Saturday, 26 December 2015

December, 2015

24th December, 2015

Dear all,

It's the end of the year and Christmas is tomorrow. Remember to hang the stockings and prepare for Santa's yearly deliveries. Also, happy birthday to all those who were born this time of year, as extra special arrivals!

The last six months have been challenging, but very rewarding. Since July I've been completing 4 units of specialisation, which I finished today. It's such a relief to have them completed. 400 hours of study over, balanced between writing articles, adding content to the website, reading and researching my new field of expertise, and a little left over for family projects and arrangements. I am exhausted! Oh, and another certificate course which I'll have finished in the next few weeks. Then a little more study and I'm free from Professional Development tasks until the end of 2016. It's always nice to be ahead of schedule.

This month I wanted to feature some articles of Christmas cheer, while throwing in some fun videos to bring joy to your week of celebrating. I realise a lot of people don't celebrate Christmas in a traditional sense, so I tried to include secular activities and subjects that people would enjoy.

Martin Spurlock of the Supersize Me fame has created this documentary to address the debt related to Christmas and the ideals of materialism that are held during the holiday season. Featuring Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping choir, who travel the department stores and share their newly-phrased Christmas songs. A documentary for anyone who thinks presents are too focused on.

This is an article about all the features of Christmas celebration and what risks they hold for our furry friends. Christmas is a time of joy, not costly vet bills, so protect your fluffy companions this Christmas and make sure you are choosing pet-safe options

Minecraft is a game of creativity experience by thousands, and addicted to by many. All age brackets have enjoyed this game immensely using mods and alterations to make the game even more fun. I wanted to feature this game -- being a player of it myself -- as one of the games to share with family and friends this Christmas. A game without gore, bad language or age limitations -- even your early starters can enjoy the simplicity, but highly adaptable game modes.

Recently, I was researching pet rescue facilities after finding some potentially abandoned kittens in our front garden, hiding under the stack of trees we've planted.  It reminded me of homelessness during Christmas and what it means to have a second chance at life. Being the time of Jesus's birth, who was a symbol of new starts, I wanted to uncover what rescue homes can achieve, and what new journeys their animals can face.

Because Christmas is about wishing the have-nots get a joyous time too! There have been many version of Annie, the musical. We've seen her performed on stage and in film, different actresses bursting out with Tomorrow and Hard Knock Life. Now, this 2014 version seeks to reinvent the musical, but the results caused a great deal of complaint when the new Annie wasn't a ginger. How far is too far when re-creating a classic?

I also hope everyone has a wonderful New Years. With a new year coming, and all my OPD studies completed, the website almost ready for full launch, and the new initiatives of ready for commencement, the next year looks to be very bright from here. May your new year seem just as promising.

Stay safe, happy and loved,


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

November, 2015

Dear all,

Welcome to another blog. I'm still unsure what to include in these, so I guess it'll be all adlib.

This month I've been working hard on study. I've got 2 large courses and a smaller course to finish in my specialising, so I really want to finish them by Christmas. I'm knocking out the assessments pretty fast so I'm on track time-wise. My specialisation is connected to one of the new sections coming to the website so it's in my goals to complete them all before the holidays. That'll give me a few months of writing to get ahead of the articles, ready for when I launch one of the new sections of the website, as well as the website itself.

Life has been very busy, but very rewarding lately. I think this will be one of the first times I'll have almost all my New Years resolutions met in quite a few years. It's a good feeling. To know what you want to complete and then to actually finish is such a buzz. There will be so much progression in my life after such a busy, challenging year, and soon it'll feel worth it all. I'll be possibly exhausted and sleep throughout Christmas, but at least my goals will be complete!

This month is featuring quite a few interesting articles, all of which should offer some different perspectives and ideas.

Parents of Primates: Darling or Danger?
There is a phenomenon that is spreading across America at the moment, and that is monkey parenting. Women are choosing to adopt and raise Capuchin monkeys as their own. These fluffy sweethearts start nice, but if not trained or cared correctly can be a burden on their families, as well as contract serious illnesses. One such case of extreme issue was the story of Charla Nash, the woman who lost her face to Travis, a human-raised chimpanzee. I sought to find out how monkeys should be cared for and if negative consequences can be avoided.

Charla Nash: The Woman who Lost her Face.
In 2009, Charla Nash was brutally attacked by her friend's pet monkey, Travis. The chimpanzee had been raised by her friend, seeming to be a good pet, until many factors caused an extreme reaction on Nash's arrival to the property. While she survived the attack, it left a lot of public opinion against the keeping of wild animals as pets. A story of bravery and medical triumph. Includes graphic images to highlight the severity of the situation.

Virtual Baby Kills Real Baby
The new documentary, Love Child, seeks to explain the death of Sarang, a 3-month old baby who died while her parents were working an online game to earn money. Their long hours in Prius, a game where "anima" or young mystical child followers assist the quester, were spent trying to farm gold to translate into real money to support their basic existence. Unfortunately, they lost their child and faced neglect charges upon their actions. Love Child explains what happened, what legal ramifications it causes, and the idea of gaming addicition and reliance on a virtual world to supply for real-life needs.

Gaming Addiction at Home
American Psychiatrists are calling for Gaming Addiction to be added to the DSM-4, the mental illness directory, after many cases have come forward, some of which have been criminal cases where the perpetrators claimed diluted responsibility due to online activities. The American Psychiatric Association have even stated that there are biological symptoms similar to substance abuse in clients who are addicted to games, and have designed a criteria for diagnosing gaming addiction. In Korea there is even a Juvenile Protection Act, banning children under the age of 16 from playing video games between 12am and 6am.  So how do we tell if someone is addicted to games? What can we do? What should we be aware of?

112 Weddings
Doug Block was a young filmmaker years ago, who soon realised that just saying you wanted to make films did not bring opportunities to your door. He decided to make some money by video taping weddings. Twenty years and 112 weddings later, he decides to visit the couples he was the videographer for years ago. It's a documentary that seeks to explain how marriage works, the modern expectations of marriage and how people adapt from the altar to the parent of a family. It's a very interesting journey to embark on.

They Were Friends -- Autism and Bullying
During 2014, a story broke that a young boy had been bullied and humiliated by two young female American teens who video-taped their abuse. The young boy they targeted was autistic and even after the police charged the perpetrators, still wondered why he wasn't seeing his "friends" anymore. I went on a search for answers as to why Autistic children are more susceptible to bullying, what precautions should be considered, and what support is available to parents who wish to bully-guard their children.

I hope everyone has a nice week, and a nice journey as we get closer to Christmas. May your shopping and preparations be as merry as the day itself. For my US readers, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

My best wishes,