Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Verbal Diarrhoea...

I've wanted to write a post for a few days now, but I feel like whatever I write should be important or significant or somehow meaningful. A lot of thoughts have been buzzing around in my head, so here's a few snippets:

I like to give advice to other people. I enjoy mediating and, at the risk of sounding dramatic, negotiating. In doing so, I strive to "be right" and to give "correct" advice. With 22 years on this planet and relatively little experience of people, relationships, the world, politics and life in general, I sometimes doubt myself. As noble as I aim to be, I feel like I can never know if I'm truly giving the best advice. I will to an extent, be forever limited by my own paradigm, because that is how I see the world. How broad and open that paradigm is depends on how open minded and flexible I am willing to be. I will have to overcome that feeling of uncertainty and be content with who I am, and that I am at least trying to be the best I can for other people.

I've read and watched quite a few particularly interesting things this week. I caught one article by David Baddiel in which he noted how society's mark of intelligence is more often than not a simple case of who has the best memory. Exams. Pub Quizzes. Reading the news. Mastermind. If you can remember something and then regurgitate that back to society, my word you're smart. He concluded that "original thought" could be a contender for how we can tell who's got brains. The theory has its flaws, but it's nice to know that some people are actually thinking.

How can I go about altering the foundations of Western Education and still pursue my passions for filmmaking, writing and giving advice to people? And if/when the current misguided education system is reformed, what will it create? What the hell is society going to look like with all these young people who are actually learning and doing what they want instead of wasting the first 18 years of their lives?

I'm keeping up with the TED Talks that are free to watch on YouTube. This week Barry Schwartz talked about how rules and incentives can quite often stifle society, and that people need to bend the rules sometimes, much like how a jazz musician doesn't stick to the notes on a score sheet; he improvises to make up an altered, more personal melody. Schwartz gave an example of how State Kindergartens in Chicago have appallingly lengthy regulation guides on how to read books to kids, because these days teachers can't be trusted to teach without some sort of insurance policy. Have you heard of anything more ludicrous?

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all" - Oscar Wilde

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Spontaneous you say?

It seems that someone important was reading to my last post, because I think literally the day after, IT SNOWED!! For us Britons who don't see it too often, the snow is so wonderful and magical. For me, despite travel difficulties, it's so nice purely because it looks so clean and amazingly innocent. After I got home from uni, I convinced my housemates to come and have fun in the street, so we had a snowball fight and a couple of us even sledded down our hill on a grill tray, which, while not the speed of light, was still SO COOL.

It snowed again today, which was lovely and white. I am fortunate enough not to care about going into work or worrying about icy roads. My bike Audrey serves me well from getting to nearby places. I've stayed in my PJ's all day editing my film, fixing my computer and discovering new food recipes. I have also decided to start learning the keyboard, courtesy of my friend James, who never uses his. The amazing piece of kit now sits in my room temporarily while I figure out how to use my fingers in a musical manner. It hurts, but it's bloody fantastic!

To quote my favourite radio station's jingle, "Love Life, Love Music, Smooth Radio"

Maybe one day I will be able to play whole songs, but for now, here's a bit of "Heart & Soul" and the Intro of "Hey Bulldog"... I know. This was like an hour after I got it. Early days yet, early days.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Must Think Harder...

It's been a little longer than usual since my last post- predictably and annoyingly, uni work is reaching slowly for my throat, but I am fending it off day by day.

I tell a lie. My degree is one of the best things I've ever done and it's so enjoyable, but it is occupying a lot of my time these days, not to mention dealing with crappy editing software that crashes every five minutes.

Last night, from about 5pm, I got a buzz to do something spontaneous and fun, just to go somewhere and do something a little different. My other housemates were busy or out, so one by one I phoned or sent a text to as many of my friends here in Birmingham as I could. Nothing. Nada. Busy. Got family visiting. Home for the weekend. Out for dinner. Going to a (*shit*) club.

What to do with all this pent up energy?

The last time I can remember this happening, I was in Santa Barbara. My resolution was to jump in the swimming pool in the middle of the night while everyone else was snuggled up in their living rooms doing boring things. It was freezing in the pool. My muscles stiffened up with great discomfort. But my god was it fun as hell.

Last night, I started to feel slightly trapped by the lack of options open to me. It was like the whole world had shut for the night, leaving me kicking pebbles in the street. But when I was last in Santa Barbara on a brief visit, a good friend of mine also felt kind of trapped. We talked about how in order to have fun nowadays, it seems like you really have to plan it out well in advance, because everyone's too busy with this and that bullshit.

Hell, I had an idea to play Beer Pong one night with my coursemates, but even that requires planning and deep thought. It's been about three weeks in the works, and it still hasn't happened. What the fuck?

Are we losing our ability to be spontaneous? Why can't we just have a bit of fun every now and again, or adventure? Or something that isn't mundane day-today living! Are the consequences of detouring from the "main plan" that dire? Maybe it's because I live in the arsehole that is known as Selly Oak, where it's cold and full of chavs...I dunno. Sometimes, I want to go for a drive that goes nowhere. I want to have a random house party, or go to one at least. I want to chill in a park at night and shoot the breeze with my really close friends and look at the stars.

Am I imposing limits on myself by surrounding myself with people/places that inhibit me? Am I just whining and not making the most of what I do have? I'll figure that out soon enough when I move back to London I guess, a place where every opportunity is open to me...apparently.

Rant over. Oh, almost forgot, have this. Many thanks to my beloved brother for finding this one.