Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Structured Exploitation

I knew I was obsessed with Ed Sheeran for a reason.

This morning I was on my way to work listening to the Elvis Duran morning show, as usual, and to my very very pleasant surprise, their special guest today was my boy Ed. (Have I mentioned I am obsessed yet?)

For anyone who listens to the show, you know the guests really are not on for longer than maybe 15 minutes, commercials included. But during that time, one of the radio personalities managed to say something that really caught my ear. He was referencing a prior interview he had had with Mr. Sheeran about his take on school.

And to my even more pleasant surprise, his response was practically verbatim to what I ranted about on Twitter a few weeks ago, and what I said to a friend via text message.

University. Is. Overrated.

A university education, more specifically, is unnecessary.

We have grown up in a society that boasts to be the most highly educated of generations and such, whereby anyone who decides not to pursue an institutional education beyond high school is shunned and scorned and held with disdain. And naturally, like the sheep they are, most people hold that passed-down belief as their own and spread it around like an STD.

So before you get your panties all in a bunch, allow me to break it down for you.

As most of you know, I graduated from university with my Bachelor's degree last year, (Damn, almost a year already?) which means I have more than enough room to speak on this matter. While we all enjoy being able to act like intelligent superiors in the presence of our peers, the fact of the matter is, in most cases experience is the best teacher.

You can go to school every day for the rest of your life and never ever learn street smarts, common sense or how to handle money. For the most part, the institution itself does not teach these things. That's not to say that book knowledge is a bad thing, but we also need to see that street knowledge is not either.

Going to university wastes a good four to five (or more) of our youthful years in setting us up to be indebted for years to come to student loans. But we don't need a university education to learn how to be businessmen or how to fix a car or how to write for a newspaper or how to be a freakin' human being. If you start working at 16, by the time you are 22 I'd say you are just as equipped with knowledge as someone who is fresh out of college - if not more.

Furthermore, there is a such thing as a certificate, you know. If you want specialised knowledge, you can simply take one or two classes on a subject instead of wasting two years in university doing "general education" classes while racking up the debt and helping the school build a new unnecessary building.

Want to learn how to fix a car? Work in a mechanic shop and be an apprentice. After two years there, you can learn all the ins and outs of cars better than someone who spent four years looking at photographs.

Just as Ed said, I honestly believe that the only reason to ever go to university, which I'd argue and say does not need to be such a long process, is if you want to do something in the medical field like be a Doctor or a Nurse, or if you want to be an engineer. And that is only because in those fields, you can't really learn by trial-and-error. 

Aside from that, however, if you decide you want to be a radio DJ, start out by grabbing Elvis Duran's coffee when you're 16 years old, and if you want it badly enough and it's a good fit for you, I see no reason why you won't be able to be on the radio by the time you are 23. In those learning years, you will not only learn what it takes to be a good DJ, but you will also learn how to manage your time, how to work toward a tangible goal, the value of and how to manage money, how to work with other people, and you will gain valuable interpersonal communication skills.

If you ask me, that far beats depending on social media for communication skills, graduating from university with $30,000 loans to payback, and searching for a job that will hire you with little to no work experience - but pay you enough so you can move out of your parent's house before you hit 40.

All while already being at least four years behind.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Over-thinker

For some reason, whenever we are going through something, we are always urged by everyone to talk about it.

Why is that?

Is there some sort of a link between our mouths and our feelings whereby as soon as we express them verbally, they get released from us? Because if so, I think I need to get rewired.

Anyone who knows me personally knows I don't like to talk about my feelings. It's bad enough I don't even know how to express them or deal with them appropriately ... now you want me to talk about it? No thank you.

I mean even on this blog where I am supposed to write about my personal feelings (you know, From my heart to yours?) I never actually ever say exactly what is going on in my life. And that is how I deal with things in real life too. Like the true writer I am, I speak and deliver messages in metaphors, similes and analogies - anything to avoid actually opening up.

But for those very few times when someone has gotten me to chat, I discovered that talking about my feelings does not cheer me up. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that all it does is the exact opposite. It opens up wounds that were otherwise stitched up. Maybe the stitches needed to be tightened or a new bandage added, but the fact of the matter is, I always have been and always will be an introvert. Journalist or not. I am naturally a quiet, analytical and pensive observer.

An over-thinker.

And I get by just fine on good days when everything is swept under the rug. 

This is the reason why I have never ever been interested in taking part in recreational "drug" use, if you get my drift. I just feel like my brain would kick into an analytical overdrive that is not safe for human capacity and quite frankly, I'd just die.

I think more than enough when I am sober.

With that being said, it is very rare that I share my personal thoughts with anyone - almost never willingly. So while I do appreciate everyone's concern, I would also appreciate if my "thanks, but no thanks" got adhered to after the first time (as opposed to the second or third or fourth ... after which I'm sure to be extremely irritated and probably am going to ignore you).

Most of the times, I am probably not that sad anyway. I've just never learned how to properly let go of anything and I still really believe that I can singlehandedly save the world and make every one happy all the time.

Everyone, that is, except myself.

P.S. It's no coincidence that I am writing this blog today, Jan. 29, on the anniversary, for lack of a more appropriate word, of my cousin's death. It's also no coincidence that I am in a somber mood. My January's have never been the same.. (yes, that is a link for those who don't know the story.)

Rest in paradise Zanz. We remember you today and always. <3>

Thursday, 17 January 2013

A Life Worth Living

There's a genocide going on in America.

It's not the senseless shooting inside an Aurora Colorado movie theatre that killed 12 people, or the "devastating" staged shooting of Sandy Hook Elementary School that supposedly killed 26.

This genocide is real. And it's killing more than a million innocent people every year -- some being dragged out of their home and ripped apart limb by limb before they even get a chance to make a sound.

Before they even get a chance to open their eyes for the first time.

This genocide ... Is abortion.

It happens so often and is so seemingly insignificant these days that you have to wonder if people really realise what they are doing. You have to wonder if people ever really took another person's life into consideration before making the selfish decision to end it.

More than 1,200,000 abortions happen in the US every year. Forty-two million abortions happen in the world every year. One hundred and fifty thousand babies are killed every day.

One hundred and fifty thousand.


That means that around 20 percent of the world's pregnancies end in abortion. Forty two million people don't get a chance to be people. They don't get a chance to hear music. To eat food. Feel pain.. Fall in love.. Laugh.. Cry.. Smile..


They don't even get to finish putting themselves together.


Because two careless people chose not to deal with the consequences of their actions; majority of whom willingly engaged in risky activity. Two people who know exactly what the consequences are before they commit the action. Two people who are armed with a barrage of easily accessible options to preventing pregnancy.

I. Am. Disgusted.

I have always been on the fence when it comes to the abortion topic, leaning more toward the pro-life side of the grass but still a little confused because as with every rule, it's always easy to come up with an exception. "Oh what about rape? What about incest? What about the mother's health?"

Well, what about it? Other than the fact that those are very rare instances? If you ask me, we are worried about the wrong shit. We wouldn't have to focus so much on these exceptions if we simply taught people not to do those things, instead of teaching them that there's a way out. It's not a choice between soda and juice. You're not choosing an outfit for the day or choosing which school you want to attend.

This is a life. A human being.

If it's the mother or baby's health you're worried about, then it's not really a choice, is it? And if you were raped or abused, as terrible as that is, then you had time to grab a plan B. Punish the rapist, not the child.

Otherwise, how can we really expect people to value life and believe that murder is wrong when there are so many lives being taken every day just because people want to be selfish and irresponsible? Abortion is no different from walking into a crowded movie theatre and opening fire. It's no different from giving birth and then drowning your child in the tub or throwing him or her in a dumpster behind a hotel because you don't feel like caring for him or her anymore or you don't love the person you had sex with or you're not "financially stable."

Or because you're just reckless.

And we are all temporarily outraged by those stories when they air, aren't we?

Well, the only difference is that with abortion you haven't seen a face yet. That's the only reason 1.2 million women are able to sleep at night -- most of whom opened their legs willingly and put themselves in the position to conceive.

Prevention is better than a cure people.

If men and women of child-bearing age don't feel like they are capable or willing to care for another human being, then they should make sure to not let it happen. If you don't want to get robbed you don't walk around bad areas with a stash of money in your hand late at night. If you don't want to get struck by lightning, you don't walk outside during a thunderstorm. If you don't want to get hit by a car, you don't cross the street when the light is green.

And if you don't want to get pregnant then don't have unprotected sex. (Since it seems preposterous to say "just keep your legs closed and your pants zipped.")

It's simple logic.

If we don't want people to have abortions, then teach them how to prevent it. Focus more on what they can to do avoid pregnancy, than on what they can do to "solve the problem." Pregnancy is not a "problem." And killing a baby is not a problem-solver. If someone in your life is causing you trouble and you don't feel like dealing with them, do you just pull out a gun and kill them? No. You find ways to work around it.

And sometimes it's just meant to be.

You can sugarcoat it all you want, but abortion is murder. And my issue is that it should not even be an option, let alone a widely accepted "solution" for a sexually reckless populace. Make people believe they have no choice but to care for the child once they have been blessed with one, and maybe then they would have more self-control and be more considerate in the first place.

It's just like Mike Huckabee said, we wouldn't have to worry about making exceptions to rules if we simply practice and teach people to follow the age-old rule that everyone already knows: Thou shall not kill.
I can't imagine not giving him a chance at life. He brings me so much joy ... and he's not even mine. 

(FYI, There are FIVE times as many women who are unable to get pregnant as there are abortions.)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

I Can, Therefore, I Think

Considering how many times a day being on Twitter sets me off, it really is a shame that I don't blog more often.

I usually express my outrage for popular opinion and societal "norms" and behaviours in the form of Twitter rants, (or personalised text messages to those who instigated it) which more times than not falls upon deaf ears -- as does most logic in this generation. But I think I am going to go ahead and make the shift from ranting on social media to ranting on my own designated rant page.

This one.

Of course, I should clarify for any of my new readers that my version of a "rant" is not a barrage of unintelligent banter that is backed up by nothing but "he said" and "she said", if anything it all. Nor is it an overly emotional speech that would be appropriate for a wedding (or a funeral). Granted, a rant is a rant is a rant. But I do try my best to keep it not only entertaining but also useful and thought-provoking.

So here goes.

There are three things I've seen on Twitter just in the three days since I've been back in this country that have irritated me. (When I am in Jamaica I have absolutely no interest in the things that people here kill themselves over on a daily basis. Social media is one of them.)

1. Overconfidence: The defense mechanism.

Now more than ever it has become increasingly obvious to me that empty barrels make the most noise. Even though I am certain I am one in very very few who feels this way, whenever I see self-praise on Twitter that is overbearing I see it as a cry for help. (And no I did not study psychology in school. You know that.) I just feel that if something is really as good as you say it is ... you don't have to say it is.  So if you're the first person trying to be noticed by the fact that you said you're the best *insert something here* ever, all that says to me is that someone out there thinks you aren't really that good at all and now you're trying to overcompensate for the fact that a part of you, be it major or not, actually believes them.

I mean people on my timeline toot their own horns all day.. every day.. about everything under the sun. And while I know personalities vary, and this doesn't apply to everyone because some people are just comical (or like to chat shit), I still believe that they have underlying meanings. Are you trying to sell yourself on Twitter to people who don't really know you in real life? Or are you just an attention whore?

If the latter is the answer, then, I guess social media is the right place for you. Maybe I am the one who doesn't  belong -- the fish out of water. (No pun intended.)

But I like to express myself too, most times. I just feel there is a limit, which brings me to my next point.

2. Shallow and non-ladylike women.

This can kind of go hand-in-hand with my last point, but I felt it necessary to make it a separate item.

I know we are all adults and we are not nearly as prude as a whole as we once were. That being said, I still believe that some most things should be left to the imagination. Even though I am quite aware that I am not a man and have no legitimate interest in women, I just can't express enough how increasingly turned off I am by most of the women in my generation and their lack of tact.

I have a sense of humour, yes. But at what point does you joking about how good your private part is become funny? Because I am still waiting to laugh. And why is that necessary to put on twitter? Likewise, why do we need to know that you are sexually deprived, frustrated or abstaining?

Would you put that as a sign on your forehead? Because to me, that's what Twitter is; a sign on your forehead.

And what decent young man would want to date a girl who spends her time on Twitter talking about her sex life, or lack thereof? 

Furthermore, most of you have extremely shallow and unrealistic perceptions of what a man and/or relationship is. And you wonder why you can't keep one.

Have some discretion. Please.

3. Pop culture.

Lastly, Twitter is the land of pop culture, obviously. And that's cool. This one isn't as much irritating as it is amusing. It amuses me to see people take a popular topic, like Kim and Kanye's pregnancy, and run laps with it as if it affects their lives directly. This happens on Instagram too where people post back-and-forth comments on celebrity photos defending the person as if they have ever met in real life.

It's comical, really.

It is also comical how easily manipulated they are by those same celebrities. Rihanna posts a picture of something that 5 billion other people have already posted before, and all of a sudden it's like the holy gospel. You all are like sheep being herded by a shepherd to drink dirty water and you don't even know it. That's pretty pathetic if you think about it.

But that's the catch right there ... you have to think. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Where The Heart Is

I am really surprised that I never came on here to express my elation with the fact that my boss gave me time off from work for the holidays. I am also, though not equally, surprised that I never came on here to express my subsequent, albeit short-term, depression following the disclosure of something I was expecting but dreading.

I must have been too busy dealing with emotions.

Although the time off doesn't really surmount the bad news, I can't say enough how perfect the timing was and how it wound me up and kept me together before I even got the chance to fall apart.

And we both know the obvious answer to what I did with two weeks off of work; but I'll tell you anyway.

I went to Jamaica. (Surprise!)

But this trip, was different. I went down there by myself with basically no plans outside of going to the beach. If they allowed me to bring a hammock and my suitcase I really think I'd have slept right on Doctor's Cave Beach every night.

Still, no matter the occasion or the circumstances, there is one thing that always remains: I never want to leave. No matter how frustrating it is going to the cambio and finding out they have no money.. Or getting clamped on bottom road for not buying a parking ticket even though the rules are always changing.. Or having to wait an hour in the KFC drive-through when the line isn't even that long.. Or waiting six hours in the airport because the flight crew needs to sleep.. Or just the simple fact that there is basically no form of organization or preparedness or even discipline when dealing with business.

Because despite all of that, there is just a warmth and a welcome there that is unmatched. Every time I go home, I recenter and come back with a rejuvenated perception and attitude. I get a lot of thinking and observing done in between the beach days and trips to visit my family that is always humbling and inspiring.

There is nothing like being around genuine people who are at peace with the little they have -- people who are not always on the hunt for more of what they don't need under the guise that it will supplement their otherwise empty personalities or fill a void they don't even know they have. Just more stuff that they simply use to hide the fact that they are so incomplete as human beings.

It's so refreshing seeing that people actually can be content.

I am always and forever grateful that I am able to take these trips, even still now that I am working. If I weren't able to go home every now and then, I surely would eventually fall apart.