Hello fine shopkeeper, I would like to buy a chocolate bar.

What?! Shopkeeper, I demand that you sell this man no chocolate. 

Why not?

Because you’re not allowed to have chocolate!

Who said that I cannot have chocolate?

It’s the rules!

That rule doesn’t make sense.

Who cares, anyway – you already have carob chocolate.

I don’t want carob chocolate.

But you have it!

So what?

Other people like carob chocolate.

And if that makes them happy, good for them. But I don’t want carob chocolate. I want actual chocolate.

Why isn’t carob chocolate good enough?

First, have you ever actually tried carob chocolate? Second, there are fundamental differences beyond taste – there are benefits that come with actual chocolate that you do not get with carob. And even if there wasn’t, actual chocolate makes me happy. Isn’t that the point?

But it will change my chocolate!

How? You already have a Mars Bar and I want to get a Snickers.

That’s disgusting!

Why?

It has peanuts in it.

I like peanuts. More importantly, my getting a Snickers is ideal for you, as it has no impact on your ability to enjoy your Mars Bar. If anything, it increase space on the shelf for more Mars Bars, should people who like Mars Bars want one. I don’t have any interest in your Mars Bar. Mars Bars are kind of gross.

How dare you?! Mars Bars are the way the Mars Confectionary Company intended them to be!

I think you’ll find that the Mars Confectionary Company also make Snickers. They’re okay with it. I don’t understand where this hostility is coming from – my Snickers will not turn your Mars Bar into a Snickers.

It’s disgusting! You can’t have chocolate! Next you’ll want a Funsize Snickers!

What do funsized bars have to do with anything?

That’s what this is about! You want to get funsized bars when they deserve to be with someone who has a Mars Bar to do whatever. It’s not right.

Given how many fun-sized bars are languishing in bags, or being moved from shelf to shelf, never actually being taken out of the shop,  if someone goes through the rigorous process of vetting, probing, and loss of privacy that is involved in getting fun-sized bars and is successful, then they more than likely deserves to have all the fun-sized bars they want. However, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue at hand, which is my getting a regular Snickers bar. Shopkeeper, may I ask why this person I have never met before is stopping me from buying chocolate.

IT IS THEIR RIGHT.

How? Why? Did they do something incredible like cure cancer or slay a dragon to hold this kind of authority over my ability to get chocolate?

NOT THAT I AM AWARE OF.

Then why don’t you just let me get chocolate and not have to deal with this weird conversation?

YOU SHOULD JUST TRY TO SORT THIS OUT BETWEEN YOURSELVES.

Why do you even want chocolate anyway?

Because it’s delicious, delightful, and is something I’ve always wanted. My friends have gotten it in other shops, I don’t see what your problem is.

Why don’t you go there then?

I live here. This is my local shop. I’d like to get chocolate here and be able to share it with all of the people close to me. Why exactly are you stopping me from getting chocolate? 

I’m stopping you because someone has to! My conscience demands it!

Would you prevent someone in a wheelchair getting a Mars Bar?

No, that’s racist.

I think you’ll find that it’s ableist, but yeah. Would you stop someone who is a different ethnicity to you from getting a Mars Bar?

No, that’s actual racist.

Okay – why? 

It’s wrong to stop someone from having rights for something about themselves that is normal and cannot be changed. 

So why are you being a homophobe?

I am not a homophobe!

By deciding that someone is not entitled to the same rights as you or anyone else because of something that is inherent to them – in this case, their sexuality – you are discriminating against someone and since said discrimination is based around their sexuality, yes, you are being homophobic. You are actively making a decision based on your viewpoint to deny them civil rights because of something fundamental to who they are. Being gay or lesbian, trans or queer, these are inherent and immutable to a person, not lifestyle choices.  You are preventing them from getting and enjoying the same quality of life as you.

I’m being silenced!

No. You’re not. You’re being a dick. #VoteYes.

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Ye sciences, I cannot believe it’s been over a year since I last posted here. Or that the most recent popular search terms used to find this blog were ‘superhero bondage, sexy librarian, empowered’. I should talk about Adam Warren’s work more often.

Surprisingly, this actually  ties into the thesis of the day (which is irony given that my Masters Thesis was an unintentional part of what killed my blogging habit). Finding time to write is more about managing your time and priorities than anything else, and that’s not difficult or even a bad thing. A lot of blog posts could benefit from being shorter (and under that bus I throw myself too). Nah, the bigger problem for me is the topics – classically, I either overthought and over-talked until dinosaurs returned to life and time itself came full circle, or I froze up at the feeling of not knowing enough about a topic to make a valid and reasoned discussion. A new blocker did however sneak in and rationalise an entire field out of discussion, which was pretty brutal given how my interests were shifting that way. TL;DR: as I work for A Big Technology Company whom I like very much, I didn’t want to cross the beams even slightly. We’ve seen Ghostbusters, we know how that works. Kaboom, man.

So lethargy set in – death of creativity, writer’s bane, the etc of vocabularies, etc. It didn’t help that this  was my rebound blog after things got boring on Livejournal, the community of which is trapped in amber within my mind as a perfect and unsullied thing without any flaws at all whatsoever don’t you dare say one word about it you monster. Now, imagine months of stupid thinking like that.

But grooves can be gotten back and purposes renewed. Otherwise movies would be shorter and the montage I went through before starting this post would be utterly wasted. I’m running two blogs, because I am nothing if not a glutton for punishment. That, and I really do want to get my writing muscles back in shape. I will be the hunk of the psychic beach once more!

  • Nerd Fu is the home of my comics & film theory discussion and a funkton of Tumblr rebloggery. It’s also where I’ll be talking about my secret comic project KOB – anyone who stuck around after I wrapped up the erratic yet long-running B-Sides webcomic should check that out.
  • Turn My Brain Off will get to be more specialised too – until now this has been a blog-of-all-trades, but since the comics chatter and movie flim-flam will be elsewhere this will live on as the less-updated but more personal space. The Japan Photo Bloggery will get finished in short order, for one thing, and following that it’ll be a place to look at topics that wouldn’t fit in with the Likely Silly.

Damn, I kind of wish I called the other blog Likely Silly now.

Anyhow – welcome and or welcome back. It’s not weird that I missed this, right?

1. A glorious burning of the 200 or so papers currently scattered around Avengers Tower (my office) in a bizarre and likely nude and painted ritual in my back garden.

2. Advising my neighbours that this is a perfectly sane and rational approach to achieve closure.

3. Marker drawings, because marker drawings are the best.

4. Realise that I need to buy new Letraset/Copic markers because I have no red or something.

5. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. My reaction to that series is Pavlovian at this point.

6. No longer worry about the internet crapping out when I discover a (new) gap in the literature.

7. PHOENIX. WRIGHT. 5.

8. Team Fortress 2, because I’ve missed those glorious cartoon sociopaths.

9. Continue to avoid ever playing World of Warcraft. It’s practically a sport at this point.

10. PACIFIC. RIM.

1. Go to London and visit Claire.

2. Go to Westport and visit family.

3. Go to Dublin and visit Starbucks.

4. Feel bad about FemShep not being able to romance Tali BECAUSE TALI IS THE BEST.

5. Write the blog posts that have been my iPhone’s To Do list since January 2012. Seriously, that’s crazy town levels of procrastination, population cabbages.

6. Do something amazing for my bosses because they are amazing and not because there is the outside possibility that they may read this at some point. Those glorious and gorgeous golden gods and goddesses.

7. My Kiss Kiss Something Something Movie night on June 21st, because more people should have a double bill of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and a mystery movie. With drinking. Also kissing?

8. Another Kiss Kiss Something Something Movie night, because Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is awesome and should be watched every month of the year.

9. Start a new webcomic. Maybe. Comics are hard.

10. Stop writing these lists because otherwise I won’t finish the MSc and this will all be for nothing. Then weep for the lost hours of men and dwarves and elves as they face into the darkness of evil rising in the east because I also forgot to handle that whole One Ring scenario.

1. Blog more.

2. Blog at all.

3. Tumbl!

4. Drawr!

5. Finish my epic three game playthrough of Mass Effect 1 to 3 as a Paragon Broshep.

6. Play an epic three game playthrough of Mass Effect 1 to 3 as a renegade Femshep.

7. Explain to people that in number 7 I will not be romancing Garrus because that would be like flirting with a space bird version of myself, and while I like me I don’t like-like me. At least not that much.

8. Worry that I am okay with the grammar of the previous sentence. And this one.

9. Resume tidying the house and sorting through what I’m keeping and what’s going to the psychic and literal waste paper basket of doom.

10. Catch up on a lot of TV.

10a. Okay, really just Doctor Who.

1. Read the entirety of Homestuck.

2. Finish Skyrim.

3. Finish Saints Row the Third.

4. Read The Nao of Brown.

5. Enjoy my incoming 3DS XL.

6. Finish Cathy Duggan’s art page that I promised her two and a half years ago.

7. Remember that it was actually 3 and a half years ago and feel very ashamed.

8. Seriously, it was totally the best costume at my Historical Fancy Dress Bowling & Quasar birthday party.

9. Re-read A Song of Ice & Fire. Again.

10. Realise that at least 4 of these are genuinely likely to happen.

Unintended gaps, I think we should just move in together. The way we keep meeting up by accident is kind of baffling.

In a nice turn of events, there are positive reasons for the lull in posting of late. After 9 months of unemployment, building urgency, and an almost colossal state of despair and pressure, I started working for A Very Awesome Company on March 1st. Said company isn’t going to be named because I want to avoid what happened when I mentioned the fact to people in real life; doing the same on the internet, where social filters are a thing unheard of, would be tantamount to madness.* Let’s just say for the moment that we’re very happy with each other at the moment and see what happens, eh?

(* For the record, much like when I worked for WIT, I won’t be talking about the new job or the company on the blog, for the sake of good grace and manners as anything else.)

On top of that, stuff happened! I went from sitting around the house in my underwear** trying to get through the first Gormenghast book to being thrown around a rollercoaster of events which required my immediate attention because, y’know, money, power, the women… What this mostly translates to is a bunch of posts I had intended to write up got delayed (the end of the trip to Japan with Osaka, Kyoto, cakes and sumo wrestling) or killed due to untimeliness (the end of CHUCK being the only one that comes to mind – the tl;dr version is ‘Right place, right frame of mind, necessity, weren’t it good, like?’). Some stuff will still get written – the only thing that slows down the Japan posts is sorting through the hundreds of photos of each location, truth be told – and more recent concerns will get shoved in there too coughcoughPottermorecoughcough coughcoughgrowinguneasewithcomicscough  coughcoughMassEffect3endinghasplentyrightwithitcoughcough…

(** Granted, this was by choice rather than necessity.)

Right now, I’m settling into a better place of mind than I’ve been in for quite some time. Getting let go was rough; that both myself and Herself were let go at the same time was brutal; that this was on the back of the crap we had to deal with after getting back from Japan, then quickly followed up by what was not so much a stream as a raging river of crap thereafter means that, and at time of writing, 2011 holds the record for the worst year of my life. I’m in a good enough place to say that out loud now, though. Three cheers for progress, and all that jazz.

So yeah: regular posting will begin again shortly now that I have a grip on my weekly schedule (which right now consists of full-time job, full-time MSc research, activity time so as to not become the shape of mush, time with my Good Lady, sleep, and Miscellaneous Endeavours) I have a notion of how to move forward.

I’ve missed moving forward. It’s nice to do it again.

So I’ve talked about the onsen, the snow monkeys and their park, the food… What about the town of Yudanaka itself?

For some reason, we took a taxi out each time we went anywhere. The only exception to this was when Craig picked us up for what would be The Greatest Birthday Ever, but as per the Ted Mosbyism the blog is slowly sinking into, that’s a story for another day. What this usually meant in turn was that we then had to figure out how to get back, since the ryokan would call a taxi for us to go out, but we had no means of contacting one once we were out in the sticks…

It may not be obvious in the above photo, but I am at that stage, and every other time I got in a car in this town, bloody terrified. Every road is ice: not the pleasant sort that melts quickly and or is gritted by an efficient county council, but a thick block of frozen doom. No one brakes their car in this town, they just ride the momentum and swerve as needs.

You may need a change of underwear when they bring you over corners suspended by gaping chasms. Read the rest of this entry »

People this Christmas managed to get the term ‘food coma’ trending on Twitter. Lightweights and poseurs all – if a true food coma had happened, no tweeting until after the event could there have been. No, I have been to the land of the food coma and it is not this fair isle. Behold the 20+ course meal that greeted us on our arrival in Yudanaka and the Yoroduya Shiraiso!

Read the rest of this entry »

Part of the major attraction to Yudanaka is the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park. Getting there is interesting as it’s on the outskirts of town and a taxi will get you as far as here…

… or about 10 to 15 minutes walk from the above, depending on your ability to ascend ice. Fair warning: going to Yudanaka just after the New Year is likely to welcome you with surfaces more ice than man. A decent pair of snow boots isn’t essential but would be very useful… Read the rest of this entry »