You Can’t Google It

When I was in secondary school, around fifteen or sixteen, I was awoken by my mother at 7.50am as usual and told “ten minutes” to allow myself to wake up. So I curled up on my pillow and rested my sleep-filled eyes. Then I heard it.

“Lauren.”

It was a whisper. I couldn’t tell if it was male or female but what I was certain of was that it was right next to me. It couldn’t have been my mother, she was downstairs, my dad was in work, and my brother and sister weren’t home. I opened my eyes immediately and noticed my dog Sheba turning her head like she would when she heard something interesting. She was looking at nothing. I immediately told my mother, but due to my teenage angst phase, she didn’t believe me and assumed I was trying to get attention. It was only after I pulled myself out of this phase when she finally suggested what it could’ve been: my guardian angel. ht_ghost_car_wreck_kb_130426_wmain

For years I considered myself a selective Catholic because I never fully believed in everything the Church preached to me all my life, but I did, and I still do believe in some parts. However, over the past couple of years I’ve become more interested in the belief of guardian angels, archangels, and any other angels out there. It’s a journey I’ve been lucky enough to take with my mother, who is the person who got me into this new belief, years after she shed light on my phantom encounter. Together we’ve read angel books, used angel cards and engaged in recommended practices suggested by angel preachers (for want of a better word), such as planting sage in our front and back gardens to protect our house.

Our first step, according to famous angel writer, Doreen Virtue, was to find out our guardian angels’ names. The simple part was to simply ask out loud what his/her name is. Irish angel writer Lorna Byrne doesn’t believe angels are male or female, which would explain why I couldn’t tell if the voice I had heard years earlier was from a woman or a man. But I asked anyway, we both did. The slightly difficult part was receiving the answer. Supposedly we had to open our minds and listen to the answer inside of us, in other words, it would just pop into our heads. Naturally, I immediately started playing a guessing game in my head of all the names I could think of. That wouldn’t work. Another way to receive an answer was to look out for a name that you found yourself coming across more often than usual. And it worked!

My guardian angel’s name is Esther. It’s not a name I would conjure up by myself. I have only met one Esther in my life but we weren’t friends, just brief classmates before she dropped out. I hadn’t been thinking of her. Instead I saw and heard her name in at least three different places. And so that’s how I refer to my guardian angel, and against Lorna Byrne’s beliefs, I consider her a woman.

images (1)So what am I now? Am I still a selective Catholic? What do you call someone who believes in angels and a God that doesn’t necessarily fit with the Church’s view? For months, my mother and I considered ourselves spiritualists. It was only recently that I decided to Google what exactly a spiritualist is and does. There is no definite answer, unfortunately, it seems to take on different meanings and maybe that’s a good thing. Perhaps what I believe and how I practice it is what spirituality is to me.

Nevertheless, I decided to do some reading, because that’s what Google told me to do. I’m to read as many spiritual texts as possible. But where would I begin? I spent days searching and every book I came across had its positive and negative reviews, so I realised I would have to go with my gut and pick a book that I felt would be a good start. And so I did. I chose The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. I am nearly halfway through reading it and I would rather wait until I’ve finished it before I give my thoughts on it. I’d like to think that this is the start of my own personal spiritual journey.

Wish me luck!

The Evolution of Electronic Storage (according to me!)

Do you remember floppy disks?

Thin, plastic squares that you slotted into your vintage Windows 95 desktop?

No?

Let’s face it, technology evolves so fast that it’s no wonder we feel old that we remember the likes of audio cassettes and tape recorders. Is it safe to say that children born in the 21st century have arrived at the peak of technological advancements? Of course not. When they’re in their 20s and 30s, the likes of MP3 players and smartphones will more than likely be old hat compared to what awaits us in the not-to-distant future. I still hold out hope for hover bikes! floppy_disc

So back to floppy disks, which are sadly up on the shelf with video tapes and Walkmans. They are considered ‘retro’ or ‘old-fashioned’ (I think retro sounds better) to those old enough to remember them. That’s right, I said OLD. Let’s face it, today’s generation would not know what to do with a floppy disk if you handed it to them, let alone guess that it was what 80s and, to some extent, 90s babies used to save important documents onto from their computers. Cue the laughter of not just disbelief, but of pity also.

‘That wouldn’t fit into my MacBook Air!’

To me, floppy disks had their benefits, the biggest being that you get to write your name on the handy little labels you got when you purchased a box of five or ten, and ever so neatly stick them onto the disk. And we all played with that steel flap in spite of the widespread myth that snapping it back and forth would wipe the data on the disk. It was the little things, really. Floppy disks were what I used in secondary school and, at the time, that was the norm. (I can already hear my mother’s voice: ‘we didn’t even have computers in school!’)

On today’s school book lists you will more than likely find a USB key with a minimum storage of 2GB typed. I didn’t encounter this new storage gadget until I began my third level education back in 2006 (I used the term ‘old’, right?). They were much smaller than a floppy disk, but still in their infancy at this stage. €15 – €20 would get you 128MB (do they still make things in megabytes?). There was quite a big turnover of USB keys in my class alone throughout the course. This was due to some genius starting a trend that allowed the computer tower, where the USB slots in, to be placed on the floor rather than the desk. You can see where this is going, right? Unlike floppy disks, USBs don’t insert fully into the computer tower, only partially, therefore: USB + knee = BROKEN! Or, in my case, bent sideways but still fully operational.images

By the time I finished college in 2010, I figured data storage had reached its peak, for students anyway. Three years later, in 2013, I decided to re-enter the world of third level education, armed with an 8GB USB key, which cost less than my bent 128GB pal from my first college stint. Technologically I was ready, but…wait, what’s this?

Dropbox?

Dropbox. Now this was something altogether different. There was no hardware involved, excluding the computer that is, and it can be accessed anywhere on any device, phones and tablets included. Remarkable was the only way I could describe it. Surely there’s a catch? No cat- Stop! Yes, yes there is. Once you’ve used up your complimentary 2GB of storage, you are required to pay for more. Fine, I thought, I’ll make a once-off payment and add some extra space, right? Wrong! Monthly payments are required to gain extra space, on Dropbox at least, and they’re quite costly at that. Hello! Student here, society expects me to be poor. I got around it though, once an important document was no longer important, out it went. And now that I’m finished college (again!), I simply use it to back up my photographs from my smart phone.

What will you do once they fill up your Dropbox, you ask?

Do they make USB keys in terabytes yet? Continue reading