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Monday, 20 December 2010

Nothing new.

Have you ever thought that you were the only one to think something, or do something a certain way, only to find that there's someone else who does exactly the same? Ever thought that the same old things seem to be cropping up everywhere you look - politics, news, music, fashion, sport, etc etc. Ever wondered if everything that you can say has already been said? That everything's just a cliche? Hopefully, by now, I have at least one or two people who are in some sort of agreement.

It's actually quite an old idea - that everything that can be said, done or thought already has been. The first appearance of it - that I know of - is in the Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes. (For those of you not familiar with the Bible, Ecclesiastes is one of the earlier books. Many think it may have been written by King Solomon, son of King David.) Many times in the book, one phrase is repeated - "There is nothing new under the sun."

It seems a bit depressing, really, doesn't it? To think that we can never create anything that is completely original. It seems like a bit of a sad idea, and one that we might not really want to contemplate too much. However, I don't think that just because there is nothing new, means that the act of creation is any less significant. Just because something has been done before, doesn't mean that someone has knowledge of it. There are times when I've come up with ideas on my own, only to find them expressed - almost exactly as I would've put it - in books that I have read. I don't think that it devalues the idea; two people can come to the same conclusion independently, and it doesn't discredit either of them that they weren't the only one who came up with it. Similarly, just because everything has been done before, doesn't mean that things that are made here and now have any less significance; it simply means we need to rethink what we mean by words like 'new' and 'create'.

An interesting thing to think about, I hope. Feel free to leave your thoughts, on this or any other post I make. I will do my best to get back to you.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Me, myself and I.

 As I said, here's that note that I wrote before. It's here almost exactly as I wrote it. Any additional notes I've included are in { } thingys. Hopefully it gives you guys a bit of background on why I think the way I do. Warning: this is very, very long. I had to write it in two sittings. So feel free to read it in two, or more.

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 Thought it was about time I actually put something up here of the stuff that I come up with when I'm thinking, that wasn't just conforming to whatever questions randoms decide to throw at you, or whatever quizzes people can come up with that are supposed to help people know more about you. OK, yes, they can be interesting, but chances are there's more interesting stuff that you can find out about any given person if you simply ask the right questions. (Yes, unavoidable reference to I, Robot. Get over it.) So, I thought, if I'm gonna put some of that stuff up, you kinda need to understand my mindset first. So here goes. (Oh, and yes, it's quite possible that this may get slightly - OK, reasonably wordy. Just a heads up.) {In fact, very wordy, as I mentioned.}

 As I'm guessing most of you (you meaning person who is reading this, therefore probably a friend - or at least an acquaintance - of mine, hence the following assumption) would know by now, I could be considered quite smart. Brainy. Intellectual. Et cetera. Let me perhaps expand slightly on that - not to get you down or anything, just to hopefully give you some perspective. I (as you've probably realised by now) enjoy using long/uncommon words. I have a fascination with patterns, both mathematical and otherwise, which helps me in various ways. I have a significant aptitude for both logical and lateral thinking. I have a great interest in public speaking or debating (though I never actually did any debating) which can unfortunately come out at inopportune times. My IQ varies between about 145-150, depending on the test. {I was also in what is known as an Opportunity Class, or OC, in years 5/6. You had to do a special test to get in. Also participated in the Tournament of Minds, and the Da Vinci Decathlon.} I skipped year 2, because I did both year 1 and year 2 in year 1. Hence, I am (at the point of writing this, which is 1/11/10 [Note: this was so long, I had to do it in two sittings. Hence, yesterday's date.]) {Though evidently not any longer.} only 17 at present. (Though that will change very soon.) I have already finished high school, my HSC, and one year of uni (though still have two exams left), while being under 18. Yes, I know, I'm not the first. And I know {and know of} others that have more impressive track records than mine. But it's still considerable. Add to this the long list of awards accumulated over the years from various tests (those English/Maths/Science/Computing ones) which I won't go into detail over, and it starts to get a bit more lengthy. I'll stop there with that tangent, so as not to downhearten you excessively.

 And yet, as I think many of you know by now, I am not pursuing a degree in something scientific, or mathematical; though some have tried to make it as such. Neither is it in the fields of English, or Computing; though it draws on both of these in its own way. I am instead studying a Bachelor of Music. Now, many of you already know this; but to some, it may come (or has already come) as quite a surprise. Me, who did so well academically, pursuing something like music? Outrageous! And yet, here I am. And, in fact, towards the end of high school, I wasn't doing quite as well academically. Well, not so far as what the exams and the tests and the assignments showed, anyway. I had been the one to beat; now, I was regularly falling down in marks, and even failed a couple of exams. What had happened? You may ask. Well, not much, really. I still knew all the information just as well, and probably understood much of the work a good deal better than some other people who did better than me. The reason I started to do badly was simply because I fell into that trap of laziness.

 I did. I became lazy. Admittedly, I'm still quite lazy. I wasn't studying enough for exams, or starting early enough with assignments, or doing homework until the day before. I mean, sure, we all know people who do that. But generally speaking, it's not the smartest guy in the room. (OK, I'm not usually the smartest guy in the room, but I often get pretty close, I'd argue.) And, of course, that started to show in my marks. And the main problem was that I both didn't get stressed, and I'm absolutely no good at self-motivation. Very bad combination. Hence, I often started late. Very late. Though once I got going, it was usually OK, I could usually keep the momentum. It was just starting that was difficult. And this sort of thing especially showed in my HSC.

 I think, honestly, that I probably studied about the same amount for my School Certificate as I did for my HSC. [Note: OK, slightly more honestly, I'm saying that because my mum may come across this/my sister will read this. In reality, it was probably worse - i.e. I studied more for the SC than the HSC. I think.] I didn't study nearly as much as I should have. I just couldn't motivate myself to do anything. Yes, I know, this all sounds like a massive bunch of excuses. I'm sorry. I don't really have anything better. I told everyone that I was going to go for something in Forensic Science at UWS. It needed about mid 80s ATAR, so I needed at least 80. I had a few other options as well that I put in; a plain Bachelor of Science; something with Natural Science; and I think I had an Arts degree down as a last resort.

 My results were not mid 80s, let's put it that way. Not even in the 70s. I got mid 60s. It wasn't a surprise, honestly, for me. I'd been half expecting it. Obviously, Forensic Science was a no-go. The other two Sciences were no good either. I think I would've just scraped in for the Arts degree.

 But, as I've mentioned, I'm doing Music, not Arts. Now we have to backtrack a bit. (I did say this was going to be reasonably wordy. I now revise that and say this is going to be significantly wordy.) Go back a few years or so, and have a look at how music began with me. As you may know, I principally play piano/keyboard and sing. I've been singing for - well, ages. I was in the Australian Youth Choir for a year or two when I was younger. Was in all my school choirs (though I quit my high school one after a couple of years) as well. Piano was a bit more recent. I started tinkering around a bit with it early in high school, though I knew my way around one before that. We'd had a piano for a while. I was interested in learning more, so I got some piano lessons from a teacher at school for a few years. I never did grades, though. I got as far as about the level of Fur Elise, though could only play half of it too well, and the other half not without the music. Then I stopped having lessons about half way through year 11 I think, mainly because there wasn't a time that I could do it any more. And the teacher changed :P But anyway.

 As quite a few of you probably know, around that time I did the Balloon song at MAS's Got Talent (our school's talent night), which got received pretty well. OK, very well. It wasn't actually a song of mine, as such, by the way, for those of you not familiar with it. It was a song by a friend that I half forgot and then muddled and filled in the gaps, basically.  I think I'd written a song or two (maybe three) before this, but I hadn't gotten that seriously into it. After that, though, I started thinking that I might want to have a go at getting into music a bit more. I started learning songs on the piano, just printing off the chords to songs that I heard and liked. I started writing more songs. I performed the Plastic Bag song (basically, my response to the Balloon song - this time with - almost - all my own lyrics) at the next MAS's Got Talent, which went down possibly even better. I performed a song that I actually fully wrote out, called Teacher's Pet, for a talent night at my church, also to a good reception. OK, so this isn't really that much when you realise that this was spread out over a year and a bit. But it was something. By this time, I think I had three songs half-recorded (which are still not down) and about - maybe 20 - songs written.

 Like I said before, I told everyone I was going for Forensic Science. Well, I was actually very interested in that, and that would have been great. But I put a Bachelor of Music at UWS down too. Why UWS? Well, there's a few reasons. I've always been interested in UWS because it's interested in practical, as well as theory. I'm not good with sitting in a lecture theatre all day. Also - probably slightly more helpful reasons for the time - they didn't require you to have done Music for your HSC (which I hadn't - I'd done it up to a bit of the way into year 10), and you didn't need an ATAR. It was just the obvious choice for me. I put that as first preference. I didn't really tell anyone except my parents about that until I had gotten in (which, obviously, I have).

 I'll try and stop this from turning into a life story, because then it's just going to go for way too long. (Though it really already has.) Basically, like I said before, I got mid-60s ATAR. I was pretty much fully riding on the Bachelor of Music course. I got in, first wave of replies (or whatever they were called). I was, to put it simply, over the moon.

Since then, I've performed at the Camden show and at Unplugged Youth (a group that's started up in a little coffee shop in Bowral), and have just entered in a singer/songwriter competition, which I'll be going to the first heat for on Thursday. {Incidentally, I didn't get through; however, I got good remarks from all the judges, and a lot of the performers as well.} I got through my first semester of uni with flying colours (and that was with me still being lazy...hopefully, however, I pick myself up, so I don't fall down in the later years), and I think I've gotten through this one pretty well also. (Don't have results yet. Like I said before, still have two exams.) {Have now done said exams. I get results tomorrow.} I've now written over forty songs {scratch that - just over fifty}, and have gotten into a reasonably regular thing with the current senior pastor at my church, where he does a sermon and I do a song afterwards that relates to it. (I've either written it specifically for that, or just had one that happened to fit.) Don't know what I'll do when he goes, which will be at the end of this year. :( But anyway, I think that's about it. I could say a lot more, I know. I haven't even touched on my beliefs as a Christian, or my basic weirdness, or my complete lack of social skills, among many other things. But they'll have to wait for another post.

One thing I will add, however. A certain personality test (which you probably won't have heard of) called the MBTI (or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) is something I've used a few times. Basically, for those of you who don't know it, it rates you according to 4 different slots, each of which have two different categories, giving 16 different possibilities. They are: Introverted or Extraverted; INtuitive or Sensory; Thinking or Feeling; and Judging or Perceiving. The caps are for an acronym - so if you were extraverted, sensory, thinking and judging, you'd be an ESTJ. I always get very Intraverted, very Intuitive, and very Perceiving. (That is, rates very highly on each of those.) But on Thinking/Feeling, I'm always borderline. I guess that's what I've been talking about in this particular - I don't know what to call it. Section or something. Note. So I'm either an INFP, or an INTP. I've always found that interesting.

By now, I've gotten here, and I'm wondering whether I'll even put this up. It says a lot about me, and some stuff in it a lot of people probably wouldn't know. (Though some people will, inevitably, already know most of this. Though I don't think anyone could honestly say they knew everything I've put up here before they read it.) But I think, after all, that people should know this sort of thing. Plus, chances are, most people will get put off by the insane length and won't actually read this. So it will probably only get to the important people. :)

If you've come this far, good job. And thanks. Hopefully this helps you to understand me a bit better. And, hopefully, I should get some more of this kind of thing up in time.

Till next time,
Brendan :)

And that's it. This is insanely lengthy, so I won't add much to this. Just thought that I should mention - this Saturday, I'm heading off to Perth for close to a month. Hence, I'm not sure whether or not there will be a post next Monday, or in any sort of regular fashion until I get back. Anyway, until whenever I post next. Hopefully next Monday. :)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

And another one?

Hello, bonjour, hey, ciao, g'day, and hi.
I now (evidently) have a blog up. You may be thinking, 'Oh, another blogger...,' but (hopefully) I should have something that's actually of interest every now and then.

A few pointers about this blog, and a bit on what to expect:
  1. The title of the blog is not a reference to 'modding' or 'mods'. It is a word I made up by typing the word 'random' backwards, and adding an 'ama' to the end of it. And, yes, the colour scheme/background/general layout may not be great at the moment - I'm just starting, so I'm going with something that at least works until I find something that works well.
  2. This is going to be a weekly sort of thing, not a daily sort of thing. I don't think I could keep up with something as frequently as daily, but I think I have plenty for a weekly offer.
  3. I am a Christian, and that is going to come up in my blog fairly regularly. If that offends you, I can't change that. As someone once said, 'If you are offended by the truth, that's your problem.'
  4. I may, at times, embark on some reasonably serious philosophical/theological debate/discussion. If you disagree with what I say, that's OK. I'm human too, I make mistakes. Just be prepared to accept the fact that you're human as well, and are just as likely to make mistakes.
  5. For those who aren't into that weightier sort of stuff, please don't be turned off by that. I'll have a lot of stuff here that's a bit more light-hearted as well, otherwise the scales would be ridiculously unbalanced at one end.
  6. I may at times post stuff that might be weird/wacky/random. That's part of who I am, that's why this is called Modnarama. Not exactly sure how much it's going to come into my blogs, but there's probably going to be some stuff here every now and then that won't make too much sense. I'll try and keep it to a minimum, though.
  7. Above all, remember - I'm doing this for your benefit as much as I'm doing it for mine. So please, have a read, have a laugh, have a think. That's all I ask.
 The first thing that I'll probably post up here will be what, I suppose, ultimately led me to doing this in the first place - a note I wrote elsewhere, detailing a bit of my background, and hopefully, a bit on why I am the way I am, though it doesn't do a full job of it. However, it does it pretty well for the length that it has.
I think that I'll try to do this Mondays from now on, so I suppose you can expect that post from me then.