Scan Malta – SERIOUSLY, THIS is your Policy?

Like many other Maltese, I find myself constrained to buying my various IT stuff and gadgets from the 5/6 limited outlets present in Malta, and that’s fine (I prefer to get my stuff from abroad most of the time anyways). The problem arises when said outlets have totally CRAPPY policies which actually go against Maltese law.

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This morning a random courier called me on my personal mobile to ask about a delivery to be done at my working place. I knew nothing of this delivery, had not requested the material myself, and did not have anything to do with it since my work has nothing to do with requisitions or procurement. What I wanted to know was how on earth a delivery guy got hold of my personal mobile number to make this call, since it was obvious that he knew I worked here and so someone had obviously leaked it. What’s more, the number was combined with the name of the person who HAD made the requisition, who was definitely not me, and who claimed not to have given anyone my mobile number, since she did not even know it herself. So, why were Scan Computers Malta using my personal details in relation to material ordered by the Ministry I work for??

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I asked the guy at reception to notify me when the courier got here, in order for me to ask him how he had gotten hold of my mobile number without me having given it out. When he arrived, he showed me his timesheet which basically was a list of places where he had to deliver stuff. He called the Scan store and told me to call them myself since they were the ones who could tell me more about the purchase order.

Long story short, when I called Scan it transpired that since once months ago I had personally purchased something and then had it delivered by courier to my place of work, they had then combined the mobile number with the address and saved it, and me, as being the person and number responsible for ALL PURCHASES consigned to this address… SERIOUSLY? So had I been living in a block of flats and another tenant made an order to be delivered to those premises, they would have called me too??? What if the minister had purchased something, would I have been responsible of that as well?? As far as I know, client records everywhere are client-based, that is based on your name + mobile number, not ADDRESS-based!! What about DATA PROTECTION?? Is it legal to give my personal mobile number (which has nothing to do with the ministry but is totally my own) to all and sundry??

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Needless to say, I gave the Scan-person a piece of my mind. She replied that this was their policy and that no one had complained before, which I find VERY hard to believe. Apparently however THIS time round they had encountered someone who DID know Data Protection law, since actually that is my job, so unlike any blandly ignorant Cettina on the street, I DID know my rights as a Maltese citizen, and I DO know that divulging personal data without a person’s knowledge and consent is ILLEGAL.

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I got Scan to delete my stuff from their records and gave them reception’s contact number instead, however the fact remains that their policy is against the law.

If you gave your data to Scan, beware of how they use it. It’s not as safe as you may think.

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Allura l-‘Gays’ “itghuk f’ghajnejk” Gianluca Bezzina?

Seriously?!

Apart from the fact that I really don’t get how just because someone knows how to sing, s/he suddenly expects to become an ‘ambassador for the people’ and ‘represent’ the majority of them (they most certainly do NOT represent me!). And apart from the fact that the guy himself hardly appears to be this paragon of straight heterosexuality (Matthew Grech style). Seems to me like certain people are so afraid of their nature that they become extremists advocating the other side of the issue.

Anyways, private conjectures aside – what is obvious here is that after whirling and twirling around the issue, we still realize that this ‘boy next door’ whom the desperate Maltese housewives love so much, is another hypocritical soft-spoken homophobic wannabe who, while preaching love and tolerance, also preaches close mindedness and non-inclusion. Way to go… why don’t all these people do us a favor, get into a time-machine, and go back to the Dark Ages where they obviously feel that they belong? I’m sure the world would leap towards peace and prosperity in a jiffy if that happened!

Oh for a time-machine! My kingdom, for a time-machine!

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Gianluca Bezzina attends the Nationalist Party’s General Council and appears to have gone on a subtle Catholic-induced homophobic rant. While I am all for freedom of expression, people with a certain public image should really thread carefully in expressing their views that impact different societal situations.

(Photo credit: InsiterOnline)

Quoting Dr Bezzina from his nervous and uncomfortable speech:

“As a person, I am not very interested in politics, but I do follow current events around the world and in Malta. Something which has really been irritating me lately, and which I feel very strongly about, is that I am slowly seeing human being’s values and morals changing drastically” – Gianluca chose to speak about morals and values at a political event. Ah to be young and naive.

“We are living in times where the general mentality is becoming more liberal, where if I feel that something is good, I…

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Last Night, I was Abused. And it was Terrible.

It is terrifying, having your personal space violated. Feeling so helpless and powerless. Unable to do anything.

What’s worse, is knowing that you can be violated and abused again and again. Suddenly and without your consent.

This is what happened to me yesterday, and what, I am afraid, will happen again.

It was 11.30pm and I was reading in bed. My bedside table glowed over the page, as with the main character of my epic fantasy novel, I journeyed through a wasteland learning about love and magic. I was at peace. I was comfortable and felt loved and protected. My boyfriend was asleep next to me, snoring softly. His body heat a dear reminder of his boyish laugh and strong presence. I was happy.

Then, suddenly, everything was corrupted.

I saw something dark fluttering at the corner of my vision. At first I thought nothing of it, being engrossed in my book. The fluttering came again, and I faintly thought that a moth must have gotten in. Half a minute later, I chanced to look down… and I froze in terror.

It was an overwhelmingly large and violently red cockroach.

Hideous in its smug predatorial harvesting, it scurried towards my semi-naked cleavage, which was exposed over the bedsheets. I was petrified. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t scream.

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I must have made some small sound of fear however, because the cadaverous monster backtracked a bit, falling down to my stomach. With a low voice, chilling in its urgency, I called my boyfriend, waking him up. He jumped panicked, thinking there was a burglar or intruder who had gotten into the house.

It was worse. It was a rapist.

One definition of a rapist is someone who exerts power over you, in order to violate you against your will. That is how it felt. The hideous creature had invaded my personal space, had actually THE CHEEK to crawl on my skin, while I wasn’t even asleep!!! Who knew where it had come from? Who knew what else had or COULD happen during the night?! Had cockroaches been crawling and smearing their squinty legs all over my body while I had been asleep night after night?

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Feeling my partner shift in the bed, the being crawled down the bedsheet to the floor. I sprung out on the other side of the bed while my bf went after it, yet it disappeared. I was in a panic, hyperventilating and crying. We searched for the terrible beast but could not find it. I knew I couldn’t fall asleep in that bed again, not if we did not find it, and hardly after, since I knew I was not safe there.

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We shifted furniture and bags. We banged on the headboard and the wall. Finally, after 20 minutes, it crawled out.

My love, my dearest one, my soul mate, killed the vile thing. Squashed it under his foot like so much jell-o. Yet it was not enough.

For hours, I lay in terror. Imagining every itch was another disgusting thing squirreling its way towards me. Alternately banging on the headboard and scanning the room, trying to see if there was a blot, a patch of darker blackness, creeping towards me in the night.

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In the morning, I sprinkled cockroach powder everywhere. I do not know what I will find when I get home today, but I hope it’s a cemetery – a horrifying space full of decaying bloated bodies, thin curling legs pawing futilely at the air.

I hope they all die

Me – Invited as a Guest Speaker on a local Radio Program!

Yes! That is the surprise news of the day! Are you astonished? Me too!!

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This morning I received a private message from a local radio producer on Facebook. Apparently, he read some of my articles and liked the material, so he invited me as a guest speaker for his radio program this week. The one-hour long talk will be presided over by a presenter and various members of a panel, including a psychologist, a gynie, and various professionals… oh and me!

Thank all the gods, existent and non, that it is a radio program and not a T.V one. I guess if it were, I’d just decline as I’m too shy. As it is, I’m taking part, even though I kind of feel out of place since I’ve never done this kind of thing before. However I also feel flattered and pleased that someone like that wants to hear my opinion on the subject.

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Ah right – the subject. Well, I am NOT going to tell the world WHEN this program will air, nor on which local radio station. This is because the subject is sex – well an aspect of it, and I don’t think I want my work collegues, or my family, to come across me talking about this, as I do not feel comfortable with specifying facts. I have only told my partner and another couple of people, and I hope they will keep it to themselves. I may share more of the experience after the deed is done, since the whole thing will not be available online or even on request, however we shall see how it goes.

Another thing – the program will be aired LIVE. So wish me luck! I really hope I don’t stutter or anything. It WILL be a fun new experience though and I am really excited about it.

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I am aiming at giving generalised comments and not going into any personal details, but in the heat of the discussion… well, who knows?

So, fingers crossed and wish me luck!!

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No One

I admit, at first not existing was kind of hard to get used to. 

No one saw me as I crossed the street. No one nodded to me as I passed the store. No dog barked at me while I wandered around the windy park. No one smiled faintly as I stopped to grin at a comic poster. No one even noticed when my skirt blew up so high that my underwear showed.

I guess that’s when I started tackling non-existence as a comodity, rather than a curse.

I didn’t need to get up early. Didn’t need to brush my hair, put on any make up, or even wear decent clothes. No one saw me anyway. I just wasn’t there.

I didn’t need to be polite to the person waiting before me for the bus. Hell, I didn’t even need to stay in the queue. Or pay the bus fare. 

No one scowled at me because I had left the window open. No one muttered because I had forgotten to bring the ketchup on the table. No one told me I was not good enough, when I didn’t know where they had left their car keys the day before. No one pawed at me while wiggling smelly body parts, as I tried to watch a movie. No one even tried to bite and hurt me, because of some ‘remark’ they did not like.

No one belittled me or berated me ‘jokingly’ because I didn’t read their minds and know what they wanted beforehand. No one ‘forgot’ to mention my name or that I even existed when talking to their friends, when in fact I did. Now, I truly was not there, so it didn’t bother me not to be mentioned. There is no one to mention.

I have gotten used to not existing now. I do not even feel bad about it. It is a relief really.

Existing is so much harder.

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The Cult of Sacred Wells: Introduction

Awesome article. Visited a couple of wells when I was in Ireland and the atmosphere of peace and spiritual purity around them impressed me.

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  “There is no superstition stronger in Ireland than a belief in the curative power of the sacred wells that are scattered over the country; fountains of health and healing which some saint had blessed, or by which some saint had dwelt in the far-off ancient times. But well-worship is even older than Christianity. It is part of the early ritual of humanity, brought from the Eastern lands by the first Aryan tribes who migrated westward, passing along from the Mediterranean to time Atlantic shores,” (Wilde, Holy Wells).

The great regard that the people of Ireland had for wells is so great that, at one time, they were referred to as The People of the Wells. Within Ireland and Wales, many sacred wells dotted the landscape, each coveted for their holy powers of magic, insight, and healing. From ancient times, to the spreading of Christianity into the British Isles, and even…

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Hell Girl – Anime Review

To be honest, I just started watching this anime yesterday so I cannot REALLY write a review as of yet, so this is more of a portrayal of what the anime has conveyed to me as such up to now, when I have only seen the first three episodes.

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First of all, the graphics are lovely. The characters are well drawn and the background scenes are very detailed. The anime is set mostly ‘in real life’, that is, in a city in Japan, however parts of it also take place in a surreal place – somewhere between heaven, hell and purgatory, somewhere in dreams perhaps, where the tormented spirit of the ‘Hell Girl’, Ai Enma, resides, with her three companions and servants. It is quite a dark anime, which may be considered to be gothic and/or horror too.

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Ai Enma, also known as Jigoku Shōjo, is a mysterious figure. Sometimes we are treated with short images of her past, when she was killed. We know someone who loved betrayed her, that she is angry about it and has looked for revenge for 400 years ever since, all the while being a ‘Hell Girl’, that is a powerful spirit who grants those who want revenge, the death of the people they name. Ai Enma offers a covenant – those who want her to rid them of someone, who is shipped to hell, are given a black poppet or doll, with a red string. If they decide to accept the pact, they untie the red string, on the condition that once they die, they too will go straight to hell, as payment for the debt owed to Ai. The ‘fun thing’ is the way they make their request in the first place – Hell has ‘gone modern’ in this case, since all they have to do is send an email request at midnight, and the Hell Girl promptly sends them a text message on their mobile to confirm the receipt.

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Very VERY interesting plot line. Each episode portrays a different story – a different client, and why they choose to sell their soul, in order to get rid of a particular person who is doing them, or a loved one, harm. Some of the scenes are fairly strong and psychological, in fact this is not an anime for children, but is marked 17+

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The anime is not short – having three seasons of around 23 episodes each. I have also discovered that there is a live action series, comprising of 23 episodes of half an hour each, which I definitely mean to get as well.

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All in all, I am really looking forward to continuing this series. Aaaaaaaa Anime <3!!!

XVII – The Moon

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She saw her face washing away every night. Slowly. A little bit at a time. It disappeared. Pieces of luminous skin sloughing away with each passing wave. Gelatinous breezes hurrying up the process.

She didn’t know why. She didn’t know when it had begun. For as long as she remembered, this interminable murder of feeling had been inexorably whittling away at her being. At her very self.

Had she done something wrong? Hadn’t she been punished enough? Cruelly, the shifting mirror never told her any truth but this. Piece by piece, slice by slice, her form carved away a little bit at a time. Again and again.

Running. Always running. Towards something, or from someone. Moving forward or backwards in the vast confines of an eternal blackness. Feeling the mysterious pull of liquid infinity.

Until there was The Nothing.

Darkness interminable.

And then, a small ray of hope in the dwindling emptiness. Growing bigger, a small piece at a time, until again, there she was. Crying, looking around her in destructive solitude. Clawing at her inescapable faith with a glassy stare.

Mute. Unkowing. Unknown.

What is Flash Fiction?

My most recurrent problem with writing has always been that of writing too much. I guess there are just too many words flittering and skittering in my brain. This was an issue when I wrote essays at school (they were always too long), when I wrote my Bachelor of Arts dissertation (which exceeded the word count set by the University board) and when I wrote my Masters dissertation (which I spent months trying to shorten, while most of the other students couldn’t make ends meet).

This may sound like me bragging – but it really isn’t. When it comes to writing, I believe this consists of three parts. First, one must be a reader. One simply cannot be a writer, if one does not know the world one is delving in. Most importantly, how can one handle the written word, if s/he hasn’t encountered different examples of how it can be used again and again? Secondly, technique (which is where flash fiction comes in). A writer should be able to navigate through the sea of words and meanings, and steer herself clear in order to arrive wherever she wants to go. This means that if she sets out to write up to a certain word count, she must know how to economize and use her writing skills in order to do just that, and stop the extra flow which is mostly only frills.

Thirdly, of course, a writer sees the world like no one else does. She sees the world with a thousand eyes and none. This is what is called ‘imagination’ by some, ‘inspiration’ by most, and ‘dreamland’ by others. But that, of course, is another story.

FlashFiction

Flash Fiction, also called Micro-fiction, are short moments in time, or very short stories, described by a writer in a few words. Flash Fiction is usually something which happens in one single act. Opinions differ on how long a flash fiction story ‘should be’, there being markets for works as short as 100 words, up to 300 words, or even as long as 1,000 words. There are also many competitions, especially online, for writers of flash fiction.

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Flash Fiction is fun, economical, easy to write, and is really good for ‘flexing’ one’s mind, so to speak. It is also quite good for exercising one’s stream of consciousness approach. Having limited time, but an infinite amount of words waiting to come out, I have decided to post some of my flash fiction stories from time to time, and maybe letting my ‘dreamland’ suffuse my waking moments… and make them more interesting.

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Beloved Boyfriend’s Birthday Weekend

Last Saturday was my bf’s birthday. It’s the third one we’ve celebrated togather so far, and it was the big 30, so it actually made quite a visible dent (so to speak).

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I had been maneuvering and negotiating dates and places with our friends for more than a month (5 weeks to be precise), and I finally got what I set out to do. A gem-packed weekend full of diverse activities, and yet still having some ‘private time’ for ourselves.

Now there’s this one thing we and our friends do when there’s a birthday looming up. We never tell the birthday boy or girl that we are meeting or where we are going. We genuinely try to ‘surprise’ them, even though at this point, after years of asking the bday person if they want to ‘go out for a drink’ in a certain area right before, on the day of, or after their birthday, has become a sort of tradition which they can see right through. However it is kind of a long-standing joke, so we still do it.

So, on Friday evening, I asked my love if he felt like ‘going out for a drink’ somewhere in Rabat. With a glint in his eye, he said ‘sure’ and out we went. While we were trying to find parking, we ‘accidentally’ stumbled on two of our friends searching for parking in the same area as well. ‘What a coincidence!’ I exclaimed smiling, ‘Wow, I wonder what they are doing here!’ he replied. Lol.

We found parking somewhere a bit far from where our friends had left their car, so we lost them for a time. I walked towards the restaurant I had booked two weeks before, and as we arrived in front of the entrance asked him if he ‘felt like’ popping in for a drink. ‘Bit weird to pop in for a drink in a Chinese restaurant isn’t it?’, he remarked with a laugh. We went in and lo and behold, there were our friends! It’s obvious that he saw it coming, but he enjoyed it anyways. It was a very relaxing evening and at the end we even finally told our friends something which we had been hinting at, but never actually confirmed – that is, that we have bought a house togather. They were really thrilled for us 🙂

On Saturday morning, which was my bf’s actual birthday date, I took him out for a birthday brunch in a restaurant on the beach, called ‘Apple’s Eye’. I really love that place, the day was sunny, yet terribly windy. It was so windy in fact that my bf’s toast literally blew off the table! It was so funny! We took some photos and afterwards went for a stroll on the beach. There were some people sunbathing but no one was swimming. I guess the water is still too cold.

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In the afternoon, we took a nap and had some time for ourselves. Then in the evening, we started getting ready for an Industrial/Gothic Heavy Metal Party in Paceville, which a friend of ours was hosting and Dj-ing, in honor of those born under the star of Taurus (it was his bday too). My bf’s photo was on the poster ^^ The party was great. We drank, we danced, we freaked out to the beat, we met up with friends, had a laugh, and many cuddles and kisses on the dance-floor too. Afterwards (at around 3am) we took some take-away food. It was glorious. I love eating after booze and excitement.

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We went to sleep at around 4.30, cuddling in the ever enroaching heat. Semi-drunk, full of food and happiness. On Sunday, we woke up late. We played some ps4 (both of us are gamers), cuddled some more, and then in the afternoon I again asked him if he wanted to go out ‘for another drink’. Needless to say, we met some more friends. We went to a restaurant in Mellieha which my bf had been angling at and mentioning for ages. It was a meat-eatery (he loves meat) where we had some really delicious chicken, beef and pork.

What can I say, I am honestly unsure who enjoyed this weekend more, my bf or myself.