Friday, 26 July 2013

Episode 1: Eric Thomas The Hip Hop Preacher

When Eric Thomas came to London for the first time, the GradStop team was able to sit down with him and have a really awesome discussion about life, career choices, and personal development. 

Eric is a world wide phenom and motivates high level athletes in the NFL, UFC and NBA. Nevertheless, you can get Eric's weekly dose of motivation for free on YouTube in his acclaimed Thank God It's Monday series. Check it out if you haven't, it'll be the best Decision you make this week! 

Let us know what you think of the interview and look out for Episode 2 coming soon!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Five Guys Burger and Fries

On July 4th, 2013, a momentous occasion occurred, for London, and the franchise of Five Guys, as the burger chain opened it's first store on the British Isle. Located near Leicester Square station, a flock of people arrived, ready to have their first taste of this particular burger chain. Some had been there before on trips to America, others had heard about it in the Metro or Evening Standard, but either way, nobody left disappointed.

On the opening day, the queues were crazy. One and a half hours was the general consensus for how long it would take to try this exciting new burger chain, but regardless, everyone waited for as long as they had to. They had friendly staff managing the queues, handing out menus and chatting about previous experiences with Five Guys, and what it was like to work there now. Nobody got impatient, because they knew what was awaiting them.

When you finally reached the store, they have peanuts waiting for you, just to graze on while you queue up. Everybody taking your orders is polite and friendly as well.

When you do order, they have a decent variety to choose from. I always go for the bacon cheeseburger, and you have to order your toppings as well, from ketchup to hot sauce, pickles to grilled onions. Personally my burger of choice is bacon cheeseburger, with ketchup, mustard, pickles, grilled onions and extra cheese.

Once you've placed your order, you have to wait in another queue, as you can see them preparing the burger, it just makes you want it all that much more. As your order comes in, they shout out your number, and then move you on to the soda machine (provided you bought one, obviously).

The soda machine they have in Five Guys is a magical thing. Many different varieties of drinks, Sprite, Coca Cola, Fanta, Cloudy Lemonade etc. But they best thing about this is, when you click on what you want (it's touch screen), it brings up a completely different menu, flavours. And most people would thing Coke Vanilla or Cherry, something ordinary, but this has so much. For the Sprite menu for example, they have normal Sprite, and then the flavours of vanilla, cherry, raspberry, strawberry, grape, orange and peach.

The burger itself is brilliant. Better than any other fast food chain by a mile. Two patties, filled with whatever your preference is, and it isn't just a burger. You go to McDonalds and devour that without relishing the taste, because there isn't anything to savour, it's just there. Five Guys is a whole new experience. Every bite will leave you wanting more, but wanting to savour the moment and the taste. And the fries compliment the burger well. You can either choose regular or Cajun style, and they're proper chips, made from real potatoes. Trust me, the amount of bags of potatoes around the store, you'll know these chips are real. The best thing about this burger is that you won't hate yourself after eating it. After McDonalds/Burger King, I always feel a bit frustrated that that is one of my daily meals, because you know what goes into them. And while Five Guys is still a fast food restaurant, unless you're on a strict diet, you will not hate yourself for this, because it is simply so good!

One last thing, don't get anything apart from the small fries. Anything more, and you will need someone to share with. The small fries in Five Guys will have a cup full of fries, and then like loads thrown in the bag too. Trust me on this one, it's hard to handle.

For a bacon cheeseburger, small fries, and an unlimited refill soda, it will cost you in the region of £14, which, yes, for a fast food restaurant is a little expensive, but for what you're getting, you will not regret paying that for one second, it is completely worth it!

Total Taste Score - 10/10

By Dan Lloyd (@DRL1990)

Friday, 12 July 2013

Yasiin Bey AKA Mos Def Guantanamo Bay Procedure

We’ve all heard the rumours about human rights violations which are carried out every day within the confines of Guantanamo Bay, but for the first time, we might actually get a taste of what it’s really like thanks to this video which is spreading like wildfire. It seems that our internal rage against the term ‘terrorist’ has allowed us to simply accept the fact that the USA continues to detain many prisoners without trial nor reason. It’s probably the greatest hypocrisy in the world when you think about it. As Western democracies, the pro invasion rhetoric of saving nations from tyrannous regimes is often littered with appalling examples of unfair justice systems, gross violations of human rights, and simple acts of torture.

Yasiin Bey more commonly known as Mos Def, took part in a procedure to highlight one of the most common techniques used on inmates who are on hunger strike. Many are on hunger strike due to the month of Ramadan, and some are simply trying to take back control of a small part of their lives. The video shows Bey undergo the process by which prisoners are force-fed; a technique which is used twice a day and usually lasts up to two hours. The video is only 5 minutes long including some preliminary and concluding words from Mos Def, which just goes to show how unbearable the process is. It is difficult to watch, but I think everyone should watch it, even if it’s just to understand the scientific horror of sanitised evil.

On one hand, we could argue that in Guantanamo there is a necessary evil in retaining these suspects, but how long can we continue to justify the methods used to control and impose the will of the US government.  The question which comes to mind is the same discussion which is raised within the death penalty debate: can we justify murder or evil for that matter simply due to the invention of sanitised technology. What is the difference between holding prisoners and torturing them with a whip and holding prisoners and using injections and chemicals to torture them? What counts as a war crime and what doesn’t?

Friedrich Nietzsche once summed up this mistake in justice systems like this: 

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster...”

I think this video does the same thing, in highlighting the similarities between what we see as ruthless evil and what we consider to be acceptable. Moreover, it probably leaves us all questioning where we draw the line in the sand, and what is righteous and what is not.



By Viren Samani (@VirenSamani1)