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Showing posts from May, 2011

The Running of Life

...or, how technology is not evil and I miss freedom. Or was that in the wrong order?

This was first brought to my attention now, after many a warning from my mum, as I am largely clueless and need a lot of prompting to get things done. She warned me not to bare myself to the internet, mixing this in with a tirade against all "new technology" - yes, even e-mail. This irked me enough to make me want to write something sensible and coherent - this is sensible and coherent, isn't it? Ah, never mind.

I'll deal with the "new technology" bit first, since that's substantially easier to tackle and besides, the second bit doesn't make much sense without it. The evil new technology which mother dearest pointed out as being a canker upon humanity was e-mail, Facebook and Twitter (posted in rough chronological order, or at least I can't be bothered to check which came first). This is my effort to point out that none of them are, in fact, evil.

Firstly, e-ma…

On Pre-Packaged Sentimentality

"But how can sentimentality be pre-packaged?" you ask. "It doesn't come in boxes."


Ah, well let me enlighten you through a method other than shoving a floodlight in your face. Basically, you know those really cheesy, clichéd statements which bear no relation to reality? No? Good, you're living in the real world. Failing that, if you're under the age of, say, 25 they're probably clogging up your news feed.


You don't have Facebook?


It appears the 21st century left you behind. Ah well, when global thermonuclear war strikes and the CIA hacks everyone's Facebook to find out who did it, at least you can shout triumphantly from your hidden bunker that the aliens didn't get you, at least. Shame the above scenario is rather unlikely (for which read almost impossible) to happen.


Anyway, pulling up a random example from Facebook now:


"3 things I want in a relationship: Eyes that wont cry, lips than wont lie, and love that wont die. - Wiz Khalifa ♥&…

L'Art Poétique de Paul Verlaine

Don't worry, this blog hasn't suddenly turned into French. My writing skills aren't good enough for that yet, unfortunately.

Anyway, for those of you who understand French, I came across this poem in What is Art? by Tolstoy. For those of you who haven't read it, think of a cross between Mary Whitehouse and Plato. If your brain hasn't exploded from the sheer weirdness of that last statement, What is Art? is just a very conservative treatise on art which argues that without religion, art has degenerated from something meaningful into something which serves only to give sensual pleasure. And if you're thinking that that sounds like every conservative diatribe ever, you'd be right. Still, I'm reading it because hey, it's Tolstoy and I like to argue.

This poem is cited as an example of the degeneration of art, as it talks about how poetry should be intentionally vague. Disregarding any and all critical opinion, I like to think of it as a parody.

De la musiq…

Law of Attraction

Shockingly, yes, there are some people who still believe in it. And yes, it does still pop up on Google. Take this, for example. It badly needs riffing, and I shall provide, because the fact that people believe in this woo pisses me off badly.

Law of Attraction doesn’t work for most people for the same reason prayer doesn’t for its practitioners. Because it's not remotely scientific or tied to reality?

The former, just as the latter, is based on an assumption that the universe, or God, is benevolent and generous.
The Law of Attraction or, as it is known in the Bible, the Law of Believing and, sometimes, the Law of Asking and Receiving, all refer to the same law. In fact, you can find some form of this law described in virtually every culture and religion.
The Law of Attraction has its roots in quantum physics

Um, no, it doesn't, as you would know if you followed the link or had even basic (for which read pop-science) knowledge of quantum physics. The LoA has its roots in wishful …

I'm All That

...You guessed it.


Look at me -
I'm all that with
My self-slashed wrists and slavish copies
Of those good people who've gone before me; I don't have to be original
When I write about "realism" or "profundity" - they're always classics.
I wouldn't know them if they slapped me in the face?! Pah!
I've got "depression" too - maybe "dyslexia".
That way I cut myself as a cry for help and
Not because I want attention, that way
When people can't read my chicken filth
I'll have an excuse - after all, making fun of people's
Worse when they have disabilities, right?
Better than learning how to write properly and well -
Too much effort.
All I need's my whining and my faked angst
Because only sadness matters, only sadness
Is serious enough for attention.
As for happiness? Humour?
The things that make life worth living?
Oh, those are for losers!


READ THIS BEFORE YOU COMMENT.

Yeah...dashed off in a couple of minutes. Honestly, this could have…

What I Did Today: Electric Boogaloo

Why am I posting this earlier than I should have? Find out the answer to this and many more questions in this random post about my day.

Normally I wouldn't post something like this, but today was quite exceptional so I waived the rule. As to why it was exceptional? You see, one of the music teachers at my school is leaving - I think I've mentioned him before in my massive post about Ypres. He's the Assistant Director of Music - the one who runs our chamber choir, or at least tries to keep it from stalling completely - and, being a fairly bright and talented guy, he's decided that he's sick of teaching and wants to do something different. In this case, "different" means "becoming a financial consultant".

Yeah, I know, I was thinking "what the fuck?" too. But he's smart and did maths at A-Level, which is what counts. Anyway, trying to get back on track, everyone will miss him because come on, where else are you going to find a teache…

Underwater

Another poem.

I see you lying there against the wall, your skin
Pale as pearls or ghostly sand
Unknown by earth. Your hair falls
In ripples against your face, like
Plants of sea or pond stroking you into sleep; your eyes seem
Reflected from the bottom of the sea -
The eyes of a drowned sailor.

In more news, I've had my C2 exam - actually, it went OK. Here's to hoping that I get a good grade and don't have to retake. In other, worse news, I have a P2 exam on Friday...wish me luck, I'll need it!

Articles from six months ago...

...They're driving me crazy. Well, not so much the articles themselves as people commenting on them.

It all revolves around children failing, or their lack of failure, and what to do about that. According to some articles and a bunch of studies, if children are always told they're unique and special and not given things to challenge them - things where they'll fail or get the answers wrong - they'll become lazy and take things for granted. This applies particularly to Generation Y, born between 1982 and 1999.

Aside from said articles and studies, I haven't found any empirical evidence of this (which might be because I'm a part of Generation Y and therefore have a relatively skewed viewpoint) aside from talking to my mum, who thinks that my generation's shallow - but she always thinks that, so that wasn't really helpful.

A spin-off from that is this article, which talks about children getting handouts and pep talks for not getting a part in the school pl…

An open letter to OCR

Or, in other words, a random collection of complaints made to my exam board. (If any OCR people are reading this, yes, I am literate, yes, my points are justified and yes, you would do well to listen to me. Rebuttals are love, as long as they're sane - and if they're not, well...)

Dear OCR,
Please stop picking poems and works of literature for us. We are big children now and can (hopefully) think for ourselves. Of course, it's OK to have some kind of "sample literature" for people who are too lazy to pick, but restricting everyone to the same pieces of work? I thought you were supposed to reward original thinking! Yes, I know that it's harder to examine people if you let them have free rein over their choices, but it also reflects their abilities more accurately and is overall fairer to them.

Please examine Media Studies candidates fairly. That means giving them open-ended questions instead of these fantastically obscure and difficult ones which test them mor…

Game

(You just lost.)

In other news, we're all alive and I can't be bothered to look for that interview with Harold Camping anymore. I went to bed at about 1 in the morning, therefore the world couldn't have ended. Anyway...

Yet another poem I wrote during English when I should have been paying attention for my torturecourseworkbullshitting aptitude test Controlled Assessment. For those of you who don't know, a controlled assessment is when you sit in a room for far too long and write an essay. It replaced coursework (where you do in-depth, extended work at home) because of concerns about plagiarism. So now, instead of being able to show off your knowledge and do research at your own pace, you only get access to specific things, you can only use certain kinds of notes (some of the rules are that you can't take in printed notes unless you're a laptop user and that you can't write notes in paragraphs) which, incidentally, are far more limited than notes you'd …

The awkward moment when

it's 6pm and there's no sign of a rapture. Rationality wins out once again over doom-mongers. In other news, can anyone find me an interview with Harold Camping dated21 May or later? I want to see the bullshit he comes up with this time. My guess is that he's going to look in the Apocrypha next, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, happy non-rapture day and see you on May 22!

IT'S RAPTURE DAY RAPTURE DAY

OK, this Friday parody really isn't working. In other news, while our good old British rapture is scheduled for 6 o'clock this evening (and I do hope someone will bring the tea and biscuits), it seems to be scheduled for 6 o'clock everywhere and there's a map (kindly provided by RaptureFail) detailing, well...the lack of massive earthquakes and mass disappearances of people everywhere. Sadly, there's little data about what's happening NOW (except for the above mentioned RaptureFail and some news posts), so I don't get to see Harold Camping looking silly yet. Just as well, because he'd probably move the goalposts again and blame it on not looking at the Apocrypha or something. And I haven't been able to find any interviews with him from today...links appreciated, because I want to see him making an ass of himself.

On a side note, since salvation (according to Camping) is unmerited and preordained, how hilarious would it be if Richard Dawkins got into…

IT'S FRIDAY FRIDAY

...yeah, I won't torture you with the rest of the song. (Apologies for not having written anything for the past 10 days or so - I've been slacking off and doing nothing revising fervently for my upcoming exams.

For slightly better news, it is Friday aka "beginning of the weekend". And for slightly worse news...it's apparently the Rapturetomorrow. (Interestingly, the first site I linked to says "best viewed in Internet Explorer"...sigh.)

Of course it won't be, but people believe weird things. In the unlikely event that that crazy schmuck Harold Camping is actually right (as a general rule, anyone saying that the end of the world will happenon such-and-such a date, or using an ancient, largely ambiguous and sometimes contradictory source, tends to be wrong), could one of the 200 million people that have been saved take some pictures and post them on the internet? I'd like to see something before I, as a free-willed sinner, fall unconscious/cease t…

Exam

Yeah, a random poem I wrote when I should have been paying attention in English.

I would not sit my exam
But rather sit and lie, spinning my thoughts
Under the green tree of summer
Where I live free as air and
My spirit reaches beyond reaches, to rows upon rows of minds
Opening me to new ideas:
I beg them, lead away my soul forever.
Do not leave me, I beg them too,
To write with cramp for those who cannot write:
Words weep and struggle on their page in endless strife,
Fixed in grey forms, stumbling over themselves.
Don't leave me to their red pens and dark lines, their regulations,
Dark narrow minds who'd narrow mine as well.
Rather, give me back my apple tree,
Give me back my summer,
Give me back thoughts, feelings, words spoken
On fleeting air, with fear and love of nothing
Save for liberty.

Dialogue

A story I wrote on a whim. Remember, everyone is Jesus in purgatory. No, I was not on drugs when I wrote this - but I had read The Master and Margarita beforehand. (It's a good book and y'all should read it.)

 They sat together like that, man and woman, watching the sunset. He gestured to a decanter on the table, a jug of clear water next to it.  “Wine?” he said. “I’ll water it for you.”  “Thank you,” said the woman, passing him a thin-stemmed glass. Elegantly the man poured in equal quantities of wine and water; her worn hands trembling, she took back the glass and drank deeply, the dying sun shining through the red liquid. “Excellent...is it Falernium?”  The man laughed and shook his head, golden hair flying. “No, it’s Cecubum.”  “It’s really very good.” The woman paused.  “It’s the same wine that your ancestor drank while mine died on a tree.” He pointed to it: an ancient, wizened thing with what looked like bloodstains on its trunk, brownish-black in the last light.  She sighed. …

What I Did Today

...well, technically what I did yesterday and today, since we started at 5 in the morning yesterday and finished at about 1:15 today (keep in mind I was talking about finishing at 1:15 in the morning and I didn't get any proper sleep...). Important note: Names have NOT been changed, because no-one's done anything wrong. This means you can sue me into oblivion.

The reason I'm talking about it is that firstly, it was really fun and secondly, part of it is something you'd want to tell your grandchildren about. You see, the chamber choir (which I'm part of) and CCF from my school were going to dedicate a plaque to old boys who lost their lives in wars at St. George's Memorial Church - incidentally, the chaplain said it was probably going to be the last school plaque dedicated here for the foreseeable future, making it a bit more special for us - and then us choir were going to sing at Menin Gate. I know quite a few choirs sing there anyway, but it's still somet…

This may seem blindingly obvious...

...but in this world, you need brains and personality to get ahead. Politicians, for example, aren't exactly supermodels, but they (quite literally) rule our world. Similarly, scientists, economists, CEOs and other assorted big shots aren't necessarily good-looking, but they got to where they were by using their intelligence, presence and more than a little bit of what's politely called "networking".

Apparently, a couple of people seem to have missed the memo. Granted, they're still in secondary school, but their sheer stupidity and paranoia (I'm not going to mince words here) makes me want to throw up while laughing. I can't believe the dominant species on Earth are such idiots...then again, I'm an idealist.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent, the guilty, and everyone in between. The following paragraphs are mainly about school drama, so feel free to skip them.

Basically, there's a new girl at school (some girls have left, includ…

Why I won't be voting for AV

Image
Because I'm 15 and don't have a vote yet.

Seriously now, even if I did have a vote, I'd abstain or vote to keep FPTP. It sounds like a very weird thing to say - after all, AV is proportional representation, which is, like, democracy, right? So by that logic, wouldn't a vote against AV be a vote against "true" democracy? And by that logic, wouldn't I be one of those horrible, deadly conservatives? *gasp*
To which I say: calm down and do some research instead of blindly following the media. (Also, as I have stated multiple times, I'm a flaming liberal.) The non-rabidly-conservative media like to portray AV as "the face of democracy" or some other such overblown epithet. I have no idea what the rabidly conservative media are doing, because I don't read The Telegraph or The Times. My "centrist" example is The Economist, which is pretty much in the centre, if only because it swings wildly from left to right and anything in between...I…