Kindness and Weakness


My sentiments exactly Al………

 

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The Life Of Crime


Yet another young man has lost his life, while another two are seriously injured, after yet another gang related, youth related, crime related dispute.

It was reported that 300 youths clashed on the streets of Birmingham, in the UK. It was a street battle, which led to an onslaught of violence. Over what? No-one knows, because there is no real excuse for such disgusting behaviour.

I know such crimes are not exactly scarce or unusual. Across the world people commit, are involved in or victims of such violence, but what makes me mad are the reasons the perpetrators give for doing such heinous and unnecessary acts.

The fact is that these ‘kids’ rattle off their excuses as though that alone is enough to supplicate the listeners. These young people stuck in gang culture, wrapped up in and warped by violence think they have carte blanche in their communities. Well, there is no excuse for little kids (that is what they are mentally), running amok and acting tough like wannbe gangsters.

They say they commit violent crimes because; its their culture, they are bored as there is nothing for them to do where they live, that their gang is their family, that violence is territorial, it is retaliation, it is initiation, it is OK because others do it, it is because the police are corrupt and crack down on their neighbourhoods and their illegal activities.

I say; so what!!! Quit whining, get over it and grow up!!! Can’t they hear how stupid and immature they sound!!

What do these ‘kids’ expect exactly? Mob rule! Do they honestly think that they can do what they want, when they want, to whomever they want and face NO consequences? Yeah, of course and we all live like that don’t we, in the REAL world!

They think they have a right to be violent, well let us just consider in more detail their excuses for their actions;

They talk about culture, but what has culture got to do with violent crime? Nothing. What is culture; the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. So, what has culture got in common with inane violent crime? What is so good about the destruction violence brings that anyone would want to celebrate it, and pass it down as some gift to the next generation?

Culture = no excuse

They talk of territorial disputes; what are they dogs? What is this a turf war? I’d like them to take that ethos to the front lines of Iraq or Syria (or anywhere else going through conflict), and see the reaction they’d get from the soldiers risking their lives for such things there. Perhaps if they want to ‘play’ with guns, they should be drafted into the army and see how much they like playing with their little toys then.

Will these ‘kids’ then realise life isn’t a film, it isn’t the wild west, they aren’t Clint Eastwood? Will they see how pathetic they are?

Territorial = no excuse

These ‘kids’ say they are bored and have nothing to do. If they want something to do then why don’t they stay in school, go home and learn something, help their families, do volunteer work. OR, why don’t they actually go out into the world and create something to do that is positive, instead of destructive.

Bored and nothing to do = no excuse

They say others commit violence. Does that mean it is OK then? Errr, no! So someone puts their hand in the fire and they’ll follow suit to do the same? If that is the case, and they follow like sheep, then maybe they ought to be under the care of a social worker or carer. They’re obviously not able or stable enough to look after themselves like they think they are! Perhaps they have some deficiency preventing them from seeing the difference between right and wrong! Other people might do something wrong, but that doesn’t mean that each individual isn’t fully responsible for their own reactions and appalling behaviours. Plus, there are many people out there doing good in the world; funny how these ‘kids’ never follow in these people’s footsteps instead.

Others commit violence = no excuse

They say that the gang is their family. Great family. These ‘kids’ choose to be part of a ‘family’ that would as easily dispose of them as they do with other people. They choose to be loyal to, and follow blindly, even bigger fools than they themselves are. Great.

Gang is family = no excuse

They say that the police are corrupt and crack down on their activities unnecessarily. I’m not naive enough to think that the police can’t be corrupt, I know they can be, but in general the police are trying to uphold the laws we all live by, so we can live. If you commit a crime then you should face the consequences from the law. You can’t think you’ll get away with it, be allowed to get away with it, why should you!!! The police are tough for a reason, because the criminals, the gangs and the violence is tough and has no place in a decent society.

Police corruption = no excuse

To summarise then, basically violence and gang crime has got nothing to do with the ridiculous and petty excuses these ‘kids’ make. What their violence is really all about is greed, jealousy, hate and the fact they are lazy. They want what they see others having and working for. Well, I have news for you disenchanted, disenfranchised youth; we all have to get on and live, we are all bored, and we have to work for a living to get what we want (whether that makes us the fools or not).

That kiddywinks is what we grown-ups call life! And guess what, we don’t all run around with guns and knives demanding we are given things, like we deserve it, we are owed it, because we are bored or whatever else!

Why do these ‘kids’, these criminals think they are owed anything anyway? What have they done to deserve anything? What have they given to the world in their short years except violence, except crime, except destroying good communities, making people live in fear and misery? Ummmm, let me think – NOTHING!

What gives these thugs the right to act like they do, and believe that they are above the law? Why do they think they should run wild like complete fools, disturbing decent citizens who live in peace and don’t kill one another?

To boot, these ‘kids’ in gangs are cowards, cowards hiding behind guns, knives and gangs. Without the gang, without their weapons, they are nothing and have nothing. Basically they are too afraid to do anything that removes them from their comfort zones, from their little friends, their little areas controlled by the gang. They are weak, angry, uneducated, insecure, afraid little kids playing at being cool and tough.

It doesn’t impress me, it doesn’t make me feel afraid, it just makes me angry that we as a society tolerate it all in silence. When are we going to put an end to this? How far can this go until we all just snap, stand up and finally take back the reins?

These are our children, the next generation of society, so what are we going to do about it?

Not My Cup Of Tea


It was a friend of a friends Birthday, and I got invited out for afternoon tea, odd you might think, afternoon tea in Madrid, it’s hardly a place renowned for such little quirks, and you’d be right.

Besides the slim slices of cake and tea offered in a mug, with not even a little teapot to keep it company, it wasn’t exactly The Savoy! Yet, it was a nice change, meeting people over tea and cake rather than beer and tapas.

I must admit, I love alcohol and food. Its practically in my blood; my family are thorough bred foodies and of course I have a strong Irish connection to boot (bad combination)! The only problem is both of these fine things, food and alcohol, don’t necessarily like me very much.

A few years ago I decided to scrap my old ways, in short, junk food was banned and so to was the vodka (et al). This, actually helped me. Physically, mentally and emotionally I felt relieved, it was like a breath of fresh air! I hadn’t realised how good it could be to be free of the shackles of, for want of a better expression, bad living.

Now, I’m no paragon of virtue, I still like to eat burgers and love a good cake and still enjoy a tipple, but since moving to Madrid I’ve noticed how easy it has been for me to slip back into my bad habits. Temptation is everywhere.

In the UK, I would choose not to go to bars, clubs and restaurants. I would meet friends in my home or theirs, we’d go walking, meet for coffee, go to the movies, shop, visit the beach, museums, National Trust properties and so on and so on. I seemed to have the opportunity to do more than merely meet people and friends in bars and restaurants to then eat and drink.

I had friends who were my party pals, they only wanted to get drunk and eat too much junk, consequently we soon parted ways as I didn’t want that lifestyle any more. I’d lived that lifestyle for too long, and frankly I was bored of wasting my money and time on a useless pursuit of what always was unhappiness the day after (hangover, arguments, tired, sick and so on).

Now, you may think, what a boring mare – no, actually I’m not. I enjoy diversity, I enjoy not having to do what other people expect I should do, because they are happy doing it. Yet, here in Madrid, everyone meets for beers and tapas, even a day of pottery making ends up in one of thousands of different bars open until the small hours.

WHY???!!!!!!

I am once again being forced to apply the breaks on this ‘lets have a drink and lets eat all the fat infused food we can find’ ethos, and I’m discovering just how difficult it is to keep up with friends.

Not all of my friends, as some of them get where I’m coming from, but there are those who don’t.

I have friends who just because they are happy to while away their weekends over bottles of booze and then the bathroom sink, they think I should want this too. If I don’t, then the invites to do things just suddenly don’t arrive any more. 

They think, I’m sure, that I’m miserable or purposefully avoiding their company. Well, I’m not, I just can’t physically or mentally do this drinking fest every weekend or weekday. 

If I accepted every offer to go out during the week:

A) I’d be flat broke

B) I’d have an inflated liver the size to envy any poor force fed goose

C) I’d be thoroughly miserable

D) I’d be the size of the Titanic before it sunk.        

What is it about these points that people find so hard to grasp and take seriously?!

Also, my life here isn’t necessarily like their lives.

I don’t work full time, I have a boyfriend I enjoy spending time with (which usually consists of mainly weekends as he works so much), and I also have a life which still exists in the UK too. In fact, I have one foot here in Madrid and one in the UK.  I suppose, in a way, I have more responsibilities than they do too.

No, I’m not taking about kids, but about bills, mortgages, a career I’m once again trying to revive, I’m learning Spanish (still) and they’re fluent already, plus I didn’t move to Madrid to extend my student years (as some of my friends seem to have done).

I suppose I’ve lost the thread here, or the initial thread in any case. I begun with afternoon tea. Well, the people I had afternoon tea with are these friends I’m taking about, and they are somewhat one dimensional in their offer of friendship.

The reason is I’m the outsider. They are 3 friends who know each other through teaching together, and I came to know them through one of the Madrid meet-ups.

Don’t get me wrong, they are lovely in many ways; they are very complimentary, kind and I have fun with them, but, I notice too that they only talk and don’t really listen. I don’t like that, it really is a sign that people aren’t really friends. I don’t enjoy being ignored, or cut short or spoken over as though I’m not important, and they were doing that quite a bit. Of course, they also were eager to depart as they had a drinking fest planned – which of course, I hadn’t been told about or invited to. So, I know, well now know, from our last meeting, that I am an outsider to them. I don’t fit into their type of friendship. I can dip in and out of it, but because I’m not a party animal, I’m not really their cup of tea (well, we all like coffee from time to time don’t we).

So, have I told them any of this – no, I didn’t see the point in really going over the ground with them. I know I can’t sacrifice my lifestyle choices to meet their own, and I know they wouldn’t stop going out or drinking the volume of beer that they do for me. So, it is what it is.

I suppose I feel a bit peeved. I mean I have lost one friend over this already. I couldn’t afford to do what she wanted to do every other weekend. Yet again though, our ideals of friendship clashed. She was looking for more friendship than I could give. I couldn’t be there for her and her alone – I have a life when I don’t see her and I have to maintain that! So, I don’t see her any more and that actually upsets me.         

I think too, I have sacrificed what I really wanted – not having to get drunk and eat junk and be out till the small hours, just to gain friends. How pathetic is that?! I’m too old for that crap! Either people like me for me, or they don’t. If they like the fact I can drink them under the table and stay up all night dancing, then what type of friendship is that? Hardly a firm foundation for me to rely upon.

For me, friends are people you can share everything with. I don’t want a one sided party fest, I’m not 20 any more, I want something connected, deeper and diverse. I won’t settle for superficial.

In saying all this on Saturday I return to the UK again, and this time it will be for two months (a very long time for me). I will then see which friends are left standing when I’m not in the picture for this length of time, and which forget I even existed.

I think the way I have been feeling of late the change of scene will do me well, as I am getting a little narky here (I think this post reflects that well enough), I seem to get ‘itchy feet’ after a few months in one place! God knows how I’ll cope when I don’t have another country to escape to, and am stuck in one on a permanent basis! I always thought I had some gypsy blood in me somewhere!

 

Anyway thanks for reading my rant!! I appreciate it as always.

Hasta luego!!!

Happy Saint David’s Day


To my fellow Welsh people out there, and surely there has to be a few of you lurking about WordPress;

Happy Saint David’s Day!!!!

Hapus Dydd Dewi Sant!!!!

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The Bored Blogger


I have been absent from WordPress for a little while, and for good reasons, may I add.

I am thoroughly bored!!!!!!!

Blogging has begun to feel as though it serves as no use or ornament in my life; in short, it serves NO purpose for me any more.

I guess I am frustrated. I’m not sure whether my frustrations lie with the confines of WordPress or the fact I have little enthusiasm for the topics being written about. Who can tell!

 

I think I have realised that the more followers I have, the less connected I feel. I assumed followers/following would guarantee interaction, because there would be more people to ‘converse’ with, but I fear I have been wrong in that assumption.

The amount of times I have left comments on blogs, and so on and so forth, and received nothing in return is disheartening. Realising that the comments I take time to contribute mean so little to the person who is blogging just like I am, is harsh! I mean really, why blog if you don’t wish to even acknowledge your readers!

 

It seems everyone is so wrapped up with self promotion, selling something, writing, gaining followers and following blogs (they never visit). Hardly anyone seems to make the effort to really connect, to engage, to really enjoy what is being written any more. This for me is truly sad.

I know there are bloggers out there who do engage, respond and connect – I am lucky that those of you who DO read The Savvy Senorita are such bloggers, and have given my writing great support (which I thank you all for)! I hope that I have done the same for you all too (or maybe you think not)?

Anyway, its just that when I first begun blogging at WordPress, I felt there was more of a sense of real community. I spoke to fellow bloggers regularly, we interacted via trading thought provoking comments and there were so many different topics out there to debate. Now it seems to me that these ‘old school’ bloggers have become out-numbered by more disinterested and aloof types. Consequently, I feel the words have run dry.

 

I can’t help but wonder, why in the Hell do I blog???!!! AND no, I’m not expecting anyone to run the defence of my writing skills, or wise crack over my lack of skills, I am just asking; what is the point in blogging to an absent audience?????

I know I’m not the only blogger feeling disillusioned, deflated, disheartened and fed-up. Other bloggers have confessed to me that they are having similar feelings regarding their own blogs and efforts. Maybe these people choose not to make their feelings public, because they are afraid to broach this subject as they wish to avoid remonstrations, well, I’m not one for holding my tongue!

I know I want to see more of the bloggers who want to write and read and comment and respond and engage. All of that interaction IS blogging; sitting on the side-lines playing a ‘how many likes can I get in an hour’ while ignoring my readers ISN’T blogging!

It makes me question; has blogging become nothing more than a popularity contest gone wrong?????????????

 

Anyway, regardless of the fact I feel most of this blogging malarkey has become pretty vacuous and glib (sorry, but it is how I feel), I do really want to hold out a hope that WordPress will change. I hope it will revert to how I felt it was when I first begun this pointless blog of mine – interesting and connected; a place where bloggers want to be involved with other peoples writing and their readership.

So, if you too are feeling the frustrations let me know!!

If you don’t understand where in the Hell I’m coming from, well, lucky you!

If you think I’m being a malicious mare, just double check the meaning before you make any accusations!!

 

 

 

 

“Spotted”


I must admit, reading about “Spotted” in the news once again came as no surprise to me. Sadly, it seems everyday a new wave of internet indecency or nastiness becomes part of the norm.

And, make no mistake, the materials posted upon “Spotted” are particularly grotesque. But, I still have to question; aren’t such materials in many ways merely an expression of freedom, and of being human?

In truth, it is completely normal and part of everyday life – men and women will look at, talk about, fantasise about and trade lewd comments/pictures of the opposite sex. They don’t need the internet for this either.

So, I have to ask – how far is too far on the internet?

And, has “Spotted” reached, breached and exceeded the limits?

For those of you who don’t know what ‘Spotted’ is, allow me to provide you with some shockingly foul-mouthed quotes which illustrates it clearly (warning – profanities follow);

That blonde haired girl who just walked into the 2nd floor of the library is fucking banging – ‘Spotted: Reading University Library’ (3718 likes).

To the dirty skank… for gods sake buy some new leggings!! jesus christ! i can see your minge! [sic] – ‘Spotted: Swansea University Campus’ (2407 likes).

To the girl talking about harry potter. i think your arse might be a horcrux, im gonna have to destroy it tonight – ‘Spotted: Kent Uni Library’ (4209 likes).

These comments are typical examples of what “Spotted” has to offer. Male university students and their velvet tongues, produce one disgusting comment after another, and it is shrugged off as a type of compliment that their female peers should enjoy receiving.

“Spotted” pages are in fact part of the Facebook family. They are pages that encourage students to write comments and messages about their peers, which are published anonymously by page administrators. Many of the pages target specific universities (each page supposedly run by a student at that institution), with hundreds of different pages appearing on Facebook. Many of the pages have been liked thousands of times.

The “about” sections of most of the pages innocent enough, they encourage students to share funny incidents, grievances or secret crushes, but the reality is very different. Many of the pages consist of heavily sexualised and offensive comments about students’ appearance and sexuality, and female students are targeted with particularly misogynistic comments.

To the stuck up slut who looked at me as if I’d just slipped a finger up her grandma… –‘Spotted: University of Portsmouth Library’ (7460 likes).

Some posts include images, seemingly uploaded without the subjects’ knowledge or consent.

A current post on the ‘Spotted: University of Essex’ page (3955 likes) shows a young woman sitting at a computer, apparently unaware of the fact that her underwear is exposed above the waistband of her trousers, or of the fact that she is being photographed from behind. The caption on the photograph reads: “Nice bit a crack in the reading room.” [sic]

Another picture featuring a female student, again taken from behind and apparently without consent, appears on the “Spotted: Coventry University” page (4097 likes), captioned: “Asian girls and their asses though.” Several of the posts nastily blend racism with sexism.

A post appearing on the ‘Spotted: Hotty in Hartley Library’ page (3493 likes), displays a picture of a female student from behind, and asks fellow students to identify her so the poster “can get on that”.

Many posts inform female students what their male peers would like to do to them, or are doing while watching them:

To the girl on the c+ floor with the red toshiba laptop… i was sitting next to you a few hours ago. I literally couldn’t take my hand out of my pants the whole time. [sic]

To the hot girl sitting opposite me on level 3, do you mind if I have a cheeky danger wank whilst looking at you?

To the sexy brunette on the 4th floor, will you be my girlfrien? I didn’t add the D because you’ll get that later.

 Others veer from sexual objectification towards bullying:

 To the girl in the floor 4 toilets, you’re not Niagara falls, at some point you’ve gotta stop flowing.

The fat bird standing by the printers on the first floor. Don’t want to shag, but could really do with a cuddle.

Is it all in good fun??

A National Union of Students study reveals that 68% of female students experience sexual harassment during their time at university, and one in seven are seriously physically or sexually assaulted. These statistics actually shocked me; I didn’t know this was the case, and I doubt many female students (current or future) would know either.

So, how harmless are such pages if they feed into a wider student culture which increasingly treats young women as sexual prey?

And, do such pages merely demonstrate, and ensure that sexual harassment infiltrates every part of the academic arena to the point that there are no limits?

I then wonder;

Does “Spotted” encapsulate a new culture of objectification, harassment and misogyny?

How can this freedom of speech be curtailed, or, should it be?

Is “Spotted” just boys being boys or is it more sinister than that?

If you or your daughter were on the receiving end of such grotesque comments, how would you react?

All I can say;

I am thankful “Spotted” didn’t exist when I was a student. It was daunting enough entering the new environment of a large university, leaving home, being frightened, unsure and anxious over everything. I certainly wouldn’t have appreciated contending with this form of bullying and harassment too.

“Spotted” is childish, dangerous, aggressive, soul destroying and cowardly; not the best way to demonstrate what a UK university education can teach you.

Perhaps, a little less lady spotting and a little more studying wouldn’t go amiss.    

A New Year, A New Rant


How was New Years Eve?? Did you have fun and celebrate in style?? Then, when the clock struck 12:00 you beat yourself up for allowing you, and your life, to be such a failure during the past year?? Did you then vow to stick to your new year resolutions, the resolutions that would ensure that in 2014 you become a better person???

Oh dear.

I know New Years Eve can be a strange time. It can often spark melancholy, regret, reflecting on all kinds of good and bad experiences and emotions. We all reconsider what the past year brought us, and how we lived our lives. Can this reflection help us in the new year to come though??? Can regret ever be healthy?

I am not going to tell you to make resolutions or not make them. I’m not going say that 2014 will be your year, that you have the power to transform and achieve. Personally I don’t get all that. I see all of that as negative life assassination, and unnecessary pressure. It is assuming that with the new year we will suddenly all transform and morph into wonder women or men. In 2014 we will definitely be destined to become another person, a wonderful person, in fact a person you were probably never actually meant to be.

Resolutions are very like false promises.

Why is it we always allow ourselves to perceive that the previous year was a failure, a let down, we didn’t perform and weren’t good enough? Isn’t that really what the notion of resolutions allude to – we are all failures, and therefore are required to modify and rectify that at all cost? Why can’t we just be us, and not need to change a thing?

Isn’t the notion of changing, of morphing, of transforming just a little bit delusional?? Just because it is a new year doesn’t mean anything has fundamentally changed. We are still, by virtue of our genetics, who we were upon birth; we haven’t grown extra limbs or suddenly become impervious to disease. We can’t shrug off the past; we all have our individual life experiences, thoughts, ideas, desires and so on.

Why is it with a new year we then become washed clean??

Or, more importantly, why do we want to be??

Isn’t life, from one year to the next, merely about the experiences we have and share, the learning curve, the path we travel, the thoughts and desires, hopes and dreams we harbour?

Isn’t life about those things??

To say we can be transformed, and washed clean assumes that we can all be famous artists, discover the cure for cancer, travel into space, be elected to Government, be an Olympian or whatever else! We are, most of us, normal folk with normal lives – average wages, children, mortgages and wrinkles. No amount of new years will ever change that either!!! We will never really transform.

So, why torture ourselves with pie in the sky -‘this year will be different’ – NO IT WON’T BE!!!!

Sorry, I get that positive thinking and hope are a great combination to have on your side in life, and I do adopt their principles as much as I can. However, I am also a realist and a little sceptical. I wonder how much we can actually change, transform, morph, and wonder if we really want to? If we don’t achieve, create, progress, succeed, dominate and control (or whatever!!!!) why is it seen so negatively? Why is it we can’t be just satisfied with being us?

This year I’m not going to become a millionaire, a success or even a glamour model who adorns the covers of popular magazines. I know that isn’t going to be what 2014 has in store for me.

I know it’ll be more of the same; living day to day, trying to survive, building relationships, trying to maintain motivation, good health and keeping some faith in me and what I want; basically boring stuff, not very inspiring or exciting!!! So, doesn’t matter how much I wish for miracles, money, fame and whatever else, it doesn’t mean it will come to fruition!!

I can make a million resolutions, but it doesn’t mean I can or will fundamentally change!

I’m just trying to say; be real, be kind to yourself and stop applying the pressure to be what you’re not. ALSO, stop viewing you and your life as a failure thus far, see your life as experience and a journey (which won’t be over, until it is over, and your six foot under). Stop stalling with resolutions and waiting for another new year to come and go; live without military precision, live and have fun amassing experiences to reflect on, not to feel negative and guilty about!

Live your life now, while it is here, and see what it brings you! All the ups and downs are welcome, it is life and you can’t just pick and choose the best bits and edit the rest, it isn’t a script after all!

Let 2014 be what it will be – life as we know it!