Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sister Deborah - Uncle Obama ft FOKN Bois (Official Video HD)

Two Fingers - 'Vengeance Rhythm' (Official Video)



Probably NSFW, it's sort of Big Ted does O'Malley's Bar.

Facebook Homophobes and Racists

Facebook logo
Facebook logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am quite appalled at the levels of homophobia and racism I see regularly on Facebook, and not on the pages of the EDL or other ultra right wing groups, but written by what you might otherwise assume to be nice middle class white class kids.

A popular Facebook activity is fraping, that is, to get hold of your mate's phone when everyone is drunk, and write something hilarious as said friends update status.  The point of fraping is also to write something often heavily sexualised, and to the writer, something deeply offensive and against their own mindset, for middle class white boys this means writing "I love cock" as their mate's status.  Nice middle class teenage white girls often like to clarify this position on their female friends statuses by adding "black" as a pejorative.

Here we are then in the freedom of 2012, in our modern freethinking society in which we have shaken free of the shackles of racism, religious intolerance and hating people based on who they choose to go to bed with. Except that we haven't, because really deep down inside a lot of people, when they let out their innermost thoughts, the thing that appals them the most and that they then assume will appal other people and embarrass their target is they they should be thought of as gay, or as sexually attracted to people of another skin colour.

I know some people might argue that it is harmless fun, just words, but words are all we are.  As humans our entire experience is built around words, we make sense of our condition, our lives and everything we interact with by use of description and metaphor, our diction makes us who we are, it builds our thoughts, education, social awareness and memory.

I'd like to think that at some point it just will not matter if people are gay or straight or somewhere in the middle, but we really haven't reached that point yet.  Being gay to a lot of young people is still shocking, still different in a somehow weird and unnatural way, they would not say this in normal conversation, but get enough booze inside them and they can point and laugh at someone whom they have made out to be different.

It is not only deeply insulting to gay people to have their sexuality used as a term of belittlement, it reflects very poorly indeed on the user. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck, and if it talks like a homophobe, then it is indeed a homophobe.
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Friday, October 19, 2012

The Exam

English: Exam room at Stenden Hogeschool
English: Exam room at Stenden Hogeschool (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Wednesday I sat the end of module exam for A151 Material Culture, a proper exam, with desks set out in rows and nervous looking people clutching dictionaries.

3 essays in 3 hours, although the guidance said we should aim for 40 minutes per 500 word essay and I finished right on the two hour mark.  One examinee was out of the room in an hour, that's either total brilliance and a hand writing speed almost unknown to mankind, or some sort of mental meltdown.

Over at desk 4, I was having a mini-meltdown as I sat for minutes on end unable to quite bring back to mind what a codex was (it's just a book stupid, at least in the context of the question), and then having to write my essay on the chapter I had not revised.  I had another memory stumble when the correct term for the start of an object biography would not surface, something - consumption - afterlife went around and around in my head until I settled for creation.  The answer was production.  Not to worry, I think I explained the answer quite well even if the terminology remained stubbornly just out of reach.

I managed two slightly short essays on morals and ethics in the display of body parts, the role of charisma in contemporary artefacts, and then a better length essay on how object biographies lead to a better understanding of material culture.  I think the latter essay was also the best of the three.

I had a bit of a nightmare on the first Tutor Marked Assignment on this course when on the night before the hand in date I managed to save an old copy of the essay over the completed one and knocked out two thirds of my work.  A quick re-write later got me a score in the low 70's.  The group wiki project went a little better, and for my final TMA I did loads of work, reading through numerous sources and pulling notes together for my essay on the changing nature of artefacts and relics under the tourist gaze and gained my best essay score for the 3 modules I have done so far.

Material Culture has been really enjoyable, the cross-disciplinary approach to study encompassing archaeology, ethnograpy / anthropology, history, art history and other areas has been fascinating.  The exploration of how museums began and what they have evolved into, and by extension how education and ethics have evolved, was highly stimulating.  Perhaps I could be a museum curator when I finally get fed up of  100 hour weeks in the kitchen.

The exam was a little more stressful than I had anticipated, I had a poor night's sleep preceding the day, and felt a little tense as I turned over the question paper for my first proper exam in almost three decades.  40% is the pass mark, to make up an average along with the three TMA scores. I think I'll pass, although some of my essays had a little more waffle and less definition that I would have liked.

The next exam will be in 6 months' time, 3 questions on various aspects of Sikhism for A217 World Religions, and in the meantime there are 6 more TMA essays to hand in.  I am researching now for a discussion on the Christian Church after the Council of Nicaea, and a similar length (1,750 words) will have to be handed in on the relationship between food and faith in Judaism before the end of the year.  No time to waste then, better get those study books out.
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Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Nicene Creed


We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son].
With the Father and the Son
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. AMEN.

- modern version by The Interdenominational Committee on Liturgical Texts.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Holy Fire


Worshippers holds candles at the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City during the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire Ceremony.


The Holy Fire Ceremony inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

I had a bit of a last minute flap getting my first year 2 essay completed last night, partly as I forgot there was a self assessment sheet to be completed and handed in with it, still, it is complete and has been handed in.  The essay on the practical and ritual dimension of religion will be the first of around 30 essays and 4 exams that will make up the scoring part of my degree.  I have done well scoring distinctions on the year 1 courses, but you only have to pass year 1, years 2 and 3 are the scoring years.

I now have about 5 weeks in which to learn enough about Christianity to write a 1,750 word essay on either the role of women in Christian thought, or division and unity from Nicaea and Chalcedon to the present day.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

I Think Therefore I Am


Warrington 18 - Leeds 26

What an astonishing game of rugby. I don't think I have ever seen a match played at such high intensity, with such determined attacking and defending from both teams.  The speed of each movement of the game was breathtaking, every man on the pitch was filled with purposeful aggression and an absolute will not to waste a single of time when they could be forcing the play onwards.


Leeds Rhinos talismanic captain Kevin Sinfield was actually knocked out cold at one point in the game, but just got up and got on with the job in hand when he came around.  Can you imagine that in football ? In fact, can you imagine any single footballer ever taking a single tackle in rugby league style and not rolling around crying for his mum ?

Last night's Grand Final was a wonderful advert for sport played to its very best level.  Two teams of superbly fit and disciplined athletes possessed of a steely will to win.  Men who define themselves by their actions and whose actions are totally directed toward playing the best rugby they can.

I must admit, I have gone a bit luke warm on football recently.  I am sick of over paid prima donnas falling over, pretending to be injured and arguing and using foul language with the ref without ever being punished. Off the pitch of course of course they are even worse, the constant media parade of stupid self-centred men getting involved in drink driving, pub brawls, racist diatribes and pointless media outbursts against the very people who employ them and pay them their millions has become tiresome, boring and wearing.  I still quite like to see LUFC win, but my passion for football has cooled somewhat, especially after the London Olympics and Paralympics and the uplifting efforts from really heroic and gallant athletes there.

Sportsmen are often referred to as role models, last night you could have taken your pick of 26 gritty, dauntless role models.  An astonising game, an exemplarary advert for the sport of Rugby League and for how any sport should be played.
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Thursday, October 04, 2012

Year 2

Arms of the Open University (400 × 397 px; 256...
Arms of the Open University  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My first year 2 module, A217 Introducing World Religions, officially began last week.  As the course books tend to arrive a little early I have already read the introduction book and am making headway into the Christianity unit.

Year 2 feels very much different to the work the Open University sets in Year 1.  Everything that I would loosely term 'hand-holding' has gone from the course, there are no nice glossaries in the back of the work books, we are now expected to be able to notice and define important terminology, the 'how to use' instructions for online libraries and databases have also vanished.

The density of the work also feels very different, I won't say that the work feels harder, just that there seems to be so much more of it.  Workbooks for the Year 1 modules tended to have fairly long written sections followed by the occasional written exercise, in Year 2 the books contain two or three short written exercises on almost every page.  I know that some people don't do the written exercises, just reading strait on into the 'discussion' section for the answers, but I'm not keen on doing this, I think I am getting more out of the course if I engage with the set tasks.

I have my first TMA (Tutor Marked Assessment) due next week, on the importance of the practical and ritual dimensions in the study of religion.  The week after that I have my first OU exam for the module I took this summer, A151 Material Culture.  An exam! I have not taken a real essay style exam for about 30 years. I have been steadily revising, and have had a go at a couple of test exam questions provided by the university. I managed to remember themes and concepts when writing these, but couldn't always bring to mind people's names or the dates when things happened.  Anyway, I'm not 16 any more so I'm not panicking about it, I'll do as much revision as I can and then what will be will be.

I am also taking a second course with the free university service Coursera. World History Since 1300 is presented by Jeremy Adelman of Princeton University, it might be a big workload doing this alongside A217, but there seems to be plenty of crossover and useful information presented by Adelman that I can work into my main course.  The history of the Silk Road, Genghis Khan and the Black Plague has been fascinating.
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Rain Affected

Rain affected has been the mantra of our working year here at the golf club, rain, rain and yet more bloody rain has led to numerous disruptions, postponements and cancellations.  In the 12 years I have been year I have not experienced a year anything like this in terms of weather.  Of course we have heavy rain and some flooding every year, but this year the deluge seems to have been endless.

Ilkley Golf Course, Tues 25th Oct 2012
Yesterday, of course, it rained heavily.  I have just opened the clubhouse and we have water on the course this morning, small pools on the fairways and a stream running down the side of the 18th.  If we can see water up here, then it's certain that lower lying parts of the course will be more heavily flooded.

Meg took this photo last week when two and half days of serious rain produced the largest flood we have seen on the course for 10 years.  The flood waters last week did recede by the following day, but it took until Saturday last week until the ground staff could get the course open again.

Will we be open for business today ? I'm just waiting for Duncan and his team to do a course inspection, then I'll know whether I'm spending the day doing paid work or degree work.

Update : degree work day.