I was a part of London 2012 Olympics

Wembley StadiumLast night I was one of the 70,584 spectators at Wembley Stadium, watching the women’s football match between Brazil and Team GB. A few of my football questions were answered. I learnt that the players do not stop playing to watch the replays and that when the ball is kicked into the audience, they are expected to throw it back. I still have no clue what the offside rule is all about, but I have a feeling that no one does.

I screamed ‘Team GB’ until my voice was hoarse and took part in no less than eight Mexican waves that went around the entirety of the stadium, so frequently that the match was just a little extra entertainment. We were the people who provide the sound effects for your television screens, the boos, the gasps and the cheers. We deafened each other with our joint voices and after only a few minutes in the stadium, I had a buzzing headache that stayed with me until this morning.

Women’s football is unlike men’s football in that there are far less fouls and they do not mess around, throwing themselves to the ground in hopes of a penalty. From what I observed, women play clean and follow the rules. Let’s hear it for the women and for the London 2012 Olympics, unless the traffic and television take over are spoiling your summer!

Round and round we go

Yesterday, in celebration of the end of our exams, a bunch of thrill-seeking teenagers headed off to Thorpe Park to pass the day high- in the sky- shaking about the brain cells that they would not be needing for a few months.

We were not the only ones with the same idea and many other teenagers, donning the same Leavers’ Hoodies as us, had decided upon the same day to visit the theme park. This influx of visitors creates a very serious problem and the one thing that I hate the most about theme parks: queues. I almost wish for it to rain just so that everyone, but me, will go home and leave me to the rides.

Fortunately, the queues were long but endurable and the longest length of time we had to wait was 45 minutes, which is relatively short if you consider that this waiting period can easily go up to 2 hours later on in the summer when most schools start going on trips and during weekends. Queuing up is such an integral, but hated, part of theme parks that they have evolved into something more than just the original straight line of people. Now they are tricky and deceptive, as they wind around hidden corners, behind ruins and into caves. The queues are now mazes of slow-moving people, that create false impressions and hopes that are overcome by groans of dread at the discovery of hidden rows of people.

The option of paying to skip the queues by buying Fastrack strikes me as slightly immoral but it was unnecessary as according to the some of my classmates, they needed the waiting time to digest their food, or coax a wimp onto the ride. Far from being bored, a game of ‘Mathew says’, provided some entertainment as restless teenagers queuing for SAW- The Ride, mindlessly hopped and hi-fived each other on demand, in response to an invisible voice, reflecting the nature of the SAW movies, of which I have only watched the third.

Due to the mostly short queues, I managed to go on just about every major roller coaster, and even had time for the little boats and the spinning tea cups! I am not scared of heights and whilst most people scream on rollercoasters, I can’t help but laugh. In every single one of the theme park photos, I was smiling, and not just because I always made sure to be ready for the flash. Nothing scared me.

Not SAW- THE RIDE,

Saw Rollercoaster - Thorpe Park

or the new SWARM.

Well, almost nothing scared me. The thrill and excitement that had me cackling in hysteric joy up in the air was not present when it came to the most childish but diabolical ride ever to be created.

The Rocky Express:

With time to kill between roller coasters, my friends and I had a go on this small train ride, that quickly went round and round in a circle, over a series of bumps. Though it was a therapeutic massage compared to the bigger rides, it made me extremely nauseous and I couldn’t wait for it to end and to escape my bright red train carriage.

Unfortunately, that was not so. Despite unanimous protest, bar one, the controller gave us another nostalgic go. Bearing my teeth and holding my poor stomach, I endured it and when it finally stopped, I felt ready to kiss the ground- had I been allowed to reach it. For again the evil controller refused to stop the ride and around we went for a few more infernal minutes as she laughed on with a manic smile. At least on a roller coaster you have the benefit of knowing that in 20 seconds, it will all be over, but on this ride, we were not sure when or if we would ever be allowed to leave. No one would hear our screams over the mind numbing cowboy music. Three consecutive rounds were enough to satiate the sick urges of the controller and her smile illustrated her twisted sense of humour as she allowed us the room to escape, angry and green in the face. All our anger was turned onto one of our own as we found out that she had been in cahoots with the controller and that the sly nods of her head, had been the signal for the commencement of our torture. Betrayal in its purest form.

I have never been on so many stomach juggling rides in one day and it was with 15 minutes left to spare that my stomach had finally had enough. The bus ride back was absolute agony. Shattered, I closed my eyes to sleep but the movement of the bus had my mind twirling, tumbling and looping as if I were still on a roller coaster. Then, the road bumps, which the unsympathetic driver took no care with, were torturous. Even as I closed my eyes to sleep at night, I could not rid myself of that falling and swirling sensation.

Who came up with the idea of strapping a person to a piece of metal and tossing them about viciously in the air anyway?

Yasmine’s Got Talent?

Britain’s Got Talent is back on our televisions. The competition to find the UK’s most talented act has begun and I know for sure that that act is not me. For one, I did not audition and the second, most important, reason is that I am talentless.

I have no hidden talents that would entertain people, none at all. I can juggle with no more than two pieces of fruit and even then, I drop them more often than I catch them. My sense of humour is dry and subjective, that is to say that I’m the only person that finds myself funny and anything that makes people laugh is unintentional. The same goes for my singing; what I think I sound like and what people actually have to endure could not be more different, particularly on the high notes, if I am to go by the number of blocked ears and pained winces.

Dancing? I get the Macarena wrong and I can’t find my hips. Gymnastics? I stopped being able to touch my toes at the age of five. Magic? The best I can do is find a person’s card, given that they show it to me first. What else is there… Rap? My name is Yasmine– what rhymes with Yasmine? Maybe acting? I am an extremely good liar and I can put on an excellent poker face, but I doubt that anyone would be entertained by watching me pretend to not have seen my friend’s book.

My tongue does not roll nor does it reach my nose. My eyebrows do not move along to music. My elbow does not make farting sounds. Oh! I am a talentless being! Fortunately, I am at least able to accept it. I am not okay with it but I do not delude myself. Watching all the talentless acts stand before the judges and make absolute fools out of themselves, makes me question their sanity. They don’t actually believe that they have talent, do they? It also makes me question their friends and families. Why didn’t they tell them that they had no talent? Aren’t family and friends supposed to safeguard their loved ones’ dignity, instead of tossing it around in a circle in front of a live audience and million of television viewers? Perhaps, they too have been caught up in the delusion.

I’ve always found myself a boring person and it has always been a deep desire of mine to be good at something, to excel at something other than studying, to have the ability to do something unusual that not many other people can do. Some say that everyone is talented in some way or another, so, maybe I just haven’t found my special thing yet. Should I just keep trying or will it find me on its own?

What about you there? If you are lucky enough to have found yours, what is your special talent?

Coming Up: An Olympic special- a post on my lack of sporting ability.   🙂

A message to the speed reader

Oh you who prides himself in flipping all the pages, from cover to cover, as quickly as your hands can move, your satisfaction does not compare to he who reads the book!

On my way to becoming a more accomplished reader and keeping to my resolution of reading more classics, I was leisurely reading and enjoying the literary wonders of Jane Eyre, when my impatient mother commented on the speed of my reading. My pace was not slow, she simply wanted me to return her Kindle and no speed would have been fast enough.

She, as are many others, is a speed reader and can go through many books in a week, although she isn’t the most boastful and competitive I know. Others will race each other to complete a book in the least amount of time and compare and criticise those who read at human speed, holding them in contempt and fancying themselves superior. However, how much of it do they actually read? Do they understand, process, ponder and savour the actual words or do they just move along the letters in a mechanical fashion?

I am not a slow reader but sometimes, after a particularly powerful line or paragraph, I like to move back a moment and think, imagine myself in the character’s position, guess what will hapen next and even read over it because I appreciated the words so much. How could you do that if you just skim through it?

So, here’s a message to the speed reader and precisely what I told my mother:

“If you swallow it, you will not taste it.”

What is your opinion on speed reading? Is it something you do yourself?

Save the Children with a Movie Morning

Roll up! Roll up! Come and get your tickets for the greatest movie event of the year, my school council’s movie morning for the Save the Children charity.

All of last week we we had been selling tickets and pre-selling snack boxes to students to raise funds for our chosen charity, Save the Children and we had been rolling in it. We all thought that we were making easy money, no stress, no fuss, just take the money and laugh. Ha! We weren’t laughing when someone (not me) lost the ticket records, we weren’t laughing when someone (not me) oversold tickets for a single movie screening and we weren’t laughing when someone (again not me) did not buy enough sweets the previous day and only realised early this morning.

Morning of the event, the clock was ticking, school council members were last minute shopping, the movies were scheduled to start, food was meant to be being sent out and we were all gathered around a chicken waiting for it to lay popcorn.

The frustration I felt at the incredibly slow chicken was unbelievable. Pop chicken! Pop! We have impatient kids with the munchies to feed! It even took a break to stop itself from heating up. Now, that’s what I call high maintenance. The frustration was that regardless of what I did, there was nothing that would speed up the process. We were all stuck at the chicken’s leisurely pace, until we called in microwave popcorn.

Disaster avoided, It was still hectic. I was all over the place, putting nachos in rooms, distributing lists, fetching DVDs, looking for the people I distributed the lists to, taking back the nachos because I had placed too many in one room, panicking when the DVD

Nachos and popcorn

failed to play, downloading a media player to play the DVD and urging people to getmoving, acting like a human egg timer. Phew. The best moment was when everyone had settled down, eyes glued to the screen, mouths stuffed with popcorn and I could move from classroom to classroom asking if everything was okay knowing that I would get a positive response.

Yesterday, after we had spent two hours in front of a spreadsheet typing up the names of the entire student body only to be told that we could have been given a copy electronically and saved ourselves the trouble, our headteacher suggested that we keep notes of all the things not to do and pass it on to the following school council as a parting gift but we shot her idea down in the interest of justice. Why must they have it easy when no one gave us a list? It would be an absolute pity if they were to miss out on the frantic scurrying up and down the corridors in harmonic panic. Besides, learning from your own mistakes is character building and definitely more effective than learning from the mistakes of others, don’t you think?

Today, I learnt that microwave popcorn is the way forward, planning is key and to always have a back-up. I wonder what I will learn tomorrow…

There’s an App for that

There’s an App for that.

That has been my catchphrase for the past month, ever since I joined the wonderful high-tech world of Apping. Despite not considering myself a techy, I have quickly become a regular appendage to my new Android smart phone and it carries me everywhere, or rather the other way round. My reliance on my new phone is mainly due to its amazing transformative abilities, allowing me to use it in place of many heavier items. It can become whatever I want it to be because, ladies and gentlemen, “there’s an App for that”.

The thing about the app world is that it is absolutely overflowing with thousands of different applications for your smart phone. They range from the ingenious to the appallingly absurd and vary in different degrees of randomness so it’s difficult to pick out the apples from the leaves. In my amateur days I would naïvely download every single app that appeared to have the slightest bit of use to me, leading to much annoyance and a lot of disappointment. However, I have now managed to come up with my own classification system, narrowing them down into three categories.

The useful

These are the apps that now that I have discovered, I couldn’t live without.  In case of a power cut, my phone can become a torch in whichever colour seems most appropriate for the situation or even display police flashlights to deter an approaching kidnapper. Not that I have ever been in either situation but you can never be too prepared. When boredom hits, my phone is a book. When an idea appears it’s a notebook. The uses are endless. I have even discovered an interesting app that tells you which is the best moment to go to the toilet during a movie! You never have to miss the climax again.

The not so useful

These are the worst. I put so much hope and faith in an app when I am downloading it only to get let down because they do not work as I so foolishly apprehended. They exaggerate their use and deceive me into installing them by cleverly disguising themselves as appealing technological miracles. An app that turns my phone into a massager! Am I really that gullible? Apparently so. All it did was cause my phone to vibrate pathetically, providing none of the expected relaxation or pleasure. Then there was the mobile metal detector that failed to recognize any metal kitchen appliances and remained completely inactive when placed in the cutlery drawer, proving that it was not simply a case of sensitivity. Deleting is the only thing to do when faced with these faulty frauds that do little more than take up storage space. Do I really need a hypnotizer or water sound effects to help me pee?

The time wasters

These are the dangerous ones. A must have for procrastinators. Instead of finally finishing that essay or in some cases starting it, you can pass your precious limited time taking part in various activities including smashing ants, popping pimples and ripping toilet paper. They keep you entertained for approximately 3-4 minutes before you move on to the next mindless activity. I wouldn’t normally approve of  this moronic, extremely basic use of time but in the waiting room before an appointment or at the bus stop you can really appreciate the short lasting, fast acting amusement they bring.

The difficulty in finding the useful apps, avoiding the useless apps and limiting the time wasters is that you never really know which category they belong to until you have tried them out. What one app-er may find bizarre, another may find a necessity. Perhaps you may not agree but another (geeky) person may find it vital that his phone have the ability to transform itself into a light saber. So, before you start downloading every single app and then wondering what happened to your month’s savings, apply my number 1 rule: do not pay! Consider that what you are buying has the potential to be absolutely worthless and take advantage of the many free apps available in the market.

However, there are some apps that I would be more than happy to pay for if they actually existed. Hold the applause, but my own creativity has surprised me and I have come up with the innovative idea of an app that converts your mobile into a portable fan! What do you think? It sure beats my mother’s idea of an iron.

What is your favourite app and what creative app idea have you come up with?

It’s for a good cause…

Happy Red Nose Day!! A day of all things silly,embarrassing and red in the name of charity. Up and down the country all week many people have been raising money in their own various different ways for people suffering here in the U.K and abroad in poor countries such as Kenya and Nigeria. From cake sales and marathons to ‘wear a wig to work’ days and ‘come to school in your pyjamas’ days, people have certainly been creative in their fundraising.

The great thing about red nose day is that absolutely everyone gets involved. Celebrities are happy to make a fool of themselves for charity’s sake, providing education for children in Africa and laughs for people sat at home watching T.V. Even David Cameron played along, appearing in a special episode of Master Chef and bravely forcing down a three-course meal cooked by three, less than experienced in the kitchen, comedians.  The government has also pledged £10 millon to comic relief on behalf of the great British public. A commendable charitable act on which I was not consulted. I know I do not pay taxes but that is besides the point.

Fashion, on the other hand suffers slightly during this period. Whether it suits you or not, clashes with you hair or not, you must wear red. Whilst some people may just opt for wearing a pair of red socks or red knickers, others like to go the whole way. Dressing from top to bottom in red is not always a good look and when all your pieces of clothing are mismatched and just happen to be every red thing  you own it is even worse. But who cares if you look like a clown? It’s all in the spirit of comic relief and for a good cause.

In fact, you could do just about anything as long as it is for a good cause. Declare your love for a chimpanzee… have a pillow fight on the bus…speak gibberrish for a day…have I missed anything? ‘It’s for a good cause’ is a free pass to go wild without anyone branding you a lunatic. Lunacy is acceptable as long as it is for charity. 

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done for charity?