The second book in the Cassandra Trilogy #1, Torn is exactly as the title describes. You become torn about ethics and morality. O.M Faure goes deeper than in Chosen to highlight the possibilities of what is to come.
In Torn, you start to get the flesh and bones of Olivia and DeAnn, your relationship with both characters change and you start to see that they really aren’t what you expected from the first book. DeAnn especially has a huge amount of growth throughout this book.
I read this pretty much straight after I finished Chosen. I bought both Torn and United (book 3) together and once I had finished Chosen at around 2 am, I had to start Torn as cliffhangers bug me and, well, it just made me start reading.
The middle part of the story is quite possibly the most hard-hitting and morally difficult to read. Faure gives us more home truths about a future that makes Nuclear War look like a picnic at the beach.
I am so glad I got the opportunity to jump into this world. Not only have I been entertained, but I have also genuinely started to think about the issues raised and have started to wonder how I can do my little part to make a change. I won’t say that this will happen for everyone who reads the Trilogy, but each one who does can only help the cause.
The fact that I got this book for free, will make no difference in the manner in which I gush over this book (and the two that followed).
Chosen introduces us to Olvia and DeAnn – one you will love and one you won’t… it is up to you to decide which is which.
For me Olivia was the sympathetic character that I rooted for from the start, she wasn’t meant to be in the situation she found herself, the Programme was destined to clash with Olivia, whether she liked it or not. DeAnn, on the other hand, thought she deserved to have a spot and demeaned everyone and everything to get there. For me, in this first book, DeAnn has very few (if any) redeeming features. O.M. Faure gives us everything we need to dislike her and it’s pretty easy.
Obviously, Chosen takes chances and gambles on making big leaps in the storyline – it is all set up rather quickly and then you get hit by facts; that if you are even slightly human, will start to make you think about the world we currently live in. The Trilogy is never preachy in its delivery, it just gives you the hard facts and allows your morality to decide whether the ‘story’ affects you or not.
This is the start of a journey that has so much going for it and will educate and entertain you in equal spadefuls.
This weeks playlist and videos are inspired by my little trip out last night to see a Pink Floyd Tribute band, Think Floyd. These guys are just awesome. So if you are in the UK, check out their Gigs page and if they come to a town near you check them out, you will not be disappointed. I’ll give more details in a post with pictures sometime next week.
Now, Cover Versions of songs. I have been fascinated by these little curios for years. There is always something interesting to me about when a band takes someone else’s song and makes it their own. Rock and Metal bands are a great source of these, as those styles of music always lend themselves to making a statement with a well-known song.
The main problem though, is that most cover versions done, are usually either on some really obscure tribute album or as a filler track on a record; or they are played live, and the 99.9999999999% of the world’s population wasn’t at a gig and will probably never get to see the masterpieces that bands spend 15 minutes on at Soundcheck.
With that said, this week, there is no alternative video playlist from YouTube, so my Spotify Playlist is there, but I will add a few of my favourite Covers in a playlist, call it an added extra from me to you.
Over the past couple of weeks, parents up and down the UK have been losing their collective shit over a Meme that has begun appearing on the Internet. This Meme isn’t (for once) restricted to Social Media, and it’s not aimed at the older denizens of the Internet either. This one is aimed squarely at the younger inhabitants.
The Momo Meme has been floating around for a while, but seemingly it has now reached a critical mass where it has mixed with an alleged game stemming from the Far Eastern parts of Europe. The game goes something like:
Person A gives daily instructions for tasks to be completed by Person B
At the end of the month, the final task involves Suicide or serious Self Harm
That’s pretty much it.
Somehow, this image became linked to this idea and the original “game” was reduced down to scare tactics that if you didn’t complete (what would ordinarily be the final task) it the Momo would come and get you or a close family member. OK, on the face of it, this is the same shit I was dealing with when I was at junior school 40 years ago, except back then there was no internet and the sick twats back then said that someone had phoned the school office and told them my Mum had been run over. Yeah, it panicked me, and I felt like shit for a long time after.
The problem with the Momo meme is that it is a load of bullshit. It isn’t happening. It’s a game of Chinese Whispers that has spread through Social Media and the Playground. Kids have gotten the idea of this image and exploited it towards younger and weaker members of the playground. Of course, the kids are scared, and it gets dragged online, and people start to panic and the media get involved and the next thing you know there is an epidemic of sick twisted goobers out to get your kids on Fortnite and in Peppa Pig videos; None of which actually happened on a large scale (if at all).
Now, I know who is actually to blame for all this.
You aren’t going to like my answer.
You’re really not.
It’s the parents.
Yep good old Mum and Dad are allowing this type of thing to gain traction.
If parents took half the time to check what access to which channels their kids have that they do about crying foul after the fact, then I think you’d find that there wouldn’t be an issue to start with.
A couple of facts for you all
Both Facebook and YouTube state in their Terms of Service that you must be 13 years old to have an account on their services. Now, generally, if you must be 13 to have an account, that means you have to be 13 to USE that service.
When 5-Year-old Tommy comes running to Mummy and says he has seen something scary on YouTube, then excuse my French, but It’s all your fucking fault. It’s the Internet (more of that in a minute)
YouTube and Facebook don’t actively police the age limits on their platforms. Just because this is the case, doesn’t mean that they are the ones at fault. As of December 31st 2018, there were 2.32 Billion Monthly Active Users (). In numbers that looks like this – 2,320,000,000 – lots of zeros there. Every four months that number is generally going up. Facebook has reported that there are five new sign-ups to the service per second.
These figures are astounding. I don’t claim to be a Facebook champion, I think they should be doing a lot more to make the Internet safer for everyone, not just the small, tiny and vulnerable, but everyone. As Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility, this applies to everyone who can help; but if you are raking in Billions of dollars/pounds in profit each year then your power and responsibility edges up a notch or ten.I mentioned the Internet (in general earlier), and I feel I need to clarify a point or two.
I mentioned the Internet (in general earlier), and I feel I need to clarify a point or two.
If anyone is under any illusions about the Internet being a place that ideas flow freely and you can make the world a better place, then please, wake up. That is what the Internet SHOULD be; however, as with all things, Humans got involved and screwed things up. Yep, it’s 2019, and the assholes have taken over Utopia. Twenty years ago, there were assholes online, but you pretty much had to go looking for them as there wasn’t a place where they could all congregate and up the assholedom to a level not seen since Hitler invaded Poland.
Nostalgia Aint What It Used To Be.
In 2019 people now have the mentality that the Internet is the place for life to exist; they think that it is an extension of reality. For me, it’s not an extension; it’s an addition, a tool to be used to spread ideas. Unfortunately, assholes have ideas (most of them were proved to be rather dickish almost 80 years ago, but hey, some people dig nostalgia.)
We should be adopting the Internet to bend to our will, to use the most powerful tool since the printing press for good. There should be one common goal for the Internet, and that is to make sure Star Trek isn’t just sci-fi, but a reality. Star Trek you ask? You just turned your head slightly to the right and wondered if I had lost my mind. In start Trek, there is no war on Earth; everyone has everything they need, no need for money or possessions unless you want them. Everyone has everything they need. If we as humanity could accept that that is a noble goal to work towards, I believe that in 20 years we’ll be travelling in the stars and who knows what comes next.
For today though, adults need to take a strong lead and lead children into the safe areas of the internet; in other words, keep the little darlings off of it until they can prove they would use this huge massive tool for good and not troll each-others YouTube accounts. The internet is no place for a child. Parents are getting their crotchless knickers in a bunch over kids being exposed to MoMo. Here is an idea; parents, if there is something online that you don’t want the kids to see, then don’t use a mostly unregulated Internet to entertain your kids. Take them out and play in the garden; if that doesn’t float your boat, put them in front of Netflix or CBBC. Yeah, I understand that that is not going to be popular with anyone (except me that is).
It doesn’t matter how many initiatives are put in place to stop kids from seeing the stuff they shouldn’t, they will find a way if they want to. It is just a plain and simple fact that kids can, and will, run circles around adults when it comes to technology. When these kids go to school, they are taught from a young age how to use a computer, and then they talk to each other about how to exploit this new knowledge to get what they want. So the information spreads and before you know it, they all know how to access the shit you tried to block and make their world that much safer. Do I have an answer to this catch 22 situation? If I did, I wouldn’t be sat here typing this; I would be incredibly rich and sitting somewhere rather more plush than my old battered office chair.
This situation needs to be answered by minds greater than mine, and it needs to be talked about in real terms. We expect our kids to have the tools to get on in this 21st Century world. ICT literacy is almost number 1 on any list of requisite skills needed to progress in life, but by giving the skills to kids so young, they have far too much time to develop these skills to activities that they don’t need at a young age.
Questions Questions Questions
I wish I knew how to solve a problem that society has created for itself. I don’t blame the kids; they are doing what every generation of kids has done… rebelling against the rules and set their own standards. It is just one more notch on the door frame of life showing that kids are growing and developing into their own.
So, that is my take on this Momo shit and why it took hold so hard and fast. At the time of publishing this post (over a week after it all blew up) Momo has, by and large, disappeared as a threat to society and is now just a meme that is getting old very quick.
What is your take? Do you think kids are introduced to the Internet to soon or should we be teaching the kids how to use it more responsibly from a younger age? Let me know what you think in the comments? Thanks for reading.
Today marks the first in what I plan on being a weekly post. It’s the start of the weekend and what better way to say bye-bye to the week and hello to the weekend that with some tunes to get you started.
Usually these posts will have a theme that will mostly be adhered to. but there will always be a couple of surprises in there. No time limits, one week it could be full of 2- minute Punk tracks then the next week it could be full of 20-minute prog tracks.
Each week, I listen to lord knows how much music and I usually end up trawling through Spotify and YouTube to find other music linked to the one track that sparked the original interest. This week it happened to be the track Def Con One by the UK band Pop Will Eat Itself
Memories came flooding back (not all were great) but still it made me think of a time before paying bills and clocking in and out of work every day. The majority of this list came out while I was at school towards the end of my 5th Year at High School and into my 6th form years. The thing is; this music was pretty much alien to me at the time. I was a rocker and all this indie sample stuff was classed the lowest common denominator to me and my friends. We wanted two guitars, a bass player and a drummer, with someone with an Air Raid Siren voice who could scream the house down; literally.
The term Greebo was banded around a lot while I was at school. If I remember rightly a lot earlier than this era of music actually began. I know that I was called a Greebo for the music I listened to and the way that I dressed. It all seems so long ago and very insignificant now. However, the music on today’s playlist all evoke “something” in me today and I am certainly not as closed minded when it comes to the music I listen too. Having said that, Greebo For Life!!!
I have created the Playlist in Spotify for those who have it and for those who don’t (or fancy something more visual) I have created the Playlist using YouTube as well. PLEASE be aware that the L7 video for Pretend We’re Dead does contain Nudity at the end of the video, but quite frankly it was the best version available.
I have a bad habit. I buy Films and never get around to watching them until some weird urge catches me, and I realise my bad habit isn’t so bad, it’s just forward planning. A few months back, I really wanted to watch the original Poltergeist film, I didn’t have it and I couldn’t find it on any of the streaming services I am subscribed to. Now, it’s all over the shop.
So, while I was shopping for the original, the two sequels and the 2015 remake accidentally fell in my shopping basket, stuff like that happens to me all the time.
Well, fast forward to this week and I decide that it’s time to start watching some of these Blu-Rays that are starting to take over my house; I swear rabbits don’t breed as fast as these bloody films. I chose the remake of Poltergeist as my Mum claims to never have seen it, yet I could have sworn we watched it together ages ago. Who am I to argue.
As an analogy the Poltergeist (1982) is like a delicious three-course Meal with a decent bottle of Wine to accompany it. It will fill you up and you will remember it for a long time after, whereas the remake is kind of like a Quarter Pounder Burger with Fries and a Milkshake from McDonald’s, it tastes ok, but it pretty much tastes the same as the last one you had and will probably taste the same as the next one. There really isn’t anything distinguishing about the remake. It’s a good film and it alters the story just enough that it has some originality to it, but it isn’t in any way memorable as the original.
You know that THAT line is going to be dropped somewhere in the film and it is, but it is thrown away in an offhand way
Megan is stood in front of the TV and casually turns around and informs everyone…. “They’re Here.” There is no innocence like Carol Anne gave in the original, it wasn’t memorable.
I keep getting drawn back to the fact that this film is pretty much done by numbers and doesn’t really offer much to the Poltergeist legacy. This film deserved to be made, but maybe not as a remake of Poltergeist, they should have the balls to take the Poltergeist premise and run with it in a different direction. It should have stood on its own and been something…more.
It is a shame as the cast are great. Sam Rockwell is great (mind you, I still can’t get his flip-top head from Hitchhikers Guide from my mind) he leads the film with an understated anger and disbelief of what is happening around him until his family really need him to step up and lead. Rebecca DeWitt is also great, I find her more approachable and believable than JoBethWilliams was for the most part in the original. DeWitt silently leads along with Rockwell, I wouldn’t call her a lead in the film, she feels more like serious support. The kids in the film range from Annoying to Blah. The son, up to the third act of the film is just like sandpaper in ya pants. He really is designed to annoy the audience to rile them up into some form of anxiety; you know that anxiety where you wish a bloody great tree would fall through the house and“shut him up” – redemption comes for him in the aforementioned third act when he goes all gung-ho and charges into the spectral netherworld to save his sister. It is only at this point you feel anything other than annoyance at the child. Even after the supposed sacrifice, it is all over so quickly with no real danger, that you quickly go back to not giving a damn.
As is my way, that is about as much of the plot as you will get from me here. I don’t like spoilers and I won’t divulge them just in case you read this before you see the film. If you haven’t seen and do watch it, please let me know in the comments; if you have seen it, let me know in the comments what you thought.
Class could have been so much more. It could have been the start of a beautiful, new and fresh franchise that could have had legs that ran and ran for years. No, the show wasn’t perfect, and there was enough cheese to create enough Pizza for it’s first run audience. I believe that Class could have been something special, something more than just a Doctor Who spin-off aimed at Teens. To me, the answer to all Class’ problems stems from one glaring issue.
IT WAS LINKED TO DOCTOR WHO!
Yep, if they had found another entrance to the story of how these kids (who didn’t exactly look like kids at all) had met and formed this team of ragtag alien busters, then the show would have survived and would have opened another stream of Science Fiction for the BBC to grow its programme base.
It seems that the BBC wanted something, anything, to bring in that demographic of 15 to 21-year-olds who watch TV on the go. They wanted to try and create that buzz around a new show linked to the Doctor Who universe. Doctor Who had been criticised by the youth market in general for having an older actor play the Doctor after such young bucks as Tennant and Smith and the radical change of Peter Capaldi had made it slightly hard going at first. I believe that Class was first brainstormed when this hue and cry started.
This pandering to one demographic was the first mistake. Doctor Who is popular because it is Doctor Who. In a way, Torchwood fell into the same trap by trying to sex up the Whoniverse. The audience were apoplectic when the Doctor kissed Rose – any addition of romance was derided by a segment of the audience who thought that this was so far removed from the ethos of Doctor Who that (and excuse the pun) it was alien. I can see why this was, there was no need for any romantic attachments in Doctor Who, it was just an element to get people talking and, in a way, dividing the audience.
Class tried to fill the gap that had been created between Doctor Who and Torchwood. Class had sex, and it had violence, but it was tame compared to Torchwood. There was no needless killing off beloved characters, the ones that did die had no emotion life to them for the audience, the characters who felt something for the person who died had to carry their own emotions and still try to project the emotional output of the person who died. To be quite honest, that didn’t work.
Class should have been anything else but a Doctor Who spin-off. It could, as I have said, been so much more. You have in the Who creative world, some of the most excellent writers in the world ANYWHERE! Why couldn’t the BBC have tapped into that hive mind of brilliance to create new intellectual properties in sci-fi? They could have used 101 different plot devices to get the group together. In fact, they could have used the exact same premise they did for the show except replace the Doctor with some other figurehead. Imagine the premise behind Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Watcher (Gyles) recruits the next in line to be a Slayer who is predestined to become the Slayer. How about a group of six young people see a phenomenon occur while out on a school field trip, and they try and keep the secret and get embroiled in a galactic battle over the two “visitors” survival. Each one of those scenarios is perfectly valid and with smart writing wouldn’t be a blatant rip off scripts from other shows.
It could have been so much more. The cast (overall) was brilliant. The only let down for me was the character of Ram Singh – the actor portraying him Fady Elsayed had about three different expressions, and he used them ad Infinitum. By the time I got to episode 4, I was considering a drinking game in which expression would appear next. If it wasn’t for the fact I was at my place of work that night, I could have become incredibly drunk, and Ram could have ended up as a tattoo on my leg (hopefully one that doesn’t eat people).
Overall, I enjoyed Class, I enjoyed it more once the first episode was out of the way, and the crowbar use of the Doctor was over and done with. I could forgive the odd reference to him, and the Cliff Hanger ending to the final show could be forgiven if you were taking part in said drinking game as you would be too blotto to realise that the major Big Bad behind the second half of the series was from Doctor Who (no spoilers here folks). I am looking forward to having a nice chunk of time to get stuck into the first two volumes of Class Audio Dramas from Big Finish, from the early reviews I have seen (granted, most of these come from people who hated the TV show) speak of the Audios being really good. I hope I am not the one in the crowd who has the opposite view.
Let me know what you thought of Class in the comments, could it have been a new franchise away from Doctor Who or do you think that it played out well/ poorly in the Whoniverse?
You know that something is wrong, deep down, you admit to yourself that that swirling gnawing feeling that alternates between the pit of your gut and the raging torrent in your head; something ain’t right McGee. You can fob family and friends off only so often with excuses like “I’m just having a day… nothing to worry about” after all “your day” has lasted a week so far and it’s just getting darker and longer. You can try and fob off your friends that you missed the gathering of the year because you had to finish a project by a deadline and it’s dropped on you at the last minute. The fact that the deadline you have to meet is trying to make it through one more night without those thoughts acted on that could put you in the Emergency Room or worse.
When you finally realise that all of the excuses in the world aren’t going to get you out of a jamb this time. You have to ultimately choose where to try and start the most laborious mission of your life so far, a mission that is, quite possibly, going to last for the rest of your life. It’s those happy thoughts that make you want to get to a real crossroad and rather than heading left or right, reverse a mile or so and run as fast as you can towards the huge brick wall facing the junction and not bother with the brakes.
I want to offer you a sliver of hope.
Just a chink of light in that permanent black sky you see about now.
I want to tell you. It WILL get better, and that chink in the clouds will get bigger and bigger with each bold step forward you take, the next step may not be ahead, but you will have learnt something to be used towards the next successful step you take. Open your eyes just a little to the possibility that while your head and heart are currently as dense as lead, someone or something is coming soon to help you with your full burden. You won’t see it coming, and
it is going to be tough at times to understand that it is getting better every day.
Now, by this point, you are sick of all the clichés and self-help book crap.
To be frank so am I and I am writing it down. What I would like to say to you that every word that you have just read has been uttered at least ten times each from some well-wishers and morale booster that accompanied me along my journey to being where I am at right now. It is frustrating as hell to call for help and be told to take a walk or take a hot bath. If relieving depression or any mental health problem would be solved by taking a walk or a bath then the world would be full of Unicorns crapping Rainbows all over the shop.
I have friends who prescribe to the strict love school of Mental Health management; you know the type: PULL YOUR SOCKS UP, JUST GET ON WITH IT, BUCK UP YOUR IDEAS, MAN.
All helpful when all you really feel like saying and doing is pulling their socks up over their head and buck up the idea that they thought you could get over by just getting on with harming yourself (and them) with the nearest heavy implement.
What I do want to let you know is that I personally know from my own life, that most of that cliched mambo jumbo will help in one way or another. It is going to sound so patronising when you are in the deepest depths of blackness, and people really do (on the whole) feel that their words are offered in support and kindness. You want answers and a solution to your problem when you are crying out for help, but unfortunately, there really is no safe quick fix for fighting with a 200lb black dog sitting on your shoulder, you have to tickle that dog until it falls asleep again and you
can move forward into the sun light.
What I am suggesting is that in your daily life make up a “memory bank account” of all of the advice you are given or have worked out for yourself, tips and tricks that help you through each dark day. You can do this by making a mood diary or just make a mood board to put up around the house somewhere. Don’t rely on knowing what you should do from memory, because in the throws of a low mood or crisis you won’t remember diddlers about what works to make you feel better.
Make up a daily action plan for things that you should do (within reason) during your bad times. It can be something as simple as 4 or 5 things that you could do to help make your day better. Maybe it’s something as trivial as washing your hair, reading a chapter or two of a book, going to visit a friend for a cup of tea and a chat. It can also be something more complex, like planning a project that will take more time than any ordinary task.
The one thing and one rule that I will always suggest is that there should be absolutely no pressure to do anything unless you feel that you can mentally and physically do it safely. There is not point in forcing yourself to go out into town whilst you are in the throws of an anxiety attack just because you told yourself first thing in the morning that that is what you HAD to achieve today. Your body and emotions can change in the blink of an eye. If you need to break a meeting or miss out on an appointment, that too is OK. If it is all too much, take a step back in your safe space and get yourself feeling well again. Find that person to talk too. Reach out wherever you feel you will get the best support, family, friends Facebook or Twitter. They are all valid places that have helped me in the past and if your support networks are a little more diverse that they norm, that’s good if it works for you.
Everything considered, the one takeaway I would suggest that you take from this overlong post, is that do what is right for you and worry about the rest of the world when you feel up to tackling that. You will make choices that are not in your best interest when you are in an altered mind set through Anxiety or Depression or whatever crappy thing you are dealing with at the time.
This is me after having yet another night of no sleep.
This is me wondering why in the hell does my body hate a regular sleep pattern.
This is me just sitting in disbelief that one person is going to need so much coffee to just through the end of his shift that he may as well just eat a jar of Nescafe Gold Blend for the efficacy of getting the whole job done in one fell swoop.