Well! It’s that time of year again when I remember I have a blog section on my website and curse myself, yet again for promising to be more regular, then completely failing to be regular. I wouldnt mind quite so much, but I initially planned to make this a christmas blog, then it became an end of year blog, then it became a “New year” blog and now as it’s the week of my birthday, it’s kind of just a “This is a special time of year, I havent updated in a while. So I better do an update of some kind” blog. Happy whatever! Lets get started.
So my last blog was September 2021 and things were ticking over at that time, but what happened in the the mysterious gap between then and now? Well…in some ways, a lot. In others…not so much. I suppose it makes sense to break it down into sections rather than go through the year as…well, that’ll get a bit messy. SO! With that in mind, im drinking Amaretto…lets go!
Kicking things off, the channel continues to go from strength to strength. 2022 was a HELL of a year online in almost every possible way, for a starters this really was the year where my friendships and relationships with my fellow creators really flourished. I made quite a few appearances on other channels and podcasts, which was an absolute blast. We produced 40 reviews for the channel, We started uploading in 4k for the first time plus we nailed a TON of commentaries (which also got a 1080p boost) AND at least one or two special documentaries…Oh AND in the last few days of December 2022 we hit 1000 subscribers after roughly 5 and a half years of uploading content and over 6 years of the channels existence.
Honestly, even after a few weeks to get over it, im still kind of lost for words, Waaaay back in 2017 when I first started uploading content, I only set myself 3 goals:
*To inform, entertain and educate while being fair
*To hit 100 subscribers
*And to hit 1000 subscribers.
Its a weird feeling to be here at this point now, I genuinely and sincerely never thought i’d get here, I figured youtube would terminate the channel before i’d get there or i’d just stay small forever honestly. I appreciate i’ve been going on about it now for a while, so Im hoping this is the last time I get to say it, but THANK YOU to everyone who’s supported me over the years, commented, shared my videos and helped support me, even at my lowest points the comments and kind words you guys have left have been honest to god lifechanging. It makes me think, if one person can enjoy what I have to say, maybe I should keep going. So thank you for that.
At the same time however, I do kind of feel a bit of a sense of loss. Like a dog chasing a garbage truck, i’ve spent the last 3 years at least searching for my white whale, and now I have it harpooned and mounted on my mantle (I have a big mantle) I honestly don’t really know where to go from here…the next number in my head that I’d consider a recognisable milestone would be 5k, which im not hitting anytime soon. So im left with a bit of a calmness that im not really used to.
Where do I go from here? Well, im working on the new season as we speak. Thats taking up quite a bit of my time. It’ll be a little while till I hit 2k subs, im just over halfway towards getting the watch time I need to get into the partner programme…but other than the ability to directly contact someone at youtube, at this point the monetisation isnt really worth it…that and I don’t think they’ll even have me on the programme…so theres no point in shoooting for that…I dunno..I suppose all I can keep doing is meeting my deadlines, getting the weeklies out and continuing to enjoy my time with all the cool COOL people i’ve had the pleasure of hanging with recently.
Other Online Shenanigans:
While the channel has been going from strength to strength, I feel its also kind of appropriate to quickly run through a few other changes that have been happening both on the channel and on the wider internet. Some good! Some…not quite so good.
First and foremost! I started using Letterboxd properly! I set an account up at some point in 2021, but completely forgot it existed/couldnt be bothered with it until around Summertime in 2022, when I figured I might as well give it a go. I’ve REALLY enjoyed it! While I don’t go anywhere NEAR as in depth as my actual video reviews. It’s a really great place to just get immediate first impressions nailed down (AND a good excuse to post the transcripts of my video reviews online in text form from time to time) I post under the same name as my youtube channel, so if your on there and want EVEN MORE reviews from me EVEN MORE often. Then yeh, head over there and drop me a follow. Im currently in the midst of a first time watch through of the original “Twilight Zone” and im ranking them on there at the minute alongside the occasional film when I can get round to it.
On the less so good news. 2022 marked the start of an indefinite hiatus for “The Comedy Dining Experience” which was a bit of a blow. When we first started the show, me and Ben would record whenever we had availability and it was a bit of an odd treat to sit down and take apart a movie, have a laugh, eat some good food and drink some good drinks. At some point around 2019 we swapped to monthly uploads and the party continued from there. We had guests on, we started to cover TV and PIF’s. It was a good time.
Unfortunately though, a few things have come up that makes it increasingly difficult to get together to record. Around late 2021, Ben found himself in a new role at his job, which made his availability VERY fragmented. The amount of editing the commentaries were taking was getting longer and longer each time, to the point that I was spending almost as much time editing the commentaries as I was editing full feature reviews (I originally started the Comedy Dining Experience as a quick and easy way to get longer form content up on the channel when I didnt have time to edit full blown reviews).
Which wouldnt be a problem if it wasnt for the fact that the commentaries were ALSO getting significantly less views than my fully edited videos. If a weekly review gets 60 views in a week, a comedy dining experience episode would get 15. The Comedy Dining experience was always put out more for the love of doing it than the reception it got. But it got to a point where I just couldnt justify sitting editing non stop for 5-8 hours (not including actually prescreening the film, or the recording time itself both of which could easily add anywhere between 4 hours and 7 and a half hours depending on the movie)
For a time, recording the commentaries online seemed like a sensible solution as we could do it whenever we were both free, we didnt have to arrange travel and it allowed for much easier editing as we had separate audio tracks to work with. But due to spotty internet and varying kit quality, sessions could become a little frustrating (try recording a commentary for 2 hours and then having the film reset randomly because of an internet issue AND the audio go AWOL because our recorders crashed) Ben equally didnt seem as keen on online recordings as in person ones, I cant speak for him, but I think he preferred being in the room with me over talking to a blank screen. I
In either case, Availability for recording time for the commentaries started to get thinner and thinner as 2022 went on and it kind of got to a point where we both ultimately ended up too busy to organise getting together to record more. As such, our last commentary was recorded in the Summer of 2022. It was part 2 of our “Drug stories” series, it was released around September 2022 and an edited version combining parts 1 and 2 is releasing late in January 2023. This does rather raise the question; Whats going to happen to “The Comedy Dining Experience”?
Well…The honest answer is, I don’t know. At the time of writing, Bens still incredibly busy on his end, Works got me by the balls (more on that later) and at this point the only thing I can say with any certainty is, I don’t think we’ll be going back to monthlies any time soon. I can tell you what i’d like to happen with the show going forward. I think it would be nice to maybe treat them more as “Specials” that happen throughout the year that occupy the times when im “off air” with the main reviews (I figure maybe 2 or 4 in the summer when im on a break, 1 or 2 when im off during January and maybe another 1 or two randomly dropped in across the year if we get time) But at this point…I cant honestly say. I can tell you with relative confidence that “Drug stories part 2” wont be our last episode (we AT LEAST will be finishing the classic bond run at some point) I just couldnt tell you when our next one will be. So if you are one of the 15 people who support the Comedy Dining Experience…this isnt good bye, this is GREAT bye.
This of course did somewhat create a bit of a scheduling black hole for the channel. Mercifully, around that time, Triv from Trivial Theater invited me to help her co-host a couple of live streams she was planning (a games night and a commentary) and seeing how easy and fun it was to do, it got me into it! We now host (at least) one monthly “games night” stream on both of our channels where we shoot the shit, have a bit of a laugh, hang with the audience and just have some fun. It’s a decent time! And a really fun way to let off some steam at the end of a busy week! Its so much fun to connect with people who watch the show or who have similar outlooks and want to just chill and chat. I’ve really gotten into it! Not to mention it’s SIGNIFICANTLY easier on the editing front (basically whats broadcast, is broadcast…no edits necessary) Which leads me onto my final piece of news.
We opened a discord this year! For those unfamiliar with it, Discord is a bit like the old message boards of yesteryear, the only difference is theyre a bit more curated and built a bit like an instant messenger than the old way of forum posts. I put off opening one for ages through fear of it not really bringing anyone in, but we’ve built a rather small but brilliant community over the last few months, on there we talk about a wide variety of things, from music and film to strange youtube videos,ongoing movie sales and discussion around the channel. We host watchalongs periodically AND it’s the base for our games night streams. So if you ever want to join in live on our games nights, or just hang out, share some music and talk about the subtleties of “Nukie” be sure to head over to our Discord and introduce yourself! We’d love to have you aboard!
Outside of the internet, probably the most hectic thing going on in my life at the minute is my work life, it’s the thing thats eating up most of my time and causing me the most frustration…and it hasnt always strictly been this way. When I last blogged Work was a bit turbulent, but was ultimately manageable. I cant go into too much detail about what I do, but at the time of writing in my previous blog I was working in global communications and it was kind of a “wavey” time for lack of a better word. Sometimes it would be quiet and very pleasant, other times it could be very intense and a bit overbearing. But I was being paid an alright amount of money, the team I was in was both supportive and decent and most importantly, I was part of a respected area of a larger business who were noted for their excellence. It was never perfect, but it was a fantastic position to be in.
Well, less than a month after that blog was published I was informed by management that they wanted to move my skills to a new area within the team, rather than working in global communications, they wanted me to take a look at improving their current global training processes. I had been working on several optimisation projects that had gone quite successfully and they basically wanted to apply what i’d done to their training portfolio to see if I could improve it any.
What followed was a period of around 8 months that I (at the time) playfully described as “Stepping on landmines” the process I inherited was fairly straightforward on the surface but LITTERED with idiosyncrasies that basically meant that unless every single item submitted to us was scrutinized intensely and heavily there was a constant risk of things going very VERY wrong very VERY quickly. We would regularly get requests that would be like “This item of training can only be delivered on the 3rd and 4th week of any given month, and only on mondays or wednesdays, but maybe sometimes on tuesdays after 2pm if staff are available. Unless its a monday in an odd numbered month in which case it needs to follow a completely different set of guidance, and if you don’t follow this exactly for the next 18 months the whole thing is going to go to shit” You’ve got to imagine, as a newcomer to the area…having to deal with half a dozen to 2 dozen live examples of that kind of bollocks on a near continuous basis was stressful and made me feel quite uncomfortable.
Not helping matters, my boss at the time didnt want me to do any changes or optimisation to the process unless I could demonstrate that I was competent in the field. Not a particularly unreasonable request. But when I was pulled in specifically to optimise the process, spending 8 months having to deal with the mine field was beyond difficult for me to stick with. In fact I spent most of October ‘21 to May ‘22 quite unhappy with the situation, while also being continually pushed to stick at it.
Then, around May/June 2022 the boss finally let me get onto improving things, and between then and October ‘22 we really went from strength to strength. There was still the occasional issue here and there, but for the most part, I kind of hit a level of serenity. If something had been bothering me, I just improved it, binned it or reworked it to make it as least painful as possible. It was an intense 4 and a half months or so. But we moved mountains in that time and really made a difference. It was a nice feeling.
It actually kind of upsets me to note that this was only a very narrow window. The company that I work for was rocked with several issues through October of 2022. First and foremost was a large dip in the stock market and the second was the impending cost of living crisis. After consultation with the companies shareholders. It was decided reorganisation and restructuring was required in order to streamline the company as much as possible and to maximise profits to the shareholders.
As a result, the area of the business I worked for was dissolved, my boss was unceremoniously made redundant and our award winning team was essentially dissolved and split up to be merged in with other teams. I found myself moving from a team of 7 down to a team of 2 (myself and one other member of my team) with a first time manager and almost no sympathy for the situation and the best we could be told about our futures was that “we were safe…for now.” and between late October ‘22 and the present day, well…it’s been unpleasant. Thats probably the best way I can describe it.
The new management are surveillance types who have a VERY specific way of running things and frankly, I don’t feel comfortable in my skin. I’ve gone from a job where I was a key recognised player in my field, with the freedom to work on and develop projects freely, to have open collaboration with other teams and the freedom to be flexible on appointments and meetings (basically only attending things that I felt NEEDED my attention) to a role where I don’t get to do project work, where im being called on randomly at no notice to run around like a headless chicken for missions to make the boss look good (and thats it) told what to do constantly, often with little to no notice and constant monitoring. Where changes are happening weekly with little to no notice and no consultation either and im being forced into unecessary meetings that add no value to my day. Essentially; I’ve gone from a job where I was leading active change, to a job where I have no certainty, no security and no choice in the matter. It sucks.
Now, at this point it could be an idea to consider a career change. At the end of the day, whether the job was pleasant previously doesnt matter, its crap now…so getting out makes sense right? Well…it’s complicated. Y’see, the company I work for have an initiative for employees in which they can offer up some of their monthly salary and get it converted into shares in the company. They do 3 or 5 year stints and basically when your times up, you can either close your account and take whatever pot you have, or you can claim in back as shares meaning when the price is good, you can offer them up and not only get your cash back, but a tidy profit too.
Well…Im currently in one of those, its set to expire relatively soon. And I don’t want to miss out on that “tidy profit” part of the deal. So regardless of my feelings on the issue. I’ve basically got to play nice for the next few months at least and hope I don’t get fired/let go between now and the tail end of THIS year. I also want to AT LEAST make it to June of this year without incident as that’ll be my 5th anniversary with the company which would also mark the longest job i’ve ever held down. Which given how turbulent everything is, is very much easier said than done. Basically, im asking for your thoughts and prayers on this one until at least around October time. After that I should be in the clear no matter what happens.
At this point, Work is probably the most stressful, difficult part of my life. Which wouldnt be *so* bad if I wasnt stuck there 5 days a week for 7 hours a day. I really REALLY hope it improves because this is the first time in around 5 years that I’ve felt properly *pit of my stomach* unhappy at this place, a feeling I didnt think I’d feel again after my last job ended up hyper toxic and I left by any means necessary to get away from it. But here we are. Hopefully by this time next year when I do another blog there’ll be good news either way on this front.
My home life over the last year and a bit has best been described as a mixed bag. Since my last blog I’ve had 2 christmases. Christmas 2021 which I would consider one of the best christmases i’ve ever had, and one of the most peaceful and relaxing ones to date. And Christmas 2022 which was pretty much a split room, with everything leading up to christmas being an anxiety ridden stressful and awkward time generally, and everything christmas day through to new years being surprisingly relaxing and “enjoyable enough.” So kind of meh and a bit underwhelming all things told.
I bring that up initially because I think it’s the best doorway to sum up where things are on the home front, for most of 2022 things have been kind of sort of okay, but in decline. On the downsides, both my Dad and my Mums physical health has deteriorated quite badly in the last 12 months. My dads not been the healthiest person in the world for a VERY long time now. And for most of 2022 he’s slowly gotten worse, his speech has deteriorated, he’s been falling over (a LOT) and he just seems constantly out of sorts. Which is very disheartening to say the least, my mums also having a few health issues and over christmas this year, at her job, a large number of unexpected absences due to covid basically left her on the line for 3 staff members workloads AND her own right up to more or less Christmas day.
How does this tie into me? Well…apart from it being a rather unfortunate situation, it also meant that pretty much the entirety of my families christmas this year fell to me and my partner to sort out. We spend 3 days with my folks over christmas and despite repeated warnings against it as early as October this year, because of the health and job issues mentioned above, my family decided to “Put it all on red” and tried to go entirely for an “online” christmas this year, they ordered all the food, all the presents, the decorations…pretty much everything online. Aaaaand as predicted by me and my partner, on the 22nd of December we got a phone call off them panicked because all their decorations had been delayed due to postal strikes and *almost* all of their online food shopping had either been substituted for items that didnt cut the mustard, or were refunded due to being out of stock entirely. It meant that basically for most of the time between the 16th and 21st of December I was helping to sort mine and my partners christmas stuff out, then the 22nd right up to 11pm on the 24th of December me and my partner were basically on all day hunts for everything from christmas lights to sprouts.
We did it, just about. But it meant ultimately everyone at my place over christmas was either exhausted, unhappy, irritable, or a combination of the three. We shalnt be doing it again this christmas…I can guarantee that.
BUT! This year wasnt purely a year in decline on the home front! It was actually a pretty good year for my partner, who after years of various mental health issues and a severe case of “not wanting to be alive anymore” was actually fully and formally diagnosed with EXACTLY what it is thats been causing her severe issues over the last 17 years or so. Shes receiving medication now and we’re hoping for some further treatments across 2023. Shes seen a MASSIVE quality of life change, and while we’re FAR from being out of the woods on that front and there still very much is a struggle. Shes at least feeling and functioning day to day better than she has in years.
Its a kind of a given that with drastic changes on that front that there would be a little bit of tension here and there while things settle into a new routine, but it’s really given her a new lease of life and made things a lot stronger for it.
Outside of the above however, lifes been pretty quiet on the home front. With the pandemic still raging (We’re apparently at the ‘Oh get over yourself’ stage of it now as hundreds continue to be hospitalised and die daily from it and China is staring down the barrel of a predicted 6-8 million deaths incoming) I’ve not really been up to all that much other than online stuff, going for the occasional walk (it’s good to touch grass sometimes) and at a VERY rare push, a trip to the cinema if I can find an empty enough screening.
Part of me hopes that things will pick up over the next couple of years…part of me thinks it’s all about to kick off again…only time will tell. As for how things are right now. I find myself in a tremendously serine place honestly…like, where I am, for better or worse Im happy and comfortable. And have the means around me to remain so for a while yet *hopefully*
The only other thing really thats happened on the home front since the last blog is that 2022 really was kind of the year of the upgrade. With an impending recession/financial crash/technocratic dystopia on the horizon. I figured now would be the best time to upgrade as much of my regular kit as possible because, well…after the year thats just gone. Theres a distinct feeling of uncertainty in the air, and I’d rather tackle that with kit thats as up to date as possible, than go into a recession and potentially see the prices spike (or production slow) to such a point that I lose the chance to upgrade for the better part of another 3-5 years (being GENEROUS)
So! To that end, I upgraded my TV, jumping from a 50 inch 1080p set I bought in 2019 to a 55 inch 4k bastard that can cut glass, I FINALLY retired my old PS4 after 6-7 years service, it made a noise like it was taking off and the controllers battery life was *roughly* 35 seconds on a full charge, but replacing it was a proper dedicated 4k bluray player, and a region free one at that! So importing movies? Not a problem anymore! This was the year I also finally took the opportunity to refresh my desktop. Which was a particularly sentimental moment.
I’ve had a bit of an iffy relationship with computers for most of my life. The first computer I had was LONG out of date and heavily used windows machine that was basically good for word processing and MAYBE playing the occasional CD on a good day if the planets were aligned. I was with Microsoft for the longest time, mainly on desktops for most of the 90s and 2000’s before finally moving on to using laptops around the mid to late 2000’s and almost every single ONE of them was absolute dogshit in terms of capabilities. The absolute worst being a 2007 Medion laptop I was gifted 2nd hand in 2010 which lasted (approximately) 12 months before it basically became impossible to use. When powering on, it sounded like an exploding jet engine. The boot up took AT LEAST 20 minutes. Long enough to go for a shower, make a cup of tea and have a good long stare at a wall. After about 3 months in university, random keys on the keyboard stopped working, meaning I had to copy and paste letters I was missing for a time and use “l33t” shortcuts where possible (My ‘I’, ‘O’ and ‘T keys all stopped working) it couldnt connect to external hardware (even when plugged in) it had to be wired in for internet access because the wifi card died, and after about 1 hour of solid use it would start making an alarm sound that was piercing before switching off for (at minimum) 15 minutes because it had overheated. But! I had no money at the time…so it was basically the best I could do (fuck using the university library computers)
The reason I detoured so hard there was because it leads me to my actual point. Which was that as soon as I started to make actual money…like…money where I could actually go and buy things and DIDNT need to immediately spend it on rent/bills/food. The first thing I wanted was a reliable machine that WASNT absolute dogshit. So I saved solidly for around 7 months and picked up an imac. It was a 2013 model, at the time it was a decent little runner. I didnt go fancy with the customisations, but it was more than enough for what I needed it for. I used that imac for 7 years solid, battering it pretty much every day with everything from complex edits to live recordings and everything in between. And after 7 years of VERY heavy use, it still ran pretty decently. I mean…it was slow compared of the machines of today, edits would take over an hour to export for full reviews (and anywhere between 4-6 hours for commentaries) but; it worked. There was nothing fundamentally wrong with it. It just started to show its age a bit on what it *was* capable of.
Which was why, this year, I decided to retire it. In part because of the above mentioned oncoming dystopia, and in part because I won a competition where the prize was £350 of apple store vouchers. SO! I grabbed one of the newest apple mac studios, and a decent 4k monitor to match, it BLOWS past edits. It can turn out fully cut reviews in under 25 minutes in 4k and it can do commentaries in as little as 45 minutes. I also grabbed a full license for Da Vinci resolve in the process. So barring incident or accident, I should in theory be set up now for the next 7 to 10 with a bit of luck.
The last of the upgrades came over christmas when I decided to grab a new bed (I went for an ottoman bed, SO much more storage!!!) and I finally decided to retire my old 2nd monitor, which was a very temperamental 720p TV/DVD player combi machine that my sister gave me, free of charge which she herself had had since 2014. I swapped up to a huawei 1080p slim monitor that has MORE than done the job so far! As it stands I probably wont need to update anything else now until the end of the decade…which is a surprisingly nice feeling.
Lets not go there shall we? I’ve never been a fan of saying “They’re all as bad as each other” but at this point, there isnt even a hint of one of the main parties pulling ahead on taste or decency, we’re burning through PM’s at a rate that could be registered in MPH, The bloody Queens Bloody dead, the conservatives are basically on death row and trying to rince the public purse as fast and diligently as a fat cat scarfing down as much of the christmas turkey as it physically can scarf before the family find it and eject it from the house via a boot to the arse from a 2nd story window. And the best the opposition can do is try and be as close ideologically to the conservatives as possible while occasionally somehow managing to out-Tory the tories.
Theres a general election on the horizon (at some point in the next 12-18 months) and I literally have no idea who Im going to vote for at this time. In my area theres never really ‘Green party’ representation, not that im particularly pleased with them housing transphobes. But they’d be the ones i’d feel most confident going for given the current shower. Instead; in my area the representation will no doubt be: A Tory, Labour, Lib dem, UKIP, Reform UK and a smattering of independents who range from “Britain first” supporters to absolute loonatics who want to bring back public square executions or ban radio broadcasting because it turns people gay.
Generally; when general elections come up, I’ll factor two things in, who is my local representative and who is my national representative. If I don’t like the national rep, i’ll vote on behalf of the local candidate and vice versa. In this election NON of the national candidates are suitable and while the local ones havent been confirmed yet, all the people who ARE currently listed as being the local reps for their respective parties are the same ones who ran at the 2019 election. And they were pretty much all a shower of shite as well.
So at this point, im genuinely staring down a rather desolate barrel of either voting (somewhat reluctantly) for the greens (IF they bother to field a candidate in my area) OR spoiling my ballot (which is currently my most likely option) The only certainty in all of this, is that no good can come of this, and the next few years are going to be fairly interesting if you have to interact with it.
Wrap up (predictions):
SO! Thats everything thats been going on in my world for the last 12-18 months. In some regards it’s been a pretty mundane run. I havent really gone anywhere, I havent really done anything and outside the world seems to have all but gone mad and collapsed. Into civil unrest and war. 2022 was a bit of a mixed year for me, with the opening half starting mixed to positive, moving to pretty much the perfect balance by the middle of the year, before slowly declining into stress and absurdity into the new year. 2023 almost seems like the mirror of this, starting, at first peacefully before getting a stress sledgehammer to the nards when I returned to work…Who knows how this year is going to turn out? Honestly, at this point? I havent a fucking clue. From where im sitting, 12 months from now I could be in a completely different situation, discussing completely different topics and non of this will matter. Equally I could be here 12 months from now saying everything stayed the same.
Whatever 2023 brings, the only certainty is uncertainty, but…I hope that regardless of what happens…That both you and I find ourselves in the places we need to be, doing what we need to do and enjoying what time and freedoms we have while we have them. The one thing thats been on my mind now for the last few months is, this summer, I’d like to visit a beach. I havent been to the seaside in well over 2 and a half years at this point. I miss the sea. I miss the sand, I miss the change of scenery. Im hoping this summer to correct that.
Whatever your hopes are for this year, go for it, start today if you can, and you’ll almost certainly succeed. A belated Happy new year to you all and, see you on the other side.