Amazon’s Worst Christmas Gifts Ever

Writing

Well, there we have it, Christmas is over for yet another year. No one wanted the tangerine in the stocking, but I think we’d take it over these gift mis-haps, don’t you?

1. A Box Of ‘Nothing’


Quite literally a box of absolutely nothing. Why why why would you buy this?

Customer Review 4.1 out of 5 stars, what is going on here?

2. Man Arm Body Pillow

Because nothing screams your a sad singleton more than the sight of a mono-limbed cushion to keep you warm and slightly disturbed at night.

3.Sandals – From The Dawn Of Time

Like some mongrel form of a slipper with teeth, these sandals are uncomfortably akin to those gifted to my very own Mother this passed Christmas by my Dad. I guess a sentencing of 25 years to marriage does something to you.

4.Party Decoration Props

Nothing says par-tay like a pile of dismembered body parts sprawled across a washing line. Not the best Christmas gift but perhaps that’s Halloween sorted.

5. Humping Animals Adult Colouring Book

Yes, this is actually a thing.And actually a number 1 best seller. Should it be? I’ll let you be the judge of that. Let’s hope no children fancy a bit of colouring.

*Ranked in no particular order!!

Have You Ever Been Afraid To Give Something Like This A Try?

Podcasts, Writing

Having embarked on my audio journey last winter in the form of a 10 week course with Reprezent radio, a youth-led community radio station here in London, as a result, I developed a bit of a love affair with making radio shows. Whether it was good audio content is questionable but nevertheless I enjoyed making it and surely that counts for something, right?!

 

On completion of this course I had two options, be a radio presenter’s assistant on a voluntary basis or make my own content. Eventually after a lot of inner self-doubt I’ve mustered up the courage to start making my own radio content. 

 

Since deciding to make my own content I’ve had many ups and downs, one of which is finding a genuinely good studio to record the radio shows in. Trust me, I’ve been around! The majority were too echoey, some allowed more sound in than welcomed, for example in one place I literally have the sound recordings of the maintenance guy burping in the background. I keep this version of my rudimentary show in a saved folder ofcourse to laugh at it on days when I feel like shit. After much trial and error, and finding no luck in cheap studios (I don’t have the budget for £50 an hour studios), I finally arrived at the stage where I was sitting on a bean bag in my cupboard insulated with pillows trying to crack jokes over and over again down the mic. Nothing is more awkward, trust me! And through this little makeshift haven I managed to thread together a pilot. I then, after much deliberation, sent it off to a local station in Shoreditch. I pretty much expected no reply, but to my surprise they actually decided to take me on and give me my own radio show ! I kept thinking to myself, they must’ve heard the wrong thing, not my show haha – if you wanna check out the pilot just click the link at the bottom of this post. 

 

Now I’m currently in the process of making my second show. I went to their recording studios yesterday and to record it in the moment. Let’s say I’ve got a long way to go but atleast I’m trying after half a year of stalling. I feel good about that, even though I’m now cringing at every badly pronounced word that comes out of my mouth on the recording ahahaa. 

 

Have you ever been afraid to give something like this a try? 

If you’re interested in checking out my first show, just click here

The Time I Almost Went Blind

Writing

I think back to this horrific memory as a result of having incredibly dry and itchy eyes for what felt like every living second of work today. If you’re familiar with my other post about an unwelcomed eye infection I had last year, then you’ll be familiar with the fact that I’ve had some nasty little issues with my eyes at certain points in my life.

 

Today in work, as I sat cross-eyed, with the tears streaming down my face trying to type ‘how to cook egg fried rice’ into my google search I think back to the following event involving my eyes which left me scarred for life:

 

About 7 years ago I was in the garden of my family home in Northern Ireland, hanging out the washing as any enslaved child would do for the enjoyment of their parents, when all of a sudden I started to lose my peripheral vision.

 

Initially it began in the rims of my sight but soon before I knew it my whole vision was blurry. The only way I could describe it would be like if you were to open your eyes in the ocean’s salty water and everything appears ‘fizzy’ if that makes sense. I can only use this example because I being the idiot that I am have tried this. So with my vision suddenly disintegrating I scream to my sister who is too busy hanging up my dad’s tighty whities that I couldn’t see.

 

Thinking it was a joke she continued pegging the odd socks to the clothes line. I was adamant I was losing my vision, my parents were out of the house at this stage so it was just me and my younger sister in the garden. I continued to shriek with panic until finally she knew that I wasn’t joking for once.

 

The two of us ran inside and I scrambled to reach for the phone as my vision was getting ‘fizzier’ and ‘fizzier’, I couldn’t see the numbers by this stage, I think only 2 minutes had went by since my vision was normal. My sister rand my dad who consequently sped home so fast I could smell the burning rubber on his tyres. By the time he got back which was approx 15 minutes after we alerted him,  my sight had returned to me. I should’ve probably rang an ambulance but being a kid I didn’t know what to do, I just panicked.

 

At the opticians a few days later they found no real reasoning for it but I have one of my own.

 

My phone.

 

It just so happens that a few weeks prior to this scare I had just gotten my first touch screen phone. I felt like the bee’s knees and loved looking at everything from the latest music videos to social media all within 5 millimetres if my face. I literally never sat it down, this dangerous recipe of being continuously on my phone coupled with holding it so close to my eyes, led to major strain being put on my eyes as a result in my opinion. I believe overuse of the device led to my temporary blindness.

 

I think back to the event and part of me finds it humourous but another part of me is genuinely cautious of eye strain. It’s so easy for us to spend copious amounts of times on our electronic devices and although opticians may feel that it’s the biology of the eye and age that make it deteriorate overtime, part of me still feels overworking the eye plays a part.

 

Even if I’m wrong, we all know that using our phones and laptops for sustained periods of time does cause discomfort to our eyes, even if only on a temporary basis.

 

I actively think about the amount if time I spend on my devices. And put in effort to ensure I don’t spend too long. I think we all should, what use is getting a high score on candy crush when you’re damaging your body in the process?

Robots Are The New Songwriters – Is This Morally Right?

Writing

Warner Music Group’s newest addition to their ‘artist’ roster is that of an algorithm addict destined to make your newest jam, pretty much an alexa with an insatiable interest in generating sound while simultaneously reading your heart rate and circadian rhythm. Designed with the aim in mind to produce 20 albums this year, each containing frequencies which will help you in an array of areas of your life, from being more productive in work to reducing your anxiety:

It’s called ‘Endel’, it’s a sound app, it’s ‘Artificial Intelligence’.

Am I the only one who feels slightly uncomfortable with this? With the overall concept being that a robot will be making an album which makes us jump for joy in one track before crying ourselves to sleep with another. Not by using genuine experience, or raw emotion but instead through big data compilation and machine learning.

It’s one thing having electronics play a part in the music making process, we all know that wizkid producers with state of the art technology  open the doors to having the capability to produce unearthly sounds, afterall autotune is such a common element of music currently. With image taking precedence over singing talent (but I’ll save that topic for a rainy day). Back to the point. It’s one thing having a human use machines to assist the music making process but if you remove the human completely can we really call music art then? Will it not fall under ‘engineering’ or ‘technology’? And if so, would you find an issue with that?

If a robot is evoking certain emotions in us when we listen to the sound frequencies it generates as a response to data based off of my internal functioning (heart rate, movements, temperature), it makes me question how will it be able to manipulate us emotionally further down the line? As the late Stephen Hawking highlighted that although AI may host beneficial impacts to us humans, the theoretical physicist also raised the point that artificial intelligence may also pose the threat of kickstarting the beginning of the the end of the human race if used incautiously.

I must stress, I’m not against AI, but I am cautious of it’s capability. My curiosity for its role to play in sound is sparked by my love for music. And perhaps, my disdain for it’s potential domination through the music industry stems from my subliminal believe that music is something innately human, it acted as a glue, binding our ancestors together as they danced at rituals and socials, it bonds us together today, whether sharing a feeling for heartbreak or one of pure ecstasy, music seems to be a vector to share what at its core makes us human – emotions. Do I really want to press a button on an app to release a frequency to calm my nerves or do I want to talk to a human face to face and get something off my chest?

 

Enough about my opinions, whether I agree with its motives or not, it sure is interesting, if you want to learn more about Endel, check it out here.

6 Holiday Movies You Need To Watch

Writing

Yes, Christmas is over for yet another year, but there’s no better way to keep the spirit alive than being glued to the TV for 8 hours straight. Below are some festive films I’d highly recommend:

1. Deck The Halls

Image result for deck the halls movie

Contrary to popular belief, I’m quite a fan of the pure foolery and outrageousness of this festive film. Each of us have that neighbour who tries to outdo the whole community with their eye-wateringly expensive electricity bill lighting extravaganza. Therefore, the relatability of the comedy makes it highly engaging.  Sure. It’s no Inception, you don’t have to think hard while watching, and why should you want to?

 

2. The Polar Express

Related image

Not to be confused with Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, which is definitely worth the watch also, but maybe not with the kids. This 2004 frostbitten animation sees the embarking of a young boy on a journey to the North Pole. You’ll never look at train rides the same way again as an air of magic, mystery and festive spirit fill the storyline from start to finish. In addition to wonderful visuals, with voiceplay from the likes of Tom Hanks, you know you’re in for a real festive treat.

 

3. The Duchess

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Christmas is a magical time of year, matching this magic is the majestic feeling evoked when watching Keira Knightly curtsy in a rather ‘to tight to trot in’ corset.   The 2008 British drama offers a biographical re-telling of the life of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. Affairs, pregnancies and everything in between are set against the beautiful backdrop of the British countryside, what’s no to love?

 

4. How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

Jim Carrey is sensational as Dr Seuss’ green-eyed egotistical Whoville resident. Comedic, heart-warming and oh so Christmassy, this film is guaranteed to get you knocking back the mulled wine and singing jingle bells in no time (even though is it indeed Boxing Day today)..

Image result for How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

 

5. Home Alone 1 (&2 but not the rest)

Macaulay Culkin was the cutest kid ever starring as the protagonist in two of the entitled 90’s Christmas comedies. Who would have ever thought that getting left behind by your family and begin burgled would put such a smile on millions of viewers faces? Upon release, Home Alone 1 became the highest grossing live action comedy film of all time in the U.S., taken over by The Hangover Pt ll in 2011.  In my opinion Home Alone with Culkin is priceless anyway, FU Bradley Cooper and your beautiful eyes!

Image result for Home Alone cute

 

6. A Christmas Carol

Disney’s 2009 adaptation of the Dickens’ classic brought with it mixed reviews, but to me the dark undertone of the storyline juxtaposes perfectly with the full-action animations.  Despite their being several remakes of the historical author’s story, this has to be one my favourites. Jim Carrey proves not only can he act in person but also can do it solely through voice also, as exemplified perfectly in this marvellous production. Forget Santa, Carrey is the man of Christmas for me!

Image result for a christmas carol disney

 

 

Sorry if you’re offended that Die Hard never made the cut!

The Worst Christmas Gifts You Could Ever Receive

Writing

Whoever said it’s the thought that counts and not the gift has obviously never received a multipack of wet wipes or a tin opener on Christmas morning. Get your head out the clouds sunshine and understand the hard cold facts that there are hard cold individuals out there who think that the below could actually be appreciated by the receiver:

 

  1. The ‘Set’

Hasn’t anyone heard the term ‘quality over quantity’? If I asked for a bottle of quality  perfume then why the hell would I want a Dove multipack of soaps, conditioners and body butters which are gonna leave me with rashes in all the wrong places if you get my drift.

  1. The Free Trial

Photoshop ain’t cheap but it seems some friends and family members amongst us are. A trial that runs for one month only is the equivalent to the longevity of my love and respect for them once they drop this disrespecting package of false hopes and dreams on me! Just as you put the finishing turquoise touches to your beach scenes in the Bahamas Adobe will certainly let you know – your time is up! Merry Christmas!

  1. Pregnancy

Yes, the gift of a child should never be unwelcomed but if mummy-to-be hadn’t planned it then , well, yes it may just be an ‘inconvenience’ as family members ask why you’re looking as stuffed as the turkey before Christmas dinner has even started.

  1. The WRONG Colour

Perhaps sounding like a spoilt brat here but let’s face it when you asked for mauve and got magnolia instead you’re going to lose your absolute sh*t too. Do you know how difficult it is to match magnolia crocs to anything?!!!!

  1. The Bargain Piece

I know my mum and dad aren’t self-made millionaires but would reaching that little bit deeper into their pockets for me once a year really make them bankrupt?! I sometimes get flashbacks to the traumatic time I asked for an ipod and basically got the equivalent of a cassette player. WTF! Not only was it a fraction of the price it only played tapes! Completely defeating the point of the ipod hahahaha I still love you ‘rents!

What’s the worst Christmas present you’ve ever received?

person wearing red lipstick biting film Blue yeti microphone being discussed in relation to podcast recording

The Woes Of Recording Your Own Voice.

Writing

So, here I am, staring down the barrel of a gun, otherwise known as my Blue Yeti USB microphone. My lip starts to quiver then an absolute torrent of inaudible words start spewing out of my mouth uncontrollably. I’m supposed to be doing my intro to my very first podcast but instead I’m building up a sweat and the odd heart palpitation.

Should I make a script or just ad lib it? Well, as I’ve just mentioned above, the ‘off the bat’ approach just wasn’t cutting the mustard so I decided to jot down a few bullet points. You know, just things like not forgetting to mention ‘hello’, or my name, or why I’m even doing the damn podcast, pretty much every word I would most likely forget had I not clamped the post-it note down to the desk right infront of me.

So with the  script in place and microphone at the ready I start talking gibberish. I stutter, I mumble, I do everything in my power to seem absolutely powerless to my nerves. But why am I so nervous, it’s just me in the room (I hope)? But microphones are intimidating objects, like uncorked wine bottles, just begging you to drink their insides. As I stare down at my mic it glares back up at me and begins to whisper about how groggy my voice will sound on the recording, how everyone listening will laugh at me, how I need a lozenge asap. I silence my mic by suffocating it with my hand, I slam the switch off and I begin the cry into my hands. Will this podcast ever come to be I ask myself?

Days go by, and each time I walk passed my mic it hisses at me with spite. I lock it in the cupboard fearing that I’ll never get to record my thoughts on the taste of water or whether Veganism is just a fad. Holding on to the rough recordings I made before my mic mouthed off at me, I decided to have a moment of insanity and play them back on my laptop.

All I can say is, well…….nothing at all really. I was floored, speechless, by the sound of my own slurred words. To say it sounded like nails on a chalk board would be an understatement. My microphone was right! I sounded like sh*t!

I haven’t used my mic or opened my mouth since, this was weeks ago, will I ever speak again and even more importantly than that, will me and Mikey ever rekindle our friendship?? TBC