Last Jedi Cured me of my Star Wars Fandom

Last Jedi came out in December and debate still rages on.

Last Jedi has lead to many many videos arguing for and against how good the film is.

I went to see it with a friend, and as soon as it was over, I felt no need ever to watch another Star Wars film again. Don’t get me wrong, as a kid, I loved Star Wars. I remember when they were brought back to the cinema in the late 90s. It was great. I would watch the special editions every weekend on VHS.

Then the prequels came out, and I didn’t think they were right. I know there are some who say Revenge of the Sith was good, but it wasn’t. It made me fed up with lightsabres.

Then the Force Awakens came out, and I gave it a chance and I really really didn’t like it.

All my problems aside from the coincidence cluster bomb that happened halfway through. It was like a fanfiction rewrite of a New Hope.

When The Last Jedi came out, I left it for a while. When I went to see it, I realised that it was the final nail in the coffin for my love of Star Wars.

Here are a few reasons why.

Last Jedi is lather rinse repeat.

Last Jedi hammered home to me how limited the Star Wars universe is, and that won’t change.

Looking back we have had ten Star Wars films. Four of them have had a Death star central to the plot, and another two have featured a Death Star.

60% of all Star Wars films feature a Death Star.

There has been no progress. There was the initial trilogy which was new and exciting. I’ll go so far as to say that Return of the Jedi is unsatisfying. If you want me to do a follow up on why ROTJ is trash, post a comment below.

The prequel trilogy set up the original. It was filling in the gaps that people may have been curious about. Having seen them maybe leaving it mysterious would have been better.

This new trilogy is just the same as the original. There is no progress. It’s just the same old same old, and I already have that with the original trilogy.

Thanks but no thanks.

If it is agenda driven, it’s a terrible agenda.

You have probably seen the accusations aimed at The Last Jedi for pushing a feminist agenda. If that is the case, then it is one of the worst arguments for women in power that I’ve ever seen. At the hands of Leia and Holdo, the Republic/rebellion (seriously, which is it?) is reduced to about twenty people. The ending seems like an odd joke “We have everything we need right here”. The females come across as maliciously incompetent. The male characters are dumb.

Admiral Holdo is passive aggressive to the point where she gets everyone killed. Her reason? She doesn’t want to tell anyone about her plan. There is no reason for not telling anyone, she is not revealed to be an enemy agent or a power-mad leader, no, it’s just spite.

Leia has a go at ace fighter pilot Poe Dameron for using violence to solve everything. Even though it has been that violence that has saved them.

Rose Tico gets derided for stopping Finn from making a heroic sacrifice. Only for her to lecture him about fighting for the things you love. All while the resistance base’s shield gets blown up. I laughed when I first saw it. Looking back it completely undercuts the lessons that she was trying to teach. The two are at odds when she stops him from trying to run away.

It had me potentially interested.

What frustrated me was that there were some interesting angles brought up in The Last Jedi. Such as the war economy, which side is worse than the other. If the world building was more transparent. If it was the New Republic hunting down the Imperial Remnant down to extinction. Then it would have been even more interesting. Of course, the whole idea is immediately brushed aside.

“The smart thing to do is not to join.”

“You’re wrong”, that’s it, that’s the argument.

Modern Disney has a problem with this in general. They give some of their best arguments to their villains. In Avenger’s Assemble Loki tells a group of people that humans love being subjugated. This is an exciting idea. How does the film end this topic, Captain America shows up and starts punching him.

If you want your audience to not side with the villain, have the hero prove him wrong through actions. Don’t just have them tell the villain to shut up.

Anyway, the other exciting idea that was brought up is the whole light v dark side. That culminates with Kylo offering a hand to Rey. The movie should have ended there. The entire idea of them moving away from the light v dark was genuinely interesting. Kylo is wanting to let go of the past. Instead, they go “No wait, let’s just start fighting again”. It was wasted potential.

It hammered home that no matter how intriguing the concepts might be Disney is always going to play it safe. Play it boring.

Two movies in and no world building

Is it so sorry that you want to know what state the world of the characters is in?

But Kieran it’s Star Wars.

This is shared the blame for both JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson. You and I are two movies into this new trilogy, and there has been no world building. I don’t know about you, but I don’t understand why things are happening in these films.

What was the system that was destroyed in TFA, was it essential? It doesn’t seem to be. What state is the Republic in? Why do they use Resistance and Rebels interchangeably? Did they become government and then get deposed straight away? How did the New Order become even more powerful than the Empire?

No sense of scale

You may get it, but the Star Wars galaxy has no sense of scale. It feels like a ghost galaxy. Aside from Cantobite which seems to be profiting from the war. There are only a few people on each of these ships so how lucrative can it be? It feels like each reveals in these new films raises more question than they answer.

I doubt that they are going to make amends in the third film. Even if they do, it’s too late. You never know what state the galaxy is in which is necessary if you want me to get an idea of steaks.

I can’t believe that I am going to say this, but at least in the prequels, there was a sense of the world and what was on the line. I can’t believe that I am referring to the prequels as a positive example.

Units of measurement

This one was the big one for me, and to you, it might be nitpicky but here goes.

This was the first Star Wars film that ever started going on about fuel. Fuel has never been an issue in any of the previous Star Wars films, and now they won’t shut up about it. That wasn’t the worst thing. It was, far I’ve only seen the movie the once and that was back in January so I may be getting the quote wrong. The bad guy says something to the effect of “Thy only have two hours of fuel left”.

Did you catch that?

Look again.

Two hours?

Hours?

This was more world breaking than hyper driving into the baddies.

Do you get why that is annoying?

Hours are unique to Earth, as in our planet Earth. A rotation takes 24 hours a lap of the sun takes 365 days. How many worlds out there that have that exact same set up as we do? You don’t even get that in our solar system.

But Kieran do you have a problem with them speaking English or looking like Humans. Yeah, that’s a fair point. There is a concept in any fiction writing called a willing suspension of disbelief. You know when you’re taking in a work of fiction that it’s not going to be 100% realistic. There are certain things that the creator must do such as not set up a rule and then break it. One of the standards set up by Star Wars is that it is a long time ago in a galaxy far away.

What I am trying to say is that references to measurements remind me of Earth. Telling me of Earth breaks the suspension of disbelief. If they said they would arrive at some place mid-August, it would have the same effect. August is named after the Roman Emperor Augustus. Apparently, they don’t do that so don’t do that with units of measurement.

The English language is called Basic. Why couldn’t they have renamed the units of time, the standard cycle would be alright.

Am I nuts?

I’m getting tangled up in myself here.

In essence, don’t make me think of my own planet when I’m trying to enjoy escapist nonsense.

Advertisements

Low T not for me

You may have seen articles about how men have low t, short for low testosterone.

My last two articles dealt with shame and fat acceptance. These articles deal with women. In the interest of fairness, I’m going to point to the most significant health crisis on the male horizon.

I can feel in myself that my testosterone levels are tapering off. That aggression, the desire to nail anything that already hasn’t been nailed down. Those feelings aren’t as intense. If I value my mental health, which I do, then I will need to make sure that I don’t have low t.

I’ve definitely experienced the negative repercussions of being low t. It happens to me when I let myself get fat and am inactive. Low t lead to heightened instances of wallowing and depressive thoughts.

All I have to do is spend an hour down the gym or an hour writing, ideally both, but not both at the same time.

The low t of modern men has led to many memes about the soylent grin, soy boys, beta males and the most popular term “cuck”.

It is looking like men are going down a deep t rabbit hole, and you should prepare yourself accordingly.

Before you read any further, let me give you a disclaimer.

I am not a doctor, and none of this should be considered to be factual. The following should not be taken as advice either. I’m just a lowly popcorn shoveller. This article is mainly speculative and hypothetical.

With that being said let us crack on.

Why are men low t?

You could say that there are many reasons why men are low t. What follows won’t be an exhaustive list by any stretch but let’s name a few.

1 Men can get away with being low t

You and I are living in one of the safest points of history. Crime is at an all-time low. The threat of war, famine and disease is not what it once was. You and I don’t need violence in the same way that we once did. Back in a more primitive time, it would have been necessary for a man to use force to resolve a dispute. You and I are descended from the most aggressive of men. Those men would have had higher testosterone. Seeing as aggression and testosterone are linked.

Now we live in a safer more “civilised” time. Violence is considered a wrong way to resolve problems. If you use force, you risk societal punishment. Now you have the courts and the state who can mete out revenge on your behalf.

In short, you do not face any consequence for being low t. Most men are ignorant of the importance of testosterone, so they let their’s slide.

Our environment is estrogenic.

You and I are living in an environment of heightened estrogenisation. Everywhere around you, some elements mean to feminise you. Now let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with feminisation if you’re a woman. If you’re a man that is a recipe for disaster.

Sugar: I don’t know how much this is estrogenic. Sugar is a substance that you can feel slowing you down as you consume. I’m actually gone off it for September and even though I’m only a few days in I can feel that my energy levels are on the rise. While sugar may not be estrogenic exclusively, it definitely has energy sapping qualities.

Beer: I don’t know about you, but I don’t drink beer. I can drink one if I am forced to do so, but I try to avoid getting forced to drink one. I used to drink beer when I was younger. Not that I ever like the taste, but it just was the done thing to do whenever you went for drinks. It always left me feeling bloated. Beer is not good. I know it’s cool but alcohol and beer, in particular, reduce your testosterone levels.

It’s “bad” to be a man

This one is probably the least damaging, but it may be having an effect. In society, it’s terrible to be a full-blooded male. Even though that is secretly what we need. There has been a massive backlash against men. We’re few in the universities we’re high in the suicides. The worst thing is that men today take women at their word.

To sound like a complete sexist, women don’t know what they want.

Ever tried to get them to tell you what kind of food they want?

Thought as much.

We have listened to them so much that we’ve cucked ourselves out of the gene pool. Women want high t males so bad that they’ve started importing men. Men from cultures that are positively backwards when it comes to attitudes to women. I’m not saying a backwards position is a bad attitude, it’s just not in keeping with what we were told what is right.

Can this damage be undone?

Yes, all you have to do is realise that if you are a man, you’re a man, not a defective woman.

Estrogen is even in the water you’re drinking.

Did you know that the hormones in the female birth control pill can’t be removed from the drinking water?

It can’t be done.

My mum, a scientist, told me this and at first, I just thought, hmm that’s funny and never let it concern me. However is it me or has there been a massive uptick in the number of people declaring themselves transsexual?

I know that correlation is not causation, but you’ll be thinking about this in a few months time.

What does low t mean?

Low t is terrible for society as a whole. Low testosterone leads to depression, and it has negative repercussions for personal relationships.

Testosterone is a wonder drug. As well as leading to heightened aggression it also makes you more decisive. Testosterone makes more able to improvise and in general, if you’re a man, makes you happy.

You owe it to yourself. More important, your mental health will benefit when you make your testosterone as high as possible.

What can you do?

It’s simple. You engage your legs you commit that part of your system that says “start making testosterone.”

The answer to low t is universal and can be summed up like this:

Squat deep and lift heavy.

Fat acceptance/health denial

Fat acceptance is missing a word

You have to believe in fat acceptance. It’s something that you just have to make your peace with and accept. You have to allow people to kill themselves by eating themselves to death slowly.

Why have you got to be so selfish? Are you even a doctor? Can you tell me for sure? That you know that it is the obesity that killed some of these people?

You can’t.

It was the heart-attacks and strokes that killed them. Had nothing to do with the morbid obesity.

In the same way that Lady Diana didn’t die in a car crash. Lady Diana died of asphyxiation whenever her lungs were replaced with a steering column.

Fat acceptance is missing a word. Have you noticed? It should go right in the middle.

Can you guess?

The word that is missing is “woman”. The full phrase, if we are being honest is fat woman acceptance.

Maybe there are plus sized male models, but I can guarantee you that most men don’t want to see that.

Fashion for men is aspirational we look at these dudes who look good in their clothes, and we look at that and think, “maybe that could be us, if only I worked out a little more, ate a bit better. Not only could I look like that but I could be that”. It’s fantasy but what is wrong with something that makes us that may make us better ourselves?
Do all women have a form of dysmorphia?
I put a picture of the Cosmo cover on my Facebook. I did a zoom in on the cover star’s knees because you may think this sounds weird but fat people’s knees fascinate me.

They fascinate me because I always think something is going to happen to them. Like the knee will pop off, or you’ll hear a squeaking sound like a kettle from the pressure they’re under. That is the knees you can see. Sometimes they have legs that just appear like two slabs of sausage meat.

Anyway, you’re wondering if I’ll get to the point.

Here it is: I was surprised at the people who showed up to defend her. There were some who I didn’t even know we’re still a facebook friend. They all showed up to say good on her and that just because she’s morbidly obese doesn’t mean that she’s unhealthy. They also said that they prefer this to people with anorexia as if it were a binary choice.

It was odd to see some of the people come out and defend her. It got me thinking did the women who came out to defend her feel like they were personally getting attacked. You are like me in that you don’t feel the need to weigh in on issues online unless you feel like you are personally under attack.

Did these women feel attacked? On some level is this how they see themselves? Could be and if that is the case, then they might have a form of body dysmorphia. Now, I’m not a doctor but if they feel like on some level that is how they look then that’s sad. The Cosmo girl is massive, it would take a real concentrated effort of neglect and inactivity to get to that size.

My problem with fat acceptance

Now after all this you are probably asking, why do I care about this? Being morbidly obese is something you will never have to worry about Kieran seeing as you have friends and family who love you enough that you would die from the slagging first before you got to that weight.

Well, I have a few reasons for this.

The first reason is that I too struggle with my weight. As I’m sure, you do too. As I’m sure, everyone does to a certain degree. You and I are lucky in that our problem is not having enough food but having to know when to say no to more food. As issues go, it is a sweet one. Staying healthy is a constant battle, and you must remain vigilant. So for someone to come along and say that this is also equally valid. They are not.

If being healthy is medical science, not perfect but the best we got then fat acceptance is homoeopathy.

The second reason is that fat acceptance feels like it is disrespectful for the people who actually put the work in. Some athletes and models work hard to look how they do. This feels like a bit of a slap in the face to them.

Third and finally is how this is negatively going to affect men.

Back in school when you were at the discos, standing awkwardly in the corner. It’s dark aside from the bright illumination that roams the dancefloor like prison searchlights. The Venga boys are singing about the imminent arrival of the mythical Venga Bus. A girl approaches you and shouts in your ear

“Will you see my mate?”

“Point her out to me.” she does so, “Is she behind Monstro?”

“What?”

“No thanks, I’m good.”

“Why not, she’s lovely,” she says. Notice how they never say, she’s hot, or she’s beautiful.

“You go with her then.”

“Dick” and then she walks off. I never understood why they always asked why not, did they want me to say, “She’s massive” so that they could make you the bad guy. You should not have to give a reason for not wanting to go with someone as I believe that no means no.

I always believed that there was an air of cruelty to the girls who tried to set up their mate.

Hold on, I want to briefly talk about amplifiers before I wrap this up. I know I’ve gone way off topic, but if you’ve read this far then, I guess it might be more to do with how I say it rather than what I mean. If you have been reading me for a while, you have already ascertained that I don’t have much to say.

Amplifiers

You ever see a group of girls, and they are all moderately fit? You look at all of them, and you think, yeah they’re attractive then there is one who does not belong in the group. I don’t want to describe her to you because I don’t want to come across as cruel but guess is all I can say to that.

I call them amplifiers. They are there to enhance the other girls through contrast, and she is there because she gets to hang out with the pretty girls. It’s a symbiotic relationship, but it makes me wonder as to the strength of the bond in the group.

That wasn’t worth the digression, was it?

The final reason I won’t accept fat acceptance

Fat acceptance feels like a ploy to guilt men into what they find attractive. I don’t mind if you have let yourself go, if I’m not chasing you then it won’t be a problem. Do not come to someone and ask them how you look because if you do you run the risk of getting an honest answer.

If you say to me “Doesn’t she look good” I will say “You’re right, she doesn’t”. You cannot pariah someone for giving their honest opinion. Saying the Emperor is naked doesn’t mean that you’re a clothes denialist it just means that you can see his doodle.

You may say that I’m fatphobic. That is ridiculous. I’m not fat phobic, I’m not afraid of fat people. I’m not worried about fat people coming after me. They’re like Daleks, just go up the stairs.

Shame: How you can avoid it, or should you?

You ever feel shame?

Shame, what does it feel like?

You ever get that feeling in your belly?

That sinking feeling?

Like your stomach is going to collapse in on itself tearing you asunder?

That intense feeling of burning, you’re blood never feels more red hot under your skin than it does now?

You feel like your blood is so hot. You feel it behind your eyes in your cheeks, you feel like it’s going to come out in the form of steam. It’s almost the exact same feeling as being intensely angry only it changes how you act. Whereas anger makes you want to move about more and start shouting here you get the opposite effect.

That’s shame.

That feeling can be brought on by many different circumstances. You and I probably feel shame over different, but the feeling is the same.

All you want the ground to open up and swallow you whole. You want everyone in the immediate vicinity to stop noticing you and shut up. Shame can be one of the worst feelings in the world. Feeling ashamed makes you want to run away from the earth itself and become a hermit. You want to hide your face from the crowd forever.

Shame and guilt are neighbours, but shame is the deadlier of the two. You heard the expression, they died of shame. You never heard the phrase, they died of guilt. Maybe the shame of the guilt caused them to die, but guilt can’t do a job on its own the way shame can.

Shame is an intense negative emotion.

I used to

There used to be certain activities that would make me feel shame. When I was younger, it was watching the classic channel 5 late night Friday movie. You know, such classics from the 1970’s as The Ups and Downs of A Handy Man. Where the eponymous handyman is fixing the roof. The policeman is trying to spy on the softcore exploits, falls over.

I used to feel ashamed watching that because back then when I was a teenager, I was religious. You were told that all those sorts of things are sinful and should be avoided. I was a hormonal teenager who could not resist the appetites of the flesh, so I felt ashamed. Then it came out that many of the priests couldn’t resist in far worse ways. Somehow watching some 80-minute movie once a week then I didn’t feel shame so much after that.

Then after that, I would feel shame over certain things that I still did that I thought that I shouldn’t do anymore. Playing video games and still be working in a cinema but the universe is a beautiful thing in that regard. You see other people not only doing this stuff but is having a sense of pride about it too.

After that, I learned not to worry so much about feeling ashamed.

Here in the west, it would appear that there is nothing to feel ashamed off.

Shame is like offence.

I’ve never understood the whole “shame is bad” thing I mean is it that terrible?

Shame is an emotion that you feel yourself, no one can force it on you.

How many times has someone said to you, “You should feel ashamed of yourself”. Or “Have you no shame” and you have thought “No, I don’t feel ashamed”.

The feeling is like offence. Offence is taken but never given. If you don’t want to be offended by something, just don’t find it offensive. It may sound simple, but you can choose not to be offended by something.

An excellent way to avoid being offended or feeling shame is to acknowledge the feeling when it hits you. Then say to yourself “Thoughts and ideas that challenge my perception and I am thankful to learn”.

Notice as you read that I didn’t tell you not to say “I feel no shame” that’s because you need to phrase things positively. When you phrase things negatively, you get negative results. You know, it’s similar to “Don’t think of Pink elephants” You know what as you’re reading these words let’s see if I can make you feel a little uncomfortable. You can only appreciate comfort when you know the opposite.

A little mental movie experiment.

Read on at your own risk.

Do not read on.

Do not think of a big thick, veiny cock that could be mistaken for a topographical map of Iraq. Definitley do not think of a cock the length of a ruler with the girth of a coke can.

If I made you feel uncomfortable, you’re welcome.

If you like the thought of one of those bad boys rubbing against the sensitive taste buds of your tongue, folding back your uvula as your eyes widen and you quickly learn how to breathe through your nose. You’re also welcome.

Just don’t do anything that would make you feel shame.

You know that the alternative to not wanting to feel shame?

It’s simple, don’t do the thing that makes you feel ashamed in the first place.

Trying to get the world to change to fit your needs is a noble pursuit, but you aren’t going to change the minds of everyone.

Especially when you consider that there are people who are shameless in raising awareness about health.

If someone you cared about was drinking themselves to death, would you feel shame asking them to cut it out?

You would be met with resistance but eventually, they would either take a look at themselves or die. It’s a win-win, you either get to have your friend around for longer, or you get to be right.

If you feel shame about some of your lifestyle choices it’s not society, it’s you. So maybe you have to stop shaming yourself.

You don’t see as many skinny people drinking diet Coke, do you?

Shame can be a good thing.

You can use your shame and transform it into something positive.

Here’s an example of someone who did that.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as a starting bodybuilder had a tremendous upper physique. Arnold was less than happy, thought that his legs were underdeveloped.

What do you think he did?

You think that he went around telling people not to look at or mention his legs?

Think that he asked the rules of Mr Universe be changed because he didn’t like.

You know how this story ends.

He shamed himself into developing his legs. He wore shorts. Every time he looked down he reminded himself to work harder until he was no longer ashamed of his legs.

Some shame can do a world of good.

Sugar Free September

Sugar is the worst

Sugar is one of the worst things that there is out there. If you think about it, there is so much of it out there, and in the western world, you and I are consuming it in substantial qualities. Don’t get me wrong sugar can be good sometimes. It would literally have to be a treat though. Something that you earn.

When you think about what sugar is, it’s strange how you put so much of it into your body. Sugar, little crystals of sweet goodness but is it good?

We are going through an obesity problem. People are fatter now than they ever have been. With that, there comes a whole slew of other issues. You think it’s only physical. It’s not this is because of our brain and body connection. Poor physical health hurts our mental health.

You’re wondering, am I laying all the blame on sugar?

Yes and no.

Yes because sugar can slip in undetected. Professionals lecture you about salt and fat that you tend to think of sugar concerning your teeth. I have a prediction. In a few years, you will see a study come out that concludes that sugar is worse for you than smoking or alcohol.

No, because it’s never just one thing that is the main cause. Things happen due to a cumulation of effects. Us who are fortunate enough to live in the west have a sedentary lifestyle. The 9-5 in combination with the ease of our lifestyle is robbing you of ambition. It makes the easy choice more appealing, and I understand why you would pick that. I am no better, I will often take the lazy option if there is no one around to judge me.

My sweet teeth

I have a terrible sweet tooth. I love chocolate, ice cream, you name it, except that is for chocolate ice-cream. Funny that.

I used to have a real weakness for Cadbury’s Creme Egg. Like it got really bad. There was one time where I ate an entire box of 12 in one sitting. It was bad. Now though I’m not such a big fan. I managed to put myself off of them.

How did I do that you ask?

Simple.

Have you ever ate something, got sick and then never been able to look at the food again. If that happened to you, then you’re not alone. One time I was a driver on for a film production. During the production, there was a stomach bug that was one by one taking us all down. It was like a horror film. People would just disappear. I was the blonde with big tits in that case because it came for me last.

My final meal before getting violently sick was a Subway. Now I know logically that the Subway sandwich was not to blame however my brain has changed the taste, so it’s not as good. I think I’ve only had a Subway twice since the event. That was well over five years ago.

Where are you going with this Kieran? I hear you ask from the other side of the screen.

Let me tell you.

I used this logic to cure myself of my Creme Egg addiction. I was going to eat as many as I could in one go so that I would become ill. It worked. Now, I’ll only eat one if they are bought for me.

I’ve been getting fat again, so September is going to be a sugar-free month for me.

Sugar is everywhere

One thing that you will notice if you’re trying to give up the sugar is the fact that it is everywhere. There is so much sugar in everything that it’s not funny.

If I were conspiratorially minded, I would say that there is a deliberate push to put sugar in everything. You have more chance of keeping the mob at bay if they have to take rest stops every twenty steps.

Be thankful I’m not conspiratorially minded. If anything people like sugar and they will do whatever they can to get it in their system. We’re like babies who won’t eat our veg. You’ve encountered a parent who will dip broccoli in sugar to get the child to eat.

“They prefer it this way.”

I have encountered this kind of parent. I didn’t say anything at the time, but I was disgusted.

Sometimes you have to do what is right even if you don’t like doing it and this comes down to health as well.

Avoiding it is going t be hard but I know I can do it because,

Did it before

I have done it before. OK, I did it for two weeks, but the idea is sound.

I’m not going to beat myself up over a transgression. Sugar is so pervasive in our diets that sugar is somehow going to find it’s way into my body whether I am aware of it or not.

The main foods that I need to avoid are chocolate, obviously, but I also need to avoid bread and dairy. I love sandwiches, and I love milk. If you think that’s weird. I get thirsty for milk. I can only have black coffee which I’m not a fan of, but I love coffee. Some coffee is better than no coffee. No cappuccinos or any of that nonsense.

No bread, especially white bread. If you think that’s me being racist, I’ll remind you that racism is power plus privilege.

Social pressure

The thing that I am not looking forward to is the social pressure. To get very very very specific, my mum. My mum is a feeder. She loves baking. The joke in our house is that I’m the repeat returning prodigal son. There’s a fatted calf slain every couple of days. No matter how many times I tell her not to give me stuff she’ll keep offering it and a man can only say no so many times. I may have to avoid her for a month.

There you go, that’s my plan for September.

Do you think that you could give up sugar for a month?

A week?

A day?

Caring is creepy

Caring is a good thing, right?

Caring can be good. You care about all the people in your life you want what’s best for them. You don’t want any harm to come to them, and you want what’s best for them.

Who could have a problem with that?

Not me and I hope that as you read this, you don’t either.

Overall you and I both agree that caring is a good thing. More people should do it for one another, and maybe the world would be a better place.

Who’s to say?

Extremists everywhere

Have you ever met someone who cares a little too much about something?

You know the type I’m talking about, it’s almost like they are personally invested in something. You’ve probably encountered a parent who really wants their kid to do well in an exam. You know how it is they won’t stop going on about the importance of the exam. If the kid passes this exam, then life will magically all come together. The kid, on the other hand, couldn’t care less, they seem pretty chill about the whole affair. This lack of caring from the kid makes the parent nervous, and this causes rows between the two. When it comes to the day of the exam the kid either chokes to the pressure from the parent. Out of badness they deliberately tank the exam.

I’m not saying that caring is a bad thing. It’s the extremists on the fringes can make the whole group look bad.

Caring is overrated

When you care too much, it can blind you. You care too much, you can’t think straight. When you care too much, you mess everything up.

Caring is good, but it’s not necessary. Caring is a form of emotional investment.

People all over the world have their own causes that hold a prominent place in their heart. Whether that is charity work, saving the rainforest or the dolphins or whatever.

I’m not calling these people dishonest. There’s definitely an upper limit to the effectiveness of caring. That’s what I want you to consider at some point.

This may sound harsh, but sometimes it’s better to remain dispassionate about something. Putting too much focus into something can cost you in other ways that you don’t see.

Personal example

When I was young, around 18, I was out with a group of friends at a bar. The night ended, and we all got talking to this group of girls. I managed to get a girls number. Don’t ask me how this was possible, this was way before I worked on improving my personality. Looking back, I think she was just a lovely polite girl who didn’t want to be rude.

This girl was beautiful, kind of posh and most important, she was tall.

Do you have any idea how hard it is for someone who’s about 6’4 to find a partner that you don’t have to do a stoop and smooch?

It’s not easy I can tell you.

Anyway, I was besotted with this girl. She was cool, we went places and just hanging out with her was fun.

You can probably tell where this is going right?

You’re right.

She dumped me, via text, back when they still cost 10p.

I was devastated.

I did not take it well.

Spent a good deal of my £10 trying to reason with her and beg her to not break up with me. You know because there’s nothing that women find sexier than a cold, rational appeal to logic. It really floats their boat. Provided their boat is the Titanic.

I can look back on it and laugh now because it was a learning experience. I cared too much and paid for it, I was over-invested.

There’s an old Russian expression translated it’s “Whoever confesses first, loses”. This means that in a relationship the person who says “I love you” first has a tendency to be on the back foot.

Cynical? Maybe, honest? Yes.

I’m not telling you never to say I love you, sometimes it’s good to say it first, if you want to get dumped, I kid. However, what I would recommend that you do is keep your caring to a minimal level.

Don’t over care.

That would be my advice.

You’re actually experiencing some of the negative benefits of over caring. Helicopter parents are a great example of people who over-cared and look what you got; a generation of garbage kids.

Remember when you could call the child that was pouring your grandmother’s ashes into the kitty litter tray, a brat. The other adults would nod in silent agreement?

Not anymore. Now you call a kid a brat, and you get “Ehhh, excuse me that child is autistic ADHD. A special sunbeam shone directly from Mount Olympus. How dare you.”

These are the parents who over care. These parents are the reason that there’s been such a big push to legalise abortion in recent years.

Some women look at parents out with their kids and their somehow sticky hands and think, “Gee, if I pressure the government to legalise abortion I can finally move out of my high rise with the broken lift”.

I don’t dislike kids, kids are fine, they don’t know any better. Parents though, they should know slightly better.

You’re thinking, hey Majury, you’re getting pretty off topic. You’re right, let me say one nice thing about parents, and then I’ll wrap it up.

Signs of hope

I think the next generation of parents will swing back the other way. I have a friend from school who is a dad. You can tell he is going to be one of the best dads and his son will be all the better for it.

How do I know this? You ask.

He doesn’t over care and here’s why.

This mate sent a video to the Whatsapp group of his son in the garden, fully regaled in golfing gear. There’s a big yellow golf ball on the grass. The kid approaches with his big green plastic club. Kid takes several swings, misses, then bam. The kid goes on his ass and starts gurning. A helicopter parent would fling the camera to the ground, and you would hear muffled cries of “CALL A DOCTOR”.

My mate, not a helicopter parent, says “Wwweeeee” and gets on as if nothing happened. The comic timing in the video is brilliant, and I’m not doing it any justice for you here. He’ll be a good dad because he cares the right amount, he has everything in perspective. More parents like this and you’re going to see more well-adjusted kids as you get older.

To wrap up for you, care the appropriate amount, learn to let go.

We’re all going to die anyway so live a little. (641)

Stand up: 5 aspects that I need to keep in mind

I got myself another stand up gig.

You may have read about the last time that I did stand up and how it did not go well.

Somehow, you may be surprised to hear that I have got myself on another stand-up bill. This time I will be travelling all the way to lovely Derry to, hopefully, entertain an audience. More specifically the Cellar bar. I’m excited and am thankful to Danny Kelly for agreeing to have me.

This will also be the first time that I will be performing outside of Belfast. It will be the first time I don’t know anyone there.

Frankly, that makes me excited because I like going somewhere that I don’t know anyone. When no one knows who you are you almost have permission to become a new person. You have nothing to lose, so you are allowed to do whatever you like.

You’re probably thinking that I haven’t learned anything from last time but here is where you’re wrong.

I have five things to keep in mind. I’m going to share them with you. This is also a reminder for myself so that I don’t repeat the same mistakes again.

5: Don’t apologise

I’m not a big fan of apologising. If you apologise for one thing, then you tend to apologise for everything. I try to apologise for things that I am genuinely sorry for, which can suck for those around me because I tend to not be sorry. If you apologise too much then you get a reputation for having no integrity and being insincere.

I forgot all about that guiding principle the last time I did stand up. I kept apologising when I shouldn’t have done so. I kept going “Sorry I haven’t prepared”. This is a big no-no. Stand up audiences are savvy. Stand up audiences are more akin to sharks, a drop of blood in the water will lead to a feeding frenzy. When you perform stand up, you have to project yourself as being low status yet entirely in charge.

Alex told me that I should have phrased it differently. Instead of saying “I didn’t prepare” I should have said, “I like to keep it loose and see where I go”. Both are true, but one sounds better to an audience.

I won’t need that line because…

4: Prepare to stand up

This time is different. I have a script ready this time. I’m a bit strange in that I don’t just like things go well, I like to veer from one extreme to the other. I’m trying to get myself more on board with the idea of consistency. There is this part of the brain that says to me “Why be good when you can frustrate everyone and pull it out of nowhere?”. There have been times when I have been able to do this. Other times when trying to get by on sheer swagger has been a disaster.

This time I’m going to be half ready. I have a 2000 word script that I’m going to familiarise myself with.

When I was first starting out, I used to remember every word verbatim. This led to delivery being stiff. What was worse, the slightest deviation in syllable meant that I would get lost and have to retrace my steps.

Now I am a bit more lose in my approach. There are several points that I want to hit but if I miss some of the minor ones, which is to know.

This is advice I would give to you if you ever find yourself having to make a speech. Know the framework. Familiarise yourself with the essential beats and wing the bits in between.

You could do it like me and go in the complete opposite direction. Do the whole thing by ear and hope the inspiration comes to you. I don’t advise it.

3: Be more physical

I’m a big gangly freak at 6ft4. I’m also quite nimble. My childhood hero was Jim Carrey, and I tried to mimic him when I could. Alex told me that I need to cut loose and be more physical. This is going to take time because here is the thing about stand-ups that I have noticed and I am no different. Some stand-ups want to be the clown, but they also want to have your respect as well. These stand-ups make sure you know that they are smart and cool. I have to let go of this. I have to be the lowest status person in the room.

Uncontrolled movement is a sign of low status. Think about Daniel Craig being James Bond. Part of James Bond’s appeal is that he is always in control. Bond doesn’t move often, but when he does, it is with precision and economy. People are not going to stand up to see James Bond. I’m not James Bond.

2: Don’t mention the other acts

Jesus Kieran, remember when you thought this was a good idea. Never again, you may be trying to make the whole thing more inclusive. At stand up the tone is entirely different. When you were doing Mental Deficiency gigs that was fine. Music is different from comedy. When you mention other acts at stand up, it sounds like your slagging them off. Don’t mention anyone while you’re up there. You are Robinson Crusoe, the stage is an island.

1: Get off sooner rather than later

One of my favourite stand-ups, Harry Hill, gave this advice “If it’s going bad, get off, if it’s going well, get off”. You really can’t get off the stage soon enough with stand up. Better to leave them saying, “I wish he stayed on longer” rather than “We sure got our money’s worth”.

Last time, because I didn’t prepare it meant that I overran. In general, no matter what you’re doing it’s better not to overrun. It’s rude, I know that you know all this. Sometimes I need to remind myself, and this is the reminder to future me “Kieran, get off the stage sweetheart.”

Doom: Some impressions

Doom, I don’t know if this is a reboot or a sequel, was released on Xbox Game Pass. I downloaded it and am going to tell you what I thought.

Doom is fun

Like this game is proper fun. There is a simple structure. You go into an area, all the door locks and you have to kill everything in the area to get the doors to unlock. Lather, rinse, repeat. You might think that this will get tedious after a while, but it doesn’t. The game is mostly an arena shooter. You fight it out in confined spaces. It’s like a hyper-fast version of chess you are having to work out the fastest way to take out enemies. At the same time, you are having to work out which one to take out first and what weapon that will best suit the scenario.

This is made all the better by the fact that;

Doom has the best controls in a first-person shooter.

I can’t overemphasise to you how smooth the controls are, everything is silky smooth. All the buttons are mapped out, your character is always running. There is a crouch button, but I don’t think I’ve used it more than twice in my entire run so far. You still feel like you are in complete control of your character at all times. If you mess up and die, it is because of your own overconfidence in your abilities. There is no lag in animations. This leads to some fun platform sections between the constant shooting.

There is also the glory kill system. Stagger an enemy then approach them and perform a move that will have you complete a preset animation. Either ripping off a demon’s jaw or pulling off a monster’s arm and thumping them with it. The animation is brief. The repetitiveness doesn’t become overbearing, and it doesn’t bring combat to a halt. Add in the ability to speed up the animation, and it becomes a part of your overall play style.

Doom is a throwback

Doom 2016 feels like a spiritual successor to the first two entries in the series. I didn’t play Doom 3 so don’t know how it performs in comparison.

I saw that at one point Doom 2016 was going to be more like Call of Duty. I’m glad that they didn’t take that route. When all first-person shooters have iron sights and regenerating health Doom has decided to keep it retro.

Doom does have some hallmarks of modern shooters, but they aid the game to become more fun. Weapons have perks, and your character’s abilities are upgradable. These perks come from exploring and finding secrets.

I could tell you that Doom has a story but to be honest I don’t know what that is. When I’m playing, I usually have the volume down low, and I’ll have something else going on in the background. That doesn’t mean that I have not noticed the awesomeness of the score and the sound effects. Ripping out a flying demon’s eye and shoving it down its throat does sound good and squishy. To be honest, though I have ignored the story, I don’t think that I have missed out on anything, I’m sure it’s okay.

One thing I really like is just how angry the hero comes across. Whether it’s gouging the eyes of some demon or the way he punches elevator call buttons. You get the feeling that the guy you’re playing as is in a constant state of rage. There’s something funny about that.

As for bad stuff, the loading times are a bit long, and I’ve encountered some texture pop in from time to time. You may find that the gameplay gets repetitive fast, but I have been loving it so far.

If you’re a gamer and this has passed you by considering giving it a go.

Bring on Doom Eternal.

Toxic environments and why you need out now

Toxic environments can come out of nowhere

You think that you’ve said goodbye to toxic environments, you’re wrong.

You’re in somewhere new. You haven’t been in this place before. There is excitement within you as you look forward to this unique experience.

However, there is something that just doesn’t sit right with you. Somehow you know that something is up.

Have you ever felt like that?

Me too, let me explain to you.

Right now I’m on holiday. I have a friend over from the United States and my housemate, and I are taking him on a road trip through Ireland.

Currently, I’m sitting in the lobby of a hostel in Killarney. If you’re thinking, “hostel, gross” I don’t blame you. They’re all that I need on holiday. A bed and somewhere to keep my stuff. They are great for if you’re travelling on a budget.

Killarney has surprised me. It’s a Tuesday night, and the town is pumping. The three of us hit a few bars. Ireland, if you’ve never been is one of the greatest countries. I’m no patriot, but I’m biased. Ireland has the best people with the best sense of humour and of course, the most beautiful women in the world.

I can hear you mutter from the other side of the screen, “Kieran, where are you going with this?”.

Let me tell you.

Last night I was staying in a hostel in Cork. The other two where in one room and I was in by myself. There were four beds. Only one was in use. I was in with a stranger.

When I was dropping my bags off, I got a vibe from the room. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something was wrong.

I put it down to being in a new environment. After reconvening with the other two we went out for what was one of the best nights so far on the trip.

Cork on a Monday night is pumping. It’s got all these cool bars that are open late. We ended up at the Monday Club. Which is where all the cool cats go.

Like all the best nights Alex, Matt and I decided that we were going to keep it quiet. Have one or two in Cork and then call it an early night.

There’s a point to all this I swear.

You know how these things go. You start off keeping it civil. Grab a beer, then you think why not have another. It’s too early still to go back. Hey, when did you eat last? Probably best to line the stomach. Those barbeque wings hit the spot now you’re energy is up. Should get another drink but not beer, it’s making you gassy. Why not graduate to spirits? Great idea, mines a G&T (the T is for tequila). Where else is good to go here? Reids? That’s on the way to the hostel, we’ll stop in for a nightcap. Hey, Reids is packed, this is cool. Hi, this gets us in free where? What time is that open to? Guys when are we next going to be in Cork? We have to be out of the hostel by 10 am there’s no point going to bed.

Here’s the thing, it was a great night.

We got back to the hostel around 3 am. The other two went to the bar for a final final nightcap I went on up to bed.

There it was again.

It was the smell.

The guy in the room smelled to high heaven.

I thought that my nose would get used to it after a while.

It did not.

This is the risk you take when you stay in a hostel.

I got into bed and put on YouTube in the hope that it would distract me from the rot that lingered in the air.

“You better turn that,” said a voice from within the darkness. Not knowing what kind of person I was sharing a room with I complied. So I lay there. Looking at the ceiling in the hope that sleep would come to me. It did not.

My nose just would not adjust to the smell. At specific points, I thought that I was going to gag.

Then something weird happened. Negative thoughts started flooding into my head. Some of them were old school negative thoughts. You know, “You’ll never achieve anything in your life, give up” That kind of negative self-talk.

You’re thinking that I’m attributing it to one thing. You know I understand that alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation played a part.

Something else happened. Around 6 am, I know because I checked my phone after, the guy got up, packed his things and left the room. The smell left with him, and so did the negative thoughts.

You’re body and brain are linked. You think that when you’re sad, you frown but when you frown you get sad. The guy smelled so bad that he made me sad.

“You smelled a bad smell Kieran, big woop.”

Wait, there’s more.

It got me thinking about another time.

On Christmas Day mum, dad, sister and I went to Mass together. Mum is a Eucharistic minister, so she was able to get communion for her my, my grandmother. After mass, we all went round to my grandma’s house.

In the house, there was my grandmother, my aunt and an uncle. When we came in, we said hello to everyone. Everyone said hello back except the uncle. He ignored us the whole time, he was playing online bingo or something and wouldn’t look at us. There was a strange atmosphere in the house, and it was good to get out of there once mum delivered the Eucharist.

Driving back up home the four of us got into a massive argument over nothing. My family have our blowups, but this one was different. It was particularly over nothing in this case.

I had a realisation that even a little exposure to a toxic environment can be harmful.

You need to remove yourself from toxic environments. No matter how much you think that it won’t affect you, trust me, it will.

You have to avoid toxic environments and avoid toxic people.

It may be hard to do at first but remember that no one can make you go anywhere that you don’t want to go.

You don’t have to spend time with anyone that will harm your mental health. Sometimes the best thing to do with toxic people is to quarantine them.

Help them help yourself, steer clear.

Unless you cheap out and get a hostel. In that case, you got to make your bed, lie in it and pray for anosmia.

Nights out are a scam

Nights out v night in

Nights out are a thing of the past.

You’re sitting in your house in your favourite seat. The lighting is soft, and you have your head back on the cushion. You’re content, you have a glass in your hand filled with inexpensive wine. You might not be much of a wine drinker, but you like this wine. This is because A, it cost a fiver and B, it’s actually tasty wine, which you didn’t think was a thing that could exist.

You catch a few words from the music playing in the background. You never considered yourself a Daft Punk fan. However the repetition of “sweat” makes you think that one day you should check out more of their work.

Your friend, the one that every group has is telling that story again. The one about the neighbours’ dog and the bath bomb. You’ve heard it a million times before, but you’re always surprised at yourself when you laugh. It’s when they get to the part where the dog almost gets put down due to the cranberry scented foam dripping from it’s jaw. Has more truth been added onto the story with each progressive telling? Yes. Does that make the story any less entertaining? No.

Then that other friend that groups attract voices their thoughts. You know what friend I’m talking about, they’re only ever tenuously connected to the group. No one has any problem with them. Whenever you prod other group members all that they can tell you is that they are “nice” and “haven’t done anything to me”. They haven’t done anything to you either. However, the idea of being alone with them for any amount of time makes you break out in a cold sweat. Let’s hear what they have to say.

“Let’s go out,” they say.

“We’re all good here,” the de facto leader of your group says.

“C’mon I really want to go out,” they say doubling down. You know how this interaction plays out. Everyone is having a good time, and no one wants to cause a fight. Somehow this minority of one gets their way. Every single time. You have your objections, but you get told that you’re being stubborn. You’re outvoted, you end up going out.

I have my own hypothesis as to why this particular kind of person always insists on going out. It’s not the subject of this blog, but you can have this as a bonus. These people crave loud environments. Not because they are party animals but because they need to distract you. Distract you from the fact that they don’t have much in the way of a functional personality. They don’t like quiet environments. This is because it only serves to draw attention to the fact that they have nothing to say.

As this is a hypothetical scenario, let’s ask them why they want to go out in the first place.

“Why do you want to go out?” you ask them.

“Well while I like this wine that is £5 a bottle but wouldn’t you far instead be paying £5 per glass. Another reason that I want to go out, see the way we can all see each other and hear each other, I don’t like that. Why not having just constant noise and pumping music in our ear so that you and I get headaches. We’re also in the same room together. Let’s exchange that for all of us getting separated and not talking to each other for the remainder of the night. When I look around, I noticed that we all have enough space let’s put a stop to that an make moving a couple of feet a chore. That’s what a real fun night is all about.

A realisation

You get to that point in your teens were you are too old for kiddies stuff and too young for adult stuff. That doesn’t stop you from trying. Fake IDs, trying to get on like it’s no big deal because you go to places all the time. Memorising details of a degree you aren’t taking all that nonsense. When you get in it’s something else. You’re cool you’re finally in. You rebel.

Then you turn 18, and you spend the next couple of years going out to the bar or club every Saturday. You get drunk on Saturday and spend the rest of Sunday recovering. One day completely has gone.

Something happens in your mid to late twenties. You’re out one night, and you think to yourself, “I hate this, not now but I’ve always hated this. I only ever went along with it because everyone else went along with it.”

You find it to be a relief, the truth has set you free.

Why do you go for a night out?

To stand near people.

People don’t actually like all the trappings of going out. Humans are social beings, and this is an excuse to stand among people.

The more you think about it, the more you realise that I’m right. What advantages does going out have over staying in?

At home, the drink is much cheaper. You can discriminate against who comes to your house, and you get to put the music to a reasonable level. You can get a drink whenever you want. No queueing necessary.

People just want to stand in groups.

Further proof, why do we still shop? Everything is available online. There is no reason why supermarkets should even have as much foot traffic as they do. The reason you do is that you want to be close to other people and other people want to be close to you.

Want proof?

Next time you are in a supermarket stand next to the most unpopular item you can find. People will be drawn to you.

I’m going out tonight, and I’m kind of dreading it. I feel that I have been prepared to know what the real reason is for doing so.

Now that you know why people want to go out maybe you’ll have a bit more ammunition to say no.