Christmas Is Always Coming

So, let’s talk about Christmas, it’s obligatory with it being less than ten days away at this point and I do plan to discuss my actual day of Christmas with you on Christmas as it happens, a sort of sum up like last year followed by a retrospective of my year as a whole. However, for now, let’s discuss Christmas, in particular why some may view me as something of a Scrooge on the topic. I never really partake in festivities to the same degree as my friends – no antlers on my head, no Christmas jumper waiting to be sprung out come December and you’ll never get me singing along to Jingle Bells. A variety of reasons surround this, first and foremost is my social anxiety which insists that although everyone else in the room looks like a colossal dickhead wearing red noses and tinsel scarves, I will be the most dickheadiest of dickheads if I join in, that somehow my foolishness isn’t just fun, it’s utterly disgusting and degrading to watch and people will remember the display as a reason to hold me in slightly less high regard. On the other hand, there are some other reasons I’m not huge on Christmas as a whole, which I’ll cover over the course of this post.

Now, don’t be mistaken in thinking I want December 25th to be just another day on the calendar and we don’t bother at all, that’s not it, I think it’s nice that we all agree to dedicate some time of the year to togetherness and family time and so on – though it sucks to the nth degree not all of us get that. Christmas, forced onto the mainstream by a previously Christian dominated society and now kept around for people of all walks of life due to a combination of tradition and marketing, is fun when you’re in the right setting for it with the right people and resources and so on – hard to be miserable at Christmas when you have all you want. The problem is just that though, Christmas is such a beacon of light and joy that some of us expect it to cast out the negativity simply the grace of existing and we can overlook the pains, struggles and loneliness of our fellow men because we think “It’s Christmas, someone will do something for them and they’ll probably feel better with a belly full of turkey and some nice new trinkets to unwrap”. Here then. we have that phrase, that phrase that is the bane of my life every single year between the end of October and December 26th.

“BUT IT’S CHRISTMAS!”

You know what? So fucking what if it is? We’re aware what time of year it is, which by the way, I resent for creeping earlier and earlier into the year, partly because I’m a November baby and partly because it applies the pressure to be cheerful and excited on depressed folk like me before they’re even in the right frame of mind to adopt false happiness. Christmas isn’t some be all, end all cure to the woes of the world, whatever Bob Geldof insists on telling you. The reality is Santa doesn’t deliver world peace, bosses don’t always let things slide because the big day is coming and not every broken heart finds someone willing to bring them out of the cold, let’s not delude ourselves. If we perpetuate Christmas as being the best thing to happen in a year, it loses that status because we don’t need to do anything, it becomes that for the consumerist masses just by being Christmas – people already have their Christmas spirit pumping without the need for volunteering in a soup kitchen or checking in on their lonesome neighbour who doesn’t have kids to come visit or whatever. By doing that, Christmas becomes less and less like the fairy tales and slips more and more into what cynics like me have been calling it for years – a mass of over-excited meatheads stuffing their faces and buying shit.

So, Christmas lovers, maybe you’re think I’m being a Grinch hmm? I just don’t understand because I’m a misery right? Maybe you’re right, this year is seeing me be the most depressed I’ve been at Christmas time since my schoolboy days, for reasons too personal to disclose here. However, last Christmas (Don’t), I wasn’t as bad, I had money, friends and even though Christmas didn’t happen at my home, I did my fair share of philanthropic gestures and gift giving and even then I STILL wrote an article about how overhyped Christmas is and how unfair it is on children in particular. I love Christmas and that’s speaking as a staunch Atheist to whom Christmas has no religious meaning to give remembrance for, it’s literally just “Winter is shit but hey presents and food happen!”. but I still love this idea of a time in which we stop to think about people and how we can express our love for them, my only concern is that perhaps we lost sight of that.

You know the shpiel here, that Christmas has become about buying affection rather than earning it, in showing love through consoles and laptops rather than actual words of kindness or shows of support and many of you will roll your eyes at the goody two-shoe deal here but it is so important we remember that and we must remember that Christmas isn’t a time of joy for us all, no matter how much you wish it to be. Tragic story time, my Dad when I was young, despised Christmas, so much that seeing decorations filled him with dread and sorrow because to him, it didn’t mean joy and laughter, it meant a time of spending money and fulfilling other people’s dreams because if he didn’t, he had to disappoint them. We had no decorations in our house until Christmas Day itself and they’d come down again afterwards as soon as Dad could manage it, just so he didn’t have to see that tree for one second longer than he had to. I didn’t understand as a child, I don’t think my Dad ever realised that as a kid, I was always happy at Christmas with anything he got me – probably because kids are so shit at being grateful for stuff. We’ve always lived on the breadline in this home and to then have December 25th pop up “JUST A HEADS UP, YOU BETTER SPEND AT LEAST LIKE… £500 ON GIFTS OR PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU DON’T LOVE THEM” when you can barely afford £5, it’s terrifying and makes you resent Christmas as being a toll, a challenge to PROVE your love and selflessness, as if everything else you did all year didn’t count.

Christmas is getting a little too big for its own boots here and stomping on the poor and the heartbroken, it brings joy not only because we are all given what we want and are giving those we love what they want but because everyone looks happy when you push the unhappy ones out of the photo frame. I’m not even going to try and count the number of times my depression has been muddled up with a lack of Christmas spirit, that somehow all this obnoxious corporate money-grabbing and ugly jumper parties should be the strongest mood medication I could ever want. Somehow though, it is not but I still partake in Christmas – gifts have been bought, nice gestures done without the hope of them being returned have been performed and on Christmas Day, as is my tradition, I contact everyone I consider a friend to at least give season’s greetings.

So, what am I saying here, you ask? The article has sort of read as a general guilt-tripping Santa-bashing bitterness sandwich but I guess ultimately, I want you to read this and remember that Christmas in and of itself is not special, Christmas is as special as we make it for ourselves and others. If you think buying lots of stuff is all it takes, well done, you’re nothing more than a patsy Amazon and Wal-Mart will bleed dry year upon year, but Christmas is about charity and charity isn’t just giving to the homeless, it’s showing love. PLEASE take this time to check on people and that they’re ok, if that’s the only genuinely good thing you do that isn’t all about presents, please make sure that miserable fuckers like me are at least safe and comfortable this Christmas. I guarantee you that everyone who hates Christmas has a reason for it and it’s no good telling them to just cheer up; do something that makes this time of year a little easier for them.

Merry Christmas.

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Little Big Pleasures

Yesterday’s article was kinda fun, barely a soul gave a toss but you know I can write a post on here just for the sake of writing it, that’s what blogs were for before they became a way to launch a promising career in writing… which I’m still waiting for. Anyway, that in mind, a conversation with a friend has got me in the mood for writing another fun fluff piece about video games and the astute ones among you can probably guess which game came to mind for me, Little Big Planet 3, the latest in a trilogy of platforming games that is fun for all ages.

As series go, some I can buy games from hit and miss, I can chip into a series late and go back, go from the start and watch it evolve or I can just try it and leave it. For example, I only own Sega All Stars Racing, not the Transformed version that came out later, the first didn’t excite me enough to merit paying money for me, my favourite game series Dynasty Warriors, I didn’t buy the games in order – starting with 3, than a crossover game, then 5, 4, expansion packs, 6 and so on. Thankfully there isn’t a continuity in Dynasty Warriors, it’s the same game made over and over again with better graphics, gameplay mechanics and expanded character rosters. Point being, Little Big Planet, I watched it grow. I played the first game at a friend’s house and fell in love and I made sure to acquire each game since. So why do I like the series so much? Well, this is not a rant today, today I’m here to rave, to sing praise, to review with a positive attitude so allow me to fill you in on why Little Big Planet might just be one of the finest series of games going.

Okay, for those who have never owned a PS3/PS4 and never played the game at any point, Little Big Planet is a platformer game in which you customise a cutesy knitted character with costumes of all varieties and run through themed levels to rescue a world of imagination from some big baddy, be it an owl driving a death robot, an evil space snake or Hugh Laurie in a bowler hat. You run, jump, swing, fly and glide through levels that take inspiration from just about anything – Medieval Europe, the Renaissance, Outer Space, 50s Style Diners, Giant Libraries – you name it, someone has made a LBP level about it. The game is artistically stunning, it has a style that makes it all look like it is essentially an enchanted art project, adding to this idea it is an imaginary world, a world consisting of doodles and craft sessions come to life and your main enemy is always some selfish, unimaginative monster who wants to stomp all over your creativity. With that explained, here’s why this series is so good:

Diversity and Suitability

You could easily make this the first game your kids play, their first real video game series and it would not corrupt them. Far from it, I would think it enriching. Across the series, the levels opt out of falling into the templates of Snow World, Lava World and Desert World, instead opting for culturally themed worlds – New York World, Japan World, England World – not in such obvious titles but you can see the inspiration. The costumes add to this, it’s not all armour and silly hats, though there a few, but there are costumes based on Chinese Traditional Wear, Japanese Robes, Ponchos, Tuxedos, Saris and Turbans, come Little Big Planet 4 or 5, or enough DLC, and this series will touch on every major world culture at least once. In this sense, the game is inoffensive. Granted, I’m a white hetero cis male, it’s hard to offend my demographic unless you question my masculinity, but with a game that so celebrates diversity and avoids violence (You defeat monsters by jumping on their weak spots and they turn into clouds of smoke, hardly that gruesome), this is a game that is either a light spot of fun for a twenty something like me, a tool for enjoyment and education for children or a game you could possibly talk Mum and Dad into trying. Parents, seize this game, fast, when you see kids playing it, introduce them to the cultures and histories that have inspired the artistic styles and level designs to make your children students of the world!

Endless Creativity

In terms of games that allow you to be truly creative, this is up there with Mario Maker, easily being worshipped as the new user-friendly creativity tool of the decade, a title it deserves – past the “Nyahahaha this is so hard!” levels, Mario Maker offers the chance for potential game designers to use assets they fully understand to create unique gaming experiences. Little Big Planet, by the same token, allows players to use any of the materials, monsters and power-ups they have encountered in game to create whole new worlds, stickers can be found to personalise existing levels and both your home screen and character are fully customisable. LBP DLC is endless, the blank canvas hero allowing so many possibilities – Baymax, Kermit the Frog, Solid Snake, Dr Eggman – You can be any of those guys, the DLC exists and the in-game content allows you to try out so many variations with costumes ranging from ogre outfits to jeans and shirts. The series includes a Create Mode, a Pod (your home screen) for you to decorate, essentially anything and everything can be personalised and because of this there is a wealth of user-created levels, some of which make me think the designer should be paid for making this stuff up. If games rot the imagination, LBP gives you a healthy dose of it again, it offers you so much chance to be creative, it is almost overwhelming!

Simplicity

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for games being complex, a good strong plot in a video game is a major selling point for me but as a gamer with non-gamer friends I love hanging out with, getting them into games I’m passionate about is hard. They get names wrong, they laugh at things that aren’t supposed to be funny, they simplify the plot to the level of a child’s understanding and I don’t mind, they’re not fans, they’re not invested, but games that you can pick up, play once and understand are great. Pac-Man, Mario, Ghosts and Goblins, Little Big Planet – you have an objective, you have basic controls, away you go, that’s that, jump in and out at any point in the story and it still makes sense. For this reason, LBP is the most popular game on game night with my friendship circle, it’s good clean fun you don’t have to be a gamer to understand but it’s not insultingly easy to the point of being boring, the difficulty curve is perfect in every game (Well, LBP3 is actually more challenging for me than the last two, I think they’re trying to stop loyal fans from getting bored). A game you can share is a game you can love even more, nothing is as satisfying for a gamer as making someone else love the franchise you love, LBP is so easy to get into that you find yourself never short of friends willing to be Player 2. Try that with Dynasty Warriors, I get a lot of “I’m gonna be… Uhh… This big red guy with the pike. Is he good? What do I do? Oh I died… This game is hard, let’s do something else”. Worst. Damn. Thing.

It Evolves

If you make a sequel to a game, you have to change things up from the game before, that’s just a rule, you have to give the player something they can’t get from the previous game. Sonic 2 brought Tails and more levels, Sonic 3 had the option to save progress, Sonic 3 and Knuckles had a new character and a game twice as long as the games before, for those reasons those games got progressively more and more popular. Little Big Planet One is good, it plays very simply and it is very easy, a sort of introduction to the game series with nice tight level design and precious few variations on the run and jump format. Little Big Planet 2 took that and added to it, it added power-ups like a grappling hook, a fire-extinguisher hat, super strength gloves – the game had whole new realms of depth and more creative options to explore. LBP2 even had better mini-games added in, competitive ones, shooting galleries and giant dodgem car levels, this was a franchise that just got better. How do you top that? Try LBP3 – Create Mode and Play Mode now blend together in some levels, requiring you to fill blanks in a level’s design to advance (Hmm. No bridge? I better build one out of those cubes stacked on the cliff edge), the game operates on several layers with the standard far layer, near layer and in between now swapped for very very far, very far, far etc. and the game added whole new characters of different shapes and sizes with their own powers (shapeshifting, flying, running on walls and more). LBP could easily just get away with new levels and costumes and a new big baddy but it does so much more that each game is a distinct improvement on the one before. I just love it, I really do.

In conclusion, Little Big Planet as a series probably isn’t the best game series either but it’s a damn good candidate, in three games it has made more keen and loyal a fan than some game series have done in ten. I could play it with pretty much anyone and have a blast, I could play a level of any theme I could imagine or design it myself and my hero is whoever I want them to be, be it a dragon, a luchador or a green cat in a mankini (No joke, there is a mankini in this game). If you have a PS3 or PS4 and no LBP in your game library, try it, there’s something for everyone and that is pretty darn impressive.

Christmas Day Special – My Christmas of 2014

Trigger Warnings – None.

Merry Christmas folks! Sorry if this is up late but come on, credit where credit is due, even posting anything on this day deserves a pat on the back really doesn’t it? I hope you are all having a jolly good time of this festive occasion, my Christmas hasn’t exactly been what one would typically call Christmas Day but I’m not here to complain, not today, not on Christmas Day, I’ll save you that much. Anyway, Christmas and the New Year come so close together that it is at this time of year, particularly in the evening, we come to reflect on how far we have come since this same time last year and whilst I plan to do a personal post on all that another day, my mind still dwells there and I’ve been rather thoughtful tonight so allow me to share my musings.

So, Christmas was sort of cancelled this year, for us – our family has endured some hard ordeals that have been taxing on my father and my stepmother and a recent family incident destroyed the festive spirit of my Dad, the youngest of our family stole a great sum of money from other members and for a holiday all about family and togetherness, this came as a harsh blow. I’m all for second chances but if you knew the history, this kid isn’t on his second, he’s on his tenth, we’re tired. Anyway, moving on to less depressing subjects, we managed to enjoy some festivity here – there were gifts being passed around, we had a very large dinner and we’ve enjoyed some films and games, as well as you know, plenty of chocolate. Yes, Christmas is a cosy time of year for most of us, we cannot all enjoy it, there are those who still starve and scream even today and for that, we have to be thankful for what we have, as I am sure you are all aware.

I am thankful for a lot this year, even in spite of finding myself unemployed and some less than ideal health issues, mood issues and family issues but beyond that, I have a lot to be grateful for even so. You see, as Christmas looked set to be miserable, I was flooded with love and support from friends and even invitations to join them for Christmas next year if it looks set to be much the same. I dare not think that far ahead but the invitations are very much welcomed and maybe I will take up on one of those invitations, maybe not, time will tell and it is much too soon to make shots in the dark at what the next Christmas has in store for me. I like to think I have been very festive this year, I had a fair sum of money to my name at the time and did what I wanted to do the most with it – I wanted to spoil those close to me, to buy them thought out gifts to tell each of them that I care because each of those people that got something, they got me through the year, they gave me strength and I knew I would not get the opportunity to indulge them too often so I figured why not? I find the most joy in the joy of others, sounds cheesy and stupid but I do. You know what sound I love more than anything? A gasp, a gasp of surprise when you have got someone something they did not expect, when they put their hand to their mouth and smile. I find it deeply satisfying and maybe there is an element of selfishness in pursuing that reaction but it’s a redeemable selfishness surely? I’ll leave it to you to make that call.

I’ve not been a true saint of the holiday, I’ve done so few charitable deeds unless it was for someone within my family or circle of friends, I didn’t help out at a soup kitchen, I didn’t deliver toys to children in hospitals, I didn’t give my coat to a homeless man and such things are indeed praiseworthy, I wish I had the resources to do such things constantly and rest assured, come the new year, I will get back into charity work, it is rewarding and can be quite fun in the right environment. The new year holds a lot in store for me, mostly the reality that I must get my life on track and move forward from this endless wandering in circles. Still, as I said, it being Christmas, let me take this opportunity to thank you all for a great year – my blog is back and better than before, I have such good close friends and I have done so much with this year that it amazes me that this has been one year, it has been a long one for me but what I’ve gained from it, I am happy to have found.

Merry Christmas readers and a Happy New Year to all. Give me a little present of a like and a share and be sure to like my page on Facebook. Thank you for reading and let’s see what the new year brings for us all!

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Chains Of Avarice

Trigger Warnings – None

Christmas is coming, unless you’re Australian, it already came, or you don’t celebrate Christmas in which case I apologise, this article probably won’t interest you. As I was, Christmas is coming, it’s almost here for us here in the UK and so in honour of that occasion, I plan to do two little Christmassy posts, today and tomorrow. Yes, I am that dedicated to you my readers that I will be giving you all the gift of two festive posts, I hope it beats another ugly tie or pair of socks. Granted, your feet will be no warmer but perhaps your mind will be a little more open.

Right off the bat, I’m going to assume we all know the story of the Christmas Carol, if not then you either REALLY don’t celebrate Christmas to the point of not acknowledging it even exists or when someone mentions fiction, you look confused like “People write stuff that’s not true? I thought that was just The Sun?”. Zinger, I know. Anyway, as a brief recap the Christmas Carol is the story of a greedy businessman called Scrooge being visited by the ghost of his dead friend Jacob telling him to change his ways or spend eternity bound in the chains of his greed and so Scrooge is visited by spirits that show him visions of his past, present and future which upset, disturb and enlighten the old miser so that come Christmas morning, he becomes a jolly philanthropist like none other. I’ve sometimes questioned if Scrooge actually changed or if he was just scared straight, certainly in the actual novel he has a hellish time of it meeting his unwanted daughters, seeing his own gravestone and realising that everyone who has ever been important to his life resents him, but he keeps the spirit of the season well and being scared into good will by visions of chains is much akin to having the moral imperative of virtuous behaviour for fear of fire and torture in eternity.

Erhem, pretentious musings aside, I love the Christmas Carol story, it’s one thing I have always wanted to act in but never have (Incidentally, as either Scrooge himself or Bob Cratchit), my acting career has never really existed beyond some dynamic reading and a bit part in a school play. My favourite interpretation of the story you ask? Well, I love the one filmed in Shrewsbury but I most commonly watch the Muppet version, I like how it brings forward the core message of the story in a way children and parents can watch, it’s devoted to the story but not too seriously and it’s much more visually pleasing with colourful puppets and impressive acting than say, plain old animated versions for kids – we all know kids engage more with anthropomorphic characters than emulated realism. I bring up the Christmas Carol because I feel there’s an important part of the message people forget and that is just why Scrooge needed to change his ways. You’ll probably shrug and say “Come on Jake, he was greedy, all he cared about was money and he was a bitter old man ignoring those in need, that’s a bad guy, the story is his redemption”. Key point there, he was greedy, the story is about how his GREED is a curse, not his money. Greed has a much broader definition than a lust for gold and silver.

I often get called Scrooge for not being festive out the wazoo as I don no antlers, wear no silly jumpers and don’t constantly burst with excitement, nor do I sing along to any carol or song but I think a modern Scrooge would actually take part in those things, Scrooge is not a caricature as simple as “Don’t like wreaths of holly? You grinch!”, give Dickens more credit than that, Scrooge is a man made bitter by years of isolation and he lusts for money because money doesn’t betray people, money makes sense, money can be understood in ways you can’t apply to people. So why would a modern Scrooge enjoy Christmas? The focus of greed has changed in the past few years, money is something we all yearn for, even those who have it, so judge someone by their drive for financial success is plain hypocrisy but what is truer now than it was in Dickens’ time is a greed for consumerism, a desire for receiving gifts and getting what we want, ensuring our Christmas is the best it can be, a modern Scrooge is the guy who has a clear cut Christmas list you can’t deviate from or he’ll begrudge, a man who doesn’t always return kind gestures at this time of year, a man who complains when he receives the accursed wrong gift. I’m looking at you entitled children of the world, your parents got you the wrong make of iPhone? You’re the Scrooge now, your selfish greed will be your undoing.

At this time of year, some of us go overboard, in particular parents wanting to spoil their children rotten with brilliant presents, which can present a problem. I saw a Facebook post recently that made me think, parents shouldn’t label games consoles and bikes as being gifts from Santa because then less fortunate children might question as to why Santa got them some new jumpers and a couple of action figures whilst his best friend Timmy got an XBOX One and an iPad. Maybe this is the poor boy in me speaking but I resent such spoilt children and people who do so, it is excessive and only fuels this greed in the child, who will expect more and more as the years go on. I got games consoles at Christmas, sure, but it wasn’t mine, it was a shared gift and even then Dad would tell us “If you want something so big for Christmas, Santa will have to bring you less gifts to make room!”, which we agreed to, even by needy child logic that seemed fair. Do not make your children slaves to greed and if you must buy them big gifts, tell them it was you that bought it, not Santa, make it fair and help your child realise that the gift is not just a reward for good behaviour, but a sacrifice and an investment made by those that love them and should be revered as such. If you say Santa gets them everything, their love is for Santa that day, not the parent and they feel they deserve everything they get in life, which is a terrible lesson to teach because it’s not true – good work can go unrewarded.

Greed and impatience are cornerstones of our society really, aren’t they? That cannot be avoided but if it could, this is the time of year for it. We all neglect certain people in our lives, mostly those that are strangers to us, but let us not forget that it was greed that doomed Scrooge, not money, Scrooge didn’t find salvation in throwing every shilling he had into a lake, he found it in selflessness – buying a feast for his loyal clerk, rekindling the love lost in his relationship with his nephew, donating to charity – money in itself can be used as a force for good if the person that holds it knows to keep the spirit of selflessness in their heart

As always readers, thanks for your time and a Merry Christmas to you all! Please, spread the word, let us remember what this time of year is all about! Remember to like, comment and follow me on Facebook at my official page, call it a gift to me from you!

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All Together And All Alone

Trigger Warnings – Death.

At the very core of our fleeting existence upon this world, we are lonely creatures. We may well be born into a family, make friends and fall in love as is the way life often proceeds but in the face of death, one meets their maker alone, you can’t hold hands with your parents and ask them for moral support whilst you die, it simply is the way things are. With the threat of the end looming over us, it is in our best interests to lead rich full lives and enjoy laughter and love whilst it lasts and thus relationships are formed when you meet people like yourself that you want to spend that precious time with, be it playing video games, discussing literature or wrestling under the bed sheets laughing.

I am lonely, we all are, we are a race of social animals seeking our place in the grand chaos of the universe. We face this human struggle in different ways, we might be anxious, we might be arrogant and we may even be angry but there is not a human being that has not considered or will not consider their own end. The pursuit of purpose makes us yearn for wealth or the afterlife, the justification of this lonely struggle against the coming darkness, but as a man with no real desire for great wealth or a belief in the afterlife, I embrace the struggle all whilst accepting the fact that light and dark shall forever feud between themselves.

Do not take this as an attack upon religion but for me, I find the reward of a good deed is the deed, not the concept of heaven. Heaven or not, our lives as we know them now are nothing but the blink of an eye, we must cherish that moment and why use your time on this Earth being cruel or unkind, what does it ultimately achieve? We are all in this together on one planet, perhaps in the interest of being civil, we should look to a society of empathy, not envy.

Pick up litter, ask someone about their day even if you don’t really care, hold a door open, all these things are so trivial and insignificant yet they bring me an endless sense of wellbeing. If there is a higher power, they will notice and they will reward you but if not at least you lived a life of positivity and you can rest in peace knowing you did what you could, in your own little way, to make that struggle of life better for someone else. If we all did that, that would be beautiful wouldn’t it? An endless cycle of little joys selflessly given away from one human being to another so that we can feel a little bit better about the reality of our situation as temporary beings. I’ve made these points before in many ways in many articles and there is more to be said but perhaps with time I will come to see someone take this to heart

Call this tripe or rubbish, maybe even beatnik lunacy, but for me, it gets me by, what makes life better for me is making life better for someone else just because I can and I care. I won’t pretend to know the hearts of everyone around me but I cannot be the only one carrying doubts, fears and unspoken wishes with me, if my kindness can lighten that burden for someone, why not? Perhaps someone will do the same for me, perhaps not, I will find the road to happiness either way.

Thank you.

Dulled Edge

Trigger Warnings – None.

Blogging. Blog blog blogging. Bloggy bloggy blog blog. Erhem, my more astute readers will probably have already guessed that I am clueless about tonight’s topic, this whole no computer deal is a pain in the ass, I tell you. I’m worried this will actually have a seriously damaging effect on my blog and my writing on the whole to be honest.

I really don’t have much to talk about today, today has been a rather dull day in all fairness, the highlight was going for coffee with a friend. Granted, said friend instantly brightens up any day. However, other than that momentary joy, today has been uneventful. Things being what they are, I am a man without a purpose for the time being, so to speak. I’m sorta drifting really, I’ll get back into work soon enough I’m sure, my CV is certainly much more impressive than it used to be and as it was it already attracted good attention so who knows hey?

I like working, not for myself though, I’m never really that good at doing something purely for my own benefit which makes me naturally selfless but can bite me in the butt at times. Charity work is appealing to me for that very reason, I’m not working solely for me or for some corporate jerk-off, I’m working for the benefit of those less fortunate than me. With that in mind, I have come up with a solution to my Christmas crisis.

As covered yesterday, my issues is I just can’t get with the hype, it’s never been my strong suit. If you look around on here I did an article at great length talking about the over emphasis on the excitement of Christmas which dies off pretty damn quick after the day itself. I don’t want to be the constant downer at the party, I like the idea of getting into the spirit of things and I’ve found how to do it – gifts. Not receiving, giving, giving what is requested and what isn’t expected, to see faces light up. I’m generally quite giving as a rule but this time of year, this year at least, I’m getting into the festive spirit by buying gifts. I’m not quite done yet, I have way more people to buy for this year compared to the last but it is nice looking around thinking what loved ones would want. Not to toot my own trumpet but I think I have done a good job this year. Let’s see hey?

I’m generally happy with life I think, my mood doesn’t seem to agree but I am. I think I know some of the big issues holding me back from real full on happiness. Still, good family situation, for the most part, good friends, hair is slowly coming back proper and I seem to have lost a little weight. I would diet but Christmas. I’ll wait until the new year. Anyway, here’s to hoping I get on with my life sooner rather than later!

Twenty Years On

Trigger Warnings – None

Today is my twentieth birthday. No, I’m not expecting birthday messages from my readers, don’t worry, though any received will be greatly appreciated. I had a fairly standard day of it, nothing special but nice enough and the evening was spent on a dinner date with my closest friend, essentially combining the two things I enjoy most into one evening. Anyway, I’m twenty years old, inside I feel much older but I figured given the occasion I’d share some personal feelings with you all about my journey through life thus far

I consider myself the old man for more than one reason. Yes, I can rant and grumble and be generally miserable at times but I  actually feel like an old man because my life has been so full of stories and mishaps so far. Almost a dozen failed romances, countless short-lived flings, friends and enemies too numerous to list, a number of jobs and journeys and so many good times and bad. I’ve been lots of different people, all ruled by the same underlying traits but I’ve been an emo kid, I’ve been a typical child, I’ve been an artist with a head full of clouds and I am currently a cocktail of characteristics picked up along the way

The teen years are all about trying to be someone people will like or that will get you the response you want from people until you get older and realise you’re better off just being whatever the fuck you feel like being and telling the world to love it or loathe it and shut up either way. I made that realisation leaving college really, I did a lot to try and keep people as friends but I kept losing more and more as life went on and now I’m used to it, I can carry on strong and stone-faced through almost anything and everything, though the blogging helps and I have good friends to rely on.

I sometimes pine for what I’ve lost – the friendship groups that were such good laughs, the relationships that could’ve lasted if I’d done this differently, the people I’d never have hurt if I thought more carefully about how I treated them and on a darker note, the people who have passed away who I once held so dear – but through it all I’ve sorted the wheat from the chaff and I’m happy with what has come from that process and what I see for the future if the present is anything to go by. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a long way to go though and I need to crack on with that sooner rather than later

I feel jaded, a terrible thing at only two decades of age but still, so many failures so far and so much having happened in such a short time, I worry the next twenty years will be drab by comparison. I have my fears for the future, romance and career-wise mostly, fearing I’ll never achieve my goals and never find a woman to spend the rest of my life with romantically, currently I’m struggling to find one I can even spend a few months with. I’ll avoid the entire story of my love life, it’s a long one and a little too personal for this blog, maybe even for some that know me but those that know why I am as I am now will know why I struggle

Oh well, this isn’t a day for finicking over that, this is a good day and it has been nice enough, the past few years have been an interesting story indeed. I have a number of good friends now, one friend in particular who has seen me through hell and high water, stood at my side when I’ve been a total twat and we cannot picture a future in which we are not still thick as thieves, two goofballs versus the world. You know who you are, the world probably knows, and I know this is mushy but it’s my birthday and a bit of a milestone so I just wanted to give thanks for you and to let you know that I love you so very much.

And of course, to my family, my father in particular, who haven’t always liked me but have never abandoned me, even when I convinced myself I didn’t want them. I’ve been an ass and that’s only just improved in the last couple of years but thank you all the same, to those I live with and to those a little further out. To my newer friends and friends of the past few years, credit goes to you for actually consenting to joining the craziness, you’re special kinds of people for doing that and I hope the friendships I have forged as of now are the ones that will last because they are with some brilliant people

Mushiness and sentiment about aging and such aside, I look now to the future and to what a genuinely Old Man Wolfe will one day be. Anyway, the birthday time is passing over, less than three hours left until the day is over so that’s the syrupy sweet stuff done, bleh. Ok? Tributes paid, grumpy as usual again tomorrow! (I make that sound like a conscious choice…)