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I logged into Facebook this morning (as you do), scrolled down my news feed and came across this:

1: Open Google Maps (directions)
2: Type China as your starting point
3: Type Taiwan as your destination.
4: Read step 48

Curiousity kills the cat, as they say, so I, being as obedient as I am, followed the steps. Let’s just say it kick-started my day with a smile….Epic fail or what!

As exciting (not to mention dangerous and exhausting!) as swimming across the Pacific Ocean sounds, I can’t swim for toffee so disappointingly my journey would end on step 47.

I also noticed that the travel method is by car. So erm, how how do you actually swim with your car? This conjured up hilarious images of a poor traveller desperately trying to get to the other side with a primitive looking rope around their waist attached to their vehicle. Le sigh.

All I can say is thank goodness for the invention of ferryboats and airplanes.

 

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It’s that time of year again where some men frantically rush to their local Interflora, Thornton’s and Clintons Cards store to show their other half (or potential other half) that they  “really care”.

Today, a male Twitter buddy of mine wrote: “Just coined a pretty insightful piece of philosphy. Was moaning about the cost of flowers (£45 for 12 roses!)… I’d rather pay the money than pay the price”.

I can’t help but think that Valentine’s Day is more a day for singletons, new couples or more conveniently for people in the doghouse with their partners. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against it but, apart from Christmas, never have I seen such unnecessarily ridiculous amounts of money spent on very impractical gifts: humongous teddy bears for grown ass people (??!!), intoxicating amounts of eau de toilette, days worth of fattening chocolates (not so mmmm), and flowers that will start to wither in three days max.

The history of Valentine’s Day varies depending on the source. Some experts say that it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He died on February 14, 269 A.D., the same day that had been devoted to love lotteries. Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine”. And so, February 14 became the day for exchanging love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers who marked the day by exchanging poems and simple gifts of affection such as flowers.

But the purpose of Valentine’s Day- demonstrating true affection through actions and consideration- has somewhat been engulfed by the giving of expensive material possessions. The day has become so commercialised that even some restaurants change their menu prices for the evening. A three course meal out for two that is normally around  £60 will cost you near the region of about  £80 to  £120 on the day. Why not just take a trip to your local supermarket to do some grocery shopping, stay indoors and together prepare a lovely candle lit dinner? You’ll find that you probably not only enjoy the meal a lot more but enjoy the time you spent together making it- and it’s also much better value for your money.

For some however, V- Day ends up being more like D-Day with many people actually deciding to break up with their partner on this particular day … leaving cupid unhappily taking back his arrows. Aaaawww.

My fiancé and I don’t really feel like we need a special day in the year to express our love for one another- we do so all the other 365 days of the year and I’m sure many other couples feel the same way. Having said that, I suppose it’s always nice with the chaos of life to have a day that you really take time aside to think just how lucky you are to be loved and how equally important it is to demonstrate love.

However you’re spending this Sunday evening, whether it be alone with a microwave ready meal, out with your single mates that were unfortunate enough not to get a valentine or canoodling with your partner, have a lovely Valentine’s Day. Or as the case may be for some, just have a nice day!

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Like millions around the world, I woke up on Tuesday (12th January) morning this week to the news that a devastating earthquake had hit Haiti. The disaster is the worst of it’s kind to strike the country in 200 years.

The Red Cross estimates that 50,000 people have died and 300,000 have been left homeless, with up to three million people injured – a third of the country’s population.

Former Fugees rapper Wyclef Jean’s (above) charity text appeal for victims reached $1m in just a matter of days, with over 200,000 Twitter followers donating to the cause.

Desperate survivors, increasingly frustrated with the delay of international help have turned their anger into to scenes of violence and looting on the streets.

Watching the news has almost become unbearable: seeing so much human suffering and heartbreak. The highly emotive images of dust covered survivors and covered bodies on the side of the roads will be etched in my memory for a while yet to come. I cannot even begin to comprehend what the people of Haiti are enduring, simply because their experiences are not my reality. I only wish that I could physically be there to do my bit for humanity and help.

An acquaintance of mine on Twitter made a very valid point. Haiti gained independence on 1st January 1804, making it the first Black nation-state of it’s kind in the world and 153 years ahead of the next independent Black country 1957- Ghana (it’s even older than some European states). Yet Haiti is one of the most under developed countries of the world and now that it’s infrastructure is virtually destroyed, rebuilding lives will prove to be a painstaking task.

I was totally disgusted by the comments made by famous American televangelist Pat Robertson‘s insensitive comments. According to him the people of Haiti “swore a pact to the devil” and have been “cursed” by his god, and that the Island of Haiti has been cursed by “one thing after the other”, that is why they deserved the quake.

As evangelical pastor Rick Warren quite rightly responded via Twitter:

Labeling any natural disaster as God‘s judgment is nonsense. True “judgment begins with God’s family” 1Peter4:17, not others

My thoughts and well wishes go out to the sufferers of the disaster as well as those involved in the rescue operation.

USEFUL LINKS:

www.dec.org.uk or call 0370 60 60 900

www.yele.org

www.redcross.org.uk

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logo_facebookFacebook is changing it’s layout once again.

The new layout is set to take effect on Wednesday 11th March 2009.

I remember the uproar caused when they announced that it would be changing to its current format: facebook groups were created in the form of petitions against the new page layout, of which, thousands of members joined.

Honestly, as you do, I’ve gotten used to the current layout. However, I’ll happily welcome a new layout that will enable certain features a lot easier to find. The new layout will apparently have a Twitter-like real-time news feed.  Sounds promising, I guess.

Have a look at Jemima Kiss’ (Media Guardian) brief guide to the new facebook layout.