Tuesday, 19 April 2011

04. Pop-Punk is for lovers and the AV outline.

My mind still isn't running at full capacity, but I'm in a good mood so I couldn't care right now.

   The week that was set up to be pretty awesome turned out to be fairly lack-lustre; luckily the weekend saved it from being a write off. All my plans went to shit, except for Friday, and even that was a pretty close thing. But what a night Friday was =]
  Despite a couple of my friends not being able to make it due to work commitments, I turned up in Wolvo with a sense of optimism (my cynicism taking a back seat for a change) and just had a good time.
I bumped into a couple of friends I see far too little of, and met a few new people, who were all pretty nice to be honest (one in particular, if you catch my drift =])
And of course the music was epic.
Planet, once again you provide me with good times. I thank you.

  During the week my brother and I played some 40k in 40 minutes (or combat patrol for you newbie's).
Overall it was pretty entertaining and of course, I won every game. This has nothing to do with me being better than my brother (though obviously I am: P) but more to do with him using and army which I feel has been ruined by the recent addition of the Grey Knight codex. This isn't the right place for this talk, but I have written about it over at my Bolter and Chainsword Blog, so Check it out here if you feel the need to geek out :P

  On an intellectual note...
I've got nothing. Sorry, but I just haven't.

 I'm saving my words for the next post which I anticipate will be about the AV referendum. I even ordered a copy of Lijphart's 'patterns of democracy' especially for the occasion.
 Here is a basic summary of what I plan on arguing;
AV does not go far enough.
If you want a 'fairer' voting system you have to change how the state functions.
Lijphart shows that the 'fairest' democracies have radically different political and legislative systems. To have a 'fairer' voting system, we would really have to change a lot more than the voting system.
Why is this problem then? Why not change this? Simple.
Lijphart argues that these 'fairer' systems are more beneficial for growth, and so on.
This may be true. However, when the economical crisis hit a few years back, which countries were the fastest to recover? Parliamentary democracies. The power that can be employed by the current legislative system is necessary in these situations.
To have a truly 'democratic' voting system, our political system would require a drastic change, which I believe to be a bad idea. This is evidenced by the recent economic downturn, and the fact that that countries Lijphart argues are 'most democratic' and have the 'highest amount of democratic satisfaction' have taken a lot longer to initiate recovery, and have larger debts than ourselves.
As much as I'd like a more proportional system in place I feel it endangers the stability of our nation.

  I will go into a lot more detail with each point raised, and give greater justification to said points; but that is the basis of it.

Cheers for reading

Saturday, 9 April 2011

03. Associated Dairies and Power.

Sorry about the week + delay :|
I'm still not exactly sure where I'm going with this, so with any luck it will be half rubbish and half interesting...

   As I've said before, I'm back home for the Easter break. Amongst other things, this means I'm back at work (woo! great holiday!). I don't do anything particularly interesting to be honest with you; I stack shelves in a supermarket. Like with most jobs out there, it is not the most entertaining job around, but money is money, and the people are not too bad either. So I put up with it.
The good thing about my job is I can pick and choose (to a degree) which hours I work (my boss is a badass!). Which gives me the freedom to do stuff; the next week is lining up to be a good one ; ]

    Speaking of work, I finally decided what topic to do for my 'power in the modern world essay'. A little foregrounding on 'power' is needed here I think. This module is, as suggested, about power, or rather, the sources of it throughout history (it is after all a History module). However, it is about here where any similarities with History end. The way this module is structured focuses on the theoretical frameworks that help historians to establish the various narratives of power throughout History. In this respect then, it has more in common with a Politics module (well, political philosophy at any rate). As such it doesn't focus on the importance of any given event(s), but rather the importance of a concept in understanding events. In all honesty this is something any Historian should already understand, in fact most people should understand, but this module just gives the concepts flashy names. For anyone interested, I'm doing Orientalism. 

  Orientalism fits quite nicely with a couple of my other modules, and is a concept a lot of people will be familiar with, even if you have not heard the term itself. Throughout history there has been talk of East and West relations, especially in regards to the cold war. However it is not limited to that era. In texts about fascism the western Bloc of democratic nations is portrayed as the opposite of the South/East bloc of authoritarian regime. What constitutes as East and West? Predominantly history focuses around a 'Eurocentric' view of the world. West being the nations to the west of and including western Europe and the East nations to the east of and including the east of Europe. This view of the world is not a modern concept, for example if one were to look at Early Modern conceptions of power one would find a divide between the Christendom of the West and the 'other' of the East. This Eurocentric western view of the world is what Said defines as 'Orientalism.' 

    "Orientalist; the heir to a 'narcissistic' tradition of European writing founded by, amongst others, Homer and Aeschylus, through his writing 'creates' the 'orient'. In the process, he assists in the creation of a series of stereotypical images, according to which Europe (the West, the 'self') is seen as being essentially rational, developed, humane, superior, authentic, active, creative and masculine, while the orient (the East, the 'other') (a sort of surrogate, underground version of the west or the 'self') is seen as being irrational, aberrant, backward, crude, despotic, inferior, inauthentic, passive and sexually corrupt." - Edward Said

    The Basic point Said makes is that this Orientalist attitude is not only a misconception, but is also self perpetuating. Despite the various (and indeed, many) flaws in Said's argument, this concept is quite convincing. Some of you reading this might think to yourselves 'I would never think in such a way.' But that is Said's point; 'you' don't think, you absorb. Next time you're watching the news, or reading a paper, watch out for this view point. It need not be sinister; for example, generalisations about 'Africans' as a single entity, a single 'people'. This is ridiculous when you think about it. After all Africa "is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa) and it has vastly different cultures and traditions within each sovereign state. 

I challenge you to catch yourself doing it. I know I make assumptions and generalisations sometimes. When/if you do, stop. Take a moment, and think; do you understand the differences within what is being generalised? If you don't, maybe you should take some time out to get to know how some of the people you share this planet live, and respect those differences.

   I could go on about Orientalism, but for now I think I'll leave it there, before I start to sound too 'radical'
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment and stuff.
- DH -

  • Macfie. A. L (Ed.) (2000). 'Orientalism: A Reader' (Edinburgh University Press).

P.S: This is a warning; The AV (Alternative Vote) Debate is heating up, and as a Politics student I WILL feel the need to write about it. I see myself as an advocate of Social Liberalism (Socialism + Liberalism), and I think you might be in for a shock when you read my side of the argument. If you have no interest in politics/ don't like political debate I advise you skip the blog post where I talk about it (It will be titled appropriately)

Monday, 4 April 2011

Insert shameless advertisement here

Not really a proper post. Sorry!

I updated my B&C blog with some painted models...
I'll have to go back and touch them up....the photos pointed out some mistakes...
But they look good from a distance....which is the point of table-top quality...

So enjoy (if you are into that sort of thing obviously)!

Cheers - DH

Friday, 1 April 2011

02 - April fools is for fool's.

   Apologies for the delay in the new post. I've recently been in at a pretty bad place, which all came to a head Wednesday. I snapped; packed up my shit and came home early for Easter. It is a long and complicated story, and one I'm not going to bore you with. I think I can pretty much sum up how I feel in the words of Melrose Diner

"I hate the way I get when I can’t handle bad news. It feels like I’ve been an asshole for months. All I’ve got left are these handfuls of fuck you and man, that’s never enough. I guess I’m just down. I guess I’ll be honest, I could use you around. I can’t stand the dork that you’re hanging with now. I guess I’ll be honest, I could use you around." - The Wonder Years.

   I am fairly gutted to be honest, but shit happens; life goes on and I don't plan to dwell on what could have been. There has been nothing new to learn from these recent events; just a reminder of my weakness for pretty girls, whom appear to be against the grain as it were. Shock ¬_¬. Oh and apparently; according to one of my female friends I'm 'too nice'. I fail to understand how that can be a bad thing...but it appears it can. Weird.

Ranting aside.
  Today is April the 1st, and as a precaution, I stayed in bed until after midday to avoid being pranked. As such I haven't exactly done a lot today. This served as a reminder to how different being at university is compared to being back at home.

   While I'm at home everything seems to flow at a normal pace; Developments happen over time, change is slow, people stay the same and there is very little drama.
   University on the other hand is like life in fast forward; relationships come and go in the blink of an eye, you make best friends in weeks as opposed to years, and there is always some drama. It is like trying to cram in a lifetime's worth of living in three years. All the highs and lows of a life at normal pace, but in rapid succession.

   The problem with this is that, well, generally there are more lows in [my] life. In the 'normal' setting of home you have time to deal with these problems as they come. In the hyper accelerated life you don't. There is only so much disappointment one can take in such a short amount of time. Hence the previously mentioned early exit. 

Maybe it is just me.

Sorry for the lack of thought provoking stuff, but with the normal pace of life restored, my mind doesn't work in overdrive...but something interesting [might] pop in there at some point....

Cheers - DH