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EU: In or Out

Hi guys, i’m not really one to get too political on here but this coming vote is really important. So i’m going to share my view on Europe. First of all i want to make it clear that i will be voting to remain. Do i think the Europe is perfect? Far from it, i am not even sure if i think it is even a good idea.The socialist in me absolutely detests the fact that it is a ‘rich boys club’, I hate the fact that it is not democratic enough. I hate the fact that Germany has far too much power. I find a lot of its laws stupid. I hate the fact that it has grown into what it is even though that is not what was planned. I hate the fact it promotes itself as a stabiliser but yet does very little to bring order back to troubled areas. I hate the fact that when we where at war in the Falklands our neighbours where no where to be seen. I hate the fact that it is pro-TTIP. I also hate a lot of other parts about it.

But do you know what i hate more? Uncontrolled Tories, Tories that make Cameron and Osborn look moderate. I hate the idea of either Boris or that UKIP blert having any sort of actual power. I hate the idea of another recession. I hate the idea of the pound collapsing. I hate the idea of the Tories being able to spend on the home counties without us getting a look in.

So if it was a perfect world, yes i would vote leave. I believe in a fairer distribution of wealth and self governance. But as thats not going to happen, it is better to be within and try to change the institution. But if we do remain we need to go back and demand a fairer deal, a deal that reflects our economic strength, a deal that is more democratic and a deal that allows us another referendum in the future if needed

"The Boy in the River" by Richard Hoskins – Review

On 21st September 2001 the mutilated torso of a small child was found floating beside London’s Tower Bridge, one tide away from being swept into the North Sea.
Unable to identify the victim, the Murder Squad turned to Richard Hoskins, a young professor of theology with a profound understanding of African tribal religion, whose own past was scarred by a heart-breaking tragedy. Thus began a journey into the tangled undergrowth of one of the most notorious murder cases of recent years; a journey which would reveal not only the identity of the boy they called Adam but the horrific truth that a succession of innocent children have been ritually sacrificed in our capital city.
Having quickly drawn you into a world of ritual killing and human trafficking, Hoskins keeps you on your toes by mixing in the harrowing tale of his own time in Africa. Vividly descriptive, you can almost smell the jungle and feel the heat, one cannot help but be drawn into his world. Richard than drags you back into the current grey capital, where children are being ritually abused and tortured. To think this is/was happening in a country like ours is scary and deeply upsetting.
What really impressed, and touched me, was the lengths both Richard and the police went through to find out what happened to poor Adam and the others like him. Putting his marriage and sanity under pressure to help these children, we see the almost self-destruction of a man who never dreamed of becoming a criminologist.   
 My only criticism is that sometimes it can be hard to switch from one narrative to another.

Overall I give it a 4/5

Oh Look its… Zombie Sigmund Freud

If you could have anything right now, what would it be?

That’s right… a zombie Sigmund Freud!

Well now you can!

Thanks to the awesomeness that is Brian Gubicza and Matt Hawkins you can now own your very own paper craft psychologist.

Make your own zombie Freud! Go here –> http://goobeetsa.com/papertoys/ZFreud.pdf for template and instructions.

How To Organise A Pickle

Life has been super busy and un-organised recently which has lead to a large amount of stress. Being a self confessed geek i thought the best way of resolving this would be to get myself more organised using a personal organiser. But how would i approach this? Would i use a digital system that utilises my mobile phone and apps or would i be better with a more traditional Filofax type system?

Liking the idea of having everything in the palm of my hand, first i thought i would try to use my phone. Having a relatively powerful phone (HTC One M8) i thought this would be ideal, and i was sort of right. There is more then enough apps out there to help you organise your life. The key to a digital system is syncing, my calendar, email, contacts and other apps all sync with my PC via the internet. That allowed me to update and control my life from the bigger and more accessible screen of my laptop. As i mentioned earlier, there are a lot of apps out there and here i will list a few that i used and what i used them for:

  • Gmail – For viewing and writing emails for my googlemail account (other email providers have their own apps).
  • Android Calendar – This syncs with my Google calendar to show me any upcoming events.
  • Evernote -Write notes of all types, from short lists to lengthy research, and access them on any device. Collect web articles, handwritten notes, and photos to keep all the details in one place. This is literally the heart of your digital planning, Think of this as your inbox.
  • Any.do – Useful to-do list app.
  • CamScanner – Allows you to scan documents using your mobiles camera function.
  • Office Mobile – The mobile version of Microsoft’s famous office software.

* Although i obviously use Android most of these apps will be available for the Apple IOS system.

Having used this system for a while and seeing that it performs really well and is highly customisable, i decided that it wasn’t for me. I think i needed that tactile feel of real paper and pen, of something i can hold and manipulate. So having said that i have now move on to a Filofax, more specifically a black personal sized Domino series. I like this model as it includes an elastic band to secure the planner which holds in all of my notes and pieces of paper.

As of yet i am still exploring this bad boy and i am not 100% sure how to use it. One thing i did not like is the limited binders you get with the organiser. I have made my own simple ones from A4 file dividers cut to size and punched to fit.

I guess i will see how this system works out and hope that it is a bit more appealing to me. 
Either way though, i have an awesome Filofax to appease my stationery geek soul 🙂

Show Me Your Desks

I must admit, i have a bit of an addiction to stationary and desks. Not only that but i love seeing where everyone else works, it gives a vicarious insight into the minds of other students. So i propose we have a old school ‘i’ll show you mine, if you show me yours’, here is my humble offering:

I would love to see where you do your uni work!

Cyberbully – A Review

Maissie Williams - Cyberbully

“A chilling real-time thriller starring Maisie Williams – from Game of Thrones – as a teenager battling with an anonymous cyber-stalker. The plot of Cyberbully is inspired by dozens of real-life cases.” – Channel 4.

Where do i start about this film… Channel 4’s real time drama staring Maisie Williams was amazing. Edge of your seat tension from start to finish. Written by Ben Chanan and David Lobatto, the film was up to date with lingo that young people will understand. We are introduced to Casey Jacobs (Maisie Williams) who is alone in her bedroom skyping her friend, while also tweeting, texting, instagramming and wondering who had swapped her spotify playlist with Led Zeppelin. We are then taken on an emotional and suspenseful journey into the world of on-line bullying and its effects.

Terrorised by a hacker, whose abilities may have been a little bit over the top, Casey is forced to face her worst fears face on. With a nice twist and some heartfelt moments this film will leave you wondering about what today children face on a daily basis.

Having worked for ChildLine in the past i have heard some horrendous stories about what the results of cyber bullying can be.

My only annoyance is that we never got to find out who the man in the computer was.

If you missed it, you can watch it on catch up

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/cyberbully/on-demand/58485-001

 

If you have been affected by bullying check out these links:

http://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/

http://www.childline.org.uk/Explore/Bullying/Pages/online-bullying.aspx

 

How To Cite a Tweet

I found this on another site (for the life  of  me i cant find the link, ironic i know) and thought in this day and age it would  be useful After all how many of us, including  psychologists, are using social media.

How do I cite a tweet?

Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author’s real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.

Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:

Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.

The date and time of a message on Twitter reflect the reader’s time zone. Readers in different time zones see different times and, possibly, dates on the same tweet. The date and time that were in effect for the writer of the tweet when it was transmitted are normally not known. Thus, the date and time displayed on Twitter are only approximate guides to the timing of a tweet. However, they allow a researcher to precisely compare the timing of tweets as long as the tweets are all read in a single time zone.

In the main text of the paper, a tweet is cited in its entirety (6.4.1):

Sohaib Athar noted that the presence of a helicopter at that hour was “a rare event.”

or

The presence of a helicopter at that hour was “a rare event” (Athar).

Review: Prison Time by Shaun Attwood

Prison Time by Shaun Attwood

Prison Time by Shaun Attwood

So I have just finished the last in the Shaun Attwood ‘Time’ series, and wow, it was emotional. The sequel to ‘Hard Time’ follows ‘English’ Shaun as he journeys through Arizona’s prison system serving time for distributing Ecstasy. The series charts his rise from a poor English student to a drugs kingpin, then right down to a prisoner in a system designed to make you fail.

Having read the whole series in chronological order (Party Time, Hard Time and then Prison Time) I was expecting this to be the most difficult part of the saga, and I wasn’t wrong. As gripping and difficult to put down as the previous two, it benefits from Shaun’s finely tuned, almost journalistic, style of writing. Which captures the drama and feeling of the moment while creating an accurate documentation of what his surroundings where like.

We are introduced to some amazing characters throughout the book, both scary and genuine. From She-Ra, a tall transsexual who becomes friends with Shaun during his spell on the low security yard. Another is a great giant of a man is T-Bone, a kind of dark knight of the prison, who puts his life on the line protecting those who are weaker then him from prison rape. The person who seems to have the most effect on Shaun in ‘Two Tony’s’, a mafia hit man who  has left a trail of bodies from New York to LA.

One thing that stands out to me in this book is how genuine and touching Shaun’s naivety when it comes to women is, from Jade to She-Ra. Maybe it is down to him looking for the best in people, but in this book we see love, heartbreak and confusion in equal measure.  I especially liked the confusion that arose when he met Gina, who he describes as being as close to a women that you will meet in an all-male prison. After being in prison, where the constant search for love and companionship is part of everyday life for that long, I can sort of understand where he comes from.

We see Shaun develop his caring and nurturing side within this book, even to the point of developing an almost ‘guru’ persona in the prison. But not everything is smooth sailing, from arguments with others over his blog to a system that seems to be out to get him. Shaun battles not just to stay out of trouble, but to get out alive.

As with all the other books in the series it is dark, shocking, funny and really emotional right to the end. I must admit I am really sad the series is now over for me and will hope that one day Shaun writes a book about his return to normal life in England.

I give it 5 out of 5.

Review: Hard Time by Shaun Attwood

 

Hard Time by Shaun Attwood

Hard Time by Shaun Attwood

 

The News of the World are quoted as saying this book ‘Makes Shawshank look like a holiday camp’, and while that description may be a tad emotive, the conditions described in this instalment of the Shaun Attwood series are beyond horrific and push the boundaries of what is barbaric. In this book, Shaun leads us through one of America’s most tough jail system, in a journey that involves everything from militant cockroaches to brutal beatings.

The book spans a period of just over 2 years in which Shaun goes on a wonderfully scary journey of self-discovery where there are battles at every turn and a judicial system that seems hell bent on making an example of him. Using his charm and his English wit he manages to progress from a broken shell of a man to a teacher and leader, but the biggest battle seem to come from within. When voices keep creeping into his every thought, sleep deprived and malnourished, Shaun battles not only for his freedom but his sanity.

One thing that does stand out to me in this book is Shaun’s ability to self-reflect and convey that he deserved to be punished for what he did, but not even animals deserve to be treated in the way that Sheriff Joe Arpaio prides himself on. A man who is clearly suffering from some kind of personality disorder which drives him to treat un-sentenced prisoners as his own toys to abuse. If you haven’t heard of Sheriff Joe before, I suggest you do some reading. You will be shocked. In this book Shaun is honest, sometimes to a fault, including stories that will make your toes curl. Such as the time his penis shrunk so much he struggled in the strip search and the time he had to unblock a toilet with his hand.

When it comes to his writing style Shaun states that the book was started in 2002 and you can tell he has come a long way with his writing ability. You can almost experience his ability grow as the book progresses. A more then forgiveable offence I am sure, this being his first book after all. But having said that, he still captures the imagery of the jail with great detail, from the smells of blocked toilets to the sounds of people being ‘smashed’. Yet another of his books that I struggled to put down.

I particularly like the competition hidden in the ‘Acknowledgment’ section at the back, although I suspect the prize has been claimed by now.

I gave this book 4 out of 5.