Κυριακή, 24 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Blog no.7: Versus the world

Dear friends,

  It's been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonley, lonely time since I last wrote here, mostly due to me slacking off really, it's not that I had anything better to do. So yeah.
  In the past year or so, I've had numerous conversations about varied topics, from religion to politics to music preferences, and I've come to realize that my opinions on the subjects have been contradicted for being way off from the others' opinions. You might be thinking "well that's normal, isn't it?" and you're probably right. The thing is that my opinions on every subject are mostly built around one core statement: I know nothing. This has made me look illiterate or dumb for not taking "facts" into consideration to back up my statements. Well that is because I don't believe in facts, meaning what some people consider "facts", I consider "possibilities". You can interpret this in many ways, like "how can you not believe something that you can feel, hear or see?", or "you're a fool for taking the easy path to face your lack of knowledge", or the more elaborate "you're stupid". Well, I can change it up a bit to make it easier to understand: I'm not sure about anything. There you go! I don't blame you if you think what I'm saying makes no sense at all, but I'll give you an example to help you understand.
  Let's say we have an item, an apple per se. Guy 1 says "the apple is red!". Guy 2 says "the apple is red!". Guy 3 says "the apple is green!". Guys 1 and 2 laugh at guy 3 and tell him to go back to pre-school to learn the colours. So, guy 3 tells them: "What I percieve as green, you might percieve as red. That means that either I am colourblind, or both of you are colourblind. Does that change the way you view the apple? No, it doesn't. Everything in life is subjective, from the colour of an apple to my personal worldview and there's nothing you can do to change that". He then proceeds to to eat the apple like the badass he is. Unfortunately, I haven't found anyone who shares the same worldview yet, so I've come to wonder: Am I crazy or am I the only one who's sane?
  By now you might be wondering how I can deal with this, not being able to accept facts. The truth is I don't, I just go with the flow. You can say that I've become comfortably numb.  It doesn't really matter if I'm right or wrong, if the Matrix is real, if we are living in a dream, if there is a god after all, if this is real life or if this is just fantasy, because we will most likely never find out. Either way, I'm having a lot of fun addressing my theory to my friends and watching their reactions. I hope I have not come out as too crazy or too dumb and you can at least understand my thought process.
If you read this far, thank you for being open-minded and not storming off in frustration. I had a lot of fun on this one. Take care!

Yours faithfully,
Stelios Zesiades.

P.S.: You earn extra awesomeness points for getting the song references.

Σάββατο, 31 Αυγούστου 2013

Blog no.6: Religion through an agnostic's eyes.

Dear few readers,

  Hello! First of all, I'd like to say a big sorry to the few guys who actually read these. I won't waste your time explaining the reasons behind my absence. I just hope you'll enjoy the following blog.
  So, me and some friends went to grab a beer in a bar the other night and got into a rather interesting discussion about religion. I'm aware of the fact that it's one of the most controversial subjects to talk about but if done correctly, it may change a person's view about the world. For starters, I'm obligated to say that even though I'm technically an orthodox christian, I personally classify myself as an "agnostic". For those of you that are too lazy to look it up, an agnostic is a person who doesn't believe that god exists OR that he doesn't exist. That's the simplest way to put it. Agnostics are basically people who need facts to believe anything, they don't base their opinions on faith, but solid facts. They are skepticists and difficult people to convince. Socrates once said "I know one thing: That I know nothing" which sums it up very nicely. Now for the reasons I chose to be an agnostic? I can't be convinced about anything. In some occasions, I can't even believe facts which might seem indisputable to most people. I believe that one cannot be certain about anything. That doesn't mean that I don't have an opinion though. I chose to have opinions on things that seem logical to me.
 Now that I've covered my position, I would like to say a few things from my point of view. I believe that religion was invented a long time ago because humans couldn't understand things that were happening in the world. Back in the time when cavemen lived, they believed that the god gave them the gift of fire. It was something new to them, something they couldn't explain with their facts and knowledge. Years later we found out that fire is created by some chemical reactions and a few sparks. Not exactly the most scientific way to present it but I guess it will suffice for the purpose of this discussion. Nowadays science has advanced so much that it explains a good part of what's going on in the world. Something that religion is credible for, is that people were sacrificing animals, food or even humans for their gods since those ages. To think that people still die for someone they're not sure that exists is unimaginable, yet it still happens to this very day. Aside from the explanation of inexplicable things and the brutal sacrifices, religion didn't have any other uses until the invention of Christianity. I won't refer to Hinduism or Buddhism, since I hardly know anything about these religions but I have done my research about Christianity. So, Christianity began spreading with the 12 "apostles" as people call them who were supposedly Jesus's students. Jesus is, in Christian belief, a guy who came to earth to save and help the humans. He is thought to be the son of God, though as I said before, I'm not even sure whether he existed or not. Either way, he seems to be a cool guy. He taught about loving your neighbor, helping others and such. There could be a book with instructions to "how not to be an asshole" and it would still serve the same purpose as far as I'm concerned. I'm not at all opposed to what Jesus stands for, but I think that someone with some self-awareness and logical thinking can figure these out by himself. It's true that people weren't very educated back in the day and having a mentor to help you understand what's good and what's bad was something good. My opinion on Christianity: it had some good points, it stood for some good values and it had the potential to make the world a better place. Thing is, since church took over the liberty of spreading "the god's words", it has gone to shit.
 To reason with what I said, let me explain. Christianity no longer stands for the values it was supposed to stand for. Now it actually promotes racism(mostly against homosexuals), fanaticism and sexism(against women). Not to mention the riches these "representatives of god" have for doing their duties for their "god". How come so much is invested in churches instead of philanthropic organizations? You will tell me: but church donates so much! Well, if it weren't for the gold scepters and the crystal chandeliers and the expensive BMW's they would donate much, much more. Religion has the ability to move masses, to teach people who are too naive to figure out by themselves to be nice to each other.Yet, it chooses to be the reason of most modern and ancient wars. The reason people of different religions hate each other.
 Of course there are exceptions, people who even though are religious, accept the others for believing in something different. Hats off to these people. Now for the rest who take their religion as the one and only rightful religion, I will say open your eyes. Look around, broaden your minds. We are all humans, no matter what our background is. And stop focusing so much on religion. God is not responsible for your fuckups, nor is he the one who deserves credit for saving your life or for the goods you have. Instead, thank the people who worked hard to provide you with these things. Just to make myself clear, I'm not attacking Christians. Same things apply to both theists and atheists. Being an atheist does not make you by any means more intelligent and it does not give you the right to bash one's religion. I respect you for whatever choice you've made, as long as you're not an asshole about it.
 To sum things up, I would recommend you to think positively. Cherish every moment you have because truth is, the only person you have to depend on is yourself. Don't waste your time hating and arguing with people. Life's too short for that. Instead, use your brain and think logically. As for me, I always try to follow these instructions. As long as you're nice to people, no religious people should be able to blame you. And if they do, they're not worth it. And my quote for the day comes from a movie called: "Ferris Bueller's day off". Yeah I know that the film is about a guy who skips school to have a day with his girlfriend, but it has a great meaning to it! "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in  a while, you could miss it". Until next time, farewell my fellow readers.

Yours truly,
Stelios Zesiades

P.S: Stay in school, don't do drugs! Unless it's medical marijuana. If so, be my guests.

Τρίτη, 28 Μαΐου 2013

Blog no.5: Beyond the horizon.

Dear remaining readers,

  It's not my usual writing hours but my sleeping schedule has been so messed up lately, time doesn't even matter anymore. I haven't posted for quite a while, due to my full schedule and the upcoming exams which I'm obligated to take seriously if I don't want to end up playing the guitar in the streets and hope they don't throw shoes at me. I have some spare time now though, so I'm using it to write something for you guys to read. Yeah, both of you!  
  It has been difficult coming up with a subject to talk about. It almost seems like my brain has ran dry. However, the best conversations always start with the most random questions. They have to be spontanious, unexpected and even weird. I remember a cold December night last year, me and my friends were staying in a lousy hotel. There was tension because of the bad quality of the hotel, so I decided to go outside for a bit, to get some fresh air. I took a chair and a blanket with me and just sat there. Minutes later, one of my best friends came outside aswell, brought his chair and sat next to me. We were both tucked under the big, warm blanket. We sat there, silent for a while. Suddenly, my friend asksed me "Do you think there's something else out there?" What was going to be just a small break for a breath of fresh cold air, turned out to be one of the longest, weirdest, most awesome conversations I have ever had. 
 It doesn't always have to be about a particular subject. This is basically me talking to myself through written word. Call me crazy. Call me lonely. Aren't we all, though? Nobody can see the world through your eyes. Think about it, the only person who understands you better than anyone, is yourself. Everybody wants someone to talk to about everything and nothing. Someone who will not judge them, who will not call them weird, who will simply "get them". Someone who can ask them "What are you thinking?" and they will be able to answer with something different than "stuff". I have found that someone. I see him everytime I look in the mirror. He has that troubled, concerned look but he never forgets to pair it with a reassuring smile. He's a neat guy, we get along really well!
  Now you must be sure that I'm a schizophrenic with a torn personality who talks to himself. It's nothing like that, ask the other guy! Right, man? All jokes aside, if you think about it, you can all relate. Haven't you ever been in a situation where you just wanted some time for yourself? Not because you were depressed, angry or concerned about something. You just wanted some time, you and your thoughts. In a hot summer night, sitting on the balcony, looking at the stars while listening to songs with meaningful lyrics you can appreciate. Μaybe not even listening to music. Total silence.
 Observing the stars makes me think about how small I am compared to what's out there. It really makes me wonder. It makes me forget about every tiny, insignifigant concern I have. It makes me escape my reality, even for a little bit. It puts a smile on my face. 
 The sky in general is my favourite thing on earth. It amazes me how a little bit of imagination turns all the shapes of the clouds into anything you can think about. Each one has a story behind it, a journey to go through. Each one is unique. For some people they are not that fascinating. They are just clouds. Random shapes. They don't mean anything, right? No! If you use your imagination, you can give a meaning to everything. After all, it's your most powerful weapon to escape reality. Use it wisely.
 That concludes today's blog. I know we are in difficult times and we have to worry about a lot of things nowadays but in case you want to forget about them for a bit, you know what to do. Sit back, relax and observe. Open your mind, escape reality. I'm leaving you with this famous quote from the first man on the moon, just food for thought. Thanks for reading and have a nice day!

"It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small".

Neil Armstrong

Yours faithfully, 
Stelios Zesiades

Πέμπτη, 16 Μαΐου 2013

Blog no.4: O tempora, o mores!

Dear insomniac people,

  Yeah, all the 20 of you who stumbled upon this blog. Welcome! It's 3 a.m., I'm listening to sad, atmospheric music and I'm bored. You know the drill... I'm back for another afterhour blogging session, since my last one was such a huge success. As long as there's free and unwanted space in the world wide web...! Hey, I even bothered to use a latin phrase for a headline to make it look fancier. "O tempora o mores!" means "Oh what times! Oh what customs!". Now whether I have learned that from Asterix or not is a different story.
 I'm back to talk about something that has been an item of discussion since a long time ago, though it has gathered a lot of attention since all these funny content sharing websites such as 9gag and Reddit went viral. I'm sure if you occasionally check any of these websites, you have come across with some, if not many "only 90's kids will remember this" posts, ranting about how cool and superior the 90's kids were. Yes, I know you can relate to most of them. And yes, I know you were, most likely, born in the 90's. If not: go to bed! You have school tomorrow, what's the matter with you? Ah! I'm such a great role model!
 Anyways, I have to say that all of us who lived through the 90's agree those were awesome times that we all loved. Have you ever consider though that the 90's were more than a decade ago? Do you know what was great about the 90's? We were kids back then! Of course we had fun. Of course we played outside. Of course we remember them as "the best years of our lives"(most of us). Our only worries were: "Oh man, if it rains, I won't be able to play football today" or "Damn, I can't remember were I put my toy soldiers". It was fun and it was easy. But, you know, times change. People change. It's the logical continuation of things.
 We like to recall the 90's because it brings us back to these childhood years. We like to think that our generation was better than the next one and we like to blame the newer generations for being different than us. But the funny thing is that the 70's kids said the same thing about the 80's kids, the 80's kids about the 90's kids and so on and so forth. What is so special about being born in a particular decade? The music? The television? Nowadays with the development of the internet, we can listen to whatever we want to, we can watch whatever we want and we can find any information we'd like. I have to say that I feel lucky I get to enjoy music from several different decades and I get to watch any film I like by just searching for it in the web. There's nothing bad about technological evolution. If used correctly, it makes our lives easier and much more interesting, while opening infinite doors for us to discover. After that, it's a matter of the individual whether he choses to do so or just ignore the opportunities. Our boundaries are set by our thirst for knowledge.
 Some might say "Yeah but the kids nowadays never play outside". Well, the kids of today are raised by the previous generations. It is their duty to teach their kids how to use the tools given to them in a good manner. And besides, last time I checked there were plenty of children playing outside. That's just something we say to fulfil our image of the current generation. The other common phrase is "There is no good music nowadays". If you believe that, you obviously haven't searched much deeper than your local radio station. There was always good and bad music and we've proved that it's the good one that survives the tests of time.
  Wow, that was a gigantic rant! But hey, these are just my thoughts on the 90's nostalgia trends. I'm not by any means saying that I don't get nostalgic over my childhood. I even consider blogging about that in the future. I'm just saying that as an individual, you have to adapt to the current situations and appreciate what you have now, rather than imagining what it could have been. Don't be close-minded, don't generalize and accept change. And by the words of a great man, I bid you farewell.

"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."

  - Walt Disney

Yours sincerely,
Stelios Zesiades.

P.S.: I swear, one day I'll leave a quote memorable enough to be put in Italics, in front of a random background!

Τετάρτη, 8 Μαΐου 2013

Blog no.3: The little things.

Dear random citizens of the world,

 Greetings! Sorry for taking me so long to post a new blog, had some obligations and...oh who am I kidding, I was bored beyond imagination, stayed in bed and watched soft rom-coms throughout the weekend. Sometimes you get into a state where you have so much stuff to do, you just decide to do nothing and eventually get sucked into procrastination and mindless web-browsing, or how most people call it, laziness. I prefer to call it "weekend crisis".
 Oh well, enough about that. Today I decided to write about something that everybody can relate to, even though they might not realize it themselves. That is the little things in life. What I mean by that? The little things you do unknowingly that define your character. The little things you randomly stumble upon in your everyday life that might not be important or even noticable to most people but you notice and enjoy. The little things that can put a smile on your face after a miserable day. I for one, try to notice these as much as possible, in order to find a reason to smile even in the roughest of days. In order to be a happier, more positive person. Because happiness is something you pursue, not something you wait and expect to happen.
 And you are asking what are these little things? You might laugh at how simple they are. What might make your day? Making the perfect cup of coffee before a morning class. Listening to your favourite song when walking around the neighbourhood and singing along. Walking your dog while listening to music, practicing the air drums along the way, without caring about the guy who's looking at you as if you were nuts. Doing a special 5-minute secret handshake with your best friends.Trying to remember where you have seen that actor before and after hours of torturing your poor brain suddenly remembering. Getting a reference from a movie you watched which your friends didn't. Knowing the answer of a very difficult question because of randomly encountering it previously. These are just some examples and I'm sure you can relate.
 But it's not just the little things you encounter everyday. It's the little things you can do to make you a better person. Saying thank you to a stranger who held the door open for you. Giving your bus seat to someone who needs it more than you do. Helping an old lady carry her bags across the street. Giving directions to the tourists in font of you who are obviously lost, struggling with a gigantic map to pinpoint their location. Offering to keep a stranger under your umbrella on a rainy day. Basically, just being nice to others.
 Even though my examples may seem insignifigant for some of you, they mean a lot to me. Why is that? These little things help me stay positive no matter what the situation. They make life more interesting and they relieve stress. They make me a happy and positive person. People might say that being optimistic is being unrealistic. Well, I have to disagree with them. Being optimistic gives you courage, strength, hope. It helps you overcome every obstacle life throws in your path. It makes you a better person. If you manage find a balance between thinking logically and being optimistic, you are in the right direction. Don't expect things to happen if you don't have the mentality to pursue them. "When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade". No! You don't wait for life to give you lemons. You seek the lemons and you get them yourself. And then you make some freaking delicious lemonade and enjoy it with your friends. You can either go through your life or live it. It's your call.

My regards,
Stelios Zesiades.

P.S. Don't forget to enjoy the little things!

Τετάρτη, 17 Απριλίου 2013

Blog no.2: All we need is music.

Dear fellow humans,

I have to say that I've struggled to draw inspiration to write my second blog. I'm so sorry that I kept you waiting (talking to the few guys who stumbled upon my first blog after running out of stuff to do online). Anyways, as I said I couldn't find inspiration to write this. I know it's 3 o' clock after midnight and I'm probably going to regret staying up late tomorrow but I have things to say and I'm listening to John Murphy's "The surface of the sun". Can't stop now, can I?

The above combination of sleepiness and an epic soundtrack has lead me to today's topic: music. To clear it out, with music I mean good, inspirational music. Even though everyone's perception of what's good and what's not is different, we can all relate to this topic. I believe we all experience similar feelings related to the music we listen to, doesn't matter if that comes from listening to Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Eminem, the Black Eyed Peas or a surprisingly good street artist. Music can make you feel things you otherwise wouldn't. That's why it's so heavily integrated into movies. Imagine watching Inception's last scene twithout listening to Hans Zimmer's "Time". Or the Ocean's 11 fountain scene without Debussy's "Claire de Lune" playing in the background. How about Pokemon: The power of one, without the beautiful ocarina melody? Music reaches deep inside your heart and triggers your emotions. It can make you smile. It can make you cry. It can make you think about things beyond your everyday concerns. It can inspire you to do things you otherwise wouldn't. And it will exist as long as humanity does.

Music is as important to me as water. All right, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but it is pretty damn important. If you asked me what I'd rather be blind or deaf, I would say blind. I can live without being able to see, but you are able to feel much more with your ears rather than your eyes. I'm self-taught at playing the guitar and I enjoy singing as well, mostly practicing behind the shower curtain, using a shampoo bottle for a microphone. You would think everybody does that but just the other day my sister said to me "What the hell are you still doing in there? You have short hair for crying out loud". Ah sister, if you can't enjoy some quality bath-singing, I don't know what's wrong with you. Other than that, I listen to music everyday. Every second I'm on my computer (which is a lot) and some times in class to calm my tired mind after several hours of physics and maths. The kind of music I listen to depends on my mood. For example, I listen to some Franz Ferdinand on my way to school just for a smooth transition between sleep and an early class, I listen to InFlames when I'm exercising to get pumped and some rock n' roll when I'm on my computer gaming or working. Now I'm listening to some smooth Jet songs, to not interrupt my writing process.

The magic in music is that it's associated to each and everyone of us in different ways. I associate songs to my memories. I keep these songs in my playlists and when I randomly stumble upon them, these memories come back to me. Through music, I travel in my past, remembering all the good times and leaving all the negative ones behind. And there goes "Stairway to heaven", one of my favourite songs playing in the background, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. So, listening to music makes me think. Think about what really matters in life. It takes away all my concerns and it travels me somewhere with no obligations, in my own world, just me and my thoughts. And it's awesome.

I could go on and on about this subject but I have to sleep sometime soon, unfortunately I'm also expendable. Next time you are worried about something, pick up your headphones, plug them in and get lost in your own world. Until next time, I 'll leave you with these lines from the movie August Rush:

"Listen. Can you hear it? The music. I can hear it everywhere. In the wind...in the air...in the light. It's all around us. All you have to do is open yourself up. All you have to do...is listen".

Goodnight people of the internet.

My regards,
Stelios Zesiades.

Δευτέρα, 8 Απριλίου 2013

Blog no.1: Introduction to a big journey.

Dear curious(probably bored) reader,

this is my first of, hopefully, one of many blogs to come. A reason why I'm doing this blog is to give my concerns and my comedic approach to certain situations that occur during my life. This is a bit introductory but since you're reading this, you could spare some time to finish it. If you won't have a nice day sir! If you will, welcome and enjoy!

First things first, my name is Stelios and I'm greek-cypriot in case you're wondering what kind of alien name that is. It doesn't translate into English, although in the movie 300, Leonidas did call his soldier Stelios(the one who threw the spear towards Xerxes) with a slightely different accent than the greek equivalent. Anyways, if you know any Greeks or Cyrpiots they are probably named something like Andreas or Maria so that wouldn't matter (creativity at its finest). My parents are in Cyprus and I study computer engineering in Athens at the moment, living in an appartment with my 3 siblings. It's like I'm revisiting my childhood again, though now being mature enough not to cut a hole through my sisters' bedroom door after an intense childish argument. It's still rather difficult though. I started to realise how much I owe my parents for taking care of me for so long. Of course they still do, but in not in a traditional sense.

To continue, I'm 18 and a few months old but I try to distance myself from the general behaviour of my age group, not sure why. By general behaviour meaning the #SWAG #YOLO part of our modern society which I find particurarly offensive to humankind and our generation. Maybe I just don't want to go with the flow, or maybe I'm just a dumb hipster. Sure thing I'm not a tool of the modern trends for the most part, still listening to the music I grew up with, but discovering more and more great songs as I get deeper into it. Personally, I want to look back to myself when I grow older and be confident that I made the right choices. But hey, only time can tell, right?

If I would define myself, I would say I'm a lazy, romantic dreamer. One of my greater strenghts, however, is the fact that I try being nice to everybody. Whatever actions they take I don't judge, unless I have all the sides of their stories covered. I try reasoning with the ones that are worth discussing and ingoring any insults thrown at my face (being a gamer that happens quite a lot, actually). It's rather funny how many arguments could be solved if one of those arguing was reasonable. And that's why my closest group of friends are actually friends I've had since I was 6 years old, not counting my best friend whom I met at the age of 2. My biggest flaw? I would say the combination of ambitiousness and laziness, combined with my need to appeal to everybody. In other words, I have very high goals for my life, but being as lazy as I am, I will not achieve them unless I take action as soon as possible. And the other flaw I mentioned, is that I try too hard make a good impression to everyone, sometimes losing my true identity to do so. All these can be fixed though, and I'm positive they will. Hey! The blog is a big step forward, I've been meaning to start writing since a few years ago.

So that's the basic information about myself, hopefully you found some of it interesting enough to reach this point of my blog! No worries, you will definetely hear from me soon.

My regards,
Stelios Zesiades.