Frustrations of the Technological Variety

 

A short note today, really. Mainly focussed on how frustrated I am by all internet service providers, and phone packages. We’ve been searching, high and low, for a reasonably priced phone and broadband package, one that doesn’t come with a lifetime of ‘one-off’ costs, and frankly I’m astounded by the lack of availability for such a simple idea.

And then of course, is the installation problem. It can’t possibly take that long to install a phone line. It is not much to ask that somebody comes to put a little wire in, y’know, before my fiftieth birthday. And saying there’s only four engineers in the entire country? Well, this simply doesn’t fly with me. There are far more, and people are looking for jobs. Therefore I have a solution: start training the unemployed to install internet and phone connections. People pay good money for this invaluable service, and I think the economy would receive a much-needed boost, especially if people were connected to the internet, and therefore able to browse online shops, and so on.

It would also make me much, much happier to know that I wasn’t going to be without internet for what appears to be seven million years. In modern-day society, it kind of starts to feel as though you are reaching an apex of the social pariah; what did we do before Twitter and Facebook, and what did we do before instantaneous information was available? We had to go to the library and look through the catalogue. And now, thanks to the wonderful department that deals with such installations, it seems that we will be able to experience an era of research and paper. I’m so very grateful for the experience.

(:

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My Impersonation of A Mosquito

There are few things as daunting as starting a new job, or a new work placement. It’s even more daunting starting a job in these modem days because work placements are like gold-dust, and if you are lucky enough to be interviewed for a job you’d actually like to take, well, that’s quite an achievement. And so it means that you will want to dig your fingernails into its epidermis, and cling on to it, like it’s a zip wire over a pool of starving sharks.

It’s better, and it’s worse, when its a job that you don’t intend on being in for the rest of your life. It’s better, because then you don’t worry so much about every career move. It’s worse because you are no closer to having the job of your dreams, and the experience you are gaining is irrelevant. All that is important in this situation is the capital generated. Because capital lets you do exciting things like master’s degrees, and trips around the world. And we all love round the world trips.

Finding even the smallest job these days is a massive triumph, because we’ve got more people than jobs, and less money than we have people. It’s all very financially complicated, but I am numerically illiterate. I have been known to spend a week’s rent on shoes, and I am (or at least can be) hideously financially irresponsible. Helpfully I have a guilt mechanism when I exceed a certain financial limit I set myself.

This made me laugh.(1)

Since yesterday morning, I’ve continued my greedy quest for what will be “GASP!”, my second job. Having two lives means I have two jobs. I have two bank accounts, and two sets of bedding, I have two gym memberships. I look like I’m running a B&B for twins.

Since my lastest new year’s revelation, I’ve decided that until I can get a job at the one hotel I’d like to work for, I’m going to email them weekly. I will also be phoning, and paying visits. Essentially so that they’ll realize that if they employ me, they’ll actually see less of me, thus creating a win-win situation. People these days, have to be resilient. Mosquitoes are still thriving, because they’re evil, soulless, persistent beings. Humanity needs a little more mosquito. Ask, ask, email, ask, telephone, ask, ask, telephone boss- to – be’s wife, ask, beg, ask, threaten, ask, ask… You get the point.

Aside from finding you incredibly irritating, any prospective employer will see that you are resilient, thick skinned, and persistent. If you actually went so far as to tell on the boss to his wife, then he will probably take out some sort of injunction against you. But then again, he might find bravery an admirable trait to. If anything, you’ll make an impression.

So, dear reader, the moral of the story is persistence. Perseverance. And the ability to act like a predator, stalking his prey. I’ve emailed this hotel about six times in as many weeks. The manager might be deleting my emails. But they’re going to keep cropping up like a serious skin disease, until the time he goes to a surgeon, and begs for the problem to be removed.

(:

(1) http://marketingforhippies.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/marketing_interview.png

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Mixtape

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I’m going to put this out there, because it was incredible. I honestly cannot believe how lucky I am. Yesterday, I was at work, and I was fairly fed up. My cold was annoying me, and my shift had been dragging on for far too long. But then, I met Voldemort. Yes. Lord Voldemort. Or Ralph Fiennes really. So anyway, I run back into the kitchen, kind of hopping and bouncing around a bit. And after I finished doing that, I went home and watched Harry Potter films all night. It was amazingly cool. And, having just read back that paragraph, I realise that I sound a tiny bit as though I don’t get out enough, but there we go. I thought it was awesome.

On a completely unrelated note, I’m starting to get very excited about my impending trip to Washington D.C. I’m especially excited about going to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. I like looking at all the mechanics and engineering behind space travel, and space exploration, and the shuttle, Discovery is living at the museum for the moment. I’m going to go and see that! I particularly like looking at  the scale of these things. They make me feel like a very tiny blip in the world, when you compare yourself to the machinery that means we can actually walk on the moon!

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There’s a cupcake shop in Washington, called Georgetown Cupcakes, that my little sister is just desperate to go and visit. She really can’t wait, because she watches their television series. She’s also an excellent baker, and makes the most adorable and delicious cupcakes. I’m a very big fan of her red velvet ones; they’re somehow creamy and moist all at once. Her face lights up whenever I mention cupcakes. It’s so lovely. And because she finishes school, ready to go to college this week, I bought her two brand new cupcake books, so she’s got something to do over the summer. She’s fifteen, and will be until the end of August, which means that by law, she can’t work this summer, even if she wanted to. I think she should just start a business plan for opening a bakery, and I could help her do the promotions.

At this point, I must bid this post farewell, because I have to go to work soon, and I have some ironing to do. The joys of work, but maybe Voldemort will still be there…

(:

(1) http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/images/content/107094main_discovery-launch.jpg

(2) https://sarahalicewaterhouse.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/cupcakes.jpg?w=300

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On Coming Home

A very short note, to prove to all of you that I haven’t abandoned the blogging-sphere. I haven’t, really, I’ve just taken a small blogging hiatus, whilst I’m on a holiday of sorts, with one of my best friends. Anyway, the holiday is drawing to a very rapid close, and this time tomorrow, I will have skipped merrily across the country, back to my own house, and my own bed. I’m very excited.

I think my love of coming home stems from the fact that when I was younger, I couldn’t wait to move out; I thought it would be the best thing ever; you know the drill. Unlimited freedom, the power to go wherever I wanted, with whomever I wanted to. The part I managed to leave out of my perfect little fantasy, was that with unlimited freedom, comes unlimited responsibility. Money, bills, rent, and so on. All those things that just sort of weren’t there when you were fourteen, and designing grand houses that you would move into, as soon as you escaped from home. I realised however, this was the most preposterous thing I’ve ever done in my life. Ever.

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Anyway, the point is, that in twenty-four hours, I’ll be back at home with my parents and little sister, and all my teddy bears. I’m nineteen in a week, and I still cannot wait to go home, put on my onesie (they look ridiculous, but it’s like being in a bag of blanket), and cuddle up with my Mum. Whenever I tell people this, they either think it’s lovely, or that I’m somehow pathetic, and not independent; I think the two concepts are not the same. Loving home, and being independent, are not the same thing. There’s a distinction to be made, and I always feel as though people should realise the difference, and appreciate things they have, whilst they have them.

So to conclude: the rucksack is packed, the train tickets are ready to go. A spot of washing, and the making of packed lunch, and we’ll land back in the homeland before you know what’s hit you. Guess who’s back?

(1) http://www.twincitieshomeforeclosures.com/images/home/quotes/HFquote10.gif

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Censorship versus. Twitter

Twitter is a social medium that most of us in the United Kingdom, and across Europe and America, take for granted. The instantaneous ability to share information, and pass on news, is an everyday occurrence in what we consider to be the developed world. Twitter flashes us tiny snippets of information, as soon as they happen; we can know exactly what our favourite television presenter or band ate for dinner, or bought from the shops.

This is a phenomenon that is vastly underappreciated by many. Many sigh in complete exasperation at this disregard for privacy, and for boundaries; there seems to be very little that cannot be shared with the World Wide Web, the great secret keeper of the ‘free’ world.  Having too much information, in the same way as having too little, can prove detrimental; our bosses can access every facet of our personal lives, if we are indiscreet, and people whom we have never met can access our lives, and invade them, even to the extent that they can injure us. We can feel like we are trapped inside the bubble of the all-knowing; we are constantly having information thrown at us, and we are in turn, constantly sharing information, and often, we are indiscreet, and unaware of the potential dangers of knowing far, far too much.

It's a cute bird, but sounds like a stalker. (1)

However, at this juncture, we can consider what it would be like to know nothing; to be forbidden to access the world, a world that continues to progress indiscriminately before our eyes. This is the case in China, and in nations such as North Korea. The ruling powers in these countries censor every element of their people’s lives; North Korea imposes a complete ban on the internet, for most of its inhabitants; only very senior members of the dictatorship are allowed access. North Korea however takes the concept of knowledge and subverts it in a way that Britain has never done, demonstrating how the manipulation of information is perhaps the most dangerous weapon on the planet.

Kim Jong-Il and his son present the nation with a highly emotive personality cult; many North Koreans believe that their leader had the magical ability to change the weather, and that he was a popular political and cultural figure across the globe. China has recently begun to censor social networking sites that were seen to be discussing banned topics; political censorship was also deemed to be rising in places where political unrest was rife. The inhabitants of these two nations are not exposed to the world in its pure and uncut form; one could ask whether they are more protected from the dangers of social networking and the internet as a result.

Map of North Korea (2)

Censorship across the world is not an automatic process; it is often ideologically driven and dangerous insofar as those that perpetrate the censorship have access to a potentially disastrous amount of information themselves, such as where the internet user lives, their employment status, their marital status. Those who deny others information have such an abundance of it that it is potentially cataclysmic, and enforces a fear culture among the general population. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

Here in the United Kingdom then, we are bombarded with information, all the time; via email, Twitter, Facebook; we are constantly asked to process information. However indiscreet and irrelevant some of this information is, we still have access to it; we still have the ability to discuss whatever it is we wish to, without fear of reprimands, fines, or even death. We are allowed to protest against the bills we don’t want passed, and we are allowed to petition for meetings with senior government officials. These changes have the potential to happen on the basis that we have the ability to access relevant services and legislations that will make change happen; censorship not only denies the discussion of change, but also denies the protestor access to the legislation that would help them.

Information can be tedious, it can be irritating; but this ‘irritating’ environment allows the world to progress; often too quickly, but it manages to progress regardless of whether the government approves of it or not. The significance of democracy is represented in the power of the Twitter network; the power of the pen is no longer the dominant, unquestionable source of power. Now the power of Twitter, and social networking generally, outweighs the power of the newspaper, of the letter, and of the written word altogether.

(:

Further Reading

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17313793

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/19/kim-jong-il

(1) http://tweepi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/t12.jpg

(2) http://images.nationmaster.com/images/motw/middle_east_and_asia/north_korea.jpg

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On Impatience

This morning I rang my mother, as I do every morning, just to say hello. And as is so often the case in these conversations, she told me I was impatient, and that I ought to learn the art of being patient. I’ve been struggling with this particular condition for years. Apparently my dad donated this particular gene to me, during the “making me from scratch” phase. I’ve never been able to wait for anything, from buses, to trains, to leaving school. I just seem incredibly anxious, all the time, to be moving on.

This is reflected in the microcosm of my bedroom. I rearrange all the stuff in it, clean it, and stack things in a different way, approximately every three weeks. I do it because it makes my room feel “new”, and fresh. Like a fresh start, almost. And this is what I spend my entire life doing, I think. Chasing a way to make a fresh start, move on, and keep progressing. I want to be everywhere, all the time, all at once. So much so that my brain feels as though it’s in complete chaos, all day long.

In some ways, I embrace this impatience, because it means I always want to improve myself, and do better. I want to succeed in my course, I want to meet more fitness targets, but I want it all now. I want to be fundraising for Africa and for South America already, and I haven’t even booked the latter yet. I have what some would call a type A personality. Others would simply refer to it as being “a pain in the ass”. I think I’d agree with them too.

“Personality is more important than beauty, but imagination is more important than both of them.” – Laurette Taylor

But anyway, today I have only one real thing to do; and that is write my essay for my Past and Present module. I will stop researching flights to Lima, Peru, and I shall read scholarly things about postmodernism. Even as I write this post, I feel some of the frustration fading away. I like posting sometimes, because it’s like venting to somebody, an almost anonymous person, and it does genuinely relieve ideas that are spinning around in my brain. I’m always scared of there not being enough time, to get everything I want to do done. I’m terrified I’ll run out of time to do the stuff on my list, and be somebody. But, as my mum said, “You’ve got all the time in the world”. She might be right; she usually is.

At this juncture then, I ought to abandon my blog, Twitter, Expedia, and G Adventures, and read my books, and write my essay. I suppose it’s always much harder to start than it is to carry on. It’s worth starting in order to finish though, I think. It’s just putting down my plans for the future and focusing on the present. It’s always much harder than it sounds, but I like to pop some Meat Loaf in my stereo, close down the internet, and make some coffee. And once the introduction is done, it gets easier.

At least, that’s what I’m counting on.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill. This is my chance to do something. I have to seize the moment.” – Andrew Jackson

(:

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On Twitter: For the Technologically Bemused

So it’s been a little while since I joined the twitter community, and I can honestly say that I don’t think it’s really enriched my life yet. I have developed a new working knowledge of what Stephen Fry’s imaginary wife feels like, and what she has for dinner, but nothing of any real note. It’s incredibly frustrating; I thought it was going to be a way to access a media waterhole, a way to promote this blog, and to establish an internet presence. And bizarrely enough, my strange little webpage has far more followers than my humble twitter account.

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Part of the problem might be however that I’m not very good at tweeting. I don’t understand the point of it, and I never know what would make an entertaining tweet, given you’re only allowed one hundred and sixty characters. I can’t imagine how a person manages to get an interesting, engaging piece of information into such a small space. Also, I never know what people are interested in; I could say, for instance, that I’m having roasted butternut squash for dinner, but honestly, who really cares? Aside from being able to update people instantaneously about what’s going on in your life, I see no real benefit. I imagine you must need friends who also tweet. I have no such friends, or people who would even contemplate doing so.

Twitter has essentially replaced the BBC when it comes to announcing ground breaking news, however I tend to be the last to know everything. The nature of the website suggests that you’d have to be constantly looking at it, updating and retweeting (also, what is the point of “retweeting”? Someone has already mentioned it…) tweets. I get bored, log off, and come back a day later with absolutely no idea of what I’ve missed. And surely the point of twitter is that you miss out on absolutely nothing. Including all your friend’s bathroom breaks, meal choices, and romantic engagements. One would almost start to think that there is no privacy in the world. Not even in waste expulsion.

The only reason I really acquired twitter was to, as I mentioned above, promote myself; I’m not sure if this particular endeavour is really paying off yet, or maybe I simply have to give it time. I wonder if anyone else has had experiences of twitter lately, and are you as bemused as myself by the whole affair?

(:

(1) http://www.whatralphknows.com/WindowsLiveWriter/FunnyTwitterCartoon_13F7F/twitter%20cartoon_thumb.jpg

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Twittering Away

Twitter is a mode of technology I have consciously avoided, largely because I don’t understand it and secondly, it is about updating the world around you about what you are up to. However, my little sister decided to get twitter and so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon, if only to chat to her. Upon signing up, my suspicions were confirmed; an update service, circling around the most obscure elements of everyday life. But at the same time, celebrities seem to use it as a PR tool; a way to attract attention. And blogging, if nothing else, is about promoting yourself, and your abilities, as an artist, a writer or even a photographer. So tweeting seems like a good idea.

Tweeting seems as though it’s a constant status update, looking into every aspect of your life from what you had for your dinner, what time you got up and had a morning shower, to what your recent Asda shop consisted of. And a (very large) part of me can’t help but wonder why people want to know everything about everyone else; it’s as though human fascination, or a fascination in humanity as a species, has hit an exponential scale; the minute detail of everyday life is fascinating.

Twitter however feeds into the idea of self promotion in much the same way as blogging, hence the term “micro blogging”. Businesses feed into Twitter, updating everything from their staff roster to their current activities, and in this way, often use twitter to instantly promote themselves without having to go to the trouble of employing a PR company to do twice the work, for a gargantuan sum of money, without even half the effectiveness, as a simple Twitter post that can be accessed by millions. The instant nature of the Internet makes the world a smaller place, tied together with silicone strings; there is no such thing as the Atlantic distance, because it appears straight on your computer screen.

So, I’m going to give this twittering business a try, and see if I can make some more headway with my blog, and maybe one day I’ll be promoted to the “freshly pressed” section; attempting to promote yourself these days is sometimes easier than having to go through a business, or having to be signed up to agent. Your own little space on the Internet can be created, and so you have your own domain, and a place to begin building up your attempt for world domination, one follower at a time!

(:

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