Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Healing Diary: Just Write it Out

Today is the day after Anzac's Day. I feel the need to mention that, because I've noticed that for all of this year, I have only been writing blog posts for holidays. Hell, the only reason I didn't post this yesterday is because when I came home yesterday, my PSU was fried, and I needed to head out this morning to buy a new one. And yeah, sure, I posted the New Years one twelve days late, and the Valentine's Day one early, but it is a worrying trend. I don't even like ANZAC Day that much, but this ANZAC day, I felt the need to post.
I promised myself I would write at the very least one blog post per month. But at this rate, you should expect just eight more posts for Cinco de Mayo, Winter Solstice, NAIDOC Week, World Elephant Day, Australian Citizenship Day, Halloween, World Toilet Day & Christmas. But I am not going to do that (except maybe NAIDOC Week, if I remember), because it feels insincere. For that same reason, there's no Word of the Day today, I am just here to write, because I need to write. I don't know what I need to say, but I do need to write . . .

The reason I have been so scant on my posts is because I am having some issues with mental health. Ever since my girlfriend broke up with me, I haven't been well. I am not in the doldrums about being single, and I am certainly not bitter about it, it's actually a lot simpler than that. I used to talk to my ex every day, but now that I don't, the amount of socializing that I do with others has been drastically reduced. I am naturally anxious with introverted tendencies, and I do not actively seek out social interaction, so whilst I used to just talk to her all the time, now I don't, meaning that I am not getting a healthy amount of interpersonal interaction.

See, some people that are introverted, they say that they need some alone time to "recharge", they like alone time because it allows them to be themselves, whereas extroverted people feel more energized when they are around others. I am not sure if I buy that - or if I do, I just don't fit the stereotype - because personally I feel good when I am around other people, I need to be around other people to socialize and have fun, but if I spend too long around other people I feel restricted. I don't like to relax at the best of times, I've even made a note of that in this blog, with references to how it relates to my anxiety. But, when I do finally relax, I only like to do so on my own. If I were to try to relax around other people, I would feel anxious, and cramped.
It's not the best metaphor, but think of it like driving a car. You have things to do, even if it's the most natural thing in the world for you, and there's no risk that you will crash, and there aren't even any other cars on the road, you still need to focus on the road. So, if you were asked to relax in that situation, if someone held your hand while you were driving down the road and told you to close your eyes, you would rightly freak. Heck, even if you knew you could roll in that gear for a while, and you're thinking now "that doesn't sound too bad" you couldn't do it indefinitely, and you definitely couldn't relax entirely. Eventually, you would need to wrench your hand away and grab the gearshift, or slam on the brakes, because the car is still in motion.
That's what relaxing feels like around other people, to me anyway. Even if I trust someone else implicitly, many of the people I hang out with are great mates, I would trust them with my wallet, my secrets, my unconscious body and even my heart-lung bypass machine in many cases. But I don't . . . think in a way that makes it so that I can de-stress, relax, process, think and just be myself without worry. Not around them. Not even around family. That's a kind of intimacy that I have reservations about. I'm not even talking about something that sexual or romantic, I am just talking about being able to unwind, but I can't do that around others.

So, when I am stressed, I want to be alone so that I can relax. But the longer I am alone the more stressed I am, because I need to spend time with other people because being lonely makes me feel more stressed. It's a vicious cycle.

That is the reason why I am not blogging as much as I would like to.

However, I am not completely without any work done. I have been working on some other projects. I have a novel that I have been actually writing, so that it can be actually published and read by all the wonderful boys and girls. And, I have another project on my YouTube channel.
Some of you may be a little confused now, since I don't actually have a "first project" on my YouTube channel, so reference to "another" might seem out of left field. But, this is just the nature of creating video content. See, around last March, I said that I wanted to do a major shake-up of my online presence, to change to a three-pronged approach. Two YouTube channels, and this blog, reducing the workload of Duke Forever as well as my blogging frequency, so that I could work on the channel and create videos.

I have not delivered on that, but it is not at all out of laziness, I promise you. You see, I did indeed do a lot of work attempting to create content for a YouTube channel. I started working on different programs, doing research into animation, looking into different forms of editing and special effects. I created several preliminary videos and screen tests as well as checking my own repertoire of acting and voicework.
However, I hit a major stumbling block . . . I am not an animator or actor. At least, not in any way a viably productive, fast or even competent one. I can act, poorly, but I didn't really want my face on camera that often. And also, I can create really good animations, but only short, simple, silent ones that take weeks and weeks to create.
So, a lot of my potential ideas required a butt-tonne of animation that I couldn't manage, and after learning that I quickly shifted gears and looked for simplified means of animation, but even the simplest animations (akin to the Zero Punctuation review animations, or even the Bible Reloaded slideshows) still take time and effort to do, moreso than I can achieve whilst also working on my other projects.
So, rather than leave people waiting for one of those every two or three weeks, I figured I could try to create some kind of show that I should create much more quickly, without as much effort, that I would create and upload more frequently, so that when people are waiting in the meantime they wouldn't be bored. You need to understand that YouTube subscribers are not as reliable as you faithful readers, and since YouTube is an advertising platform there is much more rigamarole in regards to creating, posting and sustainably receiving an audience for your content.
But, I never managed to come up with a simple, easy-to-create video series that I was proud of, so I abandoned many of those ideas, trying to find something I would be happy with, since the easiest thing to do would be a vlog, but I am not a vlogger, I am a blogger.

In the end, I decided that I can't just create content for its own sake, I prefer to educate, make people think and put effort into my work. That's not to say that I have abandoned the idea entirely, rather that my dream of perhaps "expanding my audience" with a YouTube channel has been side-lined, and instead I will just focus on using it as an extension of this blog.
I prefer to write. I can't create an "easy-to-create" series, because I don't think like that, and I definitely don't write like that. So, the current project on the go is a series that I am going to try to create in its entirety, then post when it's done.
I also still have the three-pronged approach I was previously planning, but rather than two YouTube channels (since I can't even create one effectively) and this blog, I will instead just have my YouTube Channel, my Tumblr and my Blog.

Anyway, this was fun and it made me feel a lot better, so I am probably going to try to do this more often. I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, and until next time thanks for reading my words, just make sure that you take care of yourself as well and I'll see you in my next post.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

This One's for the Ladies

Today is International Women's Day. Seemed like a good excuse to write a blog post, since I'm a feminist and it's been ages since I've written anything. So, what is there to say about International Women's Day? Well, to begin with, I was wondering why it was celebrated on the 8th of March. So, I did a little research.

The first ever "Women's Day" was observed on the 3rd of May, 1908, presided by Lorine S. Brown. It was a commemoration in the Garrick Theatre in Chicago, and 1500 women participated to hear the rallying cry for economic and political equality, and denouncing exploitation and oppression.
This was followed by a remembrance on the 28th of February 1909 in New York, with twice as many women meeting in Carnegie Hall, in an event organised by the Socialist Party of America. Apparently they picked this date in remembrance of the International Ladies Garment Worker's Union strike a year earlier.
In August the next year, during the International Women's Conference, German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed an annual International Women's Day, inspired by the Americans. So in 1911, March 19, they followed through on their plans and held the first International Women's Day, celebrated by over a million people from Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. There were several protests, marches and demonstrations throughout Europe.
In America, they also celebrated the day, but observed it on the last Sunday in February, rather than March 19.
However, in 1914, the day was held on its modern March 8th, as on that date it was a Sunday in 1914, and that became the international standard. And . . . it's not known why.
There is a theory that it commemorates a women-led strike much earlier, but that's just not true as no women-led marches, protests or strikes were held on that date prior, so it could just be that it was held as a remembrance to commemorate a misremembered event, which may not have even happened.

But in the years after, In Petrograd 1917, the International Women's Day demonstration sparked the Russian Revolution; in 1918, Germany allowed women to vote, as a result of the demonstrations by women during International Women's Day in the four years prior & today, we are using it to shine a light on women's issues, particularly regarding wage difference and workplace equality for the entire globe. Here in Australia, we are focussing on two things it seems. Support for victims of domestic abuse, and also - rather encouragingly - equality.

See, I wasn't paying attention to the date, I know it's International Women's Day because I heard it on the radio, but one of the first things I thought was "what about the men? Is there an International Men's Day". And, well, yeah there is. It's on the 19th of November. So, I was glad for that. But then, the radio was only playing terrible female singers from the 1980s, and had replaced all the male radio hosts with females (at least, they had for the morning show) and I was thinking . . . why? Isn't that wrong?
I don't care about the singers, it's an interesting gimmick (I just wish they were playing more modern female singers, or some classics, not just crappy soft rock from the 80's). But, female hosts? Are they going too far with this?

See, I am a feminist, and I think it's great that media are starting to adopt the term feminism and feel more comfortable about it. However, there is this tendency for the media to lean towards what I call "pop feminism". I call it this for two reasons, firstly, it's "popular feminism", it's just following the mainstream. These people aren't thinking for themselves and deciding what is equitable, they just hear someone go into histrionics about oppression, they listen to opinion pieces like they're fact or they see someone famous on television say something horrific, and they give a knee-jerk reaction, trying to start groupthink. But, I also call it pop feminism because it tends to rely on clustered cultures of feminism, with people living in their little bubble, and they feel perfectly fine until you say something that conflicts with the opinions they've constructed, causing their little bubble to "pop" and they react very poorly, often demonizing or besmirching the target of their distaste rather than analyzing this new information critically.

So, I was worried when they decided to "send the men away" and celebrate women through exclusivity . . . but then they did something I appreciated greatly. The segment of the show I watched was dedicated to men. They were speaking to women, but they were saying to women "can you tell us about a great male role model in your life" and "is there a man in your life that you would like to thank?"
This is perfect. There may be some people now going "Wait, talking about men on Women's Day? That's ridiculous, this is a day for women."
But, no, it isn't actually a day "for women".
See, Martin Luther King Day is a day which was inspired by and celebrates Martin Luther King, but it's not just "for him", it's "from him. He's not the only person allowed to speak (which is good, because he's dead, it would be a long moment of silence if only he could speak). But, it's about what he stood for.
These women's days are about what women stand for, and that is equality. You don't create equality through oppression and ostracization. You do it with assimilation, and co-operation.

Now, I'm sure there are some people out there who still go overboard, and think men aren't allowed to have equality or think that Women's Day is for women, and not for men, and we should segregate and keep to our own days.
But, to me, this is a sign that perhaps "pop feminism", whilst not disappearing, is a bubble that is slowly deflating.

In conclusion, since this is a bit of a lazy, one-note post, I decided that I would include some official International Women's Day links, so, if you want to learn more about the values behind International Women's Day, I highly recommend that you check out the official website where they explain it in their own words.

And finally, before you go, I signed to host an official International Women's Day #BeBoldForChange campaign here on the site, where you can help accelerate gender parity by committing to bold action.
Until Next Time, I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, asking you . . . please, fill out this small form, and commit to equality for the future.


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Love Notes ♫

Today is the Sixteenth of February. I wanted to write this for Valentine's Day, but I was a bit too busy watching TV on my own and eating chocolate.
If you're in a relationship, then I hope you gave your partner something nice, or celebrated the day with them as you usually do. If you didn't, then I'm here to inform you that that is probably the reason why your significant other looks so cranky today. Or, if you're single, then I hope you survived another day where your singledom becomes ever the more prevalent in the forefront of your mind.
Because for me, this latest Valentine's was actually pretty painful, because it was the first Valentine's Day in a long time where I was single.

Yeah . . . unfortunately, my Beloved, for whom I have referenced and spoken about, quoted and even done collaborations with on this blog for the last three years, broke up with me. On the second of February, close to midnight my time, it was the end of an era. We're still good friends and the breakup wasn't a hateful or messy one, but that creates its own set of issues because it means that I am forcing myself to keep my distance of her, so that I do not just obsess and harass her to come back to me. So, to help me move on and to give her space away from me to prevent me from becoming a crazy stalker, I have dived headfirst into the modern dating scene, and so far it's been an absolute pain in the arse (and no, not in that way, I'm straight; and even if I wasn't there's no way I'd be lucky enough to get a match after a fortnight).
I've already run into spammers, and scammers and whores (oh my). And no, that's not a pejorative, there's a somewhat sad habit of prostitutes, as in people that will sleep with you, or provide sexual services for money, that use dating websites to find clients.
I'm, not saying it's sad for the whores themselves, they are providing a valuable service and hot girls need to buy groceries as much as the next person, but it's sad because it clearly works, or there wouldn't be so many. I mean, I use dating apps to find love, but clearly there are enough people here just for sex that "fuck it, I'll just pay for it" seems like a better option.

But I've learned recently, that I'm not really "good" at being single. I've been comfortably taken for over three years, so it is a genuine struggle that I now have to actually try to find another human being that can tolerate me. And you bet I'm not shameless enough not to advertise myself on this blog - if you're single, live in the South Brisbane area and think I'm interesting, feel free to get in touch. I'm just looking for a cute, dark girl to love me whom I can love in return . . .

Anyway, that's not what this post is about. So, what am I going to write? Well, last time I was single, I wrote a list of good romance movies that guys could enjoy. So, I wanted to do something similar this year, around music, since a lot of people love a good love song. However, that's the trouble, a lot of people do love Love Songs . . . guys included. And music is so often a very personal thing with personal tastes and preferences to consider. But, I still wanted to talk about some good love songs. So, rather than something for everyone, this is one just for me.
I decided to write a list of the love songs that I like. So, this may not be useful for you, but it doesn't take long to listen to a couple of songs, so why not check these out? I went through over a dozen lists of the "Top 100/50/25 Love Songs of All Time/2017/the 90's", and from it I collected these songs, all of which I really enjoy and think you should too.
Thus, without further ado, here are some Honourable Mentions:

00. Your Body is a Wonderland - John Mayer
I quite enjoy this song, personally, which is odd because the list I found it on listed it as one of the Worst. That's not to say that I care what someone else thinks, I still enjoy this song, but it's only an honourable mention because this isn't really about love, it's mostly about sex and sensuality. So, no, it's not really a 'love' song. For that same reason, I didn't include I'll Make Love to You by "Boyz II Men", breakup songs or other non-standard love songs. But even if this was a proper love song, it's still not one of my favourite romantic songs, since the guitar is a bit dull, but the lyrics, tune and singing is (for the most part) quite enjoyable.

00. Take Care - Drake (& Rihanna)
This is an amazing song. One of my favourite songs of all time, and I mention it honourably because the premise of the song is a couple that wants to get together, there's love there and they care, but the girl's so hurt . . . she can't connect as much as she could and as much as she desires. And the guy, he's pushing, he's pulling through as best he can, but there's resentment from the coldness of the woman he loves. There's so many emotions, so much complexity, a great representation of a real relationship . . . but, I just can't call it a "love" song. This is a great song, a relationship song, a song about real romance. But, love, no . . . not Valentine's Day love, so unfortunately it was pushed aside by songs which, although not as good as songs, were more representative of love.

00. Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
This song, believe it or not, is actually a love song, and I quite enjoy it. It has a good beat, a fun attitude and I appreciate the lyricism of the rap, not to mention it is pretty sweet when you think about it. The 'super bass' being referred to is actually a heartbeat, when you're in love, "Boy, you got my heartbeat runnin' away", it's about being in love, and the song is all about Ms Minaj elaborating upon the men she loves attractive, and in the last few stanzas it becomes much more heartfelt. So, I quite like it, and I truly believed it would be my number ten on this list, but it turns out that I actually like ten other songs a lot more than this song, go figure . . .

The A.W.N.'s Top 10 Favourite Love Songs

10. The Other Side - Jason Derulo
I must admit, I am a fan of modern pop music, so if you only listen to music from twenty years ago, you may find some of this list disappointing. But something that annoys me about love songs are when they're too poetic, too bombastic and too . . . well, bullshit. "Love is a battlefield"? "Love is an open door"? "Love is my religion"? Well, in reality, love is a mutual attraction between people. That's why I like modern songs that speak of something more realistic. Like this song, where love comes about because two friends take their relationship a step further.
It helps a lot that the song has a great, energetic beat and some of the lyrics are actually kinda sexy. Sure, it falls for the common "sex equals love" trope, but the fact that these two start off as friends alleviates that. Not to mention, it's so full of hope and fun, I can't help but enjoy this lively R&B love song.

At first, I thought this was the song from Con Air. Turns out, that's "I can't Live Without You", and this song is actually from Armageddon. It's a shame, because I hate Armageddon, but this song is amazing. That slow piano, with the beating drums, and those strained, emotive vocals of Steven Tyler. But my favourite part is, whilst the song sounds enormous, it's about such a sweet but simple idea: "I wish I didn't have to sleep, so I could spend more time with you." come on, that's cute. It is also a little bit cringey and perhaps creepy if you think about it, but this song takes itself too seriously to even entertain the thought that this is wrong.
But, why is it so low? Well, to be honest, the strings aren't that crisp and I also find Mr Tyler's shrieking near the end of the song quite distracting.
  "Cause even when I tryyy! YOW!" Geez, did someone just rip out your eyelash? Either way, it's very unsettling.

08. When You Say Nothing At All - Ronan Keating
Okay, yeah, I can fall victim to a classic. And this song, from the sultry swoon of Ronan Keating to the irish lilt of the flute solo, it's a great song. About the fact that couples know each other so well, they can read each other's body language like an open book. It's a great, quietly romantic song that has a quiet, gentle rhythm to suit it. Of course, there are some flaws (or it would be higher) for me, the main line of the song could be a touch ambiguous. "You say it best when you say nothing at all" could easily be interpreted as "I really prefer it when you shut up". That's . . . less romantic. Also, it does tend to be a bit repetitive. In fact, that's why that line sounds kind of rude, to me, after hearing it so many times, you start to hear it in different ways. But, if you can ignore that, this is a great and sweet love song.

07. The Rose - Westlife
Yes, I know, it's sacrilege that I prefer the Westlife cover over the Bette Midler Original, how dare I? Well, let me explain . . . I do enjoy the original, but I say this is better for two important reasons. Firstly, because I think Westlife's voices are better suited to this style, soft and heartfelt rather than Bette Midler's voice, designed to sing loud and project. Secondly, the middle of this song needs a powerful chorus to bust out, building up to that "When the night . . . has been too lonely, and the road has been too long", and since Westlife is a group, they can achieve that much better than a single singer, even when Bette Midler sings this with someone else, four singers just rising to that crescendo of sound is what this song needs, and Westlife delivers.

06. Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars
I have to admit, one of the reasons I like this song so much is because when I first had a crush on a girl, this song spoke volumes to me. Just seeing a girl and thinking she's perfect in every way, I felt that and understood wanting to serenade her natural beauty. What lets this song down, however, is reality. Because every single girl I've spoken to that's beautiful . . . she knows. It wasn't a surprise. Women own mirrors, y'know. And since this song is talking about the whole world stopping when she smiles, yeah, this girl knows she's gorgeous.
However, the sentiment still matters. Because it's not really about the girl, but the guy. He's expressing how he feels, and I think that's lovely. Who can't love that?

05. Never Tear Us Apart - INXS
I didn't realize there would be so many classics on this list, after all I'm all about modern pop music. But looking through those old lists of classic songs, whilst I am not a fan of Aretha Franklin or the likes, some of those songs stood out. This one, in particular. So much of it just has to be that rhythm. And whenever it gets to that saxophone solo, I get shivers. This song is such a slow, melodious march, that reaches a peak with that guitar riff and drums. Unfortunately, the lyrics are repetitive and it ends with a fadeout. I hate when songs fade out, "When You Say Nothing At All" did too, but that was a gentle song. Fading from a song this powerful should be blasphemous.

04. The Book of Love - Peter Gabriel
This actually comes from the previous list. I first heard this song because of Shall We Dance?, and I love this song. See, as I've said before, I prefer love songs that are more realistic. And sure, whilst this is clearly more poetic by talking about a book that epitomizes love, the book is described as containing "charts, and facts and figures" and being "long", "boring" and "dumb", but it also contains music, flowers, arcane knowledge and instructions for dancing. Peter Gabriel's singing and the gorgeous orchestral backing is what sells this simple poem-turned-ballad. What keeps this from the top spot is that it feels lacking. The lyrics, whilst good, leave me wanting more. It's a song half-written, and I want to hear the rest.

03. Sledgehammer - Fifth Harmony
Sorry, but I couldn't keep it up. I love the classics, and I do adore those powerful ballads . . . but my heart and soul dances to the beat of pop music. And that beat, that hook, those vocals, they sing to me in more ways than one. I have had a soft spot for love songs that speak about the visceral, physiological aspects of love. And whilst heart palpitations don't sound romantic, writing a song based around having a lovestruck heartbeat resonates with me. And there's something so endearing about how these girls are trying to hide their feelings, but it's so strong. That's a good love song, about being unable to contain yourself. I love this song, but there are a few that I love even more.

02. I Love You Always Forever - Betty Who
I have to admit, I never really liked the Donna Lewis version. I'd heard it enough times on the radio that it was stuck in my brain. But it was too soft, airy and dreamy, I could barely hear the lyrics, and that "chugga-chugga" beat is so weak.
But, this new version by Betty Who? Firstly, with the opening silence, those lyrics become so crisp and poignant,
It removes the dull beat for an electronic pulse, and because of the processing on the singer's voice, every line of the words is that much clearer, and when the words are clear, you can hear the poetry of those lyrics, it's great. But . . . it's a little too poppy for me, a little too electronic. For my number one, it's a bit too overproduced and whilst I enjoy the sharp, crisp quality of the music and vocals, it is the product of design moreso than emotion. And that's not the song's fault, the song is amazing for what it is, but it's not my number one . . .

01. Your Love Song - Angela Aki
I couldn't find a version of this song on YouTube, and it's by a Japanese artist, so I don't think you've heard this song before, and for that reason I hope the link works. But this is my absolute favourite love song. Firstly, despite being a native Japanese speaker, this song is sung in English with not only perfect diction, but with powerful emotion and (if I'm honest) a sexy, womanly voice. And although some people don't like "solo girl playing piano" songs, the piano is part of the song.
See, the premise is that this girl is a piano player, and she wants to write a love song, she has someone that she loves, but he doesn't love her back . . . yet. So, this is a song about a girl in love that wants to be loved back, so that the song she's singing could be his love song. And I adore the hook of this song, those lyrics are haunting and the sad but hopeful tune tells the story as much as the lyrics; then that instrumental piano solo at the end, it isn't so much about the instrument, but the emotion behind it. It's a heart solo, a heart beating alone, waiting for another. I can't think of a single way to improve this song, to alter it is to ruin it. It's perfect, and that's why it's my favourite love song.

- - -

So, those are my favourite love songs. At least, for now, perhaps more and better songs will be written in the future. And perhaps you know songs I've never heard before. Feel free to mention them, or link to them, in the comments section below; if you agree, disagree or have something to say, that's what the comment section is for.
I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, and I hope you enjoyed this "playlist" of Valentine's Day love song favourites. Until next time, if you'll excuse me, I'm on the prowl looking for a future Mrs Absurd Word Nerd. And I'm genuinely serious when I say, if you're keen, feel free to get in touch.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

New Years Retribution

Since 2017 first rolled around, I really wanted to write a blog post, to get back into my rhythm of writing. Last year, I wrote at least one blog post a month, and I like that, I want to see if I can keep that up.
But . . . I couldn't think of anything to write about .Well, nothing but two things. A New Years Resolution list, or a look at the current state of affairs. However, I didn't want to do a New Years Resolutions list because I am not in the mood, last year's resolutions didn't work out that well, and whilst I do have things I want to do this year, I don't want them to be "resolutions". And I don't want to look at the state of affairs because this is not a newspaper, this is a blog, and the state of affairs are pretty gloomy.

So, desperate for ideas, I looked through my Archives, and what I found was that in January and the early posts of the year, I only spoke about two things. I spoke about my New Years Resolutions, or I spoke about something gloomy. Occasionally I wrote fiction, but I have a lot of fiction I'm already working on which I can't put on the blog.
In 2014, my grandmother had a heart attack, and I wrote about writer's block.
In 2015, I wrote a piece about my father's motor vehicle accident.
In 2016, it was another instalment of my Healing Diary, about my chronic anxiety.

So, as much as I want to break from tradition and write something encouraging or interesting for the new year, it seems like January is the depressing month. It's the month when children are peeled away from their holidays and sent to school; the month when tense marriages that were faking it to get through the holidays finally decide that it's time to admit to the kids that they need a divorce & the month when I stop side-stepping the bullshit, and start talking about why this year looks like it is going to suck.
The Word of the Day is: 'MELANCHOLY'

Melancholy /'melənkolee/ n. 1. A gloomy state of mind, especially when habitual or prolonged; depression. 2. Sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness. 3. Archaic a. The condition of having too much black bile, considered in ancient and medieval medicine to cause gloominess and depression. b. Black bile. ♦adj. 4. Affected with, characterized by, or showing melancholy; mournful; depressed: A melancholy mood. 5. Causing melancholy or sadness; saddening: A melancholy occasion. 6. Soberly thoughtful; pensive.

To begin with, a lot of people have said that 2016 is one of the worst years ever. to which I can only say: No, it's not, don't be so stupid.
Conversationally? Informally? Sure, you can say it's the worst year ever; when I wake up in the morning, and there's no milk, I feel like it's the worst morning ever. Humans "do" hyperbole, it's part of our charm. But there are hundreds of online articles saying "Is 2016 is the worst year ever?"; "It's okay, 2016 is officially the worst" & "Memes that capture 2016 (and why it sucked so much)" and other titles of that nature, and I feel that calling it something like that dilutes the seriousness of the situation, because when I see the words "Worst Year Ever", my brain autocorrects it to "Wurst Yeer Evar, waaah!", because it's just clickbait bullshit, it just sounds like a stupid, internet meme, but that takes away from the truth of the situation, and what it actually means moving on from it.

So no, it was not the worst year ever. There have been years with holocaust, genocide, natural disasters, war, starvation and torture. I mean, do you even know about 72,000 B.C.E.? Humankind experienced a near-extinction event. Not to mention 1348, 1836 or 1919, but you can read about them in this article by Rebecca Onion.
There have been worse years, and to say that it's the worst just because it is the one you feel the worst about right now only shows how myopic you are.
But that doesn't mean last was a good year, it sucked a lot. But it doesn't suck because Suicide Squad and Batman vs. Superman didn't make money at the box office, because Clinton lost or because several celebrities died. No, from what I can tell, this year sucked for three reasons:

ISIS, Racism. & Trump.

Now, I am not here saying that your personal upset from 2016 doesn't matter. Yes, a lot of celebrities died. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, George Michael & Carrie Fisher - it was the Year that the 70's Died.
And that's before I mention Anton Yelchin, who was taken much too soon.

In January, there was the Zika Virus Outbreak that devastated thousands. In February, North Korea launched a long-range rocket into space, to worldwide disdain; then in September, North Korea conducted one of its the largest nuclear missile tests, also to worldwide disdain . . . it just seems like North Korea is seeing what it can get away with, at this point.
In June, Britain elected to exit the E.U., causing not only a lot of regret from UK citizens, but sent Britain's future into turmoil, saw the prime minister step down and left the world shocked. In July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by pro-Russian separatists near the Ukraine-Russian border, killing all aboard, almost 300 passengers and crew. And in September, it was confirmed that Global CO2 levels exceeded 400 parts-per-million, the highest recorded in two-million years.

These all sucked, yes, but crap like this happens all the time. See, swine/bird flu; warfare, aeroplane crashes and North Korea over the last decade for examples. None of these make this year in any way worse than years prior, or even noteworthy in any conceivable way. Years happen; Good things happen, Bad things happen, but ultimately Life goes on.
But to me, the moments that mattered, which will not only be written in history books, but remembered for their impact on the globe, are represented by "ISIS", "Racism" & "Trump". So, let's talk about last year . . .


ISIS
I sidestep other tragedies and focus on ISIS because whilst those other events were horrific, they were "relatively" self-contained. But the effects of ISIS on the world at large is having pervading effects on all of us. Not only from a standpoint of security, but culturally, terrorism is doing it's job and scaring people, leading to political ramifications.
In my own country of Australia, we haven't had many visible ISIS attacks. Sure, there was the Sydney Siege or Lindt Café Hostage Crisis, wherein that jackass claimed to be a part of Islamic State, but we killed that piece of shit and moved on. And there are some stabbings and shootings with people claiming they are part of Islamic State, and one bombing that was stopped before it happened, but mostly these idiots just get killed pretty quickly, and it doesn't even hit the headlines.
See, our fears are not so much fear for personal safety, but fear for our friends, family and country. Because those attacks which have occurred outside of our borders have been disgustingly visible.
In March were the Brussels Bombings, a series of co-ordinated suicide bombings killed 32 people, and the three pieces of shit that ended their pointless lives. In June, everyone worth a damn was devastated by the Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orlando, which saw 49 innocent people murdered, along with the worthless waste of space that killed them; this not only hurt those involved, but sent ripples of anxiety through the LGBT community. And of course, the Bastille Day Attack, a heartless vehicular slaughter of over 80 people, which was heroically ended when police exchanged gunfire with the truck and shot to death that piece of human garbage.

These attacks, while committed by delusional fuckwits who couldn't tell jihad from Jehovah, are understandably scary. And this represents, for many Australians, the threat of what awaits us if we do not keep terrorism out of Australia. So, not only has this killed several hundred innocent people, but it's made many Australians become close-minded and scared.
When you're scared you get stupid. Fear and adrenaline are great for acting quickly, and in the spur of a moment when facing a snake, you either run away or attack the snake and you're life depends on such quick action. But this is no time for acting quickly and rashly, because Muslims aren't snakes, they're human beings. And more importantly, there is an important fact that these people are ignoring: it is this fear and xenophobia which makes Muslims feel singled out, to the degree that they lash out by joining an ideology that promises more than it can deliver.
What we need to do is sit down and talk with one another, integrate and be the multiculture that I know and love. You can just imagine, to these terrified xenophobes, it's exactly like I'm saying "don't be scared, sit down and talk to the snake", because that's all they see. But they're not monsters, they're people. Sure, Muslims are capable of serious harm, but so are other people. Scroll up if you don't believe me, I already listed a bunch of disasters from 2016.

But when you think of Islam as the enemy, you're doing Islamic State's job for it. Islamic State declared a caliphate, saying that all Muslims must either pledge allegiance to the caliph of Baghdadi, or be considered the enemy. So when you turn Muslims away, you are telling them that ISIS is right, as far as you're concerned, they're part of the caliphate.
If you honestly think that, you're a moron. I hate Islam too, but I'm an aggressive atheist, I also hate Catholicism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism & Taoism. But I like Muslims, and I do think they belong in this country, not only because they are human beings, but also because they have a much greater chance of putting these regressive beliefs behind them in this country, than in the ones where sharia is actually an enforced law.


Racism
This leads me neatly into racism. Now, you can tell me all you want that Islam is not a race, and you don't have to because I already know that. But I don't care, because there are racist connotations to certain kinds of anti-Islamic sentiment. We all know that Islam is not a Western religion & we all know that historically, Muslims tend to be African, Arabic or Oriental. So, not only are racism and islamophobia not mutually exclusive, they can easily go hand in hand.
For example, one of the reasons why I know that the actions of Islamic State have lead to a greater degree of racism is because people managed to vote Pauline "Please Explain?" Hanson into parliament. Pauline Hanson, who says we're "swamped by Asians"; Pauline Hanson, who says we need to stop African immigration because otherwise your daughter might "end up with AIDS" and Pauline Hanson, who openly compared Muslims to dogs and wants to get rid of all the mosques.
Now, whilst I personally think that she should deepthroat a shotgun and swallow the load, the reason why she was voted in was because she was a racist, nationalist, xenophobic, Christian bigot.
People voted in a bigot because they are feeling bigoted and felt that a bigot would best represent their interests. They voted her in, because they think we need to keep Muslims out and protect Us from Them, because they think foreign Muslims are terrorists.

Now, whilst this is a damning fact of our own bigotry, racism is not as visible here, just yet, but internationally several public figures are also calling for people to ask whether Muslims belong in Western civilization, and focus on keeping our countries and culture segregated from them. But why?
It's because they think Islam, terrorism, crime, poverty and alien culture is something you can "keep out" of your country if you build a big enough fence. This viewpoint is not only wrong, but toxic, as it can also go hand in hand with other ideas, like nationalism, jingoism, white supremacism, neo-nazism & xenophobia. Now, that's a lot of stuff, and some of those connections may seem tenuous, but the facts seem to back me up on this one.
Not only did Australia vote in a racist minister, but Britain's people voted out of the E.U., in the interests of maintaining nationalist business policies and local manufacturers; America voted in a vocal racist, sexist, anti-intellectual bigot & several European countries have either discussed, attempted or succeeded in keeping out asylum seekers seeking refuge from the Syrian Civil War.
Blogger's Note: the Syrian Civil War is an incredibly complex political situation, and whilst I stand by my statement that nationalism and racism are part of the problem, it's a multi-faceted issue more complicated than that last statement implies. There are historical, political, religious, economic and revolutionary precursors which ultimately lead to the conflict. I spent a long time reading the wikipedia page, and I couldn't unravel this can of worms in any coherent way. )
Now, I can't lie, I know that the Syrian Refugee Crisis is nothing to turn up your nose to. It's not a simple problem that can be solved by sitting in a circle, joining hands and singing kumbaya. However, the reason why I call nationalist attempts to turn away these people "racism" is because they are human beings, and I don't care where they came from, because when it comes to questions of morality I hold the tenet of the Veil of Ignorance to be of utmost importance. These are human beings, and just because they were born in a different country doesn't mean that they don't deserve the same basic human rights that you have. And wanting to keep them out just because they were born somewhere else is patently absurd.
To me, the major issue with this is the perspective of these people saying "Yes, they need help, but from where I'm sitting, I need to protect MY people," which is pretty close-minded, considering that the "I need to take care of MY people" mindset is what lead to the Syrian Civil war in the first place . . . not to mention, they would be your people if they were sitting where you were. What makes those people any less "your people" than any other living human being? Oh yeah, they don't look and sound the same, you're right how foolish of me. Please, give me a moment so that I may write that down in a document and file that under "Things that Don't Fucking Matter".

But that aside, what really matters is that all of this is leading to further and more dangerous racism. To things such as white supremacism, xenophobiaanti-semitism, racial prejudice, institutional discrimination, racial violence, nationalist jingoism. & neo-nazism.
Which leads me neatly into . . .


Trump
This is very simple, so I'm going to state it very clearly:
Donald Trump is an imbecile. If you voted for Donald Trump, you are an idiot.
If, however, you think that Donald Trump is full of hot air, and whilst he isn't great, he is still capable of doing some good while he's in office, you're a fucking moron.
Donald Trump is an anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-intellectual, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, crooked, cronyist, elitist, capitalist, racist, rapist, nationalist, bigoted, climate-denying, conspiracy-theorist, nazi-apologist bastard son of a motherfucker.
I am not of the opinion that Hilary Clinton would make a good president. In fact, there seems to be every indication that it was her direct influence that pushed Bernie Sanders (a great candidate) out of the top spot, so I actually kind of hate her. But she isn't Trump. And anything is better than Trump.

I have heard Trump supporters claim that, while Trump does say some outlandish things, most of the worst stuff, like locking out all Muslims, making Mexicans build a stupid wall & suing everyone he doesn't like just won't happen due to logistical and pragmatic concerns, meaning that there's nothing to worry about. To this I say, "scroll up, fuckwit, you're a fucking moron". Allow me to illustrate why . . .
There was a recent calamity whereby Trump off-handedly tweeted that it would be too expensive to build Air Force One, it lowered Boeing's stock by 1%, costing shareholders over $550,000,000, and that wasn't the first time. A similar tweet about the cost of the F-35 fighter jet saw Lockheed-Martin's stocks take a dip as well, and all of this was when he was just president-elect.
Due to the fact that he has not openly distanced himself from white nationalist groups and "alt-right" neo-nazis (and in fact, has embraced them, and even added several to his cabinet), after he won the primary vote, there was a marked and unprecedented increase in racially motivated crimes, particularly anti-Muslim violence, anti-Semitic violence and vandalism against synagogues and mosques including sending threatening letters advocating genocide and defacing property with swastikas.
And then there's the fact that the Trump administration is dismantling the Affordable Care Act, and inevitably going to scrap Obamacare. I could explain how scrapping this also removed the anti-discrimination provisions which once protected people of any gender or sexual orientation, which is a step backwards for the lgbt community. But, it's probably better to explain that whilst Obamacare was not a great system and had quite a few flaws, it was never designed to be great but rather a stepping stone towards an affordable single-payer system, or a hybrid system like Medicare which is available here in Australia. By removing the opportunity for people to use Obamacare, you also remove the opportunity for everyone to have government-funded medical needs as a fundamental human right, which is just stupid.

And I haven't even mentioned that Trump is a terrible businessman who has gone bankrupt several times, and how his Vice President Pence is the worst thing to happen to the gay community since the AIDS epidemic.
The worst part of this all is I'm not even American, and I am reaping the repercussions of you fucking morons who elected a fucking moron into the fucking White House, despite the fact that majority of the fucking country doesn't want to be lead by a racist fucking Cheeto in a bad wig.
Despite the fact that I'm Australian, and live on the other side of the world, I have to care because Australia is allied with America; I have to care, because of crap like what I mentioned above, how unrestricted tweets have a staggering effect on the economy; I have to care, because America is a cultural icon which sets a precedent for things like marriage equality and social justice, which will take a step back at this point & of course, I have to care because my girlfriend is American, and all of this shit that I've listed already, and several things I can't even begin to elucidate upon, keeps her awake at night.
At best, at the very best case scenario, we're looking at a George Bush Jr. 2.0; a moron that the world points and laughs at whilst he stumbles dick-first into controversy and ridicule, but ultimately doesn't do too much damage. And let's not forget, that was no walk in the park either . . .
"[People say:] 'Boy, you comedians are really gonna miss George Bush, I'll tell you that right now, boy. You comedians sure gonna miss George Bush, what are you gonna do man? . . . gonna miss that guy.'
I'll tell you what, I would
happily give back the ten minutes - tops - I wrote about George Bush, if we weren't torturing people and our money wasn't on fire. It was NOT fucking worth it! It was ABSOLUTELY not worth it . . ."
- Patton Oswalt, "My Weakness is Strong" (2009)
So, I don't even want to think about the worst case scenario, but I may very well have to, since I no longer have the option of pretending that nobody is stupid enough to actually vote for Donald Trump.
And if you're in any way insulted by this. If you're a Trump apologist, if you're Alt-Right, Republican or in some way upset by the fact that I don't have any respect for your choices or political opinion . . . I really don't give a shit.
I am not a Democrat, I am not Left-wing, I am not Liberal. I am a Skeptic on the side of Reason, and this is not a reasonable situation. You are stupid, and I hate that you are inflicting other people with your stupidity.

- - -

But I'll tell you what, I do have some resolutions for this year. I have three, one each to combat the leading spearhead of bullshit that everyone dealt with because of 2016. But these are not just resolutions, this is an eye for an eye, I am seeking retribution from what 2016 took away from us. So, for this blog in 2017, I plan on doing what I can to respond to each of these factors, in turn, and dismantling them.
For ISIS, I may look into their backwards bullshit, explain how they are all uneducated and sexually frustrated; or I may just do some posts explaining why Islam and religion in general are dangerous and backwards cults, with harmful and outdated traditions which humanity should, by all rights, outgrow.
For Racism, I may look into the psychology of these racists and neo-nazis, and expose how all their racial hatred and xenophobia comes from a deeply seated inferiority complex, and is ignorant of relevant science, reason and logic. Or, I may just do a post explaining that Hitler wanted to fuck his cousin, and enjoyed it when women pooped on his face (that is not a joke, look it up).
For Trump, well . . . in response to Trump, I have already seen great things come out of artists and the media. Doug Walker of The Nostalgia Critic ended a movie review by denouncing hate for hatred's sake, because although it's hard, we should be kind and listen to one another, so that we can work together. John Oliver of Last Week Tonight, responded to the president-elect with a call to action for his audience to fight for the causes they care about which are under threat in this presidency, by financing the NAACP Legal Fund, MALDEF or the International Refugee Assistance Project; donating to the Natural Resources Defence CouncilPlanned Parenthood or the Centre for Reproductive Rights, giving to the Trevor ProjectLambda Legal or if you are low on funds, supporting your local branches of these kinds of organisations by volunteering your time.
I find that pretty inspiring, so my response to Trump will be that I will stand in opposition to everything that he represents. I will promote gay, lesbian and bisexual rights and the rights of transgendered people; I will promote multiculturalism, human rights and community; I will promote feminism, respect and equality and I will promote science, logic and reason. But more than any of that, I will promote freedom of speech, truth and the rights of every single person to stand up and say:
  "You know what? Fuck you, Trump. This sucks, and it's your fault for being so fucking stupid."

In conclusion, I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, and Fuck 2016. Next time, I will probably write about something nicer. Which, considering how bad all this shit is, probably won't be too hard.