30 Before Thirty (Comics & Graphic Novels)

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I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the Comics and Graphic Novels that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

Grant Morrison’s 18 Days

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Camelot 3000

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Miracle Man: A Dream Of Flying

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All Star Superman 

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Preacher: Gone To Texas

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The Crow

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Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes

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Alan Moore’s: Saga of The Swamp Thing

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Marvel 1602

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Saga: Volume 1

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 The Order: Die Mensch Machine

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The Complete Scarlet Traces 

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Button Man

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Ronin 

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Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow 

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The Infinity Gauntlet 

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Amazing Spider-man: Kravens Last Hunt

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Promethea Book 1 

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Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus 

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Multiversity 

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Son Of Superman 

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Hellblazer: Original Sins 

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The Authority: Relentless 

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Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction 

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Doctor Who: Emperor Of The Daleks

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Death: The High Cost Of Living  

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JSA The Liberty Files 

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Alice In Sunderland 

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Daredevil Yellow

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The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch

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How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

30 Before I’m Thirty (Films)

Congratulations Mr Trump (2)

I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the films that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

How Green Was My Valley 

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Gentleman’s Agreement

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From Here to Eternity

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Gone With The Wind

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Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

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West Side Story

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Lawrence of Arabia

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf

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Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

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Funny Girl

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Fiddler On The Roof

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All The Presidents Men

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Milk

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Kramer Vs Kramer

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Terms of Endearment 

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The Cider House Rules

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An Education

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The Wolf Of Wall Street

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Guardians of the Galaxy 2

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Moonrise Kingdom

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Saving Private Ryan

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Going In Style 

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Wall Street

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King Ralph

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Planes Trains and Automobiles

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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The Monuments Men

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Good Will Hunting

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Good Morning Vietnam 

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This Is Spinal Tap

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How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

Culture, Curry and Shopping Excursion’s

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Today was a day for culture, culture and shopping. Marianna and I ,this morning, decided to go shopping for clothes. Marianna needed some formal black shoes, and a cardigan to go with the dress I brought her the other day, which she’ll wear to a few things we have coming up like a family wedding, and a few civic functions.

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The Dress

After wandering every shop that sells child’s clothing and shoes in Cwmbran, its a fair few, we finally went into Primark last and there we found a lovely cardigan for £5 and a darling pair of boots that were reduced to £3, so we paid for our purchases and took the 2 minuet walk home, wherein I made a sumptuous lunch of a cheese sandwich, sliced grapes, a packet of crisps, a yoghurt and two jaffa cakes all for Marianna, which she ate in its entirety, which was a nice surprise.

So then we came to the question, what where the two of us going to do this afternoon, as I was up to date on house work, I had nothing pressing to do paperwork wise, which is odd when I have an AGM to attend tomorrow. So I decided it would be one of those days where I attend to my child’s cultural development. So we cranked up the ole’ Amazon Fire Stick, went to Youtube and started on with the opera. Knowing that a two year old, even one as bright an attentive as Marianna, would not have the attention to span an entire opera. So I opted to pick some arias, specifically from some famous sopranos, all of which weren’t overly long, Marianna decided she would dance to what she dubbed the singing princesses (I think it was the posh frocks and tiaras that put the idea in her head) after about an hour of various arias and duets we came to The Flower Duet by Lakmé and at this point I gave up on the opera, because I realised I was having a conversation with a two year old about the “pretty dresses” of the two sopranos.

So it was getting on for four o’clock and we switched to the ballet, mainly as I saw this awesome version of The Russian Dance from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker the other day. So we watched that and then moved on to Swan Lake, where Marianna could get a good look at the “Dancing Princesses” and try to copy their moves (the kids pretty damn flexible, but not coordinated, not even a little bit) but it did inspire this beauty of a conversation.

Me: Marianna, would you like to be a ballet dancer?

Marianna (Age 2): No, I want food. 

The perfectly innocent, but still perfect, response made me remember, from many many years ago, the date I had with a woman studying ballet, I can’t remember the name of the woman, but I do remember that it was possibly the cheapest dinner date I have ever been on, and its made me smile. And with that, I made dinner, we had curry and chips, followed be Neapolitan Ice Cream, it was nice, Marianna then had her bath and went to bed, now I’m on the sofa writing this with The West Wing on in the background while a little part of me is wondering if we finished all the curry or if there’s enough for me to have a second bowl in half an hour or so.

 

A Gentleman’s Guide To Dick Pics

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Don’t, that should be the only guidance you need when it comes to sending a picture of your junk to someone. Several months ago I received a text, from what I hope was a wrong number, the text said something along the lines of “hey baby, good to meet you last night” and then underneath it was a picture of a penis, a fairly small, particularly hairy penis. My response was to reply to the chap “I think you have a wrong number, however if you’re going to start a dialogue with a young woman by flashing your gentiles I would invest in a body hair trimmer, some decent lighting and make use of the zoom function on your camera.

It made me think though. Do women get this a lot? Why and how has this become acceptable behaviour? I mean to send an unsolicited picture of your gentiles is right up there with flashing someone on the street, the only difference is the overcoat. I mean I could sort of understand if the other person asked for a picture, but even then I wouldn’t go for it.

Surely people aren’t all that easy, surely there should be some mystery, I mean I don’t delude myself by demanding wine, roses and limousines, but I’d like to think someone would work a bit harder to see me naked than “send nudes”, I mean I know I would.

Putting aside the easiness of sexual morals that have come with the internet age, there are the practical concerns of blackmail and or revenge porn. Now by pressing send, an ex with an axe to grind could potentially ruin a career and a personal life all in one fell swoop. There are already a growing number of documented cases of suicides as a direct result of this sort of thing.

This is why it’s safer to avoid the whole thing, even if asked for, have some self respect and say no, if your charm and personality aren’t enough for your intended, chances a junk snap isn’t going to sway them over, especially premanscaping and with unflattering lighting.

Comic Review: Spiderwoman Shifting Gears Volume 1: Baby Talk

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*BEFORE WE BEGIN, WARNING THERE MAY BE POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*

**SERIOUSLY, THIS IS A COMIC REVIEW THERE’S BOUND TO BE SPOILERS COMING**

***LAST CHANCE TO TURN BACK IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE SOME SERIOUS SPOILERS***

I can’t claim to have been a massive fan of Spider-woman, my only real exposure to the character came from Brian Michael Bendis’ tenure as writer of the Avengers, where for the most part she was in fact a shape shifting alien impostor. That being said I did come across the character in the recent Spider-verse crossover event, and I was pleasently surprised at the way the character seems to have been developed since. So when I got an absolute fortune in Amazon vouchers for Christmas, I decided I would catch up with some of the latest exploits of Spider-man, and the various other spider related super heroes such as Silk, Spider-Gwen, and yes you guessed it Spiderwoman.

So when I picked up Spiderwoman Shifting Gears: Volume 1, Baby talk, and about 30 other different comics, one of the first things that struck me about this volume was that its very, very rare for there to be a pregnant superhero. Superheroics are not something that goes together with the idea of a pregnant woman. Spandex is not something that goes well with pregnancies, nor does the idea of acrobatic fight sequences with alien super fiends.

However, that being said this is volume is actually pretty close to my recollections of being around a pregnant woman, admittedly I’ve tried repressing those nine months of my life, but like a war vet with PTSD those memories just keep coming back to haunt me. Things such as the diabetes inducing levels of niceness that people subject pregnant women to, to the way being pregnant just seems to invite strangers to make all sorts of, way too personal and way too condescending, questions about the state of your life and how completely unprepared you are for this massively life changing situation you know find yourself in.

But if you discount what the story does get right, it does leave a lot that even superpowers wouldn’t explain away. Most glaring is the super powered fire fight with alien invaders just moments after going through a non anaesthetised emergency cesarean section. The mother of my child could barely lift a cup of tea for a week after receiving the above procedure, even after receiving a boatload of morphine, somehow I don’t think irradiated spider blood would do much to change the situation.

The writing, by Dennis Hopeless, is rather smooth and flows nicely, it doesn’t rely too much on established continuity, which is good for the casual reader like myself, it doesn’t really need you to have read every issue that Jessica Drew, our ersatz Spiderwoman, has ever appeared in, but it does have a few little treats in store for those that are devotee’s of Miss Drew and the wider Marvel universe.

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Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears Volume 1: Baby Talk

The Art Provided by Javier Rodriguez is fantastic, its a lot less cartoon like than has become the norm in many Marvel books at the moment (Spider-Gwen I’m looking at you), colour wise the book seems to focus on some nice pastels for backgrounds which contrasts nicely with the sharp colouring used for the foreground and characters, it gives the book a whole vibrant look, that makes the action scenes pop and even lends something extra to the quiet character driven moments.

Overall I would recommend the book and would give it a 4.5 out of 5 starts. The only reason it does lose half a point is that the last issue of the collection, issue five (the volume collects issues #1-5), feels a little rushed, it seems that it is trying to set up a new status quo for the character before something new begins. The next volume may make the payoff of this more apparent, but until I read that, I won’t know, and that, is where I feel this volume lets itself down.

Postnatal Depression In Men

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Postnatal depression is something that affects as much as 10% of new mothers out there, however what they don’t tell you is that it doesn’t only effect women, it can effect men just as badly. It may be difficult to tell if you are suffering from Postnatal depression because some of the symptoms are just symptomatic of life, especially when you’ve just had a child. symptoms such as tiredness, trouble sleeping at night and feeling tired during the day seem like par for the course when a new baby comes along, and this would go hand in hand with problems concentrating, making decisions and a lack of energy and feeling all the time seems like it would again be part of the lack of sleep. The common symptoms of PND (postnatal depression) in men are:

  • a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
  • lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
  • lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
  • difficulty bonding with your baby
  • withdrawing from contact with other people
  • problems concentrating and making decisions
  • frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby

What causes postnatal depression in men is not entirely clear from a sociological and an anthropological standpoint factors could include

  • a history of mental health problems, particularly depression, earlier in life
  • having no close family or friends to support you
  • a poor relationship with your partner
  • recent stressful life events, such as a bereavement or job loss
  • financial difficulties

however from a biochemical standpoint however childbirth does some pretty crazy things to men’s heads studies in animals and people show that new fathers experience an increase in the hormones estrogen, oxytocin, prolactin and glucocorticoids, according to a recent review of studies by psychologist Elizabeth Gould and colleagues from Princeton University.

The research shows that contact with the mother and children seem to induce certain hormonal changes in fathers. In humans, fathers who show more affection toward their children also tend to have higher levels of oxytocin (the hormone responsible for bonding with children), the effects of this change in the chemical soup that makes up a human being could lead to hormonal imbalances that in turn could lead to depression.

If you do feel that you are suffering from postnatal depression as a dad there are many things you can do about it.

If you want someone to talk to anonymously you can call the Samaritans free on 0117 983 1000 from any UK mobile or landline.

Alternatively you can speak to your doctor who will recommend various forms of treatment for you such as antidepressants or counselling based on your needs. Most importantly you should talk to your partner, tell them what you are going through, they may be feeling the same and you can act as a little two person support group for each other, or by simply unburdening yourself to them they be able to help a little bit while you try to get your shit together. It is hard work and I speak from experience, I suffered through the sleepless nights and lethargic days (to the point where I had to have a sit down half way through washing the dishes), I suffered the mood swings, the obsessive behaviour and the constant tiredness. It got to the point where I barely recognised who I was as person anymore, and then finally it hit me, that moment of clarity, that I needed help, I went to my doctor and asked for a big pile of antidepressants, I started taking my daughter out more and more, seeing friends and just doing small things until now over the last few months (bearing in mind my daughter will be two next month) I have finally started to feel like myself again. I give a shit about how I look again, I care that my house is a mess, I do occasionally go out and have fun with my friends. And a big part of that is because I asked for help.

The mother of my child would joke that our roles were reversed after the pregnancy. I was the one who had the baby brain and the sleepless nights, I could drive a tractor through that bedroom and I wouldn’t have woken Jessica up, whereas Marianna farting in her bedroom will often wake me up to this day (even if I fall asleep on the sofa). But this made me think that if I were going through this sort of thing how many other men were out there, going through the exact same thing and not getting the help that they needed?  Men and mental health issues can be tricky minefield to navigate at the best of times, because by admitting that we need help, we are wired to believe that we fail as men, that we should be the strong silent type, but this sort of thing is not healthy, yes I know that there is a stigma around mental health, but there shouldn’t be, especially at a time when we as men really are at out most vulnerable. If you need help get it, if you had a broken leg, you wouldn’t leave it untreated (at least not for longer than it takes to sober up), if you had cancer you would get chemo, if you caught the clap you would take some penicillin, if you were stupid enough to mess around with power tools while under the influence, you would go to the emergency room. So why on earth wouldn’t you take the necessary treatments to combat depression and make your self well again? If not for your sake then for your child’s. They deserve a father, not just the shell of one.

The Lazy Ramblings Of A Lazy Guy (On Being In Love)

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I was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics

  1. ON BEING IDLE.
  2. ON BEING IN LOVE.
  3. ON BEING IN THE BLUES.
  4. ON BEING HARD UP.
  5. ON VANITY AND VANITIES.
  6. ON GETTING ON IN THE WORLD.
  7. ON THE WEATHER.
  8. ON CATS AND DOGS.
  9. ON BEING SHY.
  10. ON BABIES.
  11. ON EATING AND DRINKING.
  12. ON FURNISHED APARTMENTS.
  13. ON DRESS AND DEPORTMENT.
  14. ON MEMORY.

Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care)

On Being In Love 

Have you ever seen someone and known that they would be a terrible distraction to your life. That was how I would describe it, that feeling of knowing that this person is going to really change your life. That knowledge that this is going to be massively inconvenient.

That’s how it all begins then you slip into it, the early days are all wine and dinner and flowers and dancing, but then comes the big pants and netflix, the cups of tea, the farting and the lack of make up, if you can get through that, that is true love. The enduring real world version of the thing.

Foreigner wanted to know what love is, well its two people who have decided to just give up and settle with each other because they find the other person somewhat less detestable than the rest of humanity, that my friends is love.

This is the second in series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man.