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 http://www.lingo2word.com/translate.php)

"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? ;)