Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Page Rank 2 - Well Don't Mind If I Do

As anyone within the SEO industry will testify, the Page Rank of a website is important, as it signifies the authority that a particular website has.So imagine my surprise when I found out last Friday that this (great) blog that you're currently reading has a PR2.

It's not the greatest PR around but by it's by nomeans the worst either, especially when you consider I haven't update this blog since January 2011! Hopefully this recognition from the PageRank kings will give me the much needed kick-up-the-butt to blog a bit more regularly (here's hoping!)


Friday, January 21, 2011

Generation Jobless

Typical Queue Outside a UK JobCentre
On the front page of 1 British newspaper yesterday (January 20th 2011), was the headline “Generation Jobless”. The premise of the subsequent article was that 1 in 5 18-25 year olds are unemployed – and that the unemployment figures for the UK as a whole is now 2.5million.

I’m not going to lie, being in that age group, albeit towards the higher end, I was slightly angered, well not angered but annoyed at being pigeonholed in this way. I’m not denying that 1 in 5 of this age group, my generation as it were, are scrounging of the state, I can probably name a few people I know who are; but if 1 in 5 are currently unemployed and claiming benefits, that means there are 4 out of 5 18-25 year olds who are legitimately in either full time education or working. In some instances they may even be doing both, and if this is the case for you I doth my preverbal cap to you sir/madam.

Those that are either working or in full-time education are not only bettering themselves but they’re also helping the economy (and who can deny, at the moment in the UK it’s much needed help!)
Personally (without meaning to blow my own metaphorical trumpet) I’ve been working for the last 6 to 7 years; since I was doing my GCSE’s. During this time I’ve gained good GCSE’s, AS-Levels, A-Levels and more recently a 2:1 in Journalism and Media. Many of my friends and acquaintances have also worked and studied at the same time, breaking down the stereotype that our generation are lazy and workshy!

Even when I left one university – after realising the course wasn’t for me – I didn’t sit around watching day time TV and claiming benefits. Instead I got a job – and it just so happened that throughout my second stint at university (from which I gained the degree) and up until August 2010, I worked in various capacities for this same company. Now however, I’m working in an article marketing team as a content writer for an SEO company.

To dispel the stereotype that my generation are workshy, I (and again, others I know) have worked two jobs (legitimately paying taxes and NI on both) and also volunteered (myself, I’m a volunteer radio presenter at Radio Fox). I’m not putting it out there that I’m a saint, far from. I’m just an ordinary twenty-something male, who has been taught the value of money and that if you want something you have to work hard to achieve it (not sponge of tax payers money).

I know though, as an aspiring journalist that the story of 4 out of 5 18-25 year olds working hard/being in education, doesn’t make for interesting reading, nor will it sell papers. So I don’t blame them for a) running this article b) using the headline Generation Jobless; after all it’s meant to provoke a reaction and it certainly has as I’ve returned from the cold, dreary blogging wilderness after many months to blog about it – and I’m sure others have been talking and tittering about it too!

So why are MY generation so workshy as the paper suggests? After all, in a world where everything is based on technology, something we’ve been raised on, wouldn’t it make sense for us to be working alongside it?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and there are many reasons as to why 1 million young people (18-25 year
olds) are unemployed – by the way, a bit of trivia for you, this is the highest its been since records began in 1992!

Some may decide to blame the older generations and in-particular both the Labour and coalition Government. After all they’ve taken us into a recession and raised VAT, which has had a knock on effect of companies having to slash jobs or merging with other companies. In the media, the latter is prevalent on a daily basis, especially within local media (you just have to look at Capital’s takeover of Leicester Sound, Trent FM and Ram FM). By merging some staff are informed their jobs are no longer available, meaning that those with years of experience are now vying for jobs with school leavers and graduates, making the job market even more competitive. I can vouch for this as since graduating I’ve been attempting to break into the media industry, but have found jobs are becoming more limited.

Others though are blaming graduates for taking jobs which a decade ago graduates wouldn’t even take, meaning they aren’t there for the school leavers to apply for.

But in reality, when you stop trying to pave over the cracks and make excuses the reason that so many people are out of work, and I suppose this generation especially, is because they think they are too good for certain jobs. There’s always a job out there to be applied for. It may not be the most appealing job, but surely it’s better than being classed as a scrounger, isn’t it? After all if you’re working you’re gaining experience (which in a competitive job market is extremely beneficial) and you’re also doing your confidence and self-esteem the world of good.

Look at it this way, if you were an employer, would you employee someone who has shown they aren’t afraid to work at the bottom, to get their hands dirty, over someone who has spent “X” amount of time sitting around claiming benefits? I know I would.

*I’d like to make it clear, I do no there are viable reasons, other than being workshy/lazy, for people claiming benefits and I’m sorry for pigeonholing so to speak!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Please tell me there aren't any blog police?

This is terrible, the penultimate blog I wrote was about neglecting my blog and saying how I'd make more of an effort to blog frequently (feel free to read it again, that was on March 31st 2010.

We're now 20hours and 25minutes (GMT) into November 3rd 2010, and since that post (not counting this one) I've posted ONCE! It's shameful, it's neglect, but fortunately there are no blog police around to bring justice to me! - Instead I'll have to make do with starting to build upany reputation I may have had amongst my followers back up!

I'm not sure why I stopped blogging, I think it's something to do with being stuck in a dead end job where all I did was respond to customers who had an issue with one of many aspects of the company I then worked for, and then spending the evenings jobhunting for an escape out of there! That escape cam in August (hoorah!) and now I spend my days still sitting infront of a computer, but now working as a content writer for an SEO company! I'm slowly getting to becoming a journalist / writer (although as with this blog, my attempt at writing a novel has gone very slow!)

The time since the last post and this one, a fair bit has happened - far too much to blog about, and far too much that isn't of any interest to many people - and that's just David Cameron becoming PM and England failing at the World Cup to mention two things!

I'm not going to make promise that I'll blog daily or weekly,but what I'll attempt to do is blog (a lot more) frequently -and on a mixture of topics!

For now though, it's cheerio (although feel free to follow on Twitter @MYounger14) and this time I will be back soon!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We do like a bit of humour.

I'm not one to usually re-send forwarded e-mails, however this one I received from my mum today did make me chuckle. Is this really the state of the UK today?

These are classified ads, which were actually placed in a U.K. newspaper:

  • FREE YORKSHIRE TERRIER.8 years old.Hateful little bastard.Bites!
  • FREE PUPPIES1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbour's dog.
  • FREE PUPPIES.Mother, a Kennel Club registered German Shepherd.Father, Super Dog... able to leap tall fences in a single bound.
  • COWS, CALVES: NEVER BRED.Also 1 gay bull for sale.
  • JOINING NUDIST COLONY!Must sell washer and dryer £100.
  • WEDDING DRESS FOR SALE.Worn once by mistake.Call Stephanie.
But perhaps the best one, and the one which all males no doubt would agree with is:
  • FOR SALE BY OWNER.Complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica,45 volumes.Excellent condition.....£200 or best offer.No longer needed; got married last month.Wife knows everything!

Poor, neglected blog!

I feel as though I have neglected my blog recently. It's a good job that it isn't a living, breathing thing that needs plenty of love and attention, otherwise I'd be reported to the authories and worse still it is likely it would be six-foot under with the worms! Not a pretty thought, and that's why I vow (once again) to change my ways, and make sure I blog more frequently.

The trouble is, since my last blog not a great deal has happened. Actually I don't think anything of note has happened. Ok, so I purchased a KA - she's a lovely all black 51 plate model, runs smoothly, comfortable to drive and is called KittyKa, Kitty for short - that's right I've named my new car, despite saying after getting attached to Penelope (R.I.P you little VW Polo) that I wouldn't name a car again; but I couldn't help it. It seemed the right thing to do.

Other than that, life is pretty much mundane - not in a bad way, but in Leicestershire not a lot happens. Monday - Friday I work 9-5 for a well known clothing company (although I work in their head office responding via e-mail / letter to complaints and compliments!), at weekends chances are I'll be working as a steward at the football and spending time with the lovely J; and then it is the start of a new week and off we go again! Boohiss!

There hasn't even been a great deal in the press that I've thought "actually I'd could make a good blog about this and my opinions towards it." but with the elections around the corner I'm sure that will change!

On the plus side though, I'm back on Twitter! Hoorah, so if you really want to, you can follow my daily antics (@MYounger14) starting this weekend as I'm off to London on Easter Sunday!

I promise, I will be back with something more exciting than this!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hall of Shame

In a month when it has been made public that the now former England captain cheated on his childhood sweetheart with his former team-mate's ex-girlfriend and a former Premier League striker has failed a second drugs test that could lead to a four-year ban, it's time to take a quick look into the annals in football's Hall of Shame.

What follows is a 14-man squad of football's bad boys - and a manager to boot. With an attacking formation of 3-4-3, the manager of this staring XI (find out who it is in part two), takes a leaf out of Brian Clough's book. Cloughie suggests if you had a good goalkeeper you were a tenth of the way towards building a successful team, so taking the number one jersey in the Hall of Shame, is none other than former Liverpool shot-stopper Bruce Grobbelaar.

In November 1994 Grobbelaar was accused by the Sun newspaper of match fixing during his time at Liverpool to benefit a betting syndicate, after being caught on videotape discussing match-fixing. The number one - perhaps best known for his wobbly legs - pleaded not guilty, claiming he was only gathering evidence with the intent of taking it to the police. This didn't stop the court from charging him with conspiracy to corrupt, along with the Wimbledon goalkeeper Hans Segers and Aston Villa striker John Fashanu (neither of whom have made the football bad boy squad, incidentally).

After two successive trials, neither resulting in a verdict, he and his co-defendants were cleared in November 1997. Grobbelaar later sued The Sun for libel and was awarded £85,000. The Sun appealed, and the case was eventually taken to the House of Lords where it was found that, though the specific allegations had not been proved, there was adequate evidence of dishonesty. The Lords slashed his award to £1, the lowest libel damages possible under English law, and ordered him to pay The Sun's legal costs, estimated at £500,000.

Captaining the team, and leading from the back, is the present day (ex-)leader of the pack,
disgraced Chelsea skipper John Terry - no stranger to controversy both on and off the pitch.
In the past fortnight it has been hard to get away from Terry's face being plastered over the front pages, after it was announced that the Blues star was the Premier League footballer who cheated on his childhood sweetheart and the mother of his two children. Terry's alleged relationship with French lingerie model Vanessa Perroncel has been dragged through the national press for several days, with reports ranging from her alleged history of sleeping with members of the Chelsea squad to the slightly more ridiculous speculation that Terry is actually the father of England and former Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge's child.

But this isn't the first indiscretion against Terry's name. His share of 'mistakes' includes several public displays of drunkenness at home and abroad, and mocking Americans at Heathrow airport in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by stripping naked, laughing and vomiting. To top it off he was arrested for causing actual bodily harm to a doorman after a nightclub scuffle.

Supporting Terry in the middle of the defence is the man who has been given the Three Lions captaincy for the upcoming friendly against Eygpt - Rio Ferdinand.

At the start of his career Rio was tipped to become one of the greatest defenders of our time, coming through the ranks at West Ham United with the likes of Michael Carrick, Joe Cole and

Frank Lampard, before moving to Leeds and then Manchester United.
But for all his skill on the pitch, Rio seems to be a magnet for bad publicity, all of which have cast a cloud over his career.

In 1998, the then England manager Glenn Hoddle left Ferdinand out of the World Cup squad after the defender was charged with drink-driving, which also brought about one of Rio's four driving bans.

Three years later Ferdinand hit the headlines again after it was made public that along with two of his team-mates he was involved in a sex scandal - not to mention a homophobic rant live on Radio One's Chris Moyles show.

But it was the huge error in judgement the talismanic defender made in 2003 that seals his starting berth in this squad - missing a doping test in 2003 (because he forget due to moving house). This was a mistake which not only cost him an eight-month ban from football, ruling him out of yet another international competition (Euro 2004), but also left a bitter taste after it raised suspicions of yet another player who had wasted his talents due to drugs.

Ferdinand, now 31, has tried to remove his bad-boy image in recent years but there are still doubts over his suitability as England captain - most notably his recent appearance in front of the FA's disciplinary panel for violent conduct for swinging an arm at Hull strike Craig Fagan.

The third man in this fiercest of defences is Arsenal and England legend Tony Adams.

"Mr Arsenal", as he is known, was part of the 'famous four' that lined up in the Gunners defence renowned under George Graham for its disciplined use of the offside trap. On January 1st 1988 he became Arsenal captain at the age of 21 - his job for the next 14 years until his retirement.

Despite his strong discipline of the defence for both Arsenal and England - and the admaration of thousands - Adams had his demons, and none more so than a battle with the bottle.

His alcoholism, which started in the mid 1980s, increasingly blighted his life, reportedly often involved in fights in nightclubs and other public skirmishes.

On May 6th 1990, Adams crashed his Ford Sierra into a wall near his house in Southend-on-Sea, and when breathalysed he was found to be more than four times over the legal drink-drive limit.
On December 19th that year, at Southend Crown Court, he was imprisoned for four months.

However, after being released in February after serving half his sentence his alcoholism continued and he was involved in further drink-related incidents, including playing through a match in the 1993/94 season despite being hungover, falling down stairs and needing 29 stitches to a head wound, and letting off fire extinguishers with team-mate Ray Parlour in a Pizza Hut where they were being taunted by supporters of rival clubs.

On September 14th 1996 Adams admitted his problem to the public and, after seeking treatment, found a more sensitive side to his character emerging, including a return to education and an attempt to learn the piano. He became one of the most high-profile recovering alcoholics in the UK.

As we move forward into the attacking midfield, it is another former Arsenal player who picks up possession and builds the attack.

Paul Merson, a talented footballer but unfortunately for him a poor manager and a worse pundit, was blighted by a trio of addictions. Alcohol and gambling were vices popular among his crowd in the mid 1990s, but it was the third that put Merson's career on the line in November 1994 when he admitted to being a cocaine addict.

In a tearful press conference, Merson confessed: "For me, cocaine was a serious addiction and not something I did occasionally."

The Football Association arranged for Merson to undergo a three-month rehabilitation programme, meaning he avoided a ban. The attacking-midfielder returned to the Gunners line-up in February 1995, just before the dismissal of George Graham as manager.
Merson is joined in midfield by his England team-mate, and one of the loveable rouges of the game, Paul Gascoigne.

The former England star is best known for his off-the-field antics, despite his many wonder goals on it.

Gazza suffers from OCD, bipolar disorder, bulimia, drug addictions and alcohol abuse and has hit the headlines due to his actions, which can only be contributed to his drug and alcohol addiction.

In 2005, Gazza was arrested for assaulting a photographer, and in 2008 he was arrested on suspicion of criminal damages and was later sectioned because of fears he would harm himself. It is rumoured the England ace believed aliens were coming to get him.

And no more than a couple of days ago, Gascoigne was back in the papers for the wrong reasons after two arrests for public disorder offences over confrontations in a Yorkshire takeaway and a hotel in Darlington.

Providing the younger legs in the midfield line-up is Newcastle's Joey Barton, who along with the defence duo of Terry and Ferdinand is no stranger to bad publicity. However, unfortunately for him, he does not have the admiration or skill of his fellow midfielders.

Barton left Manchester City under something of a cloud after stubbing out a cigar in the eye of a fellow player, slapping a young fan who kicked him and allegedly punching a team-mate so hard he suffered a detached retina - a case he also suffered for with a New Year's stint in jail.

Having moved to Newcastle Barton's 'uncompromising' style of play has not mellowed, and, as such, it earned him a rebuke from the FA for a chest-high tackle on man mountain Dickson Etuhu.

On Tuesday May 20th 2008 he got his comeuppance when Liverpool Crown Court Judge Henry Globe sentenced him to six months in prison, declaring his part in a street brawl on Merseyside a "violent and cowardly act".

Vinnie Jones takes the final place in the four-man midfield, pushing Birmingham's Lee Bowyer onto the bench.
The former Welsh midfielder is arguably the hardest man ever to lace up his boots - the Wimbledon hero holds the record for the fastest ever yellow card. Just three seconds.
Jones has had his brushes with the law off the pitch - with convictions for air-rage and assaulting a neighbour and infamously once biting the nose of a Daily Mirror journalist. However, he now makes his money playing for an all-star LA side and has starred in over fifty blockbusters (not to mention the most recent series of Celebrity Big Brother).
Leading the attack are two men, one known for his womanizing and excessive drinking, the other for an addiction to drugs.

Wearing the number seven shirt is former Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend George Best.

Best's game combined pace, acceleration, balance, two-footedness, goalscoring and the ability to beat defenders, whilst his off-field antics combined drinking with womanising.
Best himself joked: "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."

The Irishman is said to have been the godfather of celebrity footballers, but his extravagant lifestyle led to problems with alcoholism which curtailed his playing career and eventually led to his death in November 2005 at the age of 59.

In the centre of the three-pronged attack is Argentina's most famous number nine, Diego Maradona.
Whilst the pint-sized striker had the sort of skill most players can only dream about, controversy seems to follow him wherever he goes – including the 1986 World Cup, where his 'Hand of God' knocked out arch-rivals England.

From the most part of his career, from as early as the mid-1980s right the way through until 2004, Maradona was said to have been addicted to cocaine. He allegedly began using the drug in Barcelona in 1983 and by the time he was playing for Napoli he had a regular addiction, which began to interfere with his ability to play football.
Over the years following his retirement his health seriously deteriorated. On January 4th 2000, while holidaying in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Maradona had to be rushed to the emergency room of a local clinic. In a press conference, doctors stated that the problem was caused by heart muscle damage due to "an underlying health issue". It was later known that traces of cocaine were found in his blood and Maradona had to explain the circumstances to the police.
In March 2009 Italian officials announced Maradona still owed the Italian government 37 million euros in taxes; 23.5 million euros of which was accrued interest on his original debt. They reported that thus far, Maradona has paid only 42,000 euros, two luxury watches and a set of earrings.

At the tail-end of last year, following Argentina's qualification for this summer's World Cup, Maradona used abusive language at the live post-game press conference, telling members of the media to "suck it and keep on sucking it". Fifa responded with a two-month ban on all footballing activity and a warning as to his future conduct.

The final name on the team sheet is former Leicester City, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Liverpool striker Stan Collymore.

In 11 years as a professional footballer, controversy followed Collymore around like a bad smell, as his self-destructiveness wasn't so much a streak as a rich seam.

The high of his notoriety was in 1998, when his relationship with television presenter Ulrika Jonsson disintegrated and it was revealed he had struck her. Collymore later courted more controversy when he was caught dogging in Cannock Chase, an accusation which was later confirmed.

Supporting the starting XI are a similarly hardy bunch including 6'3" Scottish striker Duncan Ferguson, seagull-loving forward Eric Cantona, and reformed bad-boy Lee Bowyer.

Ferguson shares the record for most red cards in a season - eight of them. He was also handed a three-month stint in prison for headbutting a fellow player. Frenchman Cantona launched the infamous kung-fu kick at Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons that saw the Manchester United forward landed with an eight-month suspension and threats of a prison sentence.

Bowyer joins the list, although his recent reforms and a rich vein of form with Premier League side Birmingham City could point to a brighter future.

Still, in his younger days the midfielder was a bit of a tearaway.

He was suspended by Charlton in 1995 for a positive drugs test (cannabis), fined £4500 by magistrates for throwing a chair at Asian staff in a fast-food restaurant in 1996 and then cleared of attacking an Asian student outside a Leeds nightclub in January 2000.
In 2005 he was also involved in an on-pitch punch-up with Kieron Dyer, his Newcastle team-mate at the time, resulting in a £600 fine.

Despite numerous accusations the midfielder has always strenuously denied being a racist, telling the press: "I am no racist. I have never been and I never will be.

"I thought it was best for me to keep quiet about what happened in the past and there were also legal implications and there was no reason for me to come forward and say anything.
"If people were inferring that I was a racist, well that's their opinion, but it was ludicrous really. I was brought up in a mixed community in London and all my friends and schoolboy pals were from different nationalities.
"All this has been going on for a long time now and I have not been in a position to back myself up if you like but now I want to put the record straight.

"I have always supported the Keep Racism out of Football campaign when I was at Charlton with my pal Carl Leaburn and at Leeds with Lucas Radebe. It is something I have always supported but people seem to forget that these days."

Lastly, but by no means least, managing the ragamuffins is the one and only former Spurs manager David Pleat.
In 1987 the coach was forced to resign after a tabloid reported his caution for kerb crawling around notorious red light districts of London. To make matters even more clear-cut, Pleat was cautioned not once but three times. He later rejoined football management at Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday and Luton Town again before returning to Spurs as director of football in the late 1990s.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A day of ar$e

Sunday is meant to be a day of rest, the seventh day, when according to Christians, after God had spent the previous six days creating the world and everything on it, he rested. I like to think he sat down, put his feet up, with a cuppa and a slice of cake, thinking "I've not done too bad here."As I'm sure you can guess, I'm not the most religious person in the world, but I think that it's a nice thought - and I'm also liking the though of a day of rest.

There was no such luck for me last Sunday (10th Jan 2010) – and due to the events that happened that day, I’ve realised how much I (and most of us no doubt) rely on material things.
After a shift working as a steward at the Walkers Stadium, in the freezing cold, as the snow fell and the bitter wind blew it into my face (the things we do for work), I de-thawed before driving J back up the M6 to Birmingham – a journey I make most weekends, I do it that often that I sometimes think I could do it with my eyes closed! Not that I would.

This time however, my beloved Penelope (a 1994 VW Polo Genesis) seemed to be ill (old age). The nearer to Birmingham we got, the more I noticed that the dashboard light was fading, although I could still see the petrol gauge and speedo, so I was ok – or being a typical male, that’s what I thought.
Penelope is similar to this but white!
As I made the return journey home, the petrol gauge was falling rapidly, as was the light on the dashboard, not to mention the head and rear lights. This certainly wasn’t normal, but then again, neither was my behaviour in Penelope. Not only was I talking to her, begging her to get me home, but I was also praying to the Big Man. Isn’t it strange how quickly we turn to religion when we want something!?!

Unfortunately the begging and praying did not seem to work. Either the big man was busy / not working (after all it was Sunday – a day of rest!) or he knew I wasn’t religious. Either way, a mile away from Junction 3 (a junction I could have left the motorway, parked in a side street and got picked up by my dad) I had to admit defeat and pull onto the hard shoulder. It was here, from 10pm until midnight that I waited to be collected by a tow-truck (and sods law had it that I did not have breakdown cover, as the year I had it, I didn’t use it!)
During my time on the hard shoulder, I had a visit from the Police, who were passing, but still managed to ask the ultimate question of “What appears to be the matter” – honestly, if I knew that do they really think I’d be standing in the heavy snow on the side of the motorway, freezing my dingdangdoolies off, and waiting to pay over £100 for the pleasure of being taken home?!?

There certainly wasn’t much rest for me on that Sunday, but it has taught me a few things (isn’t hindsight great!?)
1) I rely on Penelope too much, as at the time I wrote this in rough (yesterday) I was on the train back from Birmingham
2) I really should have listened to J and got Penelope serviced before Christmas
3) RAC were correct when they kept asking me to re-join them.
Ahhhh well, we live and learn by our mistakes, and they are only mistakes if we don’t learn by them!