Saturday, May 09, 2009
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
"I must have spent more than a thousand hours, over five years, sat at my desk trying to learn the facts, figures and phrases that would allow me to get the best marks and grades in the best subjects."
Firstly, let me ask what the "best subjects" are? Of course, some of the practical A levels are less highly-valued than others simply because they don't develop skills which are helpful in studying at degree level. But choosing your courses with a utilitarian, I might even say cynical, eye towards what will gain you material advantages doesn't suggest a genuine enthusiasm for them. Now, barring the odd aberration, everyone who gains an interview at Oxford will have been working their socks off in preparation for exams and tests. They will all have clocked up this kind of mileage during GCSEs and A-levels. They are all generally diligent and deserve a lot of praise for the effort they put in. Mr. Roberts is exemplary, but not unique.
Monday, March 24, 2008
The Joy of Tech
Today I was accused of evangelising. I wasn't, and no-one in their right mind would think that telling a story about an idiotic thing someone said in Church equals an attempt at forcible conversion. But it bothers me how upset I am at the accusation. I feel dirty, as though I've been accused of sexual molestation or something. I don't want to evangelise people. I don't want to spread the good news. I think Christianity has become an intellectual exercise for me. Knotty theological questions are just ways of keeping my brain active - what ingenious bullshit answer can I come up with this time? Plus I'm a junkie for love and attention, and God is the ultimate indulgent parent. Never mind plausibility, tell me that someone loves me and I'm theirs for life. Which is a problem when they change their mind, but God never changes his mind.
Though, as Shania Twain once said, "that won't keep me warm in the middle of the night".
Monday, February 11, 2008
Woo-hoo for Ubuntu!
The prompt for my change (well, not so much a change, since my laptop will still also boot Windows) was the acquisition of a new ASUS Eee PC - a posthumous gift from my wonderful grandma. I must also recommend these very highly - they weigh less than a kilo, cost less than 200 pounds, and just work, straight out of the box. You need to play around with them if you want the standard desktop configuration, but that's easily done. And they ship with Linux (Xandros) installed.
So, after a taster of Linux via the Eee, I decided to take the plunge. All in all, it's probably taken me about ten hours' work to get everything up and running (including partitioning the hard drive, which involves a long time spent defragmenting). Most of that has been dedicated to the wireless card, something which Linux doesn't support hugely well. Still, now it's up and running and I'm quite delighted.
Now, all I have to do is learn regular expressions and the world is mine...
Friday, January 11, 2008
1. Finish my doctorate. No, really. It's getting beyond a joke.
2. Publish something. Something academic, that is, not a poem in the school magazine.
3. Get a job. Preferably in America.
4. Find true love. This will probably have to be accomplished by getting a cat.
5. Make more monsters. It's been too long.
Do I need more than 5? I suppose the more there are, the better the chance that I will actually stick to one of them. Okay, let's add another:
6. Be obsessive about something, someone, or somewhere.
Which means that I'm already a whole sixth of the way towards keeping all of my New Year's resolutions for 2008. Hooray!
OK, I had vodka and cocktails and I'm not too coherent.
But what I do want to tell you about is the book I'm reading. It's called A Game of Thrones and is utterly wonderful. I don't usually read fantasy fiction any more (apart from my annual rereading of LotR, of course) but my friend JZ recommended this one and I can never refuse him anything. And I'm so glad that I can't, because I'm completely hooked. The Americanisms grate just a little for me, but that's like complaining that Dickens is Victorian or that Shakespeare can't spell. Really, I would urge anyone who has even the remotest liking for dragons, wolves, swords and really brilliant plots to buy this right now. Here's an Amazon link to make it even easier. And here's one in case you're American. The rest of you benighted heathen can fend for yourselves.
Friday, November 02, 2007
That is all.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Let a hundred flowers bloom
Funny, I've been thinking about people from the past recently. And realised that they're rarely as much to blame as you think they are. It's so easy to solidify bad things that happen into one big lump of hatred and bitterness, but it just distorts your memory. The fact that someone treated you badly on a grand scale doesn't mean that you didn't do anything wrong. Being a victim doesn't make you a good person. Being a good person makes you a good person.
The quotation which entitles this post is from Mao Zedong. Which only goes to show that even crazy, despotic, genocidal maniacs can talk pretty.