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May 31, 2006

The For Fuck's Sake Factor

I read an interview with Jon Stewart once, back before the last major U.S. election (I think it was in Esquire) in which he was asked to come up with new campaign slogans for the two parties.  The first slogan was something to the effect of, "Be afraid, but not too afraid to vote."  The specifics are not important because that wasn't the slogan that caught my ear.  The one Stewart came up with for the democrats was, "For Fuck's Sake!" At the time, I thought it was amazing for a number of reasons, including that I would have loved to put that bumper sticker on my car, "Vote Kerry, For Fuck's Sake."  Stewart's point, if I remember correctly and am not paraphrasing horribly was that if you sat back and watched the elections and absolutely thought about it that's what your reaction would be to the campaign put on by the right, "Oh, for fuck's sake."  Actually, now that I proofread this paragraph, I think that might be horribly paraphrasing it.  Mr. Stewart, I apologize.

 

Anyway, I was thinking, for some reason today, about what I'm going to call the "For Fuck's sake factor."  Its that moment, when you take a deep breath and look at what is going on around you in the world and you think, "What is going on here?  For the love of Pete why are all human beings in this particularly instant being so fucking stupid?!?!"  Oh, now I think I remember why I was thinking about it.  I was watching a video earlier the Federal Marriage Ammendment.  Now, there are lots of reasons to pause and give this some thought.  But, the one that seemed to strike me the most for some reason today was the jump made so frequently from gays wanting to marry to people wanting to marry animals.  I don't understand this animals business at all.  It makes me wonder if I have missed something huge in my reading of the constitution. I am left wondering, where in the constitution does it state that goats have rights and are equal under the law (When there isn't an equal rights ammendment full stop.)?  Are goats citizens?  

 

Can't we have a civil debate about the business of marriage without a discussion of the rights of goats?

 

For Fuck's Sake, people. 

May 29, 2006

Well, that had been the plan...

I was going to move into the house with John's housemates until one of them had a minor miscommunication with the landlord and the house is now going to be rented to someone else.  Bastards.  But, we looked at a property that is effing huge and beautiful.  John and I will each have our own room, which we are going to turn into a living room and a bedroom so that we can sit on our own sofa and watch our own movies without idiots popping in and talking through the whole thing.  We're cancers, what can we see, we like our home the way we like our home and we get cranky when people bug us.  So, that's the deal with that.

Also, my phone is still broken because the sim card thingee decided to block itself.  So, in the morning, if I still haven't received anything in the mail I have to walk into town and very patiently explain that I'm fucking done waiting for them and that I don't care if it means that I have to give people a new phone number I just want a new sim card.  And, since I have been without a phone for the past two weeks, its the very least they can do for me.  And, if that's not acceptable, I am going to take my business elsewhere.  So, its possible that by tomorrow afternoon I will have a new phone number.  I just can't deal with this locking business.  Its too much hassle. 

In further news, my iPod won't turn on for some unknowable reason.  I am currently following the instructions on the page created by Apple for fixing the little gizmo.  Hopefully, it will work.  I have to leave it for 24 hours and let it "drain" itself, it looks like.  This being the second in the series of gizmos not working in my presence suggests in my mind that gizmos hate me and that I should be careful when they are around. 

Lastly, I am going to try something called "toad in the hole" for dinner tonight.  It appears to be sausages baked inside a yorkshire pudding.  It looks tasty.  I am going to make a little gravy to have with it, which should be good, too.  I'll let you know how that goes.

May 27, 2006

Its raining, Its pouring. The old man is snoring...

It rains here all the time... and, joking aside that I do live in Wales, honestly, I think its been raining too much.  And, I'm not just saying that because I'd like to get outside every now and then and not get soaked and not because I'd like to see the sun (because both of these things are true) but because the other day someone said to me, "Its usually not like this."  They then shrugged and said, "so much for the water shortage". 

 

Today we are going to go and look at houses for the next six months.  I will be living with John and his current housemates Lee, Jigger (whose real name is Matthew) and Craig.  They are nice boys, a little set it their ways, but then who isn't? 

 

Right now I am sitting in the library and the kid at the computer next to me is hitting the keys so hard he's shaking my computer.  Now, how's that for conviction of what you are saying.  I just have to finish up this entry and print something.  Then, I have to go so that I can meet everyone at the estate agents. 

 

John and I have begun watching firefly.  I enjoyed the first episode.  They are space cowboys!  yee haw!  I will write more in-depth about this later. 

May 26, 2006

The Autumn Offering's Revelations of the Unsung

    The Autumn Offering is a metal band from Daytona, Florida and Revelations of the Unsung was their debut album reissued by Victory back in January.  Yes, that’s right.  I’ve had this CD since January and I’m just now getting around to reviewing it.  Shameful, I know.  The CD is ten tracks of intense metal.  What has caught my attention over and over again in my many aborted attempts to write this review have been the guitar solos.  They are many and they are wicked.  My favorite is in the middle of “Beginning’s End”, the last track of the CD.  Which is the perfect ending to this raging CD.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself talking about the ending first.


    The CD starts like an approaching train with the “Great Escape”, the sound of the approaching menace that precedes the uncoming freight train of sound.  This sets the tone for the rest of the album and is almost a prelude at a little more than 2 minutes.  This track features harsh vocals and menacing guitar. 


    Track 2, Revelation, has some softer moments that are reminscent of the ballads of arena rock, but I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I mean it in a “these guys know their music history” sort of way.  I mean it in a, “ I can see this song filling and rocking a huge venue” sort of way.


    Much of this CD is full of intense raging.  Its what you expect from metal, and its not disappointing.  To go along with the amazing guitar solos are some proper, driving drumming that makes you want to get up and dance (and by that I mean, dance all kung-fu like a kohl-eyelined hardcore kid). 


    I think my favorite track of the whole CD was track 9, “Shadow of Betrayals” which begins with moody drums and melodic guitar before breaking into intense speed metal.  Quality.  The combination between that and the wicked guitar solo previously mentioned in the last track, you could say that The Autumn Offering save the best for last.  Hopefully, these tracks are an indication of what is to come from this band. 


    The Autumn Offering's Revelations of the Unsung is available on Victory Records, as is their more recently released album Embrace the Gutter.

May 24, 2006

Greetings from London!

I'm hanging out with Stephy and John...and you aren't.  Its been a pretty low key evening.  We had some food at a place called Starvin' Marvins.  Its an American style diner.  I had something that was philly cheesesteak-esque.  Then we had shakes.  Then we went to Tesco and looked at DVDs and I bought water and biscuits.  Tomorrow we are headed to the british museum.  John and Stephy are currently headed to top up a phone so that there is a way to contact us while we're out and about tomorrow. (as my phone is all busted.)  Its awesome.  I am so happy she's here!   HOORAY!

May 21, 2006

Lazy Afternoons.

I'm listening to a CD that I made for someone last October. Its pretty good.  Trying to decide if its raining out or not.  I'm not sure when the bus is due to come, so I may be walking in it if I'm not careful.  Funnily enough, that happens a lot here, walking in the rain.  I have umbrellas, but I don't know where they are.  Its been a very lazy Sunday.  So far I have gone for a walk with John and his housemate Jigger to the video store.  We rented Firefly.  We have it for a week.  We had lunch and now I'm checking my email.  John is taking a nap and then he's going to see his Mama.  We're getting together later to watch some Firefly and eat some more food.  I think I may read some today, but I can't make any assurances as to whether or not that will happen.  Also, I have to think about getting ready to go to London for a couple of days to see Stephy!  Hooray!

May 18, 2006

Done.

You know how when you've just finished something big and you think you should have some sort of feeling as if you've accomplished something and then you don't?  Well, I'm having one of those days.  I'm done with the coursework for my Masters degree, now I just need to write my thesis.  So, I've started reading for it, even though I can't officially start work on it until after the postgraduate board of studies in June.  Then, I'll have until September 15th to complete and turn in my thesis.  But, until I officially pass what they refer to as the "diploma" part of my degree I don't officially have anything that I'm supposed to be doing.  Hopefully, next week I'll be going to see Stephy in London.  We'll see, though.   I'm excited about the unofficial time in that I have been doing reading I've wanted to do, but I'm a little weirded out by it, too.  What can I say, I'm just not used to this operating in deadline-less time.  Weird.

Okay, I have to go to John's now.  We're making chilli and watching the Poseidon adventure, I think.   

May 16, 2006

Nathan Asher and The Infantry

Ladies and Gentlemen, boy and girls, I start this review by apologizing for the dearth of reviews I've written in the past six months and to state, because of this my reviewing skills may have atrophied.  And in a way, to provide in excuse, in advance, for the possible unusefulness of the information I am about to pass on.  I have spent the better part of the last 3 weeks working on three essays and a presentation. 

Nathan Asher and the Infantry are a band that, at first seemed to follow in the footsteps of Bob Dylan.  In fact, halfway through the first track I said, "Wow, this is Dylan-esque".  (Exact quote).  To which my friend Anne-Marie said, "Oh, just wait... it gets more so."  The good news is, unleike the revered folk singer, Nathan Asher is easy to understand. 

The tunes were  mellow, more or less being written in the same time signature, contributing to the overall folkiness of the tracks.  I'll be honest and say that during tracks 3 and 4 I was attempting to read an article* so I zoned out enough that when I read the tracklist I remembered hearing a tune that repeated the lyrics "sex without love", but I can't tell you much else about it.

When track five came around, I was compelled to put down what I was reading.  "You cannot quit smoking" with its plodding, lyrical trudge through a list of reasons why you can not quit smoking caught my attention with its melacholy lyrics juxtaposed with the almost uptempo feel of the tune.  It reminded me a little of Bright Eyes from the Fevers and Mirrors days. 

 Tracks 6&7 features a lot more piano than the previous tracks (at least in my academia addled recollection).  They also had more of a pop feel than what had come before.  "No More Colleges" (track 8) featured raw vocals (lke you'd expect from anyone I just compared to Bright Eyes) and impressive piano and guitar solos. 

All in all Nathan Asher and the Infantry was an enjoyable listen, providing the easy digestibility of pop with the rawness and a selection of topics of folk and indie rock.  I say give Nathan Asher and The Infantry a listen.  Yes. 

More can be found on Nathan Asher and the Infantry at their website and their Myspace.

May 11, 2006

Oh dear, Oh dear.

I would like to watch a film right now.  Preferrably something in black and white.  This, of course, is not an option as I have one paper that it without a conclusion and one paper that would otherwise be done were it not for the fact that it is over by a little more than 400 words (thats not including my footnotes and tables because I don't think that words in tables should count against me.)  Oh my, oh me.  I'm thinking about making some popcorn, too.  This is not because I am interested in eating popcorn so much as I think I would like to do something that doesn't involve using my brain for a minute. 

 

Oh, and my paper that doesn't have a conclusion...it went through two drafts prior to getting typed up (more or less) and now its on the computer (starting over once it got to the computer) its on draft 9 and every time I read it I somehow manage to add to it without adding things in the relevant places (such as the CONCLUSION).  And, of course, once I add something, I have to go back to the beginning and read it from there to make sure everything flows right.  

 

I have issues...

 

 

My glasses are wicked dirty...

With papers due in 24 hours, why am I still dragging my feet?

May 10, 2006

The varying ways we use language help us to address the non-linguistic problem of how to socially organize ourselves, how to recognize others from our same social group and how to further connect and continue renew and establish social relationships...

The guy who was sitting behind me in the computer lab got half way to the door before he remembered his disk in the disk drive.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is that sort of day.  Its the sort of day when the sun is shining and the birds and singing and you really want to be elsewhere.  Its the sort of day in which you plagiarize the paper you are working on in order to find a subject line. 

 

Here is my question, boys and girls.  how can you get over 3,000 words into to something that has a 4,000 word limit and not manage to include ANY "illustrative" examples?

May 08, 2006

Illustrative examples

So, I am writing a paper for my class on discourse and social interaction, which I keep calling in my head strategic interaction.  I have been having a number of problems with the essay, most of them stemming from my overwhelming desire to write a good paper, something that I am proud of, something that I won't think about as embarrassing when I write this professor a letter after term is over to request letters of reference for the phD programs I am applying to.  There is, of course, the added pressure that this is the only thing on which I will be graded for the class.  For this paper, I am discussing the work of two sociologists and one linguist and, more or less, how applicable their concepts are to the field of discourse.  The paper is supposed to be critical and here's the thing with that... people in the field tend not to be critical of the guys I'm writing on because, as my professor recenly said in a meeting with him, we're just so excited to apply the concepts and see them work.  So, anyway, I'm trying to be critical and I'm writing my paper and so far, this monstrosity that isn't supposed to be more than 4,000 words is just under 3,000 and contains no illustrative examples.  When I first started writing the paper, I collected a small data sample (about fifteen minutes in length) of John and I playing the children's game Guess Who?.  I thought I could analyse the text showing how they would be analysed if I were coming at it from the three different approaches of the three different guys, but now I think that's just too much work.  And, as has been pointed out to me, illustrative examples are meant to just clarify your point.  They don't have to be ground breaking, they just have to support your argument. 

A good example of what I mean by illustrative examples can be seen running through the work of Erving Goffman  (for example, in Frame AnalysisGoffman is a freaking master of coming up with the anecdote to prove his point (in Frame Analysis he seems to draw heavily from newspaper articles).  And, since is topic is the organization of experience, it is in fact quite exciting when you have examples of how experience that are organization in a Goffmanian way.  So, I'm thinking now about using Invader Zim to make my many points.  (My essay, at this point, is essentially about the organization of research aims and how they effect the methodology you use to investigate them.) 

 At this point, I'm thinking about throwing in the towel for a bit and walking home.  I've been working on this more or less since 9:45 this  morning and its almost 4 in the afternoon now.  Although, I would like to get through to the bottom of this draft (I'm on draft 6) before I move locations.  I can't decide if I'm being stubborn of systematic.  bah. 

May 06, 2006

I don't know why I was thinking of this....

John, I want to say when he was 12 or 13, was hit in the head with a brick.  I don't remember the details of what he told me happened, exactly (and actually, now that I think about it he probably doesn't remember them either).  Apparently, he and his friends were messing around and some how this brick-hitting happened.  His friends thought he was dead, but he wasn't and they took him to the hospital and when people asked him what happened he said he fell.  Now, the truth is, one of his mates was responsible for the brick-hitting.  John said that when people asked him about what had happened he thought about his friend's parents and how good they had been to him.  He didn't want to see them hurt by anything bad happening to their son, so he said he fell. 

 

Now, for some reason, the truth of the situation came out, as it always does in big situations like this, and his mate's parents made his mate go and apologize for all the trouble he had caused.  John's parents had only heard John's story so when his mate turned up to apologize to them for hurting their son they were perplexed.  If I remember correctly, John then got into trouble for lying.  

 

I was thinking about this while I was walking home today.  You know how random stuff just pops into your head.  I was listening to  The Barenaked Ladies If I had $1,000,000 and singing along while I walked down the street.  Its weird how stuff can just pop into your head sometimes.  So, I texted John a line from the song, "If I had $1,000,000, I would buy you a monkey".  When I see him later, I'm going to ask him if he knows where its from.  Then, if he doesn't, I'm going to play it for him. 

May 04, 2006

Announcement...

In an interesting role reversal (John has asked me to marry him on three separate occasions), on Sunday evening I asked John to marry me.  In other news, I am moving into his house soon.  The contract begins at the end of June, which may very well coincide with when my lease is up... I'm a little confused about that. 

 

Daffodils are the national flower of Wales.  This is a picture of one my mother bought me while she was here.  (You are all welcome to come and visit, you know.)

daff.jpg

 

Okay, back to the salt mines I go. 

GRAAHHHHH!

SO...I've been thinking.  And, the more I think about it, the more I think that for what I want to do my PhD on, I don't think that this is the best university for me because the phonology professor is retiring.  That would make this less than ideal for me because I'd have someone who wasn't interested in phonology supervising my PhD that would be primarily on phonology.  See what I saying?  Anyway, I think that I should be looking at other programs in other places. 

 

In other news, my internet is back on after a week of it being turned off because I finally, just now, received a notice that the payment I sent in MARCH was not accepted.  (What about the payment I sent in April, you ask?  Don't.  I spoke to someone on the phone and got really snippy with the poor guy.)  Bills here are fucking, fucking, fucking ridiculous.  They want you to always have a direct debit set up and to encourage this, they have a SURCHARGE on all other forms of fucking payment.  Do you fucking believe that?  Its 2 quid now, but on 1 June, its going up to 4 quid.

 

 

Also, there's something wrong with my iPod.  I am going to try and fix it now.