Coming to you in 2022…?

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[Note: I originally wrote this on New Year’s Day 2022, though worried I might be getting a little personal here, so hesitated a little too long to publish. Nevertheless, might as well just do it…]

[Update, 21/02/2022: I’ve make some minor tweaks/edits since yesterday, to edit mistakes or to make the article read better. Please be aware this post was originally pretty stream-of-consciousness and the spelling or grammar may not be perfect.]

I will, of course, begin by wishing my readers (whoever is out there, hi!) a Happy New Year, even if, by the time this post is complete, it might be a day or two late. [Addendum: Try a couple of months late…]

It probably hasn’t escaped the notice of anyone who has actually bothered to peruse my blog archives on those rare occasions such a thing actually happens, or anyone who has seen my near constant attempts to take the “pee” out of myself, but I don’t write very frequently. What’s the point, it sometimes seems, of having a blog one rarely posts in?

Of course, it might, on the surface, make some sense if I had anything particular going on in my life to justify that, or any particular responsibilities to justify that, but really, I don’t. At the same time, there are justifiable reasons for this. In part, as I’m not always the world’s greatest or (in all situations) most confident communicator, except for those times where I seem to get into stupid arguments and/or stick my foot in it somehow. Being on the autistic spectrum, this is far from easy, as relating to supposedly “normal” people on the same wavelength as they are, and actually have myself be understood, isn’t always easy. Do I say this, or will it offend someone? Will they understand what I’m getting at? Will they be bored to tears? Can anyone understand my sometimes long-winded and convoluted style of writing? All these things I sometimes feel is true of me when I actually try interacting with other people on any more than a superficial level. And (yet?) once upon a time, I did have a bit of a history of getting into stupid arguments online. These never and well for anyone it seems. More so when you have views that might be at odds with many people, and you have difficulty fully explaining them.

So, to actually write a full blog article, get it finished, publish and hopefully not be damned, and then know I’ll come back to it in years to come and find a dozen typos, unfinished paragraphs (this happened once!) and worse, can actually be a pretty daunting prospect. Same goes for much else in my life, even though in all those cases it would be easy to do what I used to do: put it down to simple laziness. Which perhaps, it sometimes is. It’s always easier to get sidetracked by something more interesting, or less mentally and/or physically demanding, or just get lost in one’s own thoughts. But even there, habits once formed are not easily overcome.

As regards 2021, the less said the better. As you will see from my previous post, the last two years, especially in terms of what is going on in the world, are hard enough for most people to have to deal with. Perhaps I am relatively sheltered from the worst of it (should I thank whatever Gods are out there?) but trying to blog about it is still a major headache. Why some people react the way they do, in the face of events (be it coronavirus, racial issues, climate change or politics in general or anything of the other million and one things which come up from time to time) is ultimately beyond my ken. I can’t think like these people, I don’t know their circumstances, I’m no expert on some issues, so somehow it seems whatever my thoughts are on them are not worth sharing and would seem too much.

At the same time, I have had a post in the works exploring an idea I had which might seem pertinent to both the coronavirus situation and that of climate change, given last year’s hype over the UK hosting of the COP26 climate conference, which I might eventually finish and publish, though I might have to rewrite the whole thing. The original idea was that many of us, at least those of us who comprise the more comfortably off in the Western world of all but the oldest generations, have less and less had to put up with major threats or worse still, anything that would constitute an existential crisis. As such, we simply aren’t prepared for to happen and this shapes our responses. I did add in an observation I’ve hard before, that we are more evolved to deal with short term threats to our lives (for example predators, potential enemies, the immediate challenge of finding food etc.) But of course, that gets complcated by things. What about people who live in places where extreme weather events, seismic activity happens? Which obviously is not the UK, but in certain parts of, say, the United States, this is true. And what about the 2008 financial crisis? Not existential, but it certainly affected a lot of people’s livelihoods and how the economy fundamentally operates, as well as, quite probably, being partially responsible for all the divisions, mistrust and sometimes extremism in politics. So, does my idea have any merit to warrant a full post? Watch this space.

There are certain topics, though, which seem too thorny to touch, including anything to do with anti-racism (thinking particularly about George Floyd and BLM), identity politics or culture wars in general, or anything to do with revolutionary politics. Moreover, I don’t think I can be sure enough to make my mind up about some of these issues. I might want to touch on the nature of things like free speech, religious tolerance etc. in a more general sense though as opposed to in reaction to specific events, as these seem relevant enough to anyone including me. On that score, there is also the very personal matter of why, coming up to nearly 7 years ago now (how time flies!) I ended up leaving Christianity behind, which I think needs going into, somehow.

But at the same time, this was mostly meant, as I recall, to be a blog about my random thoughts on the world, not just covering the news and hot-button topics like it often ends up being, plus more filler posts like this one when I can’t think of anything to write. A couple I have been working on, on and off, are about those strange and sometimes annoying words, phrases and sayings that people use from time to time. Some of my views on these might get a little controversial, mind, so I don’t know what to include. As I said before, I worry about offending people given I have had a tendency to do it at times in the past. So I’m somewhat wary of doing it now.

Of course there is also my other blog, Tales of Lyniezia, which is meant to showcase my dabblings in creative writing. There as much as anything I have some difficulty with wanting to get many of these stories finished, even if I have a rough mental outline of how I want them to go. I’m not even sure what it is sometimes, either lack of confidence or I just give up too easily. Even if I just prefer the random stream-of-consciousness, don’t-take-this remotely-seriously travesty/farce sort of thing (like Insanity Claus, Princess Lucidity to the Rescue and the like to the somewhat more serious ones like, say, Grangefield Park or the still as yet unfinished A Not-So-Brief Encounter) I find it hard to really finish them. Even if I do, I suppose most of these will be for fun than ever meant as the basis for commercial publication. That seems to be a very difficult gig to get into and make anything out of even for those whose capability for work is much greater than mine. Who knows what the future holds, though. So hopefully, expect at least some of these stories maybe to get finished sometime over the course of this year. I don’t know what other ideas I have in store, yet.

Nevertheless, I think if I have to make any “New Year’s Resolution”, it will have to be to try and focus and overcome my fears, habits and excuses which prevent me from doing this blog and a lot else in life. It won’t be easy, but, I suppose, what is?

Another possible New Year’s Resolution pertinent to this blog is reading. In order to talk about any remotely serious topics, I think reading around the issues in order to gain a better understanding of things is always a good idea, especially since I have been accused on occasion of not understanding what I am talking about with certain issues. And in terms of fiction writing, reading other fiction (and factual works, too) to gain inspiration and perhaps pointers on how to write a good story is needful.

There are, of course, many more, but they probably aren’t relevant to this blog, and I would rather keep a few things still private!

Anyway, watch this space over the New Year. Hopefully, more posts will be on their way soon!

So, another new year…

…and I have come to the conclusion the only new year’s resolution worth making is not to make any new year’s resolutons as you’ll always break them.

Meanwhile Brexit just gets sillier and siller as “no deal” seems to look ever more an inevitability since noone can agree on anything and no-one is willing to really back down, and somehow just to keep the ports running smoothly requires reopening old ports to completely unproven startups with very little capital and basically no ships, all of which has to turn around in 3 months.

And I have just nicknamed myself “Mr. Half-Done” as, well, basically anything I try and do – like, as you will have noticed, most of my stories and, as you will not have noticed, all the blog posts I want to write and very quickly give up on. If this was simply about blogging for one’s own amusement it might well be worth something, but when it permeates so many other aspects of life, one has perhaps to worry.

Perhaps a belated resolution I can make is to get as many tasks (and other things) as possible that are only half done, all done.

Meanwhile, last night’s Doctor Who episode seems to have overlooked the fact of a half done Dalek body. It was a goodish story, to be sure, if the slow dramatic bits of Ryan and his estranged father were not so much at odds with the fast paced hunting down of the Dalek, which had assumed a host body. The resulting Dalek body looked suitably cobbled together, but why does the series seem to assume that any suitably equipped workshop can churn out advanced alien technology like the Doctor herself did wit her sonic screwdriver back in the first episode?

I could critique the whole series but that would have to require something longer than a hastily cobbled together “useless filler” post, and would probably only end up languishing around in the drafts “tray” half done. (Don’t get me started on the PC-gone-mad reactionary haters who seemed to have decided in advance that this series was awful and was going to fail, but don’t get me started on “Kerblam!” either. It could have been a good episode and I know many like it but the “twist” completely ruined the point of the satire.)

So, the question is, where do I go from here? I have plenty more stories to upload, but feel perhaps I should move them to a separate blog as that wasn’t really the point of this one. “Tales of Lyniezia” perhaps? Also want to write a longer post on the frustratingly stupid nature of Brexit, finish a post on seemingly stupid words and phrases I had started and might even consider starting a whole series entitled “Things I Don’t Get: An A-Z.” Watch this space and see if they get all done.

On the Thirteenth Doctor and sundry other matters

So, it’s been the better part of a year since I posted anything really. Not entirely for want of something to post about. I’ve had several ideas on the back burner for some time, including something on my ideas of religious tolerance, whether or not the idea of things like “democracy” in practice is little more than a myth, those annoying words and phrases which seem to make little sense, or even my frustrations over Remembrance Day and other attempts to commemorate the past, which really I think needs to wait until the Silly Season* rolls around again.

And then there was, of course, this, which is old news by now:

Now, I might almost be forgiven for thinking that I was the only male person who actually thought this was a good idea, given the in fact small but very vocal minority who were opposed to the idea of a time-travelling alien who can regenerate into a completely different form as a way of cheating death, happening to change form into something which wasn’t a white male humanoid with a stereotypically British accent**. Granted, some of these complaints were legitimate, like perhaps the one that there are very few male protagonists of adventure-type stories that aren’t the gun-toting action hero that blows away enemies with a snarky one-liner, and instead uses nothing more than his wits and a highly-evolved space-age DIY tool. And granted, if you’re an older viewer who can’t quite get used to the idea that a hitherto male main character is now suddenly female… well, you don’t have to watch. It’s a free country. Just don’t ruin the show for the rest of us.  I mean, do we really need all of this:

“The Doctor is a MAN and will always be a man! This is political correctness gone mad, shameful pandering to all the feminists and SJWs! I thought this was Doctor Who, not Nurse Who! How will she drive the TARDIS? What next, a female James Bond? A male Wonder Woman? This is the end of the show for me, RIP Doctor Who (1963-2017)!”

There’s war in Syria and Yemen in which innocent civilians are in the line of fire. There’s the Rohingya being ethnically cleansed from Myanmar, whilst the great and wonderful Aung San Suu Kyi plays it down. Multiple terrorist attacks, more people than several terrorist attacks put together dying in the Grenfell Tower fire due simply to gross negligence that was pointed out many times over the years and the concerns of residents ignored. We risk political and economic instability over a bad Brexit deal, and to cap it all, we are slowly killing the planet (so to speak). And yet casting a woman in a TV show is somehow even remotely an issue?

I’ll sum up my feelings on that matter with Sixth Doctor actor Colin Baker’s pronouncement, repurposing some old lines:

So there.

Meanwhile… well let’s just say there have been other changes in my life activities and means of support, which will require some re-prioritising with what I will do with my life. Let me just say that has lead me to having more free time and lesser obligations than I might have had before, and makes me wonder yet again just what is wrong with me if I am even that bad. And that includes where I take this blog. Can I somehow use this writing as some kind of purpose, or is it just going to stay the odd long-winded and pointless rant once in a blue moon? Can I make anything of it? Who knows? What do I even do with this blog, and am I capable? Do I use it to offer insights into the news, issues and other sundry things on which I have an opinion? Do I continue writing fiction, particularly the Jenny Everywhere snippet I put out a while back? Do I review more vintage anime? Do I need to focus on one thing or the other to be successful? Do I, in order to promote it, have to join up to that invention of the dark lord that is Satan himself, that is named for bird noises? Time will tell. Watch this space.

* By which, for those who haven’t read the rest of my blog, I mean the period roughly between Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night and Christmas. I guess there will be people who will be offended to see Remembrance Day lumped in with that lot and that description in the way I might do, and whilst that’s not entirely my intention, I sometimes wonder about the attitudes that surround it.

** Instead of… well, a white female humanoid with a slightly less than stereotypical British accents. As one of the Doctor’s previous incarnations noted, lots of planets have a North (and don’t you forget it!) but otherwise, hardly one giant leap for diversity…

I’m ba-ack! Or am I? (In which I drop bombshells, and write about what I might be writing about… maybe.)

Well, this is a short post just to let you know that I am alive, well and hope to start posting more of my thoughts on this here blog. (Oh yes and, people who didn’t know I have a blog, I have a blog. ) WordPress tells me it’s been nearly a year. Of course, you’ll say, we’ve heard THAT one before, haven’t we? Well, true. But there have been certain other reasons besides my usual sheer laziness. One of which is perhaps a year of spending a lot of time worrying about certain faith matters before getting to the point that, all things considered, maybe it would be better off not having that faith at all. That is to say, I have come to the point where if Christianity (at least in the sense I believed it) is going to be worth following, it had better be true: its demands are so great that it had better be worth it, and there had better really be a God out there able to make us into the kind of people who can follow it. But, on closer examination of reality, how much of the evidence seems to point the other way? Just which claims, interpretations of scripture, etc. are true and which are not? Is this God everybody claims is really there and working in their lives, really there, or is it just all coincidence and tricks of the mind? All in all, I concluded, it probably was not. Unfortunately not all of my Christian friends might know about this, and I have also been hesitant to make it public. Partly out of fear it might upset the faith of some, partly as a lot would try to react with surprise, tell me I haven’t really stopped believing or try to bring me back into the fold. Well, I have no objection to you believing what you want, if it is true for you then as long as it harms no-one else, I have no problem with it. But do not expect me to believe any longer. I hope perhaps to address this in more detail in future posts. In the meantime, I have this whole EU election thingy (even if it ends up being last minute again and affects nobody’s opinion or vote) and reflections on certain very nasty murders that have taken place in the last week or so. Not much fun, sadly, but needs comment. In the future, who knows? Maybe I’ll write that big ideal democracy post (my ideas have shifted on that), some stuff about capitalism (short: it has many shortcomings and needs to be replaced, eventually), and maybe more fun stuff like anime reviews, wry observations, silly rants about inane nonsense… oh yeah, and I forgot that Jenny Everywhere story.

Watch this space.

(In memoriam to the victims of the Orlando shootings, Jo Cox MP, and all victims of senseless violence everywhere.)

[Edited for typos, 23/04/2018]

Updates on me, and other addenda

Well, I’ve been on holiday for two weeks in Florida. I had aimed at least to have a good time, try to get on well with my hosts (my mother’s friend and her family) and get all the books read I’ve taken with me, I suppose. So far I have only finished one- John Brunner’s Times Without Number, a sci-fi novel set in an alternate history where the Spanish armada successfully defeated the English and invaded, yet Spain itself was reconquered by the Moors; where time travel has been developed (deceptively easily, it turns out), yet travel in spatial dimensions is limited to the horse and carriage. I suspect in a Catholic society, the lack of Protestant work ethic discouraged any industrial revolution which might have lead to the development of the steam engine? I wonder. It is a world where aristocracy and slavery is the norm, where the Catholic Church wields considerable influence, and the Inquisition is considered humane for using truth-drugs and hypnotism instead of torture as a means of interrogation. But these are the good guys, aiming to prevent the misuse of time travel for personal or political gain, or the timeline from being altered significantly. The epitome of Deliberate Values Dissonance, for any of my fellow tropers who may be reading. Oh, and I’ve also started on Jane Austen’s Emma and a collection of sci-fi short stories from the sixties.

So, I’m now in Florida, and have been for about a week, along with my mother. The weather is certainly as warm as can be expected, but can be very stormy, with lots of lightning and at least a few power cuts. Due to issues with lost or delayed luggage (a nightmare for some) we haven’t yet done too much, besides shopping, Starbucks and a couple of trips to the beach. There is some interesting wildlife to be seen even in the extensive back yard of our hosts, including various birds, a squirrel, the occasional deer and raccoons and even evidence of a bear which left its mark on the fence. In the interests of privacy I will not share too much about my hosts save to say they’re pretty nice folks, if I must be reminded it is the GULF (of Mexico- we’re in southwest Florida) we have been to the beach of, not the SEA! (Presumably a customary distinction the locals make?)

Next week, possible boat trips to see dolphins and possibly a tour of the Everglades. Pictures I hope will find their way to this blog- minus, for the sake of privacy, any well-defined human subjects, as agreed.

My post on the Israel-Palestine conflict seems to have been viewed by at least one Palestinian- possibly someone who commented on one of my friend’s Facebook thread. I hope I didn’t disappoint him by being a little too pro-Israel. It seems the guy who was supposedly captured was actually killed in action. I forget his identity. Now, at last, it seems there is actually a more lasting ceasefire and the chance of some talks… or is there? And the fact the Palestinians have gone to the world courts? I wonder how that will lead. O world, when will you learn to stop fighting and wasting life in this way?

That said, the whole business with the oppressive, murderous “Islamic State” does make me think that some military action is necessary. A cautious approach, however- maybe a few airstrikes to limit effectiveness, arm the Kurds or Iraqis in general, aim to reconcile opposing groups within Iraq, and let them sort their own problems out. Don’t give in to the demands for all-out action at any price- this will only lead to more support for these radical groups and end in more waste of civilian life. And do our best to help those in need- do not ignore the Christians and others who they are persecuting.

Anyway, enough of this.

Hopefully I could before long get some books or videos reviewed. I have bought and hope to bring back a few VHS tapes which are unavailable in the UK, including the badly-dubbed version of Macross- Do You Remember Love? as well as They Were Eleven (mystery thriller in space), Explorer Woman Ray (Indiana Jones type fayre, but with a female protagonist?) and the Leiji Matsumoto classic Galaxy Express 999. Maybe I shall review the Moorcock and the Brunner.

And maybe finish the (currently long and rambling) essay on what might make an ideal democracy, if certain of my readers don’t mind yet more political fayre. (Note, ideal democracy doesn’t necessarily mean ideal political system.)

Maybe I’ll even have some ‘gators or dolphins to show you.

[This post has been edited from its original form for personal reasons.]