Thursday, 6 December 2012

Fuck You, I Won't Do What You Tell Me

So I was reading an article on League of Legends (LoL) and how it's rumoured to now be more popular than World of Warcraft (WoW). The online count and playerbase are now higher, but there's the obvious facts that 1. WoW requires a monthly subscription, 2. WoW is now 7 years old to LoL's 3 years, and 3. LoL is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) and WoW is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG); two very different genres.

A lot of people I know are aware that I'm not too keen on either game; I dislike Blizzard as a company and the monthly subscription model and most people I've come into contact with who play LoL change as people after playing the game; they become a lot more confrontational and generally douchey. The attitude of LoL players isn't unique to the game though; I have many memories of arrogant PvPers from Guild Wars too, something which severely held that aspect of the game back in later years as the PvP player base dwindled as people moved on to other games.

Online gaming as a whole can be a very daunting place for a newbie. I'm of course not talking about Farmville and its clones, but what I consider to be 'proper' online games where you interact with large groups of players. While there are a lot of adults such as myself who grew up with games and still play them, gaming as a whole is still viewed, somewhat unfairly, as a child's pastime. Personally speaking, I see no difference between watching a film and playing some Halo for 3 hours. If anything, I'm more likely to be immersed in a game than I am a film due to the level of interaction and how players are more in control of the story development, even in games with a linear story.

Poor sportsmanship is something that's too common nowadays in online gaming, whether it's PvP, PvE or co-operative play. There's a long history of it and over time it's gotten worse. One famous example is:
Leeroy Jenkins
While Leeroy was amusing as hell with what he did and said, it was one of those moments when someone decides to be an epic douche for whatever reason and end up spoiling the game for others. I still laugh at the video though and it's certainly a world apart from the abuse that some people dish out daily in online games.

When I first started online gaming in 2007, I was very reluctant to party and compete with others. There was the worry that I would either let my team down or not be good enough. I know this is something that a lot of people still concern themselves with and generally speaking, the more established the game, the less they're going to feel comfortable with playing with others. The worry is always there that you're going to be cussed out for being called a noob and receive abuse. I actually got into PvP in Guild Wars whilst in a PvE guild. There were a few people who had PvP experience who wanted to mess around with the daily quests and earn rewards who didn't mind taking less experienced players under their wing. Being a relatively quick learner in PvE roles, I decided that I could apply the same to PvP and would feel more comfortable doing so alongside people who I knew who were patient. The first thing I learned is that everyone makes mistakes, even the 'pros'. I would quite often observe PvP matches too in order to develop my playing as well.

I mentioned before LoL's poor sportsmanship and I have heard the LoL community blasted a lot by players and critics alike so seeing a professional player was permanently banned for poor sportsmanship was incredibly positive. I've thought for quite some time that the standard of behaviour in online gaming has fallen dramatically over the years. Yes, there were always people who were absolute wankers to others, but now it seems as if every single damn person in competitive online gaming is suffering from the same problem. I'm well aware there are many children and teenagers playing online who think they can get away with terrible attitudes online. I've also met plenty of adults who are the same, sadly. Of course, it doesn't just apply to gaming but the internet in general; gaming is just the one area where it's really apparent. Seeing Riot take action against a professional level gamer sends a very positive message to the gaming community as a whole, especially with LoL's recent spurt in popularity and the poor reputation of its playerbase. I was banned myself for 72 hours on Guild Wars for being abusive to another player in PvP. There's generally trash talk involved to some degree in PvP as it is and I admit that day I was goaded into it and crossed a line along with another guild member. The person who reported us was heavily disliked in our alliance and had a serious grudge against us involving stuff that had gone on before I even joined the guild. Seeing our tags that day and us kicking her ass, well... I didn't quibble with the decision and sat my 72 hours out doing other things. I was pretty ashamed of myself that I had risen to the bait. I made sure after that ban that I watched what I said, even when I had rank 10+ players baiting my entire team. It's not worth getting banned because someone else is being a douche.

From what I could understand of IWillDominate's actions, he was someone who had routinely flamed and bashed other players, thinking that because he was a professional level player that the rules didn't apply to him and he could get away with his behaviour. The really interesting part is some of the reactions to his ban where other professional players think he shouldn't have been punished because he had earned the right to do as he likes. Sadly this attitude of "I do what I want" is prevalent throughout online gaming. A lot of people enjoy the anonymity that comes with being behind a computer screen. The thing is, actions have consequences, even online and few people seem to be able to grasp this. The sad fact is, it's not just the children. Adults who should know better and be aware of repercussions following their actions also exhibit this behaviour, possibly forgetting that if they displayed the same attitude, it would cost them their job. As IWillDominate was a professional gamer, that's essentially what has happened with his ban and Riot were well within their rights to take said action.

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Primary Role of the Government is to Protect Property From the Majority and So It Remains

You know, it's been quite an amusing December 3rd. First of all, it was International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which in England was particularly ironic considering  some new legislation especially for us with disabilities! No, it's not the re-opening of workhouses, but it's pretty close. From today in England, all of us who are on sickness benefit and deemed 'fit to work', will have to do so. For nothing. For as long as they feel like making us do it. If we don't? We lose our money.

Now, I get some people haven't worked in their lives. I'm not one of those people. Currently I'm having to claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA) as I'm long term sick, have no specified date when I will be fit to work again and wouldn't be able to hold down a job. When ESA was brought in, the idea was to replace the old Incapacity Benefit (IB) which didn't have reassessments and people just claimed for as long as their doctors would sign them off for. Obviously this wasn't the most efficient of systems, hence the reformation and introduction of ESA which would work nicely if it worked properly. See, the problem with ESA is that the government contracted this French IT company called Atos to do the Work Capability Assessments (WCAs).

Something struck me as strange about this; why would you ignore the fact that we have a national health care system who could do these assessments and appoint an IT firm to do them? So, Atos basically pays "healthcare professionals" to conduct these WCAs. When you go to them at/around the 13 week period of your ESA claim, you're not even guaranteed to be seeing someone who has an understanding of your conditions. They're meant to have information from your GP and any hospital/medical reports. You are in turn expected to provide any details of medication and treatment. The WCA is divided into two sections: the interview and the physical. The interview is a series of questions about how your day to day routine is affected by your illness, the physical is meant to assess your ability to perform simple physical movements. As far as I can tell, the ESA50 form that you fill in prior to this is meant to dictate what happens in the medical itself.

In my personal case, I have both physical and mental health issues. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) at 19 following 5 years of depression and self harm, soliosis (curvature of the spine) at 18 after 3 years of issues with my knees and back which I initially thought were due to the physical nature of the work I did and playing hockey, then borderline personality disorder (BPD) at 24 following further self harming, depression and suicide attempts as well as increasingly erratic behaviour. In my WCA, I was asked about how I had been coping with the wait for the medical, how I had gotten there and some questions about my daily routine. Now, as someone who has health issues that fluctuate (particularly the BPD), I wasn't entirely sure what sort of response to give, so I spoke as if it was one of my worse days. When it came to the physical, I was having issues getting on and off the couch which was raised a fair distance above the ground and had no supports to help me stabilise myself, on top of the fact that as I was getting down, even though the woman doing my assessment saw I was having issues, she walked back over to the desk and didn't bother helping. Apparently I'm far from the only person who has had this happen so courtesy is something also excluded from these assessments.

I'm currently waiting on the results of my WCA, so only time will tell whether they find me fit to work or not. The really dispiriting part is that people have been dying as a result of these inaccurate assessments. Last month, disabled rights movement Spartacus published The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment, which was a report put together by those who have been through the ESA system themselves or helped others through the process in a response to Professor Harrington's third and final independent WCA review. An average of 73 people die each week as a result of the WCA process. In a first world country. Britain.

Today there was a 2 minute silence in remembrance for those who have died as a result of these despicable assessments. There has been increasing social media coverage of events and even celebrities speaking out against the effective genocide in my country. It's funny because it also makes a mockery of the Second World War; you know, how Britain fought against the Nazis and has similar inhumane acts going on.

Groups like Spartacus, DPAC, UK Uncut and The Black Triangle Campaign have been doing sterling work across social media in drawing attention to and in supporting those who are experiencing distress and strife with the cuts from the government.

Although there have been a number of demonstrations (I'm going to a local one on Friday outside the Atos branch that I had my WCA at), one feels as if nothing's changing. There are more and more people speaking out now about the persecution of the disabled, and yet there are no changes to anything and everything seems to be falling on deaf ears. I seriously worry how much more blood needs to be shed before something happens.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Culture, Alienation, Boredom and Despair

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll be well aware that America had a presidential election recently. There were the normal debates, mud-slinging contests (I'd say Obama had the most thrown at him but that would come off as unintentionally racist), the usual 'let's blame the other party for everything that's gone wrong', but this time we had the addition of memes! The ones from 2008 were pretty lacklustre in all honesty but this year, people went all out. Considering some of the Republican candidate lines that came out (legitimate rape and binders full of women, anyone?), it's not entirely surprising.
I also noticed that I took more of an interest this time around as well as my interest in politics has increased. It's sort of like how vegetables get more palatable as you get older. Of course, it doesn't happen to everyone and personally I still can't stand parsnips. Despite your level of interest, it's been an interesting event to observe online nonetheless.

There is a tendency, even in this day and age, even on a subconscious level, to judge and label people. Firstly there's the visual; you see someone overweight and you assume it's their own doing, not medical. Someone mentions their religion or sexuality and again there's a small sticky label applied. It doesn't necessarily imply prejudice, simply awareness of factors that shape their opinions and beliefs. Political views are the thing that rarely factor into discussion. One thing I have observed is that no matter who is in power, people will complain and that seems to be the only thing that unites everyone on a political level. This election, aided by social media, has made a lot of people painfully aware of each others political views and in some cases, changed perception of people as a result.
It is now very common to add people you barely know to your Facebook or Twitter but come political issues, one starts to question exactly how well someone knows someone or has in common with them. This election has been in some ways the equivalent of seeing your parents naked; somehow everything has changed and you can't quite look at them the same again.
My personal Facebook has a lot of people added who I met through online gaming, and yet some of the views I've seen expressed have reminded me of this time I really liked this guy and found out he voted Tory. Completely killed how I felt about him. I think that was the first time I realised how strongly politics had actually affected me. During this election period, I saw some of the most insane things claimed on Facebook. I saw people who are fine with my bisexuality saying they didn't agree with same-sex marriage. People who had always seemed totally open-minded coming out with covertly racist statements. The increasing involvement of religion was also disturbing. America had never come across as a country where religion dictated laws before, or maybe I only really got a good glimpse of this during the election campaigns. My hat was off for Joe Bidden though who said that even though he's a Catholic, he believes that the state and church should be separate. After all, the country is meant to be welcoming to all, no? Surely there are those within the country who are not Christian as well? And what about the 2480204724 different branch-offs of Christianity where they all seem to believe different things? I have to say that the attempt to shoehorn in religious views into the running of a country is not something that I believe in myself; maybe because England is secular in that sense with the church and state being separate.
Another thing that shocked me was how little some people knew about affairs outside of their own country. I took an interest in the American elections because I was aware how the result would impact on the rest of the world. Somehow, this seemed to have passed a lot of Americans by. It was also interesting to see how many of those being vocal had actually heard of the policies of other parties and candidates. All to often I saw "liberal" and "leftie" thrown around as insults. "Commie" also featured a couple of times which gave me a good chuckle and left me suppressing the urge to call them fascists in return.

It wasn't all about those who were pushing their views though. There was also a great amount of apathy towards who actually got voted in. I realised this is because of America's very broken election process of "electoral colleges" which are meant to take into account the public (aka "popular") vote but seem to have the power to ignore it completely. Now, I could understand this maybe a century or so ago when people were less educated, however it does seem somewhat of an insult now, as much as I love teasing my American friends by saying they can't be trusted to vote on their own and someone has to pick their president for them. Having said that, it's kind of given that if you vote in x person to congress, then you're wanting that party to be in charge of the whole country. At least that's how I've come to understand how the American political system works...
The problem is with how this apathy extends overseas though. Had the last General Election in my country had a higher turnout, I don't believe we would be in the mess we are in now with a coalition government who couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery. Could I do a better job? For sure, but with the current people in charge I think a dried dog turd could do a better job considering we're now heading towards a triple dip recession.

On both sides of the pond, I've noticed a general ignorance towards how politics in other countries do actually matter. There are many people in America who can't understand why the rest of the world were concerned about who won the presidential elections and by the same token there were a lot of people in England who didn't seem to realise why we should be paying attention to who's voted in over there. Simple fact is that whoever rules America, pretty much rules the world. Bush always seemed to be in more for world domination over running his own country, and I had a nasty feeling that Romney would have done something similar. There's also the fact that the US sets a huge precedence with its laws. Legalisation of cannabis in America would cause other countries to rethink their positions as well. This is another reason people are so keen for America to legalise gay marriage across the country; because there are still many countries where people who are gay are killed. I wish I was kidding. But the truth is that what America does usually shapes the world. Other countries do have influence, but not half as much as America does.

But, elections are over so it's time to unpack the lolcats and get back to business, internet!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers Do

Ok so, unless you've been living under a rock or something, you'll have heard about the dude who went nuts in a cinema and shot a load of people during the premiere of the latest Batman film.

If not, here we go.

I'm not saying this wasn't a tragic event, however people need to get a fucking sense of perspective. Every day there's more than 12 people killed in wars. All this tragedy has done is show me exactly how stupid people are. Some of the ones staunchly supporting looser gun laws and the use of guns, blaming video games and films for this behaviour, the ones going on about tragic loss of life... They are the ones who make this sort of thing possible.

If you allow people to carry arms, why would you be shocked when this sort of thing happens? Surely if you didn't want these sort of things to happen, you wouldn't allow people to have the potential for it to happen at any time.

In England we don't have guns widely available. You can safely leave your house in most parts of the country knowing you won't be shot at. I have to say that one of the things that concerns me about Max is knowing he lives in a state full of gun nuts in a country full of them.

Then this morning I saw something from the gunman's mother saying she'll stand by her son. Look woman, your son, mental health issues or not, went psycho on a cinema full of people. I'm familiar with mental health and I can tell you now that mental health aside, he wanted to do that. It wasn't a case of what he'd seen on TV the night before making him do it, it wasn't the voices in the head or the promises of virgins in the afterlife. He had the desire to fill a cinema full of bullets and see how many people he could take out at the time. Maybe it's your unwillingness to believe that which is making you take the foolish stance of "standing by him". It's one thing to stand by your kids when they're innocent, but when the blood is pretty much dripping off their hands? Seriously?

And of course, once again we're made to all feel sorry for America because this is the most traumatic thing ever to happen to their country a la 9/11. No really, people are going on about national grief etc. Again, some perspective. Look at how many people are dying in a war over oil. Do you see people in national grief about those troops? You're saying that the thing that happened in the cinema was a tragedy? Do you not think the deaths of thousands of young people in a war over money isn't senseless? When people sign up to the armed forces, they're knowing what they're getting into, but they don't choose who they fight. While we're on about how senseless this war is, why don't we look at how much was still being pumped into the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan when there was allegedly a global recession?

The next time I hear anyone going on about the "tragedies" in America, I will be firmly pointing them at the shit they did to set themselves up for it. Seriously, if the world was Facebook, America would be that fucking attention-seeking emo douchebag.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

We Still Believe...

... But I don't get why. Britain is renowned for certain things: tea, the Queen, fish & chips and football. Or "soccer" to Americans. Personally I've always considered "soccer" to be the proper football as we actually use our feet to manipulate the ball. Americans use the term for their sport which I shall henceforth call "handegg". Why? The ball is egg shaped and they pass it with their hands more than their feet. "Handegg" seems much more fitting in my opinion.

In any case, I personally have never had much interest in football since I was a kid. Only reason I had much if any interest then was because growing up in Norwich, our football team was really the only local point of interest that we had to talk about and the only thing of any entertainment for a long time. As I got older, the city evolved and as I matured, I realised there are countless other things that I would like to do for 90 minutes instead of watching 22 men kick a ball around a field, as well as many more interesting uses for said field. I discovered a few of those in my teenage years in my home city as it happens ;D

I can't say that England's football prowess has been particularly inspiring over my lifetime.
The best world cup performance was 4th place in 1990 along with 3 quarter finals, UEFA cup was semi-final in 1996 with 2 quarter finals. When you think about it, we borrow so many players from other countries for our league teams that it's not really surprising. The "glory days" were short-lived and a long time ago. I don't understand why people keep hyping themselves up for every huge tournament and expecting some stellar performance and for England to miraculously win. Given the recent Diamond Jubilee, the olympics and the Royal Wedding last year, you'd think there'd been plenty of opportunities for England to show how much it loves itself, no? I guess national pride linked to sports is a way to unify those who are divided about the need for a monarchy, however the patriotism that's briefly inspired by football usually ends up in rioting when we lose.

I mean seriously

I recall when England was kicked out of Euro 2004. I actually worked in Croydon at the time. I had the day off work (non-football related, just happened to have that day off and mocked my colleagues for their having to work). Steve didn't and I recall him texting me while at work freaking out because of the rioting that was going on. He said that he was having a smoke when it all kicked off and heard the shouting and smashing, got told by security to lock up and get inside. What resulted was the destruction of property by drunk, angry football fans who were pissed that France had beaten England. Nandos was pretty much totalled being a Portuguese based chain and Euro 2004 being hosted in Portugal. On the one hand I'm impressed they made the connection and on the other, not shocked that alcohol made this seem like a valid reason to smash the windows of a restaurant. The next day when I saw the destruction that had been left in the wake of the result, I realised that football really was more stupid than I had already grown to think.

We've become a laughingstock overseas because of hooliganism. What makes me amused the most is that people who get obsessed with football forget that at the end of the day, IT'S A GAME. Football is NOT srs bsns. The world won't change because of a team losing in a sport involving a ball being kicked around a field for an hour and a half. I can understand the interest in countries hosting the damned thing because of revenue generated from tourism and the like, but in all honesty, would you want to go to the world cup if it meant that there was a chance you'd die while you were there? How about Iraq bids to host the next one? After all, there was already football in war zones about 100 years ago now. The thing is, something that brought peace 98 years ago is now something that causes so much conflict. It's been likened to religion and war. We have enough unnecessary wars, why are we making more?

Friday, 4 May 2012

Life Sold Cheaply Forever, Ever, Ever...

I'm actually disappointed in myself. Had been tied up in personal stuff that I actually forgot to vote :/ Thankfully it was the local council elections and not a general election but still...

I've always tried to vote at every opportunity. Not just out of respect for the Suffragette movement who fought for my gender's right to vote, not just because I like voicing my opinion (especially in ways that matter), but because I genuinely believe that if you don't vote, you have no right to complain about the way the country's being run. Even though I missed out on voting this time, I still voted at the last general election so in my eyes, it's still all good :P

Now, for those who are not British, you're probably in the dark as to what these elections are that I've just mentioned and why they were important.

Well see, in England we have a reasonably simple parliamentary system.


General Election - This is the one where we vote for the candidate that we want to represent our constituency in the Houses of Parliament. The more constituencies that are won by a party, the more seats they have in the House of Commons and the more control they have over the country.

Local Election - These are the ones where we vote for who we want to look after our local services. As London is a very large city, it's split into 14 different sections who vote not only for their local candidates for the London Assembly, but also for the Mayor of London.

All elections use the "first-past-the-post" system where whoever gets the most votes, wins. However, in general elections the party with the most votes has to hold a clear majority or the country has what is known as a "hung parliament". Sadly this has nothing to do with the politicians' genitalia...

Local elections are held at least every 4 years. Different local authorities hold them at different times due to them all being run differently. In this case, general elections were in 2010, local in 2012. For Americans, you can compare this local election to a mid-term and it's a pretty good indication as to how the country feels about the current government. This year I think it's pretty safe to say that most of the country are completely cunted off by the current government and their incompetencies.

At the current time of writing this post, 143 out of 181 councils have declared their results. Scotland began counting their votes this morning.

So far the results are as following:

Labour - currently 66 councils, gain of 28

Conservatives (a.k.a. Tories) - currently 36 councils, loss of 12

Liberal Democrats - currently 6 councils, loss of 1

No overall control - currently 33 councils, loss of 12.

Now, for those who aren't aware, the current UK government is made up of a coalition between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. It was joked by some that we had Con-Demned ourselves in the 2010 General Election and 2 years on that seemed to be not so much of a joke but a harsh reality.

See, the problem is that younger people in England who had the right to vote in 2010 had known pretty much nothing but a Labour government, thought that things were pretty crappy with the economy and it's true that at the time Labour didn't have a clear strategy. They did come up with one which was a slow but steady growth to the economy, Conservatives and Lib Dems criticised them for not doing enough and called their plans crap. People listened to them and had lost faith in Labour after Tony Blair stepped down, leaving the party without a strong and charismatic leader.

The problems for Labour on top of that included going against public opinion on things such as the "war on terror". Most people saw it quite simply as we didn't want to go to war and yet the government decided that we would anyway. Of course, this was when George Bush was in office and a reason that a lot of us Brits take an interest in American politics: we like to see what dumbass you're going to vote in next and if he's going to be a complete and utter fucking moron like Gee Dubya Bush was. Believe it or not, we're quite a peaceable folk on our little rock. We don't much appreciate being dragged into conflicts unless it's necessary. The problem was that Bush was a bully. "You're with us or against us" and I don't doubt that part of the reason that the UK sided with America was so that the crazy bastard you had in office didn't turn the nukes on us. It's easier to go along with that than start World War 3, I guess. However, these actions left blue blood on the hands on the red hands of Labour and a lot of people lost faith in the party, moving onto other candidates such as the Greens and Lib Dems who promoted themselves as being true left-wing as opposed to Labour.

The Conservatives had last been in power in the 80s and early 90s. I remembered as a child the stories on the news about how the formerly glorious Conservative regime was falling to pieces. Maggie Thatcher lost some of her steam in her later years in office and her successor, John Major, was less useful than a chocolate kettle. Back then, they left office with our public transport and utilities privatised instead of being run by the state. The result since then has been that train fares have gone up extortionately with even worse service than before, buses have gone the same too, with fares rising faster than inflation. Gas and electric companies have hopped on that bandwagon as well. The Tories claimed this would be in our best interests as it would provide wider consumer choice and lower prices. It didn't. All it has done is change the basic amenities into another competitive market where companies try to squeeze as much money as possible from people. One or two private companies dominate the market and others simply can't compete aggressively enough.
The Conservatives also hit the self-destruct button by closing the mines, completely destroying Britain's mining industry. This forced us to go to other countries for exports. Quite simply, they damaged the country in a lot of ways before we kicked them out of office and left Labour with a lot on its plate to deal with.

The Lib Dems? Well, they had originally considered themselves to be the "neutral" party. They claimed their views and stances had shifted more and more to the left as Labour seemed to move more and more to the right. They had never had enough support to gain a large hold but a lot of people claimed they would vote Lib Dem if there was a chance they'd get in and saw them as the solution to the problems created by the other two parties. With Labour losing support, the Lib Dems seized on this chance and decided to try pushing the point that if enough people voted for them, they could get into government and make a difference.
When it came to the 2010 general election and a hung parliament, a coalition needed to be formed. That's a government made up of 2 parties to govern the nation and negotiate between them. A Labour/Conservative coalition was completely out of the question. A Lib Dem/Labour coalition looked like it was going to happen, before Nick Clegg's medication wore off and in a fit of insanity, he sided his party with the Conservatives and formed the current coalition government. The country was pretty divided about this.
Some thought that the Conservatives would do a better job than Labour and that Nick Clegg had sided with the right guys. A lot were disappointed with Clegg and lost faith in his party. A supposedly left wing party siding with a clearly right wing? What was this they didn't even. I know I certainly didn't even.

But hey, the Tories aren't all THAT bad, right guize? Well, clearly they are judging from the Lib Dem losses in this election and the opinion polls where former Lib Dem supporters are speaking out about how Clegg has betrayed his party's principles and policies with his decisions. It's certainly true that some of the decisions that the Lib Dems have been involved in are distinctly things that they were against in their manifesto. Granted that it's a given that all politicians are lying parasitic bastards. That's a given truth the world over. What people do is try to vote in the least hypocritical and the least dishonest. You can maintain faith in a party that goes back on a couple of things if they follow through with some of the stuff that they promised. That was a reason that Labour was voted in again. Because they did actually stand by their word and improve things in a lot of ways. The ConDems so far? They're trying to privatise our health care system. Yes, one thing that countries the world over admire and respect our country for. They will be cutting disability benefits. They have made thousands of disabled people redundant by axing jobs and yet somehow expect them to compete on an equal level with the current

The results thus far of the country's elections were charmingly summed up in this Facebook comment:

Latest election results has Labour running 49 councils, the Tories running 27 & the Lib Dems running a bric-a-brac shop in Taunton

I've said before that we, the British people, were responsible for getting these idiots in office. The results seen thus far make me think we as a country have started to realise that ourselves and want change. Thank you for restoring some of my faith in this country :)

P.S. If you're interested in the results:

Currently 127/128 for England (Scotland and Wales are separate areas you know ;P)

Labour 61
Conservatives 41
Lib Dems 6

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Fuck You Very Very Much

So, I logged onto my old Hotmail today as I needed to use an alternate e-mail account and had used all 3 of my normal ones. In my inbox, I found a recent e-mail from Steve. Yes, the wanker who beat me for 5 years etc etc. The contents? Asking how I was. Now, last I recall of Steve, he was threatening to kill me about oh, 4 years ago. He's moved on from that to asking how I am. Lolwut?

Steve isn't someone who is capable of change other than his underwear (and needed to be reminded about that as it happens) and to a latter extent his socks. I know that an e-mail like that is indicative that things are not going well for him. Quite frankly I couldn't give a rat's ass. I doubt things will ever go as badly for him as they have for me. As far as I'm concerned he gave up his right to enquire about my well-being that first time he hit me.

Before I get more into a rant (which is what this essentially is), I will point out that I feel nothing for him other than hoping that he gets run over by a double decker at some point.

I know that after he fucked me over on us "getting back together" he did various things such as wiping my Livejournal and MySpace as I was stupid enough to have saved all my passwords and shit on Firefox on the computer we shared. I was naive enough to think at the time that it showed that I had no secrets from him and was showing him that I didn't mind him going through my PMs and such because I had nothing to hide. All it did was bite me in the ass.

I have spent YEARS trying to fix the damage he did to me. I'm mostly there in a lot of ways, even if assholes like Richard fucked things up more and made me withdraw even more into a turtle shell. What the hell makes him think that he has any motherfucking right to so much as enquire about how I am now, where I'm living or what I'm doing? Does he SERIOUSLY think that I'm going to reply back to him at all, let alone with a "Yeah I'm good thanks, you?". While I may have put a lot behind me, it's a very big step from moving on from someone and having tea and crumpets with them. I made it quite clear that I wanted nothing more to do with him ever again. At all. Full stop. Not to mention there's the fact that his mother and mine are more than likely still in touch. Do I really want her sticking her nose into my life again and fucking me up even more? God no. I made that quite clear not only when she kicked me out and I actually fought back but also when she tried to contact me a couple of Christmases ago. At the time I was in emergency accommodation, had barely a penny to my name and she first tried accusing me of reporting her to child services regarding my sister. I don't know who did it, but it wasn't me. She seemed to think it was though. I was very forthright and told her to go fuck herself. A while later she tried to offer me £20 as a "Christmas present". I told her to get fucked. And not in the good way.

Yeah, I guess when I think about it there's still a lot of anger there at both of them, however as long as they stay out of my life, I don't have a problem. That's my way of coping: removing the problem and moving on.

So yes, I'm not going to get worked up about this. I will admit that seeing that e-mail has made me somewhat reflective. See, it was 10 years ago that I met him. I started to think about how much I've changed in those 10 years. For one thing I take a lot less shit than I did back then. The same passion and spirit? Yeah I got that and it's only gotten stronger over time. Am I glad all hat stuff happened? That's like asking a 9/11 survivor if they're glad they've become a stronger person since losing a leg in the explosion. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't go through the same things that I did to make me the person I am today. The person I am today has a lot of issues as a result of all that happened.

So yeah, I'm over it. Just needed to get it out of my system and vent. Now it's gone. Just like he is from my life again :)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Your Carpet Burns and Bruises Blue Are There For All To See

Okso, I saw this link shared a couple of times in my newsfeed:

Curious what was being shared by 2 of my friends, I clicked.

The first Tweet disturbed me but ya know, some people are crazy. Scrolling down and seeing 25 women saying they think Chris Brown is god's gift and that they want to be beaten by him? That's way past crazy. That's seriously fucked up shit.

Now, don't get me wrong, I realise that most of these stupid idiots weren't serious. I hope. However, my faith in society isn't that strong.

As someone who has been through domestic violence for a large part of her life and come through onto the other side, I don't understand why someone would WANT to have a guy use her as a punchbag. I spotted one guy in the comments on that page try to say that all they wanted was BDSM. Now the problem is there that you can tell there's a difference between a bit of slap and tickle in the bedroom and being full on lamped in the face in public. A HELL of a lot of difference.
Personally speaking, I do enjoy BDSM, which I find given all I've been through is quite amazing. I think it's because I actually have the mental and emotional capacity to separate the two in my head and be able to distinguish between them. The thing is with the BDSM that I enjoy, I never fully totally lose control. There's either a safe word or there's a way for me to slip my bonds (assuming I'm subbing it up). That safeguard is the reason that I can do that stuff. I HAVE had experiences from my past affect my sex life and I DID find ways to work around them. I was unable to have anal for years following being anally raped. My body physically would react to the mere idea of it, even when I thought I'd gotten past it mentally. However, over time I was able to relax myself, become comfortable and trust the other person. And that's what BDSM is largely based on: trust. In my head I find it easier to trust someone physically than emotionally as I know that physical scars will heal faster than emotional and mental.

However, back to these stupid morons... My first reaction was "I hope the lot of you actually get punched in the face so you know how fucking bad it really is to be treated like that as you clueless dipshits seem to have no fucking idea." Then I realised that probably wouldn't teach them anything at all. For some, maybe. For others, they might actually enjoy it. Yes, there ARE some women out there who actually feed on domestic violence as they believe it's their man showing how much they love them.
Some of the comments to the Tweets were as bad as the Tweets themselves, although I have to say I agreed with some of them:

"I'm a real man, and only evil cowards beat women, but maybe if I met these 25 cunts I could learn how?"

"stupid bitches !!!! You ll regret if some asshole beats you one day , and it s an insult to all the women that went through it , even if it s just for fun !!!"

"DID I ENTER CRAZY TOWN!! This is soo sad all you little girls and i mean little girls want this asshole chris brown to beat them up. Really have any of you Idiots been in an abusive relationship then you wouldn't be so chipper about getting “punched in the face” REally LADIES? Where are the real women out there who stand up for them selves."

"I'm so glad these people and their Twitter accounts got called out for the world to see. Nice work, Buzzfeed!"

"This is EXACTLY what's wrong with society today! I really hope the fucking Mayans were right about 12/21/12. As a species we should just cut our losses, wipe the slate clean and start over."

"The worst part about it is these women will breed, and no matter what comes out of their vaginas, society is doomed."

But you know, women who are LITERALLY asking for abuse are the ones who make a mockery of the women (and men) who do suffer through domestic violence.

I had the misfortune of getting into a relationship of this type at the age of 16, sticking with it because I loved the guy and thought I had no other options, then jumping straight into another right after. 7 years of abuse from partners after 16 from my mother and her partners. That's 23 years. When you consider I'm only 26, that's a huge chunk of my life.
For a while I was stupid enough to fall into the trap myself. It started harmlessly enough by thinking that someone's jealous actions were because he loved me. The checking of my phone, going through my emails, demanding to know where I was, asking 20 questions after I got through the door when I came home... They all seemed harmless enough and soon they escalated into me getting a backhand when I was a bit late home, being slapped in the face when I spoke to someone that he didn't like or felt threatened by. Over time that then descended into him punching and kicking me, taking my money away from me and spending it himself, picking arguments with me because he'd had a bad day... And still I clung onto the desperate idea that he still loved me. Because it wasn't all shit. That's how they trick you. The day after they first start with this shit, they'll give you a present or do something extravagant to say sorry. And you fall for it and believe they really are sorry. The second and third times you'll accept their gifts/apologies with a somewhat more resigned air. After long, they take it for granted that you can be treated like that. Think of it as the natural progression of a relationship and how it can go from getting a bunch of flowers every time he sees you to not at all. That's how domestic violence creeps up on you as well.
The sad thing is, it's not just a case of having the living shit kicked out of you. It can start with playful putdowns that become more cutting to the point where you're being constantly demeaned and devalued by your partner. And I don't just mean "Your arse looks huge in that dress". The thing with this is it's even sneakier than the physical violence. Why? Because it gets shrugged off a lot more as playful jokes for a lot longer. And then one day you realise that your partner actually has no fucking respect for you at all, is treating you like a piece of shit and you've been letting it happen for so long.

Domestic violence comes in many forms. I've just gone through the two most common. There are other types I've not directly specified here that I and others have gone through. There's also the misconception that it only happens to women. Not true. I know guys who have gone through the same stuff with their girlfriends. The thing that seems to keep the guys around (sadly enough) is if children are involved. I've been brought down to the point where I wanted to kill myself. Where I had my partners strip me of all physical possessions, all my emotions, my thoughts, my friends... All but a couple that they couldn't silence along with my strong will and spirit that can't be killed at the base of it. One of the guys I class as a brother to me helped give me the strength to walk away from my last abusive relationship where I had the guy threaten to kill me. Same guy also warned me about throwing myself back into another relationship that was going down the same lines which had already started to descend into something that bad once again. For that, I am thankful to him and proud to call him my brother, even if we aren't blood related and do squabble like siblings a lot.

Do I see myself as a battered girlfriend? Not now. I think my feeling a victim stage passed a long time ago. I can speak objectively about it and without much if any emotion now. I call that a shitload of progress, especially considering I have BPD. I have a boyfriend who I trust, who respects me and loves me. I'm also strong and confident enough in myself to know that if I was encountering the same sort of behaviour again, I would get the FUCK out of there. Am I a pussy? No, I'm simply someone who knows that neither she nor anyone else deserves to be treated like a piece of shit. That I deserve to be treated "decently" and not like a piece of gym equipment (unless it's an exercise bike or a rowing machine ;D). I've been to the depths where I honestly thought the only way out was suicide and attempted that numerous times as a solution. I also know that in my heart of hearts, I wouldn't wish that upon anyone. So while I see these girls as fucking retards, I don't believe the true solution is for them to go through what I and others have done who were victims of domestic violence.

While I don't believe that everything happens for a reason, I have to admit that there are amazing circumstances that lead to others.
In getting away from my abusive relationships, I met my current boyfriend. He's the most honest and genuine guy I've ever had the fortune to meet and I'm glad that I never gave in to what I saw as my solutions. If he is my reward for what I suffered through, then I can deal with what happened as I know I'm stronger as a result and that he will only encourage me to grow stronger as a person.
I find it quite entertaining that the chain of events that led to uncapping my writing (and subject material) were as follows:
- chatting to said boyfriend about music and linking him to videos
- Watching this video for the first time after loving the song for so long:
Chase & Status - Time
- Seeing the link on my news feed while I was skimming my news feed
- Realising that what I had to say had specific relevance given the date (14th Feb, for me at least;P).

And I guess in a way this is one of the best Valentine's gifts I've ever received, even if it was unintentional.

Thank you honey for being my inspiration and my muse <3

Thursday, 23 June 2011

All These Things That I've Done

I was in a musing mood for a while earlier while browsing YouTube and coming across some songs I haven’t heard in 12 years and thinking “Wow, late 90s and early 2000s were awesome for music”. Then it kinda hit me “Fuck, that was 12 years ago… I’m 26 this year…” I’ve joked a few times about getting “old” and as much as I know you’re only as young as the woman (or guy) you feel, it started to put a few things in perspective for me. A lot of people come to me for advice which I’m more than happy to dispense, but at the same time I get aggravated when people ask for my opinion and then go and do the absolute opposite or act like I haven’t said anything at all. Makes me kinda “FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUU-“ inside and wonder why they bothered asking me in the first place. I’ll admit that I’m not amazing at taking my own advice (but who is?) and that I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I see my life so far as an example on how NOT to do things and therefore I can tell people “Well, you don’t want to do xyz…” But I digress.

While thinking about the advice that I’ve dispensed, I’ve thought about the advice that I’ve been given and this ties into the whole YouTube thing as well. Back when I was 16, I thought I knew best. When people gave me advice, I ignored it. Back when I was 21, I thought I knew best. When people gave me advice, I ignored it. Now I’m almost 26, I know I don’t always know best. When people give me advice, I fucking listen. Yeah, it’s taken me almost 10 years to stop and think that people might actually have valid points when they give me advice. I suppose part of that was arrogance in a way, thinking that the other person didn’t know the whole situation in the same way that I did, that maybe they were wrong and things might actually work out if I did things my way. I guess my frustrations with my friends are a few things:

- I’ve generally been in similar situations and can see they’re heading down the same routes that I did (and the “but this time it might work” logic usually DOESN’T :P)
- I know I’ll be hearing about how it didn’t work out when it doesn’t
- I don’t want to see them get hurt
- It makes me feel like a failure when I advise someone and they still get hurt

But see, that’s part of what I have to re-learn. Emotional detachment, in a sense. I was at one extreme when I was with Robbie and he made me stop giving a shit about everyone and everything and I guess that lasted for longer than I thought. I dunno, it’s like after him when I was having to rebuild myself mentally, I ended up caring too much about others. In terms of opinions of me, the only ones I really care about are those of people who are important to me.

Along with all that came redefining who I was again and I guess it took longer than I thought. Steve was a very… oppressive individual. Much like my mother, he tried to impose his beliefs, likes and dislikes upon me. For a while, I gave into that. I was young and impressionable. Then I started to grow some balls (not literally) and realise that we actually had different tastes in certain things. He took objection to this as I think he wanted us to be the exact same person (and as I don’t take pleasure in beating the shit out of people, I guess we were never going to be that), and in the years that have passed, I appreciate having differences in a relationship all the more. It comes down to a balance. Too many or major differences and it won’t work. Too few and you get bored of each other. I know personally I like someone with a very similar personality to myself. I like to feel needed but not to the point where I’m propping the other person up 24/7. Making people believe in themselves seems to be something I’m good at. I’ve always had the “so and so was so quiet/down/introverted before they met you”. I wouldn’t say that I’m a bouncing off the walls ball of hyper squeeness all the time (although when I’m on a manic, I can be exactly that), but I do seem to give people some confidence. I enjoy doing batshit insane and random things. Sometimes the batshit insane and random things are pretty romantic. I don’t recommend writing a message in gravel on someone’s driveway when said driveway is the same colour as the gravel though. It tends to get overlooked due to the similar colour of the stones and as cute as the gesture may be, you also end up with the whole thing of the gravel goes everywhere. Yes, that is something I actually did for someone… -blush- Anyway, my point is that I enjoy that side of myself. Not just the romantic, but the desire to do those things that may seem crazy to others. Probably the same part of me that still loves going on the swings at the park at my age. The world has more than enough of its share of boring and ordinary. I guess that’s why I’ve always had a love of /b/ and all the random stuff that I come across on the internets not to mention the people I can mess around with and do crazy things with.

Having BPD is kinda challenging though. I mean, sometimes I can have amazing bouts of self-confidence and really be happy with myself and the next I can (in the words of Lit) “kick the living shit out of me”. Unfortunately I can’t just stop that and it’s generally when I need a bit of a push. As much as I know people overuse the tagline under my blog title, it’s very true for myself. My worst times are bad. I know this. They’re not as bad as they once were and for that I’m grateful. I honestly feel like I AM improving. I also know that my good times are fucking amazing and awesome. I hope to have many more while I can :3

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Violets Explode Inside Me When I Meet Your Eyes, Then I'm Spinning and I'm Diving Like A Cloud of Starlings...

Well, something pretty huge happened last week. So much so that I thought I should actually write about it as it's made me think about a few things and I think they will remain true regardless of what happens from here on out.

Firstly, I met up with someone for the first time in over a year. I'll admit they've crossed my mind from time to time quite a lot since we kinda went our separate ways over a year ago. I know I wrote at great length about how I felt about things. At no point did I say I'd ever forgotten him. Because I hadn't. It was talking to him on Friday that made some things very clear to me:

Him: "You know, I honestly thought that you'd forgotten all those good times we had together and just trashed them... Like all you could think about was the bad and didn't remember the good."

That was far from the truth. I very often retold the amusing stories about how we were convinced this guy playing croquet looked like Gordon Freeman, about the time I got my face painted like a cat and walked around the local shopping centre, the time I danced in the snow outside The Forum catching snowflakes, the time we hid from a raging thunderstorm under the tiny shelter outside a pub, the time we had sex in Earlham Park during a firework display, the time we decided that the local park was like something out of Silent Hill, laughing at Failkid in said park... Heck, even the time we went to a photography exhibit at the Forum and wrote rude but intelligent things on the Post-It notes they'd so kindly provided at the back of the room. In short, we had a lot of great times together. Not just the crazy dressing up to play 4 different profiles each on Burnout times, but the curling up together and watching a film times, the laying on our backs in the park and watching the clouds go by times... I'll openly admit now that there have only been two people that I've slept with who I've looked in the eyes during sex and told them I loved them. He was one of them.

I never lied about how I felt about him or felt I was forcing anything. It just... WAS.

Anyway, I've been mulling some things over since I spoke to him. The comment about me forgetting the good and remembering only the bad made me think a lot. I read back over my journals and realised quite often I do the opposite. I'll forget the bad and remember only the good, pass up on seeing the flaws in the relationships because I get scared of being alone or because I refuse to recognise how deep the faults were. I've said before that I can make myself believe anything given enough time to logic it out. The amount of times I've stuck up for people and said "Oh well it wasn't THAT bad really" when actually it was.

I'd realised a few weeks ago that I was over Inigo. Doesn't mean to say that seeing him in the streets doesn't make me a mess. It's not because I still have feelings for him (if I do, it's something very different to what I felt when we were together), but more the memories connected to him. At the start of this year, he and I had a discussion about staying friends and I recall him saying something about it being very damaging. I was of the opinion that it would actually help us both move on properly and not leave anything lurking around to fuck either of us up in years to come. Having spent so many years trying to achieve closure on what happened between myself and Steve, I didn't particularly want to go through the same thing again. At the end of the day, we did have good times. We had some pretty amazing conversations. Some amusing incidents when we were out (though in retrospect getting a law student to steal a traffic cone wasn't really that big a deal). Somehow I could never shake the feeling that I wasn't good enough for him. And you know what? I think he knew it all along too. The longer the relationship went on, the more I realised that it was more and more me trying with it. That essentially I was a time filler until he went to Cambridge. That wasn't what I wanted to be. The more I look at things now from a distance, I realise how I was a lot more outgoing than he would ever be. Yes, I brought him out of himself, but there was just something that I was missing. I don't deal well being the dom in a relationship all the time. I mean, I can do it and it's fun from time to time, but not all the time. I guess that also brings me onto the sexual incompatabilities as well. I do like being treated a bit rough at times. Not as in being punched in the mouth until I bleed and then being forced to give a blowjob (which would be kinda weird even by my standards and I have no idea where that imagery came from), but simply enjoying someone being forceful with me and myself submitting. I know there's a good couple of people on my Facebook who know exactly what I'm talking about! But yeah, there was actually quite a lot of things that irritated me now I think about it. One of the largest was this:

Me, earlier this year: "If Inigo had really loved me, he wouldn't give a shit about an hour on a train"

And that was so very true. Norwich to Cambridge is nothing. I would totally have been understanding about the whole uni course coming before all else (fuck me, I was when he was still at the UEA) and again I felt like I was being labelled as a fucking Jess. One of the things that really annoys me is when people think they know how I'm going to behave. I did a fucking long distance relationship for a year and that was Norwich to London, back when I was 16 and couldn't actually afford to go and see him that often. In the first year of being together, we saw each other 3 times. We ended up being together for 5 fucking years total. So yeah, trying to say that you know how I will act is fucking bullshit. It seemed like he was looking for an easy way out and instead of being honest with me, there had to be some sort of charade instead. After I had sufficiently distanced myself, I realised that it was indeed a very one-sided relationship in terms of effort. Sure, there were the cute moments of walking me to Team, picking me up a random danish etc... To say it was all shit would be as bad as trying to blind myself and believe that it was all good.

At the end of the day, no relationship is 100% problem free. In the time that I've been away from the first person I referenced here (and for those who are maybe less astute, I'm talking about Richard), I do feel that a lot has changed. For starters, my personal circumstances are very different. My accommodation is stable, I have a better grasp on my mental health than I did back then, and as much as it pains me to say it, I learned a lot of harsh lessons. I'm also not the complete mouse that I used to be (I'll actually order drinks at a bar for example) and I feel that I have more of an identity than I used to. One of the problems of coming out of the whole Robbie and Steve thing was that I was still being repressed in many ways. I needed to be out on my own and find myself. As much as this past year has been me shutting myself off from people, I have actually found myself at the end of it and I believe I am a much stronger person now than I was then. I've had more than my fair share of skinned knees, but I'm standing back up again. A tad shaky maybe, but getting there. I do know that I'm in an entirely different position to what I was when I first met him. One thing he said was about how I was seemingly back to who I was when he first met me... That's true in a lot of ways. I'm certainly not the person I was last summer. By any stretch of the imagination. I can't say I'm entirely the person he first met either. I've learned and experienced things since then. In terms of temperament, I'd say it's pretty fitting. I just need to make sure I'm not bottling things up (which I rarely do now) and letting them get out of hand. Most things seem to be under control nicely right now and I have to say from the time I spent with him, he seemed a lot more responsive in terms of conversation. Like, before it used to be such a fucking chore to have a conversation that involved talking about anything involving emotion. That seemed to come a lot more freely on Friday.

I wouldn't be adverse to giving things another shot. I've actually kicked myself a lot since I turned down his proposition last year at that. At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing. I was listening to everyone else and that tipped the balance for me. I saw it as he'd moved on, didn't really want to be with me and that I was just useful as someone to screw when he was bored. So, I pulled myself together and then I met Inigo. I refused to listen to how I still felt about Richard (no, I never really stopped caring for him), convinced myself that moving forward was for the best (and maybe in some ways it was) and so when it came around to him asking me about giving things another shot... I bolted. Maybe some childish part of me wanted him to feel the way I did when he shot me down in flames before Christmas. Predominantly it was the whole thinking that other people were right and I was wrong for holding on to anything and thinking that he didn't give a damn about me. I realised on Friday that I had been so totally wrong about that and said the words I always find hard to say but I mean:

I'm sorry.

Where things go from here, I don't know. I... wouldn't be adverse to giving things another try if things continued to go well but I'm by no means pinning all my hopes on that happening.

But he will forever be my Starling <3