Sunday, October 19

Why I love YouTube

In preparation for an upcoming interview, I faced the question, "What is your favourite Google product or tool?"
Two answers come to mind quickly, Blogger and YouTube. It was on further probing of my mind that I realised just how truly useful YouTube is. I've known I've loved the platform for a good few years now, but really it has changed a lot of the things I do in my life. I decided that my main reasons for loving this platform fall under 3 categories.


Number 1. Relatable reality.

I'm not too sure when reality T.V. first came around, but seeing as Big Brother is in the late teens of existence it must've been around 20 years ago now. Increasingly reality T.V. has grown in popularity with channels such as E! and MTV showing The Hills, Kardashians etc.. depicting real life scenarios, that can be somewhat staged. Even if the shows are all staged, they are meant to represent real life situations. I believe ITV has recently created a channel solely devoted to reality shows called ITVbe showing TOWIE etc..
So when YouTube came along, born from that was amateur content. And this amateur content has proved immensely successful. From my years of watching YouTubers, in recent months one cannot ignore the vlog-style videos. A kind of follow me around, day in the life style video, with many content creators uploading a video each and every day such as the Shaytards.
It has been amazing to watch this style of video grow in popularity and it says something about the content viewers like to see these days. Staged, choreographed and scripted shows still survive, but the real growth is in mundane but real-life content.




Number 2. Informal instructions.

Like many people out there, I often struggled to study by putting my head in a book and reading, or listening to lectures, or answering questions in an exercise book. YouTube has opened up a new way of intaking knowledge. A quick search of keywords in the search bar, and one in inundated with options to watch cooking videos, language lessons, knitting techniques etc.. The way in which these videos are structured can vary from taught classes to interactive engagements with the audience.
My favourite kind of instructional video to watch is that of an expert in their field mumbling on about certain scenarios. I find that is what suits me, and where I extract the most relatable and interesting facts or snippets of information for later use. For others, step by step videos take preference. But the learner is no longer subjected to one strict way of intaking information.




Number 3. Politically correct policies.

I happen to know quite a bit about YouTube policies, and how and why they are implemented so strictly. Protection of identity, of minors, of shocking or abusive content, is something we all want for the internet, but what I most admire about YouTube is that they stand firm against corporate or governmental threats in hosting content. It is no secret that YouTube gets into an awful lot of trouble with nations and political parties, but while YouTube profits suffer when they become banned or restricted in countries, they remain firm in their stance as a platform which supports the freedom of speech.




Sunday, September 28

Thoughts on this feminist movement - Sheryl Sandberg and Emma Watson

I didn't believe that I was a feminist, or that I aligned myself with those kinds of views.
It's an unpopular category of individuals to be associated with dare I say. Feminists, I thought, were those with rash views, annoying ranty Facebook statuses, and constant complaints.

I was wrong.


Unfortunately the word feminist has the word feminine in it, which assumes it to be solely about women's rights. A better word might be "genderist" or "equalist".

A similar faux pas was probably made when Emma and the UN chose the caption "HeForShe", which indicates that the movement is one way. 
If we can move past these words, and instead listen to their definition, statements, and missions, then we will align these words with equality for all, as opposed to only women.

A favourite part of Emma Watson's speech was when she described gender on a spectrum. 
I love this, and I think there are many things in the world that need to be viewed on a spectrum instead of two opposing ideas, gender is one, sexuality is another. In lieu of polarised ideals, lets be realistic and acknowledge difference and minorities.

When I first began reading Lean In, I couldn't stand it. I thought to myself, why on earth did the editor allow this book to start with an apology several pages long? Sheryl wrote a disclaimer to everybody about to read the book, and it kind of goes against everything else she wrote in the ensuing pages!
I can understand that the book had to make clear several points to avoid upsetting women picking up this book from underprivileged backgrounds, Sheryl did not have such a background, but the apology was far too long and put me off completely. I thought oh god, I don't want to read this woman constantly making excuses for her successes in life.

Fortunately, the book itself changed dramatically. It wasn't until I was close to the end of the book that I realised how much I was enjoying it. Since finishing the book, I've decided I like it even more.
I like Sheryl, I admire her, and I want her to write a sequel.
So my advice, don't judge the book by its first chapter. I'm so glad I kept reading, however hesitantly.

Lean In is like a longer version of Emma's speech. Well constructed, politically correct, and eager to encompass both men and women in this movement of equality.
My views on feminism have rather dramatically changed and I would urge others to enlighten themselves to the conversation that is both intriguing and affecting you, whether that be directly or indirectly, everyday.




Sunday, August 3

An August wishlist..

This August is hopefully going to be a pretty busy month because I've got a job interview, a driving test, some friend's birthdays, and of course Electric Picnic at the very end.
Other than those big things, I will be doing my usual part-time work, some research into coding and digital marketing, might film a youtube video, and still reminiscing on renting a modern apartment around Grand Canal Dock.


As for a couple of things I wouldn't mind picking up when I get my first pay check are Hatching Twitter, the book about the founding of Twitter which sounds pretty similar to the Facebook story.



Another is the Nutribullet which I have been eyeing up in Brown Thomas for a few weeks now and which I am certain will be the beginning of a new healthier me.. !


Another thing on the wish list is that trip to Berlin in September. 
I have some close friends who are planning a trip over to visit a friend and I have never seen Berlin which almost seems like a crime these days. It sounds like such an exciting city so a few days there wouldn't go amiss seeing as I haven't been abroad in several long months.




Next up is a polypro hula-hoop. 
My current hula-hoop does the job, but I am simply outgrowing it and need a lighter and smaller hoop that will make practicing off-body tricks much easier.
Unfortunately they are pretty hard to track down and purchase the right kind. Maybe I will have some luck at a stall in Electric Picnic.



Ukulele lessons are also a must, since I bought that uke a few months ago now and I still cannot seem to be able to get it in tune, in spite of trying many times using youtube tutorials and buying a cherub tuner.



Oooh yes, another thing that fits in nicely to my new fit and healthy approach in September is black Nike free-riders. Although Im not much of a running fan, I do enjoy the gym, or hiking and at least having nice sports gear.



And I think the last thing on my wish list is some accessories for Electric Picnic. 
Half the fun of festival life for me is being able to look a bit crazy and release the inner hippy, tree-hugger. So I'll be after plenty of feather headbands and face paints for the festivities this year.



Saturday, August 2

Boyhood.



Last night I went to see Boyhood.

I had heard a little about it because it was filmed over 12 years using the same actors, so it immediately sounds a little different.

Well wow. I can tell you that this is an exceptional movie. In fact, I would go as far to say that it is the best movie I have seen since that of Lone Survivor or Shutter Island, although completely and utterly opposite.

This offbeat story is nothing remarkable, following the journey of a young boy (from the age of 5 to 18) and his family as they grow up in the states of southern America, but it is in the development of the characters that the movie excels.
The story doesn't revolve around any major event, and is both simplistic and realistic in its portrayal of normal family life, so maybe it is this mundane reality of the family journey that makes this movie so refreshing to watch. 




The acting is outstanding by all four of the main characters, the mother (Patricia Arquette), father (Ethan Hawke), sister (Lorelei Linklater) and brother (Ellar Coltrane). 
I particularly enjoyed the interaction of Coltrane who plays movie's protagonist, and Hawke his father, who have such an amusing relationship over the years which is delivered with perfection. 

I am excited to see Coltrane play other characters because he does seem to have been born for the camera. There isn't one moment in the movie where you don't believe he is his character, in fact, I wonder if Coltrane was playing himself the whole time and that is why it came so easy to him... I must look it up. 
He is so natural in fact that he makes ordinary performances like that of his girlfriend in the film (Zoe Graham) look weak. Fortunately, the three main characters of his father, mother and sister (who is interestingly the directors daughter) are good enough to keep up with Coltrane.




Overall, I cannot recommend this movie enough, and feel as though it would have done well in award season if it was released then. 
This movie gets a ten out of ten for me, I loved it so much, and despite being lengthy (nearly 3 hours long), I really couldn't get enough. I wanted to continue the journey to find out what happens next and see where this family ends up and how the relationships evolve. Unfortunately if they do decide to do a sequel, it won't be released for another 12 years as they follow Coltrane in his twenties.



It wasn't just me who thought this movie was exceptional because it seems to have gotten a 9.0 from IMDb and 5 stars from The Ticket.

For a more lengthy in-depth review look at:


or



Monday, July 21

"Get Sh*t Done!" by Niall Harbison - Book review

I've recently gotten back into reading, probably due to copious amounts of free time whilst I work only part-time. Instead of reaching for my usual trilogy of fantasy novels like Delirium or The Maze Runner series, I've gone for something different that caught my attention.
Although grossly unpopular amongst my friends, I wanted to purchase Niall Harbison's (of LovinDublin) new book, "Get Sh*t done".




I wasn't looking for a self-help book laden with bad language and fortunately that has not been the case. Having said that, my feelings about this book are mixed, and I think it would have greatly benefited from an extra few months of editing, as the whole book has a sense of been thrown together in a rushed manner, and although the content is mostly interesting, at about 200 pages in I began to notice repetition and even one or two contradictory statements with Harbison's earlier chapters.

I enjoy the website Lovindublin, but can understand why many really don't care to entertain it, with its harsh critique and "all or nothing" manner. But I do feel it has filled a kind of "yuppie" niche in the blogosphere. Moreover I have used it for restaurant advice and would heartily agree with many of the sites "Top Ten" lists.

Anyway, to be quite honest, I was curious about this Harbison guy, and why all my friends seem to groan and roll their eyes when I mention his work. So I picked up the book last week, and luckily too, because it is since out of stock.

Overall the book is an enjoyable enough read, with several interesting tips on creating a business, and many snippets into Niall's earlier life which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately though Harbison loses me with his use of sensational language. Everything is "the best", "the biggest", or "the most something", and although one might fall into his trap several times, it eventually it becomes a bit tiring and takes away from what he is trying to say, which could be perfectly valid, without the need for lavish language.

Another small thing I didn't like about this book is that Harbison uses few examples following an outlandish statement about the future of business, or success in business. He has done extremely well for himself no doubt, but he backs his guidelines up with maybe only one example from his previous experiences. In the few occasions that Harbison does uses other examples, he only likens to big companies such as Apple or Facebook. As much as I admire both these companies, I already know an awful lot about them, it would have been far more interesting if Harbison had used less obvious shall we say, examples.

In summary, the book is a quick read, it has some great personal anecdotes and is largely enjoyable. Although it lets itself down with its "thrown together" structure and overall lack of focus and reader consideration, leading me to believe that I probably would not purchase his next book.



*I haven't been able to find any other blog reviews on this book yet, but will post them here once I do.

Monday, July 7

Thoughts on apartments.

A close friend of mine recently moved into his first apartment from home. I helped a little with the moving process and have got the urge again to leave home again for the third time maybe? I have left and returned already several times with the way things have turned out. But I imagine that the next time I move out of my parents home will be the final time, hopefully in part because of my new full-time exciting job (which I have yet to acquire..).

Anyway, back to the apartment. I love the moving process! It is an excuse for a minimalist like me to do yet another clear out and rearrange and organise my possessions. My first apartment was in a very old building in a super location, but the block was so old it was impossible to keep dust out, and all the furniture and fittings were ancient.
I heard once that as you move out, you move up.. so each apartment after the next gets better.
The following one was definitely a step in the right direction in some ways because I had my own small studio. It was brighter and less ancient.. and had slightly more modern fittings. Ergo, the fridge was not in the hall.

Now that I'm finished university, had a near-year away of travel experience, and in search for my first proper job, I feel a share in an apartment is the next appropriate step for me.
Helping Allan out was so much fun, and helped me decide on which area I would like to live in, and realise I do not wish to live alone, though preferably with tidy roommates with impeccable Swedish design taste..
Okay I realise this isn't very realistic. In the past I have been too uptight regards space, cleanliness etc..
But I hope after my time in Australia moving constantly from hostels, dorms and camper vans to tents, that I have chilled out enough to be a suitable roommate candidate.

Only time will tell, and I realise that I will have to insist on certain things such as a double room and private bathroto keep my sanity and be able to live with others in the communal areas.
So I've been keeping an eye out on Daft.ie for places and on pinterest for some small space design ideas and decor inspiration.
I'm pretty sure my apartment won't look exactly like any of the following pictures, but it's nice to have something to aspire to.










Saturday, May 24

Simple musings.

Having finished my last exam on Wednesday, I am left with a feeling of delight, a weight off my shoulders, and excitement about is what to come next.
Unfortunately with possibility, comes uncertainty.
I had previously felt as though I needed some more travel to get it out of my system. I thought of finding a job for the summer, paying off my debts, and jetting off again somewhere exotic, new and exciting.
I hadn't expected to start to settle back into Dublin. Spending 2 out of the past 3 years abroad, it seems customary to pop back to Ireland for a bit to get my exams, sort out my finances and jet off again. But something has made me want to stay this time. Maybe I'm just simply growing up and crave some certainty in my life. I find myself wanting to commit to a phone contract of two years, move into a nice apartment in a good location in relation to the city and my friends, and most of all I find myself wanting to join teams and solidify a social life for myself here, reviving old friendships.
The wanderlust hasn't totally disappeared, and I do find myself occasionally browsing travel blogs, reminising over old travel photos, or just sending messages to friends in all parts of the world, but the urge to get a fun and rewarding job, move into an apartment with new people and buy a car, has overcome that wanderlust, for the first time.

Strange..

Friday, March 14

Number 1. The Arts Factory Jungle


and the number 1. spot goes to...







The jungle!!!



This is going to be the toughest one to explain. I simply cannot put into words exactly how I feel about this magical place, but I will try my best to persuade you to go.


So what is the jungle?!

The jungle is a small campsite which is part of the Arts Factory hostel in Byron Bay.


Where is the jungle?!

The jungle is located in the The Arts Factory (the best hostel) in Byron Bay, which is approximately 4/5 hours south of Brisbane, and 10 hours north of Sydney.





Byron bay itself is another blogpost of goodness altogether so I won't try to squeeze too much into one.

Simply, it is a seaside town inhabited by primarily hippies, musicians, and every kind of artist you can imagine. 
It is a hub for surfers because it is host to several beautiful beaches. The town itself is pretty small with one main street and tons of cafes and restaurants. 
The lighthouse, located a bit of a trek up a mountain, is also an attraction because you're pretty much gauranteed to spot pods of dolphins below, and it is the most easterly point of the australian mainland.







I had, like all the best hostels, been recommended to stay at the arts factory, located a ten minute walk from town. 

My first week there, I stayed at the hostel itself in dorm rooms, but I was soon to discover the campsite adjoining the hostel.

After a week of forking out a whopping $32 a night in the dorms, I decided I needed to avail of tent-living. A small $100 per week fee. 
A guy I had become friends with, gave me a tiny two man tent, which I pitched easily in the first free space I could find.

But within a couple of days I had myself a massive 8/10 man tent all to myself, including a proper mattress on milk crates and a giant tarp to protect my tent form the rain. 

Buying and selling tents with their allotted plot and whatevers in them seemed to be pretty commonplace, so I just pretty lucky to come across somebody selling a nice big tent in a prime location because the jungle hut and kitchen/amenities.



Jungle hut.




My tent.


Kitchen.


In my time in Byron Bay to be honest I really didn't do much. Everyday pretty much consisted of going to the beach, chilling in the jungle hut, playing with hula-hoops, playing table tennis, volleyball, going to the supermarket, chasing bush turkeys, hanging out in someones tent, getting goon for the evening, playing drinking games, and going out.

But what made it so special was being with friends all day long.
Whether we were doing something mundane or exciting, even a bad day in Byron Bay was a good day!
 I met such a diverse and cool group of people that it didn't matter what we got up to, it was always fun! I love these people so so much and I miss each and every one of them.




















Between the beautiful weather, the relaxed hostel, the lively town and whatever musical activities were going on in the jungle hut, Byron is my favourite place ever.
It is so hard to some it all up but this video does a pretty good job of showcasing just how wonderful a place Byron is. 


You have to go there.





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