iChoose Apple

Standard

I think that a lot of the people berating the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus because of the lack of ‘technological advancement’ (in comparison with some of the Android phones currently in the market) are missing out on the whole enticing quality of Apple.

As far as I’m concerned, the specs of the new iPhones are great – because I know why I want an iPhone, and I know what I want to use it for. To some techies, however, the brand new members of the fruit family might just seem like pretty packages without much punch. I think this argument is somewhat redundant, because you don’t necessarily buy Apple products to get the latest specs.

You buy Apple because it’s glamourous.

You buy Apple because iTunes, FaceTime, iWork and iLife.

You buy Apple because of the inter-device connectivity.

You buy Apple because it’s Apple. And Apple is cool.

Don’t deny it.

There’s no point saying that the new iPhone isn’t on par with the new HTC or the new Samsung. Of course it isn’t. That’s like saying a javelin thrower isn’t on par with a sprinter; it’s a silly statement to make. The different devices are completely different boxes of tools, built for different purposes, with different users in mind.

We all like different things, and no one is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in their choice of technological preference.

Next year when my current phone contract ends I will be buying the Apple Watch and the iPhone 6. I appreciate the innovation of the current leading phones and technologies in the market. I appreciate that by that point (May 2015) newer, more advanced and more proficient technology will be available. But I’m an Apple kinda girl. I like flawless design. I like class. I like beauty. (I’m not saying that other companies don’t have these things). I like the elegance and prestige that Apple just oozes: in the business world, in education, in medicine and in the consumer market.  And basically, to have a laptop that syncs with my tablet that syncs with my phone that syncs with my watch (and they’re all extremely sleek and attractive), well… I think that’s pretty cool, and a jolly good reason to spend my money.

Advertisements

Day 9: Deconstructing Literature – Thief by Malorie Blackman

Standard

There are few novels that can be engaging for both a child and an adult. I am interested in writing fiction for children and young adults, so I’ve decided to review some of my favourite examples of children’s literature, and explore why I still enjoy them.

Since I was about 11 years old, Thief by Malorie Blackman has been one of my favourite books. It explores themes including friendship, bullying, peer pressure, consequences and family.

Thief tells the story of 12-year-old Lydia who is unfairly accused of stealing a School Trophy. Lydia then runs away to the moors where she gets caught in a violent storm, transporting her into the future. The story depicts a potential dystopian future, in which everything rides on a single decision from the past.
Malorie Blackman is extremely well-known for her realistic and gripping approach to modern day literature for children and young adults.

Things Thief has taught me :

In children’s fiction things don’t always have to ‘work out’.

Lydia doesn’t stop facing opposition up until the last chapter, which shows that children’s fiction does not have to be fluffy. It can deal with complex, emotional and difficult topics.

Simplicity is key if a story is to deal with such topics effectively and still be relatable to children.

This novel is so effortless to read, proving it is better to write simply and with clarity, than to write in a complex or overly poetic manner.

Simplifying is not a matter of dumbing down.

Although the storyline is complex and emotive, the clarity and simplicity in the presentation helps the reader to remain completely engaged, and not get confused, in the words and worlds of the characters.

The importance of avoiding excessively complicated speech tags.

Rarely in the novel are any other tags used besides ‘said’, ‘asked’, ‘replied’ or ‘urged’. There is little need for complex tags to be used, as simpler tags help the dialogue flow naturally.

Choose a suitable perspective.

The novel is written in Third Person Limited perspective, which allows the reader to gain a deep insight into the protagonist’s thoughts and feelings, as well as revealing how these fit into the context of the story as a whole.

Don’t get reckless with descriptions.

Description is very important, specifically in children’s fiction, but it can sometimes be overbearing. Thief features examples of simple and powerful description, such as “Her eyes showed that what she looked like outside was just a reflection of what she was inside – as cold and hard as permafrost.” Simple imagery is often better description than drawn-out, wordy paragraphs.

Children tend to be extremely perceptive.

The art in writing a good piece of children’s fiction is in being able to capture and represent the world from their perspective. With children’s fiction it is not just about having a great idea. It is how you deliver the story; finding the balance between fast paced action scenes and emotive personal scenes that will allow children to remain engaged from beginning to end. Thief is 228 pages long, yet manages to entertain and engage a young (and slightly older) readership throughout.

The good ol’ Twist still works.

Towards the end of the novel, Lydia believes that the reason she was brought to the future was to stop her younger brother from becoming a Tyrant. Yet only a short while later she has an epiphany that the actual Tyrant is herself. This technique is successful as it gets the reader believing one outcome, only to throw in another, and then reveal that neither is quite what was expected.

A character’s complexity can make them relatable.

The complexity of Lydia vs old Lydia is a character dynamic that I find intriguing. As Lydia’s brother (Old Daniel) states, “Things happen which change us – all of us” . We often don’t know how decisions will impact us, and being faced with that reality – especially if the outcome is not what was expected – serves to convict the character, and the reader. This subconsciously delivers a moral ethos.

The techniques used in Thief are useful in capturing the imagination of a child, by creating characters and situations that are, to some extent, relatable. Thief takes a simple and common fear of being forced into doing something you don’t want to, mixes it with running away from home and explores the wildest possible outcomes and dangers. It reveals how people can become bitter because of childhood incidents, and serves as a reminder to stop holding grudges, start forgiving and move on.

It was enthralling as a child, and still suitably engaging as a an adult (Big Kid). I consider it a good read at any age.

Day 6: Disney Review – Why Tangled is Better than Frozen

Standard

I had a brilliant idea.

I thought I was gonna be original and write a post in favour of Tangled in a Frozen-loving era.
I’ve watched Frozen twice, and I’ve watched Tangled at least five times, probably more. Both films have good morals about self-discovery and moving past your limits and not letting others hinder you, etc.
Both films have beautiful soundtracks. (Of course, everyone appreciates Let it Go and Do You Wanna Build a Snowman, but Mother Knows Best is by far superior.)
Both films have representations of true love and self-sacrifice.
Both films are beautifully animated. Of course, this is Disney Pixar we’re talking about.

I had this wonderful plan to list the good and bad from each film and prove why Tangled is better. But then I decided to do some research, and I found that almost everyone has made this argument already. I was hoping to be individual.

Apparently everyone thinks Tangled is better Frozen. (Because it’s cool? ;D haha, see what I did there? No? Yeah okay.)

Everyone has realised that while Frozen was intense and beautiful and fabulous, Tangled was even better.

So I don’t really have anything to add.

Other than the fact that perhaps Olaf is just a tiny bit funnier than Pascal, but then that completely defeats the point of this post, so forget I said that.

Day 2: Clumsy Ninja – Game Review

Standard

I don’t usually get obsessed with games (not since Burnout 3 Takedown and Sims 2 Pets – both on the PS2).

Now with the rising of HD graphics and life like gameplay, I’ve been looking for something that I’d enjoy, an adventure/story game, with different levels and tasks. Then I was introduced to Clumsy Ninja, a game which is somewhat similar to having a tamagotchi; you look after, train and play with your ninja. It’s free, and has good reviews so I thought I’d give it a go. He starts off incompetent, but as you train him he improves and starts to earn different belts, and learns new skills.

20140727-220649-79609226.jpg

It’s safe to say that I’m hooked. This game, rated 4+ is suitable for all ages – me, my younger siblings and even my Mum all really enjoy this super cute game.

The ninja is adorable. The graphics are crisp clear. The gameplay is fun and although some of the tasks are repetitive, it doesn’t get tiring. Maybe it’s because Ninja Hi-5’s the player every time he improves. But if you refuse to hi-5 him, this happens:

20140727-221236-79956762.jpg

AWWWWWH!

There are 99 levels in total and after two days I’m only on level 12. I take this as a good sign, I like games that last a decent amount of time.

I would recommend this game to almost anyone. It’s not scary or violent, but it’s also not babyish or dull. It’s good, clean fun. The quality of the game is good whether you’re playing on a phone or a tablet, though I find that playing it on my iPad mini makes it a bit more enjoyable than on a smart phone, because of the screen size. The game is available on both the App Store and Google Play Store.

If you can’t be a Ninja, why don’t you just live vicariously through an animated character? And c’mon be honest, who can resist this adorable face?

20140727-222324-80604598.jpg

The Muppets Most Wanted – Film Review

Standard

Image

Last week I went to the cinema, so I’ve decided to tell you about it. Watching the Muppets as an adult is just not quite the same. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I did, but that’s more in an “Awwh, that’s funny, if slightly cringe-worthy”. I ought to mention, that although I am an adult, I am still very much a Big Kid. I still enjoy watching M I High, VeggieTales, Bratz, StoryKeepers and almost every animated Disney film. So this isn’t because I’m past the targeted age range.

I left the cinema thinking “well that was… interesting.” When people ask me what I thought of it, I tend to say “It was alright. I mean it was quite funny, but I wouldn’t choose to watch it again.” It’s the kind of film that I would watch with my family if it came on TV, but I’m not making a second trip to the cinema. There we’re parts that were really funny, and I must say that Tina Fey was absolutely fabulous in it. But there were some parts that I just didn’t believe, and I found myself shifting uncomfortably in my seat during some scenes.

Having said that, the opening was brilliant, especially for a Media (and cinema) Geek, as they did a song referencing the fact that this was a sequel, and that sequels are never really as good the first film. I thought this was genius.

There were a few funny cameos, but also one that I thought was completely unnecessary (cough GAGA cough).

The plotline was quite funny, I guess, and the screenplay was particularly suited to children. All in all, I do think it was a job well done, but as a Big Kid, I wasn’t overly impressed.