Journal Entries

Durham, dissertation, Durham, Durham...

It does exactly what it says on the tin.

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Latest reply: Nov 3, 2005

Nearing the new Durham year...

In this entry: Durham and party conference season.

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Latest reply: Sep 28, 2005

Dream Island Obsessional Park

A new policy to stop my lengthy rambles taking up huge chunks of my PS, making it take an age to load and leading me to unsubscribe from dead journal threads: henceforth I shall make the first post brief, and put the substance of the journal entry in the second.

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Latest reply: Jun 27, 2005


I wasn't going to add another journal entry until after the end of term, but I thought I'd note this while it's fresh in my mind. Apparently the University's review committee has decided that the Philosophy Dept. is overteaching us -- that we get too many tutorials compared to other arts & humanities students, and that staff ought to spend less time on tutorials and more on profitable research.

Of course, we understand the financial reasoning (given that we're taught at a loss, so with its research gains the University just breaks even), but the committee seems to have overlooked the fact that tutorials -- unlike lectures -- can be stimulating for tutors as well as us tutees. The department, better aware than the committee of the role of discussion in Philosophy, isn't at all happy, but expects to be leant on pretty heavily. Even now, first years have fewer tutorials than I had. (Good job I didn't take a gap year.)

The irony of the thing (besides the fact that I am now entitled to tell people in the year below mine how hard we worked in the old days) is that teaching has always been Durham's strength; it's one of the U.K.'s top teaching universities, but can't get into the Russell Group because it hasn't the research clout. But mere teaching doesn't produce those lucrative corporate partnerships.

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Latest reply: Mar 11, 2005

Five years to decrepitude...

It's a long time since I last wrote a journal entry, mainly because my prediction that I'd be spending an awful lot of time on buses this year was entirely correct; although being able to live with relatives while at university has many advantages, when they live in Sunderland and the university is that of Durham one does end up finding that a lot of time is eaten up just in getting from A to B. Getting to far-flung lecture rooms in time for 9 o'clock lectures involves a pretty tight schedule; luckily there's only one of those a week. My social life, or what I have of onesmiley - geek, has also taken something of a battering, although I still managed to attend most of the society meetings I wanted to last term. Luckily, I'm guaranteed a room in college again in the third year; I came up eighteenth in the room ballot, so I should be able to pick a decent room. So next year I should be able to manage my time better and have more of it to devote to the important things, like h2g2.

As things stand, I have finally got around to writing a Final Fantasy VI Entry (A3424736), along with the beginnings of one for Compilation of Final Fantasy VII (A3424448). I've deleted my Excel Saga Entry while I give it major surgery, having not looked at it for a while despite continuing to collect the manga. Hopefully it'll be back up soonish; given that I've agreed to have a go at writing up the proposed collaborative Entry on Asterix -- Otto Fisch reckoning he won't have time, and nobody else having volunteered -- I hope I'm not overstretching myself. But at least I don't have deadlines for this.

Additions to A3076571 have taken it past the 12,000 word mark.

The Half-Life 2 glass is half empty; I'm one of the people who enjoyed the game a lot but thought it really should have had more varied enemies. And Steam is evil. I've had far fewer technical problems with it than some people, but it's still caused me a lot of frustration. (Some of the defences I've seen on the fora are particularly eyebrow-raising; 'It works fine on my PC' is about as helpful as 'Well, I'm not having problems with _my_ marriage.' There have been quite a few people saying what a 'great concept' Steam is -- again, missing the point, viz. that the execution is dreadful, both technically and in what one is forced to endure for the privilege of not playing a pirated version of a game.) Still, I'm looking forward to seeing what the HL2 modders can come up with; I'm particularly intrigued by this: . Although my only exposure to Seiken Densetsu thus far has been the original (a.k.a. Final Fantasy Adventure) on the Game Boy -- not an ideal start, especially given that I came to the game having already completed Zelda: Link's Awakening.

Meanwhile, the recently released Advent Children trailer is brilliant, and Paranoia Agent, one of the series shown at Anime Soc. this term, has given me lots to get my philosophical teeth into. (Satoshi Kon is an expert at playing with viewers' perceptions.) And, having helped to dissect that on the society fora, I've now agreed to subject Serial Experiments Lain to the white heat of my philosophical analysis in a bid to produce a vaguely meaningful interpretation; so I'd better get on and watch the final disc.

I am rather troubled by what I read in Private Eye concerning another DNA site: 'Get Writing has been popular with potential writers of all ages and, perversely, this is probably why it is doomed.

'A letter to the BBC begging the corporation to reconsider brought a reply from the interactive drama and entertainment department that "unfortunately, Get Writing no longer fits with Learning's strategy or ID&E's increased focus, with limited resources, on the under 25 audience. Therefore the project will come to an end, on or before 31 March 2005."

'It seems the BBC is under the impression that no one over 25 uses the internet or wants to learn about writing or indeed anything for that matter.'

All of which has me wondering whether h2g2 meets the BBC criteria for appealing only to under-25s, as opposed to appealing to people both under and over 25. Its appeal seems to be alarmingly broad... and _I'm_ only five years off 25 (but still too young to adopt children or sit in parliament). I'm too young to be made to feel I'm getting aged.

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Latest reply: Dec 28, 2004

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