Stop Doing That…On the Internet!

The Internet. A vast network of wires and tubes that can connect you to the other side of the world in the blink of an eye. The wealth of information stored online is like having thousands of different libraries at your disposal ready for you to track down exactly what it is you need to know, be it a reflective analysis of two different poems by Lord Byron or just finding out who it is that played that character in that film you just watched. The Internet is wonderful.

Unfortunately, whilst this beautiful resource has so many benefits (i mean who doesn’t love Grumpy Cat?) it also comes with a downside. Being hyper connected to the rest of the world means that you are unfortunately hyper connected to a steady stream of idiots, not just limited to those you know in your own life, but from ALL OVER THE WORLD.

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Here’s a list of things that you need to stop doing to prevent yourself from becoming one of these keyboard bashing, flame war starting, pig headed examples of ignorance unfortunate individuals.

STOP: Over sharing your Instagram
There once was a time where I would have absolutely lambasted someone for having an Instagram account. However, times have changed and I now find myself in possession of one. I follow a few people and like to see their photos come up, to see what they are doing and what they deem to be a good photo. Quite a few of the people that I follow Instagram A LOT. I mean there are more pictures uploaded by some of these guys than there are tramps on the underground. That’s absolutely fine, I like the pictures coming up. On Instagram. The problem is that once it goes outside of Instagram that shit is all over my Facebook, all over my Twitter feed and I’m pretty sure it would be covering my Tumblr in a freshly sepia’d layer of slime if I had a Tumblr. I’m not saying never share your Instagram pictures with anyone on other social networks, I’m just saying only share the ones that are relevant to a tweet you would write anyway. Don’t just vomit all of your photos over the nearest social network otherwise I’m pretty sure you’ll slap a Kelvin filter over that and post it up as well.

STOP: Vaguebooking
Ah Vaguebooking, the preserve of insecure assholes and that girl who is going crazy because she isn’t the centre of attention for five minutes. UrbanDictionary has defined it as “an intentionally vague Facebook status update that prompts friends to ask what’s going on, or possibly a cry for help.” Either way, when I see you post “OMG why did he have to do that!?” or “Guess I know where I stand now…” it’s a sure fire way for me to get out my unfriending stick and smack you around your virtual face with it.

STOP: Inviting me to your awful events
Chances are I don’t like your band, comedy show, club night, puppet theatre, cat on a unicycle doing circus tricks whilst you play accordion in accompaniment. We both know that it’s true. So why don’t we work together to solve it? You stop inviting me and I’ll stop burning with rage and wanting to smash your face into your keyboard every time I see that you’ve invited me to yet another event that I can only assume isn’t titled accurately as “A night of extreme averageness on my part and boredom on yours because I still harbour pipe dreams that i can make my hobby into a career.”

STOP: Political Soapboxing
Are you a paid member of [enter political party here]’s publicity team? No? Then shut the hell up with every post being about your political views. If I wanted to hear them then I would ask you myself and start up a charming discussion with you on the subject. Since I’m not doing that, you can stop rubbing your ideas, policies and beliefs forcibly into our faces. This goes for you too, overly religious types. Your beliefs are like genitals. I’m happy for you that you have them but I don’t want them shoved into my face. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule…

STOP: OMG LOL LMFAO SMH
I have no idea what half of the Internet language doing the rounds nowadays is, but its safe to say that I’m sure you didn’t “Laugh out Loud” at my thinly veiled pun. Let’s all take a leaf from Tim Minchin’s book and use MAS (Mildly Amused Smirk) as a more realistic representation of what we are actually doing at that moment.

STOP: YouTube baiting
It’s a YouTube video, not a forum of political, religious, existential, philosophical etc etc expression. It’s a video of a cat balancing kumquats. Stop starting arguments about things that don’t need to be started here. The average comments section of a YouTube video is so full to the brim of hatred that even I can’t stand to read them – and that’s saying something! Be smart, don’t feed the trolls.
If you want the link to the video of cats balancing kumquats then you’re in luck!

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Student Survival: Recipe: Simple Soup

Dr. Egon Spengler: I have a radical idea. The door swings both ways, we could reverse the particle flow through the gate.
Dr. Peter Venkman: How?
Dr. Egon Spengler: [hesitates] We’ll cross the streams.
Dr. Peter Venkman: ‘Scuse me Egon? You said crossing the streams was bad!
Dr Ray Stantz: Cross the streams…
Dr. Peter Venkman: You’re gonna endanger us, you’re gonna endanger our client – the nice lady, who paid us in advance, before she became a dog…
Dr. Egon Spengler: Not necessarily. There’s definitely a *very slim* chance we’ll survive.
[pause while they consider this]
Dr. Peter Venkman: [slaps Ray] I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it! LET’S DO IT!

Yes it’s time for the second instalment of Student Survival Recipes! This time, since the days are getting darker and the weather is getting colder, I thought I would offer up a quick and easy lunch that is still pretty dang healthy! All it takes is a little bit of preparation and you can have quite a few days worth from this one cooking session! Break out the Tupperware and lets get started!

Simple Leek and Potato Soup
Makes 4 servings

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Ingredients
2 leeks
4-6 medium potatoes
1 1/2 pints of boiling water
1 vegetable stock cube
Salt
Pepper
Paprika

Method
Thinly slice the leeks and add to a saucepan to soften.
Peel and chop the potatoes into small pieces then add to the leeks.
Fry for 5-10 minutes until slightly softened.
Add the stock cube to the water and stir until completely dissolved.
Pour the stock into the saucepan with the leek and potatoes and cover.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
There are now two ways that you can continue, depending on personal preference and equipment on hand
EITHER:
Take off of the heat and use a hand blender to blend the vegetables and stock into a thick and creamy mixture,
OR
Use a potato masher to smash up the larger chunks, turning the soup into a chunky broth.
Season with salt, pepper and paprika to taste.
Serve, store and enjoy!

How easy was that!!? There will be a few more of these kinds of posts over the coming months as quite a few people have told me that they “can’t cook anything decent”. If you have any requests, feel free to email them in using the contact details on my profile or leave them in comments!

Student Survival: Recipe: Speedy Beef Stroganoff

Egon Spengler: There’s something very important I forgot to tell you.
Peter Venkman: What?
Spengler: Don’t cross the streams.
Venkman: Why?
Spengler: It would be bad.
Venkman: I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, “bad”?
Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Ray Stantz: Total protonic reversal.
Venkman: Right. That’s bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

That’s right, today I am going to completely disregard and flaunt the most important rule of Ghost busting. I am going to cross the streams! Unfortunately I don’t own a proton pack (I can imagine that I wouldn’t get anything done if i did have one…) so the streams that I’ll be crossing will be purely blog based. It’s time to mix student life with cooking, in an attempt to keep your diets fresh, your lifestyles healthy and your wallets full!

This meal is a personal favourite of mine as it is cheap, quick, simple and super tasty! It really fills you up and can be pretty warming on these sharp autumn evenings!

Speedy Beef Stroganoff
Number of servings: 2

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Ingredients
1/2 red onion
6 medium mushrooms
250g beef mince
1/2 tub of soured cream
200ml beef stock
2tbsp paprika
1tsp back pepper
2/3 mug of rice per person

Method
Fry the onions until starting to colour
Add in the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes until beginning to brown
Add the mince and cook for 5-10 mins until completely browned
Put rice on to boil for 10-15 minutes
Stir in soured cream and coat mixture in it
Add paprika and pepper and mix well
Stir in beef stock and simmer for 10 mins.
Drain rice and serve with stroganoff

The smell of success: Pickle and Ralgex

Okay so now for something a little different than usual.

For the last few weeks I’ve been writing the Run Report for Havant parkrun, where I’ve transferred my Saturday morning runs to whilst being down at Uni. Unfortunately, there’s no Portsmouth parkrun, so it’s into the car and up to Staunton Country Park for 9am Saturday morning, ususally accompanied by a varying cast of my housemates (special mention to Dean, who has so far been with me every week! Good effort!). Cutting to the chase, this week I returned home for the weekend, leaving my run report writing to another, wholly able member of Havant parkrun and at 9am I was back at my home run on Greenham Common, Newbury. Since I’ve grown to like writing the report i thought I’d keep my hand in the pie by writing my own for this weeks Newbury parkrun. Enjoy this one and feel free to check out Report #18 and #19 here if you’re interested!

Newbury parkrun #40

Having to scrape the windscreen of you car at 8:20 on a Saturday morning is never a good sign. Nevertheless with the frost well and truly off my windscreen and visibility returned it was off to the start line of the 40th Newbury parkrun. The goal for today, besides not losing a finger or two to frostbite during the pre-run briefing, was to get round the 5k course in under 25 minutes. Ever since moving down to Havant parkrun I’ve been holding a little competition with myself at each different parkrun to see where I can get the fastest time and today was no exception. I set off from the line hoping that the cold weather would push me to cross the finish line in under 24:53, my Havant time, and therefore give me a little personal challenge to beat next week, back on the “rolling hills” of the Havant course.

Out on the course the standard Newbury parkrun game of Dodge the Cowpat was well under way with all 218 of us runners skipping daintily around the fetid piles of evil that the residents of the common had decided to leave for us. Upon nearing the end of the first 600m straight I was immediately struck by a combination of smells that I think would do quite well to be bottled and sold as the “Smell of Success – The Newbury parkrun perfume” consisting of that sweet, sweet chemical tang of Ralgex and the reminiscent pong of Monster Munch wafting from the local pickle factory. Ahhhh, success.

It was on the wings of this most delightful of fragrances that i staggered across the line after the briefest of sprints to ensure I was ahead of the small pack that had started stalking me on the home straight. I didn’t much fancy being beaten right at the line after staying ahead of them for so long!
Stumbling past the photographer with a trademarked grimace plastered on my face I made it across the line feeling pleased with myself, not having pushed myself to my absolute limit but coming within spitting distance of it!

The best bit? I came across the line nearly a whole minute faster than I was planning to clocking myself a brand new shiny pb of 23:59.

Now to beat that next week at Havant…

Just before crossing the line, unaware of how fast it seems I can go if i put my mind to it!