Tag Archives: thoughts

Books, ebooks & Squashed Bugs

6 Oct


Do I hate them? Affirmative.

Have I used them? Negative.

Does that make me a grouchy elderly person? Probably not at this current moment in time because I’m only 19, but I would say it indicates that in the future I will be like those old grannies that refuse to use Microsoft Word because they already spent years learning wordperfect back in the 90s.

I just can’t disregard the fact that I love old crumbling books (and I love that old book smell. Unashamedly), I love dogeared pages and I love holding a BOOK in my hand. Now some words that spring to mind to rebut my love of real books in this ebook debate: modernisation, progress, advancement, technology, convenience, development. Ok fine. As an ezine article notes:

Ever since the dawn of civilisation, the progress of mankind has been aimed towards one main purpose and that has been to make life easier and more convenient…Books and newspapers are the latest additions to the paperless online juggernaut

(Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7068840)

And yes, I concede, in a changing media landscape the ebook is just another way of getting things NOW, getting things quicker and of course…like the iPod…not having to lug a whole library around with you. So yes Mr. eBook, you win points for practicality. But surely you only need one book at a time? And maybe, as noted in the Rise of e-reading,  eBooks encourage more people to read. But why do I feel a little stab of offence in my wee-little heart, every time I see an ebook reader on the train? Perhaps the pros and cons will help:

The Pros and Cons of the eBook Race, According to Myself and My Research:


  • Cheaper (the price is usually around half of the physical book price)
  • Faster access (can purchase and download straight away)
  • No more long lines at the book store!
  • No more overdue library book fees
  • Convenience
  • Promotes more reading amongst those who would not usually read (according to a U.S. Survey)
  • Allows easy access to a wider range of material for those who are already avid readers (see here)
  • Creation of a new market for online eBook businesses


  • Requires electricity (the benefits of a good ol’ book, was that you could have it in your bag, for all those times when technology fails us – I agree with this gentleman)
  • Doesn’t have the same generational/family importance – a memory passed down the ages
  • Libraries die
  • Book shops die
  • Paper factories die
  • The social environment created in book stores and libraries of like-minded, book-loving people is…dies
  • The ‘old book smell’ phenomenon fades into an oblivious of myth and legend
  • We spend even more hours of the day staring at a digital screen

So ok. I think I’m coming closer to the reason why eBooks make me cry. Some facts:

  1. To purchase an eBook, you usually won’t pay more than 50% of the physical book price (so they have an unfair advantage already!)
  2. 43% of Americans aged 16 and older have read an eBook (so it’s definitely on the rise)
  3. There are more than 4 x the amount of people reading eBooks now, than 2 years ago (so it’s definitely, definitely, on the rise)
  4. 42% of ebooks are read on computers, 41% on digital readers like Kindle or Nooks, 29% on cell phones and 23% on tablets

I think my major issue with this whole eBook phenomenon, is that it’s obviously on the rise = people seem to enjoy the convenience and cheapness = so I feel like I’m on the losing side. And I don’t like losing.

I just feel like we have excused every technological development with:

The thinking behind progress being that a better life is an easy life.

(Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7068840)

But has technology made our lives easier? The stress of having your employer and work contacting you whenever he wants via call, txt, email. The suffocating rise of reliance on facebook for notifications, event invitations, birthday reminders, phone numbers, friendship connections. As if our eyes were not already overwhelmed with torturous over-exposure to screens of all kinds – work computers, home laptops, televisions, GPS screens, mobile phones, tablets, iPods.

And if all progress was to make life easier, then what is the point of art? Maybe eBooks make me sad because they no longer carry that ‘work-of-art’ aspect that real books just exude…a little bundle of joy, with a tangible cover – is it cloth? Is it paperback? Can you knock on it? Is it textured? Does the title stand out so you can feel the letters with your fingertips? Not only is a solid book a piece of art, but it carries so much heart (or soul, as this guy says) a note you scribbled here or there, a folded page, a slightly torn page, a coffee stain, a squashed bug…(yeah sorry if that’s icky, but at least it has character! Squash a bug on your eBook reader because you’re to engrossed in what you’re reading to carefully flick it off, and see if it has the same effect when it slides off your plastic protective cover!)


(image from wikimedia commons)






Six Degrees of Separation

17 Sep

This fascinating BBC documentary manages to cohesively explore the notion of ‘networks’ in essentially every facet of existence.

From the origin of disease…

to every actors’ connection with Kevin Bacon…

to the intriguing unity of firefly signals;

the ‘6 degrees of Separation’ theory is revealed in all its complexity.

The documentary itself is very well structured, woven beneath the typical interviews and to-camera-pieces of professionals and researches directly involved in the study of the theory, is a narrative hook – strangers must try to get a package across the world by only using 6 ‘moves’. Like some kind of intricate game of chess, the players move across the chessboard of life, utilising every piece that lies in their path – hoping this will link to another. Tense music that builds occasionally to triumphant and climactic points helps punctuate the greatness of the 6 degrees concept, typical use of computer/sciency sound effects are used to create a sense of genuine methodicalness and reliability of the theory. The narrator’s voice is present when need be, but allows the researchers to do the majority of the talking – which allows the audience to be fully engaged in their eager search to validate the theory.

Ultimately the findings are quite astounding and carry great possibilities for understanding diseases, the animal kingdom and human connection itself. Personally, I find the closeness of the relational world very encouraging. If you play your cards right, perhaps it isn’t so hard to grab an interview with that incredible company you’d like an internship at…or perhaps – though tricky business requiring a lot of clever communication work – it’s not that impossible to acquire a meeting with such-and-such a famous person, who could prove your break into a very competitive industry.

I suppose it makes a lot of sense, this 6 Degrees thing, for the amount of people you are connected to, is raised exponentially as you go higher and higher up the chain. An article in the UK Guardian raises an interesting point [see full article here] which I actually interpret as having potentially grave consequences…

 “That may reduce a degree or two: Barack Obama already has well over a million Facebook friends.”

Yes, I suppose it’s incredibly comforting, and a multitude of possibilities open up when we realise that we’re only 6 connections away from J.K. Rowling, Bob Dylan, Obama, Wes Anderson…however the invention of Facebook and arguably, the trivialisation and falsification of real human connection, may in fact be distancing humanity – at least in the Western World – rather than bringing it closer together. For the 6 Degrees Theory to be of any benefit in a relational sense (i.e. such and such a person aims to get in contact with a stranger who can help them in this or that way, through following a series of connections) the original connections have to be relational! And for someone to be willing to aid or help out, or indeed, communicate in real life…they need to be better acquainted than one of Obama’s million facebook friends.


Image Sources:

Fireflies = http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ouzsmdzStjI/Tf9iJTLaiPI/AAAAAAAAAZU/IEo6HdqcqJw/s1600/fireflies1.jpg

Kevin Bacon = http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KevinBacon

Disease = www.biotechnology-genetic-humancells.blogspot.com




Shout Silently. Please.

8 Sep

Continue reading


Uni Made Me Do It

26 Jul

Some things you should know:

1. I didn’t make a blog because I’m egotistical and narcissistic.

2. Not all people who make blogs are egotistical and narcissistic.

3. A large portion are.

4. Especially film and media students.

5. We suffer from a severe condition of repressed narcissism.

6. Because until we have money, no-one cares about what we create.

7. Repressed. Depressed.

8. First World Problems.

9. Point is; Uni made me do it.

#1 Created a wordpress (Y)

#2 Applied a theme (Y)

#3 Made a post (Y)

#4 A link to something rad (Y)

10. It’s a surprise. And it’s good:


BOOM. 2 Marks.


Met An Asian Bloke Called Chum

26 Jul

Watched this last night.

And this is why Jim Jarmusch is

spot on.

Because today

I laughed.

And said ‘CHUM?!’

Fixed it by saying, ‘cool name’.

‘What’s yours?’ He goes.

Then I realised if you’d asked me a few years ago I would’ve replied:

‘Ango Bango’

*  *  *


If you don’t believe me

send an email:


True story. It exists.

Not a very good blog post.

*  *  *

But the thing is

it’s very poignant really.

I wasn’t very cool back then.

Still not cool at all.

But it’s got nothing to do with my name.

Chum was a nice bloke.

He’s got a name that makes you think

of a friendly pal.

Together Jim and Chum

have taught me some life lessons.

Oh what a day.