Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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Feeling like an epic caveman. From a spoilt technological person.

I spent the weekend at the boy’s new house. He’s got an extra year left of university due to science degrees not being able to squeeze everything into three years. He moved into this lovely new house on Thursday and I arrived on Friday. There was no internet, I didn’t even get to say goodbye to Google, YouTube and WordPress properly.

I love technology and I hate to say it, but I’m kind of a little bit addicted to the internet. When I realised, halfway through my drive, that there would be no internet I let out a little yelp of fear. The last time I had no internet was not only a pain in the arse but it was also a testing time. My imagination was required to think way and above only writing. I had to find a way of entertaining myself without counting how many strands make up a carpet. Scary right?

The weekend was amazing. Incredible in fact. Mainly because I spent it with the boy but the biggest revelation is that I didn’t miss the internet. Not even once. I didn’t miss any of it at all. I didn’t miss the crazy amount of useless information thrown before my eyes. I didn’t miss the easiness of the distraction and I didn’t miss how anti-social it could make me in the real world.

The boy and I watched films, talked, went out, played games and just enjoyed each other’s company. We weren’t bored once, we didn’t need to be online or watching stupid videos on the internet to be able to have fun.

The problem with technology and the internet nowadays is that we are allowed to have the attention span of goldfishes. We’re given the thumbs up for looking at a hundred things at once, and not looking at the details or reading the words that go alongside the images. It sounds stupid, but not having the internet meant that the distraction was removed. It meant the choice was taken away and it was no big deal. It didn’t make any difference to my life, it actually improved it in some ways.

The internet makes everything easier but it shouldn’t crowd every part of our lives. It shouldn’t be so important that at any spare moment we’re logging onto something online. The internet just adds to that excuse we give ourselves of being consistently busy even when we spend time browsing when we could be using that time productively.

I had the best weekend and I wasn’t glued to the world wide web. I was having fun, connecting and catching up with the person I love. I used my time to do something useful, my attention was always in the place I was in and the person I was with. As silly as it sounds the time I fully invested, I got back a million times over.

So although I’m glad I have the internet back now that I’ve returned home and I’m very happy to be blogging again, this weekend reminded me how unimportant the internet is. This weekend will be remembered as the best weekend ever and it has nothing to do with consistently browsing the world wide web.

As dramatic as it sounds, as I was driving up to a weekend of no internet, I was imagining myself as a bit of a caveman. Instead I lived fully in the moment without the distractions of the consistently buzzing internet. And for one weekend at least, I loved it.

The internet wasn’t even missed. And that is from a spoilt technological type person.


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A New York Adventure

New York used to be rumoured to have streets paved of gold. Although this isn’t quite the truth, you do feel like you need to own a couple of bars of gold to be able to do and buy everything you want to while you’re there. I know this firsthand. My entire stay in New York was filled with random stories that could have come out of a comedy sketch show but nothing beats mine and the boy’s first day on our own exploring the city.

It started off pretty well, very normally, or as normal as you can get when you’re walking down streets that you’ve read about for most of your life. It was beautiful, glass and cement buildings mixed in with astounding architecture that would’t look out of place in Venice or London. Although New York is always busy with pulsating crowds; the streets are so wide and there is so much to look at, that you never feel like you’re overcrowded or that you can’t stop and just stare.

I did a lot of staring whilst in New York. You can’t help it and what I loved most was that New York forces you to look up. People forget to look up. They forget that there is actually a world around them and instead just stare at their feet making their steps to the destination and avoid making eye contact with anything. Looking up is an instant way of making me feel happy and I loved that New York forced you to do that.

The boy and I went to the Empire State Building and paid a little extra to skip the queues. Time was limited and we didn’t want to wait in a two hour queue especially when my patience is limited at the best of times. I am defintely a child of the new generation. We passed the little museum after riding an awesome stimulator (which was narrated by Kevin Bacon – surreal is not the word), I feel they could have done more with the museum, it was a beautiful space and I guess to compensate for the number of people that could potentially be queuing there has to be such large spaces but there were parts that made it feel almost empty. A word I never thought I’d associate with anything in New York. I came across a huge King Kong character as we were leaving the hall/museum and obviously decided to pose with the thing. After all, I’m a tourist and I can make an awesome angry gorilla face, the moment was perfection. Until, that is King Kong moved, I noticed, screamed and my echoes were heard for the next three minutes. Great acoustics in that museum, it was like singing in the shower. King Kong was in fact a man dressed as a gorilla who was able to scare this British tourist so well that I actually ran – and I don’t exercise.

The boy and I with King Kong himself. Notice he isn’t actually touching me due to my awful, awful fear. I am traumatised.

The view from the Empire State Building is absolutely outstanding and definitely worth all the dollars you pay for it. You can see the whole city and because New York moves at such a fast pace, there’s always something to stare at. Feeling so small when you’re walking down streets lined with 100 floor buildings, you feel even smaller when you’re above them. People are dots, smaller than the typical ant description and cars are about the same size as a big handed man’s thumbnail. It’s crazy and the sun was shining while the boy and I were up there making the view all the more gorgeous.

I will never be able to justify the views and since I’m a secret fan of awful cliches and they do say a picture paints a thousand words, here are a few photos. We’re on the 86th floor, just a little FYI which is the main observation deck. There is another on the 102nd floor which we chose not to visit. It’s an additional fee to visit the 102nd floor and by all accounts it is just a room with lots of windows and you’re so high up that the detail is somewhat lost. Like a watercolour painting that has run.

After we left the Empire State Building we had a HUGE slice of pizza each which I definitely recommend trying for anyone visiting New York anytime soon. Food aplenty in New York and it would be a shame if you didn’t try as much as you could. With all the walking you’ll do as a tourist, it’s even hard to put on weight – crazy I know.

The weather was really hot and humid for most of our stay in NY. However this day, it rained. New York rain is crazy, the drops are as big and heavy as hamsters and we ran into the first store we could find and bought an umbrella for $10. I handed over the $10 bill as the man handed the boy the umbrella, with the promise that it was a big umbrella that would fit both of us in comfortably. It didn’t. We both got drenched. I have never in my life got so badly caught in the rain whilst having an umbrella over my head. It didn’t help either that I then realised after paying for a small sized umbrella that I only had $1 left. The boy, upon checking his own wallet, also had only $1 left. That was a total of $2 and we needed $5 to buy our subway tickets to get home. I became hysterical and the boy became panicky, to soothe both of us we visited the Strand Bookstore (18 miles of books, I was in total heaven. They had EVERYTHING), and whilst in this glorious little NY haven, the umbrella broke. In the boy’s hand. Whilst he was holding it through the middle. Just. Like. That.

So no umbrella and no money. We only had £20 to our name which is useless when you’re in America. So we began our huge marathon walk zigzagging across the city to find a place that would exchange our British pounds into some much needed American dollars. Banks rejected us because we didn’t have an account with them. Western Union’s exchange systems had gone down a little while before we walking into the store. A policeman instructed us to an exchange place after we explained our situation, as we ran to it to beat the closing times. It wasn’t closed. It wasn’t even there, it was actually a GUESS shop. A huge, massive, expensive GUESS shop. Pretty clothes: yes but not the possibility to change any currency.

It was at this point that I started shouting down the street, insisting with the boy that we needed to start begging. I could dance while he held his hands out. All we needed was $3. A man heard my desperate pleas and turned out to be our hero; he told us exactly where to go, wished us luck in his epic New York accent and we were off. I felt like I was in a film as we ran down NY for what felt like the 50th time, dodging all the humans, dogs, and food stalls as we did.

We got to the exchange place in an impressively quick time, a lovely girl by the name of Aida had actually closed down the tills to cash up. We explained our story and I was already preparing to get down on bended knee and beg for her mercy when she agreed. We exchanged £20 for $26 and felt like the richest people in the world. We danced outside the exchange place and I honestly felt like a queen. We went to Grand Central Station after and used our hard earned $26 on giant pretzels and the subway home. The rest was for another NY adventure.

It was a baptism of fire to be welcomed to New York in such a way. Luckily it makes a good story and I don’t hold grudges.


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Busy?

I was going to start this post with an apology for my lack of blogging this past week and a bit. I was going to state that I’d been busy then go on about something I’d seen on the news that stuck to me. I was going to try and be observant, smart and insightful but I got stuck.

I became fixated with my excuse for lack of blogging: my apparently busy schedule. As I like to do, I questioned this excuse (yes, even I am not exempt from analysing myself).

What exactly do we mean when we say we’re just too busy? It’s not even possible to be too busy is it? After all you’re never too busy to sit for a minute, or to busy to sleep or eat. You’re never too busy to go to the toilet. I know these are essentials but isn’t that what we’re suggesting when we say we’re busy? We’re rushed off our feet, we have no time. These are lovely little hyperbolic exaggerations.  We’re never too busy. Not really.

What we’re trying to say is that there are more important things that we have to focus our energies on that the thing we’re ‘too busy’ for.  If we really wanted to do it, we could. We could find the time. Rather than going onto Facebook or watching mindless television we could do something more productive but still entertaining. If we wanted to.

The things is humans like to make themselves out to be far busier and more important than they actually are. If you are too busy it would suggest that you have never procrastinated, never wasted a second and your day is filled with fulfilling and productive things. The only time you rest is when you sleep. This just simply isn’t true. I’m busy, sure, in terms that I have too juggle a few things together but I’m not too busy even if I claim I am. I still manage to watch The Simpsons when it’s on. I still manage to shower and to snack and to blog. I still manage to give myself time of letting my brain turn to mush and yet I still claim to be too busy.

It is not possible to be too busy. If you were too busy then in a very short amount of time you’d have a nervous breakdown or go insane. There are enough hours in the day to do everything you need to do (in terms of immediate tasks). Thinking about it, being too busy in my opinion is just an excuse, or poor time management. A little organisation (as geeky as it sounds) would mean that you would never feel too busy, even if your to do list is ten pages long. There are people that hold down multiple jobs, have a family, are studying to further their jobs or careers and still manage to have something of a social life. It is possible. I don’t see the need to announce how busy you are the more I think about it. No one really cares, it just seems to me more a contest than actually informing people about your life. The least busy people seem to announce how busy they are the most, come to think of it.

In my humble opinion, and to be quite frank, the truly busy person is too occupied to complain or announce how busy they are. The rest of us are just pretending.


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Do it Now!

“I have a million things to do, there aren’t enough hours in the day. There’s so much to do, I’m not going to have time to sleep! I can’t stay, I have to run. I’m so busy! We’ll catch up sometime when we’re both not so busy. Bye” You rush off home or back to work, take off your coat, sit at your desk and procrastinate. Then you decide you need to eat, so you go and have lunch and chill, if you’re at home, you sit on the sofa and watch some rubbish television. Before you know it, it’s time for bed and you’re too tired from thinking about work that you’d done nothing. Then when crunch time comes you realise that you should have just done everything you had to do when you had time to do it. After all the work is done, with no time to spare, you decide to give yourself a break for ‘all your hard work’ and you ignore the growing pile of other things you must do. So the cycle begins again.

Nobody wants to be like this

Should I tell you something? Something that you already know but for some reason (laziness and de-motivation springs to mind) you choose to ignore this golden nugget of information. You have time to do something? Especially something that only takes five minutes? Then do it now. You have something that’s going to take LOADS of time, then start it today. Plan, and do a little bit each day; before you know it you’re done. There’s no time like the present and the faster you get things done, the more organised you are with work then the more time you have for yourself. The less stress you’ll feel when it comes to deadline times. The better you’ll do at the work you’re doing because you have time, because you’re relaxed and most importantly because you’re focus is not on just getting it done but can be on getting it done well. This is the crucial point, this is what takes you from good to great.

Doing something early on and getting a head start may seem like a tiresome thing but the cliche of the early bird catches the worm does stand true.  If you start early, you have more time in case things go wrong, more research is needed or help is required. It’s like when builders begin a project, they start early and leave contingency time just in case. Life is a very wonderful, random thing and so starting early means you can be ready for whatever it throws at you. You can be ready to catch it and throw it back or to enjoy it as all you’re work is done. You’re on top of things. You can focus on doing things you love, or improving what you’ve already done.

Do it now. Start taking all those buzzing things you need to do from your brain and actually doing them. You’ll become more motivated when you realise you can get things done weeks, days or hours (for the things sprung at you last minute) in advance. Living for now means working for now too. You’ll be a happier, more productive, more inspirational person as a result.


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Isn’t it ironic?

So I finally get internet on the second day of the second month of 2012. Halleluiah! Then I get so busy, my diary has numerous appointments, meetings and reminders written on top of each other as there is no room on the page. Which is funny because then I can’t read anything and end up sobbing in the corner in a hopeless panic that there’s so much to do, I may as well do nothing.

I then get so many tasks; so much work and a load of crappy circumstances mean that I literally have no time to write for fun. Not due to having no internet but due to having no spare time. It’s ironic really considering I’ve been waiting for the privilege of having the internet at home so I’d have time, then I have no time even though the privilege has been bestowed upon me (for a fee!)

A light bulb moment occurred on the day that lovely man with the power to get me online came to my house. I was in a lecture and suddenly my brain started screaming at me all these great titles and fantastic ideas for blog posts and articles and just general writing for fun. I wrote them all down speedily, while still trying to listen to my lecturer chatter excitedly about human’s linguistic rights (surprisingly, it’s even more interesting than I thought it may be).

I wrote everything down, all these ideas. Ideas, themes, images, themes, concepts: everything all onto a little folded piece of A4 paper. And today I finally managed to give myself a little time to write. I was extremely productive all day. Productive to the point where I was having an out of body experience and my ghost was tired for me.

I’ve finally come home through the dangerous ice and snow (I feel a rant on the dangers of ice and the inability for the council to really do much coming – but that can be for another day). I am exhausted, I want to rest, I’m hungry and all I want to do is be a little selfish and do some writing for me.

What happens? I sit on the sofa and my laptop breaks. It won’t switch on. Fantastic. I then go to get my inspired from the heavens notes with ideas, titles and whatever. And lo and behold it’s missing. Must have left it in the office. Or somewhere where I have been working today. Great.  So I have no laptop (thank God my boyfriend doesn’t mind sharing) and no brilliant ideas on what to write. My mind is too tired to think of anything itself.

Ironic really. The one time I get a little time to write and I don’t know what to write or have my own laptop to write it on. Maybe it’s a sign. But I’m a determined and persistent fool hence this post.

Hopefully they’ll grow in quality and topic as soon as I’ve rested my little rainbow coloured brain and my anti-exercise body. May your tomorrow not be filled with as much irony as my today has been.


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A rambling…and a new start

I set myself a target that I was going to post on this blog every other day. One day a, hopefully, worthy post would be put up and then 24 hours could pass before I would, hopefully, put up another good post. It hasn’t happened that way. Obviously.

I’ve decided that although it’s impossible I’m going to do my Masters, there is no other way. I’m too stubborn. To update: the budgeting has been going on for about two weeks now, and it’s going well. I figure I’m going to be able to save quite a sum of money. Not my dream of £10,000 but still it’ll be something and I’d have saved properly on my own whilst studying. I almost feel like patting myself on the back now but it’s early days. Plenty can. and probably, will go wrong but I’ll persist. Wish me luck.

The reason I haven’t been blogging lately, as much as I love to and love the idea of doing it is because once lectures started, those on top of working with the vTeam (the volunteering section at my university) and working for the student paper was a little hectic frankly. I don’t know if I should say the social life has suffered. I personally don’t think it has, but I know a few people that would probably disagree with. I’ve only been out clubbing once since I’ve been back at university (almost five weeks now). That, in student terms, is a recluse. That, to me, is busy…and valuing sleep over a hangover: that too.

I wanted to start this blog (I have attempted, and failed, once: a fresh start I believed would be the best thing) so that I could keep writing and show to prospective employeers that I can write things apart from essays and book reviews (from my stint as Books Editor last year). But working as Deputy Editor has meant that I have written more articles than I expected to. People don’t seem to stick to word counts, and if they do the software decides that there is still room for one more piece.  This is usually where I come in and that’s where I get to practice my writing, I believe the more you write the better you get (practice makes perfect and all that) and hopefully that’s what I’m doing every time I put pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard.

This blog was my resolution and like every many resolutions made on New Year’s Eve by millions of people around the world, it failed. I’m going to start a few new resolutions, this time I’ll call them aims (apparently this makes them more realistic). My first, and in fact only, aim will be to write as often as possible; hopefully this new no pressure approach will mean that I will actually write more often. I’m also going to be more easy-going on myself, my main focus will still be my money making and saving schemes. I feel, on a personal level, that I should track my progress somehow but I’ll also use the blog to write about lots of wonderfully random things. It’ll be a collection, a scrapbook of sorts (an online, more text based scrapbook but a scrapbook nonetheless) rather than a concise narrative of one student’s mission to save. This will be the main part of my blog: the spine,  the foundations but not the be all and end all.

Fingers crossed it goes smoothly…only time will tell I suppose.