Medicine Man

Yupik shaman Nushagak.jpg

Yupik shaman Nushagak” by Carpenter, Frank G. (Frank George), 
1855-1924, photographer, collector. – Library of Congress [1]
Forms part of the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection. Gift; 
Mrs. W. Chapin Huntington; 1951.. 
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Modern World can be scary sometimes.

I had to explain to my 10 year old yesterday: as a rule people are frightened by things they do not understand. This is why Shaman became so revered by generations of the past, their ability to comprehend the complexities of the human body far beyond the capacity of most. It’s why for a very long time it was simply easier to grasp the concept of the Universe revolving around us and not the other way around. Currently, it appears that everybody’s got a dose of the Social Crusader about them. Being morally indignant is the cause du jour, and the prevalence of Social Media in our lives means this can happen and inevitably we’ll discover that other people agree with us when we speak out. Except sometimes? Maybe your cause célèbre wasn’t  a problem for everyone else, and perhaps by doing what you’ve done there’ll be more harm caused than good.

But, it’s social media so that doesn’t matter, right?


Except, it actually does matter quite a bit, especially when the focus of ire is something that maybe you think is a problem but with a few steps back becomes normal and acceptable for everyone else. The counter to this is simple: once upon a time, what we now consider barbaric and unacceptable was seen as commonplace because that was the way society functioned. Slavery was the norm, people used real money to secure passage into Heaven and leeches were invaluable in medicine. But hang on, that’s not even accurate now, is it? All this stuff still happens. Women remain victims, men feel emancipated, the youth rail and rebel at anything with a hashtag. The world is inherently skewed towards a certain set of values. The good guys don’t always win, right?

Change is a curious beast. What one person things is wrong is inevitably absolutely fine for many others.

What I miss more than anything else right now is moderation. I am as much to blame as the rest of Humanity for not taking a mental step backwards some days before I open my mouth. Instant communication means you can be down someone’s throat before they’re even capable of taking a breath to defend themselves, and that can never be a good thing because actually sometimes you don’t want to explain your reasoning anyway. There are days when it isn’t about the moral crusade or the trailblazing change, it’s just life. People are born, live and die and in that that time the wealth of experience is so vast, it becomes impossible to accurately mirror the diversity. Especially when it comes to literature and media, the mainstream often forgets that what society allows is often now what people can cope with seeing. Particularly if they are impressionable or sensitive.

Trying to change the old to the new is hard work. Often it is better to ignore the old altogether and just start again.

Or often, let’s just change the subject completely.

Some days I come here to make a point. Today I arrived realising that actually, I’m happy with the World at this moment. I get why some people are really cross, and that others want to have a rant, and that you guys over there are really pissed off because this is 2015 and this shouldn’t be happening any more, and if I agree with you I will only move to make that clear when I’m convinced my personal argument is sound. I refuse to pin personal colours to any flag any more unless I’m prepared to back that argument up with facts I feel are irrefutable. It seems a decent life skill to cultivate, because if I can’t stand by the courage of conviction… well, what’s the point? Maybe it’s mostly down now to the understanding that picking a moment doesn’t matter nearly as much as feeling comfortable you’re doing what’s right for you.

When I have something worth hearing? You’ll know about it.

You’re the One

Fry gets a lot of work around this Parish ^^

One of the problems with Social Media for me is the concept of who considers you a ‘friend.’ For me the word’s a bit… well… difficult sometimes, because there are those people you know that when you start a Blog Post or a Tweet are automatically going to assume your ire is directed at them. It’s the guilt complex in all of us, that moment when you read something and think ‘hang on, I did that today, is this being focussed at me?’ That’s the reason the Subtweet Gambit (TM) is as effective as it undoubtedly is in making the people who are causing trouble in your life sit up and take notice without the need to actual say you are.

Maybe therefore I should define the boundaries of what I consider friendship in the Digital Age. Would this help certain people in their desire to wind me up at every possible opportunity? Unlikely, because that happens with them just being what they are regardless. I know this happens the other way around with people who follow me. You can tell those who thought I was a good person to read when they saw me at my best, but the moment I go off on an emotionally-charged rant (which, let’s face it, happens quite a bit) they’ll be off in short order because what with that and all the GIF mullarky, I’m quite hard work.

What I need right now is to stop worrying about what other people think and just do what’s right for me.


The problem of course comes when you do this, and people react to your reaction. I am aware that certain people follow others out of a sense of obligation, that by effectively cutting sections out of your media ‘circle’ you create potential schisms that can resonate throughout the ‘life’ you create online. However you try and dress it up, people undoubtedly often just see what they want and hear what they need. Very few even read what you write, if truth be told, and it can be hard to grasp why someone’s calling themselves your ‘friend’ when so little actual communication appears to go on to begin with. The most sensible approach to this seems to be that if you mute someone because you find them frustrating, you’re probably never going to feel otherwise in the long term, and probably just not having them there at all is a better lifestyle choice.

It’s the same old song… ^^

The larger your reach extends in digital circles, the more noise gets generated around you. The smart people will tell you this is a positive indicator of you doing something right, that upsetting people is a benchmark for progress. I always thought this could be avoided if you took care in what you wrote, but what has become increasingly apparent in the last few months is that you have absolutely no control of anything you write in the modern world, unless you are backed up by some fairly serious legal clout (and even that’s not a guarantee any more.) That means a choice at personal level: cut away the people that actively make you feel uncomfortable and move on. If the people you lose see this as a personal insult, so be it, but in the end you do what is right for you. Hopefully this works out well for everyone concerned, but if it doesn’t you just have to accept the consequences and move on.

When the shoe is on the other foot, and someone removes you because of the exact same issue, use it as a means to step back and re-assess your position.

Privileges revoked.

This happened last week with two much respected and long-term contributors to my social media circles, and to have them both leave pretty much on the same day was actually not a surprise, if I’m honest. I’m tired of having to lie about how I feel regarding a lot of things in an attempt to remain relevant to many who it seems don’t actually agree with my approach to begin with, and as I have become more honest with words, people have begun to push back. Some do so in a very aggressive and active fashion, others simply turn and walk, and there are pretty much an infinite number of points in between. The fact remains, I know I am making a difference. There are days when I think perhaps that’s not true but the overriding majority of people I speak to find my work challenging and thought-provoking. They don’t need to subtext it with anything, or to be critical of me for what I am as a result. For those people alone the continued effort is worthwhile. For the others who feel they know me but aren’t actually listening? Well, I’m sorry but if you will not afford me the respect of actually trying to grasp what I say, what should I do? Ah yes, it’s me that doesn’t understand you, and that’s my job. Except, if you frighten or scare me with your attitude, I get the choice to walk away.

No. And NO.

In the end, some people just won’t ever like you. That’s just a fact. If you really don’t like someone because of the way you feel they’ve treated you, there are a number of practical avenues of recourse. You can mail them and challenge them directly, and I’ve done that, but be prepared to be surprised at the responses you might get. If you’ve judged them over time and feel that direct communication will just make things worse? Cut the chord. Your reasoning is yours to understand and ultimately nobody else’s to know. You don’t need to announce a Twitter cull or a Facebook prune, don’t make an event of something that’s already going to be drama laden to begin with. Grow some balls and remove the negative elements from your life once and for all, and you will feel better for it.

‘Friends’ are only worthwhile if both of you are prepared to make it work.

Learning to Fly

Easy now there big fella ^^

Learning how to write is fucking hard work.

The worst part of the journey is when you know that you need to get from A-B and you have no clue on how you’re gonna do it. That’s been me this week: even though I’d already written the next half a dozen sections of  ‘The Sayers’ they didn’t work well enough for me to want to post them. So on came the re-write, that ended up with just over 15k’s worth of written work being either trashed or recycled. The basic ‘plot’ remains but the means by which you now see this played out has undergone the most brutal of redirections.

As it stands, I’m happy with the way this has now gone, but we’re still not done yet. I’m still working out the kinks in the rewrite, but the plan remains to try and go back to Mondays for posting, starting with the upcoming Bank Holiday. Mostly I wanted to get this right because it matters that I make my story what I think it should be, rather than simply settle for having something substandard to meet a deadline. Mostly it is the perfectionist in me realising that I want to tell this story as well as I can, which means it’s show, not tell all the way.

If you’ll excuse me Dave, I’ll go back to the editing now.

Bohemian Like You

Twitter’s a dangerous game. Except it *isn’t a game.*

Twitter is one of those places where The Rules, such as they are, appear to be quite strongly ingrained. One of those involves the concept of the ‘Subtweet’ (which we have discussed before) and how individuals use this to express their displeasure at behaviour from specific individuals on their feeds without the necessary inconvenience of naming them. However, the subtweet ‘gambit’ only works if the person doing the talking is actually aiming to abuse someone to begin with. The assumption, and this shows just how negative many people expect Social Media to be, is that you’ll always moan at someone without naming them. 

The thing is, maybe it was’t aimed at you to begin with. Perhaps it wasn’t aimed at anybody at all.

A perfect example of this came yesterday, when my annoyance at people not actually reading what I write and simply interpreting what they want surfaced over several weeks worth of blog replies, after a particularly fraught morning. Ironically, that then was exactly what happened with someone else, because the assumption now seems to be that when anything is said on Twitter with some kind of ‘generic’ or ‘vague’ subtext this clearly means that response you just made to my post, and therefore I must be moaning at you. In shock news I don’t spend every moment of my day obsessively checking my Website for the latest feedback, because otherwise no life at all would ever be had.

My day yesterday, in .GIF form ^^

As this is now the second time an incident of this type has taken place in as many months, I sense I’m stuck in a bit of a cleft stick: I thought I’d been clear enough in the last few weeks to make sure I could manage any misunderstanding. It now occurs to me, because I’m slow and often quite dense, that I’m not actually the whole problem. If someone else is following me and decides to leave because they don’t like what I’m writing, I’m still doing a job. I’m making them think, regardless of the sentiments that may be generated. That isn’t about my words, it’s their interpretation of what is presented, and if all you are looking for is a view of the World where you agree with the people around you? Actually, I get that, probably more than a lot of people might initially believe I’m capable of. But I know there are two sides to this story, even if some people would like to ignore the bad.

This is what I am. Especially the outfit.

The upshot of this is… well, nothing. Even if I don’t say anything I know is aimed at a specific person, someone is still capable of assuming I have, as the number of people who follow me continues to rise. My point is to those people who follow others on Twitter and become overly obsessed with what they read? Don’t. It’s dangerous and unhealthy and will only lead to you getting far more upset than the person to whom you focus your interest, because more likely than not they’ll not even realise you’ve got a problem to begin with. That’s me this morning, and I now know that for my own sanity, there’s going to need to be a far more active policing of my personal spaces than there has been previously.

Hopefully this will simply stop the problems before they start, but you can never tell.

Delicate Sound of Thunder

It’s all about context, dahlink ^^

Yesterday, I learnt a salutary lesson in timing.

With the benefit of a night’s sleep, I realise that I have probably reached the stage in this journey where it is time to remove my personal life from the public equation altogether. Having two distinct ‘paths’ was something I thought was unnecessary, but I can now see the overriding benefit of separating the two. The reality of doing so is hardly complex, but I can already hear people complaining that ‘you never talk about yourself any more.’

The thing is, you can’t have everything both ways.

Choose your Weapon.

This means that this place is likely to get more use. It also forces me to start working on being clearer and more concise in what I choose to communicate with, which frankly is no bad thing.

In fact, I feel this is a challenge to be both grasped and embraced, and so I shall do both.

Pump Up the Volume

YouTube now does summat that annoys the fuck out of me. It decides that once I’ve played one video, I’m clearly going to want another in the same vein and so it Autoplays just that [*]. Except I have no desire to hear another song, I just picked that one for a reason. Of course, YouTube isn’t smart enough to know this, because it will assume all I want is the same type of music until I tell it to stop, or I throw the PC out of the window.

Dealing with people in the Social Media Age is not unlike this situation, except for a crucial point: there is no immediate on/off option. I can’t choose who I listen to if I decide to have a ‘public’ life, everyone ends up speaking at once and, inevitably, some people get ignored. That’s all well and good if these people are reasonable human beings, but there are those who crave attention in a manner pretty much akin to a five year old wanting the sweets you won’t buy them because they already had enough. You’re then forced to filter out the undesirable elements based on a set of variables that, for many, end up with you having to actually restrict access to your spaces because the rest of the World can’t be trusted. We’ve spoken about this before. Curating Social Media is a thing more people need to do as a matter of necessity.

This is Anne Pontegnie. She is a Curator.

Because, lets be honest, your average slice of humanity posses too many variables to easily grasp. I want to pick one as we continue as a point to make in relation to the issue of personal control:

Passive-aggressive behaviour is the indirect expression of hostility, such as through procrastination, stubbornness, sullenness, or deliberate or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible. 

You meet these kinds of people a lot in Gaming, truth be told. Some have decided I’m clearly and obviously P-A, which always makes me laugh, because I just suffer from Depression: my hostility is VERY obvious when it happens. I’m also quietly determined to ensure that if I do get angry in future, nobody online ever gets to see it. That’s not what the Internet is for. Anger is destructive and pointless and does no-one any good, and is for private spaces and very-selectively curated groups where trust is in your hands. That’s the thing about disposable relationships: there is no consistency. You possess no real basis for trust and respect, and however hard you try, once you lose what little ability you held to believe someone’s genuine, there’s no point. You can get as annoyed and passively aggressive as you like, but if someone closes the door to you, maybe there’s a reason. And more importantly, maybe you don’t get to know.

If that’s a problem for you, that’s just tough. You don’t get access to what’s in my head. I choose who I give the information to, and if that’s not you? Sorry.

There’s too much noise in my life already. I don’t need to have you making any more.


[*] I know I can turn it off. That’s the point of this post.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Yesterday, I tried to stay up late to catch the SPECTRE trailer launch but singuarly failed. However, that’s what the Internet is for.

Here you go, watch away:

One frame leapt out at me in watching this, and that’s part of the ‘personal effects’ Bond gets handed from Skyfall. Particularly relevant? This frame:

So here’s a Certificate of Temporary Guardianship with Bond’s name on it (and he’s 14 at the time) and that picture? I’d assumed that the head ‘missing’ was his mother, but I know it isn’t. That’s another boy.

That’s actually the Bonds’ real son.

Brain’s been doing somersaults over this since I saw it, and I suspect I’ll need a bit of time to digest all the possibilities. I’d like to postulate at this point the following:

  • Craig’s character is not the Bonds’ biological son. This will allow the writers a gimme out of the big mistake I and many other fans feel they made in Skyfall when it was pretty much stuck in canon that he was the original owner of the name. This also frees them up for when they cast a new Bond (and they will because that’s how this franchise works) to give that person the ‘name’ and the number without consequence.
  • Christopher Wentz’ character is in fact the Bonds’ biological son. If he was presumed dead and lost with his parents in the accident that befell them (and I’m going to guess that has a link to the cabin we see Bond confront Mr White in, as that picture was clearly taken by Bond’s mother in the Alps) he’s gonna have some SERIOUS issues about his ‘brother’ being where he is. That’s probably the best ‘Motivations to become a Supervillain’ I’ve seen for some time.

I’m REALLY hoping this is what happens, because I’ve always wanted the number and name to simply be an identifier, and Skyfall was a MASSIVE disappointment in this regard.

Needless to say, Bloefeld and Bond are brothers. Because that’s just too perfect not to have happen 😀