Thursday, October 27, 2005

M for Manchester, M for Martens

Over the past few days, the weather's been pretty bad. Apart from today, the hottest October in 170 years, or some other implausible amount of time (if it's longer than I've been alive, it's a bit unlikely, really. What are the chances that my parents had any sort of real life before I was born?). Every time I've left a building, buckets of water have emptied over my head. My jeans are soaked and flap wetly around my ankles. I hate being damp. And my left boot has had a crack in the sole for a while. So the water comes through and then I have a wet foot, and the next day I have to either put a wet boot on or wear my trainers which then get completely soaked through in the next torrential downpour.

However, now, thanks to Ryanofstoke, I have some new (well, new to me) Doc Martens. Thank you, ebay! And they're not black!!! My first ever not-black pair. Admittedly, they are midnight blue. So nearly black. The good thing about second-hand docs is that the initial wearing-in has been done. These still need a little work. But I'm pleased at the prospect of dry feet.

So here's my question - what impact has ebay had on charities? Because I used to buy my docs from charity shops and now I buy them from ebay. Do people sell stuff on ebay they would have sold in charity shops? Has anyone investigated this???

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Corpse Bride

Just went to The Cornerhouse to see the Corpse Bride. The film was good. It was a bit jumpy in places but not genuinely scary, though I didn't like the spiders... I heard that one reviewer said it was too scary for children but not really enough for adults in it and I think that's about right. The animation was charming, I loved the characters, it was enjoyable... but that's it. I think the story lacked something - some depth.

We had pizza afterwards and that was good. I had chicken, sweet chilli sauce and roasted peppers on mine. Mmmmmmm!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On being a student

I had a seminar on marxism this morning, which I enjoyed much more. This is largely because we had a fire drill half way through, so we all went outside and stood and waited to go back in. So I was in a small group talking about the subject conversationally, rather than in the seminar environment. 10% of my mark for the module is based on contributions to the seminar, so it's much more pressured and combatative. There are people who become quite irate about certain things, and then ask questions that I don't understand. Also, sometimes I think I can make a point and then the lecturer looks at me in a manner which suggests "yes, and..." and I realise my point was quite, quite basic. Better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than open your mouth and be proved one, eh? However, I'm settling in more and getting used to the reading and the thinking and realising that a lot of other people find it hard too.

We watched Capturing the Friedmans on dvd a few nights ago, which is about a family falling apart after allegations of child abuse against two members of the family. What a strange film! Nothing was really answered. Had they done it? Who could we believe? What was likely? It seemed that no-one was telling the truth. We also had an interesting discussion about porn. Obviously, there are different levels of porn. There's paedophilic porn, which is wrong. Then there's standard top-shelf stuff, which I also think is wrong. And then there's things like FHM and loaded, which I would say is soft porn, though I know some people might disagree. For women, you can get top-shelf-style porn, but our discussion centred around soft porn for women. Are women's magazines (More, Cosmo, that sort of thing) soft porn? Is there a difference between porn for men and porn for women?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Gender (2)

I've been doing some reading about gender today. It was about how the world is masculinised - socially set up so that masculinity is considered superior to femininity and that masculinity is considered to be the norm. One thing it talked about is how this is used to exert social control: the idea that men are naturally aggressive and sexually demanding ind women are passive is used to excuse male rape behaviour (the 'she was asking for it by wearing a short skirt' defence). So women alter their behaviour to accommodate this by being careful about what they wear and about going out alone at night.

I had to go to the shop to buy some soy sauce for tea tonight, at about 9 o'clock. There was a weird man came and stood behind me in the queue. We were near a fireworks display. The conversation went like this...

Him: My cat hates fireworks. Do you have a cat?

Me: No, I don't really like them.

Him: Do you have a dog?

Me: My parents used to. But she dies.

Him: Oh, what sort?

Me: A mongrel.

He then proceeded to tell me that when he used to live in Ireland he used to shoot mongrels before he went foxhunting. This was when I started to think he was a bit odd. Then he said his dogs hated everyone, especially babies, and didn't I think it was nice when dogs attacked children? And that cats hate children too and kill them in a really evil way, sitting on their face and suffocating them.

I was so frightened. All the way through he was standing so close to me that he was touching me and he kept breathing on me really hard. And I kept talking to him because I was afraid that he might become aggressive if I didn't. And when I left the shop I ran as fast as I could to get home, because I was scared that he might attack me and possibly rape me.

I don't think all men are rapists, or that all men have the potential to be, or are evil. But I don't know many men who have run all the way home from a shop because they are scared of being attacked by someone in the queue.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I have to do a seminar in about 5 weeks and this is my topic. Any suggestions for reading, thoughts or comments welcomed...

'Developing a gendered approach to the study of international political economy, in theoretical terms, is a very different proposition from inserting issues of gender into the study of international political economy; the latter is, ultimately, entirely sufficient'. Discuss.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

This is hard work!

OK, I'm getting into being a student. I spent four hours on Sunday and an hour last night reading about realism. This may be more time than I spent reading for seminars in the whole of my undergraduate degree... Which may be why it takes so long for me to do the reading now. I'm hoping to get better - current estimates are that I need to do 10 hours reading each week for my 'approaches to international political economy' module if I want to do the compulsory reading and wider reading.

So this week I'm beinig a realist. This means I'm going to be pessimistic about the hope for world peace, believe that conflict is endemic in the system and actually a good thing and that everything is about a struggle for power as this is the best way for nations to feel secure. Towards the end of the week I will move into neorealism, arguing that it is the pressure of the international system which makes all states behave the same way, with a small, derisive glance at hegemonic stability, suggesting the current global situation shows that it is not best for there to be one overwhelmingly dominant world power and that this does not make everyone else feel more secure.

I'll also go to my godson's 4th birthday.