it’s been in the past but it’s taken a few serious knocks over the course of the year. It’s just very easy to do when you’re largely in the same place pretty much constantly and you’re limited on what you can do where you’re used to just being able to go wherever you want whenever you want. I’m genuinely grateful to be living with my folks as it stands as I dread to think how things might have gone had I been stuck on my own the entire time.

I’ve been finding stuff to do to keep myself busy away from work. I’ve play a shit load of computer games this year. Highlights have the Final Fantasy Remake and Assassins Creed Valhalla (though I’ve hit a game breaking bug 120 hours in which is infuriating), these have helped keep my brain occupied. The think I’ve played most this year has been Animal Crossing though, because a game about doing chores on your island every day is such a break from real life. However making friends with all the animals on your island is absolutely delightful, so much so that I’ve invested around 

I’ve also used the time to watch alot of TV shows, it’s been nice to finally get round to watching some stuff I’ve meaning to get to for ages like She-Ra and the Dragon Prince, those were great successes. I’ve also watched the second seasons of Altered Carbon and the Mandalorian which were both excellent, there’s been various other things along the way too as there’s alot of good stuff coming out. I also had the enjoyment of getting my dad into things like Bosch while he was on furlough which my mum also got into as well.

I’m not sure if it’s down to how some of the things I’ve watched this year have resonated with or just the nature of being stuck at home but I’m definitely more emotional than I have been historically though probably still nowhere near what a normal person would consider to be healthy. I’ve discussed in a couple of other blogs what essentially opened this particular Pandora’s box but it’s definitely not gone back to how it was before. This actually feels healthy progress for me after years but I’m still not sure how to deal with it all, I figure it’s only a matter of time until something turns me into an utter sobbing mess though.

I’ve naturally watched an absolute fuck ton of films over the course of the year, though very few cinema trips which has been bizarre as usually I’d got a few times a month. I’ve obviously used the time I’ve had to watch lots of films I’ve not watched before which the streaming services have helped with immeasurably, though I also didn’t realise exactly how many films I own that I’ve never watched. I’ve a lot of really good stuff this year and to alleviate boredom and for shits and giggles I’ve also watched more than my fair share of utter bollocks, that element has largely been a terrible idea but it has had the upside of giving me things to rip to pieces.

This film watching has also got me writing much more this year, I appreciate that alot of what I’ve written about has been film. The seeming side effect of this is that I’ve been having more ideas of things to write about than I have in the past so I’ve made a point of making notes for these ideas as I’ve gone along so that I have a starting point to work from. It’s been oddly reassuring to be getting ideas to the point where I have a backlog of things I want to write about as usually it’ll be me wanting to write but struggling for ideas which just sucks the fun out of it for me and keeping it fun is really important for me.

I’ve also read quite alot this year, comics and graphic novels have made up a large proportion of this as I bought alot books early in the year, things like Nightwing collections and Batman stuff I’d not known about before and that’s been pretty great. What’s definitely been a highlight has been the books though, I’ve naturally checked out a decent amount of stuff that falls well within my comfort zone as I know with some certainty I’ll enjoy it. I’ve had a few recommendations this year though such as the Stephen Fry Greek mythology books and a couple of others I’ve already written about and I’ve absolutely loved them, they’re not things I’d have ordinarily picked out for myself so I’m very glad I listened to my friends, I’d definitely do so again.

I’ve basically become partly feral over the course of the year, I’ve not had a haircut in over a year and I’ve shaved maybe 3 times all year so I think it’d be fair so say that I look like a bag of shit, it’d be slightly less bad if I could grow a proper beard rather than the patchy mess that actually grows but what can you do. I’ve also essentially spent the year wearing shorts or tracksuit bottoms with hoodies it’s genuinely going to be a struggle when I have to start wearing jeans on a daily basis again as I don’t need that sort of discomfort in my life.

I managed to get down to Newquay for a week in October which was needed, it was essentially the first week off I’d really had up to that point so I was pretty run down and shattered. I went down with big plans of doing lots of things but when I got down there I just couldn’t be bothered to do much so it turned into a weekend of going out wandering for a bit then just going back to the apartment to veg out and read or watch something. It turned out to be exactly what I needed, it was nice to just be able to slow down and recharge without having anything to sort out for a change. Obviously next time I’d like to do the whole getting out and exploring and finding awesome places to visit but this was a nice and well needed break.

On the whole the year has mostly been shit, there have been some up sides aside from those mentioned above such as getting to see a decent amount of my nephew which has been cool as he’s turning into a proper cheeky little boy now and is alot of fun. Hopefully next year is going to be a significant improvement on this one, but it looks like the start of the year is going to be much the same as this one which sucks. Hopefully it can’t be as soul crushing as this year has been over the course of the whole thing but I guess we’ll see how it goes.

Surviving 2020 – Trying to make the best of a shitshow

So 2020 has been a funny old year so far, not funny haha per se but more funny in the sense of being fucking weird. I’ve been working from home since March because of the whole Covid 19 pandemic and it’s been a weird time. I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve worked the whole time so I’ve at least had some structure to my days for the most part, though it’s going be weird when I can go back into the office and realise I can’t just live in shorts or jogging bottoms anymore and just rolling out of bed whenever and logging in won’t be as possible at that point. Honestly I think still being at home with my parents has been useful as at least it’s meant I’ve had someone to talk to on a daily basis which has definitely been advantageous.

I’ve gone more or less full bag of shite at this point, I’ve not had a haircut since last year so my hair is starting to get pretty long now, no idea how long I’ll keep it for but I have no intention of going to a hairdresser as it stands. I think it’s now the longest it’s been in about 20 years so my curiosity currently has the better of me, combined with there being no need for me not to look a state. I’ve also just basically let my facial hair grow, which given my inability to grow anything that isn’t patchy as fuck has gone about as well as you’d expect. I’ve had to trim it back a couple of times to stop the consuming of food being any messier than normal but when combined with the hair is quite look. 

My mental health surprisingly has been pretty good for the most part, obviously the whole situation hasn’t been ideal but as an introvert who generally isn’t always the most sociable I’m basically largely in my element not having to actually see people, I’ve kept in touch with my friends and family so that’s helped. My depression did get particularly bad in August, I can’t say it was a huge surprise and I’ve thankfully got things I can do that at least help keep my brain occupied with other things, and it’s eased off now thankfully though I’m seriously considering counselling again just to be on the safe side as while I feel ok at the moment, when it got bad I was feeling some old behaviours creeping back in and like I was starting to push people away, though on the plus side I was at least not doing it in the aggressive way I would in the past, it was more of a case of me actively trying to remove myself from people I’d talk to a lot.

I feel like part of the reason for the depression hitting as hard as it did was the whole working from home thing, more the just seeing the same four walls more or less every hour of every day which has just become frustrating. The fact that I’ve not been sleeping very well since the start of all this isn’t helping either as I’m pretty much constantly tired and by the time I finish with work I have no motivation to do anything other than just veg and watch or play something. Realistically I need to motivate myself to get out and go for a walk or something and just decompress and separate work from downtime a bit. I’m also feeling seriously burnt out at the moment as I’ve not really had any proper time off, I had a week off work in July but it was still spent being stuck at home so again no really separation from what has become the norm. On the plus I’ll be going down to Newquay next month all being well, so that should be nice as I’ll be able to potter round at my own pace and just do what I want to do and go exploring or just chill out and do whatever which feels needed right now.

I’ve also found myself recently feeling far more emotional than I have in a very long time, it seems to have come about after a specific scene in a tv series hitting with an emotional gut punch that got an incredibly raw reaction from me and very nearly had me sobbing. Since then I’ve had a variety of moments that have made me well up which has been unexpected. It’s been when reading, watching things, playing games and even when listening to specific pieces of music and I’m not really sure how I feel about it. On the upside it’s kinda reassuring to know that I’m not a robot and am capable of emotional reactions to things beyond rage but it’s also a little scary as it’s not something I’ve really been used to over the last 20 or so years. I think that’s another reason for considering counselling, I feel like I want to try and make sense of it and try to cultivate it almost as it feels like it’s something that’d be beneficial to me in the long run.


In terms of what I’ve being doing to keep busy I’ve watched alot of TV shows on the various streaming services. Highlights have been getting to rewatch the Mandalorian and Cobra Kai on a huge TV where I’d seen them on a much smaller screen before. She-Ra and the Owl House were both absolutely fantastic, with the former being something I’ve written about at length and the latter reminding me of Gravity Falls which is never a bad thing. New seasons of Bosch, Lucifer, After Life and Altered Carbon have been hammered in quick time and I’ve started the new season of The Boys recently though the weekly release schedule is irritating. It’s been nice to finally get round to watching things like Castlevania and Kipo and trying new things like Space Force too. There’s still loads I want to watch, the intention is to watch Bojack Horseman and the Dragon Prince next as I’ve had them both recommended to me by friends. I’ve also been keeping up with Last Week tonight which is always incredibly informative while being very funny.

I’ve also watched a shit load of films, I’ve been trying to make a point of watching films I’ve not seen before so that I’m not just watching films I’ve seen loads of times before. It’s been a good call for the most part as it’s given me a chance to watch films that I’ve bought at various points when they’ve been cheap and just not bothered watching them, and also a good chance to finally watch stuff on my watchlists on the various streaming services I use. This has worked out pretty well as I’ve watched some good stuff and some truly terrible stuff which has been fun to then rant about afterwards. What’s been nice has been kinda re-discovering anime, I hadn’t watched any for absolutely ages, I always keep any eye out for interesting stuff to get and then never actually bothering with it. Well I’ve watched a few of those films lately and they’ve stuck with me way more than I was expecting so I’m making a point of re-watching stuff I’ve not seen in a while and also trying to be a bit more active in looking for new films that might be of interest.

I’ve read alot, initially it was comics as again I had a few books that I’d not gotten round to reading, there’s been stuff like Lumberjanes which I prioritised after watching She-Ra due to the Noelle Stevenson link and a shitload of Batman stuff as starting points and I’ve bought other comic books and graphic novels that have looked interesting as I figure I’ll actually get round to them as things are. I’ve also read a butt load of books on my kindle, most have been spin offs of games tv shows that I’m interested in but I’ve read some autobiographies too. The highlight book wise though was Daisy Jones and the Six which was recommended to me by a friend, it’s not something I’d normally read but it was excellent so I’d definitely listen to recommendations in future and actually the next book I read, after the one I’m currently on, will be another recommendation called The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I’ve also hammered through a manga series in the last couple of days which has been interesting as I’d seen the film that had be made that was based on it and wanted to see how much of the series made it into the film.

There’s been quite alot of gaming too. I’ve played a fuck ton of Animal Crossing to the point where I’ve hit well over 400 hours at this point which is fucking ridiculous whichever way you look at it. I’ve also finally gotten round to playing Assassins Creed Origins, which was great, and the Final. Fantasy 7 remake which was as enjoyable as I’d hoped it would be. I think the biggest things that’s helped keep me sane has been the online gaming with my friend, it’s been good to be able to keep in contact with them while playing as the chatting shit, bickering like dickheads and just generally having other people to talk to has been very helpful for me. We’ve also played a fairly large selection of games, some of which have been fun and some of which have been utterly fucking awful. Sea of Thieves and Golf With Your Friends are the games that tend to be played the most, and Forza Horizon 4 too which is a surprise as I don’t tend to enjoy driving games that much on account of me being want at them as a rule.

I’ve done a bit of writing too, I did a couple of blogs quite early on and I’m currently working on about 5 other blog type things where I’ve had a few bolts of inspiration and have cracked on while I’ve been feeling motivated as I know I can be really damn fickle with that and it’ll start to feel like a chore and I don’t want the when I write as I want to be able to enjoy it as I see it as a bit of an outlet for me. I think the weirdest thing is that I’ve started revisiting an idea I had for a story back when I was about 16, it was just a fan fiction type thing that followed on from a game I love but written a fair bit though it was a small fraction of the story I had in my head. It’s been kind of fun re-reading it now and seeing what I’d change now that I have different story telling ideas in my head from where I’ve learned new narrative techniques over the years, to the point where I’ve thought about how I’d change things up and how I’d mitigate the fact that I’ve always been shot at writing dialogue. It may be something that I gradually start working on again, the interest is definitely there at least.

I’ve been semi glad of work while all this has been going on to be fair, as I’ve been working all the way through. It’s been hectic and hard work as we seem to have been busier than we were before this all started but it’s also made sure that my days have some semblance of structure to them which has been necessary as I remember what I was like when I was on gardening leave and off work for 3 months, I basically became nocturnal and had way too much time with my own thoughts which can be less than ideal for me. I have made the mistake of not really taking any time off which meant that when I got to July meant I’d run myself into the ground which wasn’t helped by the issues I’ve been having sleeping the whole time. A week off helped but the fact that I couldn’t get away and have a proper break wasn’t so good. I’ve got a week off in October as it stands and I’m aiming to go away to Newquay for a week so hopefully that will help me recharge a little.

I think the sleep issue is the biggest thing I need to sort at the moment, I’m not getting anywhere near enough at the moment and it’s pretty shit, I’m having trouble getting to sleep and then having a broken night which is naturally less than ideal. I’ve not helped myself either to be fair as I’m not doing anywhere near enough exercise, which would probably help with my mood too. It’s been nice being able to get out of the house of late and I’ve been able to go out for walks with my brother and nephew so need to try and do more of that. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle at this point though as by the time I’m done with work I’m tired and all I want to do is sit and watch or play something without wanting to do anything too intense as I have no motivation to do anything else. It’s probably going to have to be something I’m going to need to actually force myself to do in spite of everything else as ultimately it’s going to be in my interests to do so.

So yeah the year to date has been weird and hard, I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve managed to stay safe and all my friends family haven’t had any health issues with is the most important thing when all said and done. There are things I need to do in order to make sure my health, mental and physical, is properly looked after but keeping myself busy has definitely been a plus. We’ll see what happens with the rest of the year but being able to see people and just get out and go to the shops has been great, even with having to wear a mask which I’m not a fan of but will do as it’s just a sensible precaution. Hopefully things will go back to some semblance of normalcy but ultimately it’s just going to be a case of making sure I keep myself safe and do my best to make sure I minimise the risk anyone I interact with too. It’s ultimately a pretty modest goal for the rest of the year but it’s been that much of a shit show already that it’s about all that can be hoped for.

2019 – Christ, August already

This year feels like it’s going way too fast, it’s August already and it seems to have basically shot by. It’s been a weird old year so far, there’s definitely been a decent amount of positives which is a good thing and the negatives have been either outside of my control or I have a rough idea of how to sort, I’ve also got things to look forward to which is a definite plus point.

d98dfe55dc48a13cec1486c0e6119f6325b5e9d3092d25ad31727b7190e307b3Negatives wise as I’m writing this I’m feeling a little iffy mental health wise, I realistically think this is just because I feel a bit run down and in need of a break which I will be looking to rectify as soon as possible. I think I’ve been overly cautious with holiday as I’m potentially going away in January so I’ve basically stockpiled my holiday foolishly. The upside though has been that I’ve been largely pretty good so far this year, I’ve generally been feeling pretty positive which is definitely a pleasant surprise.

The other main negative is that I’ve somehow managed to be in 2 car accidents. Nothing serious thankfully and not my fault either but after 37 years of no drama to have 2 in the space of 2 months is a little bit shite. I never realised how much of a ball ache it is sorting all the insurance and stuff, plus whiplash is utter ballbag. Though I obviously completely appreciate that I’ve really not got much to complain about in the grand scheme of things.

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Actually there’s been some nice positives, for a start the job I moved into last year seems to be going really well, I’m really enjoying it and the indication from management is that I’m doing pretty decently which is always a good sign. I feel really pleased that I waited for chance rather than going for something else while I was waiting and I’m hoping that I can continue to get better, it just feels like it’s the right job for me and they even tolerate me as I am rather than wanting me to be someone I’m not which is awesome.

I managed to get away for a week in Newquay in April which was nice, I enjoyed going somewhere I’d not been before and getting to discover places that interested me and get out and about. I did a lot of walking that week and had a decent mixture of relaxing and doing stuff. I think I’d definitely take a similar approach of having a little bit of a structure next time I go away as it seemed to work wonders for me.

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I’ve done some solid adulting this year too, saved up enough a deposit on a house and got a decision in principle for a mortgage. I Also realise I’m in a pretty solid position so can take my time to find the right place rather than needing rush. Essentially the plan is to see what I can find before the decision runs out and then if I don’t find the right place pick up next year when I should have a bit more saved up and can potentially have more options available.

I’ve done a decent amount of writing so far this year, mostly for my mates website twobeardgaming.com about games, films and other things. The best part of that has been that someone saw a review of a book I’d done and offered me the chance to review a book he’d written, which was a really nice surprise. It’s definitely the sort of thing that adds a bit of motivation to keep writing even when it can sometimes feel like a bit of a chore.

Even the usual manic obsessions haven’t been as prevalent really this year, I’m going through one at the moment but it’s just wanting to re-read old Nightwing comics which in the grand scheme of things is actually pretty manageable and not as infuriating as some things I’ve latched onto in the past as know a reasonable amount about Nightwing already so there’s no real need to stay up til stupid times at night doing research.

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The rest of the year should be alright too, we’re hitting peak game time so there will be a lot coming out to play. There’s some good films on the way including the new Star Wars and then there’s obviously my nephews first birthday and getting to see him at Christmas too which will make it all a bit more special as while it’s obviously nice to spend time with family it’ll be cool to see all the stuff he’ll get as he’s totally going to get spoilt.

There’s also the yearly winter break with my mates in December to look forward to, looks like that’s going to be a sun break and while I’d usually bitch about this (mainly as I hate flying) this year it feels like a decent shout, just need to find a good place at a reasonable price that throws in decent booze in the all inclusive offering. There’s also the possibility of getting to visit a friend in Malaysia in the new year which I really hope pans out as it’d obviously be nice to catch up with the friend and also get to go somewhere I’ve never been and do the whole exploring thing.

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So yeah could be a fun last couple of weeks of the year and a pretty splendid start to next year if it all pans out, obviously the more stuff I do the more material I’ll have to write about so it could all work out nicely.

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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