Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Hope Is Not Lost

I woke up this morning to learn that the impossible was in fact possible. America voted for a misogynistic, racist, homophobic, sexual predator over a highly qualified woman. Donald Trump is the 45th American President.

Having this follow Brexit makes it feel like we are in the darkest time line. Our leaders preach hate, the planet is dying and will soon reach a tipping point, there is war and terrorism across the globe, and yet, I believe there is hope. There is hope we can turn things around, we can learn to love once more, we can save our planet and we can find global peace. Not all is lost, and it's not too late.

America, it's time to set the example. If you want to continue to be the leaders of the free world like you once were, then it's time to step up and earn that right. You are frustrated, we understand that. But being frustrated is not a reason to hate. Trump is your leader now, so show him that you won't stand for his sexist, homophobic, racist comments any longer. I know it's easy to be afraid of something you don't understand. You see people coming into your country who look different to you, pray different to you, love different to you. But is it now your duty as the leaders of the free world to show these people the meaning of freedom. Freedom to practise any religion. Freedom to love who they love. Freedom to be who they are without judgment or prosecution.

It's also your duty to protect this earth. Trump tries to deny climate change, you cannot let him. The USA produces 6,870 million metric tons of green house gases a year. This is just under a quarter of the worlds total amount. It's time to fight against deforestation across the globe. 46-58 thousand square miles of forrest are being lost each year to make room for coal mines, palm oil plantations, grazing room for cattle, unsustainable logging for timber. This sounds bleak, but it's not too late. Demand that your new president enforce regulations for companies who are currently contributing to this mass deforestation.

America, you have elected a monster into power. It's now your duty to the world not to let him get out of hand. It's time to show us you are the land of the free and home of the brave. Stand up for love, stand up for your fellow human, stand up for your planet. Do some good for the world.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Writings of a Journalism Student

This is an old piece I wrote for a magazine as I was finishing my degree. I talk about what it's like to be a journalism student in a world that believes journalism is dying. Enjoy! (Forgive any outdated references as this was released to the magazine almost a year ago)

As I was finish grade 12, my senior English teacher asked me what I was planning on doing once I graduated. I replied rather excitedly that I would be undertaking a degree in journalism, to which he replied, “Why would you pick a dying field?”
This hit me hard. I had no idea journalism was dying. I watched the news every night, every morning I would be checking social media for any breaking news. It seemed to me that not only was journalism not dying but, journalism had never been stronger. So if this were the case then why would a senior English teacher tell a student going into journalism that journalism was dying? 
That’s because we have reached an end of an era, that era being the rule of print media. Since the beginning of media Print Media had been the clear winner of media outlets.  However, the rise of technology has cause print, the giant of media outlets, to fall.

As a modern journalism student it’s important to not just learn the old ways of journalism but to learn and try and predict the future of journalism. It’s an exciting time to be getting into media but it’s also a terrifying time. I remember walking into a lecture and being told that in modern society any average citizen can be a journalist at any time. This is the equivalent of a doctor walking into their class and being told, well done for getting here, but people are probably just going to operate on themselves now. It’s a terrifying concept, but this is only if we look at traditional forms of journalism and print media.

Thankfully we have more options and news outlets than ever before. From TV and radio through to online and even social media. Social Media has been one of the biggest players in journalism recently. Twitter has recently released a new app aimed at citizen journalists called periscope. Periscope is a live streaming app that allows the user to video and stream events to twitter as they happen live. This is exciting because no longer do we rely on a TV crew to get to the scene before we can see images of breaking news, because now eye witness are able to broadcast the events from the beginning as it happens.

However despite the growth of broadcast journalism across the globe, journalism as a subject seems to be depleting. There had been rumors of University of Queensland reducing their journalism program from a full undergraduate degree, the bachelor of journalism, to just a postgraduate degree, a place for a few elite students to take part in. This is seen across the globe, from Columbia to Berkley and Even in Melbourne.

However it’s important not to confuse the dropping numbers in traditional news rooms with the over all health of journalism in a general sense. One of the biggest players currently in the journalism field is Buzzfeed. While this name may bring to mind cat videos, and lists of why Dr. Malcolm should have been in the latest Jurassic Park Movie, Jurassic World. Yet this entertainment section of Buzzfeed is but a small portion of the over all website. If you take some time to explore it’s depths, there is a bit of everything, from news and lifestyle through to cat videos and personality quizzes. Buzzfeed is but one example of the future of journalism, that proves not only is journalism not dying, but also is obviously growing strong. We just need to be able to adapt to the future of journalism, which may include a cat video every now and again.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Dawn of Justice: A Review

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. Possibly the most exciting superhero movie title we have seen to date. However, the question has been raised - does the movie live up to its title?

This is a harder question to answer than I first thought. My initial reaction was to say no, no it wasn't. The reviews have been harsh (My favourite being Batman v Superman: Yawn of Justice), the plot was a little all over the place, and more importantly it was missing some crucial components to the characters. However there was a lot of good in the movies as well, so I think it's time to break down the good and the bad of Batman V Superman. 


I'm going to start with some things that I didn't like. We all know the story of how Batman became Batman. As a young Bruce went to the theatre with his parents, where he got scared when he saw bats. So being the loving parents Mr and Mrs Wayne were, they snuck out the side of the theatre with young master Bruce, right into crime alley. Here is where they ran into a mugger, who accidentally shot Mr and Mrs Wayne. Bruce then blamed himself for the death of his parents because he wasn't able to overcome his fear, from that moment on he vowed to control his fear and protect the citizens of Gotham. This is a nobel beginning to the silent protector of Gotham... However it was not how things went down in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In this rendition, the Wayne's are happily walking along a main street of Gotham (granted you can see the theatre in the background) when out of nowhere a man steps in front of them, shoots Mr Wayne and then shoots Mrs Wayne, leaving Bruce stunned until the funeral where he runs way and falls down a hole. This hole is filled with bats who begin to swirl around Bruce. He then begins to fly out of the hole with the help of the bats before waking up from a dream sequence. 

This brings us to the next issue of the movie, the dream sequences. Firstly there are far too many of them, including taking a page out of Inception where there was a dream within a dream. Neither of theses dreams have anything to do with the story line (other than re-enforcing Batman's paranoia of Superman).  The dream sequences end up getting tangled into flash backs (as seen in the Wayne's death scene) and generally add nothing to the over all profession of the story line. 

The story line itself is another big issue I have with this particular film, well it's more the story lines (plural), there are too many of them. We have 5 introductions before the film really starts (Superman's intro, Batman's intro, Lois Lane's intro, Lex Luthor's intro, and finally the reason behind why batman doesn't like superman intro) by the time the introduction scenes are over you forget what has happened in the first introduction scene. This all happens before we even think about introducing Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League. We are then introduced later on to Doomsday, and then at the very end of the movie another villain is mentioned. Over all this movie tries to cram to much into the movie. I understand why they do this, they are using this as a launch pad for the future Justice League movies, but I disagree with sacrificing a movie for the sake of future  movies. 

And finally the last issue I have with this movie is how the conflict between Batman and Superman is written. In the comics Batman and Superman have fought many times. In Frank Millers Dark Knight Returns, Superman is sent to kill Batman due to Batman's showing up the president of the United States. In Jeph Leob's Batman:Hush, Superman is under the mind control powers of Poison Ivy's 'Kiss'. All of these stay true to the characters, Superman doing things the right 'American' way, and Batman fighting for justice in his own way. Both hero are nobel in their cause. However in Snyder's version they become jealous school boys who are trying to prove they have the biggest muscles. For me this takes away from the core of these characters. This isn't the fault of the actors however. 

Time for the good! I loved how the actors portrayed their characters. Jesse Eisenberg did a brilliant job as Lex Luthor. While not a traditional Lex that the audience is used to, I believe we walked a line in-between the characters of Lex and the Joker, being simultaneously Superman's and Batman's rival. I also enjoyed Ben Affleck's portrayal of Batman, this batman is older and hardier than the previous versions we have seen. This makes him battle worn and more experienced, which I believe led to an exciting new addition to the Batmen. Finally Henry Cavill is an incredible superman, he is able to play the glorified boy scout role perfectly, all muscle, truth and justice. It's unfortunate that these actors weren't given a better script and story line to work with, but I am excited to see what is in store for the future of the Justice League.

Over all I would give this movie a 4/10. With good cinematography and character portrayal, it wasn't enough to save the lack of plot or script. 

Friday, 1 April 2016

Would I Survive An Apocalypse?

I love watching end of the world movies and thinking about what I would do if thrown into these situations. From zombies and diseases to asteroids and the four horsemen. Now it's easy to say I could survive these movies if I had the same training and resources as the hero, unfortunately I do not have the same training or resources as any of the hero's (except maybe Shawn from Shawn of the Dead). So today I thought we would explore exactly how fast I would go in an apocalypse (who knows, maybe I survive one or 2!)

Let's start with what could be the most likely apocalypse on my list - disease.
If any of you have seen the movie contagion or played the game Pandemic 2 you would know how quickly a disease or virus can travel (everywhere except Madagascar apparently, who close down their boarders anytime someone in the world so much as sneezes...). What we learn from movies and video games (obviously the most reliable source for apocalyptic facts) is that when it comes to disease the first people effected are people in airports, on public transport and in hotels. Now for those of you who are unaware, I work in a hotel and I catch public transport to and from work.
My prediction: I wouldn't be patient zero, but I believe I would be one of the first to go. Living in a busy metropolis, working in a hotel and traveling on public transport are all working against me. The best case for this would be to discover I am immune to the disease. That way I could save people without being infected myself.

Next on the most likely list is earth being hit by an asteroid.
The good news is, going off our scientific evidence as shown in movies, the asteroid will hit somewhere in the USA (either New York or LA). This is good news for me as I live in Australia (possibly the furthest country away from the USA). The key to surviving this scenario is to be up to date on the news, as a journalist this is fairly easy for me. I would have to hope that mum is home so I have access to a vehicle so we could drive into the centre of Australia. Hopefully this would be far enough that we wouldn't be effected by the earthquakes or tsunamis that follow the crash. That's best case. Worst case, the asteroid hits Sydney (they always hit a major city). If it hits Sydney then I would unfortunately still be in the impact zone, my clothing will ignite and the surrounding buildings will collapse. I don't think I could survive something like this.
My prediction: This is very much up to chance, if the asteroid hits a place far away then I will survive, if it hits closer to home I'm a goner.

Let's move into the world of fantasy and horror with one of the most popular apocalypse scenario - zombies.
Firstly we need to decide what type of zombies we are dealing with, every one knows if the zombies are awake during the day and the night then they are slow moving, however if the zombies are just night or day zombies then they are going to be fast. I'll look at if I can survive either scenario.
First - Slow walking day and night zombies.
The key to 24 hour slow zombies is to always keep moving and stay hidden. This is easy at the beginning when you have a car and petrol, however petrol will soon run out leaving your car useless. I would then have to rely on my ability to run long distance... This is the point I would die. I wish I could say I am an incredibly athletic young man, but we all know I'm a blogger (not a photoblogger, or a video blogger, just a regular every day blogger) so we can all guess I'm out of shape. I would either die of exhaustion or the zombies would catch me, where I would double die because I wouldn't be able to catch any humans to eat.
Now the fast night or day zombies.
The trick to these zombies is to go out when they are asleep or hiding and gather supplies. Which seems easy enough right? Wrong, my downfall will be my sleep talking and snoring. Now I'm not every loud, but any noise is going to attract these zombies and I'll be caught in my batman pjs and will become the most stylish of the zombies.
My predictions: I will not survive a zombie apocalypse.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that there is a scene were I would die a lot sooner than predicted. That scene would be if my dad was my get away driver... Don't get me wrong, I love my dad, and he is a brilliant driver once the car is in motion... however the problem is getting into the car. Dad (being the safe man he is) likes to make sure his car is locked any time we aren't in it. This sounds like a brilliant idea for the zombie apocalypse right? No zombies will get in the car while we are off sleeping or collecting supplies. Unfortunately dad also doesn't like to unlock the doors at the same time. He will instead unlock his door, get into the car, close his door, start to do up his seatbelt, realise no one else has gotten in the car, and then finally he will unlock the other doors. I feel like this would be certain doom in a zombie apocalypse.

And finally the apocalypse to end all apocalypses - The Apocalypse
Yes, the original apocalypse. we are talking 4 horsemen, raining fire and good christens being saved my the Lord above.
I will not survive this. I eat seafood, support gay marriage and haven't been to church since I left the high school that forced me to go.
My prediction: There is no way in hell (get it, biblical humour) that I will be surviving this apocalypse.

What have I learned from this post? I need to run more, attend more church and of course carry a bottle of hand sanitiser at all times.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

wikiHow: An Aliens Guide to Humanity

I know a lot of you out there are skeptical about the possibility of humans being invaded by aliens. But what if I told you it's possible they are already among us? Thanks to wikiHow Aliens would be able to learn how to be human and simply blend in....

How To Be Human:
This is an actual topic on wikiHow. In six simple steps (with accompanying pictures) you are able to learn the basics in blending in with the human race.
The reason I think this article particularly is directed at aliens is because of step 1... meet basic physical needs. If you are a human and you have lived long enough to google how to be human and you haven't been meeting basic physical needs, such as - Breathe Oxygen, Eat Edible Food and Drink Water, and finally Sleep - then I am going to seriously doubt the legitimacy of you being a human.
The rest of the article continues with equally great advice, get a house, make money, have social interactions, and it ends with Fall In Love.

Which brings us nicely to our next article...
How To Fall In Love (With Pictures):
This article details how to fall in love, starting with finding yourself (which admittedly is sweet).
It then goes on to talk about how you need to find the right person... but doesn't say how... So we can just jump to...

3 Ways To Pick Up A  Girl In A Club:
Yes.. I'm serious, there is a wikiHow article on how to pick up at the club. However this article reads a lot like A Sociopaths Guide to Human Interaction. With gems of advice ranging from - Breech The Touch Barrier, to Stick With The Same Woman Once You've Developed Some Chemistry but don't forget to Keep Conversations Brief and Direct.

While these seem like harmless things for the alien to learn it's what they can learn after they become human that concerns me the most...

How To Become A Dictator: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
That's right, in 10 easy steps you to can learn what it takes to be a dictator!
We start with 'Personal Keys To Absolute Power' where you are reminded that in order to rise to power you have to want to rise to power. Apparently no one becomes a dictator by mistake... You also have to be self centred, charismatic and trust no more than you need to (which is kind of vague).
Once you have the 'Personal Keys To Absolute Power' it's time to learn how to actually assume power. The first step being, just take over an existing dictatorship! It can't be that hard can it? I mean you do have the Personal Keys To Absolute Power... However if you aren't successful in overthrowing a pre-established dictatorship you just have to find a country that's ripe for the taking! Wiki:How recommends countries that are going through economic hardships or famine; of course having a weak or oppressive government doesn't hurt.

I am becoming more and more convinced that the sole purpose of wikiHow is to lead an alien invasion against us.

So keep your guard up, and look for anyone who is constantly checking their phone for a list reminding them to breathe, eat and sleep.

Friday, 18 March 2016

The Trump Terror

It's time we talk Trump. I know a lot of people have been talking about the latest of our reality TV stars turned politician Donald Trump. Following in the footsteps of Arnold Schwarzenegger (Governor of California) and Jerry Springer (the Democratic Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio),Trump once again needs to try and outdo his competition by not running for something as trivial as Governor or Mayor, no, Trump needs to try and take on the big job - the President of the United States of America.

It was funny at first, don't get me wrong; he was a loud mouth buffoon making a mockery of democracy. That was until people started taking him seriously. That's when Mr Trump went from mildly entertaining to terrifying.

Things became even more terrifying as people who I know and love starting to side with Trump saying "He wasn't that bad," and "I think he might be what the USA needs." Now because these were people who I love, and I respect their opinions, I thought I would research what exactly Trump stands for and what exactly he plans to do for the USA (because let's be honest, he has never been clear on his stance when it comes to the debates.) What I discovered made me fear for the future more than the prospect of Fox doing another Fantastic Four Movie (disclaimer: watch the 2015 Fant4stic movie at your own risk).

Let's take a look at his policies -
Starting with Immigration, a hot topic at the moment as the world bands together to support the refugees spilling out of Syria, proving that the human race can pull together, ignore borders and help their fellow man... Except for Trump, who believes that. "A nation without borders is not a nation. We must build a wall on our southern border." This is taken from his official policy. Apparently Canada is fine without a wall, but he plans to build an actual wall (Anyone else picturing Berlin here?) between the USA and Mexico. Now how does the illustrious Mr Trump plan on paying for this wall? With the hardworking taxpayers money? Don't be ridiculous, he want's Mexico to pay for it! More specifically he is going to take the money that illegal immigrants are sending home so their families can afford food and shelter and use that money to build the wall. In 2013 this number was roughly 22 million dollars. This sounds like a lot of money, until you remember that Mr Trump values his own name at ten billion dollars, which is roughly 434 times the amount he is taking from these people to build his wall. This could also mean they will freeze the bank accounts of any business who employees an illegal immigrant, knowingly or not, and will reinstate the money once the employee has been fired and a "small fee" has been removed from the account to contribute towards the wall.

Then there is the "National e-verify" which is described as: "This simple messure will protect jobs for unemployed Americans." What does that even mean? It's so vague it's terrifying. How will this be implemented? There is already a serious problem with homeless Americans not being able to vote due to not having enough identification; if this 'national e-verify' goes ahead what is going to happen to americans who can't prove who they are? There simply isn't enough fact on this to do anything else but speculate, so let's move on to what is going to happen to people seeking refuge.

Will Donald Trump stand up and support fellow human beings who are fleeing from conflict and persecution? No, no he will not. Instead he will condemn any city who supports refugees by cutting funds to sanctuary cities. I hear you asking what a sanctuary city is? Well, it's any city participating in the "welcome movement" (currently 57 cities). These cities take in mass amounts of refugees who are fleeing war torn or otherwise devastated countries. Currently these cities get a federal grant to help house, educate, and rehabilitate these refugees into society. Under Trump these cities would get nothing.

He also plans to remove birthright citizenship. Currently if you are born in the USA you are a citizen (makes sense so far right?) but if Trump takes control then if your parents were illegal immigrants or even refugees and you were born in the USA you can have your citizenship revoked, despite not having any other citizenship.

That's just immigration, take a break now, go get a drink of water, have a pee, and we'll keep moving on when you return.

The scariest thing about Trump, and possibly the reason he is so popular, is that he has answers. They might be terrible, and in some cases the implications will be terrifying, but he will have answers. These answers will also be difficult for the Democratic Party to argue against. For example, let's take something that the Democrats have been fighting for since as long as I can remember, gun control.

To give you background statistics, in 2015, 1,447 people (give or take) were killed or injured through mass shootings across the USA. In Chicago alone, there have been 1,625 people shot in gang-controled areas. If the government cared about the actual number of deaths they would (as Obama is trying to do) make it harder to actually obtain these guns. Trumps answer to this, rather than restricting gun control, he will introduce a minimum jail sentence for anyone caught with an illegal firearm. Now he wants to focus mainly on the illegal guns in Chicago and Baltimore, the legal gun owners can feel free to buy as many guns as they want. But for now we will focus on Baltimore and Chicago.

Now these cities are where he wants to take good children/families out of and relocate them into better cities. Between this and sending anyone with an illegal firearm to prison, it's going to leave a lot of empty buildings. The prospect of what he might do with these buildings could be terrifying, I personally hope he is just going to make more failed condos for rich people, because an alternative is using it as a place to send any illegal immigrant that Mexico refuses to take back. And that has some truly horrifying implications (Anyone else thinking of a certain camp we saw during World War 2?).

The scariest part of all of this is that no one seems to be taking him seriously. For the longest time we was seen as a joke candidate, the one everyone wanted to watch so they could see him throw a tantrum. If he were 3 instead of 69, we would be sending him to his room for throwing said tantrum, not giving him what he wanted. We need to stop rewarding him for bad behaviour; ignore him when he lashes out, let him cry and throw his fists until he tuckers himself out. Do you really want the next president of the USA to be a misbehaving toddler in a toupee? I certainly don't.

Okay, I have made a lot of subtle (sometimes not so subtle) references to Trump being like Hitler. I'm sure this will make some people mad, because they can't bring themselves to believe anyone could be as evil as that. Well you should know that for years Trump slept with a copy of Hitler's sequel to Mien Kampf right next to his bed. This is confirmed by his ex wife who has also said he enjoyed studying and reading Hitlers speeches.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Madonna, Your Fans Deserve Better

Dear Madonna,

We can all respect that in your prime you were the pop princess of the '80s, however I feel like I need to remind you that it is no longer the '80s and you are no longer the pop princess you once were. Yes you still have fans, and yes they still love you. But having been 2 hours late to the stage here in Brisbane (4 hours late to another show), I have to wonder why they still have so much respect for you? I did some research and apparently you lost quite a lot of respect from your fans during this tour. Turns out saying "bitch I'm Madonna" doesn't have the same effect when you're 57 (soon to be 58) in 2016, when your fans have careers and families, oh and not to mention it was the middle of the working week. You may have a 'Rebel Heart' but that doesn't excuse the blatant disrespect you have for your fans, for the music industry, and for the people working with you. No one minds a late night, but if you're going to perform late, how about you don't advertise your show to start at 9pm? Okay, maybe you didn't have a choice in when the show started; but just like every other person with a job, when your boss says you have to show up at a certain time, you show up at that certain time. I won't get into the allegations that you were drunk, or even that you were lip-syncing the show, that would be petty.
I understand that sometimes things go wrong and you can't help but come on stage late. These things happen, we get it. However, this is not a one off. As far as my research shows, you haven't been on time once this tour (for Australia and New Zealand).
Madonna, it's time to start taking some responsibility. Because, and I'm sorry to say this but, you just aren't all that any more and your fans deserve more than what you gave them.
I hope we can see some changes for the rest of the tour.

Best Wishes
The World