Ear, ear – Changes in acceptable cinema violence

Back in 1992 Quentin Tarantino released his directorial debut : Reservoir Dogs. Although this is considered a modern classic of cinema, and rightly so, many people lost their shit when this film came out.

The most notable reason for the hostility towards the film was the infamous ear-cutting scene performed by Michael Madsen’s Mr Blonde on Kirk Baltz’s Marvin Nash – even though the act itself is performed off-screen.

Last night I went to see a recent film release: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (don’t judge me), which itself had a scene with somebody getting their ear cut off. The cutter even talks into the severed ear just as Mr Blonde does. King Arthur, however, is rated as 12A and I bet it wont be denied a video release for three years.

What does this say about modern cinema, or about us as people?

Now I’m not somebody who has any complaint about cinema violence – I bloody love it. It’s fun to watch and unless you have trouble differentiated fantasy from reality, or have an already-existing mental condition, is not going to make you want to replicate violence in the film. If you do find yourself wanting to act out certain scenes, please seek medical advice (I mean this sincerely; I’m not trying to be funny).

I’m not a student of Psychology or Film, but I did find it interesting – when watching that film last night – just how the levels of acceptable graphic content have changed in twenty five years. I think we have generally become a lot more decensortized to graphic content in films – I would make the assumption that it’s due to the inherently graphic nature of the world around us. Also the abundance of visceral imagery shared on social media as shocking events and atrocities occur across the globe.

Let’s face it – the modern world is a great deal more horrifying than any film that could be released (All the ones I have seen at least).

It’ll be interesting, perhaps even scary, to see where those levels are in another twenty five years.


Going through old books – memories of times long past

Yesterday I finally got round to sorting through a load of old books of mine that I have collected over the years. To anyone watching from the outside these will just look like a mess of old books on varying subjects – Clive Barker novels; Derren Brown-recommended psychology books; Music Theory and scale books. To me, these represent certain pockets of my life so far; different interests that have grabbed me and become an obsession at one time or another.

Sorting through these books is the first time in a long time that I have reminisced about times gone by, if only for the moment of time it took to carry them upstairs.

I also couldn’t help but think “What if I’d stayed on that particular path?”, for a given collection of books. For example, as I started to get into Web Development seriously, learning guitar kind of took a back seat to that. Although I do still play, I don’t put in ten hour sessions anymore. Partially due to the fact that I can’t get away with three day work weeks anymore. Boo hoo for me, right? But I can’t help but imagine how much more I could have progressed with the guitar had I stayed on that path.

Then there was my whole Derren Brown phase, where – after reading one of his autobiographies – bought and read most of the books he recommended in it. I practised memorisation techniques; trying to read peoples true intentions through involuntary eye movements. I could even look through a deck of cards, with one card removed, and tell you instantly which one was missing.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not regretful of how things came to be – after all it brought me to my lovely lady. Plus it’s not as though those things are gone, they just need to be awoken once again.

What things do you own that trigger memories of your past?


Retracing my steps with The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is one of my favourite ever TV series. Dark; brutal; gut-wrenching – it’s everything you could possibly want in a series. You may know it already but for the benefit of those who don’t, The Walking Dead is based on a long-running comic book series of the same name.

Since the finale of Series 7 recently, I have decided to re-read the series from start to finish (or at least up to the latest issue).

The TV series is different enough from the comics to enable you to enjoy each for their own merits. Many characters are in both, however, some have vastly different life spans. Some characters in the TV series even perform certain actions that completely different people did in the comic.

I always remember when an old boss of mine, who is still a friend, telling me about his excitement for Negan to arrive. This was back in series 4 when the Governor was the big bad and Negan was a long way off. He used to say how evil he was, but still how charming. How right he was.

If you get the chance, I strongly recommend you picking up The Walking Dead compendiums and checking them out. If you are a fan of the series you will almost certainly be a fan of the original source material.


The 5am Habit

My usual morning routine consists generally of getting up twenty minutes before I’m due to leave for the train station, rushing out and getting to the train barely on time.

However, for the past five days I have been forcing myself into a new routine – getting up at 5am; nearly two hours before I’m due to leave the house. This morning I have found the habit to have reached the next level, as I woke up naturally at 4:57am.

Getting up that extra bit earlier has given me more time in the day to get the things done I want to get done – including writing on this website.

The next step is to plan out the morning during the night before so that I can get up and get stuff done efficiently. This means that anything I would have done on that day’s evening gets done in the morning before work instead.

Getting stuff done before work gets me in a better mood as I feel I have already accomplished some personal goals before my regular day has even begun. Anything else I get done through the day or evening is then a bonus.

I recommend to anybody wanting to get personal stuff done, or even if you have any hobbies you want to commit more time to, to get up earlier and get them done in the morning.

p.s. I was inspired to begin this new habit whilst listening to The 5am Miracle Podcast.


Big bang in Birmingham

During the Second World War many bombs were dropped on the city of Birmingham. Known as the Birmingham Blitz, this three year span did a great deal of damage to many buildings in and around the city. Not only that but thousands of people were either seriously injured or killed. According to the Wikipedia page around one fifth of the high explosive bombs failed to detonate.

Today in Aston, Birmingham one of those unexploded bombs was detonated in a controlled explosion, after being discovered more than twenty four hours previous.

Due to the location of the bomb, the main Birmingham expressway and the train line I use were closed off. Normally when news of cancelled trains hits me I immediately get annoyed with my working location – being from the other side of Birmingham. However, I couldn’t help but be fascinated that a bomb from the World War 2 air raids had lay dormant all this time, waiting to be discovered.

Although this could have been potentially very disastrous for many people, it’s still an interesting piece of history to be uncovered.

How many more undiscovered bombs remain to be found?


Searching for the perfect side project

I seem to keep running around in circles looking for the perfect side project to work on. I just cant decide on which direction to go – and once I think I have I’ll end up doubting myself and changing my mind soon after.

I am a Web Developer by trade and, like many other developers, love the idea of having some sort of side project I can work on and potential earn a second income off.

I guess that’s one of the reasons I keep writing on here, my personal site. It sort of is a side project, except one that I’m not building as such – merely writing on it every now and again.

I don’t even know why I’m writing this post to be honest with you. It’s sort of me working it out in my head as I write, in a vein effort to try and make a decision.

Even if I do make a decision I’ll probably change it soon after. Also it’s possible that… damn my dinner’s burning!


On blaming others when you’re feeling down

Starting the day in a down sort of way

Feeling out of sorts, for whatever reason, is never a nice thing – especially when it’s the first day back at work after a four day Easter weekend. This is how I found myself today.

It didn’t help the fact that I’d had nothing to eat either until 7pm, except for a sausage roll from Greggs. This wasn’t out of being too busy or choice; I simply didn’t feel hungry.

As a result of my mood and lack of food I ended up feeling lackluster and hazy.

Reflecting back through the day

On reflection, during the train journey back home, I replayed certain points of the day and realized just how much of an ass I must have come across. I mean, I pretty much kept to myself and just cracked on with my work. But when I discovered someone had played an innocent prank on me I think I took it a little bit to heart. Miserable bastard, I think the term is.

There were other little moments too, which I wont go into specifics about, but let me just say that I was a bit of a “cranky-pants”, as my lady would say.

I can only put it down to a mixture of a lack of sleep the night before, lack of food and knowing that my hamster Moomin is approaching the end of his little life.

Do better next time

This is no excuse however. I can simply learn from this and do better moving forward.

I write this not only because I have promised myself I’ll blog every single day for a year, but in case there are any other people out there with similar experiences. This life is, if nothing more, a string of experiences and knowing that others have similar issues from time to time can help us all through.


Productivity and breaking out of prison

More running tonight down the same canal route as Tuesday. I think I’m getting back into the swing of training again. Just need to start making a habit of getting back down the gym three evenings a week.

Been looking at productivity tools today too. I think i need to start organising my life in a structured way to actually get the things i want to get done, done.

Got to see the second episode of the new Prison Break series too. Some classic Scofield moments in there – it’s good to be back on the break train. 


Achy thighs and inappropriate gym clothes

After my initial moan about being confronted with Elasticsearch yesterday, today i have actually been looking into it – learning it in order to get the job I’ve been tasked with finished.

I don’t know why, but i tend to get that gut reaction most times i am confronted by something foreign to me. I think it may stem from a frustration of not knowing something and then, within a work context, worrying about how long it’s going to take me.

No running tonight, which I’m thankful for. My thighs are aching slightly from yesterday’s 2.5 kilometre jog. Yes, I’m that unfit. It’s hard to think that I’m actually going to be doing a full Marathon in October – or at least attempting it.

At the time of writing this, I’ve just seen a guy wearing a gym training hoody that reads “Train Hard, Fight Easy”. I’m not sure it’s wise walking around Birmingham with that printed on your top. You’re just asking for trouble from those looking for a fight, surely?


Stretching before running

One of the annoying things about web development, is having to learn completely new paradigms every now and again. I’m all for improving my skills and being more efficient in my work, but when i have to halt to have to learn a whole new separate thing, it grinds my gears a bit.

The idea I’m talking about today is something called Elasticsearch. Yet another data access methodology and one that I’ve never had to mess with before. Don’t get me wrong I’m not hating on the technology, I would simply rather not have to learn this whole new way of searching data.

I’m easily confused.

On a more positive note i have started taking steps towards actually building my first online product / service which i think could be very handy for a lot, if not all, bloggers. It’s something I built for myself and thought about how others could benefit from it too.

Stay tuned for more info as it develops.

Tonight I’ve been enrolled into a run up the canal by my lady. Although i felt a sudden drive for it this morning, that has since passed after my tiring over one of the most boring tutorial videos I’ve ever watched – about the aforementioned Elasticsearch. I’m sure she won’t let me shirk my running responsibilities and I’ll be jogging round the block in no time.