Imagine an elephant in a room.

Larger than the average car and about as heavy as one. Definitely more difficult to wash. It lifts its tail up occasionally to deposit a large blob of dung onto the expensive Persian carpet it stands on.

Now imagine someone you have a disagreement with, and that they are standing in the room with you, on either side of the elephant. I know, I know, this is a rather literal interpretation of the phrase “elephant in the room” (idiom. a problem or difficult issue that is very obvious, but is ignored for the convenience or comfort of those involved. [citation needed]), but bear with me, please.

In almost all fields of human interest, there seems to be an inevitable period of clash and a good deal of knocking about before the dust settles. At the risk of stating the obvious, clashes come about due to differences of opinion between different people, or groups of people. These clashes are easy to resolve when there exists a hierarchy which allows disputes to be settled by a higher authority. But, in the real world, does this actually “settle” a dispute for good? Nope. There is no way to fully resolve a disagreement without dialogue between the opposing parties, and a compromise that allows them to find a middle ground on which both, or all, of them agree.

However, when the field of interest is relatively new, there is, in fact, no “right” way in which things need be done. This is both good and bad — good, because it allows for experimentation and new ideas to be introduced. Bad, because it makes resolving conflicts that much more difficult, as each person involved has widely varying points of view.

Every person is entitled to their own point of view, which may seem illogical or baseless to others, but makes perfect sense seen in the light of their sum life experience. It is this point of view that influences them in taking a stance on a certain issue. This also means that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to look at something, just different points of view and how much they are similar to, or different from, each other. Based on varying life experiences, some people may have diametrically dissimilar points of view. Tolerance for difference of opinion also varies; some may accept an almost completely different opinion from their own, while others may not be able to see any point of view other than their own. The ability of a person to have and express a point of view also varies, from being a total yes-man or disagreeing with someone on all points regardless of their actual opinions, to having a healthy level of disagreement with someone with whom they otherwise share similar opinions with.

So how are conflicts resolved? And how can they be avoided?

My opinion (completely my own, and I don’t want to force it down anyone’s throats) is this: conflicts are inevitable, and a necessary condition for growth. Each and every conflict is nothing but an opportunity for both parties, and the area of interest itself, to grow. With each disagreement, more voices are accommodated, and the field itself becomes more accommodating. There is no use in trying to avoid conflict, and the longer it is put off, the greater harm it causes to everyone involved. Besides, it also is a test of whether the field will be able to thrive and endure, if it can survive a clash between two of its proponents. On the other hand, this does not mean that every disagreement is necessary, either. Sometimes, all that is required is a healthy dose of perspective. Is what you wish to argue about really that important? Will it be good for the people who will be affected by this? If this is the case, then well and good. Otherwise, it might be worth while rethinking whether voicing your difference of opinion is really necessary.

However, if you are convinced that your difference of opinion is completely valid, you can do whatever you damn well please.

One common factor between opposing factions in an organisation, or field, or whatever, seems to be a reluctance to openly acknowledge that there, in fact, exists a difference of opinion. Instead, they do whatever they intended to do in the first place, while at the same time waging a cold war, and/or subtly (not so subtly) making their disagreement with the other camp known. To what ends this is done is hard to make out. After all, coming back to our metaphor: the elephant exists. No amount of wishing it away or pretending it does not exist can make it go away. The only way to remove it is to acknowledge the existence of the elephant and cooperate with each other in taking it out of the room. And sometimes, the only way to take it out is by admitting to your own shortcomings, accepting mutual differences, and using each others’ strengths to your own common advantage.

I’m not saying it’s necessary to take the elephant out of the room. After all, maybe both of you actually like the elephant in the room. Maybe taking it out will tear down the room. Maybe the logistics of taking the elephant out are absolutely horrendous compared to leaving the elephant where it is. But in most cases, there is little doubt that taking the elephant out will be beneficial to both parties in the room with the elephant. Not the least because elephant dung stinks.

Everything that’s ever been written about human relationships and society seems to be akin to a car that goes fifty kilometres forward and then fifty kilometres backwards. You get back to your starting point at the cost of a few litres of petrol. What has been said does not necessarily apply in a specific situation, because not all situations are the same and there might be circumstances that make your situation different from what has been discussed. However, just like the car trip, where you see things you wouldn’t have seen otherwise when you go on it, even though you didn’t actually get anywhere; when you read something another person wrote, you get to see things from their point of view. What I say might seem completely pointless to you, or exactly the same as your own point of view, but when you read it, you have the opportunity to widen your own point of view, by looking at things from another perspective. You see things you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. On the internet, especially, you get to see perspectives you would never have come across otherwise, since no one knows where you come from, and whether you actually are a dog or not.

So, in conclusion? Please don’t engage in conflict, except when it is absolutely necessary. Please do try to accept others’ points of view, except when it is impossible to do so. Please do acknowledge the existence of a problem, except when doing so will cause more harm than otherwise. Thank you very much.

Addendum: Whatever I’ve said is probably redundant. Common sense should tell you as much, and probably much better than I have, here. Then why is it so difficult for disagreeing people to reach a compromise with each other?

marginalia.

[i have

deliberately avoided punctuation

(but not spelling or grammar

which wild horses would not

persuade me to part with)

(in spite of which

grammar and spelling mistakes

will no doubt have crept in:

my apologies)

in an attempt to create

something i can be embarrassed with

five or maybe ten years into the future

because not writing in an attempt

to get everything right on the first try

is nothing but

begging for disappointment

and striving for that level of mastery

is pretty much impossible

without having stumbled

more times than you can count

and fallen flat on your face

(in public)

but always getting up

and going on

because that’s what

makes it worthwhile —

and also,

risking your all

your face, your beliefs, your thoughts,

baring your goddamn heart

for the world to see

is secretly kind of fun to do

in principle at least

and if someone disagrees

with what you think

well let them

 

and if they agree

let them do that anyhow

who are we to say

how other people must think?

no wrong, no right

just different points of view

which are right to some,

and unthinkably, irrevocably wrong

to some others

and yet others have no opinion

but just go with the flow

and stick with the side

which seems to be “winning” —

the majority —

but does that mean

their point of view is right?

 

maybe there isn’t anything

like a “right” point of view —

but on the other hand

this is also a point of view

so it is equally likely

that “right” and “wrong”

points of view do exist —

if so then who decides

which is the “right” point of view?

if that person would please stand up

and tell the world what to do

that would be great

because right now what the world needs

is precisely that —

someone to call out humanity

on the wrongs it’s been doing

and soon

very soon.

and i think right now

this is embarrassing enough

and should suffice for now

twenty-seven year old me

i hope when you read this

you’ll be able to say honestly

you’ve come a long way

from this shitty blank verse

and i hope you who are reading

did not get bored enough

to abandon this halfway

if you’re reading this

thank you so much

and i love you

and i hope you’ll stick around

because i’ll get better at this

i promise.]

Ugh.

 

 

so, ladies,

It’s International Women’s Day again. Happy Women’s Day, ladies. You’re all awesomely talented and wonderful people, and it’s a pleasure being on earth with you. You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it, never mind society saying you can’t. Don’t let anyone, or anything, pull you down into the dirt or dim your shine. If they do, kill ’em. Love y’all ❤

I’m a Lazy Bum, and You Better Deal With It

What, you’re seriously reading? I thought the title said it all.

Haha, just kidding. Keep reading.

So I had 2 months (and more) of vacations, and plenty of free time. Life was absolute bliss. No studies, no homework, no nothing. (Yes, I am aware that is a double negative. Your response has been noted; thank you.) I could wake up late, and wake up late I did. I could quiz all day long, and quiz all day long I did. I could stay up all night if I wanted to, and stay up all night I did. I could sleep all day long if I wanted to, and sleep all day long I did. I could even write all day if I wanted to. So why didn’t I?

Read the title. You nailed it. +10.

So now you must be wondering — what, she couldn’t stay away longer? And, more to the point — why is she bothering to write now?

I’ll tell you.

It’s because —

  1. School has opened, and therefore
  2. I’m a 11th-grader (yo), and
  3. We have had classes for nearly a month now, which means
  4. Our unit tests are coming up next week, so
  5. I have to study, and do my homework, thus
  6. My brain decided it would be a good time to write a post.
  7. Go figure.

Hopefully my brain decides to write more posts here in good time. Peace out for now.

Girls and quizzing: why girls don’t quiz, and why they should


It is a truth universally acknowledged that any girl in possession of good sense is a potential quizzer.

Sorry, I couldn’t help modifying that beautiful opening from Pride and Prejudice. It just expresses it really well. Women have been entering fields previously dominated by men for a long time now, and quizzing is one field which sorely demands their presence. Sure, girls do quiz, but they are few and far between. Many girls agree that quizzing is a field which doesn’t appeal to them. And why not? These are the main reasons quoted:

  1. I don’t know much about anything. (Also quoted as I don’t have much general knowledge…)
    1. Nor did any quizzer when they started, trust me. Most quizzers began straight from scratch. I doubt there’s a single active quizzer around in the circuit who didn’t score a duck (not the bird, of course) at any point in their careers.
    2. Not knowing much about anything is not a crime, as long as you actually want to reverse that situation. On the other hand, if you actually want to preserve the status quo… well, that’s your own lookout.
    3. Quizzing isn’t meant only for the class toppers… or the bookworms… or the annoying know-it-alls. It’s also for the ordinary guys (and girls). And the misfits. And the oddballs. As long as you have a reasonable interest in the world around you (and probably above you, too, if you’re going for an astronomy quiz :P), you’ll be just fine.
    4. Besides, there’s always a good chance that at least a few of the quizzers you meet will be in exactly the same position as you are in. You’re not alone.
  2. I’m afraid the guys will pick on me, or I’ll be alone, or left out, or whatever.
    1. Now, look here, there’s no statistical probability that quizzer guys are more likely to pick on you than non-quizzer guys. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that quizzers are more likely to be considerate towards girls into quizzing — especially since you’re the minority — as compared to other groups of people, maybe because they regard you as “just another quizzer”.
    2. Besides, you needn’t assume straightaway that all guys are the enemy and likely to pick on you. Most guys are really nice. Helpful too.
    3. As to being “left out”, you needn’t worry about that so long as you actually take the trouble to get to know the other quizzers better. Guys especially might not approach you directly, so it’s up to you to take the initiative. Refer to above line which states that most quizzers are really nice. If there are other girls attending the quiz too, get to know them better. You can never have too many female quizzing friends.
  3. I find it difficult to travel for quizzes.
    1. You usually don’t need to travel too far out of your way to attend quizzes. Timing won’t be much of a problem either. Most quizzes are held in the morning or afternoon and finish well before nightfall.
    2. Of course, there are exceptions. Quizzes that finish late at night, or in some cases go on throughout the night. But, from personal experience, I have noticed that other quizzers are always ready to help out whenever girls might require help. And, of course, as the number of girls attending quizzes increases, the support between lady quizzers will increase as well. Girls at quizzes might be a minority at the moment, but numbers will increase in time.
  4. What will I do if I get into the finals?
    1. To be honest, why exactly do people come to quizzes if not to get into the finals? Okay, that’s not what we say. We say we quiz “for the spirit of the game” and stuff like that. (Alert: People who say something to this effect are usually the ones who get into the finals. Be forewarned.) On the other hand, the only reason we have a final round is because we actually do have finalists. Seriously, if everyone was quizzing “just for the spirit of the game”, there wouldn’t be many finals being held. And you say you’ve gotten into the finals? GREAT. Enjoy that feeling of power, because with it comes great responsibility… nah, not really. Joking.
    2.  Stage fright needn’t bother you either, because it’s not like you’ll be made to sing a song or dance or something. You just have to sit at a table, maybe introduce yourself? Oh, and blurt out incredibly stupid reasonable answers throughout the entire show. And get cash for your pains too, assuming it’s a more or less decent quiz. (Informal quizzes do NOT have prizes. It’s there in the name. But then, informals vary widely.)
    3. Finals usually employ a system of “pounce-and-bounce“, which allows you to “pounce”, or answer a question which you are reasonably sure of, before the question is passed to the other teams. However, pouncing usually carries negatives, so pounce at your own risk. #ToPounceOrNotToPounce
    4. You don’t need to worry about the rules, though, because the QM will make them pretty clear before the quiz begins, and, of course, you can ask for clarification.
  5. What if I don’t know the answer to a question?
    1. Just keep guessing. The questions asked in quizzes nowadays are rarely of the “Who is the President of India” type of questions, so it’s highly likely that a clue will be hidden in plain sight, within the question itself. Even the answer to that lengthy question which seems too arcane to be known to the participants is likely to be something really simple.
    2. Even if you haven’t the slightest inkling what the answer could be, or indeed, what the question itself is talking about, look at the possibilities and make a reasonable guess as to what it could be. Like, for instance, I remember once they asked at a quiz about a particular cricket match played in the late 1890s, and how there were discrepancies between the match and the game of cricket during that time period. I know next to nothing about cricket, and I didn’t have a clue as to what the answer could be, so I passed. And the answer to the question was, “the cricket match played in the movie Lagaan”. *EPIC FACEPALM*
    3. There’s rarely an answer which you don’t know in a quiz. Unless, of course, you’re talking about high-level open quizzes or those quizzes where one-liner questions are the norm. (Both are mutually exclusive, as far as I know.)
  6. These questions are tough! I haven’t the slightest clue what they’re talking about.
    1. If you’re simply talking about the workoutability of a question (which is just another way of saying how you can deduce an answer from a question), then see Q6.
    2. If, on the other hand, you’re talking about the topics mentioned, I can relate with you there. I’ve often heard it said that the topics which quizzes include topics which girls generally don’t take an interest in — like sports, to name just one. I can’t really speak for other girls, but I can speak for myself, so my opinion is this — sure, these are topics which we might be unfamiliar with. But the whole point of quizzing is to get to know things we didn’t know earlier (unless I’ve been labouring under a misconception for the entirety of my quizzing career), and that obviously includes topics like these as well. On the other hand, there are plenty of girls who do take an interest in these topics as well, so it’s not really possible to generalise that yeah, “girls don’t like these topics,” or “man, boys are going to find this SO easy”. No, not all girls might know about WWE or video games (I don’t). But it’s not a given that all boys know it either. In the end, there’s no difference between “guy topics” and “girl topics”, they’re more or less… equal.
    3. On another note, equality is what we need, and so it is too in quizzing. So topics needn’t be segregated into “guys know this” and “girls know this”, because, face it, it just doesn’t work. In the end, the quiz, and whether equal weightage was given to each topic in it, is all that matters, and not whether “enough girls answered that question” or not.
    4. TL;DR — Learning new stuff is one of the key outcomes of quizzing, so if you hear questions, about stuff you don’t know that well, for the first time in a quiz, take it in your stride. Who knows, it might come in useful for the next quiz. (Actually happened to me.)
  7. There aren’t many girls who attend quizzes, so…
    1. So that’s basically why we’re trying to bring more girls into quizzing, you know. The more girls who take up quizzing and attend quizzes regularly, the more girls who begin to attend quizzes in the future, and on it goes. Cause and effect.
  8. I’m not really interested in quizzing; I have better things to do.
    1. Well, that’s a crying shame, isn’t it… or maybe it isn’t, you’ll gain plenty of free time in which you can actually do some productive work rather than waste your time listening to random questions and even more random answers. Just kidding.
    2. Seriously, though, even if you think quizzing isn’t really your thing, still come along to one just for the heck of it. New faces are something we definitely do need. So are more women. You might be surprised to see just how good you are at it.

It’s up to us, both as existing quizzers and fellow women, to make sure that there is more representation of the fair sex in the game of quizzing. All ladies are invited. Let the games begin.

Amnesia (or rather, dysnoticea)

Today (well, yesterday) was John Williams’s birthday, and I didn’t even notice.

GRAAAARGH.

Well, better late than ever.

 

DAAAAAAA da da daaaaa da da da Da da Da da Da da Da da Da da Da da Da da DAAA

da da da

daaaa DAAAAAA da da da DAAAAAAA daaa da da da DAAAAAAA daaa da da da *DAAAAAA*

da da da

daaaa DAAAAAA da da da DAAAAAAA daaa da da da DAAAAAAA daaa da da da *DAAAAAA*

 

And in case you’re wondering, that’s the Star Wars theme song up there, not the rumbling of an underfed stomach, you uncultured idiot.

I’d put up Hedwig’s Theme too, only that I don’t dare risk ruining that lovely piece of art with mere words. So here you go,

<search results for Hedwig’s Theme on YouTube />

May the Force be with you.

Open letter to a rock

Dear Rock,

Late last night, I heard you. You didn’t know anyone was around, but I was there. And you were crying. You were moaning to yourself that you were worthless, compared to the diamond, the ruby, the sapphire and everyone else. That you were good for nothing. That no one wanted you.

Rock, that simply isn’t true. No one wants rocks? Try telling that to the mountain, he’s MADE up of rocks. Rocks are good for nothing? Tell that to the geologist, he STUDIES you for a living. Hell, even that diamond and ruby and sapphire you were talking about? They were found from within you.

Look here, rock, there’s nothing on earth without its own purpose. And think just how much better purpose you were put to than the diamond and ruby and sapphire. All they’re used for is as decorative ornaments. You’re so much more than an ornament. You’re used to build stuff. You form part of thing that’s been around FOREVER. People refer to the Stone Age, not the Diamond Age. (Stones, rocks, whatever.) You hear of rock paintings and rock carvings. If someone tried to carve something on a ruby or something, you think it’d work out well? Hell no.

Even the English language (or, more accurately, the people who use the English language) know just how indispensable you are. People refer to someone as “their rock” when they know they can rely on them. You know why? Because they know that you, the original rock, can be relied on. You ever heard them calling someone “their sapphire”? And they always say ” LET’S ROCK THE PARTY!!” If they’d said “Let’s diamond the party” instead, they’d probably be left to “diamond” it out themselves.

I’m not saying that being a diamond or ruby or sapphire or whatever isn’t a good thing. It is. But being a rock isn’t a bad thing either, and, whichever you happen to be, just remember that you’re awesome the way you are. 😉

When you…

When you look up and see the sun shine.

When you see a butterfly.

When you find a long-lost friend.

When the bad times finally end.

When you get a good night’s sleep.

When you smile at somebody.

When you read an awesome book.

When you hear a song you love.

When you let go of something bad.

When your best friend laughs at you.

When you try out something new.

When you fix what’s bugging you.

When you help somebody out.

When you’re loved just the way you are.

When you know who’ll stand by you.

When you stand up for your truths.

When you finally get what you need.

When your dreams become reality.

When, in spite of the bad, you see the good.

That’s when you know life’s beautiful. 🙂

3D3Q Take 2: Day 1

I really really hope there’s no expiry date on blogging challenges, because I’m WAAYY behind schedule. As in four months behind schedule. Four months and three days, to be approximately precise. (aside to self: WHAT ARE YOU EVEN SAYING FOR GODSAKES)

So a huge THANK YOU! 😀 and shout out to Jai Vyas who nominated me for the 3 Days 3 Quotes challenge so long back I bet even he’s forgotten about it. Thank ya!

No nominees this time around, since most everyone has already finished doing the challenge.

Fingers crossed I’ll be able to finish this challenge, here goes the first quote.

2013-02-16-08.31.15

I love this quote because it’s just so deep. It’s estimated that the average human being uses only 5-10% of their total mental capacity. Which essentially means that we’re capable of twenty times what we’re doing at the moment. A moment of silence for all those wasted neurons languishing in our brains.

Expect the next quote soon. Hasta la vista.

The Ten (+ 2) Commandments of an Incorrigible Quizzer

Quizzers,

  1. The Quizmaster is God.[citation needed]
  2. Thou shalt not attempt to prove that the Quizmaster is wrong.*
  3. Thou shalt not underestimate the Quizmaster.*
  4. Thou shalt not forget the date of the quiz and walk into the venue one day early or (Gods forbid) one day late.
  5. Honour thy teammate(s).**
  6. Thou shalt not kill your opponents.***
  7. Thou shalt not ditch your partner and team up with someone else unless the said partner has been fixed up with someone else.
  8. Thou shalt not steal your answers from Google.
  9. Thou shalt use the best of your ability to outplay your neighbour.
  10. Thou shalt feel free to covet your neighbour’s score and beat it.
  11. Thou shalt never leave any answer unanswered, even (especially) at the cost of making a complete idiot of yourself.
  12. Thou shalt always uphold the highest standards of quizzing.

*For the duration of the quiz.
**They’re probably the ones who’ll save your sorry ass at some point of the quiz.
***Feel free to flatten them in a quiz, though.