Thursday, June 30, 2011

"You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake"

Yes, another Fight Club quote as a heading. It's a lingering obsession that started some eight years ago.

It's another end of the month and I'm sitting on the internet, chewing Stimirol Taste Twist, trying to use up my bandwidth before the clock strikes 12. Only problem is, there are tons of other people doing this, making the net so slow thats it's practically unusable. Each month is the same. I should have done this yesterday. Everyone's probably thinking that.

For some reason, we all have this idea that we are different. It's what we are told to make us feel unique and loved. I'm the opposite. I think that I am just like everybody else.

On a night out recently with one of my oldest friends, this conversation came up. My friend was adamant that we were different, that the idea of 'the other' existed... in other words, he believed that we were like the dude in the Stimorol Advert who believes that he can change the flavour of the gum with his mind and I was like the dude telling him that it happens to everyone.

We argued about it for a bit and, like most arguments, I won.

The Stimorol Taste Twist Advert

See, I've always believed that we are defined by the world. regardless of how we defined ourselves. I remember various moments in which I've argued this throughout my life so I'm not sure when I first started believing this. I even had a debate about it with a law lecturer in university one and it was one of the first things I said to this dude I liked while in High School (bad move).

But it's true. In my simpliest example, consider refugees. The come to a country fleeing their own in fear and they make this strange land their new home. They work, they fall in love, they learn the culture and they try their best to just live. However, locals still consider them as foreigners and treat them as such. The external reality wins over one's internal beliefs.

Not that this has anything to do with why I think that we are not special or different.

Like every other animal in the universe, humans have deeply embedded sets of behaviour that are the same among most of, if not all, other humans. It's only when you start looking at the details (such as personality and appearance) do humans differ, but even so, where they differ they are still linked to others who differ in the same way.

The way we think, the things we do, how we react... we're the same. We're one of the masses.

I used to this that the rest of the world was robotic and just lived this simple, happy life free of intellectual thought but I realised that what I once considered to be intellectual was merely obsessive.

Once you let go of striving to stand out, you reach a state of contentment.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Why I would like you to vote for the Ryan Calder Band

The Ryan Calder Band
So those just skimming the site, today is the last day to vote for the Ryan Calder Band on Please vote by clicking on "love" for all their songs... if you like them of course. (Detailed details on how to vote at the bottom)

For those of you who are regular readers, you are probably tired of me asking you to vote. And no, Ryan Calder is not my latest crazy crush.  Please I would like to think that I have a little more game than that... a little more.

Anyway, it all started about a year ago. I had recently moved into my new flat, my first time living alone away from home. I was meant to attend my bosses speech in Howick but my car broke down when I arrived home. I didn't know what to do and tried not to call my parents and panic.

Instead, I called my really cool colleague who gave me a lift to the event. In the car she played the Ryan Calder Band. I didn't know Ryan at the time, but his music made me feel strangely at home. I remember thinking that it had influences of Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan, two of my dad's favourite singers. The lyrics are also really positive get-up-everythings-gonna-be-ok type stuff and just somehow made me feel better.

The next day I went to work, introduced myself to Ryan and bought his CD. I don't normally buy CDs because I find that I end up only liking one or two songs on the album, plus I hardly ever use CDs because I have all my favourites on my ipod.

A couple of months later, I had wheedled my way into being friends with Ryan. By friends, I mean that I hover around his desk chatting endlessly about random things like wanting to walk crocodiles and he sits staring at his computer pretending not to listen and hoping that I will leave. :) OK i exaggerate, but I'm sure that's how I nicknamed him Manny. Plus he has a gorgeous smile and I'm a sucker for gorgeous smiles.

Ryan Calder
Anyway, I recently attended one of his live shows at the Hexagon Dive. My life was a mess at the moment (the details too raunchy for the internet) and I was sick - body aches, fever, heavy head, miserable. Plus it was freezing that night. I got there early, cursing him under my breath as I sat alone in one of those picnic style theatre venues.

Then the lights went off and a single spotlight revealed Ryan sitting alone on the stage at the keyboard. It was epic, in that understated way. Live, the band was even more amazing. They had that charisma that kept you hooked, a well-worked out pace and a variety of styles that left you wondering what they were gonna do next. Check out Jon's reflections on the live gigs here.

There was one song in particular that got to me. It was about how we are alright, we complain incessantly about some dude giving us hell, our heartbreaks, our financial constraints and our waning health but at the end of the day, we are alright. At a time where everything felt like it was going shit, that song made me see things in a new perspective. I was ok. There are so many facets to our lives but we tend to focus on the areas going wrong. As Ryan said, the human resilience is amazing.

All their songs have that positive reflection element that just makes you feel better about your life... as if you were a part of something meaningful. Yes that is cheesy and no I don't listen to their album every day. I just think that they are cool and deserve a break.


How to Vote: (click here for an explanation of the whole thing)

The sites a bit confusing and you have to register before you vote.
To do this, there is a tab  “Register” which is at the top next to “Home” and “About”. Click on Register.
This will take about a minute.
After verifying your email address go to
And simply click “love” on all the songs. Its in the side box under “Artists Songs”.

If you want, you can even play them and increase the bands popularity.