Sunday, 11 November 2012

Poor Charlie

I hope you all know who this guy is.

In case you don't know, he's Charlie McDonnell, he's 22, and he's from Bath, although he now lives in London. He's also one of the UK's most famous video bloggers with over 1,600,000 subscribers on YouTube and billions of video hits. I've been following his channel for nearly two years, as well as listening to his music: he's been in the bands Sons of Admirals and Chameleon Circuit. I'm half in love with him for a few reasons: firstly, because he's just as obsessed with Doctor Who as I am; secondly, because he's hilarious and adorable; and thirdly, because he is just so creative and talented when it comes to videos. 

It makes me sad that the confidence he's gained since joining YouTube has dwindled, especially as I think the videos he's been making this year have been his best yet. There is just no need for his anxiety - he is an exceptionally talented entertainer and he certainly does make me happy. I giggle in almost every single one of his videos. He is intelligent, articulate and engaging. What more could anyone wish for?

Charlie thinks his problem is that he worries what everyone thinks of him. He says that it's other people's perception of him that boosts his confidence, and when he feels unappreciated or unsupported he loses self-esteem. But I think it goes deeper than that; I think that really he's terrified of what he is himself, and his own lack of self-esteem forces him into some paranoid state where he is terrified of what other people think of him. If he can only find a way like himself as much as such an artistic, bright, friendly guy deserves, he won't feel judged because he'll have his own way to be comfortable. I think this is his problem because it's mine, too, and it eats me every day - but I'm learning to recognise it and deal with it without it disrupting my relationships with people who are my friends. I just hope Charlie can learn to do the same. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Laughing at Republicans

Obama won. Thank goodness – for a minute there I thought that a racist, sexist homophobe might actually become the most powerful leader on Earth. It’s nice to know that people have some sense. Just though I’d post a few of the gaffs the Republicans have made – and some responses – so we can all have a good English chuckle at right-wing Americans.

Here's something pretty massive that had folks all riled up recently. It made me despair at humanity. Luckily for the planet (and women who are victims of sexual abuse), Todd Akin lost the race in Missouri to unseat Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. Clearly female voters have ways to shut that whole thing down.

One of Romney's idiotic moments had him cracking racist jokes on national television. Here's a pretty good response to the comments.

And last but most certainly not least, he's been telling people that climate change is a joke. There's one way to look at it - and then there's another.

And here's just something obscenely funny to cheer you up if you've had a bad day. Hope you're all well :)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Some handy life tips, Sun Tzu-style.

Hello children. It’s been too long.

That looks really creepy written down so I probably won’t greet you like that ever again, but, honestly, it has been too long. It’s NOVEMBER. I love November. Such a good month. And I wish I could put my lack of contact with you fine people down to copious amounts of work and university applications, but that would be lying. I’ve been partying and drinking and generally wasting my youth like the hoodlum that I am. Ah well.

Anyway. Let’s keep this short so that I can return to that History essay somewhere that I’m supposed to have been writing. Here’s the inspiring quote for the day:

If you know your enemy and you know yourself, you will not be defeated in a hundred battles.

Or something like that. I translated it from the original Chinese myself, of course. Essentially what this ancient sentence from The Art of War is saying is, “When you have a problem, be strategic. Use your strengths and the problem’s weaknesses; figure out where you may have an advantage; don’t rely on brute strength, use the brain that you possess”. I’d like to make several popular culture references to illustrate my point.

Firstly, the opening scene in Gladiator when Russell Crowe totally takes out the German horde and it’s pretty epic. The Romans carefully plan their attack: they choose their position well, they begin with flaming arrows to disorientate and damage their enemy, they charge from an unexpected angle and take the Germans completely by surprise – not to mention an epic motivational speech from the man himself. Basically they know that they can be organised and their enemy is not, and they use this to their advantage. In that scene, Maximus wins an almighty victory.

Another example that occurred to me is the moment when Harry battles the Hungarian Horntail in The Goblet of Fire. Mad-Eye says to Harry, “Play to your strengths”, so Harry flies. Harry also knows that the Horntail will chase him if provoked, so he lures her away from her eggs. Finally, Harry has the advantage of speed and slightness over the dragon’s bulky weight, which means that if he dives for the Golden Egg it’ll take her a minute to work out where he’s gone. He pieces together this knowledge and BAM he’s tied in first place for the Triwizard Cup.

Finally, I’d like to point out the concluding scenes from one of my favourite childhood movies, The Princess Diaries. Mia’s monsters are internal: she lacks self-confidence, mistrusts her friends, and is incapable of choosing the most sensible and pragmatic approach to situations. However, throughout the film, she begins to recognise these weaknesses as well as learning to find her strengths: she is bright, kind-hearted and determined. By knowing her own faults and assets she is able to overcome her fears, address the problems she faces, and eventually becomes Queen of Genovia. And she gets the hot prince.

So really what I’m trying to say is, when you have a problem, don’t stress out or behave like a crazy person. Step back, chill out, use your brain and deal with it carefully and rationally. If more people did this there’d probably be fewer wars. And fewer divorces.

Speak to y’all soon – I hope. I may get dragged back under the dung heap that is Year 13, but I’ll try to keep writing anyways.