All Things Wonderfully English

This whole weekly post thing has gone askew… It’s usually always within the week just at completely random times!

Anyway, today’s post is all about being English. And the stereotypes which come with being said nationality.

Now, the most common stereotype that us English must suffer from is the belief that we are all grand lovers of tea. Allow me to try recreate the image (with words – my drawings skills are truly tragic) that I imagine non-English people have of us:

two gentleman are sitting at a table. They wear black shiny top-hats, balancing precariously atop their heads. As we traverse down their bodies, we arrive at the gold-rimmed monocle which has somehow managed to perch itself implausibly under the right-hand eyebrow. A chain tails down from the monocle to the breast pocket of a finally-tailored black tailcoat blazer, ironed to a crisp perfection of course. This resides over a white shirt, complete with a velvet bow-tie around the collar. They sit, with their left leg at a 90 degree angle, and the foot resting upon the right-hand knee.

They are discussing some tediously political matter, using terms of endearment such as “old boy” and “dear chap”. Within their left hand, they hold a saucer which contains a dainty cup of tea. Occasionally, when the other is talking, they will use their index finger and thumb to lift the cup to their mouth and take a sip of tea with their little finger sticking out in front of them.

And there you have the image that I imagine goes with the stereotype of our tea drinking. So I have to ask: is that what you imagine or am I just utterly insane?

Also, just to clarify, I hate tea. Well no, that’s a lie: I hate the taste. The smell is quite nice though. Coffee, on the other hand, can just fuck right off.

 

Afraid that’s all we have time for today (I’m feeling lazy, okay?) but as a final question: are there any questions that you Non-English folk have always had a burning desire to ask us about? If so, please go right ahead!

Thank you and goodnight.

 

 

Nominated for the Liebster Award!

Well I really wasn’t expecting this. Thank you very much to dysfunctionalspraffer (I am fairly sure that’s not your actual name but I don’t seem to be able to find it) for nominating me! Their blog, which can be found here is beautifully full of ramblings – exactly how I like it! Turns out I wasn’t following them when I thought I was… Thanks again anyway!

From what I gather, this Liebster award is a big community thing in order to promote new or unknown bloggers. The rules are:

1. Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them (check!).
2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers (only five I’m afraid).
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Okay, moving onto the questions I have been asked by my fellow dysfunctionaller (just pretend it’s a word, okay?):

1. What motivates you most in life? Is it your family, your friends, your own will, the weather?

    That’s a very tough question actually… I struggle with motivating myself to do anything at all, which is why I’m glad that I’ve managed to make this blog a regular thing. I think that my friends are probably the biggest influence over me. Not in terms of this blog, as I refuse to let most of them read this, but in terms of actively doing things. If my friends do something and enjoy it, then I am more likely to join in with them than if it was all up to me!

2. What’s the next big thing that you know is going to happen in your life? How are you approaching it?

     The end of my school-life. I’m In the final years of my A-levels (I have no idea what the American equivalent is?) and I now need to decide what I want to do with my life. I’m avoiding University like the plague, mainly because I have no idea what I actually want to do with my life. How am I approaching this? By living in the moment… Which involves sitting around doing nothing basically! As was stated in the previous question, motivating myself to do anything, such as make decisions, doesn’t come easily to me.

3. Home or abroad? Why?

     Not sure I entirely understand this question… I feel like I’m being really dense, apologies!

4. What do you fear the most? Why do you fear it?

     For a long time, I have tried to kid myself that I have no fear (being the really manly man that I am…). Yet now, when I have obviously matured to a stage that is expected of my age, I realise that really I am afraid of quite a lot of things. I think the main thing is a fear of being judged by people you know. In fact, I wrote a blog post about this, which you can find here (I’m enjoying hyper-linking things).

5. What’s the memory you cherish the most? Why?

     …Completely stumped here. I’m not the most sentimental person ever. Lemme have a think…

AHA! I have thought of a beautifully terrible memory. The day I finished the Lord of the Rings book for the first time. It was even commented upon how ‘happiness seemed to radiate from me’. The reason this is my most cherished memory (probably not, but it’s the first I could think of) was because when I was younger, I used to detest reading. Like absolutely hated. Avoided it like the plague (again). I’d battled through the first book and then stopped reading due to being a weird child. Then I had to start all over again several years later and it took me at least 3 months to finish all of them. Now though, I am absolutely love it. Read it at least three more times and watched the films countless times. Funny old world, innit?

6. Do you like where you live? What are the best/worst things about it?

     Yes and no. I’d be lost without my home and town and friends and so on. Yet at the same time, I do yearn to escape somewhere. That’s partly why next year I plan on getting lots of traveling done, just so I can explore the world and see whether I would actually prefer home or abroad. (does that answer the earlier question, dysfunctionalspraffer?)

7. Do you learn best through doing, listening or seeing? Why do you think that is?

      Doing. When it comes to learning, particularly revision for exams, I can’t just listen or look at something. I have to physically write it out again, which I suppose is the closest to doing?

8. Who is the most important person in your life? What makes them so special?

      I’m going to have to be cheesy and say my Dad. He sadly lives several hours away from me due to my parents being divorced but he’s always been there for me. We’re so alike as well, everyone picks up on it. I think that the fact that we don’t see each other more than every few weeks makes him even more special to me and I treasure our time together. Wow that was really really cheesy. But true.

9. What’s your idea of a great night?

     Now, there are two ways to go with this.

One is the “party-animal” way: a great night is going out with my friends and getting utterly Brandybucked (my made-up term for getting drunk) and forgetting everything that happened during the night. The only clues to it being a collection of inanimate and random objects within our pockets.

The other way is the “inner-nerd” way: a great night is staying in my house, preferably alone, locking the door to my room and watching all three Lord of the Rings films.

10. How would you describe yourself in ten words?

     Unctuous to an extent, with a copacetic element thrown in. (10). Boom.

 

Right, now that’s over (seriously I spent about an hour on that – who knew it could be that hard?), it is time to list the bloggers I’d nominate. I am afraid that I don’t actually follow that many blogs, so I only have five… Here they are anyway:

J.P.W – A fellow LOTR enthusiastic, as well as the first blogger I ever interacted with on here. His posts are well worth a look at.

Sweating to Mordor – This. This is the most fantastic idea for a blog I have ever encountered. I’m also starting to notice a theme with the bloggers I like…

The SkyCorps Blog – I have no idea what it is about this blog that I love. The pictures are stunning for a start, and the writing is also highly enjoyable. Please, check it out and do everyone a favour!

Story Punch! – Mainly deals in reviews of films and books. Quirky, as well as extremely informative. And fun! Can’t forget the fun.

A Young Writer’s Notebook – Not gonna lie, I use this blog to help me build upon the structures of my stories. She makes really keen points which should be obvious but I at least, tend to neglect them without realising!

There are my five blogs who I think deserve this nomination! Ah crap, I need to think of questions now, don’t I…

Here goes:

1. What is your favourite film/movie?

2. What influenced you to start blogging?

3. What is your aim in life? (thought I’d give you a very broad question)

4. Who is your favourite actor/actress?

5. Where do you want to live and why?

6. Can’t believe I’m doing this… My friend wants to know: Who is your favourite teletubby?

7. If you could time travel, what time/date would you travel to and why?

8. What is one feature you like about yourself?

9. Favourite season and why?

10. Who has been the most influential person in your life?

 

Yay! I have finally done it. There you go, I’m carrying on the crazy community nomination thing. Thanks again to dysfunctionalspraffer for nominating. Their blog can, once again, be found here.

Thank you and goodnight. 

liebster

The Art of Youtube Vlogging

That’s something I’ve always wanted to do: vlogging.

In fact, the reason I started blogging was because of vlogging. I became interested in video-blogging about a year ago, yet soon realised I lacked the confidence and the audacity to start. Maybe if I’d pushed myself (something I’m really not very good at) I would’ve found it easier. So, I decided that blogging was the nearest thing and then it snowballed!

I think it requires a certain skill to vlog in a manner which appeases watchers. Obviously anyone can record themselves speaking but the good or famous vloggers are the ones who manage to ensnare the watcher by being charismatic (whilst talking to a camera… that’s the part I struggled with) AND knowing what to say. Of course, having a good quality recording device helps…

Knowing what to say is key to vlogging as well, from what I can tell. I struggle to think of what to blog about (hence this petty blog post), let alone what to talk about to a camera. The editing as well. Jesus, don’t even get me started on that. Having been interested in film-making when younger, I know what a struggle it is to edit clips or footage together. Imagine doing that week-in week-out. Wow.

See, this is why I admire vloggers. They’re there to entertain. And they do a stupendous job at doing so. Not everyone is going to like the same vlogger, but that’s the same with anything person-related in the world. I expect there are many people out there who find my blog utterly unbearable and avoid it like the plague, at the same time as people who like my blog (at least, I hope so).

Vloggers must feel like such fools though. Talking into a camera about random things. I always think the same about film/movie stars. In films yeah, it looks great. But whilst filming scenes there is an absence of music, an absence of the atmosphere the film is meant to be in, so they just have blurt out their lines and never seem fazed. I’d personally be on the floor, red-faced and dying of embarrassment. I always think of Benedict Cumberbatch here, playing the part (rather well I might add) of Smaug the dragon, in the Hobbit. They used face-capture so he had to perform all the facial expressions that you see upon Smaug, which involves a lot of shouting. Man he must’ve looked hilarious. Then again, Andy Serkis playing Gollum… just a man in white spandex. Wow.

Moving back to vloggers, I thought I’d point out two of my favourites:

The first being Jack Howard. I personally think him, and his humour, are hilarious.  He’s made some quiet entertaining short films with various friends as well which are worth a watch!

My other favourite, is Nanalew. Made famous by her bizarre but fantastic video of Sail by Awolnation, her videos are just so heartwarming to watch. She manages to make truly beautiful videos, as well as having some which show her for the utterly barmy girl that she seems to be!

 

And there you have it. My views on vlogging… Man I need better ideas.

The Debate from the Beginning of Time… After Some Exaggration

It is time. The most heated debate that has ever occurred between Fantasy lovers:

Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings. A battle to the death.

 

No, scratch that. If I were to be the judge in this debate, I would be heavily biased toward The Lord of the Rings, as I am an avid fan. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy Harry Potter, I just prefer LOTR…

So, instead, I am going to draw upon similarities between the two and see how alike they actually are.

Let’s start with looking at the antagonists.

 – In HP, you have Voldemort: a noseless, freaky snake-man, who has split his soul into seven, and placed these pieces into different object, in order to preserve his life. In LOTR, you have Sauron: the armour-clad big bad guy who’s main appearance in the films is in the form of a giant, fiery eye. Who has also preserved his life, through the use of a ring. That’s a fairly major similarity. Other similarities include: a desire to rule the world (that’s a prerequisite for the job of “big bad guy” though), a hatred for the protagonist (again, this is needed), and they have both have an army to do their bidding (Voldemort has his Death Eaters, Sauron has his Orcs/Uruk-hai).

Moving on, we have the protagonists best friend.

 – In LOTR, you have Samwise Gamgee (Or Samwise the Brave), who is always there to carry ‘Mister Frodo’, both metaphorically and physically. Within HP, you have Ron Weasley, the loveable ginger who has great love for Harry, despite constantly being shown up by him. Bit of a weak comparison, but it still shows that the protagonist always needs a shoulder to cry on.

Thirdly, there is the wise old man who the protagonists would be lost without.

 – HP has Dumbledore, the mentor of Harry, who always seem to have an inkling about what is going to happen, and always happens to help Harry in his own, riddled way. In LOTR, there is Gandalf, the wizard. He has had a plan of sorts since even before Frodo sets off on his journey, since the time of Bilbo and The Hobbit. Both of these wispy-bearded characters act as mentors and fall into the category of “the grandpa everyone wished they had”. They even look like each other! And both speak in riddles, aggravating everyone, at the same time as helping them.

 

I’m sure I had more comparisons to make when I first thought of this idea, but sadly I seem to have forgotten to write them down, and subsequently forgotten them completely… Still, there you go! A light comparison of two of the biggest Fantasy franchises ever: Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings.

 

The Concept of Phobias

Now, I have to say before I start this, that I am not a scientific man. I have never managed to enjoy it, or even grasp it. I’ll admit we’d be nowhere without the research and discoveries scientists have found over the years. I would also place more belief in science than in God, as at least science is physically there. Yet I do not like it. I blame school – no one enjoys science at school.

Saying that, I am currently studying Psychology, which people dismiss as not a proper science (I don’t really mind too much, as it means I don’t have to face the fact that I having taken a scientific subject). It is a social science – a study of the brain more than anything else. I find this relatively interesting, at least more than Chemistry, what with all its complicated equations and so on. One area of Psychology though, actually did interest me. And this area was phobias.

When discussing phobias with my friends, I have made the mistake of choosing the phrase “I like the concept of phobias”, before realising that using ‘like’ in this context is bordering on psychopathic (possibly sociopathic? who knows). So correcting this, my chosen phrase is: “I am interested by the concept of phobias“. There, that sounds less demented, doesn’t it?

It’s the idea and the development of phobias that I find intriguing. Not how they first develop – there’s far too many different theories about this, most of which are ridiculous (like Freud’s theory that they all stem from a secret desire for your mother, and therefore you have a fear of your father finding out), so I try not to think about this. No, I like the impact that certain events within life can have upon a person… I really do sound like a psychopath, don’t I?

You understand what I mean though, right? The idea that there needs to be an environmental trigger in order for a phobia to form is the primary point. Yes yes, you can talk about the Diathesis-stress model, which is all about the need for some in-built likelihood of a phobia (genes) AND an environmental trigger, but I personally think this is bordering far too closely to Biology, so I stick with the environmental triggers.

Basically anything seems to be able to cause a phobia to form. Yet the main thing seems to be some sort of childhood trauma. Take Indiana Jones for example: when he was younger, he fell into a carriage full of snakes and since then has had a big phobia of snakes (which is incidentally known as Ophidiophobia).

Apologies for  self-publicising again (I’m not really sorry…), but the short story I wrote, Eisotrophobia, was written mainly due to my interest in phobias. They’re great to use in writing – there is so much that you can expand upon and make a story out of (which I neglect in my story, as it is a very very short story). It creates tension, at the same time as getting the reader to sympathise with the suffering character. And I find them interesting, so I get to write about something which could be counted as almost academic (maybe not the whole supernatural side to the story…) and I’m interested in it. That doesn’t happen very often for me.

I feel like I meant to say more but it’s my first day back at school after a holiday of late nights and literally doing nothing during the day, so my brain isn’t quite what it usually is…

Also, feel free to check out my daily blog: The Daily Quoter. It’s just a bit of fun!

http://richardjford.wordpress.com/

Story writing & Blogging

As far as I see it, there are two main types of creative writing (at least, ones which I believe I have a sliver of ability in): there is story writing/creation, telling a story and “setting a scene”; then there is blogging, where you write down all the random (and occasionally insightful) thoughts within your brain.
After my most recent post, which was a short story (sly self-publicising), I have decided, after much consideration, that my forté lies within writing down all the randomly eccentric thoughts that seem to travel upon a long route through my brain. If you can call it a forté…
Obviously in the past I have dreamt about being a famous author (what aspiring writer hasn’t?!) yet after attempting to write a few stories, I have realised I lack the imagination, as the motivation. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing stories (particularly Hobbit/LotR spin-offs…) yet they have all been exceedingly short.
When I attempt to write long(er) stories, I have the basic idea. I manage the first chapter well enough. But then I think to myself… “What a wonderful woooorrrlllddd”…

Urmm… No, I think ‘What happens next?’
Then I get stuck, attempting to think of ideas how to continue. So to summarise: I have a basic outline of my story, yet no actual storyline to fit in.
Think of a BLT. You have the bread, bacon, lettuce and tomato. I can easily supply the bread and just about manage the lettuce and the tomato. But then I lack the focal ingredient: the bacon, in order to fill my sandwich. Speaking of which, I’m hungry…

Blogging on the other hand, is simple. I don’t really care who reads it, I don’t particularly care if no one reads it (obviously I like to think some people read, and even a few enjoy it but never mind), and I can write about anything I fancy. Don’t need a structure, or a storyline. All I need is a topic and BAM; I go off on a tangent about a subject of my choice. It’s great!

So basically, what I’m trying to say is that: story writing is not for everyone. If, like myself, you love writing stories but don’t feel like you’re good enough, don’t worry! Keep writing them as a hobby, if you enjoy it. But also try blogging, which I find surprisingly rewarding and satisfying!