Monday, September 26, 2005

Dav's Party

Well Thursday was quite a day...

Firstly there was the punting where Dav managed to climb over a bridge as the punt went under. The first time it was fine, but the second time there were...complications.
(I hope to link to the video if it goes up!)

Then there was the par-tay, billed as the event of the Summer (which was probably true!). It was Dav's 21st, and he had mates from my year and the year above at school, from the leisure centre where he sometimes works, from Nottingham University and from other sources no doubt. He had booked out Baby Love Bar at Oxford (nice place, but somewhat 'spensive, people!) from 7:00pm to 2:00am, on the condition that £1000 cross the bar that night. Now come on, do they really get close to that on a normal night?? Anyway, to get us started Dav had put £200 on a tab for us to take advantage of. Personally I would have put it as the *last* £200, not the first, so people had to pay in order to get to the free stuff. But whatever.

Well not all the events which took place that night are reportable, like admissions of illegality which might get people in trouble (and no Grum, for once I'm not talking about you :-P ). Still, there was more than enough to comment on:

* Shafter (Andy) had his hair in a pony tail. OMG. The Art Student side of him is taking over. I worry terribly for what will happen to him at university, without the relative normality of people here like me, Abi, Ming, Dav, Smo, Matt... Uh, relative normality? Actually forget it, if the pony tail is the strangest thing that happens to him, he will have got out lightly!

* The pole dancing. This started quite early, and for a long time was sadly male-only. Even your resident blogger himself had a turn. Dav certainly did, as did Ming, Matt, and plenty of others. Dav and Matt did male-male pole dancing, as did Dav and his mate Rich, apparently. Oh, and as the night went on and the alcohol flowed, more women took to the pole. What that says about the genders, I don't quite know...

* Dav got drunk. Not really a shocker, but definitely one to be mentioned. It was kind of the theme of the evening, especially as he told us going in that he fully aimed to end up smashed. Oh, did he succeed... I reckon he was properly gone by 11. He managed to get outside to throw up, and then was kept upright by a number of us, and prevented (for at least some time) from re-entering. That was how the following dialogue arose:

Dav: Let me back in to my club!

Ian: It's not your club, Dav. You just hired it.

Dav: I...paid for it! I even paid for...the bouncers!

Ian: There's only one bouncer, Dav.

Pete: It probably looks to him like there's two by now.

Ian: He can probably see eight, I'll bet.

Dav: Yeah, I've got an army of bouncers! (Weakly attempts to sing the Imperial March from Star Wars)

He needed two people to carry him about most of the time. I bet he wished his mum and gran weren't there, although his mum at least told me that she was going to turn a blind eye to his antics of that night - definitely a good thing. He still managed to get back into the bar occasionally, apparently on the promise that he would not drink more. Yes, because that will happen. Anyway, at least Vish made sure he had water, and I got him an orange juice which I allowed him to assume had alcohol in.

* Matt blew two party blowers with his nostrils. Word.

* Smo arrived and got them doing tequila stuntmen. This is where you snort up some salt, take a shot of tequila then squeeze a lemon into your eye. He did two, and Dav and others did one. The only really worrying thing about this was that Smo then drove people home at the end. To be fair it was about three hours later and to his credit they were all fine. Still, it did get me slightly worried.

*Foxy smoked. I know Abi's sick of hearing this, but it really was a shocker. He apparently smokes when drunk. Well, I knew that Smo smokes when he wants to get drunk as it thins the blood and so makes it quicker and cheaper. Still, this was something quite different. He also offered it around. Jimmy took a few puffs, but it was refused by me, Ming, Andy and Matt.

* The dancing was wonderfully cheesy after 10, when the DJ arrived. All the classics were pumped out, and I was happy to join Dav and others in appreciating them. When Ghostbusters came on, Dav, Jimmy and I celebrated, (recalling how the three of us came into school on the last day dressed as Ghostbusters, in Dav's mum's car which had been fitted out as the Ghostbustermobile). Dav and Andy attempted to remember the Men In Black dance routine Dav had created for the school variety show (and Dav still did better, despite being significantly drunker). The Macarena made an appearance, along with the approriate dance, as did The Timewarp. Classic.

* A rather drunken Jimmy talked to Abi. After mistaking her for Sarah (my ex-girlfriend) he then randomly started telling her about Shelley and other things. On the positive side, he seems to like Abi, although there may have been more drink talking than Jim!

* I only heard about this later, thanks to the school forum, but we did get this gem from Smo, talking to Grum about sex (what else?):

Smo: Does she take it up the wrong-un?

Grum: It's not something I would wanna do; it seems a bit gay.

Smo: No her putting on a strap-on and giving YOU one up the gary would be too gay.

For added effect, the music cut out for just the last few words of Smo's line, leaving people staring at him, confused and a little worried.

* Andy and I managed to get into a mock fight about something. It had something to do with him jabbing Abi for something (probably camera-related). I jumped on his back and he swung me about quite a bit.

* By the end, the only ones I noticed as really drunk were Dav (getting the prize for drunkest, by far), Jimmy (who had trouble with words) and Foxy (who by contrast turned into Mr. Suave). Grum and Ming were surprisingly sober, given the amount they had drunk. Smo was sober by necessity. All the girls managed to stay pretty sensible (although given the male : female ratio, this was less surprising!).

* When I changed from punting, I left my casual shirt, shoes and fleece in a plastic bag which ended up in Dav's mum's car. Unfortunately the food was then packed into it at the end of the night so I couldn't get to it when it was time to go home. Result: I went to Abi's house in London from Fri - Sun wearing for the most part an old pair of white trainers!

* And as far as I can tell, we were still £300 short by the end of the night...

Well, it was quite a party. If there's anything I have forgotten, please remind me and I will probably add it in at an appropriate point. Cheers all!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Crazy Pete

When preparing to go to uni, the Freshers' Week team asked for unusual photos of us, to stick in the freshers' booklet. I sent in this, taken in a photo booth, but sadly they must not have received them as none ever showed up in the booklet. Indeed, the set seemed to have been lost...until now.

By the way, I'm pretty sure it was Smo trying and failing to do bunny ears on me in the third pic.

Me, me, me, me. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

My Thoughts On Abortion

Over the past few days I have made three posts on my other, essay-based, blog giving some of my thoughts on abortion. If anyone is interested I would love to have feedback on them in their comments sections, particularly on the second one.

[Click 'Show Original Post' after clicking the link if necessary]

Abortion And Sex
Abortion And Autonomy
Abortion And Rape


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Yaaaargh! Ahoy Mateys!

Yes, I've been sailing for the past few days with Abi, Andy, Gwen and Gwen's grandad. And yes, I did on occasion utter somewhat piratical phrases. That was me getting into the spirit. Ahem.

Of course, we were not engaged in actual piracy. Nor, for the most part, actual sailing. Due to an unfortunate lack of wind we only really managed to use the sails once, and on that day the weather was so extreme that we only stayed out for a relatively short while before heading back to our berth.

While we didn't *crash* the boat per se, there was an incident with a lock. We entered while there was still a great deal of turbulence and ended up at the mercy of the swirling waters. That meant that the back of the boat smashed (see, not crashed...) into the side of the lock, snapping a wooden board holding a motor (for the dinghy) in place. Nothing too drastic, although it was rather embarrassing hopelessly swirling around with the lock master shouting at us to get tied up!

So I'm back, and ready to start updating again. Yaaaargh!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Bloggers On Katrina

Okay, I have to note this down, having found the outrageous symmetry too much to pass by (note that liberal and conservative are used purely in their US contexts):

1. A liberal blog entry.

2. A conservative blog entry.

I am pretty much equally disgusted by both of these, and rather surprised at the dark side of human nature which has been revealed in these two blogs.

Let's have a look at 1.

"So why was I thinking of starting a movement against giving aid to the stricken areas?

Because these are red states. They voted for Bush. These ninnies obviously wanted these policies, and they deserve to live with the consequences of their votes."

So, his first reaction would have been to deny aid to victims of the hurricane, because they voted for Bush? He is very clear about this. For the record, I don't really dispute his attack on Bush's policies. What I oppose completely is the conclusion.

Even if we imagine that all the people affected were Bush supporters, and even if we were to conclude that they knew what they were letting themselves in for when they gave him their votes, that would still be absolutely no excuse to deny them aid! Come on, one of the key points of liberalism is compassion - leave the judgementalism to the conservatives. It is completely unforgivable to say that because of such poor choices, these people should be left to die horribly. If you can't see that, I don't think that much hope is left really.

His final conclusion to reject this does not excuse him because he does it only because he worries that Democrats will also be killed. This whole thing is, to me, completely immoral and disgusting. As a liberal myself, I feel sick that such a piece could come on a liberal blog.

On to 2.

"It's nice, it's charitable to help people out in either situation, but in neither case does the fact that a person is hungry give them the right to just take whatever they want."

The above is applied to essentials like food and clean water just as anything else. More arguments are given for this position than in the above, but the conclusion is equally vile. He is defending the starving and dehydrating people of New Orleans being denied the chance to retrieve essential supplies from deserted property.

There are four arguments here. The first is that the people to whom the property belongs would not feel it right to allow their property to be taken. To which I reply: You must balance interests. The right to property is important, but surely superceded by a genuine and desperate need for such things to survive. Surely this is common sense? It is like the old stealing bread to feed starving family problem, in its purest form. There really is no alternative.

Secondly, and most horribly, it is argued that these people deserve no better:

"Besides, what's the difference between: "Gee, I decided to stay in town after I was told to evacuate and I'm hungry," and "Gee, I didn't want to get a job and I'm hungry?" In either case, it's hunger caused by your own irresponsibility."

I will not go into socio-economics about how ignorant it is to assume that all people in poverty are their due to there own choices / laziness. Most sane people already know this. But even if we assumed he was right, just as in link 1, that does not justify depriving these people of their lives in horrible ways, for having made mistakes in the past. If nothing else, what about all the children suffering for their parents' 'fault' of poverty?

Thirdly, it is argued that accepting essential looting opens the door to non-essential looting. And fourthly, he argues that the distinction is impractical. Both of these are reasonable points, but do nothing to suggest that preventing all looting, even for essentials, is the answer. Most likely he is the type to desperately need black and white rules of what is right and wrong. Sorry mate, welcome to the real world.

Both of these are despicable conclusions based, I would argue, on a complete lack of empathy and compassion. I for one find them detestable and would hope that I am not alone.

NOTES: I would like to stress that neither of these opinions represent the mainstream of thought on hurricane relief / looting in either school of politics. Neither are, as far as I can tell, particularly prominent. However, I would argue that 2 is more closely based on US conservatism (neo-conservatism) than 1 is on US liberalism. This is because 2 relies on some good old mainstays of neo-conservatism: Blaming poverty on the poor, rough justice, and valuing property above lives (or, in a more class-war sense, the propertied above the lower classes).

I would also like to note the irony that I found 1 on a link from 2's blog. He had the gall to criticise it! Pot, meet kettle.

Also, scroll down from 2 to see more posts on the issue.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Temporary Work

Well, I didn't guarantee the satire would be brilliant, did I? Meh, if people liked it, feel free to comment. In fact, always feel free to comment.

Just wanted to put down my thoughts about the jobs I have done so far. It is not an incredible list. I have been unable to find proper jobs, and prefer flexibility anyway. Therefore, I do temp work. I've just finished it for this Summer, so here is my CV so far:

Last Summer:
Helped a cartographer map out levels in an old car park - 1 day.
Making / sorting packaging for computer games - 1 day.
Washed up and served in a company canteen - 4 days.

This Summer:
Picked out bad eggs and packed boxes at egg factory - 3 days.
Removed labels from plastic safety devices - 4 days.

So what's to learn from this? Well, firstly, that manual labour can be the pits. The absolute worst was the packaging computer games. Like a fool, I heard "You will be working with computer games" and thought "Ooh, I like them! It'll be fun!" Rookie mistake. After that, it was the egg factory. The stress of preventing the conveyor belts from building up a backlog, spewing eggs all over the floor was actually pretty acute.

But do you know the big difference which made these bad and made the de-labelling reasonably pleasant? In the latter I got a chair. I got to sit down rather than stand up all day. That's definitely worth something. Sitting down to work is wonderful. It gives me another reason to get my degree and get lawyering. Yes I'll be standing up in court, but for a lot of the time I'll be *sitting at my desk*! Excellent!

The other thing that caught my imagination was the job title I got for this latest job. Labelling Assistant. Hmm. Got me wondering whether it would look good on my actual CV. I mean, think about it. I get to put on my CV "Temporary Work:" and then describe the jobs I did. Nice titles like that aren't such a bad way to go. So, let's think about the others, shall we?

Temporary Work:
Cartographer's Assistant [Nice and simple.]
Packing Assistant
Kitchen Assistant
Quality Control Assistant [Bling! Just for removing bad eggs...]
Labelling Assistant

You see? Of course I'm an assistant in each, since it's temp work, but it looks much better than the original list I made, doesn't it? That's using your head...

Somewhat Random Satire

How Charlie Joined Fightstar

Fightstar: Well your resume is certainly impressive given the number of Top 10 hits your first band had in a rather short space of time. However, we’re just not sure you’re right for Fightstar. You see, we’re proper metal, and you were…well practically a boyband.

Charlie: Uh, that’s just not true! We spoke from the heart.

Fightstar: About attractive air hostesses and time travel?

Charlie: Don’t forget the Thunderbirds.

Fightstar: We’re really not sure this is a good idea… After all, why would you want to leave a band with such international success as Busted?

Charlie: Funny you should ask, cause I’ve prepared a song that should explain all that and persuade you to let me join!

Fighstar: Did you write it?

Charlie: Uh, I co-wrote it, like most of Busted’s songs…

Fightstar: Figures. Fine, go ahead.

Charlie: Ahem.

[To the same tune as the hit from ‘Grease’]

We’ve had hits, they're multiplyin', but my future’s looking bleak
Cause I’ve been to the year 3000, and Busted’s looking kinda weak.

You better shape up, cause I need a band,
and my heart is set on you
You better shape up, you better understand,
to my roots I must be true
Cause I’m a rocker through and through!

You're the one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh,
I won’t settle
Until I’m singing Nu Metal!

If you're faced with dejection,
Not enough fame comes your way
Bag a singer from a pop group, get more pay.

I better shape up, cause you need a singer
To keep the fans satisfied
I better shape up, prove I’m not a minger
In my dulcet tones you should take pride
Hiring me’s not suicide!

You're the one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh,
We’ll go far
If I can join Fightstar!

You're the one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh, money!
The one that I want (you are the one I want),
ooh ooh ooh,
With my looks and voice
Do you have a choice?


Fightstar: Wow. You’re so right. With you in the band we’ll have no trouble making it into the mainstream. How can we lose?

Charlie: Excellent! So I’ll be lead singer?

Fightstar: No, I think you’d be better suited to backing vocals.

Charlie: Okay. Buy I’ll get to write lyrics, right?

Fightstar: Um, we’ll get back to you on that one.

And so the next stage of Charlie’s epic music journey began…

A Little About Me

So here's about me, which is pretty pointless since I doubt many people will come here who don't know me already...

Okay, so my profile says I am a cynical idealist. I swing between cynical and naive. I belive that no matter an action, if at all possible someone somewhere would do it, for the right price. Or because they enjoy it. That's cynical. On the other hand I tend to be quite trusting of my friends, and I often defend the actions of public figures, putting the best possible light on it. Go figure.

I'm idealistic in that I believe that there is hope, and that while I might not be the one to make a difference in this flawed world, if enough people try then someone will manage.

I'm also an atheist, a secularist, a liberal, a Liberal Democrat, a republican (anti-monarchist, not in any way a fan of Bush) and a Law student. I could go on about any of them, and I probably will at some point. Suffice to say that that's a reasonable textbook summary of me.

I don't have many hobbies. At the moment writing is my primary hobby. I am busy writing my second novel, the second in a series of fantasy books. I wrote the first one last summer. That means that my mind has been working over the world of the stories for over a year now. I love stories. That's why I make them up. I can participate in them more wholly than when reading them or even watching them on TV or at the cinema. I can craft them and make them mine...while trying to make them interesting for others. I love it.

Another hobby I enjoy is writing satire. This was first really engaged about a year and a half ago. I was in my last year of Sixth Form, heading for my A Levels. I was taught History by the Head of History, Mr. South. He was a very unique character, and we had a strange relationship. He could irritate me incredibly, yet often kept me incredibly amused with his bizarre stories and way of being.

I was sitting around chatting with my chums when I came up with a rather random yet humorous idea - that Mr. South, or 'Southy', could secretly be a superhero saving the world from the forces of evil. And so Southman was born. My style was soon set: Scripts written as if for a play, satirising numerous and sometimes random targets. I ended up writing seven episodes of Southman, warmly received by the friends to whom I showed them.

The next big project after that took many many months. Having started university that summer, I began to work on a satire of my college, Hertford, and some of the legendary characters in its ranks. I made it as a parody of The Matrix, using a script of the film to get the dialogue right. It was called...The Matriculatrix. However, due somewhat to laziness and other factors, I didn't finish it at Christmas, nor at Easter. Nope, it was only this Summer that I finished it, and I'm awaiting more feedback...

Yeah, it's not particularly interesting to read about the satire I've done. So just for you, I'm going to put one of my smaller (and more random) works in the next post. You lucky things...

First Post

So, I started off blogging in an enthusiasm to get down all my exciting philosophical ideas. I managed to bemuse some people and completely failed to keep it going. But I like having some kind of public forum to say random things. Hence starting a new blog. Rather than attempting to be profound, its purpose will just change with what I want to say. Sometimes I want to be funny. Humour me. Other times I will want to be random or just reflective.

Ah well, let's go with it and see if this blog fades into the background like my last one!