Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Pros & Many Cons of Twitter

The website that made the hashtag an ‘in thing’, Twitter is currently in the process of luring every internet user into creating accounts. Back in the day where Bebo reeled in the Myspace users and Facebook rendering Bebo-love irrelevant, Twitter seems to be following suit and there’s no sign of its relentless efforts slowing anytime soon.   Twitter allows social networkers – for the first time – to follow celebrities, making them all that more accessible. I change my mind about Twitter every day so here’s my two cents about this phenomenon.
Con: #thingsthatgetmeupset was trending not ten minutes ago, hence why I’m in the mind-set to compare Twitter to the Big Brother diary room (which is not a compliment). People formerly lamented some Facebook users for statuses such as: “Can’t wait 2 see all the ladies 2nyt” and “OMG, never drinking again”, however Twitter ENCOURAGES these statuses with the trending feature. Now trending is #HappyBdayHarryFromAustralia – Harry Styles from One Direction. Exactly. I’ll admit to falling victim to the fondness to help phrases trend on Twitter, which is an awful habit; I’d like to use Twitter to haver away without being bothered at the lack of ‘likes’ that Facebook has to offer.
Con: The combination of television and Twitter has driven me – and more than likely you – up the wall. You can’t watch a single live show without the presenter interrupting the show to say “if you’re online, make sure you use Twitter and mention #BawbagShow”.  I really don’t care enough to take the time out of watching a TV show to mention the show I’m currently watching on Twitter so that people following me know I’m watching the show. Linked in with this is the introduction of celebrity Tweeters and how they ‘grind my gears’. 8,831,212 people are following Nicki Minaj. I don’t understand it. I just don’t understand. Her last Tweet: “Hi barbz. Stupid Hoe's on MTV JAMS awl zay bew bew! :P”. 8,831,212 people had that Tweet appear on their home page. What happened? The most worrying thing about this is that kids will run to their friends at school and gossip about how right Minaj’s Tweet was. In what situation at any time ever would anyone feel possessed to even consider Nicki Minaj as a reliable source of entertainment gossip? We already have *shudder* Perez Hilton for that, why would anyone think “I’ve got a stupendous idea, let’s go on Twitter and attempt to translate gossip”? Which leads me to my next condensed rant;

8,831,212 people follow this woman. I'll let that sink in.

Con: Learn to type in English Twitter users. Ignore celebrities that think they’re too ‘cool’ to type in a language over a billion people can fluently speak. Shows like Jersey Shore have characters that speak in abbreviations, which is fine; it makes good TV, but if you’re a celebrity, you’re a role model to at least someone. Yes, you too Nicki. You want to be a role model? Don’t drag your fans away from education. I don’t mind the occasional “PMSL” or “LMAO”, but please don’t overuse them. That’s what English is for.

Pro: I’ve been able to contact my Uncle far easier on Twitter than anything else and we’re speaking more regularly now, despite his hectic schedule.
Con: I realise that this blog was supposed to be a “pros and cons” piece but the more I type, the more I realise I don’t care for Twitter. The only reason I still update my Tweets is because Strathclyde University lecturers tell you that Twitter will benefit your way of learning. I fail to see how. It’s the same reason I started up this half-neglected blog, however I’ll be judged more on here than on Twitter for mistakes and grammatical errors. Why can’t others use Blogspot (which has more hits than Twitter according to the Alexa ranking system)? I don’t see how reading irrelevance such as “Lesley doesn’t deserve him, should be me going to Fernando’s #TakeMeOut” will aid me in any way, shape or form.
In a nutshell, Twitter is merely an inconvenience. A catalyst used to destroy brain cells faster than Peter Andre documentary. I would say “please ignore Twitter” to all you blog readers, though that would be quite hypocritical of me; I have a Twitter tab open as I type. I dread the next website to take over the lives of most teenagers and students:

Birth, Myspace, Bebo, Facebook, Twitter, death.
One can only wish.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Winehouse Dies... Meh.

Reader discretion is advised. The following blog may not
 be suitable for fans of Amy Winehouse. It is not the
 blogger’s intention to aggravate the readers who
 were saddened from today’s news, but will offer his own
opinions over recent events. Said opinions will be negative.  

The best thing that’s come from the death of Amy Winehouse is that it’s given me the excuse to post a blog update. When you hear of a famous person dying, everyone heads over to Wikipedia to check the details and the legitimacy of the rumour and I’ll confess that I done the same today once everyone on Facebook started posting of her death. Upon finding out that she is in fact dead, I shrugged my shoulders and got on with my life. 

This news will trigger many events; expect ‘Back to Black’ to peak in sales, clubs to play Mark Ronson’s cover of ‘Valerie’ on repeat, unnecessary documentaries about her “rise and fall” and re-runs of live performances. Yes folks, Amy Winehouse will be more in-your-face than the Jersey Shore cast in the forthcoming weeks, whether you like it or not. This will make the lives of Winehouse fans repetitive and the lives of everyone else annoying. Cheers for dying Amy.
I hope they don't do an Amy Winehouse 'Special'...

I don’t care for her. Never have, never will. “You can’t say that about someone who’s just died” you say? Stop reading in that case. Tossers die every day and she’s head honcho number one tosser. If you’re going to abuse your body so much that you die at 27 years of age, don’t be surprised to see the Grim Reaper at your door. When you’re asked “what’s the first word that comes to your mind when you think Amy Winehouse?”, your answer isn’t going to be “talented”, “brilliant” or even “singer”. Of course you’re going to think along the lines of “addict”. 

Let’s face it; her first album ‘Frank’ was only successful after the release of her overrated second album. She has a good pair of lungs on her, yes, but so do lots of other women in Britain. To call this a loss for music would be exaggerating as she hasn’t released a record in five years and wasn’t going to anytime soon if she had stayed alive. 

When Jade Goody died, I’ll admit to not having much sympathy for her, but Winehouse’s death has made me realise that there is someone in the world that I dislike more that her. Goody was a stuck-up cow but she did nothing to deserve death. Nobody deserves death, not even Winehouse, but when there’s a terrorist attack in Oslo resulting in the death of 92 innocent civilians, don’t expect me to be giving a damn about Winehouse.

With deepest sympathies to those close to the singer, they can take pride in knowing that Winehouse has left behind her one of the all-time biggest anti-drug campaigns for kids to learn from.

Monday, 11 July 2011

How To Mug A Tramp

The phrase “survival of the fittest” has never (or at least not often) held more relevance than the art of mugging a tramp. An inexperienced person may attempt the ‘smash and grab’ technique that would struggle to merit one star on Grand Theft Auto, though it has to be taken into consideration that tramps don’t carry around with them pots of gold, so this method may result in someone looking like a failure, thus rendering him/her *insert hurtful abuse here*. Instead, listed below are several plans which would lead to a successful mugging;

I typed in 'tramps' in Google images, I like this one.

Plan A: The Financial Negotiation
You’ve seen it in films, TV shows and in real life, the negotiation stage is often regarded as the ‘tricky’ part of the deal, but these negotiations involve well educated individuals – mainly. In order to commence negotiations with a tramp, you must first give the tramp a small donation (e.g. 50p) in order for the negotiation to commence. Once this has happened, ask for change back that amounts to less than what you gave him (e.g. 25p). Then you must go back on yourself, taking the 50p back then getting the 25p from the tramp, reminding him that he was to give you that money anyway. If 25p isn’t enough, you may complicate things to an extent where you have all his money, he won’t keep up. (Note: It’s important to keep your poker face on and not slip up by sniggering or looking at mates to see if they’re watching.)

Plan B: The ‘School Boy Error’
Though there is a high chance this will fail, success will propel LAD status among LADs. Firstly, you want to create banter with the tramp prior to your move so you can scan the tramp head to toe in order to spot what’s getting mugged. Once you feel ready, the classic “look over there” accompanied with the finger point and shocked face, you will have no longer than a second and a half to take what you spotted previously. Other acceptable calls include “oh my God, check the state of him/her”, “MATE!” and “she’s fit”, all still accompanied with the finger point. It’s then optional if you want to carry on talking then say your goodbye or do a runner. Good luck with this one.
A man from 1745 distracting a tramp.

Plan C: The ‘Act As If It Never Happened’ Technique
This could also work with anyone else, but doing this to a tramp’s far funnier. Once the tramp’s been spotted, just go up and mug him. Instead of running away, have a wee joke with the tramp, claiming it would be stupid to mug someone in daylight. Keep up this charade for as long as it’s necessary until weariness kicks in for the tramp, and that is the signal to change the topic of conversation. Once you reach this stage, you may leave at any point. (Note: Father Ted Crilly almost succeeded in pretending not to kick Bishop Brennan up the arse if it wasn’t for a blown up picture of the event. You must ensure there is no photographic evidence until after proceedings)

Plan D: The Gamble
In order for this to work, picking out a tramp hanging around outside a bookmaker (did the title give it away?) will increase the success rate of the plan. You can’t simply expect him to gamble, so you need to provide an excuse. You must provoke the tramp so that he “hurts your feelings”, then pounce and claim you deserve something in return. This may require a fair amount of convincing, but when you pick something out that the tramp owns, declare a match of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ to decide the destiny of the tramp’s chosen possession. If you lose, you admit defeat graciously and try it again on another designated tramp, though if victorious you must proclaim his belonging and walk away with your head held high.

Plan E: Stop Trying
If you’ve tried all four plans and still haven’t successfully mugged a tramp, don’t rely on the ‘smash and grab’ technique, just give up. Mugging tramps clearly isn’t your greatest attribute.
Wrong tramp.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

A Venture Down Sauchiehall Street

Dragging a heavy suitcase on its last legs - wheels - down Sauchiehall Street is no easy task, trust me. Embarking on my travels back to Dundee for my mother's wedding on Saturday, I realised that I would act as a hinderance to others by squeezing through randoms in an unnecessary rush to make it to the bus station on time. Instead of worrying for other people, I took up the chance to scrutinise every step that every person placed on the tarmac. Not that I learned anything that would drastically change my day or anything, however doing this amused me hugely.

When I say Sauchiehall Street, I of course mean from the end of Buchanan Galleries to Driftwood (for those of you not from Glasgow, it's the commercial half of the street). With that in mind, the first notable part of my journey was of course the shut off part where Steak & Cherry was. I checked up a minute ago how long it's been since the unfortunate event. Over four months ago and nothing's changed. What I reckon is that the huge (this word doesn't even do it justice) delay in the completion of the Edinburgh tram system has dwarfed anything Glasgow has to offer so the longer the cranes hang around arguably the busiest street in Glasgow, the more attention the city gets (the Al Gore effect).

The Duke of Wellington looks stupid enough, we don't need Sauchiehall St following suit.
Unfortuately for the man, this doesn't really exist.

Having to traverse around the 'construction', I was severely slowed down by a man with a God-awful swagger. With jeans up to his nipples and his arms flailing like someone drowning, there was no purpose for this man to be so terrible at walking. No music in his ears, nor was there any indication that he was showing off for someone else; he was a burden to look at and a burden to be within 20m of. You'd think someone with a practiced swagger would be relatively fast - not Usain Bolt fast but more electric wheelchair fast - wouldn't you? A zeppelin could turn a corner quicker than this man. It took me a good two minutes to overtake him due to my trailing luggage and before I was out of his sight, I looked back to put a face to the walk. Just what I thought, a smile big enough to suggest that he'd only pulled his head out from between his buttocks seconds prior.

The next destination was the Celtic shop for Father's Day (if you're reading this, yes, I did buy you something related to Celtic). Over the last few months, most Celtic supporters have been claiming to be Neil Lennon, yet the first thing I see in the shop is a poster reading "There's only one Neil Lennon". Just make up your minds. Please. The shop also boasts very lacklusture staff, with one of them telling me there were more books 50cm to the left of where I was already looking. There's being helpful, then there's being a nuisance; and today there's being ludicrously absurd.

Before you think I was in a bad mood over this, you are mistaken. I merely entered a state of judging people in excruciating detail. You can imagine the field trip I had when a man walked past with spikes sticking out the shoulders of his denim jacket in that case. Yes, spikes. Never have I ever dressed myself that would provoke someone into saying "you could poke someone's eyes out with that". Never knew that was possible. My eyes never made it as far up as the face, so I only have the jacket to judge this person with. Spikes?! When has that ever been acceptable for someone to wear? Did this guy look into the mirror this morning whilst wearing his adventurous jacket and think to himself "This looks good, I'll wear this"? Some things I just don't understand. He might think that of me wearing pink and blue shorts, but we all know that his opinions don't matter for as long as he insists on wearing spikes.

Free hugs...
So, this is Day One out of about 90 of being without my Camp America-bound girlfriend and it results in me being severely judgmental on - more than likely - decent people. Glad to see not much has changed yet and I hope it doesn't. Wow, never addressed Caity as my girlfriend on written format before, looks a bit odd but we're not going to break up over it! Anyway, point of the matter is that Sauchiehall Street is full of people that make the homeless scrounging for spare change look like people you'd trust to loan money out to. If you were wondering (probably not), I made the bus, it was horrendously hot without air conditioning and didn't get stuck behind more swaggering folk.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Immitating Non-Educated Delinquents

Due to unsuccessful prioritising, this blog will be written a mere 36 hours before my final exam - Delict Law. A good idea? More than likely not but this is the first blog update in two and a half months; something has to give. Admittedly, I don't know how this blog's going to turn out but as long as it's more entertaining than the Green Party's manifesto, I'll be quite content with that. Not Quite (yas, radio shout-out!) everything has happened in The Life and Times of Mr Cumming since the last blog, however if you were desperate to find out what I've been up to then you're sadly mistaken. To be frank, I can't be bothered.

One time or another, everyone's guilty of making impressions of non-educated delinquents at some point and it's often unfairly exaggerated as even though they're portrayed as the sort of folk who would willingly give away their "burd" for a half bottle of Buckfast, some of them are actually tolerable. Scrap that, neds are the red wine stain to the Glaswegian carpet - always there, difficult to ignore and impossible to get rid of. I was on the train today where I heard someone immitating a ned by saying "naaw, here, git yer burd voddie, then she'll shag ye," only that it wasn't an immitation. It was the real deal.

Here's a question: How many of these guys have tried it on the girl in the middle?

See when we're all at uni, college, work or whatever, these pests exit the sewers and galavant the streets of Glasgow looking for similar creatures to do whatever they do. I don't exactly know what they do apart from walk and have that "haaw mait" sort of tone on them. What they do might be telepathic between their kinds, hence why I don't undestand what activities they take part in. Saying that, one time I seen two of them advertising Adidas better than Lionel Messi shouting slurs until eventually one of them led his 'troops' or 'young team' away. One of their interpretations of girls was crying - presumably the same tears we cry when upset - which apparently means one of two things: (a) a 'fight' is going to break out involving awful insults and the odd push here and there, or (b) the 'team' that makes the girl cry wins that territory and celebrate this by getting hammered off three tins of Super Tennents they nicked from the sewers they live in.

It's fun to immitate them, don't get me wrong as some of the stuff they do or say is genuinely hilarious. Not only hilarious, their kind don't know of this 'line' people don't like to cross (e.g. a joke that's been killed, the sarcastic abuse loses the sarcasm, etc.) so what can be understood is gold. The common "yer a fanny" and "ah dun yer maw in last nite" becomes strainful to immitate so the line is crossed to expand on these 'disses'. When we indulge in creating our best ned accent, there's no line. The ned accent opens that gate for abuse that's tolerated in no other scenario, with nobody able to take serious offence to the disses on offer. I can't quote the disses here as this blog is not in 'ned', it's in English. BUT here's a link to a wordsmith among creatures: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2uSYckOpv4

What do neds think of themselves? No, we don't need David Attenborough for this as this is an easy one. If you see a ned with an empty bottle in their hand, don't be alarmed as it's not often that they use the bottle as a weapon. Instead, they're showing us they can drink a bottle of whatever they've finished and still walk - quite an achievement for their kind. They don't smile for photographs, but that's not to say they're unhappy, no. Neds have to look cool at all times, which is why the 1990's rapper pose is often unleashed. If they start shouting at eachother, again fret not as they're simply bored - abuse regularly being their cure to boredom.If the word "polis" can be heard from them, you know one or more of the team is going to try and so something mildly illegal to gain an adrenaline rush.

WARNING: This man will diss your mum.

I'll calm it on the ned chat for one day I think as it turns out I don't really have a problem with them. All this blog was generated from one quote from a ned in a train so I apologise. For a first blog in several months, even I expected the subject to be a little more interesting but there you have it. Actually, I typed up a story on this blog in the event of four male neds and one of the female variety stuck in a cage in Edinburgh Zoo, but on a scale of Super Sweet Sixteen to the battle of Helm's Deep, it was terrible so I deleted it. Thankfully.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

What I Can't Live Without #3

#3: Something new (never posted a picture in one colour before - new).

I couldn't have stressed enough in the last of these 'What I Can't Live Without' blogs that normality has no place in my life. Before I stated that a normal attitude, sense of humour, etc. was intolerable, yet I'm branching out further by claiming that a normal life also falls into the bracket. What is classed as a normal life? Though there isn't a defining answer on this, having the same daily routine for a stretched period of time becomes a part of your 'normal' life, so things have to change eventually. Think about it this way; take Oasis for example. Why did they make Be Here Now and not a similar album to their first two records? Because it was getting Oasis-normal, they had to tweek their songs so that their fans wouldn't grow tired of normality. Which is why I'm very grateful 'The Life and Times of Mr Cumming' has been thrusted into sixth gear in recent months.

Radio contol and Strongbow? Sold.
Before I rant on any further, I have to take this (near) perfect opportunity to reveal the news that myself and fellow blogger Stephen are in the negotiation stage of hosting our own hour-long radio show though Strathclyde Fusion. See, it's (near) perfect because it actually bears significance to this blog, yet is surprising news to a few folk reading this. As you can tell - whether you know me well or not - I can talk for Scotland and so far have only found this blog as a place of solitude, but somwhere I can blether away AND play a few of mine and Stephen's favourite tunes in the middle with people - hopefully - tuning in live?  I've even produced a big cheesy smile at the thought of it.
(at the moment, it's looking like Tuesdays at 10pm - subject to change)

I suppose becoming a 'radio DJ' is one way to escape the shackles of normality. Quite a drastic change too - not to mention giving that good old Curriculum Vitae a nice glossy touch. When wanting something new in your life, you know one change is nowhere near enough! That's where The Cathouse Rock Club comes into the picture. I like... Not using the word 'normal... Let's call them Lady GaGa clubs as much as the next drunk, but again, change is where it's at. It's not that I crave for a mosh pit every week nor that I want to become a 'Catty regular', but the dancefloors have such a different vibe to them, everybody's "buzzin'" and after finding a new 'song of the moment' in Rammstein's Du Hast, it offers a very unique option to the half-drunken 11pm question: "Where we headed?"
Rammstein: Making my nights that bit better since 2011.

I could go on all night about what's changed in 2011, but the other major change is the absence of T in the Park. Don't get me wrong, the last four years have been some of the best weekends of my life, yet it's become a formality in my life, a bit like Christmas. Unlike Christmas though, I'm changing this formality as I need something new - even downgrading to Rockness would still provide something new for me to experience.

Then there's the 'antler dance' (made famous by Papa Joes Restaurant - Dundee), but that'll be for another day. There's also the new pet (which I like to call Cyclops), but that wasn't my move so it's not ME giving MYSELF something new to look forward to. Irrelevant.

Bear in mind that some things have to stay the same: being a LAD (there's your shout out Rossy), the constant disappointment of supporting Dundee United, drumming, FIFA-related anger, drunken tomfoolery, TFI Friday, my immature side (see 'What I Can't Live Without #2) and lots more I can't really be bothered typing out. So... Yeh, that's pretty much it. Three weeks since my last blog entry and already I'm showing signs of forgetting what a blog is.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Urinal Code

If there are three vacated urinals in a toilet, and one man decides to use the middle urinal (option two, if you will), how many urinals are left  for the next entrant to occupy? None. Do you know why? Of course you do, it's essentially unwritten law. Most - if not all - guys know when opening a public toilet door that there are specific boundaries in which they must comply. If someone does not adhere to these rules, they will become the victim of several snide looks, the odd "ya wee dirty!" remark and generally becoming a burden on life.

This man has no right to use such innovative urinals.

Rule #1: The one-urinal space between users
The first action that is taken in the male toilets: the decision to either use the urinal or cubicle. There is no cubicle 'law' so I shall ignore that, but when approaching the urinals you have to pick your selection carefully. If you are the only person on the row of urinals, ALWAYS take the end urinal (or beginning, six and half a dozen). It's hard to go wrong here since the only way you become a hinderance to someone else is (as illustrated above) to assume your position in the middle of three urinals. I was hindered by this today, hence the blog. When somebody else is occupying a urinal, don't stand next to them. It is imperative to leave an unused urinal whenever able, though if it is not possible to do so, please don't deliberate and decide on who you'd feel most comfortable next to. That's just a bit creepy.

Rule #2: Don't make anyone else feel uncomfortable
This has two effects that are quite opposite from eachother. Firstly rule #1; don't place yourself directly next to someone else even though there are other options as they may think that you're intruding their privacy (to put it nicely). On the other hand, there is the awkward moment where it becomes obvious you're overthinking things by avoiding the other urinal user(s) by all means necessary. In other words, don't choose option eight when the user is at option one as the user might feel slightly insecure and perhaps even try to smell for their own body ouder. We don't want that. Don't overthink, keep rule #1 in mind as it's a one-urinal space rule, not seven.

Rule #3: If you may, please don't spray (promise I won't be graphic about this)
It speaks for itself really. If the toilet is busier than one would prefer, keep in mind that negligent urination from one user may anger the user occupying the next urinal along (too graphic yet? Ok).

Rule #4: Do not engage in conversation with a random
This one's not important for hygeine, but for dignity and respect more than anything. This situation will more than likely happen in a pub or club and at one point, somebody's going to try and have really awful banter with you. Laugh it off if ignoring fails as disrespect of rule #4 can lead to an infringement of rule #3.
If you do not see someone doing this, punch them. Really hard. In the face.

Rule #5: Wash your hands
Last of all and whatever you do, don't you dare violate this rule.

I think I might put this into legal wording and push for it to be placed in statutory UK law:

The Urinal (Scotland) Act 2011