Tuesday, 30 July 2013

My thunder!

She has been stolen! Well, kind of....so, my mum's going to university next year....and so's my brother the year after....so my thunder is being stolen! Well, maybe...see, when I say my mum's going to university I'm actually talking about she's going to Truro to do an FDA in jewellery and silver work, and my brother, well he's trying to get onto to an Access Course and then university, but he doesn't know what he wants to do...so, yeah....but still, I don't know, they've never been bothered about it until I actually got into university and now they're all about it! Maybe I'm just being cynical (and that's entirely possible, I am the biggest cynic I know....though I sometimes fear I'm not cynical enough), but it seems to me that they've seen what I've accomplished and thought "well, if he could do it, anyone can!" little knowing how much thought and effort I actually put into getting to this stage. What makes me think this is my mother asked me to help her sort out her UCAS application and I was making sure she'd thought it through, asking what she'd do for money, where would she live, what would happen to the dogs and all that, and it was just "yeah, I'll deal with that at the time." You may think to yourself "well, she doesn't have to know exactly what to do about any of that now, it's at least a year away" and that is a perfectly valid, logical line of reasoning...if you didn't know my mother. When she says she'll deal with it when the time comes what she actually means is that she'll deal with it long after the times come, gone, is past and now long since when distant history...see, all my family are like that, even me to a certain extent (though I really have tried to work on it), we're ridiculously compulsive about things that pique our interest. For example, I'm sure that anyone who's spoken to me knows that I have a tendency to go on at length about random subjects once I've got the bit between my teeth. It really is this obsessive compulsive trait we have whenever we find that one topic...and I think that is what has happened here....but they don't entirely realise just how long I've been planning this.

See, I just completed an Access to HE course and that's great, that's grand! A winner is me! But then....that wasn't the first time I'd attempted a level 3 course and it wasn't the first time I'd even applied to an Access course after failing the first three attempts at A-Levels. The course I've just finished was the third time I'd applied to do an Access course. I think I've talked about my post school education before, but in case I haven't, short recap, I went to sixth form to do an International Baccalaureate course, which got cancelled in its first year. Then I went to college to do A-Levels, dropped one of the three almost immediately, completed the first year, dropped out in the second because the sads, tried to go back the next year to complete, dropped out again because MEGA SADS, spent a year moping, then I died and our story picks up in the next year when I tried to go back to college to do an Access course. I applied but they didn't even get back to me. I did a sad face and to alleviate the despair of my soul I took to walking around Liverpool at night, fighting vampires, werewolves and other creatures of the night (like moon leprechauns...like regular leprechauns but from the moon! and with sharper teeth...), but I knew that one day I'd have to give up my supernatural vigilantism because there's just no future in it, what with the anti-discrimination laws the super-naturals are getting pushed through parliament at the minute....I don't see why human rights should apply to them, they're not even human! And I don't mean that in a derogatory way, I mean look at them! Some of them have freaking cloven feet! They're ungulates! Like giraffes! Or deer! Or the majestic moose....if the plural of goose is geese, is the plural of moose "meese"? Anyway, I've digressed, the point is I still had the dream of going to university, even if at that moment in time it seemed like I was never going to get there.

The second time I applied was when I was twenty two and this time I actually heard back from them and I had an invite to a test and everything! Oh boy was I ever excited! The centre for the test was in North Liverpool, a place I rarely travel to because I value my sanity, but where my insane sister went to to study nursing (a course she abandoned to take up her lifelong dream of working in fast food....my family are also notoriously short-sighted, "this is making me money now, nurse course isn't, I leave!" was her thought process, no joke, she actually said that and meant it....anyway) and so, when I asked her how to get there, you might reasonably expect her to provide accurate directions. "Get on this bus, get off at this stop, get on this bus, get off at that stop, walk down, and it's there on your left." Seemed remarkably simple...too simple...that should have been my first clue that something was going to go awry. So the day comes, I go get on the first bus, get off, get on the second bus, and I'm going along, all nervous and shit because hey, future on the line, when I realise..."okay, my knowledge of North Liverpool isn't all that detailed...but I know that this is nowhere near where I need to be." And it wasn't, though I'd checked and double checked with my sister in the weeks leading up to that day, she'd evidently given me the wrong bus number to get on.

See, she studied at the college but she did work experience in Alder Hey...and she'd got her bus numbers mixed up, consistently....for weeks.....(bet you're kind of relieved she dropped out of her nursing course for a career in fast food aren't you? It's one thing to accidentally mix up the number of nuggets in your nugget meal, it's quite another to mix up the amount of meds you need to be taking to get better in hospital)...so I leaped off the bus, through the windows because there was no time to wait for it to stop, I ran through the streets yelling incoherent abuse at a sister who was miles away (I know she wouldn't have been able to hear it, but I like to believe that in her soul, she could feel the hate). I ran and I ran and I ran and then I stopped because I was out of breath because I was like 14 and a half stone at the time and hadn't done any exercise in years....then I ran and I ran some more and then I got back to the bus stop where I should have got off and onto a third bus at (eternally thankful to the sweet old lady who helped me) and then I got off that bus and ran and ran some more and I got to the college test centre just on time to be forty minutes late, looking like I'd just ran a marathon...in the rain...so much sweat.....panting, I asked if I was in the right place, I sure was, they let me go in and take the test...and then I never heard back. This time I was a bit pissed off, after the ordeal I'd been through, how could I not be? So I rang them up to ask what the hell was going on (the test, after all, was a piece of piss and not to sound arrogant or anything, but I really could not have failed it...even on purpose, it was that easy). 

They'd not graded my paper...they didn't even know where it was...they said they'd look for it and get back to me later in the day, which of course, they didn't....sometimes it just feels like the whole worlds against you....but you know, really it's just the incompetent idiots of the world that are...they don't mean it, it's just in their nature to be so. So bear them no ill will, you wouldn't hate a cat for being a cat would you? Of course, this is pretty much a do as I say, not an as I do thing, and I raged at them. But it was good in a way, it kind of galvanised my resolve. I'd spent too long blaming others for my own misfortune, like I'd blamed my sister for telling me the wrong bus numbers and that, but really, that was only partially her fault. She made a mistake, but I'd not checked it. I had the Internet, I had the bus time tables, I was unsure of the location of the college, did I ring them and ask them personally how to get there? No, I took the easier option, which turned out incorrect, then blamed that for the error...and that's only partially right, it was my mistake.

The third time I applied to do Access was this year just passed and I'm fairly certain I've talked about that at some point. But yeah, it was basically my sixth attempt at finishing my Level 3, it's something I've been focused on, one way or the other since about the age of 16...and this brings me back to my original point about feeling like my thunder is being stolen....see, I don't begrudge them wanting to self improve, I really don't, I just don't appreciate the manner in which its arose. For me it's been a long and arduous ascent, trial after trial, sacrifice after sacrifice. For them, it's a whim, because someone they know is doing it...and I'm not just being....I don't know the word...about it....but they've never shown any inclination toward it until I'd achieved it. They were content to sit around on their arses, doing nothing, letting the world pass them by, and I don't know, maybe I am just being fantastically cynical and hey, maybe I've actually inspired them to do something, but honestly, I just feel like they're trying to restore parity...can't drag me down to their level again, they'll drag themselves up to mine so it's not such a big deal....God....I am being cynical aren't I? I think that's the next thing I need to work on improving (getting rid of?). Ah well, that's enough writing for now, later taters.        

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Gaming is no longer fun...

So, I've had no Internet for the past couple of days and that's great. Really, it is, maybe it's just me but the Internet seems to eat up so much time. Wikipedia, youtube, tech forums...other certain websites....(do I make the unsavoury and cliché reference to porn or am I classy enough to avoid it....I think I'll give it a miss because I'm all about the class...but I just referenced it.....noooooo!) they all combine, like some sort of virtual Justice League, you know, not as good as The Avengers, but still powerful and interesting enough to keep a hold of a person's attention...if only because of Batman...as analogies go, it's not perfect, but whatever, I'll fix it in the edit. So, anyway, yeah, video games are no longer fun I say, and why? Achievements...

See, a few years ago games started implementing achievements. I think is started on the Xbox 360 or at the least it proliferated best there, and rapidly so, and now achievements are in pretty much everything. They're in PC indie titles, they're on Steam, they're on the PlayStation (where they're called trophies because reasons)...I don't know if they're on the WiiU or whatever, you know, because there are no games there to gain achievements on (oh snap! topical! yeah high fives all round!) but they're pretty much everywhere and they've ruined gaming. Why? Because gaming is now less when you're not able to gain those "achievements". It used to be that completing a particularly tricky jump on a platform game was it's own reward, now it comes with "Achievement unlocked! 20G! a winner is you!" and you know, that's great! Even though the achievement means absolutely nothing, and you'd have had to have done that jump to complete the game anyway, it still feels like you've actually earned something extra. If you don't get the achievement, will it feel as good? It's interesting, in a certain kind of Skinner box sociological experiment kind of interesting way, because now we're no longer looking to simply play a game for the sake of playing, but we're doing it to rack up the most points, we're doing it to unlock those hard to get points, gaming has gone to an extremely meta kind of thinking, where it's "well, if I do it this way, even though it's a hindrance now, I'll get these points later on for doing it." A personal example of this was I completed Duke Nukem Forever wielding the golden desert eagle all the way through the game....all the way....It was a challenge, but was it fun? Was having to kick my way through half the game really all that entertaining because there wasn't enough ammo which didn't matter anyway because the gun, despite having the appearance of a deadly weapon, in reality had all the force and power of a kitten's whispering fart? No, it was a slog. It was work, and worst of all, it was something I didn't even have to do, but did anyway...because points.

That's where no Internet comes in. See, the way most achievement systems work is that you have to be connected to the Internet to register them when you do something in game. Sure, you can earn them offline, but without Internet no body else would know...and they become even more useless than they already are...and as for Steam, sometimes achievements don't unlock when you're offline, they just don't at times, there's no rhyme or reason to it. And this is the point I've been working toward, I was sat there with no Internet, and I thought to myself "maybe I'll play a game...oh...but no net...no achievements....so meh"...don't you see? Achievements have taken the fun out of gaming. And what's worse? They're reducing game quality...think about it, what is the most galling thing to a game developer? Well, it probably varies, because it's subjective to each one, but I'd hazard a guess that high on the list of most of them would be game content that goes unexplored, that isn't used. I'm not saying that every game developer is like this, because they're not (check out the insane detail Hideo Kojima puts into his games, for example) but a lot would and do. They can get more out of people by implementing nigh impossible achievements that keep people coming back for more of the same (look at Halo DLC achievements, then look me in the eye and tell me that there's an all-loving God out there...you won't be able to, and if you could, well then, sir/madam, i admire your fanaticism, please stay away from me...) and the worst part of that is....who can blame them? To use an analogy, why make 1000 pieces of Lego if you can make people spend twice as long and twice as much on just 100 pieces all by telling them that they're unlocking bonuses for using their 100 pieces in "clever" ways? Again, not saying they're all like that, but it's definitely the company policy of some developers and as I say, who can blame them.

"Congratulations, you have reached the end of this blog! You have unlocked 50G! A winner is born and that winner is YOU! "

Friday, 19 July 2013

Seven Weeks

So, it's been about six weeks since my course at college finished and it's seven weeks until I move out for university and well...that's insane...it's annoying for one thing, because I realise that this is basically the last time I'll be able to sit off and do absolutely nothing for a long stretch of time but it's going by so fast. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to university, I just thought that this summer holiday would drag, I was kind of hoping it would so that I could enjoy it, but it's not, it's rushing by. Between writing these blogs and filming other ones for youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/yetisteaparty check it out!) as well as other ongoing projects, I'm kind of swamped with work...

I am enjoying it though, massively so. I know that these things aren't read by a lot of people (or my youtube channel watched) and the book I'm writing at the moment probably won't even ever be published (either by myself or others) but I can't switch off and do nothing, you know, like I wanted to. Which is why time is rushing by, because I am so busy and I am having such a good time writing these things and it is just fun....plus caffeine...caffeine is definitely another reason why I can't power down, I'd probably be a good case sample for the study of the toxicological effects of caffeine on the human body.

I won't get another chance to just do nothing though, (well, not for a good few years anyway) if that makes sense...this summer I have nothing to do, nothing foisted on me, I don't have to work, I don't have to retain knowledge, I don't have to practice writing or do anything, I should just be relaxing, doing nothing, playing video games all day (don't get me wrong, I'm playing my fair share, just, after I've done all the other things) and you know, not forcing myself to do extra activities, especially given that it's so damned hot outside (because really, who wants to be doing anything in this weather, let alone be typing away at a computer screen). 

In a way, I guess, it's somewhat cathartic...I spent a lot of my life doing nothing when I should have been doing something and look at what that got me. So maybe doing something when I've the chance to do nothing will yield some greater reward, at the least it keeps me from fretting over the metaphysical bleakness of existence and really, at the core of it all, isn't that what everyone wants from a hobby? 

Seven weeks though....that's when I move out of my house, bound for the bright lights of the city centre and the first time I'll have moved away from home (at least, the first time I've chosen to leave home and been able to follow through with it). I've never told you all about the time I got kicked out of my house, have I? I think I said I'd tell you about it, at one point, somewhere....well....okay.

So, I killed a guy. Well, no, not quite true, but I came quite close and I would have got away with it if it wasn't for those pesky police. Okay, so maybe I should back up a bit. Because the people who know me will be like "Terence, violent and losing his shit? C'est impossible!" they would say, French being the language of choice for astonishment...so, maybe some context is required. It was about ten-eleven years ago now, my mum was going out with this guy who was just the most horribly underhanded person I had ever met. He wasn't overtly evil, never did anything big like abuse any of us physically or whatever, but would always have to get the last word in, would always say one thing and do another and who would throw tantrums (literal tantrums) until he got his way. A truly petty weasel of a man. I hated him from the off, saw him exactly as he was but no one ever listened to me, and because I'd spoken up against him he always had it in for me. As I said, not overtly, but in little ways, like giving my siblings little presents, like chocolate bars, dvds, games or cakes, and then telling me that he couldn't find anything for me....or taking them to McDonalds or KFC, you know, just little things like that, that could be brushed away if you didn't know the reasons behind it. Then he started blaming me for things. Like the time he misplaced a bottle of vodka and then raged and bellowed so loud that the whole street could hear his accusations that I'd stolen it from him...then he went up to his room in sulk, found it....and then insisted that I'd somehow sneaked into his room, whilst he was there and put the bottle back without his noticing. The most annoying part about it was that my mother believed him saying I'd taken and replaced the bottle...she always did, whenever I said anything about him it was just "you're mistaken" or "he wouldn't do that, stop being stupid." 

The worst part is that he wasn't stupid. He was intelligent and always knew just how to goad me into fights that I couldn't win. I've always had something of a superhero complex, you know, a need to step up and defend what I think is an injustice. Hell, I've fought a literal crowd of teenagers because they were throwing stones at a friend of mine (actually more than a few times....I need to stop hanging around people who get things thrown at them....) and gotten pretty banged up from it, but I've done stuff like that again and again because....well, I'm stupid like that....but yeah, he knew it. So he'd do things like promise to buy my sister a CD as a reward for good behaviour, she goes and does it, didn't get rewarded, I bought the CD for her, I got my tv taken off of me (no video games for me! that monster!). Again, just little incidents that seem silly out of context and on their own, but it builds up you know? One of those a day, a couple of big ones every week....

I can't remember what made me snap, not exactly, he'd done something shitty earlier in the day and my rage was still boiling over. Later that night, when I'd just started to calm down he poked his head into my bedroom and said something, just a snide comment (remember, he always got the last word in?) and I went berserk. Jumped from my seat and started beating the crap out of him. I was about 5'6 at the time, about 130lbs, he was 6'3 and about double my weight, ex-army to boot, and he was scared. The look of fear on his face was comical, he knew he'd finally crossed the line with me. He bolted, ran into the living room and started barricading himself in, I grabbed a knife from the kitchen and started stabbing it through the door....I'd stopped before the police arrived, the rage was gone, but remember how I said he was underhanded? He used that incident to kick me out of the house, which to be fair, was entirely reasonable. What wasn't reasonable was who I was farmed off to....see, he didn't press charges but gave the condition that I was to be shipped off to his sisters house and forced to undergo daily psychiatric screenings to find out "what was causing my anger"...the bastard knew full well he was the problem, the cause of it...but he had his psychiatric friends grilling me everyday, trying to root out the "real" cause....It went on for months....Just this torturous routine of leading questions "You've never met your real father, have you?" and sedatives "take this, these will calm you down" and of course, school...where I wasn't allowed to say anything to anyone (I was so tired and worn out I didn't stop to think "....how would they know?" or even "hang on....i should be doubting the legality of their actions.") and of course the oft-repeated "can't you see, we're trying to make you better." 

The bad thing is, I can't remember most of it. Some days I was quite lucid and I can remember those with clarity but a lot of the time, I was just a zombie, just shuffling about, not really caring for anything....I didn't mean for this one to be such a downer (that seems to happen a lot for some reason...) anyway, who cares, past is past, the future is there to be had, let's go!    

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Nihil oculus

I used to have pretty good eyesight....no, scratch that, really good eyesight, like phenomenally good....I could read books from across the room, I could read the numbers on buses from >100 metres away, I had a stare so intense it could rip a ship in half....okay, that last part may only be half true, but still, I had a pretty damned decent set of peepers.

I don't any more. My eyes are terrible now, they gunk up easily, they're always dry, I need to wear glasses to see, with any clarity, further than like 5-6 feet in front of me....I've lost the ability to cause wanton destruction just by looking at something....*sigh* I miss that most of all. But yeah, seriously, I'm scared of a lot of things, what people think of me, where I'm going in life and how I'll get there....but losing my sight is probably my second biggest fear...just the thought of never being able to see anything again is enough to send a shiver up and down my spine and I don't know, is that an irrational fear? I mean, it may never happen, but it's not outside the realm of chance, especially given with how much the summer is fucking them up.

Then again maybe it wouldn't be so bad, being blind. I mean, I could get another dog, I could get a specially adapted car that's driven by voice-activated computers....I could walk around feudal japan as a blind ronin, disguised as a beggar, calling myself zero-1 and being badass...really, the opportunities are infinite when you're blind! Well, except for you know, being able to see.....yeah....I don't know...

I think I could live without the other senses, you know...I wouldn't like to, but yeah, if someone said to me "sight or hearing, pick one to lose!" I'd have to go with hearing because you know, it would mean I wouldn't have to listen to the scum neighbours screeching and yelling all the damn time and I'd also be able to avoid being properly rickrolled.

Plus, I really like my eyes. Yes, this is going to sound vain, because it totally is, but they're one of the features I really like about myself. I've gone on about transhumanism before and I would probably, if it were purely down to aesthetic terms anyway, replace everything else but leave my eyes....and possibly my knees....I have special knees....I keep them covered all the time because if I let them out people start wars over them....oh lord just thinking about those gorgeous knees of mine is driving me to the plateau! I jest...of course I jest, they really look a potato stuffed in a sock....fucking knees.....anyway, where was I. Yes, I'd leave my eyes alone if it were purely for reasons of vanity. But because of the degradation, that is continuing....they'd probably have to be the first thing to go and be replaced....which sucks, you know....still, I could always have them put in lasers so that I can have a real destructive stare, but it's just not the same...

I didn't plan on writing this....I'm just bored, waiting for midnight to check funds, so I thought I'd write something...because fun! And I don't know, this has just been on my mind all day, because I really hate the summer heat and what it does to my eyes, just, feels like shit, you know. Anywho, I'll write a proper one in the next couple of days, probably something to do with either video games, or zombies, or zombies in video games! Probably not though, could be anything, anything at all! Do you hear me?! Anything! Later taters! *throws a smoke bomb at the floor and escapes in the confusion*

Monday, 15 July 2013

So, about my body...

I think I may have mentioned before how lazy I can be...and if I haven't, I meant to, but, well....I was probably too lazy to do so. Anyway, this has led to my catching a disease, a disease called obesity....which is a real disease that you can catch, like the flu or the AIDS! It's true! I saw a documentary on it! 

I kid, I kid...but not really, see, I know that yes, some people are genetically predisposed toward being hefty motherfuckers, hell, I'm one of them thanks to the dodgy thyroid I inherited from my mother, but mostly (as in, in most cases) fat people are fat because, and mark this, they eat too fucking much. This coupled with a laze filled (glaze filled? haha! I'm punny me!) sedentary lifestyle means weight problems, it's not a disease, it doesn't go away by just taking pills or going the gym. In fact, going the gym is detrimental because it makes you think you're doing enough when you're really not. You go the gym and that's it, a mental switch goes on in your head that says "well done, you've gone the gym, you've done enough today." But losing weight, staying trim is not one factor, it's not going the gym, it's not cutting back on junk food, it's not avoiding carbs or whatever new diet is in this weeks lifestyle magazine of your choice...it's all these factors and even more that you may not have even considered, it's not changing just one or two aspects of your life, it's changing your entire life.

So, obesity, I was clinically obese a few years back, weighing in at an impressive 215 lbs for reference, I am 5ft 9, and my BMI was 32 or something and I know that BMI is kinda bullshit as pro athletes can measure in at much >30 on the bmi calculator but be fitter than you could ever hope to be....but on the other hand, this wasn't muscle I was just gunning to win the world eating championship...which one I hear you ask? all of them, i reply....and the amount I ate would not have been all that bad had I actually been doing any exercise, but I never did...it's honestly a wonder I didn't have a heart attack (especially when you consider I have a dodgy heart anyway....I'll tell you about that at another time) and I'm probably going to pay for that later on in life....but yeah, what changed was well....me....in short. I started walking to the shops instead of getting my mum to drive me there, because I spent hours walking around it meant I was eating less in addition to also eating smaller meals when I did eat. I stopped drinking as many fizzy drinks, I cut back on the snacking, I cut back on the alcohol. Not only did I start walking to and from the shops I started walking to and from everywhere I needed to. Sure, it took more time, but that was time spent moving about instead of time spent playing video games or watching tv or reading a book (that last one though, read books a'ight?! they cool!)...I lost close to 40 lbs with those changes, because I stuck to them, and because they were such sweeping changes to my overall lifestyle. It wasn't one thing, it wasn't a fad diet or a gym membership, it was wholesale changes to how I lived my life and that is the way to do it.

Why do I mention it now...basically it's because those changes have hit their peak and I have to change things around again. The other thing is that change is an ongoing thing. People tend to forget that, eventually your body adapts to cope with the stress you're inflicting on it and then boom, it's not as stressful any more...and I hit that stage about half a year ago....I just didn't really realise it until now, so it's time to start changing it around again...and basically, I wanted to give you that message. Being overweight is not some disease, it's not a disability (in most cases), it's a state of mind. You can either fight to improve yourself or say "meh, good enough." which if you mean it is fucking great! I genuinely envy you...but if you're saying it just because you're too lazy and lacking in willpower to do the alternative, then I pity you....later taters.


Thursday, 11 July 2013

So...I slept at night for the first time in a long time last night....

Slept all the day before as well. Well, most of it anyway. I had been up all the night before that, so don't give me those eyes! Those filthy judgemental eyes...full of ocular juices! No! I won't have them! Anyway, so yeah, I slept all day and night, and it was because for the first time in maybe two years I was actually able to relax. I finished college about a month ago and since then I've had nothing to do. I don't have a job (don't get me wrong, I've been looking, but I'm very much of a mindset of "if I get one great, if not, oh well, September awaits"...i.e. I don't actually need one at the moment...which in itself is a weird thing) and slowly, but surely, my mind has been eating itself out of boredom....it's why I'm doing these blogs and made a new youtube channel (and am actually putting videos up :O this time), because mostly, I'm bored and I need things to do.

But yesterday was the first day that I've just been content to sit back and do nothing. Like, normally if I don't have work to do, I'd write or read or play a video game, go on a walk or cook or just do something, anything, but yesterday, I did nothing. I laid face-down on my bed, not even particularly tired, and went to sleep...I had a fucking nap! Woke up, ate, went back to bed and sleep...do you know how hard it is for me to do that?! Normally, if I wake up that's it, I am up, doesn't matter if I've had an hours sleep, half an hours sleep whatever, I am up for the rest of the night. But nope, just went back to sleep. 

So what got me so relaxed? Drugs? Booze? The ramblings of notoriously monotone character actor Ben Stein? No, no and possibly subconsciously, but mainly it was that I got my results for my college course yesterday. I could finally stop worrying over the college fucking things up, I have the results in my possession, signed and ready for if the college does fuck up getting in touch with the university to pass along said results...if that happens now, I can pass them along myself! My future is in my hands, nobody else's, and doesn't that feel great?! I'm not particularly hurting for cash at the moment, I've got all my finances sorted for university, I've got my accommodation sorted out, the results to hand over personally if the college miscommunicates...I can actually sit back and just relax/not worry for a change...of course, it won't last, in fact the mood is shifting again already, I know not a lot of people read these things or go to my youtube channel and that's great! But updating them (more or less to a schedule) is an important thing to me, I need to prove to myself that I can keep at things over a period of time...because that's where I've let myself down in the past, I start something, discover something new, move on and the original thing never gets finished/looked at again, and that's just crap, you know....things have to end at some point yeah, but that should be when they're actually finished, not at the beginning or the halfway mark or whatever other degree of completion I've left them at.

I mean, that's what I've finally done with college, I've finally completed it, pretty much officially...that's Level 3 Education out of the way after only nine years of bullshit distractions and partially completed attempts (damn, if only I'd have put another year in I could have hit ten years and I would have been at expert level for bullshit distractions and dropping out....curses! though in a way...I'm dropping out of dropping out...so....yeah! expert level achieved! ^_^ ) and it's weird...A little over two years ago I was in a job with the Government that I absolutely hated, so much so that I left after just two months there (even though I'd been unemployed for a long period of time before then) and you know, it was just shit. But, in a weird way, that was when I started to get my shit back together...I knew I had to do something, that I had to actually go back and complete my education...because the alternative was crap like that.

I realise that this isn't even the halfway mark in my goal, not properly. But that said it's just...it feels so good to have finally completed that step, got over that hurdle. It feels nice to finally be doing something with my life, you know, instead of just scrambling to survive day to day, not wanting to go to bed because that'll only make the morning come faster and there's nothing there for me...that's what I was like only two years ago...it's been such an effort to turn it all around, it really hasn't been easy, but it's good that I can finally have days like yesterday where I can actually relax and look forward to the future with hope instead of sitting there, dreading tomorrow and going grey with despair.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Looking back I should have been looking forward...

I just finished writing the script for my first Youtube video.... blog...vlog...thing...whatever, it's all a lie anyway! Because it's not my first Youtube video, not even my second! No sir! My first video was completed  back in those hazy autumn days of 2006...that is a long time ago, nearly seven years....and there's a good reason for that. See, life is shit. Well, no, that's not fair, life is what you make of it and I made shit pie, then ate that shit pie and chased it down with a nice fizzy cup of shit-ade. I didn't mean to, it's just....depression is an odd thing, it can hit a person for no real reason and suddenly everything you do is a fuck up. That girl smiled at you, just an innocent smile, but you say nothing, you internalise it, "you should have said something, anything! Why didn't you! Now you're going to die alone!" You apply for a job, one of the hundreds, if not thousands all gunning for that same position, you don't get it, you don't even hear back "I'm so fucking unemployable, what's the point of even trying, may as well just wallow in my own filth." (And wallow I most certainly did...) The store was out of those certain cookies you like...."WHOLE FUCKING WORLD'S AGAINST ME! I SWEAR TO GOD!" It's just small things, silly ridiculous things, but here's the thing....when you've got nothing going for you, the small things become big things because they are basically all you have...it's like, have you ever been talking to a person and they just won't shut up about that one scene in a movie, just going on and on about the deep symbolism, the fantastic use of cinematography, the brilliant usage of differing shades of lighting and how each actor embodied, perfectly, the message that the scene was trying to convey to the audience....or whatever, pick your own example, the point is they saw it as the awe-inspiring show-piece of cinematic history...you thought it was a pretty nifty fight scene (does anyone still use that word...nifty??? if not, I'm bringing it back!). The rest of the movie to them was a by-the-by event, it framed the scene, rather than the scene being simply a facet of the larger movie..

...and that's what depression is like, the little things that may seem inconsequential to others are massive to the depressed person. It doesn't start off big though, no, what tends to happen is that it'll start off small and it will spiral downwards. Pretty soon the original thing, that trigger, is lost entirely and the depression is basically a self sustaining vortex of mental anguish and suffering...and you can't just click out of it, it's not something you can control...and when you're stuck in it, you really are stuck, because when you are depressed, you don't see any way out of it...there's no shining doorway showing you out of the depression, if someone is offering you a hand, you can only reach up to swat it away because what is the point....

That was me, from about the age of 13/14 to 23...I really thought like that, most of the time...I tried to get out of the state I was in, when I was in school it wasn't so bad, I had school-work to occupy my time with and computer games outside of that. I went to Sixth form and had a bad year overall and then the course was cancelled at the halfway point, and remember how I said someone with depression internalises shit? I tried to play it off, get back on track, went onto college but I just couldn't hack it. The failures of the previous year just kept gnawing and gnawing at me to the point where I just didn't get out of bed in the end. I couldn't. I'd lay there, for days at a time, only getting up to go the toilet or eat. 

I tried going back to college the next year, but of course....I now had the failing of two years eating away at me, and I dropped out pretty quickly again. I got money from this compensation claim (I was run over as a child, it was kind of mentally scarring...what, with seeing my foot dangling from my leg, hanging on literally by an inch of flesh) and I figured "hey, you know what, I could put this money to good use and make something of myself!" Only kidding! I went out and straight up murdered my liver almost every day for six months. And bought random bits of shit, as though the material possessions could somehow cover up the hollowness I felt inside....

Which leads me back to the beginning of my short, yet rambling tale. I bought a video camera. It was a whim purchase and to be honest, I think I may have still been drunk from the night before. But I bought it and some editing software and decided that yes, this is what I want to do, I want to make movies and put them up on this new(ish...what, it was 2006, Youtube only appeared in 2005!) website called Youtube, make a name for myself and escape the sorry world of crushing depression I was living in...In case you've not made the connection yet....that didn't come to pass...see, for a long time, I blamed my friends for it, initially they were all for it, but then their interest turned to apathy, and then straight up refusing to help me and that's whatever you know, but I realised not too long ago that it wasn't fair of me to blame them....see, it was my dream, not theirs...and I did nothing to pursue it. As soon as they said no, I just thought "well, I can't do fuck now" and gave it up....my blaming them internally was just an excuse for not trying, because I didn't want to add another thing to my list of failures, I didn't want another thing to spend my nights awake thinking about and cursing the existence of....of course, I did, because that's not how the mind works ("why didn't you keep at it?!" my brain would say, because he's a prick) .

I still internalise shit, I think everybody does (at least I hope so, not because I'm mean but because if I am going to be crazy, I'd rather everyone else be as well) and I still go on the depressive spirals, where I feel like nothing I ever do will ever be good enough and that there's no point in really trying...but I don't know, I'm doing better now simply because I am doing something, these blogs, the videos I'm working on, college last year and uni this year, it's the goals of working, doing something I really enjoy, that are keeping me up there, you know? And I guess that, overall, it's much better to internalise those good feelings than the other ones, later taters. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Value of the Self

Today, I am going to be talking about transhumanism. At the moment, scientists are looking at inventing a kind of neural processor that if it were to be plugged directly into your brain would allow you to store upon it memories whilst also giving you the ability to think faster and process data quicker, the only downside being that it would require you to give up a small percentage of your brain (you had to make space for it in your head after all). Now, assuming that Moore's Law stays consistent we'd have upgrades available not too long after the initial batch of circuits are created and then further improvements not long after, but each upgrade requires a little bit more brain taking out each time until eventually it reaches the point where there's no brain left at all.

Now, are you still you? Arguably the only hint of brain matter left would be the brain stem and even that is only a supposition based on its complexity with regards to nerve control.....it's arguable that that could eventually be overcome, given time....but anyway, it's a moot point, would you still be you? The electronic brain would have all your memories, your hopes, your fears, you doubts and your dreams. It would be as much you as you are now, but will it actually be you?

It's like that old joke about the broom "I've had that broom seventeen years, sure I've had to change the handle a few times, and the head more than that, but it's still the same broom I bought seventeen years ago." See, the nature of self is tricky at the best of times. We tend to think of ourselves in terms of a linear, non-interrupted flowing character....we are who we were when we were children, right? I'm not so sure, we're constantly evolving personalities, being shaped by events that happen both within and without of ourselves. We change by increments and yet remain ourselves, we retain this belief that we are the same person we were in the past...then could the same not be argued of transhumanist values? Is the key to remaining who we are as individuals to change only by degrees at a time? A prosthetic leg here, a mechanical heart there...We remain who we are, but to what point? What is the threshold that a person can augment one's self and remain as one's self?

There is also, of course, the concept of the soul...but I dislike this. You could argue that the soul is what determines the character, the being, but it is a religious concept and because surpassing mortality goes against God, it's arguable that the soul of a transhumanist would be destroyed or at least taken back by God as it is committing a cardinal sin (blasphemy by way of the deification of mankind). Accordingly, the thing left behind, which has your exact thoughts and is like you in every way would not be you, but just without a soul....would it still be you?

I really do love the philosophy of transhumanism, it's a metaphysical mine field, and so many paths to explore. I'm going to have to really write about it in depth one day. But for now, I've got to go and do some actual work because the house is a mess....I can't wait for my wireless robot control chip to be installed so I can telepathically command robots to clean the house for me....later taters!

PS: I apologise for the shortness of this one....I wasn't planning on writing it....it just kinda happened....as these things tend to do....whatever, go eat a cake and be a winner!