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First blog post : 34 years old and a blogging virgin

This is the post excerpt.

34 years old and a blogging virgin…here I go!

So I decided I was going to try and get in the habit of writing a short blog each week as a way of getting some of the world inside my head out, in order to free up some space for new bits of useless knowledge!

5 things about me:

  1. I thank god every day that facebook and twitter was not around when I was growing up otherwise I would either be in jail or never EVER get a job.
  2. I have 2 little girls (8 & 3)…but I try to only talk about them with people who have kids too…because it’s boring for those that dont…I know!
  3. I generally think I am awesome at everything and tend to find out at some point that I have all the gear but no idea, as you will no doubt find out if you continue to read my blogs!?
  4. I love to get positive comments, I work full time in Local Government, I am a part time actor, I am a member of the armed Infantry reserves and I try to push my limits more and more as I get older (midlife crisis is looming)…but if anyone leaves me a negative comment I won’t be offended…much (insert crying emoji here!)
  5. I swear, a lot, and generally if I am mean to you it is because I like/love you and not because I am a complete twunt, however I am going to try and contain this side of me until I feel more comfortable in this thing called the blogosphere! 
  6. I cant count! And I am rubbish at grammar and spelling…Dont judge.
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Me trying to breathe in whilst gazing at Mt Everest (I failed to reach base camp and was helicoptered off the mountain but that’s a post in the future!)

I thought I would start off by chronicling my efforts to fool the world into thinking I know stuff about being techy and all things digital, when in fact, I have (in the not too recent past) had to Google the difference between AC & DC (not the band by the way for those of you old enough and lucky enough to remember them being known for their music as opposed to their t-shirts at festivals!)

This week I have been formally introduced to the relatively new phenomena (that means new to me, probably not 99% of the rest of the world) that is known as QR CODES.

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These wonderful little barcodey square things allow us to scan them using the latest updates on our phone without even needing to download an app…something I didn’t know until I had actually downloaded a scanner app! (You know you can also do it via Chrome on your phone right?)

And by simply hovering over one it can take you on a journey to another place, cutting out all the middle stuff like searching, clicking on a link to another link, then searching for something buried in 15 layers of the internet (sound familiar?) and so on.

Here are some creative examples already in use.

AND these wonderful QR codes can also be generated by average Joe Bloggs – ME – and I can link to whatever I choose the scanner to go to, whether it be photos of my trip to Ibiza (10 years ago, I’m way too old now) or my recent attempt (and failure) to reach Mount Everest Base Camp, or even to an article on a page somewhere else that I can’t begin to think about as the link is way too long to describe. And all they have to do is scan it and press the link that pops up and off they go! You can even track how many people click on it and how many are first time users – you know, to give my otherwise fragile ego a boost!!?) I’ve also heard some people are adding QR codes to their headstones!!

Follow this link to go straight to a website that lets you generate your own codes…how exciting!

I have even just been informed by my vastly intellectually superior colleague that QR codes can even link someone straight on to a local free wifi without us having to fiddle around leaving details and emails and passwords we will NEVER remember or use again just to access it…I need to follow this up and see how I can bend it to my will in my everlasting quest for world domination…at the moment though I am content to trial their use within our office Tea Club. Until my next post…Ocsko out!

Coffee flavoured chocolate is just shit!

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Life really is like a box of chocolates…sometimes we take our time and read the little booklet with all the flavours to ponder over…and sometimes we just jump in and take a risk…some taste sweet and smooth…and some tastes like coffee, and that’s just SHIT!

Whoever thought up that combination was a right twunt of a human!

This post has nothing to do with chocolates though and isn’t really moan at life because things in my life are going pretty well at the mo (touch wood!).

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I haven’t written anything for a while because I’ve been sooooo busy, but have finally found a nice quiet lull in what has been quite possibly one of the busiest times I’ve had in recent years. I thought a quiet period of reflection would help me assess the previous 5 weeks of the summer holidays (not really a summer holiday if you work though is it?) where I feel I have aged somewhat…and as I slowly am approaching a milestone event (I am 35 this weekend).

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5 weeks ago I completed my phase 1 Alpha army training course, which means I am apparently ready to do the next phase in a couple of weeks that will involve being shouted at for any number of reasons unbeknown to me or my brothers and sisters in arms by varying degrees of people with their own reasons for being in the military!

nb. Apparently, it costs £30,000 to train a soldier so I’d better not fuck it up!

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Just before undertaking Alpha I also found out I am to be a daddy again…#minimenumber3 is on the way in February 2019, and whilst it wasn’t in the plans (it has come about 10 months earlier than in the family plan) it is still a welcomed early Christmas present.

Cue the now constant arguments between my youngest and oldest about wanting a baby brother or a sister 🙂

I am only thinking about how the hell am I going to afford a bigger place to accommodate another one…and will I be outnumbered by yet another girl in the house!?

4 weeks ago I performed in a week-long run of shows at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall to a sold-out audience every single day, no mean feat when the theatre holds 800 people and it was bloody boiling hot to the point where people would pass out during the show!

I did manage to keep my fitness up by marching/running/jogging to Lands End most days to expunge my hangover from the previous nights’ beach party, however, and we have been told we will be invited back in a few years so all is well!

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3 weeks ago I took the family on a camping trip down to Weymouth which involved blow up beds that wouldn’t blow up, kicking over a piss filled potty during the night onto half our gear resulting in having to stand out in the wind in the dark trying to dry it out, and finding the only stretch of beach with about 100 barking ratty fucking dogs whose owners seem to think everyone loves their fucking mutt and that they can throw shitty chewed balls around freely and have their dogs come and nose you or your food or slaver over your towel “because they’re so cute”!?? No, they’re not, they fucking stink…fuck OFF you crazy fucking fuck!

The girls had a great time though and we made some great family memories, so here’s to the next one…which if left to my oldest sister will apparently be with everyone in the family in Florida! Weymouth one year and Florida the next? Yeah Teri, once I’ve cleaned the yacht, given the butler some time off and put the Ferrari in the garage for cleaning! 😉

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2 weeks ago it was straight back into the office to catch up on countless emails and handover notes before my boss went on her holidays (just the 150 things you want me to do in your absence? Why not round it up to 200?) before spending last week in a cramped up little room in central London taking on the PRINCE2 course (I passed, naturally) before finally having this week to relax a little and get my breathe back!

I thought the Summer holidays were meant to be a relaxing chilled out time? Next year I think I will just have some ‘stay at home time’…pfffft, yeah right!

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Not to worry, I’m turning 35 this weekend (what you talking about mid-life crisis, I only joined the army?) and I will surely be provided some time to lounge about and chill out in my pants all day…hold on, I have children…that means no get your fat ass out of bed dad and entertain me/feed me/play games!

Still, in a couple of weeks I am off to a military base to complete the next phase of my army training, 15 days that will involve shooting, running, physical training, bayonet training, death by powerpoint, gas mask wearing, early rising, late sleeping, shoe polishing, drill marching and outdoor sleeping shenanigans in order to get paid more for the travel to my unit then I actually get by attending!

So, until the next time, Ocsko ‘the mid-life moaner’ Out!

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Windrush Generation – we thank you

No jokes this week nor funny pictures. This blog is a serious one. I have to talk about the  shame that has been brought upon our country.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!?

Let me just quickly highlight what it is I’m talking about:

Following World War 2, during 1948 – 1971, Great Britain desperately needed help to restart the economy due to low numbers of skilled labourers.

Great Britain requested help from across the Commonwealth for assistance, offering British Citizenship to all those who came.

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Taking up the call were thousands of men, women, and children from the Caribbean (Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and other islands) who had the skills and the drive to want to better their lives and help us to grow.

Following the Immigration act 1971 – all those who had come over were granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK.

Roll on 40 – 50 years and those same individuals have been asked to now produce documents to prove they have a right to be here, largely because the government took the decision to destroy and delete all their information!?!?

Someone somewhere in Whitehall actually thought this was a good idea, and someone else approved it!?

So, the same people who helped us rebuild our country, revitalise our culture, who helped us break down racial barriers, taught us about tolerance, who played a huge part in developing modern Britain, who had their children and grandchildren here, who paid into our National Health Service, our pensions, joined our armed forces and formed an integral part of society…were asked, by the government, who represents every single one of us….to prove they were allowed to be here or face the threat of deportation!!!?

I am writing this so furiously on my keyboard I am making so many typo’s because I am so angry!!!

Now, of course, there is the usual backing down from some of those in the Home Office and in government who are trying to backtrack from this abhorrent situation, but it is too late. The damage has already been done in my opinion. And I think they are only backing down because of the public outcry.

How can we call ourselves a welcoming and multicultural society when we are threatening the very people who helped us become who we are?

How can we shout about tolerance and diversity when those who represent us fail to show it?

How will those who gave up their lives in their own countries to help us, now feel their sacrifice was even worthwhile after going through this?

And it doesn’t just stop there, does it? The ramifications of this will be felt across many Black and Asian communities who live here but are already feeling disillusioned and marginalised by society? Do you think they feel secure and confident that their futures here are even safe, or that we do appreciate all they give us? Do they think we are grateful for the skills and values they continue to give us and teach us?

I am fuming that once again, those who represent us are letting us down. And this goes for all political parties. Be under no illusion this wouldn’t have happened under a Labour government. From my understanding following PMQ’s yesterday, it was made clear that this process was actually begun under the previous Labour government and the Tories have just carried it on!!

If you want to hear one of the most passionate and eloquent speeches made in the House of Commons, on a par with Maraid Black who I think is a future leader, please do take a few minutes to watch this from MP David Lammy yesterday. Someone who proudly calls himself a descendant of the Windrush generation, who lays it down clearly what this means and how much shame this has brought to our great country.

From someone who is the descendant of a Hungarian immigrant (my grandad) who fought and then fled the Russians to come here to rebuild his life and work tirelessly and endlessly his entire life, I appreciate everything EVERYONE who comes to this country to work and help us prosper, and I am so sorry that the elite has fucked up so monstrously with this debacle.

This is not how 99% of society values the sacrifices made by you and your families and I thank you.

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On that note, Ocsko ‘The Grateful’ out.

Mo money mo problems?

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Mo money mo problems?

Would having more money actually cause me more problems? I don’t think so but I would really like to find out one day!

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I think this is just a statement rich people say to us poor folk in the hope we won’t dislike them or resent them their wealth!? Much like the saying ‘money can’t buy you happiness’. Maybe not, but it sure would go a bloody long way! And of course, it depends on what you define as happiness? If ‘happiness’ is a someone to share experiences with then it will at least pay for the experiences, and all you gotta do is find the person! And if it has nothing to do with an actual real human (and money can also buy humans and companions!) then it will be able to help you out no end!

I earn more today than I ever have in my entire working life but I am poorer then I have ever been! My debt is much like the national debt, in what I earn yearly! Bank loan, car payments, credit cards. Rent is the highest it’s ever been, utility bills are through the roof and once we include the added cost of kids and food and luxuries like having the internet and my mobile phone, my monthly outgoings are actually more than what I earn! Without the support of my amazing partner working her arse off, we would be royally fucked! 

So yeah, money could EASILY buy me some happiness! More like NO money MO problems eh!?

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I don’t begrudge the fact almost everyone I know can either afford to buy their own houses or go off on holidays abroad every other month (No, not at all!). I don’t begrudge people that have had the luxury of being able to live at home well into their late teens and early twenties so they could afford to actually save money and not get into debt just to eat and get to work! (No, not at all!). And I don’t begrudge those whose parents or family has been able to help them out with deposits for their house or support them through university (No, not at all!).

Sadly I didn’t get to go to uni or stay at home and save money like some of my peers, because I was a little shit as a kid I was asked to leave my home very young, especially by today’s standards. I had to graft to afford a roof over my head and food in my belly. I wasn’t taught about money and so never learned how to budget or manage my finances. I was just a little kid who had to handle all that the big wide world was throwing at him along with wanting to actually try and have some fun as a teenager!

I worked in loads of low paid jobs until finally settling in as a teaching assistant at a school, whilst also working a second job in a pub 4 nights a week after working all day and my third job was looking after children with autism in the evenings in between the pub shifts! Yet even then I was broke as hell and so I got credit cards to live/survive because I had no other way to get through it.

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I don’t look back with regret about what I did as a young man in my teenage years up to my mid-twenties because those experiences made me who I am today. But I do hate the fact that I am still having to pay off so much of the debt from back then, some of which is just interest and minimum payments, just because I had no understanding of the long-term effects of loans and credit cards and how they would still be a large part of my life even though I am now 34 years old. I am in more debt now than I have ever been in my life and own nothing of value to show for it…how is this even possible!? How come I need to start using a credit card less than 2 weeks after payday in some months!?

And this is what is now happening to more and more other people because of the lack of financial teaching in schools and colleges, and in no small part because of the recession and the financial crash of 2008. People who had no other option but to cope with what they had been dealt with are now going to spend the next 30 years paying off debt and living from one pay cheque to the next. Bills go up yet our pay doesn’t? My money has actually gone down £120 a month recently, yet following the increase in house insurance, council tax, water, gas/elec and the 0% interest deals on some credit cards running out, my monthly outgoings have increased nearly £100 from this month onwards! So my money goes down yet outgoings increase which leaves me with a £220 a month shortfall that I somehow need to now find! You can’t make this shit up!

So for those of you out there who find yourself in a position similar or worse to mine I implore you to not get down about it, but to speak to people out there who can help you with advice and guidance, because it’s better to admit your problems than hold them inside until they are all consuming and cause you mental health issues and stress and worry for you, your partner and your kids.

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And if you are just a kid who currently finds yourself on the street having to pay your own way, please remember that every financial decision you make now can have long-lasting consequences. Speak to someone with experience who can talk you through the best options for you so you don’t end up having to pay the debt off for the next 25 years. If you can, save some money each month, if you can’t then plan to put aside some money whenever you can spare it as that will accumulate over the years and really help you one day.

If you want to have fun then go for it, but do so within your means. Don’t get into debt just to go on holiday or have a night out! You will benefit in the long term, believe me!

For those of you out there who are doing well and are fortunate enough to be able to afford all the holidays, houses and good times, I am honestly pleased for you as it inspires me to want to be able to do the same. Just try not to remind everyone of it all the time as sometimes it can be tough to hear, especially for some who struggle to put food on the table because they are financially fucked but who keep smiling and pushing on in the hope that one day they too will be able to experience a debt-free life!

#Iblamethebankers

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On that note, Ocsko ‘The Grafter’ out!

British Boxing…is it better now than it was back in the day?

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You may be reading this following Anthony Joshua’s fight against the WBO champ Joseph Parker. Hopefully it also is after he has knocked out Parker (I’m calling before the 9th) and his next fight is against that absolute chump Deontay Wilder (I cannot stand the bloke…what a twat!)

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I am heading off to my older brothers house tonight to join him and my old man for a few brewskis and the placing of a couple of cheeky bets to try and calm the nerves I always seem to get when someone I actually like and want to win has a fight!

And all off a sudden everyone becomes an expert in boxing!!

I know it won’t be long until the inevitable discussion/argument will arise about whether AJ would neat Lennox Lewis or any of the other old-time British greats of the past? Or whether the heavyweight division is as exciting and strong as it was back in the day? Or indeed the rest of boxing and our British representation is for that matter?

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I grew up in the era where we had Collins vs Benn vs Eubank dominating their division…we had Prince Naseem Hamed flying over the ropes, Frank ‘DyaNahtah mean ‘arry’ Bruno doing HP commercials and taking on Mike Tyson, and of course the retired and undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world Lennox Lewis! These are just some of the big British names I stayed up late in order to listen to their fights on the radio as a young’n…and I fucking loved it! 

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Then in the later years, I was also lucky enough to be able to watch Ricky the ‘Hitman’ Hatton and the undefeated Joe Calzaghe fighting, keeping me entertained and thus constantly forking out for the pay-per-views on at stupid o’clock in the morning!

But then looking at the current crop we have in British boxing, it is not exactly a short list either, with so many different current or former world champions in their respective categories from these shores.

In the heavyweight division alone we have Joshua, Dillian Whyte & the soon to be returning Tyson Fury as well as the emerging rivalry between David Haye and Tony Bellew. Following them down the weight classes we have Carl Frampton, George Groves, Lee Selby, Billy Joe Saunders, Eubank Jnr, James DeGale, Kell Brook, Jamie Mcdonnell and so on. All world champs or former world champs looking to regain their belts. As a small country, we really do punch above our weight (excuse the pun) when it comes to boxing.

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British boxing is booming again as far as I can see….yet, for some reason, I am no longer staying up late to buy their fights on pay-per-view, (with the exception of Joshua, Haye, and Fury) and can just about be bothered to tune in to their undercards in the build-up to some of the bigger fights I do purchase….and I can’t quite figure out why this is?

I hear about how good of a state British Boxing is in at the moment and I tend to agree, but none of them make me feel as excited as I did when watching the build-up between Collins, Benn & Eubank. Believe me, if I had been able to buy any of the Bruno or Lewis fights when I was younger instead of listening to them on the radio at 3am, I would have done so every time! And that also applied for Calzaghe and Hatton who didn’t shy away from anyone in the ring. All these fighters made me feel proud to be British in a way that didn’t come across as negative (think about how England football fans are viewed as) or racist (think how all Brexiteers seem to be labeled as such).

Why is that? What was so different to those fighters of the late 80’s & 90’s compared to those plying their trade today? I just don’t know, do you!?

One thing I know for sure though is that tonight this will be one of the main conversations being had. That and of course “what was the best fight we have ever seen?”. No doubt my dad will say Marvin Hagler vs Thomas Hearns (both American but we won’t hold that against them) in 1985. The two truly hated each other and went properly at it toe to toe, trading blow for blow until Hagler won by a knockout in the third round. It was actually voted fight of the year that year even though it only lasted 3 rounds!!! My brother (the statistic lover aptly named ‘statto’) will no doubt point to some obscure fight in the far east that no one has heard of that had more punches per minute and more manoeuvres to the side or actual steps in the ring and most people in the stadium than any other in history! I will point to either Benn vs Eubank (their first fight) which I saw on a repeat as an adult some years after it happened or possibly the Joshua vs Klitschko fight simply because of what it actually meant to me and how it made me feel!

If you’re reading this as a boxing lover, what was the best fight you have ever seen? Was it a brutal blow for blow fight? Was it one where the build-up alone made you feel it was a momentous occasion? Was it a controversial split decision where the fighters put everything on the line?

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And, was that fight in the best era for British Boxing?

Of course, there have been many many great fighters from other countries over the years too that have defined a truly ‘great era’ including Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Holyfield, Marciano, Tyson, Pacquiao & Mayweather. But we’re not here to talk about that…I want to know when was British boxing so strong on the world stage as it is today? When has there been so many of our boxers still fighting who hold or recently held world titles across so many divisions?

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By the way, on the discussion of weight divisions and belts, is it just me or are there WAAAAAY too many bloody belts and divisions!! I know of at least the WBO, WBC, IBF, IBO, WBA, Ring Magazine & the Lineal belts! And in terms of divisions, there are no less than 17 divisions from Heavyweight all the way down to Minimum weight! I can’t keep on top of all our fighters across all these division (statto will no doubt have this knowledge!) but I am sure we have quite a few out there…and some great talent coming up through the ranks as well!?

Exciting times, even though I am no closer to answering my original bloody question! When was the best era for British Boxing or are we actually living through it right now?

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Well, with all that being said and actually leading absolutely nowhere I think I am going to go back on to my betting app to see if the odds have dropped a little so I can put some money on Joshua to win by the 9th round in the hope to double my satisfaction should the stars align for AJ.

Additional note: Maybe all those watching tonight can play a drinking game to help calm the nerves and get through it!:

Rules:

  • Everyone chooses a fighter and a winning round – £1 each per round (can choose multiple rounds if agreed), no one can have the same round though and the winner takes all if their fighter wins in that round. If no winner…give it to the host!
  • Every time your fighter wins a round on the commentators’ scorecard you have to drink 3 fingers
  • If your fighter gets wobbled – drink 2 fingers
  • Every time the commentator mentions one of their previous fights – drink 2 fingers
  • Your fighter gets dropped – drink your full drink!
  • Your fighter wins the fight – drink your full drink!

My prediction: Joshua wins in round 9 with a TKO and then both Deontay Wilder & Dillian Whyte storm the ring demanding the next fight with AJ but end up getting into a handbags argument with each other!

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On that note, Ocsko ‘TEAM AJ’ Out!

#Adulting

I did not sign up for this adulting stuff when I entered puberty! I still think in my brain that I’m an 18-year-old lad living the dream! Eat what I want, drink what I want,  and do what I want, when I want!

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Then I get the ‘tap tap’ on my forehead at 6 am followed by the “daddy I awake” from the youngest, reminding me that not only am I a responsible adult now who has little ones to look after, but I am actually expected to get up and deal with the rest of my life as well…adulting sucks!

Firstly I don’t want your pity nor am I trying to get it. Most of the people reading this will have similar concerns and thoughts about what we were sold as youngsters by our parents and teachers about how we “need to grow up” and all the fantastic opportunities becoming a responsible adult would bring!

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I used to be able to drink as much as I wanted for as many days in a row as I could afford…now as a ‘proper adult’, if I drink for two days in a row I need a week off work just to recover…along with the need to eat masses of crap to replace the hours of vomiting that will ensue after I try to re-live my youth by attempting to ‘keep up with the lads’ (or trying to keep up with my dad, who somehow still seems to be able to consume the entirety of a bar, on his own, and then be ready to go the next day, and the next, and the next! Why didn’t I inherit this gene from him…WHY!??).

When did I become so old? Waking up twice during the night just for a piss! When did I suddenly have to grow up and be responsible not only for myself but for others!? Long gone are the days when I would get up on a Saturday at whatever time I wanted to and be able to choose what I would do that day (let’s be honest, it mainly involved sitting around doing nothing until someone suggested meeting up to watch the football down the pub before embarking on a Saturday night of shenanigans!). When the hell did I start using words like SHENANIGANS!??

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Some of the toughest things about ‘adulting’ are that we can’t just rely on others for stuff, like the roof over our head, the bills, the food, money! We have to go to work or we have nothing to eat and can’t provide for the rest of the family either.

We don’t get summer holidays to swan about in anymore, instead, we become ships in the night with our other adulting peers, splitting all of our ‘annual leave’ just to ensure we can cover looking after the ferals…I mean darling kids, whilst they are off on school half terms so we can afford to just about live without paying £££££ for sodding babysitters (we don’t have the luxury of our family just around the corner)!

Long gone are the holidays in the sun, instead they are replaced with ‘family camping’ trips in Bogner or weekend visits to the grandparents (I class these as holidays!) because we are too poor to pay the batshit crazy prices holiday companies think is appropriate to charge those who want to go away on holiday during an actual school holiday! Seriously WTF!?

As an adult, if we don’t tidy up then who the fuck else is gonna do it? There are no magic cleaning fairies who will fly into our houses during the night like there was when I was a kid to sort that shit out! We not only have to do our own chores, we are EXPECTED to do them without thought or payment! Our pay packets look smaller and smaller every month and you realise that you are now paying more in tax a month then you used to earn…yet we had way more money to spend back then than we do now! I don’t remember EVER being told that the older I got the more broke I would be, do you?

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As ‘proper adults’ we can’t just consume a big mac and fries for breakfast lunch and dinner (believe me I have tried this), nor can we drink coke in the morning, beer in the afternoon and a bottle of wine in the evening (believe me I have tried this). Whatever we eat or drink immediately has an effect on our health, and not in a good way that Red Bull gives us wings. Oh no, if we eat sugary foods we get fat, if we eat too much bread we get fat, if we drink too many nice drinks we get fat, in fact pretty much everything we eat or drink means we get fat in some way (our metabolisms are slowing down to fuck!). We are more susceptible to heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, loss of hearing or eyesight and everything about us becomes saggy and podgy…yeah that’s right, SAGGY AND PODGY!

The only way to balance this out is by:

  1. Eating less (which means eating rabbit food) – which means you are hungry & hangry all the time
  2. Going to the gym every day (not just on international chest day but actually running and shit!) – but then the aches and pains take longer to heal so be prepared for pain in areas you didn’t realise could hurt…oh and if you have kids this becomes quite difficult to do as you have NO SPARE TIME
  3. Reducing our alcohol and food intake (basically we have to reduce our fun intake) – which means having no social life and making it even harder to find friends where kids aren’t the only thing you have in common and talk about

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And you know another thing that really gets me…loads of people around me seems to have got all their shit together and are cruising through adulting!! They aren’t in debt, they own their house, they are happy with their jobs and they seem to have all the answers! I can just about get my shit together enough to remember that I need to drop the youngest to nursery between a certain time in the morning having made sure that she has eaten something (anything really) and has some clothes on (any will do)! If I do that I am literally patting myself on the back all the way to work safe in the knowledge she has survived the morning with me and I have not got to worry about it again for at least 8 hours when I get home! Adulting at its finest!

We start to get excited when we buy a new iron or toaster…WTF…and we think a treat is decorating one of the rooms in the house! We think it is fun to ‘go food shopping’ sometimes treating them as family days out, and we are most relaxed in our lives when the house is clean and tidy and everything has been put away! We look forward to quiet nights in watching telly, an early night, a long soak in the bath, organising a messy drawer, throwing away old clothes and paperwork and all the other little jobs, tasks and experiences that we feel complete us when they are done!

giphy.gifWe feel like we have won at life when one of the kids cant find us in a game of hide and seek. We think we are really clever when we can answer questions on our 8-year-olds homework. We think that it’s all going to be ok in a couple of years when we have paid everything off…and ten years later we are still saying that! We get excited about the thought of winning the lottery that we discuss what we would do with the winnings ALL the time…even though we can’t actually afford to buy a ticket (£2 each…wtf!?).

But before you start to think I am just a bitter old man who is unhappy and unsatisfied with my lot in life, let me add some smooth with this rough, because for all its bad points, being a ‘proper adult’ does have its positives too! For instance:

  1. We get to make the rules! (and if we break them we are only telling ourselves off!)
  2. We can stay up as late as we want (and if it means less sleep so be it…it’s OUR FREE TIME AWAY FROM THE KIDS!)
  3. We can sit on our phones all day if we want to and no one can ground us or them away!
  4. No homework…ever! And we don’t have to go to school unless we want to learn about something, in which case we enjoy it!
  5. Alcohol (because even though we know how we will feel tomorrow, we don’t care!)
  6. We can eat what we like (we know it’s not always good for us and could make us fat but who cares…we only live once!)…this means we can have chocolate for breakfast, Chinese for lunch and toast with chocolate spread on for dinner if we want!
  7. We can watch crazy, scary, gory or raunchy films as much as we like…censorships don’t apply to us
  8. Our parents lied…if we don’t eat our dinner we WILL still to get to have dessert!
  9. We don’t have to pretend to be ‘cool’ or ‘with it’ with our peers nor do we have to lie about our lives as much as we used to because the truth is so much more fun!
  10. We can decorate any room in the house at any time!
  11. We can buy as many toasters as we want, one for each room if it takes our fancy!
  12. We appreciate every single moment we get away from the kids, not because we don’t love them, just because WE APPRECIATE EVERY SINGLE MOMENT AWAY FROM THE KIDS!

Actually, this adulting lark isn’t that bad after all!

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On that note, Ocsko ‘The Adult’ out!

 

If it ain’t broke, fix it!

No, I haven’t gone mad or got the title completely wrong, I actually mean it, “If it ain’t broke, fix it!”.

The old adage that we are only meant to fix things when they were broken or close to the breaking point is no longer relevant. The best time to ‘fix’ something is when it is actually working in my opinion…when you can play around with it a bit, try out a new idea or process, and if you fail so what!? You’ve still got your tried and trusted method in your back pocket to fall back on haven’t you?

U6xHP1MSociety, in general, tends to be very resistant to change, most notably when it affects them directly but sometimes when it doesn’t even touch them at all (cue the nightmare moany ‘friend’ we all have who lives off other peoples misery and has a negative comment about anything and everything nor will try anything new!). Hands are quick to go up as soon as an idea to change something that has “been done like that for 30 years” is suggested. What then follows? As soon as a couple of people show their dissent, ‘social norms’ take over and the mob joins in for fear of being left out (shepherds & sheep anyone)!

I went to a great conference recently discussing Behavioural Insights and nudge theory. The primary message I took away? That we make most of our decisions based on two factors; 1. Automatic responses to what we see and feel in the moment and those (sometimes subliminal) messages around us; 2. Reflective responses based on absorbing all the information available and taking time to consider it from all angles.

I am simply fascinated by the concept of Behavioural Insights and how to identify and apply an intervention, and we have been using the concept for quite some time already in my workplace.

Bear with me on this…

It is a method used by every company in the world trying to sell you their product (the private sector are experts when it comes to behavioural science). It is used by every organisation who want you to use their service #improvecustomerexperience. It is applied by every one of us when trying to change someone else’s behaviour.

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I highly recommend you read more about it if you can (here is a short video to get you started). If you want to streamline your approach, change the behaviour of your customers or change how you communicate a message to get a more insightful and higher volume of responses than you could a lot worse with your time then look into it.

Behavioural Science is about learning more about how the customer/user thinks and acts and then applying that knowledge when communicating with them. Messages can be put forward that are far clearer & more effective just by changing a few words or by adding some pictures? This is innovation at its finest and, along with becoming more digital, I think Behavioural science is the way of thinking for the future, and it’s available here and now!

Back on point…

Planting a seed is all it takes to change someone’s behaviour or opinion. Granted this doesn’t guarantee success every time but it does encourage us to try new things, to learn from new experiences and to not become sucked into the never-ending bore or routine with the ‘old skool’ way of thinking “why fix it if it isn’t broken?”.

Imagine the positive effect it could have on society in general if people were less resistant to change?

77d56051-dcd2-490f-949d-fadfd3003b7bEveryone would be trying new things, sampling new foods, going to new places, embracing different cultures, breaking down old (and usually unfounded) prejudices and generally becoming a better person…can you see where I’m going with this!? One little thing really can have a big knock-on effect…a butterfly effect if you will.

We should start trying out new things when everything is going well and life is all hunky dory. Not just trying new ideas because all of the other options are failing and there is nothing else left to do…don’t be a reactionary, become a visionary (cheesy I know)!

For too long we as a society have become too ‘safe’ and risk-averse (excluding the bankers who caused the recession, they were just reckless twunts). We have become set in our ways, plodding along from one day to the next, content in our own little bubbles. Until the shit actually hits the fan…and then suddenly it’s “PANIC STATIONS EVERYONE!”.

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People just don’t seem to be able to cope with change any more or want to try new things, and in some cases, I can’t blame them! This is because of what I like to call ‘Change Fatigue’ (it feels like we’ve been in ‘changing and challenging’ times forever doesn’t it?) and because changed is mostly linked to something bad that has happened or could happen soon.

downloadWe are in the middle of one of the hardest periods in our history, especially when it comes to cuts to our public services. The public sector is going through change quicker than an arsenal fan changes his allegiance! #Arsenalfantv

Public sector workers are exhausted with change, and so are residents. When it comes to hearing about yet more cuts to services and the need to do more with less etc, they are beginning to shut up shop and give up trying anymore, and who can blame them for feeling its all doom and gloom when that is the picture being painted? Why should anyone of us embrace change when we haven’t had any stability in years? All we have known for the last decade is endless, and mostly downward, change, so what else is there to do (self-fulfilling prophecy anyone! The more you say it the more likely it is to come true)?

But actually…if you really think about it, change IS our stability because change IS our only constant. If we didn’t change as people we would all still be living at home with our parents (I know its tough nowadays to move out so I exclude those of you with real reasons to be at home with your parents!) watching tv all day and oblivious to the world around us or our impact on society (I also know quite a few people still like this actually!). It is the way we live nowadays and needs to be embraced by businesses and society as a whole if they/we are to continue to grow and evolve in the future.

downloadWe must first change ourselves though before expecting others to follow suit. So, this week I am challenging anyone who reads this to try and embrace ‘change’. It doesn’t have to mean a big change, try something out that is different to your usual routine. Embrace a new way of working in your office. Approach a topic you feel strongly about from the other side of the coin. Take the lead in a project or even in your home life and try something out. Go back to that idea you’ve been holding onto for ages and give it a go by testing it out. And if you don’t like it or it didn’t work at least you can say you tried, at least you can declare you’re not one of the flock but actually tried out being the shepherd for once. I guarantee you will feel all the better for it (unless your a feckless banker, in which case I don’t want you to try anything new…just look after our money like your meant to!).

Come on, let’s try and ‘fix it’ before it is even broken!

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Until then, Ocsko ‘the Change Champion’ out!

 

 

 

NB: I realise this week’s blog hasn’t been as informal or relaxed as my usual cockney cheeky chappy way and so I apologise and promise that next week it will be back to basics and business as usual…with lots of swearing and banter aplenty!

Millennials…they’ve never had it so good?

Woah, before you say anything I am not about to go Millennial bashing or ranting on about the so-called ‘snowflake’ generation because I don’t buy into any of it.

I want to try and address the balance if I can?

Every generation before us has put us down and told us they had it so much harder than the rest of us. That we were softer than them and we didn’t appreciate what we had and so on. In some cases they were right. My generation didn’t live through a devastating world war, nor had food rationing in the hard years after, so those of that generation had not only a right but also deserved to say we were ‘soft’ compared to them because we were/are!

But all this general public perception that those who were born in the late 90’s and early noughties onwards are ‘snowflakes’ and are total softies is complete and utter bollocks in my opinion. Why should we begrudge them because they were born in a world that has more options, more support, more awareness of issues and generally, even after a global recession, more wealth available and more materialistic items than ever!

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We’re just jealous that’s all!

Let’s not forget the world isn’t as stable as it should be, the recession has meant they will be paying for it with their wages for most of their lives, that global warming is high, job prospects are low and now that everyone has to stay in school for longer job competition is rife!

I was born in ‘83 for any of you who were wondering, a year when we were still basking in victory in the Falklands when Maggie was on the Iron Throne and about to embark on the national privatisation of whatever she could get her hands on. There was a buzz about going to Space when we had the maiden launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle. Star Wars episode VI was released and we were introduced to the Michael Jackson Moonwalk! We were also in the midst of a cold war between us in the West and the Beast in the East (no, not the smattering of snow we have seen recently). What a year to be born eh!?

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Talking of cold & snow, I saw an article the other day about a headteacher somewhere banning students from touching snow! Not even allowed to touch it in case they get cold and can’t then concentrate in class! BUT let’s remember this was the head teacher making the decision, NOT the kids, who I can guarantee, think its bullshit! A headteacher who was born in the 60’s, who went through life being able to do all the crazy shit kids in the 60’s were allowed to do (and they did some crazy shit back then)! We can’t keep blaming kids and the ‘Millenials’ by calling them ‘snowflakes’ when it’s us adults, usually the vastly older ones at that, who are making all the barmy health and safety conscious decisions, rules, laws and so on that are mollycoddling them and wrapping them up in cotton wool! 

In the 80’s & 90’s, which were wicked (I shouldn’t’ve said that) I remember practically living in my shell suit, playing kerbsy, knowing everyone on my estate, eating penny sweets and 5p crisps, 30p bus fares, arranging on a Friday to play football on the Sunday, and then guess what? We all met up at the park on Sunday! That didn’t mean my life was harder than those of today!

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We didn’t have the internet or our own mobile phones (we had a house phone to make the odd call, and for those more personal ones we had to walk to the phone box down the road). There was no need for constant updates with a Whatsapp or Facebook groups to stay in touch, we would have to phone them or knock on their door for a catch-up. There was no need to say we were on our way (no one cared), no need to get a selfie on every street corner and no need to provide updates about the weather to people who weren’t there! That didn’t mean my life was harder than those of today!

Skins Vs Shirts in any weather and the person who owned the ball made the rules. We would play until we got hungry, run home, eat crisp sandwiches and then back to the park until the sun went down and the street lights came on. Unless of course, you lived close enough to the park to hear your mum bellow “IN” or someone would send your sister or brother to come get you…annoying AND embarrassing. How much better would it have been to just have a simple text saying to come home rather than a shout or a sibling? That didn’t mean my life then was harder than those of today!

I was first introduced to the NES back then (Nintendo Entertainment System)…A square 2D computer box console that changed my life! It let me play Super Mario Bro’s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Simon’s Quest, Bubble Bobble and my all time fav. Zelda. I used to wake up at four O’clock in the morning just to play it, blowing into the cartridge to get all the dust out, pushing it against the wall to keep the dodgy wire from moving and having to play it until you either completed it or gave up as most of the games had no way of saving (some did, but not all)! That didn’t mean my life then was harder than those of today!

I had these awesome trainers, called Roo’s I think, where the tongue of the trainer had a secret compartment that I could stash my sweets in! I once got a pair of light up ‘LA Gears’ where I could Moonwalk like a badass and my soles would flash (note…I couldn’t moonwalk like a badass).

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I got my first walkman in the 80’s and then my Sony Discman in the 90’s. A portable Cd player that would clip onto my belt as I walked so I could play CD’s (these were new in the 80’s!) and would skip track every other step! I loved it, cutting-edge technology. One of my first CD’s was by Alanis Morrisette. I went straight up to my room to listen and try and learn the words to. I proceeded to write them all down, pressing play and pause for hours, until I had them all written down. Then my big brother walked into our room, saw what I was doing and with a large smug grin slowly spreading across his face he opened up the cd case, took out the inlay and showed me that all the words that were written on the inside! Fucking twat.

There was no such phrase as ‘Google it’. When there was a debate over a question, we just had to believe whatever we were told by the ‘olders’ unless we went to a library (we had to walk there rather than look on a phone) and tried to find a book (these paper things with words written in them) that could provide an answer, and by then we had forgotten what the question was anyway. That didn’t mean my life then was harder than those of today!

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TV programmes were fucking brilliant too. Fresh Prince of Bel Air (Now this is a story all about my life got twist turned upside down), Gladiators, Generation Game, Thundercats, Live and Kicking, Dinosaurs, Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Biker Grove, The Wonder Years, Trapdoor, Transformers the list goes on!

My point is I grew up in a bloody awesome period of time, where we got dirty, we went out in the sun and played, everything we needed to know we had to seek out and we were on the cusp of the technological revolution, so in some ways we were the pioneers of what is used in everyday life today. The internet, Smartphones, chip and Pin/Contactless payments, buying online, virtual reality and everything else. Life was tough but it was in completely different surroundings and times were different. That didn’t mean my life then was harder than those of today!

We need to stop having a go at the ‘so-called millennials’.

It’s not their fault they have access to all this great stuff that we didn’t back in the day.

It’s not their fault we are creating a PC society that is too scared to fart in case it offends someone!

It’s not their fault that the health and safety brigade make up mad rules that are wrapping them up in cotton wool so tight they can’t breathe.

It’s not their fault that they can access things in an instant with just the touch of a button or access a world of information we could only dream about.

This doesn’t make them soft, this doesn’t make them less than us. This makes them different to us that’s all, and we should be celebrating the fact we aren’t all robots (yet…) They are the pioneers of the future, they are who we are entrusting our old age with. They will be paying our pensions!

They will be designing tools and robots and software that will make us live in comfort and hopefully peace well into old age (we’re all gonna live to 120 aren’t we?).

And don’t forget…piss them off at your peril, because one day soon they will be in charge of us, they will be making all the rules for us, they will be wiping your ass when your too old and weak to move and most likely they will be moaning about the next bunch of softies who have never had it so good!

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On that note, Ocsko ‘The older’ out!