We are midway through an October that’s already been quite eventful! What has been happening?
As you may recall from a previous Muse, the assistant manager where I work recently resigned, to go to new pastures. We are now getting a replacement, who, on the basis of first impressions, seems like a really friendly guy, with whom my colleagues and I can gel. Granted, it’s early days, but I like to take people at face value, and give people the benefit of the doubt. My hope is this will spell a great opportunity to make progress as a store.
The newcomer is not joining as assistant manager, but it is on the cards for him. My manager was worried I’d be upset if I didn’t get the role, but whilst I would be honoured to get it, I am fully aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and I am also aware that the new guy appears to have some very strong qualities in our line of work. I am content in my role, though if I was offered a promotion, I would not turn it down.
We shall see where this goes.
In a few weeks, Five Nights at Freddy’s is released at cinemas. This film, based on the popular and successful game franchise, is set to be rated 15 at UK cinemas, though it is said to carry a PG-13 (equivalent to a 12A) certificate in the USA. The decision of UK officials to rate it a 15 will annoy a great many kids, who have been eager to see the horror game franchise brought to life on the silver screen. Among those disgruntled souls is my daughter, who loves not only the games, but the numerous books based upon them.
The move will surely aggravate the film’s studio too. A 12A rating is a convenient means of ensuring a wide target audience. A film rated 15 is unavailable to younger viewers, and would normally mean less revenue. I am surprised that the film would have earned a 15 certification in the UK, and somehow not an equivalent R rating in the USA.
My daughter is still pining to see it, but cinemas can get into a lot of trouble for letting underage kids into 15-rated movies. I don’t quite know what to do about this. Some younger teenagers look older, but I wouldn’t say my daughter looks older than she is. The sensible course of action would be to wait for the film to come out on blu-ray, which won’t please her, not one bit. On the other hand, it would spare me several jump-scares! Honestly, I found the games to be a terrifying experience, and between my daughter and I, I am the one most likely to be scared witless by the movie!
Lately, I have had a lot of fun playing around with AI image generators. I have used an app called Imagine, and Bing, to create my images. Between the two, I have found Bing to be slightly better. First up, an image close to my heart, of my classic internet persona, Darth Timon:
Of course, there must be balance, so… Jedi Timon:
I need to stop being distracted by all this.
I may have noted that there were fresh lone-trading days ahead, and now, they are upon me. In these circumstances, a distraction may actually prove quite welcome.
The biggest pitfall of lone-trading is not the stress factor, but rather, the boredom factor. Being on your own all day, it is easy to sit around and get into a bit of a funk. Fortunately, in retail there are always customers coming through the door – or at least, you hope there are – and thus, always something to do. Plus, the store always needs cleaning, which provides some activity. The trick is to eke it out. If you have two days of lone-trading, leave yourself something to do on the second day, to alleviate the boredom.
October has seen the mercury regularly rise over 20C, which is somewhat unusual for this time of year, though perhaps not that unusual in a world increasingly affected by climate change. In mainland Europe the temperatures are still pushing 30C, at a point where things normally start to cool down, yet you can guarantee there will still be climate change deniers, insisting it’s all a conspiracy to… to… do something. So much of climate change denial is rooted in some very strange thinking, especially given that anyone who has lived through the last 20 years can see for themselves that things are changing.
Whilst a part of me does not mind the mild weather (I detest the dreary winter weather), it is impossible to deny our weather is changing, and that overall, things are getting warmer. This is the single biggest crisis humanity faces, and without serious, large-scale action from big businesses and governments, nothing will change. I don’t support the actions of groups like Just Stop Oil, but I do support their message.
Lately, my daughter has been bombarding with questions about the Russian Revolution. She is fascinated by certain elements of history, and this has become of great interest to her. I am doing my best to answer her questions, but queries like ‘how would Russia be if the Revolution never happened’ are very hard for me to address! I love that she has an inquisitive mind, but that kind of ‘what if’ scenario… well, who can begin to say? My answer was that the Tsars would probably become a figurehead, as opposed to rulers, given enough time, much like how the British Royal Family no longer exert any meaningful political power.
I can only imagine what fresh challenges my daughter will throw my way!
Time to Build a Dynasty
As I followed the football scores the other day, I reflected upon how the owners of clubs are incredibly reluctant to grant that most precious commodity to managers: time. Few clubs are willing to grant time to the manager, because football has become so money-orientated, so profit-hungry, that near-instant gratification trumps long-term, sustained success.
I say this with begrudging respect, because there’s no escaping it: Sir Alex Ferguson, the now-retired Manchester United manager, proved to be one of the most successful club managers of all-time, following his exploits at Man Utd. Sir Alex was appointed Utd manager in 1986, and went on to win 25 major trophies with the club, but it nearly ended before it began. He was reportedly on the verge of the sack in the 89/90 season, and it was thanks to turning things around, enough to win the FA Cup, that he was reportedly safe. The rest is history, and he was given the time to build a team that would dominate English football for two decades.
Flash forward to now. Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the conclusion of the successful 2012/13 season, with his 13th Premier League title secured. In the 10 years since his retirement, Utd have had five permanent managers, and some caretakers and interim managers as well. The general trend has been a significant downturn in results and performances, with the faintest scattering of major honours, and no real sign of a sustained title challenge.
This problem of impatience does not just afflict Manchester United, and I dare say it does not just affect football. It goes beyond sport too. We live in a world that wants instant success. No one is afforded the opportunity to prove themselves. The window of opportunity to learn and develop has shrunk. Imagine if Max Verstappen, who was recently crowned F1 world champion for a third consecutive year, had been dismissed from Red Bull early on his career? What if Rodger Federer had not been given a chance to develop his tennis skills? People tend to get better at stuff as they gain experience, yet paradoxically, no one wants to give people the time to earn experience.
I do understand that in a cut-throat sporting environment, such as football, where results can drastically affect income, time is sometimes an unaffordable luxury, but then again, football is supposed to be about a sporting dynasty. The great, emotional success stories of the past would never have happened if money had always been allowed to control football. What would become of the stories we tell of Sir Matt Busby, or Bill Shankly OBE? It seems we are all getting too hasty in our judgements and our expectations.
Speaking of dynasties… sort of…
At the end of September, I received some royalties! Some £12 found its way to me. I have no idea what the breakdown is of The Awakening’s sales, save for one, perhaps two sales in the UK, so I have to assume the good people at Jumpmaster Press have taken sales at conventions, or possibly via their website. These sales bring my total earnings to £18. Granted, that’s hardly a lot, but you know what? Every last penny of it is something I’ve earned, via being creative and determined, so I am proud of it.
My daughter has had a bout of the rather unpleasant tonsilitis! I have been fortunate to avoid this particular malady, though my brother has some experience in this arena. She is not enjoying the medicine she has to take, but to be fair, who particularly enjoys medicine?!
Ploughing with the Wife
That came out dirty. What I mean to say is, the other night, I had a dream where my wife and I were ploughing in the fields…. that still came out dirty. What I mean is, we were working on a farm. Well, we were applying for jobs on a large country farm. Why we were having such a sudden change of pace, I have no idea. I cannot even begin to fathom what brought this dream on. Neither my wife nor I are especially keen on tending to the land. We’ve both played a farm game on our phones, but that’s the extent to which we are green-fingered, much less being farm hands.
What’s worse is, we were competing against multiple other applicants. It seemed a lot of people wanted to work at this particular farm, even though we were to be granted only two days off a year: Victoria 30th (WTF?!) and April Fool’s Day… which tells me we were gonna be working forever. Oh, we would get to stop at 2pm on a Sunday. I remember that detail.
Following this dream (or preceding it, I honestly do not remember) I had a dream where I was Darth Vader, and I was going on a murderous rampage, tearing about rebel scum. A few Star Trek characters wound up getting in the way, though they could offer no resistance to the feared Dark Lord of the Sith. What does that dream tell me? That I probably need to let off some steam. It’s that, or become a farm hand.
A Return to Video
I sort of jumped the gun here, as I recorded this video Muse with every intention of having it go live with the written Muse, then wound up publishing it a week early by mistake. Ah well, it’s out there, and now it’s here! I’m gonna try and do more videos, as being a multi-channel meerkat is surely of more benefit?
There are quite possibly big changes coming, which aren’t about me, but will nonetheless affect me.
It is frustrating to be on the side-lines, unable to steer the course of events, knowing that those events will have a material impact on one’s self. These are also somewhat sad circumstances, but they have been bubbling up for some time now, and they pose questions about where the dividing line is between personal responsibility, and the role others play in your success.
Halloween vs Christmas
Whilst I love Christmas, I am weary of how early the Christmas messages start. We haven’t even cleared Halloween yet! I have written a Prompt post about this, due to appear in early November, because the encroachment of Christmas is now getting to a point where it’s over-saturating society. It’s too much, and I honestly get burnt out by the time the big day itself arrives.
Spick and Span
My manager has been off for a week, and I have dedicated myself to ensuring the store is clean and tidy for her return. This has meant wiping down shower enclosures, dusting vanity units, and vacuuming carpets. None of it is difficult work, merely mundane, though in typical fashion, I left some of it to the last day before she returned. Not all of it though: I am learning! Getting things done in stages has helped me to be more prepared! I could get used to being organised… but then people would expect it of me!
I have had some very late nights, err, lately. Last Thursday, my wife and step-daughter went to see Blink 182 in concert, and did not get home till gone midnight. I prefer to stay up until they get home, because A: I know they’re home, safe and sound, and B: they’ll make a lot of noise and wake me up, if by happenstance I am asleep. Thus, I didn’t wind up getting to sleep till late, and then got up early to take my daughter and granddaughter to school. From there, I covered the showroom in the morning, then went and got milk, went home for a bit, then turned around and collected my daughter from school.
On Saturday, my wife and her brother went and saw Madonna. This somewhat impromptu opportunity fell into my wife’s lap, and she could hardly turn it down, but it meant she was once again home very late, at around 1am. Once again, I waited for her to arrive home, for the aforementioned reasons. The following day, as I do on many Sundays, I went to work, and spent much of the day cleaning the showroom.
Needless to say, my first day off this week, on Tuesday, was gratefully received! I sorely needed it.
The Coming of Cold
After a warm start, October has given way to much chillier weather. It’s as though someone flicked a switch, and the temperature plummeted. I can’t say I’m not disappointed, but by the same token, October is supposed to be when the cooler ambiance creeps over us. It’s not necessarily meant to frost over (though it’s far from impossible), but colder times are definitely here. I’ll need to dig out my winter coat soon.
Birds of Tokyo
Let’s wrap up this Muse with a discovery. I was perusing the music on Spotify, and along came a band called Birds of Tokyo. This Australian alternative rock band have been around for ages, but they haven’t been on my personal radar. They most certainly are now. There are two particular songs that have resonated with me, Lanterns and I’d Go With You Anywhere. Lanterns is a hauntingly beautiful, soulful melody. It feels like a song sung by a group of resolved adventurers, and it would be a natural fit for one of the stories I am writing. I’d Go With you Anywhere would fit the same story, but it’s more upbeat, a fun, peppy number. Check out out!
Until next time!