Thursday, March 31


Shak: WHAT?!?!?! noooo nothing beats sony
SAN: yeah but i had a nokia for years before this
SAN: sony is far better i agree
Shak: they pee me off more than samsung
Shak: in fact they all pee me off
SAN: ooh
SAN: rant time
Shak: whcih is strange considering how much i use the things ahahahaha
SAN: lol
SAN: how much do u use your phone?
Shak: not that much hehe
SAN: thought so
Shak: pfft
SAN: but even for practical use
Shak: thats no excuse for not having a bloody ring and vibrate funtion
Shak: phones are so like women.
SAN: they need to do what you would like them to do
SAN: go on explain
Shak: It's so easy in theory for a phone to be perfect.
SAN: lol
SAN: lol
Shak: but in practise they always fall short FOR NO BLOODY REASON
SAN: and you would know
SAN: mr i am soo experienced
Shak: sometimes the person with the most insight is the one who observes

Monday, March 28

Contract Killing

So while I was in Manchester, my long overdue new contract phone dropped through the post. It's a Motorola V545 on Orange. A decent enough phone, but not enough for me to not have found the D500. Nah, the real point of this new kit was the 12 months free line rental that came with it; on Vodafone Anytime 200 OVP to boot.

So to be clear I got a free (adequate) phone, and 12 months worth of cashback on a tariff that gives me 200 inclusive xnet minutes a month (One Stop Phone Shop also threw in a car handsfree kit, but blah to that).

Quite worryingly I'm pretty excited at the prospect of coming back to Orange. T-mobile is pretty dire - when there isn't crap reception, my phone randomly dropped off the network anyway. And then things like the lack of three-way calling, expensive GPRS and an anal picture messaging policy make me wonder how they're actually managing to survive in the market. Thank heavens for number porting.

I once blogged how I didn't understand why some people spent so much time wasting money on phones and contracts, in particular text messaging. I now take that back and further thank you all instead; if it wasn't for you guys subsidising new contracts, I probably wouldn't get a deal like this...

Manchester Is Great

For the following reasons:

  1. The women. It's probably just the "strange land" effect but Manchester is definitely fly.

  2. The roads. Nice and wide and begging to be driven hard on (although I was well behaved over the weekend since I was a foreigner and driving the beemer).

  3. The girls. I could probably spend the whole day in Source munching on eye candy.

  4. Nawaab's on Stockport Road. A tenner for a good Indian food buffet? At dinner time? In a clean and well decorated environment? Full to the brim of "talent"? Only at Nawaab's.

  5. The chicks. Not only do they look good, they also look back. Not in a sleazy way, mind; think more non-introverted, non-insular and confident.

  6. The people. Not only did I make two new friends, I also got to know a third better. And all that in less than 24 hours. And then of course there was the host with the most.

  7. The ladies. Just in case I forgot to mention them. They're great.

  8. Getting to leave at the end. 'Cos after all, Manchester isn't London.

Thursday, March 24

I'm a Tosser

Please, don't everyone disagree at once.

While I'm in a good mood (see earlier), I thought I'd blog something a bit darker and possibly uncomfortable. I'll stress that this isn't aimed at any one person. Really, it's not.

So I have this habit of winding people up. Yes, sometimes it's deliberate (and it's obvious when it is judging by the reactions of others) but more often it's not. I've no idea how or why I have this effect on people, but I think it's worse online.

Is this just a classic case of being misunderstood? I like to think I'm clear and articulate enough, but I recognise that inflections and hand movements (what are they called again?) are lost sometimes and tone can be assumed, but that doesn't explain real life. Do I appear lecturey or patronising? Insulting even? That isn't (usually) my intent. Do I not listen or respond? Am I too stubborn?

Should I bite my tongue more? I don't feel like I ever say anything too controversial or offensive. Perhaps that implies that I should be more sensitive? Perhaps there's something wrong with me if I don't understand why it's so offensive to say, for example, that someone should go to the cinema on their own or that they actually fit in with life more than they think that they do. Am I too cold and clinical?

And then why do these people bother with me? No, I'm not looking for a pat on the back or a friendly punch on the chin here. I realise that in life two perfectly nice and reasonable people can grate on each other - I accept this if it happens, move on and generally stay out of these people's faces. And yet sometimes a perfectly reasonable conversation with a good friend quickly digresses into an unexpected flaming. Thankfully the presence of the former keeps us friendly, but the latter shouldn't be inevitable should it? I guess I could just step back when I see things heading in a particular direction, but I always feel somewhat dishonest or patronising when I do, like I'm shrugging the person off. But then perhaps how I feel shouldn't matter at that point?

Perhaps I'm looking too much into something that's perfectly normal - after all at the end of the day I'm still a good friend (I hope!). I'd prefer not have to get into these situations, but maybe the good only comes with the bad? Is this all a part of friendship? There are (admittedly a few) people with whom I've never had these kind of problems with, but then everyone is different.

Sigh. Perhaps I just need to use smilies more.


I just completed the first issue of this long established Muslim mag, and I'm impressed. What drew me to it was the recent article regarding Muslim women at university going off the rails (my embellishment, so chill), and after finding they had a half price subs offer, I thought "What the hell?". Frankly, the editor's article at the beginning was worth the asking price alone.

Lately I seem to be getting at least one revelation each month with respect to the depth and breadth of Muslims living in the west. Last month it was the various dinners I attended, and before that my introduction to the City Circle. And this time it's due to Q-News. It's a wonderful feeling and one which totally changes the stance I had a while back (I won't link to it directly, but it was the freak one).

In many ways Q-News reminds me of the book Islam The Way of Revival, although since this mag is written in English for English speakers (rather than having been translated) it's more of a pleasure to read.

The articles it presents, when taken from a macro perspective, can be quite contradictory and different in the directions they come from (some are militant and some quite liberal for example), but that's a good thing and allows the reader to test their open mindedness - expect to agree and disagree with them in equal measure.

So anyway yes, it's well recommended for those who wish to expose themselves to what may be otherwise unknown or inaccessible mindsets. Of course it's not a substitute for actually meeting the people that actually hold these opinions, but at least you can take the mag to bed with you.

Q-News are currently having a March Sale (more details here) which is offering a twelve month subscription for £14.99. Well worth it even if you eventually decide it's not for you.


Is it wrong to allow the sighting of one or more pretty girls on the train this morning put me in a good mood for the rest of the day? It's interesting how these things come in clumps - think buses, but smaller and prettier.

I long came to the conclusion that I'll never randomly approach a girl that I don't know. It's just not in me to do so, whatever their reaction will be. I mean, sure, I have no problems talking to strangers or treating someone I just met like I've known them for years, but that initially requires slightly more context than for both of us to be on our daily commute to work.

Anyway, accepting this fact is quite liberating. Rather than fantasising about how charming and funny I'll be in breaking the ice with a strange and pretty girl, I can just concentrate on allowing their exquisiteness to wash over me and put me on a high for the rest of the day. And that can only be a good thing, right?

Wednesday, March 23

New Music

Yaara Rab - Socha Na Tha

So what exactly is it that I like about this song? Something about it being sexy and innocent at the same time perhaps? Or maybe it's that it's sung (in the film) by the delectable Ayesha Takia? Whatever the reason, it gets me smiling and has so earned a place in my playlist.

Game: Resident Evil 4

At last Capcom have decided to revamp what I considered to be a pretty good although well trodden series. Gone are the static cameras, replaced by one stuck firmly above your shoulders. The shoddy control system is still there, but the problems it had seem to have been mitigated by the free camera.

That's not to say there's still that feeling of panic when you can't quite turn and run away fast enough. Having half-zombies who can run after you doesn't help.

The main difference, however, is that the developers have realised limiting ammo and save reels don't quite add to the suspense of the game - only to the frustration of the player playing it. So we now see hordes of enemies who drop ammo when you kill them (which is now fun as well as scary), and the removal of reels (you can now save wherever there are typewriters as much as you want). You can even "continue" from checkpoints instead of having to reload.

Readers who have not played may think this dilutes the purity of RE games and may even reduce the effect the game has on those playing. The former I might have to agree with but then the changes are for the better. And as for the latter: judging by the way I just screamed like a girl while playing, I definitely disagree with that.

Sunday, March 20

Film: Constantine Click for more info

An adequate plot, passable script and with great special effects is usually good enough to please me. And yet there was something fundamentally missing in Constantine that didn't make it as great as it should have been. A pleasant surprise was the inclusion of one Ms Weisz, although even she couldn't quite save this film.

The best part of the film was the Ep III trailer before. Wait for the DVD.


Dinner Conversation

Open dinner conversations are great in reality, but end up being a bitch to blog, especially the morning after. Last night was another Arabic Class Dinner, this time hosted by the teacher. But unlike the one a few weeks ago in Mayfair, last night was a much more sombre affair.

Don't get me wrong, we still had fun and games, but the evening was dominated by the 2-3 hour conversation we had regarding religion - specifically the thorny subject of Islamic Reform. Like I've already implied, the what was discussed is way too broad to do justice here, but we touched on things like the Arabisation of the religion, the possible lack of spirit in the sub-continent teachings of the religion (for example how some can read but not understand the Quran), the unwillingness or inability of Islam to adapt and change, and whether it needed to do this in the first place.

The good thing was that although half the group were new to each other (the classmates were joined by friends and family of our teacher) we were perfectly able to converse on a difficult subject without crossing any lines or offending each other. Frankly if the clock hadn't struck 2 or so, we might have carried on indefinitely!

Acting Well Is Hard Work

So we had part two of our First Steps in Acting Class yesterday, and man, was the day totally different to the previous week.

In a nutshell, this was 'cos there was less playing games and more acting. I shouldn't have been surprised really - acting was tough work in GCSE Drama and it was still exhausting yesterday. A lack of concentration and the good weather probably didn't help much either. And as you can tell by now I'm not even motivated enough to blog about it.

Still, I think the class was enough to provide me with my acting fix - I'm bored of that now and look forward to my next couple of projects (including a First Aid course in May). Which reminds me - we still need to book ourselves into a Hip Hop Dance class...

My New D500

To be honest, I initially didn't give the Samsung D500 much thought. I try to avoid moving parts in a phone (something the 7110 taught me), and a bit of prejudice told me that Samsung don't really make fantastic phones.

However, a bit of googling easily showed me how impressive a phone the D500 is. A cumulation of their experience over the last few years the D500 is basically an admission on Samsung's part of the mistakes they've made previously.

This is a good thing though. Unlike SE, who despite making the best phones (in my opinion) have carried forward the same blinkered flaws in their phones since the T68 (for example the way you need to copy numbers to the SIM to enable speed dialing, or the way you can only search your phonebook on the first letter), Samsung have had the humility to take what was wrong and replace them with the better solutions other providers offer (including a speed dial editor).

Add to that a pretty sexy form factor, a beautiful sliding mechanism (yes, I said that) and most importantly good basic phone features (some even reckon it's Bluetooth implementation is better than SE's) and the D500 makes a pretty good phone to keep for the next two years or so.

Wednesday, March 16

I Quit

I hid my profile today[1]. There are some things about it that doesn't sit well with me - some things I've mentioned before, and some new feelings about the whole deal have arisen. For example, I now see that it's hard to be swept off your feet by a website.

There are no regrets here. In fact I'm glad I did it; I now know that it's not for me and I definitely have more sympathy for those who choose to use the facility. Moreover, in typical Shak fashion, I will try to keep friendly contact with a couple of people I've met through it, so there's another result.

[1] Ok, not entirely true. I did it a while back but I forgot to blog that I did. So sue me.

Marrying My Cousin

No, not me silly. But I did get a chance to watch the programme from yesterday. I won't dwell too much on what happened - basically it was about a guy named Gark traveling back home to Lahore to marry a cousin he had been "engaged" to the past four years. Frankly the programme had little to do with cousins and more to do with marrying back home in general.

Personally I found the whole case tragic and touching in equal measure. The guy obviously didn't know what he was getting into - possibly his own fault for being so disinterested the last four years (man, I'm glad I can communicate with my folks, and also that I'm not in the situation of not having been back home since I was five). Still, it was clear the marriage wasn't in his own heart but instead in that of his mother and sisters.

He was my hero though. Obviously a man of more patience than me, he sacrificed quite a lot when he decided to go ahead with the marriage. Ok, sure, it may all pan out for him (if he doesn't achieve happiness on his own, I'm sure his tyrannical sisters will ensure it - "YOU WILL BE HAPPY") and he did have a responsibility to a girl he had "taken" for the last four years, but if it doesn't work out like he fears it won't, he's giving up quite a lot for his family and relatives. His "vicious circle of happiness" was bang on.

Yes ok, perhaps I'm being a bit sensitive here. But although I'm not marrying a cousin I've never met I can and will further relate to Gark's situation, although I'm not certain how similar our fates will be.

My heart goes out to him.

The Further Adventures of Train-Girl

Since I travelled home with Steve today, I joined the Central Line later than I usually do, at Mile End. Allowing the first Newbury Park train to pass, who should I spot but Train-Girl already on the following Epping service.

Now, for some reason, these sightings have become pretty rare since I got back from Bangladesh. So rare that the last time I did spot her I decided to introduce myself the next. So there I was, gearing myself up to do exactly that when who should step on at Leytonstone, but my dad.

Ok, so I found a pretty good excuse to put this off to another day right? Well I initially thought exactly that and so when we all got off the train I settled into the company of my pops, and due to his slower pace we ended up walking a few steps behind Train-Girl.

It only hit me a few minutes down the road as to how perfect this opportunity was. What better time to introduce yourself to a girl without appearing to "hit" on her than with your dad present? She'd feel safe (well safer), and it's not like I particularly cared that my dad was around either. So yes: I made the decision to go with my original plan anyway. Quickening my pace and signalling to my dad to do the same I approached her.

And that's when her phone rang. Suddenly the rug had been pulled from under my feet. She instinctively slowed down to answer the call, we had speeded up and as we passed her so did my chance to say hi. On a day of impeccable timings and coincidences, I wasn't too surprised.

Anyway. Next time. Definitely. It's only a matter of time; after all I know where she lives...

Link Of The Day

Bollywood baddie shown as casting couch villain

Anyone know who the three actresses he mentioned are? And that Mahesh Bhatt... Doesn't he have a daughter in the same industry? Sleazebag.

Tuesday, March 15

Update Your Bookmarks!

Or not. Whatever.

Anyway, I've kinda decided on as my new blog address. Puntastic as well as a tribute to one of my favourite shops in the 80s.

Just so you know.

One to Watch

Marrying My Cousin, BBC2, 11:20pm

Amazingly over half of British Pakistanis marry their first cousin. This prog will follow a couple of people around who are either about to or have already married their cousins. Typically late in the day so probably one to tape rather than watch. Silly Beeb.


Monday, March 14


Bangladesh bans smoking in public

Who'd have thought Bangladesh would be showing us how it's done? Still, I think it's only a matter of time before the disgusting habit gets put under control in this country too (although we'll definitely need a larger fine than 50 thaka).

Any comments accusing me of being a fascist totalitarian will be laughed at, and then ignored.

Sunday, March 13

Film: Hitch Click for more info

If I was a film, I'd be Hitch. Ok, not quite, but I reckon this is a flick that most guys will relate to on some level. Will Smith and Eva Mendez made a surprisingly good on screen couple, the jokes (with a few exceptions) ran well and the show was filled to the brim with feel good factor. Apart from a disappointingly weak ending, Hitch was pretty great.

It was a bit pathetic[1] that it presented what any decent guy knows ("listen to what a girl is saying instead staring at her breasts") like it was some great secret to success, but then I guess the reality is that most men can't figure these things out for themselves. Which happens to be a shame for everyone (see: Vance).

It's made my top three romcoms along with Serendipity and Animal Attraction so go watch it, even if it means going with two other guys like I did. Sigh.

[1] Is "pathetic" the right word here? Alternatives included "disappointing", "fustrating" and "annoying".

Saturday, March 12

I Am Thespian

I spent today with a friend in the first half of our "First Steps In Acting" class at the City Lit. I signed up partly 'cos I was bored and partly 'cos I'd like to see if I'm up for acting as a pastime (and possibly more).

It was pretty much what I expected - some of the best bits of my GCSE Drama class crammed into 6 hours. I think the first class was designed to bring us all out of our shells and lose our inhibitions which it pretty much succeeded in doing for most of us.

The group were pretty cool too; we were told that we were unusually good by the teacher, although I'm sure that had a hint of politeness in it. We were a mixed bunch, both in terms of backgrounds, jobs and ages (I was smack bang in the middle for once!) although this didn't really hinder us in becoming relatively close in such a small time scale; but I guess that comes with the territory. Oh, and then there was Raheal...

Ironically (or perhaps not) for a drama class we had plenty of drama, including one guy breaking down and almost walking out claiming that it was becoming too personal and therefore difficult. Although I saw where he was coming from, I did think he overreacted a bit and that nothing we did pushed our boundaries that much. But then, perhaps I'm lucky in that I didn't feel that way.

Which is a good point about classes like these. Although the main point of them is to learn how to act etc, if they pay attention one can learn a lot about human behavior during the study of drama. For example, needs and objectives apply as much in Stanislavski as they do in real life situations. The class was worth it for this kinda reflective quality and social self-improvement alone.

Anyway, the second and final class is next Saturday. I think that we're gonna concentrate more on conventional acting rather than the emptying exercises we did today, and I'll post a proper conclusion about how I feel about acting and drama then.

Thursday, March 10

New Music

China In Your Hand - T'Pau

Heard this recently on the box and so had to get it. Was a tune then and is still a tune now.

Hot Like Fire - DJ Ams & Khiza

Probably one of the hardest songs I've ever had to look for, and that much sweeter 'cos of that. Well till I get bored of it, of course.

Wednesday, March 9

The Death of Spammy

Due to a number of recent events, I've taken the decision to kill off Spammy, the moniker I've been using for various online activity for the past 4 years (although it feels much longer than that!). The alias is a relic of the past and I feel that I don't really have a need or use for it anymore, and so I thought I'd proactively speed up its inevitable deprecation. Quite strangely, I actually feel a bit poignant about it.

The main reason I'm blogging this ('cos I appreciate how lame this is) is to let you all know that the URL to this blog will change eventually too (although not yet 'cos you might not have read this post. Or something). So keep on your toes when any hard links to it die.

Oh, and even though I know many of you will still, I humbly request you don't refer to me by it anymore. I have a nice enough name I reckon - use it please!

Tuesday, March 8


A few relevant people already know of my self imposed ability to pick and choose which side to pick to support in an ever so important Indo-Pak cricket match. I like to think it's due to my rich heritage and family movement during partition that gives me this flux in identity; those that claim to know me will instead just call me fickle.

Still, over the recent years I've more or less cemented my support for the Pak cricket team, rejoicing when they win and hurting when they lose (against any team). However my brief yet historical support of India means that it hurts that bit less when they batter us, and even then I feel like it's a win for both sides when a game ends amicably whichever team has clocked up the most runs at that point.

Some may see that as me not being a real fan of either, but I don't care; If not hating the opposition makes me a weak supporter of both, then I'll happily be exactly that. If being a fan of the symbolism implies I have less passion for the game, then fair enough. Although yes, perhaps it's a bit wet.

Current score: Pakistan First Innings 191 for 6 (51.0 overs). Hmm. Suddenly I find myself wondering whether it's too late to rewrite this blog...

Time Minus Two Days

So Thursday is a big day for the guys about whom I posted one of my first blogs about. No, it's nothing to do with Parminder Nagra appearing on ER; Thursday is the day The Wives arrive from Bangladesh.

It's a pretty strange situation. We were in Bangladesh around 6 months ago, and frankly some of us (well I have anyway) have forgotten that the two weddings took place. Yeh, sure, there was the odd joke about how they could no longer perv over Lana, but apart from that I thought it was pretty easy to forget they were half way to their first anniversaries.

So anyway, Thursday is a big day for them, their family and indeed the rest of us. It's gonna be weird, but I think it'll be a good-weird rather than an apprehensive one. Things'll change of course, but that's how life works, and shouldn't be seen as a bad thing.

Anyway, good luck bros!

Book: To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee

I'm the kinda guy that usually follows through with something I've started. I've never walked out of a film at the cinema, for example. I always have this nagging feeling that as bad as things might seem to be, there's still a chance that the final part of whatever I'm doing will make the whole worth it. Yes, I'm wrong most of the time, but I feel it's a good principle to stick with for the times when my hunches are correct.

Take To Kill A Mockingbird. When I had started this book I was telling people how overrated I thought it was. I was waiting to finish it just so I could write in this very blog how shallow, simple and procrastinating it actually was. Still, I stuck with it, and thankfully this is one of the rare times that I'm glad I did.

I think it was page 75 or thereabouts when it finally clicked with me. This wasn't a book about racism in the deep south. It wasn't about an alleged rape or a court case. It was really about a young girl growing up, her family and the town in which they lived. Lee does a fantastic job of bringing alive a character by portraying her confusion, self-doubt and innocence so vividly and coherently. The various situations that she found herself in (school, the rape, her developing relationships with her brother and father) were just catalysts for Lee to exploit more of this talent she has of being able to bring fictional people to life. As such, Tom, Boo and even Atticus were all conspiring to support the painting of the life Scout; I'll even be as bold to say that if there weren't no racial issues involved the book would have been just as good.

Frankly, it's assured me of something I first realised when reading Perdido - I'm a big fan of characterisation. A book can have no plot, no direction, but as long as it has deep and believable characters, I will enjoy reading it. I've not read many biographies, but I may try a couple to see whether the fiction aspect makes any difference.


Sunday, March 6

Comings And Goings

Plus two: My folks came back from Pakistan today! Hooray!

Minus three: My bro and SIL moved their bed into their new home today. I'm guessing that implies that last night was their last in this house. The timing is a bit dubious, but hey. I'm not sure it this whole thing will hit me 'till later, so I'll blog if and when it does.

Saturday, March 5

City Circle: The Middle Way

Last night's City Circle was regarding how Islam condemns extremism and condones what is described as "the middle way". It's an interesting one, not least because what people see as being "middle" is pretty much subjective. There are the blatantly obvious things - like celibacy, or living your life as a monk - which are unlawful in Islam. On the other scale drinking, casual relationships and the like are pretty agreed on as being overly-liberal.

I'm proud to say that I don't do any of these things (haar), and so I like to think I'm balanced and on this middle way. But I see people who are more extreme than I am, and also those who are more liberal. The gyp, however, is that those more extreme than me will see me as liberal and those more liberal, extreme. And so it will go on with everyone. And then there's another dimension of how strict one should be in following this middle way. I'd be the first to admit that my practise of the religion is hardly consistent.

So is everyone wrong? Possibly. It's more likely that everyone is right though. I've mentioned before that I don't think Islam is quite as rigid as to make us all behave as clones of each other. The religion will only be valid if we're comfortable with it (and please don't see that as me saying you can do as you will - no there are universally agreed principles in place here, and it's not quite "each to their own" either), and so if someone is more strict, or more spiritual, or more practical than another, that doesn't make them more Islamically correct[1].

Anyway, I'm rambling again, and I think I've made my point. On a related note, I also want to mention how some see The City Circle as a meet market (honestly, some people). Having said that, it is nice to see a bunch of professional and like minded, yet vastly different guys and gals putting in effort to increase their understanding. And yes, there were one or two people there I'd have liked to have met. Ahem.

[1] IANAS etc.

Friday, March 4

My Fifteen Seconds of Fame

Today I was literally dragged on to the radio in order to enter a competition that I really didn't want to enter. The prize was a pair of tickets for a play showing this weekend, but since I was planning to go watch it with a few friends anyway free tickets woulda just made things complicated. No, I actually thought I was entering a contest for a Shrek toy (that my nephew woulda loved) but the rules were changed at the last minute.

Well I won the tickets (although I've yet to be told how I should get them, which makes things even more complicated). I'll try and get the clip hosted somewhere, so keep checking back for a link.

I wonder how gay I sounded...?

EDIT: My word. Do I sound like that in real life? Terrible.

Wednesday, March 2

Dreams And Idealisms

Ok, I admit the title was chosen just to get the attention of a certain few, but it has a certain relevance, or I'll at least shoe-horn one in somehow. Anyway.

Today a mate was telling me how he hated the job he was in, and how he didn't think he was capable of getting one that he actually wanted. Now although he was in the position the majority of us find ourselves in (I'm not sure I know anyone who is in their perfect job - but then we're never really satisfied with anything, are we?) he seemed quite disturbed by the futility of it all.

Ideal jobs are all well and good, I explained, but realistically they're quite hard to get. For a start some of us might not even know what our perfect jobs are. And even if you did, you might feel it's not in your power to get it (personally I'm of the "if you want it bad enough you can achieve anything" school of thought, so I disagree with that reasoning. You're just being lazy, but that's another blog).

A perfect job is only really relevant if your career is the one thing that defines who you are as a person. And yes, for some that's exactly what it is and they're the ones I'd say are truly happy with their careers. For others though, work is merely a means to an end; a way for parents to feed their kids, pay for Sky and keep the electricity running.

For these people it doesn't matter what they do, they're being fulfilled by the (indirect, yet to them, massively important) fruits of their labour. It's why some mothers may not need a successful career (in the traditional sense, my militant feminist readers) to be happy. However, for many of us with no spouse or kids to support work might really be all that we have, and so we might feel a little unfulfilled if it's not the ideal. It's what defines us and so if it's, well, crap, then by implication so are we.

But does it really have to be our main defining quality? Ok, so we may not have the families who I mentioned above. But that was just an example; there is a plethora of extra-curricular activities which we could use to fuel our being instead. Language classes, sports, hobbies, volunteering and religion are all things which might help us find a non-work-related identity. And there are many more.

Look at it another way: a person needs to be passionate about something to be happy. For those with nothing else, work is all they have. And when they can't be passionate about that, it sucks. My advice? If you don't find a job you can be passionate about, then find something else to passionate about. And if you don't find anything straight away, keep on your toes and keep trying different things till you do. You'll eventually be happy and you'll also reduce the previous reliance on your career and therefore probably enjoy that more as a result as well.

Is this a general theory though? Could it, for example, apply to relationships as well? During a self-pity session, a friend once told me to just get a "stay-at-home" wife (I'm sure most of you can figure out what that meant). Of course I laughed that suggestion off, explaining that I'd need much more from a partner than what a mere placeholder could provide.

But writing this blog got me thinking. If an individual's happiness is in the hands of that same individual, why would they have to rely on a partner to get that happiness? I'll give a concrete example just to make this point clear: Do I really need a wife that I can "talk to" when I could just as easily talk to other people instead? Of course there are some things which she'll have to be the sole source for (sex and cooking, for example), but if we only consider these things when choosing a partner the choice suddenly becomes much wider. After all, it's not hard to get a partner who's main function in a marriage is to just "stay at home" (please, please, please note the quotation marks; I'm not being literal here).

Should we really rely so much on a spouse or work or friends or family to fulfill the particular needs (and therefore happiness) we think only they can or should provide? Or should they instead just be another (although possibly major) source of happiness, contentment and fulfillment from a broad selection of providers?

Are idealisms really the best way to achieve our dreams?

Link Of The Day,1282,66753,00.html

Why is this interesting? Well I wrote a while back regarding proofs of God, and how belief in science is as much a faith as in any religion. One of the points I made there was how science, almost by definition, is evolving and we can't really take anything it offers as a basic truth. The article above kinda proves this specifically for Carbon Dating. I wasn't aware there was an upper limit on carbon dating, and in my opinion even 26,000 years isn't really enough to prove what some use it to prove.

The original blog can be found here.

Oh, To Be An Academic Again

Yesterday evening I spent around an hour in the SOAS library looking for a book to borrow. It's the first time I've been there during a busy term time, and almost at once I felt at home. I did get a couple of strange looks (I think), so I'd probably be a blatant mature student if I did ever choose to go back. And yes guys, there were a few, but the main draw for me was the almost visibly thick atmosphere of knowledge, learning and study.

Still, I could so be a student again, and my longing to study for another degree just jumped up a notch.