Blank Maps Can’t Show Us the Way

You know, duh. A blank map is essentially just a sheet of paper. It’s quite certainly not going to tell you anything whatsoever. Sure, you can confidently stride your way through secure in the knowledge that before long the wrong way will become the right one thanks to your sheer pure magnetism. Or something. Plus, you’ve got a smartphone with GPS included so can not only know precisely where you are at all times but where that is in relation to where you wish to be. Unless the signal runs out on you.

There are times in life when you reach unchartered waters. They might be virgin territory for all concerned (unless you’ve been planet hopping it’s probably more metaphorical than geographical as our earth has been pretty well picked over already) or you could simply have lost the chart (it’s all about perspective isn’t it? That’s what I’ve decided at any rate). It’s up to you to fill in the map so that those that come after you have that much of an advantage, it’s your social duty or whatever.

For example, we’re in a situation of political flux. We’re ready to negotiate the minefield of Brexit. What we keep being told in that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is a blank map if ever I’ve seen one (also because I haven’t been remotely bothered to find out the various ins and outs of whatever Article 50 entails). We can’t just stumble forwards blindly. Alright, we clearly can but we definitely shouldn’t.

Without a worn path before you what you really ought to do is to dip into the bag of alternative navigation methods. Decide what your guiding light is going to be, orientate you by the light of the sun, get an experienced explorer in to help you to negotiate the road ahead. Whatever you need to do but don’t plunge ahead on nothing but a wing and a prayer out of stubborn bloody mindedness. Prime Minister.

Song choices: Cold Specks, The Goo Goo Dolls and Patrick Doyle


Get on Your Nerdy Cold Showers

What’s so nerdy about a cold shower? I definitely heard you pose that question, you really can’t pretend you didn’t say it. It’s alright, someone out there has to carry the burden of being the one to ask the stupid questions. This allows the rest of us to wallow in sheer superiority but also lends an opportunity to get information out there that everyone sorely needs but is too embarrassed to ask for. Sometimes the only way to learn your own viewpoint is to attempt to explain it.

As a lady, I don’t exactly have a perspective on the gentleman’s predicament when it comes to requiring a cold shower. My libido is capable of being perfectly meek and well behaved when presented with no other outlet (it’s faintly disappointing in a way) so dousing it in chilly hydrate doesn’t seem like a constructive way of dealing with the situation.

Maybe I should try it but cold showers feel so inherently miserable that I really don’t want to have to. I’d rather hold my head vaguely near the jet than let any of the water splash onto my vulnerable flesh. Then again, when the weather’s upsettingly sticky, a fabulously tepid shower might be just the thing to perk you up. I’m getting distracted though, we need to get back to the unbridled nerdiness of it all and not in the recently chic way.

On an intellectual level, it’s possible to appreciate that cold showers might actually be beneficial to you in a number of ways. Blasting yourself with artic jets is supposed to close the pores and do fabulous things for your skin. Especially if you’re like me and are prone to unsightly skin conditions. Cold water might be your friend then. Or, and I cannot bring myself to bother with the research on this matter but nonetheless, it may well have something to do with muscle relaxing or some such? Don’t know. Get on your cold showers. I’m going to luxuriate in scalding water and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Song choices courtesy of: U2, Weird Al Yankovic and Rachel Bloom

Tea Party in the Morning Let Me Go

That title’s almost definitely missing a comma but I’m sure we can live with such a travesty. You’re probably mature enough to handle it. Let’s get onto the infinitely more fascinating topic at hand, tea. I’ve previously touched upon my life of the frankly fantastic liquid (I am in no way overcompensating for the fact that I don’t enjoy coffee especially when you take into account that I have decided that green tea isn’t for me either. And I have milk with tea. Heinous as far as ‘authentic’ or ‘serious’ tea users probably feel). But what I’ve never attended is a bona fide tea party.

Sure, I’ve gone for afternoon tea several times. It’s an activity that has a particularly special place in my heart for various reasons and not just because of the clotted cream deposits in my major arteries. But what constitutes a tea party? Probably more than two people (or on an especially desperate day, me alone hunched over the scones daring anyone to attempt to take them away from me) for one thing.

You probably have to wear something a little more special than jeans and a stripy top. There may be patterned dresses or skirts involved. Especially flattering on the chaps I feel. There’s friendship all about and special fancy little cakes with buttery icing and more calories than is good for anyone really but only adds an extra layer of cheerful decadence to proceedings.

Maybe I’m getting a little bit too excited, lending inflated niceness to proceedings but I do think it would be lovely. There’s something special about catching up with old friends over a pot of tea. Perhaps you disagree, let’s find out whose right then. What I suggest is that in the morning of the future (i.e. sooner rather than later) we all get together for a tea party. We can debate as to whether the cream or jam goes on top and such. I definitely won’t regret this proposal when I have hundreds of folk turning up on my doorstep demanding sanctuary and access to my kettle.

Song choices courtesy of: Tom Howe, 3 Doors Down and The Coral

So Nice Walking Backwards Through Jet Lag

I don’t travel enough. Well, I travel every now and then because I have the disposable income to do so, yo (also, no children or pets so don’t have to worry about putting anything into kennels before fleeing the country. Yep, I’m going to be an excellent mother) and only feel mildly guilty for doing so (on a good day, not when subjected to mournful charity adverts pleading for my monthly donation).

However, I’ve only journeyed a few times in my life far enough to experience jet lag. And I was a teenager at the time so I doubt that’s an entirely representative sample of how it generally is. On the other hand, I am equipped of this incredibly powerful imagination of mine so I can probably translate instances in my own life into what it’s probably like.

Think of yourself with a cold (I totally haven’t had a thoroughly stinking one recently and feel compelled to share the pain in an indirect quest for sympathy from strangers). You can hardly breathe, perhaps your throat is sore and scratchy, your eyes mighty be streaming from the virus or possibly just the sadness of being not quite well. Your situation is quite definitely under the weather. A heaviness has settled not just over your sinuses but steadfastly atop your entire being.

Now cast your mind backwards. To those heady halcyon days when you were well. Perhaps that’s overstating things. On a normal day you’ve got that ache in your legs or hips or feet or whatever, those allergies you’re so very proud of and are almost always on the brink of a headache. You don’t have to feel your pulse pounding through your nose though. Whenever you’re not quite right you can always recall in terrifying detail what it was like before and long for that time to come again.

Song choices courtesy of: The Moldy Peaches, Shpongle and Frank Turner

Shepherd Book’s Last Fate

Courtesy of my new workplace, I have various new fancy toys to play around with. Also, I now have two monitors to enjoy along with the previously alluded to sophisticated hardware I’m trying rather hard not to destroy (as far as I’m concerned, this now means I’ve officially transitioned into the technology sector away from the medical or professional services or whatever I was doing before).

But enough bragging, we’ve got time for that later. As part of getting up to speed, I’ve been attempting to get my extra screen to perform all variety of interesting tricks. Thus far, I’ve made it turn off remotely (ah, the warm glow of pride. Behold my technical prowess and weep. Or, quite possibly, snigger) and display an array of Whedonverse quotes. It’s totally appropriate for my work station to include a thousand year old ex-demon protesting that she has finesse emerging from an orifice from which the sun does not shine, right? Anyway, I totally know how to change it so it’s basically fine.

Anyway, dipping back into that well of witticisms gets one thinking about characters who will never truly leave us. Despite being all kinds of dead. But who was Shepherd Book really? Sure, during one of his final scenes he as good as told us that he doesn’t have to tell us a damn thing about his murky history but that doesn’t exactly stop a girl from wondering. Even though, sad to say, he wasn’t exactly my favourite character. Not even amongst the limited pool of those with mysterious pasts (which to be fair, was most of them when you think about it).

Why did he know so much about the ways of the Alliance and have a more than seemly propensity for shooting kneecaps. Especially in a holy man. Sure, I could invent a history that more or less fits the bill. Or I could go hunting online for fan theories or breadcrumbs released by the relevant parties. And yet, perhaps his last fate is to remain forevermore an enigma to the slavering masses of rabid fans. But that’s a bit of a cop out. Or is it?

Song choices courtesy of: David Newman and Patrick Doyle


Touch the Substitute in the Waiting Line

Oh this is quite definitely going to get me in trouble. I even happen to know someone who’s currently a substitute teacher. Envy my social circle, feel the jealousy coursing through your veins.  Just before we get down to anything though, it’s always worth remembering that you don’t actually have to obey every last thing I say that could be interpreted as a command, order or garden variety demand.

When I say touch the substitute in the waiting line I absolutely do not mean that the next time you find yourself standing in a queue for some good or service and discover that someone in your vicinity is an itinerant educator you ought to connect your fingers with their face. Or anywhere else such as fun time region or special place. If you feel such an overwhelming urge bubbling up then try and restrain yourself. Remember that you’re British and we don’t like physical contact. Or if you’re not then at least attempt to get unequivocal permission before any touching occurs.

Obviously I’m talking in metaphor or hyperbole or whatever (it doesn’t really make sense there, I just like the word hyperbole and enjoy setting pronunciation traps for the unsuspecting. Oh yes, I am that kind of evil. Also in a slightly strange mood, not sure why). Or perhaps I’m hedging my way towards addressing a situation when all social protocols have broken down and how you should get through such a thing alive.

Queuing is a very important practice. It’s one of the few methods we have in this world of making sure that the deserving are rewarded. If you want a thing then you should be prepared to do something in order to earn it. Waiting around for an indeterminate period of time seems like a perfectly reasonable way to achieve that. However, when folk attempt to buck the system by barging in or having others to hold their place then you should feel free to touch them. A poke to the shoulder to demand what they’re doing is reasonable. A shove might be going too far. Bludgeoning them to death might be a little frowned upon.

Song choices courtesy of: Julie Fowlis, Frank Turner and Zero 7

I’ll Count Every Stale Song Title

In this digital age (I seem to be coming out with sweeping generalisations about the time we live in, before too long I’ll be letting you know just how much more excellent things were in my day. You know, oblivious to the fact that they weren’t and I’m merely trying to distract myself from various worries about the future), we can amass great collections of data, like music (I know, long run up for a relatively tiny pay-off. I need to improve my segues).

These melodic minutes build up into a massive bolus of fluttering notes and soaring basslines. Or something. And close up you begin to see endlessly repeated motifs. Stuff about beauty and love and sex and death. Heartbreak and hearts numb from previous pain. Almost as if writing a song about it can bring about some variety of catharsis. To turn out something no one else has ever attempted means that sometimes titles have become somewhat unwieldy or more than a little weird. Otherwise, people have simply submitted to the formulaic inevitability of their lyrics.

Sure, I can hardly talk when it comes to accusation of unoriginality. I cannibalise and reappropriate the work of others whenever I see fit like some sort of creative parasite or artistic vampire (as long as that doesn’t sound like I’m building myself up to be something terribly grandiose. I’d hate for you to think I was getting ideas above my station). Then again, I’d like to think that in amongst the incoherent ramblings and fragments that sound rather a lot like something you’ll have heard before are one or two bits and pieces you’ve never heard before. And not simply because of my habit of making words up.

So maybe I should cut artists a little bit of slack. After all, we all deserve time to be allowed to warm up and develop. It’s not as if they’re expecting vast sums of money to what essentially amounts to the first pancake. Or indeed to instances further down the line when they’ve started to phone things in just a little. Ah. Well, we can take solace in the fact that no one’s going to fall for that nonsense, right?

Song choices courtesy of: Rebecca Ferguson and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.