Test before you request!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/buyers-beware/

The year is 2214, and some intrepid antique collector purchases the dusty old murky hard-drive of your humble narrator. In his curiousity, he purchased the strange mythical relic and immediately teleported home to show his Kryten-esque android and demand answers. What is this? How did those savages in the 21st Century get by using such basic technology? Who do you think owned it? The android offers to run the hard drive through his oral socket. What do you think they would find?

First of all that this hard drive once belonged to a gentleman by the name of Anthony …

The contents indicate that he was a youngish man, I would also assume he was single, given the presence of this risque material.
He must have worked from home, in some kind of marketing capacity, this drive is littered with databases and quotes and enquiries etc. He must have had a penchant for writing, as there are several stories here. However he must have been quite unfocused as these don’t appear to ever have been finished. During the period of time the hard drive covers, he must have been a desperate job seeker, as there are several copies of his CV. Evidently he enjoyed periods of ‘fun’ (the spending of time in a profitless, non-practical way) in between his work/failed storytelling, as I can detect several saves of an old game known as ‘Football Manager’ (clearly he spent a lot of profitless time on this!)

Upon completion, the android regurgitated the relic and handed it back to his owner. ‘Sure is fascinating to see what life was like back in the 21st Century huh sir?’

Should this ever really happen, I’d be genuinely curious to know how those in the 23rd century would view how we lived back here in the 21st?

Fairly fragile, but occasionally blows are necessary!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/handle-with-care/

It must be said, that I’m really really bad at receiving criticism, really bad. Whenever I would get essays back at Uni, if the mark wasn’t particularly good, I would bristle at the thought of reading the feedback. Either that or I would give the feedback a cursory look and then banish it from sight and mind, unfortunately I have that annoying trait of taking criticism personally. This stems from some less than pleasant schooldays where I would take some extremely personal criticism, many of the soundbites have faded over time, but they still occasionally replay themselves in my more maudlin reflective states.

However, despite such melodrama, I am learning to take useful criticism in the manner which it is intended. Going back to the university feedback, if I was unable or unwilling to see my faults (generally ranging from erratic punctuation to lack of structure, presentation was my achilles heel) then how would I be able to improve as an academic or as a writer? Criticism, when delivered in a constructive and well-meaning manner can sometimes be the most effective (if slightly bitter) tasting pill for us to swallow. It allows us to see our working faults and go about setting them right, constructive criticism from a fresh pair of eyes can be the difference between perhaps a good piece of work and a great piece of work.

Where I think ‘honesty’ is less welcome is from the ‘just telling it like it is’ school, (or the ‘Katie Hopkins’ school of criticism) which is becoming increasingly prevalent and increasingly repellent. The ‘JTILI’ school of criticism essentially is people forcefully projecting their world view onto everybody else and is usually criticism ad hominem rather than anything which can enable people to improve themselves either professionally or personally. ‘JTILI’s’ form of ‘brutal honesty’ seems to me to based more around expressing their own subjective opinions/dislike of certain sections of society rather than to help people improve. This brand of humiliation may help some people, but I would say it damages many more!

So yeah, getting back on track, I would prefer it if people treated me with frank and open honesty, I am willing to admit I am can be dense enough to ignore subtle hints. May as well give it to me straight so I can immediately begin working on rectifying my faults. Best example of this is from final year at Uni, in the first half of final year I had one or two really shockingly poor results (52 and 60/62?% respectively). I decided to really pore over the feedback and really look at the criticism of my tutors. Once I knew where my faults were (structure and punctuation errors, needed a proof-read or two) I was able to act upon them, with my hard work paying off in my marks for the second half of the year (My dissertation: 73%, 72% and 64%.)
Sometimes you just have to absorb the blow of naked honesty, as you then know how to dodge the second one.

Our anniversary

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/from-the-top/

Today is indeed a very special day, it is the anniversary of the relationship between myself and WordPress. A relationship that began when I was a young(er) ambitious blogger, looking forwards to hooking up with a site so that I could pour out my thoughts, write considered opinion pieces/reviews/talk about my love of football.

Throughout my search, I tried other sites such as tumblr (of which my account is no longer accessible) and blogspot (or blogger). But in the end, I only really ever had eyes for one particular blogging site, and here we are 5 years later.

Like many new relationships, the passion burned brightly. I was a maelstrom of creative thinking and I was grateful to share it all with my newfound blogging love. Unfortunately as time went by, the interest began to fade, the ideas were becoming stale, we had nothing to talk about anymore. I felt we needed to take a break, to let me recharge my creative batteries and to rediscover my love of writing (and of WordPress).

After I graduated from University, I felt I had become a more interesting, thoughtful and considered character. With this newfound creative buzz I sought out my one true blogging love and it was like we had never been apart. The passion flowed from my fingers like it had done the very first time we met, I was able to once again articulate my thoughts and feelings to WP, and we’ve never looked back since…

Yes, today is indeed a special day. Like typical married couples however, I completely forgot what day our anniversary was on, and WordPress was the one who had reminded me, I’m so sorry baby!

Indeed, today is indeed a special day, and I hope for many many more with you WP! Happy anniversary! X

Culinary Yin and Yang

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/picky-tongues/

Naturally my first instinct (as I suspect many peoples’ would be) would be to rid my buds from all the horrible, negative tastes in the World.  Like an ideal world, I would create an ideal taste palate without sourness or bitterness.  But then I got round to realising that perhaps a world where I would not sample bitterness or sourness would not be complete.

It’s like food Yin and Yang, if I could not ever again taste bitterness, then could I ever fully appreciate what is sweet?  Bitter tastes have to exist in order to amplify that which tastes sweet whilst sweet exists to amplify the sour.  Again, much like the World we live in; the best way for us to appreciate the sweetness in the world is to unfortunately wade through the bitterness.  The taste palate would be much the worse off if we closed it off to either the sweetness or the sour, to blind ourselves to one half of what the world has to offer…

…Then I remembered that this was probably far too much thought to put into a prompt about food and I opted for getting rid of the sense of spicy.  Whilst I love a good curry, I mainly enjoy ones which aren’t as spicy, so I could probably live in a spice-free world…

A space in which to free the mind

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/writing-space/

For me, a good writing environment can be anywhere in which inspiration strikes and I have a tool to capture these sudden bursts of creativity on (tablets are a damn godsend btw).  I have been known to write on the train, in the solitude of my room or even whilst enjoying a delicious hot mocha! (my poison of choice, that and real ale of course!) 

But, in probably the most boring response the Daily Post will receive today, I have to say that I work at my best when at my desk (or any designated area of work for that matter, such as an office, or a library etc.)  I openly admit that I find it incredibly difficult to focus when in an area not designed to work in.  Even when sitting in my room, (where I am currently sat writing this piece for you now) there are too many distractions which can stifle any creativity.  

The biggest example of this would be back in the University days (I really hark back to them far too much, those Glory Days really do pass you by…).  I would always, always work in the Library complex.  My best working environment would be to head over at night, get out of my room with the sweet distractions of X-Box and TV, and head over to an area designed to work in.  Occasionally I would put a football game on, but otherwise I would plug the headphones in, play some music and let the words flow from my fingers onto the screen, heaven!  In an ideal world I would need a small office of my own, a small space with a desk, chair, laptop, a bookcase and some speakers to help create an ambience fit for creativity.  

Right to Brag?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/right-to-brag/

Honestly, I’ve never been one for ‘blowing my own trumpet’, so to speak.  Perhaps that may be a reason that I have not had too much success in the job market since graduation, because I am not particularly skilled at selling myself.  

Part of the reason for this I feel is down to a perceived lack of actual achievements.  I don’t feel that anything I have ever done in my 22 years stands out as something to brag about, I don’t feel particularly special.  Not that I have anything against the principle of bragging of course, sometimes people can achieve really great things in their lives and it is only right that they are happy to shout these from the rooftops!  The only issue I really have with it bragging is when it is used to denigrate others’ achievements, it is one thing to have pride in your achievements but it is another thing to be arrogant.  

This blog is about self-reflection however, and after a bit of said self-reflection, perhaps I do have something to be proud of after all.  When I was born 22 years ago, I was born into this world without a right hand or foot, the hand I do have is still the size of a small childs’.  Adding to this, from the age of 7 onwards, I was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome and yet, and yet.  I became the first person ever in my family to go to University and subsequently graduate with a 2:1.  I have managed to impress on a graduate placement within Local Government.  As well as this I am physically capable as well, in my lifetime I have climbed mountains, roamed the moorland and had football/soccer trials (well trials for trials but still, I’ll take what I can get.)   Whilst I still don’t think I’ve achieved anything really worth bragging about, perhaps the fact that I have managed to lead a reasonably successful ‘normal’ life thus far is within itself, a pretty damn decent achievement.  I’d feel better if I had a job of course! 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-four/

I’m going to go right back to the start of it all, my first true memory of heart breaking, searing loss and pain.  A loss so great that it moved me to tears (although admittedly it was very easy to bring me to tears or even rage in my formative years.  To this day I still bristle at the lines ‘Herod’s curious, Herod’s furious, and he doesnt want to hear about Jesus.’  Damn nativity!)

Anyway, for those of you reading who were both children of the 90’s and reside in the UK, you may remember a Saturday morning kids’ show called SM:TV live.  Starring Ant and Dec (post PJ and Duncan years yet pre- media darling/nations favourites years.)  Now this show (later replaced by Tim Lovejoy-era Soccer AM in my Saturday morning affections) was just something wonderful.  A show which combined regular features such as Wonky Donkey, Postbag and Challenge Ant with sketch shows, the two which most prominently stick out were C.H.U.M.S (no prizes for guessing what that was a spoof of) and Anty & Decky the garden Goblins.  I remember the days of singing along to the Carpenters’ Mr Postman during the postbag segment, as well as the days of chanting ‘You’re Thick’ whenever Ant was beaten at Challenge Ant.  I also remember once SM:tv live would finish and CD:UK would be ushered in, hosted by the same trio (Ant, Dec and Cat Deeley.)  Ah yes, those were the years my friends, when Saturday morning television was at it’s best (or the 6-11 year old me was a considerably less discerning viewer, I can never tell…)

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and in 2003 (when I was 10 or 11) SM:TV live performed its last sketch.  The goodbyes were said, the inevitable video montage was played, the sad music faded out into the SM:TV live abyss.  The credits rolled, as did the tears down my 11 year old cheeks.  Although that could also have been because it had dawned on me that the only alternative I had was watching Dick and Dom, a grim prospect indeed!

But yeah, SM:TV live was my first experience of loss, unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the last either…