The point

My most recent (non-spam) comment was fairly accurate: the author couldn’t see the point of my blog/post. I hope to rectify that with more constructive blog posts, but my limited/non-existent access to the internet is making this rather difficult. If all goes according to plan, I should have more regular internet access as of this week. At that stage more shall be coming on this blog, including a possible design change if I find the time to play with (and perfect) some ideas I have.

For now, though, I can’t even leave you with one of my nicer recent photos. Those live on my internet-less machine at home. I plan to upload a number of photos from trips that took place more than three years ago and got temporarily lost in between hard drive failures. So there is more to look forward to, especially seeing as I *still* haven’t pushed out my thoughts from my trip to Germany last month, or any of my more recent thoughts. (Thankfully, I *did* call my blog Slow Thoughts, but even I didn’t see them becoming this slow.)

So, um, once again, please do watch this space.

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Delays

Apologies – I have no internet at home, so I am behind on almost all my correspondence. This situation looks like it should be resolved in the next two weeks, but for the time being my sparse posting is likely to continue.

More soon. (Hopefully.)

Perspective

I’ve been traveling with my parents since they arrived in the US on the 21st of May, and being with them has been very interesting. They have never been to the US, so it’s been very good for my sense of perspective to hear their take on what they’ve seen. After four years here, I’ve become jaded towards some aspects of society in the US, and my parents have reminded me of the differences between home and the US. Furthermore, I closely watched their interactions with my (American) girlfriend, though there were also other motivations for that: they had never met each other…

Beyond the personal aspects of perspective, there were still some marked differences between the ways all four of us perceive and interact with the world around us. I would love to elaborate on some of the conversations that revealed these differences, but I am not going to go that far – the conversations weren’t meant to be public. Still, I think I gleaned a lot from them that isn’t specific to my parents and girlfriend.

One of the things that has struck me throughout my time in the US is the amount of waste that is produced here, as well as some of the unnecessary consumption that drives the production of that waste. My parents came to Amherst for one of the worst weekends of the year for waste: when all the graduates leave college, they discard all manner of items that they’ve accumulated over four years, including large and expensive items like sofas and televisions. Beyond that, each student throws away all sorts of knick-knacks, papers and such-like in leaving his or her room. The amount of rubbish produced is quite mind-boggling, especially to people like my parents, who are used to items being specifically handed on to new owners. They were also shocked to see how much waste is produced through the use of disposable cutlery, plates and the like for many kinds of catering. Just about everything is thrown away. And what is worse, much of the food itself is also discarded. At a number of restaurants, portions are really large. At home, we are used to eating whatever is put in front of us. In the US, though, the level of wealth and waste makes it possible for many people to discard whatever they don’t feel like at the time: they have funds available for a later purchase of food. The result – lots of discarded food. As per the college example, this situation extends to all sorts of possessions. It marks one of many differences between home and the US. I think going home again will be good for my perspective, because I will again be with an outsider seeing things at home from a different perspective to my own. It won’t be the first time that’s happened, but it is always good to reconsider how one looks at the world.

P.S. I am aware that I haven’t seen poverty in the US, such as it is. My time in the US has not involved seeing the hard side of American life: I don’t deny it’s existence, but it’s nowhere near as prevalent or as intense, I would argue, as the poverty at home.

P.P.S. My parents left the US today, but I think I will be thinking about their impressions of the US, and my reactions to their impressions, for quite some time to come.

An Abrupt End

So that “college” thing is finished: I graduated last weekend (the 27th of May) and walked away with a diploma, a shiny new cane, and wonderfully many friends and memories. I’m amused that I can already sound sentimental, seeing as I’ve been more than ready for graduation for quite some time. I suppose the only thing I rue is the fact that I didn’t have nearly enough time to see all of my friends during the course of the weekend. But it’s now over, for which I am grateful. (Though as you will see, much has happened in the time since graduation…)

Starting up

And so it begins…

This is my first foray into blogging, which is quite late by most standards of blogging, but I do have reasons for waiting this long. Some of my waiting was because I had no idea what blogging was all about. But as soon as I got that part sorted out, I still delayed my blogging. Because, quite simply, I didn’t know whether I had anything worth saying to anyone and everyone at large. I mean, I could whine and moan about my assigned reading, papers, work, et cetera, but that wouldn’t benefit anyone. So I remained silent. Until now.

Over the last few months, I’ve been reading fairly tech-specific blogs, but my conception of what a blog is and what it does have developed quite rapidly. More importantly, though, I’ve discovered that there is stuff I want to share with people. Most importantly, however, the stuff I want to share might even be interesting to people! Now that’s a thought. (It’s probably way off the mark, but you can blame that on optimism.) But what is this “stuff” I’ve mentioned? At this stage, I can’t flesh that idea out. Some of it will be social commentary based on news, some of it will be an attempt to generalise my experiences to others, and some of it will simply be my observations of things around me. It’s a very vague list of “stuff” so I (and you) had better be correct in assuming that my opinions will actually be interesting to many people. We shall have to see.

Real posts will be coming soon.