Random thought

Sometimes, it feels comforting when I see someone say they don’t know where they’re going in life. To an extent, nobody really knows where they’re going but when looking at success stories it can be easy to forget. For someone who does know where they’re going, it’s not always like that and that’s reassuring as well. We only get one life and throughout the early years, we’re kind of expected to know what we want in terms of career and achievements but to know that, there also has to be a plan on how to get there and that plan is hard to make.

Life is unpredictable, that’s just the way it is and everybody knows it. We also know that the only true way is to move forward, regardless of what it brings. Nobody wants to seem like they don’t know what they’re doing, it’s an unspoken thing and I think that’s part of what makes it so reassuring to learn that other people are trying to find their way through. It’s a journey that everybody takes so nobody should ever have to feel pressured to want or achieve certain things. I feel that the attitude towards living life and working towards a goal is to believe that the end will eventually be reached (as long as you put in the necessary work).

As I’ve gotten older, it feels like a duty to have everything figured out has developed but it’s not one that I asked for (I’m guessing that’s part of the whole adult thing). I could be going about my life in a way that’s different to the norm and when I see everybody else doing the norm, it makes me question if I’m doing things right when I should be evaluating if I’m still achieving the goals I set for myself. Whatever the case is, it’s good to know that I’m not alone in navigating life (or my lack of) because going through life without knowing what can happen is normal and it shouldn’t be looked at so negatively as long you’re not stagnating.

Not to say that I’m happy when people don’t know where they’re going but it’s nice to know that figuring life out is a universal process that doesn’t have a time limit.

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Questionable lyrics

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Is there a better face for this post than this?

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these questionable lyrics posts but that just means that I’m mostly listening to music where musicians are behaving these days. I said in the last post that musicians have bars that definitely weren’t vetted before making it onto the final product and without doubt it’s going to be the case until the end of time, the real question is if these lyrics are ever going to be explained.

This edition is sponsored by one of the most elite rappers to ever grace us, Nas. I refuse to argue with anyone who doesn’t believe Nas is a top tier rapper because if it was to ever get to that, I’d throw you in a car and personally drive you to the most specialised of ENT’s (or a neurosurgeon). I don’t think any more needs to be said on Nas’ ability however, just because he can rap that doesn’t mean he can get away with saying some suspect shit. The bar in question is from his song ‘NY State of Mind’ where he says “I ain’t the type of brother made for you to start testing, give me a Smith and Wesson, I’ll have ****** undressing.”

(Me when I recently heard that line)

It’s not a completely unbelievable line where you have to ask what’s going on. Nas probably means that he’s going to rob people for the most expensive bits of clothing that they have on them but for the sake of this post, I still have to share some thoughts. Maybe it’s me but when someone says they’ll have another person undressing, I can’t help but feel that it means to get them fully naked. If we’re going with what I’m saying about Nas having ****** naked then the question is why. It’s actually happened in real life where people rob others and make them strip, I think it’s supposed to be humiliation thing but that’s just really weird. Think about it, you’re minding your own business and somebody comes to rob with a weapon, furiously demanding that you strip. You’ll probably do it but you’ll have some questions as well because it’s impossible to argue that it isn’t necessary.

To be fair, hip-hop is full of lines that make people say “what the fuck?” It’s like when people get into the studio, they just let anything out. I can only wonder what happened in the studio, there was definitely that one person who heard the bar and thought ‘I don’t know about that one, bro’ but didn’t want to publicly say anything because everybody else in the studio was bopping their heads to the beat. For the people who’ve heard the song, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve questioned doing unnecessary shit when robbing someone, yet praising the same line which talks about said unnecessary shit.

Thinking about it, I want to take as what I first assumed where Nas meant robbing expensive shit like watches and chains because as I write this post, I feel like I might be making a discussion where there isn’t one to be had. Still doesn’t change the fact that it’s a wild lyric that snuck its way onto one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.

Thoughts on Berserk 2016 (and 2017)

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THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS

If you’ve watched the 90’s Berserk anime, then you know at the end Griffith evolves into Femto for the small price of a couple of souls (a bargain as far as anime I’ve watched goes) after that it goes a bit iffy and to somehow Guts ends up setting out on a journey to search for his once best friend (I’m missing some details but this is really what happens). The ending left a lot of questions and mine was where do they go from there? Tragically, the answer is that Guts is now in a coma and imagining everything in 3D. I might not be telling the entire truth here but everything is definitely in 3D (this is important). Berserk 2016 (and 2017) kind of starts from where the 90’s series left off, it seems as if Guts is still after Griffith but pretty much everything and everyone he comes across is a distraction that he more or less accepts.

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Me when I find out that I can get ultimate power if I sacrifice everybody who’s ever believed in me

The last part of the previous paragraph about Guts seemingly being after Griffith is what the show felt like. It was like the show expected me to have read the manga so that I could fill in any blanks, like Guts’ companion Puck’s introduction or how Guts escaped with Casca from the void filled with red faces. I was shown the progression of the story but it felt like context was lacking, especially with Guts. Guts is shown to be a character who keeps people around him at arm’s length but in this case, anything that wasn’t related to Casca was shown complete apathy by him. That’s why it seemed like the characters who joined Guts came across as distractions rather than companions that Guts didn’t mind having around. I did some research and it turns out that the anime skipped A LOT of details and tried to make up for it by mashing the details it did include together but the result wasn’t so great. Moving further into the anime, Guts’ focus looked like it shifted from Griffith to protecting Casca then eventually just moving forward because a story can’t progress if the main character is stagnant (if I’m honest, it was like after Schierke met the main characters she became the main character). So many characters were established and I’m not sure if there needed to be such a rush to do so because it felt like all the characters were extremely diluted and just about enough was done to follow the source material. The most interesting story development about Berserk goes 3D was when Guts donned the Berserker armour, but that came so late into the show that it was near impossible to explore (they must have done this with the assumption that a following season would come) and once again the ending of the anime didn’t really set anything in stone.

Watching Berserk 2016 (and 2017) showed me that the anime itself isn’t bad at all, in fact I bet that if I read the manga chapters which covered the show, I would have been excited because Berserk seems like a good story. For someone who hasn’t read the manga and only did a bit of research, I got the feeling that the anime didn’t adapt the manga well and that didn’t do any favours for the show or the viewers. At the end of the second season, it was implied that the show would be back at some point. I wouldn’t mind seeing Berserk come back as long as the anime isn’t approached the same way that the 2016 and 2017 series were. It’s important to know what’s going on in a series and it damages the experience if the show makes the assumption that the viewer is aware of everything that’s happened, especially if it doesn’t plan to clear things up.

The weirdest thing about this series was the animation. I’m not used to seeing CGI dominate anime like how it did Berserk and I don’t have a problem if that’s the art direction that it wants to take but one of things that attracts me to anime is how amazing it is when the animation is done right. I don’t have to say that Berserk got it wrong but I’m saying it anyway. There were times that I got past the animation because I was getting into the story and those are the moments of the show which displayed how good it could have been but there were at least twice as many times where the animation was hard to ignore. So many times through the course of the show, there were scenes which looked so unnatural and awkward, Guts killing a rabbit to cook it in the first episode of Berserk 2016 and every fight scene in the show comes to mind. When anyone talks about Berserk: The 3D Experience the first thing that they go to is the animation and it’s easy to understand why, it’s right in the viewers face, even the greatest effort couldn’t ignore it and it does a lot more than negatively impact the story. A lot of the emotion is missing from the show as well as the tension and implications of a lot of scenes because of the quality of the animation. Everything falls flat and as much as I want to, I can’t find a way to justify why the animation is so bad. Outside of the story, most of the things I questioned in this show came down to the animation and it was disappointing to see that the animation didn’t get better as the series went on, in fact episode nine of the 2017 season had some of the worst animation of the series. There’s a lot to say about the animation but to be honest, with how much I’ve read on this series that points to the low quality animation, it’s boring to be another one of those guys who spends a lot of time going in on it, just watch the series and see for yourself where all the criticism comes from (I’m not going to type animation anymore).

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When I watched the 90’s Berserk, one thing that I pointed out was how some episodes didn’t really make use of the soundtrack. It was very different this time around; times where the soundtrack was used sparingly were rare, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Not to go on about the a*******n (which I’m going to do again) but it seemed like the show needed anything it could use to take attention away from it. The soundtrack was good but some songs were completely misplaced (Griffith’s rebirth comes to mind because it could have used something like this) and given that the show had already drawn a lot of WTF’s from me, this didn’t help. I couldn’t help but feel that the soundtrack would have been more epic if the a*******n was better but whoever composed it did a good job.

I’m not a hardcore Berserk fan so I’m not super offended by the choices the staff made when producing the show but, I can see how the hardcore fans might have been pissed off with the result. It’s clear that the story is good and the way this version of Berserk was delivered shouldn’t take away from that, personally I reckon that it only adds to greatness of the story to see that the quality was present despite the adaptation and if Berserk does return, it can take the criticism on board to create something that people won’t be disappointed with.

Other thoughts:

  • The opening theme is ok but it’s no ‘Tell Me Why’
  • Sometimes, watching this gave me the feeling of watching an abridged series. There was a moment where the Holy See were torturing people and Farnese didn’t want to look but Mozgus made her look and I couldn’t take it seriously
  • They never explained what happened to Casca and why she’s so childlike
  • Serpico and Farnese’s backstory is confusing. He got beaten up and then she came and told him that she owns him. Ok.
  • The impulse that made Guts want to rape Casca wasn’t explained so basically, he’s a piece of shit like Griffith
  • So many people want to rape Casca, what the fuck?
  • When Casca, Puck and Isidoro met Schierke it reminded of the seabear episode of Spongebob
  • Why do the apostles worship Griffith specifically instead of the God Hand?

Work thoughts: Success and friendship

There’s probably some saying about success and the effect that it has on the people who experience it, especially with friendships, and it’s probably relevant to this post but unfortunately I’m not good with remembering profound sentences because they’re not memes. For some lucky people, they get to experience a life where they make their dreams come true and sometimes with it comes money, fame and loads of invites/opportunities for random stuff. That’s only reserved for the person who’s successful so it might involve their standard of living changing and leaving parts of their previous life behind. It’s interesting when you think about it because with some people, they have friends who probably put a lot of their hopes on their success.

We all either know someone or know of a situation where one person doesn’t really work towards their own goal but it doesn’t seem to matter because they’re fully invested in the idea that when their friend achieves massive success, it means the whole friendship group is going to live well. That must be awkward, having someone who has control over their own life pinning their chances of a good life on you. It’s all good if someone looks out for their friend and tells them that they don’t have lift another finger for the rest of their life (personally, I wouldn’t do that but to each his own) but I can’t see how it’s possible for a group of people to comfortably live off one person’s success without problems.

I haven’t considered every possibility for how the situation would play out because I feel there would be too many but I feel like success can alienate people. If you’re not around people with the same kind of drive as you, I reckon it will have an effect on the relationship you have with said people. You might not lose contact with those people but you could relate to them less as the years pass. I think success isn’t only the rewards of what you achieve from your grind, it’s also the changed mindset, the lessons learned and how assured you become in what you want to have time for in your life. I said in the first paragraph that the rewards of success are only for successful people, I think you can only carry people so far, you can’t pilot their lives and it’s cheeky of them to willingly let you do all the hard work whilst benefiting from it.

Achieving your dreams definitely has a price, I think for friendships it forces a change and it’s on the less successful friend to fix up. Friends should look out for each other but never freeload which is essentially what I’m talking about because I think that it’s a huge possibility. Resentful feelings can definitely be formed on both sides if one person doesn’t pull their weight. For the last 5 years, I’ve read and heard quotes from people mentioning how any individual should look to be around people who bring out the best in them and it’s true. It’s noble of one friend to want to look out for another friend if they have the means to but at some point, the friend who’s lagging behind has to take responsibility for themselves otherwise the success of one friend will be relentless in exposing the gap between where the two are in life.

Not to say that any of this is true, I’ve just always thought that being successful and being the provider for all of your friends isn’t really possible.

Help…

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High five of help

If there’s one thing that might be taken for granted in life, it’s help. I don’t speak for everybody when I say it but it’s one thing that I’ve come to feel lately. When you think about it, help for anything is so easily accessible and I think it’s easy not to take advantage of it because in a lot of cases because it’s not going anywhere. A few weeks back, I read that one way that humans can serve their purpose is by giving back to society. Doing a service for others to help increase their quality of life, after all it is the helpful actions in life that make the world go round.

I’ll always say that any human’s first priority should be themselves and becoming the most complete version of themselves possible, but I have to appreciate those who dedicate most of their time to putting other people before themselves. I feel like giving a helping hand to another person is easy but hard at the same time, if somebody asks you for a favour, you know whether you have the ability to do it or not and it’s pretty much the same when going for a job that involves helping others but there’s also just offering people help for the sake of it which is a bit tricky. Blogging is a good example, I’ve learned over the years that the blogs which connect with the most people are the ones that offer guidance and in my case, that’s not something that I feel I’m able to do because I’m not sure I have enough experience in any part of my life to offer anyone help.

On the internet there are multiple sources of help and what makes it so valuable in my eyes is that nobody is obliged to give it out, it just comes from a good place. Everybody is competing in life in one way or another and I think it takes a lot to look past that and realise that what you do for others won’t benefit you (as much as it will the other person). It feels like there’s never any time to do things for others because there’s a quiet pressure on everybody to make the most of their 24 hours (and life), which in turn means doing things so that you get ahead whilst leaving everybody else to fend for themselves, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. There are probably way more people in the world don’t care about anything outside of themselves than people that do and meeting people who genuinely want to see you become the best version of yourself isn’t easy to do.

I’ve heard of a lot of industries where professionals don’t even try to help those finding their feet, there’s always an ulterior motive which leads to people using and negatively impacting others just to get themselves further ahead. There’s a lot that we can come across in life which will have us thinking that we should only look out for ourselves because others don’t have our back which is a shame, it’s not hard to understand but that doesn’t make it any less sad.

I appreciate the people out there who are about giving others a helping hand, it really is one of the purest things that people can do for each other and as easy as it is to access, it’s still rare (if that makes sense). I don’t think I’ll ever understand why it’s so underappreciated given that we need selfless people to help us collectively be better.

Work thoughts: Escape plan

Sometimes, I find myself at work somehow doing something or nothing. I don’t try to think about it too much as long as I’m getting paid. Work gives me some time to think about things and it gives me time to blog those thoughts (this is the first time I’m actually doing it so there will be all kinds of mistakes in this post and any other work thoughts post) and lately it’s had me thinking about escape plans.

Do you have an escape plan for the job/situation you’re in? Is an escape plan necessary? Should we just take things as they go instead of trying to steer life in what could be considered an unnatural direction? I never really thought about an escape plan until I realised that working even a couple of hours in a job with no emotional investment somehow manages to sap energy. I feel more tired from nearly 7 hours of sitting than I do from 4 hours of nonstop walking. Read that sentence back and see if you don’t think that’s a stupid thing to say. It’s hard to argue that nothing needs to change when sitting down on the job is one of the tasks that you least look forward to in the week.

Writing this post has been one of the best things about this shift, the time has gone faster and I’m not thinking about going home. Being happy on the job and planning out life isn’t so revolutionary nowadays but it’s so refreshing to have a personal experience in relation to this subject. It kind of leaves my inner self begging me to do better and achieve more or at the very least get into a position where I know my future kids are going to benefit.

I don’t always understand when people say that everyone should strive to do better. If I’m earning £100k per year in a job I don’t care for, I’m not really sure what I NEED to strive for. That being said, there really is a level of importance that is hard to measure in the lesson of not being complacent. Personally, I don’t have much of a problem with letting life pass by but only for certain situations. It’s not easy to plan out life and stick to it because we all know that life lives to humble everybody who feels aware of what they deserve. Despite everything life is happy to throw at us when we try to move forward, we also have to look at what life blatantly throws at us when we’re stagnant and ask if it’s any better.

It goes without saying that I respect people who have their escape plan whether it’s in motion or not (I also respect those without one). Navigating life isn’t easy and I’ve found that it doesn’t get any noticeably easier with age, life in general isn’t easy and one of the last things we all need is job or situation taking away from our quality of life.

Anime characters…

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I was thinking about anime the other day and I realised that no matter how I feel about any particular character, as long as I’m feeling something then the anime is doing something right. I don’t like when I watch a show and the characters (especially the main) leaves no impression on me, it feels like I’ve wasted time and I feel like a character must be extremely bottom of the barrel crappy not to evoke any emotion from me. Building a character can be complex (from what I’ve read) but as long as they have something that allows the audience to resonate with them, then whatever direction they’re going in is the right one.

Lyserg, a character from Shaman King popped up in my head and as a character he’s a loser but at the end of the day, I feel a certain way about his character which is better than feeling no way at all. Some characters are liked and some aren’t (wrongly in some cases) but at least there’s enough going for them to form an opinion. Some characters aren’t so lucky, one culprit is Ayato from the Asterisk War (I don’t know how many shots I’m going to take at this series to be honest), he’s a perfect character, he’s what people should consider to be badass, he gets all the ladies despite putting no effort and yet there’s nothing. He just exists in the wider anime universe and it only feels right not to think about him at all.

Feelings are one of the most important things about a character when it comes to television in my opinion. There’s no point in a character existing if they can’t resonate with the audience, it’s a must that anyone who experiences the character feels something. I think it adds more depth to the story because that allows viewers to start really taking in the character’s motivations, relationships and everything else around them. The connection that’s built from having an opinion on a character might even be important than the character’s goal if you ask me. I couldn’t imagine the full extent to which a series would suffer if all the characters universally failed to get a reaction from viewers and I think it’s better that the world hasn’t found a series like that yet (If the world has then I want to know).

Characters are forever going to be subjective, I may feel a certain way about Lyserg and have no feeling towards Ayato but that changes with everybody who’s experienced those characters however, I think my point still stands that characters should be able to get views to feel some way about them, even if the feeling isn’t strong.

Admiring athletes and goals

The European Championship for athletics took place a couple of weeks ago so I watched it. I’m happy I did because it was entertaining for one but it also made me realise what I missed out on by not pursuing my dream to be a world class athlete and instead deciding to focus on going to university so that I could blog this lie (worth it!). The work that people put into being an athlete is truly a lot but it all pays off when you see how good they’ve become at their craft. I’m not a sporting person, I don’t ever intend to start, I’m happy doing stuff from the comfort of my chair and I’m not ashamed to admit that I felt like I was living vicariously through some of the athletes during the championships.

The respect that I have for athletes has gone way up (not that I didn’t have a lot of respect for them before), it makes think about everybody who has achieved the goals they’ve set for themselves or made a career path out of their talent and it’s inspiring to see what comes of it. They’re human just like the rest of us so I couldn’t imagine the amount of times they’ve had to battle with dream killing doubt as well as other things that step in the way of people achieving things. It’s also physically demanding! Think about going on a 20 minute jog without stopping, I can promise that it’s a lot harder than it sounds and these people could probably do it without losing much breath.

The thing that gets me most is the actual training of the body, the shape that you need to get your body into for competing in different sports. Sometimes it can look unimpressive if you’re not aware of what’s needed to take part in a sport but with the knowledge it becomes so much more amazing. Trying to get into shape is hard enough let alone, training it to athletic proportions and there’s a lot that needs to be done in order to keep the body operating well. The dedication is so consistent, with something that doesn’t require much (or any) physical training it’s easy to skip a day and tell yourself that you’ll come back to it knowing that the day you skip could become a week or so. I reckon with those things you don’t lose as much as you do with physical training and it might even be appreciated more. We know how diets can be shit, eating a load of food that you don’t want all in the name of having a summer body or some other nonsense but there’s only so much of that people can take, imagine doing it every day.

There’s a lot to say when it comes to athletes and appreciating them. For me they really show the reality of working hard and achieving success from it because there aren’t any shortcuts (as far as I know) in that profession. I find a lot of things hard to commit to but it’s a reminder that there’s always something worth getting at the end if you tough things out.

Another social media post

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Sometimes I’ll be surfing social media as I do and I think to myself that I’m spending too much time on that shit. The amount of times I look at a tweet or thread and get annoyed sometimes gets to me because I should be above it all. It has a weird way of roping me in and I don’t know why because I see the same shit topics (if I speak the names, I might get in trouble at some point) being regurgitated with absolutely no intention of finding a solution, just argument after argument. The worst part is that the arguments are usually produced by people who can articulate themselves well but don’t actually say anything of substance.

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Me getting roped into social media

It makes me wonder if people like saying things just to sound smart because when I talk to people in real life, I don’t hear anywhere near the amount of nonsense that I see on social media. People in real life (or at least the ones I’ve met) are able to speak sense without forcing the large vocabulary, for the most part on social media, I see buzzwords which evolve into bullshit think pieces and at their final form manage to find their way into hour long discussions on podcasts or YouTube videos and there’s always one constant. All the people involved aren’t actually saying anything.

I asked myself if maybe the case was that I didn’t understand what was being said and that’s why I felt this way, until I saw the same posts being copied word for word and posted on multiple accounts. There are a lot of things that I see which pop up regularly so I have the chance to digest what is being said more than once and regardless of whether there’s good vocabulary or not, it’s all nonsense. I remember one person speaking on Bruno Mars and what stood out to me is when they said that people valorise and exceptionalise his music because they like his patriarchy and commodification of blackness… I paraphrased it and I’ll post the link to the tweet so you can decide if it makes sense or if it’s waffle. Thinking about it, I’m sure one of those words isn’t even in the dictionary. (Tweet here)

I know that the currency on social media is likes (and retweets on Twitter) so people say things that they know will attract attention. I don’t think everybody truly believes the stuff they write but they’re so driven by having their posts make a huge impression that they’ll do anything. I hope at some point people stop pretending to sound smart, it’s played out, it’s corny and it makes more sense to come with facts that might prove said statements. I have to give props to those people who go on social media and mind their own business because they’re doing things right.