StARGHbucks

For months now I’ve been trying and trying to start this post, yet so far I can’t make it past the first paragraph without erasing it all and starting from scratch. So instead I think I’ll just explain bluntly the essence of this post and hopefully the natural flow will kick in sometime before the end. Here goes.

It was an incredibly liberating feeling the day I turned around and told myself that I just don’t like Starbucks, not that I ever went there all that often; I’d say no more than ten times in total. But the times I did go I remember almost trying to fool myself afterwards, trying to kid myself that I’d really enjoyed it and would go again. Now I’m not one to go against corporate chains just on the basis that it’s a chain. No, that’s silly. But here we have the largest coffee house chain in the world and yet, I’m just not convinced it’s that good, at all.

Picture the scene. You’ve been shopping all day and your arms are dropping. The bags hanging around each finger are matched only by the bags under your eyes. You’re tired, in need of a good sit, and a nice hot drink to take the edge off. Perhaps it’s cold outside, or maybe you’re simply roasting from the blast of heat you get as you go from shop to shop. Your feet ache, and your legs are about to give up.

At this point what I’d want is a nice quiet sit down with a hot cup of coffee, perhaps a chat over a cappuccino, maybe even a light baked snack over a latte, or my own favourite, a cup of tea with a toasted teacake. So, onto the nearest decent looking café!

So why don’t I get on with Starbucks? Well you get the idea of what I want, but here’s what I actually get.

Upon walking into Starbucks I’m hit almost instantly by the amount of people queuing. Granted it takes time to make a hot drink, toast a panini, dish up slices of cake and whatnot. But it seems that every time I go into Starbucks, there seems to be a small crowd of people either stood queuing, paying, or waiting for their name to be shouted out.

After you’ve queued for what can be quite some time, decoded the name-specific sizing of the cups, declined an expensive slice of ‘not-at-all-what-you-were-after’ cake, paid for it, waited some more, heard your name being shouted out, and then tracked down your drink in the collection area (which depending on the store you’re in can be quite silly) it’s time for the next challenge. Coffee in hand, bags in the other, sweltering under your jacket and/or coat, it’s time to sit dow- Oh hang on. Milk and sugar!

This is always fun, as in not remotely amusing. Tracking down the milk and sugar (again, depending on which Starbucks you’re in) is either a simple task that requires the most basic ability to see, or a task set out specifically for those with exceptional balance (as you’ve not yet sat down and you’re still carrying everything including your shopping), unmatched agility (to slip through the barrage of folk either waiting for coffee and/or looking for their coffee) and luck (to play and win at ‘silver-flask-lucky-dip’), a game in which customers reach out with whatever unoccupied limbs they have left, grabbing relentlessly at the silver flasks in the hope that the one they’ve secured is both a) the correct milk/cream they wanted, and b) not empty.

“May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour”

Of course the key words in all of this are ‘tracking down the milk and sugar’. It is only after finding where the flasks are stored that the Hunger Games can begin.

If you do manage to win at lucky dip then congratulations. You’re ready to sit down and enjoy that wonderful cup of coffee with just the right amount of semi-skimmed milk in it, with one demerara sugar, just how you like it.

But before we can talk about and taste the drink itself, we need to overcome the next challenge. And this one is my favourite of them all. It’s an excellent challenge that mercilessly separates the patient from the impatient, the calm from the frantic, the spatially aware from the clumsy, and the polite from the rude.

“But what on earth could this challenge be?” you may ask. It’s one that’s grim enough to repel even the most loyal of Starbucks’ clientèle: finding a seat.

You turn around, coffee in hand, and gaze hopelessly over the endless sea of occupied seats. The sound of talking and typing build up in layers; getting louder and then quieter, as if to produce a foundation. As the tempo increases so does the volume, as other elements of the ensemble make their contribution. Customers’ names being yelped from aside, as the medley of mobile phones and rocking prams do little to dampen the hiss of the milk steamer. Whilst the canopy of arched necks and shoulders remains still over their screens, percussive beats against the tables and chairs from the children who no longer care for their frappuccinos beautifully initiate the crescendo from the screaming child.

You venture forth in hope to find a seat, artfully dodging other people’s bags and coats. As you step over the first, the corridor between tables and chairs becomes narrower. You try ceaselessly not to disturb others, yet reacting quickly as so not to spill your coffee on the spatially unaware child that’s just run into your leg. Making sure not to disturb that child’s game of ‘guns’ again, that he’s so cleverly chosen to play inside the coffee shop, you try an alternate route.

Laptops

You notice that towards the front of the shop by the glass window looking out onto the street, it seems a lot calmer. You work your way towards those tables one step at a time, paying dear attention not to step on, catch, or trip over the unforgiving web of laptop charging cables.

A dozen people sit with cold, empty polystyrene cups with no intention of moving on, at least not until they’ve done updating Facebook, completed their coursework, or finished tomorrow’s PowerPoint presentation. In the corner two people are debating over the use of a plug socket, neither of which are there for coffee. More and more people head into the shop, dead electrical goods in hand, leaning their heads downwards to check for anywhere they could plug their charger in. The noise begins to grow again, yet you still haven’t sat down. After safely navigating Indiana Jones style through the labyrinth of cables and shopping bags, pacing endlessly up and down the store looking for a seat, let’s skip forward a bit.

You now have a seat, your coat is off, bags on the floor, it’s coffee time. *sigh* See I’m no coffee connoisseur but I know when I’ve had a good coffee; you don’t have to be an expert to tell the difference. Yet with Starbucks, the coffee doesn’t grab me either. It’s okay at best but it’s not brilliant. I’m struggling to find the correct words to describe it; the words do that come to mind are burnt and bitterThe flavour isn’t all there, and I can’t help feeling that the coffee feels a little thin.

Winner of Which? 2013

My personal favourite coffee house chain is undoubtedly Caffè Nero. Yes it costs a little more, but the quality and taste of the coffee blows Starbucks’ out of the water. And perhaps it’s due to the slightly higher prices that I always manage to find a seat as the place isn’t crammed with students fiddling on their laptops. (http://tinyurl.com/mzlmtpb)

I would even go so far as to saying that McDonald’s coffee is a suitable contender in the Coffee Wars. In terms of getting what you pay for, I’d rather seek out the golden arch over the green mermaid when sourcing out the next blast of caffeine.

So how to bring this post to an end?

I guess I’d have to end by starting where I began, that feeling of liberation. Call it commercial pressure; with so many Starbucks around town it must be the best, so why go anywhere else? Call it peer pressure from friends of mine who insist it’s the best.

It might sound a little strange, but accepting that something just isn’t your cup of tea and firmly saying no to it can be quite tough at first. For me it’s like clubbing. I want to really enjoy it and for years I’ve gone through the cycle of putting myself out of my comfort zone, trying to convince myself I had a really good night etc. The truth is, I just don’t like it all and I don’t think I ever will. Give me a decent pub, pool table, real beer and a jukebox any day!

And with that, I’ll draw to a close the first of many posts in a series I’d like to call – Popular Things I Really Don’t Like, with more on the club scene coming up next.

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Vorsatz

I’ve never been huge on making resolutions at the start of each and every year. Admittedly I tend to have more resolve when I attempt to make one, as opposed to promising myself one week in mid-April I’ll avoid eating junk food. There’s something to be said too about when you plan to make a change or a conscious effort at the beginning of a set period of time, such as “I’ll start my diet on Monday” or waiting until the end of the month to stop smoking. It’s a great fresh start feeling that gives us encouragement, determination, and above all, hope. 

Whilst I’d like to say that I learn from my mistakes as I go along, and so in essence make resolutions on a regular basis, I often find myself repeating the same mistakes time and time again. As we send off 2013 I reflect on how the year has been; its highs and its lows, what I’ve learned and what I’ve yet to learn. Overall probably not the most exciting chapter of my days, yet as I dive head first into 2014 I maintain an optimistic, confident, and enthusiastic approach.

That said, there was one small resolution I made to myself which was simply to post on my blog more often. Quite sad perhaps, but it’s something I genuinely have missed. There have been quite a few ideas I’ve had bouncing around in my head over the last few months that I would love to write up and share, and if for no other reason than merely as a point of reference for friends/colleagues etc.

And with that I’ll end this brief post. A short and personal one, yet enjoyable to write. I’m keen to get started on my next big post, but I think that may have to wait for now.

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Naff Job? No Job!

It’s no secret to anyone that in today’s economic climate, job vacancies are few and far between. Although long term employment is on the rise again here in the UK, we still have a long way to go before we reach dry land, safe, and secure. Unfortunately for the time being however, many of us such as myself are still unemployed and desperately looking for work from one month to the next, with little to no success. The reasons as to why landing a job these days is so tough, are as plentiful as they are obvious.

  • “You’re obviously very intelligent, and I can see from your CV that you have plenty of work experience and qualifications. However, ideally we’re looking for someone who already has specific experience working in a betting shop, you see?”
  • “OK wonderful! Right then, what we’ll do is invite you back in for another interview in the next few weeks, after which you’ll be sent on a four week training course, and then if all goes well, we’ll get your literacy and numeracy tests out of the way and then we’ll get you booked in for your induction day and trial period on the shop floor. Sound good? Good.”
  • “Unfortunately we can’t take any more staff on at the moment, but as soon as something comes up we’ll let you know!”

    A sight all too familiar.

    A sight all too familiar.

These are all pretty much the responses I received for the last three jobs I applied for. Companies can’t afford to train people up from scratch, nor will they settle for the first person that responds to the vacancy, nor can they afford to take on more staff in the first place. Whilst each of these reasons are a huge pain in the backside for me, I understand and agree with each and every one. The purpose of a company isn’t to provide jobs for the locals, and of course any company must or at least should act in its own best interests, especially in times like today where we see businesses going under.

And so, no. I won’t stand and complain how unfair it is that the restaurant down the road won’t give me a job, as if I were in charge, I probably wouldn’t be employing new staff  that I couldn’t afford either – would you?

I have learned however from the experience of being unemployed, what I would consider to be, absolute fundamental truths about the labour market, employment, unemployment, and attitudes towards work. My attitude and opinion towards finding a job and being unemployed have changed dramatically since leaving University.

Whilst I shudder to think it now, I have to admit honestly that I never imagined finding work would be this tough. I came out of school and University with qualifications and intellect. I have a good attitude towards work, with years of experience dating back to when I was only 13 to prove it. To be brutally honest, I didn’t see myself still unemployed four months down the line – I thought I’d get snapped up.

Snobby? Yes of course. The labour market is a competitive market, and so it should be. With one in five aged below 25 out of work, Job Centres up and down the country are seeing more and more fresh new graduates rolling in through their doors to sign on. The image of your typical Job Centre scene is changing from the musky handful of beer-bellied, middle aged men and desperate looking single mothers in a tatty coat, to one of young, bright individuals. Sophisticated men and women in suits, skirts, and ties, are adding the fortnightly visit to the Job Centre to their calendars. It’s dog-eat-dog for the unemployed, and we’re all up against each other. Those that haven’t yet grasped the concept of the competitive labour market, won’t find themselves in work any time soon. (http://tinyurl.com/b8mlskt)

A 'naff' job?

A ‘naff’ job?

The reality is that when a company does have a job vacancy going, they are essentially free to choose exactly who they want to employ. People with degrees and MAs in subjects like business or marketing, are applying for jobs stacking shelves in the local supermarket. People with years and years of experience working in schools as teachers or support staff, are now finding themselves in line for the position of the cleaning the classroom. The truth is, there is no such thing today as a naff job. Being over qualified to sweep the streets, stack shelves or mop a classroom floor simply doesn’t exist – or at least not in the worse affected areas. Should you be successful enough to even get an interview, having the attitude of ‘I’m far too good for this job, so I won’t give it my all’ is the most counter-productive attitude to have. A job is a job, and money is money. Regardless of what job it is, you do it to the best of your ability at all times.

Whilst there are undoubtedly those who have no real ambition to ‘get off the dole’ for whatever reason, I think in today’s world it would be unfair to say that people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) are all lazy, scrounging, worthless people. It’s not something I hear very often any more, although I have to say that admitting publicly to, say an interviewee or the person working behind the counter in your favourite sandwich shop, that you can’t wait to be back in work earning a living, does very occasionally trigger a response as if to say ‘Why? Why would you want to work for money when you can get it for free?’ which is quite possibly one of the most awful, cringe-worthy things I’m likely to have ever heard.

Give me his job, and I'll do it with a smile

Give me his job, and I’ll do it with a smile

This brings me to my next point – seeing others at work. I’ve discovered over my four months of being unemployed, something for which I have absolute zero tolerance – miserable employees. I don’t know where to start really, I guess with a personal experience. A while ago I was in a restaurant with my parter at the time. As we walked in, we noticed the place was empty, yet there were still empty plates, dirty glasses and cutlery covering the tables. We were greeted by possibly the most miserable, half-arsed employee I have ever come across.

He had obviously decided that as it was a quiet afternoon, he only had to do the minimum work required of him. As a result there were no smiles, no please or thank you, no friendly small talk to build a rapport with the customers – nothing. We were made to feel incredibly uncomfortable and unwelcome. It was obvious that upon our arrival, we’d interrupted his idle chat with his colleagues – how rude of us? I can picture him in my head sighing as he heard customers enter the restaurant, dragging himself over to our table, half asleep, and monotonously uttering ‘…’, well, I don’t remember him saying anything actually. If by some miracle he reads this, or anyone else who’d clearly rather not be doing the job they’re doing, I’d like to say a few words.

  1. These are tough times we live in today, nobody disputes that. Some businesses have gone under, and some are yet to. It’s a battlefield out there, with businesses competing against each other as best they can to survive. Any owner of a business, any manager, any employee, should be grateful for each and every customer that walks through your door, as it’s us that are keeping you afloat. I don’t ask to be treated like a King, yet a friendly smile, a ‘Hello’, and ‘Thank you! See you next time!’ cost nothing. When we walk through your doors, remember that we chose to spend our money here. Should you give us a reason not to, then that’s fine, we simply won’t come any more. Eventually it’s your business that goes under, and it’s your jobs on the line.

  2. No-one should take their job for granted. Period. The next time you go into work with a miserable face, a foul attitude, and with the intention to do nothing more than a half-arsed job, just remember that there are unemployed people queuing up outside who are more than willing to do your job, with a smile, to the best of their ability. If you don’t want to do your job, leave it, and let someone else who deserves it have a chance. We all have bad days, but like I said before, basic manners cost nothing and can make the difference between losing and gaining a regular customer.

Were I the boss of this particular employee, I would have sacked him there and then knowing that by the time he had got his things together and left the building, I would have replaced him. It might sound harsh or cruel but there are good, hard-working people who are desperate for work. Why should I employ someone who can’t be bothered and is losing me customers, when for the same price I could employ someone who gives it their all? I’d say that’s pretty fair – wouldn’t you?

 

 

 

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Oh, Bad Luck!?

Miss The Bus

Familiar scene? We’ve all been there!

“Nothing ever goes right for me! I missed the bus this morning which meant I was late for my exam. I had no idea how to answer any of the questions so I’ve probably failed, and then I had to walk home because I’d forgotten to take money out from the cash point for my bus fare and it was the last bus. I’m so unlucky!

Sound familiar? You’re a good person, you work hard, yet bad things like this just seem to happen. Perhaps the universe is just out to get you, and that your life is destined to never be as easy as you wish it to be. If you’ve already detected the hint of sarcasm, then you’ve probably already worked out the topic of this post.

Before I go any further I want to reiterate that apart from two quotes I will use at the end of the post, these are entirely my own views and opinions. I haven’t done any prior reading or research whatsoever, yet I’m certain that I could find substantial relevant material on this topic if I looked hard enough. This is purely the result of a thought that occurred to me after a conversation with a family member.

1 in 14 million chance of getting all six numbers

1 in 14 million chance of getting all six numbers

If I had to describe luck using my own words, I would say that good luck is when you get the outcome you desire, from a situation over which you have absolutely no control whatsoever. A good example is of course – winning the lottery. There’s nothing at all you can do to alter the result of the draw, it’s pure chance. There’s a 1 in 14 million chance of all six of your numbers coming up, and if they do, then yes you’ve been incredibly lucky – Well done!

Bad luck then would be the complete opposite – getting the outcome you don’t want from a situation that you can’t influence in any way. By this definition however, it’s proving very difficult to find an example of bad luck. The reason being is that I can’t think of an unlucky situation that’s unavoidable. This may appear very black and white or perhaps even unrealistic, but think about it for a moment. If you miss the bus in a morning – is that a case of bad luck or is that sheer lack of preparation? If you’re caught out by the weather and it starts raining – is there nothing you could have done in order to be prepared for the downpour, or could you have maybe checked the weather forecast and took an umbrella or suitable clothing? And your exam – were you just unlucky that the questions you wanted didn’t come up, or is it a case of not being prepared for any eventuality?

Bad luck as a concept can be incredibly misleading. It acts as a mechanism which allows us to exempt ourselves from blame and responsibility when things don’t go to plan. It allows us to dive under the ‘bad luck’ security blanket, comforted knowing that ‘there was nothing we could have done, it was out of our hands’. It provides us with a quick, painless, guilt-free way to justify our misfortune, whilst putting no-one at fault.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity

Good luck in the same sense can also be misleading. I’m not talking about winning the lottery, but about the job offer you just received after doing incredibly well in your interview. Were you lucky, or were you just well prepared? That feeling of good luck doesn’t help us to acknowledge or value the result of effort and hard work. When things seem to be going well and everything is sliding into place, it’s not because you got lucky, but because of your actions alone. Recognise this, if only to inspire you to continue working hard and succeeding.

Everyone has the same luck, in that we all have the ability to take control of our own lives. The difference is between those who believe in being lucky and unlucky, and those who believe in creating their own luck. Continuing to blame wrong decisions and lack of preparation on bad luck will only result in making further such decisions until you assume responsibility of your own actions. On the other hand when you do something well, take note that your actions alone are the reason as to why you succeed, and continue in striving to achieve all that you deserve to achieve.

“I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it” – Thomas Jefferson

 

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The Facebook Trials: Use Or Abuse?

As a keen social network user, I don’t allow much time to pass without liking, commenting, sharing or uploading something onto the internet – in fact I’m doing it right now. With accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google and now WordPress, ways in which I can interact with other users continues to grow and I’m loving it all the more.

Klout

Now with me being me, anyone is right in assuming that all of my accounts are nicely linked together, with tweets and YouTube comments appearing effortlessly on my Facebook wall, and naturally, they’re all connected to Klout, which provides real time analysis of my influence across my networks – very nice indeed, although I’m not yet as influential as the Post Office, which is a constant niggle.

With so much interaction going on, I have to ask myself whether or not it’s all just a bit much? When I like a video on YouTube, does it really need to appear on Facebook to let friends know that I’ve liked it? Is it wrong to have more than 800 friends on Facebook, knowing that I regularly interact with less than 100 of them? This is the topic of discussion for this no doubt very long winded post.

Prior to writing this, I asked a few friends to comment on which aspects of my behaviour on social networking sites they found irritating. I also took the time to reflect on previous discussions I’ve had in the past on the same topic, trying to form solid key issues people may have with the way I use, or abuse, social networking sites (primarily Facebook). For argument’s sake let’s assume that the varied friends I’ve spoken to represent the average Facebook user, and that their comments would reflect the collective opinions of most average Facebook users.

Lucky Charms

One point I hadn’t thought about which did arise, was that I tend to overuse ‘lol’, ‘hehe’, and smileys :-). This is true, and whilst my intentions are good and I use them in writing only to replace the intonation of my voice, it has to be said that an average comment left by me on Facebook contains about four ‘lol’s, nine ‘hehe’s, and a generous helping of smileys and emoticons – like a child had hurled a bowl full of Lucky Charms across the floor. I’ll admit, you’re lucky you never spoke to me on MSN, as it was more ‘words and pictures’ than actual letters.

  • You have too many people on Facebook. Come on, you can’t honestly tell me that you speak to every single one of them. It’s pointless adding people you’ve met like, once in your life. It just clogs up your wall. I regularly go through my friends and delete the ones I don’t talk to any more, that way I only have the people I want on Facebook.”

Sound familiar? As it stands I have *quick check* 842 friends on Facebook, of which I interact with about, say, 40 at best. So why do I have roughly 800 people on Facebook if they’re only acquaintances? That’s just it – they’re acquaintances. Facebook, in all its infinite wisdom, actually gives you the option to put certain friends into categories based on how well you know them. Set them as an acquaintance, and their posts won’t clog up your walls with stories that are completely irrelevant to you.

“So why not just delete them?” – Simply because if I ever I need to get in touch with one of them, I can do. Perhaps I’ll find something I have in common with an old acquaintance and start a potential new friendship. A few days ago I messaged an acquaintance on Facebook (a boy who went to the same school as I did, but we never spoke) as he is now in the Royal Navy, and asked him a few questions as I too am wanting to join. Had I deleted him, I would have had to find him again, add him, wait for him to add me etc. Who knows, perhaps you’ll meet someone one day and find you have mutual friends? It’s a topic for conversation at the very least.

  • You update your status far too often. Every two minutes it’s “Tom Fox is hungry”, or “Tom Fox is cold”. Every time you like something on the internet, or leave a comment, it’s there on my wall. Either stop updating it every two minutes, or I’ll delete you because it’s annoying. And stop using hash tags on Facebook, that’s just for Twitter, unlink your profiles if you need to.”
Choose what you want to see, and how often you want to see it.

Choose what you want to see, and how often you want to see it.

This is a personal favourite, but it also comes with a rather loaded response similar to the one above. Facebook actually gives you the option to customise the updates you see from each individual friend. Imagine, being able to say “Right, you’re boring, don’t want to see anything from you”, or, “He posts too much, so I’ll opt only to see the most important updates from him”. Above all, for reasons I mentioned above, don’t delete someone because you aren’t using the tools provided, simply choose not to have their posts appear in your news feed. Who knows when you’ll need that person for something?

For hash tags, again, I’m simply making use of the tools and options provided. Yes, when a tweet is posted automatically on my wall and subsequently then appears in your news feed, it does look rather odd. At this point I’m afraid I’m just going to refer you to the above and say that the option to avoid seeing it is there. Perhaps you’d like to comment on my tweet? Stranger things have happened.

And finally, it would be the one message I wish the entire internet would hear and take notice of. Here’s how it goes.

  • You’re far too obsessed with your Timeline. Get a life! No-one wants to see on a map where you’ve been, when you were there, who you were with etc. Oh yeah, and when you tag yourself at a place, don’t tag me either! What? Just because I tagged you in Birmingham, USA by mistake you’re going to remove yourself from the photo so that it doesn’t look wrong on your Timeline? That’s ridiculous! I can’t be bothered to go through each photo and tag it correctly.”

Neglected TimelineWhere to start? Where to start? I guess I’ll start by showing you the map from a good friend of mine, who funnily enough was in several places on the planet all at exactly the same time; 1st January 2009! A lot of people complained about Timeline, annoyed that once they’d installed it, it was impossible to get rid of. Well to be totally honest when I see how most Timelines look, I’m not surprised people (well, the vast majority of my close friends at least) didn’t take to it. What could anyone possibly have to gain from a map with purple markers scattered randomly across it? But, for the few people like me who care and appreciate things looking organised, up to date, and tidy, Timeline is great.

I honestly do enjoy going back to it now and then, looking at the places I’ve visited, seeing who I’ve been there with etc. The dates are nice too, in that I can see how far I travelled in certain months. I can see where I was a year ago today! As much as I’d love for everything ever to be neat und organized, unless someone’s Timeline effects me (whether I’m tagged in it or what not) then I don’t really mind how it looks. Timeline is one of those things that, when used correctly, is wonderful. When used incorrectly however, is just a huge waste of time.

My response to the three issues all have one thing in common. I’d love to find a really great proverb that sums it up nicely, but I haven’t yet, so here goes – my message to the world;

“Whether it’s creating an online profile, setting up a phone for the first time, or even getting a letter in the post, spend just a few minutes there and then to input the right information, to set it up correctly, to file the letter away properly. Yes, it takes a few minutes , but it will save you so much time and effort in the future.”

Spend two minutes now filing the important letter away properly in order to save yourself five minutes each time you’re rummaging around your house and getting stressed trying to find it. Instead of blitzing through the initial option screens on your brand new camera so that you can get to the part where you can ‘just take pictures‘, spend a few minutes setting it up properly so that you know where your pictures will be stored, so that the photos are dated correctly. And when setting up a profile, set it up correctly so that if ever you lose your password, you can rest easy knowing that you set up a way to recover it.

In Facebook terms, I don’t expect anyone to sit for hours on end flicking through hundreds of friends, clicking on ‘acquaintance’ or ‘close friend’, and so I refer you to my little message. When adding a friend, just take an extra ten seconds or so to think “Am I likely to talk to them that much?” If not, say it’s someone you met on holiday, add them as an acquaintance there and then. Should they become a close friend in the future, you can always upgrade them to ‘friend’ (that sounds awful) and in the meantime, they won’t clog up your news feed with stories of absolutely no mutual understanding.

It’s been a long one, and my coffee cup is empty. But I’ve enjoyed writing it, and again, it’s primarily for me as a reference point for anyone who complains about my Facebook usage in the near future. I haven taken on board however, the comments about my use of smileys, lols, and hehes. You just can’t do emotion through written words alone. For example;

Whatever

Whatever 😉

Whatever hehe

lolololol whatever!

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Sun, Sex, and Suspicious Parents

Image

I guess I’ve always been rather regretful of the fact that I never did this ‘rite of passage’ into adulthood. Going abroad with all your mates, pockets full of cash and not a care in the world, getting as drunk as possible with the intention of bedding as many like-minded individuals as possible. Whilst I still have the rest of my life ahead of me, I’ve started to question whether or not it’s too late, or even if I’d enjoy it that much at all?

Picture the image. You’ve arrived in Greece, dumped your stuff in your hotel and you’re off out almost instantly into the blistering sunshine, necking cocktails and chatting up girls (or guys) dressed in, well, not much, and your chances of success are let’s face it, pretty high.

Whilst I’m no Will McKenzie from the beloved The Inbetweeners, I get the feeling that before dashing out into the wilderness leaving the hotel looking like a jumble sale, I’d prefer to assign beds and drawers to each person. I’d feel better knowing that everyone had their own towel already put out, that everyone’s toiletries were neatly organised in the bathroom, and that we first establish an understanding that each person had their own space for clothes and belongings and such, so that when we return to the room we can climb instantly into bed, and wake up the next day in a tidy, stress free environment, having to deal only with the inevitable hangover.

I love the program, and each time I watch it I do ask myself “Why haven’t I done that?”. It is something I would enjoy to no end, and whilst I’m not all that big on ‘one night stands’ either (having never done one – it’s just not me) I know that I would have a fantastic time. Yet come the scenes where the lads are dossing about the hotel room, hung over or getting ready for a night out, the thought of leaving the room in such a chaotic mess leaves me with a feeling of…“perhaps I’m past it?”

Or perhaps I’m just too anal about organisation and tidiness. Like Will, I’ll defend to the death my argument that being tidy, neat and organised is how it should be, and that to be messy, unstructured and chaotic is simply wrong, in all aspects of life. However like Will, I’d be better off keeping my mouth shut and just getting on with it.

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At Present

To anyone reading this, I’ll say now that it’s just another test post to bulk out the blog a bit. I’m getting the hang of this a bit better now, and am close to writing my first real post. Exciting stuff. At present it’s 2:42am and my coffee cup is empty. I’ve assigned the next few hours to working on this blog, which means I’ve naturally got a nice playlist of music set up to accompany me through until 4am, and a lovely clean organised desk at which to work. Whilst my sleeping pattern is horrendous at the moment, there’s a second reason I’m staying up so late.

Tomorrow is my brother’s passing out parade. I might have the title wrong, but he’s completed his basic training in the army and is now an ‘air troop’. It’s fantastic news and I’m really happy for him, but not all that surprised as I knew he’d do it. The plan is to be up for 4am, leaving the house at 5am. Knowing that I wouldn’t be in bed anyway until at least 3am, I thought “Why not use this time to get this done?” Plus, I think my blog is still linked to my social networks. If it is, then it means that by morning any status updates saying that I’ve updated my blog will be buried, and no-one will complain about me ‘spamming’ their Facebook walls.

The weather will prove to be an issue as the huge band of snow coming in from the west is, I believe, over Wales right now. As the day progresses, it’ll move further east until it covers our entire journey to Surrey and back. Great. My plan is to sleep on the journey down, then again on the way back up.

With that said, it’s time for another cup of coffee. Apologies to anyone reading for such a boring post, it’s just another test one so I can see how the blog looks with several posts.

At Long Last!

I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a long time, and after over complicating it for months on end, at long last I’ve finally done it. I’m pretty sure I have enough things I’d like to write about, and to be honest I’m quite excited about getting started so here goes. This first post really has only one function – as a test post. I’m still playing around with the settings and appearance of my blog, and it’s a lot easier to play around with once I’ve got some actual content.

Hopefully this will start looking nice soon, and with me being me I won’t write another word until it’s exactly how I want it to be. Whilst this ‘project’, if you will, is primarily for me as a mechanism to get my thoughts down on paper, it will hopefully lead to some interesting discussions amongst friends.

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