Thursday, 28 November 2013

And came the day.

And so the big day came.

I was soooo ready, I did my research, prepared my answers to potential questions, I wasn't caught off guard or anything.
HR had still not got in touch with me to tell me the details of the interview (who/what/where) on Monday and the my sentence was approaching fast. On Tuesday morning, the day before, I decided to email the woman who turned out to be my interviewer to ask her the details since HR had not bothered. I then went to the library did some more reading, writing everything I could of that would make me ready.

Wednesday morning, my stomach is aching. I've never stressed out for anything, my stomach has never given up on me before anything important so I don't understand. I certainly don't feel stressed and know I won't do until the actual interview. I have a healthy breakfast after a good night's rest, no tea as I don't want to have to go to the toilet when I get there, everything is ready including me. Time to go.

I arrive at the plain building, get in and find myself in front of a door. Nothing says welcome like a phone and a list of extensions you can call. I call the extension I learnt off by heart and state my business. Someone comes to get me, there's an awkward elevator ride with a lovely lady and we get in the office. I'm offered a seat at someone's office in the middle of everyone. I feel looks falling on me. I get my Kindle out to read. Finally the lady from the emails comes to get me. She will be interviewing me with Rob from LIS. I get four questions, two from each and am told I will be told by the end of the day if I've been successful or not.
Comes a little test which I do easily. I leave.

Relief.

I walk home and put my phone on the loudest settings so I'm sure I hear it when it rings.

It rings.

I pick up the phone and am told I was not successful. I was this close to get it, it was between me and another candidate be the other was more suited for the position. I thank her. I'm gutted.

I did not get the job. But I will keep looking and improving.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Get a life. Smartphone app.

"Get a life", the new app that allows you to live on your smartphone; from clothes to food, set your preferences and it will take decisions for you. You can go to the park, take a nap, meet people, all that from your bed! Not really, I made it up, stop looking for it on the Play Store, just throw your phone away and get a real life.

Who said "Life is what happens to you while you're on your smartphone" again? I don't remember but it could never be more true than now.

In recent years, many people have developed this awful habit of sharing every detail of their life on facebook or other social networking website, their every location on foursquare, their every meal on instagram and their latest prank on vine. More sadly though, others have developed the habit of reading all these statuses, looking at all these pictures and checking where their distant cousin to whom they never speak had lunch.

Most smartphone-possessing-youth couldn't go through a day without logging onto their social network of choice or even without a phone or a computer, it would be agony. I'm a bit perplexed when I see my friends constantly on their phone, missing out on life, forgetting life is not a streamed youtube video, if you miss it you can't replay. It also seems a little disrespectful to be reading something on your phone while talking to someone.

To me technology has created a generation of rude zombies. Don't get me wrong, I love technology and what it allows me to do, I am a fan of technology; I can now read in the dark on my kindle, track my online shopping's whereabouts on the Royal Mail website, go on google maps with the 3G when I'm lost in the street, these are just a few of my favourites. But just because technology has allowed me to share every detail of my life with the world, I don't assume the world wants to know and I actually don't want or need to share my life with the world, my life is my own and while I'm not updating my facebook status I have more time to live.
Then at the end of the day, if I want to know what my distant cousin to whom I never speak had for lunch I will call them but truth is, I don't want to know so I won't call or check facebook.

Now the new trend is to share your life in comic strips with the new app Bitsrips. If you have nothing to say, say it with a comic that you don't draw yourself and that looks like everybody else's!
Seriously, what's wrong with us? If you want to turn you life into a comic, take a sheet of paper and a pen, at least you'll be doing something productive (well sort of...).

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

My first time.

The first time can be so daunting sometimes. There are plenty of tips and info out there on the internet though, it makes it a little easier. The thoughts turn into nightmares, what if I suck at it? What if they think I'm lame? What if I'm so stressed out I throw up during it? What if they have bad breath I can't concentrate on anything else?
Your friends try to reassure you about it, "You'll do just fine", "You're awesome, I know you can do this", etc. And it does pump your ego up, but at the end of the day, being too self-confident isn't always a good thing especially if it doesn't go as planned, then the trip back to reality can hurt. So it is important not to get your hopes up too much.

At 23 years old I have finally got my first formal job interview. It is next week and I am already preparing. At first, I got the email and felt really happy, excited and pretty satisfied with myself. Then came the realisation that, first of, although I have worked before I have never really had a job interview before and second, I don't have the job yet, I can't be celebrating just yet. And so I came back down to earth very quickly but I did get a celebratory kiss from my better half which I must admit made me feel pretty good about myself.

So I'm back on my feet, reading everything I can about job interviews and I'm half stressed out by the fact I've never really had a formal interview before and half confident that I can nail it with some preparatory homework.
But someone is interested in me I guess so I am going to make the best of it, be well prepared -or try to be anyway, attempt to look awesome and generally try to impress whoever I meet on that day.

I shall keep you up to date about it. Cross your fingers for me!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Government censorship and "fuck you facebook".

All these years of pioneering, hiding earphones in my sleeves during taxiing, take-off and landing to be able to listen to my music, reading my kindle away from the flight attendants' gaze, illegally playing on my phone (while on flight mode), have finally paid off. I am probably the cause for this: European aviation regulators have approved the use of certain personal electronic devices during taxiing, take-off and landing. They saw me and finally saw it isn't dangerous! Joy to the world! It will probably be allowed before Christmas to play Angry Birds and read your latest cheesy novel while they tell you how you have to put on your own oxygen mask prior to helping your child. No more hiding!

The US is embarrassing itself by blocking the publication of Chilcot's inquiry. The report is on how Britain went to war with Iraq and includes the Blair-Bush correspondence. David Cameron will probably end up following the US decision. Yet another lie to the people. What about the public's right to know? Hopefully there will be leaks of this.

The photo/video sharing phone app Snapchat has sent Facebook a big "fuck you" by declining the latter's $3bn offer to buy the app. I wish I could turn down such an offer if anyone made it to me but I probably wouldn't.
A speeding train has killed seven elephants including two babies and injured at least ten more by speeding into a herd. You can find the full article here, the images are horrible though, you might want to close your eyes.
If you sign up here the Guardian might send you one of their 5000 free music festival bags, I signed up, I'll tell you if I get it!


Celeb news

Yesterday the Pope declared his war on corruption in the Holy City/Country, today the mafia wants his head because they will no longer be able to profit from the church state. You go Pope!
The song Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke that has been called a "rape-song" and "rapey" continues to cause trouble as the University College London student union is the 20th SU to ban the song. The debate continues on the Guardian that has called the song "the most controversial of the decade". The song is catchy and everything, the lyrics call for interpretation, what I don't like about it is that people sing it without realising what they are saying.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

BATMAN IS IN PRISON!

Today I didn't buy the newspaper, shame on me. But I still read the Indyand the Guardian online so I can tell you that:

Hawaii has legalised gay marriage last night, making it the 15th state in the USA to allow gay couples to say YES to one another. YAY!! That's cool. Meanwhile in North Dakota this guy, Craig Cobb is trying to found this all white town in Leith. The guy is a self proclaimed white supremacist, he was told yesterday on live TV that his heritage is 14% Sub-Saharan African (He had previously agreed to taking a DNA test on the same show). That made me chuckle, I have to say. I wonder how the guy feels about himself now, will he attempt to amputate 14% of his body? Will he die from self loathing and shame hidden in a corner of his house?

More seriously though, the confirmed dead numbers are increasing in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan pretty much destroyed the country. A lot of country are supplying help and donating emergency funds. Both the UN and the Disasters Emergency Committee have launched appeals for donations.

Batman bin Suparman (That's his real name) was jailed in Singapore on drug charges. I just love his name. I wish I could have a name as epic as this but I thank my parents for not being dumb and not calling me by a famous person's name.

A MI6 spy died from accidentally locking himself into a bag a Scotland Yard have found. Seriously?! What the what?? Okay so I'm in front of this bag and I decide it will be funny to hide inside it. Firstly, of course I fit in a bag, every average sized adult does. And secondly, I zip it from inside. Finally I forget how I zipped it so can't undo it and die. That's how.

And if you want some celebrity news...

In Vatican Pope Francis said the corrupt should be tied to a rock and thrown into the sea! He has started a war on corruption in Vatican.
Believe it or not the twerking Miley Cyrus is one of the biggest feminists in the world. Or so she says. Last month she was heavily criticised for her overtly sexualised show when she appeared with Robin Thicke. Sinead O'Connor even wrote her an open letter.
Justin Bieber who was filmed sleeping by an escort in Brazil has been said to be blessed with good organs and be good in bed by the same escort who went on TV.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

When your government condemns you to rot in the streets.

You may or may not know that I have been volunteering at a drop-in for the homeless and under-privileged for a little more than a year now. What we do is pretty simple, we serve food, play board games and have a chat with these people; we basically give them a safe environment where they can socialise without the fear of being judged.
I absolutely love it, I have met some very interesting people with very interesting, though sometimes sad, stories. In the time that I have known these people I have come to realise that a lot of them are veterans like Seth (not his real name) who has served in Iraq and Iran and is now homeless. Seth's health is deteriorating at an alarming rate and I haven't seen him in more than a month leaving me worried and perplex about what might have happened to him. Last time I heard of him, Seth had been arrested for begging.

Seth like many other men and women has risked his life for his country. We may not all agree with these wars but the fact that these people fought for what his government believed in and that they are now left to rot in the streets profoundly disgusts me. The government won't help Seth and when he begs to try to support himself, the government arrests him.

The government has no money to support the disabled, the unemployed, the universities or the homeless but is spending £8 million for Thatcher's funeral. I don't want to throw dirt on the deads' back but I find this highly inappropriate.

So now before I leave the UK I really hope I will see Seth on his two feet, he is a really sweet and caring man and I wish things were better for him and all the others out there.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

UCLan, cut the crap.

We've all heard about the budget cuts and the increase in tuition fees... Since September 2012 students at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) pay £9000 per year here (Almost triple what we, students who started prior to that, pay), a fact I can more or less accept since the money has to come from somewhere...

So what does the university do?

UCLan installs screens at the door of every classroom to show timetables, what was wrong with our old paper timetables? Nothing.
It changes the whole attendance monitoring system by installing new magnetic scanners at the door of every classroom. What was wrong with the little scanners teachers had? Nothing.
Today, four gigantic ice sculptures were put around campus. Who benefits from that? Certainly not me. I really hope our tuition money ins't funding these ice sculptures...

All this money UCLan spends on unnecessary stuff could fund so many brilliant projects, internships, and just stuff students would actually benefit from...

I know so many people including me who were refused funding for their final year projects or summer internships because of lack of funds.
And while we can "enjoy" the sight of giant ice feet on campus, we are still freezing our asses off in the library (to the point where I actually wear gloves). The library where half of the books of our reading lists can't be found of course...
An iPad and iPods to win as bait for students who fill in the national survey. Another few unnecessary hundreds of pounds wasted...

UCLan, cut the crap.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Gay marriage for everyone!

So the French have been arguing for a law that's soon going to be voted about "marriage for everyone" which would basically legalise gay marriage and adoption by gay couples (in the same law) in France.

There have been demos and marches from both sides, the funniest ones being the Catholics performing strange choreographies in various French cities to promote the fact a child needs one mother and one father. Personally  I think this argument is really offending. These people have clearly not thought of the thousands of single parents giving their children a loving home and an education. They also haven't thought of the thousands of children who have already been brought up by gay parents in France, children whose parents had to travel to other countries (mostly Belgium) to legally get a child as a gay couple.

I don't get why France is so up-tight. Their moto?"Freedom, Equality, Fraternity". It just doesn't make sense. France is the country of the Human Rights Chart. France is ridiculous.

Marriage is an institution, blah blah blah, gay marriage will destroy that. Obviously. There haven't been more divorces of heterosexual marriages in Belgium since gay marriage was legalised nine years ago. If they really want to protect the institution of marriage they would ban divorce. Noone is going to force straight people to marry people of the same sex, don't worry poor French people, it hasn't been seen anywhere "marriage for everyone" doesn't mean "gay marriage for everyone"!

I think French people just like to whine and argue a lot because that's what the French do. Please France, will you get this over and done with so my facebook timeline can clear up for other subjects? 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The world's strictest parents?

I randomly came accross the BBC reality tv show "The World's Strictest Parents" the other day on youtbe so I watched a few episodes. The story line is simple: in each episode, two British "problem" teenagers are sent to very strict families over the world for one week. The chosen teenagers a first shown back home with their family and then they meet at the airport where they leave from to get to their final destinations.

I watched a couple of episodes in which the teenagers go to American cities and one in which they go to South Africa. In all the episodes I have watched so far, the host families are of Christian faith, some are more involved in their religious communities than others but they basically all gave blessings before family meals versus the British teenagers who don't appear to be religious except for a couple who are Muslim but do not practice their faith (they drink, smoke, don't go to mosque etc.).

So this makes me wonder, is the BBC guilty of bias? Trying to imply religion makes for better values and education? I have so far only watched 4 or 5 episodes I do admit but I did choose them randomly after searching "world's strictest parents" in the search bar so I don't know, it's just something I thought about...

The show is interesting but one thing bothers me: the host families are very far from being the strictest parents in the world, some could be considered a little strict but not overly so. Truth is, they look like super nice, loving and supportive parents. These families, from what we see of them, are well balanced, give structure to their children and instil respect into their children. Sure the children are expected to help around the house, participate in family life and what not but isn't that what family is about? The children are grounded if they disrespect or answer back but that just seems right to me. Some families on the show could be compared to mine in certain aspects though my family doesn't belong to any faith, but I never viewed my parents as strict. Of course my parents and I have had our differences but I guess it's normal.

My problem with this show is that it depicts normal balanced families as the world's strictest families. I also find it very sad that these teenagers have to be sent on the other side of the planet to realise how lucky they are to have loving parents and to have an education, a roof over their heads and food on their table. I think they could have the same experience back in the UK or even in Europe, I think it's stupid of the BBC to waste money on this...
Has giving your kids boundaries and imposing rules on them become the new norm for strict? Is the new normal just letting them do whatever, whenever with whoever they want? If so I don't want to live on this planet anymore (Actually my desire to leave this planet has been there for long).

Also, why should problem teenagers who do nothing all day go out all night, drink get high and have to steal from their siblings and parents to sustain their lifestyles, why should teenagers who beat on their parents and treat them like shit, why should they get a free trip to random places in the world and be invited in nice families? Do they deserve this? I wanna go meet nice people on the other face of Earth!

Anyway, I'm off to watch some more now. Thanks for reading, have a nice night/day!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Israeli anecdote.

Anyone who knows me will know my Hebrew's approximate, I need people to articulate and speak slowly to me if they want to be some hope that I will understand. But people who don't know me like for example complete strangers in the streets, don't. So every time I start what I think is gonna be a fairly easy conversation like ask for direction in Hebrew or basic info, it often results in me getting the first couple of sentences and then wondering what that huge monologue is for.

So I was coming back from Efrat, a settlement in the West Bank where I did an interview. First I had to go back to Jerusalem and take a bus Tel Aviv as there were no more directs to Holon at this time of the night. I arrive in Tel Aviv at the Central Bus Station and get out on Levinsky street where my next bus' stop is. Of course Levinsky is a big street so I ask a man where the 89 to Holon stops. He tells me that it's not here and that I need to go back inside the station and that he will take me. Then of course he continues talking to me whle he gently takes my arm and walks me inside the station, back to the top floor, back to the info stand. Meanwhile the only thing I understand and that I'm able to respond to with a shy "Todah" (Thanks) is that I'm a nice sweet girl -of course how that man knows this I don't know because he has barely met me and I'm not nice, I'm very mean.

We're back at the info stand on the top floor and he explains to the very annoyed looking woman that this young girl here needs to go to Holon. She begins saying that I have to go back outside but her answer isn't satisfying for him so he insists and she writes down that I have to take the 201 leaving from platform 636 and then at the entrance of the city change for another bus.

I'm half panicking by then because I know my bus stops right outside the bus station and all I wanted to know was what level of the street I needed to go to... So we leave that lady and we arrive at platform 636 and he drags me in the bus and asks the driver if he's going to Holon to which the driver replies that he's only stopping at the entrance of the city but isn't going in. So unnamed man sits me down and before I have time to think about what is going on, I take out my purse and a person on the bus tells me the man has already paid for me. I want to pay him back, I insist but he leaves me there.

So at the second stop when I see "89" written on the bus stop I immediately jumped out. But this was so sweet of this man, completely out of the blue and even if it was the wrong bus I completely appreciate the gesture.