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Date:2009-01-18 15:00
Subject:Ramblings (of two kinds)
Security:Public
Mood: indescribable

I haven't been on here in ages, but thought that since I'd written a long facebook note, I might as well put it here as well.

After a Saturday night out in the Angel, with gales blowing the rain horizontal, and with Jamie away for the weekend, I stayed at my parents' house in Durham. This morning the sun was shining on the frost and it all looked very pretty, so in spite of the fact I was wearing the clothes that I had gone out in the night before, I decided to walk the four miles or so home. The walk is nothing special - there are some nice views and in the summer pretty fields of poppies look cheery, but the only possible route is mostly along the main road.

As I got to the crossroads in Sacriston, on a whim I turned off to the right, and instead of going home took the footpath across the fields from Plawsworth road up to Waldridge Fell. The path goes over a stream and is dotted with little copses where a few snowdrops are coming into bud.

If you caught the news, you might have heard that Arne Naess, credited as the father of deep ecology died this week, and Val Plumwood died about a year ago. Both of these people, along with others (Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, Henry Thoreau etc.) were thinkers whose work was directly and intensely immersed in nature. I've often questioned, as someone who takes great enjoyment from natural things, and who studies environmental ethics, why seeing the first snowdrops, or growing and cooking my own food, does not feed into my own work all that much.

Part of the reason, I think, is that there is something in my brain that stubbornly resists this. Natural things, especially plants, just are. They are not about anything or trying to convey anything (intellectual or otherwise) and while that is not necessarily part of their beauty, it is certainly part of the beauty that I see in them. Bringing them into rigid academic frameworks seems to take away that pure 'isness' Even taking too self-conscious an enjoyment of them can ruin whatever quality it is that I seem to see on a long walk or on my allotment. I realise I'm committing this very crime right now, but it is almost impossible not to. It's a bit like a spot that the sun leaves in the corner of your vision. You can't help but notice it, but try to look at it and it goes away.

Waldridge Fell was stunning this morning. I was getting very odd looks from dog walkers for being an incongruous character in tight leathers who didn't seem to be accompanied by another walker, let alone a dog that would justify my presence on the moorland. The surrounding gorse and heather were blasted by the kind of wind that takes all the breath out of your lungs and stings your face and turns your hair into hundreds of tiny whips. Icy puddles cracked under my feet. The winter sun was so strong I had to screw up my eyes against the glare. The sheer intensity of every sensation was compounded by the physical ache of having walked about seven miles uphill with a slight hangover. I was overwhelmed by a dizzying sense of the fell's complete indifference to my presence.

I felt an arrogant need to try and capture this and take it with me. I got out my cameraphone and snapped myself standing with a particularly wonderful view in the background. I looked at the screen, and saw a leather clad figure on a hillside with blonde hair blowing against a bright blue sky. Yes - it looked like a still from a Europe video. Once again I'd ruined something by putting a frame around it.

The Angel: http://www.angelpubdurham.co.uk/
Rachel Carson: http://www.rachelcarson.org/Biography.aspx
Europe: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=5k1hS2OF8Rg
Aldo Leopold: http://www.naturenet.com/alnc/aldo.html
Arne Naess: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jan/15/obituary-arne-naess
Val Plumwood: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/mar/26/australia.world
Henry Thoreau: http://www.thoreausociety.org/_news_abouthdt.htm
Waldridge Fell: http://www.durham.gov.uk/durhamcc/usp.nsf/pws/Durham+Wildlife+Sites+-+Waldridge+Fell

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Date:2007-10-02 12:39
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: groggy

Yuk. Freshers' flu :-(

In other news, less stressed now. Went to dinner with Michael-John and Ola on Saturday, and shared PhD stress with him, which was quite reassuring.

I've also found a book on the early development of rights theory which is not nearly so obscure and does not rely on the reader having fluent Latin (I didn't get much further than "canis in via dormit" and various bits of latin masses, and that was a very long time ago).

Also I have worked out that my first tutorial will be a week later than I had thought, which is helpful. I'm tweaking but basically reusing the material that I set on Hobbes last year for the first political philosophy tutorial, and I have done most of the preparation for the first philosophy of religion one.

So now the main priorities are meeting my chapter deadline (the deadline I set myself is the 18th, although the one my supervisor set me is the 31st) and writing my lectures on Locke (the first one will, I think, be on November 2nd).

On the downside my nose is streaming and I have a headache, so I think I will take a book to bed and hope that I feel OK for the postgrad social thingy tonight.

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Date:2007-08-01 16:50
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: calm

Thank you to everyone who came to our party. We had a great time, and it was so good to catch up with people. You're all welcome back anytime (but please let us know if you all decide to come at once!)

We also ended up with far more booze than we started with, which can only be a good thing.

Back to earth with a bump after the weekend with work to get on with, but I'm getting back into the routine of it now.

I am also posting as an excuse to show off the new userpic of me in my sexy reading glasses

;-)

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Date:2007-07-11 15:50
Subject:Yay!
Security:Public
Mood: bouncy

PhD is well and truly on track. I have a feeling I may even finish the basic writing up within the three years that I'm supposed to do it in.

Went to pub quiz last night with J and Alexis, distinctly remember being incredibly slury and not getting to bed until after 2, but have somehow avoided a hangover.

Meeting with supervisor on Monday went remarkably well.

My iPod appears to be fixed, thanks to the genius of blackopus, which will make a great improvement to my quality of life.

I have just eaten a whole garlic bread because it was there.

Only two and a half weeks til our party.

Generally, yay!

And that concludes the smugness

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Date:2007-06-27 17:58
Subject:The future is Brown.
Security:Public
Mood: indifferent

Strikes me as slightly odd that hardly any of my lj friends have made any reference to the fact that we now have a new prime minister (after that brief worrying gap inbetween when presumably Prezza was in charge). Perhaps this is because we are all so bored of Brown before he's even started in the new job.

While the labour party seem to have the edge over the tories at the moment, Cameron is marginally less unpopular than Brown in many surveys. The BBC mentioned a number of questions that the public had been polled on, but the one that stuck in my head was the poll that revealed that people would be more likely to invite Cameron to tea than Gordon Brown. This strikes me as a slightly peculiar measure of political popularity. I am not generally in the habit of hosting tea parties (perhaps I should- I seem to become more middle aged and middle class by the day) but I do sometimes do that fantasy party thing, where you imagine the list of famous people, living or dead, who you would invite to a party. In the past, names that have come up are:

Keith Richards (and other assorted stones)
Rasputin
The Pirate Ann Bonny
Bill Bailey
Mr T
Robert Johnson
Janis Joplin
Boris Johnson
Henry VIII
Bob Johnson the weatherman off the local news (Don't ask me why there are so many Johnsons)
etc. etc. etc.

On close examination, this list does not in any way resemble what I think the ideal cabinet would look like (although you could have fun assigning them their various ministries). Why do we seem to expect politicians to be the sort of people who are good at parties? I'd much rather have a politician who can run a country effectively thanks. People who criticise politicians for not being fun or cool irritate me in much the same way as people who make fun of footballers for being thick. Being academically bright is not a footballer's job. Some people who know me well will be sick of me making this point, but why is it OK to mock Beckham for being stupid, when it isn't OK to mock Stephen Hawking for being bad at football? (OK, apart from the point that we're not supposed to make fun of the disabled- killjoys ;-) ) Likewise, it isn't really Gordon's job to be trendy and party-friendly (just as well- the remarks about the Arctic Monkeys were just embarrassing).

He can be as grumpy and scruffy as he likes so far as I'm concerned. The real issue is that he has so much of the same blood on his hands as Blair, and whether he continues in the same vein is yet to be seen.

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Date:2007-06-13 16:40
Subject:
Security:Public


Your Score: Clark Gable


You scored 19% Tough, 38% Roguish, 33% Friendly, and 9% Charming!




You're a pretty interesting guy, all man but approachable and friendly.
You like the lovely ladies, but you're also a real stand up guy with a
true sense of honor and duty. You're respected by most men, although
they probably wouldn't trust you alone with their girlfriends and even
wives. Women find you intriguing, drawn to your playful sense of fun
and true-blue core. You think most women are rather silly, but strong
dames with smarts really turn you on, and you tend to marry them.
Leading ladies include Claudette Colbert and Vivien Leigh, women who
find you somewhat charming but a little dangerous.


Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the
Classic Dames Test.




Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

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Date:2007-05-31 13:13
Subject:Meme (as if you care)
Security:Public
Mood: lethargic

1. Your ‘ex’ and You = generally get on OK, lathough there is one I've lost touch with. Some are great friends though.

2. I am listening to = Tony Blair being self-congratulatory on The World at One

3. Maybe I should = Stop doing this and get on with the piles of horrible marking

4. I love = Jamie of course.

6. I don’t understand = anything if I think about it too much.

7. I have lost my respect for = nobody in particular. I find myself having more respect for people as I get older and realise that life isn't easy

8. I last ate = a cheese and pickled onion sandwich. Bad breath, but I'll be in the house all day so who cares?

9. The meaning of my display name is = my name and an acronym that isn't really appropriate anymore.

10. God = has been the subject of a lot of confusion to me and will probably remain so for the rest of my life.

11. Someday = I will learn to drink responsibly

12. I will always = be short.

13. Love seems to = make everything a lot easier these days, but it used to make everythiung a lot more difficult.

14. I never ever want to lose = my man, my marbles, my curves or a game of scrabble.

15. My lj is = a great way to stay in touch with the people I miss, and a horrible tempatation for procrastinating.

17. I get annoyed when = I don't get my own way. I'm a brat like that.

18. Parties = yay!

20. Simple Kisses = don't really exist. All relationships are complicated. Oh, except maybe those ridiculous air kisses that some people do with people they don't really know.

21. Today I = need to mark exams

22. I wish = I was as fearless as I used to be, but with what I know now.

IS YOUR/ARE YOU

01. is your hair wet?: No.

02. is your cell phone right by you?: No, in the next room.

03. do you miss someone? There are a lot of people who I miss, but not in a way that makes me unhappy.

04. are you wearing chapstick? No, just sandwich crumbs around my mouth.

05. are you tired?: A bit.

06. are you wearing pajamas?: No. A rugby shirt and tatty dungarees. Don't know why I'm being dykey today.

08. are you mad?: Angry or insane? I'm angry about a lot of things, and I'm probably not the best judge of my own sanity.

09. are you upset? No.

HAVE YOU

01. recently done anything you regret? Talking shit when I'm drunk, but nothing serious.

02. ever lied? Yes, but not for quite a long time.

03. ever stuck gum under a desk? Yes

04. ever kicked someone? Yes.

05. ever smashed someones face in? Not exactly

TODAY HAVE YOU:

01. have you cursed? Probably. I can't even remember.

02. have you gotten mad at someone? No. Apart from Blair, but he doesn't count.

-RANDOM-

Q: is there a person who is on your mind right now? Nobody in particular.

Q: do you have any siblings? Yes.

Q: do you want children? Yes.

Q: do you smile often? Not as much as I should, but fairly often.

Q: do you untie your shoes every time you take them off? No.

Q: do you like your handwriting? Yes, but there are some annoying teenage quirks in it that I would love to be rid of, but are too much of a habit now.

Q: are your toenails painted? Had to check. Yes they are- a sort of chocolatey/burgundy colour

Q: are you a friendly person? I hope so.

Q: who’s bed other than yours do you sleep in? Other than mine, my bed is Jamie's.

Q: what were you doing at 7pm yesterday? Marking

Q: I can’t wait to: Eat cherries from the tree in the garden this summer.

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Date:2007-05-17 11:26
Subject:Pub!
Security:Public
Mood: okay

I turn 25 at the weekend, so I am going out on Friday to celebrate.

Any of you who live in or around Durham (or just happen to be around for any other random reason) are welcome to come and join us in the Angel. We'll be there from about 8.30.

Revision sessions this afternoon and tomorrow, and then they are on their own for the exam on Monday. Shouldn't really be nervous, but I am a little.

I am getting a shed for my birthday- yay!

Thats about all.

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Date:2007-05-09 09:59
Subject:Randomness
Security:Public
Mood: hungry

I looked at Wikipedia and hit the 'random article' link:

Crown Publishing Group

The Crown Publishing Group is a subsidiary of Random House

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Date:2007-03-12 15:27
Subject:unusually jolly post
Security:Public
Mood: happy

So, the big news is that I have an allotment as of today- yay! They are going to build a fence, but I'm free to move in and start digging right away.

So, today I have marked three essays, got myself an allotment, written 1000 words of PhD work, answered a student's essay query, looked over my stuff for tomorrow's tutorial, got a quote for a shed and fed the birds and it is only half three (and I even spent quarter of an hour on Civ 2 at lunchtime, then listened to the archers a bit later). How come I never usually get this much done in a whole day, and yet I have done it all more than two hours before I usually stop working? For some reason I am a powerhouse. Maybe its the spring sunshine helping out.

Not even too worried about the fact that my tutorial tomorrow is being inspected and I have to give a lecture at an open day next week.

I am going to look over one more essay, think a bit more about my tutorial, but after that I think I am going to set my mind on important things like having a bath and thinking about sheds.

I think that is all.

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Date:2007-02-01 15:18
Subject:Happy Birthday Tom McKinnell!
Security:Public
Mood: sleepy

Have a great one Tom. Card and pressie to follow at new address. :-)

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Date:2007-01-30 15:39
Subject:Working- erm, sort of.
Security:Public
Mood: blah

It's been so long since I've read J.S. Mill that I'd forgotten about his occasional capacity to be very funny:

What I stated was, that the Conservative Party was, by the law of its constitution, necessarily the stupidest party. Now, I do not retract that assertion; but I did not mean to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it. (Public and Parliamentary Speeches, May 31st 1866, pp. 85-86.)



A slightly more serious one, but still a bit Oscar Wilde in places:

The most favourable case which a man can generally have for studying the character of a woman, is that of his own wife: for the opportunities are greater, and the cases of complete sympathy not so completely rare. And in fact, this is the source from which any knowledge worth having on the subject, generally comes, But most men have not had the opportunity of studying in this way more than a single case: accordingly one can, to an almost laughable degree, infer what a man's wife is like, from his opinions about women in general. To make even this one case yield any result, the woman must be worth knowing, and the man not only a competent judge, but of a character sympathetic in itself, and so well adapted to hers, that he can either read her mind by sympathetic union, or has nothing in himself which makes her shy of disclosing it. Hardly anything can be more rare than this conjunction. (Subjection of Women, Chapter I)



Did a slightly crappy couple of Marx tutorials today. Not convinced it was me who was crappy though, since I'd done that topic 4 times already, and all the other ones were OK. People were just gazing down at the table or occasionally giving mumbled one word answers. Still, can't help feeling that is was down to my lack of enthusiasm today. Couldn't really be arsed. Probably because they were my last two of six groups on that topic.

Anyway- need to set some inspiring questions on Mill.

Oh, and if anyone's interested, I'm selling this on ebay- http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=017&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&viewitem=&item=270083637258&rd=1&rd=1

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Date:2007-01-25 17:59
Subject:
Security:Public

Yay!







, you're now logged in!

Below you'll find your test result. After, continue on to your homescreen to discover what we're about.




Catwoman!
You scored 100 % gender, 35 % ambition, 55 % intelligence, and 25 % insanity!
The Feline Femme Fatale best matches your modus operandi! Armed with feline ferocity and cat-like cunning, this purring princess of pulchritude represents feminine might. Non-conformity is the very signature of the Catwoman. Ever since her first appearance on the comics page, she has defied gender stereotypes. Sure, she has curves... curves which conceal sinewy muscle. She is as prone to support the fight for justice as she is to refuse it. She is as wild as she is sober. She is as fierce as she is gentle. She is as virtuous as she is selfish. She is as much paragon as she is pariah. You're only weakness is the Batman. His ill-timed arrival could lead to a change in plans... ... a change in dinner plans. Maybe you just need to show him that you're not completely devoid of a softer side




My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:


free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on gender

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on ambition

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on book knowledge

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on insanity
Link: The Gotham City Beware Test written by bulldogsmith on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

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Date:2007-01-21 17:46
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: busy

You know the Bible 90%!
 

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes



Well, that's useful. :-/

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Date:2007-01-12 18:00
Subject:
Security:Public

Just been thinking about the grotty weather outside and looking through some photos to remind me of summer, and I found this one, which is better than I remembered.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Its making me miss the sunshine :-(

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Date:2006-12-01 13:39
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: excited

I'm feeling all prematurely Christmassy.

The solar powered outdoor fairy lights arrived, so I put them up because I was too childish to wait.

I just made Christmas pudding. Aren't I good? Now to spend the next three weeks feeding it with copius amounts of brandy. Yay!

Cards- I'm not sure I've got many people's addresses, so let me know what yours is if you want a Christmas card.









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Date:2006-11-28 13:57
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: sleepy

Following latest silliness on fidelcrespo's journal, I feel the need to demonstrate that I am not the only daft one in this house. Witness Jamie's adventures in paint:


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Date:2006-11-16 11:48
Subject:Farepak fund
Security:Public
Mood: listless

http://www.farepakresponsefund.org.uk/

I'll update properly soon.

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Date:2006-11-05 13:35
Subject:Saddam sentence
Security:Public

The world is all wrong.

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Date:2006-11-03 12:36
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: cheerful

Just out of interest, what are people's views on carbon emissions trading? Any critics/fervent supporters?

Think I'm about to write something on this, but it would be good to have some clue about what people think generally.

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