Thursday, February 23, 2012

What I Did On My Holidays

The Moonlit Mind - Dean Koontz 6*
The New Rules - Bill Maher 9*
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins 7*
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins 7*
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins 8*
Snuff - Terry Pratchett 8*
The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse - Vicente Blasco Ibanez 8*
Soldiers Of Salamis - Javier Cercas 4*
127 Hours - Aron Ralston 9*
VSI Sikhism - Eleanor Nesbit 7*
Tiger, Tiger : A Memoir - Margaux Fragoso 8*
On The Third Day - Rhys Thomas 7*
The Good Women Of China : Hidden Voices - Xinran 9*
Songs Of The Mexican Seas - Joaquin Miller 4*
Blackout - Connie Willis 3*
Antique Works Of Art From Benin - Augustus Henry Lane-Fox 8*
The Man Who Would Be King - Rudyard Kipling 7*
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs 7*
The Insatiable Spider Man - Pedro Jaun Gutierraz 6*
Band Of Brothers - Alexander Kent 4*

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Smack My Bitch Up

The Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up

Cracking video, a solid 9.9 on the NSFW and anywhere else really.

The Humanities Whistle Stop Tour; Benin to Greece

Along with my fellow students, I am now at the halfway point of the AA100 module, and the whistle stop tour of all points of humanities continues.  In the next few weeks we will be studying...
A Benin bronze plaque

Cultural Encounters : Changing relations between Europe and Africa and the art of Benin

Cultural exemptions and the Musqueam people of Canada

World short stories

The transmission of medical knowledge from Greece to Europe via the Middle East

Seamus Heaney's translation of Sophocles' Antigone : The Burial At Thebes

Everything is going well so far.  Although our tutor had told us it is not compulsory to hand in every essay, I feel I am getting better value from the course and building my skills better by doing all the work possible.  So far with four essays handed in and marked I'm just a fraction off a Distinction grade.

There are two essays from this section of the module, on the art of Benin and cultural encounters, then either cultural exemptions and the Musqueam people or the contribution of the chorus in The Burial At Thebes.  So far when we have had a choice of essays I have tried to go for what seems the harder of the two choices.  My thinking here is that this is only a level one module so it would be good practise the mentally stretch myself whenever possible.

One aspect of student life that makes learning today so easy is the huge wealth of information via the internet, I kid you not, Melvyn Bragg and the In Our Time guests on Radio 4 are helping me enormously.  Having a group of renowned academics discussing the topic you are composing an essay on is a fantastic help.  Other great sources for research are Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg with their vast collections of texts, audio and picture files. The Open University also gives us access to its vast online library system, so big that sometimes it feels like diving into an ocean of information to find a single pearl of knowledge. It is quite possible to get hopelessly lost / bogged down when searching the seemingly endless OU databases for something you hope to be relevant.

The Benin section is fascinating, and I am very much enjoying the way that the chapters are now drawing the various disciplines of humanities together.  In the the two chapters on cultural encounters and Benin we start with straight history, then combine it with the history of art and a hint of religious studies, then mix in a bit of philosophy at the end.

This section of the course feels like real university work, I had little idea what was meant by the phrase 'cultural exemptions' before this and if asked to describe the philosophical mindset behind 'difference-blind liberalism' a blank and uncomprehending look may well have ensued.  It is all good stuff though, I'm still loving the work.  Onwards and upwards as my tutor says.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

'Proof' Of Wild Big Cats In Britain

Video footage taken in Stroud on The Sun website

Of course the video footage is the normal shaky, blurred, long distance "I don't know how to use my zoom" rubbish. The Sun comments section has some moments of comic genius though....

"It's a big black cat alright and there is hundreds of them up and down the country but because there exotic animals the government charge massive fees to keep them so everyone let them go and now the land they reside on the farmers are held accountable to pay the fees and as the farmers like everyone else have no money because of taxes and every other way the gorvernment squeezes money from us the farmers do there best to hide the truth. Just encase they are montioring our posts I agree to disagree and I have been drinking so i'm not sure what I seen." - Huey 77.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Swinsty Reflections

The last picture is actually a portrait shot of a fallen tree lying in the water, but rotated to landscape it looks like an upright tree.

Swinsty Reflections

There was a gunmetal grey sky when I was out walking on Monday which made for some lovely mirror like reflections in the surface of Swinsty reservoir.

It was a lovely afternoon's walk - until I slipped and smacked myself in the mouth with my own hiking pole which resulted in a trip to dentist to repair a broken front tooth.