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Posts in Category: Sleep

Champions Forever

Friday 22nd April 2011

I’m looking for something to watch tonight, and I remembered that I have the above film bookmarked. To help me decide whether to watch it now, I’ve just watched the first part. The introduction is possibly the best introduction to, and explanation of, motorsport and the reason why it’s so easy to let it get under your skin. Why there are millions of people who are so passionate about cars going round and round:

“During those three days, the human capacity for excellence, for ingenuity, for callousness, for vulgarity, for sheer noise, for waste, for daring, for beauty… Those capacities are stretched about as far as they can go.”

And that’s why it’s such a captivating spectacle.

Whilst I’m linking to things which are cool, here’s another video on a similar vein. It was made by the BBC, a couple of years ago. And it’s full of awesome:

And also, the BBC’s introduction this year was really good (even if it’s voiced by Eddie Jordan…).

This year promises to be an epic season; we’re now 3 races in, and they’ve all been very good. In fact the last race (which is still on iPlayer) was one of the best I’ve seen. As usual, I strongly recommend that you at least give it a go, at least once (from the beginning of the race, and paying full attention…).

Posted In: MotorsportSleep Tagged: | No Comments

Just a Thought

Tuesday 16th November 2010

I’ve already written down some of my thoughts about the university fee proposals, on this blog and in comments elsewhere. I have little else to offer on the rights or wrongs of the policy, because frankly I’m fed up of reading impassioned critiques which are at best self-contradictory, or at worse seem to me to have little bearing on reality.

Anyway. Something that people often say is that fees prevent poorer people from going to university. As an aside, perhaps the correlation is more to do with the inequality in lower education; parents’ wealth apparently correlates with how well kids do at GCSEs. Which would imply that students from poorer backgrounds are at a disadvantage because they are less likely to be academically able enough to go to university. Perhaps.

Let’s assume that fees genuinely do deter poorer students from university. It’s probably a fair assumption actually, or at least part of the problem. But I would argue that there’s actually no real barrier to those people going to university, what with the generous terms of the loan, the bursaries that are available, and so on.

So why does that happen? I’ve read that it’s down to perception. That people just don’t like the idea of taking on debt, even though it’s the nicest form of debt you could possibly have, and you should never have problems paying for it.

If this is the case – and to me it seems the most plausible explanation – was it really wise for 50,000 students (or however many it was) to have a jolly to London last week, advertising how expensive university is and how people won’t be able to afford it? Is that really going to do anything to persuade those who are less well off that, actually, they can afford to study; or is it instead just going to reinforce that false perception that it’s too expensive? Hmm.

Posted In: PoliticsRantSleep Tagged: | 1 Comment

Breathe

Monday 15th November 2010

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don’t be afraid to care
Leave but don’t leave me
Look around and choose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all your touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be

This is one of my absolute favourite songs. It’s the first proper song from Dark Side of the Moon, and what a way to kick that album off! It starts with Speak To Me, which is essentially a heartbeat (actually a drum) which steadily gets louder, with loads of other sound effects and snippets and which is quite hard to explain. It all builds up until the start of Breathe. With that crisp bass riff, the sumptuous pedal steel guitar, the soft drum beat… It just washes over you, this lovely warm, laid back sound. And then a minute or so later the singing kicks in; David Gilmour softly singing, with this tone of… resignation almost, which is compelling but at the same time slightly contrasting with the feel of the music. It’s captivating.

I think it’s interesting how my music listening habits have changed over the years. In the past I used to listen to it all the time, but now not so much. For instance when I want to concentrate on something (like work, or when I’m reading), I generally find it trickier to do that now with music on. I sometimes get away with putting certain types of music on when I work, but generally that’s music that I’m not hugely keen on otherwise I’d start paying more attention to that! This is one of the reasons why I don’t listen to things like Pink Floyd all that much any more; it requires me to decide to stop and listen to music rather than just putting it on in the background.

Run rabbit run
Dig that hole, forget the sun
And when at last the work is down
Don’t sit down, it’s time to dig another one
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave

The second verse is more cynical than the first, perhaps even bitter. The ideas of work never stopping; racing towards an early grave. I suppose it’s an expression of dissatisfaction with the drudgery of everyday life, but still with that luscious, warm sound which envelopes you as you listen. And still with the tone of resignation in Gilmour’s voice.

The upshot, I suppose, is that I probably spend more time listening to music these days. I mean really listening, as opposed to merely having it on in the background. It’s great to go somewhere quiet with a decent pair of headphones, stick an album on and then lose myself in the music, although I don’t even do that all too frequently now. I generally listen for a short period between doing other things, because I don’t always have an hour or so to dedicate to listening to an album. And that’s something I never thought I’d do, actually. A few years ago I pretty much only listened to albums in their entirety, because it sort of puts music in context; listening to one song is almost like reading just one chapter of a book. I was probably a bit snobbish about it really, but now I’m less averse to just listening to the songs I want to listen to.

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells

And later, of course, the encore. It’s the same again. This comes just after Time, and we go from hearing about how “hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way”, to this. It’s almost like a temporary respite, a shelter from a harsh realities of life. And it really is temporary, because the encore only lasts a small amount of time before The Great Gig in the Sky, which is an absolutely perfect piece of music.

It’s nice how my tastes have diversified too. There’s a whole heap of stuff that I enjoy listening to now, much more so than a few years ago. And I absolutely love listening to music I haven’t heard before, especially when I discover a track or an album which sticks. I find that every now and again there’s a song which I get hopelessly addicted to and end up playing over and over again. Which means I associate those songs with times. For instance The High Road by Broken Bells brings back strong memories of writing my dissertation back in April, because I listened to it during my writing breaks.

But then, every now and again I return to music that I’ve known and loved for years. Things like Breathe, Tunnel of Love, Goodbye Stranger. And I remember that I’ve not listened to them for ages and why I really like them. And the familiarity is, in a way, comforting; like meeting up with an old friend. Tis a good thing.

Posted In: MusicSleep Tagged: | 2 Comments

The Final Countdown

Wednesday 10th November 2010

The 2010 Formula 1 World Championship. Wow. I mean, seriously, it’s been immense, and it’s not over yet. This coming weekend sees the 19th round of the championship, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. And heading into that event, there are four drivers with a chance of securing the championship, which I think is unprecedented.

It’s been quite a topsy-turvy year. Without a doubt, Red Bull have had the quickest car all season. They’ve won pole position 14 times so far, which I think equals the record set by McLaren in their dominant 1988 season. That they’ve only won 8 races from that qualifying performance is pretty shocking really, and down to a mixture of unreliability (particularly on Sebastian Vettel’s car) and driving errors (er, again, particularly for Sebastian Vettel). They should’ve crushed the opposition this year, but these mistakes have opened the door for other drivers to capitalise and build a championship campaign.

And interestingly, two teams have provided the bulk of the challenge in both halves of the season. In the first half, McLaren were the team with the pace – and tactical nous from Jenson Button, who had two sublime victories in Australia and China – to take the fight to Red Bull. Indeed, I think I’m right in saying that at the halfway point it was Lewis Hamilton who led the championship. However the McLaren challenge has sort of fallen away in the latter half of the year, due to the increased pace of the Ferrari as well as some uncharacteristic crashes for Hamilton at Monza and Singapore. In the latter part of the season, Fernando Alonso has managed to score more points than anyone else, and has clawed back a pretty sizeable points deficit to now lead the championship by 8 points from Mark Webber. Vettel is 15 points behind Alonso, and Hamilton behind by 24 points; 1 point less than the amount awarded for winning a race, and so just about still in with a chance.

With such an intense season it’s perhaps not surprising that team orders have been somewhat of a hot topic. I’ve blogged before about Ferrari’s use of them at Hockenheim, but the behaviour of Red Bull is also pretty interesting. They say that both of their drivers are in with a chance of the title, so no team orders. Yet there have been hints over the course of the year that, actually, Vettel is the favoured son in some parts of the team at least. He is currently behind his team mate in the rankings, and it’s been argued that actually Red Bull just want to keep him in the fight and that by doing that they are harming Webber’s chances. It’s a persuasive argument.

For instance at the previous race in Brazil, Vettel won from Webber and Alonso. Which means that for Webber to win the title, he needs to finish a few places ahead of Alonso and so is likely to need Vettel to help him (assuming current form continues and the Red Bulls qualify on the front row, with Vettel on pole). Now, that’s a big risk, because it’s impossible to know what could happen next weekend. In order to maximise the chances of one of the Red Bull drivers winning, it would’ve arguably been more sensible to let Webber win. Which would’ve put him 1 point behind Alonso, and so not dependant on anyone else to win. Vettel could conceivably win. But it’s going to require something odd such as Alonso having a poor race. It’s possible, but pretty unlikely.

I have a feeling that Abu Dhabi is going to be a properly thrilling race. There’s all the team politics that I’ve just discussed, as well as a bunch of other factors. Certain drivers – Alonso and Vettel, I think – are getting fairly low on engine mileage. Which means that they go into the next race with older engines. Vettel had a pretty spectacular engine failure a few races ago in Korea (innards became outards, which I don’t remember seeing for a while in F1), and Alonso had one let go in practice in Brazil. It’s probably unlikely that one will pop in the final race, but it’s a thought.

It’s also going to be interesting to see how the drivers cope with the pressure. I think the Red Bull drivers in particular are going to be under pressure, and we’ve already seen this year that Vettel is not the most adept at soaking up this pressure; he collided into Webber during the Turkish Grand Prix, and I would not be at all surprised to see him clout into the side of someone in Abu Dhabi.

All in all, I have a horrible feeling that Alonso will wrap up the title. If he does then I’ll be pretty damn annoyed, because I really can’t stand him. He’s a great driver, one of the best in F1, but when he gets out of the car the way he conducts himself is terrible. For instance, when he was Hamilton’s team mate in 2007, he apparently tried to blackmail the team into slowing Hamilton down. In 2008, he and his team cheated their way to win the Singapore Grand Prix – a win that he still counts as valid (see this, and his smug little grin when he answers the question. ARGH. Something else about that video that irritates the fuck out of me: Max Mosley. Don’t get me started on that awful man. I digress). Great drivers don’t need to cheat, don’t need to bitch to the team to slow down their team mates; instead they raise their game and work out how to beat their opponents. Don’t get me wrong, if he wins, he’ll deserve it. But I won’t like it.

I’ve not mentioned Hamilton in all of this, mainly because he’s really a long shot. But anything can happen in motorsport, and I have a feeling that the final race will be eventful. The bookies have him at 66/1, which was definitely worth a £5 punt…

So I don’t have a clue what will happen on Sunday. And whilst I’d like Webber (or Hamilton, but preferably Webber) to win, I’ll be happy as long as it’s a fitting end to a classic season. I can’t wait.

Posted In: MotorsportSleep Tagged: | 1 Comment

Please Stop Being Ridiculous

Sunday 29th August 2010

So the government has announced that it’s going to axe NHS Direct and implement a new “non-emergency” helpline. The chief executive of NHS Direct says that the new service will be “better and more cost effective”. Which is nice; we want good healthcare, and we’re also a bit short of money at the moment. So an idea that could be better and cheaper is good.

If it isn’t a good idea, if it doesn’t really work, then ok. But it seems that the intention is to do what I just mentioned, better and cheaper.

Andy Burnham disagrees:

“It is yet more evidence that Andrew Lansley is on a vindictive mission to break up the NHS, ruthlessly dismantling services before alternatives are in place.”

It’s something that you see time and time again in political discussions and I find it bloody annoying. Not that he disagrees with the idea, but that he’s assigning some sort of malicious motive to it. It seems common; the whole “Tories are Evil” thing, for instance. And, well, really? I get that you might disagree with the idea, but do you honestly think that (with one or two honourable exceptions!) someone goes to the effort of getting elected into office, purely for the reason of making things worse for people?

It’s ridiculous and stupid. Even if you disagree with an idea, you can’t just decide that the person who came up with that idea deliberately wants to make things worse for people. I mean, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Gordon Brown, and I think that he made certain things worse throughout his political career. But it would be foolish of me to assert that he did things maliciously (except – allegedly – certain things to destabilise Blair), just because I disagreed with his policies.

The same sort of thing gets thrown at Lib Dems now that they’re in the coalition, talk about selling out for power, or other such nonsense. Is it really that controversial to assume that, actually, they’re doing what they think is best for the country, rather than they’re nasty people who just want their own ministerial Jag?

Posted In: PoliticsRantSleep Tagged: | 2 Comments

Reminiscing

Saturday 24th April 2010

This time last year, I was still working at Brize (which is in David Cameron’s constituency, in fact) . I spent the weekdays doing Stuff which was usually entertaining, working on a project that was fairly interesting.

In the evenings, I spent my time in a pub. Where I had my bar tab paid for. My evenings were spent relaxing in my room watching DVDs or surfing the net for an hour or so, before going down to the bar for tasty food and refreshing beer. Which was paid for. Occasionally my colleague and I would stroll over to the pub over the road for a few more pints (which sadly weren’t bought for us), to sample the delights of whatever guest ales they had in and to generally put the world to rights, in the way that only seems to happen after generous amounts of beer has been consumed.

At the start of the week, I had an enjoyable drive to work. I left at 6am, but I quite enjoyed driving along and watching the sun rising ever higher above the horizon as I got nearer to work,  noticing the mist which always hung above the river at a certain point, seeing people as they started their daily routine. And of course the sequence of hairpins going up Fish Hill. At the end of the week, the drive back was less entertaining because of traffic, but it didn’t matter because work was done. It was the start of the weekend, and after an early Friday finish that’s all that really mattered.

I don’t particularly miss the work so much. But as I look towards the next few weeks of coursework and viva and revision and exams, it’s hard not to reminisce.

Posted In: ProcrastinationSleep Tagged: | 4 Comments

Storytelling

Friday 19th February 2010

A while back I commented on a post on Callan’s blog about Avatar. At the time I hadn’t seen the film, so I refrained from commenting on the film itself, but rather on 3D. I’ve seen the movie now and I stand by what I said there about 3D – I really don’t think its “the future” or anything like that. In fact I think that Avatar was a pretty bad vehicle with which to demonstrate 3D as a technology. I thought that the bits of the film where the 3D effect was most effective were the “live” bits, with real actors in real sets. It added to the “grittiness” of those scenes and I think the 3D effect looked brilliant then. I found myself noticing things like reflections in glass or creases and wrinkles on people’s clothes, and overall it made those scenes look pretty good. Not more immersive though, but I shall come back to this. In contrast, I thought that the CGI scenes looked more fake than they would if they were just in 2D. Everything was too smooth, too polished, too obviously rendered.

But enough talk about the technology, because it’s not really what I want to talk about. Avatar (like many contemporary Hollywood films) is a really awful film. The characters, plot, everything is just ridiculously cliched, shallow and pathetic. It’s way too long, and I found myself getting pissed off at everyone involved. I wanted the humans to piss off and die because they were obviously bastards. But I also wanted the na’vi to fuck right off just on general principals. Both sides were equally irritating so the big battle scenes at the end really didn’t move me. I think we were meant to feel some sort of empathy for Zoe and Jake, but honestly I just didn’t care.

And the less said about “Unobtainium”, the better. For fuck’s sake…

In contrast, last night I watched Das Boot for the first time. This is actually 40 minutes longer than Avatar, but you really don’t notice that. In contrast to Avatar, the story doesn’t feel like it drags at any point, and you definitely feel empathy for the characters. Whereas I didn’t give a toss about the characters in Avatar, it’s completely different with this. The way the tension is built and sustained is really amazing, and just goes to show that clever writing is a lot more successful  than any amount of flashy CGI bollocks. We are treated to the odd shot of depth charges exploding around the U-boat but it’s all very dark and murky, probably because it was made pre-CGI. I actually think it’s more successful like this. No doubt if the film were made now it’d be possible to have loads of cool CGI stuff, but I think it’s much better if the focus remains in the sub with the characters; if our only clues as to what’s happening are the same clues that the people on the boat have – the eerie, threatening sounds coming from the water outside.

The point I’m trying to make is that it was a wonderfully immersive film, with probably a more interesting and subtle message than Avatar. You don’t need 3D or any other clever technology to involve an audience, all you need is a bit of intelligence. All too often, gimmicks like CGI and 3D are used as a replacement for good film making (as further evidence, I give you Star Wars… speaking of which, if you have time watch this, well worth it), and it’s a real shame.

I suppose the polar opposite is something like The Road, and I’ve commented on this film before over on Jenny’s blog. In that case, there’s just… nothing. Again, I didn’t care for the characters and as far as I could tell, there’s no real story to speak of. Now I’m all for a story being subtle, but if it’s so subtle that it’s invisible then it all starts to become somewhat pointless!

Anyway, it’s getting late, so I’m gonna go watch an episode of Mad Men (and read for a bit… I got up very late today) before sleeping. In fact, if you want to see an example of really good storytelling (not to mention beautiful characterisation – I mean really, stunning), watch it. It’s worth doing so just for one particularly brilliant scene at the end of season 1, but I shall say no more so as not to spoil it for anyone.

Posted In: RantSleepTechnologyTV Tagged: | 3 Comments

Romance

Sunday 14th February 2010

It’s a pretty interesting thing, really. When we romanticise something, it seems to me that we hardly ever think about that thing in the way it actually was (or is); we ignore the negative aspects and focus purely on the positive ones.

There’s a space on my bedroom wall at home which I’ve wanted to fill with a poster for some time, but I’ve never been able to decide which one. When I was at school, one of my German teachers clearly liked his motorsport, because all around his classroom were prints of vintage posters, mostly for the Le Mans 24 hour race. I love these sorts of images, because they all seem to capture the spirit of the era. Especially posters for the “classic” races – I think they resemble art more than they do advertising. Look at this poster for the 1961 24 hours of Le Mans, for instance – I think that image is wonderful. The drawing is stunning; you can almost hear the engine, smell the warm oil. Or this poster for the 1937 Monaco Grand Prix. Same thing – to me it perfectly sums up both Monaco, and the era.

Motorsport is amazingly romantic. I couldn’t tell you why, but it really is. I love that many of the circuits have been around for years, because the sense of history surrounding those events is really nice. There’s something special about a Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, something that an Abu Dhabi or Chinese Grand Prix can never have (not picking on those events for any particular reason).

Actually, if there’s something special about Spa, then somewhere like Le Mans is almost sacred. I absolutely adore everything about Le Mans. For the uninitiated, it’s a 24 hour race around an 8.5 mile long circuit, a lot of which is made up of normal roads. It’s been going for years at the same place, and there are some absolutely legendary stories about the race. It’s basically an entire F1 season packed into 24 hours, and I love it for that. I also love that it feels like a proper racing event – like the equivalent of a music festival for petrolheads. You go, set up a tent, drink lots of beer, watch lots of racing and have a jolly good time, and to me that is basically heaven. I’ve not been yet (money, time, exams…), but I will one year and I can’t bloody wait.

You see, I could carry on for ages talking about the wonders of places like Le Mans, Monaco, Monza, Silverstone, Hockenheim, Spa… But I’m romanticising. These places have always been – will always be – very dangerous. We specifically remember the amazing races and stories that happened at these places, and lots of people hark back to the good old days, but when we look back it can be very easy to forget the bad things. The 1955 Le Mans disaster, Stefan Bellof at Spa, Jim Clark at Hockenheim, Jochen Rindt at Monza – to name but a few examples.

I suppose there’s a lot to be said for passion, too. That is probably what carries people through the bad stuff. One of my favourite moments from F1 in 2009 was in the closing laps of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Jenson Button was 2nd, Lewis Hamilton 3rd and lapping quicker. A podium for McLaren at that time was a very good thing – it’d been a pretty bad year for them – but you could tell that Hamilton wanted that 2nd place and he was pushing as hard as he could for it. Too hard, because he span and crashed on the last lap.

I know people who said afterwards “oh he was stupid. He was on the podium anyway, he shouldn’t have been pushing so hard”, but that misses the point. It’s racing, and any racing driver that would’ve settled for 3rd in that situation really doesn’t deserve the name. I suppose that fundamentally, motorsport is very pure – more so than many sports. You have a certain distance to travel, and whoever does it quickest is the winner. It’s a lot purer than, say, football, which is a game that is basically composed of completely arbitrary rules. I think motorsport attracts a certain type of competitiveness, and I for one absolutely love that aspect of it. Yes, Hamilton at Monza could have backed off and ensured he got 3rd place. But why? He wants to win, to prove he’s better than the next guy. Taking the safe course is never going to achieve that.

It’s hard to convey the reasons I like racing to people who have never even seen a race, or any sort of competitive motorsport. One day, I intend to take all my friends who say they don’t like it to something like an F1 testing day, because I think seeing the cars “in the metal” is a really phenomenal thing. It’s hard to appreciate what they can do without having seen them – it really does amaze you. Actually it’s probably worth them seeing a proper race too, because I can’t think of a way to convey the atmosphere when 20-odd cars fly past you on the track, all of them trying to get ahead of the others. Anyone who doesn’t find that exciting is clinically dead. FACT!

Anyway. Romance. Passion. Idealism. They’re all really good things, but I guess that it’s important that they’re balanced by a decent dose of realism. Because really, that’s the only way that things can develop healthily.

When you saw that this post is called “romance”, published on this particular day, I bet you thought it was about something else? Suckers :-p

Posted In: MotorsportSleepStuff Tagged: | 10 Comments

Tweeting the Night Away

Thursday 11th February 2010

As you may have noticed from the new addition to the sidebar, I recently joined Twitter. I’d managed to hold off from joining for a while because I didn’t really get the point – my writing is quite verbose at the best of times, so what on earth is the use of 140 characters? What can anyone say in that tiny space that is of any worth to anyone? Well, a few people (well, 3) told me that it’s good and that I should join, and so I did, just to see what it’s like. Besides, when I joined it was exam period and at that time joining Twitter seemed a better use of my time than revising for the geotechnical engineering exam I had a day or so later…

Anyway, I quite like it. Turns out there’s a lot that can be said in 140 characters – generally stuff of the form of  “wow, this just happened!” or “ooh, look at this…”. There was a specific thing which made me realise just how powerful a tool Twitter is, and that was the first F1 test of the season, which took place last week. This was the first time that many of the teams showed their 2010 cars to the world and the first time that any of them had a chance to run their cars properly and see how good they actually are (or aren’t). For lots of reasons, people not intimately involved in the teams can’t really read too much from the times, so whilst this early testing isn’t really good for starting to map out the relative competetiveness of each car, it’s still pretty interesting and exciting – there’s not been any F1 since early November, and us F1 fans need our fix!

To me, Twitter really came into it’s element during that first test. There were a number of people at the test circuit (people from the F1 teams as well as journalists) who were tweeting away; keeping the hive mind informed as to who was on track, what laptimes they were doing, what the weather was like, pointing out different technical aspects of the cars, and all sorts of other interesting things which made it really easy and enjoyable to keep up with what was happening. In the past, the only coverage of pre-season testing would have been a short report at the end of the day, listing the times that each driver did and the number of laps, as well as some photos. Following the event on Twitter was really good because getting information throughout the day meant that it was easier to get an “overall” picture of each day of testing, and to try to work out what the times mean (if anything). It was also much more involving – getting an almost-constant stream of information made it seem like much more of an “event”.

I’m really looking forward to using it during the races this year. I can see that it’d be really cool then for much the same reason – taking in multiple sources of information all relating to the same event. That, in conjunction with the live timing app on the F1 website (which – although it sounds really geeky – is surprisingly useful for watching the races. Helps keep track of the strategies, because you see lots of things which aren’t ever picked up in the commentary and helps you to read the race better) should make watching the races even better.

I love technology for things like this. The way I can use different tools to change the way I do certain things, so that I get more out of them (as in this example) or to save time or make it more convenient.  Things like Google Reader and Calendar and the way they interact between all the devices I use to access the internet (phone included – calendar sync on the iPhone is one thing in particular which makes me want to shout “witchcraft!”). The way all my documents are stored in a Dropbox, so that I can work on the same thing on any computer – I love that I can work on a document on my laptop in the library, then come home and work on the same document on my desktop, and the whole transition being pretty much seamless. I don’t have to worry about syncing files between computers or making sure that they’ve all got the most up-to-date version – it’s all just done for me. Clever stuff. All relatively simple stuff too, but it’s amazing how much a difference they make.

Posted In: GeekMotorsportSleepTechnology Tagged: | 5 Comments

Things You Don’t Know About Me

Thursday 24th December 2009

Considering that Blogs are inherently personal things, it’s perhaps odd that I try to avoid writing anything too personal. Other people blog about life and love and things like that, but I couldn’t bring myself to write about myself like that on the Internet. The weird thing is that if I went to the pub with any of the people who comment here regularly, then I’d probably be more than happy to prattle on about that sort of stuff. I think it’s the fact that it’s available to anyone, whenever I write something there’s the nagging thought of “can this come back to bite me?” which stops me saying anything too obvious.

If you read my blog you can probably make certain inferences about me, and you’d possibly know certain things about me that people that I regularly see don’t know. I can’t think what, but I’m sure theres something. I think that the reasons why people read blogs is interesting. I’ve always tried to avoid posts which are too much about the daily grind because I think that people would find them boring, but then when I read other people’s blogs which are like that I almost always find them pretty interesting. I think people are just naturally nosy, so the opportunity so see a snapshot of someone elses life, even if you don’t know them, is pretty compulsive.

I find it interesting reading back through my old entries, here and elsewhere. Theres a lot of really subtle references to things which reflect where I was at that time. Or maybe they’re not subtle, but no-one commented on them at the time so I think I got away with it. Only a couple of people that read this would know what I’d be referring to anyway, so I suppose that helps.

It’s not as if I’m trying to be mysterious or anything like that. Really I don’t like talking about myself, and to a point I hate it when people talk about themselves too much. You know how some people always have loads of amusing anecdotes which they share at any opportunity? Well I don’t do that, I just don’t think to do it. I could probably think of a few, but really I can’t stand it when other people do that so I don’t do it myself. I also don’t talk about friends too much; my uni friends probably couldnt name three of my home friends, and vice versa, wherease I could probably do so for most of them. Bloody hell, my parents probably don’t know the names of most of my friends! It’s not that I’ve done that on purpose, I just don’t talk about them that much to people who don’t know them.

Drama annoys me. People who live their life constantly going from one crisis to the next really irritate me, because really they just want the attention. I’m not one for showing too much of what’s going on under the surface; I’d be surprised if even the people who are closest to me could tell when I’m feeling particularly down in the dumps (unless I’ve told them as much). So I guess that spills over into my blogging. When I started writing the intention was to keep it more “factual”; for my blog to be a place to write about my opinions and basically rant, but not a sort of “diary” thing. I think it’s gotten more personal over time, but I still wouldn’t feel comfortable with writing about my love life, for instance. Not that there’s anything at all to report on that front (other than the same depressing story as for the last way too long), but whatever.

Anyhow, I was going somewhere with this but I got distracted by Monty Python clips on YouTube. And now I’m tired, so sleep beckons…

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