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Category Archives: Rants

A Festive Shambles

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I will look back on this Christmas and see the funny side… Eventually. O.K I may be exaggerating a little but let’s just say our first Christmas eating out ended with a full refund demanded by my brother. Our table hadn’t been cleaned before we sat down and we were placed in a cold damp room with paint peeling off the walls. The food wasn’t actually that bad despite having to wait for my vegetarian pie whilst already 20 minutes into eating the rest of the trimmings.

The carvery had run out of all meats apart from Turkey so if you hadn’t ordered turkey you were going to get it anyway… And served by a carver who looked like he was going to burst into tears under pressure. All the staff were over worked and looked stressed and miserable, in fact the guy that we had waiting on our table admitted that he didn’t even work at that restaurant and had been roped into helping out.

As I got up to go to the toilet I could hear people complaining left, right and centre and the manager, in turmoil at this time looked like he wanted to run far far away from the place as he could get. By the time we left there were people queuing up for refunds. Very poor organisation was to blame for such a shambolic event. 1) they should have got more staff in, especially kitchen staff and 2) they should have made the carvery a ticketed process where the carver could tell what meat everyone had ordered. I don’t even work in a restaurant and that’s just common sense.

While watching this whole disaster unravel I managed to stay composed and remain positive throughout. It will certainly be a Christmas to remember anyway. On a much happier note, it was lovely to spend the day with my family.

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‘Blackfish’

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Today I finally got around to watching ‘Blackfish’ which is currently causing a stir in all the right reasons or wrong (whichever way you’d like to look at it), I would personally say for all the right reasons as it’s been raising awareness of such a barbaric business since it’s release. For those that haven’t seen it ‘Blackfish’ is a powerful documentary/film about the Killer Whales at ‘Seaworld’ in Orlando, Florida and how these amazing animals can suddenly turn aggressive, causing serious harm and even death to the trainers that work closely with them. Namely following one particular one called Tilikum.

A lot of stories that came back out of the woodwork were covered up by ‘Seaworld’, obviously to protect their wealth. As you can imagine they must make millions each year by attracting the public to view their displays. Of course it’s a success because we as humans show a desire to be up close to amazing creatures like Killer Whales and many others.

I myself have watched Dolphin shows in Barcelona and swam with Sea Lions in Spain but that in itself could have potentially gone wrong at any moment as Sea Lions can give a nasty bite and their muscley bodies give an indication to how strong they are. All animals are unpredictable and I think people tend to forget that. We don’t know what’s going through their minds.

The emotional torture the Orcas go through is beyond belief. Originally they were captured from the wild and their babies were their main targets because they would be easy to transport and train. They sent boats after them and because the Whales knew what was happening they devised a plan and split up. The males would swim one way to cause a distraction while the females swam in a different direction with their babies staying underwater for as long as possible to avoid being seen. Unfortunately they couldn’t stay underwater forever and when they eventually came up for air they were found by planes that were sent out to direct the boats towards them.

They would be captured by nets in an area with no escape and a baby would be taken from them. As Killer Whales are highly emotional mammals, capable of emotions more complex than humans they were desperately communicating with each other during the ordeal. They build very strong bonds with each other and will suffer grief at the loss of a loved one. One man in the film choked up as he explained that he felt like he was kidnapping a child from its mother. On one occasion they had ended up with 3 dead Orca’s in their nets and were ordered to cut them open and fill them with rocks to sink them.

There are many ridiculous stories but that one will always stick in my mind. ‘Seaworld’ were given the chance to have their say but refused and because the film has made such an impact they have appealed. I know there are two sides to every story but I’m not the slightest bit interested to hear what they have to say. They’re business is despicable and needs to close down along with other similar establishments.

I would like to say well done to all of the former trainers, directors and other staff that came forward to help film the documentary/film, they deserve respect for sharing their stories which must have been hard to talk about. People need to know the truth, ‘Seaworld’ can not carry on treating the Whales like they do and lying and covering up things. Thank you to those who put ‘Blackfish’ together, it has opened the eyes of the naive (through no fault of their own) and confirmed suspicions for those of us that already suspected something dodgy.

What I have written about is just a snippet of what went on in the film so I would recommend that if you care a great deal about animals and don’t like to be kept in the dark to watch this detailed and well researched documentary/film. The whole thing made me angry and heartbroken but I’m glad I watched it. I could go on and on but the only way to gain a true perspective is to watch it for yourselves. Last but not least my condolences go out to the families and friends of the trainers that lost their lives while working with the Killer Whales.

‘Blackfish’ has been broadcasted on T.V but is also available on iTunes, DVD and Blu ray.

Facebook page ‘Blackfish’

Online Donating

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Why do people avoid it like the plague? It could be for one of the best and most established charity’s going but people still won’t donate. I myself have had previous experience with this when setting up donation pages such as ‘Just Giving’. You’ve probably thought of a great fund-raising idea which you think will grab people’s attention but still it goes unnoticed. Well not exactly unnoticed, they probably looked at it before turning their noses up and passing it by.

A friend of mine set up a page over a week ago to raise money for the amazing ‘Make a Wish Foundation’ but since then, she has only had 3 donations online, one of them being mine. I don’t know what people are so scared of. Fair enough, times are hard and it is close to Christmas but it’s the same all year through. Maybe they aren’t aware of how donation sites work or whether they are safe to use. At one point I wondered this myself but I found them easy to use and very secure… in fact just as secure as your online shopping sites.

Earlier this year another friend of mine set up a page and his fundraising activity was to create a large mosaic. He began putting a lot of effort in but had hardly any donations. It knocked his confidence hard and he threatened to give up on occasions but I convinced him to keep going. He had a few donations in the end but he deserved so much more.

The charity someone chooses to help is often one of significance and means a lot to them. They are not chosen on a whim. If I think a charity is worth while (and I’m friends with the person who organised it), I will donate. Even a couple of quid goes a long way and makes the person raising the money incredibly happy.

More Cycle Lanes Please!

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I caught something on the news this morning about introducing a walking and cycling action plan which I’m sure was mentioned a year or two ago but anyway, I’ve always been all for encouraging a healthier lifestyle but if they are going to push for this I honestly think they should build more cycle lanes. Not just to protect the cyclists but to protect the pedestrians as well.

When I was small, I had a bad experience which I can still recall clearly to this day. I was 4 years old when I was knocked down by a cyclist in his teens riding on the pavement as I walked beside my mum on our way to the local shops. He came so fast round a corner that he had no time to stop when he saw me. When he finally put on his breaks and stopped he didn’t even apologise to my mum who was picking me up from the floor. Instead his father appeared and had a go at my mum for the fact that he had broken his breaks when he applied them at full force after he had knocked me down and they walked away.

Luckily I wasn’t badly hurt and carried on up the road with my then very angry mum to the shops. On average three pedestrians are killed each year by careless cyclists and although rare, they can’t ignore the fact that it can happen. Obviously compared to road traffic accidents that’s nothing. Still, Cyclists should not be permitted to ride on pavements.

A Super Disappointment

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I’ve expressed my disappointment on twitter but now I’m going to express it here. I watched in horror as one talented individual was humiliated live on stage by Andrew Lloyd Webber on ITV1’s ‘Superstar’. Throughout the series Webber showed a clear dislike of  23-year-old rock singer Nathan James while auditioning for the role of Jesus for the ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ arena tour. Nathan delivered a fantastic performance each night and took on board the comments that the judges gave afterwards. But no matter how much he adapted his performances to suit the judges previous comments, it wasn’t good enough.

His rendition of ‘Sweet child of mine’ by Guns ‘n’ Roses was mind-blowing yet he was accused of coming across as big-headed. Nathan regularly updates his followers on twitter and would urge them to get voting when he needed it. If anything, in my opinion he came across as insecure and was being misinterpreted by many people. He was fully aware that he wasn’t to everyone’s taste but people were confusing his efforts with being egotistic.

Last night Webber made a personal attack on Nathan regarding a picture that he re-tweeted. The picture in question was a drawing of Nathan wearing a crown of thorns created by a fan (which I must add was very good). Webber proceeded to say quite angrily “Why do you tweet this nonsense?”. Nathan was speechless and looked as though he was going to burst into tears.

In my opinion Andrew Lloyd Webber wasn’t liking the fact that Nathan was winning over more supporters with his talent because he had a clear favourite. Despite Roger Wright’s (former West End Lion King star) average vocal performances, Andrew praised him time and time again. When Nathan ended up in the bottom two with no other than Roger, there was an up-raw. Webber was accused of swaying the public votes and caused the people to think that the show was fixed. Fans had experienced trouble trying to vote for Nathan as lines were apparently busy. Nathan put %110 into the sing-off. He really acted the song whereas Roger had the same expression on his face throughout. Acting ability is also meant to be judged in the show but in this case it was clearly ignored. There was no guessing as to who Webber was going to put through even though Nathan gave the better performance out of the two.

I’d like to say that it was unprofessional of Webber to use personal criticism in such an aggressive manner on live television. Twitter has nothing to do with someones singing ability and if they were really that bothered about Nathan’s tweets they should have had a private word with him away from the cameras. It was embarrassing and uncomfortable to watch but Nathan held it together and made a dignified exit from the show. We certainly won’t be hearing the last of him and I look forward to hearing of his new ventures. On the other hand I won’t be tuning into the last two shows purely because I’m not the slightest bit interested in the final line-up and don’t think any of them would suit the role of Jesus.

 

Olympic Doom

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Like many Londoners, I still remain scepticle about the Olympics. Not only has it cost billions of pounds while we are still getting back on our feet after a recession but the amount of security planned means that there is an increased risk of terrorism during this time. Getting in and out of London and surrounding areas will no doubt be a nightmare, making it difficult for people commuting too and from work.

Businesses are going to suffer especially theatres in the West End and apparently there may be an internet meltdown due to more people going online. I’m not surprised that a lot of people feel the way I do about the games with problem after problem. Maybe it won’t turn out to be as bad as we originally thought but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Wound up and Angry

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Having just sent a complaint to PortAventura, the theme park myself and my friends visited in Spain, I now feel as wound up as I did when I first experienced the issue that I complained about. As some people already know, I’m a huge animal lover. So what I witnessed at the beginning of June appalled me. This is the email I sent PortAventura:

During our trip to the park at the beginning of June, myself and 3 friends were deeply upset after watching the appalling treatment of the horses in Bang Bang West. One of the horses was clearly distressed and having problems breathing yet the show continued. This horse seemed to be having difficulty with the bit that was placed in its mouth and looked as though it was choking. At one point we thought it was going to collapse. The rest of the horses looked hot, exhausted and uncomfortable. We took no notice of the show as we were concerned about the horses. We were sickened and angered but we stayed until the end of the show just to make sure the horse in question was ok. Extremely disappointed with such low animal welfare standards at PortAventura.

As you will see from my review on my reviews page, I had an enjoyable time and was impressed with the rides but I thought this show was a big let down for the park. I would personally like to see the horses pulled out of the show and placed in the care of someone with good knowledge of Equine needs. I hope to receive a reply from the park just to see what they have to say and whether anything is going to be done about it. If I don’t get a response I will have to take it further.