Sunday, 29 July 2012

To infinity....

So the blogging resolution didn't go so well... time to reset and try again.... :-)

Saturday, 6 September 2008

The Optimist's Guide To The Credit Crunch

Ok, so we're all panicking about the down-turn in housing, the rising price of fuel & food, and there seems to be no end in sight, we have all officially reached a "code red" on the panic station monitor. So what now? In a challenge to this mass hysteria, I have composed a list of the "up-side" of the "credit-crunch".

1.) First-Time Buyers, who have been saving deposits for the last few years and rented, can now afford a house, which is better value for money than a year ago.
2.) People buying Stocks & Shares for the first time, will be able to purchase more at a lower rate.
3.) We will all start to loose weight, as we can't afford the luxury "treats" at the end of the supermarket aisles.
4.) A rise in interest rates has seen savers gain more from their invested monies
5.) Singles seeking a partner through online dating, instead of "going out on the town", have saved a significant amount of money, and this market has actually increased since the "economic downturn"
6.) More people are now starting to grow their own vegetables etc, and becoming more self-sufficient.
7.) People are looking for cheaper ways to spend time, and will become more physically fit e.g. going for a walk/ to a park instead of going out in the town.
8.) The price of alcohol & cigarettes increasing, increase the potential for more people to reduce/ quit their intake of alcohol/nicotine
9.) Rising electricity/Gas prices encourage householders to become more thrifty & energy efficient, switching to energy-saving solutions, and reducing CO2 emissions, as does the reduction in private vechicle travel, and switch to walking/public transport.
10.) In searching for cheaper nights in, friends will begin to arrange nights in, where they talk more, listen more, and support each other more, without alcohol as a distraction, improving mental health.

To be noted that this is as labelled an "Optimist's Guide", and will obviously be of little comfort to the people who are loosing their homes, going through a relationship crisis, and don't have "food on table" as a result of the credit crisis.

But for those of us who are able to survive it, don't just glide by, using luck, a slight financial cushion, and the fortune of a somewhat decent wage; instead start to appreciate the value of money we've been wasting, and taking for granted, stop using the word "skint" in reference to not being able to go out boozing for a night & start to save energy because we CARE that we may a polar ice-cap in 25 years time!

This is Tangent Girl... Signing Off..... & switching my laptop OFF... NOT to Standby! :)

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

I took part in an abseil, down the front of the Europa Hotel in Belfast, last Sunday (16/03/08) to raise money for "The Stroke Association". And the idea was great in theory, for one thing it was on my "bucket list", so it was nice to cross it off, and for another I have a fear of heights, so it felt like even more of an achievement. I am a great believer in pussing yourself beyond your limits when possible, in retrospect, it may possible have been a better idea to do this without a hangover :)

But while climbing down, my hand ached from holding on so tight to the rope which was in control of whether I plumitted to the ground below (ok so there's also a "safety line", but that meant NOTHING to me at the time!). While waiting in line to do the abseil at the top of the building, one of my workmates who was doing the abseil with me, continued to heckle me throughout the whole process, saying things like "don't worry, you're gonna die anyway, you may as well enjoy the ride!" and singing Monty Python to me "always look on the bright side of life". I ended up singing the song on the way down the building, which was all well and good until you get to the last verse;

"So always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath
Life's a piece of s**t
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you."

It was around this verse (in between shouting to another workmate on the building "ARE WE NEARLY AT THE BOTTOM YET!!!") that the bloomin rope I was gripping onto for dear life, started to slide through my hand of it's own accord! THAT was when I began to freak out, and think to myself... WHY would anyone intentionally put themselves through this? towards the bottom I remember screaming "i can't stop! somebody catch me! F**K!" at that point I heard a voice below me shout "I'VE GOT YOU!" and I was on the ground. I remember looking at the guy and saying thank you ALOT, and explained my fear of heights to him, and he said with a metre-wide smile "well thats a double achievement for you then!" CHUCKLE CHUCKLE... God I love chirpy types :O


I recently watched the movie staring Luke Wilson called "
Idiocracy", the movie was alright, nothing outstanding, but it makes a good point. The story line of the movie is basically that Luke Wilson is selected as an "average joe" to take part in a top secret military "hibernation" experiment, he awakes 500 years in the future and discovers a society so incredibly dumbed-down that he's easily the most intelligent person alive.

When checking my 'unnamed social network site', it's worrying to see this fictional storyline, could have a lot of grounding in reality. There is an entire generation of kids at the moment who are slowly but surely "unlearning" how to spell and talk. Its down to two things... texting and laziness, this is then slowly brought forward to chat rooms, and then bebo messages, and then more recently I've heard kids "speaking in text talk" using terms like "LOL" in actual conversation, abbreviating words beyond recognition

dis isa typical xampl of txt tlk, evry wrd shortend witn an inch of it's lyf, 2 fit as mch N2 a txt as posbL
(converted to text talk using

"English examiners have complained about the use of slang expressions such as "gonna", "ain't" and "shouda" in GCSEs. Markers for the exam board Edexcel said "almost unforgivable" basic errors were made by apparently bright pupils."

I would have thought that the enivitable result of this continued "iliteracy" over a period of say the next hundred years, would result in the above mentioned "idiocracy" situation, but it seems in this case, as ennoying as I find this, the evidence suggests otherwise. An article in The Guardian states;

"Mrs Plester said: "So far, our research has suggested that there is no evidence to link a poor ability in standard English to those children who send text messages. In fact, the children who were the best at using 'textisms' were also found to be the better spellers and writers."

"We are interested in discovering whether texting could be used positively to increase phonetic awareness in less able children, and perhaps increase their language skills, in a fun yet educational way."

(Texting slang aiding children's language skills - Alexandra Smith Monday September 11, 2006)

But oohhh, how it still annoys me! :)

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Organised Confusion

I have a Creative Zen, that I bought to listen to music on and possibly to store some videos... as it turns out, it also has an organiser, games, a sound recorder, and a multitude of "functions", some of which are way ahead of page 3 of the manual, and so... way beyond my comprehension.

I think that this particular piece of technology has been a last straw for me of sorts. I now own; a nintendo wii, a nintendo ds, a laptop etc, etc, etc... I am on a daily basis informed of new and wonderful ways to use these things, that I either didn't buy it for, or that someone has just thought up!

But what you end up with , is a LOT of electronic devices, that "multi-task", and are yes "versatile" but the intention of the manufacturers was never to make the consumer happier... it was to have MORE consumers interested in buying the same thing, thus making them money. But what we end up with, is a bunch of devices in our homes that perform the same job very averagely. For example; I have a mobile phone that takes "ok" digital pictures and voice recordings, but they are so average in quality, that the most you could do with them, is put them on bebo, or even worse, you start to forget what a quality picture looks like. My Wii has an internet channel that surfs the web in a below average way, which includes typing the address by click the individual letters on the screen with the wii remote, by the time I would have written this blog it would already be Christmas....

I am proud to say that I now own a pretty decent digital camera; it takes good pictures and so does just and only what I want it to do. I like my technology like that; you want something, you know where to find it, and exactly what it will do. If only you could say the same about life eh? ;)

Friday, 25 January 2008

hmmmmm...... That'll be £500 m'am!

"Blessed are those who have their afterthoughts first"

So it turns out we are all doomed to cross paths with the dodgy builder/ handyman, with me it is evident by the 7ft chimney flu hanging decoratively from the ceiling of my spare room, but for those of you who have seen it... I lied, its not an art noveau architectural "feature". No tis indeed a testament to my stupidity in hiring an architectural "hitman". So to save others from the same fate, I have compiled a list of what are now obvious warning signs...

  • AVOID the "multi-tasker" NO ONE is an expert Joiner, Electrician, Brickie AND plumber! it just ain't plausible.
  • NEVER give all the money until you've checked the work
  • FIND OUT exactly what they plan to do (more applicable to repairs)
  • AVOID the tradesman who gives you a price, then offers a "big discount", it usually means a rush job. A proper worker will look at the job then tell you the ONLY price they can give.
  • ASK QUESTIONS - if he/she sounds like they don't know what they're talkin about, more than likely they don't.
  • NEVER hire a friend, or the friend of a friend, unless you're SURE they did a good job MORE THAN ONCE before! (including a professional, well timed and consistant job)
  • Make sure you have a working contact number and address incase they take off half way through a job.
  • DON'T tell them your budget, the price should be the same no matter what you have to spend!
  • A Professional worker will NOT, smoke in your house without asking you...
  • If you see a job done well somewhere else, ask for the contact details, and keep it, you never know when you'll need it.
  • Keep the number of a good Plumber and Electrician, handy, in case of an emergency, it will stop you getting ripped off in a panic, by using the yellow pages.
  • BEWARE of workmen who are stand-offish, it makes it easier for them to walk away, try to get some friendly chatting going, its a lot harder to rip you off with a guilty conscience.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Age Out Of Context; Generations by Dee

They say that youth is wasted on the young,

but maybe wisdom is wasted on the old.

Wasting so much time thinking what could have been

Seeing life, like through a movie screen.

What if you looked around, and saw everything now

like anything could happen if you thought about how

What if age and and what you couldn't do

No longer defined what it meant to be you.

What if you looked around you and saw what still could be

instead of longing for things that only others can feel.

What if you didn't think your life was measured

by the moments you hold on to and the "things" you treasure.

What if in the end you stopped and looked around,

and saw the people you love, finding what you've found;

A legacy mixed with fun and smiles

where your travels are not marked by miles.

Where you can learn more by standing still

than using life like a check out till;

Counting what you have and haven't bought

blaming "bad luck" and what you were never taught.

What if life was a blank canvas at any age

where you add more colour, and don't paint a cage.

What if you looked at the young, like another you

with a bit less experience, but equal views.

What if you never made an excuse for anything again

and enjoyed being wrong, and being different, not the same.

What if you laughed at the years that have passed

and saw only beginnings, not reliving the past.

What if you lived in the moment, and saw everything right here

instead of taking photographs to remember next year.

What if you never felt alone, sitting by yourself,

and it made you stronger, when you're with everyone else.

What if you didn't try fit everything you haven't done,

into a day or a year, just stood outside to feel the sun.

What if it all stopped tomorrow, and life was just a test

would you count the bad times, or the times you were blessed?

Would you want to impart wisdom, tell them how to avoid pain?

or would you know they'd learn some new, doing exactly the same.

What if instead of changing the scenery, you found another you,

who sees life through others eyes, instead of making them see you.

What if young or old, we were equals to each other,

and accepted that the child, is or will be a father or a mother.

Life is happening now, it isn't the last or next 40 years,

Life won't wait for you to get it together

Life is happening now, you know as much as anyone else,

you can't change other people, only yourself.

Soundtrack To Life

I recently found this on the web, its actually quite hard to fill in if you're a bit indecisive like me, but if you're reading this and have a bit of time, I would be really interested in seeing others' reponses....


If you could choose the soundtrack to your life...
What would it be?
(* Remember, they won't necessarily be your favourite songs!)

Opening Credits: Daydream Believer by The Monkees

Waking Up: Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

Average Day: Bring On The Day by Charlotte Martin

First Date: Moonlight Kiss by Bap Kennedy

Falling In Love: Brighter Than Sunshine by Aqualung

Fight Scene: Wall In Your Heart by Shelby Lynee

Breaking Up: What Hurts The Most by Rascal Flatts

Getting Over Them: Feeling Good by Nina Simone

Getting Back Together: Everything by Alanis Morrisette

Life is Okay: Change Your Mind by Sister Hazel

Sad Moment: 100 Years by Five For Fighting

Driving at Night: Life Is A Highway by Rascal Flatts

Flashback: Baby Give It Up - KC & The Sunshine Band

Partying: Dancing In The Moonlight by Toploader

Happy Dance: Young Hearts Run Free by Kim Mazelle

Sex Scene: Feelin Love by Paula Cole

Regretting: I Started A Joke by The Wallflowers

Long Night Alone: Breathe by Anna Nalick

Death Scene: Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root

End Credits: Between The Minds by Jack Savoretti

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Setting SALE for January

I recently attempted for the very first time, to venture into the thing that I always want'd to, but never had the guts to do. The horror and the nail-biting satisfaction that is... The January Sales.
There are differing opinions describing this unique experience, and it depends greatly on your level of commitment to finding a bargain. In Belfast at January, there are basically 3 levels of shoppers (levels defined by motivation as apposed to money spent):

Level 1 - The Claustrophobic

Venturing timidly to the shops nearest to the taxi and bus stands for an easy escape route, to glance over bargains at the "end of aisle", who may be lucky enough to spot a decent bargain or two, but are easily deterred by lengthy ques, over-crowding and a dis-organised rail. These guys are basically your amateur shoppers, with commitment that extends only as far as the buzz you get from one cup of a Starbuck's Mocha Latte.

Level 2 - The Tight-Ass
This shopper has a bit more motivation, directed by the need to NOT EVER pay the normal price for clothes. Venturing confidently in the jumble of people and clothes, undeterred by the small obsticles.This Shopper usually ends up with four tops from the Primark reduced aisle totalling £4. These guys are basically your amateur shoppers, with commitment that extends only as far as the buzz you get from one cup of a Starbuck's Mocha Latte.

Level 3 - The Seasoned Professional
Armed with a larger handbag (or backpack guys), containing the essential bottle of refreshment (non alcoholic, that's a completely different category, that I'm not touching), snacks, the route mentally plotted out and an early morning start, to optimise time and bargain potential. The expert shopper shops alone, 'cause it ain't pretty! This shopper has taken their clothes budget for the year (and then some) and divided it neatly into the major sales periods, all of which mere training for their Mount Everest, the January sales. This shopper is constantly fuelled by refills "to go" of Starbucks Sumatra Espresso (i.e. A LOT of caffiene). Motivation is not a problem for this relentless consumer, who will sometimes visit EVERY relevant shop, regroup to decide which shops to purchase items from, then re-visit them in order of queue size. Yes, I know what your thinking... this is waffle, no such shopper could exist... you doubt the existence of the alleged unbalanced person who indeed has no real social life or friends... Well doubters, if you want proof.. This December on Boxing Day, take a run down to NEXT in Donegal Place in Belfast 7am... Sleeping Bags

Being honest though, the average shopper (including myself), is a combination of all three.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

The Trees of Christmas Past

To tree or not to tree...

I still currently have a 7ft tall crackin christmas tree in my living room, apparently the appropriate date to remove said tree is on the 6th of January on the feast of the Epiphany? but I recently found out that the date of that celebration is the 12th day of January? hence those 12 days of christmas... Ahhh no, that's not right, the 6th of January, is apparantly the 12th day AFTER Christmas! I'll get it right yet :)

Christmas was great this year, but it didn't seem to have the same great excitement that it usually does, not as many people had their Las Vegas style decorations and lights on the exterior of their houses in late November, few taxi drivers asked me "well.... you have all in for Christmas love?", not sure if thats the reason, but I find the idea of keeping my tree up until the 6th of January this year quite depressing.

Who says I should anyway? After much extensive research on the web (well ok, a five minute google search) I have discovered the following:

"You take the tree down on or after the 12th day of Christmas; the 6th of January. The 6th of January is celebrated as 'three kings' in a lot of countries (France, Belgium and the south of the Netherlands that I'm sure of, all Catholic regions). The story is that Jesus was born on the 24th, at which point a star appeared in the sky and the kings, who had to travel much farther than the sheperds, set off, and arrived 12 days later. That is why Christmas lasts for 12 days, but only in some traditions."

"Take down the Christmas Tree and all decorations BEFORE the new year. You are celebrating the birth of Christ in one year and even though I have heard it is bad luck to leave it up after the 1st, it just seems logical to take it down before the year is over."

"My wife says her tradition is to take down decorations and not turn on the lights after New Year's Eve. She says it is bad luck to bring the old year into the new. Frankly, I miss not having the lights on on New Year's Day. It always seemed more festive for the holiday."

"In the liturgical calendar the Twelve Days start on December 25th, and the Twelfth Night is January 5th, which is when we traditionally take down the decorations."

"Liturgically Jan 6th is ABSOLUTELY the correct day to take down the decorations. Do it when you are on your own & hubby and the kids are out, a large drop of left over liquid christmas cheer is recomended before starting to make the chore more palitable."

Okay, well as always there is no right or wrong answer, but I agree with the comment that it does look more festive to have Christmas lights on on New Year's Eve, besides which, if you're celebrating Christmas, it doesn't liturgically end until the wise men come... but when it comes down to it you can take down YOUR Christmas Tree, when YOU bloomin well want to!

As for me... I'm takin it down tomorrow, then I'll look forward to a repeat performance next Christmas :)


Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New Year's Day - HAPPY 2008!

I don't know if its a good sign or not, but I went outside my front door last night, to do my "First Footing"* I ended up standing accidently in dog's excrement, I was quickly informed that this was deemed "good luck" by most, this apparently doesn't include the carpet in my house...

Either way I have a good feeling about this year, I think it will bring alot of good changes for us all :) The difference between a lucky person and an unlucky person, is that a lucky person is open to all opportunities in any situation, not just the ones they expected.

(*Originally a Scottish Tradition "To ensure good luck for the house, the first foot should be male, dark (believed to be a throwback to the Viking days when blond strangers arriving on your doorstep meant trouble) and should bring symbolic coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and whisky.")