Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

For the Me in Me, 2019 was a challenge.

Well that was a year.

It was a decade too, but I am not going to be all “look at the decade as a whole” about it.

It’s been hard, there’s no denying that, but there’s been ups as well, since I need some kind of structure I am going to break it down into categories.

Work

Work has been a hell of a lot of ups and downs. After a very stressful year last year, we lobbied for a new member of staff to work with Gisele (the Dept Manager), Trouble (credit control) and me, finally we got Disney Princess, the sister of one of the directors. It was great to have someone working with me doing the same job. The problem is that the workload has increased, so we are still as stressed as ever, but now we are 4 and not 3. But I have noticed that the atmosphere is better up here. We have more fun, have a laugh together and the year came to an end with more ease than the last two. Work has been difficult this year, but it ended well, a fact for which I am grateful.

Well apart from the fact that I was locked in the office on the day we broke up for Christmas and everyone had gone t’pub. Not my favourite moment.

Family

This has been a game of two halves in that respect. My mum and dad and I have got on better than we have in a few years. The therapy I had in 2018 cleared a lot of my negative feelings about them and I was able to see them as they are, just two people trying their best with those they love. At 9, I had a grandmother who had 19 other grandkids and no grandfather as he had passed away. SuperSam has a pair of devoted grandparents whom he loves to spend time with and who are more than happy to spend this time with him.

Speaking of SuperSam, he finished year 3 and it was a rough one. We’ve had bullying and also the aftermath of losing our dog last year. But he pulling himself up and got through it with help and his own determination. Our new dog Loopy Lottie has helped with that and seeing him come back to the happy boy we knew has been so wonderful as it was having a great Christmas with him.

The MIGHTY Rosie and I have had ups and downs this year. I’m not always the man I should be, nor the one she deserves and there’s been many a time where that fact had to be addressed. But we had ridden through this particular storm and I need to work hard to make sure that the next one, isn’t one of my own making. I love this woman, always have and can see no reason how I would ever stop in my lifetime. Being away from her in November just reminded me how much I missed them and I came home early just to see them.

Mental Health

I think this has been one of the hardest years since my breakdown in 2013.

Back in May, I had a ‘wobble’ and it was terrifying being back in that place. It followed stress regarding work and family and it took me a while to get back to where I was.

Once more I have to thank the MIGHTY Rosie for everything she did and for taking off the kid gloves when I needed to be told some harsh truths.

I’m still struggling, maybe I always will, but I am still here.

Triumphs

I am still here.

That may not be much of a triumph, but it seemed a shaky proposition a couple of times this year. This year highlighted that most of the problem lies with me. I enjoy my job more than half the time. I love my wife, the always amazing MIGHTY Rosie and my son SuperSam who never fails to make me proud. I even love the dog đŸ¶ and enjoy my nightly walks with LoopyLottie. I like my life, it’s just me I can’t stand. So maybe this year is where I change that.

But apart from that, I have had many ups this year. I have made progress regarding my teeth, a sore subject that has been an increasing problem and is now being dealt with. There was also fun to be had, we went to Scotland for the MIGHTY Rosie’s birthday and had an amazing time. I wobbled, regarding my mental health, but pulled myself back without medication and continue to battle these demons (with varying degrees of success) and am moving forward. I went to a trampoline place with SuperSam and enjoyed it, despite how badly it hurt my knee. I also went indoor skydiving, taking my dad and son and all three had a great time. It’s definitely something I want to do again. I also did the comic convention thing that I have wanted to, but lacked confidence to do and met a couple of industry people that were lovely and a couple of podcasters I am a fan on. I will go again, but I will be more discerning in future in terms of guests and my spends. The fact remains though, that I did it. I also managed to post weekly to my Pilot Era blog, which has been a nice little bonus here.

This year has been difficult, there have been many challenges and it looked as though this year did it’s best to break me.

But it didn’t.

I was glad to see the back of 2019, but I am not expected 2020 to be easier. It doesn’t get easier. You simply get stronger.

This is not the story of my fall, it is the story of my rise.

Thank you all of you, who have been part of my journey, a journey which is moving towards a hopeful tomorrow.

It’s now 2020, welcome to the future.

Posted in Comics n Stuff, D-Cember, Miscellaneous

D-Cember 13th – Unlucky for Some

30 Day Challenge Question 13 – Least Favourite Character

There will be haters here, but it’s Batman

Now bear with me. This is not because I haven’t read good Batman stories (because I have) nor is it because I haven’t enjoyed other media with him in (because once again, I have) and it’s not that there’s anything wrong with the character. But here’s the problem…….. he’s everywhere.

We are oversaturated with Batman, from multiple ongoing series and his omnipresence in anything DC to his near omnipotent portrayal some stories. When used more sparingly, Batman is a cracking character that enhances my stories he is in, but lets be honest, there’s too much.

 

Super Sam’s answer

Lex Luthor.

He thinks he’s so great, but he isn’t.

That’s as succinct a description of that character as I have ever heard.

Other Stuff

It’s Christmas jumper day here, prizes and discomfort abound, but it does make a tough day feel a little more christmassy.

Whoever you are, wherever you are and whatever you are doing, hope you’re doing okay during this time of year. It can be a bit of a double edged sword for some people.

Posted in Comics n Stuff, D-Cember, Miscellaneous

D-Cember 11th – Secret Santa!

30 Day Challenge – Question 11: Favourite Super Power

This is the power that really sort of eclipses all others with it’s scope and versatility.

In the DCU, Superspeed covers running fast, running up walls, across water, through distance, through time, through solid objects many more things that openly laugh in the face of physics and common sense. The Flash could be considered the most powerful character in the DCU and has often been the linchpin in the Justice League saving the day.

 

Super Sam’s answer –

It’s superspeed, duh?

 

Other Stuff

It was secret santa day today at work. I handed over a calendar and christmas themed Rubik’s cube to a colleague and a different colleague got me this treasure trove.

Not a bad gift among them, have no idea who picked them, but it’s put a giggle in my morning if nothing else.

Hope you are all okay internet people, see you soon

 

Posted in Comics n Stuff, Miscellaneous

Thinking about Thought Bubble

I never know what to get for my birthday. I accept that it’s a very much a first world problem, but it is what it is. Purchases fall very much into 2 categories for me, necessities (which I should pay for myself) or usual things I buy (also best to be got by me rather than someone else) which puts most people in the ‘what hell do I get that person’ camp. Which I accept is quite frustrating for the people who know me. So no one knows what to get me and I don’t know what I want. I occasionally buy blu-rays, I frequently buy comics, but beyond that, what do I spend money on that isn’t a necessity of some description.

This year though, I didn’t do any of that. As part of a whole happiness thing, which has had mixed success to be perfectly honest, I have been trying to do things that I hadn’t done before or things I had been scared of doing. One of which was Halloween’s trip to an indoor sky-diving centre. But for my birthday, I went to Thought Bubble. 

Thought Bubble is the Yorkshire festival celebrating the comic arts. Writers, pencillers and colourists from established comic companies, together with up and comers and those trying to make their name are there to ply their trade, there are panels on several subjects, cosplay competitions and signings. I have never done comic-cons, one of the reasons is that the ones local to me don’t have anything to offer me, being not a gamer or cosplayer and so have often decided not to bother. Thought Bubble however, is a proper comic con. The other problem is my anxiety. Crowds, strangers and other worries (both real and imagined) have kept me from doing this, but I went for it, with the help and support of the MIGHTY Rosie.

At first, it was supposed to be the three of us going, but as the time grew closer, we realised several issues might make this difficult for all three of us to go. Then I became anxious about going on my own. Then I started planning the trip (a task most often taken on by the MIGHTY Rosie) and the more control over things I took, the better I felt about it and was only really anxious about it on Friday. But I went, getting the train from my home of Liverpool to Harrogate, the new home of Thought Bubble, after several years in Leeds. As expected there were many cosplayers (many of which were characters I didn’t recognise) and even more queues.

So you got past your anxiety and went, well done, but did you enjoy it? I arrogantly assume you ask. Yes I did and that comes in three waves.

1st: These are my people. Everybody there was either working in or into comics and judging by the many stalls and panels, quite a few fell into both categories. There were families, couples, friends and like me people on their own milling about buying and talking comics. There wasn’t movies related stuff, but people who enjoy the art-form that has been a constant in my life for too many years. It was relaxing to be in my element a bit.

2nd: The comics themselves. I bought many trades, a few comics an excellent teeshirt and a poster of Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham for my son SuperSam. There wasn’t loads of stuff there, but I did spend into 3 figures.

3rd: This is the big one, the people. As well as meeting two of my favourite UK podcasters Steven Lacey who co-hosts the excellent Fantasticast. I also met Al Kennedy co-host of House to Astonish one of the first podcasts I got into and is still excellent. He was part of the panel SILENCE to Astonish with Gary Lactus and the Beast Must Die, which remains one of my favourite memories of that weekend. I also met several writers and artists. I met Zenith artist Steve Yewoll, Terry Dodson, Mahmud Asrar and Declan Shelvay. I also have conversations with Sean Phillips who lent me £1 and signed my copy of Sleeper Vol 1. I also got a copy of Watchmen signed by Dave Gibbons, who I got to thank for drawing a series that stands up as a work of art 35 years after it was written and 25 years after I first read it, he referred to it as a gift that keeps on giving.

 

In terms of writers, I got stuff signed by Al Ewing and Si Spurrier, who was at the SILENCE panel and we talked about his writing of the character Legion and the TV series it inspired and I also picked up his creator-owned series Angelic, which was a fantastic read about a flying monkey who struggles against the fundamentalist restrictions of her tribe before teaming up with a manatee in a flying chair. If I haven’t sold you on that series, I don’t know what to tell you. I was also lucky enough to meet the team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, the people behind the good run of Young Avengers and the team behind The Wicked and the Devine, the 3rd and 4th trade of which I bought to be signed as well. Both of them were lovely people who had plenty of time for the huge queue that formed to meet them.

I got to meet creators, podcasters and took pictures of some epic cosplayers.

   

Even on the when in and out

There were negative things, I didn’t like being so far away from the people I love. I recognise that this wasn’t for them and it’s always nice to have experiences for yourself that are nothing to do with everyone else, but I was grateful to get home on Sunday evening, ready for my birthday the next day. I may do Thought Bubble again next year, depending on who they get, but my best time away are still shared with Super Sam and the MIGHTY Rosie.

 

Posted in Comics n Stuff, Miscellaneous, Morevember

More-Vember 27th – Hungry

Marvel 30 Day Challenge Question 27 – Favourite non-human race

There’s a lot to choose from here, Marvel have no shortage of non-human characters, from Atlanteans, to Mutants, to Cat People, Eternals, Deviants and even Moloids. But I went with one of the early creations. The Inhumans.

First appearing during the epoch making Fantastic Four run by Lee/Kirby these human adjacent people who all possessed a gift that seperated them from the rest of humanity, the Inhumans are very much their own thing, with their own city which ended up on the Moon. They are as different from one another as from humanity and can be used to tell all kinds of stories. The only misstep has been Marvel’s attempts to replace mutants with inhumans, which made both less interesting and less special. I was on the fence as whether or not to choose them, but then I remembered they have Lockjaw, the best dog in comics.

SuperSam’s answer

After watching Captain Marvel and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Sam would only pick one.

Responsible for 4 of the Captain Marvels, the Inhumans and several other stories and ideas, the Kree are a fantastic sci-fi race full of their own culture, ideals and flaws and are always fun to see showing up. That was a good choice.

Other Stuff

A shout out to my Dad, who turns 65 today. A lovely big hearted man who would give anyone who needed it, anything he had. A good man and a grandad who is going from strength to strength.

Love you

 

Back up to date. Bye for now Internet People

 

Posted in Comics n Stuff, Miscellaneous, Morevember

More-Vember 12th – Back to work

Marvel 30 Day Challenge – Question 12: Favourite Weapon

With the plethora of options, from the Ultimate Nullifier, to the Quantum Bands, from Iron Man’s armour to the Ebony blade, the Marvel Universe is home to a lot of cool weapons, but for me it’s this one. Mjolnir

It’s versatile, able to be used as transportation, to control weather, at one point to travel in time as well as transformation of clothing as person. It’s powerful, able to do some incredible damage, using it’s control over storms and lightning. It’s also a big ass hammer. The best thing about it though, is the enchantments, we have the flying back to it’s wielder, the flight and above all, it’s inscription. Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor. It’s an atom bomb with a handle, but if you can’t use it wisely, then you can’t even pick it up. I may do a post on the many wielders of Mjolnir.

Super Sam’s answer

Captain America’s shield. When I asked, his answer was that unlike a regular shield, it had be thrown almost like a frisbee. It was going to be my choice, but he got there first, there are very few Marvel weapons so iconic.

Other stuff

Breaktime is over and I am back to the daily grind. It’s cold, but I am maintaining a positive viewpoint. This is going to be a good day and I am going to expect nothing less.

 

Posted in Comics n Stuff, Miscellaneous, Morevember

More-Vember 5th – Not a firework fan anymore

Marvel 30 Day Challenge: Question 5 Favourite Team.
Again a relatively easy answer. 

The first comic I remember reading was an X-Men reprint title and when I got into collecting, it was Jim Lee’s X-Men vol 2 #1. The themes of inclusion, found family and high stakes drama drew me in and the soap opera elements keep me interested for decades and when it’s well written, it still does.

Super Sam’s Answer:

Guardians of the Galaxy.


When pushed for an answer, it was simply the friendship between Rocket and Groot. I can’t really say anything better than that.

Ttfn Internet people.

Posted in Comics n Stuff, Miscellaneous, Morevember

More-Vember 2nd – a dislike of Bonfire Night

Marvel 30 Day Challenge Day 2: Favourite Villain

Again, this was not really a challenge, I went with one of Marvel’s earliest villains Doctor Doom

Debuting in 1962’s Fantastic Four issue 5 he was one of the first supervillains, being a character that could stand up to the heroes on a physical level. Victor Von Doom is that great villain that is so close to the hero, but just a little bit off. He wants the best for his people, he wants the best for the world and has  only the best of intentions. That all sounds pretty laudable and his only failing is ego. He genuinely belives the world would be better off if he was in charge and that he is the best person for the job, no matter what that job is. He is both compelling as a protagonist as well as a booable villain without any inconsistency in characterisation.

In Secret Wars (both of them) he was both hero and villain and fantastic in both roles. He is perhaps Marvel’s greatest villain.

Super Sam’s Answer – Doctor Octopus

Otto Octavius is Spider-Man’s nemesis, losing out to Green Goblin only by one act. He has got into Peter’s personal life, dogged him at every turn and at one time, actually replaced Spider-Man. None of that is the reason that my son picked him. His thought was the potential for comedy. Imagine that he was itchy and uses his tentacle to scratch it. Does he polish the arms, or wash them? What if he got stuck in the bath because of them? Must be a pain to get onto planes with them. It made us both giggle this morning and I liked that.

Other Stuff

Here in Blighty it’s near Bonfire Night (well that’s not till Tuesday) so for the last week, bell-ends have been setting off fireworks. To be honest, I stopped being interested in fireworks long ago. After the spectacle, it’s just standing in the rain looking at lights. It’s only been affected me this year, well it’s more affecting Lottie the dog. Lottie is anxious, she barks at people walking by, gets scared easily and as you can imagine only her second Bonfire night is not something we are looking forward to. But the fact that it’s been going on for over a week and that Bonfire Night is not till Tuesday makes every night that the fireworks are going off something of a living hell for her. Tonight has been particularly bad, with her reacting to noises several times. And it’s going to keep going for a while yet. So I have gone full circle and am glad a supermarket has stopped selling them and hope more do, because a member of my family can’t sleep and is scared a lot more than she should be.

If you have pets, my thoughts are with you and your little ones. Hope things are quiet by you.

Just wanted to get that out.

My love to you all internet people, be back tomorrow.

 

Posted in Miscellaneous, Morevember

Prelude to More-vember, my second attempt

Hello there internet people.

This time last year I decided to post something every day in an attempt to kickstart writing things again. I called it More-vember. I did several and then the family suffered a loss as our beloved dog Wilma died. It’s been a testing 12 months since then and there’s been more sad than glad in a lot of places, but I am determined to keep going, keep trying and to keep interacting with the world as myself. So I am doing More-vember again.

To give it a sort of structure, I decided to do the 30 day Marvel Challenge, which was something I found on Instagram.

Each day has a thing to post a picture of or write something about and I will use that, as well as try to add other stuff myself. It’s not a great or original idea, but I feel that it is a bit of unfinished business sort of thing and I would like to get to writing more frequently.

So as Halloween comes to an end and the trick-or-treaters have all gone home, I am looking forward to November.

I can’t promise quality, but it does seem that I am promising quantity.

TTFN Internet people, hasta manana.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Finally, some positives

Hello there internet people.

As covered in my last ramblings I was worried regarding an appointment. It was my teeth. I don’t really look after them, this has caused me no small amounts of shame and anxiety and is a source of tension in places. It’s one of my biggest things to do, that through fear and shame I have avoided. Yesterday I stopped avoiding it. There’s a good amount of work needs doing and I am not overly comfortable with that, but it is about time that I decided to deal with these things. To most this will be a minor achievement, but this is something to me, it’s the idea that my comfort and denial is not greater than my belief in myself, nor my value.

So anyway, I decided to point out some positives.

I was out a couple of weeks ago to see Dave Gorman, a comedian who does sort of lectures with powerpoint slides and had a great time with a friend. He too struggles with mental health and it was a positive for both of us to be out and having a laugh. Did the same thing on Saturday just gone with another comedian called Justin Moorhouse who is to be honest more than a little similar in appearance to me. Had a lot of fun, got my ticket signed and a picture with the guy who was quieter than on stage, but just as lovely a person.

(I am the one in the blue tee-shirt)

I have several reasons to feel less than great today, the anxiety yesterday has landed in my stomach and a cold I was fighting off hasn’t given up yet, but then again, neither have I. I could be at home wallowing, but am working (well not right now obviously) and will see the day out, even am off to the pictures tonight to see the Joker with my dad. I am doing okay and I believe that things can turn around for me. Our fears can be faced, our mistakes can be confronted and our days can be happier.

I hope you are all doing okay.

Every single person looking at this has helped me along this journey and I am not done yet.

Ttfn internet people am off to see about a dog.