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Too often in life we miss the point of what’s important. Work takes over, our own petty insecurities confound us…but none of it really matters when you consider just how short our time in this world is, and what fragile creatures we are.

Life can be something that’s easily squandered, and it often takes courage to face every day, to be positive and happy when you’re anything but. But we press on, because we don’t know what else to do. We carve our own existence into the world and through interaction with it, we find ourselves in the strangest of places. But we live, and we think, and we are.

We’re happy, sad, confused, elated, angry, intelligent, obstinate, beautiful and ugly and so human sometimes that it hurts. If we can see through the small obstacles that block our way to being ourselves, then we can overcome anything. What we can’t do is allow ourselves to be pulled under the current, but sail it all the way to the shore.

Goodbye Holly, I hope that you find the peace now that you never found on Earth. Love, and miss you already.

Time for another update I feel.

The SFN meet went very well on Saturday, thanks to everyone who came out 🙂 I believe there’s a second one being organised now, so hopefully even more people will attend. However there will be no more talk of steak houses.

It’s been a pretty fun Easter actually. Aside from Saturday, I’ve mostly just been having nice lunches at restaurants, playing Mass Effect to the exclusion of mostly everything else, and trying to find time to read ‘The Stars My Destination’. A little crazy stalking from The Ex aside, it’s all been rather pleasant.

I’m trying to organise what the situation is regarding New York in May. I do want to go, however I’m going to have to wait and see what the freelance budget is, particularly since reviews from HD Review seem to be drying up. Also, if this promotion doesn’t go through then I’m going to have to have some serious thoughts about my future career path. Speaking of which, my shorthand has fallen so far on the wayside that it’s not even funny. Hopefully April will be a much calmer month, and give me a chance to sit down and actually learn it properly.

So what’s the topic this time, I hear you ask? Nothing major, actually. I could talk about Iraq, but I don’t have enough energy for an essay at the moment, so that may come later. My positivity reached a zenith with one of my previous posts as well, so that’s out the window. Rugby? Just depressing. Irish lost again to Bath this weekend, and added to our previous two defeats on the trot, my hopes aren’t particularly high for the quarter final on April 5th. In fact, I have the feeling that Perpignan may just grease us up and stealth fuck us into defeat. Or perhaps they’ll take the full on approach, I’m not sure, all I know is that those Catalans can be as bad as Gloucester fans sometimes, so it’ll be an interesting day if nothing else.

I’m not sure what the matter is today actually, just feeling a little deflated. Not tired, not unhappy…just a bit bland. Writing’s going well, although I’m starting to tail off a bit with Ties Of Blood And Affection, so I think a new project is in order. Maybe not science fiction this time, or fantasy (try not to faint). I think I’m just lacking direction slightly at the moment, and the more I think about it, the more unfair it was of Aaron to say that “you might be promoted, you might not be, it depends on the budget and how Damian votes”. Why not just say “look guys, I’ve done your appraisals, but we’re not going to have a meeting about it until Damian’s back from holiday because he needs to rubber stamp it”. Seems a lot fairer than building hopes up unnecessarily, and it kind of precludes me from wholeheartedly investigating anything else. All I know is that I can’t do another year on £12,000. It needs to go up to £15,000 at least, or it’s just not worth it.

Oh well.

The wanderlust is beginning to build again, as well. I’m just really starting to feel as if I’ve outgrown Bournemouth – there’s too many people I dislike here, and I’m tired of seeing the same old shops, going in the same old pubs, having the same old conversations with people every day. I want to get out there and experience somewhere different, but I also recognise the fact that there’s little to no point in moving somewhere like London just for the sake of it. I have to have a plan in place, but in all honestly, I’m so tired of meticulously planning my life at the moment, juggling friends and work and sport. It would just be nice to have some spontaneity, I envy my friends who are going travelling, and finishing Uni. At times it seems like an adventure that I’ve missed out on, and that I’m digging myself into a bit of a rut here. My job is great, and I love it so much, but I just really don’t want to stay here for years while everyone I know is off doing their own thing. You know, having actually left the nest as opposed to fleeing it for two years and coming back again.

Then again, I’m not even sure if journalism is what I really want to be doing anymore. Perhaps I just think too much.

Anyway, I’m not as suicidally depressed as this post makes me seem 😉 Just felt like a bit of a rant. Hope everyone has a great week!

Currently playing: Mass Effect
Currently reading: The Stars My Destination – Bester / The Kite Runner – Hosseini
Currently watching: Everything. God, so much to watch. SCC/Atlantis/New Amsterdam/Reaper…BSG soon!
Currently eating: Malaysian chicken and green bean curry, with a side of pork and lime pickle curry. And a Cadbury’s Caramel, because it’s Easter.

Things I Love

I love writing. It’s something I used to do all the time, but when I started at Imagine I barely touched it outside of work. This year I’ve kind of come back to it full-swing, and I’m better for it.

From Where Stars Shine has reached the endpoint of the first draft now, and I’m whittling it down. It’s not a monster, only about 20,000 words, but if I edit it enough into a form that I’m happy with, I’ll probably submit it to the Pantechnicon anthology. Maybe. We’ll see how it goes.

Life’s pretty good at the moment. Actually, I love life right now.

I love being single. I love the fact that I can just go and have a pint whenever I like, that I make dinner for myself, that I can sit on the Xbox all Sunday or listen to music, or just relax and read if I want to and I’m not beholden to anyone else. I love practically living on my own. I love my home, and I love my chair I’ve just bought from Ikea along with the new light, sitting next to my overflowing bookcase that I know should be sorted out, but I just don’t want to. I love the fact that I can just wake up in the morning, get on the train to the city, have a fabulous lunch in a nice restaurant and go to a museum and a library in the afternoon.

I love eggs and palenta and blueberries and oranges for breakfast, and elaborate dinners that I really don’t have to make and don’t have anyone else to make for, but can just do it because I want to. I love my job, and I love being fucking awesome at my job.

I love getting text messages and phone calls from people about the latest hiccup in the saga of their relationships, and being able to think to myself ‘Hey man, you’ve got a wife or a fiancee or a kid now. Your choice.’ I love fandom, and I love losing myself in a fanfic for hours at a time.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this point after the disastrous break ups with various women, but I’ve realised that I don’t need anyone else to define me. I think I’m kinda awesome, without intent of conceit.

As if life, my friends. As if life.

Listening to: Dropkick Murphys – The Meanest Of Times
Currently watching: Gattaca
Currently reading: The Count Of Monte Cristo /Portkey.org Fanfic.

As most of you will know, Heath Ledger was discovered unconscious by his housekeeper yesterday at a Manhattan flat. The police were called, but he was pronounced dead at the scene – the cause of death is yet to be determined but the NYPD is looking into the possibility of an overdose of prescription pills, which would indicate suicide.

If that was the case, it’s very sad. It doesn’t matter whether he finished The Dark Knight, or his latest film, the fact remains that if it was the case that he killed himself, it’s a tragedy and a real loss to us all. Many are incredulous that so many people can be so affected by the death of someone that actually, very few of us knew, but it’s not that hard to fathom. We connect with people through their films, their interviews, we let them into our homes – they entertain us, cheer us up, give us something to do. While it is ephemeral, we do have a connection to them and it does inspire emotion in us when they do pass, particularly under such horrific circumstances as these.

Suicide is the most selfish way to die, it’s true, but it’s also the saddest. As someone who has been touched by suicide in their life, I’ve had a long time to think about the root causes behind it. Did they really think that there was no other way out than to kill themselves? Did they feel so alone and so isolated that nobody could possibly understand or help them, and this was the only possible way that they could deal with whatever it was that was causing them such massive problems? I don’t know. After Amy died it took me a long time to come to the conclusion that we can never really understand what goes through the mind of someone on the edge of something like this – it’s a deeply personal experience that’s influenced by so many factors…it’s nearly impossible to fathom what they must have been feeling and how they must have felt so trapped that it drove them to it.

Heath Ledger’s case is an absolute tragedy, but it highlights the fact that we need to listen to each other more, to be far more supportive towards people we care about than we are. Suicide is horrible for the person who goes through with it, but it’s even worse for the people who survive it, by which I mean those who had connections, emotional attachments, who even loved those who take their lives.

The ultimate victims in this are Ledger’s family, most importantly, that poor two year old girl who will never know her father.

Very sad, very tragic. If I were a religious man my prayers would be with them, as it stands, they and others suffering the same thing have my thoughts today.

Listening to: Jose Gonzalez – In Our Nature
Currently watching: Forbidden Planet 50th Anniversary Edition
Currently reading: The Guardian

I always think that it’s a shame when obviously intelligent people succumb to the vagaries of slinging insults and personal attacks to get their points across, rather than debating real issues and shining through on their command of both the situation, the conversation, and their own impulses.

The election primaries in the United States started off as a fascinating demonstration of the democratic process – with the (now) highly divisive figure of George W. Bush unable to stand for another term and no particularly prominent figures vying to take his place, it seemed as if we may be able to have an American GE that isn’t so laboured with partisan voting and personality cults. The issues are troubling to say the least – an economy in recession and dangerously on the verge of crash, several wars overseas as well as peacekeeping operations, the expansion and enhancement of international government (particularly with regards to climate change) and the growing multicultural nature of US society in the 21st century are all concerns that need capable leadership and intelligent, cohesive discussion between all parties to solve effectively.

It seemed at first as if we were going to get that – the campaigning started (and I’m speaking with particular reference to the Democrats for this piece) as engaging, and thought-provoking discussion on exactly what had happened to American society. How had it become so fractured, what were the root causes and more importantly, what was going to be done about it? However, Obama’s victory in Iowa however had far more consequences than any could have foreseen, as it has suddenly sparked the birth of emotive and dirty campaigning. Clinton’s victory in New Hampshire was widely regarded as being due to the female vote and her disastrously cliched weeping at how much she cares about public services – hardly the kind of election platform that you want to launch societal reform from.

Since then, it’s pretty much descended into the usual mudslinging so often associated with the political process. Bill Clinton accuses Obama, Obama rebukes him and lays into Hillary Clinton about her background with a particularly pointed piece of dialogue that accused her of sitting comfortably on the board of Wal-Mart while he was getting his hands dirty helping the homeless and disadvantaged in Chicago. Clinton retorted with the fact that one of his main contributors (Rezko) is currently under investigation for fraud and running slum households in the inner cities. The Obama campaign is now donating all funds from the Rezko source to charity after this came to light.

Both are fair points, but using the poor and the economically deprived as a weapon is hardly a rallying call for change. Obama is popular among the young vote for his ability to spin rhetoric at a thousand paces about mending the schisms in their social fabric. His policies are something that I’m fairly sympathetic to, but they just don’t seem to carry the weight and obvious thought borne from experience that Clinton’s do. She also has the benefit of career experience, having served as a New York senator, and had first-hand experience of the White House (it’s no small shock that many people believe she was the true power behind her husband’s administration), as opposed to the 47 year-old first-time Arkansas senator.

However, both are tainting their campaigns with this excessive amount of highly personal and increasingly bitter attacks against each other. John Edwards, who most people have already ruled out as a serious contender, has even remarked on such (ironically, he’s come out of this storm looking like the best candidate, but people don’t vote for the nice guy who doesn’t want to offend in politics).

Meanwhile, the Republicans are rubbing their hands with glee not only at such a controversial Democrat ticket as a female contender or a black man, but also at the deep divides that this is causing among the mule’s voters. Their best candidate, Rudy Guiliani, is performing appallingly at the polls, but if the Democrats continue to bicker and fight among each other like this rather than come up with a defined and detailed, different political strategy, they risk losing their natural advantage due to the backlash over eight years of Republican government, numerous conflicts and the images of US boys and girls coming back home in flag-draped coffins.

If I were able to vote in these primaries I’d probably still go with Hillary Clinton, but this election needs a turn for the positive in order to keep the interest in politics that is surfacing in America piqued, lest the populace once more sink into apathy and disaffection.

Currently reading: Mil Millington – Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About
Currently watching: Chuck Season One
Want to watch: There Will Be Blood

My Saturday pretty much consisted of driving back from Blackpool and frantically refreshing the BBC Live commentary page for the Treviso – Irish game on my mobile, hoping against all hope that we’d pick up a bonus point so as to get ourselves a QF place. And we did manage it! Might have been in the eighth minute of injury time, but we managed it nonetheless.

Alas, since Perpignan didn’t manage to pick one up themselves, if we hadn’t scored that fourth try then we’d be looking at a home game against Munster instead of playing USAP again. Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers, at least we’re through and it’ll be nice to stuff the Catalans after the sheer amount of whining they engaged in after the last game at the MadStad.

With the Six Nations beginning very soon and Irish on their way to the knock out stages of the Heineken Cup, it’s going to be an excellent period for rugby I think. My money’s on France or England to take the 6N – Ireland are too unfocused, Scotland are fairly useless and Italy…well. There were only 3500 in attendance in Treviso on Saturday, at least 1000 of which were our fans. Says something about the level of enthusiasm for the game there. I say make it the Seven Nations and bring Argentina in – wouldn’t mind a bit of a tussle with the Pumas, their performance in the WC was fairly inspiring.

Oh well, back to work I suppose.

Currently reading: Robert A. Heinlein – Starship Troopers.
Currently watching: Stargate Atlantis Season Two
Want to watch: No Country For Old Men

Round three, fight!

So this will be the third time I’ve tried to maintain a blog, with the first still being my most successful over at LJ. Well, lucky number three and all that jazz I hope.

I’m mainly going to be using this as a soapbox for whatever I feel like writing about at the time. I may post snippets or short stories here, I may not. I’m currently wallowing in the well of indecision at the moment, woe is me.

One thing I would like to know is why we can go to the moon, send probes to Mercury, build robots that look so lifelike it’s impossible to tell the difference between them and humans, and attach bionic limbs to people, but we can’t find a simple cure for the common cold or a stomach ache? I mean seriously guys, you’re letting the side down, but more importantly you’re letting yourselves down too.

For anyone reading who doesn’t know me, I’m a 21 year old man who has delusions of competency. I work as a media journalist at the moment, but I’m planning to segue into newspaper journalism through taking the NCTJ preliminary certificate while I work in London town, freelancing in what little time I’ll have remaining after that. For the moment though, I’m still living in sunny Bournemouth and drinking far too much. Huzzah!

But seriously, there’ll be a range of topics here from politics, to work, to science fiction, to films and whatever tickles my fancy. Read it if you enjoy it, comment if you have something to say, or alternately you could just think fuck it and have a cup of tea and a sit-down. The choice, as they say, is yours.

– J.