Tag Archives: thought

Serial – The podcast that got me hooked

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I usually read when I travel to work… but I go through phases when it comes to reading. For about a month I can go through multiple books, then the next month I loose interest.

At the start of this month I was having one of those can’t be bothered reading moments. So I had a think about an alternative. I remembered having listened to one or two episodes of “The Ricky Gervais Show”, a podcast where him and two of his friends sit and talk about the world and their views on it.

I then found a easy listening sports podcast called “Fighting talk”, basically a snippet of a radio show on BBC radio.

But I wanted something a bit different, something that stimulates some thought. So i downloaded a load of the “Top Rated” podcasts hoping something would pop up.

I found myself listening to the firs episode of a podcast called “Serial”. Originally I thought this was just a fictional audiobook, written by some crime novelist, also available in book stores… but it was much more.

Basically Sarah Koenig, a american radio personality hosts this series, which is an investigation into the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, in Baltimore, Maryland. The series explores the evidence, defence and prosecution of Adnan Syed, who was convicted for the murder.

Sarah explores all of the storylines, interviewing Adnan and many of those involved or around on the day of the killing, and the podcast itself bring serious questions about the truth in the case.

I am about half way through the series just now, but would urge everyone to give this a listen. I will no doubt blog some more about my own thoughts on the case and the podcast itself, but want to reach the end before I do so, to ensure I’ve heard the lot.

One day I believe Adnan is innocent, the next I don’t buy his story.

Give it a listen..

Blo88er

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Recent Watch – “The Interview”

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Its one of the most controversial movies of all time, certainly in more recent years. So far that North Korea requested the movie be cancelled and never released, in a much less polite manner, I may add. I decided that I had to see what all the fuss is about, having seen a few “Rogen and Franco flicks”, I know these can be somewhat outrageous,.. yes “This is the End” i’m talking about you.

I initially felt robbed, the way the movie introduced the North Korean leader caught me by surprise, and he was depicted as a man just hugely misunderstood. I wondered what all of the fuss was about.. It didn’t last. He soon became the eccentric and power hungry leader that we see in the news, and I can see why he was slightly pissed about the way the film portrayed him, as well as the way in which they killed him off.

The film has some good laughs and Franco plays a slightly self obsessed, and eccentric chat show host, which  delivers some of the most memorable lines from the movie.

I didn’t laugh just as hard as I expected though, which was the feeling shared by the company I was in. However, about a week later, the movie came up in conversation, and we started to rhyme off some of the lines from the movie, which did lead to much laughter and more discussion.

This is the kind of film it is, one of the movies you watch, you enjoy, but you feel guilty and not enjoying s much as you felt you should have. This is solely down to the hype of others who viewed it before you, and the huge influence the media has had over its release.

Nevertheless, I do think back to it now, and can appreciate some of the classic lines that the movie delivered. Its worth it for that.

For me the film is far from the level of Superbad and the first time I watched The Hangover, but it does have a few of those lines that just get you every time.

Blo88er

A round of applause – Hugh Laurie

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I just finished a quick review on the film “Her” starring Joaquin Phoenix, in which I mentioned the actors ability to connect with his audience on a real and emotional level.

I have also recently become hooked to the first season of TV series “House”, starring Hugh Laurie. the huge success of this series, with 8 seasons in total, owes very much of its praise to the man behind Gregory House. Laurie is exceptional at portraying the damage and disabled, diagnostician, who’s best known for his quick but insulting wit. He is hugely sarcastic and extremely smart, and is perceived initially as somewhat of an arrogant, uninterested skiver.

As we get to know House, we start to realise there is much more to the man than initially thought, and that his intentions are indeed selfless. There are so many layers to the man, and I believe it is the Character Hugh Laurie was made to play. The sympathy we feel for a man who is nothing but insulting most of the time, is a difficult connection for an actor to achieve, but no matter how horrible he is, you can’t help but love him and share his pain.

The writers are also worthy of an applause, given the type of series house is, it is commendable that the writers have managed to keep producing story lines for house and the gang, considering the amount of research that must be involved.

This is a terrific series, and everyone should give it a go at some point, even if this is only for the brief few minutes per episode that we see house have to suffer his “clinic hours”, which brings about some of the most witty humour the small screen has ever seen.

All 8 seasons currently available on Netflix.

Blo88er

Recent watch – “Her”

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Have you ever watched a film starring an actor who plays a part so well that, for 90 minutes you start to believe is real, and you genuinely believe the joy and heartache that the character experiences in that short time ?

Director Spike Jonze released “Her”, a futuristic love story, in December 2013. He cast Joaquin Phoenix as “Theodore” a somewhat lonely writer, who discovers a new world upon purchasing a newly released operating system, that, after a few quick questions, designs itself to be your perfect OS.

Imagine apples ‘Siri”, but sometime into the future, and you have Samantha, Theodore’s perfect matching OS. The story line is good, although many question whether the performance of the OS is actually realistic, the movie certainly delivers entertainment on a plot that I myself questioned would hold my attention.

The movie proves that relationships rely on so much more than physical aspects and shows the audience a full example of the ups and downs of a relationship. The script is good, but the cast is the best part ..

Scarlett Johansson provides the vocals of the OS, and to be honest, she sounds like every mans perfect woman. Joaquin Phoenix portrays that damaged, lonely character so well, you can’t help but ooze sympathy for him, share his happiness in those joyful moments. You want things to work out for him.

Once a film connects with you at that level, you know its going to be a winner.

If your looking for something a bit different, and can cope with a minute or two of extreme awkwardness, give this one a go. But please, approach with an open mind.

Blo88er

Recent Read – The Humans

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I recently finished reading “The Humans” by Matt Haig. In the beginning.. I didn’t like it.. I read what the book was about, I got an idea in my head of what I wanted the book to be like, and out of its 294 pages, the first 270 odd never done it for me. I continued to read in the hope the book would pick up.

The plot is based around a man named Prof Andrew Martin, whom after an incident one evening, finds himself no longer enjoying and accepting basic human life, but instead struggling to comprehend how and why we live. Therefore he starts to view our world as if as an alien, having never experienced our world first hand..

I felt at times as if I had picked up a book that had been incorrectly placed in the adults section of Waterstones book shop.

However, around page 271, near the end of the book, Prof Martin lists, all the things he has learned about human life since that peculiar night and it is at this point the book finally started to meet my expectation. I finally found some food for thought.

He questions everything – and advised we should too, in point number 6.

“Be curious, question everything. A present fact is a future fiction”. He then goes on to do so..

At one stage in the book he considers the mathematical probability of human existence, before the big bang (or any other possible theory of our existence). This is one of my favourite lines in the book, point 13 –

“You shouldn’t have been born, Your existence is close to impossible as can be. To dismiss the impossible is to dismiss yourself.”

Its something to think about. The odds of us existing are near impossible, so why do we so easily dismiss other things because we have been told they are also near impossible.

Another point the Prof raised is point 14.

On Average ” your life will have 25,000 days in it. Make sure you remember some of them.”

Think quickly now, of the days you have lived so far, how many can you remember and for what reason. Eliminate the bad ones, and the reasons you have for remembering these days, is how you want to try and live moving forward. The more days you can remember the better your life may have been.

Another suggestion, that is relevant to so many people I meet on a daily basis is that in point 15.

“The road to snobbery is the road to misery, and Vice Versa”.. This one is self explanatory.

One of my favourites is point 29.

“If there is a sunset, stop and look at it. Knowledge is finite. Wonder is infinite.”

Remember to live, and don’t mis the opportunity to experience real life. This leads to point 46.

” Things you don’t need to live – books, art, wine, cinema and so on – are the things you need to live“.

Things that truly have the ability to make us happy are a key theme of this list, and this is put quite bluntly in point 66.

“As a black hole forms it creates an immense gamma-ray burst, blinding whole galaxies with light and destroying millions of worlds. You could disappear at any second. This one, Or this one. Or this one. Make sure as often as possible, you are doing something you’d be happy to die doing.”

I think this one is important, because I think its human nature, to take on heavy workload, to get caught up in things like our work, in which we forget that thats all they are. They are not our entire life, they are but a small part of a very, very long lifetime, they should only be treated as such. Remember whats most important, and give your time to it.

I think point 77 appears random, but when you think about it, its important in current times, and links with the points above

“When you watch the news and see members of your species in turmoil, do not think there is nothing you can do. But know that it is not done by watching the news.” Again, this one explains itself.

In the end I was relieved that I made the decision to finish this book. Matt Haig brings about some philosophical thoughts come the end of the novel, which is exactly what I had been looking for. There are 97 in the list, most relating to an experience from the story itself. It wasn’t until I got until the end, I realised what I had been reading. The books is kind of like an outsiders guide to basic human life and existence. Not to complex and in most parts not over simplified. Just enough to get you thinking, and to start valuing the things that matter…

In the end .. I kind of loved it.

Blo88er

Mystery Box

You wake up one morning to find a beautifully wrapped package next to your bed. Attached to it is a note: “Open me, if you dare.” What’s inside the mystery box? Do you open it?

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mystery Box.”

(Set sometime in my childhood)

Light shines in through my bedroom window, my eyes flicker open, I am surprised I had been asleep, the excitement that had built in me throughout christmas eve kept me awake thinking of all of the wonders christmas day would hold. I sit up and move my feet towards the floor, but they brush of something on the way down. I look down, there is a box sitting at the side of my bed. Its wrapped !

Santa always left gifts downstairs in our living room, and often left my stocking on the door handle of my bedroom, but a gift in my room was never something I had received before. The excitement built within me, I couldn’t wait to go and get my parents before I opened it. I lifted it onto my bed, analysing the size and shape, what could it be. It felt light, limiting the possibilities.

I ripped the wrapping paper, without any care, the box was red. I couldn’t think what the contents could be, the box was so light. I lifted the lid and looked inside…

I was disappointed, I felt someone had tricked me. The box was empty. Perhaps my sister had been playing a prank, and it had worked. My disappointment was soon forgotten, as we went downstairs to find wonderful gifts left by the tree.

After I had opened everything, I felt truly blessed, I had everything I could have possibly have wanted. Following tradition it was time to give my own gifts to my parents and sister. Being so young, my mum always picked something up for my dad and sister, I just handed it over. My gran would usually help pick something for my mum. This year I had saved some pocket money, and with some help from my gran I had managed to save up enough to get my mum the purse that she had desperately wanted. It was going to be perfect. I went upstairs to get it, from its hiding place in my cupboard, with a fresh burst of excitement. I couldn’t wait to see her face as she unwrapped it. I pulled it from inside the cupboard and disaster struck.. the paper ripped, and the purse fell out.

I was devastated, there would be no surprise, it looked as if I hadn’t went to the efforts that I had. She would love it still I’m sure, but it wouldn’t be as perfect as I imagined. I sat on my bed with the red purse in hand, my head fell slightly… and there it was. It was perfect.

I handed over the red box, my mum looked excited. As she opened it her eyes lit up, her face spoke a thousand words. She hugged me and thanked me, and in that moment not only had I forgotten about all the wonderful gifts I had received, but I realised that the suspicious little box at the side of my bed hadn’t been empty at all. It contained a lesson.. a reminder.

Christmas is not about receiving all these wonderful presents. The true wonder of christmas is about giving. No matter what you spend, no matter how rare the gift, the act of giving and the effort it takes, mixed with genuinely making someone so very happy.. that is christmas, and I could see it in my mums eyes.

I turned to my sister, she looked on in disbelief, and I could tell… she had seen that box before.

A very late merry christmas, and a happy new year.

Blo88er

The Elevator

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“If you had to be trapped in an elevator with anyone of your choice, who would it be?”

I think many people would answer this question in a similar way. Who have I always wanted to meet? Who would I love to strike up a conversation with that I otherwise would never meet. I think some would say the president, because he knows so much that we do not, in hope that he would share the secrets of the white house with us. Other would choose that super celebrity that they always had a thing for, in the hope that given the opportunity they could make them fall in love with them. Other would just pick the most famous person they can think of and have little reason as to why they think that this one person, is the person they would choose to spend this time with.

Me… I don’t need to spend a few hours with Scarlett Johansson or Beyonce. I don’t need to try and debunk all of worlds conspiracies with the president of the United States. For me, the most entertaining and interesting person of all, that I would hands down choose in this scenario. That person would be my Papa. My dads, dad.

Like many of his generation, he grew up through school, went off to the RAF for a few years, returned in the old romantic era, fell in love, played in a band, had kids, and retired with his loving wife, surrounded with grandchildren, who in turn are now at the beginning of their long and every changing journey through life.

His journey, may seem similar to millions of others, insignificant in a way. He wasn’t a Forrest Gump typed character, that has had more life experience than the worlds oldest man could even claim. But he does have one quality that makes his journey through life unique. One quality, that actually does make him rise above even Forrest Gump and his story.

My papa could tell a story…

Ive heard him tell so many, yet I look forward to hearing them again. Stories of when he was in the desert in the RAF, and was on watch duty. About the time he rang the bell as there were headlights in the distance, that turned out only to be the sun rising over the sandy dunes. Of when he played the accordion in a ceilidh band, in the middle of the era of romance, when the old romantics waltzed every weekend and lived life how it should be lived.

But the best thing about him is that, given his old age, he has lived so many days, that it isn’t possible to have heard every story he has to tell. Which means that every time I get to see him, new unheard stories ( even to my Gran), surface. The family sits round him and listens to him.

I, like my papa, already have stories of my own, and I tell them as often as I can. He could make any story worth listening to, which in turn, makes him so very worth listening to.

That is why I don’t need to share that elevator with a celebrity, or someone that I might never otherwise get the chance to meet. Because no-one that I could choose, would be more worthy or worth it , than spending time with him.

Maybe the reason I like to hear his stories so many times over and over again, is because I know that he won’t always be around to tell them. Therefore, I will be responsible for passing on these memories, which are, put simply –  his legacy. I only hope I can do his tales the justice that they deserve, and tell them half as good as he does.

Because.. honestly … in my opinion, they are so worth sharing.

Thanks for reading and I ask.. this christmas, take a little extra time to remember those gran parents who are no longer with you, and if you are fortunate enough to have them with you, listen to their stories, however many times you have heard, however much you really don’t want to wait to reach the ending you all know is coming. Please, just smile and wish them a heartfelt merry christmas, because in years to come, you might be sitting with your own grandchildren telling them about a year you sat their, with your grandfather or grandma, and tell them the story and it will mean the everything in the whole world to you that they listened and laughed with you for just those few quick minutes.

Blo88er

One Question

“If you had to come up with one question, the answer to which would determine whether or not you could be friends with a person you’ve just met, what would it be? What would the right answer be?”

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Litmus, Litmus on the Wall.”

If I had one question, which would determine whether or not you could be friends with a person I had just met, I know what it would be…

The question would be ..

“If you had to come up with one question, the answer to which would determine whether or not you could be friends with a person you’ve just met, what would it be? What would the right answer be?”

I think the answer to this question, might tell you far more than most others. Can someone really know everything they need to know about someone based on one question? . Should a potential friendship rely on someone getting one single answer correct ?.

I think if I asked someone this question, I would look for them to decline. I think i would look for some acknowledgment that this is a difficult question to answer, as a friendship is far more complex than sharing one particular view.

Answer the question as I just have or respond that you couldn’t judge something so special on the basis of one question, then that .. that ..would be the right answer to my question..

Maybe I have cheated, but thats my answer.

Blo88er

Information Overload

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein
Do you agree?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Overload Alert.”

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We are processing information all of the time. We wake up in the morning, and before we even open our eyes, and pay attention to our senses we are processing information. We arrive at work, school etc and thats where the real information starts to flow. Information that also requires attention. Even when we return home and go to sleep, our brains are still working and processing information.

In my line of work, I rely on information. When I work with our clients I rely on information. Our Clients rely on me to solve problems. Some small, some hugely important to both our own and their business. I gather information from a number of different sources, and it it what I do with that information that allows me to resolve situations. The information I receive is hugely important, as this is the basis for many important business decisions, which can be the difference between success and failure, profit and loss, jobs or no jobs.

I try and help develop others within our business, to better their thinking when it comes to gathering information, and managing it. I often find that many of the people I work with are capable of taking a small piece of information and proceed with this as expected. however, when presented with a lot of information at once, they struggle to filter down to the important stuff and set aside the minor details, which hinders their common sense approach. For our business, this can cause very quick problems.

I think this is where I tend to agree with Stein. I see this on a daily basis, that an overload of information can lead to poor decisions that lack a very basic approach. I believe in common sense. I find that many of the people who come to me in a panic, asking so many questions at once, simply need calmed down (and sometime a point in the right direction), and they often realise that they already knew the answer to their own question.

In my position, it is vital that I can quickly source information,  distinguish the relevant stuff and make quick decisions based on this. When I develop others, teaching them how to recognise what is relevant, is the trickiest part, (assuming they have common sense). When they know how to take a step back and not become over whelmed, this aids success.

I would stay Stein has a point, but only in certain circumstances. If you are used to an environment that relies on information (which is more places than you think), and you learn how to manage this, you will be able to take a step back and use a common sense approach.

Information means little if you don’t no how to manage it. If you master this, you can prove Stein wrong. If you don’t, then you prove him correct.

What he should have said is –

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that if they fail to manage this by filtering what is relevant to a particular situation, they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein

Blo88er

Recently acquired

“What’s the most important (or interesting, or unexpected) thing about blogging you know today that you didn’t know a month ago?”

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Recently Acquired.”

I am still new to the blogging game, and before beginning I new very little about it. I didn’t know what sites were the ones to visit, what content I should be writing about, or how to get people to read what I write. But in the short few months that I have been blogging, I would say I have learned a few little things about the blogging world.

I like many others who blog, do so to get ideas out of my head, I enjoy thought, I enjoy asking questions about everything. But once I have had  thought, or my run of thought runs out, everything is forgotten. I want to share my thoughts, share my ideas and hopefully others will be interested in a post or two. As much is it has become a beneficial hobbies, I do like many other still want that one things, that can be very hard to get…. readers.

In my initial pursuit for people who may be interested in my blogs I discovered that there is more to blogging than that. It not all about me !. There are many incredible blogger out there, who write such interesting, humorous and compelling posts. In reading and gaining an interest in other peoples blogs, I have automatically gained more views and visits than ever before, but not through trying to attract them, but for having a genuine interest in their work.

If you truly want to enjoy blogging I believe the trick is to interact with other bloggers, get interested and appreciate their posts.

When I started getting the desire to post, I had little motivation, nothing to write about and could not work out how to get started. I have learned that one, the use of writing prompts such as in this post and two, simply posting more and more will help inspire new posts and uncover new thoughts and ideas.

I hope to continue to develop my blog and hopefully interest others as much as possible in the process. Ultimately I look forward to reading other peoples posts and unravelling new ideas and thoughts to contribute to my writing.

Blo88er