The will of the people.

Last  night I was once again debating whether to carry on with this blog or allow it to drift away into cyberspace. I ended up asking Twitter to help with my decision, using the poll function and the result was 100% that I should keep going. Cheers to the five people who voted, by the way. I’m not sure who you are because twitter doesn’t give those stats but I appreciate you for doing so.

OK, so after deciding to go with the will of the people I am now trying to work out how to make it a bit better. I’ve been doing a bit of maintenance over the last day, including getting rid of some of the old blogs I don’t use any more (most of these cropped up when I was struggling for ideas for this one).  For the first time I’ve been thinking about the direction I should take with this blog. In the beginning when I first started this I wasn’t too bothered about concentrating on any particular theme apart from everything that interested me and/or came into my head when I wrote it, but now I’m wondering whether to leave certain things out and put more focus on posts about others.

I’ve already thought about cutting back on the more personal posts. I never really intended this to be a moanathon about the crapness of my life because I wanted to look like I enjoy writing, but I realised that the worse writers’ block I had the more I strayed into that territory. I will probably end up looking back on nine years worth of posts (yes I have been on here that long) in order to decide what else to post more and scale back on. Any other suggestions from readers are most welcome.

Anyway, enough of this rambling, I’m off to find out who Balaclava Man is. (Line of Duty reference. Don’t tell me you haven’t been watching, unless you’re not in the UK).

Motivation

It’s something that I am going to need a fair bit of this week. And probably some inspiration as well.

I am back at work tomorrow after two weeks’ holiday (which I wish I had a bit longer of, as is always the case when you’ve been on leave for whatever reason). But it’s not getting myself back into the long boring work routine that I need it for.

While I was on holiday, I decided to go and apply for another job. A job in an area that I have long wanted to get into. Something that I can only apply for online (oh how wonderful the 21st century is). And that I have just over a week at the time of writing to submit.

I had already made a sort of start to it, but then I ended up not focusing on it for a few days as I was out seeing friends, going places with my mum, sister and nephew and generally enjoying my time off. Now that I have a chance to go back to it, I am finding it hard to concentrate on it. So much that I am now writing a blog post about it.

The application process itself is quite straightforward, I read it all and understand what I need to do. I’ve even followed the company on twitter as they’ve been giving out advice to applicants on it. There’s just one bit of it that concerns me – the part where they give you questions and you have to write 300 word answers for them. This shouldn’t really pose too much of a problem for someone with a uni degree. It’s just that, I am a little out of practice with writing these sorts of things, where you show your ideas and demonstrate your knowledge of stuff. They sound like the sort of exercises I would have done as part of my degree or A Levels. 

The other thing I am concerned about is time. I work full-time and as soon as I get home from work I am not always in the mood to be doing a lot of stuff that requires me to engage my brain a lot. If I don’t feel like doing it one night, I’ll put it off until the following night, where I won’t do it again, and so on until I am panicking at the weekend trying to complete it (this is the sort of pattern that my disastrous attempt at NaNoWriMo followed minus the eventual panic).

And then, there are the potential distractions. Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, this…I am probably going to have to try hard to limit the amount of time I am on these for the next few days. Thus I am going to need some discipline too. I am not going to avoid these altogether, maybe just look at them inbetween working on it. Maybe write a post or two to try and clear my head of the stuff that’s irrelevant to my application.  Maybe these things will work, or they’ll just hamper my chances of getting it done.

Whatever, I’m going to give them as good as I have got.

Liam Stacey and the Right to Free Speech

Much has been in the news this week about Liam Stacey, the student who was sentenced to 56 days in jail for posting offensive tweets about the footballer Fabrice Muamba. While many are pleased that this troll has been punished (his appeal against his conviction has as of today also been dismissed), there are also a number who see his conviction as extreme, and have brought up the old “freedom of speech” chestnut.

My view on it is this: Stacey’s punishment might seem excessive to some, but he nonetheless deserved it. He was posting sick, racist tweets about a person who was seriously ill and used abusive and threatening language to those who challenged him. He had no regard for who he was upsetting and somehow revelled in it. Only when it occurred to him that he had been reported to the police did he panic and give the old excuse that all internet trolls give when they are found out “It wasn’t me guv, my account was hacked.” He wasn’t sorry for what he had said as he was that he’d been caught and was facing the prospect of not only getting kicked out of university, but of messing up his future career prospects. He brought it all on himself.

For the most part, I am firmly on the side of Voltaire on the issue of free speech:

“I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

However, there are times when I feel that it is far more appropriate to defend the right of people to not be exposed to language that is inflammatory, intimidating, and prejudiced, whether it be online or in real life. People should be able to use the Internet, and in particular sites like Twitter and Facebook without being subjected to abuse and vile comments from some numbskull who is somehow capable of operating a computer never mind has access to one.

What Stacey did was the online equivalent of walking down the street, drunk as a skunk, spouting racist nonsense that an EDL member would approve of, while intimidating passers-by. For that, he would have also been arrested by the police and likely facing a custodial sentence. His was an anti-social act as well as a hate crime. The fact that he committed his crime on twitter doesn’t make it any less serious.

Kazoos and Capitalism

I nearly thought that I was going to slip up on my one blog post a week challenge this week (click the badge to the right on this page to know more about it). For the first time since I started doing this, I was really struggling to come up with something to write about. Then I had an idea, how about asking the twitterverse for ideas? So I posted a tweet asking for a word, phrase or a subject to write about.  There was a not very huge at all response to my tweet, but it was a response nonetheless, and I ended up with a couple of interesting and delightfully random topics – Kazoos and Capitalism. I couldn’t choose between them, so I decided to have a go at writing about both of them here (hence why this blog is called “Kazoos and Capitalism”).  So anyway, here goes:

KAZOOS

That great source of information (I use the term loosely), Wikipedia defines the Kazoo as thus:

“The kazoo is a wind instrument which adds a “buzzing” timbral quality to a player’s voice when one vocalizes into it. The kazoo is a type of mirliton which is a membranophone – a device which modifies the sound of a person’s voice by way of a vibrating membrane.”

Kazoos are either the funniest musical instrument ever invented, or an annoying noise maker, depending on your point of view (I personally think they are cool, however I know someone who says the sound goes right through them. Can’t be any worse than vuvuzelas).

They certainly have one of the best names for any object ever invented. I remember getting things like that from comics when I was little, however they were often called by a different name.  Why they couldn’t have just called them Kazoos I’ll never know.

Erm, that’s about as much as I can say on that subject. Now for the next topic…

CAPITALISM

Whenever I hear the word Capitalism, I find myself recalling A Level Sociology. I was particularly interested in Marxism – all that stuff about the Bourgeoisie, the Proletariat,  “religion is the opiate of the people”, etc.  It was more interesting than Functionalism anyway (many of you will have no idea what I was referring to there).  I could go on and on about capitalism if I managed to grab my notes from the days I studied that subject.  My general view is that capitalism is a necessary evil.  It would be great if we could do without it, but if we didn’t we most likely wouldn’t have a lot of the things that we take for granted in a modern society.  So long as they’re not allowed to get their hands on the NHS or other services that the Government should be responsible for.

Erm right, I think I have totally failed on writing a good piece on either of those subjects, but it was fun anyway.  And at least I have a blog written. Thanks to @RandomRabbit_xD and @ewarwoowar86 for providing the subjects.

The trouble with twitter (and the internet).

Last night,  I unintentionally worried at least one of my followers on twitter by hinting that I felt like giving up on the website altogether. I had been in a bit of  a mood since earlier on in the evening, and didn’t necessarily feel at all talkative in the twitter sense. At one point during the evening, I said that it was a time like then that I felt like leaving it. I got a DM from someone asking me if I was ok.

Nearly a day later, I have broken my twitter silence, yet I still feel the way I did last night. Thing is, I have looked at some of the things I’ve posted on my timeline recently and I fear that I am becoming the kind of people on the internet – and especially twitter – that I hate the most. The kind of people who tweet that they are bored.com or confused.com on a near regular basis. The ones who constantly fill their timelines moaning about everything and everyone. The ones who constantly bitch about other people, especially those in the public eye to the point that they abuse these people directly by incorporating the username of their target into the tweet. The ones who, generally don’t have anything interesting to say and just spend their days just getting off on being negative.

Usually, I would try to ignore the negativity that gets spouted on the internet, but recently I’ve found it all getting to me.  Yes there has always been a nasty contingent of people on the internet, who think that hiding behind a username and a computer gives them the right to say whatever they like, however horrible and/or hurtful that may be. Yet whether their contributions be aimed at you or not, it is still a depressing sight to see what they say.  It seems to be that nearly every day I log on to twitter, I find myself seeing nothing but negativity clogging up my timeline. Just before I came on here, I saw a tweet from someone I follow saying that he wished that a sick rumour someone started about a celebrity being dead was true.  These kind of twitter rumours are abhorrent to start with, but for someone to respond to it by saying they wished the person in question really was dead – sorry, but that’s unacceptable no matter how much you hate them.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have a rant, a moan and a bitch now and again, but to do it so much that it is all your twitter profile seems to be about isn’t healthy.  And it doesn’t seem healthy to be constantly subjected to it. Which is why I feel the way I do about twitter  at the moment.  However despite this, I don’t think I could totally delete my account. The vast majority of people I’ve met on Twitter are lovely and I enjoy chatting with them. I guess the main thing is to try and prevent some of the not-so-nice people on twitter from finding their way onto my timeline. Or just stop looking at it altogether.

 

The Soundtrack Of My (Twitter) Life.

A few weeks ago I decided to make a spotify playlist of every song I tweeted with the #nowplaying hashtag over a set period that was yet to be decided. Eventually I decided that I would keep adding songs to it until the end of October or until I got to thirty songs – whichever came first.

Last Friday, I hit the thirty song mark.  So now, for your possible enjoyment, here’s the link to it:

Hear the soundtrack of my (twitter) life here.

In other news, I’ve just spent my first day back at work after having a stomach virus that kept me off for most of last week. For those who care, yes I’m much better now, thank you – however I am still not able to face certain foods just yet.  I can’t remember the last time I went this long without eating any chocolate.

Tweet To The Beat.

Those of you who follow my twitter feed will know that I tend to abuse the #nowplaying hashtag a lot.  I will post at least one tweet of a song I’m listening to every day, often including a link for people to listen to it on Spotify.

In a moment of boredom, I thought it would be a cool idea to make a spotify playlist of every song I post on twitter over a certain period of time – or at least until I get bored with it.  I guess it will be the soundtrack to my twitter life – and general internet experience.  I only have a few songs on it at the moment, but it will grow over time. Once it does I’ll post the link to it on here – should anyone be interested.