Friday, February 14, 2014

“The future us already here. It's just unevenly distributed.”

Hi folks,

It's Friday night again and it being February, Winter is giving us a last hurrah before the gentler turn of Spring. Except this time around, Winter's invited its best mates High Tide and Climate Change to the party.... and they've all been watching Changing Rooms with Keith Moon. This is not going to end well. :-)

Floods

Glib comments aside, it's not to bad here. Yes, the wind and the rain are rather strong, but by no means are the Jones Massive - nor any of our clan - bailing out, or having to be evacuated due to flooding. I know it's very British to talk about the weather, but there are times when there's a point, rather than an conversational opener. I'm not affected by it - so far (fingers crossed) - however, that doesn't stop me thinking what we could be doing to help those that are. I find it annoying that our *ahem* Great Leaders have flocked south west in search of photo shoots and a chance to Be Seen Doing Things. Things like saying soothing words, walking about, looking at things, saying more soothing words and.... being audibly mauled by the victims of the cuts and failings of an environmental policy. But don't worry, it'll all be fine because money is now being found - as the River Thames is now slowly rising and the posher parts of England may be at risk. Cynical? Moi? :-D

Family Stuff

Wee Man did well this week. He stormed one of his English tests - no, not how to talk about the weather - but after some top suggestions by the Ever Lovely Mrs J, he seems to have listened and followed her advice. The result? 98% in his test. Good lad. Oh, and the team he was in for an inter-school competition won gold medals. That really pleased him, which is great, because the Jones Massive are not very sporty.

It was Mrs J's an our anniversary this week - bad planning on my part, I mean, what numpty starts going out with a fancy lady just before Valentine's Day eh? :-) We've been together twenty years - although we didn't get married until the late 90s. We're almost at the point were we've been together more than we've been alive. Funny, I couldn't - and don't want to - imagine life without her.

Chams

We were scheduled to have a visit from Glitz & Glam this week, however, with the weather being rather scary, Sally emailed in to say she couldn't make it. Apparently, things were worse in her neck of the woods, than down here. Nevermind, that's been put back a month and next week we've a visit from a shoe retailer. I've put in a request for some daytime shoes, rather than the more.... disco... versions they sell.

I spied a dress in the sales and after checking the finances, I asked if I could order one. I'm not one of these blokes who just goes and buys expensive things on a whim. I'm a bit like that with sarnies for lunch - although I do feel they should be more of a treat than an expectation - so I like to check first. Anyhoo, bless her, Mrs J said I could have that for our anniversary. Ladies, the way to a trans partners heart is through their wardrobe.... and not in a Narnia kinda way, either.

I got a text on the Thursday morning, saying that my item had been delivered to the local shop, so that made it perfect timing for Chameleons. I had already packed a bag, but I'd had one of those what to wear? moments. You know the one, you open the wardrobe, see all that you've got and struggle to put an outfit together. I'd planned two looks because my T-Powers were on the blink that day. Something a bit office smart, because it's nice to have a break from a dress, and also something more casual, because much as I like heels, sometimes biker boots rock more. :-)

I was also a bit naughty in that I treated myself to a matt red lipstick. I've been seeing this look for a while and thought I'd give it a spin. Bold lippy isn't something I do very often, but I was pleased with the colour and how well it lasted. I had hoped to get a Poppy King Rain Drops Lip Crayon from Boots, but apparently that had been a limited edition. Doh! So I went with Number 7 instead. I'm not usually a fan, but this worked just fine. The colour didn't bleed (probably helped by a lip liner pencil) and lasted all night (probably helped by LipCote). All in all, both items made me feel rather special and it's difficult to put a price on that.

Oh, talking of money; the new membership fee for Chameleons came in last night. Rebecca was kind enough to be door monitor, so it was a case of paying as soon as you came in. No chance for anyone to slip by and slip out. With her diligence and a pretty packed night, the funds did well, which is good news.

Blogger Challenge

In all the fuss and introspection of last week - oh, and thank you all for you advice, it was both kind and helpful of you all - I missed on last time's Blogger Challenge. The task was to share you most loved, or most hated, book.

I used to read a lot. Much more than I do now. I always say you make time to do the things you want. I don't want much TV, but I do spend time reading blogs, writing this one, messing about on social media, watching old cult series on Netflix, or playing the odd computer game (mainly the big sandbox games).

I read a lot of fantasy novels as a teenager. Some were great, some pulp, some terrible; but they did what all good books do, IMO, and that is they take you away. I don't know about you, but when I really get into a book, I stop seeing the words after a time and my imagination seems to run things instead. It's a great feeling when you get there and I think that's a sign of a really good novel.

I got into a bit of a reading rut as a teenager. I tried horror, but it just wasn't scary. I guess a heavy diet of role-playing and horror films made me shrug. Thrillers? Well, I know some folk like them, but to me, they felt a little like a chase scene stretched out and I couldn't get into them.

Then a friend suggested I tried William Gibson's Neuromancer. It looked like sci-fi, which wasn't really my usual poison. I mean, space ships, laser guns and stuff? Seen that in Star Wars, right? I gave it a spin and how wrong I was.... :-) I remember sitting down on the sofa at home on Saturday morning, with a copy from the local library... then it was tea time. I tore into it.

Did the book change my life? Did I have a  Moment of Clarity? Not so much in a dramatic way, but it did alter my view of books. The world - in the book - was not a nice place. It wasn't good versus evil, not in your classical fantasy sense. Here, everyone had their own agenda and while a lot of the characters were flawed, they had personality. No-one was bad because they were, there was a reason rather than an author's foot note saying Evil Bad Dude. The characters felt like people, rather than stereotypes. Ironically, as the cyberpunk literature would rise in popularity, clichés would begin to appear, but then isn't that true of anything that becomes popular?

After reading that, I read more and more sci-fi. I tried a few more fantasy books, but.... I felt like I'd burned out. That I'd read so much that that ship had sailed. I just couldn't get into them and even to this day, if I try and read a fantasy book or play a computer game that's set in that world, I really struggle and more often than not, I give up. So yeah, that book did change how I read and still has.

The other day someone asked if we were living in a world that the cyberpunk writers wrote about. We may not have virtual reality, but connectivity is pretty much everywhere in major cities. We have our smartphones rather than our implants. Wearable computing seems to be THE NEXT BIG THING - or so the IT media and resellers are telling us. :-P Most of us happily upload where we are, what we're doing and who are friends are to a company who uses that data to push adverts to us. Our government security agencies regularly collect our Internet data and most of us are not upset about this. So, yeah, I'd say we're living in the future, but it's still better than the 80s ;-)

Kids and Books

The only exception to my failings in fantasy is The Hobbit. I read this to Wee Man a year before they announced the film - just by dumb luck. I think reading to children is a different thing than reading for yourself. Both the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I read to both our kids. We've done so since they were old enough to sit and listen. Thankfully, they are both of an age were we can read books with chapters to them. That's not to say I've not loved reading Room on the Broom, Smelly Bill, Captain Pike & the Baby or The Gruffalo to them as they've grown up. I may end up keeping a few as they grow up, because there's something wonderful about children's books and the emotions - joy, giggles, sharp draws of breath as the hero struggles, etc - that kids show when read to. I've been through Roald Dahl's works and even now, I still love reading Fantastic Mr Fox. The copy I owned as a child, that feel to pieces, I'd read it so many times. Now, it's more a case of knowing which silly voice to do at the right time, rather than worrying if the pages will drop out.

What about you? Bothered about books, or do you prefer other media?

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's quote is from William Gibson, speaking in The Economist ]

10 comments:

  1. I read a lot of books, especially at the moment while conducting my "research". Never go anywhere without a book. Nice call on Neuromancer anyway - though I think Count Zero is the best of the three ;)

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    1. Research? Do tell! :-)

      I liked Count Zero, although the start up threw me a little, but I loved it once I got my head around what was going on.

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    2. research... so you didn't read my most recent blogpost then? ;)

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  2. Bah! My phone lost my comment.

    First off, congratulations on the shortlisting. I'll be honest and say I found the post very deep. Deep as in complicated and rich. That's more a failing of mine than your writing. I'm just a simple cross dresser and I have to really think through gender politics to get my head around it. Again, not your writing, my brain. :-)

    It's made more sense now - Sunday morning is good for thinking? - and I think your raise some interesting and valid points. I didn't comment because some of it goes over my head :-)

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    1. Yes, it can be difficult. With gender theory — as with stand-up — you've got to want it ;)

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    2. LOL. I assume it's also the other way around, than with stand-up. In that it's bad if they do laugh? :-)

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  3. I was a big fan of reading growing up, though unfortunately went through a bad period of OCD in my mid-teens which really messed with my ability to engage in this activity - I'd become so paranoid about missing words that I'd read each up to 18 times just to make sure it had really "registered" or "sunk in". Not fun. :-( Unfortunately, avoiding reading altogether became far less painful than trying to tackle the aforementioned problem, which caused me to go for nearly a decade without reading so much as a single book - a decision I now regret. Thankfully, I've gone a long way towards slaying this dragon from my past (as I put it, a "bad day" for me now in this area is what a "good day" used to be) - I just force myself to read as much (and as often) as I can; read each word once and only once; and tell the annoying voice in my head that still occasionally asks, "Did you read that last sentence properly?", "Yes, yes I did! Now shut up, and go away!"

    Well that was all a bit deep, wasn't it? On a slightly less sombre note, I was, as I said, a big reader for most of my childhood, though I didn't dabble much in either sci-fi or fantasy. About the only books I read in any great number from the first genre were the Target novelizations of Doctor Who stories (and I'd get so excited thinking about how, one day, I was going to watch all those First and Second Doctor stories I'd just read the novelizations of... HAHAHAHA!). I'd feel so grown up reading them too, yet when I flicked through some of them in later years, I realized they really were children's literature (and not terribly well-written children's literature in many cases either). As for fantasy, I didn't read much there either: mainly just Fighting Fantasy books. I've actually collected many of those titles, for nostalgia's sake, and while most of them were written at a pretty basic level as well (the quality of the writing in some of them, in fact, is downright awful), I'd have to say they still have their charm.

    About the only other fantasy books I can remember reading are The Neverending Story (never seen any of the films of the same name, though - I hear they're not terribly faithful adaptations at any rate), The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. While I've still got my copy of the last book (albeit without either the front or back cover), I fear I may've thrown my copy of its predecessor (which I was given as a Christmas present when I was 10) away, probably because it was beginning to fall to pieces. I must confess that I've no real desire to see the movie, as I saw Peter Jackson's version of The Lord of the Rings, and absolutely HATED it. The way he dumbed down the book, as well as added a bunch of scenes that hadn't appeared in it, was an unforgivable sin in my eyes, as was the fact he had the audacity to portray scenes from the book in a way that was totally different from the way I'd imagined them! I mean, how dare he? Seriously, though, it does annoy me a bit. I used to love Lord of the Rings so much I'd periodically take my copy out and reread random passages of it, just to revel in the magic of them again; now, though, his terrible vision of the book has totally messed with my own memories of it. For example, I can't read a scene with Frodo in it now without seeing ELIJAH BLEEDING WOOD LOOKING LIKE A SMACKED BLEEDING PUPPY DOG (as he did, oh, about 99% of the time he was on screen)! AAARRRGGGHHH!

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    1. What you read may not, in your own words, have been great literature, but at least you read. You kept going and read other things. Besides, who says there's anything wrong with just reading for fun? Why do books and novels have to be worthy? :-)

      BTW, your comment about Lord of the Rings made me smile. I remember being sat in a pub after work and the films had just come out. A work mate said to me that he had no intention of watching them. Why's that? I asked and he said that he had the characters in his head as he liked them. Sound familiar? :-)

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  4. As a young'un I *devoured* books. Mostly sci-fi as I never really got on with fantasy either. But I took a bit of a break after college as studying Literature stops books being fun for a while. These days I stick to Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant series, the odd reccomendation (recent finds were Carter Beats The Devil by Glen David Gold, and Jonathon Strange & Mr Norrell by Suzanna Clarke), and the occasional classic via Project Gutenberg (the novel of Peter Pan is rather different to the Disney film!)

    The odd thing about Neuromancer is how technology has changed the opening line. "a television tuned to a dead channel" is no longer black and white "snow", but a rather bold blue :D

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    1. Book nommer! :-) Yeah, the opening line had me thinking for a while. I think I'm with you on it being a blue. Albeit in my head, it's a washed out blue, that lacks life and soul.

      I've not looked at the Skullduggery stuff, although I was tempted. Maybe I'll come back to it. I did read Jonathan Strange, but it didn't really grab me. Funny how some books work for some, but not for others. Mind you, be awfully dull if we liked the same stuff!

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