Thursday, 23 February 2012

Alphabet Challenge - M for Mmmmm

As issued by Miss Jennifer Edwards.  See how she did with the goal of N for Nasty or Nice on her blog.

Things that make me go mmmmm... the common sound of enjoyment, contentment and delight.
  • Smells
Bacon cooking; freshly cut grass; the sweet smell of success or victory; Jean-Paul Gaultier aftershave; my own brand of fart; the first scent I enjoy after being ill or having a cold.
  • Touch
Silk; a hug; holding her hand; my Dad's hands on my head when he gives me a Priesthood blessing; a kiss; the way someone checks how a shoe fits; a massage; a warm towel; a cold pillow.
  • Sight
The smile on my niece's face; Man Utd winning a trophy; a mind-blowing movie; a sunrise or a sunset; the way cities and towns light up the landscape during the night; her smile; my brothers when they respectively got married.

  • Taste
Fish & chips with curry sauce; cola cubes; fruit juice right after a hard game of football; a tub of Hagen Daas ice cream that has my name on it.

  • Sound
Silence; a favourite song; "I'm sorry"; "I forgive you"; "I love you"; "It will be ok".

And then finally, inner peace.  It is a sensation that isn't restricted to any sense.  Indeed it is a spiritual thing.  Although I include it tentatively because I can't say it is something that makes me go mmmmm because I can't say I've ever experienced it properly.  The fleeting moments I have enjoyed have either been driven away by my own stupidity or torn away from me by the actions of others.  But I hope it comes my way, one day.  Preferably soon.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Price of Happiness

Nothing in this life is free.  Everything comes with a price attached, no matter how small.  Whether it comes through a financial transaction or the expense of time or effort, you have to do or give something to get something.  There are no exceptions.  If you want oxygen in your lungs, it means you need to move some muscles.  If you want some food, you have to pay with money.  If you want a six pack, you’ve got to get to the gym on a regular basis.  Whatever it is that you want, if you want it bad enough, then you have to pay the price.

However, in many of the idealistic things of this world, most people do not want to pay the price.  I have become aware of this recently.  There are plenty of things I would like but I am not willing to pay the price involved.  I’d like a wife and family but I am no longer willing to pay the premium expected.  That would be risking my heart, time, money and emotions on another human being, an amount I have fronted countless times now.  It is not so much a commodity to be purchased but a long shot investment to be gambled on. 
That is half the problem with the price, the lack of guarantee behind it.  If I go into McDonalds, I can offer an agreed amount of cash and I will get a Big Mac meal in exchange.  It will look roughly like the picture and the taste will be pretty consistent with my previous experiences.  To find a lifelong partner involves taking a chance that it will explode in your face and the price is not consistent.  Some have to offer very little or take the risk a few times.  But for my annoyingly good memory, I would have lost count of the number of times I’ve tried.

So I explained to a friend of mine that I was no longer willing to keep making such a stake.  You can only get burned so many times before you get fearful of the fire.  He told me that happiness is only found in constantly trying to progress, constantly pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.  He insisted that it was in this that happiness is found.  That is the price of joy; pushing through the misery and strife in the hope that there is something better on the other side.  Then when we get to the other side, that joy or happiness anchors in that what we sought after.  This was his view on what the price and prize of bliss.

I used to subscribe to that idea.  I no longer do.  Happiness is not something which can be obtained.  More it is a choice or an acceptance of what we have.  A recognition that we are lucky to have what we have and anything more than this is a bonus.  The price of happiness is simply a choice.  Whilst it is always nice to hope for something better, to incessantly chase after it, insisting that you won’t be happy until you get it is nonsensical to me.  It is a coercive notion, trying to state happiness can be codified, when it is one of the least quantifiable emotions experienced by mankind.  Sure, things could be better but then they could be worse. 

If you are not happy with the ways things are, you will change them.  It may take time and tremendous sacrifice but you will do it.  If not, wallowing in misery is like picking up the value products at a supermarket when you can afford the products that taste good.  You have only brought it on yourself and have to be content with what you have.  If you feel undesirable, sorry but the uncomfortable truth or price is to lose the weight, dress nicer and get whatever work needs doing, done.  If you feel lonely, you need to do the uncomfortable thing and find new friends.  Join a club, go out or catch up with old friends.  Sitting in a cave is going to achieve nothing but it is an action that comes with an end product.  If you action is to submit to social fear, then your prize is isolation.  That is agreed transaction and no freebie escape is coming your way.  The world owes you nothing because nothing is free.  Not even freedom.

If you’re unhappy with what you have, the choice is simple.  Change it or deal with it.  Happiness may be a pursuit, it may be a choice but one thing is certain.  It comes with a price attached, whether it is the persistence of a hopeful soul or the contentment of calculated choice.  The only thing you need to decide on is which brand you want to buy.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Alphabet Challenge - K for Karaoke

Jennifer Edwards, on her blogging quest (found here) has given me a topic of K for Karaoke.  This should be interesting...

Karaoke, which comes from the Japanese term for empty orchestra, has brought us a form of entertainment that is primarily designed to make toes curl.  It is one of the most cringe-worthy nights out or even night in available.  Someone suggests it and if you're uninformed, a moron, believe you have a good singing voice or actually do have a good singing voice, it sounds a great idea.  Anyone else with common sense, turns down the idea and makes other plans.  Literally anything.  I mean watching cheese going mouldy is an option that appears above karaoke on the list of things to do.

I could give you a break down on the history of karaoke but frankly, that is what Wikipedia is there for, provided it isn't busy protesting against some ill-thought out legislation or Jimmy Wales isn't still begging for cash.  What has made what was a terrible activity even worse is the hyper-commercialisation of it into reality TV competitions.  So now, we get a pernicious pair of groups.

The first is that lot who sing but just kill the song.  They see karaokes as their moment of glory and fame.  Sure, it is just with a few of her female friends, warming up for their wild hen night out, on the PS3 and endorsed by a few shots of Sambuca and someone filming it on their phone.  Trust me, that video is never going to be X Factor's sponsor video before the adverts.  It will be up on Facebook, in the hope that it will reach half a billion people and they will review it with visceral zeal.  I hasten to add, they probably need such abuse to get the hint that they can't sing.

Don't believe me?  Ask Rebecca Black.  She was a thirteen year old kid who made a music video.  It was just a bit of fun for her but in a short time, her music video had gone viral beyond anyone's imagination.  Her singing wasn't great, in fact it was auto-tuned to death but even that couldn't hide the hideous lyrics.  Yet, despite her just having a laugh, the abuse she received was unrelenting.  This is the other vile group that comes out of the evil of karaoke.  We all seem to think we are Simon Cowell.  We are wrong.  Cowell has risen to the top of the music industry, whether you like it or not.  His opinion counts.  Yours does not.  If I'm ill, a doctor's opinion counts.  At no point will I ask you to chip on your assessment of my symptoms and MRI scan.  We seem to think that the phrase "everyone is entitled to their opinion" also means that every opinion is valid.  It isn't and if anything, a lot of people should probably learn to bite their tongue.

Karaoke makes vocal chords strain, ears bleed, narcissism rises and cruel criticism multiply.  When I rise to power, I will ban it forever, in an instant.  I certainly won't be making a song and dance about it!