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I was watching a House Season 8 first look video today.

Beneath it were the comments such as “so weird to hear him talking in his normal voice.” By ‘him’, of course, they meant the very, very English Hugh Laurie, whose American accent was so convincing when he auditioned for House, even the casting people didn’t realise he wasn’t from those parts.

Even for me, someone who has watched Blackadder and some scenes from Fry and Laurie, it is odd listening to Hugh’s normal voice.

But reading those comments, I felt a little bit of pride. It was an odd sense of something like patriotism, but not quite. I felt almost like I, and other British people, were lending Hugh to the Americans. We were letting them have a taste of true British style, humour and talent, and soon, we would pull it out from under their feet, just to remind them that they’re our talented actors, not theirs.

It is perhaps unthinkable that anyone could play the dry, witty, sarcastic House as well as a British actor. After all, are we not famed for that? Indeed, it has been said that people don’t always understand our sense of humour. A simple: “oh great, rain,” could be taken as though the person was genuinely happy for it to be raining. (Unlikely. We in Britain complain when it rains, and we complain when it’s 28 degrees Celsius, as it has been the last few days).

British talent is beginning to seep into the very corners of American television. Whether they’re happy about it or not remains to be seen, but a number of British actors are acting in some very high-profile roles. Hugh was one of the first of this new boom, but there was Anthony Stewart-Head before him in Buffy, and currently there is Scottish-born Kelly Macdonald in Boardwalk Empire, Jaime Murray, previously of Dexter and now in Ringer, starring alongside Welshman Ioan Gruffudd. The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln of Love Actually fame, Stephen Fry has popped onto Bones for some guest appearances and Game of Thrones starred Sean Bean. Even some of America’s most loved reality shows are merely the children of British ideas: both American Idol (now the X Factor) and Dancing with the Stars are Britsh imports. And Downton Abbey came away with 4 wins at the recent Emmy Awards (beaten only by Modern Family with 5 wins). And I haven’t even started on two people who are bizarrely popular in America and presumably despised by equal amounts: Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan.

The truth is, the Brits are taking over, and are being very successful too.

There is a lot of talent sitting here on our shores. Matt Smith has walked in the shoes of some incredible Doctors in Doctor Who and the BBC have started a new iPad app in Australia, similar to BBC iPlayer so those Down Under can enjoy our programmes. Our shows are being broadcast worldwide, and the BBC is one of the most respected broadcasters.

But, just as with Hugh Laurie, our great actors are only out on loan. Because although I still feel a tiny bit proud that our British stars are being so successful over the pond, I want them back in our great award-winning shows too, eventually.

While procrastinating on Twitter, I came across the profile of a reasonably well-known BBC sports presenter. Not so well-known that I recognise him, but some people would. He described himself thus: “Cake lover, Christian, husband of 1 & father of 3”, after describing his occupation.

It got me wondering about what people use to define themselves. In this case, I supposed it was his job, his religion, his family and his love of cake, which he probably includes on Twitter as many people do also love cake. (Though I don’t actually ‘love cake’ myself).

I use Twitter to talk mostly, and unashamedly, about sport, and so my profile says: “Athletics aficionado. Hampshire supporter. Loyal Luton. Cricket nut. I am a sports addict with a passion for sport writing.” Is this how I define myself? As someone who likes sport a lot and also happens to enjoy writing? The man’s profile seems much more personal, and yet, I don’t really care that much that he loves cake. I wouldn’t follow someone on the basis of their food preferences after all.

In this man’s profile, it was the use of ‘Christian’ that intrigued me the most. I wondered how much of a difference that would make to his potential followers. Do people choose to follow him because he says he is a Christian? Would they therefore believe he has a strong moral code?

I’m happy for anyone to be whatever religion they want, as long as it’s not some sort of kitten slaughtering religion, but it surprised me that someone would use it so openly on a social networking site. I’ll admit now, I struggle with religion. It isn’t because  I’m waging a big war in my head between myself and God/s about  whether to believe in him/her/them/it or not. (I use ‘it’ because as a child I genuinely believed God was a turtle). I am just not religious at all. And I will openly admit that I don’t understand it. Not one single aspect of it.

I understand that religion plays a massive role in many people’s lives, but their religious beliefs (aside from kitten slaughter) would not have a bearing on whether or not I would follow them  on Twitter, or indeed, whether I would befriend them in real life.

That was why this man’s openness about his religion surprised me so much. Does he believe that his religion defines him just as much as his job and his family life?

I did wonder about what does actually define a person.

I decided to use his criteria to make a profile for myself: Occupation, something I like, beliefs and something that means a lot to me.

I came up with this: Student, sport lover, agnostic/atheist, hopefully good friend, daughter and girlfriend (though not to the same person. Obviously.)

I don’t like it, though. Maybe it’s different when you’re married and have children? And maybe it’s different when you actually have a religion. Indeed, I feel kind of odd about broadcasting my non-religious beliefs, in part because I feel as though I have no right to discuss religion. Does somebody with no religious beliefs have a right to talk about it? And indeed, I’m not sure I can talk about it without being offensive. On Facebook for a long time, my religion was cricket. It is now listed as pastafarianism because I think the whole thing is hysterical (and agree that creationism should not be taught alongside evolution).

Maybe it’s my lack of belief that makes me feel uneasy about people that do define themselves by their religion, as if their being was purely to be good in the eyes of God/Gods/turtles.

I suppose, because I don’t define myself by religion (and don’t really intend to), I just have to define myself by other means. I don’t really have anything to prove to anyone except myself, and and if I am a horrible person, ultimately I am only letting myself down because I don’t believe that I will go to heaven or hell for my wrongdoings.

But if I can’t define myself by my religion, nor by my family since I have no children, do I by default have no definition?

Perhaps it is better to be just a person? After all, nobody would write a rambling, nonsensical blog like I have just done about a person with nothing really to define them.

Or maybe I can be defined by my love of sport, my generally cheerful self and my enthusiasm for writing?

Any thoughts? Reply here, or send me a message on Twitter. 

Yesterday, I mentioned how Facebook may have been appealing less to the idea of friendship.

Then, suddenly, there was the announcement of Facebook Timeline and everything went crazy.

Facebook Timeline is still in the beta stages at the moment, but will become standard on the social networking site by the end of this month. I was able to change my profile to see what it would look like. Here it is:

When I first set it as my profile, it made me panic. My status updates were no longer as chronological as I would like. Instead, they seemed randomly spaced across two columns. But then, suddenly, I realised what was so amazing about it.

On the right hand side of the above photo, you can just about make out where it says ‘Now’ down to ‘Born’. If you click on ‘Born’ on my profile now, it takes you right down to a picture of when I was cute and surrounded by teddy bears. (For some reason, it also says my brother is older, even though when you click on 1992 it clearly shows that he was in fact born in 1992 and is therefore not older than me.)

But those buttons, dating from today to the day I was born is what is instantly wonderful about this new Facebook Profile. In the last hour, I have been scrolling through the years I have been on Facebook, reading statuses I forgot I made, wall posts I probably would never have read again otherwise and seeing photos that, although in folders all over my computer, I hadn’t seen in a long time. My Facebook Profile does tell you about my life.

I had to add a few things. My holiday in December 2009 to the Caribbean seemed not to exist, and my holiday to Edinburgh was not visible. A few clicks, and they appeared.

With Timeline you can choose what is visible and what isn’t. I have always said that I had nothing to hide on my Facebook, but some statuses were too uninteresting to keep visible forever. Equally, some important parts of my life were missing.

But, nagging in the back of my mind was one word: privacy, privacy, privacy. I wanted it back.

I did notice that as I created new little posts, the bottom of each one was automatically set to ‘public’. As I said yesterday, my Facebook is a very private creature, accessible only to friends and family. I did not want the details of my birth and graduation from high school open to the whole world. (Okay, the whole world would never care enough about me to read my profile, but it’s the principle that matters).

There is one important setting with the new Facebook that anyone similar to me must, must click. If you go to your privacy settings, there is an option that says: “Limit the Audience for Past Posts.” This changes all of your public posts to friends only. A big relief for people who don’t want to be accessed by the whole world.

A story caught my attention yesterday. A woman used baby photos from another woman’s Facebook to convince her ex that they had had a baby together. First off – creepy. But it does remind you that Facebook is on the internet, and the internet is a public domain.

Imagine walking into town and seeing a huge billboard filled with photos of you. It would be unnerving. Leaving your Facebook Timeline (it is not a Wall anymore) public is the same thing. Anyone can see it.

The new Timeline is wonderful. I loved reading my old messages, seeing all the things people wrote to me on my birthday and viewing all my old photographs. But nothing was automatically private. And I hated that.

In a week’s time, everyone will experience the new Facebook Timeline. Just be sure to take a look at your privacy settings when it does emerge.

By the way – the cover photo (the large photo) is public. There is no way to change this. So, be choosy over your cover photo.

A friend on mine said this: “I think they’ve just lot touch with what most of their users want from Facebook – a way to keep in touch with their friends,” upon the news that Facebook is making a big announcement, one which is expected to involve a new way of streaming music.

Among the other new features added by Facebook recently was the new option of subscribing. This would make your posts public to a group of people, whilst enabling you to maintain a private profile as well. Although, I may not be explaining this right, and I am usually quite computer savvy. Yes – Facebook is confusing me, for the first time ever, and I just don’t like it.

My Facebook profile is as private as I could make it. My photographs are friends-only, my status updates are friends-only and my profile is basically empty to anyone I do not have added as a friend. I refuse to add people I do not know. For my public internet persona, I have Twitter (come add me!). I did complain a lot about Twitter originally, and most of those opinions still stand, though I have found it excellent for breaking sports news (some cricket news today was on my Twitter feed quicker than it hit Sky Sports News) and a great way of publicising my blog. Views of my sports blog have gone up a huge amount since I became more active on Twitter.

But for me, Facebook and Twitter are entirely different. Twitter is for the things I would share with the world; one or two carefully selected photographs, links to my blog, my opinions on sport and the fact that I have a blue toe because it is so darn cold. Facebook is very different; I will share that I went to Pizza Express with my close friends and that I had a lovely time, photographs of mine and my boyfriend’s holiday, opinions that I don’t want every single person in the world to access to. Yes, I have close to 300 friends on Facebook, but there is nothing on there that I have to hide from people I know.

Twitter is about networking. Facebook is about friends, and that was all it was ever supposed to be. Now it is getting a little bit less like Facebook and a little bit more like… well, nothing we had before, but something a lot less personal and potentially, a lot less private. Facebook, for me, is about sending messages to friends, sharing photos with friends and talking to friends.

While I am discussing social networks, I dared to venture onto Google+. I set up an account, added a few photos and then realised that no one I know is on Google+, I have no idea how to add people to ‘circles’, find it horribly confusing and believe Twitter is so much easier.

Mini milks were my favourite ice cream treat. All creamy and tasty. I think I liked the strawberry ones best. But now, they don’t seem to taste quite the same. Has my palette changed or have they adjusted the ingredients?

Smarties, soured cream and chive Pringles, Oasis drinks don’t quite taste the same. In our health conscious age, has flavour been lost in favour of less fat?

Okay, obesity rates are astronomical and childhood obesity is a national crisis. But I miss the days when Smarties actually had a taste and were actually a good pick-me-up. Children of today don’t realise the sweetness they are missing out on.

Can they not produce flavoursome Smarties especially for adults who are aware of the health risks but are prepared to lay this to one side for one taste of sugary, e-number filled goodness? I would definitely support it.

According to the BBC’s live coverage of parliamentary debate focussing on the riots, Conservative Tobias Ellwood said police should be able to close down mobile phone masts, if mobs are using Twitter and other social networks to co-ordinate trouble.

That’s all very well, except that ultimately it doesn’t punish those running amock and demolishing and taking everything in sight. It punishes the innocent majority who are already affected by the horrific scenes up and down the country. What if there is a riot at 12pm and a parent wants to make sure a daughter working in FootLocker is okay? The scenes across our tv screens are frightening and horrible to watch (even though my significant other did not think me worrying about him being somewhere in London that could be near Croydon was warranted). But it is scary to sit there watching fire and people with baseball bats and not know what is happening. It is scary to think someone you care about could be in the midst of it all, stuck at work or trying to return home.

People have been mugged, are lying in critical condition in.hospital or murdered and Tobias Ellwood wants to prevent communication between concerned loved ones because the minority are mindless criminals?

It’s always the minority that ruins things. Treats in a classroom, bankers ruining the economy. Don’t let rioters take away people’s communication too.

I can’t lie. No, really, I can’t. Not when it comes to something as serious as this.

I hate spelling mistakes. And I hate reading things with incorrect punctuation. Especially the misuse of the apostrophe. Oh, yes. That apostrophe floating around where it doesn’t belong drives me absolutely crazy. It just hangs there like a little hitchhiker that has escaped its rightful place. It taunts me, waving to me, laughing in my face.

Picture this.

I am walking down the road, minding my own business, reading posters, adverts and road signs, as you do when walking down the road. Then I read something. My eyes get wide. I feel tense inside. My teeth clench tightly together.

“Its the best cake in town,” says the poster.

“IT IS the best cake in town,” I want to scream. IT IS. It’s. There is an apostrophe, damn you!

I am definitely not alone. The raging, roaring, riled Grammar Monster materialises in a lot of people when it comes to incorrect spelling and punctuation. I know plenty of people who would also be driven to the loony bin by that sign.

However, I wonder if I am being unreasonable? After all, not everyone understands it. It can be very complicated. That semi-colon drives a lot of people to distraction, and then there are all those irritating inconsistencies between British and American English. Those confusing differences between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ and ‘unorganised’ and ‘disorganised’.

But, and this is a big but. People must, must must, read through their advertising and leaflets and signs before they allow the public to read them. If they did, it may solve a lot of problems. I may not have mini fits every time I walk down the road. It would be very good for my stress levels.

– – – –

On a side note, in my local pub, there is an advert for a new selection of cocktails. Unfortunately, Microsoft Word doesn’t recognise the Mojito. This means the poster has bizarrely been printed with red squiggly lines underneath all of the words Word doesn’t understand. Oops.