There are stupid questions

April 12, 2020 Leave a comment
No Stupid Questions [Comic]

and equally stupid answers!

Now I will admit that the governments commitment to a daily briefing has put both ministers and journalist in a difficult predicament.

It made sense a few weeks ago, when things where changing daily. New economic measures being put in place, new restrictions, giant sums of imaginary money being created and splashed around with ever increasing attempt to show just how much bigger and better the things we where doing were than our European counterparts.

However now each briefing is largely just repeats of the day before, a sobering tally of the cases, admissions and deaths, a plea once again for people to not be selfish twats and repetition of how unprecedented both the situation and the support provided are.

This is then followed by a series of inane, largely pointless and in most cases already answered questions. Their goal to catch people out or create some controversy that can be sensationalized as a bold all caps headline rather than educate and inform their readers.

Ministers, a profession whose entire ethos is based on never being direct, using as many large words with little meaning as possible and putting their political career at the heart of everything then desperately try to not-answer these questions in the most non committal way in case someone holds them to it or attributes it them.

This leaves the scientist, the only people in the room intelligent enough to understand the situation, and the only ones able to provide the straight answers. Unfortunately for them the press don’t have the intelligence to understand their replies or the attention span to listen to their entire answer and so instead will just pick on the most sensationalist part of the answer and publish that, our of context and incorrectly.

All of this would be frustrating enough if the questions where not in themselves so entirely ridiculous and used even just a tiny amount of common sense.

I mean seriously ….?

I don’t like the current government, I don’t like Boris, I believe that the way that they handled this crisis was incorrect and I don’t believe the way they are handling it now is tough enough.

But, I also don’t think asking them questions that they are logically unable to answer, or undermining them questioning policies that the public are already desperately trying to find loopholes in is helpful.

Don’t get me wrong the government can help themselves, looking at a majority of the questions and answers that are provided each day at the moment, these could simply be included in a FAQ.

Inform the press that if their question is one of the ones from the FAQ sheet then their answer will simply be “please refer to the publicly available sheet.” if the press still want to waste their time asking a question they already know the answer to or know cannot be answered that’s on them.

They can also help them selves by being clear, not being so desperate to avoid answers, so desperate to take no responsibility for decisions, cleverly “blaming” the scientists for all the unpopular decisions.

I am not a Politician but it doesn’t seem that hard.

Q: Is it OK to leave my house and do XYZ thing?

A: You Should be staying at home unless you are: Going to work and it is required that you need to leave the house to do this. Exercise in your local area and we advise that if you have your own space such as a garden you should use this. Essential trips, this means Food and Medicine.

Q: We have heard from people that their employers are making people come to work in unsafe conditions where social distancing is not possible.

A: If you can work at home you should, this is not related to company policy this is if it is physically possible. In the event that you must go to work then your employer must ensure that social distancing is enforced. If it is not then they should not be open for business.

Q: When will the lockdown end?

A:We don’t know, we are reviewing daily along with all the evidence provided. It will need to continue until the disease is under control.

Q: Whats the Exit Strategy?

A: We are continually working on the exit strategy, however to share it at this point would be irresponsible. The data changes daily informing us as to what the best course of action would be. Broadly it will involve the relaxation of the current restrictions over a period of time. We expect some forms of Social distancing will need to be ongoing which will have impacts on large gatherings for example.

Q: You “promised” thing X by Y time period. Can you commit to this happening and by what date

A: Unfortunately this is a global pandemic, we have set our selves a goal of X thing by Y date, however making promises or commitments would be impossible. Not only the UK situation but the Global situation is changing daily so we have to constantly consider the supply and demand of thing X, health and well being of the staff, number of applicants etc.

Q: The UK hasn’t taken X action/took Y action later than other countries why is this and do you think this is/was the right decision?

A: There will be the appropriate time to review our initial response once we have gotten over this current crisis and this will be vitally important as this is not the first and wont be the last Global Pandemic. For current measures we are reviewing all policies on a daily basis with the relevant ministers and will use this daily briefing to update the public on any changes.

This of course is not an exhaustive list but I am pretty sure the above would “answer” around 90% of the questions asked at each briefing. They are of course not specific as in the current situation that’s not possible but they are at least clear.

Selfishness

April 5, 2020 1 comment
Image

As expected this weekends weather has put an additional strain on the lock down and bought out the selfish side of some, perhaps even many.

It has saddened me to see pictures from the media of people flocking to beaches, parks and other public places, not just to take their exercise which of course they are allowed but to sit and sunbathe, picnic and meet with friends.

It has saddened me to read articles through the week demonizing our police forces for trying to encourage people and eventually having to enforce the rules put in place to protect us, our families, friends , neighbors and random people we might not know.

It has saddened me to read articles having to explain to people the meaning of the words “essential” in hushed tones as to try not to upset their delicate readers, rather than admonish them for their behavior.

But what has saddened me more have been the comments under these articles or on twitter threads about these issues and the levels of complete and utter willful stupidity that has gone along with them.

People commenting on pictures of sunbathers praising their use of social distancing and defending them, all the while not having the basic common sense to understand that the only reason that said distance can be maintained is that the vast majority of people are not selfish jerks.

People commenting on the police crackdowns for “going a bit to far” for telling people that popping to the tip, or to by some new flowers for the garden are not essential trips. Worse, people willfully misunderstanding these police interjections.

No one begrudges you purchasing some Compost, Easter Eggs or a brand new pair of tights if its part of your weekly shop. The issue is idiots like the woman I saw in Tesco’s with a trolley full of nothing but flowers and bottled water, or the family of four driving to tip with every last inch of their car full of junk from a “Bank Holiday” clear out.

You shouldn’t need the government to give you a specific list of what is and isn’t an acceptable reason to be going out, more importantly you don’t want that list. The moment it is eventually published the argument will move from not being clear enough to being to authoritarian.

Its not just about the risk of your own death, or those of the people you encounter, or those of your loved ones. Scary as the death figures are in terms of %’s of the population they are small. With that in mind I can understand people thinking to themselves that they will probably be safe but death, your own or someone else’s is not the only risk

If you are finding it impossible to follow these restrictive rules now when ignoring them means that you will inevitably catch the virus and are restricted quite literally to your property, no 1 hour exercise, no shops, no contact of any kind for 7-14 days depending on how many people live in your property, how will you cope?

I would hazard a guess that you won’t and you will continue to ignore the rules, continue to go outside even when you know you are sick. At that point you not risking peoples deaths, your responsible for them.

I get that people don’t wan’t to stay in, it sucks. It sucks even more when the weather is like this. It would be great if it would piss it down with rain for the next 3 months and force people to stay in but that seems unlikely.

This lock-down is mentally challenging, weird, disarming, unprecedented, difficult, boring and frustrating but one part of it that is easy is the act of staying inside.

There is no inevitable force pulling you outside, some outside influence that you can blame for going outside. Every time you leave the house it is a conscious decision, a choice that you alone are responsible for, you weighed up the importance of your trip with the consequences and decided they were acceptable.

So if your trip wasn’t for food, work or exercise then own that, when you get fined by the police accept it, when people call you selfish accept it, when someone you know or care about dies accept it, when tougher rules are enforced accept that, every time the lock-down is extended accept that.

You already made the choice that what ever non essential trip you are making was worth all of the above.

If you want to ignore the advice at least have the balls to admit your selfishness, don’t try and hide it behind the fallacies , corner case arguments or justify it by willfully misunderstanding the advice.

Categories: Uncategorized

Pandemics: Stop eating meat?

April 1, 2020 Leave a comment

There may well be good reasons to stop eating meat, but pandemics isn’t one of them.

Now let me start by saying Steak is literally my favorite meal. I am 110% pro meat eating, I don’t believe there is any ethical question to be answered about the consumption of meat and I think that Vegan [Insert meat dish hear] taste about as close to the real thing as cardboard does to caviar.

With that in mind take everything I say with the assumption that it has a healthy amount of self bias and whilst I will have done some “research” I am not going to have heard of the obscure Vegan weekly that published a study about the benefits of a plant based diet on Small Pox, I’m not going to accept the words of an individual doctor or scientist as fact, and i’m not going to believe the Black plague was started by Marmot farming.

But all that aside the specifics of this post are in relation to Pandemics and eating meat.

I am sure you have all seen variations of the below on your twitter feeds over the last few weeks.

Now to start at the most obvious point, as far as I can tell with the exception of CJD, none of the below can be caught from eating any of the animals listed or in fact any other animal and even in the case of CJD eating Beef itself was not the issue, it was the specifics of what cows at that time where fed, hence we still eat Beef today!

So moving onto the 2nd point.

If we look at the history of pandemics, the eating of meat plays at best a limited part in them, and at worst little to no part.

The History of Pandemics by Death Toll

Now what is true of pretty much all of the above is that Animals have been involved with their transmission to humans.

It might surprise you to know that Dogs, Horses and Cats for can all get Flu and the Swine and Bird Flu outbreaks could have just as easily been Cat or Dog flu outbreaks.

As far as I can tell their are no reasons that flu in farmed animals such as Chickens and Pigs are more likely to mutate to be able to infect humans than domestic animals such as Cats and Dogs.

If you want to advocate the complete and utter eradication of animal interaction from human beings then perhaps your message of stopping Pandemics could hold some weight.

I mean it doesn’t really, they will just come from somewhere else, nature finds a way.

And lets be clear, virus’s, Bacteria, Pandemics are all Nature.

We might think of them only in Human terms, and how they are caused by Human behavior but that is just our species over inflated sence of importance and superiority.

Books friends have written

March 22, 2020 Leave a comment

In these unsettling times, when we are all spending more time at home one of the things that we need to do is find new things to occupy us.

As anyone who has read this blog for any period of time will know the reason behind it is to help me finally write one of the many books that I seem to think are stuck in my head.

What you probably also know is the real reason for this blog is to give me the excuse to say I was writing something despite it not remotely being the thing I said I was going to write in the first place.

Anyway… Over the years there are a number of people I know who have had far more staying power than me and not only written, but also published and released the stories they wanted to tell.

All three are available as part of Kindle Unlimited (At least they are on my subscription, although this may depend on your region) so assuming you already subscribe to Amazon Prime you can get all three of these for Free to keep you entertained over these crazy end of the world months. Even if you don’t have Prime they are all under £5.

I thoroughly enjoyed all three of them although i’ll admit it is possible that I am biased.

Ill post the links and blurbs below! Just click on the Book cover to head to their page on Amazon.

Check them out and let me, and more importantly them know what you think.

The Devil's Playbook by [Le Sueur, Anthony]

Angels exist. They are hidden among us, looking just like us, guiding and influencing our lives. They could be any one of the people you pass every day. Your neighbour, your hairdresser, or the homeless man on the corner; you will never know, and they work to keep it that way.

But they are not alone, for demons also exist. Working in secret, they manipulate society in their own way, ever the counterpoint to the work of the angels. Bound by strict covenant, both sides have long refrained from revealing their true nature to humanity.

Until now, that is. While sat in a coffee shop in London, Andy has just discovered the truth. He’s been approached by a rather talkative man who, not simply content with interrupting Andy’s thoughts, also just introduced himself…

…he says he’s The Devil.

Karroté by [Watkinson, Duncan]

Pansy is a cantankerous old misery, a dreadful cynic and pretty much burning up with hate and regret. It is only natural therefore that for many years he has pursued a successful career in teaching.

Pansy has history – ‘an eventful past’ shall we say, and unbeknownst to the rest of his warren, who think he is merely a grumpy old git, Pansy was once arguably the most dangerous rabbit on the planet. For you see, in his youth, Pansy was a fox-killer.

That was a lifetime ago, but as we all know, like Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, or a one night stand with a fat chick, one’s past does have a rather annoying habit of catching up with you eventually…

Karroté is a comedy fantasy for adults. This novel strips away all of the conventional romance and fluffy niceties associated with the talking animal genre. It laughs in the face of cute, and flips the vees at cuddly. Welcome to life at the bottom of the Food Chain.

Puerile, vulgar, and a grammatical affront to English speakers everywhere, this book is not recommended for children – or lovers of foxes with vivid imaginations.

Empire of Dirt by [Wavre, Tom]

Bloodied and broken a man has been discovered close to death by local police. Is this attempted murder, an accident or attempted suicide?

Finding himself slowly descending into his own private hell, and spiralling into madness, Tim has a choice to make, fight for his sanity or let the darkness take control. With an abusive father coupled with a negligent mother who can not face up to, or defend her son from, the violence in her own house, Tim is determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past, however, is seeing your fate approach you enough to stop it.

As Tim looks to confront his abusers and overcome the violent urges that have followed him throughout his life he starts to discover whether nature & nurture have already taken their dreadful toll. Tortured by violent fantasies can Tim summon up the strength of character needed to lead the life he craves or, whilst demonstrating the signs of the homicidal triad, is his fate already set.

Finding himself at a crossroads in his life, Tim has finally found the help he needs but will it prove too late?

Games for the Kids

March 21, 2020 Leave a comment

With the Schools now closed and the continued advice to stay in your house as much as possible those of use with Kids are going to find filling their time difficult.

Whilst under normal circumstance you might limit how much time they have on consoles, tablets or other devices in the current circumstances I can see many of us being a bit more lenient.

As someone with younger children (4&5) They are only just entering the world of the console, although they both probably know more about their tablets than I do.

Whilst the games that I mention below are not educational they do serve some purpose other than just giving the kids a break from what ever home schooling you may be doing during this time, or giving you 20 mins to drink a cup of tea in relative peace.

First of all they are FUN. The boys are literally bouncing with excitement, laughing and smiling as they play!

Second they help with both hand eye coordination and puzzle solving, something that over the time since Xmas that the kids have had these two games has been clear in the change of how much help they need from me to play.

The two games that I bought for them were Paw Patrol On a Roll and Dreamworks Dragons: Dawn of New Riders. Both games come from a family run publisher Outright Games who actually have plenty of Family Friendly titles all based on brands and shows that your kids probably already know.

Both titles are single player, however we found that Joe will sit and watch Dan playing Paw Patrol and then be on hand to help Dan when he gets stuck, and if we give Dan a non working controller to use he would happily watch Joe play Dragons and actually thought he was part of the action.

I’ll leave as short write up below but if you are looking for something additional to keep the kids occupied whilst they are stuck inside my boys would recommend both of them.

Paw Patrol on a Roll is available on PS4, XBOX, Switch and PC and has a PEGI rating of 3 and an E rating for ESRB meaning it is suitable for pretty much everyone.

The game is a simple side scrolling plat-former, with you collecting Pub treats as you go up to a total of 200, every level also has 5 golden paw prints to find.

The game is easy enough for a youngster to play, Daniel (4) played it pretty much solo with just the odd jump needing some help. By now he can do it entirely independently.

In addition to the Platforming there are some very light puzzles, these mostly just involve you picking which of the pups gadgets you need to use to solve a situation, but some of them also have some shape matching.

You get to play as all of the pups including the newer characters Avalanche and Tracker. Each level is set up in line with the standard plot of the show, Rider gives the briefing and chooses the two pups you play as and off you go. There are 16 levels in total.

The graphics are pretty much identical to the animation from the show, and the voices, music and jingles are all included so if your little one is anything like Daniel then they will think they are literally playing the show.

I’m not a critic so I won’t give it a rating but Daniel says its 10/10!

DRAGONS_US_PC_X1-PS4-SWIT.jpg

Dreamworks Dragons: Dawn of New Riders eis available on PS4, XBOX, Switch and PC and has a PEGI rating of 7 and an E10 rating for ESRB meaning it is suitable for 7-10+ depending on your region. Joe is only 5 (almost 6) but is a big fan of the Dragonrider Movies and Series and after checking out the title before purchasing I was comfortable with him playing, but please do you own research on this as everyone has different opinions of what is acceptable to their child.

The game is a dungeon-crawler/ARPG set in the world of the Dragonriders. You play as what I believe are two new characters, Scribbler (Rider) and Patch (Dragon), although you do meet and interact with characters from the movies/series.

The game features multiple locations, both new ones and ones from the movies/series. To start with you are on foot for the first part of the adventure but after completing that the world opens up and you get the opportunity to fly.

The flying isn’t really part of the game play, its more just a travel mechanic to the different islands but Joe enjoyed just flying around aimlessly anyway although I think an older child would expect their to be more to this flying mechanic.

Each island comprises of an outside area that you travel through beating mobs, solving some puzzles and then eventually reaching a dungeon where you do the same thing, although the inside section have a few more puzzle based sections and these are a bit more challenging as well.

Along the way you collect various resources which you can spend to upgrade you weapons and equipment, or spend on potions.

In addition you also get some power ups and special moves you can do such as calling a certain dragon to help you for example.

The Visual style is inline with the movies/series, although its a shame that their doesn’t seem to be the voices from them. There is a considerable amount of text involved with letters between the characters for example giving some of the story exposition, we found this both good and bad. As there was no voice overs its was a requirement for this to be read which meant whilst Joe didn’t really need help with the game play he did often need help with understanding what he was being told to do. On a positive note we used this to help with is reading, by getting him to read the shorter sections out loud.

Again I wont give it a score but Joe would definitely recommend this title.

As the boys respective first experiences on console they were both enjoyable and challenging, and the set up for each of them worked well to manage play time, either with limiting to 1 or 2 levels for Paw Patrol or being able to say “the next game over” for Dragons.

I would recommend both titles and off the back of this I think it would be worth checking out some of the other family friendly titles from Outright Games.

Going Woke

March 1, 2020 Leave a comment

I dislike Woke, Political Correctness, Virtue Signaling, Cancel Culture and any of the many other terms now used in a derogatory way to put people down for what essentially equates to not being an asshole.

I’m fed up of hearing about what “Snowflakes” millennial’s are, of people writing articles not knowing what age millennial’s are, reading about how Films, Movies, Books, Comics, Celebrities, in fact everything, didn’t used to be political.

Its all Bollocks!

In my opinion, “PC culture” doesn’t really exist, at least not in the way that those offended by offense would have you believe. It, like is contemporaries I mention in the opening paragraph are “flags” used by the media to create headlines and of course sell news papers of the back of angry, offended , clearly not “snowflake”, “Grown ups.”

A convenient and populist excuse for those stuck in the past to justify their casual racism/homophobia/misogyny etc. A extension of the “it was another time, the rules were different” excuse.

A replacement for the tabloids who used to scare up euro myths and tell us about “Health and Safety gone mad” using the same tactics to manufacture the headlines then.

Despite what the Daily Mail and its ilk will have you think, “Woke millennial’s” are not rewriting bingo terms, demanding the Mr Men , Secret Santa, Black Friday or what ever other ridiculous headline grabbing thing they have dreamed up be banned.

Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that you can find some of them who do, I am sure with a small enough sample size you can make statistics that support all of the above, but all it takes is looking past the summary and adding some context to debunk any of these.

Contrary to popular belief the “Woke Left” and “Cancel Culture” haven’t resulted in the demise of comedy, it hasn’t even resulted in the cancellation of those who have supposedly been cancelled. In fact many of them seem to have got lucrative Netflix shows of the back of it.

Despite what the media, twitter and arch “snowflake” Piers Morgan would have you believe, Hollywood celebrities involvement in, comments on and use of award ceremonies to make political statements, “virtual signaling” in order to appeal to the younger audience.

Brando was doing it in ’73, Sarandon and Robbins in ’93, and if you move to music you can hardly play a song from the 60’s and 70’s that doesnt have an opinion on the Vietnam War.

80’s music had its own piece of wokeness with a little know music event held in ’85

If you listen to the twittersphere, TV, Movies and Games apparent focus on diversity and wokeness over quality is killing them. The numbers would disagree.

Whilst its true there are plenty of examples of divisive reactions to the entertainment products that have been accused of being “Woke” by having the audacity to include Women, POC or LGBT characters or story-lines in them, but critical and financial success seems to have largely been unhindered by this.

To be fair I don’t think I have seen one real world example of the “Get Woke, Go Broke” mantra.

Woke, a word that means – aware, especially of social problems such as racism and inequality. Has now become an insult, co opted by those who feel oppressed or challenged by this awareness.

Anyone who expresses an opinion on these problems being labeled a “Social Justice Warrior” or accused of “Virtue Signaling” essentially aiming to discredit someones motives rather than trying to argue the facts behind it. Ad Hominem arguments aren’t new this is just the current terminology used in them, but still I find it weird.

I mean is “Virtue Signaling” really an insult? technically by accusing someone of this you are agreeing with their point. In order for it to be a virtue signal surely it has to be a moral cause that associating your self with would provide some form of self smug superiority.

Really the person decrying the Virtue signaler is the one who comes off looking bad. Their stance is ultimately, “I agree Nazi’s are bad, but you know whats worse? People who say Nazi’s are bad and also once bought something from Ikea.”

That’s a seriously fucked up take!

The Big Mac Index

February 23, 2020 Leave a comment
Image result for big mac index video games

One of the things I mentioned that I wanted to try and do as part of this “relaunch” of the blog was give some insight into my job.

This topic loosely connects with my job or is at least adjacent to it so is a way to ease into it without any concerns about giving away trade secrets!

One area of my role is pricing, there are various things that go into this , the product quality, the genre, the market conditions and many other various internal measures as you would expect with the pricing of any product.

The next thing you need to consider is how this price point relates to each currency.

I’m not going to go into regional pricing itself in this post, why you should/shouldn’t apply this to your game, which countries you should consider it for and which platforms it impacts the most. I’ll save that for a potential future blog post, but its suffice to say that with so many different currencies and economies to consider it can be a huge task.

As with the initial price point there are multiple variables that need to be considered and tools that can be used for this, and there is no one size fits all solution.

However one tool that business selling product in multiple currencies might utilize is the Big Mac Index or Burgernomics.

The Big Mac index was invented in 1986 by the Ecconomist. Essentially it is a economic theory that uses the iconic “Big Mac” as a way of establishing purchasing power parity.

I guess the first question is “Why the Big Mac?” and the second is “what is Purchasing Power Parity?” so i’ll answer them in that order.

So why the Big Mac?

The model used the Big Mac as it makes sense as an international monetary standard. Its produced locally in more than 80 countries worldwide, with a largely static recipe making it close to the “the perfect universal commodity.”

Its not perfect, as experts point out. Due to labor costs for example the average price of a burger in some poorer nations could be expected to be cheaper, and the Economist itself does point out that the Big Mac Index “was never intended as a precise gauge of currency misalignment, merely a tool to make exchange-rate theory more digestible.”

There is now also a version that takes into account GDP giving a more accurate guide to the current fair value of currency.

Moving on, what is Purchasing Power Parity?

We all know that when we take a trip to a foreign country we need to have the appropriate currency and that currency will have an exchange rate at that time, for example during my recent trip to Paris every £1 would get me around €1.13. but purchasing power parity means that they would also buy the same thing.

So if we apply this to Big Macs using the Big Mac Index Converter (a little out of date) £1 buys 0.31 Big Macs in the UK but only 0.27 Big Macs in France.

The implied value of 1 GBP in France according to the Big Mac Index is 1.32 EUR. At this exchange rate purchasing power parity exists, and 1 GBP buys 0.31 Big Macs in both countries.

The real value of 1 GBP at market exchange rates is 1.13 EUR. There’s no purchasing power parity as 1 GBP buys 0.31 Big Macs in United Kingdom but 0.27 Big Macs in France. In other words that means that if something costs 1 GBP in United Kingdom, in order for it to have the same perceived value pricing in France, it has to be priced at 1.32 EUR.

If we calculate backwards the implied value of 1.32 EUR is 1 GBP and the real market value of 1.32 EUR is 1.17 GBP. In other words that means that in terms of actual purchasing power, having 1 GBP in France would be the same as having 0.86 GBP in United Kingdom.

The Euro and Pound are bad examples, as realistically the purchasing parity is pretty much the same but if you apply this to other currencies around the world you get some more interesting results.

For example if you compare Vs Russain Rubles, having £1 in Russia would be the same as having £1.93 in the UK.

This means if you where to take a product, lets say a brand new video game, typically priced at £49.99 here in the UK and then decide to sell it in Russia by simply converting to Rubles, in real terms you would be expecting someone to pay almost double what you are asking someone in the UK to pay.

It actually turns out that there is even a version of this method that someone put together using Games Consoles, Wiiconomics if you will. Although as far as I can tell this hasn’t been updated past the PS3/360 generation.

Tokyo: Anjin-san’s House

February 8, 2020 Leave a comment

As I have recently returned from a work trip to Tokyo I thought I would share another titbit from my trip this time last year with the Wife.

As I have mentioned many times on this blog one of, if not my actual favourite book of all time is Shogun by James Clavell.

Whilst the book itself is fiction, it is based heavily on the real life and experiences of English navigator WIlliam Adams and his relationship with the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.

So when visiting Japan I have made a point of visiting places that are linked to the book, I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago our day trip to the amazing Nikko, but the subject of this post was in Tokyo itself.

Whilst Adams was given his only land and titles in Yokosuka he also had a townhouse in Edo (Modern Tokyo) and today you can find a small plague that marks this near Nihonbashi.

https://goo.gl/maps/R8Pum52QmeFsXxCZ6

There are various other memorials to Adams around Japan but I have yet to visit those, but they are on my list for future visits.

If you are a fan of Shogun or in fact the Asia Saga in general and can recommend other interesting spots for me to visit to please let me know in the comments below.

Compost Heap

February 2, 2020 1 comment
Image result for compost heap images"

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been using Masterclass over the last year and one of the people to provide a class was Neil Gaiman.

As part of Neil’s 3rd Lesson “Sources of Inspiration” he mentions the idea of a compost heap, whilst listening I realised that this was something that I half do or in fact something really we all do to some extent but his talk gave me a more structured albeit simple way to do so, as well as a writing exercise.

For those of you who don’t know first Ill describe what a Compost Heap is an then move on to how it applies to writing.

A compost heap is a pile sometimes at the end of garden, nowadays even a small bin in the kitchen, where you put all of your garden waste; leaves, cut grass, flower dead heads etc. and food waste; meat, bones, fruit, vegetables etc.

All of this then gradually decomposes down leaving a nutrient rich compost that you use in your garden to make your plants grow bigger, better and more successfully.

So in relation to writing this could be a notepad, list on your phone, perhaps your computer, a scrap book or where ever you feel the most comfortable. Where you can add things that inspire or interest you, so that they can then decompose down into story ideas, scene ideas or even just writing prompts.

These things could be articles your read, a piece of art, a movie, another book, a photograph, essentially anything that could stir or contribute to a story in the future.

As someone who is lucky enough to travel a lot for work I tend to include interesting places that might be a cool setting for a future story, facts about historical people or places in that I see, individuals that I meet as ideas for characters out side of the people I meet normally.

You could do this for each individual project, or as a general pile for getting your next idea, its up to you.

Do you use something similar? if you don’t do you think this would be useful to you?

Story Structure or lack of….

January 21, 2020 1 comment

I have often mentioned the reason for this blog is to get me to write, with the long term goal being to get me to finally finish one of the stories that I have started, its largely just procrastination, writing about writing, writing in order to inspire myself to write or last of all writing instead of Writing.

I have mentioned before that I believe I am what they call a pantser, it someone who write by the seat of their pants, makes it up as they go along with little forward thinking on how or why. I generally find this to be pretty good, at least when I am flowing.

Where it all breaks down is when I hit a wall, I have no where to go. I am not entirely sure of the end point of the story let alone the end of the current “chapter”, I just write until I run out of steam, and then stop.

I somewhat think this lack of organisation has stopped me from progressing on a lot of the “projects” that I am “working on”

When I do run out of steam that lack of planning means that I a don’t really know to where to go. Metaphorically speaking I have no idea where the nearest petrol station is to fill up and get back on the road.

As I am aware of this I have been looking around at some ways to try and improve my process, whilst doing that it has come to my attention that I haven’t really even established the basics before I start to write. I generally just get an idea and role with it. I don’t have a logline, a story structure or even really a clear understanding of the plot.

During my “research” I came across this blog by Harry Bingham I am sure it is in no way unique, in fact it is probably a feature of many a writers 101 but what I really liked was the simple breakdown of the Story Structure, and then the plot/sub plot.

I currently have 4 “projects” on the go, I say on the go what I mean by that is they have some words, of varying degrees, associated with them.

There is the reason for the Blog the “So far untitled” Epic Fantasy , the historical Adventure to the new world, and then two that I have yet to share via this blog. The trials of a patient in a mental institute and the Tokyo “James Rollins” style Thriller inspired by my trips to Japan.

And this isn’t including the side project of trying to contribute to the awesome CyberNoir 2020

Having read the post I mentioned above, I realised not only have I not applied these simple steps to my plotting/story structure process, but I am not sure I can even do it retrospectively, however that is my plan to try and help me get back on track.

Breaking these “stories” down to their base, simple parts should ( I hope) give me a slightly clearer understanding of how I take them forwards.

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