Friday, 29 January 2016

Something A Little More Upbeat

Hey you know the deal; it's Friday and I'm lazy.

I can confirm this as a cat person
I'd do it
If I was on Countdown I'd aim for rude words
Get it? Cos it's a queue.
It's an Alpaca of course
Not the Slime!
Not the tip he was expecting
And we end with some Simpsons. A great moment from a fantastic episode
Have a good weekend folks!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Never Let It Be Too Late

I'm not very good at making this kind of post to be honest. I'm not that good at talking about the more serious personal aspects of my life. But last night something pretty bad happened and it made me want to make a post. So make a post about it I shall.

About this time last year my family received the pretty bad news that my stepfather had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Most people know what that is by now but if you don't it's a very bad degenerative disease that slowly destroys your memories and your brain along with them.

Whenever I saw him he seemed like he was doing okay. He always knew who I was and he didn't seem to be losing his memory. But I'd heard from my mum there were times he didn't recognise her or my sister, his daughter. So I know he was doing bad. He just always had it together when I saw him.

Then, last night, something bad happened. My dad got a call from my mum saying that he had wandered off and gone missing. The good news is that he turned up safe and sound but he was still gone for a good hour or so. There's no telling what he could have done if he wasn't found.

So I guess that's the message of this post. If you know someone who has Alzheimer's then please, do what you can for them. Sometimes I'm glad I'm not seeing this degeneration, but at the same time I wish I could be there more.

Actually that diagnosis is what made me want to focus so much on finishing Immortal Space. The book is dedicated to my stepdad. He was always trying to motivate me to be more than I was and I wanted to be able to give him something he could be proud of. Then it was too late.

Never let it be too late.

Monday, 25 January 2016

I'm Now Self-Employed

Last week I decided to take a pretty big step and officially register as self-employed. I talked to my dad about it over dinner and he suggested that, even though I'm earning well below the tax bracket (I believe it's £10k a year here) I should still go self-employed and pay my National Insurance.
Luckily I remember my National Insurance number by heart.
National Insurance is a kind of tax in the UK that goes towards state benefits. It was started mostly for the NHS but evolved to also cover state pensions. People in the UK can have two or even three pensions. My dad has two. His state pension and either his personal one or his corporate one. I don't know which kind he has. If I start paying towards mine now hopefully it'll be pretty decent by the time I reach 65 and am able to claim it.
Like I'll live to 65
The major downside of going self-employed officially is that I now have to go through something all my American readers have to go through. I have to be my own accountant and pay my own taxes. See, in the UK it is the job of the employer to keep track of that stuff and pay your taxes for you. But because I'm self employed now I have to fill out a self-assessment and pay my taxes myself.

That means that last week I spent a good few hours going through three months of transactions (I declared I started trading three months ago) and sorting them into different categories. It took a long time. And I have to keep it up moving forward.

My fellow Americans (I'm not really a yank I just like that phrase) this year, and every year moving forward until I get a real job, I will feel your pain.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Friday Funtastica

One day I'll get comfortable with repeating titles. Today is not that day!

The only thing better than a pun is a visual pun
Mind your own business folks
But how Mr Pigeon? How?!
I love snow. I'm indifferent on penis.
Yeah she is bro.
That's my kind of subway
Anyone who gets this gets 100 free internet points
I've held babies. Accurate.
The internet is weird
Have a good weekend folks!

Thursday, 21 January 2016


This past Monday I finally arrived at the party really late and watched Rent. To be honest I'm kind of mixed on musicals. I either love them or I don't. Phantom of The Opera and Grease 1 and 2 stand out as musicals I really love. I'm one of the few people who preferred Grease 2 to Grease 1. Anyway, back to Rent.

That's a badass cover right thar
Rent is a really strange mix of depressing fun. Some parts of it are really fun but the general overtone is a very depressing one. About 80% of the cast have AIDs and almost all of them are unemployed starving artists. Those are really two themes of it. Bohemians struggling with daily life and AIDs. I also learned what a Bohemian is thanks to this movie. A friend made me look it up as we were watching it.
I'm technically a Bohemian
One thing I really did enjoy was that all the singing and dancing was technically canonical. In musicals people tend to disregard the fact that everyone just randomly started singing and dancing but in Rent the characters are actually doing that. It's also the most musical of musicals. Just like how about 90% of the characters have AIDs, about 80% of the dialogue is given through music. 

Overall it was a pretty decent movie but I don't think I'd have enjoyed it as much if I was watching it on my own.

Monday, 18 January 2016

What A Terrible Week That Was

Man last week was just terrible. I don't think I really need to go too much into why. I really wanted to cancel Monday. Mondays just have not been good lately. First Lemmy, then Bowie. Though now other days aren't safe either. We seem to be forming a "69 Club" to go with the "27 Club".
Too many, too young.
Though outside of those global tragedies I had a number of personal tragedies of my own. I feel quite comfortable saying that last week may well have been the worst week of my life. The time I went on that ski trip may finally have been surpassed. No wait, maybe that really is the worst week. Either way last week sucked.

I barely did any fiction writing because I was kept busy by writing work. Though I'm not really going to complain about that. I had work to do. Woe is me. Yes it's pathetic to whine about something like that. So I won't. I can still, however, lament that I wasn't able to get any work done.

The upside of work is that I get money. The downside is that I need that money because on Saturday my phone finally broke. It's been going slow this past month and then I dropped it one time too many. Now all that money I worked so hard for is already going to get spent on a new phone. I didn't realise how much I counted on it until it was gone. Ain't that always the way?

On top of that I lost a necklace, broke things, have been dreadfully lonely all week, and had some other bad things happen that I don't really feel like going in to. I'm not very good at disclosing about my personal life. Especially my failures.

Yet I run a personal blog. Go figure. I hope your week was better than mine. 

Friday, 15 January 2016

Because Times Are Bad

Times are pretty bad right now. So let's take a moment to sit back and have a laugh between bouts of sadness at our fallen idols.
Someone once got pissed off at me because I called him "mate" and he thought I was coming on to him. True story.
Those are some smart porpoises.
It just never ends!
Going back to Australia...
For those who lost out on the lottery
Dating was so much easier in the 90s
Statistics don't lie
And we end on a dirty joke. Of course. Until next week!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Terrible Movies

You know those movies that are so bad they're good? Movies that are just so bloody awful that you can't help but enjoy them? They're bleedin' awesome. Last Saturday I had the pleasure of watching a particularly enjoyable bad movie. Me and a friend had a bit of a Netflix binge and watched American Pie and then one of the greatest terrible movies I've ever seen.

It's on Netflix and to be honest I have to recommend it. It only has two or three competent actors (and wrestler Rob Van Dam! I marked out) and is a movie that somehow manages to nuke the shark and jump the fridge.

It's about a mutated three headed shark that attacks a research facility before wreaking havoc on the ocean at large. Can our plucky heroes save the day? Not without dying at least. It's a movie that features some excellent deaths, some terrible acting, and plenty of stock and re-used footage. There's actually a scene near the start where two people repeat what they say, almost word for word.

It was just so good though. I can't deny it was entertaining.

We followed that up with Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark. It was a movie with a premise that excited us but was ultimately a let-down. The idea was fantastically stupid but the movie wasn't. It was just bad. Not good-bad.

Do you have a favourite "So bad it's good" movie?

Monday, 11 January 2016

Not Off To The Best Of Starts

So last week I gave you all my resolutions. To put them simply I resolved to write more and to lose more weight. Unfortunately I didn't really get off to a great start as far as either resolution was concenred. I decided to bite the bullet and see how much weight I had gained over the holiday period. There was no denying I had gained weight after all.

It was about 3 kilos, which is about 6 pounds. A kilo is just over 2 pounds.

Frankly I'm really amazed it was only that much. But still, now I have to work hard from here to go down to where I was, and then down some more. Then even more than that.

Writing isn't a whole lot better either. I had two days where I decided to just write a page and get it done. Then yesterday I had a big writing session but I still didn't finish a chapter. At least I have a sort of excuse there. The chapter is currently about 2800 words long, but is only about half way done. So this is one of those "longer than usual" chapters and if it was the length of an average chapter, I'd have finished it by now.

Still I can't live on excuses. I can live on results. Which means getting shit done.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Friday Funsies Episode 4: A New Joke

I should have some good stuff I can announce for next week. Until then take a load off and have a good laugh. Everyone needs one from time to time.

It's an excellent point

Fastest game of Spot The Vegan ever
What a bargain!
Frankie Boyle everyone
How can a cat look so done?
Pretty rude to knock on someone's door that early
If my cat doesn't like the food in the bowl she pretends it doesn't exist
Silly Stephen
And that's it. See you Monday for something more substancial.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

My Motivations Are Screwy

So yesterday I finished up a huge writing job. One of the gigs I offer is rewriting articles. Sometimes people send me grammatical messes they want me to fix, and sometimes people just need something rewritten. So last week (on New Years Eve even) someone approached me and asked me if I could rewrite a huge document; 22,000 words to be precised.
Almost as big as this dude's biceps
 I originally set a goal of two or three weeks, and gave myself a deadline of 30 days. But as I just said at the start there, I wrote it all in five or six days. That was an average of 5k words a day. Actually yesterday and the day before I did write at least 5k words. The reason I worked so hard and wrote so much? Money of course.
It was a bit more than $17
I am motivated by money a lot. When I wrote Tulips and Other Stories I also wrote that much. It's made up of six or seven short stories, all of which were written in a day. I buckled down and wrote like mad for a week, just as I did here. Because my books haven't sold all that well I don't have too much motivation to write them, which is why I have trouble making myself write. I know that I should write for myself, for fun, and for the audience, but without an audience there's no audience to write for. There's nothing to write for but money.

That's why I made you guys my audience and my accountabilibuddies. That's why I hope dedicating myself to writing a chapter a week and updating you will keep me in line. To be honest if I wrote to my full potential I could release a book every few months. If a publisher said to me "We want you to write a book in six months." I'd have it written in two. At most.

I wish this wasn't the case but that's just how it is. Like I said you can't write for an audience that you don't believe exists. They'll be there though. One day. For sure.

Monday, 4 January 2016

My Resolutions

To be honest I generally don't make resolutions and dislike the whole "New year new me" thing because no one ever sticks to it. Thankfully my gym is in a small town so I never see any of those people. My boss tells me they turn up at night though. So I guess I just miss them.

I've decided that this year I should make some resolutions and stick to them. You have to make resolutions you can actually stick to or there's no point. So this is what I resolve to do this year.

This year I will

  • Write one chapter of my book a week. Even if I can only squeeze out 500 words a day. I need to stop this all or nothing mentality I have to writing. It's okay to write a few paragraphs at a time if that's all I have the time and energy for. 
  • When this story is done I will submit it to a publisher. I will do this fully accepting it will likely be rejected. But I can not run away from negative criticism. I need people to tell me what I'm doing wrong so I can learn. Besides, they might give me a second chance if I make the changes they suggest. 
  • I will go to the gym twice a week even if my boss can't go with me. If I'm afraid of walking up there on my own I can grow a pair of balls or just have my dad drive me up. What matters is the exercise gets done. 
  • I will go back to my diet. I really fell off the wagon when I had my operation and stopped seeing Morgan. I got used to eating fast food and not cooking. It's not cool anymore and I need to get back to how I was. 
In order to make sure I stick to these goals I will be more accountable for my actions. Therefore the first Monday of each month, beginning next month, will be an update on the progress of The Spirit. The first Thursday of each month will be an update on my weight, after I weigh myself at the gym on the Monday. 

I think that's it really. Do you have any resolutions? 

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

Check back Monday for resolutions and Thursday for health updates. In the meantime have a happy new year!


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