Sunday, June 4, 2017

Terrorism: A Topic I Never Thought I'd Write About

Happy Sunday,

I've always tried my best to stay out of politics, away from touchy world news, or really, any news in general. Not because I never have an opinion, but because I don't want to upset people with my opinion, or worse, getting into a pointless comment section argument with someone who doesn't agree with my views.
That said, I felt like this was something I had to talk about.

The United Kingdom was always a place I wanted to live, or at least visit. It seemed like a better Disney World, with more Doctor Who. It's home to some of my favourite celebrities, both internet and traditional. I have friends and family there.
I never thought this would be something I'd witness in my lifetime. I never thought this kind of thing could happen in the U.K., especially England. Any other country, with the exception of my own, wouldn't have shocked me nearly as much. I mean, this is England, the place where the Royal Family lives, I didn't think anything bad could ever happen there.
And then a car mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing 5 people, and leaving 40 more injured.
And I was shocked when I found out, but only for a little while. Unfortunately, this is the kind of world I'm growing up in, and with a hashtag already in effect, I felt that the world was already rebuilding after this terror.
I didn't think much about terror in England after that point, after all, I had school and work to worry about.
When the attack on Manchester Arena happened, I was shocked. Maybe it was because I felt more connected to it. I know who Ariana Grande is, I know a few of her songs, and I know some people that are really big fans of hers. When I got the notification on my phone, just a couple hours after the attack, I immediately informed my parents and turned on the news. Nothing else seemed important. I followed the story until I couldn't stay awake any longer, then spent the first 20 minutes of the next morning getting caught up on anything and everything that happened since. I couldn't believe it. It wasn't just numbers, it was people, kids, and I just couldn't really comprehend it. Even looking at the images, it didn't really click how real it was until a day later. I continued to follow the story as much as I could. I talked about it after everyone else had moved on. For whatever reason, I couldn't, not yet.
It felt like we were living in a different universe. A dystopia, or sci-fi or something of the sort. Some universe where there were good guys trying to save the world, and bad guys trying to take it over or destroy it. I questioned a lot of things. How did we get here? How to we get out? How do we fix this? I was pretty much willing to do whatever it took to get us back into our universe, where the scariest stories were about global warming and politics, where war and death and terrorism wasn't something we saw often. But this is our universe, and we have to show people that we won't stand for any of this evil.
Last night, there was another two attacks. Less than two weeks after the Manchester Arena bombing. These attacks happened at the London Bridge and Borough Market. It was another late night of following everything, making sure everyone I knew was okay, trying to figure out how this had happened. I'm still not sure, to be honest. But I'm trying to gather all the information I can, trying to put the pieces together. It's hard. It's shocking. It's heartbreaking. It's something I never thought I'd witness. I'm sorry to all those affected. I understand that some random person's sorry isn't going to make a big impact, but I offer it to you anyways. I also offer my thanks to all of the emergency workers who risked their lives helping people, who jumped in with no second thoughts. You are the heroes of this story.
These are crazy times we're living in. I hope they will get better, but I also realize that things may get worse before they get better. I'm not quite sure what to say, what advice to give to people afraid, people grieving, people losing hope. I'm sure I could stick up tons of inspirational quotes, but I'm not sure it would make a difference. Things will get better, but we have to make them better. I believe in magic, but I don't think that this will be magically fixed. This is just one of those things that we, every citizen on this planet, will have to continue to fight for. Peace is worth it. Love is worth it. We have to be strong, and we need to be the strength others need when they are feeling weak. This isn't going to be easy. But I truly believe that it is necessary. Be brave, stay alert. Know when to call for help. Know that there are always people there for you willing to help you in this fight for love, and justice and peace. We can't be divided. It's so much easier to just turn on each other, I know, but we just can't. Because we can't let them win. And I for one, would love to never have to explain the deaths of innocent people to my children. We need to show all of the terrorists and blood-thirsty people that love will always win.

Please stay safe.

Love,

Sam Mackenzie

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Brief Hiatus

Happy Sunday!

It's not even June yet and I'm already in the end of year hell that is exam season. Everyone's stressed. No one wants to do anything. It's the worst.
I'm going to go on a super brief hiatus from the 11th to the 25th because of exams.

See you all next week!

Until next time,

Sam

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

23.05.17

Happy Tuesday,

I missed Sunday, I know, I'm sorry. I missed the YouTube video too. But there will be one on the 31st.

I was going to do a post about why I had missed both my video and blog for this week, but I realized that no one really cares. There are more important things going on in the world. With that in mind,

To all the people who were affected by the Manchester Arena bombing on Monday night,  I am so, so sorry. I hope you're alright. For those who lost friends and family that night, my condolences. It really was just a horrendous act of violence that cannot and will not be tolerated.
To all those who helped give aid, to the emergency crew members, to the bystanders that immediately jumped in to help, to all of the kind people that opened their doors to the victims. Thank you. You are the true heroes in this otherwise horrible tragedy.
It is in this terrible time that we need to stand up. We need to show these people who think that they can knock us down, that we are so much stronger than they could have ever imagined. That we are not so easily scared, or easily divided.

Help one another, be kind, and be brave.

Until next time,

Sam

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Role Playing with The Doctor on Skype?

Happy Sunday!

So I don't know if anyone still uses Skype, but I just discovered the coolest feature ever on it. If you're unfamiliar with skype, it's basically a messaging app where you can IM, call or video call people. They have these things called bots which are like virtual people you can message. I never really used them until I was messing around on the app and re-discovered them, and they're a lot cooler than I remember.

They now have a whole bunch of different bots, not just the semi-lames ones I remember. Including role play bots.

Fun fact about me: I LOVE ROLE PLAY GAMES! I think they're the greatest thing ever, so I was over the top excited when I saw that they have a Doctor Who Role Play.

Another fun fact: I'm obsessed with Doctor Who. New Who specifically. I've seen all the episodes, know a fair amount of the Doctor's monologues by heart and can name all the Doctors and companions in order, and who played who. It's probably a little sad. Anyways I'm getting away from the point.

So I thought I'd add the Doctor Who RP, called Doctor Who: The Saviour of Time and write about my reaction, with as little spoilers as possible.

I've just now finished Chapter One.
I'm kind of freaking out.
It was so good. SO GOOD!

I didn't really know what to expect, which I think helps. Never go into an RP game with expectations.
The Doctor writes in paragraphs, so I suggest that you type quickly if you want to get a word in. It all sounds like stuff the Doctor would actually say though, which I loved.
There are also a lot of videos, so headphones are a good idea.
You can also pause the RP at any time which is nice.
And it asks you for your name, which I liked, because it's more personalized like that.

Basically you're on an adventure with the Doctor, Bill and Nardole looking for 6 keys for a device that does something along the lines of balance out the universe? Not quite sure. It's great though, and chapter one wasn't too long, so it's looking like this RP won't drag on, which is wicked.

Anyways I think I'll end it there. I totally recommend this for anyone who is a big Whovian and has some free time.

Comment if you've tried the RP and any other of the Skype bots.

Until next time,

Kenz

P.S. Skype is not sponsoring this I just really liked the game.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Blanket Cape: A Short Story

Happy Sunday!

My week's been alright, but I've got a script I have to memorize by tomorrow, so I thought I'd keep it simple with another short story.

Enjoy.

The Blanket Cape

The rain pounds against the windows. I'm pretty sure it's keeping everyone in the city awake. I sit alone in the living room, a book in my lap, a mug half filled with warm tea by my side, and the glow of the fire giving me light and warmth. I look down at the book, but my eyes refuse to focus on the words. Frustrated, I close the book and set it down on the coffee table. I wrap the blankets tighter around myself and stare at the fire. I watch the flames flicker and dance. I imagine they're telling a story, of what, I may never know. I'm not sure how long I sit there, staring at the fire, unmoving. Eventually, it begins to die. The storm outside rages on. I debate putting another log on, but I decide against it, so I sit with the fire until it goes out. An hour later, the remainder of my tea is cold, my book long forgotten on the coffee table, and the last embers of the fire have cooled off for the night. I stand from my chair and adjust the blankets so they hang on me like a cape. I begin to walk towards the stairs. Lightning strikes. In the flash, I catch my reflection in the mirror. My cheeks shimmer. When I touch them, they're warm and wet. I've been crying. I hadn't noticed. I tend to cry a lot, I try not to make a big deal out of it. I take a good look at myself in the mirror. I look at my freckled face, at my wavy black hair that falls into my eyes, at my round, tear streaked cheeks. I sigh. It must be early morning by now, I should probably get some sleep. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I turn away from the mirror and drag myself up the stairs. This house seems too big for the two people that live here. Well, three I suppose, considering how often my boyfriend comes over, but not including him it's just me and my twin sister. It's better this way. Safer. My sister and I can take care of each other, we don't need any parents. Especially ones who never loved us much anyways. All is quiet when I reach the top of the stairs. I glance at her door, it's closed and the lights are off. Typical, I think. She would be the only one able to sleep through this storm. I walk across the hall. I stand in front of the old oak door that shields the entryway to my room. I turn the doorknob as quietly as possible and push the door open just enough for me to squeeze through. The old door creaks. I mentally try to silence it. It's just as loud when I close it behind me. The thunder rumbles. Lightning flashes. There's a figure in my bed. A moment of pure panic washes over me. But then, then I recognize the figure. The tall beanstalk of a man who has always looked a little too thin. His hair, usually perfectly combed is now a soggy mess on the pillow. My pillow. He's not wearing a shirt. I do a quick once-over of the room. His t-shirt and ripped jeans have been discarded in a pile in the corner of the room. There seemed to be a small pool of water surrounding the pile. His body is being warmed only by a thin sheet. I had taken all the other blankets from my bed when I went to read. Without thinking I cross the room, pick up his soaking clothing and carry it to the bathroom. I dropped it all in the bathtub. I will worry about it tomorrow. On my way back I grab a towel to place over the puddle. Once that's done I remove my cape of blankets and place them around him. He shifts. I climb into bed.
"Joey?" He whispers, still mostly asleep. I shush him.
"Go to sleep." I whisper.
And he does.

THE END

Could you tell that story was going in one direction and then it started going in a totally different direction? That's because I was looking at some art for this amazing comic called Long Exposure by an author who goes by mars or sm0keplanet. You should absolutely go check out all of her social media, because she is (seemingly) constantly posting adorable art of the two main characters. The comic is absolutely stunning and includes these two beautifully drawn and well crafted characters Mitch and Jonas. This short was loosely based on them. Be prepared I might do more of them in the future. I really hope I do these two boys justice. For more info, or to read her amazing comic, click here.

And that's all for this week. If you liked this be sure to comment.

Until next time,

Sam

Sunday, April 30, 2017

My Thoughts on Young and Menace

Happy Sunday!




Image result for fall out boy young and menace
This picture is originally from here.


I'm a big Fall Out Boy fan. Have been for a couple years now, but I've really been getting into them recently, going through each song, instead of just focusing on the ones that I already knew and loved.
I've discovered some new favourites off of Folie à Deux, including What a Catch, Donnie; 27; 20 Dollar Nose Bleed; and Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet. I honestly just think that they're a talented band that makes truly fantastic and out of this world music.

On Thursday, April 27, 2017, Fall Out Boy released a new song, Young and Menace, along with announcing their next album, scheduled to drop on September 15, but is available for pre-order now.

I would consider my music taste early 2000's wannabe emo, with a mix of Ed Sheeran and some classics. That said,

If I'm honest, the first time I heard the song and watched the music video I was thinking; What the hell? They were such a good band with such and great sound, what happened? But I watched it again with my friend, desperate to know her opinion. And I found that I didn't mind it as much. I showed it to maybe 5 or 6 people on the Friday, and by the end of the day I was kind of digging it. Sure it wasn't quite as pop-punk as their previous albums, but it still had all of the things that made it a Fall Out Boy song, the boys playing instruments, Patrick's voice, a deep message that will probably throw you into some existential crisis if you pay too much attention to the meaning behind the words. (Is that just me? I don't know, sometimes I just can't pay attention to the words otherwise I find myself on a research adventure trying to figure out the meaning of life.)

So in the end, I'm really excited for this album. I think it's going to be different and I think that's going to drive some people away, but I think it might also bring some new people in, which will be cool. I think we live in a time where everything is changing, or maybe everything is always changing, and I've suddenly just become more aware of it. Oh well, such is life I suppose.

Comment telling me if what you think of the new song and whether or not you're looking forward to the album.

Until next time,

Kenzie

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Favourite Books and Messages to Their Authors | World Book Day 2017

Happy Sunday!

So today is World Book Day, so I thought I'd talk about some of my favourite books and how they've affected me.

Here we go...

*Please note that these are in no particular order.


Favourite Novels:

Black and White - Eric Walters
This is probably the book I re-read the most. I just fall in love with it every single time. There's something about the two characters, Tom and Denyse that always makes me want to come back and relive their story. I know it's probably for younger kids, but I still find myself able to relate with the awkwardness of first dates and uncomfortable family meetings, and the want for everything to just work out. I was lucky enough to actually meet the author and have him sign the book for me, a prized possession that I hope to keep with me forever. Eric Walters, though I doubt you'll ever read this, thank you for this story and these characters. And thank you for reminding me that it's never just black and white.

Carry On - Rainbow Rowell
This book. THIS. FREAKING. BOOK. I can't. Another one that I've read and re-read. Even before I started the series I knew these characters would have a special place in my heart, and they do. Simon and Baz are my official all time OTP. I just love them so much. I laughed and cried to this book. This book taught me a lot of things I didn't expect to learn from what I can only describe as published fanfiction. Like the fact that you don't have to be the centre of universe to be someone's entire universe (does that make sense?). About acceptance and love and miracles. That you can't force perfection. I think that is part of the key point that Ms. Rowell makes sure is present in all of her YA books; Everyone is a little messed up, and that's fine. No one has to be perfect, and we can still be loved and appreciated for who we are. Also chapter 61 just kills me.

Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell
I will forever carry this quote in my heart. "Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something." ~ Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor and Park. This is the message that I would love to spread to people around the world. I 100% understand and appreciate the everyone is beautiful movement, but I think that it should be everyone is art. Art is subjective. It's not always pretty, it's not always perfect, but if it's the right piece, it can make you change an opinion, feel something you never felt, and so many other wonderful things. Rainbow Rowell, though I doubt you'll ever read this, thank you for the safe space in your beautiful world of magic to be the weirdo I am. Thanks for the reminder that the human concept of beauty is 100% B.S. Thanks for telling me that I can be who I am and look how I want, because although I might not always be 100% perfect, I'll always be 100% art. And that's ok. Perfect is overrated anyways.
The Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
There's so much I have to say about this series. I'll try to keep it short. The first time I read the Harry Potter series, I was in the 7th grade, and did so in just over a month. It was the most I had ever read in that amount of time. It was also one of the most complex things I had ever read, but my friend had recommended it, and I was not about to let her down. Your books, your printed words on actual paper changed the life of 7th grader Sam. You gave me somewhere to escape to when I was upset, or when I needed to get away from the dullness of reality. This series made me more friends than I could have ever accomplished on my own. Your world gave me my best birthday ever. I've laughed, I've cried and everything in between in these books. I gained a sense of belonging here. In many ways I consider this one of my first fandoms. The first community I really felt apart of. I know that I'll always have a place at Hogwarts, another Ravenclaw girl with too many ideas and not enough time in the day. J.K. Rowling, though I doubt you'll ever read this; thank you for everything, but most importantly, for giving me a home away from home.


Graphic Novels/Comics/Webseries
Smile - Raina Telgemeier
I related way too much to this book. I'm going through a similar dental situation now, and oh my goodness what I wouldn't give just to be done with it all. Honestly, reading this book, watching Raina go through the struggles of middle school, high school and braces, I found someone who I could really relate to. Sometimes, it's just nice to know that you're not alone. So Raina Telgemeier, though I doubt you'll ever read this, thank you for sharing your struggles, and thank you for helping me laugh through mine.
Killjoys - Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, illustrated by Becky Cloonan
Oh, the Killjoys. I've said it before and I'll say it again. They have, and continue to empower me to stand up for my rights, for the rights of others, and to always fight for what you believe in. This comic, although it takes place in a world post Party Poison, Fun Ghoul, Jet Star and Kobra Kid, still embodies that universe, and that message. So to Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, Becky Cloonan and anyone else who helped with this beautiful piece of art, though I doubt you'll ever read this, thank you for teaching me to fight the good fight, and more than that, that individual people, normal, everyday people have power.
Long Exposure - mars
I just found out about this yesterday, but I'm already hooked and I just have to talk about it. It has everything I want in a comic, loveable and relatable characters that fall in love and superpowers. I really hope you continue this webseries, because oh my goodness Jonas is so cute I cannot even. So to mars, though I doubt you'll ever read this, thanks for the amazing story and adorable characters.


And those are just some of my favourite pieces of modern literature in honour of World Book Day. If you want to read any of these amazing books, links are below. Also if you want to share this with any of the authors, feel free.

Until next time,

Sam

GET THESE AMAZING BOOKS:
Black and White - Eric Walters
Carry On - Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell
The Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
Smile - Raina Telgemeier
Killjoys - Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, illustrated by Becky Cloonan
Long Exposure - mars