Talks

Blog #009 – The Iron Throne

Hey Tim,

I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while. The problem is, I’m not a huge fan of expressing opinion on the internet. But hey, sometimes you gotta have a voice right?

So I think I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like to say something that’s been said before. I believe that adding to an already widespread opinion doesn’t really help the world. Supporting the lesser supported opinions helps create dialogue maintains a balance. The worst thing is when you begin to believe that there is only one way.

Britain had a general election where we had a hung parliament. So we’ve now got a coalition between the DUP and the Conservatives. I am not exactly happy about this, but neither am I entirely distraught. There’s a lot of opinions surrounding this and I’m going to get lost if I try and list them all, so let’s just stick to the main opinion I hold about all British politics and think back to the last general election I had.

As my friends often like to remind me, I was having trouble deciding between the Green Party and UKIP. I voted Liberal Democrat. Here’s why:

First off, I like the Green Party for it’s environmental concerns. Their influence in parliament would be appreciated. Even if they didn’t have a majority, just a section that would influence decisions to put pressure on the idea that we need to help the Earth. It’s just nice. They’re nice. I agree with them because the idea is friendliness and everything being nice, not necessarily realistic, but nice.

UKIP was garnering a lot of support. I mean, it ended up having a third of the total votes in the election (yet only got one MP? That’s another thing, but we’ll get to that). If you didn’t want to vote Labour or Conservative, then you could vote UKIP because the possibility of them getting into power was incredibly high. They didn’t, but it was close.

So these two options stem from two different ideologies, but their purpose was the same – they were alternative. I didn’t want to vote Labour nor Conservative. The biggest thing that has driven me away from the two major political parties is the fact that they are the major political parties.

They are the widespread opinions.

The worst thing is when you begin to believe that they are the only way.

If things had worked out for the best in my opinion, I would have hoped for a hung parliament again back in 2015. UKIP would have taken votes from Labour and Conservative, and we would have had another coalition (but with much less support for all the parties) for another year running. That, in my opinion, would have been great – the government party system would destabilise, people would begin to believe that alternative parties how power, and we would perhaps move towards a Swedish system with five major parties, or something to that affect. More than two, anyhow, and we’d have more choice. We wouldn’t be restricted to our two-party loyalist shitty politics now, where a vote for Labour is a vote against Conservative and vice versa. Where each side has it’s own set of ‘loyalist’ who would die fighting for their ‘king’.

But this doesn’t explain why I chose Liberal-Democrat. You may think it’s because it’s slap bang in the middle between my other two choices. Sadly, it’s not as simple as that, but it’s still pretty damn simple. In the end, why do I want destabilisation? Why do I want to move away from a two-party system? Why would I prefer non-partisan politics?

I just want to be fairly represented.

I just want to know that there is someone in parliament who feels the same way as me and is fighting on the issues I care about, because that’s the core to democracy. That’s what politics is meant to be about. We get caught up in the fucking game of who wins, that we forget what the actual point of voting is for.

A core value and principle that I have stuck to in life is ‘be the change you want to see’. I may not fight to spread my beliefs, but I fight to hold them. That is just as hard a fight.

So I looked up the politicians who were standing in my area, and I researched them. I looked through their manifestos. I took a look at who they were, what they stood for, what they were all about, and I voted for the person who I felt represented me the best.

I don’t remember who it was. Isn’t that sad?

Now I suppose you might be wondering who I voted for this year? And I’ll tell you that it doesn’t matter. I’ll keep that to myself. But I hope that I made my points clear in how I vote and intend to vote. Perhaps I’ll write more about politics in the future, but it’s really not my forte. I have a lot of opinion about it…

…it just makes me sad.

Yours politically,
Ted

PS I do like fictional politics – I need to give that a literary go

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Talks

Blog #008 – Video Killed the Radio Star

Hi Tim,

So I was on the radio again after not being on for pretty much a year. Student radio that is, not national broadcast style because, although that would be awesome, I don’t think the world is ready for my content and personality. But yes, I was live on RaW1251AM for a good twenty minutes, I think.

Sorry, I think that should be ‘RAW’. Name change.

It was a good time as it reminded me of the fun of radio. The excitement of saying things live and out loud that could be heard by tens, nay, hundreds of avid listeners! Sometimes, it’s like having a conversation with friends in a pub that causes you to laugh out loud, so loud that a few patrons turn their heads to see what might have caused such a tremendous outburst, but instead of that conversation being limited to the three or two participants, you’re sharing it’s content with everyone in pub so they can laugh a long.

It’s a little egotistical now that I think about it.

But then there’s the structure that comes with such shows. It’s just like the commentaries you find on YouTube except there’s no visual content – the audio content has to make do for both which can be pretty tricky. These are the speech and chat shows that litter Student Radio and they can be attributed to being basically “live podcasts”.

Then there are the music shows, those graceful and good natured folk who present and talk about genres of music; some that you’ll have heard of and some you’ll have never of dreamed of. Those are talented folk who can make you enthusiastic about something you’ve not been enthusiastic for, who can link two pieces of music perfectly and help you discover interests you didn’t realise you had. I discovered a lot of music I liked whilst in RaW, it was helpful for that – you just attract a large amount of people who love music and share a dream of sharing it with the world.

But then you’ve the discussion shows. Hard to pull off – you need a strong presenter to keep a discussion going and keep it fair. Keep it interesting. Keep it current. Anyone who excels in creating these shows, you know can excel in doing so in the industry. After all, students are one of the loudest demographics when it comes to debate and the moral compass, so trying to deal with a room of them is a challenge. Especially if dealing with a controversial subject. Of course, these shows tend to be no good if they end up being nod-alongs or “circlejerks” (pardon the term) – that does no good.

In the end, you constantly have a stream of different and varied people, with different and varied aspirations for a show on the radio. They might want to show-case their fondest interests, make a name for themself on campus, spark debates, advertise their work, or even if its just for the fun of it. I loved that we provided an hour to pretty much everyone who wanted the chance, and I loved supporting those people. I loved meeting those people, and whilst I didn’t share an excitement in the medium, I share the excitement in the message. The power of it all.

So today, I was on a show for twenty minutes doing an on-air pub quiz. It was good fun, I loved every second of it, and it reminds me exactly what I miss of my time in university. I’m glad I took the opportunity to be involved when I did.

Good time indeed.

Yours reminiscently,
Ted

PS Maybe in the future I’ll make a radio station. Guess I need to start raising some money.

Rambling

Blog #007 – Reflect

Hi Tim,

So I turned a ripe twenty-two years old a little over a week ago. I spent the day doing the things I enjoy, and the weekend seeing people I cherish. I received gifts from the people I care about, messages from people I’ve made an impact on, and good thoughts all wrapped up. It was a nice day.

It made me reflect upon my life so far and what I’ve achieved, and what kind of things I will change in my life. After all, the way I live my life isn’t perfect and I’m certain no one’s is, and if there are things I want to change I should be looking to change them now. Almost like new year’s resolutions, but more like a self-evaluation. I’m not resolving to change how I act this year, I’m resolving to change the way I live. There’s a difference.

One was to not have McDonald’s for a while. That one’s important to me, as it’s been a staple in my diet for a little too long. The ease of fast food is difficult to resist, especially when cooking food requires much more time than I’d like to dedicate. But that’s one of the things that is necessary if you want to retain a healthy diet. As well as less carbs and more fruit, if I can. But one step at a time!

Second, flossing. Because flossing sucks but it’s also necessary.

I think it’s important to reflect on one’s life every so often, to make sure that you’re moving in a direction you want to. And if you’re not, then to turn yourself so that you are. For example, my writing. It needs to continue and I need to finish my work so that I may embark on my life’s path to becoming published. Meanwhile, I need to continue getting better at my job to continue supporting this endeavour.

I feel like this was a short post, but the lesson here is to take a moment to think about your life and what you’re doing.

Yours reflectively,
Ted

PS My internet died last week – so frustrating so that’s why I had a week hiatus instead of a couple of days. Fricking BT.

 

Rambling

Blog #006 – Like I Say…

Dear Tim,

Sometimes, you gotta just do something.

I haven’t really got an idea where this blog is going to do, but bear with me. Recently, I’ve been property hunting for somewhere a little nicer and somewhere I’d actually like to stick around in for maybe a year or so. London’s Property Rent Market however is the absolute worst of anything you can expect. So big warning to anyone looking to get a place in London; you’re going to have a bad time. Probably. Most likely.

It seems the market runs fast. People can get a new room in a day, or even less than a day! There are people that do throw room advertisements that they want people to move in immediately, so who am I to say they’re lying? But no, things do move fast – there’s a lot of people in London, a lot of people moving, so you can’t hesitate too long on a place else it will most definitely disappear. And then you get that hesitation bias!

Note: What do I mean by “hesitation bias”? I mean that feeling you get where you say, ‘Ooh, I better do this quick else I’ll miss out on it.’ It’s an evil ploy, because if you’re easily susceptible, and possibly very gullible, you can get swindled very easily. I mean, these people have no reason to make you hurry, so don’t hurry with giving out money to people. That leads to bad news. Sure, property disappears pretty fast, but new ones become available every day. So don’t get caught up in the rush – it can ruin you, cause you to settled for an overpriced hole in the ground, or just lose money.

So with this search, you can expect I’m like that. It’s very difficult also to ascertain the “average” in London. Let me tell you, one of my minimums is a nice clean bathroom. That’s not a hard ask. You have someone who really cares and makes up a nice room for your toilet and shower, and you can live happily knowing there won’t be spiders making a nest for millions of babies right behind the sink basin. (shudder) Plus, unclean bathrooms are just asking for a blame game. Who can be sure what caused that black mould on the ceiling – it could be the showers I take, or maybe it’s the fact there’s no bloody ventilation in this room!

Another minimum I have had is a living area. This is difficult centrally. Further out it’s more feasible. The problem is space is costly the closer your are to the centre. Places get smaller, more people in one place, that kind of thing. The centre of London you can expect has some real “Sardine Tin” situations. Further out it gets easier, but the luxury of actually a room for lounging is hard sought for. I would enjoy the comfort of having my own sofa. It means options for lounging.

Anyway, let me now clarify my current place is no hovel. I like it. It’s pleasant enough, but it hasn’t quite ticked all my boxes, hence the push to leave. Finding a place that’s going to somewhere more permanent will be a task and a half, but I feel certain it can be accomplished. It just requires looking hard, being diligent and not giving up easily.

And just in the same way, that’s why I’m keeping up the blog.

Yours cyclically,
Ted

PS Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within in a wheel, never ending nor beginning, like an ever spinning reel, like a snowball down a mountain, like a carnival balloon, like a carousel that keeps turning running rings around the room, like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes round its face, and the world is like an apple whirling silently in space, like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind.

Oneoff · Writing

Spark of War – Oneoff #01

As a writer, occasionally you get the drive to write something that’s just a ‘oneoff’. It won’t have a conclusion, it’s just to help keep your writing urge stimulated, right? A little creativity outlet. Like a snack before dinner. Occasionally, these ‘oneoff’s I write are due to some small ideas in my head, or thanks to some writing exercises I decide to entertain. For example, this one was after reading some fanfiction. Some decidedly… interesting fanfiction I will say. I’ll be honest, a lot of fanfiction out there it written without much care. And so the exercise comes out of just sprucing it up a bit and making it look and read a little nicer. Perhaps even improve the story a little.

If you feel like trying your hand at the same exercise it’s easy:
1 – Find a series (Book/TV/Film whatever) that you enjoy
2 – Look it up on FanFiction.net
3 – Find a fanfic that is rather badly written in some form
4 – Attempt to rewrite it so that it makes sense and is enjoyable for everyone!
5 – ???
6 – Marvel at how much money you’ve made from a career in fanfiction (looking at you E L James!)

Continue reading “Spark of War – Oneoff #01”

Advice

Blog #005 – Loud Mind

Dear Tim,

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had nights where falling asleep has been a problem. Back when I was a kid, sometimes I’d just be wide awake and I’d go downstairs and just sit with my parents as I waited to feel sleep taking over. When I got older, I realised when these nights would occur and tried to construct methods to ease my mind. Now here I am, however old I am, still with that very same dilemma. There are many people out there who can get snuggled up into bed and fall asleep whenever they please, or pull out a nap from nowhere and get back into things straight after. Me, I’ve had a harder time.

Now it’s not full blown insomnia, no way. I can sleep. I can sleep for a long time. But getting to sleep is a whole other ballpark. This is because of a concept that will make sense to some, and not to others; I have a loud mind.

The problem lies that when you’re falling asleep, you’re trying to drift off into a peaceful, relaxing feeling of nirvana. Cloud nine. Just you and your dreams. I’ve found the way to reach this state is to let your mind drift, until it naturally forms your dreams. This sounds like it should be easy, but unfortunately the train of thought can barrage it’s way through your dreams like it’s got places to be.

When a thought get’s caught on the train, you’re going to be caught in that thought for a while. Thinking the same thing doesn’t drift off anywhere, it just gets more and more imprinted in your head. The worst thing you can do in this situation is to actually THINK about it -spend brainpower on working things out about it. When this happens, you’re stuck because now your brain is working to keep this thought alive and if you just drop it all that work’s for waste. Do you really want to sleep? Or how about you thing long and hard about how you ignored that woman in the store when she said ‘hello’, and waved her away, and she muttered snarkily that ‘she was just saying hello’.

I know what you were playing at!

I know you are just there to sell perfume!

Don’t you dare try to make me feel bad for rejecting your marketing strategy, I was EXCEEDINGLY busy trying to read up on what colour blazers go with what colour trousers! That stuff has it’s own Reddit!

Anyway, the worse thoughts are regret. Thoughts that can get stuck in your mind are the simulations of ‘what could’ve been.’ Imagine I’ve just painted a picture of a world made of clouds, with a rainbow arch and happy people all around. That’s the world. Now imagine the world we live in – a grey city with a railway arch and angry people all around. A stark difference, but the world of WCB is hard to let go of, and so it thrives in the head of a loud mind. Who would want to think about reality when you can imagine what if you really had bought that bitcoin three years ago? The yachts…

However, the most common are anxieties. Concerns. The things that you don’t want to forget lest you feel the repercussions. These roll around you’re brain because you don’t want to lose them! And they’re most common, because you can often have a different worry every day of the week. Consider the horror of dreading each night, not only worried about the next day, but also well aware you won’t get any sleep because of it. It’s the best way to treat anxiety, honestly. Exams used to feel the brunt of this.

But after the years, you develop your techniques to deal with these issues. And the best one for each of these cases is really simple:

Write it down.

Honestly, writing it down takes it out your head and puts it on paper. It literally moves it. The trouble is, sometimes I’m too tired to write, or I don’t even know what to write, but every time that I’ve written down what’s been stuck in my head I’ve felt a lot better and sleep has arrived much more naturally.

Or if writing isn’t your thing, talk to someone about your thoughts. As long as you somehow transfer your head to somewhere else, you’ll get the job done. You won’t forget anything if it’s written down, you can work out something the day after, you can make plans and affect those great anxieties tomorrow with help from your friends. And family if they’re alright.

Of course, if you’re a true insomniac then that’s a medical condition; I can’t help you with that but a medical professional might. That’s just my recommendation.

Yours tired,
Ted

PS https://www.reddit.com/r/malefashionadvice/comments/13kg48/guide_basic_blazertrouser_combinations/
I really hate fashion. I just want to wear a light jacket! And I wear black trousers, come on! Throw me a bone!

Observations

Blog #004 – Fashion

Dear Tim,

First off, I’m not a man who follows trends often; I think we’ve established that. Not because I think I’m above it all, but because I do my own thing. Fashion is one of those things I’m aware of that I don’t pay a lot of attention to. But I pay a little attention to.

I mean, I’m not going to go out wearing fluorescent colours and shorts am I? (Every time I think of fluorescent clothes, it reminds me of that one Goosebumps book where the protagonist is stated as doing just that. Just a strange character quirk. Then again, those books were weird.) But I also don’t like wearing a set style, and I don’t really read into what’s good. I just have a few rules that I think work.

For one, simplicity seems to be a common rule in life and everything. I don’t like to clutter up my style with too many patterns, and my favourite clothes are usually just plain and one colour. I also don’t often go for logos, because they’re usually too messy. You know what I’m talking about, the clothes that just have words or some picture on them? However, fan merchandise I can get behind! If the thing on your shirt is something you back then by all means, wear and support! If I could afford some of the fan shirts I wanted…

Anyway, simplicity also reigns in just general colour themes right? I’m not going to wear a different colour on every part of my body (unless I’m lazy) and that’s a good rule to go with right? Plus, I don’t mix up casual and smart too randomly. Sure some jeans with nice shoes can look good, but trainers with a suit is too David Tennant. And not enough Benedict Cumberbatch.

Plus, when it comes to dressing smartly, you do really need to be aware of those rules, lest you end up looking like an unknowledgeable fool. What if you were to wear a black belt, with brown shoes, you’d be a laughing stock! Okay maybe not, but damn it I won’t look like an uneducated idiot at formal events! Which is why I choose not to attend. Can’t make a fool of yourself if you’re not there (touch of the temple). No but I get the idea that no one will judge you at an event if you attire isn’t on point, but there it is a confidence boost to know you’ve dressed well and and look good. It’s like the argument for make-up; sometimes it’s not about other people.

I mean, in the end I still do my own stuff. I wear a scarf because it keeps the neck warm. I wear a large coat because I like having that kind of ‘swish’ that comes with a long tail. And I don’t wear shorts because I don’t like shorts and I hate them. Full stop. Don’t expect me to wear shorts.

Nope.

Nope.

Not doing it.

Anyway, I’ve started thinking that if I want to improve readership I should try engaging my audience, rather than making this website look any better. Well we all start somewhere, so share what rules you use in your styles in the comments! Or message me personally, that’s cool too, I like involvement. Give me tips. Or don’t. I’m not the boss.

Yours fashionably,
Ted

PS ‘The Ghost Next Door’ that’s the one:
“Hannah pulled on a pair of Day-Glo green shorts and a bright orange sleeveless top. Her parents were always teasing her about being color blind. “Give me a break! What’s the big deal if I like bright colors?” she always replied.”