Friday, 18 March 2011

Japan 2011

One can only imagine the fear those people must have felt when the earth literally moved beneath them for a staggering amount of minutes.  The quake was like no other and the resulting tsunami so powerful it gobbled up anything and everything in its wake.  Japan had been expecting a big earthquake for some years and felt confident that it had taken all necessary precautions to limit the effects and potential damages of such an occurrence.  Japanese children, from an early age are taught how to protect themselves during earthquakes and subsequent earth tremors but nothing was to prepare Japan  for the horrific turn of events in March 2011. 

We all stared at our television screens in horror and disbelief as the full picture emerged.  Japan had not only suffered a massive 9.1 earthquake but its coastal areas were being swallowed up by a subsequent tsunami.  News agencies from around the world hurried to relay the catastrophic events, news channels followed and reported on the unfolding nightmare 24/7. 
When I first saw the footage, some of it live, for a split second I imagined the houses buildings, cars, lorries and boats to be empty.  It was almost as if my brain was not willing to acknowledge the true horrific implications of the images my eyes were sending to it.  Maybe it is because we are so used to seeing live coverage of all sorts of disasters, that we have become insensitized to their reality.  I didn`t see any people being sucked up into the monster wave as it engulfed a thousand buildings, so maybe there weren`t any.  I didn`t see any bodies floating in the murky stream of debris as it snaked its way menacingly through the towns and villages, so maybe there weren`t any.  I didn`t see people drowning in the ferocious waters as they claimed huge areas of Japan`s coastline, so maybe there weren`t any.
The numbers of the fatalities grew surprisingly slowly.  The first report stated just a few deaths, which made the viewing of the disaster easier and less traumatic see.  But as the figures grew significantly higher, I found the footage more and more heartbreaking to watch as it became blatantly obvious there were bodies swept up by the raging sea, there were people drowning in the ferocious waters, there were people, like you and I, caught up in the biggest nightmare of their lives.
Before the death toll reached a thousand we could believe there were no mothers out with their children, no schools full of pupils, no families living normal lives, no workers in offices, no bus drivers or taxi drivers wiped out and swept off the face of the earth by Mother Nature.

Some thoughts and visualisations are too horrific for us to emotionally cope with or recognise, we force them into a deep dark place in our minds and vow never to return to them for they are just too painful to examine and acknowledge.  Although we may want to know the truth, our subconscience forbids us to delve deeper for it.

And then the nuclear bombshell hit.  Reactors had been damaged in the earthquake and the country was now facing a further threat to its people.  A country famed for its superior techniolocal advances was being monumentally deconstructed and demolished by a force greater than itself.  The wrath of Mother Nature was so severe there was no compromise, no technology with which to fight or contain her.  With an act of utter defiance and astromonical power, she unleashed a foreboding and relentless warning to us all.  For it is she who rules the world - not us mere mortals.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Busy Time

It`s been a strange few weeks. 
 I have a thousand and one things going on in my head, but the positive thing is that I have been creative, which is wonderful for me as my creativity is like a valve that needs tweaking occasionally.  Tweaked the right way, it releases built-up tension and restores my equilibrium to manageable levels. 
 I have started a new blog which is dedicated to poetry and verse. Please click on link to see new works. 

Plans are afoot for a house move, not only for myself but for my youngest daughter and her family.  At present she lives five miles from me and we spend a lot of time in each other`s company.  I also look after her 16 month old baby two days a week, with much pleasure.  So we have decided that when we move, her to a bigger family home, me to a less expensive home, that we will remain in close proximity.  Her house went on the market this week and she has her second viewers arriving tomorrow. I, on the other hand, must wait until summer as I am tied into a fixed rate mortgage - boring!

My eldest daughter is newly pregnant with her second child, after twelve long years.  This is both exciting and worrying for us as a family, as her first child was born with multiple problems, the main disabilities being PFFD (please google to find out more about this affliction), a hole in her heart and deafness.  She is due to have her first scan on Tuesday which, due to the nature of her previous childbirth experience, has been brought forward.  It`s still very early days and each and every member of the family prays for a happy outcome.  Needless to say, the next eight months are going to be a difficult time for us all, as a family.

My youngest appears to have finally settled in at his new secondary school.  What has however become increasingly clear is that he will never like school, and will try almost anything to fake illness to get the day off.  So far we have had a sore throat, bad leg, head ache, tummy ache, ear ache.....and that was just this week!

Our five month old puppy Hadley, has become a fully-fledged member of our family.  Still not entirely house-trained, and occasionally over-excitable (especially when we have visitors), he has otherwise settled in extremely well and we love him to bits. Puppy Class is a glorious experience each week! Of course, he warranted his very own blog, so here it is:

Last night, after watching an extremely depressing documentary on television focusing on the lives of people living in  the dreadful slums in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, I felt compelled to put my thoughts down in verse.  The documentary deeply upset me mainly because it highlighted the obvious injustice and forgotten suffering of others in our world today.  It made me ask so many unanswered questions about humanity and the gross imbalance in global human suffering. 

"My soul weeps – for it sees such sadness

and sorrow
in the eyes of mothers and children
destined to suffer
because of the place of their birth.
My soul aches – for the pain and anguish
of their daily lives
spent in squalor
while others
in far away lands, thrive.
My soul hurts – for the many children
black-skinned and sullen eyed,
whose mothers must
sacrifice their own pride
in order to provide.
My soul bleeds – with incomprehension
at their integrity and inner strength,
the hopelessness
that only we see
for they are unfortunates
who know no better world
while we live with our luxuries
and pathetic struggles.
My soul screams – at the injustice,
the hardship
these people must endure
in order to survive
short, troubled lives
My soul grieves – for these people
in Kibera
whose struggles we will never comprehend
because we are
- the fortunates."

Twitter still remains a huge and refreshing forum for me.  It`s wonderful to share daily thoughts and events with so many people and to make "Twitter friends".  People who don`t use Twitter as a forum or as a social networking site do not seem to understand it`s merits and purpose, often slating it.  But for me, it is invaluable, inspirational and above all, enjoyable.
Recently, however, I have been unfortunate enough to have experienced negativity and manipulation against me, initiated by someone whom I assumed was a "friend".  A group of ladies, me included, had forged a little group of like-minded, honest and humorous "twitter friends", which was both pleasurable and fun to be a part of.  Over the last few months, certain other women had been surreptitiously trying to infiltrate the group by palling up with us. Of course, we didn`t mind, but the core of the group, I felt, was strong enough to fend off any new pretenders.  We are all women of a certain age who felt comfortable disclosing personal details to each other in emails and DMs, so why change it and include others that would jeopardize our closeness and bonds?
For various reasons, three of our group have been unable to tweet so often recently, leaving mainly myself and one other on the site regularly.  Over a short period of time I had noticed two other ladies becoming increasingly friendly, @YourPollyanna and @TheCheekyMissBsimile literally.  I told her that I thought she was "like a dog with a bone" and she chose to believe I had actually called her a dog! Despite informing her of the fact that I was using a simile and had not called her a dog, she refused to accept it and continued to badger me and generally act like a five year old saying how upset she was.
I`m too old for games and decided it might be best to give her a wide berth.  A few days later TheCheekyMissB  asked me why I was ignoring YourPollyanna.  She said she had just noticed in her timeline that I wasn`t speaking to her. Haa!  It was getting ridiculous, so trying to add humour and wit to defuse the situation, I told her so.  Blocked by the pair of them! Hurrah! I thought.
Then I realised the other person in our group, whom I did think was a "twitter friend" had also blocked me.  Now, this was a different thing.  Friends don`t do that!  I asked her outright why she had done this and she responded by saying she would mail me.  I still have not received the mail, and now do not wish to.  This is no friend of mine!
How sad that someone you once felt was a genuine, like-minded person can drop you like a stone on the words of others.  Loyalty is an important, necessary attribute in friendship and if that is breached, there is no friendship to be shared, and the friendship that once was becomes meaningless.

15th March

Since writing this post I have become the victim of nastiness on Twitter.  I have discovered that both YourPollyanna and TheCheekyMissB have been accusing me of bullying them.  They have even brought my daughter into the equation although she rarely goes on Twitter and has never spoken to them or about them before.  There behaviour has been deplorable and potentially damaging to both myself and my daughter.  Once I had unfollowed the pair, I had never mentioned their names again in a derogatory way on Twitter and expected the same respect from them.  Sadly this has not been the case and now the situation has got completely out of hand because a certain bluejag has taken it on himself to join forces with them, despite the fact that he has always pledged loyalty to me in the past, especially when he has (frequently) fallen out with other tweeters and I have backed him up believing him to be a genuinely caring man.  The reason why I believe him to be behind the nasty remarks he has made on my blog posts and some of my websites is because of the viciousness and terminology he uses.  Since our little spat on Twitter, when he verbally attacked me for "butting in" on one of his conversations, he has systematically accused me of being a vindictive bully with "no life".  Friends of his have jumped on the band wagon and also spouted nastiness at both myself and my daughter. 
The final straw for me was when I saw what he had written on my blog.  He has absolutely no integrity and respect for anyone and deserves to be named and shamed. 

Here is an email sent to me earlier today.







---This email was sent from a form on your SnapPages website

Now see what @bluejag writes about me on Twitter 24hrs after blocking me:
 "I'm great - just find it sad that certain people have bullied on here and then whined to my followers that I have been nasty2 them"

"The best way to deal with bullies with low self esteem and sad lives is to ignore them. Don't let ANY inadequate upset you on twitter."

"Oh honey water off a ducks back to me but two of my female friends have been bullied by a saddo"

"When you come on twitter it is bittersweet. You find amazing friends but you also see the sad no life vindictive side of people. Very sad"

"Always love it when people behave like vindictive bullies on twitter and then go whining to their followers that they have been wronged".

"@TheCheekyMissB Haaaa! Yes they have enough shit to put up with! Best to just laugh at saddos like that. They just lead bitter lives. X"

"@TheCheekyMissB There's a few people off here I'd like to send to Japan! x"
"@YourPollyanna @TheCheekyMissB @Melanie_Cooper @syjohngibbons Polly don't have a break from twitter if you do then that bitch has won. Xx"

and this from a man who professes to hating bullies?! No wonder he hides his face!

Update on *Twitter`s Nastiest*

I continue to use Twitter and for the best part enjoy it immensely.   I have not had the misfortune to have to communicate with the above mentioned, which is a great relief not only for me, but for my darling daughter who now frequents the social network and had to witness me being verbally abused and threatened by Blue Jag and his side-kicks. On my timeline alone he had managed to terrorise, abuse and threaten many people who felt alone and helpless to do anything other than leave Twitter.  Then, out of the blue, someone came on Twitter saying they wanted to get as much information as possible about Blue jag as he planned to expose him.  Over the following few weeks more and more victims raised their arms and admitted to being cyber bullied by him.  It was amazing and incredibly comforting to realise that we actually had a guardian angel on Twitter who was willing to speak openly about the abuse and nastiness of Blue jag.  It soon became apparent that all victims suffered the same fate when targeted.  There did not have to be a particular reason for being ostracized but the subsequent treatment would follow the same pattern.  He would state that he did not agree with something that was said and tell the person that he was about to block them.  This action made it impossible for the victim to respond.  Bluejag would then spend the next few days systematically insulting, bullying and threatening his victim openly on his timeline.  Some of his devoted followers would then join in, some even DMing the targeted.  Victims that were foolish enough to have given him their phone numbers would then be subjected to nasty and abusive texts.  All victims were his friends and any personal details openly ridiculed by Bluejag and friends.
The worst thing was the amount of young women (17yrs and older), who were confessing to having been duped and manipuated by him into having sexual cyber relations with him.  More than one had left Twitter and come back using a different user name to avoid having any further communications with him.  To this day, I have people DMing me asking me to rekindle friendships with people who took his side and cursed and called me hateful names purely because he told them to.  I do not have room in my life for such weak people.
I felt real pity for the young girls involved as they were not aware that the man hiding behind the faceless avatar was in fact a short, rotund, balding fifty year old who had no life other than Twitter.  Our guardian angel opened an account purely for Bluejag`s victims (44 at last count) over the course of two days.  It was horrifying to hear some of the stories that were told about the abuse this man gave out to perfectly nice people, some who will be scarred for a long time.  Even more worrying as far as I am concerned is the fact that he has come back on Twitter using the name @maplestead4 and still has some of the same followers!  If I was following someone of his calibre who I found out was acting in the same way as Bluejag, my hand would be on the "block" button before the end of the first sentence.  What is wrong with these people? 

Ways to avoid Twitter Nasties

1.    Never ever give out your phone/mobile number to anyone.

2.    Be wary of people who do not use their own face as an avatar.

3.    Remember people can pretend to be anyone online.

4.    If someone abuses you online, speak out about it, there may be others in your situation.

5.    Do not give in to threats of any kind.

6.   Inform the police if all else fails.