PDA Syndrome

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* WARNING *

*May contain images offensive to some people *

I had a funny conversation with friends last night. They are a married couple and were complaining about public displays of affection – PDA. When they were going on holiday last summer, a young couple in front of them were doing some heavy snogging –  what my friends regard as ‘heavy snogging’ compared to me, or anyone else is all relative.

ME: “Was it open-mouthed?”

HIM: “Yes!”

ME: “Tongues?”

HER: “Ew, yes. It was gross!”

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No PDA here.

I laughed, maybe they were very much in love, or going on honeymoon, I suggested. Whatever, I thought my friends’ outrage funny. So I posed a series of questions – How much PDA is too much? And here, I am not talking about the rare instances when a couple feel they have to go into the realms of extreme – like this couple –

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Serious case of PDA. What were they thinking?!

Holding hands – Fine, no problem.

Arms around each other – Okay.

Kissing on the cheek – Fine.

Kissing on the lips – Hmm, no.

Squeezing a partners buttocks – No!

Full on deep kissing – Absolutely not!

HIS addendum was; if the show of affection was politically motivated – ie: two gay men/women at a Gay Pride event, or similar, did this, then he could accept that it was done with purpose. But stepping out of a store onto the street to find a couple enjoying a grope and a bit of mouth action – No Thank You!

I told them they were too English. We do have a reputation for being rather restrained and ‘stiff upper lipped’. And apart from when we get steaming drunk and everyone is a friend, we tend to be reserved about emotions – especially affectionate ones!

Why do we feel uncomfortable when we see a couple engaged in PDA? As long as they aren’t getting naked and having full on intercourse or doing heavy petting in the park, then shouldn’t we be more accepting? Is it about etiquette and good manners? Does the sight of an older couple kissing spark revulsion more than if it were a young couple – or vice-versa?

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Public Affection can be sweet.

Does the public space make a difference? I asked my anti-PDA friends, what if there is a couple kissing deeply under a tree in a moonlit Paris? That was fine apparently. What about Hyde Park? No! One of my friends is a high school teacher and occasionally encounters a couple of students kissing in the corridor, when she tells them to stop and they query her, her response is great: “Would you want to see Mr and Mrs Finnegan( a married couple) kissing around the school?” They would not, is the reply – so don’t you do it!

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Tongues on a Train – the follow-up to Snakes on a Plane!

I know there are countries around the world where PDA are taboo; if not illegal. I read comments from the British Middle Classes calling PDA ‘repellent’ and ‘ghastly’. I think they/we need to get over ourselves. But I wondered where in the UK were we most and least demonstrative with affection. Should public displays of affection be banned? Some people think so!

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A quick kiss in Kerala 

Londoners appear to dislike it the most. Nottingham likes a bit of public romance. Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff like a street smooch. I couldn’t find any solid statistics – though I have to admit I didn’t search that hard – but I did find lots of articles calling for less shows of affection in the UK; even light kissing.

Personally, I don’t care if it’s ‘showing off’, or over the top. If a couple feel the urge to express their romantic inclinations then I think it’s lovely. Maybe if more people were snogging and squeezing each others bums and being affectionate, we wouldn’t have all the discourse, wars and aggression and so forth. Of course there need to be some boundaries, but so long as bedroom activities aren’t in public, then what’s the harm?

Next time you balk at PDA, ask yourself two questions –

1.Would you rather they were fighting?

2. Aren’t you just a teensy bit jealous?!

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One of the most iconic images of PDA. VJ Day picture taken by Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt  on August 14, 1945

 

 

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/relationship-advice-and-romance/11251250/Kissing-in-public-No-thanks-were-British.html

https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/157803/Should-kissing-in-public-places-be-banned

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3783454/Woman-iconic-V-J-Day-Times-Square-photograph-died-aged-92.html

http://www.freepressjournal.in/weekend/kissing-in-public-kerala-triggers-a-debate-for-change/501941

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_display_of_affection

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Let’s Play Dungeons and Dragons!

Running a D & D Game Is Much Like Writing a Story

I was recently asked by some young uns, how to go about playing Dungeons and Dragons.

There is literally tons of stuff out there for new adventurers; books, gaming stores, not to mention the dragons horde of information on the internet! In the past, everything had to be written down; by hand! I have kept quite a lot of my campaigns and characters, but I have also dumped a lot over the years.

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DM-ing with the advent of computers!!!!

But starting out fresh can be daunting, and this group were all ‘newbies’, none had played and none had acted as DM. How to help? By the way, I am talking about old-school, table top role playing game here, not online.

Okay, so first things, let’s get that idea out of your head about the ‘typical’ D and D gamer – we don’t all look like the cast of Stranger Things or The Big Bang Theory – see my post Why You Should Play Dungeons and Dragons; February 15, 2017. I have been playing for 30 years; so not a teenager!

Initially, we had one DM (Dungeon Master) and he was the boss, in charge, god almighty as far as the players were concerned. All games came from bought modules, all games were set in dungeons, all floor-plans were bought pieces. All decisions were the DM’s and the final word was his alone. Not any more.

What I recommend if you’re just starting out –

  • Get everyone in group to read at least something of the basic rules. Don’t give one person the responsibility, or the power! Go and look at this site for EVERYTHING: http://dnd.wizards.com/
  • Maybe start with a bought module – or find one online. N.B:only the DM will have access to all of this.
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D and D ready made game – there’s plenty out there.
  • Dice – you will need as a starter pack – 1 six-sided, 1 four-sided, 1 eight-sided, 2 ten-sided and 1 twenty sided. You need 2 ten-sided (2d10) as you will be rolling percentages sometimes. N.B: some people become obsessed with collecting dice, and still can’t find the right one when it’s time to roll!!
  • Figures, you need little people. These can be bought from specialist shops, or again, online. Why not hold a miniature painting session before beginning a campaign!
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“Look! Over there! More tiny people!”
  • Get a blackboard; you really do not need to pay for little packs of card corridors, rooms and caves. Draw it as it happens. You can create aerial views, maps and plans, draw objects in elevated view if verbal description not working.
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Player: “Whats that?” DM: “A boat! It’s a boat! FFS!”
  • Character sheets, try and get all players to make them the same, you can find templates in D & D books or online. We have kept pretty much to the original design for 3 decades.
  • Use your laptop if you can’t describe stuff – there are billions of images you can find on the internet, this will help create the ambience for your players; “You round the corner and your bullseye lantern picks out this only two feet away!” *show them picture of hideous creature.
  • I do recommend you buy a copy of the D & D Players Handbook; General Info as well as the D & D Players Handbook; Magic Users. Ours fell apart and mutated into folders – but – they’re still the same one’s from years ago that we use – it’s all we need.
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Players Handbooks
  • A box to store your crap – dice, figures including NPC’s (none player characters), pencils, erasers, chalk, board wipe, post-it notes (I have these so players or DM can pass private messages – you don’t always want everyone knowing what you’re going to do).
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Any old box will do to store the accoutrements that WILL build up.
  • Start with a small campaign. Games can last as long as you like, but if you don’t plan they can drift for months (even years!) aimless and endless and ultimately boring. Based on playing one game night per week of approximately 4 hours, have it last two months tops. Being DM can be hard work – which is why everyone needs to learn the rules and not rely on this individual.
  • Don’t be afraid to look up rules as you go along – we still do this, in fact, we had one player who could never remember which dice to roll whenever he needed to make a roll. Keep your D & D rules handy, keep the Magic Users manual on the table too – no-one can ever remember which spell does what and for how long.
  • Discuss, don’t argue. There is nothing more destructive to a new gaming group than arguments. People get very passionate about their characters, and if the DM is perceived as being too draconian and kills everyone off, then you’re not going to want to play again.
  • DM is the Dungeon Master, who will run the campaign and also voice the NPC’s as well as adjudicate the game. Probably best to have someone who doesn’t mind remembering more rules than everyone else and taking responsibility; for at least your first few games.
  • Rules are made to be broken, this is tough. You might have a player who is quite the expert on certain weapon types and brings this reality into the game; “My ranger should be able to shoot down the Drow elf with a single shot as the crossbow fires at 200 mph and it’s tip can penetrate…” yadda, yadda, yadda. WE KNOW, but this is a game and sometimes the damage and range of some weapons seems a bit off. The melee and weapons are designed so you won’t die straight away – if you want to kill the NPC’s with a single blow, then the DM is well within his/her rights to make NPCs that do the same!!! However – if you all think a particular rules stinks, then change it – so long as you are all in agreement.
  • Most importantly – have fun!

Running a D & D Game Is Much Like Writing a Story

After a while, you might want to write your own campaigns, we do. We each take turns to DM, which means it keeps things fresh. It also means that you know everything about the story, because you wrote it! When you decide that you want to try creating your own campaign, please realise this isn’t a light undertaking. It takes time, you must do research; because you know one player will ask what Counsellor so-and-so looks like, whats the written language, where can I buy such-and-such, How tall is this, how wide is that etc, etc. You are writing a story that the gamers are taking roles in, each quest should have a beginning, middle and end (at least in your own mind). Make the first one simple, for example – information from bartender is that there’s bandits in them thar hills and there’s a reward for their leaders capture.

If there is one piece of advice I would give wannabe DM’s its this –

you aren’t god, you’re entertaining the others!

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Characters are always worth a revisit.

Can the Brits ‘do’ Hygge?

Friends sitting by the fireplace

The Danes have a word we do not have in English – Hygge.

How do you even say it? I hear you cry (if you’re British, or American, that is). Check out this YouTube lesson by Broendsted –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSXiH_0HgwI

Hygge is not just a word meaning comfort, cosiness, togetherness and more, it is a mindset; a way of living. Is it an accident that five of the worlds Nordic countries consistently come in the Top 10 of Happiest Countries?

Britain is a strange place. Over the centuries we have had an influx of invaders that have added to our culture. Our southernmost coast is not far from France; geographically warm in summer, whilst our northernmost tip of mainland is neighbour to Norway; not necessarily warm in summer! English is a Germanic language, however, we have absorbed the Romance languages as well. We are a fantastically glorious mash-up from across the globe. We generally don’t show our emotions too often; we rarely cry in front of others, but we do like a good barny (fight) now and then, and some still believe in keeping a ‘stiff upper lip’. An ‘Englishman’s home is his castle’ and snuggling with his pals in fluffy socks with a cocoa is probably the last thing on his mind!

So with our Viking/Nordic inheritance, why don’t we do Hygge; or something akin to it?

The closest I can come is Christmastime. Sure, some people are not overly excited by it, but for most, there is a sense of hygge. Lights, candles, fluffy throws and wraps, being with family, baking together, friends, long walks in the park through crispy ice-coated leaves. Everyone says ‘Hello’; even to strangers. We are enveloped in a feeling of well-being. But as soon as the season is over, it is tossed aside like an unwanted sock received from a great Aunt one rarely sees.

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Images of hygge environments show carefully selected knick-knacks arranged artfully – church candles, pine cones, wooden boxes, or – clean minimalism with pockets of lovely things like hand-knitted socks, cream coloured sweaters, open fires and old books. It seems like hygge is for those who can afford it.

But you’re missing the point! Read the first paragraph of this article again – Hygge is not just a word meaning comfort, cosiness, togetherness and more, it is a mindset; a way of living. And it doesn’t just happen in wintertime.

We Brits need to learn to ‘live in the moment’. To see comfort in the simple things. We need; in other words, to alter our mindset if we are to get ourselves happy, healthy and in that Top 10 of Happiest Countries.

To that end, I bought myself a copy of ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ in which Meik Wiking (is that surname pronounced as Viking I wonder!?) offers us suggestions on how we can make our lives more satisfying through hygge. He works in the Happiness Research Institute (yes, it actually exists!), Copenhagen, so I imagine he knows what he is talking about. I’ve long been a fan of candles – now they’re everywhere in our house!

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Image from
https://arcadela.co.uk/the-little-book-of-hygge

 

So come on Britain, join me in a huge effort to be more hygge!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Happiness_Report

Because Every Country Is A Winner – At Something!

 

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And The Winner Is…

The Olympics is a time when individuals who are at the very peak of their performances, get to compete against each other for more than a medal and a trophy. There is the glory and the prestige, the honour of performing on behalf of their nation. We stand in awe at the skeleton bob crew that hurtles at speeds up to 78mph! Skiers who leap 800ft. And gymnasts who twist themselves through contortions a cat would envy.

Takes all sorts doesn’t it? Some of us may be able to recall names who have surpassed others in their field…but what about countries successes? Who – or rather, where – is best at what?

Time to make a list!

 

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Finnish -ing School 

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Handsome Wodaabe Male

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Colombian Falls
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Lego Liebe

 

 

N.B: All details correct at time of posting, pole positions may change. No details to be taken seriously. Strongest/Best/Kindest are all relative and may have taken little effort on the part of the ‘winning’ nation. The author takes no responsibility for the amount of Lego consumed or lists topped.

Information is Beautiful – International Number Ones

 

Book Review: The Improbable Wonders Of Moojie Littleman by Robin Gregory

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The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman. Robin Gregory

Genre: Fiction. YA. Historical.
Pub Date: 1 November 2015
Publisher: Price World Publishing
Length: 294 pages
Paperback : £11.00

Synopsis

Early 1900s, Western America. A lonely, disabled boy with a nasty temper and uncontrolled mystical powers, Moojie is taken by his father to his grandfather’s wilderness farm. There, Moojie meets an otherworldly clan of outcasts that he wants to join. Following a series of misadventures–magical and mystical–he is summoned by the call to a great destiny … if only he can survive one last terrifying trial.

https://www.amazon.com/Improbable-Wonders-Moojie-Littleman/dp/1942545002

 

I was surprised to learn that this book was published over 2 years ago; it seems to be suddenly everywhere I look online.

Although touted as Y.A, I found it to be an engaging and beautiful story – Set in late 19th early 20th century. Moojie Littleman is a foundling who is adopted by childless couple; Henry and Kate Littleman. Moojie is written across the babes forehead, and so the name sticks.

The name is an interesting choice, it is no accident that the name Moojie (and its variant spellings) can mean – an ethnic slur in India, particularly about a Muslim. For Kabbalists it is about optimism, being friendly and likeable, other sources say it means ‘gift from God’. Knowing just this gives a foothold into this world created by Robin Gregory. A world of hard men; of Scottish, Irish and European origins, who live hard lives in the dust-blown, western edge of the earthquake riddled coastal town of San Miguel de las Gaviotas.

As Moojie grows to an age when certain stages in development should be met, it becomes clear that he is not like other children. For starters he is disabled. This physical disability is not named, but reads like cerebral palsy. Moojie does not, or cannot, speak; until much later. He has tantrums that create havoc and can be said to be spoilt by his doting mother; Kate. An interesting character herself, his mother introduces Moojie to the magical world of books – science, history, Odysseus. She sees in Moojie something no-one else can, a special quality that she attempts to nurture.

Then tragedy strikes. Moojie’s world falls apart after his beloved mother’s death and he is packed off to live with a cranky grandfather. He has to toughen up, the threat of being sent away to a boys home hangs over him for years. He is alone, feels unloved and without a sense of belonging.

Enter the Light-Eaters. A strange ‘tribe’ or ‘clan’ of people who live in the hills beyond grandfather’s goat farm. They are not like the locals, they are dark-skinned, dark-haired and viewed with suspicion by the townsfolk, who call them ‘Hostiles’. We are not told if they are Native American, they can speak any language they want, and there is a heavy emphasis on Eastern philosophy and spirituality. A curious group who each have lessons for Moojie; even painful ones, who reveal a little about themselves drop by drop; where are they from exactly? How old, actually, is Babylonia, the ‘girl’ whom Moojie falls for?

Moojie’s desperate desire to belong; to find a family, leads him on a journey of self-development. It is, in essence, a story of self-discovery and spirituality. Moojie’s disability is no excuse or reason for self-limitation, Moojie must learn how to give, how to forgive and how to accept.

This is a curious story, I was quite entranced from the start with the magical elements entwined in amongst the mundane – and isn’t that the point? Gregory has a light touch, poetic adjectives fill the spaces between the daily activities, is an easy read and has a positive message without being cloying. It can be read by the young as a tale of wonder and magic, and by adults as a tale of the human condition, for after all, aren’t we all Moojie Littleman?

 

I am giving The Improbable Wonders Of Moojie Littleman

5 Stars

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You’re Never Too Old For Premiere Pro

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Premier Pro Screen

I think I may have mentioned before I am not a young person. I have a grown up daughter, I have some grey hairs coming through, middle-aged spread, oh, and arthritis down the right hand side of my body.

But…

I will not slow down and I will not stop learning.

You think because you’re a ‘grown-up’ you don’t need to learn anything else? Think again. Life is a series of lessons and the best bit about being aforesaid grown-up, is, you can choose what you learn – I am talking here about the none esoteric, none spiritual learning here –

Currently I am learning how to use a digital camera (Nikon D3400 digital SLR) to film; yes, I know that doesn’t sound like much, but to someone who grew up taking a roll of film to Boots in order to get poorly framed photos from ‘my summer holidays’, it’s a big deal! Plus, I am compiling said shots into one whole piece! Yay, go me!

I am attempting to learn how to use Adobe Premiere Pro; video editing software. If you have ever read the About page on this blog, you will realise what a leap I have made. I am sure Premiere Pro is pretty standard stuff for the young ‘uns, but for me editing is a complicated, brain battering,multi-layered, sneaky (the frame is open but you can’t see me!), eye aching, time-consuming process.

frustrated woman.

However! It is a new skill I am acquiring, and if there is one thing guaranteed to help you feel younger than your years, it’s being able to use new technology.

I have all my shots in the timeline. I have inserted frames made in After Effects. I have added music, titles, credits. I am never going to be employed in the movie industry, I’ll never get a job as an editor – BUT – I can now make a short film should I want to. I think!

To mis-quote Irvine Welsh: ‘Do it for a job. Do it for a career. Do it for your health, Do it instead of sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth.’ Do it for the enjoyment of learning something new. Do it for fun. Do it to show you can. Do it to keep your mind active. Whatever you choose to learn…just do it!

To paraphrase Kafka – It’s better to know something and not need it, than to need something and not know it.

RuthFlowers68DJ
Ruth Flowers became a DJ at 68

 

 

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Freelance Blogging, Is It Really Your Bag?

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I have been running this blog for, hmm let’s see, just under 2 ½ years.

What has changed?

Well, my writing has improved, that’s for sure. I know what SEO is – I may not fully understand it, or use it properly, but at least I’ve heard of it! Have become acquainted with technology that did not exist when I was young (I got my first computer when I was 30 and my first mobile phone aged 33) And I have had total freedom on what I write about.

So, What has changed?

one million dollars

I want money. That’s the short answer. More precisely, I want paying for writing. Sure, I have stories published (N.B: You do not get rich – or even comfortable – as a fiction writer), but I have decided it is time I got paid for blogging. Enter: Sophie Lizard ‘beafreelanceblogger.com’.

I discovered this site via Twitter, decided to mosey on down there to take a look, and quickly started to follow every link connected to the business of freelance blogging offered up by Sophie.

Sophie works alongside Lauren Tharp; another experienced blogger, and between them have created a series of easy to follow and understand posts on what you need to do to be a successful freelance blogger.

I obtained a copy of ‘How to Pitch a Blog Post‘ via e-mail. Read it. Wagged my finger at my reflection a few times; “See, this is what you could have been doing 10 years ago!” and recognised the mistakes I have made so far.

I got over-excited when I first started to follow beafreelanceblogger, I sent a query to a posting on ProBlogger, then read the ‘How to Pitch‘ PDF and rolled my eyes – what had I done?!

Not applied in the correct/suggested manner. I probably won’t hear from that person, though I will send a follow up e-mail to make sure. But, it is no biggy – it is a learning experience.

If there is one thing that Sophie Lizard and Lauren Tharp are great at, it is being encouraging. They have a conversational tone that makes one feel as thought they are in the room with you. They don’t use unnecessary technical jargon, acronyms, trendy lingo or the like.

Sometimes there is short, sharp advice, stop thinking and start writing – what are you waiting for? – you got a refusal, so what? Keep going, is the general overall tone; which I like. You see, I need a kick up the backside every so often. I do well when someone shouts at me like a Sergeant Major. If you give me the verbal equivalent of comfy slippers, I’ll sit down with a cuppa and watch TV.

So, What will change?

Well, as far as my personal blog, Flailing Through Life, goes, it will remain the same haphazard, eclectic, sometimes spur-of-the-moment, multi-themed jumble it always has been. I like it like that, and no-one can make me change it *grips stabby implement*

But I am going to spread my blogging wings. Apply for paid work. Why?

Because I’m worth it.

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