Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Gauntlet

I'm shit at long-term goals. Really shit. I'm sort of demonstrating this right now with my design project deadline being in 10 days and I've not really physically started it yet. Long-term deadlines always seem really really far away until suddenly they're extremely close and it's really difficult to actually get shit finished in time.

Still, what's life if you don't set slightly crazy and potentially very unmeetable targets? So I've decided that in the next 12 months I'm going to cycle from Cambridge to Oxford and back, using a fairly awesome route that's already been thoroughly researched and published in detail on for anyone to use. I've also mapped it out on Runkeeper.

The route is a fairly large 84 miles (or 135km for people on the continent), which is a pretty fucking long way in comparison to any distance I've ever cycled before in a single trip(around 25 miles max). Plus it's just one-way, meaning that I'd also have to cycle back, though the current plan is to at least spend a day in between as a tourist in Oxford (a city I don't think I've ever been to before).

This 84 miles isn't flat either. It's hardly filled with the likes of Mont Ventoux, but it's still pretty damn hilly, and not just for Cambridge standards either. My initial long-term cycling goal was a 30-mile cyclic route from my house going up Parbold hill and Ashurst beacon, the latter being around 170m (570ft) in height. Aside from the fact that 84 is a considerably larger number than 30, this route goes pretty close to 170m on four separate occasions, going below 80m between each time as well.

My personal Mont Ventoux goal is still a 42-mile route from my house over Winter Hill and back. This route goes up to 335m (just over 1000 feet) at the pinnacle, and goes over Parbold hill there and back, but it's still only half the distance of the Cambridge-Oxford route, and it's mostly just one really big climb instead of several lesser ones, so I'm fairly sure it'd be a slightly easier route. For the record, Mont Ventoux is 1912m, over 6000 feet, but I'm not a professional cyclist and there aren't any Alps near where I live, so fuck that shit.

I reckon I'm going to need a fair bit of training for this, and hopefully in 12 months' time I'll have made the trip, and probably completed the Ashurst and Winter Hill routes in the meantime as well. I probably won't start training that much for a while on account of the weather, which will be a bit of a pain, but I'll definitely have to put some effort in because there's no way I can just rock up and ride 80 miles twice in three days and not die horribly in the process.

I'll be doing it with Peter Saunders, probably, and if anyone else is keen on cycling to Oxford with us then they're welcome to join us, because I'd certainly consider it to be a case of 'the more, the merrier' for a venture like this. The only real requirement would be not slowing us down too much, which probably wouldn't be too difficult to pass, because being fitter than me isn't particularly hard.

Also, because I know she reads this and I felt Facebook and Orbital comments were lame, Happy Birthday Kylie. May you be liberated from Utah soon ;)
Plus obligatory lol 18 and legal and stuff.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Holy crap, a field trip?! Oh, shit... it's in Scunthorpe.

So the MET1 peeps went on our first proper hard-core industrial trip today. Enough of getting our toes wet in the the small, well-run technology firms around Cambridge and Ely, this was proper industrial stuff at Tata Steel, formerly known as Corus. The only issue with this place was that it's in Scunthorpe.

Now not only is Scunthorpe fucking miles away for a day trip from Cambridge, but the town itself is really, really bad. There's a huge steelworks... and that's it. The town basically exists just to provide people who work at the steelworks.

Scunthorpe United's club crest is a fist clenched around a girder with "iron" written on it. Scunthorpe has so little else of interest aside from steel production that they made a football club and that was the best sodding thing they could come up with. To add to Scunthorpe being shit, and the sky just being a blank greyness providing constant drizzle, I also had to put up with Simon continually referring to this place as "The North". Scunthorpe is in North Lincolnshire, but it is not in The North. Lincolnshire is a bland, dreary, featureless, cultureless and lifeless county, and it is therefore not in The North, but The Midlands, because that's how it works. Scunthorpe is not in "The North", and even Wikipedia agrees with me.

To be fair to Scunthorpe, the defining steelworks that it does have is big. Really, really fucking big. It's an impressive site because it's just so absolutely massive. It takes a few minutes just to drive around it to get to the entrance, and it's not that much smaller than the rest of the town:

The place does sort of dominate the skyline a little, though that's not really surprising given it's apparently the biggest single industrial site in England. It's got its own power station and everything. Speaking of which, this place is second in the country for its carbon footprint, behind Drax power station.

The stuff we got shown round was pretty cool. It's not quite so grimy and labour intensive as I think most people would expect, a lot of it is mechanised and while the whole thing involves a shitload of coal and ore and so is naturally a pretty grubby industry, the buildings were actually fairly clean and modern on the inside, or at least the new ones are. I'd have a ton of cool pictures of the inside but we weren't allowed to take photographs, so I don't.

My basically summary I guess would be that steelworks are really cool shit, and even without seeing inside half the buildings I was really impressed and fascinated by the whole site, it's size, and the fact that there are just miles of gantries and pipes all over the fucking place. It's just a pity that you have to go to Scunthorpe to actually see it.

Monday, 25 October 2010

An Open Letter To Evangelical Christians (Guest Post)

Disclaimer: this post is mostly the work of Nicola Hastings (aka HarmoNicks), not myself (though I was involved in the lengthy conversation that led to it, and I've edited it slightly). It was actually written a few weeks ago, but we decided not to post it at the time due to various circumstances.
However, I got stopped quite persistently in the street yesterday by some Mormon people, so we've decided to post it.

It's also probably worth specifically noting this is aimed purely at those who attempt to push their faith upon other people, rather than all Christians and religious people in general.

Dear evangelical Christians and other religious groups who fervently spread their version of The Truth,

I have been back at university for two days now, and in that time I have already been approached via my door by your brethren to try and convince me to join in your talks, social events, and the Christian Union. Two fucking days! There are numerous good friends who I've yet to get around to seeing, and I've already had people at my door pressing their religious beliefs upon me. I've not even finished unpacking, and you people have already managed to annoy me.

I remember it being the same last year. And the year before. And not just for the first couple of weeks of the academic year. You guys manage to fucking keep it up the entire damn year round. From the second fucking day I get back to the end of the year when you're trying to convince me that Jesus will give me a helping hand with my revision, I will have to put up with your shit, and I am fucking sick of it.

What the hell gives you religious societies this exemption to continually attempt to persuade people to join you? There's a freshers fair for you to make your existence known, and it'd seem that most societies deem that adequate. Except for the religious ones apparently. You guys have to keep reminding people you exist, keep pushing people into joining you, continually pestering and irritating people to make your cause known.

There are specific noticeboards for people to advertise societies and events, and it's good that you guys use them, but again, why the fuck do you have exemptions that other societies don't have? Most groups just place a poster on the noticeboard and they're done with it. You guys don't. You guys insist on putting your posters fucking everywhere. Every doorway, every single fucking free space around college that it looks a poster might be able to exist. I've even had leaflets for stuff pushed under my door before now. Oh really? There's a talk going on next weekend? I hadn't noticed on the five other fucking posters that I'd seen going through the halls on the way to my room, so I guess it's really good that you took the time to shove something under my door as well.

You don't get the same pressure from other societies. I don't have people from the college netball team personally knocking on my door asking me to come join in the practice they're having tomorrow afternoon. I don't see posters changing weekly up on doors everywhere to remind me of the events going on with the main student union, and if anyone had things worth attending and had the licence to advertise them everywhere, I guess it would be them. I get more fucking spam and shit thrown at me from the fucking Christian societies than I do from societies I'm actually registered on the mailing list for.

What pisses me off most about all of this is the fucking cynicism involved in this sort of shit. This is a university. Almost all the students are 18 or older, and the vast majority have lived in the UK, so in a predominantly Christian environment, for our entire lives. Most of us have been through an education system where we were taught RE, probably quite a few that involved going to church once or twice each turn as well. I'm not fresh off a boat from the Amazon rainforest or some backwater part of Africa and I've never fucking heard of Jesus before (though even if I was from those places, I'd still most likely have heard because you bastards so emphatically send missionaries over there). You can fuck right off with your "spreading the word of Jesus" bullshit, because I've already fucking heard it before and I totally don't need to hear it again.

If I was a Christian who was interested in that sort of thing, then I'd have found out about the CU at the freshers fair, and that'd be the end of it. I'd presumably know about the events directly through the union therefore making the posters unnecessary, unless you guys are genuinely so fucking retarded and backwards that you don't have a mailing list set up, and all these posters are actually the only fucking way you guys have of notifying your members about events. The fact is, if I wanted to hear or know whatever the fuck you're trying to tell me, then I already would. I'm 21, I'm British, I'm at a top-class university and therefore it's at least fairly likely I'm not a complete ignoramus, and the general conclusion from that should be that I've heard it all before, and that I've made up my mind and I don't need to fucking hear it again and again.

I saw a bus in Manchester the other day with an advertisement on it for the website and I actually laughed. Seriously, Jesus isn't famous? Really? Are you shitting me? He's the main protagonist for the entire second fucking half of the best-selling book of all time (and the first half builds up to him a fair bit too). His fucking name is a well-used expression for general amazement/shock/dismay/etc. And you're saying he apparently needs to be made famous? Jesus fucking Christ.

Britain isn't becoming predominantly an Atheist nation because we've not fucking heard about Jesus. It's because people have made an informed, rational decision and as a result do not believe in Christianity. The persistence of you Christian groups to push your religion down our fucking throats is not just extremely annoying, but it's also massively fucking patronising because it seems to suggest that you think the only reason we don't believe in Christianity is because we've never fucking heard of it before.

I have no problem with religious people, nor the fact that they are religious. I just really hate this seeming constant effort by groups to push their religion on people who don't want it. Believe what you fucking want to believe, but stop trying to convince everyone else that they should believe it too. Especially when you're being fucking cynical about it and targeting people when they're vulnerable, like during exams. Claiming that people should believe in Jesus because it'll help their revision, and using exam pressure as a means of converting people is just not fucking on. Same goes for targeting youth and kids just because they're more likely to believe your bullshit, especially if you make it happy-clappy enough.

I can understand the concept of finding something wonderful and want to tell people about it, but there's a fucking limit. For example, I personally think that KMFDM are an awesome band, but I don't go around trying to convince everyone I come into contact with that they should feel the same way. I don't go around in public playing their music to people. I don't go personally knocking on people's doors asking if they've heard of KMFDM and what they think about KMFDM and trying to hand out free copies of their CDs. If I know someone who I think would like them and doesn't really know of them, by all means I'll recommend them, but the rest of the time I'll accept that it's not to most people's tastes, and if it is then they'll have most likely heard of them already anyway.

Learn to accept that if your religion was that good, if it made that much sense when compared to modern society and science, if it wasn't completely batshit and implausible when subjected to rational and logical analysis, then people wouldn't need persuading into believing in it. Maybe the fact that you feel it so fucking necessary to spread the word and push your religion onto others is actually a sign that you should maybe do some self-reflection on the incredulity of what you're actually preaching.

Either way, in the mean time, how about I live my life with the beliefs I want, and you guys live with beliefs you want, and you let things be that. Drop this annoying-as-fuck campaign to make everyone and anyone prescribe to your religion and leave me the fuck alone.

As a parting shot, seeing as he's been kind enough to let me use his blog to write this as I can't be bothered getting my own, I'll use a quote:

<Rosti> There are people who have the strength and ability to cope with reality
<Rosti> and then there are those who choose religion



Sunday, 24 October 2010

I Could Think Up A Title But I'd Rather Be Lazy

I've not had a bad week, and things have calmed down a little work-wise, but I've also not gotten nearly as much stuff as I'd have liked. We've been given a design project to do, which is 10 sides of A3 in total, and is definitely not a small amount of work, and I've barely started it and I've only got just over two weeks until the deadline.

I could make excuses here about it's hard to deal with long-term projects when you're continually being given short-term things to do with imminent deadlines that always seem to take priority and detract from the big projects, but really I've just not done much work this week outside of lectures and labs.

also rowing, rowing and more rowing

It's not really helped that I've had early-morning outings every single day this week, either with the women's squad or novices. My sleep cycle hasn't really made the adjustment particularly well and I've been completely knackered most mornings. On the plus side, the accounting homework I did yesterday took me far less time than I was expecting, so hopefully once I've finished fucking about with writing blog posts and other pointless shit, I can finally get started properly on this project.

Last week my crew won the Senior Women's VIII+ division at Autumn Head and I got my tankard today. It's not that spectacular, but it's my first piece of silverware (though it's actually made out of glass) in rowing. Things have been going pretty well on the water the last couple of weeks, and I'm pleasantly confident for University Fours, though it's going to be a bit of a bitch sorting out the clashes between the race schedule and when I've got MET commitments.

On the topic of rowing, there's a blog by one of the CUWBC rowers called Something About Rowing that might make moderately interesting/amusing reading for some people. It's clearly yet another blog shamelessly 'inspired' by the excellent Hyperbole and a Half blog, but that's not really something I can hold against it too much given the content is still original even if the format isn't. After all, it's hardly like I'm doing anything revolutionary with my blog either...

I was massively pissed off this morning at missing what seemed to be a quite entertaining Korean Grand Prix. I set my alarm for 6:45am (making it the sixth day of the week I was getting up before 7am) but then for some reason didn't wake up. I don't know if I turned it off in a half-asleep state, but the earliest memory this morning is waking up naturally at around 7:40. I figured that if I'd missed the first 40 minutes of the F1 there wasn't much point getting up to watch the rest, so I had a lie-in. I was a bit annoyed to find that the start was delayed by pretty much an hour, and if I'd gotten up when I woke up then I'd have actually caught almost the entirety of the race, but oh well.

I was at least right in my (fairly obvious) prediction back in March that the title race would be exciting as hell, and while it's looking unlikely that someone besides Webber or Alonso can really win the title, Hamilton and Vettel are still in there, and in the last six or seven races the title standings have been really tight and it's been pretty damn exciting. It's looking fairly unlikely that things won't still be wide open going into the final race.

And Liverpool won a game today! I was watching it on a web stream, and I'd have been hugely pissed off if we hadn't won. Really, 2-1 is a pretty flattering scoreline to Blackburn, and if Robinson hadn't made some excellent saves then they could easily have been three or four-nil down at half-time. We played excellent football, and it's really been the first time this season that we completely and utterly outclassed the opposition. Blackburn started to come into it near the end, but for the first 70 minutes or so of the game they hardly saw the ball at all, and their goal was a bit freakish considering the run of play. Corner turned? I hope so :\

I've been neglecting this blog a bit lately (also fansubbing work), but it's mostly through being incredibly busy with life and crap like that. Plus, as somewhat demonstrated by this fairly unexciting post, I've not had that much to write about either. Though there will be a fairly interesting [guest] post tomorrow once I've put finishing touches to editing it.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Liverpool FC - The Ownership Saga

I've sort of avoided making any real comment about this on my blog, partially because I've been a bit busy but mostly because I thought there was a lot of smoke and mirrors going on, and despite the heavy media coverage I wanted to wait until things were sorted out and the dust had settled before making any real comment. Plus I'd have only jinxed things anyway.

So the club is now owned by New England Sports Ventures, parent company of the Boston Red Sox. For a large part I'm still fairly sceptical of American ownership, if only for the reason that the franchise system of sport in America is completely unlike how things work over here, but I'd like to think that these guys can at least give a fair bit of stability if not some transfer funds and a new stadium. At the very least we've narrowly avoided the loans defaulting and a nine point penalty in the league.

A point of note is that John Henry, principle owner of NESV, hasn't pledged a mass of transfer funds and he hasn't pledged that they'll fund the new stadium either. Basically he's just said that it's too early to tell for anything like that. On the one hand that's potentially a little unsettling as far as putting the club back on the top of the table, but at least it shows he's being down to earth with how he's handling things. He's not promising a huge transfer kitty and a new stadium and the all the rest of the standard spiel to win the fans over. Which is nice, because there's been enough bullshit over the last couple of years.

I'm almost certainly going against the grain for saying this, but I do feel that Gillett and Hicks have been victimised a little bit in all of this. They did make promises at the start of their reign which they have since completely failed to deliver upon, but they still did spend a fair amount of money on transfers, and there was very little they could have done to anticipate the economic crash, which is most of the reason they couldn't finance a new stadium. It is utterly retarded that they bought the club with debt and then held the debt on the club's books, but leveraged buyouts aren't that rare and I'm led to believe that they usually don't go quite so badly. At the very least G&H didn't buy the club with the intention to throw it into financial turmoil and rip the money and assets out from it, as happened with Alex Hamilton and Wrexham a few years ago.

Even with the bullshit on Thursday with the Texas court injunction, it's hard to really lay that much hate on G&H for it, as much as it did potentially jeopardise the club. They've lost a fuckload of money over the last few years into the club, and while their valuation of £600m was totally retarded and they were never going to get an offer for it, you can't blame them for wanting the highest offer on the table to be considered. £340m compared to £300m doesn't seem like a huge increase, but when there's 40 million pounds at stake it's not that crazy that they tried everything they could in courts to get what they wanted.

I think the fundamental root of the problem was that these guys were not the likes of Roman Abramovic or Sheik Mansour, with near-limitless funds to pour into the club. At the same time, they also weren't the likes of Bill Kenwright either, and weren't really in things for the long-haul. They wanted to buy the club, put in a new stadium, win a few trophies, increase the value and ultimately sell it on for profit in a handful of years. They weren't billionaires or lovers of the club, they were just two businessmen trying to make a profit from an investment at a point in time when the economy died and pretty much all investment sources and banks folded. Arguably if it hadn't been for the recession things could have ended up completely different.

I have no sympathy for the two of them, as risk is a fundamental part of investing, and personally I think they made some pretty stupid decisions and to a huge extent totally didn't understand the nature of the club, or its fans. I'd also say that trying to make a short-term profit from a football club is a retarded idea anyway, because things don't really work like that, and English football clubs don't work under a franchise system for a damn good reason. That said I do think they've been excessively victimised and I don't think they're the evil villainous maniacs that the likes of Spirit of Shankly would attempt to make out they are. They're just fairly incompetent businessmen and they've paid a price of hundreds of millions of pounds for that.

Either way, things are hopefully settled now, and really the crisis point should switch from being off the pitch to on the pitch. Now that I'm no longer focused on who is going to own the club and the threat of administration, I look back at the league table and remember that we're in 18th place. While it's still early on in the season and we're only in reality a few wins away from being back near the top of the table, there still needs to be better results on the pitch, because being in the relegation zone isn't something you can really dismiss for that long when you're meant to be challenging for the top four. The Merseyside derby is tomorrow, and really fingers crossed we'll win it and spark a decent run of form. If nothing else it'd be a great way to cap off a pretty tumultuous week.

Also lol at Man Utd for throwing away a two goal lead for the fourth time so far in the league this season.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

University Fees

The current backing of increasing university tuition fees, potentially by almost £10,000 a year, just highlights why I didn't want the fucking Tories in power. If it goes through and the Lib Dems don't stand up and block it, then I'll basically lose all the slivers of remaining faith that I have in Nick Clegg and co actually having a fucking spine between them.

Look at the fucking picture. That is Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems and current Deputy Prime Minister, holding a paper pledging that he will vote against a rise in university tuition fees. Half the fucking reason (if not the whole reason) that Lib Dem got so many votes from students was because of their stance to keep tuition fees where they are. Yet we now have Vince Cable apparently stating his support of the plans to raise them to as much as £12,000 a year, which is a fucking shambles.

I doubt the change in fees will actually come in quickly enough to affect my tuition fees, but I still think this is a terrible idea. Higher education is something that should be a right to everyone, not just students who can afford it. It's bad enough in countries like the USA where paying for tuition is an absolutely huge issue for students, and though capping it at £12k isn't anywhere near as high as the fees in the US, it's still a huge fucking leap in the wrong direction.

The fact is that giving such a large increase in the fees cap will create a financially tiered system of universities, which is what is currently the case in the USA and is what I think should definitely never, ever be the case. Students should be able to apply to universities based on academic merit, and finances shouldn't even remotely come into the selection process. Otherwise we'll end up with a system like the Ivy League in America, where potential students are narrowed down as much for their trust funds as they are academic abilities.

It's bad enough that the secondary education is so clearly tiered with private schools clearly producing students with better exam results than state schools, without extending that trend to university. Currently a degree from Oxbridge costs the same as a degree from any other university in terms of tuition, and that's how it should be. If you can afford to go to uni, you can afford to go to any of them. It shouldn't ever be that students need to go to a lesser university because they "can't afford Oxbridge", and all the Tories are doing if they go through with this proposed rise is taking things in that direction.

What's really fucking stupid is that in the short-term at least this isn't going to make a fucking difference whatsoever to the state of the government finances. This rise from £3k to £12k is just going to mean that students need to take out loans of the same price difference. Instead of that £9k coming from the government as a grant, it's going to come from the government as a loan, as the Student Loans Company is still a public body, so it's still ultimately money lent by the government. They're still going to be paying the exact same fucking amount for each student. Sure, now they money has to be paid back, but most students are leaving with loan debts of around £18,000 (including maintenance loans, but not interest), which means the government is only actually recouping money back once students are starting to pay off more than the £18,000 and eating into the rest of the ~£45,0000 or whatever it's going to be. Given that students will take three years in education before they're even earning money, it's going to be a good seven or eight years at least before the government starts seeing any sort of extra money from this system over the current one.

Now it's said in the report that only those people who earn reasonable salaries after university will have to pay the full amount back, but I don't really see how that saves it because you can't really force people into essentially gambling into making money that they don't really have. Personally I think it would be better if fees were scrapped altogether, though I can see the argument of why the taxpayer shouldn't have to shoulder everything. I do think though that £50,000 is way beyond the acceptable amount of debt to be leaving university with, and I don't see how it's going to help the government or the economy if graduates are leaving education with such a ridiculous amount of debt.

As less prestigious universities cut fees to try and make them more attractive to potential students, and the more prestigious universities hike them up because they've already got more than enough demand for places, then it's only going to serve to widen the gap between the standards of universities, and above all it's just going to reinforce what's already enough of an elitist system of rich people getting prestigious educations that poor people can't afford and then landing up all the highly-paid jobs. It doesn't matter how smart you are, if you can't afford to get into a good school and then a good university then you're seriously handicapped when it comes to getting a decent job when you graduate. Maybe if any of these fucking Tories (for the record, Lord Browne went to King's School, Ely, which is an independent boarding school with fees of £16-23k a year) had actually grown up without having their parents spoon-feeding them all the money they could want, then they'd realise that too.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Living For The Weekend

I'd not really anticipated just how much of a time-sink MET was going to be. I'm sort of hoping it doesn't stay like this because I really don't think I'll be able to keep up the pace of 9-5 every single day. Especially when we're getting projects thrown at us and don't really get given much time set aside for it.

Our first project is to create a self-powered machine that can type out "go MET 10!!" on a keyboard, including the capitals and exclamation mark. Given we've got a week, and haven't been given any materials other than what we can scrounge together, it's a pretty fucking hard challenge. We've not got any designated time for it in our timetables either, so we have to get it done on top of all our lectures and other labs and stuff. I really doubt any of the teams are going to be particularly successful unless they've basically given up their weekends for it, which really I'm not particularly willing to do for a project that isn't going to count towards our course, and given that I'm already giving up one of my two free afternoons this week to do it.

Outside of MET things haven't been too bad. Rowing is keeping itself fairly quiet because we're still in VIIIs so I'm sharing the outings workload with Will, which I'm so fucking grateful for right now because I'd be really struggling to find any proper free time if it wasn't for that.

The CU Reach Mahjong Soc squash went fucking amazingly. We didn't get the 88 people who had signed up, instead we got about 12 new people, which was pretty much the perfect number. It meant we just about filled the Umney Lounge and didn't run out of sets or tables, or have to use the second room we'd booked. What's more, a fair few of the guys who turned up looked like the sort of people who would stick around. I was scared we'd get a ton of people (mostly Asian, from what I gathered on the stall) who would come to the squash just for a laugh and to see what it was like, cause us to have too many people and run out of space/tables/sets at the squash and then never show their faces again.

The weather was absolutely beautiful today, completely clear skies, light breeze, about 21-25°C, so I went out cycling with Peter. We had a pretty nice route, just under 20 miles, though our average speed got massacred by the fact we ended up getting lost in Haslingfield and then ended up off-road soon after. The off-road wasn't really a case of getting lost, more that we ended up with a choice of either going through private, potentially dead-end roads through some farmland, or going down a bumpy bridle path, and we chose the latter when with hindsight and Google Maps we didn't need to. Still, it was good fun and a good laugh. All the little villages like Toft and Kingston (where we stopped for a drink and a bit to eat) are really old and picturesque, and I reckon we'll probably try the route again but with the experience to keep us on the right track this time.

In my final burst of free time until Monday and 9-5 crap every day again, I'm going to see Toy Story 3 at Johns with a few other people at the 10pm showing. Anyone reading this who didn't get the email that got sent out by David is welcome to join us.

Monday, 4 October 2010


So usually right, you move in on a Saturday, you have a few days to settle in and shit before term starts on Thursday. You have time to unpack, procrastinate paying bills and doing other admin stuff, eventually get around to doing admin stuff, go to the supermarket and buy shit, go to the supermarket again and buy the shit you forgot the first time around, socialise, drink, properly get back into the rhythm of the student lifestyle before term starts again.

Apparently MET don't want to give people this luxury. Apparently the fact that it's still technically freshers week (which still has implications even though I'm now in my third year) means fuck-all to them, and they decided that we didn't need a few days to settle in before term started. We can start having classes on Monday.

I spent the weekend basically unpacking, socialising, getting myself settled back in and talking to everyone I'd not seen in ages, did some shopping, and did some preparation for the Mahjong stall at the societies fair.

Today was Monday. I was up at 6:50am, I went to the boathouse for an outing, I got back, I had just enough time to make toast and get changed, I didn't even get to eat the toast - I did that while cycling to the IfM building. I got there, I was there until 5pm, I cycled back, I had my tutor meeting, I then had about 15 minutes until slops and then I've been free in the evening. Except I'm not completely free because I have to be around to organise shit for the societies fair and to try and timetable everyone. This is made difficult because people have stuff that they didn't get final times for until this weekend, so everything has to happen late. If it wasn't for this bloody MET stuff it'd be fine, because I'd just do the entirety of both days and it'd suck but I'd at least ensure things ran OK and there was always someone on the stall.

I am so fucking busy right now it's just stupid. This is meant to be a few days of settling in, and instead I've spent most of the day doing shit and rushing around trying to make sure shit I'm not doing is still being done and going OK. 

Tomorrow morning I've got to go take shit to the freshers fair before everything starts, and then I've got 9:30am to 4pm in the IfM, and then I'm going straight to the freshers fair to do the final shift until it ends at 7pm. I'm then presumably going to have to take all the stuff home and do the exact same fucking thing on Wednesday morning as well, though that's not so bad because the MET stuff finishes at midday, and the societies fair at 4pm. But still, this is the three days before term even starts and my days are absolutely fucking rammed with commitments and stuff to do. It's totally ridiculous that once term starts properly I won't actually have as much stuff to do, because MET lectures will only be 9am-1pm and all the stressing over societies stuff will be over, until the CURMS squash on Friday evening at least.

I'm basically just a bit pissed because all these classes are pretty much compulsory, and have enough vital information scattered through them to make them unmissable, yet at the same time I don't see why they couldn't have just waited until term started and had them then. It's not all course induction and safety briefings and stuff, pretty much the entire afternoon was spent just with a class on presentation skills and communication, and it seems that most of tomorrow and Wednesday is going to be the same, when I really want to just be making sure that things are going smoothly for the CURMS stall at the society, because we're basically fucked if we don't get a decent amount of freshers this year, given pretty much all the current undergraduate members beside myself will be leaving, and I don't really want all of next year to be myself, graduate students and a pig-nosed turtle we bought because nobody joined this year.