I’m on the hunt. I’m hunting. For a job.
I guess, at one point or another, almost every blogger has had these thoughts in their minds. And you nailed it down to the last word. The constant filtering that we tend to do, the amount of care we put into maintaining our brand and being consistent, it just takes us away from the main goal of writing: self-expression. Instead, as you said, we’re more self-conscious now. Or selfie-conscious.
It’s the mid-noughties. I’m at university, London is blowing my mind, and I’m tapping away on my LiveJournal like my life depends on it. I’m documenting all of my experiences, preserving them through writing, and reading the blog posts of strangers around the world doing the same. I’m reading (and writing) about breakups, sex, mixtapes, road trips, family drama, and beautiful vignettes about places visited, or wild nights out, or a feeling.
I treated my LiveJournal as a kind of late night confessional, a place to process and unpick and get things off my chest. There was no Twitter, no Instagram, no Snapchat back then. Facebook was just taking off, the wifi connection in our halls of residence was patchy at best, and everyone still spent hours creating MySpace layouts. People didn’t think about ‘managing’ their online presence. Anonymity still had value on the internet, in fact it was the…
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This one begins when I paid a visit to the hair salon. No, I wasn’t just visiting them without any purpose, I actually got my hair cut. Most people love showers because of the freedom it affords them. They can sing, dance, think or just battle crippling anxiety and depression while standing under that constant stream of water, a metaphor for the slow and constant passing of time, leading us all to our eventual deaths and the Universe’s stark indifference to our existence and death. Anyway, people love showers mostly because of the isolation it provides them to sing, or think deeply about things they wouldn’t really think about at other times. It’s easy to see why there’s a whole community built around this.
Unlike most people, I prefer to do all this while I’m at the salon. Not the singing and dancing, mind you. The thinking. There’s no situation more conducive for thinking, as sitting in an air-conditioned room with music blasting in the background and a sharp instrument really close to your ears, clipping away at the hair you’ve spent months nurturing and growing. You can’t help but wonder if the barber is a latent sex offender, as he offers you a free face masssage after the haircut. But, experience has taught me over time that this isn’t the case. I digress. Also, haircuts are one of the few situations where I can get the job done, without much talking. That earns it bonus points in my book.
As my thoughts wandered in the salon, I couldn’t help but notice this snippet of wisdom. John Travolta was right in Pulp Fiction. It’s the little things that make two places different. Not the entire tradition and customs or ethnic make up, just the little things. (Note this down, kids, that’s how you generalise things.) It’s the same with barbers. It’s the attention to details that sets apart a good salon from a great one.
One particular salon I frequented, before I returned to my hometown after finishing college, prided itself on its attention to detail. The barber’s cape they would drape over me had the name of the salon embroidered over it. That’s pretty normal, I know, but the design in itself was such that when I looked into the mirror in front of me, there it was, the name of the salon, exactly how it should be, which is to say it wasn’t mirrored. I gazed down and saw that the embroidery was inverted, so that when patrons looked into the mirror, the name appeared un-inverted. And then, the barber got pissed off because I moved my head as he was working on it.
Unfortunately, at the salon I went to earlier this week, that wasn’t the case. It was a plain cape, with no thought put into how the embroidery might look like to a customer in the mirror. There it was, a plain guy, wearing a plain cape, staring at me from the mirror, and the words were all flipped. I guess this doesn’t matter all that much in the end. Maybe nobody else puts so much thought into these things as I do. Maybe they do, but they don’t launch into wordy, winding rants about it online. Nevertheless, this train of useless thoughts had to come to an end when the barber was done with his job. Fast forward a couple of minutes, to skip over an awkward social interaction I had with the barber regarding the pay, and I’m in my shower, thinking about how I never have thoughts in the shower, but during haircuts. So meta.
If you’ve somehow managed to reach this point and not fall asleep, consider liking my Facebook page. You won’t find any wholesome memes, but you will find occasional updates and links to all my posts. And bad jokes.
Sometimes I just don’t know what to write about. At those times I try to find just a little bit of humour in even the most shittiest of situations, just to find some semblance of sanity in my life. Sometimes, I try to think of all the people I might have killed without my knowledge, simply because of my action or inaction, one event leading to other, forming a chain, and affecting a person thousands of miles away, maybe a couple of years later. The reach of the Butterfly effect is too vast to even try to comprehend, at least when you’re not high.
Would the world have been the same if I hadn’t done that thing I did last week? Would the Universe even exist today if I had completed my assignment on time yesterday instead of sitting on my lazy ass all day long? Who knows? Thing is, the only constant that would be capable of escaping the long slimy hands of the Butterfly effect would be time. Time would go on regardless of whether the Universe still exists or gets destroyed in a freak chain reaction initiated by my assignment.
But is that really true? Would time really be free from the effects of a Universe-shattering butterfly effect chain of events? What if time itself is destroyed by the events? In that case, there truly is nothing that is constant in the face of the ever-changing status quo created by even the most minor decisions or actions taken by each and every being or object or atom in the Universe. That’s when I zone out and quit seeing things for what they are. Things could have been, things might have been, things wouldn’t have been; it all depends on one small thing and that’s all it takes for the butterfly effect to be initiated.
So why this rant about the butterfly effect? A couple of days ago, I noticed first hand the impact of the butterfly effect: how one friend’s decision to dine at KFC led to another friend going broke two days later. I should probably add that Friend 2 was in no way involved in- or even aware of- the whole KFC Dining Grand Plan. The plot could have been thickened a bit if he was involved, but we’ll just let it go for now.
Being that March is usually a busy month for most of us, and unusually for me, here’s what I’ve been upto recently. Aside from the tons of workload and assignments I’ve been flooded with at college, I’ve been binge-watching Grace Helbig’s videos. Like, a lot. On repeat sometimes. Also, I’m back into the podcasting bandwagon; the listening part, that is. RadioPublic is a great Android app I’ve found that helps me subscribe, manage and find new podcasts. So yeah, 99% Invisible, Reply All, RadioLab are all back in my life now, along with a couple of new entries. You might say all this is in preparation for the release of S-Town, a new podcast from This American Life and Serial, which drops on March 28!
So will I be listening to S-Town on March 28? You bet I will! Unless my decision to have lunch at Restaurant A instead of B leads to a complicated chain of events that causes the world to implode on March 27th,that is.
If you liked reading this, please consider liking my Facebook page to get updates on new posts and occasional jokes that aren’t that funny.
A new year and a new semester has started, so I wanted to just post a couple of updates before I get lost in the sea of work.
A recent trip to Kodaikanal, a hill resort in the southern state of Tamil Nadu with friends was a refreshing change to the routine existence I have managed to carve out. The various spots we visited, the hundreds (possibly thousands) of pictures we took, and most of all, the experiences I had were definitely the highlights of the trip.
Remember Prompt Replies? My little experiment in fiction in which I used daily prompts from The Daily Post to craft a connected story. I figured that instead of spamming this blog with chapters of the story, I could move it to a blog of its own. Not only would it keep this blog clean, but it’d also provide a nice home for the story. That’s why, Prompt Replies has moved to a new home.
These are the small updates I have for you now. More fleshed out, longer posts are arriving soon and as always, thanks for reading.
The first teaser trailer for Rogue One dropped yesterday. The first standalone movie in the Star Wars saga, Rogue One tells the story of how the Death Star’s plans got into the hands of the rebellion. The story is set between the events of Episode III and IV, closer to IV though.
Rogue One is the first of more standalone movies that Disney intends to churn out, as Star Wars fans become thirstier than ever before for new content. Personally, I like the direction Disney has taken with regards to the whole Star Wars universe, with the similarities to the Original trilogy, the design and sets and practical effects in Episode VII.
So even if you aren’t a big Star Wars fan (Come on, who isn’t?), this teaser is worth checking out. Me though, I’ve been yelling “Shut up and take my money” since yesterday. Rogue One hits theatres on December 16th this year.
Before I begin, let me be honest with you. This draft has been sitting idle since January, longing for my attention, but it’s just now that I actually got around to editing and posting it. I’ve been interested in the world of podcasting since late 2014, when Serial blew up and became the poster child of podcasting. I remember downloading single episodes of Hello Internet and RadioLab and liking them, but not enough to actually revisit them.
In late 2015, however, I got hooked onto listening to podcasts. I would download episodes as soon as they were published, slowly growing my library of audio files with intense reporting and light humor in them. Sure enough, it became an obsession of sorts, waiting for new episodes to be posted, pondering over the discussions in the podcast itself. So 4 months into 2016, here are the podcasts I’m listening to, in 2016.
Serial: Serial is an investigative podcast, with host Sarah Koenig, that involves a true story and discusses every side of it, week after week. Think of it as True Detective for your ears. For instance, Season 1 looks into the homicide of a high school student Hae Min Lee, in 1999. Her ex-boyfriend was convicted of the murder, but there’s just a whole lot of evidence missing in the case. Over 12 episodes, Serial lays out the whole story, the inconsistencies, the doubts and the people who were involved in this incident. Sure enough, if you go online, you might find a lot of people complaining about Season 2. Compared to Season 1, Season 2 just isn’t there yet, but it might, in the coming episodes. Season 2 is still airing, and it deals with Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in 2009 and rescued in 2014. Now, I won’t spoil everything for you, but do check it out. [UPDATE: Season 2 of Serial is over. You can still download the episodes from their website.]
Welcome To Night Vale:This just might be my favorite podcast soon enough. Welcome To Night Vale is a podcast that’s presented as twice-monthly updates from the sleepy fictitious desert town of Night Vale, somewhere in the USA. It reports on the strange, strange, strange, events taking place in the town, which are sometimes recurring and mostly humorous. Nevertheless, listening to WTNV will definitely have you up at night, creating new conspiracy theories and what not. This podcast debuted in 2012 and new episodes come out every 15 days. I discovered this podcast just this year, so there’s a lot of binge-listening going on right now, to catch up with the latest episodes. Check out WTNV to know more about the dark hooded figures, the lights in the sky and the dog park where dogs aren’t allowed.
TED Radio Hour: A great podcast by NPR that clubs together TED talks on related topics and brings the knowledge straight to you. Add in Guy Raz’s smooth voice that slowly cajoles you to sleep, without boring you, and it’s a great show to listen to, night or day. You have shows dealing with half a dozen talks about open source, creativity, our digital lives and more, keeping you entertained for nearly an hour, filled to the brim with knowledge, wisdom and the occasional TED-talk humor, adapted for audio.
RadioLab: RadioLab is not just science radio at its best, it’s also radio at its best, mostly. Episode topics vary wildly and are mostly about science and topics in philosophy, like morality. It’s just a pleasure to have all that knowledge come in, irrespective of what it’s about. RadioLab has been awarded several times for its audio production style and also the content. If you want new information to just flow into your brain, like when you’re binge-watching Vsauce, choose RadioLab.
Reply All: Reply All is a podcast about the Internet by soon-to-be podcasting unicorn Gimlet Media. It’s a podcast about how we, the people who use the Internet, shape its very existence. Reply All takes the stories and Web culture that most of us are familiar with, and presents the stories of the people behind them.
And now, just for laughs, I’ve included Star Wars Minute, a podcast that discusses each minute of the Star Wars movies in each episode. Starting with Ep IV in the original trilogy, the podcast is now onto minute 90 of Ep I in the prequel trilogy. Whew, that’s quite a lot to catch up! Each episode is about 10 minutes or so long, because let’s be honest, how much can you discuss just one minute of a film?
And well, that’s my list of podcasts that I’ve been listening to. What are your favorite podcasts? Know of any awesome podcasts that I’m not listening to? Let me know in the comments below!