Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Becoming a Geek.

My GCSEs were all the Sciences, Maths, and IT. At A-level I opted for Chemistry, Biology and Maths. I then went on to study Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry (and drinking) at Loughborough University. I know it shouldn’t come as a shock, and to many of you it’s pretty obvious, but I have just realised in that last 7 days , and at the age of 29…I am a Geek.

The realisation started early last Wednesday morning. I woke around 06:30 to the radio alarm clock. Claire had gone to tend to her horse 30 minutes earlier, and I was left listening to the Radio 1 breakfast show with Chris Moyles. The show started with the usual opening ‘Cheesy Song’, followed by the same usual 30 minutes of chat, before they break for the news and play a song. Listening to this first 30 minutes of broadcasting was, I think, my biggest mistake.

The subject of the conversation was ‘Twitter’, and here is from where I entered the downward spiral to ‘Geek-dom’.

Growing up I have enjoyed some of the latest technological revelations. Personal stereo cassettes players, Sony Discman, iPod photo, laptop computer, high speed broadband, but I thought that this was just interest in technology. Clearly I was wrong, or at least oblivious to the truth, and my first step to Geek-dom was signing up to ‘Twitter’.

It seemed pretty harmless. I can’t quite remember my first ‘mini-blog’, it was probably something along the lines of, “Just signed up to Twitter”, or some other equally boring drivel. Can’t actually admit to entering anything more interesting since then, but hey, I’m a Geek!!

So, I start to follow Chris Moyles, and get regular updates of what he’s up to. I realise he’s following Jonathan Ross, so I think, why not follow him too. I proceed to start following BBC News, Time online, some BBC Technology reporter, Lance Armstrong, Ewan McGregor, Stephen Fry, and suddenly I can’t seem to stop checking my Twitter account. What are the latest News stories? What has Lance Armstrong had for breakfast? Why is Stephen Fry going to Los Angeles?

Then I hear about Twhirl, and Tweetdeck, two of the many purpose built software packages designed to run independently of a web browser. I can upload my boring photos, taken on my camera phone with ease, using these programs. Oh my god, it’s taking over my life!

After only 2 day on Twitter, I was addicted. Now, I find myself looking what phone upgrades I can get, that support a mobile base Twitter supporting software, so I can 'Tweet' when out and about. Whilst doing this I find a phone on my network that supports Skype,, Facebook and can be used as a mobile broadband modem, for only an extra £5 per month. At this (and baring in mind that I have only been looking at this phone, and I am not aloud a free upgrade until August) makes it ‘essential’ for me to register for, and download, Skype.

Last night I was checking my Tweetdeck, as you do, and see a post from Rory Cellan-Jones (BBC Technology Reporter) saying that ‘Spotify’ is now available in the UK, to rival Spotify? What’s Spotify? I have to find out!!!

3 hours later I had managed to download the Spotify software, register for free, create playlists of songs, spanning decades, streamed straight from the interweb. Listened to the new Lily Allen album, and Fleet Foxes EP. The catch, I found was that every so often, you have to listen to an advert, but who cares? It’s better than local radio, better songs, less adverts, and you can chose what you listen to. In fact, I may even go as far to say that it is better than iTunes! Maybe not, but at least all the new music is free!

And there you go. The realisation hit at about 19:00 on 10th February 2009. After 29 years and 4 months on this planet, I’ve realised I’m a Geek, and I think I can handle it. Realising you are a Geek before the age of 18 would be bad, but then you’d probably go on to be the founder of Microsoft or something similar, and be worth a fortune.

At least I’ve had a good crack at been a regular person. Seems I’ll have to cut all ties with real friends now, and only communicate electronically. If you’re reading this and think, “I never see Richard around anymore”, it’s probably because I’m speaking to someone on Skype, or listening to the new Franz Ferdinand album on Spotify, or just catching up with some other Geeks on Twitter.

So, come on! You know you want to! Ev’ryone else is doing it! Just try it! What’s the worst that could happen???

Monday, 9 February 2009

Becoming an Uncle.

As I arrived a Low Moor bowling club, on 21st May 2008, I opened my car boot, and began to polish my 'Woods' with Grippo. My phone rang and it was Helen, my Sister, in a very excited mood. She informed me that she had taken a test, and that she was expecting a baby. I knew that this would come as a great relief to her, as they had been trying for over a year, and after settling down for a career as a High School Science Teacher, this was her next big goal.

My instructions were clear, although I was to be very excited about the whole thing, she had only shared this information with Me, being her Brother, Susan, soon to be Grandma, and Rodney, soon to be Dad. Any further spreading of the information was to be done solely by Herself, or Rodney. Which I suppose is fair enough.

In time friends got to know the fantastic news, who also became very excited. Talk of Babies was common place, and a rather overexcited Susan would be around Helen at every opportunity.

Christmas approached and the 'Bump' grew proportionately. Bigger and bigger. It's quite bizarre, actually, how the skin stretches (oh and Ladies? Bio Oil is apparently the way to stop getting stretch marks, so i hear).

And now it's February! The baby is 'Due' in 10 days. I'm NOW getting a little excited, because finally we're going to get to see 'It' (until the birth we don't know what sex the baby is, Helen wants it to be a surprise).

It's like opening a present you've been waiting for for Nine months. And one that will last you the rest of your life. You don't get bored of it!!!

Now, the whole problem with opening this present is the birth! I've seen 'Knocked Up', and quite frankly I could have done without seeing a shot of the Baby's head crowning. It just looks so painful. And not stretchy at all!

I don't have any children, and because of that I feel quite proud that I haven't inflicted such pain on anyone. I know it's meant to be a 'Beautiful Thing', but quite frankly, I'm gonna have to prepare myself for it! At least 5 or 10 years of prep may be required. But perhaps by then, I'll feel comfortable enough to say, "I don't want to be there for the birth!"

So... on or after (or before) the 19th February 2009 I will be come 'Uncle Richard', to a beautiful baby Niece or Nephew (as long as it gets it's looks from Helen). I can't wait and it can't come quickly enough. I can see me spoiling him/her rotten. It's the least I can do, 'cause I won't be changing any nappies!!!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

I'm Lost...

So, whilst flying over the Pacific Ocean, Oceanic flight 815 crashed on what seemed to be a deserted
Island. 40+ passengers survived the crash and having been on a course from Sydney to LA decided that as they didn't really know where they were, they were Lost.

Well, it's Season 5 of the ever so confusing television show and quite frankly I'm Lost. Season 2 introduced the survivors of the tail of the plane, and also a man named Ben, who was pretending to be someone else. Many of these new people died.

Season 3 tried to introduce 'The Others', who look just like normal people, apart from Ben, who has creepy eyes. More of the original crash survivors were introduced, only to be (in one case) buried alive, whilst under the influence of spider venom which paralysed them, gutted!

Season 4 came round and gave every viewer the hope that they would one day get rescued, as there were helicopters and boats out at sea, which had people claiming to be there to help. They weren't. Well, not totally. They actually wanted the creepy eyed Ben. It concluded with 5 survivors, plus a baby (the Oceanic Six) getting off the Island in a Helicopter, the boat that was supposed to take them home blowing up, and the Island, after Ben turned what looked like a horizontal pirate ship steering wheel, seemed to disappear, leaving the helicopter no where to land, other than the ocean. Miraculously they were rescued, and the 'Cliff Hanger' at the end of the season, set 3 years after the escape, was that they had to get back to the Island.

Is everyone keeping up?

Season 5 began with a little hint that 'Exotic Matter' was responsible for the Island's power, and also the ability to be able to time travel. So now, 4 episodes in, the Island, along with all the survivors who were not luck enough to be part of the Oceanic Six, are now jumping from time to time, within what so far looks like the past 50 years, and maybe into the future. Ben wants to kill some guys daughter (Penny), because his (Ben's) daughter was killed by a mercenary, working for the other guy (Penny's Dad). Sun wants to kill Ben (creepy eyes), because he was responsible for Jin being blown up on the boat, however it now appears that Jin survived the blast, and is also jumping around in time.

Season 6??? I only hope that we find out the answers to all the questions asked by the program. The black smoke? How old is Richard? Why did Charles Widmore leave the Island? Why is John Locke so important? Do all the survivors have some connection? How did the original 'Others' get on the Island? What the hell is exotic matter? I'm sure there are more, and I'm excited to find out.

I love the show, and I can't wait for the next episode. I have a desire to finish what I started watching back in 2004, not only because J. J. Abrams has some amazing ideas for very interesting stories, but also because it's a show my Dad really enjoyed, but will now never get to see the conclusion of, so I'm watching it for him too.

So, I'll be tuning in next week. Same time (21:00), same channel (Sky 1), to see if they can baffle me further with smoke, and time travel, and Polar Bears, and The Others, and exotic matter, and the Dhama Initiative.

Bloody Hell, I'm Lost!!!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

My First Blog

This will just be a short post, because it's Saturday night, my dinner is nearly cooked, and my brain has only really begun to work since filling it with alcohol last night at a friends 30th birthday.

This blogging thing is quite exciting, and very geeky. A collection of individuals, probably many thousands, more likely millions, who believe that their personal outlook on the world would be interesting enough to publish on the interweb for all to view, read and comment on. I don't believe for a second that my blog will be more or less interesting than the next person's, but simply something for me to look back on in years to come, and remember what I was doing at six o'clock on Saturday 7th February 2009.

I'd like to think that my life, thoughts and everything inbetween will be interesting, but I suppose everybody hopes that about their own work. Nobody wants to waste their time pretending to be able to type, so that no one will ever read it, and subsequently define it as a waste of time. I hope that my posts will be amusing, and get a few people tuning in to what comes out of my head, and dribbles out onto the keyboard. Stephen Fry can do it. Maybe I can go on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, and tell everyone that I Twitter? Which will hopefully bring up my followers from 7 (one of which is my Mum, one is a news feed, and two others aren't real people) to a number considerably more.

So, here goes. To the future of blogging, twittering and all the other ways of letting people, probably nobody, know what you were thinking on this day at this time. I can't wait.