Cupid or Cats is one year old today*

This blog is one year old today! I just want to say a massive thank you and give an awkward arm punch to all of my wonderful followers, commenters and likers for sharing this weird and wacky journey with me.

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I decided that for my blogaversary, I would do a blog Q&A, with myself…because, well you already know weird is how I roll.

Hey Jane.

Hey, Janey. Wait, am I Jane or Janey?

It doesn’t matter. Man, you’re annoying sometimes.

Ditto, bitch.

Well, we’d better get started. Why did you begin blogging?

It was actually my boyfriend’s idea. I was always either ranting or making silly jokes, and he felt that a receptive audience would be a lot better than just him and our cat. My cat thinks I’m s**t, by the way.
Anyway, I was going through a tough time and I thought it would be a great way of expressing myself.

Does your blog have a niche or a theme? Because it seems random as hell.

Originally, I had intended it to be a relationship blog but then my brain got in the way (wearing a bikini and being all distracting) and was like “no Jane, talk about farts, talk about owls…” so yeah, that idea quickly went out the window (along with my dignity).
Now, I just write whatever makes me smile. Essentially, I just want blogging to make me happy. I’m selfish like that.

You’re a teacher. Why don’t you blog about that?

Occasionally, I’ll mention it. It is a big part of who I am, but this was intended as an escape from all of that. I love my job, I do. And I try to be fun in class and have a laugh with my students, but obviously I have to be professional. Here I can just be whatever I want, including a ballerina. *does awkward arabesque*
I know that if I had a proper niche, I would have more followers but I never began this to gain thousands of followers; I did this for stress release.

Why the name Cupid or Cats?

I don’t know. I really don’t. It just came into my head. I think it was because, like I said, it was supposed to be a relationship blog. And I thought I want people in relationships (who’ve been hit by Cupid’s arrow) and single people (erm, I don’t know what to say without offending anyone so here’s a picture of a happy kitten:)

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…to read my blog. By the way, I once had, like, five cats so what do I know?
And anyway, if I keep blowing foghorns in my boyfriend’s ears, this is what will happen to me:

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Smooth Jane. Really smooth. So, be honest, what do you like best and
least about blogging?

Best: The people. Really.
I have met funny, kind, intelligent, insightful, loving, cheeky and generally BRILLIANT people here. It’s great, because we are all united in our desire to say something relevant and to listen to others.
I can’t really believe how nice anyone is. Or how engaged people are. We have lots of fun on here.

Worst: Ugh. That’s tough. Sometimes I read blogs that are just amazing and I know I’ll never measure up. But then I look at owl memes and I feel okay.
Also, keeping up with all the blogs I follow can be difficult and I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t value what they do. I try my best. I get a little paranoid that people will think I’m a selfish blogger, but really I make as best an attempt as I can to catch up with all of you. I reply to virtually every single comment I receive because I appreciate them so much. And also, because they’re always great and make me smile.
Something happened lately that has upset me a little, but I’m not going to discuss it here (sorry). It just made me realise that there definitely are downsides to this blogging malarkey.
But the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

How do most people find your blog?

Through Google searches about farting. No joke.

That’s weird. So, how does your boyfriend feel about all of this?

He doesn’t really care either way because he’s so busy with his PhD. He does like what I write whenever he happens to read my posts, though.
Sometimes he even laughs.

Does anyone else know about your blog?

Yes, I drunkenly confessed to a friend but I doubt she reads it much. She’s cool though, I trust her and I don’t mind her reading it at all.
I also think I told my best friend but she didn’t really say anything at all.
There is no way I would tell anyone else, though. My family would not be impressed (they’re great, but very private) and I would be really paranoid I’ve written something negative about someone that would cause offense, so I won’t be sharing this blog with anyone else in my personal life.

Why the picture of yourself then?

I think the chances of someone that I know stumbling across my blog are very small. I probably will change it, but I’m lazy.
I like that my readers can put a face to my blog, even if I do look super-bitchy in my gravatar. M to the e-ow.

What do you think is wrong with your blog?

Nothing, of course.

Jane, stop being an ass.

Okay, I was kidding. I thought you of all people would know that.
I have no grand plan or scheme, I don’t edit my posts, I write exclusively on my phone, I post too much…okay, now everyone is just going to unfollow me. Thanks, Jane. (Little do they know, every time someone unfollows me, a dolphin cries.)

So Jane, how’s your Mom heh heh heh…

What are you talking about? She’s your Mom too, smartass.

Oh yeah. That’s embarrassing. . So what do you think the future holds for your blog?

I don’t know. I want to tidy it up a little and maybe include some features.
If I ever get to 1000 followers, and that’s a big if, I’m going to do something really really special. It’ll probably be a while before that happens but let’s just say, it going to involve me, wine, maybe some karaoke and a camera. Oh yeah.

That should class up the place a bit Jane..

Natch.

So, that’s a whole year guys. Here’s to a whole bunch more.

*Technically, it’s tomorrow. But the idea was born on the fifth and….look over there…*runs*

Neknomination: Immature, pointless and senseless

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There is a craze currently sweeping social media in Ireland at the moment; a craze so pointless and immature that it’s paining me to write about it, but I feel it’s necessary. This craze is called Neknomination.

Neknomination began in Australia, but found its way to our shores through the sharing on social media of the many Irish emigrants over there with their friends back home. It involves the recording of oneself “necking” (which basically means drinking something as quickly as possible) a pint (and sometimes more) of something alcoholic. You then upload the recording to Facebook, where you nominate two more people who then must complete the challenge within twenty four hours. Finally, you bask in your own adultivity and spontaneity and await all the invitations to cool parties, cause everyone knows what a crazy b**tard you are.

You might think that this actually sounds like it might just be harmless fun. We’ve all had those nights out where we’ve invariably joined in a group of rowdy spectators chanting “chug” to some inebriated beer-bellied good-time guy at a random college house party. You might think I’m being the idiomatic “wet blanket”. If someone chooses to partake in this fad, can’t I just ignore it? What harm does it do me personally? The thing is, it’s not as simply dismissed as that. There have been two reported deaths in Ireland because of this craze. People are feeling the need to “one-up” each other, by chugging things like full bottles of Jaggermesiter and (gag alert) their own faeces.

It has flooded my newsfeed like some kind of medieval plague. It is everywhere. I haven’t actually watched many of them (except the first few due to my unbridled curiosity). When something becomes this much of a trend (remember planking? *collective shudder*), it inevitably finds itself being practiced by many different strands of society: old, young, male, female, etc. And what group of people becomes most sensitive and susceptible to fads and trends than teenagers?

Let’s face it, being a teenager is hard. Yes, you have a small group who like to deviate away from the trend-setters but the majority of teenagers like to follow the crowd. Understandably, they want to fit in. They want to be seen as cool, fun and “with-it” (aside: why am I sounding increasingly more and more like my grandmother?). If you add the pressures of social media to the mix, being a teenager becomes a minefield of peer pressure and bad decisions.

I was a teenager once (yes, really) and I have to say: I was an idiot. Again, I want to reiterate that I’m not saying all teenagers are idiots. I chose to teach them because I know how articulate, wise and perceptive they can be. What I’m saying is, teenagers can often make idiotic decisions (just like adults); I know I did. This Neknomination ridiculousness is exactly the sort of crap I would have done as a teen. Last year, I heard of the incredibly silly fad of “gallon-smashing” (going into a supermarket, smashing gallons of milk and skidding down a supermarket aisle on it…yep, it is that stupid). While I don’t condone this pointless prank, I do concede that it isn’t too far off the sort of silliness I partook in back in the day. And that’s my point, if there’s a silly fad about, many teenagers are usually lining up to take part in it regardless of the consequences.

So if I was equally as irresponsible, what’s my problem with neknomination? What does it matter to me whether teens (or anyone) decide to record themselves necking pints on Facebook? My problem is that first of all, Facebook didn’t exist in my day. I might have done some stupid stuff, but at least there’s no record of it. It didn’t have the potential to go viral and be viewed by millions of people. People, not just teenagers, are putting themselves in very vulnerable positions. Of course, adults are well aware of this and are old enough to decide for themselves if they want videos of them chugging drinks on the Internet, and that’s their business (and it hasn’t changed my opinion of my friends, it’s the fad itself I have the issue with). Many teenagers, on the other hand, are not old enough or mature enough to make wise, informed decisions. We all have regrets from our teenage years but because of the absence of social media, we don’t have to live with them for too long.

Besides the fact that neknominations are a dangerous fad, they are also pointless. What’s the attraction to recording yourself downing a pint of spirits/beer/wine and sharing it online? What good can come of it? Where’s the fun in it? Surely we take part in things like this because something productive or at least fun can come out of it. This is just silly, immature and pointless. The common counter-argument from alcohol chugging participants is that detractors like me are “buzz killers” or “kill-joys”. Erm, no. I can have fun, but to me uploading a video of myself partaking in some frat-party douchery to impress strangers over the Internet is hardly my idea of it. I’m not trying to sound sanctimonious (trust me, I’m hardly one to pontificate) but senseless rubbish like this irritates me. I actually started writing this a few days ago, before the reported deaths, and I had said “someone, somewhere is going to die as a result of this. I say that without any sense of melodrama or hyperbole.” Unfortunately, it looks like I was right.

If the reports are true, and two people here in Ireland have died as a result of this ridiculous craze, then that should say it all. I’m not saying we need to go overboard (ala the satirical episode with the bear patrol in the Simpsons) and become melodramatic about the situation. It’s not bird flu or Justin Bieber, it hasn’t caused widespread damage. What I would ask the young people who feel obliged to partake in it is to think: would you like to see the video in ten years? Would you like others to see it in ten years? At best, you’ll look stupid, at worst, you’ll hurt yourself. Trust me, it’s about as productive as attempting to teach a Kardashian lessons in subtlety (I’m using analogies that the kids will understand).

Every so often, fads like this come along. And like The Macarena and the Cha-Cha Slide, they’ll disappear (except those were fun, damn it). The difference is, this one is potentially dangerous, immature and pointless. Put down that pint of vodka and (seriously, what were you THINKING?) and go be SENSIBLE.

What are you doing today?

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In the words of a wise old sage otherwise known as ‘R. Kelly’ it’s “the freakin’ weekend”. Usually, I’m working my way through a mound of paper work and student essays, but today, I’m relaxing. Mostly because if I read another short story where one of my teenage students happens across a member of One Direction and somehow ends up simultaneously marrying them all, I will go (more) insane.

As I write this, my West Highland Terrier is curled up beside me in bed, (he’s not usually allowed, but it’s stormy) and my cat is staring enviously at him, possibly plotting his death or something equally insidious.

Today marks the first day of the Six Nations rugby tournament, which is basically a competition between Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy. As some of you may know, rugby is another one of my passions (along with history, literature, animals and general weirdness). Today, there are two matches to keep me busy shouting obscenities at the television.

I plan on vegging out on the couch (there will be no actual vegetables involved, wait…is wine a vegetable?) and just taking it easy. My cat may or may not attempt to cause me grievous bodily harm, Jack will more than likely be working on his thesis and I will probably end up making another shepherd’s pie (we are addicted). All in all, a pretty mundane day lies ahead of me but the rest of my life is so incredibly exciting that I need a day off every now and again.*

What are your plans for today?

*Definitely not a lie