Thursday, March 30, 2006

From parsnips to imperialism

Yes, it's essay time again. This time I'm considering whether we should be studying imperialism rather than globalisation. This is a fair question because we do talk about gloablisation quite a lot and people are starting to talk about imperialism again.

At the moment, my answer is something like this: Neoliberal globalisaiton is about western states, notably the US, trying to make the rest of the world be the way they want them to be. This is imperialistic. Globalisation is a fairly neutral term and also is used in a way that implies that it is natural and just happens. Imperialism makes clear the motives of the global powers to make the world the way they want it to be. However, globalisation isn't all bad - the effects of it open the world up. It also allows us to consider the world as a whole. So imperialistic globalisation is bad but globalisation shouldn't be written off altogether.

Or something

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I love them really

what I think about parsnipsImage by Dave Walker.

I actually really love parsnips. But of all the cartoons offered, I liked this on the best.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Light a candle...

The flat Matt and I lived in when we first married had no central (or other) heating and sash windows that weren't just single glazed but also let in draughts. It was pretty chilly - we could see our breath in the air - and we resorted to lighting loads of candles to take the edge off the chill.

As the gas people informed me yesterday (by the time I got home their office had shut and the contact number they gave me referrred me to another phone number which was also not being answered) that they were turning my gas off all day today and that if no-one was in today it would be off all weekend, we have no central heating. So I've gone back to candles - shut in the study with13 tea-lights. It's actually quite warm - in comparison to the rest of the house.

We try not to have the heating on too much, due to the price of gas and the whole global warming thing. However, it is cold. At least, when the gas runs out, we'll have an alternative - though I imagine candle prices will start going up... And what is candle wax made of?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Students' Union in pointless partisan debate shocker!

I had a lovely lunch with Myn at the Cornerhouse today. Then I decided to go to the Students' Union meeting, where there were some votes I wanted to take part in - about the Students' Union making ethical decisions (stuff like the Nestle boycott, that sort of thing) and something about the World Bank. I did deliberate about this, as I'm pretty busy and any time spent in SU meetings is time I can't spend watching ER. However, principles are principles and if you don't vote, you acn't complain when they do what you don't want them to.

However, proceedings descended into farce. There was a motion put forward which said that:
  1. The US is bad
  2. The US supports Israel
  3. Some Latin American countries are doing pretty cool lefty things right next door to the US
  4. We should twin with universities in Palestine and Venezuela.

Amendements were put forward by someone from the Jewish Society saying that we should twin with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem which apparently has Palestinian and Israeli students and removing a line which says that Israel is a client state of the US.

This required about 4 recounts. Yes, 4. Plus, the person chairing (I think this was their first time) was unsure on the procedures and kept getting the amendments mixed up. It wasn't good. Absolute chaos and it had descended into partisan politics - Socialist workers/Respect/Islamic soc (I think) against Jewish soc.

Because the first amendment was accepted, apparently this means that the Jewish Soc guy owns the whole amendment! So he accepts the second resolution and then proceeds to argue that he wants to take out the line that said that Israel is the single biggest recipient of foreign aid. He said it wasn't. Socialist guy said it was if you count military aid. In the end, the whole thing was really stupid - we were being asked to vote on something factual when we didn't know if this was true or not. I have no idea if it passed or not.

Then we voted on whether we wanted to go straight to voting on the whole motion. Everyone did - half the recounts had been because people kept leaving during the votes before, with the chair not really having any control over the proceedings.

Then, finally we voted on the motion. Because the amendments had changed the whole spirit of the motion, pretty much everyone who had set out to support it voted agianst it and everyone who had set out to oppose it voted for it. The whole thing was ridiculous. And because it failed, we wasted a whole load of time to achieve nothing.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Resisting globalisation

On Thursday the topic for our seminar is 'Social justice, resistance and global restructuring'. I am giving a seminar presentation. I saw the words 'social justice' and felt this was the area I was most likely to manage something in. However, with one thing and another, I've only just started thinking about it. I have to come up with some sort of reasopable intellectual question to discuss. Hmmm. Oh well, the worst that can happen is that I make a fool of myself, get slated by the lecturer and get a bad mark. It could be worse...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hello March!

I managed to miss pancake day and St David's day. Apparently we're a fifth of the way through March already. One day I'm going to wake up and discover I'm dead and be really confused. "Where did my life go? Wasn't I 26 only a few days ago?" I'll be asking. Here are a few places the time went.

1. Soundcheck. When working 18-hour days stewarding, you would think life would feel longer. But it all blurs into one long episode of walking between building and worrying that you've forgotten soemthing crucial. I lost 3lbs doing it, so there's something.

2. Sleeping

3. Trying to fit 3 days of studying into a day and a half while knackered

4. Going to Belfast for a BEAUTIFUL wedding. Creative, individual, romantic, moving, and there was snow (to make up for being asked not to throw confetti, I imagine). I hoped to be snowed into Belfast Castle, but it didn't happen.

5. Being scared on planes. I don't fly too much as I've heard it has a deleterious effect on the environment. However, there's this stretch of water between us and Northern Ireland and the ferry is expensive and takes forever. I had forgotten how much I hate take-off. It feels so precarious. And then you're in the sky. It just seems wrong to me to be above the clouds. I can feel this huge big drop underneath me. And all that's keeping us up is a couple of wings that looked pretty wobbly to me. There's believing in physics and then there's taking your life into your hands. I'd prefer to believe we're kept up there by magic. On the way home I was too tired and I cried (quietly and to myself, you'll be impressed to hear) all the way through take-off. While landing feels like it should be more dangerous, by that time I've got used to being airbourne and started to trust that the wings won't fall off. On the way out, we sat over the wings for extra legroom and were very excited to get special training (reading a card) on what to do in case of a crash - take the door off and throw it out of the hole left by door removal. If anyone would like training, I can do a re-enactment of what we red, so you're prepared for any emergency exits you might need to make.

The good thing about time going is that soon we'll put the clocks forward and it will be light nearly 24 hours a day!!!!!!