Posted in Mental Health Struggles

And it is done…. Thank F*&@ for that

Over 18 months ago, the ‘government’ placed the country on lockdown, telling us all to stay indoors to stay safe. Now I am not going to comment on how they handled this, whether it was handled badly, incredibly badly or an unmitigated disaster. That’s not what this is about.

When everyone was told to stay home, the ‘government’ set up the job replacement scheme and placed as many employees as they could on furlough. You would stay home, your employer would pay you 80% of your wages and then the HM Revenue and Customs would pay them back. This scheme referred to as furlough then became part of my job and the bane of it.

As a person who works in finance, essential for services like care homes and the like, I still had to work. So my job only got worse. We lost staff as a couple of people left and got new staff and through it all, was furlough.

So many companies needed it, so many got it and there was a lot of back and forth and everything needed to be claimed via the HMRC’s online services which are…… not great. So as a result, my hatred for my job has increased dramatically.

But as of 30 September, the scheme has come to an end and as of 14 October 2021, the last claims have been made. It is a massive, a gargantuan weight lifted off of me and the team I am a part of, tonight I will be drinking, but today, we are eating pizza for lunch.

We got through it, much to everyone’s surprise and we are still going strong.

My greatest thanks to the Disney Princess, Big G, Superstar, Donna and new girl Little G for getting through all this.

Now on to the next crisis.

Posted in TV Stuff

Not my Fandom, again

The Weekend, the month-end and payday, internet people and am so glad to be out of there for the week.

A couple of things of note is that last weekend, I went swimming. The MightyRosie, SuperSam and I went to a pool. I haven’t been in a pool in over 2 years and it felt damn good to get into one then. Just under a hour of widths, lengths and relaxing and I found myself really smiling, really enjoying. The next day, all three of us went to brunch. It was like it was before lock-down. I wore a mask going in, but was able to use a buffet and it all felt really normal. I loved the weekend because of that. As a result, this week in work has felt harder than it needed to feel. But now we have adapted to the change in staff, things are running a little smoother and I feel better about the future here.

This week did see the launch of Masters of the Universe: Revelation, a Netflixed reboot/continuance of the 1980’s cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. When I was a kid, all those years ago, Masters of the Universe was something I loved. It had action, cool designs, great toys and I have a great fondness for it. So I shared this reboot with my son. Because it took us all week to watch all 5 episodes (full-time job for me and sleepovers for him) I have avoided a lot of spoilers, but have seen that there’s been backlash and negative feedback and I expected to not like it.

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But I did like it and so did my son. It had a great voice cast from old school talent like Alan Oppenheimer, famous voices like Lena Headey and Dennis Haysbert and both in the voice of Skeletor, Mark Hamill. It was well written dealing in themes of loss, betrayal and the aftermath of tragedy. The animation is slick and the action sequences are all kinds of fun. Sitting next to me, cheers came more than once. I wondered what the problem was and as always it came down to the usual refrain of “This isn’t my ……” I keep seeing this and I do understand this, but here’s the cool part, that does not matter! So my response to that is….”No, it isn’t. So what?”

Nostalgia is comforting, watching films and TV, listening to music, playing games that came from your childhood/youth is very comforting in an ever-changing and seemingly worsening world. I have been guilty of this and seeing so many reboots, relaunches and reimagining attempts of things I used to watch being made and announced, I often feel that these things aren’t for me. They are not. But that’s okay. I have aged. A Masters of the Universe cartoon, shouldn’t be for me, it should be for my son, or kids younger. The world has seen so many changes in the last 40 years, so making TV for the sensibilities of 40 years ago seems at best problematic at worst, stupid. Now in particular to this show, there is the fact that only half of the season has been shown, just half. There is no reason at all that what you wanted to see is on its way.  But the other half of this is that this isn’t for you, it can include you, but it’s not for you and that again is okay.

I watched and enjoyed the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe show back in the 80s and loved it. But in the cold light of day, it was not a perfect show. It reused animation so many times, the characterisation was at best slight and the moralising got on my nerves at the time. I have watched it again recently and whilst I wanted it to hold up, it didn’t hold up to a re-watch, nor a more modern audience. There’s nothing wrong with the core concept, or most of the characters, so a reboot isn’t a bad idea and this delivered on some of the deficiencies of the older show.  I hated the comic relief character of Orko, Teela was a cardboard cut out character and the villains lacked a hook beyond the tour de force that was Skeletor. Five episodes of this show and Teela was a new and vital character and when they got rid of Orko, I was genuinely upset, as was my son. This was a better show. Does this mean that you should like this better than the old one? Not really, but despite this show being a bit of a nostalgia-fest, it is being used to pull in new viewers. I am not the target audience, or at least not the whole target. Is it more inclusive than the old show? Yes, is that a bad thing? Again your mileage may vary. But again, this isn’t your Masters of the Universe. That is still there, they even did a reboot nearly 20 years ago. If this isn’t for you, that’s okay go and watch the other stuff, but you are not affected and someone else has their He-Man series, which has just happened to focus on Teela and not just He-Man. This show is also not perfect and perhaps in 20 years or so, someone will make a new one and the fans of this will be complaining.

You are right, this is not your He-Man, but this one existing, does not, and let me repeat this part of the show, does not do anything to you. Stuff is remade all of the time and you are just going to have to either accept that or make your own stuff.  I like this show and encourage anyone who wants to, to give it a try. It may not be your He-Man, but it will be someone’s and I am glad that for a week I got to visit Eternia again and this time, bring my son. When part 2 shows up, we will go back and whatever happens, I am glad to be able to do so.

These things do mean something to us. I am not complaining that you care about a 40year-old kids cartoon. But honestly recognise that it doesn’t just belong to you. You do not own it, you own your love of it and that’s good, but you don’t own it. Someone else can change it, someone else can love it and if you don’t like the changes, then go watch something else or watch the original if you can and let whoever likes this like it.

Went on a bit of a rant there, but read a couple of articles and watched a youtube video and it all got a bit too much.

Posted in Feelings on a Friday, Mental Health Struggles

Feelings on a Friday 39 – Am on the positivity train, well am hanging on to the caboose

2020 was a year that wreaked havoc on the world at large. No one can deny that. No one was spared from being affected by the dumpster fire that year became very quickly. I do have to admit though, personally 2021 seems to be carrying that theme forward.

Just in the last couple of months, there have been two things on the in-law side that have been upsetting for all involved and that is all I can and will say about that. There have been house issues at my parents place, which are mostly resolved. There’s been upheaval in work (which I mentioned here in Stuff in my head – Or goodbye chief ) and I have been ill more than usual for this time of year. Without CoVid, that would be enough. But the Corona virus hasn’t left us yet. 

On the positive side, I have had both vaccination jabs, for those of you who are anti-vaxxers I respect that you have concerns over vaccines, but I made the right choice in that regard. It’s all done now. But there have been three CoVid scares at my work. One or two at the MIGHTY Rosie’s work and one at the extended family. Which is why I can be writing this post at 10:20am. SuperSam has to self-isolate and that means no work for me. I should be happy about this, three day weekend and all that. But it’s one more thing that CoVid has taken aware from this family. The weather in July so far has been spotty, but when it’s nice, it’’s very nice and we’re stuck in. I know that’s a little first world problems and all, but it’s what’s in my head today. 

It’s an ongoing feeling that this year hasn’t stopped. 2020 was the year of WTF? 2021 seems to the year of Dammit, now what? I feel, not broken exactly, but beaten down and the hits keep on coming.

So what can I do? Well I am doing it, am getting it out of my head and onto the printed page and that helps. I am going to spend the day with my boy and that also helps and whilst I don’t like letting work down, I am not in work today, so that is a hat trick of positive steps to make this day my own.

As a further attempt to get onto the positivity train (trademark MrsFilthy my ex-work wife) I am going to find my 5. 5 Positives to keep all the negatives away.

So here goes

1: Not in work, which means a sleep in and comfier shoes.

2: The sun is shining and we have a back yard.

3: There is food and drink in the house and there’s plenty to do.

4: The weekend has started early.

5: I heard this week that comic marts will be coming back to Liverpool in August. One of the first things that CoVid took is coming back.

I didn’t really have any thing to say here, but to be honest, I just need to get back into the habit of writing stuff here. I need this, more than I realised I need this.

Thank you for being here internet people. Look after yourselves and each other.

Its all going to be alright, but we need to be reason that it will.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Stuff in my head – Or goodbye chief

The only constant in the universe is change.

When I started this blog, nearly seven years ago now, I worked as part of a two man team with my manager who I have always referred to here as Gisele. The workload was hard and the deadline pressures constant and we lobbied for help as often as we would be listened to.

Now I am aware that I have not always been kind to Gisele when I have mentioned her on here, some of it is fair, but I can’t say all of it is.  But that’s not the point.

Things changed, we got a new person to work alongside me, lets call him Mr Coffee for the ridiculous amounts of caffeine that man took in. I won’t air out someone’s personal issues in public, but in three weeks, he put in 4 days work and I was glad it was only 4. He left shortly afterwards and the new partner’s sister was looking to get out of her industry and was given a week’s trial. I think it was more seeing if the job was right for her and not her right for the job, nepotism eh? Enter Disney Princess.

In Disney Princess’ defence she is a hard worker and whilst she took a while to teach, she got it and is a great member of the team to this day. Still workload increased, client base increased and the pressure started getting to us all. It was near this time when I had my relapse and had to take some time off. After raising the needs of the department again we lobbied for another member of staff and in came Mrs Filthy. A parent like myself and someone who shared both a history of mental health problems and a wholly inappropriate sense of humour we got on like a house on fire. It’s been rare that I can get along with someone at work so quickly. (I am somewhat of an acquired taste) So we had a four man team and I had someone I could have a laugh with at work. The problem  was that Mrs Filthy and Gisele didn’t gel in the same manner. Gisele’s often curt manner causing a lot of friction and in less than 5 months Mrs Filthy left to go manage an optician’s. I wish her well and we keep in touch, mostly through dirty jokes and inappropriate memes and she is happier.

She was succeeded by Big G. He came in to replace Mrs Filthy, but asked for more money so a more supervisory position was created to help Gisele’s part of the job and we were back to a four man group. Then after the bank holiday at the end of May, Gisele gave in her resignation. I was stunned, I had worked with that woman for years and years, ups and downs, arguments and tension and finally over the last few years we were getting along and working as a team, even sharing some confidences and having long conversations. I wasn’t shocked that she wanted to go, far from it, she’d been unhappy for many years there and she wanted out, but it seemed so sudden. Still work needed doing and we got on with it. Thing is as she was training Big G in all of the things that she hadn’t got to yet and with a deadline looming, me and Disney Princess were left with the bulk of the job, which while no one’s fault, was very hard and has left the last couple of weeks being the worst in recent memory.

After a brief and awkward hug on Friday 2nd Gisele left for the last time and I am emotional about the whole thing. Whilst we have been each other’s worst enemies for much of our time together, I grew to understand her and as she saw me suffer, she became more understanding. Now at the time when we are closer to being work friends than manager and subordinate, she has left.

I am a northern englishman over 40, so as you can imagine I don’t handle change very well and the loss of this constant is a massive shake up in my life. But that’s not what I want to be thinking about here. Not how it effects me, I am sure that there’ll be more on that story later. The part of this story is, she has made a decision to make herself happy. She’s going to do a different job at the business her husband’s family own and run. She genuinely feels that it’s the best move to make and is sad to go, rather than anxious to start a new job. I am happy for her, sad for me, but mostly happy for her.

On 1st July, we left work at the same time and she told me that I should be writing again, that she enjoyed what I wrote. I then had to wonder, what I had said about her on here. I still haven’t dared to look. But she is right, I should be doing this. I should be sharing what’s in my head. So Chief, thank you. I am sorry to see you go, but you know what, I’m glad that you are going to go somewhere better for you. Take care of yourself.

 As for me, with a new person to work alongside Big G, I am expected another rough few weeks, but I jump off that bridge when I get to it. I just wanted all this out of my head to I could enjoy my weekend.

Take care of yourselves internet people, thank you for sticking with my rambling and I will see you soon.

Posted in Comics n Stuff

The Joy of Comics – Gazing into the Longbox 2

The X-Men colour series

Whilst I have done a lot of my comics reading digitally recently, the idea hit me to read some X-Men comics out of my longboxes.

Marvel UK reprint titles are back and one of them is re-printing the Johnathan Hickman run of the X-Men which started a couple of years back, starting with House of X and Powers of X. This made me want to look at what came before that. It was that period between the whole Inhumans vs mutants thing that only really happened because Fox owns the film rights to X-characters and so Marvel wanted to up the profile of inhumans to sort of supplant mutants in marvel comics. It didn’t work. So Marvel did a push on the X-Men and this came out in two comics X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold, this and other stories were kicked off in the one-shot X-Men Prime.

    

X-Men Prime was written by Marc Guggunheim (who would go on to write X-Men Gold), Cullen Bunn (who went on to write X-Men Blue) and Greg Pak and set out Marvel’s stall for the X-Men. Afterwards the X-Men Gold title saw Kitty ‘Shadowcat’ Pryde was now the team leader/school headmaster and set up a greatest hits team consisting of Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Rachel Summers/Grey (now going by Prestige) and a future version of Wolverine, known simply as Old Man Logan. It was a more traditional superhero comic with the added themes of prejudice and discrimination. X-Men Blue was about the time-displaced original X-Men who were still in the present but allied themselves with Magneto to take out villains and prove their value as X-Men. They both had strong starts and had a well-received crossover with both titles dealing with the return of Mojo and then they split from one another going very much in their own directions.

In my opinion, X-Men Blue started off well but seemed to lack direction and played too much with time travel and callbacks to older stories. Adding the Ultimate Universe’s version of Wolverine’s son Jimmy Hudson and the vampiric Bloodstorm was positive changes, but honestly, it struggled to find its own identity and it was something of a mercy when it came to an end in issue 36.

X-Men Gold however seemed to regain its focus, but with a relatively small cast and lacklustre villains, it too was in danger of overstaying its welcome. The thing that saved it was as always the soap opera elements of romance, secrets and tension that made the X-Men franchise so appealing to many people over the last 4 decades. It had a great ending with the wedding issue (again, number 30) being full of memorable scenes and  the occasional twist.

This Blue/Gold era also brought back the original Jean Grey (absent since Grant Morrisons run over a decade earlier) in the ultimately forgettable Phoenix Resurrection series that had a fancy cover that neither felt good in your hand nor looked particularly good. This however led to Tom Taylor’s exceptional X-Men Red series. This series ran for only 11 issues and an annual, but because of that was able to retain a single artist Mahmud Asrar (who I met in 2019 and who signed my copy of X-Men Red 1, lovely guy) who gave the whole book a distinct look that was unlike anything the X-Office was producing at that point. This title showed Jean Grey trying to change the world alongside an eclectic mix of X-characters, including Namor, Storm, Nightcrawler, X-23 and her sister Honey Badger/Gabby taking on Cassandra Nova as hatred spread throughout the world via social media. It had interesting things to say, epic stakes and my personal favourite moment was Gabby referring to Namor as Prince of Abs-lantis.

The final colour series was X-Men Black, which was five one-shots about X-Men villains with a backup story about Apocalypse that was at best forgettable. But the main stories were at least interesting and made these villains more understandable, if not more sympathetic.

The era came to an end with Extermination, a 5 part series by Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz which finally brought to an end the plot of the time-displaced X-Men and put everyone back where they needed to be, as well as kill off Cable. It was an entertaining story that seemed to bring to an end this particular era and allowed the X-Men to be taken over by a new writer with a bold new vision of the X-Men’s future.

The problem was that this wasn’t actually ready yet.

In closing…

I read all of these comics over a period of about two weeks, which for nearly 100 issues isn’t too bad and for the most part, I enjoyed all of them. Yes, there was a lack of a clear path, which is to be expected when you have 3 or 4 different writers. It suffered the usual problem of being so interconnected that a clear reading order wasn’t really as easy as it may have seemed. But ultimately is re-connected the X-titles and gave them a big push at a time one was needed. There was interesting things happening and some great moments and I am glad that I decided to go back and look at this particular era, which by now is one of the more forgotten parts of X-Men history. It’s all available in trade paperback or online via comixology and is honestly worth your while checking out because as disjointed and unfocused as it could be, it was also lots of fun and to me that’s what comics should be.

Next time: The middle child of this time

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Reaching towards

I have let the blog slide. Whilst everyone else was stuck at home, I have only ever been working harder in the hours I have and when I get home, I can either open my laptop, or spend time with my family, so that’s the reason.

I don’t think that has helped me though, with the constant onslaught of work and the lack of other stuff going on, I can feel things getting on top of me again. There’s been family stuff as well (extended family, not the munkeyhouse so it’s not my story to tell) and it’s left us all tired and beaten down and this is after a year of lockdown.

So what do I do about it? I don’t know, but I am going to start writing again, putting stuff on here and maybe working on the story I have been not writing for a year and get back to stuff that I want to do for me.

I am reaching towards the light again, because right now all around is darkness, but I have been here before and I got back out of it. So, I will get out of it again. I have an appointment for a Covid jab coming and it looks like ComicCons are happening again this year.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel and this year, I don’t think it’s the train this time.

Take care of yourselves internet people, better days are coming.

I will be back.

In the meantime, the trailer for Shang Chi was released and that looks kind of fun.

Posted in TV Stuff

A place where no shadows fall

I was saddened this morning to learn of the passing of the actress Mira Furlan at the age of 65.

Babylon 5 was a show that I was pretty much at the ground floor when it started and watched it avidly during it’s first run and many many times since.

It is my favourite sci-fi TV series and will always hold a special place in my heart. One of it’s draws was the characters and this was revealed through the performances and Mira was one of the best at that. She was spiritual, without being cold, good natured, but not sanctimonious and spoke with a voice full of horrors past and hopes ahead. Much of that was on the page, but it was the actress who breathed life into it. She was the heart of that show and a big reason for how well it has held up against the passage of time.

It’s a show who’ve lost much of it’s cast in recent years and this is another sad moment in a year or two of sad moments.

So in memory of her impact on sci-fi, I put below Delenn being a complete badass in Babylon 5’s 3rd season.

 

Take care of each other.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

2020 – What the hell was that?

As a self-imposed tradition, I have at the end of each year done a series of posts called For the Geek in me 20XX was awesome. This was further split into three sub-catergories of Movies, Comics and TV, my holy trinity of pop-culture interests. I had planned to do the same this year, but then I realised something, I have been the cinema once this year and have bought precisely one newly produced comic this year. So I wanted to do something a little different and just look at the year in general, rather than look at it solely through a pop culture lense. Kind of hard to do when the world is looking more and more dystopian as things go along.

January was as always a cold and long month, with being paid before X-Mas the paycheque has to go a little further than normal an it can be a tight period, so you tend to go out and to do less. The news was about the horrific wildfires in Australia and over in the states there was impeachment proceedings for Trump and our PM fresh from a snap election victory moved towards Brexit with enthusiasm which didn’t match his capability. February came and went with it’s usual mix of cold and miserable and when March began all the shit hit the fan.

The Corona virus first seen in the Wuhan area of China started spreading overseas at a drastic rate and One by one, many countries in Europe started to go into an enforced lockdown and in late March, so did England. Schools closed, non-essential shops, restaurants, hair and beauty places, venues and airports all closed down immediately. Food shops and financial services remained open, which meant that while the MIGHTY Rosie and SuperSam stayed at home, I went into work as usual.

Work became more difficult than ever before with financial assistance being a really bit thing and this affected my job on a huge scale. It hasn’t really let up since and it is now 9 months later, but I digress. So many people were trapped at home, online sales of food went up since no one dared go outside, we had online pub quizzes, lots of facetime/zoom meetings and we all went out and clapped for the NHS once a week as they manned the front lines as the number of Corona virus (or Covid) sky rocketed. Thousands infected and hundreds dying as NHS workers were compelled to put anyone over a particular age as DNR (do not resucitate) meaning so many more died. People worked from home and we all sort of just watched the news waiting for something positive to start happening.

I don’t know if the Black Lives Matter movement was that, but it certainly saw the majority of the western world acknowledge the disparity in the way people of colour were treated by police compared to white people and it was upsetting viewing as the need for change was highlighted, as was the violence that stemmed from clashes between police and protesters. It was a moment in history and they never seem to be pleasant things at the time.

In the summer, the rise in cases seemed to slow down and restrictions lifted somewhat, some restaurants opened, some non-essential shops did and there was talk about schools opening, giving hw hard this lockdown had been on SuperSam and the MIGHTY Rosie, this was reason to feel optimistic. But that optimism wouldn’t really last.

In September the team added a new member (joining me, Giselle and Disney Princes) is CheekyMrsJ who has the filthiest sense of humour of any woman I know with the clear exception of the MIGHTY Rosie. She has also suffered with her mental health and more than that isn’t mine to tell. Between her humour and history we had enough common ground to get on and have become good work-friends in the last three months. There has been also inter-departmental strife over the recent furlough and job retention scheme shenannigans and more than a couple of times were there have been tellings off, including complaints to the directors regarding management. But in that there were victories. After years of animosity, myself and Gisele have got to a good place and we made the complaint together. In the end little came of it, but we stood up for ourselves and one another and I see that as a victory.

Also in September, SuperSam went back to school and got new teachers, new restrictions, but seemed to be having a better time and that lasted a few weeks, but with a greater sense of isolation and a little bit of bullying, we have had to deal with some old problems, but there were staff at school that helped and he ended the term in a much better place.

After a couple of weekends away fell to Covid, we planned to take advantage of the lessening of restrictions to book a week away at Christmas to a cottage in the west-f***ing-nowhere section of Wales, with a long year already we felt we needed a win for the end of the year and could relax and enjoy from a distance the theatrical fiasco that was the 2020 US election. It did not disappoint. There was a high voter turn out, despite covid having killed over 250,000 americans, there was a lot of mail-in voting and so many accusations of fraud and bad-faith actions on both sides. Ultimately the incumbent was defeated and after 4 long years, Donald Trump was beaten, not that he accepted or conceded this fact. There was lawsuits, unsubstantiated accusations and twitter tantrums and some of this is still going on. But the outcome is clear the 70+ old man with a questionable record with women that wasn’t Trump won. I mean congratulations to Joe Biden and his running mate/former rival Kamala Harris and it’s great to see the end of Trump’s reign, but things over there are going to get worse before they get better and I don’t think better will be much better, but I will be glad to see him leave the White House or be dragged out.

Work got harder, the rules kept changing and Christmas seemed both so far away and also appearing out of nowhere, we were going away, then we weren’t and then came a second lockdown and when it ended there was mass-testing and even a period when SuperSam’s school finished for a fortnight over a couple of cases in his school year. It was okay though, because no matter what we had a couple of weeks off together. Then on Thursday 17 December we learned that we were on, a  week in the countryside, no neighbours and no work related stress. We started panic-packing and getting things ready to spend Christmas away from home and then 2 days later it was completely cancelled. So with few gifts for one another (the holiday was the main present) and no great amout of food in the house we were faced with a lacklustre Christmas period.

But we didn’t get that, we had time with each other, time with my parents, time with her sister and her kids and lots of time together and ultimately it was one of our better X-Mas periods and now as I write this, we are near the end of 2020.

The reason I wanted to write something was that I was looking at my FaceBook feed and it shows you the stuff you wrote in previous years and most of mine for today pointed out how I was looking forward to a better year and it seems that this better year never actually happened. Maybe it’s time to look back at the positives of the year rather than the crapfest that 2020 so with that it’s time to find your 5.

1: I finally sorted my teeth out, at least getting the bad ones removed, a task I have procrastinated for a decade.

2: After several visits we were able to sort LoopyLottie’s tail and our dog is happier for it, no longer being in pain with it has made walking her easier and her training is going better?

3: Work has been better, not easier, but having another person there has made a difference and the whole vibe of the office is better than it ever was and when I had management problems I was able to deal with it in a better manner than I have before.

4: This  has been a bit of a crucible year, burning off all the unnecessary bits and forging tighter bonds inside our family. I feel closer to the MIGHTY Rosie than I have in a while and that’s helped deal with many of the challenges that we have faced this year.

5: I made it, after my relapse last May I have had many concerns that my depression and anxiety would flare up and cause many problems as mental health problems have been exacerbated by the lockdown and the endless Doomscrolling. But it hasn’t. Have I struggled? Yes, buy hasn’t everyone? Haven’t you internet people? But we got here. Not all of us and not easily, but we did. I still have all of the things I need, I have my family and my job, meaning a roof over my head. I have had 4 or so covid tests as part of the city’s mass-testing and all clear each time. This could have gone so differently,  but I got where I wanted to get to, safe at home with those who love me and whom I love.

 

In closing dear people, this rant/ramble was a way of saying that it’s going to be alright. Vaccines have been developed (maybe a good thing, maybe not) and I genuinely believe we will get through this. I do, because as bad as 2020 was, it could have been worse and there were some shining moments, I have seen smiles, laughter rainbows and the simple joy of a 10 year old at Christmas. It’s been a rough year, but after having a few of them already, I thing I am going to get through this one too. The important thing to remember is although we are socially distant from one another, we are not alone. We have overcome miraculous odds just to get this far and we are not giving up yet.

I think the reason we do the new year/new me thing is that this time of year gives us a chance to start again, to write a new tale in the new year. Maybe our resolutions and goals pan out, maybe they don’t but let us try.

The words I have ingrained into my boy about adversity are two fold. One is that you always get back up. The other is The only time you ever fail is when you give up, everything else is a set-back.

This is going to be a HAPPY new year and if it isn’t, I’m going to make it one.

Who’s with me?

Posted in TV Stuff

5 Christmas Episodes

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. Well after living under restrictions, all weekends indoors and stress eating, goose isn’t alone. But at this time of year, I like that there is so much available in regards to TV 📺 and film 📼

With the season upon us, I wanted to look at TV episodes that aren’t Christmas specials, but have Christmas at the heart of them.

Justice League: Comfort & Joy

Season 2: Episode 23 – Airdate 13th December 2003

This is the only stand-alone episodes of the excellent Justice League series and is made up of a series of vignettes starring pairs of Justice League characters. Green Lantern and Hawkgirl show each other their Christmas traditions, Superman takes Martian Manhunter home to enjoy a traditional Kansas holiday season and the Flash battles and then teams up with the Ultra Humanite to make Christmas for some orphans. Is it a little sentimental? A bit simplistic? Emotionally manipulative? All three are a yes, but most good Christmas fare is. It is charming and plays to each character’s strengths and makes it either a great Christmas episode, or part of a whole series rewatch equally well.

Smallville: Lexmas

Season 5: Episode 9 – Airdate 8th December 2005

After arranging a shady deal, Lex Luthor is shot and lies near death. Clark Kent and his friend Chloe help deliver presents as during his coma Lex hallucinates a life he could live if he abandoned his pursuit of power. It’s a bit ‘It’s a wonderful life’ and of course the lessons he could learn are completely ignored since we know any redemption he could experience must pass him by as he is destined to be a villain, but it’s an interesting character study of a villain before he becomes that villain and it all takes place around Christmas which reinforces the parallels with the earlier mentioned Christmas film.

Community: Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas

Season 2: Episode 11 – Airdate 9th December 2010

This is the most recent one, yet also the most whacky and deep one. Distraught over his mother choosing her new family over her Christmas tradition with him, Abed goes off the rails and perceives the whole world as claymation. Acting as though he is in his own Christmas special Abed’s behaviour grows more and more bizarre and outlandish and his friends/study group band together along with Greendale’s psychology teacher try to endure a guided meditation/therapy session to help Abed find some kind of peace. The claymation makes this a bizarre episode playing to the show’s off-kilter sensibilities while removing anything remotely resembling reality. In the end it has something to say about the meaning of Christmas, but never leaves you in doubt of the silliness of the whole experience.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Amends

Season 3: Episode 10 – Airdate 15th December 1998

As Christmas approaches, Angel is having nightmares and hallucinations over his victims, both over his first 150 years as a vampire and his recent reversion to Angelus and it’s driving him mad. He seeks help from his at the time ex-girlfriend Buffy as well as her mentor Giles (whom he had horrifically tortured 9 months earlier) and it brings up all kinds of feelings about Angel’s past, his culpability in these actions after his soul had been restored and how much of it was caused by a malevolent being knows as the First Evil who wants to lose his soul again and since that’d be caused by sex with his girlfriend, Angel wants this too and as he seeks to kill himself to save everyone from his own weakness, a Christmas miracle prevents it. It’s another great look at how redemption is an ongoing process and that being a good person isn’t easy, especially when what people remember is the evil you have done as well.

Bones: The Man in the Fallout Shelter

Season 1: Episode 9 – Airdate 13th December 2005

The guy who played Angel (David Boreanaz) returns to the screen as Seely Booth in this cracking little police procedural which put science alongside silliness to make a show unique at the time. In this episode the medico-legal lab at the Jeffersonian Institute is quarantined after a toxin is found in the bones of a body found in a fallout shelter. The worst thing is this happens at Christmas and the whole team including series leads FBI Agent Booth, and Forensic Anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan are trapped at work and kept from their families and friends. The solve the case and find the lover of the victim, who has gone 50 years not knowing what happened to him. We also learn of Zach’s large family, Angela’s dad being in ZZ Top and Booth’s son Parker and we get to see more of the team as people rather than their jobs and it’s a touching character piece that had me invested enough to watch another 9 seasons. I think maybe starting a re-watch of Bones may be in my future.

Well that was my five, certainly among my favourites as they highlight how Christmas means different things to different people, but means something to a great many of us.

I don’t know if I am going to post before the new year, but certainly not before Christmas Day itself, so take care of yourselves internet people, take care of one another. The thing that Christmas means to me, isn’t presents, isn’t big meals and silly jumpers. What this time means to me is that in the darkest and coldest time of the year, we display the warmth in our hearts and share that with anyone we see. We wish one another well, we do secret santas, we give bigger tips and try just a bit harder to be nicer to one another. Isn’t that a nice thing, to be the light in the darkness that we all need to see. In this darkest of years, we need all the light we can get.

Thankyou internet people, for everything, because if you are reading this, you have helped me and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a New Year that is better than we have had this one. If Christmas isn’t your thing, then greetings for whatever festivities you do observe. Take care

Ta ta for now.

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My Marvel Life Presents : Fabulous First Issue – X-Factor 1

I think I did the wrong thing here, but here’s another Fabulous First Issue

My Marvel Life

Why I picked this comic:

It’s another one in the history of the X-titles and it was either this or the New Mutants OGN I think this was a better choice. This was the return of the original batch of X-Men who were my introduction to the team, so I will always have a place in my heart for them.

The Comic Itself:

X-Factor 1: November 1985

Third Genesis was written and inked by Bob Layton, pencilled and inked by Jackson Guice Wein with more inks by Josef Rubenstein.

It opens in Anchorage, Alaska with retired X-Man Scott ‘Cyclops’ Summers struggling to adapt to life as husband and father to his wife Madeline Pryor-Summers and their son Nathan Christopher. It’s not going well.

In Colarado Warren ‘Angel’ Worthington III is saying goodbye to his houseguests and fellow ex-X-Men Dr Hank ‘Beast’ McCoy and Bobby ‘Iceman’ Drake who are leaving the…

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