Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Tonight's headline was "James Mitchell was killed by his neighbour after a six-year feud. Should his landlord have done more to protect him?". A tenant, after suffering anti-social behaviour from his neighbour for a number of years, was killed by his neighbour after his neighbour was warned that he may be evicted for his behaviour. The tenant's family are now suing the council involved for failing to care for the tenant by warning him that they were going to speak to the neighbour.
I spend a lot of my time at work, but not as much as I would like, dealing with anti-social behaviour. I have, at any one time, between 10 and 15 ASB cases open. We are obliged to investigate any complaints we receive, though not necessarily solve them. It's harder than I think people imagine to deal with. I have to consider the confidentiality of both the complainant and the subject, deal with counter-complaints and try to get evidence of what is going on, while remaining impartial. Often the person being complained about will deny all the allegations and provide a completely different story. Sometimes I have to work with other agencies such as the police or mental health professionals. People are not always co-operative, for a range of reasons. All this for 10-15 different cases, some quite complex, some reasonably minor - and it's sometimes the more minor cases where people make more of a fuss.
Every time I hear a story about violence following neighbour disputes, I feel a sense of fear. I can imagine this happening in cases I deal with. I have to try to work out how to investigate and how to progress cases. My job is to investigate, not to decide who to believe, and it can be very difficult. I love doing this and find it very interesting, but it is a huge responsibility, dealing with the most difficult parts of people's lives - I'm not always sure who I am to be doing this.
And this is just part of my job.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
- I got caught by my team leaders pretending to be a horse and doing an olympic-style dismount from a pub bench, in the space of 40 minutes, the latter following the 'awesome timing' phrase, "I'm glad Zippie and Merlin didn't see that".
- I had an opportunity to tell someone not to set themselves on fire again.
- I nearly got to set a gazebo on fire but Rob Safety wouldn't let me. I think Guilty would have let me.
- I may have been caught having a small sit-down on the campsite when I was supposed to be patrolling.
- I pretended to mourn (loudly) a boy who pretended to die. This was necessary. I didn't ask him if he was a horse.
- I nearly got run over by a fire-engine. Twice. And by Merlin once.
- I fell over in the mud.
- I learnt to play cat's cradle. Honestly, don't bother. It is the most pointless activity ever.
- I didn't poke anyone in the eye.
- I may have been a bit annoying. Occasionally.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
The happy man does not look back. He doesn't look ahead. He lives in the present.But there's the rub. The present can never deliver one thing: meaning. The ways of happiness and meaning are not the same. To find happiness, a man need only live in the moment; he need only live for the moment. But if he wants meaning - the meaning of his dreams, his secrets, his life - a man must reinhabit his past, however dark, and live for the future, however uncertain. Thus nature dangles happiness and meaning before us all, insisting only that we choose between them.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Friday, June 06, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I can, however, tell you that there's nothing much wrong with my heart or brain. I have learnt the following:
- I have episodes of sinus tachchardia.
- My brain MRI was 'unremarkable'. Thanks.
- I don't appear to have any inter-ictal epileptiform disturbance. I can only assume this is a good thing. In fact, I can only really assume that all of the above are good things.
I'll keep you posted.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Friday, March 07, 2008
As so often happens, once I start thinking*, I head towards discussing feminism, and the downsides of conservative evangelicalism in restricting my thinking about this. And Merlin says "Ah, you see, my belief tells me that women can do just as much as men. And my god agrees."
I think, I'm not sure I'd want to have my god agreeing with me. But here's my new question - what's the point of god? I appreciate that it's possible for things to exist without a purpose - and if god exists, god exists without needing to have a purpose for me**. But...
1. If God isn't bigger than me, and doesn't know more than me, what is the point in relating to him/her/it?
2. If God is bigger than me and does know more than me, doesn't that mean I just have to do what they advise? I'm really not interested in just doing what I'm told - it doesn't sound much fun.
I was trying to work this out by discussing it with a friend. I miss God loving me and having a good plan which I'm part of - a sense of purpose. But I don't want to lose my freedom and independence and go back to living within narrow rules.
She asks, what if God doesn't have a plan? I say I can't imagine God not having a plan - that's too much part of what God is for me to comprehend God being God without it.
Ok. She asks, if God had a plan, but was a tyrant, a complete dictator who just wanted veryone to do what they were told, what then? Well, I wouldn't be interested. Turns out goodness is more important that the plan.
What it comes down to is, if God doesn't know everything, how can I trust God? She asks "do you trust me?". I see what she means. I trust her, within her limitations of knowledge and understanding. Can I trust a limited God?
*It's true, I do think, they took some pictures of my brain this week and there really is one there. And it has brainwaves coming out of it and everything.
**my theology takes a while to make much sense.
Monday, March 03, 2008
I went away with Sanctus this weekend. I had a lot of fun, drank a moderate amount of alcohol and thought until my brain felt like it had been trodden on.
I started coming out as some sort of atheist a while ago - I used to believe passionately in god, but with a lot of turbulence. I got a bit tired and decided to have a holiday from trying so bloody hard, and hopefully discover something about what I believed from what floated to the top at the end of it all (this may be something of a mixed-metaphor experience...).
Unfortunately there wasn't much left floating. I discovered that I had no real sense of any sort of god existing. But I discovered intellectual freedom along the way, and the real joy of feminism... However, there's something to be said for believing that someone created the world and that that someone loves meand has a plan for my life. I'm left feeling slightly purposeless and less loved. And less like a lovely person. My life just feels slightly... flat.
So I went away this weekend hoping to at least think a little about what I might believe. I realised that Sanctus is very important to me. I find a sense of community, safety and acceptance that makes me hope there is perhaps something more than just us. I'm not sure I can believe that it is just the result of a lot of people trying to create something good. It keeps me hanging in because it's something I want to be part of.
Dave Tomlinson, who wrote the post-evanglical, which I thought at one point might save my faith, came and talked with us about ourselves and about what he thinks. It was thought proviking. He talked about god's kingdom as a spirit of life and liberation. I don't have any ability to believe in a personal, intervening god but maybe a spirit of life and liberation is somewhere I can start exploring from - less crude than just good and evil.
And I thought about my place in sanctus. Socially I feel very part of sanctus - I can turn up, say what I think and feel secure. I feel that I belong. Spiritually, I feel less inside - a community is built on shared values and, not believing in God, I haven't felt like I have so much to say. But I think I've realised that I have things to contribute. I'm not pastoral like some people, or particularly wise - things you would associate with being part of a church community thing. But I've been to lots of places in my faith, and I can organise things and ask interesting questions, and cook an awesome pudding. I've realised that maybe I need to be giving, and see myself as someone who has things to give, in order to grow. Some theologians have talked about belonging without believing, and maybe that's where I need to start in order to believe.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
After this we saw Juno - a fantastic film about a pregnant teenager. It was unmoralistic - no goodies or baddies, just flawed people dealing with problems as they arise - unsentimental and very funny – it reminded me of Napoleon Dynamite in its style. The acting was fantastic – so much shown without any words. I was concerned about the portrayal of the potential adoptive couple - a neurotic woman desperate for a baby with a husband who just wasn't sure: a bit of a cliched gender stereotype - but because of the strengths of the characters each person was an individual rather than representative of a group. Equally, there's been some debate about whether Juno is pro-life but I think the decision is portrayed as an individual one, set in the context of being 16 and pregnant, rather than a comment on all abortions everywhere, ever. One thing I loved was Juno's immaturity -she was funny and clever but the state of pregnancy didn't make her suddenly wiser, more virtuous or more mature - there was no suggestion that being pregnant makes you an adult, or a woman, or that pregnancy is the ultimate state for all women. And it managed all this with hardly any showing of sex or babies...
Monday, February 11, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
I went to visit some friends of mine and they asked about things like my mother-in-law's wedding (in November) - I realised I hadn't seen them since October*.
I saw this** and laughed a lot, and it felt rather nice to be laughing and feeling endorphin-y, and it was a bit sobering to realise that I clearly don't laugh enough.
I realised: my life is shit.
Again, this isn't technically true. But I eat, sleep, work and study. This isn't a life. So I've decided. If I'm not good enough at studying to do well enough and see my friends and have fun, I'll just have to not be good enough. It's not the end of a career, just the curtailage of a particular career path.
So, I have a plan:
- When I'm working, work hard. My time is valuable.
- See my friends. Accept invitations. Arrange to see people. Have fun.
- Find a new job. My ideal would be to get a Neighbourhood Management Officer job and do that for a few years and then move into strategy, research or policy. But, if no NMO jobs come up soon, I'll look for something else, somewhere else. I'm not feeling challenged enough and I need more responsibility. I like it where I work and I'd like to keep working there. But not doing this.
So. I went to Sanctus on Wednesday and saw people, and it was interesting. I met up with a friend for coffee and we talked about SPEAK stuff. And I'm starting planning the stewarding for a speak event in May. It involves a comedy night on the Sunday. Subject to not getting knackered organising stewarding, I'm going to restart my comedy by putting a short routine together. I'm excited because I love doing it.
I have decided. My life will be better.
I was going to blog about evolution and where the world comes from. Maybe next time...
*This turns out to be untrue. I saw them at a Christmas dinner.
Monday, January 21, 2008
I can't claim to have felt anything much when listening to it, but I did just get my own little jump-in-the-stomach feeling (no, not a baby, silly!).
I have been dragging on and on with an essay. It's always a worry, reading stuff, having no real sense of where I'm going to end up, and the terrible paralysising fear that I'm going to have nothing to say. Nothing at all. I'll work so hard and just tell the lecturer what all these other people said, and he'll say, well, yes, I knew that, that is why I am the lecturer and you are the tudent. Have a 35% fail.
And then, suddenly, I am writing the essay, and I look at what I've written about Single Regeneration Budget funding. And I look at what I want to write about the Pre-Volunteer Programme at the Commonwealth Games. And I realise... I can argue that the PVP was very successful, but the criticisms of it are the same as the criticisms of the SRB, and I can argue that it's likely that it was successful despite being SRB funded, and I realise that I have an argument! It may not be true and it may not be write, but it works!!!!!
So, obviously, I blog about it rather than writing my essay.
Now go back to advising me on laptops.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I want to use it to:
- Look at Facebook.
- Listen to the comedy programme I like on Radio 4, which was on yesterday, in the kitchen, rather than Front Row.
- Store all my photos and every essay I have ever written, plus 50 versions of my cv, just in case I do need an out-of-date cv to apply for an admin job at some point.
- Listen to music.
- Skype my best friend in Indonesia. I liked the idea of having a webcam to do this, until she pointed out that their internet connection is too poor to support webcam use and talking at the same time. But still...
- Have 13 journal articles open at the same time.
- Play World of Warcraftbadly and sulk because all my friends have levelled their characters faster than me. I maintain this is because I have a life.
I'd like to get something which will last me a long time and won't need replacing too soon. I'm expecting to spend more than £500 but hopefully not too much more. If it looked nice that would be a bonus, and if it was light and mobile, that would also be a bonus, but fairly low down my list of priorities. If could have a big screen for playing WoW, but still be small and easy to carry, that would be... miraculous?
So, advice? Who makes good laptops? What do you find really useful in yours? How do you find it for playing games? Any recommendations?
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Today, finally, I feel happy again. I am looking at a catalogue of archived material from the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, trying to decide which bits I really need to look at when I take a trip to the Central Library on Thursday morning. The bit I really need, the SRB bid, is restricted access, so they may not let me look at it.
I go to put some washing on and make a drink and find myself singing, very badly, to the bits I can remember of Earth Song. I am happy.
If only they didn't make me go to work, I could be this happy all the time.
I suppose it is possible work don't send me on this course just to make me happy.
p.s. I have an appointment with a neurodude at Tameside hospital on 2nd Feb. Hope wasn't even an option. Unless I'd like to sit on a waiting list for a very long time. No thanks, I'd rather be allowed to drive again.