If life gives you cake…

It’s my birthday today! :D

 

I will deign to tell you my age (because based on the terrifying Internet safety shorts my teachers have shown me, there are an awful lot of creepy people on the Internet) but yeah, it’s my birthday! :D

What, you forgot?! D: It’s OK, I won’t judge you. *cracks knuckles menacingly and then grins sheepishly*.

I didn’t really understand the gravity of the situation either when I woke up at 7:00 this morning. I thought, “Oh, it’s my birthday.” Then I went back to sleep and woke up again two hours later. Even still, I felt pretty happy, although not bouncing up and down excited.

I should probably tell you that I am currently not living in my home – long story short, I, my sisters and my parents are with some extended family because of a tennis tournament my sister is in; it’s been lots of fun over the last few days.

Anyway, I went downstairs, got hugged by my mum and aunt and had my ‘Birthday Breakfast’ (i.e. normal breakfast with a hint of antidisestablishmentarianism). I also texted everyone I know, “It’s my birthday!” Then I went to a tennis court to hit with my cousin, sister and dad. I was really really bad. As in, terrible. But I got better I think, and by the end I was only really bad. :P

The cake currently lies waiting to be eaten, chocolate with buttercream icing. Because of my extensive allergies (eggs, milk and nuts) I don’t normally have cake – when it comes to other people’s birthdays, I often have one or two Jammie Dodgers.

It would be a lot of hassle to bake a separate cake (mainly for myself as few others will eat it) every time someone has a birthday. That would be far too much cake for far too short a person to consume. But when it comes to my own birthday, my mum makes a dairy/nut/egg free chocolate cake, which is nom nom nom without making me have a rash.

Allergic reactions are not exactly desirable.

*Cue musical interlude*

I’m breaking out in rashes everywhere,
I’m in a state of disrepair.
My skin’s turning quite sage, turning quite sage,
My skin’s turning quite sage, turning quite sage,
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m dermatologically reactive, dermatologically reactive!
Oh, no, no, no, no, oh, no, no, no, I’m dermatologically reactive, dermatologically reactive!

But I’m getting off topic. Birthdays.

Oh, forgot to mention presents. I had a much easier time than last year but I was still incredibly indecisive, so I only decided my birthday presents a few days before my actual birthday… when I was in someone else’s house (*facepalm*) so they haven’t arrived yet. I know what they are anyway though. :P

Turns out the book I got as a prize for Speech Day (another thing I need to write about) was really good, so I’m buying the other two books in the series; the book was ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ by Patrick Ness, part of a series called ‘Chaos Walking’ – I highly recommend it. I also asked for the Lego Movie, because why not? :P No, my friends all said it was really good, so I thought I would see what all the fuss is about. In my mind, 2:1 is the perfect balance of books to DVDs, but that might just be me.

At the same time, I can be kind of frustrated with my age. Because I was born in August, everyone in my year has their birthday before me. In Britain the cutoff is August 31, so as my birthday is perilously close to it very few people in my year are born after me! -_- As a result, I feel kind of older than I am, if that makes any sense. Whenever people ask me how old I am near the summer holidays, I normally say “I’m in Year X.” rather than, “I am X years old.” because when I say the latter, people often underestimate me and it’s starting to get on my nerves. :\

Another thing that annoys me is when people say, “Before you were born.” It’s hard to say exactly why that is, but it’s as if they’re trying to surprise you by saying this. Guys, I already know that stuff happened before I was born – that is not a mystery to me. Plus it gives no sense of time whatsoever. A year before I was born? A hundred years before I was born? Gahhhh! I would rather you just gave a date, no matter how vague.

No if anything, it freaks me out when I find out things have happened during my lifetime which I had no idea about. The idea that someone found out they had cancer or started a now famous YouTube channel while I was alive makes me kind of uneasy, but I’m not entirely sure why. Meh. Those are my thoughts.

I don’t really know what else to write about. Perhaps I should’ve posted this near the end of the day just in case something surprising happens in the rest of the day, but unless my laptop dies in a tragic car accident in Blackpool, I don’t think much will happen that will be worth saying (besides, my laptop will be destroyed with only the Blackpool Illuminations for company, so I won’t be able to post anyway).

What do you think of birthdays? Are they a happy harbinger of progress into your life, guiding you into another happy year filled with happy unicorns and happy rainbows? Or a drab and dreary reminder of mundane everyday life, only reminding you how old you are and how little you have accomplished?

Sorry that got dark quickly.

Anyway, happy birthday to me. :3

Joe.

P.S. 101 posts! :D

Sports Day!

EDIT: Shortly after 100 followers, I have now written 100 posts! :D I was hoping for the two achievements to happen at the same time (so my 100th post would have concerned having 100 followers), but I’ll settle for this. :P

Firstly, I have to say that I am disappointed none of you looked up the word ”syzygy”, or at least showed a mild interest. :P From wiktionary:

  1. (astronomy, astrology) A kind of unity, namely an alignment of three celestial bodies (for example, the Sun, Earth, and Moon) such that one body is directly between the other two, such as occurs at an eclipse.

I think the only reason I picked it was that I saw it on dictionary.com as a ‘cool word’ and I’m kind of running out of ideas. ;) If you want, recommend a word! :D This week’s word is tittle.

***

When events come around, they happens in quick fire succession, like bullets from a machine gun. The first three major(ish) occasions of the Summer happened within a week of each other: Sports Day; my first karate competition; and a concert I was playing the piano in. This is the order in which they happened; however, funnily enough, the list also starts with the event I was most worried about and ends with the event I was least worried about.

This post was originally called ‘A Series of Troublesome Events’ and was about all three of these happenings (I’m trying not to use the word ‘event’). Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time, so the karate competition and the piano concert will have to wait.

You may need some background. I’ll basically plagiarise last year’s post on Sports Day and go with a ‘Harry Potter’ theme. So in my school, there are four houses, which will be called (as in last year’s post) Potter, Draco, Harry and Snape. I am in Potter.

However, my experience of Sports Day was very different from last year – as in extremely different. Last year I was in the BBC Junior Reporters’ Club, interviewing athletes after they had finished their events, lazing around, and occasionally cheering on my house.

This year I quit Junior Reporter’s Club. I was also one of the runners in the 1500m.

Yes I know – I have often harped on about how terrible I am at sports and my horrific hand-eye co-ordination. At times, I have prided myself on my unsportiness. I even helped set up FAFA, the Forever Anti-Football Association (or soccer to y’all Americans). If anything, I merely have a slight dislike of sport, but I think I blow it a bit out of proportion. I don’t really know why, but perhaps it’s to have a conversation starter. But I digress.

One of the few exceptions to this is running. I like it, as it requires very little hand-eye (and foot-eye) co-ordination, but only after the actual run has occurred. Whenever I run a fairly long distance, I am uncomfortable throughout, but afterwards I say something crazy like, “That wasn’t so bad.” Such is the madness. D:

My lungs much prefer short distance running to long distance running, but I am comparatively *better* at long distance. That isn’t really saying much. If you could measure running ability on a scale of “You are an Object at Absolute Zero” to “Fast as Light”, I would flounder somewhere between “good” and “good“, if that makes any sense at all. Besides, I would never directly volunteer to compete in Sports Day, being me, but it never works out that way, does it?

The selection process  is very laid back. Basically if you ask to compete and you have a reputation of being fairly good at your chosen sport, you’re in. Occasionally, informal competitions are held to find the best people for the event, but only when there are more applicants for a race than places (normally two places per house).

Here’s how it happened.

I was walking along a corridor with a friend when I walked by the notice board in my school. My head of house and a fellow Potter were standing by it, discussing something. The boy was talking about how there were “hardly any good runners in Potter…”

I may avoid social occasions at all cost, but I can also be very big-headed (+1 for an AMAZING PERSONALITY COMBO) so I muttered under my breath, “I can be a good runner.” or something along those lines.

Silly Joe. Silly silly Joe.

If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I am unable to speak quietly – I am unable to mutter or whisper without every person in the neighbourhood hearing – never mind every single animal in 64 Zoo Lane.

So when I muttered, my fellow Potter heard me. Next thing you know, I’m suggesting more people, the guy is ecstatic that he’s found some runners and it’s hinted that I will somehow be involved in Sports Day. I’m left with my friend, who is laughing at my predicament.

Sports. I have become implicated with sports. D:

It happened so quickly that at first I thought I was a reserve. Later I found that I had been put down to run for 1500m, and after some checking, I found that to be true.

What? What! WHAT?!

I was so apprehensive that I would come last, or near last. I have a bit of a reputation as the class boffin – not necessarily a bad reputation but a reputation nonetheless – and I didn’t want to reinforce the connotations that come with that. Even still, I didn’t practise that much, although I went out with my dad and sister a few times for a mile run.

There was also a house Sports Day rehearsal a few days before the actual event, but I was only told about it while it was happening, and since I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, I decided to skip it since loads of people weren’t going. Obviously there was some mental anguish, but my stomach prevailed.

It turns out that three people (including myself) had applied for two places in the 1500m,  so they staged a mini-competition during the rehearsal which I missed. Since I conveniently didn’t turn up, I was automatically shoehorned into the race with the winner of the competition. If I’m honest, I probably would have lost the mini-competition anyway, so I guess it’s a good thing I decided not to go to the rehearsal.

Anyhow, when it came to the day of the competition, I was freaking out. I’ve never actually competed against anyone before, and didn’t really have any idea how fast I was at running a mile. What if I thought I was fast but really I was a snail? Of course, the opposite was also possible, but I was much more inclined to the first idea. Track events were only in the afternoon, with field events in the morning, so the first half of the day were spent as usual.

Then I got changed at lunch, and walked to the fields after registration, sitting with my fellow Potters in a temporary pen constructed with posts and rope. 1500m was one of the last events, so I sat on the grass for an hour, sipping some water and not paying any attention to the races, while the people beside me listened to music and discussed whether or not Goku was better that Superman. Occasionally I ran to the toilet which was about 100m away and came back exhausted. Needless to say this made me severely doubt my stamina and didn’t do much for my confidence.

You know I said earlier that there was a mini-competition to find who would join me in the 1500m? The loser kept asking me whether I would drop out so he could run instead. Politely, but all the same. Strangely enough, I refused every time. I guess he would have been faster, but in a strange way, I kind of wanted to compete in Sports Day, despite the risk of losing. Meh.

Eventually a voice rang out: “Could all the 1500m competitors see Mr. M at the starting line?” Shaking, I went with some others to the start of the track. I brought my water bottle with me and then left it near the start of the race. There were 8 people competing in each year, but I was running with people in the year below me as well to save time, so there were 16 in total. They positioned us at the start. Some people crouched down but I just stood up, terrified of how badly I could perform. It was 2 and 3/4 laps (or maybe three and 3/4) and it looked like a long distance from where I was. I made a silent prayer.

“And… go!”

I tried to run quickly but also pace myself. The first thing I heard was, “No! Why are you… Nooooo!” and a runner was left behind. Left and right, runners were collapsing into heaps on the ground, leaving carnage in their wake. I didn’t actually see this, but I heard heavy thuds behind me, although those noises may have been feet.

I quickly fell behind three or four people. I was panting heavily, trying to make my strides long and quick, but my lungs weren’t having it. I fluctuated around that position for a while, occasionally seeing someone slide past me. About halfway through the race, I saw a clump of people ahead of me and, lengthening my stride, found the willpower to run in front of them.

“And Joe runs into 3rd place!” the commentator said. I was ecstatic, but my lungs were already near breaking point. I passed the crowds and tried to pick out my name, but it was a maelstrom of meaningless noise. My breaths were heavy and getting longer and slower. As I ran round the curve, people overtook me one by one, most of them in my year but a few younger than me. By the final lap, I was in fifth position in my year, but I was beyond all caring as to positions now – I wasn’t last and I wasn’t second last either, so as long as I kept my place without having an asthma attack, I would be happy.

I heard a battle cry behind me, so I edged up my pace. Sports Day really is the Hunger Games, but you know, toned down for the adolescents. When I saw the finish line, I sprinted. My head of house was cheering me on and the commentator may have encouraged me (he’s one of my friends), but again, I could tell nothing from the crowds. Behind me, another competitor was also sprinting, trying to beat me at the last second, but I managed to outpace him and pipped him to fifth place.

I crumpled onto the grass, breathing heavily. The commentator mentioned something about the 1500m being gruelling. Too right.

Eventually I returned back to the pen (not as bad as it sounds by the way). I was exhausted and wishing for a hero’s welcome or at least a drink of water. But nothing really happened. Happy music was not played while hands did not reach out to pat me on the back and crowds did not part to allow me passage. That’s life I guess.

Of course there was a bit of drama as I realised I had left my water bottle at the start. The inner conflict between not wanting to stand out and wanting to drink some water was strong. I decided to scrounge until I mustered the courage to go and collect it. My life is filled with danger and intrigue.

However Sports Day was kind of boring for me. By the end of the day, the only race I had really been interested in (apart from my own) was the final 4x100m relay, where some of the teachers competed. In case you’re wondering (which I doubt you are), Potter came third, with Harry coming last, Draco coming second and Snape coming first (again). Though we were abysmal at the track events, we managed to scrape third due to a good performance in the field events (unwatched  by an audience). Since last year we came fourth, I think that we’re slowly climbing up the leaderboard. If that’s the case, the next time we’ll win Sports Day is 2016. Brilliant.

Note: Most of the dialogue here was heavily paraphrased or changed because a) I can’t remember what was actually said and b) I didn’t want to name people. Just saying. :3

Joe

P.S. My next post will be about my birthday. :3 I may not post on the day (I will be at the house of some extended family members), but I’ll try as soon as I can. :P

It was around this time

It was around this time last year that a Scottish English Catholic Indian called Joe was revising for his end of year exams and needed something he could use to procrastinate.

It was around this time that his friend’s blog, [insertnamehere] got 1000 views, and inspired Joe to make a blog.

It was around this time that he got some feedback from one of his previous blogs and wanted to try again.

It was around this time he published his first post, Welcome Earthlings, which was as follows:

Ahem. That was bad. But you’re still reading aren’t you? Unless you were put off…

Anyway, this is my first post. I love technology, and this will mainly be a technology blog, but keep in mind I may post the odd titbit every now and then. ;) I’ve done multiple blogs before, but none of them have really been successful. Recently I made a post on an old blog with my cousin, and I was surprised to find the post was recommended by another website.

But um… I didn’t want to continue on that blog because it had an *ahem* embarrassing URL. So here we are. By the way, my name’s Joe.

Hope to see you around. :)

It was around this time last year that he got his first like.

It was around this time last year that he got his first comment from [insertnamehere].

It was around this time last year that he had his first blogging interaction with someone he didn’t know in real life – Aliyaaaa.

It was around this time he got his first award.

And so forth.

***

WARNING: MUSHY STUFF

Thank you so much. I am very very happy. Probably one of the weirdest things is looking back on ‘past me’, that ever-naive person who blogged every day when he was meant to be revising (ah, bless) and thought this was going to be “mainly a technology blog”. (Is it OK to refer to “past me” in the third person?)

I do feel kind of ecstatic for obvious reasons that I’m not really sure of. At first I thought:

But then should I be happy? I mean, it was going to happen sometime. If I had never posted on this blog and left it as barren as my other ones, I still would have had this achievement. And yet the fact that so many other blogs (namely mine) have been abandoned but this one has not makes me feel quite… happy.

I suppose I should thank people. Mind this is not an exclusive list. But anyhow:

Thanks Aliyaaaa – you were the first person who legitimately took an interest in my blog who I didn’t know in real life.

Thanks [insertnamehere] and pessimistic leprechaun, for being my friends off and on the internet.

Thanks to the Indecisive Eejit, who followed me as the Geeky G4mer, and has given me, a young ‘un, lots of laughter (and some well-directed advice).

Thanks to Professor VJ Duke, for being generally professorish.

Thanks to Charlotte M, for showing me that I am not very good at fandoms.

Thanks to JED, for providing lots of post inspiration.

Thanks to mushroomsup, for nominating me for my first award and being hilarious.

Thanks to deepbluesandseafoamgreens, for despite being my most recent blog friend, her quirky posts and comments are pretty awesome.

Thanks to everyone who has ever commented, liked or followed. Thank you.

***

So I woke up this morning looking eagerly at my notifications to see if WordPress had presented me that shiny “Anniversary” trophy that everyone talks about – but it was not there. When I realised that I had to wait until 7:40 for my award, I did. BUT IT WAS NOT THERE.

And then an hour later I got the award. Phew. You almost scared me there WordPress. Why so cruel? D:

Unfortunately this means I started this post quite late and I still have quite a lot to go. This may hark back to the days of essay post Joe, so you have been warned. :P

How do I put this?

I am a deeply flawed human being (that was hard to write). And I thought I could do something like Lollipop Tuesday where I do a challenge every week… except this time each challenge would last a week, every week, for a year.

I could become one of those slightly spammy blogs that talk say things like, “YOU can improve YOUR life with this simple blog feature. I used to be so bad at life until I discovered this one weird trick! Life doctors hate me!!!”

So to avoid that, this will be a bit different from most sites that advocate ‘trying new things’. While that’s important, when it’s done wrong (and I would do it wrong) it can probably sound somewhat smug. I’m already quite the praise hog, so I would probably end up boasting of my new talents and putting everyone off.

So rather than learning new things, I will be fixing old things. Every week (starting now) I will flaunt my flaws to the public and have you laugh at me as I try and sort them out.

Yippee.

If I’ve planned it right, each week will focus on a particular flaw, like “procrastination” or “door slamming” or “bursts of nonsensical singing”. Each one will have a certain task attached to it, like “do your homework the day it’s set” or “don’t slam the door” or “have a sponsored silence”. Each week will have a reward… and a punishment. My family are all too happy to get involved with the punishment side of things – as for my friends, I know some of you will be eager to join in. ;)

I’m unsure how far this will go. The thing is, I haven’t actually made a complete list, so I’ll be making a lot of these up as I go along. :P Being the narcissist I am, 52 flaws might be a bit of a stretch for me to think of, but we’ll see.

At the end of this I could either be a  changed person, the same as I ever was, or a complete nervous wreck. Possibly all of those three.

Undoubtedly as I publish this at 11:00 very few of you will be reading this on the day, but that’s what you get for posting late. ;)

Here’s to another year!

Joe

P.S. This week’s challenge is “Exam Preparation” – I must revise at least two hours every day for a week. Normally the challenges will start on Monday, but this will start tomorrow because I haven’t actually done much revision today. :P The reward: undecided as of yet, but I’ll think of something. The punishment: one hour without the internet the day after if I break my revision streak – and the hour has to be when I’m on the computer, not when I’m doing something else.

I told this to my family, and the reaction was slightly more mixed than I expected. Some of them were on board, but another said that I’m training myself with operant conditioning. I’m not sure if this is inherently bad, but it was used on rats to make them press buttons in labs. o_O Not entirely reassuring, but I won’t be deterred.

Hello Again

It’s the half term! Unfortunately for schools around the world, summer half term is not a holiday, but an extended cramming session. There is no respite. No break. Only tears. Only cramming.

My end of years will start the week after I return to school. Toodle pip. Jolly ho (yep, that’s a thing). Yippee. Such fun….

Help me please.

To those who have supported this blog from its humble beginnings, this will sound very familiar.  It is because, only last year, I did a similar post moaning about how terrible my end of years were.

Here we go again.

This time I prepared a revision timetable and everything… but I lazed around the whole day today. That’s fine though. I’ll just move my rest day from tomorrow to today and start my serious revision tomorrow. Right?

I am straining to think of something I can talk about, but I just went to a confession so let’s blog about that. I’ve never really liked the wait before a confession. I like people to think the best of me, so it seems strange to blurt out my flaws to a stranger. In some ways, confessing your sins to an acquaintance can be better than confessing to a stranger, because although your friend has seen your good and bad sides, the stranger’s only impression of you is that you stepped on a cat’s tail last week.

I know what I should do. I should walk through London, tap someone on the shoulder, confess some sin, like “Oh hi. I’m a narcissist.”, and then walk away. It would make for a brilliant YouTube video too.

But being me, I couldn’t do that without trying to gain some sympathy. In reality, I would apologise profusely before confessing, and then afterwards I would say sorry again and wish them a nice day.

*facepalm*

It’s not that I’m that nice a person, I just hate making a bad impression.

On the other hand, you can’t disappoint or surprise a stranger. They have no idea what standards they should judge you by. In real life, the saintly person who has, I don’t know, burned down some building would be severely frowned upon, but the priest brushes it off – he’s probably heard worse. Or the reverse (i.e. a madman who has become a born again Christian of late and has very little sins to confess).

After the confession I felt very light and all that happy stuff, so it all worked out well. ;)

What do you think of confessions in general (i.e not necessarily in the religious sense)?

Joe

P.S. My one year anniversary will be very very soon. Stay tuned for a new feature and a lot of reblogs.