DON'T READ IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED.

Last week during break time at work I was outside having a cigarette with a bunch of other co-workers. It was a clear dry night and the moon was glowing red. Somehow the conversation turned to science and the unknown. Subjects such as the end of the world, the Mayan calendar being related to all the natural disasters and space were being discussed. Then somebody asked 'who thinks aliens exist?'. I spoke out and said yeah I do. He laughed, looked at me like I had 2 heads and then asked 'So you've seen an alien then?' while still chuckling under his breath. No, have you seen God then? He shut up pretty quickly.

I just don't get it. Why is it perfectly acceptable to believe in God but if you believe that aliens exist you're branded an idiot. Is society really so closed-minded.

So let me get this straight,
It's perfectly normal, acceptable and even expected of you to believe there's a man sitting in the clouds looking down on us. He created the earth in seven days. He hears our prayers, he watches each and every one of the 7 billion people that live on ths earth... all at the same time I might add. He can heal the sick, cause natural disasters, perform miracles, he's the reason why you got that job, he's the reason why someone you love has passed away. He's EVERYWHERE at any time. His home is in the clouds and it has big pearly gates that keep out the unwanted.
And people believe all that with NO proof whatsoever. Not a single shred of evidence. And before people refer me to the Bible for proof, the bible isn't proof. It's a book that was written 2000 years ago. In a time when books were the only source of entertainment. Some monk wrote the very first science fiction story and it caught on and eventually so many people started to think it was a true story that a religion was formed around it.

Yet, if someone believes that out of the millions of planets in the universe (that's a confirmed fact by the way) there may just be life on one of those planets, he's an idiot.
I mean what makes earth so special? If life can form here there's no reason it couldn't happen on any of the other million/billions of planets out there.
Did you know there is more evidence of aliens than there is of God? Even 2000 years ago there are countless documents and images that depicts aliens. When's the last time you heard of a God Sighting?

I can fully understand how religion came to be. If I was alive 2000 years ago I probably would've believed it too. Nothing back then could be explained. A clap of thunder could be considered to be God smiting people. Floods could be thought to be God' way of punishing people. 2000 years ago nobody could explain these seemingly supernatural events.
But this is the 21st century. Everything that was considered unusual or supernatural 2000 years ago can now be explained. God lives in the sky? We've been there now. Nothing to see but clouds.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to offend anyone. You can believe what you want. It just bugs me how in society aliens have become some sort of comical/stupid thing to believe in.

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Last night some lucky sod in our town won 8.7 million euros on the lottery. Thankfully I don't know him (because lets be honest, nobody wants to know a lottery winner) but it did get me thinking 'what if'.
We all daydream about it at some stage but what if it really happened?
Just imagine yourself, sitting down with ticket in hand waiting for the results. The first 2 numbers get read out, you raise an eyebrow and perhaps glance at your partner. The 3rd and 4th number get called and suddenly you have entered the 'serious' territory. Your palms start sweating and your heartbeat increases. You know that the chances of the next few numbers matching what you have are a million to one, you're no longer looking up at the telly now. You're fixated on that piece of paper in your hand and the voice on the telly.
The final numbers get read out and suddenly you go into a state of shock. You have won the lottery. Naturally doubt would set in first. You double check the numbers, even triple check the numbers. You double check that it wasn't the Lotto+ numbers that were called out. You check your Sky+ box to make sure you're not watching a recorded program from last week (that would really suck). Everything checks out, you are now a millionaire. What do you do? What thoughts would cross your mind?
Do you tell the family? Do you go into work? Do you quit your job? Do you just sit and stare into space for an hour? What?

Lets tackle those questions,
Would I go into work?
No way. Heck I wouldn't even ring work. Well maybe I would ring them but I wouldn't bother trying to come up with an excuse. There'd be no 'I've got the flu' or 'I'm not feeling well' or any kind of excuse. I'll just say I'm not coming in tonight. If they ask why, I'd say I'm just not in the mood and then hang up.
End of story.
Of course if I did go into work after winning the lotto it would be the easiest night I've ever had at work. I would do *bleep* all. Chances are I'd get sent home after an hour anyway.

Would I quit my job?
In a heartbeat. The key word there is 'job'. If I had a career then no I would'nt quit. A career is something you enjoy doing, a job is something you have to do. I've been at my job for 11 years and I can safely say that if I leave tomorrow I wouldn't even get a handshake.

Would I tell my family?
Believe it or not this is actually a tough question. I've seen families fall apart over disputes about money if someone wins the lotto. But yeah, I would of course tell them. I'd have to get them all gathered at the same place at the same time and then argue with each of them asking for money.

Would I share the money with family?
Yes. Even though (and I probably shouldn't say this as they might read this) we are not the closest of families. Don't get me wrong we are a close-enough family, none of us are fighting and there's no bad blood or anything like that but we don't all meet up every week or ring eachother on the phone or even chat on Facebook. That's just not us. We all have our own lives and our own families to keep us busy.
I would share the cash though. How to share it is the hardest part though. 100K each sound fair right?

What would I spend it on?
Ah yes, the million dollar question (literally this time).
New car, new house, 1 million into Sarah's savings, 1 million into our unborn child' savings, 60 inch flat screen, top of the range Dolby Surround, latest Photoshop software, latest PC, new PS3, long holiday, holiday home and then I'd add 10 euros to my winnings and pay off the rest of the bills. :)

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During the holiday season somebody asked me what my new years resolution is. I couldn't come up with an answer so they suggested that I quit smoking.
Let me just make one thing clear here. When somebody tells you to quit smoking it only makes you want to continue to smoke. The more people tell you to quit the less likely you are to quit. That's a fact. It's a physcological thing that can't be explained. Quitting has to be your idea, it has to be YOU that tells yourself that it's time to quit. Otherwise it wouldn't feel like a personal achievement. It would just feel like you quit out of peer pressure. When I quit smoking it'll be a time when people have stopped nagging about it. I quit when I want to, not when you tell me to.

Moving on, somebody else suggested that I stop playing video games.
I play video games as a hobby. Some people collect stamps, some people make model airplanes, some people assemble train tracks in their attic. Whereas me, I play games. That's all there is to it. It relaxes me, it takes the stress away from everyday life and I genuinely enjoy it. When I get home from work I play a game for a couple hours. Is that really so bad? Yes I'm 30 years old, so what? Hasn't gaming come on enough in recent years that it no longer gets labelled as a 'kiddies' past-time? Are the older generation still pigeon-holeing gaming to be for kids only and do they still think that adults playing games is just wrong? In my case, yes, that's exactly how the adults in my life seem to still think.

So after those 2 suggestions got shot down as soon as they were mentioned I decided I still needed some kind of New Years Resolution.
After thinking about it for the past couple weeks I came up with the perfect one. Saving.

I'm dreadful at saving. All my life I just couldn't save a penny and to this day I have no savings. Recent events has made me rethink my finances. I need a nest-egg to fall back on and so far every time I tried to build a nest egg it would fall apart very early on. Why is it that I can't save? What is wrong with my way of thinking that I need to address? So I took a step back and had a look at myself and tried to pinpoint a reason for my problem.

First I thought of the obvious. Perhaps I can't save simply because I don't get enough money to save. I only work 6 hours per day and my wages is nothing special. As soon as my wages are in my account it's gone within a day or 2. But after thinking about it I'm pretty sure that isn't the reason I can't save.
I'm a simple bloke with not many needs. I don't drink and I don't go out partying on weekends. Every week I only need 2 things. Cigerettes and petrol to get me to and from work. That's literally all I require to live. Everything else are just extras. When I get paid I go buy my cigerettes for the week and fill up my car. Then I'll have a bunch of cash left over. So I'll pay off a bill or something and if there's anything left I'd spend it. I wouldn't think to myself 'I should put that away', no. Instead I think to myself 'great, I have some left over. Lets rent a DVD and get a McDonalds this weekend.'

So why is it that I think that way? After thinking about it I think I've finally come up with the answer.. and the solution.

When my daughter doesn't eat her dinner we tell her that she won't get a cookie afterwards so of course she then eats her dinner. However, if we told her that if she doesn't eat her dinner we won't bring her to the park next month she wouldn't care. A short term reward is always more appealling than a long-term reward.
I believe this is the reason why I can't save. I hate saving because it takes so long to see the benifits. Sure if I put 50 away each week I might be able to go abroad on a nice long vacation... in 2 years time. So I'm always thinking 'but I could use that 50 euros now instead of in 2 years time'. This makes me more hesitant to put money away purely because it's so long-term. The incentive to save just isn't there.

However if there was a short-term reward for saving I'd find it more appealling and easier to save.
Which leads me on to my solution. The solution that I've been after for so long. It's so simple yet effective.

Ok here goes,
I set myself a milestones amount of euros to save. Once I've reached that milestone I get to treat myself with 10% of what I saved.
So for example, when I save up 500 euros I get to treat myself to something worth 50 euros. This means that every 1 or 2 months (saving 500 euros with a wife and child ain't easy), I get to reward myself with something worth 50 euros. This not only gets me saving but it also gives me an incentive to save. I'll know that the more I put away the quicker I can buy something that I want. For example, there might be a game that I really want being released next week yet I know that I only saved 300 so far so suddenly I'll get an urge to put 200 into the savings because I really want that game when it's released.
It's pretty much a win/win situation for me. My savings increases yet I still feel the short-term benefits. It's the perfect solution.

So that is my New Years Resolution. Saving. I plan to start saving because I really want to take the family abroad sometime and the way I'm going now that's never gonna happen.

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