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The Future that Never Happened

Many a youth, including mine, was spent watching a multitude of movies supposedly ‘set in the future’. Now, the older more mature me finds myself living in that so-called ‘future’ and I’m not too sure it turned out quite as those movie directors predicted. Maybe that’s for the best in some instances. But there were also some wicked ideas and gadgets that should have been well and truly invented by now. Here are my top ten memorable future predictions that never quite materialised.

1. The Hover-board from Back to the Future 2 (1989)

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We all remember this one. Michael J fox looking super cool and futuristic – out-smarting all the bad guys, that is until he got stuck on the lake. Come on, we all know hover-boards don’t work over water! I think every child in the world wanted one of these, including me. Never having even mastered the art of balancing on a skateboard, I’m not sure how safe a device like this would be for me to ride on. But a few laughs and broken bones later I would have still been the envy of all my mates. Set in 2015, we still have a year to go for this predicted gadget to hit the streets! I think the big kid in me still wants one.

2. Flying cars from Bladerunner (1982)

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This classic film portrayed the archetypal future that many of us still envisage could happen. The dark, grim, overcrowded and over technical environs with the ultimate prediction – flying cars. So where are they then? Bladerunner is far from the only film to see automobiles of the sky being a sign of things to come and for me they have formed a firm basis of my view of the future. Given that we have some awful drivers on our roads already though, I think it might be best if this one stays fiction for a while longer. After all, car crashes in the sky are going to cause a lot more mess than they do on the roads.

3. Transporter from Star Trek

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‘Beam me up Scotty’. We’ve all been subjected to an episode of Star Trek at some point in our lives (and some people are even fans!). But one great invention that will always hold a place in our hearts is the transporter. How much easier would life be with one of these? How much time we could save? Just about to board a five hour flight home after a family holiday, or facing another long commute home from the office? Imagine how more productive we could all be if we could just stand on a little circle, press a button and arrive at our destination in a mere jiffy.

4. Memory implants from Total Recall (1990)

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Who remembers Arnie getting an implanted memory for a vacation to Mars? Okay it might have all gone a bit awry in the film, but it’s kind of a neat idea in theory right? Or is it? After all, half the fun of memories is making them – so this would completely skip out the crucial bit. Yeah it might be nice to have a memory of a vacation in the Maldives, but I would much rather pack my bags, get on a plane and actually experience it in the here and now. Mind you, being set in 2084, we still haven’t quite hit the expiration date of the this prediction yet – so watch this space.

5. The Neuralyzer from Men in Black (1997)

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Ever done something you wish you could forget? Or even better – wish others could forget? All those naughty moments could be wiped from the memories of those who you don’t want to remember. We would be able to act fearless in the knowledge that no-ones recollections are going to come back to bite us. That’s where the neuralyzer comes in – a quick flash and all is forgotten. Great idea in principle, that is until someone else uses it on you! Somehow I think this little gadget could be open to some serious misuse in the wrong hands.

6. The time machine from Back to the Future (1985)

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The ultimate invention of the future – the time machine. The Delorean from the Back to the Future movies is a classic to say the least. Who wouldn’t want a time machine? Just imagine all the times and places we could go to. Go back and change some of those dodgy choices we made when we were younger – or head to the future to see what events have in store for us. I would definitely follow in the footsteps of Biff Tannan with his Grays Sports Almanac – to ensure my future millionaire status! 🙂 But okay, maybe we would need to be careful, after all a small change could have an almighty ripple – have you not see ‘The Butterfly Effect’?

7. KITT from Knightrider 

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A proper blast from the past. Who doesn’t remember David Hasslehoff and his ‘super-intelligent car’. Sure to help you out of the most tight scrapes, this is a must for any thrill seekers out there. But picture this – tired feet after a day shopping, weighed down in shopping bags and a grouchy toddler in tow who insists on being carried ….. cue the arrival of KITT pulling up in front of you, saving you that long trek to the car park. Or even better …. had a few too many drinks after a night out and not fit to drive …. KITT is like your own personal chauffeured car, without the chauffeur. It drives itself, talks and is mega intuitive. I need one of these big time.

8. Prisoners fight to the death in The Running Man (1987)

Set in 2017 – apparently in two years time prisoners will be fighting to the death to survive a brutal televised game show – think Hunger Games style for the younger readers amongst us. The ultimate punishment for felons – I guess this would be one way to address prison over-crowding. It’s a bit like stepping back to the barbaric gladiator arena of Roman times and I’m not sure my stomach is quite up to a pizza and this viewing on a Saturday night. I can also see a fundamental flaw. The prisoners who survive are going to be the meanest, bad-arse and cunning ones. What happens to them? They get to go free – back out amongst society. Hhmmm – not sure they are the ones we want to let out.

9. Human like robots from Terminator (1984)

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This is actually one thing I am really surprised not to have seen by now. Well okay, maybe not quite proper human robots just yet, but I thought we would have been closer to the whole robots doing everything for us era. I would like a little maid robot who cleans the house, cooks dinner and does the shopping – even better there’s no fear of the OH being tempted to get waylaid. Imagine all the time I would have to sit on the sofa, put my feet up and get lazy. Actually, I’m not too sure what I would do with my time. And what happens if the robot malfunctions – it could be ultimate chaos. Just looked what happened in Terminator, they had a full on robot rebellion.

10. Cryogenics from Vanilla Sky (2001)

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Who needs immortality when you have cryogenics. When your time is up you can be frozen for future resuscitation. And while you’re having that much need recuperative nap – you can even have a pre-picked dream playing in your head. The predicted future for the mega-rich, this is one of those inventions that has often formed the basis for discussion in the media. Imagine being able to preserve our loved ones, never having to say goodbye permanently. There is something quite appealing to this invention. Okay, okay I can see some small issues with population growth, the health system (I mean how much is going to start going to go wrong with our bodies after being alive for 200 years), inter-generational mating (eeek)! And if it’s a luxury of the rich – where does that leave the rest of us?

 

This post was written for the WordPress weekly writing challenge. This weeks prompt is Time Machine!

Writerly Reflections

It’s time for the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge and this week is all about reflecting on our writing and how it all began …..

 

There’s no big revelation. No big reflection. Sorry! When did I first start writing? ….. About two months ago! When did I write my first composition? … About two months ago! When did I have the realisation that I wanted to write? … About two months ago! Actually that last one is a bit of a lie – I have secretly harboured a desire to write for years. I have visions of being the next J. K. Rowling – a tad unrealistic perhaps, but I would love to write a published novel one day.

Every few months I pick up the laptop and start the first chapter of my soon to be bestseller – a couple of days down the line I admit defeat and delete the file into obscurity. This pointless spiral has been going on for years and every time my secret ambition is put back in it’s place, securely in the ‘it’s just a dream’ category of my brain.

I have a tendency to overstretch myself. It’s a repetitive story – why do something simple, when I can jump right in at the deep end? Generally, this leads to an epic fail. I’ve never had training for my writing and it needs development, input and editing to truly grow – things I have never had. Perhaps launching into a full length novel was never going to be the best recipe for success. I was just setting myself up for a fall, time and time again.

A little over two months ago it all changed, when I started my blog. At the time the motivation wasn’t about writing, but was more about setting some goals and making some positive changes to my life. Blogging to the world was my fool proof tie in to the commitments, or else I would face public accountability. Somewhere along the lines it turned into more than a motivational nudge, it became a chance to explore my writing skills. In just two short months I have learnt so much about my writing. I can see improvements already and sharing my thoughts with the world has given me confidence in my abilities.

For someone who doesn’t share easily, writing has become the medium for expressing myself. I find it therapeutic, rewarding and uplifting – it’s becoming a passion that I hope one day will reach it’s full potential.

The Elite Club of the Middle Nameless

It’s running a bit late, but here is this weeks post for the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge and this week it is all about the power of names. I decided to reflect on the use of middle names.

I don’t have a middle name and I like to think that makes me a little bit special. It’s a bit sad really, but every-time someone asks me what my middle name is, I feel a small sense of smugness in telling them that I don’t have one – like I am set apart from the rest because of it. Just about everyone I know has a middle name, so when I meet a fellow ‘middle nameless’ soul they instantly become part of my elite club – a special something joining us together! I’m not sure why I don’t have a middle name – maybe my mum and dad just couldn’t be bothered to think of one. When I was a child, I used to pretend it was Georgina, but as I got older I started to like my lack of three names – it’s a little one up to my non-conformist side.

With 80% of the UK population having a middle name, I certainly am part of the minority. But their use is a relatively new concept here. Apparently the popularity of them soared after the two World Wars, as it became a way to commemorate lost loved ones. Nowadays, this notion is reaffirmed by the most popular middle names being very traditional in nature (e.g. James, John, Louise and Rose are top of the lists). People still continue to use it as a way to remember a dead family member or loved one, with 55% of middle names being chosen for this reason. Also, if you look at many families, there is often a ‘traditional’ name that appears through the generations. For the OH this is unmistakably Robert. For my family it is ‘George’.

I always thought I would follow in my ‘unique’ footsteps when it came to naming my children, but surprisingly when we had our son I found myself adamant that his middle name should be ‘George’. With my dad having it as a middle name and my uncle, cousin, grandfather and great-grandfather before him – all with the same forename, I felt an overwhelming need to continue it through to the next generation. Perhaps, being a woman, and knowing my family name would not be continued, this was my way of holding onto that little bit of tradition.

I am obviously no more ‘non-conformist’ than I am ‘traditional’ at the end of the day and I am proud of my son’s names. Though perhaps we should have given him two middle names, as then he would have been in the 11% ‘super-elite’ club who have at least two.

Dead and Buried

It’s the WordPress Weekly writing challenge and the prompt this week is the Golden Years – ‘what age means to me’, so here’s my post for this week.

As I meandered through the local cemetry on my afternoon stroll (I was looking for a short cut!) I found myself looking around the gravestones for inspiration for this week’s writing challenge. The potential links were taking form in my brain when I stumbled upon the remembrance garden, where the ashes of loved ones were scattered. A sense of deja vu washed over me as it took a moment for the connection to be made – I had been out for a run and got caught short. I found myself sneaking to the back of the park looking for cover to do the deed. In my hurry, I hadn’t noticed at the time, but now I was looking at a tree in the corner and it was looking mighty familiar. I wasn’t quite sure whether to laugh or be disgusted, but I had been pissing on some poor dead persons ashes – what an afterlife!

So, with such a morbid eternity ahead, it got me thinking about the time I have left. We tend to think we are indestructable, but often our vulnerabilities are brought home when loved ones depart, some far too young in years. None of us know when our time will come, so we need to make the most of our time here before it’s too late. One of my OH’s favourite quotes by Hunter S. Thompson is:

 “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Although the OH usually uses it as an excuse to justify something I am frowning upon – I have to contend that they might have a point! Although I don’t believe in living recklessly, I do want to look back at life and feel content that it’s been full of experiences. Life goes through phases, with much of my youth being about trying to fit in. With growing older came more wisdom and confidence – although the years of my youth are dwindling away into the distance I am the most comfortable I have ever been with myself – despite not being the thinnest, wealthiest version of me. Nowadays I appreciate what is more important in life – it’s not about appearances, it’s about having unconditional love and security surrounding me. Who knows what the future brings, but those who say life begins at 30 have a bloody good point. 

When my times up I might reassess my options – I had always thought cremation would be preferable to being buried, but now I’m thinking that perhaps a coffin would provide better waterproofing against desperate runners!

Little Miracles of Life

It’s time for the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge and this week is all about the rule of threes. The below three pictures are the prompt for this weeks post.

‘He’s got your pixie ears,’ was the first words the OH said.

As he passed me the little wrapped bundle I looked down to the miniature version of my ears, all complete with the folded flap of skin at the top. How amazing is that. Big blue eyes gazed up at me, peeking out of the wrinkled skin around them. A little human being created by us alone, a proper little miracle.

It’s hardly a new thing, protruding baby bumps have been a common sight amongst women of child-bearing age throughout the ages. A colleague up the duff, a friend expecting – just another run of the mill experience – that is until you have your own.

I’d never been naturally maternal before falling pregnant. I was an only child in a family of much older relatives, with a bunch of friends who were showing no signs of settling down and starting families. Babies were something I would coo at from a safe distance before making my excuses and heading down the pub. I didn’t even know what way to put a nappy on, let alone knowing how to deal with pregnancy and childbirth. So, in typical fashion, when I don’t know something I buy a book, or maybe a few books, and research! And so the learning curve began.

I knew life as I knew it was going to drastically change, but as to the finer details of that change I had no idea what to expect. What I did have though was nine months of pregnancy and baby obsession to contend with, until my own bambino popped out. I don’t know what I expected really, after all having children is the most natural thing in the world, so I was surprised to find out the intricacies of it all. It’s only at this point, that the magic of the whole process really hit me. I mean, did you know that there is only a 20% of getting pregnant every month (those little pesky sperm have to work hard to fertilise that egg!); and at the start of a pregnancy your womb is the size of a conference pear, only to expand to larger than a watermelon by the end of your term; and your heart gets larger when you’re pregnant as it has to work harder; and your feet get bigger and spread out due to the extra weight and the hormone relaxin in the body which relaxes all your muscles; and a womans uterus expands by up to 500 times during her pregnancy; and a fetus acquires fingerprints at the age of three months …. I could go on for a while here! Somehow our bodies just know what to do.

I’m not going to lie, the ordeals of childbirth are beyond comprehendable and I have never experienced pain like it in my life – I don’t think anyone can prepare you for that. But that moment when your healthy baby is passed into your arms for the first time, is a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life. There was no magic ‘off switch’ to forget the pain for me, I still vividly remember the disturbing experience in vivid detail, but it was definitely worth the gift of life at the end. How we made such a beautiful, intelligent and cheeky little boy I will never know. But watching him grow, learn and develop is truly amazing. I’m not sure I’ll be rushinng down the path of number two anytime soon, but the day I had number one was the most miraculous day of my life. I just hope he doesn’t grow up too quickly.

A bit of fiction….

So this weeks WordPress weekly writing challenge is …

‘This week, we’re asking you to consider things from a different point of view — to walk a mile in someone’s shoes. Leave your moccasins and bunny slippers at the door, and tell us a tale from a fully-immersed perspective that is not your own.’

So, I thought I would try a bit of flash fiction, looking at an event from a range of different perspectives. I hope you enjoy reading it ….

You can do this, just go in there and show them who’s boss. I’m standing outside, psyching myself up. My sweat coated hands slide over the barrel of my sawn off shotgun, as if stroking it will calm my nerves. Beads of sweat are forming on my forehead, as I overheat from the thick wool balaclava that covers my face. My heart is pumping adrenaline around my body and I am feeling giddy and sick. Ah man, how did I get myself into this? My legs jittery, I am close to collapsing I am so nervous. Taking a deep intake of breath I close my eyes and think through the plan again. Have I definitely got everything I need? Gun – check, Balaclava – check, getaway car in place – check, kit bag – check … yep, I’m ready to go. It’s been a crazy year. At the beginning of the year I had a good job, loving family and a nice house. Just a month later the job was gone. Made redundant after 10 years of working for the same company, with nothing but a lousy redundancy cheque to pay me off. It had been 8 months now and there was still no job in sight. I was either too old or over-qualified! They wouldn’t even give me a job in fucking McDonalds! Up to my eyes in debt and about to lose my home and family I had to take some drastic action. Come on Greg, let’s do this.

My booted foot kicks the door open and I barge through dramatically. My entrance isn’t as I expected it … no-one has even noticed me come in. Bloody marvellous, I can’t even rob a bank properly! I know what will get their attention. I point the barrel of the shotgun up to the ceiling. My finger almost slipping off the trigger, I just about manage to fire a warning shot. Everyone stops what they are doing and turns to face me, with confused looks on their faces. That’s more like it. ‘Everyone on the floor, NOW.’ I shout. They comply like lemmings, worry and fear now breaking through to the expressions on their faces. I find myself enjoying the unusual feeling of power and control. I walk over to the cashier desk, gun in one hand and kit bag clutched in the other. I shove the kit bag under the glass screen, using my gun to signal the cashier to move. Shit, I know that woman. I realise that the cashier is one of my daughter’s friends. It completely throws me. How did I miss that? Stupid, stupid …  She pauses for a bit and I worry that she may recognise my voice, so I start to hurry her along. ‘Come on. Move. Get the cash. Quickly,’ I instruct her. She reluctantly takes the bag and starts stuffing bundles of notes into it. My eyes light up at the sight of the money. This is going to make everything okay. Seeing the end in sight, I start to relax a little. I’ll be out of here any minute, and I’m going to be loaded! Just then I hear sirens outside. There is a commotion as the doors burst open … ‘STOP. Police,’ they shout. Realising everything has gone tits up, I drop my gun and raise my hands in the air. My wife is going to kill me!

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I find myself looking at the clock again, willing the hour hands to move faster. This day is really dragging and I can’t wait to finish and get home. Only another 2 hours to go. I look up from inspecting my recently manicured nails. Glancing across to the queue of customers I call ‘next please’. I wonder what monotonous request this customer has. Maybe they might want something different for once; rather than the usual cheque cashing, paying bills and withdrawing money. I really need to start looking for a more interesting job. A heavily pregnant lady waddles over, with a young boy in tow. He looks like he has been crying and has a sullen look on his face. You’re day can’t be as bad as mine. ‘Mummy, I want some sweets,’ his voice penetrates through my head. Remind me never to have children. I don’t want to end up looking like that huge fat whale! ‘How can I help you madam?’ I ask, in my perfect customer service voice.

Just then there is a loud noise from the back of the bank foyer. I look up with a start, wondering what it is. Just then I see a man dressed in black from head to toe walking towards me with a gun. Oh my god, are we being robbed. This is so cool. Stuff like this never happens to me. I try to look calm, although there is a bit of panic making it’s way to the surface. Does that gun have real bullets in it? I wonder what the man behind the balaclava is like. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help but think he is some devilishly handsome bad boy. Maybe he’ll think I am really brave and cool and we end up hooking up. When he gets to the desk, he shoves a bag at me and waves his gun in the air. I am a bit confused – I was expecting him to say something – and when he doesn’t it takes me a minute to realise what he wants. ‘Come on. Move it. Get the money,’ he shouts at me. Bloody charming. It doesn’t hurt to show a little respect you know. I have brave thoughts of shoving that gun somewhere the sun doesn’t shine. You don’t know how lucky you are that there’s a thick piece of glass between us! I do as he asks, taking my time a little. I feel a bit smug, because I know I have one up on him.

Just then, I hear the police barge in, shouting commands and pointing their guns. I smile to myself, knowing that I hit the panic alarm when he first came in. I can’t wait to tell my mates about this, they’ll never top this story.

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I am exhausted. I can’t wait to get home to put my feet up. Today has been tiring and I wish this baby would just hurry up and arrive now. I feel like a huge hippopotamus and everything just takes so much effort. It doesn’t help that my 3-year-old is in full-on whingeing mode! If he asks for sweets one more time, I’m going to go mad. It seems like I have been standing in this queue forever. My feet hurt, my back is sore and this baby is having a full on football match in my tummy. ‘Next please,’ the cashier calls out. At last. I slowly plod over to the desk, dragging my toddler behind me. ‘Mummy, can I have some sweets now? Geez, give me strength. The cashier smiles kindly at me and I think how young she looks. She doesn’t realise how good she’s got it. I start rummaging in my bag, looking for my cheque book, when there is a huge commotion behind me. Before I have a chance to turn round fully, someone shouts ‘everyone on the floor. NOW’. Fear builds up in me as I realise I am right in the middle of a robbery. My little boy clings onto my legs, tears streaming down his face and fear in his eyes. My immediate reaction is to grab him and move him out of the way. I ease myself to the floor, lying on my side, as my belly is too round to lie on my front. ‘Luke, come here and lie down on the floor with Mummy. Let’s have a cuddle,’ I whisper to my little one. He lies down and cuddles up to me, sniffling. ‘What’s happening?’ ‘It’s okay hunny. Everything will be okay.’ I pray that we make this out of here safely. My son is too young and helpless for this to be happening to him.

Ouch. Oooh, what was that? I think the baby’s complaining. My mounting panic, now overcome with pain. The baby can’t come now. I daren’t make a noise. I am terrified that the gunman will hear me. I lay here, clutching my little boy, silently holding back the cries of agony. Next thing I know the police are barging in. Thank god. We are going to be alright. All I need now is an ambulance!

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Greg’s been acting very strangely lately. I am worried about my husband. The last few months his behaviour has been quite odd. I thought we were a close family, but he won’t talk to us anymore. He keeps everything bottled up inside. I know he took the loss of his job hard and it’s been a while since he’s been working. But the time together as a family has been nice. Besides, he had a good redundancy payment, and we have been managing to pay all our bills, so it’s not the end of the world. I don’t understand why he is so quiet and thoughtful all the time. I have tried to talk to him about seeing the Doctor, as I’m worried he might be depressed, but he’s not having any of it. And he keeps saying strange things. Stuff about ‘if anything happened to him.’ It’s all very odd. Last night was the worst though. He was really jittery and just couldn’t relax. I’m sure I heard him rummaging around in the garage in the middle of the night. When he left this morning …. he wouldn’t stop hugging me and kept telling me how everything was going to be alright. I’m getting a bit worried. I am not sure where he has gone, and it’s getting late. Maybe I should ring someone. The local hospital, or the police, to see if anything has happened to him?

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I really hope this coffee perks me up a bit. It’s been a long shift!  I am sat in the police car with my partner. Just another thirty minutes to go before the end of another ten-hour shift. It’s been a busy one and we are taking a few moments to chill out and recuperate a bit. The police radio has been quiet for a while. ‘It’ll be good if we can get through the rest of the shift with no calls!’ my partner says to me, looking over with a tired smile on his face. ‘It certainly would. It’s tempting to turn the bloody thing off altogether,’ I respond. He knows I am joking though, as to do so would result in a very serious disciplinary. Taking in the busy streets around me, I people watch as I sip on my coffee. Some kid goes past the window, middle finger in the air, mouthing ‘fucking pigs!’ at us. I am sorely tempted to get out of the car and teach him some respect, but that could lead to hours of paperwork and we would never finish on time. So, I let it go.

Just then, the police radio crackles. ‘Calling all units. We have an armed incident reported at Barclays Bank, Greek Street. I repeat; an armed incident at Barclays Bank, Greek Street. Immediate response vehicles needed.’ Damn it, I just knew it was too good to be true. I look over to my partner and he reluctantly gives me a nod. ‘Constable CP178 receiving you. We are en-route to Greek Street.’ I start up the car, slamming it into gear and switching the siren and lights on. Bound to be some stupid drugged out kid again. Just what I need.  It doesn’t take us long to get to Greek Street, where there are three other marked police cars already waiting. We get out of the car, making our way over to the armed response unit. ‘You ready to do this?’ the officer in charge calls out. This is gonna be a late one.