Doping in sports and whiny fans

The US Open is going to start in some days time and one of the things I’ve learned about this current edition is that Maria Sharapova has received a wild card. And I saw some backlash towards this decision by some tennis fans, all because she was caught using a banned substance. Now I don’t know if she was aware it was banned at the time (Maria says she didn’t know, and to be fair it did just get banned only a few months prior to her getting caught), but whether or not it was intentional is not important because it is not what I want to talk about.

What I do want to talk about is the whiny fans that complain she was given a wild card instead of *insert random tennis player name here*. Why do they complain? Because she was at some point in her career caught using a banned substance. And of course, the special snowflake fans who have never committed or cheated in any way, shape or form in their entire life, get to have their say about whether or not she should be allowed to participate.

Now I am no Maria Sharapova fan by any stretch. I’m not even that big of a tennis fan in general, but this annoying, whiny attitude towards any woman or man who was caught in such a manner has to stop. Maria Sharapova was caught, and subsequently banned. She has served her punishment. It was not a lifetime punishment, it was a fixed period in which she could not play. End of story. Whether or not YOU think she should participate is of no importance because legally, she is allowed to play.

The same goes for Justin Gatlin. The World Athletics Championships have just concluded and Justin won the 100M race. And upon rewatching the best bits of the championships, one of the commentators mentioned his annoyance at the booing that Justin recieved during the preliminary rounds. And I fully agree with him. Justin Gatlin served a 2 year ban for using illegal substances. He has served his punishment. Whether or not he learned a lesson is a different subject. But if the sporting law says he can run/play/participate/whatever, then he can do whatever he wants.

You know what is more funny? I’m thinking there are two reasons people complain about athletes like Maria or Justin. Either they are the pure people who have never cheated once in their entire life and expect the same from others while also having no empathy, or they’re scared that the athlete returning is actually so good he might beat their favorite ones. The second one seems more likely, as people tend to take sports results very seriously from time to time.

I am not condoning doping, far from it actually, as it is dangerous for one’s health. What I am hoping for is that people stop complaining every time a sports person starts participating in tournaments again after serving a doping ban.

Haters will always hate

Sorry for the rather hectic schedule I’ve adopted in the last two weeks,
I have been a bit busy with the tutorial site which was almost ready a while back 🙂 .

I’ve been doing this writing gig for a few months now and even though it did not exactly become either viral and it does not have as much hits, I still enjoy doing it, and will do it when the time allows me to do it. I’m pretty confident that the few people who do read my articles enjoy them, some more than others, and at some point I will invest some time in actually making sure this blog shows up higher in search results.

But enough with the self-fives. Being a content creator, especially if you garner a solid following or fan-base, will automatically bring forward a group of what is known as haters. A hater is a person who simply hates what you do. And I don’t mean the ones that criticize your work with the intent of giving you feedback in order to improve it, like I have met. Feedback is always good, because it helps you improve your work.

I am talking about meatheads who always complain about a content creator’s work, regardless of how good or bad it is. People that go on a band’s video to spout sh*t like “ugh, sellouts” or “ugh, you guys suck now” or “ugh, where is the energy/ugh, you sound the same” (depending on whether or not the band had tried to change its sound or not) or any and all useless tweets that may or may not have been the tipping point in Chester Bennington’s decision to kill himself.

In the aftermath of said event, a lot of people shared their opinions on the matter and on a discussion thread on Facebook I’ve learned that some artist managers forbid them from reading online comments about the artists’ work. And I can honestly understand why, given by what I see in some of them. There seems to be no middle ground anymore, you either have to love an album or hate it. There is no “yeah, I kinda like some songs from it, but as a whole it could have been better; still loving the band though” anymore.

I mean yeah, I’ve also complained about Avenged Sevenfold’s The Stage album, but I tried to contain my emotions and actually write a review, not a hate post. I still like Avenged Sevenfold a LOT, and I do enjoy some of the songs from the album even though it is not as good as the previous ones in terms of lyrics and singing.

The idea I’m trying to get at is that should you be the creator of any type of content, haters are almost inevitable when you garner a certain following. And it’s of the utmost importance that you ignore any and all haters, because nothing good comes from engaging with them. I know some books might say that you should engage in a conversation with some of them and you might end up with them as your fans in the end, but it really sounds like tedious work, with the return on investment not being worth the effort.

As I’ve said, there is a lot to gain from constructive criticism and feedback, but you have to go to a lot of hate in order to reach those comments. Don’t get disheartened, do not take into consideration what they might say. And don’t let them get to you, because that’s exactly what haters want.

Depression and the cost of disconsidering it

Opening Facebook and seeing the news that Chester Bennington, a seemingly normal lead singer, took his own life, might leave people in a state of shock and rightfully so. This state of shock however has two sides. Some people are shocked because their favorite lead singer from their favorite band has committed suicide. While others might be shocked, or even disgusted, that Chester took his own life, because he has everything a person could ever dream of. And while it’s been a few days since the event, what I’m about to talk about is still valid.

Here’s the problem with the second group of people. Chester DIDN’T have everything, he was clearly missing something! And NO ONE who commits suicide has everything they need, because if that were true, they wouldn’t resort to suicide. You know what he probably might have had though? A crippling state of anxiety and depression, since as I’ve read, Chester himself has stated that he was abused as a child and that he never really got over it, the thought of a suicide having occured to him in the past.

And while I don’t have a long list of things that trigger me, people mocking or disconsidering depression is probably at the top of things. Not because I have suffered from it, but because of the way it is dismissed as a hissy fit by your average person.

May the Heavens have mercy on your soul if you work in a corporation and have the balls to complain about your job. Why do I say that? Because the general reaction is usually something like this: “ugh, why do you complain, you have money, you have a great job and you can buy all sorts of stuff that others can’t, stop being a little b***h and be grateful, you ungratefeul s**t”. Yeah, because money and material possessions are the be-all end-all of things, even though travelling and experiences have been proven to be much more rewarding than any gadget you may buy (source). And yes, I’m fully aware you need money in order to travel, but that’s why low-cost airlines and regular-priced hotels exist.

And no, telling people who contemplate suicide (which is really never obvious, since it’s something that’s eating them from the inside) or anyone who complains about stuff in general that they “have everything” is NOT a good thing to do. Because it’s obvious that they DON’T have everything. Seriously, do you actually think that celebrities have everything? They have money and fame sure, but do you know what they also have? Stalkers, zero privacy, stupid people that spout s**t at them because…reasons, and quite possibly a very depressing back-story, as is the case with Chester and so many others. What these people don’t have is anyone’s guess, but I hate this shallow way of thinking in which if a person is rich and famous, he automatically must be happy.

Actually, telling anyone who complaing even a bit that they shouldn’t complain because they have it better than others is a seriously sh***y thing to do to anyone, regardless of their social status. You can’t possibly be happy all the time and there are some studies that actually state the fact that constantly being happy may be bad for you (source). People are allowed to complain. You want to know what the effect of telling someone not to complain is? He’ll probably end up feeling bad about complaining, then try to overlook all the s**t that happens to him at work or whatever, can’t do it because it’s really bad, then end up feeling even worse because of his inability to be happy in his current condition, which is deemed as a very good one by people who have NO IDEA WHAT THE PERSON IS GOING THROUGH!

There was this radio DJ from a local station I listen to that said that another things that might cripple an artists’ morale is reading hateful comments on the Internet from fans. I really don’t think that’s much of a big deal, at least for some artists. I mean I can’t imagine James Hetfield of Metallica or other rock or pop artists such as Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Sia etc giving two damn sh**s about what their haters say to them, but I guess it differs from one person to another. In Chester’s case, I think the backlash the band has recieved with the release of their latest album had gotten to him a lot more than one would expect, but with one of his best friends also killing himself earlier this year, I kind of understand why he might be taken aback by some negative reviews (the friend in question is Chris Cornell).

In the end (pun not intended), what I’m trying to say is that people need to rid themselves of the shallow way of thinking that money and fame are synonymous with happiness or that having the “dream job” of being a screw in a large company and getting screwed all the time equals happiness, becaue it doesn’t. Some people complain for the f**k of it, while others actually have legitimate reasons to complain. Next time, LISTEN, and DON’T JUDGE!

People who take themselves too seriously

It is a lovely afternoon. You are out at a bar with some of your friends and someone brings up a random topic of discussion. I say random because what I’m about to say relies very little on the topic of dicussion chosen. So, someone chooses a topic they’re passionate about and brings it into discussion.

Let’s say, for the sake of this post, that the topic is Dragon Ball Super and that the person is not a very big fan of it. Quite the contrary, the person thinks it’s very bad when compared to Dragon Ball Z, GT or the original Dragon Ball. I, as a fan of the series, beg to differ with the person’s opinion, but don’t insult him based on his views about DB Super. And the other person simply flips and gets mad because someone dared challenge his views and the other people at the table, me included, end up wishing we had Goku’s obliviousness and blissful ignorance for any and all human interactions.

I hate people who take themselves too seriously. I think it should top 3 in my medium sized list of thing that annoy me, but aside from number one, the other places change a lot, so let’s just say for the time being that I am annoyed with people who take themselves too seriously with regards to anything. You see it all the time, from your friends who want ALL the attention to be on them because they think they’re the only ones worthy of it to your smug ass coworker (or worse, team leader) who belives that just because he had a good day today means he’s the very best, like no one ever was before him or will be after him.

It’s even worse when said team leader starts adopting a tyrannical attitude towards the people they’re supposed to be leading, not beating. You’ve become a team leader, big whoop. It doesn’t give you the right to think you’re the be-all and end-all of team leaders or technical experts. There is always someone out there who will be better than you in some aspects, you know, aside from the ass-kissing one people like this usually use to become team leaders when their EQ and IQ are sorely lacking.

So people, seriously, stop believing yourselves to be the Alpha and the Omega of everything. You’re not, and the belief that you are makes you look like an arrogant little brat who cannot digest people not agreeing with you. You have a strong opinion about something? Good, no one says you can’t. You want to share it with others? Good, as long as it’s not political, for me anyway. If it’s political, I’ll just smile and wave until the neverending debate is over. But remember this. Once you share an opinion about something, there is a good chance that some people will disagree with it. It doesn’t make an opinion wrong, as opinions cannot be right or wrong. But when you’re in public, the reaction you have to a different opinion is the difference between a mature person or a childish person. Go ahead, flip that coin next time.

The silly animosity between HR people and IT people

There are quite a few legends going about on the Internet, especially on LinkedIn. People talk about the beings in these legends with high regards, as they are very very rare. Think of MewTwo levels of rare (or LR Broly, for those of you who know how real the struggle is). Or, if you’re boring, think of unicorns. What are these beings held on such a high pedestal you ask? Software developers and recruiters who have a mutual respect for one another.

While I don’t want to be rude and specific about what sort of measuring contest this is, I find the animosity between these two groups of people worthy of a few laughs, but in the end pointless. A while back there were some articles I’ve read on the-soon-to-be-Facebook-of-jobs social media network discussing why recruiters annoy software developers or testers and vice-versa. I won’t go to the length of positng links to the exact articles because they were in Romanian and because there are plenty more to choose from if you do a simple Google search (seriously, go ahead and type “recruiters are” in Google and check out the first suggestions Google gives you).

Why must there be animosity? I mean come on, I know recruiters can be annoying when they just can’t take no for an answer (I know, believe me, I know, I could field a Champions League team made of recruiters from the SAME company who contacted me in 3-4 months) but stop it with the name calling. The only thing you’ll succeed in doing is create a bad reputation for yourselves and other software people who actually know how to act but have to endure frowned looks up until the recruiter figures out that you are actually they’re a good person. And in the end, the fact that you constantly get job offers means you are GOOD at what you do. Use THAT as fuel to your ever groing ego.

And recruiters, seriously, read the damn CV before sending the job offer. I know that there are insane numbers which need to be reached (I have a friend who works in HR and I know of the insanity of certain objectives) but seriously, there are basic things that you can do which will not make you look like a fool and will not annoy the reciever of the offer, like NOT confusing Java with JavaScript, looking at the time elapsed between now and the last time the reciever ever used the technology you want to hire him for and knowing the required frameworks and technologies for the job you want to hire the person for. Once again, Google is your friend.

For the sake of some short periods of laughter I hope this animosity doesn’t go away any time soon, but seriously, people, grow up and start acting like the adults you claim to be because you’re either part of an amazing company and want to bring more people in or because you’re an IT graduate with years of experience behind your back.

Always check your facts…and sources

I have a love-hate relationship with the Internet, mostly because ever since most people have gained access to it, the amount of uninformed posts about just about any topic you can think of has sky-rocketed.

And while I don’t really have a problem with people expressing their opinions, I do have a problem when they label their opinions as facts. Let’s get one thing straight about opinions. They are not FACTS. A fact is something which can be proven by some scientific data. 2 + 2 will always equal 4, no matter how you put it. But your opinion on the matter, if 2+2=4 or not, does not change the fact that this is actually a fact, whether or not you believe it to be true or not.

And with the rise of Facebook and other social media platforms, the number of misinformed posts I need to filter has sky-rocketed, as mentioned before. And this is not because the posts contain radical new information which is proven to be true (rather, it’s the opposite), but it’s mostly because of some key words and phrases used to attract attention by stimulating certain emotions. And people can’t proactively react to these posts by trying to rationalize what they just read. And it leads to some really shady websites gaining traffic and, as a result, pumping out even more articles that serve no purpose other than to spread false information.

And once again, this is their right and I don’t really care because I don’t read those sites. So what is the point of this post? To convince you that, whenever you feel an article or piece of information is wrong, to CHECK THE SOURCES AND FACTS BEHIND IT. ALWAYS do that whenever you feel you are lead astray by what someone might tell you because there is a good chance that that person is wrong, on so many levels. I’ve seen people use blogs as news sources and distribute posts claiming this and that and when I looked over the post, it contained no quoted sources, no evidence to suggest that their point is true and funnily enough, when I did a simple Google search (the article suggested that some events were not covered by the news) I ran into several online articles (4 or 5, something like that) from reputable news sites discussing the exact event the guy in the blog post suggested was not covered by the press!

So seriously, always check your sources and the facts from online or offline talk when you feel they are misleading. Chances are they are and the person has no idea what he’s talking about. You want to know why I don’t talk about news or politics, aside from the fact I hate both of them? It’s because I may get it wrong, all so wrong on so many levels because in the heat of the moment I skipped through some important details and as a result, the post I’d make would become another one in the long list of uninformed posts people keep spreading. And I really don’t want to be that person.

Societal acceptance, smartphones and the fear of missing out

I was at lunch with my colleagues last week and I heard one or two of them say something along the lines of wanting a car that automatically breaks when you are under a certain speed. Nothing wrong with that so far, right? Well, the reason behind this baffled me. They said they wanted the car to be like this so that they can check their phones for news and emails while driving, because if the car breaks for itself, they can check their phones while also being safe in traffic…well, not really safe but safer.

I wanted ro rage at them so badly, but I calmed myself down. However, I couldn’t help but think about WHY people do this (the checking of mobile phones while driving). And in my opinion, at the very core of it, it has something to do with societal acceptance and the fear of missing out. According to Wikipedia, the fear of missing out syndrome (or FOMO, in short) is a syndrome characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing. Others of course can have many meanings, be it other colleagues, other friends or other politicians for people who can’t escape this obsession and constantly try to drag me into it.

Some of you may be thinking: “ok, I get the FOMO part, but what about societal acceptance?”. Well…when you’re constantly in the need of staying up to date with the latest developments in every freaking country around Mother Earth, I think you’re doing it for one of two reasons:

  1. You really have nothing better to do with your life than to be ultra connected to each and every event around the planet thinking it affects you that much
  2. You don’t want to look like an idiot in front of your colleagues because you don’t know the latest developments, either around the world or in the company you’re working for

To be fair, reason number 2 seems more likely in today’s social-media obsessed society. The constant need to check up on the latest events or latest updates from your friends or your company is not something to take lightly. Seriously, for your sake AND the sake of others…DO NOT CHECK YOUR F***ING MOBILE PHONE WHILE DRIVING!

I myself don’t really care about world events that much, I think I have stated that numerous times to the point where you might be annoyed, but it bears repeating, because I am tired of the current trend of being constantly connected and “informed” (whatever that means). And by tired I actually mean tired, the human brain can only take so much information before it goes into overdrive, hence why I’ve given up on watching news or reading articles about events that don’t affect me the same way people around me seem to think it may affect them.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against smartphones or other devices that allow you to access the web at any given time but once again, for your sake AND the sake of others…DO NOT CHECK YOUR F***ING MOBILE PHONE WHILE DRIVING! See, being a complete idiot is not that hard, is it? You may think you’re missing out, but you’re not. The task in the e-mail your boss sent you will still be there when you reach your desk. The latest news about elections or votes in whatever country happens to be hosting them will still not affect you more if you read the articles half a second after they’re posted. So, once more with feeling, for your sake AND the sake of others…DO NOT CHECK YOUR F***ING MOBILE PHONE WHILE DRIVING!