My Summer Reading Bucket List (2015) (*UPDATE*)

Update: Finished reading my third novel; just written the review. To read see below:

https://actingmylife.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/pride-and-prejudice-is-too-long-id-cheat-on-wikipedia/

As an author, it’s always important to read many good books. For me, that’s been hard as I always leave it after reading the first chapter or in the middle of the novel. But this year, I’ve decided to change my ways and trying to read as many as I can. Some, I might read again (ones that are highlighted in bold) and there’ll be new books to look at too. Here are my top books to read this summer:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Girl Online by Zoe Snugg

Bridget Jones – Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Jane – the Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

Pride and Prejudice is Too Long; I’d cheat on Wikipedia

Book Title: Pride and Prejudice

 

Author: Jane Austin

 

Date of Publication: 1813

 

Genre: Novel of Manners

Ever wondered what it was like to try, fail and cheat by reading the entire story plot on Wikipedia? I did on this novel.

So, what’s the story? Elizabeth Bennet, the second of five Bennet daughters is living in an age where parents are arranging marriages to wealthy owners. Like her eldest sister, Jane, Elizabeth is under constant pressure from her mother and father. While her sisters’ relationships are facing on and off relationships with their loved ones, Elizabeth begins to have an on and off relationship with handsome, upper-class grump, Mr Darcy. When this happens, things go out of hand, Elizabeth tries to uncover the real personality within Mr Darcy – was he fake or was he a gentleman?

The story was interesting to begin with. The conversations between Mr and Mrs Bennet were interesting. However when I go to the second chapter (on the first volume), it started getting boring. The text was too small, the storyline kept dragging and I’m sad to say, I didn’t get any laughs from the novel, apart from one quote from Mrs Bennet.

After reading ten chapters, I decided to search the full summary on Wikipedia and read it from there. It was easy to understand and what was happening. But, honestly, it’s like a Georgian version of EastEnders with so much melodrama in between. This dragged on too, until I got to the end.

However, I do have one positive thing about Pride and Prejudice. I love Elizabeth and Darcy’s characters; I enjoyed them so much, especially Elizabeth’s feelings towards Darcy due to the strong relationship she has for her eldest sister, Jane. Elizabeth is a strong, independent character – one that any modern woman can relate too.

Overall, I think I will give Pride and Prejudice a miss. However, if you would like slow reading books, then this one could be for you. If you are bored, you can always look at Wikipedia. XD

I may get hatred for this one but, I rate Pride and Prejudice a 4 out of 10 because of its slow text and lack of comedy.

Waiting For A Rainbow: Catching Dreams – 31st July 2015

Bucket List

  • Participate In An Open Mic Night
  • Practise and Travel Independently
  • Go On More Holidays (Local and Aboard)
  • Do Driving Theory and Test
  • Look For Voluntary Weekend Jobs
  • Sign Up For Activities/Volunteer Jobs
  • Talk More Openly About Anxiety Issues
  • Make Sure to Return Library Books on Time
  • Go To Bed At An Earlier Time, Rather than Later
  • Complete Kat Ashley Novel
  • Help Around the House More
  • Do More Drawing and Photography and Zentangles
  • Plan for the Future; Look into Independent Living, Work Places, etc.
  • Work on Anxiety, Drama and Vocal Exercises
  • Cut Down on Fizzy Drinks
  • Study Extra Hard at Drama School
  • Do More Yoga or Mediation
  • Open Up My Imagination A Bit More
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”
  • Do More Creative Writing
  • Be A Zoo Keeper For A Day
  • Learn to Play Guitar
  • Be Friendly to Everyone
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Share Ideas with Teachers
  • Do Extra Work with UniversalExtra
  • Practise Sign Language Weekly
  • Cook More
  • Be thankful with What I Have or Got
  • Enjoy Life, As It Is
  • Keep On Believing and Never Stop Dreaming

31st July 2015

I’m scaring myself lately. I have no idea why and I really don’t like it.

For the last two nights, I’ve noticed that I have been crying, whilst trying to get to sleep. This is unusual, it has never happened to me before. I’ll explain what happens when it occurs.

When I settle down into my bed, I close my eyes and start to dream. Next, came the voices in my head. “You’ll never! You won’t do this! You won’t do that!” Suddenly, my throat starts to screw, really tightly. So tight; I feel as if I’m struggling to breathe. Tears would then stream down my close eyelids and I wail. I try to silence myself so I won’t be able to wake up my parents. This continues between a periods of a one short fit to a full, silent cry that’ll last for ten minutes. This causes trouble for sleeping; I don’t check the times but I feel by the time I’m finished, I imagine it will be three in the morning. Then, I wake up the next morning feeling really tired.

I don’t understand why I cry and get tired when I awake up the next day. Is it my anxiety playing up again? Am I worried about something? Is it my online dating experience? Am I sacred that I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life? Am I being too clingy? Am I too high, with hopes of my so called “blind date”? Is my hormones playing up? I just don’t know. However, I do feel a lot of negativity about my love and social lives.

Should I do something about this? Should I stay off online dating for a while? Should I just give up altogether?

So many questions, so little answers. I don’t know what to do right now. I just hope that I’m not starting to suffer from depression or severe anxiety.

Song: Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_ISAntOom0

 

This song explains my struggles to search for my main goals – true love and happiness, with no luck. Also, it’s like my inner soul is speaking to me, with my heart degrading and my brain, full of negative thoughts.

Have Negative Comments on Your Blog or Blog Posts? Welcome to Cowboy Land…

Yesterday, I posted an article on animal rights and received a ‘cowboy’ message on my comments section. Personally, I wasn’t angry but hurt and pretty devastated that someone would do such a thing. So, I thought to myself, what should I do? 

What I ended up doing next surprised me, but it made me feel good. This was the comment made by the ‘cowboy’ and here is my response:

bahaha what a joke. Let’s look at this with some logic and common sense.“Take SeaWorld for example. Not only do they have keep their whales and dolphins in shallow tanks the size of bathtubs (which are forty feet deep), the keepers physically and emotionally abuse them. This includes covering the animals’ sunburns with black zinc oxide, training whales to float on their backs before artificially inseminating and masturbating them; which forces them to breed earlier than usual. In one case, SeaWorld allow one of their female killer whales to inbred – with her own sons! Because of these barbarian acts, SeaWorld have failed to recognise how much they care for their animals; even the whales know that they are being treated unfairly. And do you want to know the worst part? That SeaWorld kidnaps them! Yes, SeaWorld kidnaps Orcas from the wild, before sending them to captivity.

The signs are all there – the collapsed dorsal fins (which indicates an unhealthy and unhappy orca), the reported deaths of trainers. But it’s just Orcas that are getting bad treatment.”

First of all, how are 40 foot deep tanks shallow? How are 5,000,000-7,000,000 gallon stadium complexes bathtubs? I can’t swim in my bathtub (I wish I could!) Additionally, SeaWorld is planning to expand their tanks. It’s called the Blue World Project. Look it up.

The black zinc oxide story doesn’t have any proof either way (unless you count biased articles from websites like The Dodo or Awesome Ocean)

You know how many orcas were bred through artificial insemination at all marine parks? Here’s a list: http://orcapod.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Natural_Conception_Vs._Artificial_Insemination There have been 96 captive births, only 6 of the orcas were conceived through AI. That’s 6.25% – not even a quarter. Not even 10%.

“SeaWorld allow [sic] one of their female killer whales to inbred [sic] – with her own sons!” No. The whale, Katina, mated naturally with her son Taku – she was not intentionally inbred. SeaWorld could have SEPARATED (dun dun duuun) Katina from her son to prevent inbreeding. Here’s SeaWorld’s response to it: http://ask.seaworldcares.com/?p=851

“SeaWorld kidnaps them! Yes, SeaWorld kidnaps Orcas”. No. The last orcas that SeaWorld “kidnapped” were Katina and Kasatka in 1978 – 37 years ago. It’s not something that happens anymore, luckily.

Collapsed dorsal fins do not indicate an unhealthy and unhappy orca. Even Dr. Naomi Rose, a prominent anti-captivity activists, admitted that it does not mean the animals are unhealthy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkVj_lZkp0c

As for it meaning that the animals are unhappy, the animals can’t move their dorsal fins around. There are no muscles or bones in dorsal fins. It’s not an indicator of their happiness.

Most scientists on both sides of the debate think collapsed dorsals are caused by gravity. Captive orcas spend more time near the surface. It’s not an indicator of welfare. The animals probably don’t even know their fins are collapsed.

Might want to do more research next time!

Thank you for your honesty and the link you sent me. I appreciate it so much; however, I would like to point five reasons why I wrote information about SeaWorld in this article:

Pointer #1: I’ve heard stories of SeaWorld through loved ones, as we all animal lovers. I even went to a SeaWorld attraction in Canada, where we saw, face-to-face, how Orcas were being cruelly treated. In small show tanks.

Pointer #2: I’ve signed a petition (which the description link is at the bottom) and once a month, I’ve been receiving emails from the campaigner that gives regular updates of the campaign. Not all the news is good though. 

Pointer #3: I’ve done a fair amount of research, just like all of my articles. In all honesty, I would never write ‘make believe’ or conspiracy theories. Never in my life because writing them is a complete waste of time.

Pointer #4: The websites I’ve researched are valid and honest. I even checked the small print myself. It’s a better way to go than using Wikipedia all the time because most of the information is better bogus. On another point, I don’t really buy SeaWorld’s decision on getting new sea tanks for the Ocras. Do they have the money for it? Are they going to keep their promises – to treat their animals fairly and stop all the negativity happening behind the scenes and while their performing? Those are important questions to keep in mind because I don’t think that’s actually going to happen. Even television has pointed SeaWorld’s negativity out in a TV documentary called ‘Blackfish’. This focuses all of this after one the keepers died, being eaten by one of the Ocras. 

Pointer #5: The humans. Now, let’s think on this one. How many humans would process greed over love? How many would choose cruelty to animals rather than caring for them? How many would choose harming animals for life by following the example of others? There are so many humans who are choosing it right now, even ones who aren’t poachers, or locking animals in small, cramped cages in zoo’s and amusement parks. 

Once again, thank you for commenting on actingmylife and we will be looking to you company very soon. 😉😊


So, if you have been affected by a ‘cowboy’ situation, you can remember these points:

1. You can delete them (if you feel that you want to; if not, please continue reading).

2. Always be polite; even if you are apologising to admit that you are wrong. No one likes a negative response, otherwise the argument continues. 

3. Make you facts and opinions very clear. This is the important one. 

4. Remember to breathe and count to ten before responding when you are losing your temper. 

5. Be the Elle Woods inside you. Just remember to leave a positive vibe at the end. 
Hopefully, I’ve explained this situation well and helped you with this. If not, comment back and you’ll get a response. 😊

Gigi Xxx

Animals Have a Voice (featuring theveganlily)

Warning: Before you read, this article does contain two disturbing pictures of animals being shut in cramped, small cages. If you want skip these pictures, you can scroll down if you wish.  

Animals. Who doesn’t love them? I know I certainly do – I’ve grown up with two, care free border collies and five cats. But, what about animals outside the home? The ones you’ll see at the zoo? Are they being treated fairly and equally like our household best friends? To investigate and answer this question, I’ve teamed up with theveganlily to address this issue, to explain how and why animals are still treated badly in captivity.

Growing up, I’ve always had a huge passion for animals; I loved learning about and talking to them. In the UK (where I live), most zoos claim that they provide excellent care to our animal friends; big or small. But when I read one of theveganlily’s articles about the abuse of farm animals, I was inspired to dig a little deeper. So, I wasted no time and began to start my research on animals – zoo animals to be exact. What I’ve found is shocking and disgusting.

There are currently over 10,000 zoos in the world. They are meant to be fun, educational and a safe haven for all animals. However, not all zoo’s keep their problems. Some of the world’s beautiful, mighty and magnificent are imprisoned, abused, and even murdered by their keepers. So, what’s going on and why is this happening?

Some zoos aboard (including some parts of the Western world) are torturing nature’s creatures, much to the distress of animal lovers everywhere. They ignore warnings and animal acts just because they couldn’t give a monkey’s out of it. In some cases, there’ve been a hanging, involving a young lion, a tiger being fed with formaldehyde in its meat, replacing real animals with taxidermy models, keeping them in cramped, and dirty cages, in solitary confinement and with no exercise.

Even theme parks have done a pretty bad job of taking care of them. Take SeaWorld for example. Not only do they have keep their whales and dolphins in shallow tanks the size of bathtubs (which are forty feet deep), the keepers physically and emotionally abuse them. This includes covering the animals’ sunburns with black zinc oxide, training whales to float on their backs before artificially inseminating and masturbating them; which forces them to breed earlier than usual. In one case, SeaWorld allow one of their female killer whales to inbred – with her own sons! Because of these barbarian acts, SeaWorld have failed to recognise how much they care for their animals; even the whales know that they are being treated unfairly. And do you want to know the worst part? That SeaWorld kidnaps them! Yes, SeaWorld kidnaps Orcas from the wild, before sending them to captivity.

The signs are all there – the collapsed dorsal fins (which indicates an unhealthy and unhappy orca), the reported deaths of trainers. But it’s just Orcas that are getting bad treatment.

In 2010, SeaWorld San Antonio allowed their female Sealion, Singer to drown in the drain in a holding pool, since the keepers did not properly drain the cover “tightly enough”.  This is really appalling as I suspect that all the trainers’ have done a crappy job of taking care of them. And why, may I ask? It’s because of the real profession of SeaWorld’s trainers’ are performers instead of keepers.

Here’s theveganlily to give her thoughts:

As a vegan animal rights activist, I have made the simple life decision of not contributing to the exploitation or captivity of any animal to the best of my ability. This, for me, means boycotting zoos.  I find it difficult to look at an en-caged animal and believe that he or she deserves to be locked up and on display for the public.  If I were to visit a zoo I would effectively be funding and supporting the captivity of many animals who, in my opinion, deserve better.

Caged monkey

The sad reality is the fact that zoos are unable to provide the same amount of space that their natural habitat would provide. Especially for animals such as tigers and giraffes (large animals) who would have around 18,000 times more space in the wild. Even at the best of zoos, the animals’ natural habitats cannot be compared to the enclosures provided. The animals are often prevented from doing natural and important actions such as flying, roaming, running, climbing, choosing a partner and foraging. Instead, these animals are often seen cramped, bored and lonely.

I question the quality of life and mental health of these ‘zoo animals’. ”A study of elephants in UK zoos found that 54% of the elephants showed stereotypes (behavioural problems) during the daytime. One elephant observed during day and night stereotyped for 61% of a 24-hour period.  Lions in zoos spend 48% of their time pacing, a recognised sign of behavioural problems.”

I also question whether zoos exist for the well-being of these animals or simply for our entertainment. It seems unnatural and unnecessary to keep so many animals in unnatural enclosures. I don’t understand how we justify captivating certain animals whose specie isn’t even endangered. And it’s sad to think that the only reason so many species are becoming endangered and extinct is because of us, humans.

unnamed_1

A very touching and powerful video I would recommend watching is titled ”No Place Like Home”.   The video explains in more depth some of the points I mentioned above.

If you get a chance, please pause and watch this video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQHekJaG6fM&feature=player_embedded

Zoos teach humans that it’s acceptable to interfere with animals and claim them as our own. This attitude being passed down from generation to generation is harmful for the animals for obvious reasons. I think that it’s incredibly important for us to educate ourselves as much as we can about issues regarding animal rights and welfare, simply because non-human animals are the most abused, exploited and tortured group of beings on this planet. We need to inform ourselves on how we can take action in stopping this exploitation and I believe that begins with ending our contribution and support to the abuse. The animals may not have voices, but we do and it’s time we put them to use.

Boycotting zoo’s, aquariums and amusement parks, such as SeaWorld can be a dangerous crime. Growing up, I’ve seen zoo’s in London and Hertfordshire were animals are enclosed in small enclosures that are about the sizes of squares or wide, but cramped rectangles. In ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, I’ve seen many animals outside, roaming free in the outdoors (the zoo is actually on top of a hill, in the middle of the countryside) and some of them perform displays were visitors are not only entertained but taught about the species’ lives and how the conversation is saving them from extinction. But is this enough?

Can more tourist attractions follow the example of Whipsnade? Do Whipsnade need to put more effort to meet the requirement standards for the comfort of the animals? Should places like SeaWorld be forced to close down when they don’t meet the full standards? Should world leaders pull forward harsher punishments?

Join the debate; please share your opinions in the comments section below.

Many thanks to theveganlily for her thoughts and the participation in this special article.

That’s all for now. I wish you all a pleasant evening. 🙂

Gigi. Xxx

P.S. If you still have time and you don’t agree with SeaWorld’s ways that they keep Orcas and breeding them, please sign this petition. I haven’t organised this petition, but I’ve already signed my name on this. I hope that you’ll make a difference and help more animals being realised back to the wild and/or treated fairly in zoo’s, theme parks and aquariums everywhere.

Petition Link: https://www.change.org/p/seaworld-end-captive-orca-breeding-program

orcas

Publishing Novels and Thinking Thoughts

Last Post: https://actingmylife.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/should-i-publish-a-novel/

From my last post about whether I should or shouldn’t publish a novel, I decided to give this aspiration the go-ahead. And I want to publish my Waiting for a Rainbow blog posts.

I’ve also done a lot of thinking with this decision – should I just rewrite my first post series or should I do this and add my latest Catching Dreams entries alongside it?

What do you guys think? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Gigi Xxxx

Is It Hard to Dis Sweet Treats? What Are My Aspirations For the Summer Holidays? Part 2

It’s week two of my summer fitness aspiration and so far, it’s been going well.

Before writing my list last week, I realised that I’d forgotten to write down my measurement for my waist. This is another main task for the summer – a starter for this challenge. At the start of each week, I’ll measure my waist line and record each one on a piece of paper. Unfortunately, we’ve lost our tap measurer. So, we had to make do with a ribbon and marking measurements on a ruler (in cemeteries).

So, far my first two measurements look something like this:

20th July – 79cm

27th July – 66cm

 

I couldn’t believe the results when I saw them. However, my task is far from over; I’ve realise that I am going to up my game and push myself to the next level. This new level is turning out to be a really, really, really hard one. Sort of like an extremely bad temptation that I cannot control since I had my parents to help me out of this one. Cut out most sweet treats.

I love sweet treats which I have on rare occasions including popcorn, chips, ice cream, and pan de chocolate, bread, fruit lollies, custard and muffins. But, it’s so difficult – they are so irresistible and my weaknesses point. I’m really unsure if I can cope or how to control this temptation, expect by drinking a full cup of water. But is that enough? Can I find another source that’ll help me overcome this?

What do you guys think? Is it really hard to dis sweet treats?

Gigi Xxxx