"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." – Dean Martin

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Learning Guitar

So I have been slowly learning guitar for a little over 1 month now. It is probably the most major skill I have learnt for quite a bit. So far it is quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I can only really practice at lunchtimes every second day. This means I only practice about 3 hours a week.

In order to master something, it is said that you need 10,000 hours. So at 4 hours a week, it will only take me 49 years to master guitar. And judging by the fact that it is going quite slowly (it isn’t something I am particularly talented in naturally), I don’t think I am going to take any shortcuts. This isn’t totally a bad thing for learning.

Learning a totally new skill (a musical instrument in this case) has reminded me that the best skills are learnt slowly through consistency. This also gives a much greater sense of satisfaction when the skill/song is mastered. I can feel myself getting better, and songs and music that felt impossible a couple of weeks ago is getting easier. And as I learn new skills, picking up new music and songs is also getting easier.

I only hope that I get more of a chance to practice in the future and I can stay consistent. Practicing guitar is also quite useful for relaxing and refocusing myself at lunchtimes. It is definitely not something I want to give up anytime soon.

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I am now convinced that this is a giant conspiracy. I can go a whole week with absolutely nothing on outside of the ordinary (i.e. work). But then, out of the blue, 3 or 4 things come up that I want to go to or am invited to (and want to go to). The problem: They always happen at the same day and time. It is not even a week-end, but a weeknight that this is happening.

Whoever heard of Thursday night being the night when everything happens at the same time. This is just ridiculous. I have become convinced that, like the time-monks in Terry Pratchett’s Nightwatch book (who redistribute time to those who need it), there is a secret order of monks who do the same with social engagements. Unfortunately, they are not so benevolent and so decide to stick everything on the same night. Or maybe they are just teaching me a lesson about having to make choices in this life.

I prefer to stick to a race of cruel monks, thank you very much.

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Songs I Currently Listen To

So here is a list of the songs I am currently listening too on repeat when I have to choose a song:

Hooked on a Feeling (Blue Suede) and I’m Not In Love (10cc)- After Guardians of the Galaxy, I have the most of the album stuck in my head. However, it is these two songs that I often put on repeat. That mix of old-style pop and lyrics that resonate with me.

Don’t (Ed Sheeran)- I have always been a sucker for songs that change style. This goes from semi-rap to semi-dub step and lyrical in the chorus. After watching the music video, I now like this song even more.

Am I Wrong (Nico and Viz)- I like this song. Pretty uplifting and not a love song (except for that one line). A very party-type song.

All Rise (Blue) and I Just Want You To Know (Backstreet Boys)- I recently went back through old boy bands and relistened to some of my favorite songs from them. I like these 2 songs at the moment and they stand out for me. If you ask why, I don’t know. I guess it might be how they contrast between verse and chorus.

The Wire (Haim)- A very catchy song and a kind-of anti-love song. Especially after watching the videoclip for it. I like the sort-of country rock mixed with rap vibe to it and the instrumentals.

Bad Philosphy (Jeremy Redmore)- A very transient song. At the moment I like it only because a friend said that the main singer reminds them of me, acoustic guitar and all.

Budapest (George Ezra)- I like the very simple instruments and the way it slowly builds up. And the ‘do vi do’ part.

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The Person I Am vs The Person I Could’ve Become

I recently came across this quote again:

“Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.”

This has got me thinking about the person I am becoming versus the person I could’ve been. One of the things that age has helped shed light on is that I always had all the tools to become the person I could have been.

In the past, I have been quick to blame the world for missed opportunities, tending to easily fall into the habit of blaming life and circumstance for not giving those opportunities. I didn’t get the job I really wanted because I didn’t happen to know anyone at the company. Me and my friends just fell out of touch as we got busy with other stuff. I didn’t go out with the person I had a crush on because I never had the opportunity to ask them out. I always struggled to make meaningful connections with people.

These days, I realise allot more of the blame belongs to me. It all started after I read a book that encouraged people to look at where they are to blame for there things, even if it is only 1% of the blame. This was an attempt to get people to focus on what they control and can change as opposed to what is outside their immediate control. Of course, once I started doing that, I realised that for me, it normally never is a small portion of the blame.

Even with the aforementioned examples, I can look back and see how my choices led up to these situations. I never tried to meet fellow professionals so that I had a professional network (eventhough I hate that world). I never put in extra effort to keep in touch with people as we got busy, instead losing myself in doing other things (I now realise that the 50/50 split in effort isn’t always equal). I never took a chance with someone I liked because I was too scared about what other people would say or even just ask them out for some quality alone time. I struggled to make meaningful connections because I compartmentalised my life allot and never let friendships develop beyond rigid activity constraints (and if you don’t meet people through mutual activities, you are just relying on random chance).

I hope that, going forward, I am doing better. I realise there is still a big void between who I am and who I could become. However, I am trying to take active steps to address the issues I have identified with myself and I am slowly getting better. I still see opportunities pass me by, but now I realise how much it is my fault and I do try to give myself a decent shot at being better.

At the end of the day, the definition of Heaven is probably realising that the person you became and the best person you could’ve become are one in the same.

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My Romantic Reading Experiment: Update

So a quick update on my romantic reading experiment. The last couple of books I have read have been Barnes and Nobles. I have noticed a common theme running through them so far.
This is a beautiful young girl with a secret in her past meets a rich, single, handsome, troubled stranger. Together they somehow save eachother from their tortured past while holidaying in exotic locations (did I mention the rich part) and being beautiful together.
So far from these I have learned it is easy to impress a beautiful person. All you have to do is be a rich, beautiful person yourself so that you never have to worry about things such as a working week or money issues.
I wonder what the next lesson I learn will be. I think I may stick to self-help books.

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Arrow Season 2- First Impressions

So now I am 10 episodes into Season 2 of Arrow. In short, it is much better than Season 1. In all fairness, that wouldn’t be that hard. Season 1 of Arrow was a mess of themes as it couldn’t decide what it wanted to be and ended up being a poor man’s Batman.
Season 2 seems to be much more willing to embrace its comic-book origins. It has super powers, people actually nearly calling him Green Arrow occasionally, and more costumes and super-villain type enemies. Everything Arrow seemed to want to muck up it is slowly fixing, but what impresses me is that it is doing it without completely ignoring Season 1 in terms of loose ends and character development.
Arrow seems to be doing quite a successful job of juggling dark-and-gritty with campiness and it is working. Whether it keeps this up or not is a different story, but for now it is quite and enjoyable superhero show.

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Book Thoughts- Men, Women and Children by Chad Kroetger

This was a weird book to read. It almost felt like the author was against young people being able to do anything right due to the cultural forces at bay. In this book, you had
– teenage sex
– parents over-policing their children
– child semi-pornography
– eating disorders
– game addiction
– suicide
– well, you get the point.
After reading through this book, it makes you wonder how anyone manages to grow up without being a complete mess with the internet and all the modern day vices around (drugs, prostitution, etc.). Even those who seem to be coping are just being set up for a tragedy later on in their lives.
It almost reads like a deliberate attempt at scaremongering, with everything that could go bad going bad with the group of kids. It is not necessarily a bad book to read, even if it feels a bit surreal at time. At times it made me wonder if it was trying to be a satire of itself.


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