Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Take Me Away, Shuffle Function Wednesday - 05/08/15

The Rules of Shuffle Function Wednesday.
  1. Pick a song.
  2. Put your player on shuffle.
  3. You cannot skip any song.
  4. Sit back and relax.

Always On This Line
Sarah Blasko
Scum Of The Earth
Rob Zombie
Losing Grip
Avril Lavigne
Kick Some Ass
Fuck Was I
Jenny Owen Youngs
Revolution Deathsquad
Mama Told Me Not To Come
Stereophonics (feat Tom Jones)
With Oden On Our Side
Amon Amarth
Stranger In A Strange Land
Iron Maiden
Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey’s Head
Twist In My Sobriety
Tanita Tikaram
Still Alive (featuring Sara Quin)
Jonathan Coulton
Famous Blue Raincoat
Jonathan Coulton
Mojo Pin
Jeff Buckley
Why’s Everybody Always Picking On Me
Bloodhound Gang
Everything But The Girl
Charlotte Martin
Wind Is Blowing Stars
Laura Veirs
Cupo Dolore
Mike Patton
Made For TV Movie
Run To Paradise
The Choirboys
Stay Home
Little Shadow
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The She
The Breeders
The Grates
The Other Side
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Empire Of The Sun
Mean To Me
Crowded House
A Thousand Miles
Vanessa Carlton
How My Heart Behaves
With Teeth
Nine Inch Nails
Holier Than Thou
Alice Cooper
Arch Enemy
Gave Up
Nine Inch Nails
A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Simon & Garfunkel

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Eternal Argument

I got caught in a TEDX loop the other day.

You click on one talk, Youtube helpfully suggests a handful of other talks you may be interested in, you click on one or more of those, they each come with their own suggestions, and all of a sudden it's hours later, you have dozens of tabs open, and you're all full of enthusiasm and possibly some contradictory ideas.

The talk that tripped me up this time was The Ten-Item Wardrobe by Jennifer L Scott.

The reason it threw me out so much is that it restarted an argument my brain likes to have every now and then which boils down to:

'Having nice new things is lovely but this thing isn't broken yet and throwing it out would be wasteful.'

The start of the talk sort of lulled me into that 'holy shit, I'm going to change some habits' enthusiasm when she spoke about making sure that clothes fit you, are age appropriate, are in good nick, and suit your style.

I'm sure there are plenty of things in my wardrobe and drawers that could get donated or tossed because I don't wear them any more (or shouldn't wear them any more) and I have been slowly getting around to that in stages.

The bit that derailed the full steam ahead enthusiasm train was when she spoke about getting rid of her baggy sweatpants and t-shirt sleepwear combo and buying some nice pyjamas instead.

Because I am totally on board with the idea that the clothes you wear outside should be done away with when they get holes you can't mend or have become noticeably shabby, but when I'm sleeping... who cares?

The singlets or trackies that aren't nice enough to wear outside any more but are still doing OK make fine being unconscious accoutrement.

Having a nice pair of jim jams to wear when you go away on holidays or are staying at someone else's place isn't a bad idea, I have some floating around the place myself, but getting rid of stuff that could conceivably be serviceable for this purpose for years...

Jennifer said it was to do with treating yourself and feeling well put together at all times, even in private or when sleeping but... eh.

I think I'm going to end up with a compromise where I buy good quality stuff that'll last a decent while, get rid of stuff that doesn't cut it any more, and continue to enjoy my daggy at-home-wear because ditching it for nicer new threads won't make me feel elegant and confident, it'll make me feel wasteful.

Now I'm going to wander off and watch some more videos about minimalism, something that appeals to me intellectually and emotionally but which I will never be able to pursue because I like my stuff too much...

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Take Me Away, Shuffle Function Wednesday - 29/07/15

The Rules of Shuffle Function Wednesday.
  1. Pick a song.
  2. Put your player on shuffle.
  3. You cannot skip any song.
  4. Sit back and relax.

Conditions of my Parole
Flight of Icarus
Iron Maiden
This Heart Attack
In The Lake
Emilie Simon
Kate Miller-Heidke
Man In The Moon
Iron Lion Zion
Bob Marley & The Wailers
Home is where it hurts
Still Alive (featuring Sara Quin)
Jonathan Coulton
Breaking Point
Every Single Night
Fiona Apple
Thanks For Today
Kate Miller-Heidke
A Distinctive Sound
The bends
All The Aces
Mr Bungle
Poor Doggie
Eagles of Death Metal
Kids With Guns
Dance of Death
Iron Maiden
Aretha Franklin
Green Onions
Booker T & the MGs
Quote Unquote
Mr Bungle
Love’s Not A Competition (But I’m Winning)
Kaiser Chiefs
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Let’s Have A War
A Perfect War
Nine Inch Nails
Little Sister
Queens of the Stone Age
Everyday Formula
Lady Helen
Devin Townsend
Under The Milky Way Tonight
The Church
Sucker (feat Norah Jones)
Peeping Tom
Hurt (Quiet)
Nine Inch Nails
Until It Sleeps

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Beyond Comprehension

I want to start this post with a general spiel about what people consider normal, or refer to an article I've read recently, or any of the usual intros that these things often kick off with but this time I honestly can't.

What I'm starting with is this: my 21 year old cousin does not know how to cut her own fingernails.

Yes, you read that correctly.

I've always known she was sheltered, a bit lazy, and that her parents do more for her than they should* but this was the first time that I truly grasped the magnitude of the issue.

We were at a family gathering and halfway through she realised that she had netball afterwards and had to trim her fingernails first or she wouldn't be allowed on the court.

She didn't have anything useful with her so she started biting them off.

Seeing what she was up to, I pulled out a basic set of nail clippers that I keep in my handbag and passed them over.
These sort of dealies, you know the ones.
She thanked me, put them over the end of her nail without opening them and then proceeded to swivel them about, trying to get them to work like a man unsure of how to apply a can opener to a can in a way that will produce food.

Starting to get a bit worried now, I said 'oh here let me get that' and popped them open for her and demonstrated the clipping motion.
She thanked me again, applied the clippers to her fingernail, clamped down and then instead of clipping through, ripped the end of her nail off, then calmly applied it to her next fingernail to do the same.

At this point I think my brain started screaming, and a nail later I managed to get my body to move, plucked them out of her grip and said 'let me tidy those up for you'** and cut her nails for her because Jesus Electric Sliding Christ!

How do you get to 21 without learning how to cut your own nails?

This means that someone else has been doing it for 21 years!

Outside of the times she's presumably gnawed them off.

And if she hasn't learned how to trim her own nails what else hasn't she learned?

There have been a lot of articles written about helicopter parenting*** in the last decade particularly.

Articles about how helicopter parenting is leaving adults stuck in adolescence because overly helpful parents have sought to protect them from disappointment too effectively or have not been able to step back and allow them to learn from their own mistakes.

Articles about how parents are pushing their children into learning environments or professions that make them miserable in the belief that they're setting them up for success later in life which will counterbalance today's misery with future happiness and security.

One of the most extreme manifestations of this inability to deal with 'the real world' or life in general comes in the form of Japan's Hikikomori, individuals so overcome by the pressure to succeed or the fear of social missteps that they lock themselves in their rooms, barely emerging for years.

This of course the extreme but it all has to start somewhere.

Wanting your child to be successful, to achieve their potential, is an admirable goal but it has to be seen within the context of a full life.

Kids also have to be taught how to manage their time, to cook, to take care of themselves, and to balance priorities.

This means introducing chores, encouraging them to manage their own responsibilities during childhood and letting them experience the consequences of failing.

I know my parents bailed me out more than a few times when I panicked about having left an assignment until the last minute or accidentally left it at home and begged for someone to run it to me at school during lunch time so I wouldn't get in trouble.

They also let me fall on my face sometimes so that I realised that I'm the person who needed to remember to do my homework because no-one else was going to do it for me.

My Dad wouldn't give me the answers, he would ask me questions until I started forming my own.

It was a balance that did see me wide-eyed and more than a little nervous at the idea of failing academically but in a position where I could - after having a bit of a panic - manage to talk myself down and through what I needed to get done.

I'm still a bit prone to doing things at the last minute because I know I'm smart enough to get away with it in certain situations but I've also come up against enough situations where being smart doesn't cut it because the task required time and effort to be put into it that couldn't be papered over with a good vocabulary.

But I learned this through trial and error, sometimes having to run smack bang into consequences multiple times before the lesson stuck.

Without encountering natural low-risk failures during their younger years, kids can't possibly get a realistic view of what failure means and how to cope with it or overcome it as they get older.

Every prospective failure will be seen as terrifying.

And you will end up with someone who can't cook, doesn't clean up after themselves, drops out of multiple university courses and can't cut their own fingernails.

Because good lord, there is an age at which children should be put in charge of their own personal grooming and it is a lot younger than twenty-friggin'-one!

*She's been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder in the last 4 years so now the waiting on her is more of a 'keep an eye on her so she doesn't hurt herself' thing rather than anything else but I can't help but think that if they had given her more rules to follow and boundaries to respect that 'none', she would have been in a better place to deal with her mental illness.

**I know I should have shown her how to use them properly and returned them to her but by this stage I just couldn't bear the idea of her doing something else outlandish. I did point out that if you squeeze them firmly they cut right through and I had shown her how to open them and close them but I'm guessing the lesson won't have stuck.

***See, this is where I would have started this post if I could have stopped my brain wailing 'Her nails! Can't even cut her own nails!'

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Take Me Away, Shuffle Function Wednesday - 22/07/15

The Rules of Shuffle Function Wednesday.
  1. Pick a song.
  2. Put your player on shuffle.
  3. You cannot skip any song.
  4. Sit back and relax.

Over and Over
Hot Chip
Ether Sings
Laura Veirs
Go Forth And Die
Shake It Out
Florence and the Machine
Once Sent From The Golden Hall
Amon Amarth
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Def Leppard
Isku pitkästä ilosta
The Blood Is Love
Queens of the Stone Age
Regular People (Conceit)
Laura Veirs
(Just Like We) Breakdown
Hot Chip
Quiet Houses
Fleet Foxes
Your Winter
Sister Hazel
Lounge Act
Karma Zoo
Morning Birds
Kristin Hersh
The Martinis
Do It Again
Queens of the Stone Age
First Day Of My Life
Bright Eyes
Three Little Birds
Bob Marley and the Wailers
Rock The House
Dirty Love
Alice in Chains
Vesaisen sota
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Iron Maiden
Massive Attack
35 Ghosts IV
Nine Inch Nails
Lament of a Mortal Soul
Arch Enemy
The Man Who Would Be King
Iron Maiden
Machine Gun Fellatio