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#WhateverWednesday If It Wasn’t for Baaaad Luck….

Frankie Av

Today’s hashtag has never been more appropriate than it is for this week’s post. Not in a “Whatever Wednesday! Wooo!!!!” kind of way, but rather a “Whatever, Wednesday…” way. In fact, I’ve had a “Whatever, Monday…” a “Whatever, Tuesday…” and have the feeling it will continue to become a week of disasters which might end with me running naked down the road screaming and cursing while tearing out my hair–a thing of nightmares for anyone who might witness this.

I think it started a couple of weeks ago when a large wall-mounted mirrored jewellery box I ordered arrived in pieces. It wasn’t a build-your-own project, it had been mishandled by the gormless delivery man who appeared to be playing an old childhood game of Knock-the-Door-and-Run-Away.  He thought it would be fun to leave my parcel on the front step, knock the door, then guiltily jump in his van and drive off at top speed. Instead of a gorgeous large mirrored box to store my bits and bobs and aid me in fixing my hair in the morning, I was left with cleaning up the shards of sharp mirror which fell from the box when I lifted it into the house. Since then I’ve been riding a wave of bad luck on a chewed surfboard as sharks swim in the surf waiting on me whale-diving into the water like an eager feast.

My main laptop keeps breaking down with all the flashing lights of death and blank screens of doom. It would appear to be a memory problem–badly seated RAM which is easily fixed–but it could well be signs of imminent motherboard failure. If this is the case, I will need a new laptop. Which will suck immensely as I grow rather attached to my tech.

Yesterday my dog ran excitedly across the room, dragging my little netbook with her. As a result, the charging port is broken. Probably an easy fix as my husband has fixed it before. He sure was glad to hear it was broken again…

This morning I went to take a photograph of a doodle I did in my drawing pad, only to find that the camera in my phone is not working. It is a brand new phone, it was definitely working last night and has had no accidents since. Upon reading about it on the net, it appears to be a common issue with no real fix except sending it back to Sony. There could be an easy fix if it turns out to be conflicting software problem or dodgy update data. I will find out if this is the case after I’ve charged its perpetually drained battery.

Then there is the case of the brusque belittlement I received in the form of an email which burned through my inbox like a flaming torch. I didn’t take the contents well even though they are innocuous enough. Bad timing to receive such a thing. Perhaps if I had received it last week I would have laughed, but this week I just want to return a napalm-laced reply and burn down sender’s inbox.

To top all of this off, we are still decorating the living room. Six coats of paint ought to be enough to cover even the most awful of graffitied walls, but apparently our walls are a little more resistant to paint colour. Either that or there is a platoon of elves coming in at night trying to recreate a Jackson Pollock masterpiece for us to find in the morning. Except I’m not a shoemaker, and I don’t appreciate their interference…

These are all bad enough, but I’m not mentioning half the stuff which has happened in the past few days. It would seem that I have ran out of luck and good fortune. Maybe I walked under a ladder I failed to notice, or kicked an invisible black cat or something, but there is a definite shift in my karma and it’s all making for a rather cantankerous and furious Dragon. I’m not exactly a pleasantly peppy princess today, nor was I yesterday or Monday when I discovered the parts for my new shower had been delivered to and signed for by someone else.

I’m more like a walking death ray on full charge waiting for an excuse to lose my shit. And that moment is getting closer with every mishap and breakage which trundles my way. In the back of my mind there is a voice that keeps telling me, “This, too, shall pass,” yet I feel the worst is yet to come. I’m scared to think of what might happen the rest of the week. Terrified to look out of the window in case a damned UFO appears and destroys my house while little smiling martians scream “Ulla!!”

At this point, I could honestly believe this could happen. I’m half expecting one of the sheep in the field next to my house to mutate and evolve into some horrendous representation of Albert King and sing me a deafening altered rendition of “Born under a Bad Sign” every morning when I open the curtains, just to prepare me for the day.

“If it wasn’t for baaaaaaad luck, you wouldn’t have no luck at all….”

So, whatever, Wednesday, I’m done with you and done with this week. I need to go find me a magical creature and turn this karma around….

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

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#FrankieWIP Highlands and Holidays!

Frankie Av

Very late as it has been a long day! Still on holiday, but this is a little update on how I am doing this week as well as a few photos!

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

 

#FrankieWIP The Kelpies, Falkirk!

Frankie Av

Sorry this is late! I have uploaded this video, remade it and uploaded again three times! The original file is perfect quality, but when it is uploaded the quality drops considerably. I can’t work out why Youtube is lowering the quality, but so you can see it tonight, I will put it up now and try to fix the problem tomorrow. Hope you enjoy it anyway!

Being on holiday I’ve not had time to do much writing, only a little art. But….come with me to see something amazing!!

Music: Destiny Day by Kevin MacLeod at incomputech.com

 

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WhateverWednesday Five Sisters Zoo!

Frankie Av

 

I love museums, zoos, places I can learn and experience things. I’ve never been a person who could go on holiday and spend a fortune just to lay by a poolside. I’d rather sit at home than do that! But then, I get homesick and I can’t stand hot temperatures. My brain just doesn’t work in the heat!!

When I am on holiday, I plan out days or time away at places where I can enjoy and learn things. Whether it is at a museum or on a boat trip, I find this a better way to spend my holiday time.

One place which I always visit whether I am on holiday or not, is the Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothian. We visit the zoo frequently, usually monthly or thereabouts. What makes FSZ special is that they are a conservation zoo and often rescue animals which would otherwise be destroyed.

It started off as a very small place, with some reptiles, farm animals and such. Over the years it has grown into a place where rescued animals can live in peace with a new lease on life. Take for instance the three circus bears they rescued back in 2011. The three brown bears were rescued in Belgium from a circus. They had been living in terrible cramped conditions in cages barely large enough for them to turn in. A call was made by the rescuers to find the bears a home, and the FSZ put out the call to the public to raise money for them. And raise money we did, topping the £80,000 pledge. In 2012, Peggy, Carmen and Suzy were welcomed into a newly created two-acre woodland site. Companies from around the area donated materials and money to facilitate the bears arrival.

I have had the pleasure of seeing all of the bears during my frequent visits, and have seen a marked difference in their behaviour. I remember the first time I saw Suzy I cried. She was so lost and afraid looking, not used to such a huge place to live in. She wandered back and forth, pacing the housing area as if still caged in a confined space. These days, you can see her lazing around or playing. The three had also never hibernated before. The zoo updates on their facebook page often about the animals, and the bears now do hibernate in the winter, such is the great work the staff at FSZ carries out to maintain their animals safety and comfort. I always go to visit the bears when I go there, and every time I see one of them I can’t help but smile.

In 2014, the zoo put out another call to the public with the hopes of raising £150,000 to rehome four circus lions rescued from a french circus. These poor beasts had lived their entire lives in a trailer much too small for them. They were castrated and declawed as cubs. They look like females as they lack a male lion’s trademark mane as a result of the castration. But these are some of the biggest lions you are likely to see. The castration meant that hormones which usually went into the growth of the mane, instead contributed to their body growth. These guys are HUGE! Again, the public heard the call and money was raised in excess of the target. Another two acre site was put forward to house them and soon work began. We watched the enclosure being built over the months and could not wait to meet the lions which would have been destroyed if a home had not been found for them. In October 2015, the four lions were successfully rehomed in the zoo and quickly became a huge attraction. They are huge, lazy, layabouts and absolutely gorgeous beasts!

The Five Sisters Zoo is one place I will never get tired of visiting. On one visit I might not see the eurasian lynx, but the next I will. When I was there a few days ago, I saw they had an adorable armadillo I’d never seen before!  It is hard to pick a favorite animal in FSZ, but if I was forced to pick three, it would be the bears, the arctic wolves and the ruff necked lemurs. Of all the lemurs, the ruff necked are my faves! Enjoy some of the photographs I have taken from the zoo, and if you are ever in the area, give the zoo a visit 😀

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http://www.fivesisterszoo.co.uk/

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#OurWorld Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, Scotland!

Frankie Av
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I am currently on holiday leave from work, and I’d like to share a place we visited this week which I think is perfect for the #OurWorld posts. 

Dynamic Earth is an educational, interactive visitor attraction about Earth. From the moment you walk in the door to the exhibition, you step back in time. The first place you enter is a large room which looks like an old classroom.

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There are various rock samples to see and touch as well as plenty to read. You are presented with a chalkboard and a dark empty space surrounded with black and white photographs. Suddenly in the black space, a man appears and begins a lecture.

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He is a holo-projection! As he speaks, the black and white photographs come to life and converse with him! Even the chalkboards are animated! Straight away you are hit with the innovative style of the place. So much information is packed into this single room.

When the exhibit comes to a close, you are free to wander around the second room. Again, it is full of information and central to the room is a huge ball with a projection of the Earth on it.

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This exhibition explains tectonics and such and the holo-globe shows this in animation. Once before when I visited, this part of the centre was about the solar system and the holo-globe was interactive. On it you could place the planets and I had no end of fun with it!

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Once you have explored the second room, you are then invited to step into the Time Machine. This is a huge elevator with glass windows. It doesn’t go up and down like a conventional elevator, it goes back and forth in time! A little like the TARDIS! In the glass panels you can see beautiful animations displayed as the entire room shudders to simulate movement. It is pretty cool!

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When you leave the Time Machine, you enter what is supposed to be a spaceship taking you on a journey through the cosmos. I love these exhibits. While not interactive, videos are displayed on three large screens which give the impression of being inside a ship.

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Leaving there, you head into another ship which takes you on a journey into tectonic plates! The floor has a rumble road which triggers when you *ride* the tectonic plate in the displayed video. It is truly magical.

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By far my favorite room of the tour experience is the ice room. The decor of the room gives the impression of sitting on ice and snow. Two bench seats sit before three HUGE screens. The video displayed on these screens are of expansive Scottish mountain-scapes with snow and ice and rocks. Taken from a bird eye view, you really get the feel of actual motion in this exhibit and could swear you are actually zooming over the landscape!

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Once you leave this exhibit you can then wander through the remaining rooms with some small interactive exhibits as well as massive amounts of information.

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There are a number of these head sculptures. When you place your hands on either side of the head, lights flash, and film and sound begin to show broadcasts of human evolution and intelligence.

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It takes roughly an hour to get through the tour and wander around the exhibits. Then you are invited into a seated area where you are given 3D glasses and taken on an adventure through different landscapes. Wind blows around the room, it even snows at the part when you fly over the snow covered tundra. There are no recording devices allowed in this area, so I have no photos to show you. Neither are they allowed in the next area!

The Showdome! This is my very favourite part of the entire experience. A huge dome shaped projection screen in which you sit on comfortable lean-back seats. The entire show is projected onto the dome,  called immersive entertainment. It is is an almost 3D experience without the need to wear glasses!  The show changes from time to time. This visit it was a film called “We Are Stars” and it was absolutely stunning. It explained how the first atoms were formed, all the way up to the creation of Earth and the planets in a spectacular 3D animation.

 

Dynamic Earth is well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Edinburgh. Suitable for most ages, though I would say very small children would be bored quickly. Definitely a place for school children eager to learn about the world in which they live!

Check out the trailer here!

And the site here:

http://www.dynamicearth.co.uk/

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#OurWorld A Brexitstential Crisis!

Frankie Av

A change from my usual writing about the Brexit vote in the UK.

On Thursday 23rd of June 2016, a historical vote saw the UK leave the European Union. It was the first EU vote in forty years, and saw masses turning out to have their say. I don’t pretend to understand politics, which is one reason I seldom discuss it. But this is such a momentous decision, it would be wrong of me to ignore it completely.

Almost immediately following the vote, the value of the Pound plummeted to a thirty-year low. Some people on holiday found they were unable to get money due to confusion over the exchange rate. Mobile phone carriers were expected to announce new increased European roaming charges. These were the immediate results of the vote, and should soon settle once meetings are scheduled and talks held over the future of our country.

There was also knee-jerk reactions to the result. Hysteria, panic and confusion to what it meant to leave the EU and fear for the future of the country. Some fear of increased cost of living, while others fear the withdrawal of large companies from the UK. Again, this is something which will eventually settle down once the talks are underway.

But something which will not soon settle, is the bitterness from both sides of the vote. The country was split almost 50/50 over the decision to leave the European Union, with both sides sure they were right. Even now there is bitterness between Yes and No voters from the Scottish Independence referendum and we are already a couple of years down the line.

Many reported to vote in Brexit as a protest over the way our government have ran our country over the last six years. Angry at the cut in benefits for the disabled and vulnerable as well as cuts in school and health provisions. Others reported they voted because of immigration problems, fear of terrorism. Still others voted to leave because they felt they were being governed by a body who had no clue about British life, and did not like being told what to do by people who did not live in the UK. Another reason stated is the amount of money which leaves the UK as a result of being part of the EU, money which many believe would go a long way to save our failing NHS and help our money-squeezed councils.

On the other side, people voted to stay for stability, safety, and others for the status quo. The freedom of commerce, trading, free movement.The lack of visas required to holiday. The Open Skies policy enjoyed under the EU conditions. The policies brought in by the EU which brought us safer working conditions, better benefits and lower overall cost of living.

Now we have people fighting over who was right and wrong and the future we now face. The fact is; there was no right or wrong way to vote. This vote should have been based on what you believed–truly believed–was best for the country as a whole. For our future, our children’s futures and the future of this country.

But from what I am finding on social media, many votes were cast through fear, hatred and bitterness. Fear of hidden terrorists in immigrant populations, hatred of people of certain religions and countries, bitterness over ancient battles fought by our ancestors on our own soil, and used as a protest vote against the current government.

But what has really caused this divide? It really should be obvious, as when it comes to politics, it is all about the promises, lies and misdirection. Not every newspaper or TV channel showed both sides of the argument. This was painfully evident in the Scottish Independence referendum, where Scottish coverage showed the complete opposite of that in England as shown here in this detailed report. Media bias is one of the main influential reasons a person votes in a certain way. Therefore not every person had a sound base of knowledge with which to base their vote, only that which they are fed by the media hound.

Scotland’s vote to leave the UK during the Indy Ref, was about independence from Westminster, not from England itself, though to see some of the things the elite had to say about Scotland and the Indy Ref might have you think otherwise. We were and still are portrayed and believed to be scroungers on the state, a benefit loving layabout unemployed nation, with questionable intelligence.

Take the following as examples of this:

 

 Douglas Murray

  • The sooner the bunch of Scots who govern us are booted into history the better. I don’t say that the English would be any better, but at least we would be paying for our own mistakes rather than someone else’s. Never has the case for English independence from the Scots been so overwhelming. Sadly, I suspect that in the present state of penury England will be saddled with them for another 302 years of high-end welfarism at least.”

Simon Heffer, The Telegraph, 23 Jan 2009

  • “These days, Scotland is more commonly associated with work-shy dole scroungers and skag-addled prostitutes than with the industriousness of Adam Smith or with its glorious pre-Reformation spirituality. Sorry, no offence, but it’s true.”

And-

  • “Returning to England, then, let us imagine a Kingdom relieved of burdensome Scottish misanthropy. Surely it would experience an almost immediate burst of post-divorce gaiety. Think of our city centres, free of garrulous Glaswegian drunks slurping Buckfast tonic wine, or English literary festivals liberated from sour, spiky-haired Caledonian lesbians hawking grim thrillers about child abuse.”  

    Milo Yiannopoulos 25 Aug 2014

 

Interesting article on the fiasco: How the media shafted the people of Scotland

As the Scottish are and always have been a patriotic country, such inflammatory remarks from high profile people are sure to produce animosity on both sides; those being fed the lies and those being lied about. They forget that past governments used Scotland as a proving ground for policies which damned and killed off the steel and coal industries. Policies which tore families apart and to this day wreak havoc with every day lives of the Scottish people.

The Indyref split the country apart, even families argued the merits of both votes. To this day, the bitterness created by the Indyref remains. The ridicule the Scottish people endured at the time of the referendum continues to burn, and continues to be driven into the minds of people who follow the media blindly. Yet, we are a country which time and time again have voted in unanimous numbers, only to be thwarted by an English majority. This has now happened again in the Brexit vote, with Scotland and Northern Ireland voting to stay with the EU and England and Wales voting to leave. As a result, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be forced to leave the EU despite every constituency voting to stay. Therefore, it is inevitable that there will be a second Indy ref in order to break away from the UK and stay with the EU.

 

Media slanting is common when it comes to politics: give with one hand, take with the other. Tell some one thing to win the vote, tell others something different. Incite hatred and fear to skillfully slide a vote in the desired direction. It is not that we as a country hate each other or other people, it’s that the media–driven by the very people dependent on your vote–only tell you what certain people want you to know.

We are often told it is our vote, our right to share our views, and our right to make a change. But are we really making the right changes when all we are fed is lies and deceit? This will always be the way of things as the media mutt is unlikely to bite the hand which feeds it. But are we to hate each other based on such deceit? Should we not be looking for the truth and basing our votes and beliefs on what is real rather than what we are told is real? Already we are being told that the elderly and older generations voted for this, that the same generations voted for Scotland to stay in the UK. I can not help but think that the blame being placed on the shoulders of our parents and grandparents is being driven by the same people who consider the elderly and older generations–the very people who brought us life– a burden on our resources. While it may be partially true, I know of some from the elder generations who voted to leave the UK and stay with the EU. And I also know those from younger generations who voted the opposite. 

There is enough hatred in this world to last a generation and more, we do not need more fed to us and then perpetuated by bickering with each other. The fact is, the decision has been made, and no matter how you voted, we need to live with the result. The main thing is, we have to do it together. Not with bitterness, nor anger nor hatred for those of the opposite vote or different countries within our united kingdom. I detest the fact I’m about to echo the very words which made me angry when uttered by a despicable man, but, we are better when we stand together. Even if Scotland leaves the UK, this should not change. 

In order to live in a world governed by peace and acceptance, the hatred needs to stop. This will not happen via politicians, social media, newspapers, television or radio. This will happen when we as individuals make it stop. When we sit down and talk like adults, discuss things like adults and live like adults. When we no longer believe the lies and see the lengths to which politicians and journalists will go to in order to split a body of people the way they wish. 

It is time to waken up, stand together, and stop the hate.

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE