Category Archives: ideas

ideas and creative writing

I had an idea for a reality TV show today.

This is not the first idea I’ve had but it is the first I wish would be picked up and polished by someone who could make it happen.

The show is a weekly reality ‘contest’ for positive social impact involving celebrities. The incentives to participate are great personal PR, promotion of any pet causes they have and public exposure on prime time TV that they can also use as a platform for self-promotion of anything they’re trying to sell: little ‘behind the scenes’ type discussions/ sneak previews about their latest product line/ album/ project can be included in the main show: this is reality TV, they’re still being celebrities while participating and that’s a job too: expect to see overlap.

The show would air on Saturday night after a week of anonymous work is documented and unveiled, there would be a set criteria for social impact points allocation from a panel of judges plus a telephone/ sms vote for each contestant: the person with the most telephone votes gets an extra 5 impact points.

They would initially have an equal ‘pot’ for expenses but this amount would change each week depending on their standing. The celebs who have had the least impact can choose to do some kind of community service on Sunday to build up points that may be bartered for extra help or resources to even the playing field – these points may alternatively be saved to add to their total personal impact points for the season. Each contestant would also be appointed a small team comprising an assistant (their public face so as to remain anonymous, this person will change each week to avoid public recognition), a web designer and a multimedia consultant. The contestants would then, each week, have to devise ways of creating positive effects for the social cause of their choice (though not allowed to be anything they are already a patron of or any of the ‘big’ national charities – has to be something small where impact can be easily measured) the episodes would document the meetings and resulting tasks (bit like the apprentice) and show how the celeb works around the restriction of required anonymity.
Every episodes winning celeb would get a slightly bigger pot the following week plus a bonus. The kicker is – the choice of bonus use is up to the public and can either:

1. Go into a prize fund that is built up over the series. To be claimed by the person who is deemed overall to have done the most good based on accumulated ‘impact points’, to be used as they see fit: all restrictions on causes are lifted for the prize fund and each week the celebs get to promote what they’d do with it to soften the blow if they don’t get the final cash: this way they do have a platform for ongoing awareness raising for their pet causes.

3. Be used to take the winning team out for an ‘experience’ as a reward for a job well done – a randomly chosen text/ phone voter each week gets to accompany them on the experience and offer suggestions for the following weeks cause (pay to play lottery type thing – shows need funding after all)

This vote would take place during a ‘take 2’ type follow up show (after all contest votes are tallied) which enables the winning/ last place celebs to discuss the tasks and push whatever thing was their incentive for doing the show.

The idea is that the contestants would each aim to have the most positive impact but they could spend none of their own money or use their celebrity status to do this – so no tweeting a go-fund me or kickstarter under their own name for example: they can however form alliances amongst themselves for mutual exposure and use their celebrity contacts so long as they themselves all remain anonymous throughout the episode – so no celebrity friends stating “@x is trying to [action] for [cause] go do [thing]” that would be cheating and they’d forfeit the week and any accumulated points.

I’m not decided on whether it should be 4-8 recurring celebs and each week 2-4 face off so that they only have to commit every other week to the show, or if every week all 4-8 compete against each other Meh. You see the kernel of the idea here: let’s see it happening eh?!

Reaching for the sky

The last few weeks have been spent perusing journal abstracts and any freely available papers I could get my hands on in an attempt to formulate a decent Phd topic in order to apply for a studentship at the University of Hertfordshire. The main problem I have had is paring down my million and one ideas and areas of interest into one decent question that has enough literature out there to avoid ‘tracks in the snow’ type issues.

The initial ‘boiled down’ idea which seemed promising based on a couple of abstracts I found was to do with a percieved difference in the critical success factor of BME students between online and offline learning – sadly when I managed to obtain an athens login to actually check my assumptions it turned out the actual papers said nothing of the sort – so scratch that!

After arranging to meet with Theo to ask specifically about his current work, I ended up sat in the humanities department office chatting with 5 or 6 lovely folk about their ongoing Phd work and my past experience and interests. Several times I was advised to work from an experience perspective for now as I can always migrate more towards my less understood areas of academic interest when I’ve done enough reading to justify it; apparently for the application process I merely need to show that I’m a good candidate who can structure a proposal that the department can resource and supervise. They actually EXPECT you to change focus at least slightly in the first 8 months as you start immersing yourself in the literature of your chosen field.

This is encouraging. While not extensive, my experience in projects conducting participatory action research is recent and fairly varied, I’ve presented several times at UK conferences about these projects and once at the international Blended Learning conference on my own final year project and experiences as an undergrad. This shows I can take what I’ve learned and present it to others – a Phd requirement from what I’ve heard.

The hope is that I will be accepted onto the studentship, actually put some of my ideas into action and make a difference. it’s like the ultimate dream ‘job’ for me: being paid to study and help other people academically in a place I can walk to with people I already respect and admire.

So yeah, fingers crossed and any advice re the UK Phd application process gratefully received. It’s a long shot as competition for these places will be fierce but I’m hopeful – and what’s life without hope eh?!

So.. I’m a graduate – pending results. Now what?

Well, there’s continuing development on the wordpress site I created for my final year project, a site I’m setting up for another friend and of course this place needs a little TLC now I finally have the time.

But the mental challenge of a job would be preferable. Yes, I know I’m stuck looking for part-time but part-time work in an interesting job is better than full time incapacity benefit stuck at home where my only interaction with the outside world is via twitter! (even if it doesn’t pay as much)

I do have a few personal challenges that are admittedly more ‘aim’ than ‘objective’;

1. Create a wordpress e-learning theme that is scorm compliant and at least attempts to be WCAG AAA compliant
2. Write a few nettuts that are payment worthy.
3. Create some fantastic geek jewellery.
4. Create some beautiful ‘normal’ jewellery.
5. Learn more about moodle and blackboard
6. Create my symptom tracker web app
7. Find someone to consider my web taxonomy ideas (a whole other post)
8. Learn to use all available google tools
9. Write an academic research paper fit for publishing
10. Learn to drive (actually this one IS an objective)
11. (just for @lesleyconner and my dad) write a book/ story

And then there’s the ‘none work’ stuff I want to do with my family and friends;

1. Teach bella to read
2. Go on holiday to centerparcs
3. Go and visit friends abroad
4. Take bella to a sandy beach, make a sandcastle and bury stefanio (purely for the photo op)
5. Family photo shoot
6. REGULAR Karaoke with Claire
7. Write some songs with Claire
8. Have a mass gathering of geeks with kids somewhere with a bouncy castle and a wide open space for running games.
9. Visit an aquarium, science and ‘normal’ museums with bella
10. Have a ‘dirty weekend’ spa break with stef.

Hmm.. notice how all the family and friend stuff costs money but most of the work stuff is free? Guess I need that job first after all *grin*

Who wants to pay me good money to do the stuff in the first list? Feel free to contact me; i’m now open to offers ;o)

Coping with stress the Rosevibe way

Stress is the bane of everyone’s existence – more so for those of us whose bodies will shut down at the slightest intimation of that nasty wee beastie rearing its ugly little head. I usually know when stress is kicking in even before it starts making its presence felt by stirring up the ME/CFS or Menieres disease.

I feel it like a tight little presence in my head – as though it’s an inflatable air bag around my brain that is always there but instead of air it inflates with stress. When I feel that warning tightness I know I need to take a step back and chill out or I’m in for a really rough ride on the illness front.

But how do you do that? How do you take a step back? How do you stop the stress from taking over?

For me distraction is the key. I’ll sit down and make a to-do list for everything that may be causing the stress to kick in, then I’ll turn on the karaoke and sing for an hour or so – or I’ll read a book or watch a few episodes of some show I like on dvd.

Yes, that may seem counter-intuitive if what is stressing me out is work that needs doing to a set timescale, but believe me it works; it clears the decks so I can then focus on the items on my list.

It’s a 2 part thing really; making the initial list while you are stressed starts the process – it feels like you are addressing the situations that are stressing you out which helps you feel in control which helps you calm down enough to take the 1-2hr breather (or even a full day if you really need it) this helps deflate that nasty tension to the stage where it’s easier to focus on smaller tasks without being overwhelmed by the big picture.

That’s the real trick; making things less overwhelming and more manageable.

You have forms to fill out?

  1. Do the easy stuff like photocopying evidence and filling out name, address D.o.B, and NI/SSN on all of ’em in one go first.
  2. Take a singing/ film/ book break
  3. Write out the other info you need and check it against your evidence.
  4. Take another break then check it all over again before photocopying and do your best not to think about the outcome of your form filling, stay in the moment and do one task at a time.

After the task is complete and you’re inevitably back to stressing about the outcome/ future; take another break – have a bath and try to guestimate how long you stay in there before you start to wrinkle or stare at the reflection on the taps and mentally figure out what is being reflected; try to think about ANYTHING but the things that are worrying you.

If you can’t shut things off; fire off a few tweets, phone a friend or write a blog post to rant and release the tension that way, then make another list.

Take everything a day at a time; you will still worry and stress about things you can’t control – the trick is to only give into it now and again; plan for the worst and hope for the best.

The list is your plan, letting go is what will see you through it.

2011 bucket list

Everyone’s done a few of those ‘Things to do before I die lists’ so this is my ‘things to do before the death of 2011’ list. I aim to have at least attempted everything on this list by December 31st 2011

  1. graduate with a 1st class honours in Bsc web based systems
  2. take Bella to a centerparcs
  3. create my own font (or 2)
  4. create a wordpress theme
  5. renew my passport
  6. present at another conference (probably BLU if i get my abstract in on time)
  7. do at least 5 of the beading tutorials I have saved to disc
  8. attend a beading workshop
  9. attend a wire working class
  10. attend a glasswork class
  11. try yoga or tai-chi
  12. start building my chronic calendar and symptom tracker app
  13. start consolidating all of my websites and blogs
  14. move house
  15. create a video documenting Bellas first 3 years
  16. Go to a spa with stef.

What are your plans (or hopes) for this year? do tell..

The future of TV, news and you

While reminiscing about my 14yr old self and the paper round I endured, it suddenly occurred to me that my 2 year old daughter will likely never experience such a thing – not just because of the safety issues involved these days (seriously.. Just WHY is it so much more dangerous NOW for a 14 year old girl to walk the streets alone at 6am than it was 20 years ago?) but because the likelihood of hard copy deliveries still being around in a decades time is looking a bit slim.

The ‘always on, always connected’ mentality of folks growing up in this internet enabled world, combined with the growing interest in being green and the always indisputable need for a business to save costs seems to point at a death knell for the tabloids and broadsheets.

I can’t see ebooks killing off the paperback any time soon, but with the uptake in smartphones, netbooks, tablets and internet TV, it could well be bye bye newspapers and sunday supplements as people opt to find out what’s happening in the world their own way on their preferred medium.

Even in Africa – one of the most poverty stricken continents on the planet has a mobile penetration of up to 52% and though I would guess few of the mobile phones in use over there are web enabled right now; think what a decades worth of technological innovation could bring.

We already have scientists working on batteries made from cloth, cameras that can shoot around corners, and a possible breakthrough in memory devices. with all that happening NOW, who is to say what will happen in 10 years time?

I envisage a home where a wireless box connects the tv and various handheld devices to the internet and all news and entertainment is routed through those – something that already happens in several households that I know of now..

..In a decade a paperback book may be the only sign of times gone by – but even that may not be in evidence if drm issues can be resolved and rfid tech may be one of the ways in which that happens; but i’ll leave the whys and wherefores of that to your imagination, this post is long enough and I haven’t even gotten to my tv vision yet!

In 10 years I see a large flat screen led tv with internet/ wifi/ hd/ 3d that is fully immersible smell-o-vision ready (you may need to buy replaceable ‘smell cannisters’ for the scent infusions – Glade will have a tv channel that sends a signal to the tv at certain points of the day to release a different mixture into the room, the heat of the tv is what activates it and cookery shows will have a device to ‘scan’ the dish and transmit the same aroma to you – press the red button NOW to sample it..)

..all tvs will have an ipad-like controller that also acts as a channel previewer, it will likely be programmable so it can also be used as a games controller and video phone with a thumb print lock to stop the kids accessing services and channels you don’t want them to.

..I’ll leave it there for now while you imagine what cookery shows with smell-o-vision will be like and just how popular farming shows will really be when you can tell what working with livestock will do to your personal aroma..

Murder, she wrote..

Stef was nagging me about my salt and butter intake due to the fact being a CFS sufferer apparently has me in the ‘high risk’ category for heart problems, he then made a joke about how nobody would notice if I carked it so long as he continued to tweet and facebook in my place (and he could since he has all my passwords) and it made me realise how right he is.

I wonder when someone will resurrect murder she wrote and use this premise for a kidnap or murder victim – if you can’t prove when someone actually went missing how can you even think to find them?

..and what about my previous idea of how twitpic and similar mobile photo sharing sites could ruin a persons life if a total stranger took your picture and tweeted that if they shouldn’t make it home then the subject of the image would be to blame – it’s a scary world in which we live now folks, the paranoia crew can seriously mess with your mind ;0p

I propose a ban on sex

..but only for three months a year – every year. I know, enforcing such a ban would be impossible – but if it were a possibility..

When I suggested this on Facebook, the very first response I got was ‘Don’t be hasty’. Now while i’ll admit this was a throwaway comment initially but throwing the idea away completely may actually be the hasty thing.

Let us consider this..

My initial dea was to ban sex in the months September, October and November so as to avoid the result of another poor child doomed to sit an academic exam on his or her birthday like i have practically every year I’ve been a student – but I was thinking small, there are far more reasons why this is a good idea!

May, June and July are not only exam times, they are perfect holiday times – they are also (usually) hot and being in late stage pregnancy in hot weather is no fun at all, I know this from experience!

So banning sex 9 months previously immediately removes that possibility.

It would enable the maternity services to organise their departments and train their staff while allowing a decent holiday rotation as there would be a three month cessation on the actual delivery front (obviously pre-natal care, emergency and premature deliveries would need to be catered for) it also means there would definitely be time to show prospective parents around the wards and answer any questions in full.

It removes the stress/competition aspect, if you know there is no hope of sex after a date then you can relax and just be yourself instead of having that at the back of your mind – and if you like the person then waiting 3 months will just heighten the anticipation and improve the sex when it happens (theoretically)

..It also gives you three months in a year to concentrate on building and mending relationships without sex muddying the waters – something that would work wonders for the Kelly, Terry and Tigers of this world.

Ok, so there are holes in all of this – August and September are fairly hot these days as well; but we could remedy that hole by adding an extra month or so to the ban – perhaps even radically add to the initial suggestion by banning sex for 6 months a year..

We could then plan our population and healthcare services a lot more efficiently as those resources could be shared across departments – I’m sure there are some patients for whom an hour in a birthing pool would do wonders, not to mention the extra beds/ ward availability.

I know that we’d probably have an explosion of births during the other 6 months but the previous 6 would have prepared for that – and there’s likely to be a reduction overall in birth rate if we can only procreate for half of the usual time.

Which would result in more resources saved for the planet! Less landfill, less energy waste = Win!

It’s an idea worth thinking about – but I know every single man on the planet would vote against the adoption of such a scheme and a least a third of the women would agree so.. *sigh* once again my brilliance is condemned to the scrapheap.

..But it’s good to dream of a better world isn’t it? just a shame none of us will ever agree on how to create it.

(Now, feel free to leave your scorn and hole pokery in the comments – I’m already expecting an onrush of spam after the numerous usage of the word sex in this post.)

Is the Real Time Web stunting creativity?

Perhaps this post should really have been entitled GTD vs the Real Time Web..

Most folks are aware of the GTD method created by David Allen and coming up fast behind in the awareness stakes is the Pomodoro technique created by Francesco Cirillo.

Both try to offer guidance in the most effective way of completing tasks and making the best use of your time, however the problem with a ‘one-size fits all’ philosophy is that the one-size never fits quite right for anybody.

The main problem with these methods and techniques is that you spend time trying to find the right combination of hints and tips that work for you when if you just carried on working instead of worrying about HOW you’re working, the jobs would get done anyway.

Where information is concerned the real winner between effective time use philosophies and the real time web will always be the web.

I’ve tried list making – but human rationalisation kicks in when I’m ‘not in the mood’ to complete the next task, procrastination kicks in during research when during the course of the task I follow a set of links to something interesting yet unrelated  to the subject being researched.. Habits are called habits for a reason.

With the wealth of information available on-line it is next to impossible to focus unless you have a very narrow band of interests and few people can claim this; even within one subject area there are multiple sub-topics to keep up to date with.

The real time web is not GTD friendly; it slaps you in the face with the fear of being left behind if you don’t read every interesting and relevant link sent your way. Twitter is definitely the worst culprit as, if you don’t click on a link as soon as you see it, the stream will carry it away and you have missed out on an opportunity to maybe learn something useful. Then there are the numerous unread feeds in your reader that throw silent accusations at you every time you log in, you add the things you don’t have time to read to bookmarking sites, subscribe to RSS in the hope you can catch up..

It will never happen; the real time web holds too much and it goes by too swiftly for a human to digest. It turns you into a receiver instead of a creator as you struggle to stay afloat in the tidal wave of information headed your way.

To counteract this, aspects of the pomodoro technique may be a little more helpful for folks like me who struggle to stay ‘on task’ and feel the need to play catch up all the time.

The focus booster timer is an effective way of making sure you take regular breaks and if you are a freelancer will also help you to account for the increments of time spent working on a project. That 5 minute break as you walk away from the computer means you can digest what you’ve been reading and look back over the task you are supposed to be doing; it helps you to re-focus and possibly even have a eureka moment as you mentally reorder the last few hours.

This is the most creative I’ve been on here for a while, and yet still I’m talking about old news; the words ‘practice what you preach’ have never been more apt..

Just think back over your last few weeks, have you created anything you can truly call your own? Or have you amalgamated, digested and regurgitated a number of interesting things from the web? Regurgitation is not necessarily bad; people like things to be presented in different ways after all – but how creative is it?

Stuff to do, things to buy..

I really can’t wait for this next month or so to be over – on the one hand YEY I’ll have completed a foundation degree in IT for Multimedia and I’ll be hopping stright onto the third year of a Bsc (hons) IT (entertainment systems) degree in September because my grades are high enough that even failing my current crop of assignments won’t affect automatic acceptance.

..On the other hand, I’ve ONLY got a month or so left to finish my current crop of assignments and sit my exams.

Scary.

But hey, that’s why I’ve been so sparse on the blog front and twitter/ facebook activity has been of the dip in/ dip out variety, I’m a busy gal with a lot on her plate (but then if you follow this blog you know that about me already)

I handed in my game description and program design last night and decided that even though I have several other assignments to do I needed to wind down; my pacing schedule is non-existant these days which has led to a recent ME/CFS relapse.. C’est la vie I guess!

..Anyhow, my wind down entailed of watching season 2 of Veronica Mars (great series, recommended viewing in my book!) and creating a couple more of what I refer to as ‘t-shirt necklaces’, they’re the ones that are beads threaded on wire to create a loose choker – practically baby proof! Izzy has pulled and tugged at mine for hours and all they do is bend; not an issue since you can bend ’em back!

I can make a decent one in about 30 -40 minutes depending on what beads I’m using so I’m thinking that once my course is over I’ll start putting a few on eBay to see how they go – they’re perfect day wear for mums with babies/ toddlers and I can make beaded pendants to dress ’em up for ‘fancy wear’.

I figure that selling what I make is the only way I’ll subsidise the purchases I want to make in the future – I really want a rock tumbler, a jump ring maker and to try my hand at fusing glass to make pendants and beads with a microwave kiln. I also want to experiment with resin to create pendants and charms and I’d like to have a go at making lampwork beads – all of which is beyond my current price range in the justification stakes – my ambition is to eventually create gorgeous jewellery that is 100% handmade, from the beads to the findings.

..I’d also like it to be of a sturdiness and quality I feel comfortable with selling to somebody, so far only the t-shirt necklaces are; the prettier pieces are too flimsy as I don’t solder the links (don’t have a soldering iron suitable for fine work and my main material is plated wire, not real gold or silver – they’re also on the list of things to buy..)

I do wonder sometimes though; what do you guys do away from the computer? What hobbies or pastimes do you have that come with a very pricey wishlist? For example, I know that Loudmouthman gets out and about playing mister twinkletoes with the ladies, I know that Master K loves his manga and (like me) Littlebead is more than a we bit into her jewellery making..

But what about the rest of you? What don’t we know about your offline life?

Beading video post

I promised my twitter followers a beading post a while back, and since getting the flip I’ve been promising a video blog so.. Ta-dah! 2 birds, one badly filmed stone *grin*

[flv]http://rosevibe.me.uk/media/beading.wmv.FLV[/flv]

..I am Soooo not a v-logger, much to learn have I, most definitely.
I know: the file size is kinda huge, I could really do with practising filming close ups as the link was too blurry (hence the following picture for clarity) and I need to remember not to open bags next to the in-built mic when I’m talking. and next time no mirror! lol that’s a definite lesson learned.

Handmade Pendant and links

So, to show you what the finished article actually looks like if you follow the muddy instructions from the video..
I use wire that is .71mm (in American I think that’s gauge 21) and generally purchased from The Scientific Wire Company (online of course) it’s plated copper as opposed to actual gold or silver because i’m too skint and it’s only a hobby so buying expensive materials are a no no – another reason I don’t sell my stuff, It’s cheap material so I fully expect it to break – if I give it as a gift, the person knows me and I can fix it any time they want me to.

For links the size of the one dangling from the pendant use an inch and a half of wire, it’s the shortest amount that works with this gauge wire for pretty links I’ve found – anything above that, experiment to your hearts content

If you like the idea then use it freely, I’m sure I’m not the only person to use this technique despite discovering it for myself.

It’s amazing what you can make from a few beads some wire and a couple of pairs of pliers!

Getting creative

We went to visit my folks during reading week, while we were there the subject of my writing talent came up again (as it usually does when they start discussing what I should be doing with my life – family eh?!)

The general consensus seemed to be that I should write a book about my experiences with ME/CFS; I’m not convinced.

I have my CFS blog and my website (which still needs updating) and that pretty much covers that aspect of my existance, a book is a large undertaking and I’m seriously unconvinced that what would mainly be an autobiographical account of my life would sell. If I were that interesting my blogs would be overrun with visitors and I’d already be a household name after the length of time I’ve been tapping away on here!

Nah, if I were to write a book it would be a creative piece, probably inolving magic and mystery and would maybe start a little something like this:

She sat on the bottom stair, clutching the note in her hand – eyes unseeing through the tears suspended on their surface.
“Why?”
The single word falls harshly into the silence. Finally the tears fall, fast and hard, the sobs wrack her slim body with their force.
Alone she tries to come to terms with the meaningless waste of it all; what did she miss? What didn’t she do?
The questions that will never be answered never go away – and the wounds that will never heal under the burden of time.

It was a glorious day outside; the sun was shining for the first time in over two weeks. The air was crisp and clear, people were smiling and the sounds of children shrieking in joy could be heard faintly through the door. It just seemed so wrong. In so many ways.
The sobs were calmer now; she slowly pulls herself together and tries to fix a semblance of normalcy around her, knowing full well that nothing would ever seem normal again.
It takes several more minutes, though it seems more like hours, before she can stand and move to the telephone.
The number is one she could dial in her sleep, so natural it seems, the ringing seems to last forever as the thoughts tumble disjointedly through her mind, Splintered images of a time that can never return.
“Hallloooo… speak – or forever hold your peace”
muffled laughter at the other end shows that this call is not going to be easy. As though this call could ever be easy.
“Hello..?”
The sound of breathing followed by “it must be a random, someone forgotten to stick the key lock on again – hang on”
HELLO?!?!
She mentally shakes herself and answers
“Sal…”
But she falters before she can say anything else, forlorn and bereft the sobs start again, beyond her control to hold them back.
“Jesus, Cassie? Is that you – what’s wrong? Please? Where are you? What’s happened?”
She can picture his face, growing taut with concern, shaking off whichever bimbo he’s currently playing with, it gives her the strength to push back the grief for a brief moment – just long enough to ask him to come and get her.
No questions asked he agrees to be there in ten minutes. Just as she knew he would.

When bad things happen it’s often surprising the people we turn to – strangers, or people that ordinarily we would avoid.  She muses on this as she tries to distance herself from her grief, calmer now that she knows she is not alone. She focuses instead on a hurt years old. He left, but came back – changed.
Now she is calling in that debt, he couldn’t erase the former, but this, this he can help with. He will understand.

Chaos – the one true God.

Been thinking a lot about life and religion lately – don’t ask me why, these thought percolate through my head on occasion (especially if I’ve spent a lot of time confined to bed)The conclusion I’ve come to is that I think I do believe in God. Not your God of course, because they way I see it no matter the title, nobody has the same God, even if they give him the same name and worship in the same way, we all view her differently.

Some see him as the guiding spirit of man, others see her as the moon or the stars, he can be vengeful, forgiving, joyful or stern – either way, she’s always different.
So what makes me think I believe in God? Because I truly believe everything happens for a reason.

If there’s a reason there’s a plan, if there’s a plan.. Well someone had to come up with it didn’t they?

Now, you could say that that’s not actually God, that’s fate, but then who’s to say the fates aren’t really God? Three personalities could explain the diversity amongst religions, but then that’s getting a little too complicated, I don’t think God can be ‘explained’ or described because he/she is just too big and we’re too close.
That’s like asking an ant to describe the whole shoe when all he can see is the sole.

No, God truly is everything, he has to be, how else could she influence anything? Yes I know, that’s basically chaos theory:

The flapping of a single butterfly’s wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month’s time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn’t happen. Or maybe one that wasn’t going to happen, does. (Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, pg. 141)

But what better name for God eh?! Chaos; it can be beautiful, terrifying, harmonious and discordant all at the same time – a bit like God.

Christians claim that man was made in gods image – I think that would explain a lot, let’s face it, we’re all over the place; emotional wrecks for the main part. All the same yet all different, a multitude of similarities that differ slightly the closer you compare them.

We’re the microorganisms maintaining a part of Gods system, right now part of that system is tearing itself apart – but who’s to say that in a few decades time, that part of her system isn’t the healthiest most functioning part?

Everything happens for a reason and we’re all a part of it. When everything feels like it’s going to shit you know that at some point in the future sweet smelling flowers will arrive from the dankest part of the mess.

It’s kind of comforting to know that.

Net perceptions

I had an almost argument with my Gran the other day, it’s one we’ve had before because it’s a subject on which we both have strong and opposing views.

You see, I practically live online and that worries my Gran because she honestly believes the internet is evil.

That’s right; ‘EVIL.’

She truly feels that it’s the internet that has brought about the ruin of the community and the gangs of kids walking the streets. She feels that you cannot make a true friend online, that you need to talk “mouth to mouth” as she puts it, that you have to be face to face and in each others lives in order to truly communicate and form a connection to another person.

I’ve tried to explain social networking and the things I do online to her but she won’t have it, she’s seen the relationships of 2 close friends ‘ruined by the internet’ with partners finding fresher fish on the glowing screen – my argument is that those couples were obviously unhappy and that the internet just made it easier to part ways, it wasn’t responsible for the relationships failure.

She is adamant that I’m too biased to see the evil of the net for what it truly is – if she had her way the person responsible for this wonderful technology would be shot for crimes against humanity, I on the other hand am convinced that if she would just give it a try for herself she’d see a whole world of possibilities open up for herself.

Dad chimed in to agree with me on a couple of points, for instance, I’m betting that quite a few of those kids on the street either don’t have net access at home or are not allowed to use it – personally I’d love for our government to put the internet into every household for free, at least then some of those gun toting, knife wielding kids would find something of more interest to them than standing around street corners.

But Gran thinks that would make the situation worse, everybody at home ‘tippytapping on their keyboards, nobody talking..’ She just doesn’t understand what the internet is.

The thing is, I feel that people communicate more online than they do in real life.
My take on it is that these days people are just too wary to let down their guard to somebody face to face – at home alone sat in front of a keyboard it’s very intimate, it’s just you and a computer screen, you can let out your feelings and there is no feeling of condemnation from a monitor, the person at the other end has time to frame their reply in such a way that you’re not bruised by an unintentional snort of laughter or shocked gasp.
This monitor also gives you a feeling of distance that allows you to let down your guard some, it provides enough anonymity that you can let someone in further than you would in real life because at the back of your mind you know that it’s a lot easier to ‘walk away’ from someone you haven’t physically met if it all turns sour than it is to distance yourself from someone who’s in and out of your house and who knows all of your friends and family.

When it doesn’t turn sour you can give out real life contact details, perhaps you’ll meet up, perhaps you won’t but the things you’ve shared through the imagined safety net of partial anonymity help you grow closer and forge a bond until there’s no such thing as anonymity – you know each others secrets, the fears you can’t share with anyone else and everything that’s happening in each others lives.
That’s friendship.

That’s why I love social networking, it dissolves the constraints of time, it widens the net so to speak, it removes the obstacle of distance and allows you to find people with interest and opinions in kind. It allows you to find friendship.

Yes, there are horror stories, but there are always going to be horror stories, it’s a sad fact of life, some people are just downright selfish, cruel and in some cases; evil.
Online or off it makes no difference, we just have to use common sense and trust our intuition, take our time to get to know people and accept that sometimes we make bad choices – it’s how we learn.

That’s what I’d like my Gran to accept; that a conversation online is just as valid as one face to face.

Saving the environment a card at a time

Nik aka loudmouthman has become my net pusher.

It’s true, I was thinking that perhaps I’ve joined up to enough sites now but no..

The latest site the git tricked me into joining (yes, tricked I had to sign up in order to respond) is pretty cool, for a bout of procrastination – and we all know I like procrastinating, but it’s his fault I’ve not been to get a hair cut yet..

What prompted this post though was a claim the aforementioned git made on Jyte:

Greeting and event cards are environmentally bad.

Even without reading his explanation you can’t help but agree with the statement. Not if you have a modicum of common sense at any rate. I agree, postcards, greeting cards, invitations and the like are lovely to receive but as far as preserving the environment goes.. Wouldn’t we be better off sending these things virtually?

Let’s face it, the ones you keep are few and far between, at most they reside on your mantelpiece/ noticeboard gathering dust for a week and then they end up in the bin headed to the nearest landfill (unless you have a chimnea or an allotment and save the stuff to burn) it’s been said many times that even councils who promote recycling have so much rubbish that it ends up being sent to landfill anyway because they don’t possess the funds or the means to actually recycle that volume of material.

So.. I won’t buy any more cards and I shall be asking people not to send me any unless it’s via email, invitations can be issued via text and email (you see, a use for email again – no need to declare email bankruptcy!) and who needs postcards when you have Flickr?

Obviously there is one person I will violate that decision for and that’s my gran. She is a technophobe of the highest order and waits for me to show up so she can read her texts (my evil aunt knows this and sends her the odd text just to wind her up) but I figure if everyone in the world picked just one person and stopped buying cards for everyone else.. Just think how much waste would be reduced – not to mention the energy saved from production, it’s a win win situation.

You save money (not to mention the time spent trying to find the ‘perfect’ card) the environment benefits and we cut energy consumption by at least 2% (I figure it’s got to be at least that much when you figure in all the card shops on top of the basic production and logistics usage)

ok, ok people who make cards as a hobby will complain, as will all the people whose jobs would then be defunct, but think of the planet people!