Critical of Critics

Now, I realise I can’t stop publishing ironic statements in my blog, but this post is potentially the forefront of all of that irony. Evidently, the world could do without negativity, particularly those vibes coming from the Gaza strip currently – but seriously, the Israeli-Hamas war that is ongoing, where children, schools and hospitals are casualties to Israeli missiles, HAS to end. In a less fatal way, negativity in the form of criticism or aggression, is a strong source of failure, and, consequently, I have a definite disgust for critics and negative people alike.

Although I am not a ‘positive-vibe’ fanatic, I find that encouragement and positivity changes someone’s outlook on a situation, and people going against such a viewpoint can easily get on my nerves. I recently read a delightful story about an inspirational frog, which I strongly recommend to brighten up your day here:

Back to criticising critics, there were a couple of articles that popped up during my habitual internet feed check, and, simply, I just sighed in disappointed. These articles are written by the kind of people who want to just watch the world burn and I wonder if their criticality is due to the fact it is attention-grabbing as it definitely grabbed mine. However, I don’t believe it is required to even write such articles like ‘Netflix is no longer so special’, but perhaps it is a desperate measure to be acknowledged! I was deeply offended by one with the title ‘Should we mourn the end of blogs?’, because, as a student and therefore new blogger, I arrived too late for the funeral, which is clearly not true with the amount of quality and successful blogs still roaming the internet.

My point is that I will always have time for those who want to find the next big thing, want to meet new friends, have more fun instead of searching the graveyards for things that were once at the top, only to check how far they fall. If you read the frog story, I hope you celebrated its reaching of the summit rather than wondering how it will hit the ground.

Follow your dreams and you won’t have to worry about falling.

Just Being An Idiom

There I was, ambling along drive after drive, delivering local newspapers on my weekly round, until suddenly, out of nowhere appeared a wild eggshell! Carefully, I stepped round it, so as not to dreadfully upset my near-neighbours with a messy drive. Then it hit me, and then chuckled to myself, looking like a silly fool. It isn’t hilarious but it’s the little things make you happy.

The irony of the situation was due to the unorthodox meaning of the idiomatic expression. The meaning of ‘walking on eggshells’ indicates stepping carefully so, to avoid anybody crying, by not ‘walking on eggshells’ I was stepping carefully.

This foolish epiphany led me to wonder about the true origins of such idioms. They are idioms for the fact that they hardly make sense in terms of real-life situations. There are the obvious terms such as ‘like a fish out of water’ which is difficult to re-enact as a human as we, most of us, have the ability to swim, and I certainly haven’t ever seen a fish with legs or a tank of water attached to its gills! It is similar to someone having a ‘short fuse’ – a metaphor for one’s anger levels: the shorter the fuse gets, the more likely the circuit, or in this case one’s head, to blow.

Another idiom with a fairly obvious concept is ‘finding a needle in a haystack’ since I would find it easy to believe the ratio of the size of a needle and the size of a haystack is fairly high. However, why a needle? Why a haystack? It could be anything like a fish in a lake (this is not intentionally fish-themed) but it is due to descriptive writing in a poem. As was having ‘butterflies in the stomach’ and that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ but that’s just boring.

Where are the ones with real substance? I found one rather interesting one. Today I asked my family: how long do you think is the time period for a blue moon to occur? Foolishly, my brother answered with a thousand years! I suggested to them that in natural conversation it is simply contextual and they agreed. There is, actually, a time period.

There are normally 12 full moons every year, so three moons per quarter. In the second quarter, the three full moons that appear are called Pink, Flower and Strawberry in the Farmers Almanac. When there happens to be 4 full moons in that quarter, the moons are called Pink, Flower, BLUE and Strawberry (in that order). Therefore if your irritating relatives with that petulant child, who  wore his dirty shoes on that cream sofa and you never had the heart to order him to take those bleeding shoes off, who live on the other side of the world, come to visit once in a blue moon, well, you better prepare soon, because they’ll be at your doorstep in 3 years. That’s right – a blue moon occurs every 3 years – how disappointing.

‘Straight from the horse’s mouth’ also has a more substantial background. The tips from horse racing regularly circle round and you want to get those tips from those in close contact with the horse and its recent form. This phrase indicates one better than this inner circle, as if it comes from the horse itself, but I don’t know why it’d tell you anyway, it wants to surprise the other competitors.

From talking animals to, well, non-talking animals, as in, if they could talk, they can’t anymore, because they’re all dead. On that light-hearted introduction, ‘raining cats and dogs’ comes from times when streets were flooded and along with the water, literally flowed unfortunately-deceased cats and dogs, and so a new phrase was born. I seriously hope that the song ‘It’s raining men’ didn’t follow a similar derivation!

Just thought I’d let the cat out the bag by hitting the nail on the head.

Don’t feel down in the dumps – Have a nice day!

Quite Quiet

Brian stumbles into the noise-polluted cage after the bell rang for what felt like the 20th time this week, initiating the start of lunch. He notices his friend sitting alone in the opposite corner and prepares for the journey to salvation. In front of him, no-man’s land seems far too vacant. Soon the infinite regiments will declare war and themselves upon the battleground, from which there is no escape without injury.

It’s too late. Brian is forced to crouch by a nearby table-cum-barricade, by which he grimaces at the personality warfare of verbal bullets and esteem grenades. There is no option but to commando crawl along the empty trenches into known territory. BOOM! Only a few feet away an arrogance mine threw several troops to the cold ground.

Brian had to continue. He couldn’t make it. Casualties were dropping like flies. He was surprised he hadn’t been spotted yet; he was usually spotted first. Something inside him was driving him on, and took to the final desk in the corner of the room, finally meeting back with his friend.

“What on earth are you doing down there, Brian?”

There are very few quiet people in our society today, since it has become a materialistic society, in which those with the money, or those with the stature to demand it, tend to have more success socially. Being fairly quiet means that I have, at times, felt less-known by those around me and vice-versa, and therefore lack a ‘social standing’ within the community. However, it is terms like ‘social standing’ and ‘popularity’ which have always left bitter tastes in my mouth.

It would be ignorant to disregard the abundant links between arrogance and loudness and respectively those between humility and quietness and it has been clear to me that those with arrogance are those who regularly worry about ‘social standing’. Admittedly, that is a sweeping statement but it is undoubtedly true with the majority of them.

It is funny, though, when you spot two of the most arrogant people in your community, engaging in a ‘conversation’ regarding their achievements! I notice them and realise that they are the type of people I want to avoid becoming because, for me, it is undesirable to declare your presence in the room to everyone. I have always been happy to sit with close friends, causing no trouble but taking no risks. That is a great problem with quiet people: you can be a conscientious student, but if you don’t care about looking foolish every now and again, you can’t improve like the others.

After realising this, I found ways of improving confidence and humility, especially because I had been awful at having general conversations. Those two aspects, confidence and humility, are extremely important aspects of a person’s character. I believe that with low humility it is hard to continue trying, but with low confidence it is difficult to start the trying.

You can lie low like our good old friend Brian and allow people to think they are more important than you, or stand up, put on your body armour and stroll through because you deserve to be respected.

As the Chinese philosopher Confucius had said:

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”

Me, Myself, I, and That Other Guy

Me. Who am I? Ah, I remember now. That guy that follows me around and has that dark, mysterious friend who only ever appears when there’s light. Hmm how ironic. Anyways, I hate talking about myself, I normally let my parents do that whenever we meet friends of a friends of a friends, but if I’m off to university next year I guess I’ll have to learn pretty soon.

Now I would say I’m one of a kind but I don’t mean to use it in a way most people would think. If you say it yourself it always appears arrogant, though when someone else says it to me, it generally sounds like I belong in a psychiatric ward. I mean ‘unique’ in a way that I have never met someone exactly like me but my hopes are that blogging connects me to more people more like me.

First off, I have to confess my addiction to sport. It comes to the point where I nearly got heat stroke after going for a lovely run at the peak temperature during a school/friends holiday (no teachers but classes) to the beautiful, but scorching, Salamanca. Football, cricket, golf, basketball, american football, etc, sports are my greatest passion, whether it’s playing, watching or doing anything to involve myself – including collecting many of this year’s world cup stickers for both the nostalgic value and the excitement factor.

Playing video games also takes up a great deal of my spare time. I have recently built my own computer in order to play some of the latest games rather than spend out on a new console. Normally I play sport games and RPG games, which I love for the fact you can be whoever you want and do whatever you want – this is freedom at its best and feeling free is incredible.

Also, puzzle games are just great. If anyone loves puzzles but have never played video games they are certainly missing out on Portal 2, full of fun and problem-solving. My siblings always used to watch the television, whilst I would sit in another room playing with my jigsaws, and I loved it. I guess that is the reason I have grown to enjoy maths through school and at college, and consequently desire to study mechanical engineering at university.

I have never understood, however, why I still possess a creative mind. There must be links with my problem-solving nature and my interest in design and creative writing but at my current status I am merely befuddled. Designing is definitely enjoyable for me, making my Gravatar was fun though it took me about 5 minutes and I aim to create an image to feature with each post.

In terms of creative writing, I believe it’s due to my imagination. “You’ve got your head in the clouds, boy!” I would imagine a teacher bellowing at me if I were born years earlier though my chemistry teacher ensures to remind me I’m a ‘dozy but excellent’ student. Writing down new stories as if they were happening in front of me was fascinating during my time of studying English, but, unfortunately, the rest of the class wasn’t for me. My own mother recommended me to a journalism career path, yet I went for engineering, as if the two are interchangeable!

So if anyone who decides to read this thinks that they have many things in common, please feel free to leave a comment with your blog linked, as I am always interested in finding new bloggers similar to myself.

Have a great day – and learn to love your shadow.


Logging in to Blogging

I thought my first blogging experience should be about – well – blogging. Blogs, for me, used to be extracts from a personal, non-secret diary, visible for the internet-accesible world. However, these days they come in all sorts of forms: dieting tips, advice for frugal personalities, travel help, etc.

As a student, I can’t provide expert knowledge in economical fields which initially put me off the thought of starting a blog after seeing so many providing tips such as “5 Ways You Can Eat A Cheesecake”. Admittedly, these article-style blogs have useful information but, likewise, I enjoy having a nosy at others’ life experiences, thoughts on current affairs and generally finding out about new things.

I have developed a fascination about how we, as the human race, are beginning to think due to the digital age and I believe this is partly due to other blogs I have read. Blogs are certainly influential on many people, and it is a shame that the popular forms of blogs have been cropped into 140 characters (Twitter) in which teenagers (like me) feel it essential to announce their traffic difficulties on the way home from college or the outrage of finding their coca-cola half-filled with ice by the fast-food outlet! (To be fair that is an outrage – you either have to suffer a warm drink without ice or a severely-diluted one with ice)

I do believe Twitter is a great concept: it is quick, easy to use and brings people together easily – yet it lacks depth. It would seem strange if one were to tweet: “Can the brain power a human’s ability to understand the limits of the power of the brain?” In my opinion, this would work perfectly in a blog. In fact, it is a field of research that interests me and deserves time for thought, of which Twitter doesn’t actually require).

Now at this point, I have noticed I can actually ramble, which I am, strangely, pleased about because usually I can’t think of a topic of conversation – with a small child, a pensioner and anyone in between. I feel I can be rubbish with words when they come out of my mouth, but maybe I could save that for a later blog!

Another problem I remember having with essays at school is the structure. The humorous ‘PEE’ structure (Point, Evidence, Explain) was always a struggle and I could never understand why. I simply thought – ‘Never mind, I’ll sort it out eventually’ – and I dislike those types, only because I am one myself.

It has also come to the point of realisation that I don’t care about the fact I am that person, since I feel my thoughts are flowing into the buttons of my keyboard a lot more effectively than at the start of this piece, yet I don’t feel it necessary to go back and change it one bit.

OK. Here’s my first goal: Think about what to write beforehand – WITH A PLANNED STRUCTURE – and then write it and check it. Maybe writing goals on here is an unconventional idea but at least it can’t get binned like a sticky note above my desk on my bedroom wall – and with that my ability to achieve my potential. Grim but true.

To finish on a more uplifting note I would like to offer an inspiring quote from the football pundit Mark Lawrenson, whose quotes page I like to read for a little chuckle:

“If plan A fails, they could always revert to plan A”