Monday, 31 January 2011

They are coming...

Shh! We're hiding. Be quiet everyone. That includes me. Shh! Who's making that noise? Oh, it's me again... (10 points to anyone who knows where that's from) No but seriously. Hide. Facebook is coming. Within past half an hour 5 people from school have whored out their Twitters on Facebook. Doomsday. Armageddon. It's been nice knowing you chaps but I fear that our story ends here.

I can't have school knowing me. Oh no. They don't know I exist on Twitter, but can you imagine if they did? I'm almost extinct on Facebook because Twitter is my home, meaning my real friends bored me so I got friendly with strangers instead. Smooth move Jones. I pour my heart out on Twitter. I get myself into trouble and I commentate during TV shows. If everyone at school latched onto me I'd be booked in for sessions with the school councillor guaranteed.

It'd feel like everyone's read my diary, because that's how I treat Twitter. I can say anything and everything and if I didn't then I'd explode. It's like there's two of me. A real life one and a Twitter one. They can't meet! You know the movies and TV shows where someone has the chance to go back in time, but they can't meet themselves because time would collapse? YES YOU DO KNOW. Well it's just like that. I can't read my tweets out loud, that's just weird. And I can't be normal me on Twitter because that would bore everyone to tears.

But I'm not saying I'm not myself on Twitter, I don't pretend to be someone else. If anything then I'm more myself on Twitter than I am in real life. I'm myself in my head in real life, like I tweet constantly in my mind.

I'm not really helping my 'not a mental' case am I?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Big Fat Gypsy Abuse

I remember one morning in my first year of primary school. I was 5 and it was 'quiet reading time', so I was probably reading Biff & Chip after a typical "NOOOO MUM DON'T GOOOOO" moment. Cue leg grabbing and sobby breathing. But my sacred reading time was disturbed by my teacher placing her hand on my shoulder and nudging a girl towards me. "Louise, this is Bridget, she's new and needs a lovely friend. Can you be that friend? I chose you especially." WELL. I was the chosen one. I was 'that friend'. I was needed. And I accepted that offer Obama style. "YES I CAN." Oh and I had visions. Me and Bridget were going to be the best of friends and would play with Barbies until they had no hair left, run the colour dry from felt-tip pens and watch every episode of Pingu followed by Oakie Doke or even Newsround (I was an advanced child). 


Bridget was, well, different. She had light brown hair which was fixed into a tight top bun, with some wispy bits left down by the side of her freckle covered face. Her eyes were bright blue, but outlined in black and her lips were postbox red. She was dressed in our uniform, a light blue summer dress which matched her eyes, but she glistened in the light, for the biggest gold dangly earrings I had every seen fell from her lobes, and she jangled with every slight movement by wearing tens of gold bangles on her arms. The sight had me open mouthed. Was Bridget from a different country? Was she a DOLL? I tried to play with her all day. Not literally, play with her like a doll, but play WITH dolls with her, or in the sandbox, or in the travel agent set (best thing ever), but Bridget never spoke. She just followed and watched. And within a week, she was gone.


That was my first encounter of a gypsy.


My next encounter of a gypsy was in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Esmerelda was nothing like Bridget. She was pretty and nice and helpful, but everybody hated her! Why did they hate her? Because she didn't have a house like everyone else? She must have been doing something bad, therefore I won't like her. And because she's a gypsy, and she's different from me, and nobody likes her, then I can't like Bridget and all gypsies must be bad. So that's what I grew up thinking. All gypsies were bad. But why?


My Big Fat Gypsy wedding started last week, and after I'd seen the adverts there was no doubt that I had to watch it. They all looked awful tarted up in make up with outrages wedding dresses, maybe now I can see what all the fuss is about! I watched the first one, and yes their make up swamped faces and engulfing wedding dresses looked just a tad ridiculous, but they were nice. I heard no swearing, saw no fighting, and figured no reason to dislike their way of life. Sure, I took the mick out of their image on twitter but in amongst the laughter were life lessons and I learned a lot from that first episode.


The second episode last night was relatively the same with 6 year olds wearing high heels, spray tans and caked in foundation, and a bride struggling to kick her pink dress down the aisle. But this time the reaction from twitter was awful... "They're all little sluts!!!" one wrote and another said "Those pikeys should be locked away. Disgusting." What's the difference between those harsh comments, and believe me there were loads more, and harsh comments about Muslims? Nothing. It can easily be classed as racism. They live in a different culture to us, so what?! You think they're all sluts dressing and dancing like that? The difference occurs in the fact that if non gypsies dressed and danced like sluts, they'd act like them too. Gypsy girls can't have sex before marriage and don't drink alcohol. They're never under the influence of anything but themselves and peers, and don't dress for a one night stand. It's just how they dress, you're just branding them a slut on the stereotypical slut look. It was made clear last night that they dance like that because that's how their idols dance on the tele and how they've seen their older sisters dance. A bit inappropriate maybe, but the motive behind it isn't bad in the slightest. And the make up? Yes it's over the top, but what about the little girls in beauty pageants? Do you judge the whole of America based on that? No. 


The gypsy morals may seem bad, for example the way they treat women. Teenage girls go through 'grabbing' where a boy tries desperately to get a girl to kiss him. People found that horrible. Well it might look horrible when the boy won't let the girl go, but it's a teenage kiss. Big whoop. A lot more horrible instances happen in our lives. I got touched up on a packed train last month by a man in his 40s. That wouldn't happen to gypsies and it hasn't scarred me. Girls must leave school at 11 to help around house, then marry at around 16/17/18 to become a housewife. They're not allowed jobs. That might sound stupid, but they're just old fashioned, and gypsy women don't mind. That's their life and their culture. They probably don't agree with our lives, but tough shit that's how we're gonna live it and they're gonna carry on living theirs regardless of what we say. Well, apart from having their homes ripped apart by the council. That's nice.


Don't be so ignorant. Those gypsies are nice people and while your judging them on their image, the nasty front you're trying to pull off is so not a good look.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Twitter Etiquette

Twitter is a second home for many people, but there are rules that need to be laid for some. Behold the Twitter Etiquette...



1. YOU ARE NOT AN EGG. Always have an avatar, preferably of your face, whilst using Twitter. If you're sitting there in all your eggy glory then people are quickly going to assume that you are either 1) A bot, or 2) A paedo/perv/fake, or 3) Really ugly Having a name and a good bio always helps too.


2. Don't publicly tweet every 5 minutes. Soon your tweets will just blend into others and disappear into the twitter void.

3. If someone doesn't reply to you straight anyway, don't freak out and think they don't like you. They're probably having a wee, checking Facebook *spits* or coming up with a witty reply.

4. Be careful what you say. You might think your tweet sounds perfectly fine in your tone, but you never know how it'll be received.

5. For goodness sake DON'T start arguments on twitter. If you seriously have a problem with someone then get their email or confront them via DM. Remember that everyone will be watching and you may well others depending on the subject. Arguments aren't meant for twitter.

6. If someone starts to get aggy with you then remember you'll probably never see them in real life, so you don't have to retaliate. If they're plain rude or arrogant then simply block. BAM. Gone.

7. Twitter is brilliant for ranting or for releasing your feelings, but make sure you don't always just tweet your depressing and angry thoughts as you're gonna end up sounding like a lost cause. Don't  feel like you have to always sound interesting, funny or happy either. Be yourself. If you're feeling down then twitter will always give advice and pick you back up.

8. Watch your following:followers ratio. If you're following a lot more people than are following you then you're probably a bot. But if you're following hardly any have thousands of followers then you're probably all mememe.

9. Give credit for links/tweets/photos you've seen and want to share. Don't pass it off as your own. Using (via @username) or (thanks @username) is always good, if not a simple RT.

10. Please don't ask people to follow you. It's needy and desperate and never works.


11. Never RT praise replies. It's embarrassing. Stop it.

12. Similarly, don't RT your #ff's. It's unbelievably cringey.

13. Only #ff someone if you have a good reason. People will never get followed on an #ff if they're just included in a long list.

14. Thank people for your #ff's but not publicly to all your followers. If you do then your head is too big for twitter's door.

15. Twitter is amazing for journalists and writers, and plugging books/blogs/articles/columns/tv shows is completely fine, as long as it's not every day. Self promotion can get tiresome. Also, don't moan at tweeters who DO plug because you would do exactly the same.

Comments only welcome in 140 characters or less...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Jordan Rice, hero of the Australian floods

I've lost count of the amount of times I've rambled on about teenagers being viewed negatively in the press, with stories of truancy, crime, killings, drugs, alcohol, pregnancies, chavs, suicides, and 'us lot' being generally irresponsible, selfish and unaware of life. Yawnyawnyawn change the record. So I am going to change the record, to the B side. B for Bravery.

Do you know who Jordan Rice is? I don't suspect you do. I didn't either until an hour ago. Jordan Rice is 13 years old and comes from Toowoomba, Australia. Still nothing? I'll go on. Jordan Rice lives with his mum, dad and 10 year old brother Blake and went to buy his school uniform earlier this week. No bells? Let me explain...

Picture the scene, you're a 13 year old boy and it's Monday morning. "Urgh" is the first reaction, right? You're probably in the first few months of puberty being introduced with your new best friends, Ac and Ne and you're Beiberfying your hair trying to nab your first girlfriend. Your Xbox is your oxygen and your bedroom floor has packed its bags and left in search of a new life with brush.

"Come on Jordan, we need to leave to get your uniform NOW." 


*gruntgruntmumbleHIGHPITCHlowgrowl*


Shopping and school in the same activity? HELL that is for a boy. Nevertheless, at around 2pm on Monday Jordan, Blake and his mother are in the car on the way back from the shops. Pretty standard day. With a reward of sweets, I assume.

The Australian floods have caused destruction this past week, with people dead and and areas the size of France extinct under the tons of water. Toowoomba clearly seemed unaffected and not at risk from this scene, until water started to rise around the Rice family's car. Usually when there's a small flood on a road, driving through it is AMAZING. The water sprays up in a wave against the car and you feel like Moses parting the Red Sea. But what if the water kept rising? Rising enough to cut your engine out? Stranded in a lake of dirty murderous water? It's not stopping. It's half way up your car door now. If you're not careful you won't be able to get out. Not so fun now is it? Your mum's panicking. She's called the emergency services who have told her to stay in the car. Stay in the car?! The water's rising faster now and it's coming into the car. You have no choice but to escape onto the roof.

                                          Queensland, Australia

No one tried to help this little family. Too scared they'd be a victim themselves. But one old man grabbed a rope, tied it around himself and jumped in the flood. If you think the situation couldn't get worse and is seeming to get better, think again. Jordan is petrified of water and can't swim. Jordan wants to get on dry land as fast as possible because this is his worse nightmare. Hope is swimming towards him though, the old man is going to save him right?

Jordan refused to be rescued until his little brother was safe. He was willing to risk death to save Blake.

What's your relationship with your siblings like? Quarrel a lot? Fight? Compete for attention? At 13 these features of sibling rivalry are likely to be at its highest point. Now think about YOU being in this situation. You could be swept away in a torrent of violent floods at any moment, it's instinct to find a way of survival FAST. You don't think of anyone else but yourself. Selfish? Possibly. But it's your life and something inside tells you to do anything to live it. So if at 13 years old someone was there in front of you, willing to save you at that very moment and take you to safety, would you say no? Even if others close to you were there too? If your mother was saying "Go! Go with the nice man!"

Or would you say no and save your little brother first?

The old man didn't have time to argue. The rope was fraying and water was still rising, so he tied the rope around Blake and took him to land. He swam back out to save the other two, there was time, he could do it. But the rope broke. It couldn't take the strain of the flood and the weight of the people. Jordan and his mother had no hope. They were gone. Taken by the churning torrent of brown water they were swept away, but managed to cling to a tree...before they loosened their grip and accepted their fate. Blake was left the only survivor of a trip to buy school uniform. Reunited with his father to become a family of 2.

Jordan Rice was 13 years old from Toowoomba, Australia. Jordan Rice sacrificed his life for his little brother during the devastating floods of Queensland in January 2011. Jordan Rice is a hero and now you will remember his name.

                                                Jordan Rice