Thoughtful Thursday – False Information

thoughtfulYou know what grinds my gears?

People telling me not to reply to their blog posts unless I jump through a bunch of hoops to format it just the way they find acceptable.

“You better say a stream of pleasantries rather than simply sharing a link or it’s unwelcoming.”

“You can only reply if you meet my ridiculous IQ level requirements that actually prove nothing about your intelligence, but really show my own insecurity about mine.”

“We need proof you’ve crossed a barren landscape and survived the Hidalgo sandstorm before we’ll talk to you.”

“Rescue a monkey from Agamemnon and we’ll see if you might know something worthwhile to chat about.”

Because that kind of response as a reply to your blog post is welcoming.

Nope.

Guess what?

It feels more like a slap in the face.

Guess what else?

There are thousands of other bloggers out there who are simply happy to have any response at all.

I guess I’m rambling about something without having mentioned what it’s even about. I get rather annoyed when I see people continually sharing incorrect information. In this particular case it relates to Marie Antoinette and that famous saying she almost certainly never said.

I suppose I find it extra irksome since her blood somehow runs in my veins, but whatever.

The point is that if you know it is widely debated on whether she could have said it since she was a young child at the time it was supposedly said, making an entire blog post about it just to make a comment about Trump is rather pathetic. All it shows is your own ignorance and desperation. Yes, Trump is an idiot and a mostly shitty human, but pointing that out doesn’t make you a better person.

Working on yourself does.

Do some frigging research before plucking some historical figure out of the air and using them for your “all rich people are evil” rhetoric. There are tons of rich people who do wonderful things in this world such as J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, and many more. Many of them have even undertaken pacts to give away the majority of their wealth. Just because you aren’t on the receiving end, doesn’t mean they aren’t sharing it.

Also, if you can’t go a day without talking or posting about Trump, you have an unhealthy obsession.

Many of my fellow Canadians are so focused on what’s going on south of the border, they’re ignoring the bad shit our Prime Minister has been doing. Most of his election promises have been broken, but few are talking about the pipeline, reconciliation, clean water for the First Nations communities, the shit show that is the plan for cannabis legalization, and much more.

That bugs me too.

And if you want to know how rich people got where they are? Yes, it’s true that some of them got there by birth, but many got there by working hard and focusing on their goals or by seizing an opportunity instead of whining about other people being rich.

Also, while you sit there complaining about Trump, he continues pushing forward on his goals while your own languish.

Speaking of goals, I’m off to school early today for a meeting that could be really important for my future.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Life

Sorry for not posting yesterday. I’ve been incredibly busy. I’ve reached the point in my schooling where one assignment is completed and replaced by three others. It’s the point where I’m also doing extra things like lining up work placements. Noticing I’ve been falling behind in readings, I cleared a space for that on my dining room table. 

I’m getting closer on having the rest of my place clean. At least, I keep telling myself this. Usually what happens is exhaustion. We do have a long weekend this weekend in Canada. It’s Thanksgiving on Monday. I’m not visiting family because I did that in September instead and I can’t afford that kind of time away from my studies. 

At least my plumbing issue might be fixed now. That was earlier in the week. I have a few more things to get done this week like returning the case I ordered for my tablet as the wrong size came. My proper keyboard cover is here, but I can’t pick it up until tonight according to the slip. I also need to drop off the cheque for the seminar space tomorrow after I meet with a man at a TV company about potentially doing some of my placement hours there. They’re in the same end of town. 

Hockey has returned. I’ll likely be tuning into the Habs game this evening. 

All this busyness doesn’t distract me from the bad stuff going on in the world. What happened in Vegas was horrifying.  When mass shootings happen in the US, I always wonder how a culture so similar to ours can be so different. There are a lot of people with guns up here yet the frequency that mass shootings happen is so much lower. Is it because it’s written in their constitution? Is it because their population is larger? Do they just not know how to solve problems without bullets? 

I also question a lot about the event itself. So much doesn’t make sense. The man was a multimillionaire who had no taste for weapons. He liked to party and enjoy the finer things in life. You’d think there’d at least be someone at a shooting range who knew him if he was this into guns. Also, how does anyone break glass that is supposed to stand up to hurricanes? His lack of military training to pull this thing off is strange too.
I suppose all of this and the recent sudden loss of an old friend is what had me wake up at 5AM in existential crisis fearing my own death. I feel like I’m close to finally really living my life. I’d really like to do that. 

I don’t have a lot of answers. I’m actually leery of people who are overly certain about such things. There are too many variables to be certain in my opinion. I suppose some choose a side if only to avoid waking up the way I did this morning. Some questions don’t have answers and others I know I’m not the right person to answer. 

That said, it’s time to get ready for school. 

I’ll try to at least post a picture or link on the days I’m too busy in the future.

Guid cheerio the nou,

R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Charlottesville

thoughtfulEvery time I have sat down to write this post, I have struggled to find the words.

A woman was killed. She sounded like a nice person. I didn’t know her. She was younger than me and probably had a bright future.

It’s sad, but not shocking as it was only a matter of time. Actually, I thought it would happen sooner.

A lot of white people are being stupid about it.

When I was a child, I used to wonder why wars happened at all. I used to think the two sides should just talk things over and make some agreed upon concessions then live and let live.

I’m not a child anymore, but I’ve always seen this as an option.

Some don’t believe that option exists and prefer bloodshed.

There’s a movement in Charleston, South Carolina by people on both sides agreeing to debate openly rather than taking to the streets with weapons.

Anyway, this isn’t a political blog and I have no intention of turning it into one.

I hope they can set an example that brings about peace.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

 

Warrior Wednesday – Inching Closer

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As my home gets cleaner, I see more mess.

This is true of my Iaido as well. The more I work to refine my technique, the more I can spot problems in it.

I think it’s a sign of maturity. The longer I practice, the more I am exposed to people above me that do it closer to the ideal. I said ideal because I haven’t met anyone who thinks they do it “right”. Indeed, even 8th Dan senseis have stated they still struggle with their grip or some other thing.

This is true of life as well. This year has opened my eyes to much. I no longer look upon the world with the rose-coloured glasses of a child. I no longer see issues as black-and-white, but in scales of grey. To some degree, this makes me sad, but mostly I’m happy that I know more today than I ever have before.

What that knowledge tells me is that I still have so much to learn in all facets of life.

I’m working hard to improve my writing skills. This fall, I’ll be learning to write in some new structures and for different audiences. I’m looking forward to it. Even more so after diligently reading the descriptions for each of my courses. I should come out of it with a portfolio and hopefully someone will buy my scripts.

This change may make it hard to get to one of my practices, especially in winter, but I’m going to try my best to make it happen. I’m unsure if I want to attempt gradings this year. I suppose it will depend on if I feel ready and if I have the money for them. There are a couple of seminars before then next grading opportunities come that should help me know if I’m ready. Right now, I don’t think so, but who knows where I’ll be in a couple of months?

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – 8 Pieces of Wisdom from My Teenage Self

thoughtfulWhile cleaning up my home including my drives, I stumbled onto some words I wrote in 1999. I called them “Self Guidelines”. Maybe they’ll be helpful to someone today.

  1. Help others if it’s in my power AND they want me to.
  2. Don’t let a guy come between my best friend and I.
  3. Don’t do something that will put someone else in a bad position even if they deserve it.
  4. Approach situations and people with an open mind.
  5. Find the good in others.
  6. Keep emotions in check.
  7. Don’t force others to feel the way you do. Respect that they may feel differently.
  8. Be open and honest with the people you love.

I lost my way for a little while, but I found my way back.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – 17 Ways to Suck as a Person

thoughtfulEveryone sucks some of the time. Sometimes you might be tired or hangry and mess up. Making mistakes is part of being human, but if you do these things with regularity, you should consider working on yourself. Think about whether your goal really is to be an asshole.

1. Proclaim that someone you don’t know can’t possibly need to be seated on an airplane before you because they aren’t even limping.

2. Turn every article you see online into a discussion about some political thing that isn’t part of the article. Since you love politics, everyone else should want to talk about it in every conversation, right?

3. Run around hating whatever group of people it’s popular to hate in your country. Don’t think about how your group might be the next target. Jews, white males, the Chinese, etc. Whatever gives you the best scapegoat.

4. Park across 4 spaces in a city that has a parking shortage. Your vehicle and convenience are more important than those other 3 people that could’ve used those other spaces.

5. Mention that the brown guy at work only has a job because of quotas. He couldn’t possibly have any skills, right? Bonus if he’s close enough to hear you.

6. If you don’t like something, make anyone who does like it feel like garbage regularly about it because you can’t understand how people could like things that you don’t since the world obviously revolves around you.

7. Condemn others for doing things you have done. It’s different in your case because you’re special, right?

8. Whenever you can’t deal with a discussion, begin name-calling instead of trying to actually discuss the issue. It’s totally cool to treat “bad people”, a.k.a. anyone who disagrees with you, like crap and degrade them, right?

9. Call any source presented to you “biased” because it’s not from a source you would use, so there’s gotta be something wrong with it somewhere even if the experiment design is flawless. The fact that you are biased when you do that won’t matter. Facts don’t matter anyway, it’s who yells the loudest that does. The fact that you are guilty of confirmation bias doesn’t matter either because you believe you’re the one that’s right.

10. Whine constantly about how your life is, but take no solid steps to do anything to change it. Seriously, no one minds reading a slew of posts every day about how your life sucks.

11. Punch anyone who disagrees with you about anything. Beat them down in the street, break into their home, and set fire to their children’s beds because they must be evil if they think or believe something different as your view is the only right one for 7.5 billion humans. Obviously.

12. Be envious of peers who succeed instead of cheering them on. They’re totally jealous every time something goes great for you. You can tell by the way they insincerely type “congrats” on your posts.

13. Care far too much about what consenting adults do in bed together. There totally aren’t better things to do with your time, like have sex with your partner instead.

14. Steal money and ideas from others because actually working is too hard.

15. Abuse animals and other humans.

16. Act like you’re better than everyone else because of your religion, race, sex, possessions, diet, etc.

17. Talk about how important a social issue is but never put time into raising funds to fix the problem. Instead, shame others who care about other social issues.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Merry Monday – Taking the Reigns

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I forgot to post on Saturday. I meant to, but I got into taking control of other areas of my life and have been so full of inspiration to write that I just couldn’t spare the time.

On the weekend, I discovered that the Kindle app has something called collections. In the early stages of writing Scion, I downloaded every free book about survival. This made it hard to find any of the books I had before the survival ones. Now, all my survival related books are in the Survival collection and I removed almost all of them from the carousel, so I can access only the books I want to read soon. I also made collections for specific authors like Marie Bilodeau as I have several of her eBooks in my Kindle app and though I’m done them, I’ll probably want to reread them at some point, so I don’t want to delete them. I also had a lot of recipe books that are now in a Food collection. With the clutter removed, I can find things. I have slowly been making progress on my Dropbox and Google Drive as well in an attempt to be ready to work come September as there’s nothing more annoying than having difficulty knowing where you stored something.

I’m working on this in the world beyond my devices. There’s a certain clinical psychologist that has drawn a lot of hell for one particular view he has, but he says a lot of smart things like, “There’s a lot of young people today planning to save the world who can’t even clean their bedrooms.” He’s completely right about that. We have to start small. Instead of seeing my whole house, I have to see it in manageable chunks, quit complaining, stop daydreaming, and just suck it up. It’s a little more complicated being the child of a hoarder, but I get to decide whether to be a victim or take the reigns of life and steer it in the direction I want. Of course, I’d rather play video games, but who wouldn’t? I’ve amazed myself at how much progress I made this weekend in a relatively short amount of time while it was storming on Sunday. I *think* I’ve found all the glass from the bulb I broke many weeks ago.

There was another neat discovery this weekend. InspiroBot is a generation tool. Many of my friends have been a little obsessed with its outputs and posting them all over social media. It often spouts out awkward truths that people don’t like to discuss like this. One might argue that is the perfect way to describe politics or any kind of situation that needs someone who is other than those in your clique. It also puts out some deep thoughts like this one.  That’s Matrix style thinking right there.

ROW80Logocopy

It’s been a while since I last did a goals update, so here goes:

Novel: I’m converting to third person limited, but have been writing a lot lately. Word count is now at 73,379 though a fair chunk of those are old blog posts. It’s probably more likely about half of that. I outlined this one and it’s going smoother than the last. I do have some other projects begging for attention, but I’ve mostly been focusing on this one.

Screeplay: My screenplay is at 2,813 words, but I’m about a third of the way through the story in terms of how many sequences I’ve written. I’m enjoying Save the Cat.

Reading: vN is a fantastic piece of literature, which happens to be a YA cyberpunk tale. I’m 105 pages into it.

Course: I’m behind, but it’s OK. I’m enjoying a fair amount of it. Some of it, I already know from writing and from reading writing craft books as well as having taking business in university. I may have already gotten the main thing I needed out of it, but we’ll see.

Songwriting: I think my finger is finally healed, so I can start playing guitar again. I spoke with a DJ friend and found a free GarageBand alternative for windows that I’m going to start messing around with called LMMS once I figure out how to finish setting it up.

Kitchen Reno: 2 of 3 drawers put together but I think one bottom needs a screw or something to keep it from sliding around.

Cleaning: Major progress made. I can actually see having other humans in my home at some point in the near future.

Sewing: Still having fun with the vague purse pattern, but it’s coming together. I should have a new purse soon that can fit my phone, glasses, and a book.

I think that’s all I have for updates.

Salut,
R~

Merry Monday – Young Adult Thoughts

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I started a YA novel awhile ago, but haven’t gone too far into it. I have a few other projects ahead of it, but it was something that just came to mind one day that I had to jot down while I played around with my distraction free writing tool.

In thinking about YA, I find it is a challenging thing to write.

It’s challenging because there needs to be a balance between recognizing what this group of people lives with regularly and a want to plant the seeds for growing a better world through our youth.

When teens are engaging in activities like The Blue Whale Game, and their friends are experiencing their loss, it can be unhelpful to read a story about a character that has little to no serious problems. It can feel like an author has no clue about being a teen when your friends are overdosing on opiods despite having seemingly perfect lives and bright futures. If you’ve never been to a party where the cops showed up, you might write teen parties that only ever get out of control rather than The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

There was a suicide pact running through my hometown when I was in grade nine. My brother lost a friend to it. There were assemblies for addressing the general student body. Close friends of those lost were sent to talk to social workers whether they were ready to talk about it or not. They weren’t really given time to grieve. Those weren’t the only kids that didn’t live through high school while I went there. Those weren’t the only bad things that happened.

The survivors need to feel authenticity in literature and film, but they also need to see that ray of sunshine just beyond the dark clouds, so they can find the courage to make it to adulthood preferably without a criminal record.

So writing good YA is a balancing act between the dark full truth of reality and a happy magic place with rainbow unicorn poop that tastes like caramel. It’s like half monty.

Speaking of monty, sex scenes in YA typically shouldn’t be graphic. Things can be inferred like a PG-13 trist where clothes come off, the lights go out, and the scene fades to black. Easier done in a script than a novel. One can even address rape without being overly graphic using this example.

If I write teens that don’t do anything but eat pizza and watch movies, I’m not going to connect with the target audience.

The teen years are about figuring out who you are. To do this, teens experiment with risky behaviours. They try drugs and alcohol. They have sex. They do bonehead things like fire a potato bazooka at a politician’s office or get stuck in a football field in winter while trying to do donuts with a boat-like Oldsmobile. Yeah, I did a lot of dumbass things as a youth.

YA is rather new. I spent high school reading Anne Rice, Agatha Christie, and Stephen King. Before that, I lived on Nancy Drew. I also loved reading Magic Kingdom for Sale as a teen. It was my first experience of fantasy. I loved watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I grew up with the first Degrassi and vividly recall an episode addressing AIDS. I also grew up with 90210 and Saved by the Bell. Both of them had their moments, but didn’t really feel authentic in terms of what high school was actually like. Buffy addressed a lot of things through metaphor like Angel turning into Angellus after they have sex. Degrassi was much more direct about issues without being preachy.

The Harry Potter books contain adult content that is subtle.

… Harry heard Fleur and Roger fall out of their rose bush.

Gee, I wonder what those two sneaked off into the rose bushes for during the Yule Ball…

There’s also Myrtle, the glum yet naughty ghost that spies on the prefects as they take baths. She’s forever in the hormone-induced haze that is part of being a teen.

So there are a lot of ways to reach teens in authentic ways and I hope I’ll be able to write something that does in the future whether it be a movie or a novel.

Salut,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – A liar ought to…

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“A liar ought to have a good memory.”

True. They’ll be found out pretty quickly if they aren’t good at it. Trump pathologically lies as his daughter takes a new position and signs documents in front of the media. Somehow, he got good enough at lying that he made a huge amount of money doing it and now he’s rather untouchable. Everything he says can be a lie and everyone can know it is a lie, yet this doesn’t stop him from doing anything. I mean, he holds one of the most powerful positions in the world. He got it by lying and, so far, he continues to hold it while lying despite calls for impeachment. Not a good role model to be sure. It’s an interesting thing to puzzle how someone like Trump can lie so successfully and yet most other people get found out and stopped long before they ever reach some sort of celebrity status. Is it morals or ethics that separate most of us from people like Trump or did he sell his soul? I mean, the demons in Supernatural seem to have more heart.

I’m not a fan of lying. On the few occasions that I’ve done it, I noticed it just creates more work for me. And the truth is that I have so many other things I’d rather do than keep up some charade.

As a storyteller, it can be a fun thing to write into a character though. Say you have a character who decides the sky is red. This is how he sees it. Eventually they’ll be questioned about it and have to produce some sort of documentation. They could do talk shows about how they see and all the while it’s a lie. You have the freedom to continue making each moment full of tension and make the reader/viewer wonder if they will be found out. We want to know how far the character can go before they are found out.

The last time I lied it was to protect myself but also to get a couple to talk to each other. I had found myself in the middle of the two of them and, given I was once involved with one of them, it was an immensely uncomfortable place for me to be. I lost a friend because of it. Even lies with good intentions are lies and someone always gets hurt. Hindsight tells me I could’ve handled it better, but sometimes one just reacts. I didn’t lie about any of the experiences I had in dating the person, but only that I was okay talking about any of it. Sometimes it’s just better not to know about someone’s past anyway as there’s no guarantee they’ll be the same with you.

This is why I don’t feel the need to talk ad nauseam about my past marriage nor know everything that happened in my partner’s past. What is more important is knowing what they want in life and if we can possibly build a future together. If they don’t want kids ever, there’s no possibility of a future and it’s good to find this out early. It doesn’t mean I necessarily want kids with this particular person. That will depend how compatible we are in other ways. If they’re a smoker and/or hate all physical activity and have no interest in health, we won’t be a match. If they are usually more negative than positive and spend their days whining about problems instead of solving them, we aren’t a match. If they prefer to spend their free time tearing me down, they better get the fuck away from me.

I think one of the most annoying things about being a writer with a past in acting is that people assume I must be great at lying. As if entertainers have no integrity. As if we don’t actually feel anything that isn’t some character we’ve acted or written. As if we aren’t actually human.

I hear this exclaimed often after someone meets a celebrity, “He’s just like a regular person!” I shake my head when I hear it. Celebrities are people. Most of them are people just like you. They just followed their dreams and worked their ass off on a different set of skills than you. Very few people are naturally gifted. They all have to work at it. JK Rowling was 32 when she published Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. Alan Rickman was also in his 30s when he began his acting career. Carrie was Stephen King’s first published novel, but the fourth he had written. And King had been writing since he was a child. It wasn’t until he was married that his writing career took off.

I’m getting caught up on Bates Motel lately and there was an episode where Dylan goes for a job interview. Emma’s dad encourages him to lie because his distribution experience is in an illegal industry. Dylan chooses the path of integrity. He’s tired of making bad decisions in life and wants to be a better person.

Are we doomed to live in a world where people like Trump can do whatever they want without recourse? Will there always be another Trump or Putin waiting in the wings who’ll tell us what we want to hear?

Well, I have other things I need to do today, so my pondering must end here.

Salut,
R~

Merry Monday – Stress

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I prefer to live my life in the middle or Goldilocks zone. In a place of harmony. Whenever there is an argument, I sympathize with both sides because I usually see logically valid points on both sides. Social things often distress me because there isn’t a clear answer to most issues.

Life is stressful enough without people who would rather pile more on. The wrong kind of stress kills people in a myriad of ways.

Going forward, I’m not tolerating it in my life. 

But there is good stress as well. We experience this at the start of a new relationship. We wonder if the other person likes us as much as we like them. When will we kiss? Will the kiss be good? Will we be compatible in other ways?

We also experience the good stress when we’re doing a job we are passionate about. When we accomplish our goals. When we learn something like an instrument or a language. When we grow our families.

The bad stress is meant to tear us down.

People that tell us we aren’t good enough could be bad stress or they could be honest. Maybe there are things we need to improve upon. If they say we aren’t currently good enough, but aren’t saying we’ll never be good enough, they might honestly be trying to help us improve. We need to be reasonable. If they say we’re utter garbage and tell us to give up on our dreams?

They aren’t people who are worthy of holding a place in our lives.

Good stress builds us up. It makes us learn something more about who we are and what we are capable of.

Soul mates bring good stress. They push us just a little farther than where we are currently because they believe in us.

Go ahead and be ruthless about who you allow to be part of your life. Your health and happiness depends on it. There will be people who think you don’t deserve to be happy. They don’t deserve to be in your life either.

Sometimes we do this to ourselves though. I’ve realized lately that the things I’m spending time on are not the things that make me happy. Getting deeply involved in anything political eats me away inside like a cancer. Spending endless hours on Facebook doesn’t make me happy. Working in an office makes me deeply unhappy. Being under writing deadlines makes me dread writing and I actually write more when I’m just doing it for myself, so other than the two short stories I currently have on my plate with deadlines, I’m not going to do more of those this year.

Last weekend, I made a list of what makes me happy and what makes me unhappy. I’m spending far more time on things that make me unhappy than I should be. I’ve also been dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is annoying as there are tons of things I want to do, but I just can’t always bring myself to do them.

So my plans include a therapy light, more exercise, a distraction free writing tool, and spending more time doing things I love with the people I love.

Salut,
R~