Sunday, 6 May 2012

Talking To Others

I sometimes worry with all the new technology around. We send quick text messages, short emails and statuses on social networking sites. I wonder whether we lose the ability to tell stories and actually communicate fully and learn from others. With books becoming electronic now and newspapers all being online and easily accessible to all. I guess one day we will not be able to talk at all! I am sure written communication is taking over and we no longer speak. I often think this at work when sending emails to the person sits two desks down from me or ordering a pizza on the internet rather than picking up the phone to a take-away!
Everyone has a story to tell. I was sat in a popular coffee chain this morning having a drink before heading back out into the rain again. I was sat alone in a new city that I did not know on one of my days exploring the country. I watched the rain in the puddles outside and the gray clouds. There would not be any let up on the rain today. A couple were sat on the table opposite. There was an elderly lady sat talking to a middle aged man with a small child on his lap asleep. I found myself thinking the child was the lucky one! I was wrong!
The elderly lady was talking to the man about her life. She was telling him that she smokes but does not drink alcohol. She told him she does not eat chocolate because she was diabetic. She told him how it is her only luxury in life these days. She told him how many she smokes a day and when she needs one.
The lady spoke about the middle aged mans son and when she was little she was a “Tom-Boy” and how she feels for the youth of today. She said she was always climbing trees and getting told off. She spoke about her grand children and goes on to say she never smokes in front of them. The man was looking tired of her endless stories but nodded appropriately. I felt his boredom. I was wrong! 
This took me back to a journey I took from London to Paris on the coach and overnight ferry. The coach left at midnight and I never sleep on these things! I usually read or wrote down some thoughts but very rarely talk to people. I left knowing it would be a long journey and I would not arrive into Paris until nine the next morning.
On this occasion I was nervous about the journey and what was to greet me the other end. I decided to speak to an elderly lady next to me. Fortunately she was travelling alone as well and seemed to talk back. Communication is difficult for me but she was easy to talk to. I felt the need to talk. I found a lot about this lady and where she was going, where she grew up, where she went to school, what she did for a living and also her friends and family. We spoke about music, television, current affairs. I felt I found out all about her and told her a lot about myself. Towards the end of the journey we swopped address and promised we would write when we returned home and tell each other about our time away! Neither of us actually did! I was wrong!
Everyone has a story to tell and this is what separates us from animals. I guess this is why I love to blog. This is to express my opinions and views of the world and to see if there is anyone out there on this big world. I guess this is why this lady was speaking to this man. I thought this was nice. I started off thinking he must be bored stupid of listening to this lady. As I got up to leave and pay my bill the man behind the counter said:
“She can talk the hind leg off a donkey and bet he wishes he had never come in”!
I said: “I think his son had the right idea”!
I then walked out the coffee shop and carried on exploring. I was however wrong and wish the lady had come over to me and spoken to me! They say “Talk is cheap” but sometimes it can be very valuable to some people and wish I had written to that lady I met on the way to Paris. When I said what I did to the man behind the counter I did not see the bigger picture. The elderly lady was maybe anxious or lonely. I was wrong.

Here and Now

A lot of my thoughts start in the shower. This one started on a Sunday evening. I had been out for a walk to get some fresh air. I had done some work on a Christmas present sewing kit. I had watched the grand prix and fell asleep through most of the race only to wake up and see the interviews afterwards! I had little jobs to do around the house and thought about washing up and doing some tidying. This job could lead to bigger jobs and I would get into organising lots of bits and this would not be relaxing unless I could do all of it! I therefore selected to have a shower to save time the next morning.
The next day I had a day off work and I was going exploring. I needed some time off as it had been a stressful few weeks and needed to rest and the weekend was not long enough! I did not want to be stuck at home and wanted to explore a bit more of the area around me! I was sick of watching television of being stuck in front of a computer. I wanted some fresh air, to get out, to see new sites.
Anyway back to my shower! I thought a bit about what I was going to do on my day off; however when thinking about this I realised that today, Sunday, was also a day off! I started thinking about how much of my life was spent waiting for things. Some of the time I was thinking about long term things like starting a family and some of them shorter term like getting the bus and then getting the train to where I was going and also what I was going to have for tea. I thought in one form or other I spending most of my life waiting! My Mum used to say:
“Don’t wish your life away!” However I was and I do! When I was at school I would wish for the weekends and then the holidays and then the end of school so I could go to college. I guess ever since I have had a conscience mind I have been waiting for things to happen!
Thinking further I asked myself a question if there was ever a point in time when I was not waiting for things. My thoughts went back to big events in my life and if these events were worth waiting for and if I actually fully enjoyed them when I was participating in them. I had always told myself to:
“Make the most of them”! I thought back and on the whole I generally was pleased to think that I did. My mind after these events ultimately moved on to the next thing. I therefore have concluded that waiting for things should be limited and I should enjoy the day and concentrate on the here and the now! I guessed there were so many things I was waiting for in the long and the short term! I thought about setting myself down some rules for living.
I did think that I should spend very short amounts of time looking at long term goals such as building a family. I thought I should spend medium amounts of time thinking about what I will be doing in the next few months such as a summer holiday and going to see my friends’ daughter getting christened. Finally a bit longer thinking short term such as what I will do when I get off this train. (This is the place I am writing this blog). I will try and set myself the goal of only thinking of three main things I am thinking to do next. Such as get off this train, get a lift to get some food and finally choose something to eat! I will try not to think overly anymore than that! I will not think of the long drive back home from the restaurant. I will try and sit back and enjoy the journey!
I do play the game when someone asks me what I am going to do and I make a long and detailed list of everything I am planning to do and separate this with the words “and then”! I have made a pact with myself I am not going to do this anymore! Firstly because it bores people, secondly because it makes life seem like a list of jobs and thirdly because it may not happen like that! I have subsequently been told this is called pacing!
Whilst writing this I have not been thinking about what is next and I have just been enjoying the moment of writing. I think I need to have more time like this one and not think too far in the future.
My final point is to remember when not looking too far in the future is to also not look too far back in the past. The same rules will apply the opposite way around. I will spend little time thinking about the long ago past such as the hard days of school. I will think a medium amount of time thinking about the last few months like if I should have maybe found a nicer place to live for my rented accommodation. Finally a bit longer thinking about the things that happened recently. For example should I have given that man with the big bags my seat?
I should however therefore mostly enjoy the here and now. For exactly enjoy writing up my blog in the present!
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and now if a gift. This is why it is called the present!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A Happy Place – Not What You Might Think!

I started writing this blog in a dentist surgery waiting for an appointment to get a filling. I was in early as I had an early appointment before work. I got there early because:

A: I did not know how long it would take to get here and;
B: A phobia of being late for anything!

I started wring this blog to drown out the noise of the drills and the thought of pain and panic of the injection ahead. Also to take-away the thought of constant pain afterwards that will make my teeth ache much more than they ever did before I came to the dentists in the first place!

I noticed there were many children’s’ books for reading to cover various new experiences such as: “Lucy Moves House”, “Katy Goes to Hospital” and “George Goes to the Airport”. There was nothing to help and support adults through the possible pain they will go through having to go to the dentist! I was tempted to read one but I thought I would get some strange looks! Plus if I started one and they called me in I would want to finish it, and I would want to read the whole series! My mind drifted to better places and places I would rather be. My mind wondered to being in a motorway service station …

I think a motorway service station is like a little version of the country as a whole. They are fantastic places full of life and always full of different characters. When I am there I love to people watch and put myself in their shoes. You may think it odd to enjoy such a place, but despite maybe not enjoying the place a number of differing people always end up there.

The different people I have enjoyed watching do various things in motorway service stations include:
·         People who want to save money, they have brought their own sandwiches and eat them outside just to have a break from driving.
·         People who want to stuff food into their mouths for energy and enjoy a nine piece fry up for £6.99 or some food from a well-known fast food company.
·         People who want to just sit and drink coffee and have a break from driving in silent reflection.
·         People who want to stretch their legs and walk around.
·         People that have been in a car, coach, bus or bike for hours and need to get some fresh air - They get out and light up a cigarette!
·         People who walk quickly, but do not run as not to draw attention to themselves - their eyes darting everywhere seeking out a desperate visit to the toilet!

Motorway service stations think of everything that people may need and much more including:

·         Massage chairs
·         Fruit machines for people who need a gambling fix
·         Weighing scales in case people think they have lost weight from driving
·         Business card making machines in case someone has come up with a great business idea whilst driving
The possibilities are endless!
People may mock my love of motorway service stations but a lot of people use them and I am sure everyone has been in one at least once in their life.  People complain about the extremely expensive prices but people need to have a break when traveling a long way. I think this is a bit like life. I know people use them as a way to re-assure themselves that they are almost at their destination. People use them habitually as they always stop at the same place to mark a point in a journey if they are regular travellers on the same route. People also use them to meet people and drop off and pick other people. They are a little version of the country!

I do not have a favourite motorway service station as thankfully I do not have to do much travelling but I love to sit in these places and stare at people. They will never see me again so what does it matter! I love to watch others and their behaviours and their interactions with others; Interactions with their travelling companions and with members of staff that work there!

I once worked in a motorway service station and it was one of my first jobs when I was just sixteen. I found people on the whole generally nice, as they were just relieved to have some different people to talk to or just a change from the journey. There were a few grumpy people who were tired from long trips but on the whole I found people who came to my place of work all very different. They were all looking for slightly different things out of the experience. In a way - just like life. My job in the motorway service station was to work on the hot plate serving breakfasts and also to clear tables. Both jobs were extremely hard physical work and we were always very busy. I would not go back and do the job again – Then again I might as I loved watching the people!

There were all sorts of people including:
·         Old people off a coach out on a trip,
·         Young families with babies staring around the amazing different faces,
·         Couples with young children and the children looking at things to spend their newly acquired or last of their holiday money on,
·         Couples dating and visiting some relatives – sometimes for the first time,
·         Groups of men going down the motorway to a football match,
·         Groups of girls going on a hen weekend,
·         School children on a school trip and;
·         Business colleagues going off to a meeting – To name but a few!

In conclusion they are great places to see people living and resting from the journey of not only their trip, but also their life. People who are not interested in other people’s lives and journeys are bored with life and that is very sad. I cannot think of anywhere else that illustrates life in such a way!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Cyclists in the Snow

I am not one to make judgements on people … well not that much! However recently I have reason to question people’s sanity. As you may or may not know I enjoy walking. I generally enjoy my walk to and from work each day. I do not mind walking in any weather however I do not particularly like ice and rain (although a little is fine). The rain makes me wet and then I am wet for the rest of the day. One thing that does annoy me is cyclists on the cycle path. The cycle path is for cycles but also for people walking. They often ride very fast and feel the need to get very close to people walking. This is quiet intimidating, particularly at night!

My reason for this particular blog is to write about the idiots, on their bikes, in the snow and ice! I do not like walking in the snow and the ice however at least I am on my feet and if I slip a bit I can re-arrange my legs enough to not fall completely over. Also, if I do slip, I am not going very fast. Cyclists however do not have that luxury of being on their feet. Plus they also have their feet in foot grips so cannot get loose quickly if they are to lose balance. Plus they have really thin tires that have little contact with the ground (often smaller surface area then people walking). This will lead to endless problems if they hit a patch of ice. Their tyres will just slip right over and the cyclist will go flying. If cyclists go over a stone or something, they will have even less grip! They are idiots of the highest order! Cyclists often still think it is their right to go as fast as they can to show they can get to where they are going quicker than pedestrians! Poo for brains!

If you are in a car and it is icy and you hit some ice, the car will spin round and hit something. Many cars have airbags and the metal shell of the car will partially protect the person inside. Admittedly a lot of car drivers still drive too fast, even in the dry. Some drivers cut you up and overtake you on both sides of the road (inside and outside), and a lot seem to think they own the road. I often wish I was an undercover policeman and ban them from driving for life. Some of them I would just like to chop off parts of their body so they cannot reproduce and breed more future idiots on the road. Anyway this rant was about idiot cyclists not car drivers!

The other day with fresh snow on the ground on my walk to work (see pictures around this blog) was beautiful to look at but there were still some foolish cyclists. I had a big rant, when I got into work, about this very subject! I accused them of being psychopaths on the cycle path! Today with ice on the pavement (particularly the picture on the bottom of this blog) made it even more slippery and still cyclists insisted in haring past me at a great speed. I was slipping and sliding a bit and I was just walking slowly!

The final straw for me today blogging was today seeing one idiot cyclist, one handed (as the other hand was texting on his mobile phone), without a helmet! Words completely failed me! I know there is a big thing that helmets are not all as safe as they could be however surely if their wheels went from under them or they had to suddenly stop and go head over heels and they hit the concrete pavement, something between their head and the concrete would probably be a good thing! I had a large compulsion to stop the cyclist and ask him why he was being so stupid! I think the reason I get so mad is that I do not want to see someone hurt themselves. The hospitals are full enough and I do not want the job of performing first aid and calling for the ambulance! It is crazy but I guess a lot of cyclists have nothing inside their heads anyway! I just do not want to pick up the pieces and be late for work! Rant over!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Good Service

In this day and age I would think that good service would be a must in all walks of life. When I say “good service”, I am not talking about in tennis or badminton but in the professional world!  I work in customer service and have done for many years, so have an idea what good service is all about.  I am often astounded by the fact that many people and businesses do not how to deliver good service.
I have loads of examples of bad service but not so many of good service.  I would like to give a couple of examples that have annoyed me and pleased me recently.  I would then like to look at service from a slightly business context and then finish with a conclusion of how I feel it should work:

Firstly a bad example would be my dealings with a certain banking institution that I have had dealings with.  This company, I will leave nameless for legal reasons, have been the bane of my life for over two years.  I have had some issues paying for a mortgage over the last few years but I will not bore you with the ins and outs in this blog.  I have had many letters from them and telephone calls chasing me up for money.  I have been into their branch, spoken to specialists in the branch, emailed specialists in the branch, spoken to call centre staff and even put pen to paper to write to them.  The saga with them now (I hope), has come to an end.  To date I have still not received any personal contact back acknowledging my position or any letters I have sent.  My position, I am sure, was not an unusual one but it seemed to me no one was listening to anything I was saying.

I understood it was a huge institution and they were just concerned with getting money from me however a little personal touch would have helped a great deal.  At many stages I was convinced they wanted me to go into debt so they could gain the interest.  This goes against all ethical and moral banking codes as far as I knew.  I would have had to take them to court if I really felt that strongly.  That would however be even more stressful then the situation I had already found myself in.

I try to console myself with the fact that I am not the only one and (from what I hear), there are a lot of similar companies the same.  If this is true then I can see why people keep their money under their beds! The only thing I know now is to tell everybody and anybody that will listen not to use this particular banking institution.  If I have cause again to make use of a similar institution I will be asking some serious questions before I decide to put any of my hard earned money into them!

Another recent example of bad service came from a solicitor’s office that I had spent a lot of money on. They had many occasions not replying to my emails or letters.  I was forced to pay for all correspondence and was forced to phone them to get them to reply, so I would think replying would be top of their list.  Some people tell me that is what happens with all solicitors, and those that shout the loudest get the better service. In my job sometimes it is true and I do not like it.  People (like me), who accept things often get walked all over.  People who shout and complain and make a scene seem to get what they want, and what they want quicker!  I do not want to have to shout and complain as I am a reasonable person with reasonable morals and I do not feel I need to shout and complain to get what I want.  Maybe that is the British in me? When I do shout and get forceful I do get results however!

Listing examples of good service is more difficult to think about. There is a saying that bad news travels twice around the world before good news leaves the desk.  I often use this phrase when talking to other people about how it is important to give great service.  One example of good service was I was in a public house at the weekend with my girlfriend for lunch.  When we walked in we were greeted with a very friendly:
“Hello” from the barman.  We were led to our table and they cleared one for us and we sat down and they brought over menus and we went to the bar to order.  This was made clear of how things worked when we sat down.  There was a large selection of all sorts of foods on the menu.  We paid with ease and drinks were brought out and then food came over quickly afterwards.  We were left to eat at our own our pace and not disturbed.  Considering we had arrived a little before the place closing for the afternoon I was impressed.  All the staff seemed really busy still. The food was beautifully cooked and very unique. The public house was a little of the beaten track and in amongst some houses in a small village.  We were amazed by the quality of the food and the bar and waiting staff seemed very efficient and constantly on hand if we wanted anything.  There prices were very reasonable as well!  They were polite and asked if we wanted anything else and very chatty and smiley.  My girlfriend was so impressed that, after looking at the evening menu, booked a table for her birthday meal in a few weeks time.  I had thought being a small local may not be serving food so late and also I thought it might maybe take a little while and never expected the quality to be so good.
Another example of good service would be that we had to go to a garage to get my girlfriends car checked as the exhaust was making a strange noise.  We just got out the car and someone came over and we explained the issue.  They quickly took the keys and got in and put the car straight away on a ramp. We waited for a little bit in the reception area and before we knew it they came in and said they fixed it.  They said it was just something that was rattling under the car but it was not the exhaust and they just tightened it.  They said it would not cost anything!  As we needed windscreen wipers we asked them if they could fix these on.  We could have done it but it might have taken us a while.  They did this with no questions and just asked us to pay for the wipers.  We were very impressed as we were expecting it to cost a fortune and I had visions of having to hang around for a long time.
I am not going to turn this blog into a business exercise and look at all the qualities that made my relative experiences bad or particularly good.  There are however many definitions of good service when I look it up on the Internet and not all of them are measurable.  Some people and indeed some companies are terrible at it.  What I would say however it does seem that good service is exceeding expectations, and this is the definition I like the best.  This is difficult as I am sure everyone has different expectations.  It is also difficult as the service is real time and instant reactions.  Other things, like mood of the person and the person giving the service may alter.  Good service is also difficult to maintain as because when I go back to that pub again I will again expect a great welcome and fantastic fast service and food.  Equally though, when I contact my solicitor I do not always expect a reply straight away anymore!  There is a business theory that looks at many gaps of what is expected and what is delivered is what makes good service great!  To get great service is to close these gaps.
I am not na├»ve enough to think that good service will always be given because it is very difficult to constantly maintain this, but certain standards should be put in place.  Where I work there are set standards that should be kept to, and a lot of them make sense.  We constantly evaluate these to make sure we are undertaking these standards and they are what our customers expect.  Good service, in my mind, is putting your mind in the eye of the consumer and thinking what they would like, then doing everything possible to obtain what they require.  I understand, perhaps more than most, there are other pressures, however if the customer is paying for a service this should be at the forefront of any business.  This seldom happens in my experience.
In conclusion I am just blogging to put it out there that as businesses are becoming more and more competitive, as a consumer you would think I would have a right to choose good service.  I do not always have a choice, because there still seems a terrible lot of people and businesses that are awful at creating good service.  This, I think, is wrong and I should not have to put up with bad service.  In terms of the people offering the service, I would also think that with the range of people unemployed in the country a lot of businesses would only employ people that are naturally good at offering good customer service!  I am sure repeat business and recommendations are what a lot of companies survive on.  Unfortunately a lot of businesses will not obtain a lot of repeat business as their service is so awful.  However as I have said before, sometimes you do not have a choice. Many people find the same sort of things from the same sort of companies.  This is wrong!
This is not a current trend of businesses or particularly in one country or another.  I would however, think that people and businesses would start to realise this is a key part of what they do.  This particularly with the large number of business analysts there are out there!  I would think they would want or need to spend much more effort and time in their approach to good service with the range of companies and so called choice of the consumer in the modern world.  Unfortunately I do not see much evidence of this happening except in a few places.  Life is hard enough and we should have the choice of lots of good service businesses but I happen to find very few.  I therefore think we should celebrate good service and recognise it more and places with bad service should not be tolerated.  I think we spread the world of great service institutions and people who do not take it seriously should be made examples of until they learn … or go out of business!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Fame - I Want to Live Forever!

I do not aspire to be famous. I do not aspire to be rich. I aspire to be happy and for my friends and family to be healthy and happy.  I have been thinking a bit today about my life, and if it would be different if I was famous or rich and famous?

As a small child I want everyone to know my name and to have my name in lights, but I never knew for what.  I still don’t!  I maybe wanted to be a dancer like Michael Jackson or a top business man like Richard Branson.  None of these have come off so far!  I read a lot of biographies and auto-biographies of famous people.  I am always interested to know how they got to where they are, and what experiences they have had to get there.  A lot of them are normal everyday people like me!

In life, mainly in work people always ask me: What have you achieved?  What do you want to achieve?  Where do you see yourself in five years?  The simply answer for me now is to be healthy and to be happy.  As a child and even now I look at so called celebrities and feel sorry for them.  I am interested in them and their lives, but I am also interested in everyday people and their lives too.  I am always interested in what motivates people to do different things.
Today I have been questioning a bit about if I was famous and in the papers, would I be popular, would they big me up and then drop me down?  Andy Warhol once said:

“Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”, I’m not sure I like that, or really want to be but if I was, what would people make of me?  Would people get my brand of humour?  Would people like me or think me quite odd?  I guess a lot of people think this and that is why they go on things like “Big Brother”!  I would never do that for fear of my strange life catching up with me and people from the past making money from selling stories about me!

If people took me for now and ignored the past what would they think?  However I do not believe that can realistically be achieved because as Nerina Pallot says in her song The Long Tall Grass of Summer: “No we can't go back, 'Cause we can't be sure that we'd get here”.  I had not heard this song until it was introduced to me by my girlfriend.  It summed up a mood and feeling I had at the time.  I tried to get a general feeling of what people made of my thoughts.  I tried asking people what they thought the newspapers would say but did not get any responses.  I guess they did not want to upset me, or just really had not judged me that closely, or know me that well!

I guess if I am not going to be famous (and do not particularly want to be famous) then it will be a un-answered question.  I guess I will have to comfort myself in the knowledge that I just want to be healthy and happy and that I hope my friends and family like me and not analyse too much about what others think or the general public may think as a whole!  Anyway carry on …

Friday, 20 January 2012


Numbers have not really featured much in my life.  From an early age I did not enjoy them.  I could not understand them at school.  I had a bit of a fear of them.  I think from an early age I remember being dragged in front of the class and told how stupid I was for getting some measurements wrong.  I can still see the worksheet now with big red crosses on it with all my answers wrong.  I got so upset my Mum had to go into the school and complain to the teacher.  I had to measure lengths with a ruler and could not get my head around the fact when measuring with a ruler you started at the zero. This was because when you count you start 1, 2, 3 etc.  Not with a zero!  I have had a fear ever since.

I realised while doing my exams at aged 16 there was so many rules and things to remember it was all very complicated.  I think this is because at school they try to teach you such a broad spectrum it is difficult to learn any depth.  I still struggle with my times tables! Recently when looking at figures for my job and listening to people talk about large numbers I struggle to picture them. I prefer a bar chart or a pie chart and can understand them better. Also in English we had to read Shakespeare and they had old numbers (or Roman Numerals), for their chapters that were like letters. This also confused me greatly.

In the last few years I have become more interested in them. I gained a job working in a supermarket and had to work out five percent off when customers bought six bottles of wine. I worked out a way to move the decimal point to the left and half that figure. Then minus that figure from that original figure. I thought that was simple enough and grew to like figures a bit more. In another job I volunteered to announce the monthly figures at a team meeting. I used this opportunity to draw pictures and charts to explain then a bit better for people. This helped me and probably a number of other people to understand them easier. They all clapped when I finished so I think it went well (or there were just relieved that I had stopped talking)!

I do not regularly play the lottery and if I did I would get obsessed, because if I had set number I played, then I would have to play them every time there was a draw just in case the numbers came up and I did not play! If I do play it is always lucky dip!

Bingo is difficult for me. I went to a bingo club once and they read the numbers so fast I could not concentrate! I do like it if it is slower and done in a fun way for example: Two little ducks – twenty two, two fat ladies eighty eight. I do not know if they have this fun in other countries?
I look at figures in a positive way now and like to play with them a bit and sometimes like to think if they are a good or a bad number! I like to add numbers up in my mind and try to think if they feel good or not. I remember spending one morning trying to add up all the house numbers I have ever lived at! This was after I had added up all the numbers of the buses I had to take back and from work! When I occasionally call for a taxi they give you a reference number. I think if it is a good or a bad number and therefore it will be a good or a bad taxi journey! I read a lot into telephone numbers as well. Sometimes I think I would like to do more courses in mathematics but that might be crazy!

Below shows some interesting things I know about a couple of numbers … three is my favourite number but eight is equally good but that is just the look of it and I enjoy writing it!!!

The number eleven: This is seriously spooky especially if you get to the bottom and try out the last bit!!!
1) New York City has 11 letters
2) Afghanistan has 11 letters.
3) Ramsin Yuseb (The terrorist who threatened to destroy the Twin Towers in 1993) has 11 letterss
4) George W Bush has 11 letters.

This could be a mere coincidence, but this gets more interesting:
1) New York is the 11th state.
2) The first plane crashing against the Twin Towers was flight 11.
3) Flight 11 was carrying 92 passengers. 9 + 2 = 11
4) Flight 77 which also hit Twin Towers, was carrying 65 passengers. 6 +5= 11
5) The tragedy was on September 11, or 9/11 as it is now known. 9 + 1 + 1=11
6) The date is equal to the US emergency services telephone number 911. 9+ 1 + 1 = 11.

Sheer coincidence..?! Read on and make up your own mind:
1) The total number of victims inside all the hi-jacked planes was 254. 2+ 5 + 4 = 11.
2) September 11 is day number 254 of the calendar year. Again 2 + 5+ 4=11
3) The Madrid bombing took place on 3/11/2004. 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 =11.
4) The tragedy of Madrid happened 911 days after the Twin Towers incident.

Now this is where things get totally eerie:
The most recognised symbol for the US, after the Stars & Stripes, is the Eagle. The following verse is taken from the Koran/Quran, the Islamic holy book:
"For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced: “For the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah and there was peace."
That verse is number 9.11 of the Quran.

Still unconvinced about all of this..?! Try this and see how you feel afterwards, it made my hair stand on end:
Open Microsoft Word and do the following:
1. Type in capitals Q33 NY. This is the flight number of the first plane to hit one of the Twin Towers.
2. Highlight the Q33 NY.
3. Change the font size to 48.
4. Change the actual font to WINGDINGS

What do you think now???

The joy of three:
Three is the “Magic Number” – De La Soul
Three Steps to Heaven – Eddie Cochran
Three times a lady – The Commodores
Three Kings
Three Wise Men – Melchior, Caspar & Balthazar
Three amigos
Three seats in the back of an average car
Three Little Pigs
Three Musketeers
Three Tiers on a wedding cake
Three medals in the Olympics – Gold, Silver & Bronze
Three sides on a triangle and that is much better than a square!
Three degrees
Three bird roast – Turkey, Chicken & Duck
Three men and a baby – Film
Count to down from three to start a race 3 … 2 … 1!
Three peaks challenge
Three stooges
If you total all the numbers in a long number and it is a multiple of 3 then it is in the 3 times table.
Three is a crowd however threesome may be good? Modesty and general self-preservation stops me from saying if I have experience!

That is all for now!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Taking a Bit of Pride

Today I have been thinking a lot about doing things well and having a pride in yourself.  If you do not have pride in yourself, what do you have?  I am the sort of person who likes to do well at things.  I like people to think I have done well at things, I do not always need them to tell me … but it is nice!  I’ve been thinking this because I am looking to gain more followers and views for my blog! I do not seek fame or fortune as I think that leads to a large high followed by a larger fall, but I would like to be a little more popular and get a few more followers and views!

So far on my blog I am quite proud of what I have written and find it quite entertaining to write.  Well, I am my own biggest fan!  If you can’t love yourself then it is very difficult to love others!  I think I’m just the same as most people, but I like to be a bit more open and true to myself.  I guess I am writing this piece just for me to have a slightly introspective evening!
What led me to thinking about this was that in work this week and we had a gentleman come in to the office to collect money for some books he had left for people to potentially buy.  I organised the orders for what people wanted to buy and made sure I had the money for when he arrived.  This man said it was amazing that I was so organised to get everything so up together for when he arrived. I thought everyone would have done the same but apparently not!
I do not think it takes a lot to be organised and do a lot of little jobs like this, and I just find it naturally easy to set up a process and follow it through.  I know often that processes and systems change, but on the whole it is not difficult to follow a process if it is done step by step. I am very particular that a job should be done correctly but I do not find it difficult to adapt if processes need to be changed, so long as there is a good reason.  I often think it is important to constantly review procedures and processes so they do not become out of date.  I guess this makes me very systems focused and I’ve been like this from an early age.  Apparently this is unusual for someone with dyslexia. This may come from a fear of missing anything, or my values of not wanting to get anything wrong or be late for any appointment as it is quiet rude, and I do not like anyone being late as I do not like hanging around.  This can however lead to trouble as often I am too early for things and have to hang around anyway!
Anyway, I got a little distracted in my last paragraph but the basic essence of what I am saying is to do things well.  I am not a perfectionist by any stretch of the imagination but I am sure I could be if I never slept.  This comes back to my blogging I want it to be good, I want it to be entertaining and I want people to enjoy reading it and to make people think!  I have realised however I can get distracted by wanting to get things so correct and right that I can forget to eat or drink if I get absorbed in something.  This is not always a good thing and should often take regular breaks to refresh myself and maybe get better results in the long run. I am not sure but I might just be over critical.  I just like to be liked and feel that I should be.  I feel I am a nice person and do unto others as I would like to be done unto me.  This does not always happen.
Some people like to be disliked, for example the pantomime villain or the grumpy man at the bus stop; but I have never understood this.  I guess it is another way of being. I do not mind people thinking I am odd or strange or different, because a lot of people do.  However for people to think I do not work hard, I am lazy, I do not put energy into everything I set out to do would fill me with dread and I would hate people to hate me.  There are people who do!  I know some of these people, but I find them full of hate for the world and themselves and they do not have any respect for anyone but themselves.
I like to think I am a normal person who has one sister, brought up in a normal family in a normal house.  My parents are still together and I speak to them and my sister (on the phone) regularly.  I went to a normal school (although it did not seem normal at the time and I may blog about that later)!  I did my homework on time and took a pride in what I did and how I appeared to others. However these days, I am finding less and less normal people.  I guess I have to learn to ask my favourite question … What is normal anyway?
This blog started off to be a short one, asking the question about having pride in ones work, but is developing into a large, more general reaching of answers of society of a whole!  My basic point of this blog was just to have a bit of a timeout and think about the world I am living in at the moment.  This was to take a bit of time to analyse where I am and where my fellow man is in this ever changing world, but I am now seeking answers and asking more questions!
I am increasingly finding that this world does not have much room for somebody average like me. There are a lot of people in the world and I am but one, unique and individual. I feel however there are also a lot of people that want to fit in. I suppose I want to fit in and that is why I want to do a good job but there are many people who do not seem to want to, or do they want to but in a totally different way to what I deem to be normal.  This is a constant struggle in my life to get inside other people’s heads and find out their motivation for their actions and reactions to life.
I seem to find a lot of people I come across like to drink lots of alcohol, swear, enjoy talking loudly, constantly have no money and do not look outside their world at all.  Maybe I just mix with the wrong people!  I think I do look outside myself as I wonder what is going on in other people’s heads and try and work it out.  I think this is futile but is a constant hobby of mine.  This is not a constant occupation of mine but it takes up a lot of my time, but not as much time as it used to when I was younger.
I do not want this to turn into a rant about society as a whole but more of a piece of interest, to find out if I am the only one that thinks that they are the only (so called) normal person?  I know I am not the only normal person and not the only one who thinks what I think, but I would like to hear of other people’s opinions of normality.  Some people may find it not normal to blog about their every thought, but I guess in a way it is therapeutic for me and can set out some basic rules for living.
I once went on a mood management course and they talked about rules for living.  They asked me to come up with one rule I absolutely had to keep to, no matter what. I said:
“Do Not Lie”, they asked me to think of reason when it would be deemed acceptable to lie and at the time I had been very hurt by some big lies and had closed my mind to any possible good that would come from lying.  I was asked to think about telling children about Santa Claus to give them the magic of Christmas, and telling a dying man that he will be okay so he would not feel the pain for too much longer and give him hope.  This sort of made sense in a way that people may do things you do not immediately think of being logical or normal.  This led me to think about my rules of living and that not everything was black and white, and rules for living would use two extremes and find a middle ground:
“Do not lie if it will cause physical or mental pain to yourself or others around you”.
Writing this blog I have thought a little about my first paragraphs and still want blog views and followers, because I still want to do well.  I still want to be successful in everything I set out to do but guess I will tolerate people not doing things the same as me a bit easier. This blog is a bit of a lesson, it is a passage of writing through emotion, leading to a more harmonious outcome. I hope this has been as interesting to read as it has been to write. Perhaps me wanting this blog to be interesting and thought provoking is what has made it go on!
My final point is to conclude with is: I think I know that I am much like everyone else in the world but occasionally I feel so different to everyone else in the world. I know I am possibly and hopefully in the majority but why do I feel alone and in the minority? I guess this is because I am alone and I am the only one that is me! This may or may not be a good thing, but despite it being lonely being me it is also a good thing as I would not want to find anyone this good. It would be scary!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The New Age of Communication

When I first started blogging a few things I was worried about were no one will read it, and I'll get so into it I will not have any time for my girlfriend. Well I guess, looking at my statistics, people are reading it. I have however found that I did seem to get a little obsessed with it and had little time for my girlfriend. I noticed this Friday evening when finishing my blog about my rant on people not using the English language as well as they once did. I wanted to finish it off and spent a lot of the evening checking it and re-checking it before finally publishing it at nine at night! I do not think she was very impressed!

Talking with my other people I have noticed that blogging does seem a little introverted. I have started to wonder about modern society and wonder about what is happening with the world. I have been thinking about people’s relationship with modern technology and if this is helping modern relationships …

To start I would like to say that I am no way a techy and no way up to date with modern technology. I have only just purchased a new mobile telephone that gives me full internet access and the ability to play music I want. I think it does lots of other things too that I am not yet intelligent enough to know about. It is very new however and quite modern. My old phone simply allowed me to send text messages, telephone people and tell the time! I am a little old-school and do not enjoy computer games. I use a computer all day at work and so in the evening the last thing I want to do is to stay starring at a computer all evening!

My basic questions are with all this new technology about that has been said to improve communication and build relationships, it is? What are we communicating? Also who are we actually communicating to?

I come from a time when I had to remember to take 10p out with me so I could phone my Mum from a phone box if an emergency should arise. I would like to take each medium in turn and explain my views about them and ask some questions:

Mobile Telephones
I did not get a mobile telephone until I was nineteen. I used for emergencies and sent the occasional message to friends to see where they were and if they wanted to go for a beer. I did find that these became more and more popular and they started being banned in lecture theatres and people had to be told to turn them off! I found the same thing happened in cinemas, theatres and libraries. I am still surprised that people need to be told of this, as it is only generally polite as people should do this automatically. Other things I found were people were using them to find out what time people would be meeting and if people where at a certain place. Now I do not understand this as before mobile telephones we would say what time people would be somewhere before they left home. This did not change and people were where they said they would be at that time! Mobile telephones seemed to encourage people not to be organised and change their times for meeting and not always be where they said would be. To me this is not increasing communication. It is increasing irresponsibility for not doing what has been previously arranged! I know we live in a busy age, but it is still rude to be late or to rescind on a meeting date.

I happened to be in an informal meeting the other day at work and there was someone on their mobile telephone throughout it, pressing buttons, checking updates or something. That I felt was very rude and although he seemed to join in with the general flow of the meeting, it did not seem he was fully communicating and involved with the meeting.  I notice a few people in my office have their mobile telephones on their desks and have to keep picking it up and checking them. I do not find this effective communication. Are there so concerned with missing a message that they fail to fully concentrating on their jobs! Surely this will lead to missing something.

Social Networking Sites
I have a Facebook account and a Twitter account and have many friends and followers on each. I enjoy Facebook and finding out what people have been doing and like looking at pictures of people I knew years ago. I guess this is me being nosey but I guess this is the appeal. A lot of the people on there I would not really classify as friends but maybe acquaintances that I know or knew. Dangers obviously come when people accept friends they do not know and maybe using for dating. I see social network sites as a bit of fun but not to put on there too much about myself. People who really matter to me I will write to or phone them up to talk to about what I am doing. I will share photos with them when I see them and also my true thoughts and feelings. I lot of people put their every event, every thought and every feeling out there. Furthermore dangerously that can also say where in the world they are!

I like that on Twitter you can follow celebrities and look up their news. Twitter does limit the amount of letters you can use. I do not think I could truly express myself giving a limited number of letters. A number of celebrities or well-known people should engage their brains before using it though! As far as communication goes I guess it gives a brief insight into people you know, once knew or people you are interested in.  I am not crazy enough to put anything too serious on any social networking sites. I do not know who is watching! Plus I do not really know who would care? Sometimes I write things just to provoke a discussion, a bit like this article! In their defence however it can bring together people of similar interests and a chance to talk to people of similar interests from around the world. They can also be a great marketing tool. Mainly, I admit, I have these social network sites to be nosey and think a lot of other people do too even if they do not admit it!  

Finally blogging … I am enjoying blogging and gives me a chance to write about my view of the world in as much depth or as limited detail as I want. I am not sure what it achieves or if it increases communication but I enjoy it! It gets a lot of ideas and thoughts of my chest. It is sort of insular and I use it to talk a lot about me and my view of the world. There are however opportunities to comment and do not mind this. I am not sure who reads these blogs at any length but I guess some people do. I do not really read that many other peoples blogs but may start. I suppose they can be used as a sort of diary but I am using mine (at the moment), as a guide to my view on life. I do not think my life is interesting enough to keep a day to day diary. I may blog things I have done or things I want to do but not regularly every day!

My questions are who reads these blogs? Are people really interested? Is it really communicating or am I just writing to myself? My blogs so far have been quiet lengthy and taken a bit of time to write and therefore has cut me off from the outside world. I do not think they have increased my overall communication as I have been so involved with writing them I have not overly spoken with my girlfriend when wanting to complete a particular article. I also have not been outside to get some fresh air or exercise and I have not had my tea yet! This could lead to trouble!

In conclusion I am going to set myself the following rules for better communication in the modern world. You do not have to agree or disagree but I think it will have to work for me. I will often try to review this list to see if it remains true:
  • Use my mobile for the occasional text message to see how good friends and family are but phone them up and talk to them to make arrangements.
  • Keep to those arrangements unless emergencies get in the way.
  • Continue to be nosey on social network sites but do not put anything personal on there.
  • Turn my mobile on to silent or off when at work, in meetings or when meeting with others.  
  • Only be friends on the social networks with people you would not mind chatting to on the phone or going for a drink with.
  • Remove friends you have only met once and know nothing really about.
  • Blogging – Do a bit but take regular breaks and it can take a few days or weeks to write a blog.
  • Not all blogs have to be long essays!
  • Go out, get some exercise, meet with people and talk to people on the telephone.
  • Stop typing this blog soon and get some exercise!

My final conclusion is that although we have all these new ways to communicate it does not necessarily mean we are better at it and we have better friends and better relationships with people. We may all be communicating outwards but not really sure if our information is being received. If messages are rather short then a full message is not being understood or it is just an edited high or low point then the full story is not being communicated. Are these new ways to communicate actually communication or a cry out for attention? Do people communicate for the sake of communicating when there is nothing really to say? Do they communicate the wrong information and miss out the important things of what time they will be home or what time they will meet? Furthermore if people are not fully communicating back (such as on Facebook statuses) and it is not being received than this is this really communicating at all? If everyone is all busy trying to communicate and be heard then no one has time to listen? Who is listening? Has anyone really read this whole article to the end?