May the Fourth be with you!
Yes, it’s Star Wars day, and it just so happens to be a Muse day! Poetic!
I am growing increasingly convinced my mind is not what it was. Is it a consequence of covid? Is it a misfiring synapse in my brain? I’m not talking major memory issues, but little mistakes at work are starting to bother me. I’m growing annoyed at myself and these tiny failures to remember what should be obvious stuff. The problem is, I don’t know how to fix this. I’ve left sticky notes all over my desk at work to prompt me going forward. All I can do is hope they spark a response in my brain.
The stupid thing is, I can remember details from years ago, yet my short-term memory feels like it’s shot to pieces.
Maybe what I lack is focus. I know I should be working on the follow-up to The Awakening (among other things). Instead I am distracted, and what’s worse, I am distracted from my distractions! I thought about firing up a new save on Football Manager 2021, but couldn’t be bothered with the preamble, and instead dived into the familiar world of Football Manager 2012 instead. I need to ensure I am concentrating at work, and focusing on one thing at a time at home.
The Hackles Go Up
This is actually a reference to a creepy dream I had the other night. You know that image of the Grey aliens with their huge black eyes? Well, I had a dream where one of these aliens was watching me and loitering outside the house. I woke up (I needed the loo), and felt deeply unsettled. Walking the short distance from the bedroom to the toilet, I remained unnerved, so much so that the hairs on my body stood on end. Coming out of the toilet and heading to wash my hands, I peered down the stairs and the unsettled, nervous sensation returned.
I don’t want a repeat of that.
The Edge of Glory
We’re entering into what (ironically enough) former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson once called ‘squeaky bum time’. The Premier League season of 21/22 is drawing to a close, and the two biggest rivals of Ferguson’s former club are the two dominant forces of the English game, whilst United languish far behind.
Liverpool are fighting for silverware on multiple fronts. The winners of the Carabao Cup will face the same opponents of Chelsea in the FA Cup Final. The Champions League remains up for grabs. The Premier League title is a possibility. However, Manchester City are also battling for the league title, and the title of European champions.
We’ve been here before, at least in the Premier League. Man City narrowly pipped Liverpool in the 18/19 season – though Liverpool won the Champions League that season to make up for it. In the disrupted 19/20 season Liverpool ended a 30-year wait for the league title. Both Liverpool and City have the experience of winning the game’s highest club honours, and and in an indication of how evenly matched the sides are, since 2018 the difference between the clubs is just one point.
As a Liverpool fan, I am acutely aware that the last time the two clubs were this close, City came out on top. However football is often surprising. All I can do is hope.
Big Green Buttons
Yet another dream-related entry, this time involving trains. I was on my way to Cambridge (I don’t know why), and at some point we all got off the train. The passengers were milling about on the track behind the train, and on the back of it was a big green button. Naturally, I pressed it, and the train started to move away. I’d unwittingly sent the train off to its destination, minus the passengers. Oops!
I kept quiet and no one seemed to notice what I’d done!
After a lot of deliberation and hand-wringing, I finally ordered an outfit for Comic-Con. Alas, both Scrooge McDuck and the Meerkat proved either impractical or unavailable, but my alternative is still good. It relates to a subject close to my heart, and I think I look good in green:
Twitter Changes Hands
Previously posted here.
Freedom of speech is an important and sometimes delicate thing. I’m a big believer in it, though I also believe freedom of speech does not grant freedom from the consequences of that speech. If someone chooses to be a misogynistic, racist, bigoted troll, they have to accept the repercussions of that choice. A lot of people don’t like the idea that they should be accountable for their behaviour, and Twitter is an avenue for those who seek to avoid being held responsible.
I have personally been witness to vile and cruel behaviour on Twitter, and I’ve been the target of such behaviour too. I’ve reached a point in my life where I do not care what people say about me – I laugh at the trolls and their cowardly behaviour – but for others there are deeply wounding consequences of the jibes and insults. Twitter often fails the victims of abuse, and it seems this is likely to get worse with Elon Musk taking over the social media platform.
Mr Musk has spoken of the importance of free speech, but does he understand the consequences of letting people run riot? Twitter is already somewhat lawless – how does Mr Musk plan to prevent trolling and abuse on what is now his platform? The richest man in the world now also controls a platform containing millions of voices – how will he shape the narrative? Mr Musk has in the past presented some dubious views on the covid pandemic, but even that pales before what he could do. At a time when the cost of living is rising and global problems of poverty, homelessness and famine remain very serious, will Mr Musk use Twitter to promote the idea that his vanity projects are somehow a better use of time and money?
I have no immediate plans to quit Twitter. For all its flaws, I have found it to be a useful medium. However, nothing is set in stone, and the direction of the platform will determine whether or not I stay or go. Perhaps now would be a good time to advertise my forums?! In the meantime, please check out the thoughts of my friends Bruce and Jill on this subject, and I’ll leave you with this thought – perhaps we should tag Mr Musk in every far-right, homophobic, transphobic, racist and sexist tweet we encounter, to highlight the scale of the problem.
The Awakening has returned! The latest round of edits landed with me the other day, and I’ve already completed the process of going through them. It doesn’t seem to be quite as extensive as before – a lot of it seems to be grammatical – and within the changes is the suggestion of removing half a chapter! From here it’s on to the beta reading stage, which will almost certainly return further changes, and then there’s the cover art, and from there, we’re virtually ready to publish!
We’re sleep-walking into disaster. The Tory government’s latest act is to seize control of the Electoral Commission, a formerly independent body. The Commission should never be under the sway of the government but now it is. Like many things, this has been woefully under-reported by the major UK news outlets, which in my view makes them complicit.
On top of this, the Tories have also brought in a policy that will require voters to have ID. This will address an imaginary problem, whilst making it harder for people to vote. Where is the opposition to this?! There are Tory front-benchers watching porn in the Commons, and they’re screwing the country elsewhere too. Dumping sewage into our rivers and lakes is apparently absolutely fine. Destroying our right to protest is seen as reasonable. Presiding over a cost of living crisis whilst doing nothing to stop it is fine. The list of failures is endless.
I was having a discussion at work the other day about the origins of the universe, and whether or not we are alone. Given the vastness of the universe, I have to believe intelligent alien life is out there. Whether aliens have visited earth (as per all the UFO stories) is a different question, but among billions of galaxies and billions of stars, how can we be the only intelligent beings?
The conversation raised a tough question – how did the universe begin? The scientific consensus is that the universe once existed as a point of unimaginable density, and rapidly expanded (the Big Bang). What came before? Was there a before? This are mind-bending questions (to me at least), and ones we might never know the answers to.
This is all rather heavy stuff for a Muse isn’t it?
The day after this Muse gets posted, this meerkat will be watching Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Ever since Spider-Man: No Way Home and the Loki series blew open the gates to the multiverse in the MCU, this latest Strange entry has become one of the most hotly anticipated Marvel movies, and it has the potential to be pivotal going forward. I am extremely excited, for the trailers have virtually confirmed (but not definitely) the appearance of Sir Patrick Stewart, who played Professor Xavier in the X-Men franchise. If he is indeed reprising the role, then it’s right to ask who else from that universe might cross over…
The ambition of Marvel with these stories is incredible. Who would have thought that they’d reach this stage? From a handful of remaining characters in their portfolio, to a commanding presence in film and TV. Speaking of TV…
Later, my wife and I will watch the season finale of Moonknight. This has been a slightly darker show than Marvel’s previous MCU fare, with tenuous links to the MCU (though it’s definitely a part of it). The show is a fascinating case study in trauma and the human mind, and it gets quite intense at times. Loss, grief, abuse, and the fractured mind – it all plays a part in the show, and how it ends is likely to be impactful for the MCU going forward.
By the time of the next Muse, we shall have answers! On that note, take care everyone!