Thursday, 28 February 2013

Blue sky feeling Blue

So it was a good day and a bad day.

The sky was brilliant blue and it was bright and cold. The perfect kind of day. The house was filled with sunbeams that the cat followed around. I drank tea and ate cookies. I sewed and scalded my finger tips ironing seams.

It was pointed out to me that I will probably never go on a JCCC again. There is this whole atmosphere that I will probably never feel again. I felt lost at that. I spent a week with these amazing people, many of whom I now call friend. Some are even family almost. The thought of never seeing them again physically pains me.

But I am reminded of how wonderful the world is now. The internet means I can talk to them every day either in text or skype. I can share photos of our lives. The world is in many ways a lot less lonely than it was when I was younger. I may not be able to reach out and touch these people, to share hugs and desserts. But I can be part of their lives. Perhaps having to communicate this way will help me improve my writing and photography just so I can communicate better.

I love you guys. I miss you!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Right then

Ok so that's that done. Now for the blogging. So it's been a while (again). I keep saying I'm gonna write and then I don't. I've been hung up (again) on writing something of import. Of having the perfect photo to go with the blog. Of course I never have anything epic to say and therefore nothing to photograph.

I've just been on JCCC3. It was amazing. Really I looked up the correct definition of amazing and that's what it was. But I'm not going to talk about that here. I'm just going to mention one tiny part of it and that is the Writers Panel. People who write books and blogs and comedy shows. The one thing I took away from it is if you want to write then you have to write. Doesn't matter what or how good it is or even if someone is going to read it. You just have to suck it up and get on with it.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm not going to make any foolish promises of how often I'll blog which I'll then break. I'm just going to try my best. You may end up reading some terrible crap (poetry included, keep your eyes on Words of Affi'enia) but hopefully some good will come of it too.  

The Byronic Hero - or why we love the bad guys

Reposted from another blog. Original post date 16th May 2012

Be warned there will be spoilers for Labyrinth, Wuthering Heights, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Thor and The Avengers here. This is a favourite subject of mine and has been for a long time. I thought I would revisit is since the subject has got a lot of attention at the moment thanks to Loki's Army? What's that, you've not heard of it? Clearly you do not tweet :o) Fangirls and boys the world over are unable to get enough of The Avengers villain, Loki. Now in a film with a whole team of good guys and girls of all different flavours why is the bad guy so popular? Let's have a look at some of my favourites and I'll see if I can explain. Ok let's go right back to the first baddie that captured me at the tender age of 4. You're right, I probably didn't realise it at the time, but I have stayed faithful to my love of this villain. Jareth. 
He is definitely a villain. Steals children, cheats at the game etc. But look at it from another view point. He is an intelligent man/goblin surrounded by goblins he clearly feels are beneath him. He's alone playing a game he always wins because no one is good enough to beat him. What's a Goblin King to do? And then along comes this young woman who actually challenges him. You can tell by the way he looks at her that she captivates him. And suddenly he is turning the world upside down for her. He is trying to be good to make her like him and failing miserably. Which means we now empathise with him and start to like him. 

Next up is Heathcliff. Almost the archetypal Byronic hero. He is a dark skinned gypsy brought to live with the Earnshaw family. Resented by all the family except for Cathy he is off to a bad start in life. At this point he has done nothing wrong apart from be different. He is a child who is just in need of love. He grows up loving Cathy and they are thick as thieves, clearly in love. However Cathy betrays Heathcliff and chooses to marry another. This sets him down a disastrous path on which he becomes cruel and determined to destroy Cathy, her husband and child and his own wife and son. Clearly at this point he is at the very least an anti-hero if not a villain but you can't help but sympathise with him. 

My next choice is Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He starts of as a Big Bad in season 2. He's a vampire and he loves it. Death and destruction are merely fun diversions for him. However over the next 6 seasons we learn a lot about him. We see how as a human in the 1850s he as ridiculed by society for his awful poetry and derided by the woman he loves. We see him be turned into a vampire and begin cutting a bloody swathe across the world trying to prove himself. We see him try and fail to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with in Sunnydale. We see him fall in love and regain his soul. We see him become a champion. But even at the end, when he is in full champion mode, he is still a bit of a git and that is why we love him. He is snarky and bad and is just as likely to get you drunk and steal your wallet as he is to save your life. But the gamble is what makes it fun. 

Which brings me back to Loki. Filmverse wise we meet him in Thor. He is the younger brother of Thor, son of Odin. Quieter, not interested in fighting, full of magic and glib lies. Desperately wanting to match his brother in his father's eyes. Already he is the underdog and our heartstrings are pulling. Add to the mix the discovery that he is adopted and is actually the child of a Jötunn, a race despised by all in Asgard. The shock of this throws a man who was likely to play pranks that bordered on the malicious into a spiral that lands him fully in the role of villain. Determined to outshine his brother once and for all he concocts a plan to rid the universe of the Jötunns forever. Of course, since the bad guys never win, it fails. The last we see of Loki in this film is what can only be described as his suicidal fall into the abyss. 
When we next see him he is trying to take over Earth. Much death and destruction and we really should despise him by now. I mean, listen to this: 

“Kneel before me. I said… KNEEL! Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.” 

Ego much? But all the way through the film you can't help but feel for him. His struggle with The Other and the Chitauri, his desperation to be worshipped, that moment when you really feel he is gonna give up and go home with his brother. Now I am not saying for a moment that what he has done is justified. But he is far too complex to just say "he's the villain". He is dangerous and evil, as likely to rip your face of as pass you a drink and despite that I want to take him home and feed him pie. I want to tell him he is worthy, that he is loved. I want to make him realise that he can step out of Thor's shadow whenever he is ready to. 

The wonder of wikipedia lists the characteristics of the Byronic hero here. The ones that lead to us loving these characters in my opinion are Disrespectful of rank and privilegeEmotionally conflicted, bipolar, or moodySeductive and sexually attractive and Socially and sexually dominant. Thus concludeth my mini treatise on the Byronic Hero or why we love the bad guys. I think I will be coming back to this subject another day when I put more thought into it.

The one I've been putting off

Reposted from another blog. Original post date 10th April 2012

So I've been planning on writing this one for a couple of years now. It is so not going to live up to the expectation, I promise you. I've been putting it off because I want to do it justice, because it's probably going to upset someone and because it's a really hard one to write. So I apologise in advance for the rambling manner of this one. I'd like to make it structured but if I put it off for any longer it's just not going to get written.

Ok let's start. I am 30 years old and childless, at least as far as most folks are concerned. I have my beautiful stepdaughter who, to me, is my daughter. But in reality she is mine by accident not by birth. It doesn't make the relationship any less real or mean any less but it is a fact. I am not her mother. I did not carry her for 9 months. Nor will I carry any child. Not because I can't, as far as I know, but because I made a choice. When I met my fiancee he told me very early on in the relationship that he had a daughter and did not want any more children. In fact he had already had a vasectomy. So if children were a plan for my future then this was probably not the relationship for me. Wow. Heck of a thing to deal with at 24 years old and 1 week into a possible something. But I thought about it and decided that I was already falling in love with this man and should give it a go. Well it worked out as you can tell and we get married this year. 

It was amazing how many people told me at the beginning that I could change his mind on the children thing. Drove me up the wall I can tell you. Firstly what on earth made them think I could? He was pretty young to make that decision and clearly had good reason to plus he had told me plenty in advance where things stood. Secondly what made them think I should?

Because it is every woman's right to have children. Or that is the perception. This is why women too old to conceive naturally are given access to IVF. This is why anyone who would not be able to, or would at least struggle to conceive naturally is given access to IVF. Now this is not going to turn into a rant against IVF. My personal stance is against it, I will admit. I do feel the planet is over populated, we don't look after the people we have got well enough and almost every ecological and financial problem on the planet could be fixed by less people. I would rather see an increase in adoptions and fostering.

No this is not that rant. This is a discussion of my feelings about my lack of childbearing. Do I think I made the right decision? Totally. I could leave him tomorrow, meet someone else and even be lucky enough to fall in love as much again. But there are no guarantees of children. So why would I risk it? Do I regret the fact that I am not going to have a child of my own? Sometimes. More recently than ever, I guess that is the clock talking. I guess that is why I am finally writing this. 

If I take a step back and am rational about it I'm not sure I'd be a good parent. I'm not the most patient woman on earth. I'm quite self involved. But the fact that no one is ever going to call me mother or mum or momma does bother me. I'm never going to get to pick out clothes or sit at a parents evening. I'm never going to be the one called for when they have a nightmare or a skinned knee. So yeah, for all my talk of loving borrowing other people's children because you can give them back when they leak I am going to miss not having this experience.

And it is the experience that is key to these feelings. To take a Pratchett moment I get to be Magrat and Granny Wetherwax but not Nanny Ogg. I am missing a key part of the experience of being a woman. Or am I? Who is to say that nature ever intended me to be a mother? I could be sat here writing this because I am unable to bear children not because I have chosen not to. 

So most days I am content with my lot. I have a gorgeous stepdaughter who loves me unconditionally. This year I got a mother's day card that actually said mother's day, not stepmother's day. It made me smile all day. I am going to get to watch her grow up, help shape the person she becomes. I am positive that all the experiences she will gift me with are worth the lack of stretch marks and the sleepless nights and nappies that I have missed.

Honestly, I am probably gonna go cry for a bit after writing this and I'm sure I will cry over this again. But you know what? That's ok. It is not a crime to feel some regret. As long as you focus on the joy.

Thanks for listening!

And we shuffle round again

Hello again. Wow it's been an age. You remember when I rearranged my blogs and had a separate one for writing leaving this one open for business? Yeah that didn't work. So I'm moving it all back over here. Yay.  There are only 2 blogs on the other page that need moving over here so I'll go do that then I'll be right back.

Put the kettle on would you?

Monday, 25 February 2013

Hello Nerd Wars

Here is the first lot of pictures from JCCC3. Hello Nerd Wars!