Introduction – Q&As; Getting to Know The Rambler

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Welcome to my Question and Answer Series; Getting to Know The Rambler. Over the course of this section I will be telling you a little bit about myself and giving you a peek into my crazy and somewhat controversial world.  To make things simple I’ll start off with the basics, then share with you my ventures and highlights, tell you a little bit about what I’ve gotten up to over the years and then delve into my political and personal views so you can begin to get an idea of what blog posts and topics are yet to come.

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My Childhood, A Cinematic Experience

Growing up I was a movie fanatic having watched pretty much everything from old school classics to animated kids films and everything in between. My childhood was full of movie marathons, particularly when it came to Star Wars (my fathers favorite film trilogy) and since he was a costume, special effects make up artist and prop designer, I had a handmade replica of Obi Wan Kenobi’s costume, two lightsabers (a blue and a green) and a Queen Amidala Red Invasion collector’s doll in place of your typical Barbie.

Since my parents were separated, weekends were spent at my father’s, watching my cousin being transformed into Darth Maul, helping to work on costumes, parade floats, Alien vs Predator props and being trained on how to use a lightsaber in duels. As a child it was the best thing in the world, but the best was yet to come.

Later when I was about 10, my father shifted to a small coastal town outside of the city where I was able to visit him every school holidays. At the time, his full-time job was working at a rural cinema, a two room complex that was still showing movies of the old 35mm film projectors. Having shown more interest in his work than the beach, I became a trainee cinema projectionist by age 11, quickly surpassing the guidance of my father and taking over in splicing film reels and threading projectors for movies ready shown to the public.

For those who have never seen let alone worked with old 35mm projectors, these were the old machines cinemas used in the times before the widespread of digital film. A two and a half hour film arrived on a series of dinner-plate sized reels in – couple of cardboard boxes, which were then taken to a work bench, carefully assembled with tape and a special hole punching machine and then thread by machine onto a reel about the size of a large hula hoop.

From there, when the film was ready to be shown, the reels of film were lifted onto a machine and threaded through a somewhat intricate maze of reels, about the size of sowing machine thread holders and smaller, looped down and around the front of the machine, carefully positioned in the sprocket holders to keep the film steady, then placed across the shutter and down onto a second large film feel, where at the end of the movie all the film would have ended up after having been fed through the projector thus appearing on the screen.

After a movie had finished its time with the cinema, its duration on lease often dictated by patronage numbers, it was then thread off a machine back through onto assembling desk and spliced (cut by hand with a small gelatine), packaged back up and shipped back to the distributor.

35mm projectors were, as any projectionist or real cinema enthusiast would tell you, the golden age of the cinema. Unfortunately in recent times however, most cinemas have been forced to replace these beautiful machines with DVD players and the likes to keep up with the digital age.

At age 13 and having met the legal age for employed work in my country, I was taken on part-time as a candy bar and front of house staff member, a duty which I had long working as alongside my projectionist duties for the past two years. Rolling ice creams, taking and selling tickets to movie goers, performing sound and visual screen checks (if you ever see a cinema worker entering the theatre within about the first 30 minutes of a movie, this is what their doing) and cleaning up after the movie.

Having worked at the cinema for about a year, I then left to focus on my high school studies, returning to the cinemas only as a patron until I was later employed for 6 months or so by a different firm in the big city after leaving school at age 17 as a ‘floor’ team member with supervisor duties; selling tickets, ushering people to their seats and doing the cleaning.

Photos

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A 35mm projector almost identical to the one I used while working as a child.

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A ‘platter’ the machine used by cinemas to play longer movies
such as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy 2001 – 2003.

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“By 2009, movie theaters started replacing the film projectors with digital projectors. In 2013, it was estimated that 92% of movie theaters in the United States had converted to digital, with 8% still playing film. In 2015, numerous popular filmmakers – including Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan – lobbied large studios to commit to purchase a minimum amount of 35 mm film from Kodak. The decision ensured that Kodak’s 35mm film production would continue for several years.”

Wikipedia, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movie_projector

– The Rambler, 2016

An Incoming Storm, Dreaming of Tornadoes 

The weather dull though breeze is light, an airy sort of still. Seagulls flying overhead, warning all, beware. Though cold as ice, there is chill, linger in the air. Our patriotic sports flag is flying out in flare. No ones around, a pin could drop, yet plane flies overhead. And as it does the wind picks up, trees begin to sway, increasingly in their speed, a storm is on its way.

For where I’m from the rain does fall making puddles on the ground and in recent times the drains block up and the waters all around. A few downed trees, a power cut, waves crashing by the beach. We never get extremes here though, no mud or snow, rare flood. No hurricanes, few lightning storms and deaths are few and far. No fire fights, a few short droughts, living in the south.

What it must be to live abroad where storms range rampantly, where houses fall and people die, destructive wild storms. A dangerous dream to see it twist through the cityscape, tossing objects thrice its weight like paper planes in flight. It’s darkened streak and whirling sounds, a dangerous gift from earth. It’s beauty rare, yet dangerous, shifting through the air.

– The Rambler, 2016

Awesome Games on the Apple App Store for Children and Families

Below is a list of games available on the Apple App Store for children and families. I have personally played each of these over the years and can personally recommend them as great games based each on their own merits. These games were also popular among my friends and family.

For ease I have divided them up two categories ‘Single Player’ and ‘Multiplayer’. To the best of my knowledge all of the games listed as ‘Multiplayer’ are also able to be played by an individual when versing an A.I or Computer. In most cases this does not impact the enjoy-ability of the game.  In addition, of the 16 games listed, 9 are free- many offering in app purchases.


Single Player Games

Disco Zoo – NibleBit LLC
Price: Free
This game had me hooked for months! An incredibly simple concept, play matching card games to win animals or throw a disco party at the zoo for extra cash!

Smash Hit – Mediocre AB
Price: Free
Again one of my absolute favorites. The objective is simple, hit glass objects by tapping where you want the ball to go. Fun, addictive but fast and challenging at higher levels.

Nimble Quest – NibleBit LLC
Price: Free
An awesome take on the old snake type classic. Collect diamonds while attacking monsters along the way. The best bit – little upgradable people instead of a snake! Tons of fun!

Kairosoft Games – Kairosoft Co. Ltd
Price: Ranges from Free to $7.50 per title
Kairosoft has a ton of games and they’re all equally fun so it’s hard to pick just one. A favourite time pass in my house. Very simple pocket style games. 30 + Titles to choose from.

Soda Dungeon – Armor Games Inc
Price: Free
A great game with a simple design but still a great time pass. Build a team of bandits or magicians, take them into the dungeon and kill the bad guys!

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 – Frontier Development
Price: $4.49
A fun and highly addictive tycoon game which will keep you entertained for hours! Design your own roller coasters and rides, build themed areas for guests and run a theme park.

Need For Speed – Electronic Arts
Price: Free
Need For Speed is the best racing game on iPad, no lag issues, decent handling and great maps. Tilt to steer or touch if you prefer. A bonus, the App Store has two editions to pick from!

Zen Pinball – ZEN Studios Ltd
Price: Free, Packs $1-2 each
While this game is better on the PlayStation if you don’t have that this Pinball game is really neat with downloadable packs from the likes of Star Wars, South Park and Marvel.

Crazy Taxi – SEGA
Price: $7.49
One of my favorites when I’m bored. Drive around in a taxi picking up passengers and drop them off before time runs out! A more modern take on an old classic.

Tetris FREE – Electronic Arts
Price: Free
Aah, good old Tetris. A modern take on the classic game. Highly addictive and fun as always! Really easy to play and a good way to pass the time.


 

Multiplayer Available (or Single Player vs Computer)

Pocket Tanks – Bitwise Productions LLC
Price: $7.49, packs cost extra.
Another great classic game in 2-D that you can play with a friend or against an AI. In app weapon purchases make it even more fun, especially the fireworks pack which explodes on impact!

Battle for Wesnoth – Lin Dai
Price: $5.99
Note: This game may be aimed at slightly older children due to its strategy based complexity
An awesome two player game that requires a bit of strategy. By far one of my most favorite games to play with friends. Kind of like command and conquer but turn based and way more fun!

Catan HD – USM
Price: $7.49
By far one of my most favorite board games on iPad for the last two years and a definite must. Trade resources with other players or the bank to build houses, roads and cities.

Ticket to Ride – Day’s of Wonder
Price: $9.99
Based on a board game by the same name, an awesome game which can sometimes require a bit of strategy. Play locally, against an AI or online with real life opponents.

Bloons TD5 – Ninja Kiwi
Price: $4.49
An awesome game made even more fun with local multiplayer, great daily challenges and free unlock-able content. A variety of different maps to choose from. All round a lot of fun!

Injustice; The Gods Among Us – Warner Brothers
Price: Free, in app purchases
Superheroes go head to head in a 3 v 3 battle. An enormous amount of characters to pick from including Superman, Batman, Bane, Green Lantern & more.


I hope you get the chance to check out at least some of these game and I’d also really love to know what some of your favorite games are so let me know in the comments below. Enjoy and have a great holiday!

– The Rambler, 2016

Societial Problems: Homelessness

When people see the homeless on the street they pretend they’re invisible, they look the other way, ignore them or even worse call them names, like bum, or shout at them to go and get a job. Unfortunately however, it’s not that easy.

Due to the complexity of the issue I have split this topic into a question and answer format so that it is easier to read and understand.

Homelessness Q&A

Q: Why are people homeless?

A:  Although everyone’s story about how they became homeless varies, the most common reasons they give as to how they got there fall into one of the following categories;

  • Being unemployed or having been made redundant
  • Coming from broken homes or abusive families

Out of the people surveyed in online social experiments, over half said they were homeless due to unemployment and the rest spoke mainly of coming from broken homes.

Reasons relating to homeless due to unemployment stemmed from being made redundant or loosing a job without having savings to fall back on. In cases where people did have savings, that money then running out or they were unable to get another job due to being too old, having an illness or having a criminal offence in their background check.

For those whose reasons were due to broken homes or family problems, they mainly spoke of divorce among spouses. Separation of parents causing an unbearable living environment. Fall outs with parents. Abusive, uncaring or unsupportive parents. Being kicked out of foster homes once government funding stopped. Youth trying to take care of themselves after parents failed to look after their well-being, or being kicked out of home. A staggering number of youth interviewed said that they were either asked to leave by their parents or that their parents knew they leaving and simply did not care.

Out of all the people asked, all of those who did not choose to be homeless – and yes, some people decide to become homeless in search of greater freedoms and less responsibilities – the majority admitted to having low self-esteem which kept them on the streets, depression and helplessness, after which they then turned to drugs and alcohol to in hopes of an improved outlook on life.

Studies conducted by those who work alongside homeless people give the additional reasons people become homeless;

  • Grief or loss of a loved one causing people to abandon hope and go onto the street looking for someone to listen to them.
  • Mental institutions or rest homes being closed down
  • High rents and foreclosures forcing people into poverty


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Q: What is the general perception the public holds of homeless people?

A:  Most often people think of homeless people as older men who are unclean, dangerous and have drug and alcohol problems. Unfortunately this perception of the homeless couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact a large majority of people living on the streets both here and abroad are teenagers or younger, sometimes living alone, other times alongside their parents.

In addition, although there is a percentage of homeless who do have substance abuse problems, the majority of these people never developed these habits until after they became homeless and many only turned to them to ‘numb’ their sorrows and help them escape the reality of their situations.

I’d like you to put yourselves in their shoes for a moment. Imagine you had lost everything, you had no family that cared, no friends that could help you, you had exhausted every possible option and saw no real hope of ever getting out of your situation. To add to all of that you were constantly being treated as though you didn’t exist or otherwise kicked when you were down, called a bum or other nasty names and generally just treated like dirt. Your city didn’t care about you, you were constantly being told to move on – but to where was anyone’s guess and those who were trying to help you were largely unsuccessful. What would you do?

For most of us we would probably commit suicide, turn to a substance which alleviated our suffering, or for a very few of us, become as optimistic as possible and live with an attitude that it was us against the world – of which the latter would probably only come after a long duration of pain and suffering.

I think it is easy for us in a comparably better situation to condemn those less fortunate, especially those who we do not understand. But, if we were to ever find ourselves in their situation, would we really be that much different? It’s hard to tell.

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Q: What are the biggest barriers for homeless people returning to society?

A:  When asked why they continued to live on the streets almost all of the people interviewed said that there was no real support available to them, many felt that they were stuck in a vicious cycle which they had no way out of and almost all homeless people said that if they were just given an opportunity or a foot in the door they wouldn’t still be homeless.

Aside from being unable to get money, barriers to getting off the streets were an ability to get to and from job interviews, an inability to be contacted if an employer did want to offer them a job (largely due to having no fixed address or cellphone number) and the perception people hold that most homeless people have drug and alcohol problems which turns most employers off from wanting to look into hiring them in the first place!

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Q: When there is government funding for homeless and places that they can go, why aren’t these being utilized?

A:  If you were to ask people working at charities set up to support the homeless many would tell you the same story; a large percent of the homeless population don’t know that they’re even there. It could also be suggested that those who do know about such organisations are too embarrassed to seek help or have simply given up on themselves to the point that they do not believe they are worthy of support or think there are others more deserving than themselves.

In regards to government funding, many homeless felt that at the current time governments were doing more to hinder than to help. Examples they gave were that they were often banned from entering certain places or facilities and given trespass notices or fines they could not afford, thus adding more pressure and stress and hindering the chance of getting off the streets.

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Q: Are homeless being just being unappreciative?

A:  If you were to visit any single YouTube video online, the answer to this question would be clear in seconds. The genuine homeless person is usually one of the most appreciative people you’ll ever see. They have a high appreciation for the small things in life, they are very sensitive and emotional beings down on their luck and usually always respond to those who help the, with an immense gratitude unlike anyone of us are probably ever likely to truly display.

To give an example of what I mean one YouTuber on the Christmas of 2014 went about asking the homeless in his city what they wanted for Christmas if they could have anything in the world, their responses are as follows;

Everybody to be happy
Peace on Earth
A nice watch
A sandwich
A black sweatshirt
Pants
Gym shoes
A woolen blanket
A gift certificate for food
A calculator to practice mathematics and keep a track of budgeting
A cellphone charger
A Star Bucks gift voucher
A burger
A box of cereal

Missing from this list were the usual expensive items most people would ask for if you asked them the same question. What’s more, everyone was excited to answer this theoretical question and when the YouTuber unexpectedly went on to buy everyone what they wanted, their responses were heart wrenching. Recipients did victory dances in celebration over the simplest of items, one man screamed in joy upon opening a box of cereal, several cried and all round, everyone who were shown in the video were genuinely over the moon.

There are many videos of similar nature on the web, all with the same response. Genuinely thankful homeless people.

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Q: What can be done then to help our homeless?

A:  Given that in many circumstances the one size fits all approach to dealing with homeless people is largely unsuccessful, what we need is to work with homeless people on a case by case basis according to their individual needs.

In an online social experiment people in homeless communities were asked what help would be most beneficial.

Most asked were very keen to get jobs and said that; An agency where they could go to look for a job with a middle person available to take messages on their behalf from prospective employers (in the absence of a personal cellphone). Enough money to obtain an ID which would help them in ways such as securing a place to live and a way of proving their identity. A service where people could take them to and from job interviews. An advocate to speak on their behalf to remove the stigma employers have of homeless people. Access to free courses and affordable housing in affordable areas.

All round homeless felt that there were too many handouts being given and said in general consensus that hand outs were a band-aid solution and what was required were less funding but more people involved in getting together with them to help out in reaching their goals.

To conclude,

– The Rambler, 2016

News Of The Week; July 4 – 10

A recap on the stories that shaped this weeks headlines, sparked controversy and caught the attention of millions on the web. Also, a special word of remembrance for the five officers who lost their lives during the Dallas shootings this week and the family affected by this and other senseless tragedies of recent times.


5 Officers dead after Micah Johnson opens fire in Dallas shootings.micah-johnson-10

11 police officers were shot in Dallas earlier this week, 5 fatally, after lone gun man Micah Johnson opened fire after a Black Lives Matter protest. During the midst of the tension, a robot was brought in to defuse the situation after two hours of negotiations failed.
A full account of this story can be found on our website along with a commemoration for those who lost their lives.


20 Year old police informant found dead

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By far the most popular news story this week among Reddit followers was the case of Andrew Sadek, a 20 year old university student from North Dakota who was found dead in May 2014 after acting as a drug informant for local police. Sadek was offered a deal by a sheriff to escape a potential 40 year prison sentence after being arrested 6 months for peddling marijuana at his campus and was later found to be carrying a small amount of marijuana in his possession. Following his undercover mission to buy drugs and turn the sellers into police, Sadek turned up dead with a bullet through his head and rocks in his backpack. Two years later Sadek’s family is left still searching for answers and have since filed a wrongful death suit against the police chief in charge of the undercover operation.


Chilcot report shows unsatisfactory and deceit in the handling of Iraq WarJohn-Chilcot-the-Chairman-of-the-Iraq-Inquiry

Following the damming release of the Chilcot report, Sir John Chilcot is shedding new light onto Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war during the events of 2003. Chilcot stopped short of calling Tony Blair’s decision to invade Iraq illegal but has gone on to confirm that the situation was handled in a far from satisfactory way and hints that Blair was deceitful in his actions leading up to the public announcement to invade Iraq.


Clinton’s use of emails were‘Careless but not illegal’
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Hillary Clinton fans were overjoyed this week after FBI decided to overturn criminal charges faced by the presidential candidate. The eagerly anticipated verdict came weeks after a lengthy investigation over the use of state sectary emails on an insecure computer, compromising the states safety at an already precious time. The FBI condemned Clinton’s actions were careless they were not illegal.


Glasgow Shopkeeper murdered for disrespecting Prophet Muhammad
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A Glasgow shopkeeper was murdered in his convenience store earlier this week after claiming to be a prophet. Tanveer Ahmad took exception to the man stabbing him over claims that the store owner had disrespected the Prophet Muhammad. Ahmad has since pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.


Super Bug found near Rio’s Sailing venue ahead of the Olympic Games next month
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Concerns are continuing to mount over the safety of those visiting and competing in the Rio Olympics next month after a form of drug resistant super bug has been detected in the water of two of Rio de Janeiro’s most popular beaches bordering Guanabara Bay- the Olympic sailing venue! Potential health hazards caused by the bug include meningitis, pulmonary gastrointestinal UTIs & bloodstream infections.



Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 6 year prison sentence for death of Reeva Steenkamp
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On Valentines Day, 2013 former Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius murder his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the bathroom of their South African apartment. Three years on Pistorius has finally been charged with her murder and handed a reduced 6 year murder sentence causing outrage around the world, some labeling the judge’s decision as a disservice towards women.



“Welcome to Jupiter”

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540 million miles away Juno has finally arrived at its destination, Jupiter. Launched by NASA 5 years ago, the spacecraft is only the second spacecraft to ever orbit the planet and will spend the next 20 months studying Jupiter’s composition and evolution.


Trump praises Saddam Hussein’s ability to control terrorism.
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Not immune to political controversy Donald Trump found himself being ridiculed again earlier this week after commenting that ‘Although Saddam Hussein was a very bad man, he did do one thing right. He knew how to kill terrorists.’ While his comments are debatably  true, it has done nothing in favor to sway voters in his direction.



Over 70% of young people voted to stay in the EU raising questions over elderly voters 
EU Referendum - Signage And Symbols

Following the referendum in Britain to leave the European Union, tension between youth and the elderly has continued to rise after it was reported that

over 70% of youth voted to stay in the EU. The proposal of a second referendum to reverse the decision has since been rejected sparking comments from some that the elderly should be stripped of the right to vote on long impacting decisions they will not be around to see.



Pokemon Go player discovers dead body in river.
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With the eagerly awaited release of the Pokemon Go app earlier this week it seems that keen Pokemon trainers will stop at nothing to catch em all! In search of a water Pokemon, a 19 year old Wyoming teenager stumbled across a dead body floating in a river near her home, police are currently investigating. Elsewhere police in Darwin, Australia have had to ask fans not to enter the police station in search of Pokemon or risk being issued with trespassing.


Hold off on the Celebrations!
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Timekeepers have announced that a ‘leap second’ will be added to end of 2016 meaning that at midnight on New Years Eve you will have to wait another 60 seconds before being able to celebrate ushering in of the New Year!