The Power of Film

Film is important: 

And there are many reasons for this as it is such a vivid combination of so many arts; cinematography, music, sound design, editing, storytelling, acting…they all play a part in this unparalleled form of expression. It also possesses the sufficient wizardry required to transport us to faraway places and times – both physically and mentally…we can also experience a character’s life and gain an insight into their point of view, however wacky and odd their personality may be. This can serve to make us more accepting, and less prejudice people…or more unaccepting and discriminatory people – with great films comes great power, and (often) well…irresponsibility.

POwer GIF

For a quick example I watched the new James Bond film recently (Spectre), and I found myself nodding along like…“yeah…yeah…I AM in essence 007!” I mean I like clothes, travel, and alcohol – also I’m not a huge fan of overpowering authority figures – the only mark against is that I don’t shoot people for money: but that’s only a minor part of the whole movie franchise, so there we go! I am Bond, James Bond: and I don’t want to hear any arguments about it…

In other news my kindergarten kids have just got into Star Wars…I suppose they’ve been playing it on the TV recently, what with the new one coming out next month – and we’ve been delighting in having non-stop lightsaber battles throughout the duration of the day. I’ve also realised that I am more than likely closer to the dark side than most would say is normal…case in point I have been delighting in killing my six year old Jedi students with my force lightning ability. I mean someone has to be the Sith bad guy – and the red swords are a lot better looking…and yeah, yeah, I know I will eventually lose – but at least I get to look cool while doing it…

Darth GIF

« So you see there is this sense of escape, fantasy…or perhaps even unattainable galactic dreams – and it’s not a thing which can be easily shaken. Or stirred… (urgh, see what I mean?!) »

It’s always been this way though: perhaps I’m easily influenced, but there’s never been a time I can remember where films and their characters haven’t played a pivotal role in either how I want my life to be, or who I wish to be as a person. And naturally I haven’t adopted these roles entirely like some mad life-long method actor – but rather I have just absorbed certain elements which I then begin to endorse…case in point with The Lord of the Rings I became aware through Gimli that running for long distances wasn’t fun – and with Merry and Pippin, that second breakfasts were not something to be embarrassed about. And in Dumbo I learned that if you drink too much bloodthirsty pink elephants will appear in a frenetic dream sequence intent on killing you. All of these things are totally necessary, and I’m thankful for the world of film for enlightening me in so many ways… 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this ramble…would love to hear of some characters and movies which you have enjoyed – especially ones I haven’t heard of! Always on the hunt for a new favourite!

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The Age of Wisdumb

I’ve noticed something lately, and I can’t seem to get away from it wherever I turn…it’s on every corner, on every page, on every video, and on every programme…I suppose it’s always been there to some extent – it’s just that now it seems to be reaching alarmingly high levels…

I’m not sure what set this in motion exactly; perhaps it can be linked to the  climate of dumbed down media, or the rise of questionable facts in the form of the internet (oh hi there Doctor Wikipedia!) – or maybe, just maybe there’s some weird X-Files type stuff going on with the water supply (excuse me while I adjust my tin-foil hat…but let’s not rule anything out) – ahem yeah – but seriously whatever the legitimate reason(s) are, the unfortunate situation still remains the same:

…that I feel like I’m surrounded by people with little to no knowledge about fucking anything, who still feel that they have all the answers.  I mean just look around; no one is willing to learn, or should I say…no one is willing to admit their ignorance…and because of this these clueless morons feel they don’t need to be taught as they already have quite enough false wisdom to last for all of eternity…

Dumb and Dumber GIF

And that’s precisely why I have begun referring to this epidemic of prolonged stupidity as ‘The Age of Wisdumb’…gone are the days of the apprentice learning from the master – as in its place we have now replaced that entire archaic story arc with something else…that of the completely unaware but confidently vitriolic humanoid who is always sat in front of his/her computer spouting off hatred and self-assured claims at regular intervals through a variety of different social media platforms…how lovely.

But wait – don’t poor sods like this need guidance then? Instruction from the seasoned masters as they are nothing but empty beginners? Shouldn’t  they seek out the help of someone who has been there and done that, so that they can try and educate and better themselves?

Well no…they don’t have to do any of that silly stuff – as they’ve already watched “like a gajillion YouTube videos”, are rarely not searching something up on Google, and even tune into the news every now and again to keep up on current events…

And it is these reasons, and these reasons alone why many in this cycle have employment positions on Facebook which are legitimately listed as ‘BOSS at GETTIN DAT MONEY’…or something along those lines anyway! Because they’re blatantly all bosses, and they’re blatantly all getting that money.

So anyway, in this world where it is so easy to crown yourself a king, queen, or indeed the aforementioned boss – despite the fact you haven’t done a single thing to  warrant possessing these lofty impressive titles – there is a lot less motivation when it comes to actually working hard, and picking up knowledge through true experience to achieve something real. I mean, why would you do that when there is seemingly an endless supply of easy short cuts?

Short Cut GIF

Think about The Lion King…without his father’s tutelage Simba would have been even more of an arrogant prick than he was as a kid, and would never have grown into the fine figure of a lion that he ended up being in the end. Or what about the Karate Kid, and Mr. Miagi’s “wax on, wax off” training? Or Star Wars, and Yoda?  The Mask of Zorro? Leon?! The list goes on, but they always follow the same perfect formula; young yet enthusiastic characters eagerly  soaking up vital life lessons from seasoned veterans…and despite the initial frustration of having to accept that they basically know nothing; they end up better, stronger, and smarter as a result of listening to their respective “master” figure.

But consider the storylines of those well-known films set in our present culture – they would be very, very different! I mean take Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back just for one of many examples…

Yoda: “A Jedi uses the force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.”

Luke: “Pfft! Fuck you, don’t tell me what to do – I’mma boss! I’m out of here.”

Yoda: “That is why you fail.”

Luke: “Yeah whatever you lil’ scrotum face – never preach to me again!”

Yoda GIF

Sorry Yoda. That wisdumb has people talking recklessly these days…

But what’s the reason for all of this all of this ignorant flexing? Why is it that people seem to feel it demeans them to admit not being anything but an expert? Why do so many consider that asking for help or guidance makes you a weaker individual? It’s simply ridiculous…

Take myself for an example – I used to be shy and unsure of what I’m really about…you know, who I am. But nowadays I can be rather unequivocal in my self-assessment: which is that I am a complete and utter moron. I pretty much know nothing! Actually every day I find out new things, which were actually just the old things I was supposed to learn but didn’t ever get right the first time around…so in essence I know less than nothing – which is actually quite liberating in its own lobotomized way. (If not a smidge patronising and depressing).

But other people don’t appear to share my acceptance of my own lack of functioning brain cells…and this coupled with the fact that we don’t really have heroes anymore (not like we used to anyway) – spells disaster. Or to cut to the point directly, it leaves us with a long line of people who aim for overnight celebrity as opposed to something more lasting and meaningful

Fist Pump GIF

Because why not, right?

(Alright anyway, so suspend disbelief for the next little bit please). You see, I could theoretically make a rap song like the above with a controversial video…and go from a resolute nobody to an overnight success (my rap name would be MC Sukkadick and the song would be called “I Hate Everyone’s Grandma”; just so you know) – and then the established artists would be calling up to collaborate in a desperate attempt to stay relevant with what they see as the fresh new talent just because it’s catchy and people are clicking on it a bit. So when the consumer sees things like this happen then the idea of putting in work, building your craft, taking notes from those before you, and basically having heroes you model yourself after is, well…lost. And in it’s place we have a whole slew of entitled, and impatient characters, eager for instant-gratification despite putting in next to no hustle…

Or simply put we have a burgeoning population of overly-confident but largely non-skilled people who preach their wisdumb across social media – and this really upsets my miniature low-functioning brain and I; it really does. Because what they could be doing is listening to those before them, making plans and sticking to them, working hard and following their deepest ambitions even during the hard times, and eventually taking pride in all they  accomplish.

Rather than say…taking a picture of their butt for the entire world in the hope of a few likes. Or taking a video which humiliates their best friend in the hope it will go viral. It’s like…why?

Urghhhh…just take a look around these days, it’s bleak –  there seems to be a lot less artistry and creativity out there than before, but a whole load more content. Largely because there seems to be a lot less people respecting and taking unofficial lessons from those before them; instead people point and say, “if you can do it I can”…which is true, but isn’t so if you skip all of the years of tutelage, hard graft, and knockbacks. So perhaps it’s time we dropped the wisdumb so many seem to be holding on to, and started to seek out wisdom instead…as it’s only through that in which we can truly grow.

Just ask Luke Skywalker…

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How to be Happy.

Everyone wants to be happy, and to live a happy life. It’s somewhat of a sweeping generalisation, I know…but one which pretty much holds true across the board.

I mean unless you’re a homicidal maniac who enjoys other people’s pain and suffering – or a gym enthusiast vegan who enjoys the masochistic pleasure of seemingly making yourself suffer. In those cases I can’t relate at all – but those folks would probably tell you (as you strap them into a straight-jacket) that they derive pleasure from those senseless acts, and consequently are happy, or at least are making a distinct effort to attain happiness…however bizarre it may appear to us regular humanoids.

Happy, Happy GIF

So basically, I’m still right…sort of.

And while you may be less inclined to trust in a no-good bum writer like myself, you’ll probably hold more hope in my old pal, Socrates – despite the fact he didn’t ever come up with any clear-cut suggestions as to how to actually be happy. But whatever…

John are you seriously saying you’re better than Socrates? Your ego is completely off the charts, good sir.”

Well, no – I’m just pointing out that I have a bit of a method to happiness that seems to work for me – and all he ever did was ponder, and deal in vague outlines about self-examination and virtues as with most philosophers of his time. 

Hmm, he’s widely considered to have played a fundamental part in the growth of Western thinking…are you sure you’re not just jealous of his luscious beard? Because you can’t grow a proper one?”

Unfair, and mean – next question.

John you’re writing this yourself. Just stop if you’re going to be a baby about it – you’re coming across as a lunatic as it is. Also, we’re out of milk – get some next time you’re out please.”

You Talkin To Me GIF

Ahem, sorry about that. But I mean yeah, he was a smart bloke and all – so I’m not saying I wouldn’t have invited him to the pub every once in a while; he believed in the study of reason, the search of truth, and the admittance of our own ignorance, which all sounds dandy. But he had no ready answers, which I’m sure would get frustrating after the seventh or eighth pint. In fact I could imagine waiting for him to use the gents, and then darting out to another pub to find some more digestible truth there; probably revolving around sports, and a drunken take on world events. After all it’s usually the simple things, you know? And he sure did make it very hard work for people…

But the thing is happiness doesn’t have to be a cloudy pie in the sky sort of deal…in fact I think your pie should be right here, right now – with as many toppings and sauces as you please, and with no guilt over eating the last slice, ever. (Is this still just a metaphor? Way too into it!) 

Admittedly Socrates said something similar to this, when he stated we should actively pursue happiness through our actions and that it is in this exploration that we will expand our consciousness and become happier in the process…

Cool Cool Cool Cool GIF

….but as usual the most important element (the ‘how?!’) was neglected…perhaps he kept it in his beard, and only showed his closest friends…the selfish creature. But as I don’t have a beard, I will share my little pearl of wisdom in the hope that it can boost your overall happiness levels. It won’t quite have you doing a moonwalk on a rainbow (unless you mix my guidance with LSD – which you are welcome to try if you are over the age of eleven) but it should provide less misery, and a greater feeling of contentedness. 

So this is it, and it isn’t much really: 

But each and every year I try and better the last one…I try to put more into my passions, and more effort into my writing. I try to say “yes” to more opportunities, to take more trips, and to experience a wider range of what this wonderful earth has to offer. I try to keep in touch with family and old friends with more regularity, and try to tell those I love that I love them more often. Basically I try to be a better version of myself from top to bottom with every passing year…the keyword being “try”. 

Sometimes it doesn’t work out – sometimes life serves you up a poop sandwich, with an extra side of poop fries (instead of that delicious pie in the sky), but when it does you have to keep going… and keep trying. It’s as simple as that. Personally I’ve had a very difficult year so far for numerous reasons…but it has taken till now to shake myself free and remember that I need to keep up that pursuit of happiness (cheers Socrates, mate) – the future, and my subsequent happiness is in my own hands. 

Happy Hands GIF

So as you read this I am planning four different 2015 trips in four different countries…one which is a Christmas visit home (WOOOO!), I’m also editing down a new comedy video, and finally working on my dark humour novel again. I just need to send a nice email to my parents, and I’m golden!

But yeah, that’s it folks. Find the things that matter to you, the things that make you feel that warm fuzzy Teletubbies belly feeling, and then make steps to do them as often as possible. Happiness will follow. 

Whatever you do, don’t just accept misery…you deserve happiness, just the same as everyone. 

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Saunas, and Snowballs

I’m not such a confident guy, which may shock you to hear. Or perhaps not if you’ve watched any of my YouTube videos, considered how I may come off around normal people – and then put two and two together. If that means you, then well done – you cracked the DaJohnvi Code! Congratulations!

Apologies but there’s no formal prize as such – my budget is tight – but feel free to create your own certificate on Microsoft Paint, and then put it up on your fridge for everyone to see. I recommend using a nice font so people know it’s real and not just some bogus accolade made up on some rambling article in the darkest depths of the internet. They’re the worst, and I doubt anyone will want to see it in a job interview…I mean you never know…but in this case – yeah actually, we know.

Hmm GIF

What am I even talking about?! Oh yeah…so confidence, yeah – it’s a little low but I’m getting better. However I must say I’m certainly nowhere near the narcissistic extrovert level I feel is necessary to  prosper in the world these days. I’m definitely not the type to jump out of a plane (unless it’s on fire and there’s a giant marshmallow at the bottom), or tease sharks with promises of cocktail sausages by running through their homes on a spontaneous skinny dipping spree, or…well, come to think of it I wouldn’t even mention it if the waiter gave me the wrong order at a restaurant. I’d just sit there and knuckle down like a prison lifer…shoveling the wretched artichoke and beetroot paella down my throat, pretending everything is fine and that the cheese smothered chicken with extra bacon didn’t sound good at all.

I’d probably even leave a tip and a nice review on their website.

So when I was in Finland a couple of years ago, it was in essence my own personal nightmare to hear of their tradition regarding saunas – which is basically to be completely nude, (or as I like to call it “making close-friends with gravity”) and then to flee out into the arctic expanse and throw your reddened steamy body into a pile of snow. You then run back to the sauna, and repeat, repeat, repeat until you either get bored or die of frostbite.

Some may call this stupidity, the actions of a madman, that only a raving lunatic would act in such a way…and yes I would be prone to agree. But I also think it takes a special brand of confidence to delve into such an act willy-nilly; and I also think it is rather self-evident that you need true metaphorical balls to put your actual balls in such obvious danger. And I’m afraid to note I don’t have those – the metaphorical ones I mean.

What Willy GIF

“But it’s the culture…you should at least try it once, just to be polite!” Or at least that’s what everyone suddenly turns and says to you when you attempt to quietly back out of such a thing. Which leaves you with only two options sadly; to take part in the hideous event after all, or to strangle those who are kicking up such a fuss and hope no one will ever find you in your igloo safe-house bunker.

So EVENTUALLY I’m in the sauna, OBVIOUSLY. Looking at my feet as it’s the least threatening portion of nudity on display; breathing in and out – whilst wondering if its okay to be filling my lungs with the greasy sweat vapor of such a large group of strangers. I mean won’t it make my breath smell like an armpit? And another person’s armpit at that…surely that can’t be good…right? And wait, will I have to use deodorant as mouthwash from now on?! So many vital questions, and yet no one to ask…

But my important thoughts are interrupted when a rather dangly man stands up and gestures to me as if to say “it’s time”. He’s middle aged…forty something, rather short and with an admirable beer belly – I wouldn’t have known it by looking at him, but the man was a pro at the whole procedure. You see, the stairs were freezing in comparison to the dense heat of the sauna, but he wasted absolutely no time complaining and zipped up with lightning speed…meanwhile I followed after him, attempting to forget the flashes of bum hole hair I had just witnessed against my will.

Huh GIF

He jammed open the heavy door to the icy tundra…as a shiver ran all through my body – it wasn’t exactly surprising to experience how uncomfortable it was to be fully naked in the arctic circle, where it is regularly -50ish…but it did make me wonder even more why this cultural practice was even a thing at all. “5, 4…” he began without warning, whilst readying himself for his jump and encouraging me to do the same, “…3, 2…” I could see the eagerness in his eyes, but I could also feel the unwillingness of any part of myself to go through such extreme pain…“1, GOAAAAHHH!” 

He leaped, I didn’t. Instead I stood there glued to the spot, staring down at this balding starfish, and his wide gaping butt crack. His head turned to look for me, holding an expression tarnished by my betrayal. I put this to the back of my mind, and darted back down the stairs…slipping in my hurry and slamming my nude body rather clumsily across solid unforgiving concrete. Which yeah, served me right I suppose. 

And although I ended up with a bruised left buttock, and that fella didn’t ever really talk to me properly again after my Judas moment…as far as I know I can still have children at some point which I feel would have been under a lot of scrutiny had I went ahead with Operation Ice Testes-test. So you know what? I feel pretty confident I made the right decision, and that’s good enough for me.

But for what it’s worth, sorry Csaba! I’ll do it next time…promise!

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Live for the Weekend?

“I can’t wait for the weekend!” says some tiresome, but probably well meaning person in your workplace…shame it’s only Tuesday – and the drab countdown to allotted free time will now drag even longer than usual…

Why GIF

Why do they do it? Is life really that shit, that you want to tick bits off like it’s a jail sentence you can’t wait to be over? 

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. But I hate this idea of, “living for the weekend.” It’s not that I don’t get it (I really do!), it’s just that I feel this means your’e only finding worth in two measly days out of seven. If I was better at maths, I’d work out the percentage of life you are missing out on thanks to this perspective, but I’m not so I won’t – let’s just all agree on a lot. 

My situation is good at the moment – so perhaps that’s why I can be so recklessly judgy, and borderline pretentious about this sort of stuff…after all I just teach kindergarten Monday, to Friday; 9:30 till 14:30…which leaves the rest of the day free for me to pursue the things I love – namely writing…or you know – eating, and sleeping…actually sometimes all three if I’m feeling real ambitious! 

Naturally this makes me happy! Doing what you like makes you happy, it’s as simple as that. And although it is a very temporary situation – for now, I can only praise the stars, my lucky charms, and/or whatever else for granting me such a sweet deal. It hasn’t always been that way…at one point I was getting up to do a paper round at 5:30am, then on to push televisions around at an electrical store, then a shift at the pub later on. Madness – I mean I was supposed to be studying…

Dollar GIF

Anyway during those days the weekends were my busiest! So I can’t say I was thrilled every time they rolled around. Tuesdays were great…Wednesdays too…

My rather rambled, and convoluted point is this…try and find good in every day, not just the ones where you get to take shots of some obnoxious liquid, and wake up in a puddle of your own expulsions without worrying about missing an appointment. There is good in the weekdays too. Even if it’s just a nice conversation, a sunny day, or the anticipation of dinner with a family member, or watching the new episode of your favourite show…it’s all good my friends, it’s all good…

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DISRESPECT YOUR ELDERS.

Were you brought up, and instructed to “respect your elders”? Well yeah, so was I…and although this phrase sounds a little Star Wars-ish, once you get past that, it is for the most part a sound bit of advice. After all with age, comes experience, and with experience comes wisdom (most of the time)…why would I want to make my own mistakes, when someone who has been there done that, can advise me against them? It’s common sense, right?!

What are not so common, are these super-rare dance moves:

Old People Rock GIF

YOU’RE WELCOME!

Anyway, now the reason I am rambling on this topic, is that I have found in South Korea they have the same ethos…except it is, for want of a better phrase…out of fucking control! In this land you must respect your elders, but continue to do so even when they continually show YOU, or anyone else aggressive disrespect. You, and the rest of the onlookers must just remain silent, or possibly nod – and/or apologise if the aggressor demands you to do so. Odd, right? 

I’ll give you a couple of examples…alright firstly, whenever I am walking around with a Korean friend (who has the misfortune of being female)  it is not a rare occurrence for evil death glares to  be shot our way by senior citizens. Uncomfortable, sure…but I smile back politely, and try to remember my Jedi training. My issue is with them coming over, and screaming at my friend for even sitting next to me…calling her a slut, and other things that I can’t translate, but which are probably worse. I mean respect your elders – sure…but how do I respect that kind of behaviour? 

No one intervenes…and tells them they are out of line…they just look down, and think “they’re old, so it’s okay.” Well patently – it is NOT okay. 

Oh, and here’s another one! Just this past weekend – I walked past a few old guys, who jabbered something angrily in my direction…again, as usual, I just smiled at them, nodded politely, and carried on. Before long I heard the jabbering again, this time it was a lot more agitated – I didn’t turn around straight away, just moved along nicely…but then when I did eventually look, I saw that one of them was running after me with a crazed vigor – he may as well have been foaming at the mouth. I wasn’t particularly scared – what was he going to do, chew my leg with his three remaining teeth? But my friend urged me into the crowd of the market, and said it isn’t the done thing to deal directly in that way. So I entered the bustle, and foul smells of the little stores….still, I heard him getting closer. I felt someone grab my shoulder, and spun around – he started pushing, and shoving – swearing at me in Korean…

Again, no one intervened…to tell him he was out of line…they just looked down, and probably thought “he’s old, so it’s okay.”

Funnily enough from what I could gather, and what was told to be later – he was complaining that I had shown him a lack of respect, as he had said “hello”, and I had ignored him completely, (bullshit). He began pushing again – my face was so red with rage, I thought I was going to explode. Thankfully my friend apologised despite no wrongdoing, and pushed me into a back street…he followed for a while, still ranting, and raving…but after a while my aggressor gave up, and returned to his pensioner friends. Probably to tell them how people have no respect for their elders these days, oh the bitter irony. 

Crazy Cat Lady GIF

This is so commonplace  – it’s a cultural flaw, really. It’s so bad, that it is now a huge stereotype – and consequently rude Korean grannies become the butt of jokes (when they’re not around of course!) I know you can’t lump everyone in the same category, and that is never my intention – it’s just something I couldn’t help but recognise; that got me thinking about respect, and whether it should be expected...or earned.

So what do you think? Have I got it all wrong? 

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