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.

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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.

Quick question time

Another quick question time! Sometimes I don’t have any questions to ask and that’s not right. I’m trying to get the point where I ask questions that make people stop whatever they’re doing just to think about the situation that I’ve posed.

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Me asking pressing questions that people have to think about

Imagine you’ve been in a relationship for around five years and you’re ready to take the next step, you want to get married so you discuss it with your partner to see if they’re on the same page. During the conversation, you’re partner implies very heavily that they see themselves getting married, just not to you. What’s your next step?

Looking at it, you don’t have to marry someone just because you get in a relationship with them but imagine being with someone for that long only for them to tell you the relationship is going nowhere. That’s disrespectful in my eyes, it’s a clear waste of time as well as a lack of care for what the other person wants. I doubt things like that happen often (if at all), I’ve heard about people being in relationships for the sake of security but five years is a stretch, that being said, I’m standing by what I said earlier.

The heartbreak in that situation must be immense which is why it’s interesting to find out what you would do if you were in that situation.

Thoughts on Berserk

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(Possible spoilers)

Berserk. That shit is messed up and you know what? I’m fully here for (most of) it. It’s an anime that had been on my list for a long time and I finally got around to watching it. If I’m getting this right, there are two Berserk series and I watched the one from the 90’s so I’ll watch the other series at some point. Berserk is a story about a swordsman named Guts who pretty much on sights anything that moves, his supreme inability to control his sword erection earns the interest of a man named Griffith who forcibly recruits him into his group the Band of the Hawk, where the real story begins as they journey to achieve Griffith’s dream.

From the beginning, the anime didn’t even try to hide that it would have a dark tone and it tried even less to hide that it would be extremely violent. I really didn’t think that I would be rooting for anyone to get a good ending but as the show went on, I found that Guts to be a cool character, the fact that he disregards the part of his brain that worries about consequences really made the show engrossing whenever he was unleashing his expected dose of violence. Everybody in the series contributed their fair share of violence but Guts really took it to the next level in so many episodes, sometimes it wasn’t what he was doing but more so the volume. I’d like to think I’ve watched a decent amount of anime and despite watching the Asterisk War, when I see a ridiculously strong character who doesn’t have any power ups, I always think that it’s too good to be true. There’s always got to be a catch and in this case I thought it would be Guts’ strength and recklessness in battle causing his downfall.

I could talk about the characters but the only ones who were extremely important were Guts and Griffith since the relationship between the two had a big impact on the plot. Outside of those two, the only one who caught my interest was Casca, a captain in the Band of the Hawk who initially didn’t see eye to eye with Guts because Tsundere. When somebody wasn’t getting beaten up or killed, I looked at the background a lot, or should I say the lack of. The colours in the background just really seemed to mix and it must have had a good effect on me because of how easy I found it to digest the plot. When I see anime that pays attention to its background, it’s always a pro for me because that shows that everything in the show is meant to amaze the audience and really absorb viewers as if they’re there. I never gave much thought to how I would react if an anime didn’t put much detail into its background but it looks as if it’s a pro regardless because it means that I’m either paying more attention to the plot or I’m paying more attention to the world created by the show. The one time that I did see the background have a bit more detail was during the final two episodes and it’s weird because it could have just been a mesh of dark colours and it would have worked greatly.

In some episodes, I noticed a lack of background music which isn’t what I’m used to. One occasion that I remember this happening in was episode 6, for around half of the episode there wasn’t a lot of music and there was a fight scene in which I’d say Guts’ had his toughest encounter in the series, there was a lot of echoing from the sound of the swords so I’m guessing that there was supposed to be a real focus on the fight but I wonder what I would have felt if there was music playing. I wouldn’t say that it was a bad thing but it definitely showed me how important background music can be in a scene, the way a good OST can intensify the feeling of a fight scene or any other kind of scene is not to be underestimated. Thinking about it, it’s interesting that I managed to notice when there wasn’t music playing, I’m so used to music that it’s a given for me whenever I watch anime (and television in general). The lack of music in some episodes caused me to  pay more attention when music wasn’t playing and when there was some playing, it just got drowned out.

It’s been a while since I picked up an anime series to watch and Berserk helped me realise how much I missed watching it. Every time I finished an episode it felt like the 20 minutes had disappeared, that’s a dangerous territory in anime which I appreciate so much because it should never feel like a chore to watch a show. Just from watching this, I hope that there are more Berserk series to come in the future.

Other thoughts:

  • I’m happy to have learned that I missed watching anime after I said no more anime for while when I watched Mnemosyne.
  • There were some thugs antagonising a young girl in a bar and everybody present didn’t want to help. I’m calling that scene public transport in London.
  • Guts had an adoptive dad called Gambino and their relationship reminded me of Gaara and his uncle.
  • Guts made a soldier scared to draw his sword just by looking at him. I’d have him on my team in a fight alongside Goku and John Cena.
  • Guts killed a child, regardless of what happened that’s a bitch move.
  • Guts and Casca got soft towards the end of the series. I’m not here for that.
  • Part of the plot led to Griffith being imprisoned (I won’t go into it), when he was rescued the look on his face said “On my life, you’re all dead!”

Musicians and criticism

I don’t understand some musicians and their attitude towards criticism, especially rappers. Thanks to social media it’s become a lot easier for people to access musicians and share said musician’s work but naturally that means it’s easier for musicians to come across criticism. When I see people talking about how they don’t like a song that a musician has put out, it usually gets followed with a block or a response from said musician putting people on blast for not enjoying the work that they spent so long to perfect. No one likes criticism although it’s part of being human but no one is exempt from it, especially musicians, if anything they should really count on it.

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Musicians receiving criticism from fans on social media

Music is for the public, so if you become any kind of musician who releases music for public consumption then you’ve got to accept that some people won’t like your stuff. What you can’t do is talk about how the consumers aren’t musicians so they wouldn’t know about properly critiquing music especially considering that’s not the attitude when the public likes a musician’s music. I can’t understand how people would want to release things to the public only to get pissed every time that it receives unfavourable criticism, I’m so sure that goes against the point. Putting yourself on the pedestal is a good attitude to have, because with everything in life confidence is needed but it can’t get to that point where you have such an excessive sense of self importance that you feel you’re exempt from all criticism. That’s nonsense.

It’s true that musicians have a skill that most don’t and some have developed that skill to such a point that they’re in a lane of their own but that’s the same with every profession. Everybody specialises in something and everybody also has an opinion on everything (or nearly everything) so I don’t really see how it’s valid to not want criticism on what you do especially if it’s from people who aren’t involved in the profession.

Criticism is a part of life and for the most part it helps us get better at things. It’s fair that people don’t like receiving criticism, but there’s not much that can be done about it. When you sign up for something you’ve got to be willing to take the good with the bad, in fact you don’t even have to be willing, you’re just going to take the good with the bad by force and it’s not going to stop.

Constantly blogging…

Sometimes blogging is confusing, if there’s one thing I’ve seen. It’s the ever present piece of advice that one of the best ways to take care of your blog is to constantly and consistently post. I understand the consistent part but the constant part doesn’t really sit right with me. It’s nice to know there are people who will read the things I post but for that reason, it makes constantly posting a hard task. After all, I don’t think it’s good practice to post for the sake of posting, the readers of a blog must be respected so it means they shouldn’t have to read posts written out of desperation.

Personally, I want to post at least once a month because I don’t like the idea of looking down the side of my blog and seeing that I’ve missed out one month. There may come a point where I have to give my streak up but that’s only if I really feel that I have nothing worth putting out there. Sometimes I feel like I’m being halfway lazy and I delete a post as I’m writing it because the readers deserve better and so does this blog (it’s a part of whatever legacy I leave when I’m finished). I could never see myself blogging a quick question time post to ask how many sugars people like in their tea or their favourite colour because it’s not interesting and I don’t care.

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Me (on the right) when my streak dies

I see how constant blogging can work, but it can’t work for a blog like mine where I just post my thoughts on random stuff. When I first started blogging, I believed in constant posts, I think there was a short period where I posted every two days but that stuff got tiring and none of those posts were memorable. If I gained a fan base, I don’t think I could be the guy who blogs regularly because I’d lose it very quickly and I’ve never really thought about blogging actual news for engagement (unless it’s my take on a current event). What I’m saying is whilst constantly blogging is great advice it doesn’t seem as universal as consistently blogging (it might even be more obnoxious) which is why I don’t fully understand why it’s given as advice when it comes to maintaining a blog.

One good thing about advice on blogs is that it’s just that, it doesn’t have to be taken on board or you can adapt it, I pretty much do. Advice is useful but at the end of the day it’s not always going to be relatable.

A question on mental health

Over the past few years, I’ve seen more people around my age talking about mental health. Growing up, I never heard mental health being talked about too much but that’s probably because I didn’t pay much attention to anything that wasn’t entertainment. It’s good to see that mental health is a topic being taken seriously because with some conditions, I feel like they are sometimes brushed aside due to people who don’t really understand them dealing with people who are battling mental health conditions. I’m not a mental health expert, so I’m not in a position to talk about how it affects people even though I know that it’s serious and that brings me to my point (question).

Looking at mental health on social media, does it shine a positive or negative spotlight on the subject? In real life, I don’t really hear people talking about their mental health very much, it might be something that the people I know don’t feel comfortable sharing however on social media it’s different. It’s kind of commonplace but with that comes a lot of takes which become popular and it gets me asking questions. The thing about social media is when there’s a trend, everybody wants to bandwagon and find a way to get attention so it makes it hard to see who’s being genuine. So many people have come online to say that they suffer from depression for example but as insensitive as it sounds, how do we know that a good number of them just haven’t gone through a rough patch where they were feeling down, looked on Google for a definition of depression and saw that just a small part of how they feel matches the definition? Showing a trait of something doesn’t necessarily mean that you suffer from it, does it? There’s no doubt that people go through things which damage their mental state but I do question if all the people who claim to deal with mental illness actually do. I don’t think it would be surprising to hear that people are self diagnosed which really takes away from the seriousness, as I said before, I’m not a mental health expert but I think a lot goes in discovering if you’re dealing with mental health issues, even if they’re mild.

The bandwagon nature of social media doesn’t get me thinking near as much as people who do threads on mental health awareness, pointing out behaviours that might influence mental health disorders in others only to U turn a day (sometimes weeks or months) later and engage in the behaviours they were shaming. This is why I ask about social media and mental health, because as much as it seems that people are taking the time to educate and bring awareness, it also feels as if it’s being done by people who have no understanding of it. The fact that there’s a place in society for people to talk about mental health is good thing and it’s the kind of progressive that I like to see but given how social media is, it allows anybody to speak their piece and it doesn’t necessarily mean by speaking on it, they’re doing it justice.

I lean more to the negative side when it comes to my question and part of it is because I can’t help but feel that there a lot of people who are going through mental health issues that don’t think social media can help when looking at it. Social media will never give you the full scope of something, there’s also an attitude where people take a concept and run with it as soon as they see enough that supports what they want to think on it. At the end of the day, the people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to the subject are able to use social media as a platform so it’s possible that I don’t pay attention to them but it’s hard to find them amongst the people I’ve described.