OT: Pens

From the person who brought you essay-length posts such as ‘CHOICE OF BEVERAGE’, ‘CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE ALLERGIC KIND’, and ‘TOOTHPASTE: ORIGINS’ comes an excitingly mundane stream-of-consciousness post called…

PENS!

OK, I think the whole concept of OT posts was to take the extremely run of the mill and make it vaguely interesting. Recently they’ve gotten a bit generic, talking about my hobbies and quirks – they’ve gotten away from their original intent… So I thought I would spice things up a little. Or rather, make things a little blander. :P Prepare yourself for the most melodramatic piece you have read for a while. And it’s on pens.

***

If I had the choice, I would always use pencils. They’re better in almost every way… they a) have erasability, b) don’t smudge in water (much), c) won’t run out of ink and d) have a bigger, and therefore better, range of colours. Alas, society frowns on extremists who hold such views.

I remember in primary school (elementary school for y’all Americans) it was a massive deal to be allowed to write with a pen. Until around Yr 3, you could only write in pencil as your handwriting wasn’t neat enough to use a Biro. I think the logic was that little kids used pencils so they could rub out their mistakes. I was one of the first in my year to move up to a pen, which will surprise many people, as… well, you’ll see.

Though in the beginning, I loved the sense of superiority using a pen gave me, my work did become a lot scruffier when I couldn’t just rub things out. I write things down without stopping to think, which is why typing is great because I can cross things out without you knowing. The only vestige of my pencil using days was Maths lessons. One of the weirdest things when starting secondary school was discovering they used pens for their maths work. Madness. Absolute madness.

I recently started using new-fangled erasable pens, and they were really great… but also really expensive, and slightly addictive. My neatness improved dramatically, but they don’t last long and are really inefficient for the price, so I gave them up a month ago. I would be lying if I said I haven’t looked back, but it’s been worth it. Today, I am officially erasable pen free for… well I used one today, so a few hours. But I’m improving.

My handwriting has been the subject of much debate. It has been variously described as ‘massive’ and ‘illegible’ by classmates, ‘unique’ and ‘flowing’ by some of my teachers (this is not a lie and I have the reports to prove it) and ‘a chicken’s scrawl’ by my sister. It may have been ‘a dead chicken’s scrawl’, but I can’t really remember. Personally, I think I have two styles of writing, which I will call ‘unique and flowing’, for my homework when I’m being obsessive,  and ‘a dead chicken’s scrawl’ for rough notes. My general style is somewhere between the two, but tending towards the dead chicken’s scrawl, even more so in timed tests. I am unaware of teaching qualifications, but I am sure that somewhere there’s a course on reading handwriting.

This will be wrapped up quickly as it is very late. I hope you enjoyed the post. :3

Joe.

OT: Karate

I started karate around four years ago. The annoying thing about karate is you can never boast. Not because it’s against the Big Book of Karate Rules (Section 24: Paragraph 3: Line 2 – The black belt shall pretend he is a white belt). It’s just that whenever I talk to someone who also does karate, they all happen to be child prodigies who were black belts at the age of nine. D:

I was recently talking to a guy who had also done karate, and feeling quite smug about the fact that I had been doing karate for four years. I mean, four years is quite a sizable portion of time, right? Then he casually mentioned he’d started doing karate at the age of four. It was certainly an arrow to the knee, or rather, a punch to the face.

I am now a brown belt, which is three belts below a black belt. Of course this will be different for different variations of karate (and from what I’ve heard, there are many, many different variations). I haven’t actually been to any competitions, and it’s on my bucket list to go to one, as well as to become a black belt.

One of the main reasons I do go to karate is because it is pretty much my only form of exercise.  I am, as I have stressed often above, very un-sporty, so going to karate twice a week keeps me… relatively fit. Ish. :P It’s also quite fun, although to a certain extent, I can’t say I look forward to it. Because… sport.

Karate has three parts – sparring, or kumite; basic techniques, or kihon; and katas. Kumite sounds like the part of karate where fists go flying, but it’s actually really controlled, and you only get to actually *fight* someone in the very high grades.

Kihon is quite boring, as you just show you can perform basic moves.

Therefore, the most interesting part of karate is probably the katas. Katas are like fights with one person, so they don’t really appear to make much sense and look more like dances than anything else, but when you see what applications they’re used for, they actually make sense. One of the interesting things about karate is that the katas seem to become less and less useful the higher you go up. This probably isn’t the case, as like I said, they all look weird until you see the application… but it sure seems like it.

Probably one of the weirdest katas is ‘Chintei’.

Chintei is the one you perform to make people laugh. It seems like quite a sensible kata until… you notice the bunny ears and those three hops at the end, which some people theorise is frolicking over the blood of your enemies. o_O It certainly makes you view it in a slightly different light.

Coming up: Book Reviews: Part 2

Have any of you guys tried a martial art? Or even sport in general?

Joe.

OT: Favourite colours

This will be a quickie because it’s getting late, but better now than never. :P

If I’m honest I don’t find any colour prettier than another one – to me, they are all of equal… beauty? I don’t really know what word to use.

But I still have a favourite colour. How can this be? Well as a toddler, I was obsessed with sweeties, as many of you still are. My favourites were probably Skittles, because when I got them, I could stir them up with vanilla ice cream and the flavouring would rub off. You can make strawberry ice cream with a box of vanilla and some strawberry skittles. Seriously, it’s great fun, (and I would presume good on a budget). Bear in mind I haven’t done it for years, so it might not work anymore.

Nom nom nom

My favourite flavours were strawberry and blackberry, and it was from here that I got my favourite colours, red and purple. This stayed the same for a while until I was maybe 6.

Under peer pressure, I decided that purple was too girly a colour, and ditched it. Nooo! However now I prefer purple again. If I’m honest, I don’t think any of this is terribly important, so I haven’t really thought about this for a while. Besides, as you get older, people don’t tend to ask you your favourite colour. :(

What’s your favourite colour, and your reason for it being your favourite? Maybe you don’t have one?

Joe

OT: Quirks

  • I hold pens really weirdly. I’ve only really discovered this recently, when my dad pointed it out.
  • I have a habit of saying, “And now…”
  • I have a small birth mark on my knee.
  • I have a happen of losing things that are in my hands. I once spent ten minutes looking for a book I was holding.
  • Whenever I’m in an awkward situation, I talk through gritted teeth and have a signature face that has been named ‘The Awkward Face’ by my siblings.
  • I am double jointed in my thumb.

Sorry for the very short post! Undoubtedly there will be a Part II to this next week! I kind of forgot to do this until now, so it’s quite late. Apologies. :3

Joe.

OT: Perfectionism

I have a long history of (on this blog) saying things like:

  • Sorry about the lack of posts!
  • I’m sorry I posted kind of late.
  • So I haven’t posted for a week.
  • I know I should have posted this yesterday…
  • Also, sorry for not posting the bucket list yesterday…
  • (And why I should never make commitments!)

And making promises like this:

  • The OT post for today has been postponed to Sunday for this reason.

(All real life examples. Brownie points for someone who is willing to skim through my blog and see where all these phrases are from! ;) But no pressure.)

I think the moral of the story is I am super bad at sticking to a schedule, so I completely missed last week’s OT post. Sorry. :3 To make up, I’m doing one today and probably one tomorrow. I think this would be the time to make some sort of corny pun about brushing my teeth more often, but I will spare you the pain.

The reason that I didn’t post on Saturday was that I left most of my homework till then… so I got kind of bogged down.

One of the reasons I take so long on homework is that I’m a perfectionist. If I know I’m not putting in my best effort, I get kind of stressed… with myself. I’m by no means always a perfectionist: with a few pieces of homework, I have actually done it in school on the day it was due in and/or sort of rushed it. In fact, only one or two pieces of homework get ‘the perfectionist treatment’ every week. That sounds like some sort of spa day.  :D This isn’t on purpose, and it’s kind of arbritrary.

To make it worse, I am not the type of person who plans ahead and I usually leave all my homework till the weekend. The dual combo of ‘perfectionist’ and ‘last-minute person’ is a very, very bad mix. However, I find that I usually work quite well under pressure. That doesn’t mean I enjoy working under pressure, but that’s life. :P

That’s all for today folks…

Joe.

OT: The origin story

I’ve been doing these Operation Toothpaste posts for a while now (this is my twelfth I think), but I still haven’t told you why they’re called Operation Toothpaste posts. If you aren’t aware, my OT posts are about those little mundane details of my everyday life that don’t really give you the means to stalk me. These are things I normally wouldn’t post about (because they’re not really post-worthy as they happen everyday). Because of this, you get a better picture of me over time. I did promise that, no matter how mundane, I would share it with you, but the thing about the origin story of the name ‘Operation Toothpaste’ is that it’s so mundane I haven’t yet shared it with you.

I would like to say that I have finally given in to popular demand, but no-one has even attempted to ask me via the comments. I guess you must have assumed that I called these posts Operation Toothpaste because brushing your teeth is a pretty mundane, and somewhat lacklustre way to start your mornings. The real reason these are called OT posts is that there is an even more mundane story behind the word ‘toothpaste’. It’s not even a proper story… but it was the first thing that came into my head when I considered what to name this feature.

I’ve tried to make this as interesting as I can, but it’s still kinda boring. There are lots of moments where I pretend to be excited, but this is just sarcasm. So without further ado… you have been warned. Continue reading

OT: My Bucket List!

It’s finally here. My bucket list. Now to put it out there, this is far from a finished project.

EDIT: I have just edited this before putting it on a page. Be sure to check it out every now and then, as this list is still under construction and will grow in the coming weeks!

Bucket List

  • Get good GCSE Grades.
  • Get good AS and A2 Level grades.
  • Get a University degree.
  • Get Grade 8 piano.
  • Read the Bible cover to cover.
  • Go on a pilgrimage.
  • Meet the Pope at World Youth Day.
  • Go to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando.
  • Re-read the Harry Potter books.
  • Host a Harry Potter movie marathon.
  • Finish my novel series and publish it.
  • Make a list of movies to watch.
  • Make a list of books to read.
  • Do some sort of adrenaline thing (e.g. bungee jumping, falling out of a helicopter with a parachute, climbing a mountain).
  • Grow out of my allergies and travel the world binging on milk chocolate, seven-tier wedding cakes and all the other lovely food I’ve missed out on over the years.
  • Read all the books on the Big Read BBC list.
  • Learn to drive a car.
  • Marry a girl and become a family man.
  • Be in a flash mob.
  • Meet a celebrity I appreciate, not for example Peter Andre (e.g. Brian Cox, J.K. Rowling)
  • Join a social media site (I don’t know about WordPress).
  • Get 100 followers on my blog.
  • Get 500 followers on my blog
  • Get 1000 followers on my blog.
  • Get re-blogged (please don’t reblog this post just so I can cross something off the list)>
  • Get Freshly Pressed.
  • Go to every continent in the world.
  • Live in London for at least a month.
  • Go on sabbatical and live in another country for at least three months.
  • Live in a house of my own.
  • Do a sponsored silence for an entire day.
  • Run the marathon.
  • Host a proper party.
  • Have someone arrange a surprise party for me.
  • Watch a show live with a visible audience that will eventually end up on TV (e.g. Live at the Apollo).
  • Sing karaoke.
  • Watch a tennis match with my family at Wimbledon (if God wills it, I’ll watching my sister, who wants to be a tennis player).
  • Go to a reunion party.
  • Make an invention.
  • Be in a film (probably as an extra).
  • Go to a gym (the horror!).
  • Watch a horror film.
  • Be best man at a wedding.
  • Participate in a Secret Santa.
  • Go on a boat cruise.
  • Go abroad without my family.
  • Go abroad with less than three friends (or none, but preferably at least one).
  • Go to a real-life auction and buy something.
  • Vote in an election.
  • Swim 10 km.
  • Vote in a phone vote (e.g. on X Factor).
  • Go to the Olympics or Paralympics.
  • Watch an opening ceremony of a big event.
  • Fly in Business and First Class.
  • Sleep the whole way on a plane journey.
  • Take a car ride into another country.
  • Go to New York.
  • Go to New York Zoo.
  • Go to the Empire State Building.
  • See the Statue of Liberty.
  • Go to a book signing.
  • See something being filmed that doesn’t have a visible audience when aired on TV (e.g. fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who).
  • Go the Tate Gallery, France.
  • Solve a Rubix Cube.
  • Feed an animal in a zoo. Edit: Just realised I’ve already done this! :3
  • Go to Disney World, Florida.
  • Go to Tokyo.
  • Go camping.
  • Go fishing.
  • Go surfing.
  • Draw or paint something that has been commissioned and sell it on eBay.
  • Make a time capsule.
  • Write a message in a bottle and throw it into the sea.
  • Write a diary for a year.
  • Get a pet.
  • Sponsor an endangered animal.
  • Sponsor a child.
  • Become a blood donor.
  • Read a book before it is published (not illegally) and review it.
  • Go to Vatican City.
  • Make a will (yes, the pessimism).
  • Swim the English Channel.
  • Go trick or treating (meh, not so sure about this one).
  • Carve a pumpkin by myself (as in, not my dad doing it).
  • Go carol singing before it’s too late.
  • Go to a proper concert.
  • Upload a Youtube video.
  • Animate something and upload it to Youtube.
  • Get a six pack?!
  • Become a black belt in Karate.
  • Go to an official Karate competition.
  • Win an official sports game not in school (team or otherwise).
  • Go to a fair and win the grand prize.
  • Win a raffle.
  • Upload a vine.
  • Win a writing competition.
  • Go on a bus alone.
  • Program a computer game.
  • Go on the Tube alone.
  • Win a game of chess against the computer.
  • Start making a scrapbook.
  • Make and give someone a present.  Edit: Just realised I’ve already done this as well…
  • Beat a Guiness World Record.
  • Go on a diet.
  • Go birdwatching.
  • Go stargazing.
  • Send something to a magazine.
  • Write a letter to the Prime Minister.
  • Write a letter or postcard to someone.
  • Try and get into MENSA (who knows?).
  • Go white-water rafting.
  • Go to Death Valley.
  • Go to Platform 9 and 3/4.
  • Go to Washington, D.C. and see the White House.
  • Go to Yellowstone National Park.
  • Go to Athens and see the Parthenon.
  • Go to Venice.
  • See the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland
  • Go to Rome.
  • Go to the Great Pyramids in Giza.
  • Go to the Taj Mahal.
  • Go to Stonehenge.
  • Go the Great Wall of China.
  • Go to Madame Tussauds.
  • Go to Hollywood.
  • Float in the Red Sea.
  • See a show at Broadway.
  • Go to Spain.
  • Go to the Amazon.
  • Go to Niagara Falls.
  • See Notre Dame.
  • See the Forbidden City.
  • Go to Pompeii.
  • Grow a moustache.
  • Live a fulfilling life.

That’s pretty much it folks. More than a hundred on there, but undoubtedly it will grow and shrink over time. Eventually I will try and get round to putting it on a page so it can be regularly updated. Please tell me if I have repeated anything or you think two or three of these could be grouped together. It was a lot of fun to write. :)

Joe.

P.S. For inspiration, I looked at this: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/worlds-most-visited-tourist-attractions, and this: http://itdoesnotdotodwellondreamsandforgettolive.com/bucket-list/.  Thanks for the help! :3

Extrovert or Introvert?

As you may have noticed, I have attempted to drop the ‘OT’ tag from now on, since it’s pretty obvious which posts are Operation Toothpaste posts and which are not. We’ll see how that turns out.

I’m not entirely sure why this has happened, but recently everyone has been using the words ‘extrovert’ and ‘introvert’. A lot. For those not in the know…

An extrovert is some who finds happiness in social interaction and prefers time with friends as opposed to time alone in a room writing on a computer. Extrovert are generally quite talkative and energetic, and generally outgoing.

On the other end of the scale, introverts are happy when they spend some time alone with themselves. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT INTROVERTS ARE LONELY. It just means they like to read a book more than they like shuffling around awkwardly at parties. They are more analytical and less energetic. They’re also quite reflective on life and all that jazz. Continue reading