Posted in Miscellaneous, The MIGHTY Rosie, Uncategorized

Who’s a good girl?

After the tragedy of losing Wilma the WTF dog, it became quite apparent that our family was now one that had a dog as part of it and that there would be no getting back to normal, without one. A few weeks after that realisation, the MIGHTY Rosie began perusing a re-homing website, on the idea that we would be getting a dog at some point. She saw this collie/retriever cross and just had to, since she had a similar dog once herself. There were no red-flags when we spoke to the people in question, several times in fact. But when we arranged to go get the dog, there were all kinds of things wrong, there was no mess, not a thing out of place (with a puppy in the house? ) and all the toys for this 8 week old dog were distinctly unchewed and it seemed to live only in the kitchen. None of these things are that suspicious, but when the MIGHTY Rosie went to pick this little puppy up, she leapt into her arms, as if trying to escape. This wasn’t a dog being taken to a new home, which we had dealt with before, this was a dog grateful for being saved. After a trip to the vet and a couple of eyebrow raising reactions from the dog we all came to the understanding she was from a puppy farm and she had not really been taken care of.

Whenever we gave her food (special food, since being a puppy farm survivor she hadn’t really a great digestive system) she wolfed it down, as though she didn’t expect to be fed later. Kind of getting angry as I write that down to be perfectly honest. Still, we bonded pretty much immediately and she quickly became a member of our family. We got a bit of an all clear from the vets over Christmas, our original plan was to not tell SuperSam that we were keeping her, in case there were some medical things that came to light. It was for the best, since we were all devastated by the loss of Wilma the WTF dog. So with the all-clear given, we left a scroll in the Christmas tree with a request for her to stay with us for SuperSam to read. The moment when he realised we were keeping the new dog may be the best moment we had at Christmas this year.

Well we’re now walking her, training her and from time to time spoiling her. We’re a family that has a dog and we were never going to go back to the way it was before. So my mornings and lunchtimes consist of bites and clean-ups and also someone being happy to see me when I get home. I get out of work and walk home to her at lunch, I walk her at night and as a family we are happier that she is there.

So much of this blog can be negative in the personal stuff I write, but now with the dozy 4 legged wonder at home, well it’s a happier start to the year. And we’ve been able to take a scared and malnourished puppy into a happy little dog who can sit and cuddle and also have her mad half hour of chasing nothing.

As for her name, it was apparently supposed to be Rosey, but we have only ever called her Lottie (Short for Charlotte) and now she’s home, home is a little brighter.

It’s a fact that took me till my 40’s to learn, but dogs make life better.

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Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Blue Monday

Well internet people, Blue Monday again and the most ‘depressing’ day of the year is off to a cracking start.

After feeling pleased at the fact that our dog hadn’t broken another set of headphones, it turned out she actually had, since now they no longer charge. I’m going back to buying the cheap £4 off the internet, since buying nicer ones is a false economy, for reasons I am unable to do that just now, this is not an insurmountable obstacle to life, it’s still a frustrating start to a Monday. Rushing into work, I’ve been half productive and half not and the temptation to give in to the miserable weather, no money, stress at work and a less than relaxing weekend and feel down on this ‘bluest’ of Mondays.

But I am not going to. Is it miserable weather? Yes, but this is England, when isn’t it? Is the extra week before being paid make it feel like a longer month? Yes, but that’s hardly reason to panic. Is work stressful? Yes, but not as bad as December. Was it a less than relaxing weekend? Yes, but I spent it with my loved ones and there were moments of happy there. Playing Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 with the MIGHTY Rosie, Super Sam wanted to watch the 1980 camp classic Flash Gordon yesterday morning (Which we did) and some times of all of us listening to music and being happy together.

So am not going to wallow, am going to go on my lunch, go home and when I come back to the office, will attack the day and get some stuff done. This is Blue Monday, but blue is the colour of my true love’s eyes, the skies over Crete and Salou and the waters in the best places to swim.  Blue holds no fear for me, I will be alright and you know what internet person reading this? So will you. If this is a Blue Monday for you, realise that it’s upwards from here. It will get better, it will be brighter and it’s only Monday once a week. After that, it’s closer to the weekend.

This was not a great start to the week, but it didn’t have to be, all you need is one positive about the day and you’ll have that at least.

TTFN Internet people, I’ve got a day to get back on  track.

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

For me, 2019 was, well it’s been a year.

2018 has come and gone. The start of 2019 has been a mixed affair, but am trying to see it as a fresh start, because after this last year, I needed it to be.

In the world outside it was a tumultuous one, with another year of Trump and May dominating the news along with the ever escalating clusterfuck that is Brexit. So the backdrop of my 2018 was division, despair and distraction. Seemed almost fitting to be honest.

Last year I stopped my meds and ended my therapy, ending a chapter in my recovery from my breakdown. It’s now more of an issue of managing things, being able to be aware when things aren’t good and act, rather than wallowing. It’s been a year of being able to handle it when things are challenging. It’s also the year of having to handle things being challenging.

Work has proven as stressful as it ever was, only now I’m not medicated to hell and can actually experience the stress fully. It’s been too much for our small little department to cope with and we have lobbied to get another person on staff. This took 9 months and after three days, I was glad that they were off on the Thursday/Friday of their first week. The second week went almost as badly, the third was more manageable and by the following Monday, he had quit, claiming he couldn’t handle the job. That is the kind of crap my job brings me. Then there’s been all the run up to Christmas and the need to do a month’s work in a little over 2 weeks. But there’s hope, we have a new, new person who seems to be more capable and very pleasant to be around, 2018 might have been rough at work, but 2019 has started well enough to maintain that hope.

At home, things had started to look up with an increase in communication between me and the MIGHTY Rosie. Super Sam has had stuff at school to be dealt with, which we did as a team and he is as good as he ever is. The MIGHTY Rosie has had health issues to deal with as well as other struggles that are not mine to share, so I won’t do. Needless to say, there’s been stuff that’s been tough to get through.

So by the time we got to November, we’d been through a lot of stuff, but worse was to come.

2 Months ago, Wilma the WTF Dog was killed by a car.

That was hard to write to be honest, it’s why a look at 2018 has taken several weeks to write, since I knew I would have to say that. It was a car accident and over very quickly, but since all three of us saw it, it was still very traumatic and sudden. We kept our shit together for our son, who took it hard. I’m not going to say more than that, it’s not my tale to tell after all. But the loss was on a greater scale than I have ever experienced before. She was a member of our family, our little girl and her being gone tore a hole in our family. We miss her still and out of the corner of my eye is one of the best pictures we have of her. At least seeing her no longer hurts, I no longer flash to that moment constantly, though that took a long time to get there. Everyone has been great, especially those who also have dogs themselves. I was back in work the next day, one member of staff wondered how the hell I was even in work. All I got was a day off from answering calls, that’s it. To be honest it took the shine off Christmas a little and whilst I had fun, there was always a tinge of sadness that came with that. She never got another Christmas with us. We tried to get back to normal, but it’s only at that point we realised that we were a family who had a dog, there was no more normal without one.

Work became difficult as a month’s work was needed in less than three weeks and so much work had to be re-done and it was draining. Then we heard that we could get another puppy, a family had posted on a re-homing website that there was two young kids, one more on the way and no way to take care of a new puppy. No red-flags, so we got the money together after a long and intense conversation made the joint decision to rehome the dog with us.

Her name is Lottie and that is going to be another story.

2018 was a bit of an armpit of a year, but we survived, we thrived and we as a family are stronger than we have ever been before.

There’s more to tell, but to be honest, I just needed this stuff out there right now.

 

More soon internet people.

TTFN

Posted in Miscellaneous

For the Geek in me 2018 was Awesome part 3: Films

​In a ‘challenging’ year there it’s been difficult to get to the cinema as much as I would have liked and it’s meant that this was the easiest of lists to write, since I have only been the cinema about 5 times, but again, it was a quality over quantity situation.

Black Panther

A couple of years ago, I watched the film Captain America: Civil War and a couple of things kind of impressed me, sadly neither was Captain America, nor the Civil War plot. Those two things are Spider-Man and T’Challa, the Black Panther. Both of whom got films off the back of it. Out of those two, this was the better one. Borrowing from several points of the history of the Black Panther comics as well as a few thematic touches from Hamlet (or the Lion King) this was a film that fleshed out a fictional nation in two hours better than over 30 years of comics. There was action, more than a little humour and a villain who’s motivations where more than a little understandable. There’s no one in this film who didn’t go great work and Martin Freeman was in this. This was a MCU film that fit well within it, but didn’t really need the rest of the films to make it work. The silliest this film got was Andy Serkis’ bonkers portrayal of Ulysses Klaw which was funny, without costing him menace.

This was a good film for the whole family, it’s not hard to sell this film, but if I had to all I need to say is War Rhinos.

Deadpool 2

 

Couple of years ago there was some ‘leaked’ internet footage of a Deadpool test with Ryan Reynolds in  comics faithful Deadpool costume, this caused the net to go nuts. I saw that and hoped that it’d lead to a half decent version of the Merc with a Mouth, getting to the big screen (I am NOT counting X-Men Origins Wolverine) and was quietly optimistic. Then Deadpool came out in Feb 2016 and not only did it not disappoint, it was the perfect comic book movie. It was it’s own thing, rather than a direct adaptation, but it was very much faithful to the spirit of the character. Then at the end, in a homage to Ferris Bueller Deadpool mentioned that in a sequel, they would get Cable. As a big 90’s comic mark, I loved Cable at the time and still appreciate much of the more recent appearances. When Josh Brolin was cast, I was equally optimistic. Even more so, when they mentioned Domino and other members of X-Force would be in the film too. So when I saw the second film? Vindicated. Reynolds was as excellent as ever and the rest of the cast stepped up to join him. This was again an original story that hung together on the strength of it’s action, heart and comedy. I don’t know if this was as good as the first, but I really enjoyed it and bought the Bu-Ray as soon as it came out, highly recommended.

The Christmas Chronicles

I haven’t been as Christmassy as I wanted to be this year (more on that on another post) and found that apart from the traditional three films at Christmas (Lethal Weapon for the MIGHTY Rosie, Arthur Christmas for SuperSam and Die Hard for me) I haven’t really been into anything Christmassy until my sister in law (who I shall refer to as CrazyOwl) recommended this to the MIGHTY Rosie & I. This film was a usual schmaltzy holiday tale with one thing different. There was no jolly and vuncular Santa with a spare tyre and fluffy coat, this was Kurt Russell as a Santa of Action. It had a musical number, a car chase and more than a couple of surprises and was exactly what the doctor ordered, because I felt as Christmassy as hell when it was done and we all watched it three times. Even if you are not a fan of the holiday TV movie genre, this was so well done that it stood on its own as a good film. Cannot recommend this enough.

Avengers: Infinity War

 

One of the best things about comics and yet also the worst thing about comics are the ‘events’. Big comic book crossovers with lots of tie-ins, larger than life stories and this year, Marvel put one on the big screen. It had funny moments, dramatic moments and even genuinely touching ones. Everyone was on form and I mean everyone, with a cast of over 20 principle protagonists and Josh Brolin acting his way through CGI as a more sympathetic Thanos. It was full of quotable lines, awesome set pieces and twists and turns, just like a 90’s event shoud be. This was the culmination of what the MCU has been building towards for the last 10 years and 20 films and it was worth waiting for. The only reason I didn’t put this at the end was two fold: One – this is only part one of a two-part film series and it looked like it. Two – It wasn’t the last film I saw this year that was…

Aquaman

 

My first X-Men comic of the 90’s was X-Factor 70, written by Peter David. I followed David through his run on X-Factor, till he flew off to DC. At DC he was given the less than stellar character of Aquaman. I found this comic by accident, mistaking it for the Tom Grummett drawn Superboy comic of that era. Far from the ineffectual Superfriends-esque man who talks to fish and little else, David’s Aquaman was brash, a bit cocky and far from being the friendly hero of the past. In issue 2, he lost his hand and from there, became more of a barbarian king than a super-hero. He grew out his hair, grew a beard and wore less clothes than before. I loved this Aquaman, who took no shit and kicked several kinds of ass. Then there were several retcons and reboots and we get a retro-modern Aquaman with the lighthouse dad and royal mum and the yellow and green, short back and sides look. When DC began expanding it’s movie characters beyond Batman, they cast Jason Momoa as Aquaman. Fresh of his time as Conan the Barbarian and a year on Games of Thrones as Kahl Drogo, Momoa was ideal as the 90’s Aquaman and it became clear that this was the reto-origin version, with touches of the more extreme version of the 90’s and in Justice League, Momoa nailed it. He was gruff and dismissive of Batman and brash and gung-ho in battle and when I heard that there would be a film, I was actually excited. Okay, lets repeat that, excited about an Aquaman film.

So me and the MIGHTY Rosie got the posh seats at the cinema and watched it on a rare Saturday morning together and you know what, despite my high expectations, this was better than I could have hoped. Momoa in comfortable in the role and is clearly having a lot of fun. Amber heard is … there as is NIcole Kidman and we get some half decent supporting cast work. The only thing that did strike me was how anyone would cast Willem Dafoe as the caring mentor character is somewhat surprising. I spent the whole film waiting for him to turn and be revealed as another badguy. The effects are amazing and the action sequences are as exciting as CGI can make them. This was a big blockbuster film that really hit the spot and I left the cinema eager to watch this film again.

Well that’s that for another year. With another Avengers film, Captain Marvel, the other Captain Marvel and Detective Pikachu. It looks like 2019 will get me back to the cinema even more than this year.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Conquering our fears and pain

My beloved pet Wilma was in a car accident 2 weeks ago and died. This has shattered our family. I had to write that down, because if you hide away from saying or doing something, it gains power over you. It’s my first loss/trauma since my recovery from my breakdown and it has been both hard and also a yardstick of how I am doing these days. SuperSam and the MIGHTY Rosie are grieving and that is as much as I would say, since theirs is not my story. As the shock passes, the pain subsides and only the sadness and loss remain, it becomes necessary to get on the with the business of living again. We’ve ate healthier, we’ve played games, we’ve laughed, we’ve remembered, we’ve cried and then laughed again.

I’m not going to say much more than that on this subject, needless to say, family and friends have been amazingly supporting and understanding. A particular shout out to my mum and dad, who when I and my family needed them, were there in a flash and that meant a lot more to me than I expected.

So this had derailed much of what I wanted to say and do this month, but what I have done is get back to an older goal.

I have started driving.

I got a provisional license at 17/18 as most people did, but it was one of those things that people wanted for me and I felt that I should do, but it was never really something I wanted to do. In my 20’s I was always walking distance from anywhere and struggled money-wise, so it wasn’t a priority then. It my early 30’s I was enjoying my life with the MIGHTY Rosie, so it became something I would get around to. Then my breakdown happened. I have talked about that at length before, but needless to say depression and anxiety don’t really do well behind the wheel. But it’s something I should do. For my boy, it’s additional stuff for me to show him that learning is good. For my wife, it should take pressure of her to be the wheels all of the time. In case of emergency, it’s a useful life skill to have and mostly for me, since it’s a goal I can achieve and something I have been so very anxious about for so very long. I had a lesson booked last week, but as you can imagine, circumstances aside, I’d not be in the best place to try it last week. So last night I did.

It was terrifying, confusing, very alien and yet also amazing. All at the same time. Many if not most of you can and do drive, so this is no revelation, but to me, this was something of profound moment. Clutches, gears and the myriad things to keep an eye on seem to be a weakness so far, but my steering was good and only stalled the once. At 42, sometimes I have this feeling of I should have already done this with a lot of stuff, like I wasted a lot of my life. But my life led me to the MIGHTY Rosie, to being the man I am today, the dad I am and whoever I will be from here on in, so it’s time to add to that man. Terrified as I was yesterday, I did it. Scared as I am for the next one, I’ll do that too. Then the next and the next.

I have been on a journey for a while, now I am on a new one and to be honest, I am quite excited about where this will take me.

This month knocked me down, it broke me. I have wept, I have been comforted and comforted others, but I will as I have before get back up.

I have mantras and aphorisms which I share with my son.

“When do we fail?” I ask

“When we give up?” he replies

“So if we don’t give up, we never fail.”

If we don’t give up, we never fail. No matter what we are up against as long as we keep going, we can conquer the things that beset us.

I will get back to more regular posts, but right now, I just needed to say what I just said.

Love to you all internet people.

The Munky will return.

 

Posted in Miscellaneous

Loss

Due to a loss in the family, there was no post this weekend and I don’t know what will happen next.

The MIGHTY Rosie and SuperSam are fine, but grieving.

There’s more I want to say, but there aren’t words right now and I don’t think Morevember will carry on.

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Stuck in the attic

Hello again internet people. I have started this post (but won’t finish it) from my new desk in my new office, in the attic of our shopfront office. This job has been at times an exercise in what I can have taken from me. I had an office, then another, then told to share, than put in a room with 16 other people. I had two printers and bit by bit was down to sharing a printer with 15 other people, despite my output being higher, not lower. Wednesday, that printer stopped working. I also lost phones for the day and now my new desk is a foot shorter. But all in all, have gained more than I have lost.

That left me with oft used idea of stripping your life down to the basics. The idea of removing anything from your life that you don’t actually need. There’s a degree of simplicity to that, which does appeal. I have been thinking about it on and off for a while, again inspired by work’s decisions and I have come to a decision about that.

I don’t agree.

While pruning the unpleasant elements of your life is a good idea, there are many people who I wouldn’t miss it they stayed out of my orbit, but the idea of only having the essentials seems rather well restrictive. It also sounds like survival. I survived for 36 years, until that broke me, after a long fight and a longer journey back, I have started to do more than survive. I have started to live. I have the things in my life I need. I have a job, a roof over my head and a loving family. But I also have wants as well. I don’t need to have a weekend away every now and again, but I want them, I appreciate them. After a day or two without it, I don’t need any phone, but being able to talk to the MIGHTY Rosie at any time is still a great thing. So yes, be mindful of the things you need, but also be kind to yourself. But the book you want to read, wear the clothes you feel comfy in, or pretty in. Drink the nicer coffee, eat the tasty food, walk in the sunshine. Survival is essential, but living is the goal.

Want is okay, because unless you are hurting someone, even yourself, what is the harm?

Be good to yourself.

Live.

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous, The MIGHTY Rosie

Holiday Hangover

I spent this weekend in the Lake District, myself, SuperSam, the MIGHTY Rosie and Wilma the WTF dog. I was relaxed, played games, saw ‘The Nature’ and read a ton of comics. It was exactly how I wanted to spend my birthday, with my favourite people, surrounded by beauty and far from the stresses of life.

And then you return. Some of the reasons why that was hard related to stories that are not mine, but needless to say, these last few days have been very trying. From my phone being unresponsive, despite the alarm ⏰going off every ten minutes. My fitbit went missing and my Tuesday started to off the rails long before 9. I got to work and my anxiety was high enough, but was cut off from the MIGHTY Rosie without my phone. I think I rely on that thing too much. I have had a rough one, preparing for our department to move to an office upstairs and it’s a bit of stress that I can do without. I have struggled with low moods, anxiety and more than a little exhaustion.

I have been here before, the edge of that darker place in your head, but I am not going to fall in. One Monday, I put my son’s bed together with the MIGHTY Rosie. I have booked a weekend away in February and have got myself a comfy chair for my new desk. It’s the little wins that get me through the day. On the good days they are the norm, on the less than good, they are the light at the end of the tunnel. I have needed that light this week and because of it, I know I will be okay.

It is going to be okay, I think I have started to really believe that.

Okay, this was rambling mess, something more fun tomorrow I think.

Posted in Miscellaneous

5 Under-Appreciated Comic book films

This time I raid my dvd collection and go back to a time before the MCU and the clamour for shared universe franchises.

Before I start, I want to say these are not the best, nor am I believing that any of these are great movies, but they either deserve more love, or certainly less scorn.

The Phantom

1996’s the Phantom had a solid B-list cast with Billy Zane, Kirsty Swanson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Treat Williams and dependable mid-carders James Remar and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. It even got Patrick Magoohan in as the last Phantom. It was set in the 30s and had a very republic serial feel to it. It was a saturday afternoon movie that doesn’t pretend it’s not more than a little silly.

The Shadow

Another 30s set pulp story, this 1994 gem boasted Alec Baldwin, Sir Ian McKellen, Penelope Anne Miller and Tim Curry at very different points in their career. Again it was silly and pulpy, but again it was fun and a nice bank holiday film.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

In 1993 Batman the animated series had a theatrical release, much as the live action series did in 1966. This doubled up as a year one story and a mystery story with an excellent voice cast including the definitive voices of Batman and the Joker, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. This is a great Batman story and I am not a fan of Batman.

The Specials

Closer to the present is this little beauty. 2000’s The Specials is a mockumentary about the 7th best super-hero team. Funny and jam packed with an amazing cast including Rob Lowe, Thomas Halden Church, Paget Brewster, Tim and Sean Gunn, Jamie Kennedy and Judy Greer, it pokes fun at the Super hero movie genre when it’s in its infancy.

And finally…

Guardians

An oddball Russian take on the Avengers, this film is more than a little bit silly. But it’s high action, interesting use of superpowers and the fact that one character changes into a bear, makes it an entertaining mess.

In an age of linked multi franchise event movies, films that are just silly fun can become more valuable. They are worth checking out, provided your expectations are low enough.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Morevember 1st: Back to the stuff I enjoy

It’s been a while internet people. Through work pressures, medical worries about my family and more than one or two wobbly moments, it’s been a rough month or two. But there are things to look forward to, have a weekend away coming, couple of days off here and there too as well as a birthday. Yup, turning 42 in a week or two.

But what this last few weeks have shown me is that I don’t take time to write like a used to. I used to take time each lunchtime to write, so I got a solid 5 hours writing per working week. Now I have Wilma the WTF dog and I am heading home to see her once a day, which is great for my mental health, I won’t lie, but I miss putting finger to keys. But I hear you ask. Can’t you make time for writing later on? And if I did have the energy after a day of at times soul crushing work, that would simply be taking time away from SuperSam and the MIGHTY Rosie. So of all the plates that I have spinning from time to time, this is the on that I let go more often than not.

But I don’t want to, I want to do it all, because I have done it once before. All through the month of December 2017, I wrote a post relating to the Advent Calendar that I was given by the MIGHTY Rosie. I then did more than 6 months doing a page a day calendar. So this is the challenged, a post a day for every day in Morevember (See what I did there?) It may only be a line or two post, or a link to another blogging endeavour I have, but I am going to try and post something every day.

I don’t know how well I am going to do, but I do know that I like writing, I like posting this stuff and I like this online world I find myself a part of. This is one of those things that I do only for me and when I do that, I am more of myself and those in my life, benefit from that.

Wish me luck internet people, thoughts suggestions and comments are always welcome.

Here we go.