The end of the long walk. R.I.P Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

As many of you may have heard by now, and for those of you that haven’t, Nelson Mandela was pronounced dead at 9:00 PM last night – the 5th December 2013. For the first, and probably last time, I actually agree with the words of president Jacob Zuma.

Our Nation has indeed lost its greatest son.

The news, which was not completely unexpected, developed so suddenly that, in the end, it actually did take us by surprise. Madiba has, over the last year, been repeatedly institutionalised for a recurring lung infection. It was so severe that South Africans prepared for his death in July this year. At the time he recovered and for months we South Africans have dared to hope that the great statesman would continue to improve. Whilst probably not being a picture of health, or be ready for political office again, we hoped that Madiba would at least see and bid welcome to another new age with the upcoming 2014 elections.

Throughout his life he taught lessons of equality and freedom, not only as a scholar, but through his actions which spoke truly to the hearts of millions. Even though he spent 27 years in prison, Madiba rose from the ashes of his former self with the same beliefs and kept on his goal of freeing this country from oppression. Nelson Mandela taught us that perseverance and determination will eventually bring change and that by reaching out for people’s hearts you can change their minds. The Nobel Peace Prize winner will be well remembered the world over for his good grace and humility. Possibly also for dancing in the Queens Box at the Royal Albert Hall!

The Madiba Jive

The Madiba Jive

To his critics – Nelson Mandela was not a saint. On this continent that is heralded for its violence, it is no surprise that even our best have stains on their character.  Nelson Mandela was simply a good man who did not fail to act and in so doing became great. He fought evil and prejudice at every opportunity. Nelson Mandela brought South Africa out of Apartheid control, and he did it in the most life-preserving way possible.

The '95 Rugby World Cup

The ’95 Rugby World Cup

It is to the people of South Africa that you must now focus your attention. The death of someone like Mandela, who represented the best of what this country once stood for, means the loss of hope for many. With half the country under the poverty line and the crime rate going through the roof, people are losing hope daily. Indeed many don’t even know what to believe in anymore. The ANC that Madiba has left behind, is maliciously corrupt and wasting billions of rands… But that is a story for another day.

Today, appreciate the great man for who he was and the difference that he made to millions of lives. Tomorrow we need to look to build the future that Madiba envisioned. A true rainbow nation that would allow Tata Madiba to truly rest in peace.

Madiba in the Green and  Gold

Madiba in the Green and Gold

Rest in Peace, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. (18 July  1918 – 5 December 2013)

Madiba’s funeral is set to take place next weekend.

 

Ciao

Desh

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Be the King of the Hill – 6 tips to help you interview like a champion!

You know the thing about life, at least what I’ve found so far, is that nothing goes according to plan. That’s most especially true when looking at the job market. When I arrived back in South Africa, having earned my degree, from a pretty prestigious place I might add, I had thought that I would be able to get a job relatively easily. So far I’ve had very few opportunities to even interview. That’s been my problem, once I’ve gotten into an interview I have no problems impressing and getting a job. Getting my foot in the door with my CV has been another kettle of fish entirely.

But back to the topic at hand. Whilst I may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I do know how to impress at an interview. How do I know that I’m good at interviews? Because I’ve gotten into 2 highly specialised universities. 1 of which has similar acceptance rates to Oxford. I’ve also gotten a job where, quite frankly, they didn’t want someone of my race. It may not be the most impressive resume but let me share my knowledge. Try it out, if it doesn’t work for you then comment the crap out of this page!

Tip #1 Know thy company!

The one thing that all interviewers will appreciate, is a basic knowledge of the company you’re applying to. There’s no need to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of all their systems, personnel and strategies. You will however need something more than their name and product. Here are the questions you should ask. What does the company do? What are their morals? Aims? Goals? Environment? Achievements? Figure out how you will fit into the company and that’s it. Everything you should know about a company before you go to an interview.

You may be thinking… What can knowing some more hurt? I think it’s a two-way street. On the one hand, you do have the ability to seem more impressive and there are many interviewers who really appreciate a solid knowledge of the company. Anything about a company that does not directly influence your possible job is not important information. They’re hiring a Marketing Director not a product manager, don’t comment on how you can fix the assembly line! You also run the risk of looking desperate. It’s the same principle as never picking up your phone on the first ring. If you answer on the first ring then clearly you’re not all that busy.

Play it safe! If you want to ask anything about a company in an interview then go ahead. I’ve never met an interviewer who scoffed at me for being eager and curious.

Tip #2 Dress to impress? Don’t take it too literally!

There is one idea that I consistently see on interviewing tip pages. They always say you need to dress to impress. Wear a suit and tie and always look like you’ve already spent a million bucks. The other option is, dress for the job you want to have.

Honestly, if I was the interviewer and someone came in for, let’s say, a Marketing Assistant job. And they were dressed ready for a Marketing Director position. My first thought would inevitably be wow this person looks really formal. Formal is great, but it doesn’t have personality. When was the last time you went up to a stranger in a suit and said hey buddy howzit hanging! Build a relationship with your interviewer and you’re one step closer to getting the job.

In the end you need to be comfortable. Remember at an interview the only thing you’re selling is yourself. Tip 2 is dress as yourself on your absolute best day. Brush your teeth, trim your nose hairs, comb your eyelashes – whatever you need to do to look your best. Torn jeans and a T-shirt are not always appropriate but a good pair of jeans and a collared shirt is something that will just about always be acceptable.If your first instinct is to wear a suit then go ahead, as long as you feel natural and relaxed in it. Be daring – add a blazer! Your goal is to wear something that make you look and feel great!

Tip #3 Be PUNCTUAL!

The ABSOLUTE worst thing you can do before an interview begins is be late for it. There is simply no excuse short of your wife (or husband – sorry this article is just easier to write as a man) was in a car accident and they’ve got minutes to live. There’s really not much to say, you should arrive at your interview at least 15 minutes early and be waiting at the interviewers convenience. It’s about respect, show an appropriate amount of it and you’ll always come off better.

If for some reason there is no way to circumvent being late. Call ahead and make sure that your interviewer knows that you will be arriving late due to extenuating circumstances. Make 100% certain that they know!

Tip #4 It’s all in the handshake

Like a handshake, an interview is about how you present yourself. A handshake should never be an attempt to hurt, to domineer. A good handshake is solid without being painful. A good handshake involves your whole body.

Okay, admittedly the last one sounds like a weird concept but think of it like this. Imagine you were shaking the Rock’s – yes the wrestler – hand. Now if he stood over you those crazy eyes of his and flexed a peck while shaking your hand, I’m 99.99% certain that you’d be a little intimidated! If however he used the cheesy movie smile and shook hands without breaking your personal space – you’d be pretty chuffed you were meeting the Rock and would fondly remember the experience forever. A good handshake is about more than just your hands.

If you were to take my extended metaphor in the interview context. An interview is about more than your words. It should be neutral. Don’t try to be aggressive or dominate the exchange. Treat the interview as a meeting of equals. Answer questions when asked and ask whatever you want to know. You need to portray yourself in the best possible light. Smile broadly – keep it appropriate, shoulders and back straight – lean ever so slightly forward, open body position – don’t cross hands or legs, use your body – gesture to show enthusiasm (within reason, swinging your arms around like a gorilla is really not going to help) and finally maintain eye contact – don’t be creepy just look someone in the eye when you’re talking to them.

BY THE WAY a good handshake really does go a long way!

Tip #5 For the love of all things open your ears and listen!

Interviews are about communication. Plain and simple… You need to communicate your ideas, your personality, your work ethic, your knowledge, your skills… You need to be able to showcase yourself in the best possible light as quickly as possible. In the end you need to leave a positive impression! There is nothing on Earth as annoying as someone not listening to you while you are trying to talk!

Tip #5 is basically about talking when it’s your turn. You need to talk succinctly and address all the major issues.Remember the interview is an exchange. If your interviewer isn’t talking then you can put in some extra effort. Tell them how your skills are especially suited to the job requirements.

This is a bit of a risky technique, but it is one that works pretty consistently for me. Largely because I love to tell stories. If you’re feeling brave or, like me, are good at telling stories. Then you can use anecdotes to showcase your experience. Re-tell difficult situations and how you solved them or how perhaps how in hindsight you could have solved it better. Using anecdotes is riskier than simply asking questions because stories are subjective. Stories are enjoyed, by the listener, for different aspects. So not only do you have to quickly and accurately relay the details of your escapades, but you also need to consider what the interviewer is listening for and also what would reflect positively on your experience.

Tip#6 A little attitude goes a long way

This is the last tip I can give to you potential interviewees. Honestly if you’ve learnt nothing else, remember this one. Attitude is the best thing you can take into your interview, provided you use it in small doses. Show confidence in your abilities. You can write a solid business plan, or set up a budget. Even a little bit of ego has value in an interview. Why should you get the job? Because you are the best person for the job.

Keep calm and relaxed. Remember these tips and good luck! I hope these 6 tips really help you out in the near future! With the job market being as difficult as it is worldwide, we’ll need all the help we can get.

Until next time,

Ciao,

Desh

Halloween Countdown: 5 horror games to get your heart racing

Hi guys and girls! As Halloween creeps ever closer so too does my countdown of things hairy and scary. Games are one thing that I’m truly passionate about. But there are so many horror games out there that it’s always going to be hard to find the ones really worth playing. Here are 5 Horror Survival Games that will keep you awake for a few days.

5) F.E.A.R.

F.E.A.R. at first seems like a pretty ordinary FPS game. Typical weapons, load-out and a seemingly ordinary mission. Slowly, as the fabric of your reality unravels, everything around you gets steadily more terrifying. A little girl popping and out of existence. Disembodied screams. Bodily fluids leaking from walls. This is a game that certainly knows how to keep you on your toes. A great transition for FPS gamers into the horror-survival universe.

 

4) Resident Evil 4

The Resident Evil series has taken a lot of flak for the quality of their last 2 games. Honestly though, they were decent. Granted it felt like they were built along the lines of a Hollywood blockbuster, but decent. After all, not every painting is going to be the Mona Lisa. Resident Evil 4 however, is Madonna of the Rocks. Not overly scary. The top shelf story, weapons and personalities are what make the game truly great. Not to mention the appearance of a parasitic type zombie infection, which really changed the mechanic for fans of the series. Resident Evil 4 is a must play for any true horror-survival gamer.

 

 3) Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly

AKA Fatal Frame. Based on Japanese folklore, Crimson Butterfly embodies a true psychological horror. I think what really made this game for me is the fact that it’s really not flashy (pardon the pun). You’re alone. Completely Alone. Not like Will Smith in I am Legend Alone. More like in a being trapped in a suit and stuck in space without anyway to move alone. Armed only with the magical Camera Obscura and some seemingly ordinary film you need to capture the spirits of the damned survive long enough to find out the truth. It’s a brilliant game that anyone who still owns a PS2 should find a copy of! I haven’t played the other games in the series but I’ve heard good things so check those out as well!

 

2) Silent Hill

I am sure that the name of this series is already familiar to you. Heck they’ve already made 2 movies based on the games and the world of Silent Hill. So if you haven’t watched it, I really suggest you do as they’re not altogether bad horror flicks. On the whole this is a really a great series of games and it’s much, much scarier than the modern Resident Evil. Although the gameplay is a little clunkier and the combat dynamic is less important. There are too many to plots and designs to comment on in a non-dedicated post. But, Silent Hill 2 deserves some special mention as it really dives into the mind of the protagonist as it gives you glimpses of his mind unraveling.

 

1) Dead Space

This is the ultimate in horror-survival games. I don’t think there is anything else to say. Dead Space is the Aston Martin DB9 of the horror-survival genre. Sure it’s got it’s problems – predictable plot points for one. But it combines advanced tactics and weaponry, mixed pacing (sometimes slow at other times ridiculously fast), and a massive array of enemies who just don’t don’t die easily. Dead Space, as a series, likes to keeps you off-balance. Even when you think you’re safe you probably aren’t. You, as Isaac, will learn this lesson pretty quickly. Never knowing what to suspect means that every corner is a new surprise, and that surprise could probably kill you in a heartbeat. Eerie lighting and sounds in the distance all come together to create a genuinely terrifying world that will test every nerve of your being. Put it this way, whilst playing Dead Space 3, there were days when I actually did not want to turn on my PS3 simply because I was too scared. 

So I was meant to post this yesterday and just lost track of time a little so prepare for a double Halloween dose today! In any case these are some epic games well worth checking out if your ever get the chance.

Until next time!
Ciao

Desh

P.S. If you enjoyed reading, or my choices please share!

Halloween Countdown: 5 horrors you must see from 2009

So we all know what time of year it is! It’s time to embrace the scary side of life! Personally, I like to start off with a couple movies. Here are 5 of my favourite 2009 horror’s to whet your halloween spirit. Click the titles for IMDB links!

5) The Descent 1 & 2 (2005 & 2009)

Admittedly this is a bit of a cheat, since these are two different movies and one isn’t from 2009, but the Descent Series is one helluva good scare. It’s dark, gory and full of blood! These movies are definitely the way to start off your halloween nightmares. Beware, you may not want to go spelunking for a while! 


4) Halloween 2 (2009)

To those of you that are familiar with the series, you know that, as a director, Rob Zombie is seriously messed up. In my opinion far more compelling than Rosenthal’s Original. Nothing supernatural or overly frightening. Just good old Michael Myers coming back again, and again, and…

3) Orphan (2009)

You can never really tell about some people…

2) Pontypool (2009)

A small community, completely isolated from the world. And now the unimaginable has happened. Pontypool is an intelligent, gripping horror that adds real personality to the zombie genre.

1) Carriers (2009)

This isn’t your typical horror movie. It’s not gory or particularly scary. It’s about survival. Carriers will give you a guided glimpse into the apocalyptic future, and sometimes the worst danger comes from the place you least expected.

As you can see 2009 was a great year for the horror genre. I’m going to be counting down a couple more Halloween goodies so stay tuned.

Ciao

Desh

Also if you’ve enjoyed reading this post please share!

Late or Early: Make sure to arrive at the right time

I hate being late.

Throughout my entire life I can think of all the time that I’ve wasted in my life waiting for someone else. The end result?

I hate being late.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to meet someone on-time especially if they’re doing you a favour! So today I’m interviewing at a university where I hope to study next year. For those of you that are interested I am trying to get into a BA(HONS) in Brand Leadership which I’m hoping to study at VEGA.

I asked my twitter followers exactly when you should arrive for an interview. The response from my friend Bob was this “@DeshMoodliar Early is on time. On time is late. Late is unacceptable.” I have to say, I completely agree. I don’t think people should ever be late for meetings. On top of that you should always arrive first, it’s just a basic sign of respect.

Today I arrived half an hour early. Which, admittedly, may have been a little too respectful. Overall though I always thinks it’s better to seem excited and over eager than blasé or inconsiderate. So if ever in doubt, always err on the side of caution. Aim to be at a meeting at least 15 minutes before. That way if there are any accidents or delays you should still be able to arrive on-time.

Ciao

Desh

P.S. Since I have now finished my interview, I can say, quite happily, that I have been accepted. So woo hooo!

 

What are you doing in that chair? It’s time for the Government to answer to the people.

So initially I was planning to post this as a Facebook status update. But my blog felt more appropriate. For the record, I am speaking about the South African Government, the ANC. But I believe the same principles apply no matter where you are. Unless you live in a country with a tyrannical dictator – then I’m afraid you’re shit out of luck. Well at least in so far as my post in concerned.

Today I’m having a go at the idea of a government. They are meant to be individuals elected to represent the populous. A group of leaders, in single body, that make decisions for the best possible growth of a country (or a state but in this case I really want to talk about countries). In the world that we live in today there are over 7 billion people who need to share the same air and land and food with us. I truly believe that, without governments and societies of law and order, the world would fall into chaos.

The problem is, we don’t have any proper leadership left. To me, it seems like everyone who goes into government is only out for themselves in the political minefield. The inevitable truth is that no one leader is going to appeal to everybody. Even dictators like Robert Mugabe were once considered the salvation of their people. Obviously this is not the case with all dictators. But Robert Mugabe, at the time of the Zimbabwean Independence, was democratically elected as the first real president (technically prime minister at first, later reformed to a presidency) of Zimbabwe. What he has done since his inauguration is another story altogether. Click here for an abbreviated history of Robert Mugabe at cnn.com.

But I digress, leaders are never going to be deemed perfect by any standard. There will always be a difference of opinion. A difference in thought patterns, or persuasions, or race. Any number of things could result in a leader not being influential over any number of people. Perhaps I have an inner optimist, but I think people should be able to find a consensus on what is both good and bad for a country. Sometimes the lines are far more blurred. With America for instance, with such differing viewpoints between the presidential candidates, there is no line of best growth in the middle. On the one hand President Obama has incurred more debt than any other president in American History. But he is also setting the groundwork for what he believes will be a brighter future and has the potential to make it so. George W. Bush made, what I believe to be, some pretty big mistakes – waving at Stevie Wonder for instance. On the other hand, he had an extremely difficult presidency with the incidents of 09/11. In the end America came out alright, so perhaps Mr. Bush wasn’t too incompetent.

South Africa at the moment is preparing for a presidential election and I have to say, “I’m pretty damn excited.” I think that, this time, the ANC has messed up so badly that we actually have a chance for a fresh start. With the passing of the millennium, South Africa has been in constant decline. I think it’s time that the people decide, for themselves, the difference between good and bad.

In a previous post regarding Nelson Mandela and his legacy I discussed some of the major issues currently going on. Now we’re suffering through this ridiculous e-toll debacle. Basically the ANC and SANRAL have attempted to ‘slip in’ additional road taxes to anyone using main highways in Johannesburg. Amongst other things it will result in millions of rands being sent out of the country, to Kapsch a technology company based in Austria. This is at a time when our economy is so weak that we may as well become another Zimbabwe. Honestly the potential harm is limitless, and with the current state of monetary control in this country I have absolutely no trouble believing those funds will end up in ANC officials pockets. Especially given the espionage-esque manner this was introduced to the public. (If you’re interested, get more information at OUTA) If our ANC officials spent as much energy on fixing the country, as some of them expend to be corrupt, South African Rand would be back one a 1:1 exchange rate with the British Pound.

I think that the government and president of a country is responsible for answering to its people. Those that have elected them through due process. 

In China at the moment, a city of 11 million people has basically ground to a halt due to the highly hazardous smog that has engulfed the city. Even though they are an authoritarian regime, the Chinese government is inevitably responsible for the lives of its people. The promises that were made to address the issues of air pollution now need to be followed up on and the people helped through this difficult time.

The same is true of South Africa. It’s time now that the ANC answer for their crimes on the people of this country. The ANC has become a doppelgänger Apartheid. The racism from the old days still holds true as the entire country makes it more difficult for those of other races to survive. Okay, they don’t kill whites for walking in the wrong area and they don’t enforce something like the group areas act. At the end of the day the principle is the same, because some people are of a different race they should not be given jobs. And that’s what it bubbles down to. Without a job how can anyone survive?

As a matter of fact, in some respects, the ANC are probably even worse than Apartheid. The ANC has instilled incompetence and corruption as the staples of the South African government. The money that should be used to help the poor and develop industry, goes into mansions and endless ‘corporate’ expenses. The money that should be used to educate and uplift, is being used in tender fraud schemes.

I think it’s finally time for all South Africans to make a stand and prepare to vote in the next elections. Not only should we vote, but we should consider exactly what it will take to get this country back on the right track. We need to ask the question “What are you doing in that chair?”

Until the next time,

Ciao

Desh

Community Challenge: My Favourite Gaming Icons

Perhaps this fringes the nature versus nurture debate, but as people we are the product of everything we have ever done in our lives. Okay, a little too much. At the very least I think our experiences play a role in who we are as people. Some effects are infinitesimally small, others significantly larger and more visible. Generation Y, has more daily influences than any other in the course of history.

We’re unique in many respects. In the past 10 years technology has progressed more than in the previous 100 years. The time for a technology to reach world recognition has changed from 50 years to around 5. University syllabi from the 1950’s is now being taught in high school. Gaming, once used as a free-time filler is now an integral part of our lives.

GAMIFICATION!! 

For those of you that don’t know what GAMIFICATION is I made a presentation and discussed it as part of my final coursework for my degree. I apologise as this may be a little self-serving and bad quality. For a quick reference on gamification check 12:20. Also check out Gabe Zicherman as he’s an actual leading authority on the subject of gamification.

So whether it be collecting shopping points from buying groceries, or inviting friends, by email, to get access to a free service. Down to actually sitting your lazy ass down on a couch and just enjoying a game with friends, or alone it doesn’t really matter which. Gaming is a big part of how we learn, develop and grow.

Gaming, just like any medium, has icons. Characters we aspire to be as strong or as brave as, like Aragorn or Aslan. They may have special skills or just be plain sexy. For whatever reason they are a part of our lives live famous literature, powerful ballads or picturesque poetry. So I’ve dedicated this post to honouring some of the characters that have always held special significance to me.

10) Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

Lara_Croft__Tomb_Raider_Anniversary.JPGLara Croft. The epitome of nerdy gamers and their evil powers. Big boobs, a tight ass, not to mention the fact that she can fly through the air and fire multiple guns at the same time. If women were actually made like this there would be no place left for men in this world, but we’d go down with one hell of a big smile on our faces.

Lara was the gaming equivalent of Indianna Jones, and I really don’t think there is anything more to say. Originally developed by Eidos games, Lara is now under the care of the lads at Square Enix – best known for the Final Fantasy series. I’m looking forward to some amazing future instalments of puzzles, traps and some heavy firepower! On a side note Lara is, I believe, responsible for creating and destroying more misogyny than any other game icon.

09) Desmond Miles (Assassins Creed)

Assassins_Creed__Ezio_Auditore.JPGDesmond Miles was first introduced to us in 2007 with the release of the first Assassins Creed. Initially unwilling and inexperienced, Desmond used the animus, a device that enables the reliving of memories sealed in DNA, to unlock his ancestors past and live their lives whilst he attempts to make sense of the present. Altair, Ezio, Haytham and Connor are all incarnations of Desmond’s past that can help him save the future.

Desmond is probably one of the most enjoyable characters to play on the PS3. He’s involved in a rich tapestry of fate and is completely outgunned. Yet as an Assassin, traditionally not the most honourable profession, he has to save the world from tyranny.

Armed with an almanac of lethal strikes, deadly weapons and insane parkour Desmond is easily one of the greatest ‘dark’ hero incarnations. On a side note there is nothing more satisfying than taking pulling off the perfect string of assassinations and wiping out a fort without getting caught.

08) Captain John Price (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare)

Captain_John_Price__Modern_Warfare_3.PNGCaptain Price is unequivocally the soldiers soldier. Although technically not the main protagonist, Price is a part of what makes the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Series so great. Almost always pictured in his boonie hat, Price is a master marksman, tactician and weapons expert. Together with his best friend and partner John ‘Soap’ Mactavish he seeks to bring down Vladimir Makarov, the twisted leader of an ultranationalist terrorist cell.

Captain Price is a hero who you can really get behind and root for, and in the end he’s exactly the type of soldier that any gamer could want to be.

To date the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series remains one of the greatest FPS games around. With brilliant graphics, weapons, modifications and support options. This game will almost always give you a good ride! Although it can be very frustrating as well, but only for the realists among you.

07) Commander Shepard (Mass Effect)

Commander Shepard is the brainchild of the gaming mega-giant EA Games. Shepard and Mass Effect represent a revolutionary development in gaming. Not only can you make choices in the game, but your choices will actually affect the story and possible endings. Your choices will even affect future games! This really brings out the perfectionist in me. When I bought Mass Effect 3, in order to get the perfect ending, I went back and replayed the entire series re-considering each choice I’ve made throughout the story.

The best part about Shepard is that he is exactly what you make him to be. All of the little actions that you take effect your personal growth and how you interact with everyone around you. Whilst there is still room to grow, this personality system bodes very well for future games.

Mass Effect is still and, I believe will always be, one of my top 10 gaming series. With stunning graphics, realistic character design, a host of unique allies and individual  personality traits. Mass Effect is the perfect life sim for gamers. Not overly realistic and supremely entertaining. Despite the general consensus I thought that the ending, although a little cheesy and thin, was really worth getting to. After all, It’s about the journey not the destination.

06) Squall Leonheart (Final Fantasy VIII)

Final Fantasy 8 was one of the very first games I bought on my PSone. At the time I was 8 years old. I remember the video’s that were so detailed they looked real. I remember fighting T-Rex’s in the forest. Sweating as I boosted my Shiva GF to maximum power to capture Ifrit. It had a beautiful rich storyline. The characters were real. This was the game that addicted my to the Final Fantasy series and I have always been grateful. Mostly because, the Final Fantasy series made me want to be an RPG gamer. It inspired the books I’ve read and still read today and made me see that games can be more than simple consumption entertainment. They are worlds beyond our ken that tell rich stories and allow you to live in the shoes of people who accomplish great things.

Squall is without a doubt a fantastic character. He’s a brave and strong, yet humble and softly spoken. Squall isn’t even a natural leader but he rises to the challenges and he fights with everything he has, hugely cheesy I grant you. But once you’re caught in the story it really doesn’t matter anymore.

For those of you that hate it when a great story ends, Final Fantasy VIII is the game for you. It it without a doubt in my mind the longest FF game to date, and if you want proof the original PSone edition had 4 discs, as long as you made a point of collecting the GF’s and cards. To be fair, it’s damn hard to finish if you don’t have all the GF’s.

05) Crash Bandicoot (Crash Bandicoot)

Nothing says childhood quite like the furry monster that is Crash Bandicoot. Developed by Naughty Dog, he’s one of the most successful franchises in gaming and for good reason! Crash is the Super Mario of Playstation, and planet earth is his Princess Peach! In reality, I’ve always preferred Crash Bandicoot. He’s fun and funky, got some interesting dance moves and was always more relatable. Plus, in Crash Team Racing they used missiles! I never did get the whole point of homing turtles, or overalls for that matter.

With a host of apple based weaponry and a magical guardian aku-aku mask Crash Bandicoot is one super hero. If you haven’t played the franchise before, do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of Crash 3: Warped and CTR: Crash Team Racing.

04) Dante (Devil May Cry)

If you’re ever been around a console then the name Devil May Cry is probably one sounds familiar. At least if you’ve ever been around some decent games! Devil May Cry focusses on a world where Demons live amongst us. Dante, the son of legendary dark knight Sparda – the first demon to rebel – takes up his fathers’ mantle and seeks to defend the human race from the demonic hordes. Dante, half demon from his fathers’ lineage has superhuman abilities which he brings down full force on the armies of hell.

Dante and Devil May Cry are the ultimate form of cool. With a bevy of beautiful girls, disgustingly powerful weapons and Dante’s own demon form; not to mention Dante’s ‘cool’ and cocky attitude to everything around him. Devil May Cry is a must for all gamers.

03) Snake (Metal Gear Solid)

Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece is utterly timeless. With a inter-game storyline resembling Pulp Fiction, you follow the life of ‘Snake’. A codename for specialist survival agents who are sent, on what are basically suicide missions, with little support and a blitzkrieg of enemies. My personal favourite MGS3 sees you working against the Russians and hunting down your former mentor, The Boss, after the Cold War.

With advanced tactics and some pretty standard weaponry you need to find a way to survive against unthinkable odds. This game combines the best of tactical thinking, with sheer luck and more than a little skill. The best thing about snake is that he is simply a man on a mission. All the pain and emotions that he experiences really come through in the dialogue and gameplay.

02) Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)

As soon as I said that I was a Final Fantasy gamer you should’ve known that this is the one character that I couldn’t live without. Cloud Strife is one of the most acclaimed Final Fantasy hero’s of all time. Hailing from a land dying, because of the Shinra Corporation, Cloud together with his friends Tifa and Barrett – and many more you meet along the way – need to save the world from the evil that is Shinra and Sephiroth.

In a game that lacked speech and the in-depth facial expression that we have as a common feature today, Final Fantasy VII still wrought every drop of emotion from the player. You felt every emotion that the characters felt because you were them. In true RPG fashion you were dragged into their world and lived their lives.

If you haven’t yet and you enjoy a good RPG, open your mind, and buy a copy of this game. It may be jarring at first not being able to hear voices or see expressions but believe me the words are so much more powerful because of it.

01) Tidus & Yuna (Final Fantasy X)

These are two characters that should not need an introduction. Produced and directed by Yoshinori Kitase, Final Fantasy X is a game that changed the world of gaming. In many aspects Final Fantasy X was more than a game, it was more than a story. It takes a rare person to get so involved in a book that they could cry at the outcome or death of a main character. Final Fantasy X had that effect. There’s no point describing how much these characters actually start to mean to you, the only thing you can do is play the game and see for yourself.

Ciao,

Desh

Get Loose!

I spent 3 years of my life living in England and, I have to say, it was absolutely EPIC. Yes, there are problems with England. The weather’s miserable, it’s cold and chavs…. But once you get past the unfortunate aspects, you realise what a great country it can be.

Let me preface this by saying, no I didn’t want to stay in England permanently – at least not at the time. Second, there’s no place like home!

England is a country that has, for the most part, worked through the idea of society imposed inhibitions. By that I mean that people will inevitably do what they want. Ultimately they do what makes them happy. Whether it be tattoo’s and piercings, partying all night and pitching up to work without any sleep. It doesn’t really matter, people are able to express themselves in any (legal and sometimes illegal) way that they want. Honestly, I think that’s absolutely fantastic!

The idea of socially imposed values may have valid points. Because in truth some social values are valid. Do not kill, no dog fighting etc… On the other hand why should a society impose ideals on those who seek to be individuals in of themselves. So long at they do not hurt anyone or anything around them then society has no right to dictate the actions of an individual. The self-righteous attitude that evokes this constricting behaviour, is the one thing that pisses me off without fail.

But I digress, at the end of the day I think people need to do whatever makes them happy. Think very carefully but, if there will be an overall positive effect on your life then go ahead. If I was to use myself as an example. I enjoy dressing up in anime cosplay. I enjoy gaming and watching anime. I have 2 tattoos and am in the process of designing my next one. I re-watch old movies and re-read books that I enjoy.

Granted my affectations are not the most risqué. But the point of this post is to inspire more people to let loose and enjoy their time. Perhaps take the oppertunity to wear a costume. Get a tattoo, or a henna if you don’t want something permanent. Rave all night and work all day. If you were born a woman in a mans’ body then go ahead and do something about it. If you want to marry your homosexual lover, go ahead and don’t forget to invite me to the wedding! I have never been to a bad party hosted by a gap person. P.S. That’s really not just a stereotype.

What I’m trying to say is, do not let the views of other impact your needs. These are the lyrics to a song called Get Loose by the Salads. It’s a great party song even though you can’t hear the words.

Come on everybody, get loose tonight.
Throw your hands in the air if yer feeling alright.
We don’t care if you stare, cuz the music is tight.
Lemme hear you say YEAH so we can do this right.

Until the next time. Have Fun!

Ciao

Desh

The Next Step!

I think I knew it was time for a change when I started to come home from work exhausted. Lifeless and drained of energy I would eat, shower and sleep. For nearly 4 months, that was the extent of my private life. Granted it doesn’t seem a particularly long period. For me however, 4 months is basically a lifetime. I’m not typically the type of person who enjoys dragging my feet from place to place. When I feel that something needs to change, I get moving pretty quick. Once I’ve taken the first step.

That’s always the hardest part. Stepping out into the unknown and starting to make a change. They’re both pretty scary concepts. On the one hand you know that something needs to be rectified. In reality, change is damn scary! How do you do it? Where do you start? How long will it take? There are infinite unknown variables.

To those of you the have read The Game by Neil Strauss, once accredited as the worlds best PUA (Pick Up Artist), you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. To those of you that haven’t read The Game don’t worry, but it really is a great read!

The hesitation before taking the first step is known as AA (Approach Anxiety). PUA’s deal with AA in only one way. They ignore it completely! You’ve basically got 3 seconds to stop thinking and take the plunge. Remove all hesitation, say yes and go for it! Essentially AA comes from overthinking a situation. She’s too pretty I don’t have a chance. What do I say? She’s not my type. There’s too many people there. etc, etc, etc….

Stop creating imaginary barriers! You don’t know anything – until you do!

Whilst I completely believe in taking the plunge into a conversation. I don’t believe that everything in life works the same way. You can’t just plunge into a new career or study law without any aptitude. There is, however, much to be said about ignoring the AA. Do not be afraid of the future. It’s time to get excited!

The question that may be tickling your brain tendrils, is how do I ignore my own mind? Well most people can’t, to be honest. If they could, the world would be a far less inhibited place. Our actions are inevitably subject to our thoughts and perceptions.  So to those people who cannot shut our their subconscious. Make considered decisions. Create a plan and work out the steps for successful implementation. With enough planning there’s no need to fear the unknown. (This may sound like a contradiction – but there is a difference between thinking and overthinking)

In anycase I’ve decided on my next step. If you read my last post (Education?) you’ll know that I was deciding how to move forward it my life. I’ve decided that I need to go back to school part time. Unfortunately I’ve missed the university application dates for this year. Now I have to apply for the 2015 season. As for the course, I’ve decided to study for an LLB depending on what options I have for subjects.

So that’s that. I have taken the next step to my future. I hope that you can do the same!

Ciao

Desh

Education?

Recently, I have been giving my future more thought than usual. I’m really not the sort of person to worry about the past or the future but then I’ll have to ponder it all sometime. So I’ve been thinking. What are my potential career paths? Likely income? When should I move into my own place? But no matter how much time I spend looking at the possibilities I cannot seem to make up my mind. There’s too much fluid in the mix. Too many “What ifs?”. If I was a naval navigator I’d be trying to map a course without knowing the currents or the weather. Dangerous business.

At least I know what I don’t want.

I don’t want to end up in an office environment. A 3×3 box that defines my daily life. I don’t want to come home every day feeling tired and dissatisfied that, in the end, I didn’t really change anything. Perhaps thats a selfish ideal, and these grandiose ideas are misplaced. Maybe that’s where I will end up regardless of my wishes.

But, I have the need to get out and create something, anything! Actually, to tell the truth, I know exactly what I want to create. I want to have my own music festival. A place for friends and family to get together and have a good time. Nothing overly extravagant, just some great music, good company and some real potential for a good time. Day to day, I want to be a planner. Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Prom nights…. I don’t really mind what the events is so long as people will go and have a great time.

You would think that knowing where I wanted to end up would be enough to decide on how to get there. Honestly the choices worry me. On the one hand, I could take on an internship and hopefully get enough experience to get hired by an events company. On the other hand theres the education route, and I’m always in favour of improving myself. But what would I study and what would be the consequences. I’ve been working in a commercial position for about 5 months now and every job offer and interview I’ve received in this time has been sales based. Which, for the record, is not at all where I want to end up.

So what everything boils down to is whether or not to go back to school?

There is no real reason that I can’t do both so for the moment that’s what I’m planning to do. In the meantime I’ll be giving the whole predicament some fresh thought, and I’ll throw out my ideas when I get them.

Ciao,

Desh

Marina Chetner

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