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Friday, 28 November 2014

Black Friday Mentality.

Image from @RobD1970 on Twitter

Hello there, did you read or watch the news reports of Black Friday madness across the country? There were scenes of people pushing each other and trampling over others, why? Was there a limited world vaccine or cure for a disease we were all sure to die of if we didn't receive a shot? Nope, TVs and other goods were discounted, some as little as 37% off their 'usual' price. For this, people turned into, well, I can't say animals, I think animals would have been better behaved. They turned into greedy, selfish idiots, intent on rushing to grab their 'bargains' before anyone else did.

There are photos on the Internet of grown adults grappling for possession of TVs, videos of men threatening each other and women clinging onto their prizes as others tried to wrestle them from their arms. Watching some of the video footage, I wasn't even sure if people were really bothered what they bought, as long as they bought something. Was it pack mentally? Do people really get carried along with the crowd and find themselves acting in ways they would never have thought, or did these people go along to the sales determined to just bag something, to 'win their prize' at any cost?

Both the written news reports and video footage made me feel lots of emotions, but mostly sadness, and worry. Have we really all become so self centred and have such a sense of entitlement that we think this sort of behaviour is acceptable? Do we really value TVs and other so called sale bargains above human decency? What would happen if there was an emergency where we all needed to come together and help each other through it?

Later news reports lay the bulk of the blame for these scenes on the retailers, and while they may have played their part in whipping up a buying frenzy, let's not lose sight of the fact that we all need to take responsibility for our own actions. We all have free will, and we are all capable of exercising a little bit of restraint and kindness rather than greed and anger. No one involved in any of the scrummages has anyone but themselves to blame if their greed led to another human being being hurt.

I like a bargain as much as the next person, I love to feel I have a few pounds off my buys, but I don't covet a prize at the expense of hurting my fellow man. I couldn't conceive of any situation where we all felt the need to push and shove, hurting each other, forgetting basic manners and making ourselves the subject of some of the most shameful news headlines in a while. Come on people, the only time we should push and shove is in a life threatening situation, and then we should be pushing and shoving the most vulnerable of society to the head of the queue. A TV, which these people probably already have at least one of in their house, is really not worth losing your decency for.

Hopefully the reports are only indicative of a small minority of the public. I hang on to the hope that most of us still care, that we would be above this sort of behaviour. Let's all do something nice, just because we can, instead of spending money on frivolous rubbish, just because we can.

We've donated to our local foodbank this afternoon, just to show we practise what we preach. X

With love from the bears

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Stocking Up

Hello there, it's Horace here again today to wish you a happy weekend. Is your weather as dull and dreary as mine? Autumn has well and truly set in and it feels cold cold cold. I think we were rather spoilt with an extended summer, lots of dry days and a very mild October. I've been keeping well wrapped up in my lovely knitted cardi, with my pawmade quilt for comfort. As an aside, Ali Wade asked in my previous post, who was the ebear seller for my cardi? Her ebay title is nogoodcat, she's well worth a look if you want to be the best dressed bear in town.

Since the weather has turned, I need something to occupy my paws, so I've turned once again to my trusty sewing machine. Despite only possessing the machine since May this year, I've built up a rather large stock of material, mostly fat quarters and remnants, of which I've made a ridiculous amount of tote bagsand not a lot else so far.

I wondered what else I could make that would be quick, easy and fun, I racked my furry brain for ideas, when suddenly I realised, it's less than six weeks to Christmas. What does every good bear need at Christmas time? A stocking to house his presents from Santa, of course. Serendipitously, I had a small stocking pattern in my Quilt Now magazine, so I set about cutting three stockings, one for me, one for Podgy, and one for young Arnold, our bear cub.

Luckily, I also had some Santa patterned cotton in my fabric stash to last wayyyyyy beyond bear years, this stocking sewing was obviously meant to be! I was 'sew' excited (sorry, couldn't resist) that I forgot to take any 'before' photos. Oh well, Podgy came in whilst I was sewing the stocking tops, and snapped a rather odd angled picture of me at the machine.

Note to all who decide to make stockings with felt tops- if you make a mistake, it's almost impossible to pick your stitches from the felt. Take it from the bear who tried!

Anyhoo, despite my fancy stitched top going awry, I did at least manage to stitch not one, not two but three decent looking stockings that any self respecting bear would be happy to leave out for Santa to fill.

I'm rather pleased with these. I think I'll have the red patterned stocking, and gift the Santa stockings to Podgy and Arnold, I hope they'll be pleased.

Whenever I've attempted to stitch anything with a curved line before, I've produced a puckered finish, this time, before turning the stocking the right way out, I snipped slightly into the curved line, making sure I didn't cut right through my carefully crafted stitches. When I then turned the stockings the right way out, the curves were pawfect. Yippee. Do you think Santa will come and fill these beauties on Christmas Eve? I certainly hope so.

Now, what else can I stitch that is quick and easy on my paws?

With love from the bears

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Day I Deleted Facebook

Hello there dear bloggers, how are you all? It's Horace here on this chillsome November day, in fact, so chilly that I'm sporting my lovely autumn knit. Do you like it? I bought it from an ebear seller. She knits the loveliest jumpers, cardi's and hats. I'm quite addicted to her selling page and fast running out of 'paw'ket money as i just can't stop ordering.

Note the poppy in the photo above, I've still got in on now, although I shall be exchanging it for a Children in Need headband shortly, ready for Friday's charity day.

Anyway, what have the bears been up to? Well, not an awful lot at all. I've been feeling a little pawly, so have resorted to trawling Internet sites, as that requires little energy. One site I seemed to waste a lot of time on was Facebook, far too much time in fact. I found myself constantly clicking on the website numerous times a day, scrolling through my news feed, only to reach the end and scroll back up to start again. It had become a mindless, and slightly depressing, habit. No longer was it any fun, it held little useful information, and I found myself feeling rather negative about the whole experience, BUT, habit meant I still clicked, scrolled, read, scrolled, and scrolled again, with absolutely no purpose and gaining nothing in the process.

When I found myself clicking on the Facebook tab for the umpteenth time in my convalescence, I suddenly stopped, paw raised in mid air, what on earth was I doing, and why was I doing it? I was learning nothing, the amusement and entertainment factor was practically nil, and reading that X was 'fed up' of her life, Y had just 'eaten a burger - feeling stuffed', Z was '**** 'with her '****husband' was just depressing and slightly weird. Why do we need to know these things about each other? Before Facebook, would we ring each other and announce 'just had a burger', ' watching X Factor on TV, boring'? Would we stand in the street and announce ' fed up with my hubby' 'kids driving me mad, roll on autumn term'?

Without knowing it, I had let Facebook take over my life. I'd take photos of restaurant dinners, coffee with friends, cakes I had made, and post them to social network, because it was the 'done thing'. I'd write inane updates and constantly check to see who had 'liked' my posts. I'd scroll through Facebook pages of people I hardly remembered from my past, adding 'friends' just because I had once shared a classroom with them, or they were friends of friends. At a recent family wedding I caught myself telling my nephew I would share the photos 'on Facebook'. Whatever happened to getting together to view the photos, to writing, emailing, visiting, talking to people individually?Why had we all resorted to the lazy way of keeping in touch by mass sharing?

I decided enough was enough. I was ready to reclaim my private life, Facebook was about to be culled, I'd find the delete button and be done with it, easy peasy, or so I thought. First, to log into Facebook and select my privacy options, scroll, click, scroll, scroll and click some more........there is NO delete button, Facebook have no such thing; instead you have the option to 'deactivate my account'. Facebook are sure you will miss them and want to come back. So sure, that it seems this is the only option if you wish to leave. I duly selected the 'deactivate' option, but this really annoyed me. Why couldn't I leave if I wanted? Why did Facebook retain all my information, why was my page held ready for when I was certain to return?

A Google search led to details of how to find the hidden 'delete' button, I needed to click 'help', then 'manage my account', then another click to 'deactivating, memorialising, or deleting' my account. Hoorah! Now I was faced with two paragraphs of text. I scrolled up, down, down up, once more - no 'delete' button, so I reread the paragraphs. Aha, Facebook had been cunning; instead of 'delete', the words 'let us know' were subtlety underlined. I clicked quickly on the link, fearing Facebook might swiftly delete the option.

At last, I now had to confirm I would like to delete my account ( thank you Facebook, for presuming I don't know my own mind enough to not waver at this point). Was that it? Well no, now I had to confirm my password, in case I was an evil hacker trying to delete Facebook accounts maybe? Was that it? No, now I needed to prove I was not a robot by typing in almost illegible text in a box. Surely my account was now duly deleted? Not quite, Facebook informed me my account was 'deactivated' and would be deleted in 14 days, if I didn't try to sign into my account in the meantime that is!!!

What a 'paw'laver!! Social media is obviously so sure of its popularity that it assumes, if you decide to leave, it won't be long until you're back. Well, not me. The people I want to keep in touch with know my personal information, those who don't have it were probably not 'real' friends in the first place. Have I missed having a Facebear account since deleting my account, not one bit. I know social media has its uses, but I don't believe it holds any pertinent information that can't be found through other means. Since deleting my account I've read more books and rediscovered my love of word puzzles. Of course, as soon as I'm feeling better, I'll get back to more art and crafty pawsuits too.

Goodbye Facebook, I'd like to say it's been fun, but I cannot lie!!!