Σάββατο, 31 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

Blog no.20 - A year of firsts

Dear disappointed dudes/dudettes,

  THE END IS NEIGH! The end of the year at least, since Giant Meteor 2016 didn't win the american presidential elections after all. It's been a year of experiences, a year of celebrity deaths, a year so full of chaos you'd think that the world was actually coming to an end. Well, the year's almost over and we managed to survive it all fairly decently, albeit a little bit bruised. The end of the year shouldn't find you recalling all the fuckups you experienced with dread, but with positivity. All the stuff that went wrong in this shitty year is in the past. It should be a time of remembering what you accomplished, no matter how big or small it was. And for god's sake, none of that "New Year resolution" crap, I'm talking about things that matter. Good or bad, everything you experienced will shape you into the person you will eventually become, just make sure it always leads to a better version of yourself year by year.
 It has been a year of firsts for me. I hosted strangers for the first time and had the time of my life doing so. I played music in the streets in front drunk tourists who danced to our ethnic sounds, I visited places I hadn't visited before with some vary sweet (and occasionally barefoot) travelers, and I confessed my feelings to a girl for the first time ever. I formed friendships (and other -ships), and despite all the heartbreak, anxiety, and negativity it oozed throughout, it's been great. Why is that? Under the stream of horrible TV news, breakups and some really awful days it has been a year of experiences. I found out that no matter how much shit I've been through in a single year, it always leads to something better.
  We live in interesting times ladies and gentlemen, all we can do is sit back and try to enjoy the ride. Everything we go through will eventually become something to recall in hot summer nights on the beach, or under a warm blanket with only just the Christmas lights and the moon to guide us, or maybe sitting on a bench in the middle of a packed square while waiting for our next adventure to begin. "This is not the end, this is not the beginning" says 21st century philosopher Chester Bennington in Linkin Park's "Waiting for the end", because nothing ever truly ends, it just becomes a memory.  
  There will always be good and bad days - everybody has their rough patches - but if you endure them all you might come up with something amazing in the end. That's what life is basically, a really difficult and complicated game full of twists and turns that not even Shyamalan could think of. It's trial and error, it's falling down over and over and over again and then getting up only to find yourself down again. After you find your stride though, it will be much more difficult to fall and even if you do so, so what? Getting up for the 101st time will be so much easier than the first hundred times. Just gotta keep playing, you know?

"Merry Christmas ya filthy animal, and a happy new year!" - The Home Alone guy in the fake movie. While shooting some other guy. Maybe not what I should've gone with. Oh well. 

Here's to another amazing, shitty, tiring, awesome year, and yet another year of firsts. Keep your head high and your beer hand higher, and keep on keeping on.

Your friendly dude,

Stelios Zesiades.

Τετάρτη, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2016

Blog no.19: I hate ticking clocks

I hate ticking clocks.
Whatever you're doing,
No matter how you've been
They just tick tick tick.

They distract you from your thoughts
They bring you back to reality
They make you wonder how time flies
They remind you of every passing second

It's really unfair how it all moves so fast
But still not fast enough
How am I supposed to have the time?
I wish I could be a ray of light

I really hate to be reminded
That for one more day I did not shine
I see no shadows on the walls
I've been in the dark for so long

I'm still just a speck of dust
A drop of water in the rain
A complex of molecules
Trying to figure themselves out

Everyone sees time
Moving in a straight line
But all I want to do
Is to go back and rewind

I hate ticking clocks
All they do is take time away from me.

P.S. I'm not depressed, I just really fucking hate ticking clocks.
P.P.S. This was all inspired by the one in the guest room which I have no idea who it belongs to. 

Πέμπτη, 25 Αυγούστου 2016

Blog no.18: Back to the future

Dear time-travellers,

You know how back in your day you probably thought of the 21st century as the century that would make everything we ever knew until then obsolete? (Assuming you're from the past, if not what the hell are you doing here? You know how things will work out.) We would have flying cars, we would have colonized a few other planets, achieved interstellar travel and teleportation or even travel back and forth through time. People were so fast to dream big, so excited to fantasize about a futuristic era with floating cities and underwater ones and since we haven't been able to do so (yet!) they don't appreciate what we have achieved in these few decades, or they heavily critisize it as a step in the wrong direction. What have we achieved so far you ask? Well, person living in an internet-less era, you'll have to sit down for this one.
  In just a few decades we have not only created a world wide web that connects everything and everyone wherever they are (except my stupid apartment elevator, of all places), we are now able to control it in the palm of our hands. We have these little devices that can give us any piece of information we like in very minimal time, and we're very much addicted to them as anyone would be if they had the chance. We live in the age of information, where everything is possible and you can learn about whatever your heart pleases in a heartbeat. And what we use it for you say? Well, we mostly argue about stuff and call each other names, as is tradition in human nature but we have started getting better at it for sure. We are so preoccupied to our future not living up to impossible standards, we didn't realize we are actually living in it, so spoiled by being able to control everything through a little piece of technology which a few years back would be a glorified walkman at best that we don't understand how to harness its true power through something we've always been great at: learning. Talking to a friend living hundreds of miles away without paying incredible amounts of money or relying on the post office to actually locate your friend in Middleofnowheresville, has become a novelty, really. Truth is, I can't really blame anyone on how they use the internet, since it's not something people consider a tool, but rather a convenience. That's not gonna be the case for long though, and here's why. 
  In my mind there are three generations of people living currently on this planet. There's the older generation that was born before the internet was even concieved as an idea, much like you dear visitor from the past. You lived in a post-WW2 era, when the dust was settled for the most part, you lived a happy albeit boring childhood, your toys consisted of plastic soldiers, footballs and bicycles and your games were always outdoors. You didn't have to worry much about learning stuff since the job market was at its peak when you graduated, so you were able to do just fine with a college degree and a knick for settlement. Most of your knowledge stems from encyclopedias, books, newspapers and occasionally stories you were told by your parents or grandparents. During the explosion of the internet you were already in your 30's or 40's, you didn't need anything else and were just fascinated to hear about the advancements, but since you didn't need to use it, you didn't bother to. Now it has taken over the world and you're so technologically incompetent that you don't really understand how to use it properly, so you rely on the second or third generation to help you with that. You are slowly learning though, and now you're at a point where you can use it by yourself, just not at its true potential. Which brings us to the second generation, the generation that I will name "the transition generation".
  Gotta say I'm biased, being part of this "transition generation" but here's how I see it: We lived in the era where the internet was starting to become the powerhouse it is now. World was starting to get unstable after 9/11 but it was still mostly safe. We didn't have super fast lines and we had to hear a symphony of alien music to be able to go online but we actually could do so in our houses and in our disposal. We used it to, of course, download music, movies and, other, well, "stuff", and we discovered so much things we wouldn't be able to do so otherwise. We stretched our imagination to impossible lenghts since we knew the potential of this and we were told by our parents (the older generation) to "stop playing video games and just go outside". Truth is we did both equally, and we couldn't be happier about having a choice between those two things. We learned about technology first hand, we adapted to it and actually noticed the massive difference of the 00's to the 10's, we experienced the transition of the novelty of the internet to the necessity that it is today. We did our fair share of stupid shit using it, we've all caught all sorts of viruses and accidentally downloaded porn instead "Shrek 2" (was that just me?) We appreciate the tools we have right now, because we lived without them, we lived with them and that way we learned how to use them wisely. 
  Now for convenience I will just name the third generation "the information generation" since they were born in the "information era". Mostly consisting of people born after 2000, these people are just now becoming adults, living in a very unstable environment, with news of bombings, fires, killings and natural distasters every other day. Not to say that these things didn't happen before, but being able to know about them surely makes things look a lot worse than they used to. They were kids when my generation first started getting acquainted to the internet but in their teens they already had smartphones, when all the previous generation had was regular phones, and the one before them had two cans and a string. They've always been able to find whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, they had so much stuff going on at the same time, and they were so overwhelmed by the amount of things they could do at such a young age, that they started to neglect it. This is in my opinion the most wrongly accused generation, since they're the ones who have to work the hardest to achieve what the previous ones were simply given for free. Having facebook in their teens meant their embarassments were engraved online forever, which thankfully wasn't the case in my generation. Now, learning from their past mistakes they are actually using the internet how it's meant to be used: with caution. They are fast learners and will probably the most hard-working generation if they wanna dig themselves out of the mess that the first generation caused for the next ones. 
  Best way I can describe all three generations is the swimming analogy. The first generation didn't really have to learn how to swim since they weren't needed to, but as it became a necessity to learn how to swim they had to do so at a very difficult age. The second generation lived in the period where people started taking their kids to swim, and gave them the opportunity to adjust from not being able to swimg to being highly competent swimmers in their young years. The youngest generation was thrown into a pool with no lifejacket, and nobody to look after them except the occasional "don't go in too deep" from their parents. 
  As the time passes though, we have seen that all three generations have done what humans always did best: adjust. We are now just learning how to use this powerful tool that has been given to us and I gotta say, we're getting pretty good at it. We might not have colonized the moon, we haven't found the Atlantis yet and we still haven't been able to perfect our social skills but what we created, this interconnected universe we now have is just a marvel to look at. Now, all we need to do is stop blaming each other for the fuckups that brought us to this mess, and just work towards solving the problems we have instead of creating new ones. Will be easy enough, right? If anyone from the future is reading this, just make my laptop screen blink once so I know we start doing that....................................................................................................................................................Shit. Beer, anyone? 

Stelios Zesiades

To Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who made all this possible

Παρασκευή, 27 Μαΐου 2016

Blog no. 17: The art of letting go

Dear hot-headed beings,

"How are you so calm?" is a question I've been asked numerous times, and up till a few months ago I wasn't able to give a clear answer. Is it the fact that I find arguing a nigh useless exercise to solve one's problems? Maybe because I can't be bothered to get upset by the small differences with each individual person that tries to have an argument. Or am I just too damn beta to stand my ground and claim my so called "pride" as a man? In reality, I found that getting angry at everything does fuck-all for your mental well-being, which is incredibly important at this day and age. With the job market plummeting and the general consensus for my generation's future being: "We're fucked", a person should not let small bothersome things get on his nerves, and should just let them go, however "beta" that might seem.
  It's very difficult to swallow your pride and not talk back when someone wrongly calls you out, and even more difficult to not snap at someone when they're purposefully wronging you or taking you for granted. Mind me, backing off from arguments doesn't mean you should let people take advantage of you, it means to have the guts to not continue a meaningless argument and control your anger in a way where it helps you instead of consuming your brain from the inside. Approaching something with a clear head is the best way to go at it, really. Have conversations, not fights with people you disagree with. We all know that the first person who raises their voice usually loses the argument, no matter how right or wrong they were at the beginning. 
  It's not about being "zen" or whatever, it's about calculating your resources. I have only so much time to waste every day, and this way I can spend more time on things that actually matter (or, y'know, binge-watch Friends for the gazillionth time). That's not the point though, and time is not the only resource. I believe that you just can't afford to get mad that easily, since you tend to carry it through the day like every other feeling. When you're happy, everything seems a bit better. You won't mind a sudden storm, a late bus, or a fly following you around as if you fell in a septic tank. On the contrary, when you're mad you tend to get even more mad at the most insignificant things, like your coffee being too bitter or having to shower with cold water because the sun didn't feel like showing up today. Well, not being mad is half-way being happy, or at least sets you up for it. That's how I personally go about it, although I do occasionally snap and say the absolutely meanest things I can come up with, which is the other very real reason why I avoid fighting like the plague. 
  I know the importance of defending yourself and I'm all for it, but learning when it's worth it and when it's not is an art. Not a particularly creative art, nor a very dynamic one, but although it's rather binary in its nature, mastering it works wonders for your happiness, or at the very least your clear conscience and healthy mentality. Your happiness is highly dependant on yourself, but you have to work towards it and set yourself up for success. However, you don't have to be happy all the time, smiling, talkative, approachable; we're all humans after all , not puppies. You're definitely allowed to be mad at stuff, just don't hold onto them for very long. Be cool, calm, collected, and as my imaginary, animated, white-haired wife once said, "Let it go."

Your next-door-wannabe-anger-management-guru, 
Stelios Zesiades