Sling

Callum picked up a stone from the floor, his new sling sparkled in the sunlight, there was nothing in particular to aim at but he couldn’t wait to try it. The park was fairly empty, no other children near him but he could see some adults on the other side, no chance of hitting them it was much too far away. Just in case he was wrong he turned away from them, he looked around again, he didn’t want to hit a bird or a squirrel by accident. There was nothing around, he aimed to the right of a tree, the area was clear, pulled it back as far as he could and let go. Watching the stone sail at a reasonable speed off into the distance he saw a bird fly across its path seconds before the stone zipped through the air. Staring in disbelief, he couldn’t believe it had been that close, he wouldn’t of forgiven himself if he had hit the bird. It made him wonder why he had the sling at all, he had no desire to hurt anyone or damage anything, he just liked watching things fly around, stones just happen to be the most readily available item to launch, he reflected that they were also probably the most damaging thing to fire out of a sling.

Loading another stone into the sling he took aim to the left of the tree he had previously aimed at, as the stone flew through the air Callum had a bad feeling. The stone arced towards the middle branch, to his horror there was a shape on the branch (he couldn’t see exactly what it was) as the stone connected it fell off the branch. Devastation swept over him, that was the last time, he threw the sling on the floor, never again, it was too dangerous. Unsure what to do he was frozen on the spot for the moment, gathering himself he picked up the sling again and put it in his bag. Approaching the area under the tree from which the shape fell he peered as close as he dared to see that it was a large pine cone, the relief was almost instant but the lesson was learnt. It was time to hang up the sling and find something a little less dangerous to play with.

Does it Matter if You Are A Misfit?

Photo by Overture Creations on Unsplash

Not fitting in to a group is an experience all of us have at one time or another in our lives Keisha was no different. People saw her as the quiet weird one, never really in a specific group she floated from one to another and back again. Keisha didn’t see a problem with not fitting in, she preferred it that way, it was boring when everyone was the same. There was nothing ‘wrong’ with her she just liked her own company, she didn’t feel the need to have a shared interest to power her through the day. It was nice to talk to people about and do different things but she was equally happy with her own thoughts, writing or reading. It didn’t really seem to matter who she was to most people so did that really make her a misfit or someone simply searching for identity. She had a wild side, which rarely did her any favours, her desire to be different but also unnoticed at the same time meant that she ‘stood out’ but she wasn’t bothered by that she was happy to be noticed then ignored, she blended into the background once everyone noticed her, acknowledged but no more than that.

Misfits stand out from the crowd because they display unusual or strange behaviour, Keisha didn’t think she was strange or unusual but then she knew she wasn’t normal so she guessed people saw her somewhere in between. Not caring was a challenge at first, it was hard to accept that people found her weird, she thought she was pretty normal, in comparison to her family she was definitely the most normal but maybe that wasn’t a good benchmark. Daily interactions with people were sometimes a struggle, it depended on her mood, if she was in a bad one, it did not go well, if she was in a good mood then all would be amazing she wouldn’t give a monkeys what people thought, there were still dark times she had deal with them as and when they happened, it was unpredictable but they were getting less and less. In all truth though she was proud to be a misfit and long may it continue.

Ornament or Momento?

Photo by Esther Pervis on Unsplash

They stand on the mantle piece unmoving, the garish looks in the eyes of the soldiers were lost on the china animals with plants growing out of their backs. Their empty eyes stared back unrelenting in their intensity, expecting some kind of answer, but to what question?

The soldiers felt sure they held more meaning than they appeared, some meaning perhaps that they did not see, because why else would someone have collected so many? They continued to move through the house, it was filled will different china ornaments, why? It was not their job to answer that question that was for the authorities.

An ornament can be much like a momento they both carry meaning of some description, ornaments are often collected in multiples they are often created in series by companies to sell mass produced items, they can be entirely unsightly and their only purpose is to sit on a shelf, yet people love them. Momentos on the other hand are things that remind us of something or someone, it can also be anything, not entirely restricted to inanimate objects.

The soldiers left without documenting the ornaments, they didn’t think it would be worth it, they missed the tiny stash in each one, what did they care? It wasn’t their country, and it wasn’t going anywhere, personal use was up to the individual.

Challenging Times Ahead – 5 Up and Coming #Hashtag Challenges

The introduction of the internet has enabled us to interact with humans all over the world, no longer do we have to write or phone we can simply send a message or tag a friend. It has been great for encouraging awareness of topics that might otherwise be ignored. It has also enabled us to take part in group activities without having to wait for the post to deliver or having to call a large number of people to update them, with the touch of a button you can reach millions.

  1. Inktober – Started in 2009 by artist Jake Parker – “I created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavour with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.” Its not just for those who want to be or are already artists anyone can join as long as you have a pen/pencil and paper.
  2. NaNoWriMo – Started in 1999 it is now one of the most famous writing challenges on the internet, self-described as the seat-of-your-pants to creative writing it encourages you to either write an entire novel or work on your current WIP – the normal word count is 50k although don’t be put off by this as you can set your own goal. You can track your progress and share it via the website and also share it via social media.
  3. 100 Day Challenge Instagram – Choose a project, do it every day for 100 days, and share your process on Instagram with the hashtag #The100DayProject. Simples.
  4. #TrashTags – A #hashtag making its debut earlier this year, started with someones suggestion to bored teens, people picking up little and then taking a selfie with it – its a shame it lost its momentum really.
  5. The Get Strong in 2019 Challenge – a 7 day challenge you have to keep up for a month, LiveStrong.com’s challenge designed to get you fit using simple exercises and nutritional advise – it seemed to be the only fitness challenge with some kind of structure, the rest are largely just hashtags detailing your progress.

The best thing about these challenges are really you could do them anytime, there might not be many others doing it with you the goals are important for your focus. Use them as motivation to carry on.

Imagine if the World had Actually Changed

Photo by Erin Song on Unsplash

Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

John Lennon

John Lennon was and is to this day a great artist for many reasons, he promoted world peace and love, his birthday would have been today (9th of October) he would have been 79.

At school we were allowed to do projects on famous people we respected, mine was on John Lennon’s death. It would be 38 years ago on the 8th of December this year when Mark David Chapman opened fire and shot 5 bullets fatally wounding John, it was the end of an era, the world was devastated.

Mark David Chapman was a dangerous man, his wide knew of his plan and his obsession and yet did nothing, complicit in an unnecessary murder and yet never charged. Marks biggest issue with John was that he preached peace and love but still had millions in the bank. Personally im not sure how having millions in the bank has to do with ones ability to preach peace and love. Sure you could argue that Money makes everything easier but I don’t think you love any less whether you are rich or poor.

His connection to the Catcher in the Rye highlights his mental health issues and his desire to be the 17 year old protagonist are a clear sign that he was unstable. Mark Chapman clearly wanted to address his displeasure with the world but the book has no murder in it, he had taken it one step further. The book itself has been linked to three murders, which in my personal opinion is a shame, as that is not what the book is about, it could be argued as a coming of age book and a teenager’s disgust with the world.

If Mark Chapman hadn’t killed John Lennon on that fateful day, how different would the world be now? Yoko Ono remains artistic and known for her peace activism but in my opinion does not have the same influence as John had or ever will despite his death.

As he said if its not OK it’s not the end, but when will the end come?

The Reason We Breathe

Today the Nobel Prize Committee announced that the 2019 Medicine Laureates will be William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza who have identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen.

Thanks to the groundbreaking work of these Nobel Laureates, we know much more about how different oxygen levels regulate fundamental physiological processes. Oxygen sensing allows cells to adapt their metabolism to low oxygen levels: for example, in our muscles during intense exercise. Other examples of adaptive processes controlled by oxygen sensing include the generation of new blood vessels and the production of red blood cells. Our immune system and many other physiological functions are also fine-tuned by the O2- sensing machinery. Oxygen sensing has even been shown to be essential during fetal development for controlling normal blood vessel formation and placenta development.

Nobel Prize Committee 07/10/19

The importance of such research is sometimes lost in the way we are taught about life, before the internet it was common for only minimal education was provided regarding nutrition and how the body works, if you wanted to know you had to go to University. Now we have an open sharing source of information compiled from international sources where we can look up pretty much anything we could possibly want to know. There is an opportunity for all of us to optimise our health by truly understanding our bodies. Body builders are on a constant quest for perfection and anything that will make that easier is worth knowing, if you are rehabilitating from an injury you want to give your body its best chance you can.

The internet has changed the way we learn, some one is bound to have already asked the question there is often a video answering any how-to questions you might have. There is now also scientific information readily available which can educate us far beyond a how-to video could, previously if you wanted that information you would have to be a medical professional with access to research papers, it enables you to make an informed decision for your body.

There are some who follow regimes blindly with no actual regard for their bodies, they don’t read they simply take the latest pill or injection and hope it works, then when it stops working because their body is out of sync and risk permanently damaging their health. Then there are those who care about their bodies, they think about what they are putting in it, they think about the long term effects not just the short term gain.

It pays to be aware of scientific discoveries as they can explain things you might never have understood otherwise. It can be equally dangerous as people may only use half the information but unfortunately that is a risk that science takes every time it publishes research.

The Never Ending #MeToo Arguement

The desire to be an actor can make one do strange things, it puts the people who hire and fire in the most sacred of positions. For years aspiring actors and actresses have ‘done things’ in the hope they might get their first break, does it make it right? No. The psychopathic tendencies of those in senior positions extends outside of Hollywood, whether we like to admit it or not there are a large number of people who are not afraid to use their power for their own sexual gratification.

Women have been conditioned to think they are the weaker sex, our physical strength is different due to physiological differences but it could be argued that we would be as strong as men if we were ‘allowed.’ We have fought tirelessly for equality when we could be fighting for superiority (there is no reason why we couldn’t be the superior race we give life to the world for crying out load) there should be no need to seek permission to improve.

Sadly we cannot change the past and all the people who have suffered at the hands of those on power trips cannot really be recompensed for their suffering, money cant change the years of emotional distress caused by sexual assault, our only choice going forward is to reduce the silence, social media has helped and hindered with this issue as it gives a voice to those who want to cry wolf but it can also help people deal with their issues because they have space to share. It is also imperative in my opinion to maintain a level of awareness and be clear about your intentions, if you are uncomfortable leave, don’t feel frightened, fortunately there is less of a culture for silence since the introduction of the #metoo movement and the ousting of a number of culprits.

I speak entirely as someone observing from the outside, I have not felt the pain experienced by these people I cannot imagine what it would be like living with such secrets but there is no need for silence anymore, people can be brought to justice and it makes it easier if there is evidence. There is no need to suffer in silence anymore.

The Komodo Members Only Club

These majestic creatures are one of the few original links with our distant prehistoric past. They have been subject so several documentaries over the years including a starring role in the BBC’s epic natural history program Life narrated by the master himself Sir David Attenborough.

They are my favourite living dragon, their resilience is second to none, they are however dying out. The reduction in food and a large influx of tourism is seeing a decline in the population on dragon island. The Indonesian governments initial reaction was to consider banning tourists as the numbers have been steadily growing since its discovery in the mid 20th century, earlier in the century claims of giant crocodiles emanated from the island and its said it inspired the very first King Kong movie. The increase in ecotourism has been a mixed blessing, it raises awareness for important issues but in the same vein continues to destroy the very thing these people are trying to protect.

After some consideration the Indonesian government have come to an alternative solution, which if it works then it may help to solve the over all problem. In 2020 new membership fees of up to $1000 (one years access) to the Island will be put in place, tourists will be able to visit the national park without paying the membership fee which also houses the Jurassic lizards. In 2018 it is estimated that over 170,000 up significantly from 44,000 ten years previously. People visited the island which is crazy when you consider the size of it paying around $10 for access. That gives you some scale of the problem, its not just the dragons who are affected the indigenous population are at risk from displacement just as much as the dragons are.

Personally I feel that ecotourism does more hard than good, I appreciate that people want to help but visiting and staring will not help them, pouring money into the local economy may help in small doses but does not solve the problem. Time and space to rebuild the ecology of the island is the only thing that will help the decline.

A New Point of View

I am here to tell you a story, its one of courage and independence, based on true events, let your imagination run wild.

I lived a life of solitude during my youth, although I had friends and family, I spent much time at the computer, sometimes writing, mostly communicating with my online friends in chat rooms, living the emo life.

The move to social media brought with it a different world. Instead of talking to just those in your ‘room’ your profile was public, worldwide communication just got a whole lot easier, people can search and potentially find anyone, track anyone down. Online maps with GPS have become widely used for all sorts of situations.

I was one of the lucky ones, nobody paid attention to me and I didn’t do anything worth noticing, lulled into a false sense of security I assumed it would carry on forever. Surely no one would realise? I was wrong I assumed no one was paying attention. The day came, I had half expected it but hoped it wouldn’t.

I stood at the bottom of the precipice looking up, how did this happen? I looked at the walls, before I would have stopped there and admitted defeat, this time it was different I saw the half brick, I dragged my foot up and put my weight on it, the next was a little further, my other foot scrabbled to grip it. I kept pushing, the light was getting brighter and suddenly I was at the top, the light shining bright, almost blinding, I tried to look around but it was difficult to see much detail. Did I climb too fast? I wondered why the world hadn’t swam into view yet, then suddenly it all became clear, I looked back down, from the top of the cliff, I could see the valley floor now, where before there was a dark wasteland now lay a luscious green space filled with light.