Archive for category Feature

Will World War Z be the end of the Zombie genre?

World War Z has now become one of the most anticipated action/horror films in recent years, but could it spell the end of Zombies as a popular genre?

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The Walking Dead is racist … and in a stupid way

Don’t get me wrong. I love The Walking Dead. It has managed to encapsulate my life in all its forms. The TV show and video game are awesome and one day when I buy the comics I hope I can enjoy them just as much. The TV show, which is now into its 3rd sensational season, is one of the few programs that I will continually watch and haven’t grown tired of in a way that How I Met Your Mother already has (because Ted seriously talks too much about the 87 women he banged before he met the mother).

The AMC production is, in all honesty, perfect and despite some small issues in season 2 (mainly Lori), I have enjoyed every single episode. Yet now, having watched the mid-season finale, the only thing that annoys me is the use of black people in the series. It is literally as though 2 cannot exist in this zombie universe at any one time.

Season 1 – T-Dog & Jacquie – we never really see the two of them talk much and we assume the only reason T-Dog was upset about Jacquie killing herself is because they share the same skin colour. Jacquie is killed off at the end of season 1 leaving T-Dog as the lone survivor.

Season 2 – not a single black person in the series except T-Dog. Atlanta isn’t that bad is it?

Season 3 – Introducing Oscar in episode 2 only to have T-Dog killed off in episode 3. Oscar then basically fills the void left by T-Dog. Oscar acts as a part of the group till episode 8 when he is killed off but it is ok because Tyreese is introduced in the very same episode.

Now I’m assuming that Tyreese is going to be a long-term character in the series since he has an incredible loyal fan base so I can see him lasting as long as T-Dog is. (Words cannot express how disappointed I was when T-Dog was killed off.) Now you may have noticed that I’ve never mentioned Michonne. That’s because she’s never been a part of the main group but now she has joined them, I’m looking forward to her relationship with Tyreese since they get it on in the graphic novel.

 

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Have Brunel students already lost interest in Subway?

I remember one of the perks of being in Year 10 was being able to go outside of school for lunch. Provided of course that your parents signed a permission slip. So that first day of year 10 was one of the most exciting for everyone in my year. It was almost like a right of passage and the first sign that you were a grown up or at least getting there.

At 12.30, when the bell went, 120 hungry schoolkids ran out and headed to the high street just 5 minutes away. Naturally of course, these were 14/15 year olds so we all went to the same place: McDonalds. Getting a Big Mac in the middle of the day was unheard of and quite frankly I thought most people went there because their parents wouldn’t let them. The queue was out of the door and I waited a good 20 minutes for some chicken nuggets.

The exact same thing happened last week when Subway finally opened. It was like this huge grand golden statue that was uncovered for Brunel students to enjoy. The queue was out of the door and they even ran out of bread at 12.30, just 2 hours after opening. After re-opening at 2pm, the queue was once again out of the door. Apparently the queue was an hour and half long, JUST for a Subway sandwich. Crowd control barriers had to be brought out.

Now, here we are one week later and the atrium, which was once full of students desperate for a fix of meatballs and Italian B.M.T’s is as quiet as it always was. The queue is no longer out of the door and is now as long as a normal Subway in town.

Maybe it was all hype. Maybe students got bored with it and realised it was just a Subway after all. Maybe it was because the staff weren’t ready to deal with the onslaught of last week and were pretty poor. From now on though, Subway will always be a part of Brunel campus. Whether students care about anymore is another question.

P.S – Can anyone please tell me why an Italian BMT is called a BMT? None of the ingredients start with the letters BMT. Silly Subway.

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Moving Into Halls – Attempt Number 2

So this week began my 5th (yes count it) year at Brunel and unfortunately my last. In a way though there was some sweet irony to the whole thing because, once again, I’ve ended up back in halls where I first started at Brunel way back in ’08. Although it is not the same hall, the whole feeling of being back inside halls feels eerily reminiscent of 4 years ago.

I had no choice but to move back into halls, mainly because all my friends had to go and graduate and become adults, so moving back felt lonely. It was surprising how comforting it felt to have those people around, even if it was just to sit in a room and watch re-runs of The Big Bang Theory, because suddenly things have gotten very quiet. The first 2 days were especially bad so spending as much time as possible out of the room and keeping myself occupied was almost a must. Luckily that was the case and I was at the point of spending just 5 hours a day in the room (which mostly consisted of sleeping).

Yet at the same time, there was this buzzing excitement about this final year and what it may bring. Of course there is the standard 3am library sessions and poor dietary habits but nevertheless there is the feeling I have that this will be the final year where I have the sort of freedom to explore and express myself as I see fit. It is almost as if moving into halls has resulted in this giant yet imaginary countdown clock in my head counting down to the end of the year. Countdown currently says just 247 days left. That is not long at all.

Soon Brunel will be a memory and greener pastures will soon be approaching but for the time being, I am going to enjoy it,  have as much fun as I can so that, come May, I won’t look back at Brunel as a debt.

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Waitrose Is Like All Other Supermarkets, Except It Shows Off In Your Face

There’s always been that classic argument as to which supermarket is the best today. It depends upon what the customer is looking for. If its cheap food that you know will cause you some long-term damage, may I suggest Iceland or Aldi. Maybe you’d prefer to go middle of the road and visit Asda or Sainsburys. Just make sure you enjoy green and orange like its going out of fashion. There is always the argument that Tescos  is the best supermarket available today but then again its stores look like they were built on a budget of about the same as its Everday Value ‘Mac N Cheese’ meals. I recently visited Waitrose, for what can only be described as a different supermarket experience than ever before.

This was the first time I’d been to this particular Waitrose since it infamously burnt down in 2009. Its re-opening a year later had made it both smaller and more modern but it didn’t seem any different to what it used to be, nor different to a modern £4.99 building of Tescos. Waitrose have always had a reputation for being “over-priced” and “middle class” with its products and prices. This simply isn’t the case. Waitrose, when it comes to regular purchases such as baked beans, were as good as if not better value than mainstream shops. It has deals and a deli and a delightful check-out girl and for that reason I just couldn’t see why it was any different from Tescos.

It’s the little things that matter though. Maybe because I was wearing a t-shirt that had the word ‘peasant’ on it but the whole shop looked like it was judging me. Waitrose try to portray themselves as a regular supermarket but the whole experience left me feeling ashamed. The staff wear ridiculous shirt and tie uniforms that I wouldn’t wear to lunch with the Queen. I tried to find a toilet there to which the response from a staff member was “Not for customers”. Charming. At the end, I was given a little token to vote on which local charity Waitrose should be supporting. This annoyed me lots and I even asked a manager for two more tokens just so I could vote for all 3 as they should be supporting all charities.

This may be coming across as petty and childish. I agree that their staff should be well presented and that they should be supporting charities but its the fact that the whole shop looked like it was showing off in my face. I get it Waitrose. You’re very impressive and generally better than everything else out there. When I can afford it I will shop with you more regularly.

For now, I’ll stick with Morrisons!

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Are Brunel Lecturers Treating Us Like Children?

On 12th March 2012, I went to my very first Brunel Public Lecture as part of Brunel Universities Hidden Truth Lecture Series. It was a fantastic event and incredibly thought-provoking although it did get me thinking about something else. The lecture, which was attended by about 150 Brunel staff members and members of the public, not to mention 4 or 5 actual students that bothered to turn up, seemed to be remarkably different to all other lectures I’ve had over the last 4 years.

What I realised that despite being in “higher education”, I am still a victim of childish learning experiences. I do not believe that this is a challenge on the lecturers in particular but maybe it is a challenge on university education as a whole.

I witnessed an incredibly different lecture to the ones I pay £3,000 a year for. The public lecture, entitled Exploring E-Life: Big Brother or Brave New World, was thought-provoking and a wonderful experience to be a part of. I really felt as though I was learning something from the lecture as the speakers spoke with passion, drive and a real knowledge of the subject. The lectures that I get on a daily basis, in comparison, always seem unprepared, boring and if I’m honest, the lectures just read off handouts or the presentation slides.

I think I figured out why. Despite Brunel being classed as a “university”, the lectures teaching students is not their top priority. The academic members of staff are here year round, working on their own research and improving their own portfolio. The reason why lectures seem so unprepared and uninterested is because they are. Teaching their students is an afterthought to them and they probably see us students as more of an annoyance. Like the title of this peice suggests, our lectures teach us like children and they are too busy leading their adult lives to pay us any attention.

I also believe that it is not entirely the lecturers fault. The audience at the two lectures were remarkably different. At my daily lectures, there is this underlining desire to show off and be the best – to be the number 1 student in the class. It is always a competition even when it shouldn’t be. At the public lecture, everyone was equal. No-one was showing off, except the occasional oddball who asks a question just to hear the sound of his own voice. Everyone who turned up to the lecture was there to listen and to learn something new. The lack of competition and, in turn, pressure made it a much better experience.

So are Brunel lectures treating us like children? Yes and that is because we still are children. Even at the age of 21, I do not consider myself a fully grown adult and still have alot of experiences left in me, as well as a childish side to satisfy. I not expecting a lecturer to turn up at 9am and present a 30 minute presentation because I wouldn’t care or pay attention. I like the fact that my lecturer acknowledges that students go out and get drunk and won’t turn up at 9am.

At the end of the day, as long as lecturers and students are treating each other as equals, then that is the only way that the learning experience will be of benefit to both sides.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Are you treated like a child by your lecturers or are you a lecturer and do you students act like children in the classroom?

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What Annoys Me Most About This Whole KONY Thing

I seem to understand the premise of the issue being raised by the KONY video. So please don’t start going on and commenting about how I’m ignorant to the issues at hand. If there is a serious dictatorship issue going on in Uganda that it compelled a young film maker to help create this half hour documentary, then I’m not going to challenge that.

What I will argue is the amount of stupid people on Facebook and Twitter who go on and on as if they were personally affected by the issue and act as if they care. I logged on to Facebook yesterday and almost 50 people had shared or posted about this video, adding to the already ludicrous viral nature of this campaign.

Now they have moved been by this video but I felt compelled to ask some of them “At no point have you ever given a damn about Uganda, it’s people or it’s government.” Suddenly, when something gives you an opportunity to look like a better person than your friends, you’re all over it like a fly on a turd.

KONY 2012 is a fashion statement. It’ll be out of fashion as quickly as it got into fashion and shame on all of those who got involved for the sake of it.

Don’t fuel a fire when you have no petrol.

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