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Thoughts on tenacity. (Only they turned out not to be, pfft.)

19/03/12 | 2322
: cold
music: Michael Garrison - Take a Chance | Powered by Last.fm

Probably the strongest quality I possess.

The more I think about 'forming good habits', the less I like the surface-level implications: form a routine -> perform the routine thoughtlessly but repeatedly -> improvement. Even the habit of performing the routine can be thought of as a bad one if it becomes its own reason.

As far as I can see, there are two basic things one must have to be successful: awareness and vision, used in conjunction with experience which is gained through regular application of the first two.

Before practice:
Why am I doing this? What do I want to achieve in the short and (very) long term? (VISION)

During practice:
What is the purpose of doing this? (AWARENESS)
How does it compare to what I want to be doing? (VISION)
How can I improve its execution? (AWARENESS)

I see I touched on the topic two journal entries ago when I started rambling (as usual). I'm pleased to announce that I have in fact been pretty much following on from what I said; with my violin practice, at least. If I'd thought about what I was doing when I was younger and getting by on the absolute minimum, I'd have been at a great advantage - there's still time, though, and I have what is probably a frightening amount of self-belief.

To anyone who reads this: what are the things you practice? How do you practice them? Do you have routines? Does this post actually make sense or should I be going to sleep?

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Writer's Block: National Hugging Day

21/01/12 | 1304
: contentcontent

Who is the last person you hugged?

My mum. She's not feeling well today.

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Was I the only 'intelligent' child who never got bullied at school?

20/01/12 | 1648
: lethargic
music: Nervous Choir - Daddy Says / Dada Version | Powered by Last.fm

whatever 'intelligent' means (in this context, 'academically good')
Bullying in childhood seems to be a rite of passage for anyone who describes themselves as being intelligent (not going to harp on about it here, but I still have huge reservations about that word). Now, I'm not saying I'm a genius or anything, but throughout primary school - the place where differences seem to be most noticed - I was in the top sets for all my classes (can't exactly remember what that entails, but I remember being in lessons with people in the year above: some of these people also ended up going to the same grammar school I went to), read far too much far too quickly (I remember some random class where we each had to read a page of our assigned book aloud; I finished the book before it was my turn to read, subsequently didn't know what page we were on and then seem to remember just getting to read my own stuff by myself during that class. I also spent half my life in libraries and bookshops reading three or four books a visit: the latter certainly saved my mum a lot of money!) and had weird obsessions with Ancient Egypt and other random (mostly historical) stuff. To top it all, I was also overweight, physically uncoordinated (except for hitting the ball in rounders, for some reason, only I couldn't run fast so was still pretty rubbish) and had no social skills (I still can't keep a conversation going, make small talk or look at people's eyes without going twitchy or staring into their very souls unless they're really good friends, in which case they pretty much have to have made an effort to speak to me regularly: I can't even behave 'normally' online), preferring to play imaginary games instead.
I honestly have no idea how I never got bullied and actually had friends.
There are four possible conclusions we can draw from this:
1/ I am indeed a special snowflake.
2/ Academic high-performers who didn't get bullied at school don't have as much of a reason to relate their story as those who did (certainly plausible, but slightly odd given the number of related forum threads - you'd expect at least one person to chip in, even just for the sake of being different, and I've literally never seen anyone else in the same situation as me. That's obviously my personal experience, though.)
3/ I wasn't intelligent enough to draw any criticism. (Possible. I do remember pretty much everyone in my class writing 'SHE IS VERY CLEVER' on this weird compliment card thing we had to do, though, and I was definitely talented at writing for my age.)
4/ My true strengths at the time (English, art, music) didn't have as many negative connotations as things like science and maths. (Definitely possible.)

To conclude, stuff.

ADDENDUM: While I was writing this, the importance of hard work to success really hit me. I was good at writing - I never pursued it seriously. I was good at art - I never put the work in to learn anatomy, the effects of light, etc.. I was good at music - I hated practicing and, when forced to, wouldn't really think about what I was doing other than the fact that it was boring. In short, I relied on the fact that I had a 'talent' to pull me through instead of consciously trying to improve myself. I am now still 'good' at these things, but I could have been so very much better.

I should have realised what secondary school exams could have done for me. I still have a huge problem with what they actually examine, but the fact is that I am extremely fast to understand (and be able to apply in interesting ways) concepts while they're still in my head. Unfortunately, a lot of the speed of this understanding comes from things intuitively making sense - so, while the intuitive version of the concept still gets factored into my worldview, its details don't. I am not good at remembering pure information, especially if the information is essentially an algorithm for solving x type of question in an exam. I still don't care that I ended up with AABB at A2 (well, okay, maybe I do a little), but if I'd been able to see the common nature of all the reasons I wasn't improving as much as I thought I should be at the things I liked - reliance on the fact that I'd always had the potential to be good at them - I could have started remedying all of this a lot sooner.
At least I know now.
Watch out, world.

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Writer's Block: The name of the game

02/04/11 | 0240
: amused
music: Order From Chaos - As the Body Falls Away | Powered by Last.fm

What was your favorite game as a child, and why? With whom did you play it?

Whatever my imagination could come up with. My best friend and I were married animals (a different kind each day) who had amazing adventures until Year 3, when I switched schools. My best friend there and I attacked each other with Pokemon battle moves, trying to find some attack that the other couldn't work out how to negate, until he moved to Ireland. My imaginary games then became slightly more secret... except with the first best friend, where I was the Quint to her Maris, the Anakin to her Obi-Wan, the Luke to her Han Solo/Emperor/Darth Vader, the Doctor to her companion, the Picard to her Worf and the half-Vulcan starship 'captain' to her Klingon android. I see a pattern emerging here. XD
I'll never forget the time, a few years ago, when we randomly started being Quint and Maris despite not having had much to do with the Edge Chronicles for years before that. We were running away from the police, who Maris' pet lemkin Digit had called after spying on our sky-pirating endeavours, and ended up going downstairs into the kitchen and checking on the Stone Pilot in the oven... who was ready to be eaten. Her mum walked in on me shouting something about this and got slightly confused. The entire thing then turned out to be Quint hallucinating or having his mind messed with by the gloamglozer, who locked him out of her bedroom - cue more mental meddling.
We also ended up being Blakes 7 characters at school during the most epic snowball fight ever. Vila, Jenna (mostly because I kept talking to her in character), Gan-Zen-Tarrant and I kept the characters going after that day, although my Blake kind of mutated into an amoral, arrogant and needlessly violent version of himself. Oh well, he's amazing now.

I wish more people I knew would be amenable to expressing any sort of imagination. :(

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Something I wrote when I was 9

27/03/11 | 1434
: relaxedrelaxed
music: Target - Master Project Genesis | Powered by Last.fm


...I have no idea what that was.

In other news, I'm back in London (the best city in the world, despite popular opinion), about to see Van Der Graaf Generator in 5.5 hours and very happy for once.

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Thoughts on Pink Floyd, Nicholas Courtney and music in general

24/02/11 | 1933
location: my own mind
: stressedstressed
music: Cressida - Home and Where I Long to be | Powered by Last.fm

It's strange how events with no musical significance can suddenly provide the impetus for immersion in an artist's work.

Which five songs would you absolutely play at your friend's wedding reception, and why?

Morkburger - Electric Beard
Electric Wizard - Return Trip
Gorguts - Clouded
Shostakovich - Symphony no.5
DarkMateria - The Picard Song

I think these songs would really enhance the experience.

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what (or: I am a very abstract individual, more so than this post would imply)

07/02/11 | 0217
: quixotic
music: Mayhem - Symbols Of Bloodswords | Powered by Last.fm

'The first time you see this, copy and paste it into your signature and add 1 to the number after 'Generation'. Consider it a social experiment..'

Who started this, what is its meaning and why do people mindlessly do as it tells them? For that matter, why do I see those stupid made-up percentage things: '92% of people moved on to rap; put this in your signature if you're one of the 8% that rocks out every day' in signatures? Why are there memes, or trends, or whatever? WHY DOESN'T ANYONE DO ANYTHING BY THEMSELVES? WHY IS THE WORLD STUPID? WHO'S READING THIS? WHY HAVEN'T I GONE TO BED?

I was really proud of making the altered phrase 'You can lead a crowd to slaughter, but you cannot make it think', only it's been used in a headline or something already. :( Ironically enough, it's not truly original.

Start of the second semester tomorrow! Looking forward to my CS modules and even having to try and plan essay-writing time for Philosophy. I'm going to do amazingly when I revise.

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Writer's Block: Connecting the dots

04/02/11 | 1615
: lethargic
music: Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, Yevgeni Mravinsky & Valeri Sobolev - Symphony No. 8 In C Minor, Op

How do you feel about standardized tests? Do you think they accurately indicate a student's knowledge or ability?

No, because I'm only okay at them.

Honestly, though, I feel standardised tests test me on one of the worst aspects of myself - the ability to memorise a lot of information. Even worse than this, I will reliably fail to retain any of the information for at most a few weeks after the exam, thereby rendering the point of the test useless. I would much rather be tested on how well I understand material and can link themes 'beyond the surface', as it were, to other things - or even how well I can make sense of new concepts during the test itself - than just have to do these steps in this order because it's what I've been taught. At A-level, History was the only one of my subjects that came anywhere near this ideal, and it still failed miserably.

That said, I really enjoyed the core Computer Science modular exam we had a few weeks ago, probably because it was actually expected that you knew what had been taught and instead involved working out what various pieces of (oddly-written) code did and writing short methods to fulfil a specification.

As tests of intelligence, standardised tests fail. As imparters of useful life skills, however, they could actually succeed. If I'd bothered to try and revise properly, I'd probably be organised and not a procrastinator. I wonder how much of this can be learnt?

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Myself, twice, twice (or: I'M NOT VILA, DAMNIT)

04/02/11 | 1203
: uncomfortable
music: Mayhem - A Bloodsword And A Colder Sun (Part II of II) | Powered by Last.fm

orrien again.

Big Five Word Test Results
Extroversion (21%) low which suggests you are very reclusive, quiet, unassertive, and secretive.
Accommodation (27%) low which suggests you are overly selfish, uncooperative, and difficult at the expense too often of the well being of others.
Orderliness (21%) low which suggests you are overly flexible, random, improvised, and fun seeking at the expense too often of structure, reliability, work ethic, and long term accomplishment.
Emotional Stability (21%) low which suggests you are very worrying, insecure, emotional, and anxious.
Inquisitiveness (87%) very high which suggests you are extremely intellectual, curious, imaginative but possibly not very practical.
Take Free Big Five Word Choice Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

bold: accurate
plain text: neither accurate nor inaccurate
strikethrough: inaccurate

avoidant, withdrawn, not usually happy (no comment), does not believe in human goodness, loner, moody, avoids crowds, depressed (no comment), overwhelmed by unpleasant feelings frequently, agnostic/atheistic tendencies, unsure where life is going, impatient, avoids eye contact, does not think things work out for the best, discontent, negative, suspicious of others, uncooperative, socially uncomfortable, hard to get to know (unless I like you straight away, in which case I'm not), not punctual, low self confidence, pessimistic, lonely, does not finish work on time, does not like to lead, attracted to things associated with sadness, ambivalent about the problems of others, feels defective, fears failure, often bored, ambivalent about the suffering of others, unproductive, avoids unnecessary interaction, easily frustrated, does not finish many things, lower energy level, focuses on fantasies instead of reality, ambivalent about the needs of others, easily annoyed, rarely prepared, disorganized, quiet around strangers, slow to forgive, hard to understand (maybe? I don't know how others see me), not that interested in others, skeptical, wounded at the core (WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN, IT JUST SOUNDS ANGSTY), self absorbed

favoUred careers:
as above

philosopher, freelance writer, novelist, author, astronomer, book editor, freelance artist, scholar, bookstore owner, bookseller, screenwriter, philosophy professor, poet, cinematographer, artist, playwright, librarian, comic book artist, art historian, publisher, archeologist, scientist, composer, video game designer, egyptologist, museum curator, researcher, paleontologist, anthropologist, musician, genetics researcher, historian, theologian, research psychologist, art director, research scientist, songwriter, history professor, linguist, computer animator, professor of english, illustrator, painter, assassin (lolwhat), cartoonist, library assistant, travel writer, curator, film critic, environmental scientist, filmmaker, journalist, english professor, aerospace engineer, political scientist, computer scientist, art curator, audio engineer, archivist, art education, college professor, academic, technical writer, webmaster, animator, psychoanalyst, music journalist, geneticist, astronaut, research assistant, software developer, website designer, movie director, web developer, film editor, copywriter, digital artist, editor music therapist, geologist, web designer, biologist, biochemist, mercenary what

I've taken the longer test a few times, which gives me either RLUEI/RLOEI with primary type or whatever as Egocentric (because I'm amazing)....I feel I've revealed too much about myself. *slinks into shadows*

Link | Rip Kirk's shirt |


Myself, twice.

22/01/11 | 1727
: fullfull
music: Jethro Tull - Steel Monkey | Powered by Last.fm

Pinched from orrien.

Pick 20 movies/anime/video games/stories/musicians and put their summaries from Better than it Sounds and WITHOUT CHEATING have your friends guess.

1: Electric Chinese Batman.
2: A teacher copes with his dissatisfaction with society by encouraging people to kill themselves. Hilarity Ensues.
3: Boy named after a mouse helps locals improve their drug-filled sandpit, despite unfriendly wildlife. The government disapproves. Also, Cinnamon lets you see into the future.
4: As the world is falling apart, a corporate executive chases after an elusive Marty Stu. Expect long filibusters.
5: A well-off group of famed, socially inept musicians enjoy the ups and downs of their above-the-law status, while a board of powerful figures think they're a force to be reckoned with and attempt to stop them. The band's manager is a Magnificent Bastard ninja-accountant. Hilarity ensues.
6: A bunch of people get together on a spaceship to battle a sadistic glam goddess and her massive personal army. Blake(')s 7, guessed by temporal_cynic as expected.
7: A pair of bitter war veterans, a sexual ambassador for hire, a mercenary with a cunning hat, a hot mechanic, a childish pilot, a preacher with a Mysterious Past, a medical genius and the cutest little psychotic killing machine ever all get together on a ship. They Fight Do Crime! Firefly. temporal_cynic
8: An embezzler, a simpleton and an alcoholic all live under one roof with their insane housekeeper, and they all live in fear of their boss's psychopathic rages. Father Ted. temporal_cynic strikes again.
9: Giant Dinosaur VS Robot Dinosaur VS Ancient Lion-Dog Thingy.
10: Lots of children get sick, and join a cat-eyed cult led by three brothers, whose mother is a head in a box. One brother eventually grows up to become their father, only to get beaten up in a spectacular fashion. Meanwhile, a man sees dead people, thinks about deep things, and fights lots (often doing all three at the same time). Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, guessed by orrien.
11: A guy goes through way, way too much effort to gather enough evidence to support a copyright dispute. Otherwise, a movie about a BASIC programming command. TRON, guessed by tarathemeerkat.
12: Teenage boy with horny, wisecracking crow sidekick (that doubles as a Wave Motion Gun) travels psychedelic world, steals things, imparts Aesops. King of Bandit Jing, as shouted loudly by orrien.
13: Three Californians and a Dane who got together during The Eighties, changed their musical style and haircuts (to the chagrin of the fandom) in The Nineties. Their drummer made a total ass of himself about file sharing. Fans are divided as to the exact moment when they Jumped The Shark, but even the band admits that they wish they could just pretend that their ninth album never happened.
14: Four British musicians, who wrote lots of songs based on Tolkien, lost a drummer who choked on his own vomit, and won't reform because their singer loathes their biggest hit. Led Zeppelin! Come on, guys. tarathemeerkat
15: Two bishounen wage war against each other for 110 episodes.
16: Seven military officers facing court martial look for whales so they can fly them into the sun. Hilarity Ensues. Star Trek IV, guessed the hell by temporal_cynic.
17: An austere northern arisocrat tries desperately to prevent his best friend's wife's family from screwing everyone over. He fails miserably. Meanwhile, a teenage girl has sex with Genghis Khan expy, and decides to conquer the world. George R.R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones". orrien
18: Man retires from his stressful job to an exclusive and seemingly idyllic resort, but spends all his time bitching about it and refuses to join in the fun and games like everyone else. The Prisoner, a lucky guess by temporal_cynic.
19: Producers find canonical excuse to keep a popular character and just replace all the actors. Doctor Whoooo, HEY! Doctor Who. Doctor Whooooo, HEY! The TARDIS. No man am I - the Doctor. Doctor in distress! Let's all answer his SOS. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. HELP ME
20: The last human in existence drifts through space in a vast abandoned ship. It's a comedy. Red Dwarf. orrien. Nearly typed temporal_orrien then. It's 0248, I should go to bed.

Link | Rip Kirk's shirt 8 shirts ripped |