Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Because of this I have just signed up for the Flickr Pro account which costs $24.95 (£14.45) per year which isn't really that much and it will mean I can back-up all my photos at high quality.
I've now got to go through the task of uploading ALL my photos......
After seeing the streaming fencing video over at the Ultimate Olympian's I signed up to YouTube.com but hadn't really used it.
Whilst scouring my desktop and giving it a bit of a clean up I have used Youtube.com to upload a few videos. Check 'em out.
[me breakdancing at Andy Q's stag weekend in Bournemouth June '05]
[Electric Six performing at Christ Church Summer Ball June '05]
Most relationships I've had have ended mutually, although there have been a couple that I've had to end, and I must admit I've felt like a complete c**t, as they haven't felt the same way. Invariably the cliched "It's not you, it's me" speech arises and I feel really bad, although I've felt it was for the best. In the case with V it was all very simple.
So there we go, I am now officially back on the market, although I think this experience has clarified several things that I am looking for in future endeavors. I have previously said that I don't have a 'type', but I'm sure there are certain aspects and qualities that are in my control.
They must live near me
They must be around my age [24-27]
They must like my friends
Not too specific, but still obviously challenging. I suppose quite a bit of this stems from my friends. I will always value my friends and they will always come first as they are like family to me. I am busy during the week with work and other commitments and so when it comes to the weekend I need to see my friends, and this is where the long distance thing doesn't work. If I have to spend the weekend away then I will not see them and this is not what I want. The ideal solution would be to meet someone who will enjoy socialising with me and my friends.
So there we go. That's what I'm looking for...easy eh?? I did enjoy chatting with the girl on Saturday in London, and did get her number, but I will not be following it up at the moment, as it's the whole distance thing again... women eh?? geography eh??
Night Night. Tomorrow is another day.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Steve had booked a minibus for 7pm which would take us to the Big Chill Bar, just off Brick Lane, where we would spend the evening, so we got some beers in, had a chat, and got ready.
I won't go too much into the night [because I can't remember a great deal!] but we all had a good time and I spent my evening drinking draught Budvar and sampled a few pints of Westons Cider.
I usually find the best part of these nights is the day after when all the lost memories of the night resurface and you piece together the events that transpired on the alcohol-fueled evening. Apparently I may have been freestyle rapping with Chris [there should be a video soon...], almost got thrown-out [I may have fallen over when play fighting...not too sure who with], um and I may have got a girls phone number [a friend of Mels, but I think we'll leave it there]. There's more photo's to surface and I think a few more stories may arise over the week.
I'll leave you with this picture from pre-going out [I'd like to point out that it was staged....in case you weren't too sure, but it was hard to resist as there was a copy of lads mag front in the toilet, and a room of friends to amuse.]
[worrying stain on pants.....mmmm]
Thursday, January 26, 2006
This type of encounter is often the only one that Joe Public will get with the Hare Krishna's, and they will leave it at that, glad to have escaped. Many have formed their opinions from hearsay [not the band] and stories of 'cults' and so I'd like to put my views about them on my blog.
I was in the second year of my 'Study of Religions' degree at Chichester, and one of the modules involved visiting a place of worship and providing a first-hand perspective on it. I've minimalised the actual task, but to be fair I can't really remember the actual assignment title [and can't be bothered rooting around the loft for my coursework]. Several day-trip options were offered [visiting a Synagogue/Roman Catholic Church/Mosque] but these seemed a bit tame and so me and two others on the course [Mike and Austin] decided to see what else was on offer, and so it was that in late 2001 we would be spending the weekend with the Hare Krishna's.
This being a fair few years ago, a lot of the facts have been lost in the recesses of my mind, but I will do my best.
I knew a fair bit about the actual background of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), popularly called Hare Krisna's, having studied a fair few Indian Religions during my course, and I'll outline a few key points here.
ISKCON was founded in New York in 1966 by Indian monk called A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada [died 1977], although it's practices and beliefs are closely linked to the Gaudiya Vaishnavism form of Hinduism.
It was formed to spread the practice of Bhakti Yoga [the yoga of devotion] which is directly aimed at Krishna [the Supreme Lord] and his cohort Radha. [It must be noted that they have many other incarnations too.]
It is an evangelical movement, which seeks to indoctrinate new members and spread the word through actively going on to the streets to sing their mantra or to sell books.
Their mantra follows: "HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE, HARE RAMA HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA HARE HARE" and by actually uttering these words it is said to induce God-consciousness.
So that's the history lesson over with [thanks to wikipedia for refreshing me on a few points].
I also knew a bit about there problems too. During the 70s and 80s there was a lot of scandal [read fully about it here] revolving around molestation, kidnapping, and fraud, and it must be noted that this was only by a few individuals, although it did virtually bankrupt ISKCON, but has resulted in clearer transparency of the movement, which was ultimately needed if it was to continue.
So of we stayed at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford [acquired by George Harrison in 1973], which includes shrines, library, primary school, theatre, bakery, farm, community shop, and Food for Life [a food relief project]. When we arrived it was quite surreal as the actual building is in a mock-Tudor style dating from 1884, but this is quite typical of Hinduism and it's assimilation of the culture it is in.
As I already said my memories of the visit are quite sketchy but I can tell you that we decided to participate as fully as we can, as that is really the only way of experiencing and understanding.
Our day started at 4:30am, for the first temple ceremony of the day [the temple in in the manor house and contains ornately decorated shrines], which I must admit was a lot earlier than I'd normally get up, but the other attendants were happy that their 'visitors' [us] had made the effort
Through the morning, it would get busier with a lot of the attendants not actually Hare Krishna's but actually regular Hindu's who are resident around the area. This is when you realise how closely linked they are, and that ISKCON considers itself simply another branch of Hinduism, and that this view if also reflected by the Hindus who come to pray, worship, and learn at the manor.
The difference between them though comes to light when the Guru-puja for Srila Prabhupada [worship for the spiritual master] takes place and a mass exodus of the visiting Hindu's takes place, leaving only the Hare Krishna's. This worship is for Prabhupada [who founded ISKCON] and the Hindu's do not see him in the same light as the Hare Krisna's who see him as divine[I must apologize for the simplicity in calling them either Hindu's of Hare Krishna's but I think it's the easiest way to differenciate.]
"Worship of the spiritual master is essential for spiritual advancement. As members of the Krishna consciousness movement we offer our obeisances and worship toShrila Prabhupada as the Founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and as the instructing guru for all devotees in ISKCON. We are eternally indebted to His Divine Grace for single-handedly bringing Krishna to the Western world and thus giving everyone the opportunity to become a lover of God."
I suppose in laymans term's one could maybe [very loosely] compare this with maybe Roman Catholicism and the worship of the Pope, and Protestantism's objection to this.
Throughout the day there are various prayers to be said, practices to be observed, and rituals to be undertaken, and I must admit that this way of life was very peaceful with a set order of the day [ending at 10pm]. I was told a lot about what ISKCON actually does and what's it's for by the devotees who either live their or visit daily, and they too seemed very happy with their lives and how they were indebted to the faith.
The visit really moved me and I can honestly say that if I'd stayed there longer maybe I would've stayed for a lot longer. It was peaceful, what they had to say seemed important and I really valued their ideals. Of course I'm a level-headed person and I returned back to Chichester although I still had my beads, with which I could recite the mantra, and I also had a new hobby, Vegetarianism, which I must admit only lasted 3 months.
I can see how someone who was actively looking for faith, and in search for an answer could get involved in the Hare Krisha movement, but I can see nothing wrong with this. Everyone is looking for something, and maybe ISKCON is right for somep people. All religions have to be funded from somewhere and I think book-selling is a good way of doing this and spreading the word. Of course if you are not interested then just say 'no thanks' and wish them a good day. They will not be offended. Another programme they run is the 'Food for Life', the world's largest vegan/vegetarian food relief organisation, which following on from Prabhupada's announcement that "No one within ten miles of a temple should go hungry" has evolved into volunteers giving away 450,000 meals daily. [read more here]
I myself, in thanks for my time there, will sometimes stop of a little chat and purchase a book for a few pounds. Of course they are trying to evangelically 'recruit' new members, but there is nothing sinister about this, as if I had the 'answer' then I would want everyone to know.
As long as they remain open and honest about how they work then I can see nothing wrong with them. They have learnt to be open because of mistakes made in the past which have tainted them, but they are starting afresh and on my visit I saw many people who had genuinely found their walk of life
Of course everyone is allowed their point of view and I wanted to say to Pynchon that he had every right to do what he did, and that I would probably act in exactly the same way if it had been a religion wholly unknownst to me who had been trying to proselytise some innocent youngsters. I hope this has helped in understanding a religion that has had so much bad press about it. "Hare Krishna"
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Friday, January 20, 2006
[Dover ferry terminal]
[Chris + other ferry sneaking into the photo]
[Yes that is 9:55am, and the first pints are in]
[a few more later]
[Ant, Jonny, Chris, Petit Tom, Ian, Big Tom, and Ben]
[and me outside the world famous cinq cinq cinq club]
[We are all great skaters by the way, although alcohol doesn't help with the balancing]
[Baileys, Stella, and Toblerone.....must be Duty Free]
[Fun on the train]
[I was quite drunk and reverted to taking 'arty' photos.]
So that was part of my birthday........same time next year?? Well yes.
We can all fall into the monotony of life, and I could probably tell you what is going to happen on everynight for the next six months, as I have weekly schedule that hardly varies.
So last night 8 of us did the pub quiz [didn't win] but it was nice to be out midweek, which we used to do a fair bit when we were a tad younger.
The only thing was that when I woke up this morning I thought it must be a saturday...sadly it wasn't and I am in work.
The upshot of this is that I don't really want to go to the pub tonight and would instead do something rather different....not sure what though.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
In my top singles of 2005 post I included a Maximo Park song 'Apply Some Pressure', and it is on the strength of this one song that I purchased the album. I meant to buy it a long time ago [Well at least when the single had come out.]
I used to buy quite a few albums on the strength of a song, and more often than not I would be slightly disappointed but sometimes I would find a real gem. Now I usually will only buy an album if I can listen to it first or if quite a few singles have been released. I know that this has stiffled my music taste slightly as it means I don't hear as many new songs as I used to but I'd heard a few good things about them so I took the plunge. After all £8.75 from CD-WOW isn't really that much for what on first listening is quite a good album [I'm only 6 tracks in at the moment].
Monday, January 16, 2006
Four Jobs I’ve had:
Students' Union Vice President
Assistant Bar Manager
Scraping frozen blood from a butchers freezer! (plus other choice activities)
Ramsgate, Kent (map)
Chichester, West Sussex (map)
Blackfen, Bexley (map)
Doha, Qatar (map)
Down the pub
???? where else??...Canada!
Friday, January 13, 2006
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
When I finished university (2002) I was elected to Vice-President of the Students' Union (A paid sabbatical position) and started that in the June and took to things quite professionally, working a general 9 'til 5 and putting in my hours because I was now 'in a position of authority' and should represent the students in a correct manner. I worked hard and didn't really feel like partying every night (I was also in a long-term relationship so I wasn't on the lookout for taking advantage of the situation) and so life was good, I was doing my job well, but I wasn't having great deals of fun (my girlfriend had just moved away for a teaching job).
After Christmas things changed though, I broke up with the girlfriend in early February (I think) as things just weren't going brilliantly and we'd grown apart (I was probably still too immature for a long-distance relationship and didn't know where life would take me). I started to go out more, got some new friends who I had been living will in Student accommodation but hadn't really got to know well, and I was getting a lot out of my system (I'd like to add that I was still brilliant at my job though...just a few more hangovers!)
When we got back no one believed that we'd all got tattoos and so we showed them off proudly. It reminds me of a good time in my life and I am still very happy with it and because it's on my back it can be my secret if I don't want anyone to know about it.
Monday, January 09, 2006
I may have been a bit hasty when I said "Aren't PCs crap?", they're not always that way if you look after them and don't install shit on them. I currently use Norton Internet Security 2005 and also Ad-Aware Personal (Free anti spyare and malware) and recommend that you have at least some kind of protection "Be good, and if you can't be good be safe."
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Well that's about to change as I've just visited Lord B's Bargain Basement where he's posted his top 20 singles of 2005, and I feel the need to tell you of some of my favourite singles of last year. I've not put them in any dissernable order and I've probably missed of a few that got lost at the beginning of the year but anyway, here you go....I did try and find pictures for the records but couldn't...and I could write a bit about them, but I think it's better if I just put links to streaming media so you can listen and watch these classsic cuts from 2005.
james Blunt - You're Beautiful [Video]
Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure [Video]
Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx - Gold Digger [Video]
Gorillaz - Dare [Video]
Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor [Video]
Hard Fi - Living For The Weekend [Video]
Tom Novy ft Michael Marshall - Your Body [Video]
Black Eyed Peas - My Humps [Video]
Hot Hot Heat - Middle of Nowhere [Video]
Mylo vs Miami Sound Machine - Dr Pressure [Video]
Snoop Dogg featuring Justin Timberlake & Charlie Wilson - Signs [Video]
Monday, January 02, 2006
When it all boiled down to it it was just Jonny and myself as the others came up with various excuses to not get dressed up, so here's what I got.
Shirt ---> £1 [Cancer Research]
Jacket --->£1 [Cancer Research]
Trousers --->£2.49 [Kidney Research]
Pants ---->50p [Pound Shop]
Socks --->50p [Pound Shop]
Flip flops --->£1 [Pound Shop]
So I got my whole outfit for £6.49!!!! I did get a hat to accessorise which cost £2.99 but it still came to under a tenner.
I think I'll definitely go bargain hunting again as I quite liked a few of the threads!!! very Cheap as i was only wearing things I'd bought on the day, next time I'll wear my own pants, socks, and shoes though.
The night went well although I'm not too sure that people knew I was dressed up on a budget and they may have thought that I just had bad taste! I scraped in at 3:45am and didn't get up till 12:30pm today!!!!
I'm back at work tomorrow but will be getting Thurday and Friday off as V will be coming down, so I'm sure you'll miss me for a while again but when I'm back at work I'll resume my blogging properly.