So! I am all better now. I had missed about a week and a half of school due to bronchitis, and I eventually became well enough to get through the 1 2/2 days of school. (wednesday was a half day and so was friday). Dearest Nicoley even came to visit me while I was ill. Aww! She's a super lady, and I really needed the company! I realised upon her visit that she was the first human being I wasn't directly related to that I had had a conversation with in a week. Jeez, I was losing touch! Isolation is never a good thing. But, I learned quite a bit from my time alone, and God showed a lot of strength through me without anyone to look over my shoulder. Seriously though, people. Matthew 25:36 was not kidding, people need visiting. I can only hope that I have learned from this experience and will be more generous with my time toward those who need company. I had in part, forgotten how to have chats with people. But, I had the weekend to look forward to. There was paintballing. There was bruising. There was fun times for everyone. This post is now like, one week old. I can't even remember what the rest of it was supposed to be about! Probably paintballing and friends. C'est la vie!
So, school tomorrow. I still feel like something the cat dragged in, despite four days of potent antibiotics and 7 days of near-total rest. I dannevenknow. I feel like I have a temperature of some description, but for whatever reason our house is devoid of working thermometers. We've got some mercury ones on the way from the post because you can't buy them over here, and blah blah blah. I feel pretty lousy. I really don't want to head into school tomorrow, but can I afford to miss any more school? Then again, this is a chest infection, by the ominous name of "Bronchitis". That name always made me think of dinosaurs, like the Brontosaurus. So if I push myself, I'm just going to get worse, and I don't wanna do that. Flippin' antibiotics should have this thing sorted by now, or at least so I'd hoped. In all likelihood, I won't be going to school tomorrow. When it comes right down to it, I know if I really do feel like crap, there's no way I'll be bothered to do the bike into school. No maths, anyway, and I'd be missing a third of the day due to games and irish. Still. I am going a little mad for boredom and isolation. What I would not give to see another human friend that wasn't immediately related to me. Whinging helps though. A little. :)
Watched some more Doctor Phil, and I noticed something! He has a facial tic. He closes his eyes from time to time with a noticeable force (Just in case any of you were thinking "That's blinking, Lorcan.), but what I like about that is that it doesn't make a difference. He never even brings it up, because it genuinely isn't important. One of the youth leaders at my youth group talks to kids at various schools about Jesus, but he has a stutter. I think that's really, really awesome. It's like, there's this thing that you'd think would hold you back, but once you actually look at it, there's no reason for it to, so they just went with it anyway.
I'm probably not being too coherent, I blame it on the illness. Bored out of my skull. I downloaded an emulator for a game I had when I was a kid. I'm uncertain whether or not this makes me a hypocrite. I mean, more than one usually would be. I'm anti-piracy, but then, I've always tended to follow my own ideas of what is fair rather than what the law would specifically state is acceptable. Then again, I have no idea about the law. I wish you could just google these things. You probably can, maybe I just haven't looked hard enough. At any rate, I owned the game as a child, we lost it, I can play it now, they've stopped selling it long ago, I don't see that as unfair. But call me out on it if you will. I beat it, anyway. It's called "Survival kids", and you play as a 10 year old boy or girl, shipwrecked on a desert island, with the goal to survive and eventually get off the island. This game has always tickled my fancy for various reasons. I mean, what 10 year old boy wouldn't dream of such an awesome scenario? Obviously without the whole fear of death and loneliness and stuff. Because you're ten. It's a good, fun game.
The idea of survival has always been a kinda fun scenario for me, I quite like the idea of self-sufficiency. Which can play to my pride when I mistakenly try to live without others' help. Which is silly and all.
"When I realize it I’ve been playing through the same place And I died at the same location after that Never giving up, challenge against the disappearing stepping tiles But soon only to fall off from it If only I have the tools No.2 It’ll be easier to reach the other side but No matter how many times, no matter how many times I can’t defeat Airman No matter how many times, I couldn’t dodge the tornado Despite jumped behind and fire repeatedly I got blown off eventually I even tried rapid time firing But it’s meaningless when I pit it against the tornado So in order to win the next round I can only reserve the E tank to the very last moment
When I realize it I only left a little bit of life And I use the E tank at the similar place Never giving up Not easy reaching Airman’s place But I don’t have anymore credit If only I have the leaf shield It’d be easier to defeat Airman but No matter how many times, no matter how many times I can’t defeat Woodman Falling leaves No matter how many times, I can’t dodge it No matter keeping distance away and went behind Eventually the distance will be shortened I even tried rapid time firing But it’s meaningless when I pit it against his agility So in order to win the next round I can only reserve the E tank to the very last moment
If only I have the tools No.2 It’ll be easier to reach the other side but No matter how many times, no matter how many times I can’t defeat Airman No matter how many times, I couldn’t dodge the tornado Despite jumped behind and fire repeatedly I got blown off eventually I even tried rapid time firing But it’s meaningless when I pit it against the tornado So in order to win the next round I can only reserve the E tank to the very last moment" - Air Man ga Taosenai (Airman will not Die)
So, I went to the doctor today, it turns out it's just a chest infection, not the aforementioned swine flu. How that happened baffles me. For all the "Wash your hands every hour on the hour" mentality, living under the same roof as someone who has it, and spending two days at a camp where a good friend of mine had it baffles me. It's like the entire firing squad missing you or something. I just don't know. Maybe I already had after 10-12s. I had been informed that I didn't, but who knows, that'd be the only explanation that I could think of. Still feel quite bleh though. My entire body seems to have rallied against me, turning me into some sort of ghoulish figure. I am a noxious vestibule of grease and coughing, at time caught in that most trying of decisions. Do I need to excrete or vomit? That one's always a toughie. Nobody wants to be caught relieving themselves and then discover all too late they've made the wrong choice and get sick all over the floor. TMI turkey? Perhaps. I'm on antibiotics. I can't remember if I posted this on my blog or just twitter, but antibiotic means "Against life". How evil-sounding is that? Yet we'd be in a very sad state of disarray without them, despite that they sound like a robotic nano-race hellbent on humanity's extinction.
I just watched TV today. I've noticed a sliding gradient of talk-TV shows. At the bottom, is Jerry Springer. You know, somebody's ho's been cheatin' on him, and dayyyumed if there ain't gonna be some big brawl in which half the noise is beeping and half the screen is full of securtiy.
Next on the list is Maury. At first, I fell for it's guise as a serious talk-TV show. But no. It is not. It is just Jerry Springer dressed up as intelligent. They still have secret paternity tests in which the drama is played out for maximum effect while we, the romans, get to chant and cheer while the proverbial lions of strife draw in for the kill. I actually turned it off at one point, I think there's a limit to how much of someone's personal life should be broadcast on international television. The subject was quite good though, I had quite an admiration for the guy in question. The man had decided that regardless of the results of the paternity test, he would stay with his significant other and her child. What I saw as impressive though was that she was only his fiancee. I mean really, he would be within rights to just up and leave, but he didn't. I admire that kind of commitment. When the woman found out, she ran off the stage, while the man reaffirmed his decision. As he held her in his arms offstage and told her how much he loved her, I couldn't help but realise that there was a camera crew surrounding them. It's kinda like: "Dude, give them a little bit of space?" Cripes. I can see why people freak out at the paparazzi like they do, I think having your worst moments filmed for people's interest is kinda messed up, needless to say enraging. I just switched the channel, with the slightest waft of shame for having watched Maury.
And then, at the top, is Doctor Phil. He's a classy guy, like a big loveable Texas teddy bear. Not to mention he reminds me of Nexus, who has earned the nickname "Dr. Phil" for his compassionate and caring nature. And that he likes to help people. I couldn't think of a decent adjective for that. At any rate, the topic of the day was commitment. And commitment-phobes. Interesting subject, not limited to just men, from the looks of it. It's a tricky fear, really. I think I'm a little young to be properly affected by it, or at least deal with it. But then, I could be wrong. I suppose the only fear I'd have is that if I got married it'd be to the wrong person and it'd all just fall apart or something. But luckily, I've got the redemptive love of Jesus in my life to give me a bit of a wake-up call and say: "Hey, I'd be there to help both of you work through any problems." I think when God left infidelity as the only excuse to get a divorce (And not even that, really, if you take what Jesus' said.) that that says a lot about marriage. That if God is present, two people can work through any problem together. Maybe I'm just showing some sort of naivete with that kind of talk, perhaps it's the truth, but in either case, I think he meant what he said, and that two people that had become joined wouldn't have to be caged to unhappiness for the rest of their lives. That fresh starts could be made, and love long dead could be resurrected. I think so, anyway. Is his arm too short?
And on to my last topic, of why God's way is the best way. On two counts. I think it's vital to marry someone that's a christian as well, otherwise I don't think one could expect God to work through them and with them if they'd really rather he didn't, or didn't believe at all. And another recurring theme in these stories was pre-marital sex. Which meant that the people had kids. And that, my friends, is trouble. Hahaha! Not kids, not kids! That came out wrong. But making difficult decisions about your relationship are made a lot more complicated when your decisions can deeply affect your offspring. On the one hand, having kids can keep you in the relationship, which can be good and bad, I suppose. You'll work at happiness a lot harder if it's the only option.
On the other hand, if you leave, you've just done a lot of damage to your kids, like it or not.
The last thing, I guess, is sex. Apparently the number one reason (or so says doctor Phil's cited research at least) that guys don't commit is because they can get sex regardless. Which isn't a very noble thought, in either case. I don't think you should marry just to get some nookie cookies. If that's your goal, you gotta re-evaluate some things. But I think your decisions will be a lot clearer and more objective if you're not up to your eyeballs in funky hormones. That, and the previously mentioned kids. I don't think any of those couples decided: "Well, I'm not ready to marry you, but what the hey, lets have some kids!". Birth controll is effective, but you can always get a Juno on your hands. I think abstinence just keeps things simple. But also probably a little dorky. But that's a small price to pay to avoid gettin' punched-up by yo' ho' on Jerry Springer and getting a headache from all the bleeping.
Maybe I just like saying "ho".
"Bros before hoes. Why? Because your bros are always there for you. They got your back after your ho rips your heart out for no good reason. And you were nothing but great to your ho, and you told her that she was the only ho for you. And that she was better than all the other hoes in the world. And then suddenly...she's not yo' ho no mo'." -Michael: The Office (US)
So, this morning getting out of bed I felt like a brick of fried suffering, I rolled out with a hack and a cough. But after that I felt better. I realised I was probably still sick to some degree, but tuesday is triple maths, and whenever I miss a maths class, I come back to find we've all learned how to fly or something like that, and next week we're all jumping off a cliff to hone our skills. So I elected to head into school anyway. I downed a lemsip, garbed myself in what has been described as my "Bicycle safety ninja" outfit, and was on my way to school. I felt pretty good until I got to the common room, to be honest. Perhaps it was seeing people full of vitality and life that drew my attention to my less than exuberant status ailment. So I figured I'd stick around for the first few classes, then see how I felt. So I then went home after my first class as I felt a headache coming on a like wave from an ocean of bricks. So I spent my second day home sick.
I am loath to fall prey to such fearfulness, but my brother had been feeling rather ill lately as well, and our good Doctor gave, in her professional opinion, a label of swine flu upon my brother. I really, really, really hope it's not swine flu. I'm fine with feeling like burning bacon fat for a few days, but I can't afford to miss a whole week of school! However, the growing ache in my stomach speaks a truth. I realised today that should I feel properly crap-tacular tomorrow, I will likely stay in for the rest of the week. Eugh. That would suck. But, such actions are necessary. I've watched one too many zombie movies to allow myself to become the guy who got bit but kept it to himself right up until the end where he turned and bit the protagonist's girlfriend. No sir. I am highly uncomfortable being by myself in a house for extended days at a time. I am going to have my brother take the modem to school in all likelihood of such an occurance. You do not leave a crack addict unsupervised for days at a time with heaping crack rock lying on the kitchen table, you do not leave Lorcan Murphy unsupervised for days at a time with an internet connection. It is just not done. But we shall burn that bridge as we come to it, in the words of a giant rat in a trenchcoat.
So here's what I've gotten up to today. I've been reading through "Inverloch", a comic by the same lady who does "The Phoenix Reqieum". It's a finished comic, so there shouldn't be the problem as detailed in my last post. I've got a flaming stomach cramp just now though, so I'm gonna cut it short.
This: Is quite pretty and fantasy-RPGish This guy: Is pretty scary.
Aren't my days productive?
"And Rene Descartes/ was a drunken fart/ I drink therefore I am!" - Bruce's Philosophers Song": Monty Python
Ok, so I search "top webcomics" on Google, and found this little webcomic, "The Phoenix Requiem". I went through the first few pages, and realised I had tried to read through it once before, it was familiar! But I realised I had hit new comics after the first chapter. Holy crap you guys, I give this thing a big two thumbs up. Three thumbs up. I actually just grabbed Grant's hand and forced him to make a thumbs up, just so that that statement could be factual. The artwork is UNSPEAKABLE. Really. There are times when I do a double-take, just to see if he has used three-dimensional software, or photoshopped a photograph of a person into the comic. None of these things have occurred. The artist is extremely talented. Each comic is like a beautiful painting, and the characters no less. Each one has a backstory, talents, hopes, and secrets, and it is oh so enjoyable to see them develop and react with each other. So so good! Give it time though folks, like any story worth reading, it takes a little while to get started. Come to think of it, the Bible doesn't. It starts off pretty epic right away. But back to the topic at hand!
It is also long, with 485 comics in the archive. I am ashamed to say that I read through them all in a matter of an hour or two. My shame is because I have not appreciated the art. Really, truly, they are works of beauty. Which is what prompted my fury. If you are into webcomics, like myself, you have all eventually reached my current point. You begin a story, and find you enjoy it. Reading more. You grow an endearment to the characters. Reading more. The plot wraps its arms around you in an inescapable embrace of curiosity, reading more. You find you fall in love just a little bit with the world itself, reading more and more, becoming drunk with the sheer quantity of delicious fiction you are ingesting and then nothing. Stop. Halt. Comics update of mondays and thursdays. click to vote for top webcomic. Here's the forum. "NOOOOOO!!!" was my cry. It is a cruel fate for readers of webcomics, as if your latest novel was dropped off with the sunday paper. A literary booty-call. Just a one-night stand? But I find myself deeply in love with this comic, even if I can only see it unfold twice a week. I eagerly await thursday, my friends. I eagerly await.
"We have our own deity in Mishara, Professor. Magic is a myth, not part of our education. I can see the appeal though. It'd make being a doctor much easier." - Anya Katsukova, "The Phoenix Requiem, page 8"
So, I am sick, and monday being about my least important day of the week for school, I have elected to stay home. I am going to go do some study now, but not before sharing with you these two comics.
One! "Rob and Elliot". Genuinely funny misadventures of two roommates. I realize I have just desrcibed about 99% of all webcomics ever, but this has more of a "machall" kinda feel to it. Funny, and light.
The other one is not funny. At all. I laughed about once, to be honest (at a white Nelson Mandela), but it is not a funny comic! It's about a gay guy with OCD. Which is a bit of an understatement. I will warn you, the first two pages are him and his boyfriend having sex. But it's not vulgar, honest! It charts the difficulties of the guy and his struggles with compulsions fears, and anxieties, and his stresses of dealing with other people. You feel kinda bad for him while reading it, mental illness is always horrible. I guess we all have our worries and fears, it's just difficult to see when people can't deal with it for medical reasons. Another thing about it is the depiction of his relationship with his boyfriend. I suppose there aren't too many examples of such relationships in the media, so it's good to see what they're like in reality, I think.
I suppose it is difficult though. If you've read Leviticus, you know God's stance on such relationships, and that God considers them to not be how he planned us humans to get along. But when you see that two people genuinely love each other, and even seem to show it more than some heterosexual relationships, what exactly is there to say? Complicated subject indeed. We discussed it in relatively large length at my youth group's weekend away. Inconclusive answers for the most part. One can conclude that being involved in a sexual relationship with someone of the same gender is not as God intended is about all you can really say. And "in the old testament" to be added, for further uncertainty. We are all aware it is not a choice. But with evidence to show that it is both something that you are born with, what are we supposed to say? We were posed with the question: "Is that fair?" and the only thing I could think of is "It isn't fair." I suppose why so many people become homophobic and hateful is because it's a complicated subject. It's easy to just say "it's their fault, they're responsible, it's bad!" and then staunchly stay to your own side without fail, certain that you are right. But when you look at the facts, there isn't anything to hold against them. Complicated, complicated, complicated. But there are some facts that each of us do know, as Christians. We cannot judge. We must love. God loves each of us equally. We are all equally sinful. And that's the facts I aim to stick to, above all else in such matters.
Well, that went about five miles off topic, here's the comic anyway! It's a deep little ditty by the name of: "I'm Crazy"
*stomach groans* "Man, I'm hungry like nobody's business!" "Well, when was the last time you ate?" "I SAID IT WAS NOBODY'S BUSINESS!" - Rob and Elliot, "Rob and Elliot"
Just a little. I am having moments like this every now and again where I realise that I am actually older than kids at this stage. Pokemon was 10 years ago, people! Aladdin's been out for nearly twenty years! We are no longer kids.
So, my school's first day of Christian Union starts tomorrow, and as part of God's running sense of humour, I am running the asylum for the first day. I mean, really. Of course, we are all flawed humans equal in our coming short for qualifications for service, but sometimes I realize that I'm part of the leadership team and it just strikes me that as part of his plan, this is where I'm at right now. Me, people! It's like someone put a recovering alcoholic as captain of their ship. But, all this is for the best, as at the end of the day, it will be God speaking through me that does the real work. The wonderful response to my questioning: "This is it, God? I'm going to be part of this? You sure you don't want someone more qualified?" That the answer is a resounding "Yes!". It boggles my mind.
At any rate, the talk for the first meeting is all written up, and I am both eager and relaxed, which is a comforting change. I've done stuff like this a few times now, so the jitters of speaking to a bunch of people and saying: "Ok, so I did some digging in the word, and now please listen to what God hopefully says through me.". And experience gives the comfort that they're not going to chuck me through the B floor window. At least, they haven't this far. I'm exited for this year though. The kind and nifty Jonny Somerville is "getting some heads together" for a panel of questions about faith and whatnot for January, and it's not in vain when I say "Thank God!" That the teachers are really willing to get up to their elbows involved in the work this year Nicoley and I are both in 6th year, so we'll need them about when mocks and the inevitable Summer Quiz comes lumbering towards us.
The thing that troubles me though is people attending. Not just about CU, but the communities of faith I'm involved in at the moment. The kids club I help out at on fridays is at an all-time low of kids, and those that do come are mostly at their parents' enforcement, and those that do come tend to be more interested in yelling and grabbing as much notice as possible rather than listening to what we put together for them. Which sounds like "Children aren't serious all the time, ka-gasp!" But, seriously, they're looking to close the thing down. Which would leave me out of a job for friday evenings. And sure, it's volunteer work, but I've got kids to feed! Fictional or no, they still need to be fed. My current youth club too, has seen a drop in attendees. I heard from someone recently that youth workers are on the decline, that youth interest in Christianity wanes and waxes, and the jobs associated with that rise and fall as well.
That kinda frightens me. I've witnessed apostasy in friends before, and if honest-to-goodness scares the pants off of me. Was this all a trend? Was eternity just for a weekend? Scares me to death. The concept of apathy gradually working its way around your neck and applying pressure newton by newton until your faith's last breath leaves your body with a shuddering, silent whisper. Of course, many such deaths witness resurrections from the almighty, but still, whenever I see someone close the door on their faith, whether with a resounding slam or a faint click, I cannot help but wonder: "Will that be me someday?" Luckily, unlike most of my others, such a fear does not warrant worry, to me at least. Despite being the thing I fear most.
However, I am aware of my own hypocrisy. I am secretly a master of not showing up. I may be involved in various groups of believers here and there, but I know, deep down, I am well practiced at hitting the "Busy" button when God comes calling. I know this is something everyone struggles with though, so I'm fairly certain nobody's going to leave a comment saying: "Goodness Lorcan, you horrible sinner, I've never skipped out on spending time with God once!" And if you do post that comment, please include someplace we can meet up, because you need to teach me your secret! However, I'm aware that a checklist faith of "Pray for 15 minutes, read your bible, Christianity ticked off for today!" isn't good either. Tricky, all the same.
At the time of this writing, we had CU yesterday, and unfortunately about only 3 people made it, which was kinda discouraging. My lovely youth leader Jonathan gave me a call later on in the afternoon to check how it went though, and was very kind! He showed empathy and sympathy, and what's more, encouragement. He's a nice guy, that Jonathan. Welp, that's all I've really got to say for today.
Oh! Wait! I also had a Netherlandese person controlling my computer yesterday to help set up a video game client. Risky move? Undoubtedly. However, it seemed to have to have had no adverse effects on my system, besides a grinding horror at watching my mouse move around and do things of it's own free will. It rendered me with the niggling feeling like my computer was about to burst forth legs and arms, and out of the arms, saws, to rend me and my brother to pieces. Fortunately, no such slaughter occurred. It's crazy how much you can learn about someone just from rifling through their PC, it took the Rob (the techie in question) about five minutes to find out my address, video game preferences, and even who I am currently romantically involved with.
It was interesting, really, me, him, my brother, and another friend or two of his from the Netherlands were all talking while said Dutchman set up my videogame client. And in the fashion of young men acquainted with the internet, the conversation quickly turned to "hey, let's see where this bloke hides the porn!" It was a little shocking even to my own ears to say: "There's none. Search if you don't believe me, you won't find anything." Of course, the dude didn't believe me, and regaled me with tales of the last dude who made that claim, and the approximately 2.4 seconds it took for it to be proven false. I felt a sense of calm and removed peace to be able to be completely at ease as the guy rifled through my computer to set up the client, certain beyond a doubt that I had absolutely nothing to hide from him or anyone. I think we must be doing something right as followers of Jesus when the claims we make (In truth, mind you), are so fantastic and grand that people just don't believe us when they hear them.
Okay, maybe I was just a little ashamed about the fact I was over level 100 on mafia wars, but that's it! :P
"Why don't you stand up? Be a man about it? Fight with your bare hands about it now?" - Paramore: For a Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic
So, no 6.6 today, instead our teacher had what I would consider a relatively uncreative idea, and just had us run up and down the same hill for half an hour. Why? No-one can say. The 6.6 is next week, but in honesty, it's not really going to be the 6.6. He has said that everyone's just going to run their best. Which means it'll be the 4.4 for a small few, the 2.2 for most, and the 6.6 for none, as running that distance in under 30 minutes is beyond the ken of most mortal men.
Bleh. Like the shawshank redemption, there was word passed out today by none other than the teacher himself that one of our fellow runners had indeed escaped to greener pastures. And by greener pastures, I mean Table Tennis. Yes, Table Tennis, the Valhalla of Games options, where one can play one of the sporting worlds' silliest sports, dilly-dally about, or just do homework, while chatting amiably with friends, and for all I can conceive, sipping martinis. Alas, my friends Nicole and Brian already attend such a fabled option, and I am frequently taunted by their superior fortunes. So this is Lorcan Murphy with his rockhammer, desperately hoping he can get out to the Se Wateneo of table tennis. I need Nicole and Brian, they are the kinda folk who can get things, from time to time.
In different news, I am going to see Paramore in december, and am currently working my way into a liking of the band, which is easy-going. I'm thinking I'm gonna buy "All we know is falling" and "Riot!" thus far. I like the lyrics. Paramore seem like a pretty genuine band as far as I can tell, and that endears me to them. Honesty in their lyrics of equal portions trouble and mirth. Good listening.
I am not, however, going to buy "The Final Riot!", I do not think. It's "Riot!" But live. The latter part of the album is pretty freakin' sweet, but the first half is heavy-laden with concert speak, which has always rubbed me a the wrong way. Perhaps it is my ancient distaste for worship leaders who whip their congregations into a frenzy simply for the sake of a frenzy spilling over into a more secular setting. But all the same, when someone tells me to put my hands in the air, and encourage me to exclaim that I was "born for this", I am more likely to fold them over in reluctance and ask for an explanation of what exactly "this" is, before I devote my whole existence to whatever it is. Who knows, sweet and lovely Haley could secretly be talking about crack for all I know. It's happened before. I thought "Coin Operated Boy" was the most bittersweet song about impersonal sex while craving a deeper loving relationship, and boy, was I wrong. Insofar as the main object of the song's focus flew over my head like an airplane, leaving only an echo in it's wake, for me to flippantly look up and question: "Did anyone just hear something?". I am not one for casual declarations, I suppose. But that all said, I am loving their music.
"I put my faith in you so much faith, and then you, just threw it away." - Paramore "For a Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic" (no emotional relevance, I just like that line in the song :P)
Hello, my name is Lorcan. This is my blog where I talk about stuff I've done, stuff I think, and stuff in general.
Read it if you really want to know what I'm like.
And leave comments! They let me know what people think about stuff, adding to the total sum of my knowledge about things.