The Mystery Flesh Pit National Park Is Amazing Worldbuilding!

One of the best things about blogging back in the pre-2010 era when the big social media websites were still finding their feet was the randomness of it all. I could spend hours trawling the blogosphere. It wasn’t just about reading about random people’s lives. The best thing was coming across some weird and wonderful things that just begged to be blogged about.

Of course, nowadays you can just send out a quick tweet, but I do feel as though social media takes away the wonder of just exploring the Internet. Part of the reason I started this blog is to share things that interest me, and weird creative stuff is one of the many things that interest me. Enter the Mystery Flesh Pit National Park.

Ok, so I’d be lying if I said I’d discovered this while randomly trawling the Internet. I heard about it on a recent episode of Waypoint Radio, a gaming podcast from Vice. The Mystery Flesh Pit National Park began as posts on the subreddit r/Worldbuilding. The posts document a fictional National Park where the star attraction is a giant orifice in the Earth’s surface that is literally made of flesh. Underneath the surface lies a massive superorganism, with its internals regularly explored by thousands of tourists.

I’ll let its creator Trevor Roberts, describe it better:

The Mystery Flesh Pit is the name given to a bizarre natural geobiological feature discovered in the permian basin region of west texas in the early 1970s. The pit is characterized as an enormous subterranean organism of indeterminate size and origin embedded deep within the earth, displaying a vast array of highly unusual and often disturbing phenomena within its vast internal anatomy.

Following its initial discovery and subsequent survey exploration missions, the surface orifice of the Mystery Flesh Pit was enlarged and internal sections were slowly reinforced and developed by the Anodyne Deep Earth Mining corporation who opened the Pit as a tourist attraction in 1976. In the early 1980s, the site was absorbed into the National Park System which operated and maintained the Mystery Flesh Pit until its sudden closure in 2007.

The Mystery Flesh Pit National Park

The best place to follow this fascinating project is to check out the Tumblr blog, where Roberts says new art and lore will be posted at a minimum of twice a month. You get such delights as this beautiful cutaway page that reminds me of Dorling Kindersley books:

Or this one showing a map of the ‘Amniotic Thermal Springs’ where visitors can bathe in amniotic fluids for its perceived health benefits:

There are also adverts:

You can also read a detailed investigation conducted by the US government into the disaster that ultimately led to the closure of the Mystery Flesh Pit National Park to tourists.

I LOVE stuff like this. I love how much detail, world building and sheer amount of creativity that gets put into something that’s entirely fictional, but comes across as if it could be very real. I’m also interested in fiction that creates parallel universes that are very close to our own reality, but with random batshit things like this in them.

If you know of more projects similar to this then drop them in the comments as I’d love to explore them!

The Economy Will Recover, But Your Grandma Won’t Come Back From The Dead

Sign outside cinema that says 'the world is temporarily closed' due to coronavirus

It’s the second week of the third coronavirus lockdown in the UK. If you were surprised that the beginning of 2021 would be any different to the horrendous year that was 2020, I would have to wonder just what drugs you’re taking.  

Of course, the frontline NHS staff that are fighting the coronavirus knew that no relief was coming anytime soon. In fact, as they’ve been telling us for months, things were about to get worse. We’re now we moving into the thick of winter with all its numerous illnesses.

Christmas and the seemingly non-existent party season (although some people went ahead and had parties anyway, regardless of what effect that would have on a health system that’s nearing the edge of collapse) were always going to add tens of thousands more infections to the daily statistics. Part of this is because there are still people who think making individual sacrifices for the good of your fellow countrymen is apparently an attack on their freedoms. It’s a selfish world we live in now, where caring about others seems to make you a ‘lefty snowflake’. It’s always funny how those who throw out the word ‘snowflake’ are usually the most offended by literally nothing.

Look, we’d all love to return to normal (whatever that is in this increasingly chaotic world). I’m a self-confessed hermit who loves nothing more than getting in my PJ’s and settling down for a night in front of the TV with my wife, but even I’m getting fed up of being shut inside all the time. But it’s not as if this virus is going to go away anytime soon, even with the vaccine rollout, so there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it but follow the rules. 

Our Road to a New Family Member

The last couple of months of 2017 were a pretty rubbish time for us. As I’ve blogged about before, we lost our first baby not long before Christmas, which would be a shitty end to anyone’s year. But, by the summer of 2018, things were finally looking up.  

A photo of us taken during our holiday to Cornwall at Tintagel Castle - just before we found out the good news
A photo of us taken during our holiday to Cornwall at Tintagel Castle – just before we found out the good news!

We’d decided to relax and just see what would happen. If we got pregnant again then that would be brilliant, but we didn’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves for it to happen. We had an amazing holiday to Cornwall where we simply relaxed and toured some of the most beautiful locations in the UK. Times were good, and they were about to get better. 

Just after returning from Cornwall, I was out in our back garden mowing the lawn that had grown to jungle proportions while we were away on holiday. Alex had gone to the nearby Tesco Express, likely to procure some junk food for the night ahead (we must spend a fortune in that place!).

I didn’t notice she’d returned until she walked out of the backdoors and into the garden. She had her hands behind her back, which wasn’t unusual after returning from the shop as Alex often brings a surprise home for me, she’s cute like that. But, as corny as it may sound, what she had behind her back was our future.  

Yep, that’s as corny as it sounded when I decided to write that. 

Promise Me You’ll Carry On

I’m writing this to make a promise to myself. A promise that I will start writing here at least a couple of times a month. It’s a promise I’ve made before, but now that money is emptying from my wallet, I need to ensure I’m not wasting it.  

What exactly is the point in me paying for a URL, hosting and now a bloody SSL certificate if I’m not actually going to use my website? 

Every day I get emails about attackers trying to get into my website. Thankfully, I’ve made sure it’s now secure, which is a lesson I learned when I woke up to find that my website had been converted into a porn website overnight. A malware scan and clean-up fixed the problem, but it made me take precautions that I’d been lax in implementing before.  

I suppose the hard part is that my entire day revolves around sitting at a computer. Sometimes that day also involves writing content, and while it’s not the content I would choose to write if I wasn’t getting paid for it, that writing time has mentally exhausted me by the end of the day. All I want to do is slump in front of the TV and stick Netflix on or play a video game for an hour or so.  

There’s another massive reason why I’m exhausted, and I’ve been halfway through writing about that for a few months now. This week I’m finally going to publish it. While I know there is nobody sitting there waiting anxiously for a new hot take from yours truly (and who can blame you? Why would you return to a website that’s never updated?), it will do me the world of good to finally get it out there in a follow-up to the post I wrote about miscarriage.  

I have this dream of becoming a better writer, but that dream will never be realised if I don’t bother to do any writing in the first place. It’s tough when you’re staring at a blank page, but I need to realise that I’m not supposed to be aiming for perfection here. Anything I write here will help be improve and get back into a habit that I used to adore. If I just keep sitting on my thumbs, I’ll never get anywhere. 

Anyway, my WordPress admin panel will be seeing me again shortly.  

Coronavirus Good News: It’s Not All Doom & Gloom!

I’ve always been a news junkie, especially since I’ve been using the Internet. I like to stay informed and I love to read long and in-depth articles that brilliant journalists have often spent months putting together (that’s why I support both The Guardian and The New York Times with digital subscriptions). The media is constantly under attack today, and some of it can be warranted. But for every clickbait bit of nonsense, there are still journalists out there producing some incredible work.

During the coronavirus pandemic, there’s unsurprisingly been an explosion of news about it. It soon began to feel like that’s all the media have been talking about for the last couple of months.  It can quickly become depressing reading about infection and death statistics, as well as how it’s destroying people’s livelihoods and ripping the economy apart. It’s a good idea to take a break from all this, and I’ve tried to cut down by intentionally reading other non-related articles or just deciding not to read the news for a little while at all. Although, in my case, this never lasts for long. But if you all keeping up with all the news, let’s try to look at the good things that are coming out of the pandemic instead.

Here I’m going to post all the good things I’m reading about when it comes to coronavirus. Such as stories of people pulling together and helping each other in these worrying times. I’ll update this post as I find new things, and feel free to mention anything I may have missed in the comments.

The Updates Finally Continue

In a couple of months, it will be two years since I sat down and poured my heart into an entry about how it felt to deal with miscarriage as a man. At the time I shared the entry on Facebook, as did my wonderful wife, and I was humbled to receive an outpouring of sympathy from friends and people I didn’t even know. I didn’t write it for the sympathy, but I appreciated everyone’s comments; especially from those who have been through the same thing, of which there are many.

As hard as it was writing that entry, it gave me the writing bug back and I was all set to continue positing here on a regular basis. That is until an incident happened that put me off even going near my blog.

I don’t want to go into details about it here, mainly because it’s not worth spending my time and energy on and I’m totally over it. All I can say is that, at the time, it was an upsetting incident that really put me on a downer, which I didn’t really need when I’d finally got everything out about the miscarriage and felt something approaching relief. It really hit my confidence and I didn’t want to write anything again.

I now realise that if I’m going to write a blog, I can’t always expect that people will be nice about what I write here. I welcome debate and alternative opinions, but I don’t welcome disgusting bile and hateful comments for no reason at all. I’m just going to ignore anything like that.

A few months after that happened, I decided to not let it bother me anymore and I wanted to return to normal and continue writing here. I wish that I’d documented everything that happened after that, but I was about to become a busy man and updating my blog came far down the list of a thousand other things I now had to do.

Let’s leave it here for now. I’ll return soon to talk about one of the best periods of my life

As a side note, one of the reasons I’m suddenly writing here again is that we’re currently in week 7 of the UK-wide lockdown that’s been implemented due to the spread of Covid-19. I’m still able to work from home, but anything resembling a normal life is pretty much non-existent at the moment.

I feel like I’m slowly getting the writing bug back. So, while this may never be set in stone, I’m going to try and write here at least once a week (or twice a month) to begin with.