Another review of all smartphones ever

Divils.

The lot of them.

Since my last review of all smartphones ever, I acquired a new smartphone.  Last October.  Much shinier, much larger, and much more expensive.

Much tougher too, you’d imagine.  Was it shite tougher, ’twas no more sturdy than dandelion fluff.

The phone in question, is the OnePlus 3.  The Four, I like to call it.

It took it upon itself to also abandon me, six months in to our epic discovery of how handy technology actually is, just as I was cycling along appreciating the fact that it had actually lasted six months without a scratch.

I reached for my jacket pocket (waterproof and all, because I treated that phone like royalty hey), only to find that the Four had taken a leap for freedom the one time I hopped on my bike without zipping up my rain jacket pocket.

Off it went, not a shite given, and dived straight onto a busy Galway road, at rush hour, if you don’t mind, for fear it wouldn’t get run over and destroyed beyond repair.

Apparently the phone cover and ‘shatterproof’ screen protector were no match for the big ball of concrete which met the Four as its dream of freedom, as well as its screen, were shattered.

95% of the screen still worked, but it quickly gave up on bothering to display anything.  The lazy feck.

It has finally been fixed, almost two months later, and is generally just being class and fast and hi-tech as feck, so I haven’t spoken to a single human in person since I rebooted it, last night.  God bless phones and their ability to allow us to communicate, ha?

Divils.

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“Well you don’t need to lose weight anyway”

I’m not sure why this is a socially acceptable thing to say to people, but apparently it is.

I hear it often enough.  I don’t try to provoke it – I never bring up weight in conversation – yet it happens regularly.  And I don’t know how to respond.  And it’s awkward.

No, I don’t need to lose weight.  Really, I could do without losing any, if I want to stay healthy.  And I have no intention of losing weight.  Why so many people assume this is a thing I would be concerned with causes me mild confusion, to be honest.

It’s awkward for three main reasons:  Firstly, the person who says it, seemingly is concerned with weight and weight loss.  I don’t know what to say to them.  I have no desire to discuss their weight or my own.  It’s a touchy subject for a lot of people.  Secondly, it happens a lot if I make reference to that one bit of exercise I may have done that week or month.  I arrive into work all red, and explain that it’s because I’ve cycled in, so people get that I don’t normally sweat that much, and I’m told I don’t need to lose weight.  I wasn’t trying to lose weight.  I was mostly just trying to get to work, ’cause I didn’t have a car, and didn’t feel like walking 10k to get there.  That and being healthy and getting fresh air is always nice.  But now I almost feel bad for exercising.  Thirdly, it brings up everyone’s weight issues.  The person who says it may be thinking about their own efforts to lose or gain weight.  I’m reminded about the weight I lost over the past year, from stress and the like.  I don’t need to be reminded about stress and the like.  I’m trying to forget about stress and the like.

People often compliment others on their weight loss too.  Not to make a massive generalisation, but a lot of the time, all of this is done by women.  The problem here is, you have no idea why they lost that weight.  They may have exercised a lot, and eaten really well, and they might be grateful for recognition of their success at becoming healthier, yeah.  (Though I still think it’s risky because it might be promoting the idea that they should be a certain weight, in order to look good, which is not the intention.)  Or they might have had a fairly tough time recently, causing them to lose their appetite.  Anxiety, depression, stress and much more can cause rapid weight loss.  If you want to compliment someone on how much they’re struggling, then sure, compliment them on their weight loss, and how great that look now that they’re wasting away.  Otherwise, maybe don’t.

I’m not intentionally skinny.  I haven’t been dieting at all, or even exercising half as much as I should.  I just have a light build.  And I’m unusually tall, for a girl.  So my weight, which isn’t actually that low, is spread out over a decent amount of space.  But people have felt the need to comment on this since I was little.

To me, it just seems roughly as ridiculous as casually bringing up the fact that someone is morbidly obese.  Rude, awkward, and generally unpleasant.  When are we going to stop placing all this emphasis on being skinny?  Being skinny should not be a goal.  Being healthy should be.  If you are skinny, you’ll probably spend a lot of time feeling a tad awkward or guilty about it, because people comment on it all the time.  Today I was told “you’ve a great figure”, which was lovely, but I don’t know how to respond, like do I just say “haha yeah genetics are great” or do I do the classic Irish thing and claim to be obese (spoiler: no).  Other times people just say “oh my god you’re so skinny”, to which I don’t really know what to say, short of just apologising (I haven’t tried this method), and if it’s a very unfortunate day, this pretty much equally skinny person will refer to themselves as fat.  I don’t have time to spend my days telling women they’re not fat.  They have access to mirrors and weighing scales, they should be able to figure out that they’re not fat for themselves.  Not that they’d believe me anyway, because disagreeing with someone saying they’re fat is generally just sort of polite, unless you’re their doctor or something.

This may not be the greatest problem to face the world of 2016, but it is annoying.  It’s usually unintentional, but it promotes a negative idea about how people should look, and for that reason, it makes me uncomfortable.  You decide if you need to lose weight.  Aside from your GP, I wouldn’t really let anyone else weigh in too much on that decision.

Writing

Oh my god that’s a great idea.

What?

For the blog.  I have an idea for the blog.

Not now.  I’m trying to do an assignment.

But it’s good.

I have a thousand words left to write.

No but you should put this on your blog.

Whisht, I need to concentrate.

Yeah, on the blog.

Stop.

But it’s class.  That assignment’s no craic anyway sure you’ve been putting it off for weeks.

That’s exactly why I really need to focus on it now.

But it’s such effort.

I AM AWARE OF HOW MUCH EFFORT IT IS.

Right.  Back to this literature essay.

I bet that lad didn’t ignore all his class ideas.

Who?

That buck whose book you’re writing about.  Camus is it?

Voltaire.

Anyway, divil a book he’d have written if-

Alright, what is it, what’s your idea?

That’s it.

What?

What you’ve just written.


You wanted me to write about not being able to write?

Yeah lol classic.

Are you serious?

Gets me every time.

You little feck…  Right, I need to get back to this essay.

*Yawns*

*Yawns*
Jeez I’m exhausted.

‘Course you are, sure you’ve spent the last while writing this.  Probably should’ve done that essay when you were more alert.

Are you shitting me?

Would’ve been an idea like.

An idea?  I’ll give you an idea…

No you won’t lol you’re too tired.


I’m going to bed.

A review of all smartphones ever

Update:  This post has been reproduced over on Ireland’s Technology Blog.  Exciting times for all involved.

It’s five months since I joined the world of smartphones.  (I’ve always been mad for the latest gadgets.)  I decided to upgrade from my Nokia 5310 Xpress Music.  There’s a good chance you made the very same decision, about 6 years ago.

On reflection, for me it was a poor decision.  My seven-year-old phone still works, and only has two cracks on the screen, despite becoming well-acquainted with the floor over the years.

My new phone, a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime, pales in comparison.  Though larger, it is much weaker.  Its screen lasted seven days before shattering, quite artistically, after the phone dived from my hand onto the floor, from a height of 1-2 feet.  “A bit of a soft lad”, one might say.  “‘Smart’, me eye,” others may conclude.

It has since been provided with a lovely protective cover and a solid screen protector, albeit a little too late, for poor wee Sam.

It needs charging every day, if used a lot; 36 hours on the trot would be a serious push for the cratoreen.

It doesn’t have buttons.  Well, just two, on the side.  Madness.

Its radio is just not as good as the blokia’s.  It doesn’t even work without internet.  Serious hey.

The alarm won’t go off, if the phone is switched off.  I have now had to become a crazy human who leaves their phone switched on, overnight, despite aiming to sleep.

Needing to charge the phone more than once or twice a week (ridiculous, really), and not being able to fire it across the room once I’ve the alarm set, make waking up hugely problematic.  At night, my phone stays near my bed, because that’s where the only plug sockets are, and no matter how far away I place it, I can either reach it without fully leaving my bed, or I can pull it within reach using the charger.  The result being that it is scientifically impossible to get out of bed when my alarm goes off.

There was none of that shite with old Blokky.  Alarm on.  Phone off.  Close the eyes and bam, throw the phone in any direction (gently, to avoid property damage).  Job done.  Who knew where the alarm sound would be coming from in the morning?  The only option would be to leap out of bed to find it before it woke the nation.  Bed exited.  Mission accomplished.

Refusing to speak English while on erasmus

As I mentioned a while back, I decided to stop speaking English for the remainder of my erasmus.  Yesterday evening, I had my last ever erasmus class (well, that was really on Monday, seeing as for yesterday’s class we just went to the Christmas market, but anyway).  Seeing as that marked the end of erasmus (I’ve finished all my exams bar one not very significant one tomorrow –  ahh, nearly forgot it was tomorrow…), I decided to let myself speak English again, starting at about 6pm.

It was interesting.  A few people had almost forgotten I spoke English, and thought it was bizarre to hear me speak it again, once they realised.  I surprised myself by not struggling to remember every word I needed, which happened regularly after being immersed in Spanish for a few months.  It was seventy full days since I quit speaking English.  Granted, I obviously spoke it on certain occasions – Skype calls, having visitors, meeting up with people from my home college, language exchanges, randomly enough bumping into new Irish people and sometimes on occasions where English-speakers I hadn’t told about my silly plan popped up.  So there were about two weeks within that where abstaining from English was largely ignored.  For the rest of it though, was it actually worth it?

Well for starters, I spoke far more French than I would have if I didn’t decide to do this, which for me makes it worthwhile.  I also resorted to other languages more often, and even learned or revised a little bit of Spanish, Irish, German (klar!), Chinese (nǐ hǎo was all I picked up, but it’s a start), Japanese, and possibly some Italian (io non parlo italiano).

Attempting to speak the language, while not resulting in fantastic improvements in my level of French, at least made me less embarrassed about trying to speak it, and most of all made it much easier for me to respond any time a French person magically appeared and said something to me in French.  Previously, when I was used to using English, simply responding to a basic question or greeting was far more challenging, as I wasn’t thinking in French at all, so I’d have to take a moment to register what language was actually being spoken to me, and then my brain would have to switch to that language, and form a response.  By which time the other person would probably have said something like “ah you don’t speak French”, and then said whatever they’d originally said in English.  If you’ve ever tried to speak the local language of a place when it’s not your native one, you’ll know that once this happens, there is almost never any going back.

Which basically made me go down this route in the first place.  This and the fact that, even though I can never seem to lie about the fact that I speak English if someone asks me (despite responding in their language anyway, to sort of hint at the fact that maybe I’d like to continue speaking that language please please please), avoiding speaking English at least made it easier to keep speaking French, even when native speakers of it kept responding to me in English.  As soul-crushing as it was, I at least got to practise speaking it, even if I didn’t get to try and improve my comprehension of it often.

Another benefit was that when erasmus students with really good English realised I was speaking French to Irish people, it probably made them more inclined to speak French to me rather than English.  And they’re often easier to understand than native speakers, because they usually speak more slowly, and get it when you have no idea how to express what you’re trying to say, often even knowing exactly what you’re trying to say even when you don’t have the exact words.  We’re like, telepathic or something, I don’t know.

A major, and very obvious negative aspect of the whole ordeal however, was simply not being able to speak.  I could communicate, obviously, but not as quickly or accurately as I’d have liked, without throwing in a couple of English words now and then.  But that in itself sort of pushes you to improve.  Or at the very least, it makes you more aware of what you need to learn – if you can’t say a certain basic word in French, maybe you should look it up next time you get a chance.

Your personality changes a bit when you speak a different language too.  So I was mainly la Sarah française since the start of October, aside from the odd outburst of Irishness in the form of exclamations like “shite” and “jaysus”.  It’s far more difficult to joke in French too, when you’re not fluent in it, which is a shame, but sometimes attempts at speaking French or weird phrasing end up funny in themselves, so that cancels it out somewhat.

If I was to go back in time, I’d still do the same – it was difficult, but I would have found erasmus more difficult if I’d continued with what I’d done in September and spoken loads of English.  If it was possible, I’d have done my erasmus with no other native English speakers, but that was either not at all possible, or extremely close to impossible, and I didn’t think of going as far as asking the people in charge of my erasmus placement to just send me to any French-speaking area within Europe where they thought there would be the least amount of English speakers, please and thanks, despite that being my priority when making my erasmus choices.  English speakers are cool though, so it’s nice that I did get to know a few of them while here.

Hashtag Jennifer Lawrence

The title of my last post might suggest that I’m starting to get the hang of this clickbaiting craic.  Don’t worry though, I’m not going down that route, even if the title of this post completely suggests that.

It’s an amusing (soul-destroying) phenomenon to observe though.  The lads over on Channel 4’s ‘Craic Addicts’ are fairly wise to it, and do a fantastic job of explaining the shenanigans of some of the biggest successes in online journalism, in this episode from their series of short videos.

Chris Greene and Peter Ganley, creators of Channel 4’s ‘Craic Addicts’

The Jennifer Lawrence reference also makes sense when you watch the video, I swear.

Why I’ve started experimenting with a certain drug

For the first twenty years of my life, I was sober. I somehow managed to defy the Irish stereotype which ultimately results in the notion that we, as a nation, are “fond of the drink”. I avoided the drug for longer than most people expected, or indeed thought was normal, seeing as I got a lot of questioning over it.  Strangely, much more so as an underage non-drinker, which eventually resulted in me sadly giving up on the battle with peer pressure, and having about enough drinks to count on one hand, while I was seventeen.  I then turned eighteen, and decided that because I could now legally drink, it was an ideal time to give up drinking (logical, eh?), not that I’d ever really started.

Yes, the drug I’m talking about is alcohol.  Many people don’t consider it a drug, but it is.  Apparently, it’s more harmful than heroin and cocaine, though that could just be based on the sheer number of people who cause harm to themselves or others because of alcohol, compared to other drugs.  Look at me, referencing things I haven’t a clue about – you’d swear this was an assignment!

I have literally started drinking in the hope that it will improve my college results. No, seriously. This is basically an experiment to see if it will. That or I’ll become a fully fledged alcoholic, only time will tell.

The craic may also secretly be a factor, but it’s more empowering and mildly amusing for me to think of it as a means of helping my education.

I study languages. My course involves a huge amount of travel – we generally spend between a year, and a year and a half of our four-year course, abroad – usually in two different countries. The idea of this, of course, is that we greatly improve upon the languages we study. Naturally, this involves meeting a lot of new people, and often being in situations where you’re both the only outsider, and the only one non-native speaker of the language. It’s often difficult being an outsider when you can speak the local language, but add to this an inability to express yourself clearly, or communicate with others easily, and it makes for some tricky situations.

And that’s where the alcohol comes in. I’ve both noticed, and been told, that alcohol makes people talk more.  Even when it’s not in a language they’re fluent in – that doesn’t matter. The alcohol doesn’t care. It just thinks you should speak. A lot. So you do.

(Not exactly a groundbreaking discovery here, but, as I may have hinted before, speaking a language actually helps you improve it. Probably more so than any other form of study.)

Basically, I could spend all day in the library studying French grammar, or I could go out in a French-speaking area, have a few drinks, and chat away with people in French for the night. The latter sounds like more fun, and could very well be more beneficial. Yes, it’s times like this that I rediscover my love for my course. You know, when our assignments are basically to go travel and have the craic in whatever languages we’re studying (*ahem* as well as, of course, work and study and all that…), rather than readings and essays and the likes.

Sure, I can easily talk plenty without alcohol, but I’ve found that it requires a lot of effort, sometimes, and that even when I’m confident enough in my ability to communicate, I end up being really quiet in large groups.  Or just in general, when it comes to languages other than English. I’m used to embarrassing myself by needing a few attempts at saying what I’m trying to say, or simply saying things incorrectly, or being misunderstood because of my accent (if I had a euro for every time someone thought I said I was from ‘Holanda’, or ‘Hollande’, instead of ‘Irlanda’, or ‘Irlande’…). I don’t care as much about that anymore. But I’ve found that when I am brave enough to chat in groups, that it sometimes takes me a while to pluck up the courage to do so, or that I simply don’t do it enough. And it’s sad relying on alcohol to counteract that, but honestly, it’s way easier, and far more efficient.  (I’m lazy.)

So there you go. I really have given up being a non-drinker for the purpose of language learning. That, and I won’t lie, after a few years you do get a little sick of being completely sober while a minority of extremely drunk people are generally just being irritating on nights out (the majority of course being great craic – genuinely, otherwise I wouldn’t be out with them), but I don’t think that alone would have caused me to start drinking.

*Spoiler* I’ll probably return to the non-drinker life again soon enough.  That or I’ll just continue to barely drink, being the lightweight that I am, and will probably have more non-alcoholic nights out than ones where I drink, even if people don’t seem to get why I’d want to do that.  At least if I quit, I’ll now finally get to say “I’ve been sober for X months/years”, which might be a fun challenge to keep track of.  That and maybe people would react more positively to that than the old “yeah I never really drank” line.

And that concludes this episode of reasons to drink, according to Sarah.

Cheers.

(I’m sorry okay I’m terrible for attempting to make puns, or laughing at even the worst ones.  I don’t think that even counts.)

 

(If you’re wondering why I avoided alcohol for so long, seeing as most people ask, or at least are probably a little curious about it, I’ll get to that another day, it would take far too long to explain in this post.)