A Writer’s Review: A Step Towards Falling

A young guy and a young girl attend a high school football game. They both witness a classmate with disabilities getting sexually abused under the bleachers. They see each other and assume the other will get help. Neither of them do. They’re punished by having to work volunteer time / community service at a local school / community group for those with disabilities.

So what did I think? This is rather a difficult review for me to write, because it could very easily start to borderline on my thoughts being offensive. See, with books, I fall in love with them when they start to drag me into the story. When I become so involved with the book that I get a connection with the characters. For example, my current favourite novel of all time; Thirteen Reasons Why created such a connection that I had a desire to save a fictional character. That did not happen with A Step Towards Falling. Unfortunately I have to use words like boring and uninteresting. It was a novel that I struggled to keep turning pages with and to a degree, wanted to be over. So why was that my impression? For various reasons, one of them was the mix of characters.

Two’s a party, three’s a crowd.

Jennifer Niven had done a fantastic job with the writing of All The Bright Places. But she had a perspective from two characters. This novel had three, the lead male, the lead female and the girl whom suffered from a mental disability. Which meant the writing style for character three had to be done in a way that seemed less cohesive (probably the wrong word, I’m trying to say, basic) than the other main characters. I didn’t enjoy the switching round so much and felt it hard to bring myself into the story. There wasn’t enough going on either to keep me interested. It was slow paced and again, dull.

– Michael Topschij.

A Youth’s Struggle: Medical Chaos

Whilst on my trip to the US with Mom last month I ended up in a hospital twice during the same week for two completely separate incidents. The second a life-threatening allergic reaction to something. Today Cigna on behalf of my BNZ travel insurance that is included with my credit card, told me that they will NOT be covering the cost of these incidents… For what reason?

In their lengthy legal policy documents they have one line that states: “You are not eligible for cover under this policy if one of the reasons for the overseas travel is to engage in business and/or work-related activities.”

They in their rejection email showed evidence from my social media providing proof that I was doing business while on this trip.

So as a result of not being made aware that the insurance I had was NOT VALID if I do ANY business related work whilst on the trip, I am now going to face huge bills that are likely to be upwards of $30,000 – $50,000 if not a lot more due to the scans and other costs that are involved in the American medical system.

Companies are out to make money, to incentivize you to get their credit cards to use their insurance. But when push comes to shove they’ll jump at the first chance they can to use something in their legal documents to stop them from having to help.

This is what they’re doing to a 21-year-old who deals with severe mental health issues (that they will be well aware of after reading through all my medical documents that I had to authorise them to access).

Thanks BNZ and Cigna. Glad there is some humanity in the way you guys work.

A Writer’s Full On Day

From seeing Michelle Obama talk in person to visiting Twitter headquarters and even being on the news, it has been one heck of a full on day for me here at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. The morning began with a ‘fireside’ chat between Michelle Obama and Apple’s Lisa Jackson. They spoke candidly about what’s been going on with Michelle lately in addition to discussing advice for areas such as business, making an impact on the world, diversity in the app development world, inspiration for women and of course fun stories from the White House.

“Do not fall, at least not in front of the cameras. Because you will be a meme for the rest of your life.”

My day continued with a sudden but exciting interview with ABC 7 to discuss my reactions to what Michelle had to share.

Check out the full interview by clicking on me!

Before the morning had finished, my friend and I made our way on into San Francisco. We we’re very privileged to be able to visit the headquarters for Twitter. I got to enjoy lunch from the amazing buffet of food and even enjoy a smoothie from the free smoothie bar!

It was certainly a most exciting second day here at WWDC. I’ll be spending the rest of the week getting hard to work on my projects with app development. I’ll be talking with engineers and experts from Apple and making the most out of the conference.

– Michael Topschij.

A Writer’s Farewell: Club Penguin

This morning I received an email from something I had not heard from in such a long time. It was unexpected but also understandable. Dear Ninja O Dark, it began. The gamer name that I used and became well known by for the longest time. Disney’s Club Penguin is closing down, in preparation for a new version of the once well loved game. To me, Club Penguin had a massive impact on my life. It in itself is almost key to a lot of the corporate work that I do today. I started blogging about the game before I started high school, and then quickly went from doing stuff for fun, to doing it for a career.

I made friends in some amazing and crazy ways. I learnt and did amazing and crazy things.

I know a lot of people that had this game as a part of their childhood. It  was almost our introduction to worlds like Facebook, a more simple and youthful way for us younger ones to make friends and play around. Yet at the same time, it got some of us creative ones to step out and shine. I know several friends who started blogging and using Club Penguin as a way to explore their talents who are now working for large companies, doing huge things and conquering the world. It’s certainly the case for me, I mean heck, I met Apple’s CEO Tim Cook thanks to where I started with this game.

Waddle On!

– Michael Topschij.

Entry into the blogging world.

Well, the beginning is here. It’s one of those posts that need to be made, even though, they aren’t of much use. I did some thinking on what the purpose of the blog would be. And quite simply, I think it could be somewhere to write (Insert “Really? No S***” comment here). To be more specific, you write novels, and then you write things that aren’t novels. And I think this is the perfect platform for that. I remember reading one of my favorite novels by author Jennifer Niven called All The Bright Places.  It slightly sparked the interest in the world of blogging. The character Violet blogged, and it reminded me, blogging is actually quite fun.

In all honesty, I’ve blogged before. I feel unexcited about the reputation. But sometimes, you have to ignore that and realize it’s part of you. Quite simply, a game by the name of “Club Penguin“. I played it for many years, and it even contributed to the corporate work that I do now. But I actually blogged about that very game! It was something that I enjoyed when I was younger for quite a few years. I don’t despise it or regret it, but I’m glad to have moved on at the age of 20.

I do not imagine that this will be somewhere that I’ll be making posts every day, with the goal of building an exuberant following. But rather making posts when the need is there. When something needs to be said, or thoughts need to be shared.

– Michael Topschij.