The Meerkat Muse: 29/11/23

Here we go again! Welcome back to the Meerkat Muse! Let’s kick things off with a peculiar dream, because why not?

Irish Adventures

I’ve never been to Ireland. I wouldn’t mind doing so one day, but so far, the opportunity hasn’t arisen. In my dream I went to Northern Ireland, a region noted for a long history of political turmoil and bloodshed. I dare say this coloured my dream slightly (I was aware of certain tensions), but for the most part, I was exploring a city, and looking upon a marketplace. The details are hazy, but I found everything to be quite beautiful.

Small Changes

I love coffee, but I am starting to think coffee is not loving me back. I don’t keep track of how many cups I drink during any given day, but it’s definitely quite a few! I can’t help but feel it’s not a bad idea to scale back on my coffee intake, and so I’ve turned to tea instead. Tea in large quantities wouldn’t be any better than lots of coffee, but I can’t shake the feeling – and it is only a feeling – that in similar amounts, tea is better for me. Plus, it still provides caffeine!

Something Wonderful

Spot the obvious flaw!

Leaving aside how Bing’s AI thinks jamming the controllers on backwards on a Switch is a good idea, this pic sums up what I’ve been doing with a lot of my recent free time. My wife got me Super Mario Bros Wonder for my birthday, and I have loved this absolutely insane, madcap dash through the Flower Kingdom! It’s a quirky reinvention of a well-worn but entertaining formula, and is perhaps the boldest take on Mario’s 2D adventures since… well… this greymuzzle is going to say Super Mario World. Yeah, I’m that old.

This is easily one of Nintendo’s best Mario games, at least in this meerkat’s book.

Low-Key Birthdays

I referenced my birthday earlier, and it’s true, I have completed another rotation around the sun. The occasion was not especially dramatic, as it was hardly a milestone birthday, but I am another year older, though I’d hardly say another year wiser! My parents and brother came down to see me, and we had a meal at a local pub that is famed for good food. A turkey roast in November? Scandalous! It was good turkey mind. The chocolate brownie that I washed it down with was delectable, and deliciously decadent.

Gross Uncertainty

Without going into detail (because I can’t), a situation – an on-going mess really – has continued to lack a resolution, or at least a resolution that anyone can be happy with, regarding some recent events. All I can hint at is that this does not concern personal matters, though it’s certainly leaving me personally frustrated. A great deal of this concerns a form of stubbornness, and an unwillingness to accept personal responsibility for a particular set of circumstances.

The end result of all this is going to be more pressure upon my shoulders, and all for reasons that are totally beyond my control. That’s pretty annoying, and I am also powerless to do anything about it, which is greatly aggravating. I’m somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I guess, upon reflection, there is something I can do. I can focus on what I need to do. I cannot control what other people do or say, I can only control my own actions and behaviour, so that will be the focus.

Colder Climates

There’s definitely no denying the shift in the weather! The other day, my phone recorded a temp of 4C, and as we move into December, that’s only going to get lower. The perennial question of snow springs to mind, and I have to wonder if we’ll get a White Christmas?

Mindless Thieves

This didn’t happen to me, but it did happen to a friend, and I am quite pissed off on their behalf. They make use of a bicycle to get to and fro places, and some little shit decided they wanted to have said bicycle for themselves. Cue hacking at the lock, and ultimately destroying the bike. It’s insured, but so my friend won’t lose out, but that’s not the point.

It’s one thing to steal food to survive. It’s quite another to steal someone’s wheels. The bike is not essential to my friend, but it’s bloody useful, and this act of thievery-turned-vandalism is petty and cruel.

I despise this kind of thing. I used to witness it when I worked in office supply retail, and I even witnessed it at my sofa sales job. It’s mindless, without thought or consideration to the pain it will cause.

Strange Hills

Doctor Who (which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary) has long-been one of the more, shall we say, adventurous TV shows out there, and I don’t just mean in terms of the sci-fi. For several years, we’ve had gender-swapping characters, including the titular Doctor themselves, and the upcoming 15th Doctor will be portrayed by a black person, marking the first time the Doctor has been black.

We haven’t seen much of Ncuti Gatwa (the 15th Doctor), because the 60th anniversary specials will feature David Tennant as the 14th Doctor (Tennant famously played the 10th Doctor, and his return as the 14th is slightly mind-bending, which to be fair, is what Doctor Who tends to do). However, Gatwa has been busy filming for his debut season, and he has made little appearances here and there, in promotional material.

He has also appeared in an edited scene of An Adventure in Space and Time, which originally aired to mark the show’s 50th anniversary. The show was a behind-the-scenes dramatization of William Hartnell’s time as the 1st Doctor, and at the end, as he prepared to bow out of the roll, he saw the then-Doctor Matt Smith, standing at the controls of the TARDIS, as if to say ‘everything will be alright, this show has a future.’ The edited scene features Gatwa’s Doctor instead, and this has led to a mini uproar on social media. Some fans resented the change, even though it seems provisions were made at the time for exactly this sort of scenario. Should Doctor Who still be running in another 10 years, the odds are the next actor to play the Doctor will be edited into An Adventure in Space and Time.

Doctor Who is about renewal. The very character themselves is always changing. This is the nature of the show. People are getting upset over this minor alteration to An Adventure in Space and Time, and I’d love to know why. It couldn’t be because it shows Gatwa, a gay black man, taking over the reins, could it?

The Far Right Rises…

Recently, elections in Argentina and the Netherlands have yielded troubling outcomes. Far right politicians have risen to power, on populist platforms, at a time when that’s the last thing the world needs. There have even been riots on the streets of Dublin, and none of this leaves me with a happy feeling. We’ll have to watch this space, but this trend can be found everywhere, even, it seems, in my daughter’s school, where someone drew a swastika, of all things.

I cannot believe that anyone can feign ignorance as to the swastika and its meaning. Nazi symbols have no place in decent society, so for one to turn up in a school is truly disturbing. If any student in that school is ignorant as to the swastika, that represents a gross failure of society, and our education system. I hope the school is sure to take issue with this, and addresses it in a way that leaves no one unaware as to how horrendously offensive such symbols are. We’ll have to wait and see.

Preparing for a (Mini-Slice of) Paradise

Recall that back in August, my wife, daughter and I had been away to a holiday park in Great Yarmouth? You may also recall the story of how we won the bingo! Our prize was a weekend break at the start of December, and the time has come to prepare for this little adventure. One less-desirable aspect of all this was going into the loft (which I hate doing) to fish out a suitcase, but to be fair, it had to be done sooner or later, as the Christmas decorations needed retrieving. However, I am adamant that no decorations go up before the 1st of December!

Sometimes my wife and daughter like to think of me as a Grinch, because I hold firm against putting up decorations, or playing Christmas music, or anything like that, until the 1st of December. The reality is that I love Christmas, but Christmas should not start until December! If it starts too early then everyone will be thoroughly fed up with it by the time the big day rolls around. Christmas is meant to be special and magical, which it cannot be if it’s over-saturated. My ‘no Christmas till December’ stance is intended to preserve the magic!

How my wife and daughter see me!

With that, I bid you adieu until December! I can assure you, the Christmas Spirit will be in fine voice!

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