Saturday, 12 February 2011

A dedication

I recently discovered Petroleum Jelly, generically known as Vaseline, (or Vaz-zi-leen as my mum would pronounce it) turned a monumental 139 years this year. Yeah I know I probably should have waited for a rounder number like 140 but I felt the need to now!

Side thought: Like a lot of people, I didn't realise Vaseline was just the brand and not the product. Had the same misconception of Sellotape as well! Learning process...

If you're of Afro-Carribean heritage you can relate when I say this stuff is like goldust. Besides God and money, parents believe it's the solution to all menial problems. If you cut your arm - "Put Vaz-zi-leen on it!". Muscle pain - "Put Vaz-zi-leen on it!". Got rashes? Yep you guessed it - "Vaz-zi-leen!". Even trivial predicaments like stiff rings would prompt the use of the yellow stuff. If it was even remotely edible they'll probably use it to cook and encourage us to yam it as well (trust me, I've tried – it really isn't). A testament to how versatile the stuff is without which we'd be walking around with crusty lips, ashy knuckles and dye-stained skin. Surely you've trekked to school in the winter with the classic 'lightbulb' face look or possibly witnessed girls limbering up for a fight by splashing their faces with it for protection. Vaseline really deserves it's anytime, any place, anywhere moniker.

A protector, a moisturiser, a remover – the ultimate utility product. Truly the greatest, if not one of the greatest cosmetic formulations ever. I therefore salute British inventor Robert Chesebrough and dedicate this to his product and our inheritance – our superficial features are forever grateful!

I bid you well.

RATN: I see the euphoria rising again for one of the most fickle dates on the calender. I'll just quote one of these MC's: "I was born on September the 19th/So I don't care about February 14th/pay me for my 16/before I start going on like it's Friday the 13th".

Pretty much encapsulate my thoughts. For those involved, ignore me - don't let my grinch-ness sap your enthusiasm - I'm just being a bitter bunkum!!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Back to the Old School Social

Bill Gates said: "The Internet? We are not interested in it" - that was ’93; two years later he creates Internet Explorer giving birth to the monumental entity we utilise today. Few would function a week without it so you can imagine my discernment when I discover around a million people in the UK alone are yet to experience it. 

Side thought: I liken such to the discovery of the last uncivilised Indian tribe found in Brazil. Mind boggling!

The concept - a global system of interconnected computer networks. The purpose - to provide a means of sharing information; simple really. Email was as complex as it got back then but it has since evolved to enable on-line shopping and Google mapping. Amongst the plethora of capabilities the world wide web has provided in recent times, we've seen the emergence of a dark horse that has covertly weaved its way into the very fabric of society - its name The Network, The Social Network.

Revoking my social status

I made a conscious decision to leave the frivolous and invasive realm of social networking (besides blogging off course), made a lot easier after watching The Social Network (I refuse to be part of Suckerberg's narcissistic '500million friend' statistic). I also had a stint on Twitter but that romance didn't last long (irreconcilable differences, oh well it happens!). Without a doubt, social networking has created a revolutionary platform to communicate on a plateau better than ever before. Heck I've even met good friends through it (ah those halcyon Hi5 days).

But with almost all good things comes the bad and amongst the bad comes the circulation of rumours, being susceptible to divulging too much information, the degradation of 'slipping' footage and the bombardment of event notifications (my personal Hindenburg). What Facebook has become is a large costume party where people can dress up as anything other than themselves, depicting a lifestyle so dissimilar to their actual lives it's comical. Take the 'friend' with the 1000+ friend list – the hoarder; we all had one guilty of doing such in our respective lists. In retrospect, 96 percent of those so-called friends comprised of rave promoters, eye-candy and celebrities that were non-the-wiser to their existence. From the remaining 4 percent, about 2 percent could be considered genuine and all this e-camaraderie for what? E-popularity? Hmmm...even I left on 397 and half of those were questionable.

I can't speak for Twitter, but the appeal of Facebook stemmed from restricting access to only University and College personnel. Like a secret society that demanded exclusivity which guaranteed you wouldn't get poked by your mum or receive a friend request from that 10-year-old Sunday school kid you high-fived at church one time. It was practically a Veblen good without the monetary aspect (Eyysh look at me getting all economical!). Now the floodgates are open to all, the Facebook community has become so saturated, it's lost its original attraction. Similar to what we call the Bandwagon effect in economics (I'm getting excited with these comparisons to economic theories). And the benefactors from this reform - organisations and businesses!

Side Thought: Looking around at all these ads on Billboards lately and I notice companies don't even promote their own websites anymore, simply 'Join us on Facebook' *sigh*. It's become a beast, that I cannot deny.

Similar to how all these rappers talk about popping Ace or driving Bugatti's. There's a prestigious element (mainly due to their hefty price tags) attached to these goods that automatically convey an image of high-esteem and status. If everyone started rolling in Bugatti's, the allure would dwindle and Rick Rosay would find an alternative to brag about. Hence why I'm reverting back to life before the social network phenomena.

I'm old school like that!

Remember the days when you could memorise the house numbers e.g. 0207 and even 0171 of your close friends? (You had to, mobiles were a privilege then and even if you had one no one could afford contracts) No? Well what about the days when you didn't have to create an event to organise a shindig, you just spoke on the house phone and promised the other party you'd be "by the McD's" by 3pm sharp! I'm taking it back to the days where the art of conversation didn't involve a tweet or DM. If we wanted to converse remotely we'd exchange phone numbers (remember those) not pins.

Side Thought: It's mad how people don't even ask for your number anymore, it's a straight BB ting. The looks of disgust I've got for not having one...ha ha bloody monkinies!!

I'm reverting to the era where having a social life didn't involve spending hours on FB checking whose commented on last nights pics. A real social life - old school style! Things were better then but then again I'm of the persuasion of an old boy who thinks everything was.

Whilst I appreciate the benefits of neoteric social communication tools like BlackBerry Messenger, I find it baffling when folks make it the primary means of social communication especially with people they're supposedly close to (except long distance relations). I'm old school, if my people need me, pick up the phone and call/text me. There's something eerily intimate about telephone conversations. In most cases, discussions stay between two individuals so you don't get the 'did you see what he said on Facebook' or 'look what she tweeted'. You're able to perceive emotions be it anxiety, anger or boredom – more than a BBM *not interested face* could ever reveal. That's why I prefer speaking to people than messaging - it's so easy to front behind a message as it's so distant and void of any emotional input. I just feel the whole BBM/social networking movement has flattered to deceive by appearing to bring people closer when really it's quite the opposite.
Take birthdays for example. Social media made it sufficient to post a flimsy 'happy birthday fam' on the wall of someone who a couple years back would've received at least a text or even a call (I'm guilty of this!). Cheaper maybe, but if we fail to recognise the importance of building and maintaining tangible friend/relationships by making the effort, we risk distancing ourselves without coming to the realisation that we are. Guess it's simply a case of being more convenient, almost like the 'fast food' of the social world and we all know the dangers of fast food after a while.

I feel it's time to personalise our relations again. Reserve generic communication for acquaintances on the periphery - messaging if anything, should be aimed at these characters but for those we hold closer, more should be done to show that we value their input in our lives. Good friends are like heartbeats, you may not hear them frequently, but they silently support your life. So less of the pinging and more of the ringing!

If you need me, 079 me (it's 078 really but ANYWAY! [uncle Ola voice!])

R.A.T.N I haven't included a RATN (Relax And Take Note) section in a blog entry in time so I'll take this opportunity to shout out a few newbies to the blog-wagon. Firstly my co-defendant and fellow introverted Dr DA (not a real Doc, yet) aka 'Sick Note' and his refreshing account entitled Thoughts of an Introvert - cast your vision over his thoughts. Lastly one of my entrepreneurial whiz kids, Lil T. A girl with a very bright future and if it sounds like I'm hyping, it's probably because I am but with good reason. Her blog, Confessions of an Apple Junkie is now available to scrutinise and muse over. Embrace them both with open keyboards.