The last westbound train has gone.

This is not the best thing to hear on a friday night saturday morning. Especially after you’ve walked for 30mins in the rain to get to the station. Of course, if you’re not from London or any other major city you’re probably not familiar with public transport past 11pm, let alone 24hr service. Although it seems Dagenham East lacks this too, eastbound trains were still running at 1:30am, so if you needed the 4 stops east of the station instead of the 55 stops west (I checked that on wikipedia…), you’re fine. For the unlucky westbound travellers, we are now faced with a difficult decision. There is always, as a matter of course in East London, a minicab firm in the station. However, a quote of £10 for the journey home (coupled with my lack of £10) soon killed that idea. Knowing the area well, I knew there was a junction about a mile away where you could catch the night bus. A mile, that’s 25 mins walking in the rain, on top of the walk you’ve already done. Or 10 mins running. And so it was that I ended up running through the rain-sodden streets of East London to the night bus-stop. It’s not any different to the day bus-stop, it’s even in exactly the same place, it’s just darker and more lonely.

Rather luckily, the bus came as soon as I got there (I too, was extremely impressed with this). In much the same way as the bus stops, night buses are not very much different from day buses. They do have an ‘N’ in front of the number, but that’s pretty much it. They are not, as certain films would have you believe, magical triple-decker buses that can bend the laws of physics (or am I missing a silent k?).I haven’t rode the night bus in a very long time, so was a fairly new experience for me.

After you get on and find a seat, you notice in this case that the bus is brand new and shiny with comfortable cushioned seats and no graffiti (the East London equivalent of First Class). You’ll also notice that you’ve joined a sort of silent night bus society. Far from being a mute nocturnal bus spotting group, this society is made so because of the similarities between everyone on the bus. From my experience, I imagine it’s quite rare you’ll find a sober person on the night bus (apart from the driver, hopefully). The night bus is sparsely populated, and everyone who is alcohol-infused will face the confusing and difficult decision as to which seat to sit in (unlike Rebecca Black’s case , there is actually a huge choice of seats). There were what looked like some seriously plastered riders who failed to reach their chosen seat before passing out in the aisle, followed by their friend’s attempts to revive/move them. Everyone else was sitting quietly, in one of 3 positions;

except there were too many seats...

1: Sprawled across 2 seats in an effort to get some sleep, of course with the knowledge that the night bus travels alot further than the day bus and there is a risk you’ll end up in Oxford Circus if you misjudge your sleeping time.
2: With neck muscles unable to support their heads so late at night they are resolved to either leaning against the window for support, on the floor in the aisle because they forgot they weren’t anywhere near the window when they tried to lean against it, or pressing their face into the seat in front.
3: Sitting halfway between the two seats fairly upright staring with utmost concentration at the CCTV monitor and its slow cycle through all of the cameras on the bus, looking tripped out at what’s going on, occasionally looking at the dot-matrix display saying where the next stop will be.

I was a firm number three here, sitting with a blank expression waiting for the time to press the bell.

I know I’ve just explained a completely pointless drunken story to you, but I found it quite an interesting experience that would otherwise be a very dull and boring tale. In fact, it was a very weird experience that I’m very surprised I remember. The moral of the story: God bless TfL.

Profanisaurus Tex(t)

So I found something on the internet today. No, it wasn’t porn. It was, however, quite rude and contains a few bad words. Internet Rule #24 states that “Every repost is always a repost of a repost”, so I have vaguely sourced it in the caption, but I don’t know who originally said it. It’s probably the most honest thing I’ve read in a long, long time, but I’ll leave it down to you guys to decide your own opinions.

Source: Anonymous /b/ user, no.1270365

Now, at first read this might seem like some guy’s attempt to justify his misery, but it’s so much more than that. Everyone can learn something from this. Even if you ignore the part where he spills his life’s woes, this still makes perfect sense and has a powerful message. There isn’t really that much for me to say about it, everything he’s trying to say is made clear just by reading it.

In my opinion, it’s an interesting alternative message to what everyone else says to you. Ignore it or take it to heart, there’s something cool about people who live their life with this sort of attitude. It’s definitely a harsh way of putting it, but if you’re down there’s no better advice to help you. Maybe.

You’re all awesome. Don’t forget it.

The time for action has come…and gone

Today marks the deadline for academic productivity. As of now, I no longer need to do any work at all (that’s not strictly true though, you’ll see why). Why is that? Well, today is the date of my last AS Exam. Forever (potentially, if I pass them all). Now all there remains to do is doss around waiting for the 18th August, Judgement Results Day. This day decides your next twelve months, and chooses for you whether you can continue into Year 13, or whether you have to sit Year 12 again. By that I mean the whole year. Like Groundhog day for the unlucky, and for 365 days, not one. (Checking my calendar, 2012 is a leap year so you actually get 366 days to do year 12 stuff. Based on that, it would be acceptable to say that the next year’s exam results should contain few failures as everyone had 24 hours more learning time, courtesy of the universe.

Unlike the original belief, the Sixth formers without exams aren’t free to vegetate until september. Nope, we have now (in Barking and Dagenham, at least) just two days of freedom before being made to return to learning, this time studying A2 subjects as a sort of bonus time extension to Year 13, much like the bonus leap year day. All in all, we do get quite a lot more than your basic nine months of learning time. This means, however, that we do have to (try to) learn dangerously close to the summer holiday. Unfortunately, this is simply a case of biting the proverbial bullet and holding out until July.

In the meantime, especially if you’re a geography student/fan, take a look at these pictures. Link here ->  http://bbc.in/kajrYU   <- Like them? The first couple I think are pretty awesome, that’s a majorly powerful (and impressive) volcano. We’re still on track for the end of the world next year, look out for it 😀

 

New Stuff & General Overhaul

My blog has changed. Drastically. Check it.

“So Tom, what have you changed?”
Well, for one, you’ll notice the theme. No longer is it white with psychedelic patterns. No longer is it particularly colourful. Instead, it’s gone hardcore. The old theme was called “Spectrum” (which, if you know a thing or two about physics, will make perfect sense). The new theme is called “Greyzed”. To me, it sounds a bit like a tag name (I’m certainly not a “chav” so don’t judge me for mistakes I make about that culture. I’m basing it solely on my experience of East London). However, not only would it be a silly tag name that wouldn’t earn you any respect at all, spray painting it on the side of a grey building would confuse some people. Or make them think you were a colourblind cow (Ed: that’s a very obscure attempt at a joke and I’d be surprised if even myself understands it the next time I read it). That’s neither here nor there though, as that’s the name of the theme. I didn’t create it. Strange name, but good theme, and the theme is really all that matters. Kudos to The Forge Web Creations, who designed it, and a very big thanks to them for making it a free theme, as ‘the best things in life are free’.

For two, the title has changed. No longer is it “Cloud Tom”. No longer does it metaphorically float “away with the fairies” (there’s a prize if you can source the person that most uses that quote, that I know, in the comments). As the new theme is a bit more heavy and down to earth, I figured I’d change the title to match. I was going for something that matched the theme but still hinted at the peaceful, floaty hippy-ness of the general direction of my writings. Hence, the “Dreamforge Revolution” was born. Not a literal revolution of course, that’s for Spain & the Middle East. It is meant, however, to relate to the idea that we are constantly fighting ourselves in our minds, resuling in the right (or wrong) decisions that we make in our lives. I’m well aware that it sounds deep and perhaps is evidence of how much thought I put into it (unlike the initial title rushed by my want to start blogging quickly) but I’m really happy with it. Yes, it is just a title, but I think it has quite a nice ring to it, even if it does sound a bit like the title of a Dragonforce song.

For three, the description has changed. “The ramblings of some guy you’ve probably never heard of”. Again, I didn’t really like it. 99% if the traffic to this blog is from the links to it in my *cough*Facebook*cough* info, Twitter bio or referring tweets. So most of the people who visit this (and probably you, the reader too) knows me to some level. Even if you’ve never met me, you’ve probably followed me on twitter for a little while so you’ll have a vague idea of my interests.  This rendered the description rather incorrect. *Change* and it’s now a literal summary of what you’re going to find written here. My thoughts. ‘Avant-garde’? That’s just a description. It might quite possibly be my favourite variety of metal music. It might be the way you think about what I’m writing here. That, however, is the idea. 🙂

“Your post starts with ‘New Stuff’, so what’s new?”
Not much, really. Like a Windows update, you’d be hard-pressed to find any noticeable change in the way your computer works. In much the same way, very little has changed in the way my blog works.
“But look! All of the widgets have swapped sides!”
That’s not new though, that’s just a change. Although, the new bit is indeed related to the widgets (the bar on the rightleft with the archive and twitter list). Look to the bottom of the widgets bar and you’ll find an additional widget, Subscriptions. You can now subscribe to my blog. If you’ve got a WordPress account you’ll get Facebook-style notifications. If you haven’t, you’ll get an e-mail. So everyone’s a winner. If you like reading this blog, do subscribe, it’s a nice little number on my stats page 😀 .

¡Viva la Revolución!
NERDFACTZ: if you look at this post in HTML you’ll realise that all of the full stops are italicised, unintentionally of course becuase of a WordPress bug. I’m not bothered enough to go around italicizing every full stop if you’re wondering. Also, this whole fact makes not a blind bit of difference to the way you read the post, unless you read at 500% zoom and notice the slightly elliptical instead of perfect circle full stop.

Late night thinking…

Is it a bad idea? I can imagine many people have made bad decisions late at night, particularly after several hours consuming alcohol by the keg. I’m not going to shy away from the fact that I, too, have suffered this fate. However, sober pondering is always good in my books, so here’s a mind-spill based on the events of today and this evening.

We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

Those guys. Anonymous. Are you one of them? Am I one of them? It’s quite likely no-one will ever know either way. If you’ve ever seen ‘V for Vendetta’, you’ll have a vague idea about what they look like, if not what they are loosely trying to achieve. They are truly anonymous, that is, you’ll know that they are a member if you see them out in Anonymous uniform, but you’ll never really know who they actually are. An Anonymous purist would have a go at me for even saying that. “Anonymous is not a group of people, rather an idea”, and, as ‘V’ says in ‘V for Vendetta’, “ideas are bulletproof”. Most recently they have been suspected of hacking into PSN (anyone who owns a PS3 reading this, I feel for you but at the same time laugh at you) and stealing account details/personal information and the likes. Besides this, they are famous for DDoS’ing PayPal, Mastercard and Visa’s websites when they stopped services to Wikileaks. (DDoS, by the way, stands for Distributed Denial of Service, where the hackers use computer networks to flood the sites with requests, so many that they can’t deal with them and stop functioning.) If you’re not very IT savvy that’ll never make very much sense, and it’s probably quite boring to talk about it 🙂 .

The point I’m getting at, however, is that Sony, once again have been hacked. But not by Anonymous. Today it was by a group called LulzSecurity (or LulzSec for short). They used “the most basic hacking system” (not my opinion, I don’t understand how to hack) to get at loads of personal information, more than 100million accounts on sonypictures.com. They also published a link for Sony Music coupons to get free music from their site. They released 20,000 of 3.5million coupons, each worth 1 music download on their site. That’s a hell of a lot of money loss if they’re all redeemed. You may be wondering how you can get a hold of these. It has in the space of a few hours been very easy and now very difficult. Quick thinkers have saved copies on their computer of the full 20,000 codes. Those people may be able to help, if you know any of them.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have an account on at least one site on the internet. We hear all the time about improved safety and security on the internet. I personally believe that there isn’t such a thing as a secure internet. Hackers can and do find ways of getting data from even the most secure sites, always. Despite their recent – and very confusing – security upgrades, Facebook is apparently still one of the easiest sites to access personal data and perv over 13 year olds, if you’re that way inclined.  I don’t know that, and I’ll never find out if it is but it only seeks to add to my Facebook hate campaign (see my last post). As a personal experience, I have tried to remove personal information from Facebook, only for it to glitch and deny me my privacy. Hence, anyone who looks at my Facebook page will see a fake phone number (as I could only manage to change it, not delete) and one of my spam e-mail addresses (I have many of those).

Internet privacy, don’t you love the lack of it? Even corporate giants can’t escape the wrath of the neckbearded basement-dwellers. /rant.

OK, that last bit was too much of a stereotype for my liking, it would be very rude and ignorant if I were to assume that all hackers looked like that. I mean, some work for the government, and they certainly don’t employ people who look like that? Either way, I don’t like stereotypes and only use them for their potential humorous value. To keep in line with the hippie theme going on with this blog, with my appearance, and with the stereotype many place upon me, all humans are cool in their own way and stereotypes just create divides. Divides that create tension and destroy peace and harmony.

The clock is just rolling over to midnight, Good morning! It’s Friday June 3rd and it’s going to be an awesome day. Don’t think it is? Make it an awesome day, you’ll never go too far wrong enjoying yourself once in a while. There’s no better day for that than Friday!

mfw it's Friday (and not in a Rebecca Black way)

Hello world!

I kept the default title above. I figured I’d run with it, it has a happy vibe to it.

It does, however, sum up my current feelings. I’ve just created a blog, and I feel a freedom. A freedom to share anything and everything to the world, and it makes me feel exactly like the picture I’ve hopefully attached to this post.

mfw I created this blog

I’m still getting used to this whole idea, and I can’t imagine this will have too much of an audience since I’m starting out here, but to anyone that’s reading, Hello! Thanks for reading my first ramble, of which I hope there is to be many.

I’m fairly certain that most of the people I know (that is, those I talk to on a regular basis and not just facebook “friends”, but those too) probably don’t even know what wordpress is, perhaps stumbling on it during a google images search but only seeing it as a image source and not someone’s literary genius. Perhaps ironically, I found the happy face image from someone else’s blog through a google image search, but I made sure to comment and say thanks. The whole issue of copyright on the image is a complete tangent to the point of this post, but maybe I’ll come back to it at another time.

Facebook, however, is something I will ramble about (Ed: In fact, this has turned into a rant, sorry about that). I very much despise Facebook, and although once I revered it and logged into it every day I do so no longer. I was once the kind of person who would post “pointless statuses” (even though they all do have a point, even if it’s simple like announcing that you’re leaving for work/school/the cinema/the park etc, or that you want to be passively aggressive and make a vague indirect attack at a person only you and those who know you very well will understand) and I would avidly like, comment and post all manner of content that I now see as a waste of cyberspace. There came a time when I became annoyed at Facebook’s ways. I’m not sure whether it was everyone gradually loosing de abiltie 2 $p3ll pr0ply, People Who Needed To Capitalise Every Letter Which Makes Reading It Seem Like You Have A Sort Of Messed Up Tourettes, the awkward moment when everyone and their dog has awkward moments, the people who quote Bob Marley’s famous “Truth is, everyone’s out to hurt you, you just gotta find the one’s worth suffering for” and other “smart” philosophies that have been reposted from a facebook group they’ve just joined, or maybe even just my unwillingness to accept all things mainstream. Maybe even, it was a combination of all of these and more. Hence, see the handy infographic below summing it up. This is why the majority of my social networking time is now spent on Twitter, and maybe now even here.

Of course, above written and below pictured may be taken as an indirect attack on people who do that sort of thing on facebook. Most of those, I imagine, would be far to involved with Facebook to even consider visiting WordPress, let alone this blog.  Unless they/you’ve come from my twitter page (twitter.com/TomHowlin) then I salute you for choosing wisely. WordPress is basically Twitter with an unlimited character limit, image attaching and a more complicated interface. Trust me though, from the 30mins I’ve spent writing this I am already looking forward to posting more.

Check back, you might relate to some of the things that go on here 🙂
(I was inclined to finish with “Peace!” here to keep theme with the psychedelic colours and first sentence, but I’ll let you decide what fits)

You know it's true