Moral of the story

The moral of the story is one of the most essential parts of a story.

I’m going to save you the reading. I’ll tell you that if you have a story that you like to tell but it’s got no ending just add “the moral is this” then tell them.

You don’t have to read on but thank you in advance for doing so.

Let’s get on with it.

It took me a few years to understand adding a moral to a story.

Every story, whether you like it or not has a moral. It may not be a good one, it may not be a needed one, but hey, every story has one.

What’s your favourite story that you like to tell?

You probably have a few stories that you like to tell. They either make you a secret genius, or you’re comfortable enough that you don’t mind coming off as a bit of an arse. I bet that as you’re reading this right now, you imagine a few of those stories.

I am too.

There are a couple of stories that I like to tell over and over again. There’s the time I pulled in Brussels and almost ended up stranded in Europe. There was the fancy dress party where I made everyone cry. There’s also inside stories that my sister and I love reliving. Claire if you’re reading this, the goat on the road, “he has asthma he might die”. Oh and something to do with a wig that scared granny.

Now you might think that these stories don’t sound too great but you have them, and I have them. These stories have clear beginnings middles and ends. There is a message that doesn’t need overtly stated. You know a good story when you experience it.

What about the other stories?

You mean the ones that aren’t so good. The ones that have a beginning and a middle but no real ending.

Those are the stories that I want to talk about.

I have a couple of stories like that. I like telling them but they just kind of fizzle out rather than come to a definite end. Also I love telling them because they have enough detail and suspense present that they’re enjoyed. That is until I get to the end zone.

You know what it’s like you tell the story, and it’s over, but it has no end. You can see their faces can’t you? They’re looking at you expectant.

“Then what happened?”

“Well then I left”

“Did anyone say anything?”

“No”

“You just walked out of there?”

“Yeah, I thought the commissioner recognised me.”

“Oh.”

“But she didn’t”

“Oh”

Why do people keep asking questions

When people ask you questions like that what they’re doing is looking for some kind of closure to the story. If people ask what happens next, it’s because they are expecting some sort of conclusion. You didn’t provide them with one, you told an incomplete story. If people ask for details “What were they wearing”, “How did they react” it’s because they want to fully see the story in their head. You told a good story.

These incomplete stories, I’m going to tell you how to complete them.

It’s simple, you say “The moral of the story is” and then sum it up.

As an example, I’m going to tell you a story that I like to tell but has no end. Then I’ll give you the moral, and you’ll see that it’s an improvement.

Before you start reading let me give you advance warning that this will not be the best story of all time. With or without moral it’s not the best. Let’s manage our expectations accordingly, shall we?

Good.

Donegal Story

Back in school, before I’d turned 18, I spent a few weeks during summer out in Donegal. Four of us from school went. A friend invited us to his holiday house, and merrily we went.

There was a local pub that we went to. It was local by Donegal standards, in this case, a 45-minute walk on a country lane with no lighting. None of us could drive, and so my friend’s parents dropped us off.

The group of us sat in the pub and drank. I remember looking at some of the local men who sat in stoic silence at the bar not talking to each other. I told my friends that if I lived out in the wilds of the country, I’d try heroin. Only because what was the worst that could happen?

As the night went on, there was a band that was playing traditional music. Was never much of a fan but a friend asked me to request some song that I never heard of and can’t remember the name of. The singer gave me a historical lecture as to why they no longer sang that song.

The night grew longer. At some point, we’re all a little worse for wear now, the “boyos” arrived. They were loud and spotted us immediately. They crowded around our table. The boyos knocked into us on a few occasions sending precious booze spilling. They were doing it deliberately. I may have been drunk, but I wasn’t blind drunk. I saw them smirking and winking to one another.

The pub shut and we made our way out into the windy Donegal night and began the walk home. It was a 45-minute walk sober, God knows how long when pissed.

We walked, talked and stopped for toilet breaks. We passed a school that Padraig Pearse had taught at. Down the hill around the curve.

As we were walking, we noticed behind us lights getting closer in the distance. We kept walking.

The lights were closer, and we could hear an engine rattling getting louder. We all stood in close to the side of the road. Is it with or against traffic?

The vehicle passed, it was a bus. It pulled over and idled. My friends and I stopped in our tracks, the door of the bus opened, and several of the “boyos” appeared.

“Are you going to Seaview?” the largest of a large bunch asked.

It took us a moment before my friend who organised the trip offered, “No we’re having an early one tonight.”

“Fair enough,” says he before disappearing back inside the bus. The bus pulled off. In my drunken haze, feeling brave I shout at the bus pulling away, “Aye, fucking drive on you wankers”.

The bus stopped, and I returned to my natural cowardly disposition. The large one emerged from the smoke and the light.

“Did ye say something there lad.”

“Ehh, have a nice night,” I said. He nodded, disappeared and short after that so did the bus. The four of us left us alone, in the cold and dark with further to walk.

The moral is

Now that is where the story ends. If you liked the story, thank you but let’s add a moral. Imagine I’ve finished telling that story. Instead now right after the last line, I say “So the moral is if someone asks you are you going to Seaview you say yes”.

Might not be the best but it’s an improvement over the original.

Try it yourself.

So remember, the moral of this post is that you add a moral at the end.

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Visualisation: How it can make you see the positive

Visualisation is something that you and I are born with but what does that mean?

You can use visualisation right now.

You can use visualisation even when you don’t want to. Visualisation can happen against your will.

Please, as you scroll down through this do me one favour and don’t think of pink elephants.

Thank you.

Visualisation is a way of helping us to see more clearly into a situation that may or may not come up in the future.

If you have been reading me for a while now, you know that I am a big fan of meditation. Meditation has been helping me to start the day right. I do it first thing after making my bed and doing my morning motivation. Morning motivation involves self-talk, affirmations and gratitude. I finish with meditation because it takes the longest. Meditation is a useful means of refocusing myself so that I can take on the day.

Part of my meditation now involves setting intent for the day and what is it that I want to accomplish that day. That involves doing visualisation exercises.

What are the visualisation exercises I hear you ask on the other side of the screen?

They are simple and do not require too much-complicated thought.

You just imagine yourself in the scenario that you will be in. You believe everything going well for you.

In case you think that this is just some new age nonsense, which you’re entitled to do. Let me point to one of my childhood heroes as a means of proof of the system.

Arnold Schwarchaneggar is a big believer in the power of visualisation. He would imagine everything going well for him. Arnold could see himself going through the motions. He would see the best version of reality coming true for him.

It should be noted that Arnold also put a lot of hard work in and there was definitely struggle involved. Arnies’ life has by no means been perfect. Look how far he has come. From the Austrian hills to a multiple Mr Universe. Defying all odds to be one of the biggest box office draws to the governor of California.

Visualisation didn’t put him where he is, but it could be argued that it helped.

Scarcity v abundance

When you’re dealing with people in the day to day think of how often they make excuses not to take action. I include myself in this bracket. People don’t not out of careful consideration but out of fear.

You probably know someone who is in a toxic relationship, and they know it too.

You tell them that they should get out. They can’t, not because of any deep love or sense of duty to that person. It’s because they’ll struggle to find someone again.

How does that make sense to you?

The truth is it doesn’t. They know that, and you know that. It’s ridiculous.

People would rather be in a bad relationship than spend time by themselves. They would instead take comfort in the bad than a moment of being unsure.

This is a scarcity mindset, and so many people have it in some form or another, and it is a death sentence. It’s killing you.

This scarcity mindset has been drummed into us over thousands of years. You and I are descended from the ones who endured ice ages, famine and war. You and I come from the ones who awaited the next disaster.

Here’s the thing.

You and I are living in the best possible time. If you are reading this, you are fortunate. Not because my writing is that good, I mean it is but you know? You have a certain degree of privilege. You have all these forms of distraction competing for your attention, and you’re reading me. Thank you. If you’ve access to the internet and time to read this, then you’ve more than the majority of people who have ever lived on this hurtling rock. That you and I are even alive puts us ahead of the majority of all existence.

You’re probably thinking where am I going with this?

What I’m saying is that you already have so much more than everyone and everything else. Why are you afraid of owning what you have?

Take my aunt.

I love her, but she is one of the most negative people I have ever met.

When my grandma died, we all went to the funeral home to bring her to the church. In the car was mum, dad, sister, aunt and me. It was one of the most frustrating car journeys. My aunt wastes so much of her time on negative hypotheticals, “What if this goes wrong?” “What if this happens”. I found it boring and annoying. She was wasting so much mental energy by attempting to engage everyone in coming up with solutions to bad scenarios that hadn’t happened. In fact, none of her worries came to pass. She had such a scarcity mindset that she could not see things going well. They went as well as funerals can.

You have to use visualisation for good.

How I use visualisation, how you can.

I do stand up on occasion. Sometimes it goes well sometimes not so much. Now it doesn’t matter because it will go better than most stand-ups I’ve done in the past. My worst sets are average at best because rather than going over my set, right before I am set to go on stage, I visualise. I imagine myself being the funniest person in the world.

“The world, slow down Kieran, you’re not that funny”. You might be saying that, but I’m quoting that little negative voice that lives inside my head.

When you’re visualising, you have to go big. I close my eyes and see myself getting up on stage. I’m enthusiastic, big smile and I’m able to hit all the notes and all the beats perfect. I can see the audience, they don’t just giggle, they are on the floor, rolling around losing bladder control. Paramedics are called in, defibrillators are used on people, but then they get caught up in laughing. People flat out die I’m that goddamn funny. I can’t finish my set because of the roar of the crowd.

That’s the visualisation.

The reality on the other hand.

The reality.

Reality is much different, but I’m more confident thanks to visualisation.

Next time you’re in a situation where you’re nervous, let’s get rid of the word nervous first. You’re not nervous you’re excited. You’re excited that people are coming to spend time in our company how lucky for them.

Visualise it going well. Make the image so big that it even shuts up that negative voice. That negative voice is a small child front row in an IMAX screen watching the movie of how well your life is going. It’s too engrossed to speak.

You can see it can’t you?

Dublin System: Now you can improve your word count

Why do you call it the Dublin System?

Because it keeps on Dublin and Dublin.

You should know that now it’s much easier to write loads in a short space of time.

For years as a writer, I have been doing it wrong. I was always concerned about page counts. You could see me worrying about how many pages a piece of writing was.

Do you want to know what the problem is?

I’m a lazy person. I’m an even lazier writer.

This style impacted my work. In the struggle to get pieces to the right page count, I would start adding in filler words. You would have characters that would chime in with redundant “Yups” and “Ok”. They killed the pacing of the work, but hey we’re getting to the 90-page mark using the least amount of energy.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear this, but this would lead to trouble in practice. Scripts and writing would look the right amount, but there would be something missing. The work would seem a little, empty.

That was until I took a course on productivity for writers on Udemy. In it, there was a spreadsheet that was all about tracking your daily word count.

I’m not a fan of counting the words because first of all, it made me realise how few words I would actually write. Second of all, I like to write everything out with pen and paper first. Counting the words would just add on time that I didn’t want to spend.

I decided to humour the course and did the word counts. You know what, doing them actually turned out to be a turning point.

At the same time, I was also providing a script editing service on Fiverr. Most of the jobs had involved spelling adjustments and making some notes.

That all changed when I got hired by a crazy guy.

Let me tell you about the crazy guy.

The crazy guy showed up saying that he just needed a quick editing job. It started inauspiciously, as these things often do. Then the red flags began to fly not long after that. He hired me on Friday and needed it done for Sunday. For an editing job, where you’re just doing spell checking that is fine.

Here’s the thing though, he wasn’t able to send me an editable document. That was worrisome. He was able to send me a photocopy of the script. That was useless because I wasn’t able to upload it to my screenwriting software.

The only way that I was going to get it finished on time was by typing out the whole script myself and editing as I go. The script was 20,000 words long. It took me 24 hours approx across the Friday, Saturday and Sunda to get the work finished.

The crazy guy kept saying that it wasn’t right.

He kept niggling with me. It was always about the alignment. He kept asking for specific sentences to appear at certain points of the page. I asked him to make a list of changes that he wanted and would do it the next day. Keep in mind that this whole time over the weekend he asks for updates on the progress. I keep asking for an editable document to which he replies that he will send one when he gets back in. The editable script is never sent. I’m firing on through with the typing and am enjoying the restrictions that I have.

Here’s the essence of that correspondence

Him: “On page three can you move the introduction of the character to the top.”

Me: “I’ll have to space things out a little more, you OK with that?”

Him: “It needs to be at the top.”

Me: Check your inbox.

Him: Got it. Page four could you change the semicolon to a comma.

Me: Yeah, look it’s late here, and I’m up early tomorrow/today. Read through the script and make a list of any further changes you want made and I’ll do that for you for free tomorrow. Hold off on sending it to this producer guy OK?

Him: I’m going to send it through to him now. Hope there aren’t any mistakes.

Me: Don’t send it, please. Read through the script and send me a list of the changes you want. I’ll speak to you tomorrow.

I go to sleep, wake up to the following message.

Him: YOU FUCKED ME! YOU FUCKED ME! YOU HAVE FUCKED ME! I sent the script through and then noticed that there are loads more that I want changed. This was my big chance, and you have fucked me.

Moral of the story: If you enter a relationship with someone and more than one red flag starts to fly, walk away.

In crazy guys defence, this was all my fault.

I saw the red flags, but I kept on sailing into the storm. I am thankful for the experience though as it gave me a unique insight into my own writing and writing in general. The experience got me fired up.

Length o’ things

The experience gave me a baseline on how long it would take to write a certain amount of words in a certain amount of time.

This lead to my development of what I called the Dublin system.

It takes me 24 hours of pure typing to write 20,000 words.

Therefore it would take 12 hours to write 10,000. 6 hours to write 5000, 3 to write 2500 and so on down the line.

You probably think that is slow that’s just fine. I’m not competing with you I’m competing with me, and now I’ve found a gauge by which to measure my writing speed.

For my and your future reference here’s

Kieran Majury’s rough guide to an average length of things.

Film script: 20k words

Play (One-hour length): 10k

200-page book: 60k words.

 

These are approximations, don’t treat them as gospel.

There’s a handy website called reading length that you should check out.

Screenwriting software Celtx has several blog posts about how elements of screenplays breakdown. They’re worth a read.

Dublin system

This helped me develop the Dublin system.

If you’re a writer how do you tackle a piece of writing?

I’m still working on the answer to that question. I’ve gone through various methods. Trying to get the mental images translated into words. It has happened with varying degrees of success.

I realised that what you might need to do is break the task down into smaller bits. I need to know roughly where I am going. If I don’t have a rough idea of what I’m doing, I tend to go off in massive tangents. The last thing I wrote without a set route went way off course.

I hated it, resented writing it as I went but I stuck it out, and once I finished it I never looked at it again. The script went so off course. I didn’t have a clear direction for it to go in so trying to restructure it wasn’t worth the hassle.

The Dublin system works me up to do a full draft on a project. You start with a low word count, like 320 words. Write a synopsis of what is going to happen through the course of the script. You then write 625 words adding more detail. Then 1250 words before doubling it to 2500 words before 5000 words.

If you’re like me and you’re writing a play, then the next step is the 10k word count.

Beware the Dublin system.

The Dublin system is good for getting out that initial draft. That first draft, like many a first draft, will be shit.

There are other factors that you need to take into consideration. Factors like structure and if you structure your script well, then the rewriting will be less of a head melt.

I mean it will still be head melt, but you’ll know what you need to do now.

At some point I’m going to talk about structure, but not here.

If you’re a writer, I hope that you found this useful. If you’re interested in writing, I hope that this helped declutter some of the myths that surround the craft.

Be warned that I’m no expert nor will I ever be one. If this helps you write easier, thank you for reading. If you read this and thought I was talking out my hoop also thank you.

Sometimes going the wrong way helps you see the right way that much better.

Ideas: How you can have more now

Ideas are odd. You think they come from one specific spot and you can just go there and “get” ideas.

You would think that would be foolproof, wouldn’t you?

Never underestimate the genius of fools.

It’s funny how you hear people ask the question, “Where do you get your ideas from?” The belief that ideas are friends who need to be picked up from the airport.

David Mamet had a pithy response when asked where does he get his ideas from, “I think of them”.

I look back at some of my old writing books from time to time. It’s insane how many ideas I had. It’s even more surprising that a small fraction of them weren’t downright terrible.

When you were young, you were full of energy and ready to take on the world. All ideas were valid, and everything was going to get done at some point. It was exhausting to be young.

Thank heavens for getting older.

When it comes to ideas, there is a hard pill to swallow. That pill is realising that you only have a certain amount of time to get things done.

You’re young, and your brain can’t stop ejaculating thoughts into your mind.

A production of the Trojan Women wherein the audience is taken prisoner during pre-show. An adaptation of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch done as a horror. A buddy cop film that begins with the sequel. A fake spirit medium show that has actors in the audience and has demonic possession.

All these ideas, still kindle me with excitement but I know that in my heart they’ll just remain mental movies for me. It’s sad but inevitable.

You realise that not every sperm will become a baby.

I don’t know where I get my ideas but then how you think of ideas is wrong.

You don’t get ideas, they come to you.

An idea, rather than a friend you have to collect, is more a friend coming to visit.

How do you act when you know that a friend is coming to your house?

You prepare the house. You make sure it’s clean. Refreshments ready and you make sure that you are dressed. You don’t even have to put that much effort in the preparation. You can buy buns from the store, but if you want them to feel special, you make the buns yourself.

I like cooking for my friends. I hope that it entices them to come round again. They get to eat something that I have made, and I get to share in their company for an evening. It’s a good deal. Ideas are similar, you have to make it a welcoming environment.

You know what it’s like, it’s coming to the time that they said they would arrive and they’ve yet to visit. You hang about for a while longer whenever the thought hits you. There is something you could quickly do some sorting upstairs while you’re sitting around.

The moment you get started you know what happens?

That’s right, there’s a knock on the door.

That’s how you prepare yourself for ideas. You do everything you can to have the place ready, but in the end, the idea will arrive when it wants.

You almost have to give up on getting ideas.

Einstein worked at trying to figure out the theory of relativity. He gave up on it and only then did he realise what to do.

Think back to your friend arriving, do you ring them asking if they’re on their way. One call is fine but if you make any more than that you’re going to stir up resentment.

How can you improve the arrival rate of ideas?

You have to prepare your house for the arrival of ideas.

How do you go about doing that?

Like most things, the first step to getting what you want is asking.

Keep a notepad on you at all times. I’ve done this for many years. If something comes up, no matter how stupid I write it down. The idea isn’t the most important part it’s getting into the habit of welcoming the ideas.

Decluttering your mind helps ideas too.

There is a war for your attention going on. You’re at a disadvantage when you open your phone. A phone is necessarily a baby that’s useful and can fit in your pocket. As soon as it makes any kind of noise or movement there, you are to check on the device. Even if it doesn’ move or make a sound, you’ll still make sure that it’s OK.

Letting yourself be sucked in by your phone puts you in reactionary mode. If you want to generate ideas you got to do what you can to keep yourself in a blank state. This means that you need to avoid your phone for the first part of the day.

It’s not easy, believe me, I still struggle. My phone is almost part of me when it’s not nearby. It’s that phantom limb sensation. At least that’s what I think it would be like. If you steer clear of your phone for long enough, then you can engage in the next stage.

Free writing

Just take a page, time yourself for twenty minutes and just write. Don’t use a computer. You’ll be tempted to check in online. Worse you’ll always go back and forth deleting, rewriting, making sure that it’s just right. Don’t worry about that.

Use a pen and paper. Connect with the physical world. Start writing and do not stop. Write for twenty minutes, you should be able to do three hundred words. Take a ten-minute break do another twenty minutes. Another three hundred words and then read over your work. This won’t be an ideas generator, but it’ll help you realise how much more creative you are.

Do this exercise every morning. You’re telling your brain that ideas are right, you appreciate them and that you can keep sending them.

Do this, and you’ll realise that you have way more good ideas than you knew you had.

Star Wars videos you need to check out

Star Wars used to be all that I knew about film. Those films, Ghostbusters and the Spy Who Loved Me. They where the films that I enjoyed most as a kid and would watch them almost every weekend.

Why wasn’t I out playing when I was younger I hear you ask?

Simple, I didn’t have many friends.

Now I’m much older. I lived through the disappointment of the prequels. Now with a whole new spate of Star Wars films from the Disney corporation. It’s safe to say that I’m done with the franchise.

I knew I was done with it when I watched The Force Awakens. I saw Rogue One because everyone said it “Was pure class like”, it wasn’t. The Last Jedi was good in that it cured me once and for all with my fandom.

Where the Star Wars Prequels as bad as you thought?

You know, with the Disney Star Wars, my lack of interest, it got me thinking. Where the prequels as bad as all that.

To an extent, yes, as a work of storytelling, the Star Wars prequels aren’t good. The biggest problem that I have with the prequels aside from an overreliance on special effects is that tonally they’re all over the place. For every good aspect, the films have they have two bad ones as well.

Even Lucas was aware of the tone and pacing problems the film had.

The films are great on a technical level. The prequels helped pushed the envelope regarding technical innovation.

I wasn’t aware just how much the films pushed technology forward until this video showed up in my home feed.

When you watch this video, you realise that George Lucas did a lot to help bring filmmaking to where it is today.

Money for old hope

The tonal and pacing problems of the prequels aren’t new in Star Wars. Even before A New Hope, the issues were there. George was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a group of people who cared about him and the film. They cared enough to fight with him to make the movie better than the sum of it’s parts.

This video shows you how Star Wars was saved in the edit.

Would Star Wars be held up as a cinematic classic had it been released as Lucas had originally intended?

It’s debatable.

What always amazes me about behind the scenes on film is that films are even made in the first place. That they’re even let alone half decent is something else.

In the beginning

This documentary about the making of The Phantom Menace is also worth a look.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched it since I first got the DVD all those years ago. This is a fascinating insight into the making of the most anticipated film of all time.

It appeared everyone was aware that the film was going to suck. People valued their jobs more than the finished result.

The Unsung Hero

Gary Kurtz, the producer of A New Hope and The Empire, Strikes Back died last month. Kurtz is the unsung hero of the original trilogy. He left at the start of Return of the Jedi’s scripting phase. It’s a shame that he did because his story ideas sounded much better than what we got.

Here’s a link to an interview with him that is well worth a read.

Inspiration for filmmakers

There you have it. If you’re a filmmaker and you’re struggling it just goes to show that no one knows what they’re doing. Sometimes that leads to something magical, many times it doesn’t but hey,

Do or do not, there is no try.

When in doubt, cut to the droid.

Uncanny Valley: A definition

You may have heard of the term uncanny valley.

In this post, I want to get you to understand the meaning of uncanny valley. I also want to expand the definition. With everything going on in the world today it’s fair to say that the term is only going to become more applicable.

Polar Express and the uncanny valley

Robert Zemeckis film The Polar Express might be when you became aware of the term “Uncanny Valley”.

Kill it with fire

To be honest, it was that scene from 30 Rock. The one where Frank uses The Polar Express to explain the uncanny valley to Tracey.

The uncanny valley is something that looks like the real deal yet there’s something not quite right. It’s that inability to define what it is that is wrong that gives us that creep out feeling.

The Polar Express had an unsettling effect with it’s at the time cutting-edge CGI. There were people in the audience who found the whole thing troubling. Something was missing. There was a dull deadness behind the characters eyes that some found off-putting.

That’s when you know you’re in the uncanny valley.

The uncanny valley is a term that has been used mainly about computer graphics. The idea can go further.

The Shining and Freud.

What about the word uncanny, what does it mean?

Well, obviously, it’s the opposite of canny, duh.

I did a dissertation on The Shining and what was it that made it a perfect horror film. Spoiler alert the essay was terrible, and I’m going to summarise it here.

The Shining is such a good horror film because it epitomises that emotion. The feeling of being unsettled through use of the uncanny.

Freud defined the uncanny, and I’m summarising for the sake of swiftness here. The uncanny is the idea of the doppelganger, the double, your dark shadow.

Next time that you watch The Shining keep an eye out for the use of doubles. There are the twins, most obviously, but it goes further than that. There is the two caretakers, the two Jacks, the two Dannys, the use of mirrors, young lady/old lady. The list goes on, you get the idea.

“What has this got to do with me?” I hear you ask on the other side of the screen.

Let me tell you.

The Uncanny Valley in our day to day lives

You might think that the uncanny valley only occurs on a screen, the truth is it doesn’t.

Think of a robot, imagine in your mind’s eye, a robot. You’re probably thinking about something that is humanoid in shape that has the wires and all.

Now imagine a woman. For some of you reading this you may find it more manageable. Just imagine a human woman. For those of you struggling here you go.

What I like most about photos is that they are silent

Now watch this.

Unnerving isn’t it?

It’s too close for comfort. Something that is similar to us will have its differences more pronounced. Those differences are what repulse us.

I love doing impressions. I do a good Jimmy Stewart and created the Eisenberg Scale which is one voice in different pitches. It ranges from Kermit, the Frog at the top. It then goes through Jordan Peterson to George Lucas, Jesse Eisenberg in the middle. Harold Ramis all the way down to Ray Romano at the bottom.

I used to be able to do impressions of those around me, but something strange happened. The closer and more accurate the impression was, the less comfortable the subject. So I stopped doing accurate impressions of people. They became ridiculous and overblown. People could say “I don’t sound like that” and feel the impression was nothing like them. If I do an impression of you and it’s nothing like you it’s because your comfort is important to me. If I do an accurate impression of you, never mind.

It’s probably why some people don’t like photos of themselves. It’s how they look, and they don’t like that.

Where are you going with this Kieran, get to the point.

Ok.

People you dislike, you’re more like them than you care to let on.

That’s what I’m trying to tell you.

I don’t mind if you disagree but think about a person you don’t get on with.

Even the expression “They get under my skin”. How can someone do that?

There was a guy I didn’t get on with. He was lackadaisical. He was never organised, always late and thought the world revolved around him.

Hold on was I describing him or myself?

Once I realised that it made what I had to do all the more clear.

I had to become unlike him to get on with him better.

From then on I started to plan ahead and organise myself better. I did what I could to be more punctual. I did my best to acknowledge that I was more a Judy than a Punch.

This person and I will never be best friends, but I now consider him an acquaintance.

If you find yourself disliking someone, look for ways in which your similar. You don’t hate the person you just see aspects of yourself in them, and it leads to that uncanny valley effect.

You see that in society as well. Working class white people are more likely to blame other working class ethnicities. They blame others rather than themselves for their misfortune.

Even political parties are more similar than they are different.

Big societal issues are divisive because both sides are closer to agreement than they are apart. It’s just the details. No one thinks that school shootings are a good thing, it’s how do we prevent them in future is where the arguments start.

All the main religions are agreed that there is an afterlife. The question is not, does the destination exist, it’s, how do we get there?

I’ll be using the term uncanny valley more often on this site. I want to make sure that you know where my heads at when I use the phrase.

Louis C.K: A return

Louis article, a failed audition

Louis C.K was the subject of an article I did as an audition piece for a satire site. They politely passed, so I decided to share it with you here, enjoy.

Louis C.K audience annoyed he didn’t masturbate in front of them.

Louis C.K returned to stand up in New York much to the delight of some of his fans. However, there were some in the audience who felt that the 50-year-old comedian came up short.

We spoke to some of those in attendance.

“I wasn’t expecting much that night. I heard rumours that Louis was about, I thought he just came to watch. Boy was I wrong.” said one audience member, “I’d never seen Louis’ act before. I mean I’d seen him do stand up, but I was excited for this.”

“When Louis got on stage, I thought, aw yeah, this is it,” said another audience member. That elation soon turned to disappointment, “I was pumped to see him perform, but then he started telling jokes, lame.”

Other audience members were also confused, “He showed up unannounced, it was such a surprise. My husband and I are thinking, no way, we’re going to see a short fat guy masturbate. One time we watched Danny DeVito taking a piss in Central Park but this would be much better, or so we thought”.

The disgruntled attendee went on, “We thought that it would be a build up, a few jokes and then he would start but as he went on we realised that it wasn’t going be the case. My husband was devastated, he was like a child who didn’t get what he wanted for Christmas. Imagine not getting to see Santa masturbate”.

Someone in the front row also expressed sadness at the comedian’s half-cocked return. “I was sitting there watching his crotch intently. Not only did his penis stay in his pants the whole time but he was flaccid too. There may have been signs of life at one point, but it could have been how his jeans bunched up.”

A Louis veteran spoke up

One veteran of the New York comedy circuit still holds out hope, “I knew Louis was going to crack wise instead of cracking one off on his first time back. You got to give him room to blossom. At the minute he’s shy but give him time, and everyone will know what’s Louis’ Louis looks like. They’re going to add a D.I to his initials.”.

When asked to divulge more information the comic, who wished to remain anonymous went on “When he first started out it was his party trick. Some people could juggle, some did impressions. Louis could crank one out like nobodies business, beautiful. He’s the YoYo Ma of jerking off. It was like Louis, and the cock are one. His penis was an extension of himself, and soon he is going to extend his dick for all to see”.

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.