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Showing posts from April, 2011

Stream-of-consciousness bawwwing

Title pretty much says it all. I'm having an...ah...let's call it a not-so-great period. (Strictly personal stuff. None of my family or friends have died, thank [insert deity here].) I've written about this before (shameless self-promotion internal links for the win! YAY!), and quite critically too. To stop myself from looking like a total idiot/hypocrite, I'm going to keep it to a minimum (and before you ask, yes, I have told my family and yes, I am trying to fix my problems). Thing is, I don't think I'd be being completely honest about my blog and its purpose - to post my random thoughts - if I kept this hidden. Actually, I don't think I'd be being completely honest about myself as a person if I kept this hidden - better to get this out in the open so I can fix it, right?

I'm going to try not to open my heart too much to the rest of the intarwebs (who will probably find my bawwing quite lulzy), so here goes.

Basically...
...It sucks not being able…

Girl language, as riffed by me

Basically, you know the "girl language" likes on Facebook? They piss me off, because they're the exact opposite of everything I'd do and they encourage a kind of weird clinginess which I don't like in people. Keep in mind I'm a teenage girl - the exact demographic they're talking about. Granted, I'm one hell of a weird teenage girl, but having thought my actions through more than most of my peers, I've come to some rather different conclusions. So basically, this is the guide to me not being a total idiot.

Me-language:
If I don't text you...
...it's not because I'm waiting for you to text me. It's because I don't really text much, and you're better off with an e-mail, a phone call, a message on Facebook or (best of all) a face-to-face meeting.

If I'm mad...
...for the love of whatever deity you worship, don't follow me when I storm out of the room in a blind rage. Let me cool down for 45 minutes and talk to me when …

Random musings on Romeo and Juliet

Yes, I am alive. I've been reading some of my older posts and they make me cringe...to clarify, that one series I started is on hiatus for the moment, and yes, it will update, just very slowly. But that's for another time.

Anyway, I'm doing Romeo and Juliet for the Shakespeare part of my English GCSEs (both of them). It's not the greatest of Shakespeare's plays (don't know why we couldn't study, say, King Lear - yes, it is my favourite Shakespeare play - or Othello, but that's OCR being stupid...), but I'd be OK with it were it not for the fact that it's presented as, like, totally the greatest true luuuuuuuuurve story evar.

"But Romeo and Juliet is about true love!" I hear you cry (I have weird voices in my head, don't judge me). "How can you say it's not?!"

Here's why. Romeo and Juliet is not a romance: Romeo's single driving motivation is that he wants to bone Juliet. When he first sees her at the party, he…

Hiatus and holidays

First of all, I must apologise for having left this blog unattended for about a week. I've been really busy preparing for holidays...actually, I'm on holiday in France now. The only reasons I'm updating are because 1) this place has wi-fi and 2) I don't like to leave things unattended without an explanation. This is mainly a pointless, rambling post about my holiday, so feel quite free to ignore it utterly.

France has been quite good so far - I've been staying in the Dordogne, an area in the south of the country - very pleasant, very rural kind of place. As the cliché goes, it's had its ups and downs and, in the best holiday tradition, it'll continue to have them until Sunday (I'm staying till then). I won't type everything up, so here are the distilled life lessons which I've learnt...now in bullet-point form.
Two's company, three's a crowd.There's a reason you don't try and put three people of wildly differing ages together in t…

Oh, for fuck's sake.

I'm researching dyslexia at the moment. Specifically, I'm researching dyslexia and how it affects creative writing/essay writing (a note: I'm not conducting formal research, I'm trawling the internet for answers). This article is going to be heavy on anecdotal evidence in the absence of anything else, so take cover.

It all started off with my year's result for our English Literature module - the Modern Drama one, to be precise. Due to an act of God, my papers getting mixed up, or the crazy marking system they use, I ended up being one mark off an A* despite detesting the subject and doing almost no work. A friend of mine got a D, and I started hypothesising about the reasons, as I am often wont to do. He cut me off by saying "Well, I'm dyslexic" and left it there.

What he said is true - he is dyslexic. However, he's also in the top set in French and used to do Latin, and while I don't know much about his dyslexia, it doesn't seem that bad …

Why study Shakespeare?

I'm not a complete Shakespeare nut. I don't argue that he's the greatest writer ever to have lived (that spot is reserved for Tolstoy; I haven't decided on the best playwright, but my favourite is most definitely Anouilh, and my favourite poet is Dylan Thomas), and neither do I believe he should be studied to the point of excluding almost every other English writer - give us a break and let us read some Spenser or Milton (Paradise Lost can be pretty hard to get through if you're not well versed in the Bible, but it's worth it). However, saying that Shakespeare is bad is on a whole other level of wrongness; Shakespeare's writing is many things to many people, but it's not bad - not even by the standards of other great literature, and not even by the standards of his contemporaries. His works have survived and etched themselves into our literary consciousness; can you say the same for, say, Marlowe? Unless you study English Literature beyond GCSE level or…

The Devil's Advocate

I do some lawyering for Old Nick on the side, I'll admit. It's interesting, fun, at times controversial - and I love controversy and argument - and hey, even Satan himself has a right to legal representation.

What I'm talking about is playing devil's advocate - picking holes in others' grand visions. It doesn't sound like the nicest thing in the world, because playing devil's advocate is, at root, about criticising things, and our society doesn't like criticism, or indeed anything remotely destructive - even if that criticism is necessary. This article is mainly about something called the 10 Faces of Innovation, otherwise known as marketese with the obligatory grain of truth and even more obligatory bushel of bullshit. I wouldn't even have paid it any attention, were it not for how much it hates devil's advocates. Apparently they discourage innovation by making people think negatively of new ideas.

I say this to the detractors of the devil's…

Teaching novices

I've just been teaching my mother how to set up a Gmail account. For those of us born in the 1990s, in the developed West (including me)...well, we grew up with technology. It was like a logical, nay, even a spiritual extension of ourselves (in the sense that it just seemed to flow from mind to internet). When you have tech-savvy people around you, that effect is only intensified. With all that in the mix, it can be quite hard to look at things from the viewpoint of what are politely called the less technologically literate.

I ended up having to write yet more crap in this blog because of it (I get inspired far too easily, don't I?). You see, I responded to it in ways that made me really think.

I'm a really impatient and easily frustrated person, prone to random outbursts when things don't go my way - or more precisely, when I simply cannot understand why, for all my hard work, I'm not getting the results I want. I get especially frustrated when trying to explain t…

On a Leader

First of all, this is a very, very reactionary article. It seeks to overturn the lessons given in The Prince. That said, I do think it's relevant and important, and I think I have some points nailed down. To some people, they may seem blindingly obvious, but I've come up with them and decided to articulate them precisely because some people seem not to have gotten the memo.

Secondly, this article is about leadership in any context - leader of a country, leader of a coalition, school prefect, someone trying to organise a ragtag bunch of misfits...you name it, I'm trying to write for that context. Exception goes for dictators so evil it's stupid.

What are leaders for, whatever name they go by? The answer's simple and it's partially in the name: the job of a leader is to lead, and to lead well. It's a nice little phrase, but it means very little on its own and I'd like to provide clarification.

A leader is there to lead. It seems fairly obvious, but a lot o…

The World Half Full

For the sharp-eyed among you: yes, I did more or less steal the title from TV Tropes. It's a more concise way of saying "the world's a steaming pile of crap, but there's still hope". Did what I just said sound like a contradiction? Allow me to explain and let off steam.
In this world...(insert dramatic pause here) there are a couple of camps of people. Some hold that the world is pretty much sunshine and rainbows and if we clap our hands a magical unicorn will come down from the sky and make it all better. Others hold that the world is depressing/mean/otherwise completely fucked and there's nothing we can do about it, except maybe slitting our wrists and writing shitty poetry, or throwing money at the aid movement of the week. And of course, there are the people that just don't care.
I say they're all wrong. I myself belong to a camp of people who basically say "fuck you, the world is crap but we can make it better" - or a world half full.
The …

This makes me laugh and cry at the same time

So here I am, browsing through the Linkage Archives - great webpage, but prepare to get sucked into a black hole of articles - and I find this and this. It's a positively ancient argument from 1998 in two parts. The first is something which appears to be an academic article, spends a lot of time bullshitting and faffing around with long words, and has an interesting if flawed (for which read loopy) premise which touches on feudal Europe, libertarianism and left-libertarianism, Thomas Jefferson's slave-owning habits and the EU. All this in an essay about what appears to be attitudes to the internet...

...The article doesn't seem to be particularly rooted in reality. Fine. Too illogical for me to bother blogging about normally. However, I was quite taken aback by the tone of the rebuttal, which is the second part. Not because I'm not used to it - I don't actively seek out flames, although I'm quite aware of them - but because you'd expect that kind of sentime…

Humanity

Quite a few people have said to me that humans are corrupt, greedy, hormonal, irrational, incapable of running their own lives properly, and that therefore they either need to be looked after or we must put aside grand dreams of change. There are probably a million and one views in between those two which I haven't looked at, and which I probably should, but I haven't found them and therefore can't discuss them.
As a liberal, this horrifies me. Fine. I should adapt my opinions to the facts, not the other way around. Yet I genuinely do believe that people are good and that communities are capable of changing for the better, even if it's hard and even if we never quite manage utopia.
Why do I believe people are good? Short answer: I don't. Long answer: I believe that people are stupid, corrupt, greedy and cruel, but also that they are good, kind, altruistic and upstanding. Each person is a mix of "good" and "evil" (I don't like these terms - I t…

About talentless teen "singers"...

...Basically, I've had it up to here with them. Let me raise my hand to show you. Now imagine that length extended up a couple of metres, through the ceiling and then through the roof of the building.

That's how fed up I am with them. Not just with them personally, but with an industry which churns them out by the half-million while genuinely talented people are left out in the cold.

I know I've said in the past that they should be left alone and that some do have genuine talent, but I've caught on (far too late, it seems) that while the individual acts will fade away, they'll always be replaced by more and more drones unless someone does something about it. And yes, some are actually fairly talented - if you define "talent" as "being halfway decent and/or being able to somewhat play an instrument". This in no way excuses them from churning out formulaic crap, as anyone with even half a music education could write and sing better music.

Nothing …

Grisia Sun vs. Edward Cullen

This idea has been rolling around in my head for a very, very long time now. It was getting quite lonely there on its own, so I decided to put it out of its misery and set it free for everyone to see...if they care to look.

Edward Cullen has superpowers and sparkles. Grisia doesn't have superpowers, but he definitely sparkles...and, since Edward is technically undead, Grisia is free to vent his unstoppable rage on the vampire, who is probably (like most, if not all, undead in the LSK-verse) vulnerable to holy magic.

Grisia: 1 Edward: 0

Grisia is a pervert, but he doesn't crawl into people's bedrooms and watch them while they sleep. EDWARD, THIS MEANS YOU.

Grisia: 2 Edward: 0

Grisia doesn't act abusively towards women.

Grisia: 3 Edward: 0

Edward can read minds. Therefore, he can read Grisia's mind and dodge his moves. OH SHI-

Grisia: 3 Edward: 1

Edward can uproot trees and move around like a blur. Grisia...well, he can't.

Grisia: 3 Edward: 2

Grisia could just se…

Poetry

i don't capitalise my words
and i break up sentences like this
does this make me profound?

Stupid English GCSEs...

Well, I've complained about this so much, I think I need to put it on the internet and save my friends and parents from having to hear any more of my rants.

For those of you who don't know about the English education system, we have something known as a GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education), which is exactly what it says on the tin: a very generalised and simplistic "qualification" taken by most people in years 10-11, although they can be done earlier. Most people take around 10 or 11, although you can take more and you can take them earlier. However, there are a set of subjects which you must take, which normally includes English (both language and literature), Maths, and the sciences.

What's the problem with this, you ask? I have a lot of moaning to do about the idea of compulsory GCSEs anyway, since people should be allowed to do what they're good at - and if that means some people take 2 and some take 20, that's what it means. Better that …

How to be a non-shitty parent

So...I'm young - I'm in my teens. I'm not a parent and I don't plan to be. So why do I have the temerity to tell people how to rear their kids? Because the number of kids in care, on the streets, in prison, expelled from every school in the country and then some, and anything more you would care to think of, means that parents are doing something very, very wrong and that some kind of a guide is needed. It's not hard: what I've written here is based on my own experiences and on research which has been done.
First things first. As a parent or a parent-to-be, you aren't just creating life, you are tasked with creating and raising a healthy human being. If you can't cope with this being disagreeing with you or disrupting your schedules, maybe you should think again about bringing life into this world. A child is for eternity, not just for nine months and a bit.If you're going to abuse your kid or stay with an abuser, you've already forfeited your ri…