Archive for Random Babblings

Socially Awkward

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Have you ever been in a situation where you felt really awkward, and you just wanted to be a million miles away from where you were at that very moment?  Well that was my Saturday.

This last weekend I was at Leeds train station, waiting for a train (not train spotting, honest…) .  I had just bought a banana and a blueberry muffin from the Pumpkin Cafe, and I found a seat and sat down and ate them.  As soon as I had finished eating, the guy sitting opposite me started talking to me.

Don’t you hate it when people do that?  I’m not one of those people that can easily engage in conversation with random strangers.  I know some people can talk to anyone, but I can’t.   I think it’s creepy.

So anyway, this wasn’t the first time some random stranger has tried to engage me in conversation at Leeds train station.  Usually some old lady will make a comment about the weather and I’ll smile and agree, and then proceed to stick my headphones on and get out my book called “Please don’t talk to me, can’t you see I’m reading and listening to music in an attempt to avoid human interaction?”

But nothing could have prepared me for the conversation I was about to have.  I kid you not, this is exactly as the conversation went (I’m gonna call the weird scary guy WSG, cos it’s easier to type):

WSG: Are you well?
Me: Excuse me?
WSG: Are you well?
Me: Um, yeah…
WSG: Are you waiting for a train to take you on all sorts of wonderful adventures?
Me: Uh, yeah…
WSG: Is it wrong to people watch?
Me: …I’m sorry what?
WSG: I like to watch the people go about their lives. Is that wrong?
Me: No…

At this point a group of people were walking past to sit down nearby, and I took that as my queue to get the heck out of there. I couldn’t decide whether this guy was genuinely mental, or if he was winding me up. I actually looked around to see if I could see any hidden cameras. There were none, so I decided that I was allowed to be scared.

I waited for my train at the top of the escalator away from the Pumpkin Cafe and the weird scary guy. Naturally he got onto the same train as me but I managed to hide in first class. Some rude old woman was sitting in my seat (I HATE when people do that. Can’t they see the reserved ticket on the seat they’re sitting on? I PAID for that!) and the rest of the train was full to the point that people were standing. So I decided I could sit in first class. It was sweet.

So what is it with people who strike up convos with complete strangers, and ask them weird questions? Why can’t people just leave me alone?

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Leave a comment and tell me. I know you’re out there, my visit stats have rocketed recently due to, well I don’t know why. But I’d love to hear back from whoever is reading this thing.

Digital Economy Bill

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Bear with me, because up until a couple of hours ago I had never heard of the Digital Economy Bill, and I don’t follow politics very well.  But this doesn’t seem too hard to understand.

Here is where I learned what very little I know about the Digital Economy Bill:
Digital Economy Bill: crackdown on illegal filesharers confirmed
The Daily Telegraph
Digital Economy Bill (DEB) Pushed through without debate!
YouTube Video
Digital Economy Bill protest at parliament
YouTube Video

Basically, parliament have passed a law that essentially means if someone is accused of filesharing, or illegally downloading music etc from the internet, then their Internet Service Provider can disconnect their internet connection.  Now on the surface this may sound like quite a harsh enforcement of the law, and the majority of internet users are up in arms about this.  People think that this is one step closer to us becoming a nanny state.

Puh-lease.

Nanny state?  That’s just something people say when they don’t like that they can no longer get away with doing something they know they shouldn’t be doing.

If you were caught stealing a CD in HMV, and the store manager banned you from coming into the shop ever again, would you think that was unfair?  Of course not.  Stealing is against the law.  The internet is a privilege, not a right.

I’ve also heard whining along the lines of “if my teenager is illegally downloading music upstairs in his bedroom using my ISP, then I could lose my internet connection which I need for work.”

So, if the law says you lose your internet if you steal copyrighted material, and your child is stealing copyrighted material, surely there can be only one solution, right?

Protest the bill of course!  Whinge and moan on Twitter and YouTube about how horribly unfair the government is being, and how it’s taking away our civil rights.

Or you know, you could always discipline your children, teach them not to steal, take responsibility for your offspring…  Sound like too much hard work?

Yeah, let’s just go protest outside the Houses of Parliament instead.

——–

Mac vs PC

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I’m a PC. There I said it. I’m a PC, not a Mac. I have a Dell Vostro laptop, I have a Dell desktop computer, I don’t have a Mac book, or an iPhone, I don’t even have an iPod. I do however desperately want an iPad in a badly huge way.

And it was this sudden, inexplicable interest in the iPad that got me wondering: Why am I a PC and not a Mac?

I suppose the real reason is because the deicision to buy one was never mine to make. I’ve used PCs all my life, at home, at school, and grew up thinking that nothing else in the realm of computers even existed. All computers are PCs, aren’t they?

Then one day I found this series of delightfully amusing adverts featuring David Mitchell and Robert Webb. Here’s an example:

So naturally what I took away from these adverts is that PCs are dorky and Macs are cool, but that ultimately PCs are better for the more important things like work. Macs are for creative people who like to keep things simple, and PCs are for real grown-ups.

Years went by and I continued to live a life completely separate from Apple products, not even buying an iPod (hey, my Nokia has a music player so what’s the point? iPods don’t even have memory SD slots).

My first encouter with Apple was when I downloaded iTunes. I’m not even sure why I did it, but I did, and I blew a few quid on some songs I’d been after for a while. Then I noticed they also sold movies and TV shows. Then I noticed the price of the movies and TV shows and never bothered looking again. How can the digital version cost more than the DVD version?! Seriously. What’s up with that?

Then I started looking through the app store and I thought “some of these apps look pretty cool.” That was when I started contemplating an iPod Touch. Definitely didn’t wan’t an iPhone. I have a phone. It’s a Nokia E63 and it’s awesome. But iPod Touches are expensive.

Then last week, I discovered the iPad and I fell in love:

I know. I don’t need it. It’s just a giant iPod Touch and it’s a million times more expensive. But it’s sooooo pretty.

It was at this point that I started to further question my stance on Mac vs PC. The 2 major cons for the iPad were it’s lack of multi-tasking and the fact that it won’t play flash. These are 2 things my laptop does. And it got me thinking back to those adverts I’d seen all those years ago…

Mac seems quite proud of itself for being a faster, more reliable machine that doesn’t crash or get viruses. Now if I’ve understood this correctly, here’s why:

Macs only represent a minority of computers that are in use around the world. People don’t create viruses for them because they wouldn’t affect many people. Viruses for PCs create a lot more damage because there are so many more of them.

Mac have eliminated the problems inherent in PCs, by simply leaving out the features that cause these problems. Let me illustrate:

Imagine that PC is a television. It’s a widescreen, plasma TV. It looks great, and works great, though it has one little kink: occasionally, the remote control stops working. This happens very rarely, and is easily fixed by just turning the TV off and on again.

Now imagine Mac is a TV. They claim to have a more reliable TV than the PC. How come?

Their TV doesn’t have a remote control.

Please let me stress the fact that I don’t really know a lot about computers. I can do a lot on computers, but I don’t understand much of what goes on under the hood. So this is just my very crude understanding of the difference between a Mac and a PC. It’s probably very inaccurate and misleading. But I must be along the right lines, because if Macs were as great as they claim, then I wouldn’t be writing this on a Dell right now, would I? There must be something holding them back from dominating the market, or else they’d actually be giving Bill Gates a run for his money. But they’re not. Instead they spend all their time on next gen iPods and iPhones. And now the iPad. They haven’t got it perfect yet, but I still really really want one.

Justin Bieber My World 2.0

This blog has now moved to an official domain. To view the new website, click here: Beth Rudkin
If you’re a Justin Bieber fan you’ll know that his new album, My World 2.0, comes out in a few days.  Some of the songs have already been released on iTunes, but the track listing for My World 2.0 is as follows:

1. Baby feat. Ludacris
2. Somebody to Love
3. Stuck in the Moment
4. U Smile
5. Runanaway Luv
6. Never Let You Go
7. Overboard
8. Eenie Meeniei feat. Sean Kingston
9. Up
10. That Should Be Me

So far, we’ve heard Baby, Never Let You Go and Eenie Meenie.  Justin also performed That Should Be Me and Smile on QVC 2 nights ago.  Smile is apparently going to be released on iTunes next week (once again presumably only for US fans…)

Why am I telling you this?  Well something is bugging me…

There appear to be several songs that are floating around the internet that aren’t on this album…  What happened to them?  First of all there was Pick Me, which was supposedly leaked onto YouTube (you can probably still find it if you do a search), and was a pretty awesome song.  When the tracklist was posted everyone wondered if “That Should Be Me” was just “Pick Me” with a different name, but Justin’s moving performance of the James Luke cover last night quelled those thoughts.  So why is Pick Me not on My World 2.0?

Also, Justin posted on Twitter about a song he was doing with Sean Kingston, and again if you search on YouTube you’ll find the video of them in the studio recording a song together.  The song sounds really good too.  So when I saw Eenie Meenie feat. Sean Kingston I thought to myself “that’s the one we saw on YouTube.”

Wrong.

This is a totally different song.  So where’s the song that we saw Justin recording with Sean Kingston last month?

Another thing that’s bugging me is why are there so many versions of My World to buy?  I’m in the UK and I bought the UK version of My World.  Now on iTunes, I can pre-order Justin’s new album, but it’s not My World 2.0, it’s My Worlds.  So I have to buy an album that has tracks I’ve already paid for.  Thing is, I already pre-ordered the US version of My World 2.0 so I could be in the fan mosaic.  And then I get an email saying if I pre-order it from the UK Justin Bieber website I can get an exclusive hoodie!  And then finally, QVC are releasing a version with an exclusive DVD that you can’t get anywhere else.

I want to be on the fan mosaic.  I want the Justin Bieber hoodie.  I want the exclusive QVC DVD.  But how do I get all of those things?

UPDATE: 19th April – This blog post has had a tons of views in the last 2 days, not too sure where you’re all coming from, but hi!  Please please please subscribe to my blog and make sure to check out my other pages here.  I have some other posts related to Justin Bieber and tons of other cool stuff too.  Thanks for looking!

3 Year Old Crying Over Justin Bieber – Well Orchestrated Plot or Pure Innocence Itself?

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If you’re a fan of Justin Bieber you’ve no doubt seen the following video:

Click here to view the video, YouTube won’t let me embed it into this post

The little girl in the video is 3 year old Cody. She has 2 older sisters who are clearly huge Justin Bieber fans. So obviously seeing how much her sisters love him she has decided, at 3 years of age, that she loves him too. And she loves him so much, that it makes her cry and listening to his songs makes her sad because she can’t see him every day and she wants him to be part of her family. And when asked why she loves him she says “because I know he loves me back.”

Before I go any further, let me just stress, that I am in no way suggesting that Cody was put up to this. I’m sure those were real tears, and she wasn’t prompted in any way to say the things she said. She’s obviously a very cute and very emotional little girl, and I have nothing against her. What I do have a problem with is the fact that this little episode was recorded and posted on YouTube.

What’s up with that? Why were they filming her in the first place? She ran into her room crying. Who’s first thought was “oh Cody’s crying, let’s get the camera out!” Her older sister who is also featured in the video clearly knows what she’s doing. She has her arm around Cody, being a loving big sister, and she carefully spends very little time looking into the camera. And then when Cody claims she’s seen her sisters crying over Justin Bieber she gets very defensive.

Then, when her mum asks if listening to his songs would make her feel better, Cody replies no it would make her cry again. So what does her sister do? Starts singing Justin Bieber songs to her. Clearly keeping her sister crying is key to her right now.

Then comes the strange bit. The mum says she’s going to turn the camera off. What does Cody say? No! She wants her mum to continue recording her while she’s crying. Doesn’t that seem weird to anybody else?

Finally comes the classic moment when the phone rings and Cody stops crying and says “I bet that’s Justin Bieber” causing laughs all round. Listen closely. The mum says “I got it” and the sister says “were you still recording?”

I can’t put my finger on it but something just isn’t right about this whole video.  Maybe it’s the fact that her sister says “I swear, if he sees this and he comes, then she will be my favourite sister forever.”  Clearly it was posted in at attempt to get some publicity in the hopes that Justin would see it and they would get to meet him. After all, if Justin was to see this video, how could he not go to see his number one fan? Well, they got their wish. Check this out:

So because Cody didn’t have her nap, and she was crying over Justin Bieber, and her parents had the forethought to film her crying and stick in on the Internet, their 3 daughters got to meet Justin Bieber and be on TV. You think that’s fair? Neither do I.

And before you say it, I’m not jealous. I’m 24 for crying out loud, I don’t want to marry Justin Bieber, I don’t cry about him because I didn’t have my nap and I don’t want him to be in my family. But what message is this little story sending out? Does Cody now think that whenever she wants something all she has to do is cry and she’ll have everything she wants? Every Justin Bieber fan out there with a little sister is thinking “darn why didn’t I think of this?” And Justin Bieber may well be thinking “uh oh what have I started here?”

Should Justin go and visit every fan that posts a video of themselves crying on YouTube? Is there an age limit? What else would get Justin’s attention? I’m just worried how far this is going to go.

What do you guys think about the video? Do you think it was planned, or orchestrated, or that Cody was encouraged in some way? I think she’s cute, and I’m happy that she got to meet Justin. I just seriously hope that her parents have explained to her that this is not how the real world works.

We Are the World vs Somos El Mundo

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Unless today is your first time on a computer, you will probably have seen this video:

It’s a 25th Anniversary remake of We Are the World which was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and originally featured singers such as Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Diana Ross and Bob Dylan. This updated version which is to raise money for Haiti features classics like Barbara Streisand, Tony Bennett, Janet Jackson, and even includes footage of Michael Jackson from the original version. There are also lots of younger performers in this version, including Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. Sadly, “singers” such as Lil Wayne and Akon were also allowed to be a part of this one. But I’ll get to that later.

Overall, I like this new version. The voices blend well together, there’s a good mix of young and old, and they haven’t changed it too much, at least not until they start inserting auto-tuning and rapping towards the end. In my opinion Wyclef Jean steals the show and gives a fantastic display of vocals in honor of his home country. Akon and Lil Wayne basically embarrass themselves by even showing up and attempting to give the impression of possessing the talent to sing.

But it’s for a good cause, and even the slightly out of place rap segment can be overlooked, when you actually listen to the words and their uplifting message. So I give the song and its video 2 thumbs up.

Then I saw this.

For some reason, this video made me kind of mad. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but the more I watched it, I realised what it was. The performers in this video (most of whom I admittedly have never seen before) all seem to be more preoccupied in showing off their vocal talents than actually focusing on the cause that they’re singing for. In We Are the World, I could find hardly any instances of the artists looking at the camera, but in Somos El Mundo, each performer seems to think they’re in their own personal music video. A lot of the singing was quite over the top with lots of unnecessary warbling. It gave me the impression that they were all thinking “ooh, charity single? What a great excuse to show everyone what great singers and performers we are.”

Am I being too harsh? Would I feel differently if I knew these singers better? I have to admit, of the performers I was familiar with (David Archuleta, Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias and Shakira) I didn’t find them to be so over-the-top. Am I just being a bit judgmental towards people who I haven’t seen before? I’m not saying that I didn’t think they were talented. I thought they all have great voices, I just think they all seemed to be trying too hard, as if it was all about them.

So what do you think? Take a look at both videos and tell me if I’m crazy or if what I’ve said makes even the tiniest bit of sense. I’m not prejudiced against Spanish people. I speak Spanish, I love Spain, and I like Oreja de Van Gogh (a Spanish pop group) so I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t like this version because it’s Spanish. That’s not it. And now I feel like I’m digging myself into a big hole so I’m going to shut up and ask you for your opinions.

Do I want to dance on stage with Mika? Well, do I?

Yes, I know what you’re saying.  “Please Beth, why are you even thinking about this.  You could NEVER dance on stage with Mika!”  Well ladies and gentlemen, take a look at this blog post from Mika’s website below:

Mika is looking for volunteers to take part in his live shows and it could be you!

He wants…

Lollipop girls – they should be petite/ max size UK 12 and have lots of energy for skipping and dancing around.

Big Girls – the should be between sizes UK 16-24 and be prepared to wear the outfits without getting stage fright!

If you’re up for it read on…

All you need to do is turn up at the stage door of the venue at 6pm on the day of a show and ask for Mika’s Tour Manager. All applicants will then be met with and performers will be chosen within 30 minutes.

If you are chosen here’s what will happen next:

– costumes will be provided

– depending on venue, you will either have to spend the majority of the show backstage and in costume (and not be able to see the show) or you will have to completely cover up in your OWN overcoat and can watch from the audience until your time to perform. This will be at the discretion of the tour manager on the night.

– you cannot bring a friend backstage

– you cannot take any photos backstage

– you are a volunteer and will not be paid

– performers take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own property

– remember to eat beforehand as dinner won’t be provided!

– have fun!

Please note all applicants must be 18 years of age and have a valid ticket for the show.

Right, so I realise that it would be an absolutely amazing experience to dance on stage at a Mika concert, but they’re not exactly selling it, are they.  Let’s review:

1 – I can’t bring my friends back stage (I’m going with a few mates, one of which is travelling down from SCOTLAND just to see the show)

2 – I won’t get paid

3 – I won’t get FED

4 – I can’t take any pictures

5 – Despite having bought a ticket, I’ll have to miss most of the show sitting back stage, or face the risk of passing out by wearing an OVERCOAT over my COSTUME until I’m due on stage (are they kidding?)

6 – I risk having my stuff nicked while I’m on stage performing (lollipop girls probably aren’t allowed to wear backpacks (not that I even qualify for a lollipop girl))

7 – I won’t get FED

Do we even get to meet Mika, or hang out with him after the show?  My friends and I are going to Nandos before the show, but if I was to queue up at the back door of the O2 Academy at 6pm, then I would have to forgo dinner.  And I don’t think I can go that long without food.    I don’t think any big girls could go that long without food.  I’m not sure they really thought this through…

So Mika if you’re reading this (and I’m sure you are) then hit me up with some chicken and a couple of backstage passes and we’ll talk.