Saturday, October 26, 2013

Life philosophy - would you do it?

This is a little bit of a bonus post for this week as I saw something on Tumblr that really got my mind whirring. Thought I would share it with you guys and see what you think. Given the fact that Tumblr is probably the weirdest place on the entire internet - if you haven't got to that dark spot then stay away, it will become addictive - I never expected to find this sort of thing on there. This is what I saw:

"If you were given a book containing your entire life story, would you read the end?"

Now then, this seriously got my brain going and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. I am not entirely sure why because it seems like a simple statement to make in just a simple state of mind. However, being female I tend to over think everything, and this is one of those times.

I have asked other people what they think of this statement and whether they would actually read the book, and it seems we have a really varied spectrum of opinions. Many people agreed with each other, but also differed in several aspects. It would seem that this slightly simple statement has turned in to something that has been dug even further.

First of all, I will start with what I think about it, then move on to things that other people have said etc. 

So, I have several questions for this statement - not that it can ever be answered, so bring on philosophy. 

First of all, I want to define "the end". What is the end? Surely the end of every person's book would be the same? It is inevitable that everyone ends in the same way; that end being death. So I am not sure why I would want to read the sentence "and today Danielle died". However, there is an essence of morbid curiosity surrounding this, I think. I would quite like to know how and when I will die. Is that weird? I feel like I am jinxing it now. It would be both interesting and then also terrifying to know when you are going to die. It would be like something out of a movie; a surreal atmosphere of just awaiting when you're going to die. Although it could be argued that this is what a human does. So based on this theory, I am not sure that I would read "the end" of the book simple to stop myself getting stressed. 

I think if I did have the option to read anything in this story, I would tackle the middle. This would probably constitute the next 20 years of my life from now. I'd quite like to know about graduating university, what I actually do with my life, and if I ever settle down. You know, all those details that you usually find yourself pondering anyway. Having said this, surely this would then lead to the similar situation regarding the end of the book? You would spend the majority of your life actively searching for the things that you have read will happen to you, which in turn would probably mean that you don't find them at all? Thus technically rewriting your entire story and taking you back to square one? 

Although I severely dislike surprises, isn't the entire point of life to have that element of unpredictability to keep everything in check? Whether or not you agree with this, having that surprise element is what most people enjoy in life - not knowing what is going to happen and when. The spontaneity of life would be completely ripped to shreds if you had a copy of your entire life story to hand. Humans are very curious creatures, and the smallest amount of temptation can drive anyone mad. So surely having a copy of this would essentially ruin human nature? People would become obsessed with finding this written prophecy which would probably make the world an even more nightmarish place than it already is. 

I think that most people wouldn't like parts of their life story and would think to "edit" parts out, and not face them properly. They'd get increasingly more irate with parts and focus on them, therefore focusing on the bad and blanking the good, which would most likely worsen the confusing nature of humans more. 

Having done a bit of research on this, I think people would go one of two ways about their life from reading this. The first being that of what I have already described; being caught up in knowing about what will happen but also enjoying life. Then there would be the opposite person who would give up if their life doesn't go how they had imagined it. It's likely that life would become tiring and boring if everyone knew what was going to happen. 

I'd also want to know who had written this book? Who knew so much about me as to determine my future? How had I been described? Maybe I am not as good of a person as I originally thought I was? Would I want to read all about my previous mistakes? Would I want to know about the many mistakes I am most likely going to make? 

All in all, I think I would happily sit and watch the book burn. At the end of the day, if my life was already pre-written, nothing that I can do or say will ever change it. Although I would be curious as to what someone has in store with me, I would rather not endure constant panics about maybe I had missed something, or I knew something bad was coming up.

So I ask you; Would you read the book?  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Inappropriate life rant part three | growing up edition

So this week I turned 20 (hold the applause) and was happily informed by my housemate that I should expect a quarter life crisis. To be perfectly honest I just laughed this off and thought that it was one of those stupid phenomenons that you hear about. Then the other day it sort of hit me. I am 20. 20 years old. I am not a teenager anymore. My age begins with a 2. In 10 years I will be 30. Holy shit. 

A million and one questions started shooting through my head: am I going to go grey now? What am I doing with my life? What have I done in my life so far? What is the meaning of life? Where will I be in 5 years? How will I get the money for everything I want to do? Will I ever find someone who will ever marry me?

Don't laugh at me. I am genuinely having a panic about everything, literally everything. I genuinely spent an entire day panicking about the fact all I have done in the last 20 years is be in education. So naturally I thought that it would be a fantastic idea to share my panic with you guys to make me feel better about life, and that maybe I am not alone in this little quarter life crisis. I am not sure why this has been placed under an "inappropriate rant" title, but I think that it is fitting. Maybe. It probably isn't. I hope you're still reading. 

As you have probably guessed, I am panicking about the fact I am not 20. I had to change my Twitter bio to say "20" and writing that "2" genuinely almost made me have a panic attack. It probably didn't help that my Grandma was telling me that she got married when she was 18...I am like holy shit, and I am just sat here drinking 10 bottles of wine a week in a desperate bid to forget everything else (it works). I mean I have been alive for 20 years...twenty years and what have I done? Sail through the first few stages of education, then spend most of the rest of the last year drunk beyond belief or studying for exams. So thrilling. Although I am trying to think positive and think that my degree will benefit me in the next few years, and might hopefully help me get a better job. If there are jobs anywhere. 

This leads me nicely on to the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing with my life. I have been studying criminology for over a year now, and I do enjoy it, but I am starting to think that I really don't know if I want to work in the criminal justice system anymore. I don't even know why I decided on criminology to be honest. If I am blunt with you guys, I really wanted to do law but I didn't think I would get the grades to do it. Turns out I got way better grades than what I thought so I could have done it...oops. Then I started this blog...fucked up everything, that did! I forgot how much I absolutely love writing. I did English Literature as an A Level and hated it (partly due to one shitty teacher) which really put me off writing/reading for a while - despite my mother telling me that I should have done English Language instead (she was right). Gah. I have been looking at postgraduate degrees...the only problem is that you only get a loan for your tuition, and I can't afford to stay down here. I literally have no idea what to do.

I also know that I want to do some travelling, or that sort of thing. Recently I have been looking at work placements in Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida. I was considering taking a gap year before university to do something like that, but then thought that I probably wouldn't go to university in the first place if I did that. So I have been looking at it online recently for something to do for a year when I graduate. There are loads of different things that you can do in Walt Disney World and Universal studios, and I would love to work on the rides and whatnot. But I don't know whether I would even qualify. Have any of you guys worked there before? If you have then do tell me below what it's like. 

I am dying to go abroad for a few years when I graduate either way. I have family and friends over in Australia and would love to travel over there. I'd love to move there one day, too, so would be awesome to try and find a nice place to settle. I know that there are a group of Australian's who read my posts, so where do you guys think a good place for me to settle, get a good job, and find a nice man would be?! Heeeeeelp. Also, where are the best places to travel to? Comment your answers below - would love some help.

I have come to the conclusion that I am going to die alone. To make matters worse, I am allergic to cats so I can't become a crazy cat lady. Sad news. So I am going to become the crazy pug lady. I really want a pug. Like really badly. They're so cute!

The worst thing about becoming 20 means I feel like I now have to justify so many things. For your pure entertainment, I give you a list of the things I feel I need to justify:

Buying Bob The Builder pasta shapes
Going to Walt Disney World
Still watching the Disney Channel and Nick Jr
Loving Phineas and Ferb beyond belief
Buying stuffed toys
Enjoying going in play parks
Thinking that some kids rides are better than bigger rides
Going to Toys R Us
Still loving the films you did as a kid

So I still do all those things...but I do buy more things like Dora The Explorer pasta shapes. Don't judge me.

I'm also panicking about the fact I am going to go grey soon...

The best bit in all this? I already have arthritis....I shit you not. I have it in my ankle. 


I am going to stop ranting...this is a bit long isn't it?

Please comment if you are feeling like this, I don't want to be alone!

As always, thank you for reading, and I will see you next time!


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Things uni has taught me

So it occurred to me the other day whilst I was sat on the sofa when I probably should have been doing something, that I learned a lot at university last year. I mean, not just educationally related to my course, but also life lessons and other random bits and bobs. 

For any of you who haven't been to university, or aren't old enough yet, then take note. I guarantee you that these little life lessons will become very valuable to you in the future!

#1 - Drinking on a Monday night is perfectly acceptable
Not only is it acceptable, but it is actively encouraged!

#2 - All night library sessions will become second nature
Always a great way to finish that essay due in the morning.

#3 - 40% is the new 80%
I shit you not, if I get anything over 40% I am one happy bunny.

#4 - You can drink in celebration or commiseration 
Passed your exams? Drink! Failed your exams? Drink!

#5 - Missing a lecture is acceptable as long as your best friend does too
I mean, if you miss out then they should too, right?

#6 - You can make any meal with baked beans
They go with everything....literally everything.

#7 - Getting hammered on a tenner is acceptable
Who needs expensive drinks anyway?

#8 - Cheese makes everything taste better
Or you can just eat cheese. Either way.

#9 - Fancy dress is not just for kids
I guarantee you will see at least one group of fancy dress per night out.

#10 - Spending multiple days on the sofa is OK
This is something I actively encourage to be fair.

#11 - Going out in a onesie is encouraged
Uni essentials: ridiculous onesie.

#12 - Flirting with someone to get a free drink is OK
This may or may not be the best tactic to get a free drink.

#13 - Kitchen roll is multi-purpose
Clean the kitchen, clean your room, wear it, sell it, anything.

#14 - Kitchen essentials will sprout legs
The sooner you can accept that your cutlery will grow legs and run away, the better.

#15 - 9am lectures are a myth...right?
What's 9am?

#16 - New procrastination methods will be learned
From watching an entire series of new TV, to tidying the house.

#17 - There is always that one housemate...
There will always be one that you won't get on with all the time.

#18 - Freshers Flu is a given
You will get it. It is unavoidable.

#19 - If you even ask if you should go out, you will always go out
As soon as you question it, you know it will happen. It takes like 5 seconds to decide.

#20 - Drinking to cure a hangover works
I shit you not, this is the best cure.

#21 - First year counts as nout
Get 40% and drink the year away.

#22 - Although actively discouraged, Wikipedia is good background info
Your lecturers will hate it, everyone else will love it.

#23 - Always have a back-up deck of cards
You will lose some to alcohol poisoning.

#24 - Having money is a thing of the past
Watch your money walk out your bank account.

#25 - Food several days past the sell by date is still edible
If it isn't moudly, it is fine.

#26 - Anything can be made in to a drinking game
Films, TV shows, will learn.

#27 - Mixing strong drinks is a spectacularly bad idea
Yet we all still do it every time.

#28 - Wine is a great pre-drink
Gets you hammered in half the time!

#29 - Cheap alcohol will become your best friend
Just get used to it.

#30 - Having breakfast at 1am is acceptable
Don't question it, just do it.

#31 - Learning how to sleep on demand should be on your CV
This is something I am very proud of.

#32 - At least one trip to A&E a year is average
Drunken injuries....

#33 - "I'm never drinking again" is a common phrase you will use several times a week
Even though you know that you will be drinking again...probably the same day.

So as you can see I have learned a hell of a lot...

Just remember if you are going to drink a lot, at least get 40% to pass your year! Remember: work hard, party harder. 

As always thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post and want to hear more from me then click "Join This Site" to be notified of when I post!

Speak to you next time!


Please drink responsibly.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I need a hero

I think I need to apologise before I start this blog, for being an absolutely terrible person and seriously slacking on writing. Sorry - don't hate me! I am back, but am going to limit myself to about a post per week just so I can actually do my uni work...

Ok, so the other day I was talking with my housemates about who our childhood hero's were - you know what I am on about, right? Those people from your childhood who inspired you and who basically shaped you in to the person you are now. And all that shit. We had the weirdest spectrum of answers come up from footballers to the likes of fictional characters. It got to me and I think I had some sort of panic because there are two people who I literally owe my life to. It sort of dawned on me that there was no way in hell that I could pick between the two, so I got all shitty and stuck with two of them.

These two for me are JK Rowling and Walt Disney.

Now before you get all worked up and say that they are quite childish people to have, then listen up, folks. I'm going to tell you why. 

First of all let me start with JK Rowling. 

I have come to the conclusion that without the Harry Potter books I would never have gotten so in to reading which lead to me loving writing, which in turn created this blog. I mean can you imagine what sort of mess I would be without this space to spill everything in to? The Harry Potter series literally made me realise what I like to do - says the girl who is studying nothing like writing.... 

I think that the Harry Potter books sort of provided an escape from everything that was happening in the world, and let me delve in to my own little fantasy world that it just so happened I shared with millions of people around the world. Trying to explain this sort of thing to someone who doesn't enjoy reading is so frustrating as I literally cannot comprehend how someone can't get stuck in to a book if they find the right one. 

My Grampy used to go to the midnight launch of the books and get me one of the first copies and trundle on over to my house to make sure I had it for the next day. If I hadn't finished it in about 30 hours then everyone would be shocked. Although they did think that they would be funny and grab me a copy of the last book but withhold it from me until we got on holiday. Let me stress that this was to Florida which is a 10 hour flight....I almost went insane knowing that it was on the plane but I couldn't quite get my hands on it. I then sat down by the pool and read the entire thing cover to cover in one sitting. 

The thing about the series is that the books are so cleverly written that there are underlying plots weaving in and out of the main and obvious one. No matter how many times you read the books you can still pick out little details from them that you didn't quite see before. Sometimes I would pick the same things up but look at them in a completely different light. I have now read each book about 10 times each and yet I cannot find myself getting bored of them. 

The books offer you something that the films do not - the depth and attachment of the characters. A fair amount of my friends don't enjoy reading and just went to watch the films at the cinema. This frustrates me sooooo much as the films miss out about 80% of the things that are written in the books - pretty sure I have done a post on that before...You can tell out of my friends who has read the books by how much they like Snape. People who have read them will know what I mean!

Long story short, these books gave me a place to escape to that was safe from everything else that I couldn't find anywhere else. I am so sure that I owe my life to JK Rowling for keeping me sane and alive throughout the last 10 or so years. Without these books I would probably not be sat here typing this.

Moving on now to Walt Disney.

For anyone who knows me, you will know how much I absolutely adore anything Disney. I mean absolutely love it. I have been to Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland Paris so many times that I couldn't count them if I had an extra set of hands. They really are the places where dreams come true. Now then, future person who might somehow want to marry me: propose in Disney or Harry Potter world and you are getting a guaranteed "yes"! 

Similarly to the Harry Potter books, anything Disney related offers that sense of escapism into a fantasy world but in a slightly different manner to that of the Wizarding World. Disney sort of portrays this sense that no matter what happens there will be a Happily Ever After. I mean take it or leave it, but I still love it; no matter how false this sort of true love shit is, it's still there in fiction. 

Also without Walt Disney, Disney World would not exist and I would be stuck on where to go for my holiday. I have an eternal love for Disney World. If you haven't been there then you are missing out. I actually went there for my 18th birthday 2 years ago (which was the 9th time I have visited there). I am now going back for 6 weeks in 2015 - 3 weeks with friends, and 3 weeks with my family. You can imagine how absolutely buzzing I am for this. Especially because none of my friends have been there, so I get to be all excited like them...we are buying Mouse Ears. It is happening. 

I think the sense of magic plays a role in both Disney and Harry Potter in the sense that it is almost like anything is possible. Yes it seems childish, and yes I probably shouldn't fall in to the fiction trap, but I love it. Even just walking in to Magic Kingdom and seeing Cinderella's Castle in front of is literally like you have been transported in to another world. The same applies for Harry Potter world in Islands of Adventure. I think I need to do a post about that....

I am actually finding it hard to put in to words what Disney means to me. Many people think that Disney is aimed more towards children, but I challenge you to go back and watch an older classic Disney film and see how your perspective alters to that of when you were a child. I mean there are some crazily dirty remarks throughout every single film, but also some really good advice. I do still prefer the classic films to those that have been released recently, but nothing will ever top Finding Nemo. I do have a post coming out at the weekend about the best moments in Disney history, so stay tuned for that.

I am not sure what the aim of this post was to be perfectly honest...just felt like I needed to share this with you.

I want to hear about who your childhood hero's were. Were they actual people like mine? Or were they a fictional character?

As always thank you for reading, and I will speak to you next time!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Life advice part two

A few months ago I shared with you a few snippets of things that I thought were good advice for any struggling teenager at the moment. Since then, a lot has happened, and I have had to endure a really bad few days. I was feeling extremely shit about myself, blaming myself for something that has happened although it wasn't my fault, and I haven't eaten properly in a few days. It hasn't properly hit me until now, and I'm genuinely having a bit of a breakdown here! 

I then decided to do something I have never done before, and that was to reach out to my mother. For anyone who knows me, you will know that this is a big deal for me as I never reach out to anyone, especially my mother. This forms part one of my life advice for you. I have not been one to reach out to anyone, ever. I do not take advice, and I do not listen to people even when I know they are right. After this incident, which I will not mention simply due to the fact that I am still angry over it, I think I am starting to learn my lesson. I actually have opened up to people and admitted that I should have listened. So this is piece one of advice for you. Do not be afraid to open up to people. If, like me, you have a problem opening up for whatever reason, then work on it. It has taken me 20 years, but I think I am finally starting to make a change to how I am. Especially with my mum. I very much doubt whether my mum would agree with the fact I think I have changed, but I do see it in myself in little things. But that is just matter of opinion.

My mum sent me a link to a YouTube video (which you can view here) which issued some extremely good advice. The video itself was taken from an article written in 1997 by Mary Schmich (you can view it here). I think this really offered something that reached out to me - which is again saying something because I am absolutely shit at admitting that I need help. So I am going to base my advice on this article as I don't think I could have given anything better. If this helps me, then I am damn sure it will help you. 

Disclaimer: anything written in italics after this notice is of quote of the author (Mary Schmich) and not of the author of this article. Thus, anything other than this is of opinion of the author. 

The first part of her article says this: 

"“Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. In 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t quite grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine”

"Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly."

This I think applies to a lot of teenage girls, and girls around my age. I think that a lot of girls these days have the mentality that they need to look perfect and airbrushed. I have come to accept the fact that absolutely no one is perfect. I mean NO ONE. You may think all these models are perfect or whatever, but you look behind the Photoshop and the airbrushing and the makeup, and they are just normal people like you and I. My advice to you based on this is not to get caught up in all the media attention on this ideology of "perfection" because that only exists in a fantasy world. Go enjoy a million Nandos, go snack on a fucking doughnut. Who cares?! I would much rather be happy enjoying a meal than eating fucking rabbit food. Would you not? Life is far too short to try and iron out every single imperfection. 

“Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum”

For any of you who has the ultimate joy of knowing me, you will know that this is a very weird piece of advice for me to be giving you. To be honest, this is a hypocritical thing for me to even be saying, but hey ho (in case you're wondering, I am the biggest worrier about the rest of my life). That statement is so accurately true that it is kind of scary. Worrying about things that you don't even know will, or will not, happen is probably the most pointless thing you can do in life. There is no point in worrying about something that is above and beyond your control. I should probably start listening to my own advice, shouldn't I?

"Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours."

This is probably the most valuable piece of advice I took from this entire thing. Having recently had my heart completely fucked about with, it really hit me. I wish I had been given this advice sooner. It would have saved me a lot of pain and heartbreak, I tell you that. Now, ladies, listen to this advice. No matter how much you may think someone means to you, or you to them, as soon as they fuck up once, get out. I do not mean this in a harsh way at all, but once something is broken it cannot be fixed. You may think you can stitch everything back together, but after a while cracks begin to show. If someone is fucking you about then they don't care about you as much as they say. Remember: you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

"Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone."

Just so everything isn't so fucking heavy. Drink milk. Lots of it.

"Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future."

If you take away anything from this amazingly long ramble, then take away this. Your parents are not going to be there forever. Seriously make the most of them whilst they're there. I have friends who no longer have both parents, and it really makes you think. I know when you're a teenager you say you "hate" your parents and that you wish your friends parents were yours, bla bla bla. I am just coming out of that phase now and I am starting to see what a fucking idiot I used to be. I never treated my parents the way they deserved to be, especially my mum, and that is something I will regret until the day I die. However, I can now begin to make amends. If you are a reading this thinking it is all a load of shit, then I bet that you're a teenager. Take it from me, I was the world's worst teenager, and I am telling you. You definitely appreciate them more when you move out and have to be independent. So listen.

"Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young."

This is something I wholeheartedly stand by, and I will for a very long time. Out of everyone who I have been friends with throughout secondary school, I have had one friend who has been there for almost 20 years now (hi, Laura, if you read this) and I probably owe a lot to her. But then you have the friends who you might not have known for many years, such as my university friends, who you feel like you've known a lifetime. Then you also have the school friends who stick by you no matter what, too. I am lucky enough to have a few extremely close friends, you know who you are, which has been proved to me recently. But just always make the effort with people. 

"Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it."

This is the advice I am going to leave you with - advice on advice. Not many people these days are willing to give out advice, so seriously listen when people take the time to do so. At the time it may seem like they're just being a pain in the ass, or they have taken a particular dislike to someone, but 99% of the time they're going to be right. They only have your best interests at heart, you know.

As always, thank you for reading and I will speak to you next time!


Also want to do a quick special mention to the people who have put up with my tears and tantrums over the last few days: Vikki, Josh, James, Daisy and Milky who have been the main people the last few days and have even managed to cheer me up. Also to my mum who has put up with me for 20 years and not killed me yet. So much love for them. So this post is dedicated to you guys. 

Friday, October 04, 2013

The Fault In Our Stars (John Green) - a review

The Times says it is "damn near genius ..simply devastating...fearless in the face of powerful, uncomplicated, unironized emotion" and that it definitely is.

John Green's newest addition to his spectacular collection of original novels is "The Fault In Our Stars".

It is completely agreeable that "The Fault In Our Stars" earned the number one spot on the New York times bestseller list. Not only is the book an ultimate page turner, it is 100% addictive and I could not put it down; I read the entire book in one sitting without stopping. 

For anyone who has not read any John Green books before, where have you been?! I strongly recommend that you do so. Many of his books tend to follow the same sort of pattern, but I found "A Fault In Our Stars" took a different approach to many of his previous books which, although his previous writing is fantastic, was quite refreshing.

The book is written from the perspective of cancer patient Hazel, a 16 year old girl, and her intellectual, yet possibly hostile and shockingly true, views on the disease. The story follows her through Cancer Kid Support Group meetings where she meets someone who could possibly change her life forever. That someone comes in the form of Augustus Waters, a previous sufferer of cancer. Once Hazel introduces him to her favourite novel, things gradually begin to change as they embark on their very own love story full of tears, adventure and heart-melting romance. They embark on a trip to Amsterdam in an attempt to tie some loose ends from their shared love of a novel, but when things get slightly out of hand, will Hazel and Gus get their questions answered? Will Hazel and Gus survive the ultimate test? How will their story end? 

Several other characters emerge along the way who end up playing a rather significant role towards the end of the book, such as a boy named Isaac, who is suffering with "eye cancer". Another is Peter Van Houten (the author of Hazel's favourite book, but no more information will be given!). He is used as a developmental character, showing the opposite of what Hazel, Gus and Isaac are like, and what they could have become due to their illness. Mainly I think he is used as a contrast mechanism for the other characters - sort of showing an example of day and night; one set of characters remain hopeful about themselves and everything, whilst the other has opened to the darkness and let everything engulf him.

There are several themes that run continuously throughout the book, whether they be prominent or something underlying some of the narrative. For example, a prominent one being terminal illness. It is rather interesting how throughout the book, this theme applies to every character in some way. For example, we deal with it directly through the main characters, but also indirectly through the parents of Hazel who deal with the illness of their daughter, and through Patrick (the leader of the support group) who is a survivor of it. I have to say, this is one of the themes that really does hit home. Especially as someone who has experienced cancer through family members and friends, it really does hit in some places and it gets rather emotional. Linked to this is also dealing with loss. This is shown through several of the characters in different ways, but I want you guys to read the book and tell me what you think of that one.

The final theme I want to talk about is that of coping. Whether this has been outlines before as a general theme, I don't know, but it is one of the things that stuck out for me. This is shown in so many ways. For example, I see it mainly with Hazel. She uses literature as her form of escapism from the real world - I think I noticed this mostly because I do the same! She submerges herself in every aspect of her favourite books, and even takes on some new ones suggested by Gus to use as her outlet. I think this is also seen in Gus, who uses both Hazel and video games as his coping method. This may seem obscure to those who have not yet read the book, but I am trying to not give spoilers at the moment! Isaac uses his sense of humour as a method of coping with his illness and the events that follow. He makes jokes about things, possibly in a way of trying to ignore everything, but you never know. 

Ramble about things in the book over - you now have to read the book!

I am a self-proclaimed book worm, and I have read a large variety of books and genres - I have also read some of Green's books before. However, never in any book I have read have I experienced such a spectrum of different emotions in 319 pages. I could go from laughing hysterically to crying like a baby within the space of pages, or even lines. His amazing writing style allows readers to connect with the characters on a level that is not usually expected from a series of fictional characters. Some moments in the book are written in a comedic manner, yet had me in tears with the underlying reasoning behind what was being said.

"The Fault In Our Stars" is written from the perspective of Hazel, a format I usually find difficult to read. However, I am thoroughly impressed, as usual, by Green's depth to the character, and the understanding of both the illness and the feelings of a teenage girl. I suspect many of my readers are female, and thus know what sort of things go through your head, so for a male to understand and convey these in writing is particularly impressive as we sometimes cannot put our thoughts in to words. 

Although Green does invent fictional drugs and treatments, something you can read at the end of the book, the manner they are executed are so well conveyed. This is something I don't think I can put in to writing, so you will have to read it to find out, but I think it is written in such a good and sentimental way.

Despite the fact "The Fault In Our Stars" is written about cancer, I would not define this as a 'cancer book' because of the fact it isn't primarily about the illness, and is not something I would class as a tragedy book. As a general rule, this is a comedic book, with some sadder parts scattered throughout it. I'm not sure what genre I would generally class this under - it has so many different aspects in it! What do you think?

Overall I think this book deserves a total of 4.5 stars out of 5! The overall story line and description of almost every aspect allows the reader to develop an attachment to the main characters in a way that many books don't. 

This is a definite must read for absolutely anyone who loves to get stuck in to a good book.

As always, thank you for reading and I shall speak to you next time!


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Strike of the firefighters

Hello there, buddies.

Many members of the FBU, the Fire Brigades Union, went on strike a couple of days ago in protest against the proposed movement by the government regarding their pensions and age of retirement. Among these firefighters was my dad. My dad has been serving in the fire brigade for well over 23 years now and is 100% dedicated to his job. A few years back I was proudly stood in the audience when he received his medal for 20 years service - this is not the only medal that my dad has received; he has a collection of several different medals because of his service in the fire brigade. I ask you to keep this in mind throughout this post and consider your opinion based on someone who has an inside view to the goings-on of the life of a firefighter.

I am going to begin this post by telling you a bit about the fire brigade, the work they do, and the sacrifices they make. First of all, and from a slightly selfish aspect, as my dad is a firefighter they work in shift patterns. This means that they work several days and nights on call or at the fire station, and then have a few days off of work. Due to this shift pattern, it often means that my dad is stuck working on Christmas Day. Although they do not need to be in the station all day, they do have to attend for an hour in the mornings (8am until 9am) which means we wake up on Christmas Day as a family without the presence of my dad. You are probably thinking "well what is the problem if he is then home all day?"...well I will tell you. Many people cook on Christmas Day, and many people cause house fires because of forgetting the turkey is in the oven etc. This means my dad is then called out on Christmas Day to attend to these fires, often when we are about to eat our Christmas lunch. The last few years have lead to my dad having to be on call on Christmas Day - it is often that he isn't called out at all, or is called out right when we would like him home. I understand that this is often unavoidable, but it would be nice to once have my dad home all day on Christmas. 

On a slightly less selfish note, firefighters risk their lives on a daily basis for the sake of others. Many people seem to overlook the fact that they aren't paid a lot to do what they are do - my dad earns less than £30, 000 per year. I think it is the most overlooked and underpaid job for the amount of stress and strain they go through. Being a firefighter not only requires a significant level of physical fitness, but you have to be mentally strong and prepared for the things they could be faced with. I have been told many stories by my dad about the things he has had to deal with and the scenes he sees and I wonder why he hasn't been traumatised by them. I have so much respect for firefighters, there is absolutely no way in hell I could ever even begin to comprehend how they deal with things they do. 

Moving on from my rambly rant, the government have proposed some changes to the pension system and age of retirement. The first thing that has been proposed is that the retirement age will be considerably increased to 60 years old. Now I pose this question to you - do you think that a firefighter would be able to carry out his job successfully and safely at 60 years old? I couldn't do the job now as a 20 year old, let alone as a 60 year old. I would like to see some of the politicians proposing this change try to do some of the things they do; would love to see them carry a fully grown man out of a burning building, climb a 40ft ladder to reach a collapsing roof, or cut a victim out of a dangerous car in a road traffic collision (RTC). Government, please enlighten me on how you expect a man or woman approaching their 60th birthday to do this? Many people in their current state could not do this. 

On a related note, there has been a proposed rule of capability. This would mean that if someone does not prove themselves as capable to do their job then they will essentially be fired. This means that they would have to maintain a certain level of physical fitness to avoid being fired. This level of fitness is likely to be that of a new recruit who would happen to be in their 20s. Now please tell me how you expect a 60 year old to have the fitness level of a 20 year old after having completed over 40 years service? This is something I find to be absolutely baffling. I propose that if the government expect this to be attainable, then they should all be put through a physical fitness test and examination to determine whether they, in their current state, could do this job. It would be extremely interesting to see the look of sheer dismay on their faces when they see that they are nowhere near that level.

There is also now some age discrimination going on with this new proposal. It would mean that it would now depend on what age you joined the fire service as to whether you can retire on the existing pension plan, or whether you are simply forced to work until your 60th birthday - obviously dependent on this capability rubbish. This is also something I just find ridiculous. I think that there should just be one pension scheme for every firefighter no matter when they join - it just seems as if the government are manipulating everyone. If this is their plan to tackle old age and unemployment then they have really got the wrong end of the stick. Pretty sure I could do a better job at sorting it out than what they have done so far.

To conclude, I would like to draw your attention to one small, but very important, detail. This is the detail that the Scottish fire service did not go on strike last week. This is due to the fact that the Scottish government are separate from the Westminster Parliament and they have addressed the fact that there are issues in this proposal and have began negotiations with the Scottish fire brigades in order to solve them. This is something I find both amusing and irritating - how can one government address and begin to solve issues when the other is completely stubborn and thinking only of themselves? This is going to rapidly turn in to a political rant so I shall stop there.

The government really need to sort their shit out and address the fact that this proposal is ridiculous and should stay as just that...a proposal. If anything, this would lead to a deterioration in the fire service if firefighters are forced to work past a logical age and it is likely that it will not run as smoothly as normal.

I would love to hear your opinions on this topic, so please do comment in the box below.

As always, thank you for reading and I shall speak to you next time.