Friday, December 29, 2006

Western Values and Catholicism

I like to read the writings and opinions of those I disagree with because I think that it gives an excellent insight into why such people believe what they do. For this reason some time ago I developed the habit of reading some US conservative Catholic blogs, which tended to be more articulate and reflective that their US conservative Protestant equivalents - for example, they are much less happy about the administration's views on torture.

Nevertheless sometimes I am reminded of just how true it is that what is extreme over here can become mainstream over there. This article is one such example.

It is written by one of the bloggers I visit, who seems very popular with the conservative Catholic audience. Indeed his views are extremely common among what is known over the pond as the right wing. So it is worth taking a moment to observe quite how wrong he is.

Mr. Shea begins his attack on Western values by lamenting the lack of a proper name for 9/11. It is an incredibly weak opening gambit, and just shows how desperate he is to prove his pre-formed biases. You can interpret the lack of name in a number of ways. For me, it has always spoken of the darkness Americans connect to that day. It is something which must not be named, because to name it would be to tame it. By keeping it a date it remains a real part of our time and forces us to think about why it is important every time it is mentioned. Of course, it could just be that there is no suibtable name for it. "Twin Towers Day" sounds too twee, and "World Trade Centre Day" too long winded. Notably, Mr. Shea does not even make suggestions. It is a non-argument.

His point about the difference in attitudes towards mockery of Islam and mockery of Christianity is well-taken, yet he gives no idea as to his solution. Somehow I doubt his is the answer of Tony Blair and others, who increasingly seek to prohibit speech offensive to all religions. I also fear it would be asking too much for him to endorse the most sensible solution and allow all such mockery, responding with biting civility. After all, the Catholic Church has long promoted the view that "error has no rights"...

Then we have this wonderful titbit: "If babies are God's way of saying he thinks the world should continue, then contraception is man's way of saying it should end." Of course as a Catholic, Mr. Shea is likely to despise contraception. However to link it to a dislike of children is so stupidly simplistic one can barely help but laugh. For most it is a way of putting off children until a better time - not only a better time for ourselves (for Mr. Shea detests such selfish preferences) but a time when we are better able to care for such offspring. Some indeed do prefer not to have children, and Mr. Shea would clearly wish for them to have no choice. This is of course very interesting given that celebacy is required among Catholic priests (unless they have converted from being Protestant priests). Clearly it is okay for some to forego children, but not others.

There is not the space nor the resolve to go into his simplistic points on euthanasia and abortion in great detail. It need only be pointed out that Mr. Shea is almost incapable of imagining that anyone would support euthanasia other than "to relieve the comfortable of the burden of the most helpless". On this issue he is spectacularly uncharitable and uninformed.

He then goes on about the secularisation of Veggie Tales on TV. I agree that it is a shame that such censoring goes on, but Mr. Shea is a fool if he believes that it is politicking rather than a cynical attempt to get the most viewers interested. All this shows is a decline in interest for religious programming, at least among NBC watchers. Mixed in with this is another gem: "...the deathless secular faith in democratic capitalism's power to heal and redeem that has served us so well in Iraq". Given the fact that Bush seems to believe the Iraq invasion to have been ordered by God, a more ironic statement would be difficult to find.

And then we come to the FOX newsman who, to save his own life, converted or pretended to convert to Islam, something Mr. Shea decries as gutless (while being charitable enough to accept how difficult it would be to make the other decision). Now this is a matter of personal faith, but I think that Mr. Shea aptly shows the ugliness which lies at the heart of his beliefs. Through his actions, the man saved a father for his children and a husband for his wife. I believe that most sane people would have done the same. Instead, what Mr. Shea would have is a martyr. He cares less about life than about faith, and decries the fact that 'Western values' disagree. My apologies, Mr. Shea, for belonging to a culture which supports people staying alive. He was not forced to kill people or even harm them, only to profess a different faith (probably with his fingers crossed behind his back). By damning his for his decision, Mr. Shea shows that his stance has more in common with "the core beliefs of our mortal enemies" (charitably hoping that he means extremists and not just all Muslims) that he might be comfortable to admit.

So what are the Western Values which Mr. Shea dismisses as "a tepid commitment to My Personal Truth of the Moment"? They are primarily something he seems completely unable to comprehend - a protection of our ability to come to our own conclusions. A commitment to self-determination and freedom to think and believe what we want. A determination to prevent the self-righteous from imposing their beliefs on others. Mr. Shea seems to implicitly have a grudging admiration for the absolute beliefs of 'the other side' and thinks that anything else (like free thought) cannot possibly survive such an assault. I think history has proven, slowly and painfully but surely, that this is not true. The power of the human spirit to assert itself and its understandings is more powerful than the ability of others to suppress it. Mr. Shea may believe that error has no rights, but I rejoice in the fact that our flawed but admirable society gives rights to his errors and protects us from the narrow-mindedness he espouses.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Dems Have Won

Now that the last Senate race has been decided I can allow a satisfied smile across my face. Ahhhh...

It really was a beautiful result to the US midterms. It was pretty clear in the run-up that the Democrats would take the House but even the liberals doubted that they could take the Senate as well. This leaves the Repubicans with pretty much no legislative power, although of course given how much power has been given to the executive I'm sure Bush will still be able to influence the course of the country until 2008.

Still, the things new House speaker Pelosi is talking about are music to the ears. A decent level minimum wage! Stronger corruption rules!

However there are certain elements which rather dampen this marvelous event:

1. While the House is won by some way, the Senate is technically 49-49-2, the 2 being Independents. The majority status is based on Lieberman's promise to vote with the Democrats. He was going to be the Democratic contender in Conneticut but was beaten in the Primary by Lamont. Rather than bowing out gracefully he stood as an Independent against Lamont and won. His allegiances are slippery, appealing as he does to both 'moderate' Democrats and some Republicans, who he often courts. He's not the person you would wish to have the deciding vote. Happily the other Independent is a Socialist, who is hardly going to vote with the Republicans on most issues. So while Lieberman could prevent legislation, he cannot give the Republicans enough power to pass legislation without some Democrat or Socialist support.

2. Bush retains a veto over any legislation, subject to a two-thirds majority which the Dems don't have in either chamber. In theory he could prevent any legislation. Luckily, this is not going to happen. Use of the veto overrides the legislature which creates a risk of losing popular support, especially if used frequently in an obstructionist way. So far Bush has used the veto incredibly rarely - only once, to prevent a Bill giving public funding to stem cell research from passing. Of course that was with a Republican legislature, but it is unlikely that he will suddenly leap to throwing vetoes around. Bush has promised not to block the minimum wage or similar measures, suggesting he will limit himself to blocking tax increases and socially liberal issues. The first is damaging as it will mean any spending increase will need to be matched by a cutback. The second is disappointing as while stem cells are a given, it could also destroy hopes of new gay rights legislation.

Nevertheless despite these issues, this could be the beginning of an exciting new era of progress in the self-titled land of the free. The message for Democrats from all who are sympathetic should be "Well done, now don't screw it up!".

Sunday, October 08, 2006

New Blogger, New Term, Same Pejar!

My 50th post! And as a present I've been allowed to upgrade to Beta - thank you Blogger!

You see, for ages I have had to word verify to post here. Thanks to Abi, I eventually realised that the reason was because this blog was marked as potential spam (no comments about incomprehensible content please! :-p). I clicked the link to inform Blogger that this was not the case, and I got an email back saying it had checked out fine. Then about a week ago I looked and it turned out that it was marked as spam again (or had always been)! So I clicked the link again and sent an email as well, and this time it worked. Not only was I off the spam list, but I was invited to upgrade to Beta! (This pretty much confirms Abi's idea that I was being denied because of the spam thing.)

So I had a fun break from revision categorising my posts on both blogs and tweaking the templates (although in truth, we are talking minor tweakage here). It made me happy, in the midst of learning about covenants and mortgages in Land Law again. The reason this post wasn't earlier was because of my frantic attempts to look through last term's work and try to understand what it all means. Now that the collections are over though, I can relax and post about my summer. Some highlights (and a lowlight!):

* Abi's birthday. We went bowling with friends from both uni and her school and then we stayed up late watching DVDs on an OHP screen in her living room. If I remember rightly at least one person stayed awake all night, but I was certainly having none of that! Possibly most memorable moment was Gam introducing himself to one of Abi's school friends with the line "Justify your existence!" Sadly, I'm not sure it endeared him to her...

* The Northern and Southern Tours! The Northern Tour embraced Durham and Newcastle, as we stayed with Rich and his mate Dave. We saw Durham then had a night out at the (in)famous BAJA Beach Club in Newcastle, where we were...entertained by Em and Sarah. A fun (if very quick) trip. The Southern Tour was first to Abi's place in London then Em's place near Birmingham. We got guided tours through parts of both cities and tried some local cuisine (okay, Chinese from London and Pizza Hut from Burmingham, but still).

* Youth Hostelling with Andy and Gwen. We headed to Welsh Bicknor to stay for a few nights. The first was in a teepee and the other two were in a room. During the days we did activities like go round a castle, Forest of Dean's Sculpture Trail, Clearwell Caves and a cool maze. We mostly made our own food in the Youth Hostel kitchens, and it was all in all a pleasant time. It was a nice way to remember Andy and Gwen as a couple, since they have now split up :-( (hopefully not due to being driven crazy by us on holiday!).

* Centre Parcs with my family and Abi. We did the same this year as last summer, only at a different CP site. However this time we had the sense to book activities earlier, and as a result we have been able to do both high ropes and crossbow shooting! Both were on the same day and it was raining, which made walking along slippery beams with a harness seem all the more daunting. Also as part of high ropes we had to individually climb up a high wooden pole and leap to a trapeze, which was actually pretty daunting once you were up there... I'm quite proud that I managed it, although I still have no recollection of the moment of truth! Crossbows was excellent. Abi was much more accurate than me although at least I could load them without the instructor's help! :-p. Yet another wonderful holiday this summer.

* Dav's party. Although not to the extent of the massive event last year (his 21st), this one was still memorable. We went go-karting in Aylesbury, and although Abi didn't enjoy it and quietly retired quite quickly, and one of Dav's friends also pulled out to prevent the reoccurance of an old hip injury, the rest of us had fun. In Ian's words, I was "pottering along at 6 miles per hour" and I came last, but it was still fun! That evening it ended up being only me, Abi, Andy and Dav out in Park End for clubbing. Still, it was an excellent night and we all had a good laugh at the expense of Dav's t-shirt which, well, follow the link. Needless to say it brought him far more positive responses from males than females!

* Group filming. A tough one to explain to the unitiated, but I'll have a go! As I have mentioned before, I like writing satirical scripts involving people I know (I have been told by Daniel that I should really call them parody because they have no purpose other than to entertain, but I will probably still use the words interchangeably). After previous endeavours with Southman (starring teachers from my school) and The Matriculatrix (starring some students from Hertford) this summer's effort was Back To The Forum!, a Back To The Future parody involving the remaining regular posters on my school forum. Here is the original script and here is the second draft (with an extra introduction for filming purposes and more on Jimmy which I really should have thought of for the first version!). Anyway it went down well on the forum and Dav and Grum were quick to decide that we needed to get together to film it. So, to cut a long story short, we have started to do so. Dav is the director, Andy the lead photographer, Grum the sound guy and me the writer. Various among us count as producers. We have filmed most of the introduction including a scene with all nine of the principle characters except Ming (whose house we were supposed to arrive at, for which we actually used Dav's). The film may or may not ever come about, given various constraints. But it was still great fun to get all of us together for filming. Thanks guys.

* Talking of writing, I managed to write a short story I had planned for a long time. It is called The Goldens and it in the fantasy genre, like all of my serious stuff. I commenced work on my third book (in a series of five) but only got half to two-thirds of the way through it, possibly due to other projects. I finished the first entirely in a summer and the second took longer, so my feelings are mixed about my progress on it. Never mind though, I will get the series finished one day...

* As for the lowlight of the holiday, that would inevitably be the temp work I performed once again. I've written before about it, and now I can add more jobs to my wonderful temping CV:

I unloaded traffic cones from a lorry and put reflector strips on them.
I loaded leaflets into a machine for packing them in plastic.
At the place where I did labelling last year I put warning labels in safety guards and put studs in each corner.
At the same place I put filters into gas masks.
I did more work at the computer game packing factory as I had two years ago, stripping Game Boy boxes.

The last of these was the same job that I had previously decided was the worst I had ever done, and boy did I feel it. On the second day I had to do the exact same thing the entire day, in the same place, standing up and still. Seven hours, of which a total of two 15 minute breaks. It was bad, very bad. Still, I chose it over the egg packing place and I don't regret that. At least I didn't get sticky this way.

I really, desperately don't want to do this again next summer. I am going to try to make sure I find something better than that without signing away my whole summer, dammit! I just hope that this time I actually remember how bad it is...

Anyway, that's my summer summed up. Now for some fun, go see Ming's new blog entry and the whole of his blog if you haven't before (because he is the king of hilarious blogging). Also check out Weird Al's latest song, because he is as ever brilliant. Now to prepare for a whole new term of law (Labour and EC), and being Secretary of the Oxford Secular Society. The fun never stops!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Where Is Blogger Beta??

It's probably quite sad, but I am desperately waiting to be allowed to move my blogs to Blogger Beta. No, that's not the sad bit. The sad bit is that I am waiting so impatiently not because of all the snazzy upgrades that it will undoubtedly offer, but because it will allow me to do something that every other blogging service seems to already allow: Categorise my posts.

It probably won't make much difference to this blog, since it is a bit random and scatty. Maybe I'll sort it into Diary and Humour aspects or something, but I can't see it being major. On the other hand, I crave the ability to label my Unified View posts, as much for myself as for readers. I will probably have labels along the lines of Abortion, Animal Rights, Nature of Ethics etc, since those seem to be the main issues I deal with at the moment.

I realise that caring enough to post about this may seem odd. Still, this is after all a place for random thoughts.


Abi has been allowed to upgrade to Beta. I am quite jealous! :-p

Thursday, August 17, 2006

On Gender Speech Patterns

Richard at Philosophy et cetera has a very thoughtful and accessible while good humoured consideration of how to deal with the patriarchal elements of surnames traditionally passing from father to family and masculine pronouns being used to identify generic people:

Gender, Family Names and Pronouns

I agree with most of it, but I think that merged surnames look lame more often than they do, and I tend to alternate the gender of my generics.

Well worth a quick read!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More Temp Work

Yesterday I spent 8 out of 9 hours either sliding leaflets into plastic sheets or using a machine to put studs in said plastic sheets. It wasn't too bad actually. I can happily live with mindless work as long as A) I get to sit down while I do it, B) there are no bloody conveyor belts and C) it doesn't involve dangerous equipment. This job almost satisfied all three.

I say almost because the studding machine did seem slightly menacing, although with a little care there were no hairy moments. There was this classic conversation when I was being shown how it worked though:

Pete: Um, how dangerous is the machine? How careful should I be?

Boss: Don't worry, if the guard won't go down all the way, the mechanism won't work. See?

[Puts pen in and pushes foot pedal. End of pen is smashed, shattering.]

Boss: [Pause.] Ah.

[Does it again. Same result.]

Boss: Hmm, that's not supposed to happen. [Pause.] Well, I'm sure you won't make any mistakes.

And I bloody didn't after that!

Probably the most annoying part of the day was that after the boss showed me where to put the leaflets, the old guy next to me came up and told me to put them in a bit further. Thinking I had misunderstood the instructions, I did as he said. Later, the boss came back and told me that was wrong, I should be putting them more out to the edge like he originally told me. Annoyed, I shot a glance at the old guy, who was watching. The boss must have noticed as later he asked me if that guy had told me otherwise, and when I confirmed it he told me that I shouldn't pay attention to him. So what, was it some kind of practical joke at the expense of the temp? If so, it was a bit rubbish. They've just now got a stack of them done wrongly. Doesn't hugley bother me. Maybe it was an honest mistake, although given how long the guy assured me he had been working there, that would be odd.

The experience wasn't bad really, and apparently I'll be going back there for a the rest of the week. Hi ho, hi ho. And all the rest.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Hoff

What can I really say about this, other than that it's awful and yet addictive?

Jump In My Car - David Hasselhoff

The Making of 'Jump In My Car'

Now that is cheese, pure and simple.

I wonder if it will be playing in clubs soon?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Popular Music

As most people who know me are aware, I have what is generally considered to be a pretty poor taste in music. I like a range from really cheesy pop to hardcore rock and metal, which means that to anyone who takes a firmer stand somewhere on this scale, some of my choices are going to be odd. Case in point, my first two albums (which I got at the same time) were by Avril Lavigne and Rammstein. Go figure.

On the metal side of things some of my favourites are Rammstein, Placebo and InMe. On the pop side some of my favourites are Girls Aloud, Busted and Brian McFadden. For some inexplicable reason I get more embarrassed about this side. :-p

So I appreciate that I have a rather eclectic taste. Still, the current chart hits which I'm into are a little baffling:

Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
Infernal - From Paris to Berlin
Rihanna - Unfaithful
Nelly Furtado - Maneater

Okay, Muse is no shock as I loved their last album. Infernal more so but then dance tunes have occasionally really appealed to me. The real shock with Nelly Furtado is that it's her doing the song! I mean come on, she did "I'm like a bird"! Still, it's in the category of Latin sexed up R'n'B derivate which I tend to be completely turned off (think Britney songs like "Slave to You" and pretty much any Christina Aguilera). Perhaps most shocking is Rihanna, whose song is the kind of slush which normally makes me roll my eyes and switch off. Yet despite that and the fact that it is, as my brother puts it, a drama queen anthem (no love you're not a murderer - it's called adulterer), I still find myself sucked into it. What gives?

Still, I can say with some confidence that the only album of these I will buy is the Muse one. Maybe a single or two of the others, but it's very rare that I buy singles (I bought three Girls Aloud singles before realising that I had paid more than I would for the album...).

So, anyone else want to put down what embarrassing songs they enjoy, or what popular songs, or anything? I'm now on the look out for anyone who enjoys all four of the above songs, to prove myself not completely bizarre.


I have just remembered that another current song I like is Smile by Lily Allen, although frankly she scares the hell out of me in the video. Just found out it's UK Number 1!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Start of the Summer

As a commentator pointed out, it has indeed been quite a while.

I did finally get my floor prizes from the Union: A haircut from Matthew Clulee, a meal at La Tasca and a pair of tickets for The Phoenix Picturehouse. I've only used up the first of these, which was an experience. I had my head massaged, then my hair cut, then my head massaged again, then my hair styled. It looked cool, but unfortunately it wasn't cut very short. I did pick up a new way to style my hair, however. It would have cost £43 (£38 with student discount) which, compared to the normal £10 I spend elsewhere, means that I won't be returning now that I have no more vouchers!

We Simpkins lads produced an edition of the magazine which seems to have gone down well, despite the ban on us putting any gossip in. I wrote 12 of the 20 pages, which I think certainly justifies my involvement. Alex did nothing, apparently in protest at the limitations they put on us. I was quite proud of it until my dad saw it and pointed out that when he'd been at Hertford, when Simpkins was started, its raison d'etre had been gossip. It's true, the PTB are killing it slowly. We're just trying to keep it alive as a beacon of humour in an overly sanitised world.

The Stuart Anderson Society dinner went fine, despite some hiccups. We overbooked, counting on more people saying yes after the booking date that in fact did. We just about salvaged it by allowing partners to come along, so my Abi was with me to enjoy the hilarious drunkeness which was to ensue... Rachel went across to some first year Medics who were revising for their exams, and proceeded to come up with comedy answers to their questions (like 'periods' for no apparent reason!), and demanded chocolate sauce on her syrup waffle, because she was in the mood for chocolate. Eloise took the prize though, as she flirted with one of the Slaughter & May (our sponsor) guys and told our poor tutor Alan a filthy story about Beast! I was just glad Alison wasn't there...

I've watched all the films I mentioned in my last post, the best probably being The Da Vinci Code despite it having, as Dav had warned me, a bit of a cop out ending. The DJ himself took me with him to see Mission Impossible 3, which was fun but nothing unexpected at all. All in all, plenty of film fun.

Having been involved with the Oxford Secular Society all term, having failed to get the position of Press & Publicity officer last term I was going to try again but was persuaded to go for Secretary, and got it! That makes me responsible for the newsletter, The Secular Student. For those who don't know yet, secularism in this sense means separation of Church and State, something I am quite passionate about. The website is (although it needs updating).

I enjoyed this term, although was a shame to see Abi worrying over exams. :-( Still, holidays for everyone now. Holidays are when I suddenly become all creative and do interesting things which are not law-related. For instance, I have been writing articles for Simpkins, another edition of which will hopefully come out at the beginning of next term. I have also written an article for The Secular Student. I finally write up a short story I have had planned for a while, and when I get enough feedback will hopefully submit it to a few short story magazines. I have also polished the first draft of my second novel, which was pretty much completed near the start of this last term. Onto the third one now.

Meanwhile I have to find a job so that I can fund my way through the post-grad course I want to do (the BCL) and the training course for barristers (the BVC). If maybe I could get my novels published, that could be a lot easier! :-P I'll update again, possibly even recounting a night which has left a terrible scar - Dav, Smo and I at Park End (they know what I mean...)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It's Been A While

I realise that I haven't posted anything for a while. It's been a busy term and this kind of thing often happens. Another reason though was that I knew that if I logged on, I would have to put up my work timetable again, and it's not so easy to motivate myself to do that. That's one reason why I've decided to stop putting my timetables on the blog, along with the feeling that it's a tad self-indulgent - no-one else cares, and some might think I'm boasting about how much work I do. I still find it very useful to record my hours, but will do so on my computer from now on. I think I'll still do a summary of each term on here, but that's all, leaving it free for more enjoyable posts.

It's been an interesting few weeks. At the Oxford Union I volunteered and made a floor speech in opposition to animal testing, as masterfully captured in Abi's detailed account of the debate here. I'm not sure that the audience was impressed with my philosophical contribution, but I was awarded runner up prize (although the Union still hasn't got around to distributing the prizes).

I, along with three others, have been voted in by the JCR to edit college gossip magazine Simpkins. We are going to have to tread carefully as the last set of editors were threatened with rustication and forced to resign for being offensive. Luckily, one of them is now a Welfare Officer charged with censoring it to prevent that happening again, so that makes me feel a bit safer. Our tutor even told him to protect me on this one! I trust him to be as harsh as necessary, especially given that some of the editors aren't as keen to stick to the rules as I am.

I'm also co-president of the Stuart Anderson Society, which organises Hertford lawyers' social events. We're trying to organise a meal for 8th week.

We had this year's Hertford Ball in 2nd week, which was fun. Last year I asked Abi out just after the ball, so it felt like the start of our first anniversary, even though it was a day earlier this year. On our actual anniversary we saw Tristin and Isolde, which was a good film, even if a bit cliched. The day after, we went for a meal. It was a good way to celebrate a very happy year.

Along with that I've been doing Jurisprudence, which is fun but a lot of reading, mostly in the Bodleian Law Library, as well as the tail end of Land Law, which is less interesting but probably a bit easier. It's shaping up as a good term, all in all. With fun films like The Da Vinci Code, X-Men 3 and Pirates of the Carribbean 2 coming up, there should be enough amusement, too. Tonight Abi and Rich have their 'official birthday,' a celebration of birthdays which actually fall in the summer holidays, for the benefit of uni friends. I'm looking forward to it, especially since it's been a fortnight since I've had a day off! I'll post again when I next feel like it. :-)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Crazy Quotes

Looking back over my school forum's quotes page, I found a load of quotes which I had put up there and completely forgotten about. I thought I'd just share some of the best of my submissions to it...

Rich: Narcissistic...Isn't that where you have sex with dead people?

Abi having a self confessed blonde moment:
Abi: What date is it today?
Pete: [Looks at watch] Twenty-fifth.
Abi: Right. And what date was it yesterday?

Abi: Oh, mathematicians don't do maths. Doesn't mean it's not maths.
(She meant arithmetic in the middle, BTW)
Abi: You see, a-rith-MA-tic...oh no wait, that doesn't have maths in it.

Abi: What's that film, um...
Pete: Give us a clue?
Abi: Well it's about that maths genius who's insane...
Steve: Countdown?

Gam: I went to an all boy's school so I know how to castrate people.
Abi: I went to an all girl's school, and I don't!

Overheard between my mum and brother:
Mum: Dave, do you want chicken and mushroom or cheese and onion pie for dinner?
Dave: Um, does the cheese and onion one have meat in it?
Mum: No.
Dave: Then I'll have the one with meat in it.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Work Timetable - Weeks 7 and 8

Week 7

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Admin - Articles - 2h 45mins
Sun Total - 2h 45mins

Mon - Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Articles - 5h 15mins
Mon Total - 7h 15mins

Tue - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Articles - 4h 10mins
Tue Total - 5h 10mins

Wed - Admin - Articles - 4h 50mins
- Admin - Cases - 1h
Wed Total - 5h 50mins

Thur - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Articles - 2h
- Admin - Cases - 1h 20mins
- Admin - Essay - 2h 25mins
Thur Total - 8h 45mins

Fri - Admin - Class - 2h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Textbook - 6h
Fri Total - 9h

Sat - Land - Textbook - 50mins
- Land - Cases - 6h 45mins
Sat Total - 7h 35mins

Week 8

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Land - Cases - 2h 45mins
- Land - Articles - 1h 35mins
Sun Total - 4h 20mins

Mon - Trusts - Lecture - 2h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Articles - 3h 10mins
- Land - Revision - 1h
- Admin - Textbook - 1h 35mins
Mon Total - 8h 45mins

Tue - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Revision - 30mins
- Admin - Textbook - 4h 50mins
Tue Total - 6h 20mins

Wed - Land - Class - 1h 30mins
- Admin - Textbook - 3h
Wed Total - 4h 30mins

Thur - Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Textbook - 1h 55mins
- Admin - Cases - 8h
Thur Total - 11h 55mins

Fri - Admin - Tutorial - 1h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Essay - 30mins
Fri Total - 2h 30mins

Sat - Admin - Essay - 45mins
Sat Total - 45mins


Admin Week 7 - 20h 15mins (+2h 25mins Essay)
Land Week 4 - 22h 35mins
Admin Week 8 - Pending
Week 7 Total - 46h 20mins
Week 8 Total - 39h 5mins

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Last Day Errors

I'm back home now, ready for a holiday. However, I managed to make two somewhat foolish errors today which bear repeating:

Error 1: The Laundry

An error of almost Ming-esque proportions. Going somewhat against the trend of students, I always wash my clothes at the laundry in my halls of residence, rather than lugging it back for my mum to wash (seriously, the number of students who send a big load of washing home with their parents after a mid-term visit and take another with them at the end is quite high). So I fished out the mass of used clothes from under my bed and sorted them into white and colours. Finding out that I had three plastic bags' worth of colours and a total of two items white, I decided just to do the former. So I hefted them to the laundry and continued packing. 40 minutes later I returned to transfer them to the dryer. 30 minutes later I returned but, screwing up my plans, it had not been long enough to get them dried. I set them to 30 more minutes, and my parents arrived soon after that.

After getting all packed up into my mum's car and heading home, I was sitting on the couch with my feet up watching TV when...

Mum: So Pete, how much dirty laundry have you got for me?

[Pause, then Pete's eyes widen massively]

Pete: Oh crap!

This was followed by a dash upstairs and a hurried phonecall to Abi. Yes, I had left all that laundry back at college in the tumble dryer. Now it may not be a long way off but I had handed over my key, and did not fancy my chances getting it back. Luckily Abi was still there packing up, and she mercifully collected together all of the laundry for me. I suggested she put it behind the Lodge at college for me to collect but she preferred to take it home with her to bring when she visits. However, not too long later she and her mum showed up at my front door with all three bags, so I am not without clothes after all! Many many thanks Abi and Eleanor for saving me from that particular idiocy...

Error 2: The Curry

That evening we had a take away curry to celebrate my return. Now I am quite used to the 'medium hot' curry, but always tempted to try one step up. So when the curry place we used didn't have a medium veggie curry, I was not too put out to go to the 'fairly hot' vegetable madras. Mistake. I wolfed down perhaps a tenth of it before my mouth managed to scream at me to stop. It was just a little bit like swilling acid around my mouth, except without the relief of being able to spit it out. My tongue was bad but my lips were worse and my throat felt absolutely on fire, contracting and leaving me desperate for air. I managed to sort out that problem by gargling water - a lot. My dad took a couple of bites and then his eyes almost popped out of his sockets, so at least it wasn't just me! He wasn't quite able to enjoy his curry after that, and the rest of mine had to go. I also had a stomach ache for most of the night, so I think I've learned a lesson here - from now on in, it's mediums all the way.

Still, it's nice to be home!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Work Timetable - Weeks 5 and 6

You know, going through and changing the last timetable I could see just how similar this was to the one before... It's almost depressing. Still, I had my birthday at the end of this one, with a decent evening to go with it. Went to Freud's (restaurant) with a number of mates and then to G Bar, shedding friends on the way due to illness and tiredness. G Bar was very lame. And Gam kissed me. Egads. Still, somewhat better than last year...

Week 5

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Admin - Textbook - 2h 30mins
Sun Total - 2h 30mins

Mon - Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Textbook - 4h 5mins
Mon Total - 7h 5mins

Tue - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Cases / Articles - 2h 25mins
Tue Total - 3h 25mins

Wed - Admin - Cases - 6h 45mins
- Admin - Article - 45mins
Wed Total - 7h 30mins

Thur - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Revision - 1h
- Admin - Article - 1h 35mins
- Land - Textbook - 1h 50mins
- Admin - Essay - 2h 35mins
Thur Total - 10h

Fri - Admin - Tutorial - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Textbook - 4h 30mins
Fri Total - 7h 30mins

Sat - Land - Textbook - 55mins
- Land - Cases - 1h 5mins
Sat Total - 2h

Week 6

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Land - Cases - 5h 40mins
Sun Total - 5h 40mins

Mon - Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Articles - 2h 20mins
- Land - Revision - 45mins
- Land - Essay - 2h 10mins
- Admin - Cases - 2h 20mins
Mon Total - 10h 35mins

Tue - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Article - 2h
- Admin - Cases - 4h 35mins
Tue Total - 7h 35mins

Wed - Admin - Cases - 1h 40mins
Wed Total - 1h 40mins

Thur - Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Cases - 7h 25mins
- Admin - Articles - 1h 35mins
Thur Total - 11h

Fri - Admin - Article - 1h
- Admin - Essay - 2h
- Admin - Tutorial - 1h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
Fri Total - 5h


Admin Week 5 - 19h 5mins (+2h 35mins Essay)
Land Week 3 - 17h 5mins (+2h 10mins Essay)
Admin Week 6 - 20h 35mins (+2h Essay)
Week 5 Total - 40h
Week 6 Total - 38h 20mins

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Aborted Pancakes

A Pancake Day recipe (which we successfully made the first couple of attempts to make actual pancakes):

Pancake stuff

1. Attempt to make pancakes.
2. Fail.
3. Keep moving the pancakey mess that should have been a pancake around until it all looks vaguely cooked.
4. Drench in syrup (or jam for authenticity) and eat.

I will leave it to your imagination why they are called aborted pancakes...

Work Timetable - Weeks 3 and 4

Ah, weeks 3 and 4. At the end of these I mooted in a university-wide competition...and did not make it past the group stage, alas. Still, we were beaten by third years and it was good experience.

Week 3

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Admin - Textbook - 3h 40mins
Sun Total - 3h 40mins

Mon - Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Textbook - 4h
Mon Total - 7h

Tue - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Textbook - 1h
- Admin - Cases - 2h 30mins
Tue Total - 4h 30mins

Wed - Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Cases - 5h 15mins
- Admin - Article - 1h 35mins
Wed Total - 7h 50mins

Thur - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Class - 1h
- Land - Textbook - 2h 45mins
Thur Total - 6h 45mins

Fri - Admin - Tutorial - 1h
- Admin - Essay - 2h 30mins
- Land - Textbook - 3h 20mins
Fri Total - 6h 50mins

Sat - Land - Textbook - 4h
Sat Total - 4h

Week 4

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Land - Textbook - 4h 10mins
- Land - Cases - 2h
Sun Total - 6h 10mins

Mon - Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Cases - 4h 55mins
- Land - Essay - 1h 55mins
Mon Total - 8h 50mins

Tue - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Cases - 4h 55mins
Tue Total - 5h 55mins

Wed - Land - Tutorial - 1h
- Admin - Article - 25mins
- Admin - Cases - 4h 5mins
Wed Total - 5h 30mins

Thur - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Articles - 5h 30mins
- Admin - Cases - 2h 50mins
- Admin - Essay - 2h 5mins
Thur Total - 13h 25mins

Fri - Admin - Tutorial - 1h
Fri Total - 1h


Admin Week 3 - 18h (+2h 30mins Essay)
Land Week 2 - 21h 10mins (+1h 55mins Essay)
Admin Week 4 - 17h 45mins (+2h 5mins Essay)
Week 3 Total - 40h 35mins
Week 4 Total - 40h 50mins

Saturday, February 18, 2006

You Know You're a Law Student When...

Just a few. More when I think of them.

You know you're a law student when...

* You start pronouncing 'v' as 'and' in normal life. (This has happened perhaps irreperably to me. I saw a poster for Alien v Predator in a friend's room and mentioned it, unconsciously making the substitution. Luckily no-one was paying attention!)

* You start saying 'per' as a shorthand for 'as said by' or 'as evidenced by.' (A friend and I were discussing an essay and he made a point 'per our last tutorial.' I constantly back up arguments with 'per [insert academic / lecturer's name].') 'Per Lord Denning' becomes synonymous with 'this is a dodgy point of law.'

* On the subject of his lordship, your heart sinks automatically when you start reading a judgement which should be able to clarify a tricky point of law, only to find it prefaced by 'Lord Denning MR:' By the end of the estimed Master of the Rolls' summary of the facts, you have worked out who is going to win by who is presented in the positive light.

* More generally, your face lights up or sinks depending on which lawlord is making the leading judgement. (For me it's a beaming smile for Lord Millett, a slightly uncertain frown for Lord Browne-Wilkinson, an indulgent glance for Lord Diplock and an angry scowl for Lord Hoffmann).

* You start analysing events in terms of the interesting legal questions they bring up.

* You enjoy saying things like 'I am the law!' A lot.

Um...maybe it's just me.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Work Timetable - Weeks 1 and 2

It's a long time overdue, but that's the way it is at the moment. My other collection, in Tort, earned me a 67 mark so no problem there. I just have to work on memorising cases, as I seem to have the theory sorted. From below, I'm sure you can see just what my Thursdays are like!

Week 1

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Mon - Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Articles - 6h
Mon Total - 9h

Tue - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Article - 2h 20mins
Tue Total - 3h 20mins

Wed - Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Article - 3h 55mins
- Admin - Textbook - 1h 35mins
Wed Total - 6h 30mins

Thur - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Class - 1h
- Admin - Articles - 3h 25mins
- Admin - Textbook - 2h 45mins
- Admin - Cases - 1h 15mins
- Admin - Essay - 2h 10mins
Thur Total - 14h 35mins

Fri - Admin - Tutorial - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Textbook - 2h 20mins
Fri Total - 4h 20mins

Sat - Land - Textbook - 1h 30mins
Sat Total - 1h 30mins

Week 2

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Sun - Land - Textbook - 3h 10mins
Sun Total - 3h 10mins

Mon - Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Textbook - 4h 15mins
- Land - Cases - 3h 30mins
- Land - Articles - 1h 20mins
- Land - Essay - 1h 40mins
Mon Total - 13h 45mins

Tue - Land - Cases - 3h 5mins
- Admin - Articles - 3h 15mins
Tue Total - 6h 20mins

Wed - Admin - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Tutorial - 1h
- Admin - Articles - 2h 55mins
- Admin - Textbook - 4h 45mins
Wed Total - 9h 40mins

Thur - Juris - Lecture - 1h
- Land - Lecture - 1h
- Trusts - Lecture - 1h
- Admin - Class - 1h
- Admin - Textbook - 2h 50mins
- Admin - Cases - 4h 30mins
- Admin - Article - 1h
- Admin - Essay - 2h 20mins
Thur Total - 14h 40mins

Fri - Admin - Class - 1h
Fri Total - 1h


Admin Week 1 - 21h 15mins (+2h 10mins Essay)
Land Week 1 - 19h 10mins (+1h 40mins Essay)
Admin Week 2 - 19h 15mins (+2h 20mins Essay)
Week 1 Total - 39h 15mins
Week 2 Total - 48h 35mins

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Cartoons

It has to be done. I'll post more on the whole Mohammed cartoons controversy later but for now, they must be posted. Not because I necessarily agree with the messages conveyed. But people have died because of these images, and a political crisis has dominated. I believe people should know what the images in question are, at the very least. I had hoped the mainstream media would print them, as it would and should with other images causing this kind of controversy (whether aimed at muslims, christians, jews, atheists, whatever). As this has not happened however, here they are:

Image removed at the request of my parents. They were scared for my safety upon posting it.

Individual images are available here. Scroll down past the first set for clearer ones.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Work Timetable - Holiday and Week 0

Apologies to those who would prefer I desist with these posts. At least from now on I'll be doing two weeks in one, which should reduce the clutter somewhat. I have now received back my Trusts collection with a healthy 68 mark. Very pleasing indeed! Where a number is used after a subject it refers to the reading list week in which that topic appeared.


Week - Subject - Type - Time

Week 2 - Contract 5 - Textbook - 1h 50mins
- Contract 8 - Textbook - 3h 45mins
Week 2 Total - 5h 35mins

Week 3 - Land Intro - Textbook - 2h 15mins
Week 3 Total - 2h 15mins

Week 4 - Land Intro - Textbook - 5h 35mins
Week 4 Total - 5h 35mins

Week 5 - Land Intro - Textbook - 1h 50mins
- Land Intro - Cases - 45mins
- Contract 8 - Textbook - 30mins
- Tort 1 - Revision - 2h 30mins
- Tort 2 - Revision - 3h 50mins
Week 5 Total - 9h 25mins

Week 0

Day - Subject - Type - Time

Mon - Tort 3 - Revision - 2h 30mins
- Tort 4 - Revision - 2h 15mins
Mon Total - 4h 45mins

Tue - Tort 4 - Revision - 15mins
- Tort 5 - Revision - 3h 30mins
- Tort 8 - Revision - 2h 30mins
- Trusts 1 - Revision - 1h 10mins
Tue Total - 7h 25mins

Wed - Trusts 2 - Revision - 2h 30mins
- Trusts 3 - Revision - 3h 5mins
Wed Total - 5h 35mins

Thur - Trusts 4 - Revision - 2h 30mins
- Trusts 6 - Revision - 1h 30mins
- Trusts 7 - Revision - 1h 5mins
- Tort - Revision - 30mins
Thur Total - 5h 35mins

Fri - Tort - Exam - 3h
- Trusts - Revision - 1h
- Trusts - Exam - 3h
Fri Total - 7h


Land Intro - 10h 25mins
Tort Revision - 17h 50mins (+3h Exam)
Trusts Revision - 12h 50mins (+3h Exam)
Holiday Total - 22h 50mins
Week 0 Total - 30h 20mins

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Kennedy's End

And so Charles Kennedy resigns as Lib Dem leader. I am very relieved, as I was worried that he would be unopposed in the leadership contest, and now someone will have to stand. I just hope for the sake of the party that the next person is someone with the drive to take them further.

I have been disillusioned with Kennedy for many months now. The General Election campaign showed a terrible lethargy on his part convincing me that he had to go. To be blunt, up against the appalling alternatives of Tony's Blair's Labour and Michael Howard's Conservatives, we should have done better than we did.

To give credit where it is due, this shake up is, I feel, mostly down to a very unlikely source - David Cameron, the new Tory leader. I've been reasonably familiar with the guy for years, as he is my home MP. I favoured him as Tory leader, even though I always knew that his election would make a Tory victory much more likely. He has an energy to him and policies which have made me feel quite jealous - if only we had someone like that leading the Lib Dems!

the repercussions have been clear. Spurred on by this new, dynamic opposition leader, Blair's probable successor Gordon Brown has been desperately signalling that he will be different from Blair, offering real checks on Government policy rather than Blair's "divine right" style. Whether that will be enough to make the public forget his disastrous misplanning of the economy remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the Lib Dem MPs have realised that Kennedy needed to walk, lest the party lose all credibility whatsoever. And so we have movement and intrigue in all three parties.

What we need is a strong voice, certainly. However, we also need something more. The biggest criticism of the Lib Dems is that we do not have any steadfast policy goals. It is time for that to end. We need to know what we stand for, and to put that forward at every opportunity. We need to stop making naive pronouncements and show the country that we have grown up. We need to make the United Kingdom proud to be a liberal democracy, and we need to earn our way back into mainstream politics.

We have the potential to be the party of the future. I just hope we take it.