Tuesday, March 28, 2006

EU police to shoot Brits

Well, kind of. Here's one for the nationalists, and the 'life means life' brigade.

Under discussion in *this* country by *this* Goverment (not Brussels) are possible new agreements on EU laws: the relaxing of certain rules under which continental polices forces must operate when in this country. It is in the hope that this will allow British police to work under similarly relaxed conditions when they go onto the Continent in pursuit of criminals.

At the moment, the agreement clause as it stands says that foreign police in this country are allowed to carry weapons (even though they should only be used in self-defence, according to the treaty) - which is why, until now, the British Government have not agreed to it. Britsh rules mean foreign officers must leave their arms at their 'port of entry', and can only spend 5 hours hunting their suspects independently before they have to notify british police forces.

So here we have a juxtaposition of issues for all those who frown upon the EU. We don't want goddamn Frenchies catching our crooks do we? Why, it undermines our boys! They're taking the Mickey out of our Bobbies, our own police force...on our own soil!
That's all very well until a criminal being persued by EU police kills someone or commits a crime in this country, and the EU police in question were held back by red tape preventing them from apprehending the criminal.

At the other extreme, passing this legislation could instantly mean many more armed officers in Britain, which is a good thing for those concerned with how well criminals in Britain are treated these days - but the last time the country was caught up in catching international criminal hysteria, an innocent Brazilian was shot dead and the Met. Police spun a cover story out in the media about it.

So there we go. On one hand, tougher times for criminals are in the offing. On the other, yet another of our country's institutions is now adhering to EU laws. Whichever way the Government goes, you can bet the Mail, Express, Sun and Mirror will be screaming about it.

Thought for tonight, adapted from Slaughterhouse 5.

- "Boy, they sure picked the wrong guy to pick on!"
That idea has a brother. If there are wrong people to pick on, then there must be right people to pick on. -

Doesn't that seem to apply to the world at the moment.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Blogs, essay ownership and copyright

I think it is safe to say that, for me, the feature article due in earlier today was the most enjoyable deadline I've had to meet all year, with the possible exception of the radio script. It led me to wonder, though, what issues arise were I to post the feature on my blog tonight?

For starters, it's all my own work. I've not referenced any other authors, used any other work from anywhere else. Now, however, that I've handed it in to be assessed by the University, who does the copyright belong to?

Are there issues with making work available on the internet before it is assessed? Does the University own the copyright while it's in their hands for the moment? How can they, when I have proof on my laptop that it is my own work? I mean, if I was to post an essay of mine up, complete with references, what's wrong with that? Nothing as far as I can see. And, as long as I put 'Copyright Tim Miller 2005/2006' at the end of the post, then hopefully the person reading it would reference me as well, instead of stealing it the dirty cheating bastards.

It's mainly that question of whether a piece of work that carries marks towards a degree can be published before it's marked. If I'd put it up online on monday (except I hadn't finished it by then) then I could have gained feedback from people and adjusted my work. I could have got top journalists to give it a glance if I was really organised. So what happens if I put a piece of work in my blog, and, say, it gets published for a website, before I get the mark back? Does anyone bother? Or is it no problem at all? It's not that I'm bothered about how good the piece is, it's whether I can use te piece for my own reasons even though it's been written specifically for my degree, before it's been assessed.

I wouldn't have any qualms about putting my work I've had back online, except that I'd much rather set up a site which you have to pay a small sum a month to access, and stick all my work on there. There's no such thing as a free degree, after all, first years.

(p.s: any new students: My media essay in Year 1 got an 80. I'll sell the rights to it for £25 o.n.o)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Being hungover isn't really a passable excuse for missing 4 hours worth of University today. I mean it IS an excuse, in that it's the truth, but it's not an acceptable one. Especially when Wednesday and Thursday are off, and there's only 3 hours on Friday.

But, having seen 10 out of the 11 deadlines met this term, in what has been the hardest 2 and a half months of my life, this final week has become strictly business: get the last deadline met, and party hard. This week will be the first time since January that I've had 2 nights out in one week. And boy was last night heavy. But cheap! I went to the Firestation with a tenner, woke up this morning with a fiver...and that included gate-crashing the night shift at ASDA for a sandwich.

What's bad is that once I realised I was in control of my spinning head (at 1pm or so), I started looking forward to going through the exact same routine on friday. That IS bad: usually when you wake up with a hangover, you promise yourself never to touch an alcholic drink again. You don't think, 'hmmm I can't wait til the next time I get to drink as many whiskey/cokes as I can see to hold". Or you shouldn't. But I did! Uh oh. Surely people don't become immune to alcohol...

Anyway, my gift to you all for reading this self-musing drivel today is http://www.burntfaceman.com. Take 20 minutes to wacth the episodes one by one and laugh until you cry. And then watch the awesome movie trailer.

"I'm Paperwork Dan, the paperwork man! (Extends arm). Rah ha ha ha."
"And in what way are you an evil supervillain?"
"I do EVIL paperwork! Rah ha ha ha."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Winding down for the term...or not

It's friday: my dissertation proposal is in, the two deadlines due this week are in, there's only one out of 11 set this term left, it's Easter break in a week, I haven't gone out tonight so I could have a week off. So why did I have dinner at 1am and am still up at 2:13am tonight?

I went to see Southampton vs Liverpool Youth FA Cup semi final second leg (in Southampton) instead of hitting the town, as a less eventful way to end the week, a week which concludes the hardest period of time at University I've had yet. As it happened, by going to see the football I've not saved any more money than by going out, I've come home angry and freezing cold, and the time I post this will actually be about the time I would be getting in from theoldfirestation anyway, only it will be harder to get to sleep because I'm not semi-passing out with alcohol.

And, although work pressures this term are more or less off, superhero Jill Quest (POW!) has put the fear of God into everyone by detailing just how hard our assignment due in after Easter is going to be. On top of that, exams are looming and I need to work close to full time over the break if I'm to escape into credit with HSBC (and only when the loan comes in!).

Naturally, the final week of a long hard term promises to be a release. They don't call the last friday night at TOFS 'Bedlam' for nothing. It is going to be, needs to be, must be, will be, manic.

When I think of something more interesting to write, I will. In the meantime, if you're reading this, please please read some of my more opinionated posts and disagree, or agree with them, and COMMENT on them. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Who rests on a Sunday anymore?

"On the seventh day, God rested".

Surely if God himself can rest, then why doesn't anyone else? This struck me as I struggled into Uni at 2:30pm on a Sunday afternoon, bleary eyed (from getting up, not hungover). University students doing work on Sundays. Lecturers presumably preparing for the week ahead.
Kids play football matches all day long on Sundays. I should know, it used to be me. Professional footballers play as well. The sunday games are some of the biggest games on offer over a season.
And as for commercialism, well. It never sleeps. Shops open at least 10-4 on a sunday now, and customers bemoan the legal ties preventing them from purchasing anything after 4:30pm.

This either shows a general move further into a secular society, which is pretty obviously going on anyway. Or, does it mean that demands on people in a contemporary world force people to be on the go 7 days a week, every week? There is nothing anymore that can be put off until the day after, it's all about now, today.

Students are right after all. All this getting up at 2pm in the afternoon is simply making the most of it before the rest of our lives are lived around 7am weekeday alarms and lie ins at weekend allowing us until 8:30 (or 8 if the kids have football at 9).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

"People that are weaker than you and I..."

"...they take what they want from life."

Here is my very simple philosophy on life. It's narcissistic, individualistic and quite possibly, hideously arrogant.

You only have one life. Regardless of whether you believe in reincarnation, even if you do come back, you don't know you've come back do you? You DO know that at any moment you could die. You don't want to die unhappy. You want to die poor, but only after living richly. (What's the point in having money when you're dead?) You want to die knowing you've lived a full, or fulfilling life.

So, there's no other way of looking at it as far as I can see. Basically, in life: always look out for number one.

Be nice to people, be polite, have friends, have amazing friends, love. Be a good person, as good as you can. But don't do anything, ever, that means you suffer at your own personal expense. Because it's your life alone, and it's not for ANYONE to make it bad for you. If they do, get ahead, get away, get out. Don't let people who are weaker than you push you around. Lend a hend, but don't get taken for a ride. Have compassion, but there's no need to feel too bad: if there's suffering in the world, it's not your fault. Don't feel guilty. Be thankful it's not you, and be determined to take your chance.

Whatever religion you are, or not, you are living your life for you alone. You have to think that you're better than everyone else. Why? Because if you don't value YOURSELF about anyone else, then you're undermining the value of your life. And your life is all you have. That's a pretty terrible state to be in. Why else? Because otherwise, anyone can walk all over you and tread you into the ground, along with all the other of Life's "also-rans".

Again; be a great person. Be the best person people who know you know. Be loyal, loving, caring, friendly. Make others happy (as long as they deserve it).

But always, always, always, look out for number one.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Work, work, work.

19th January - Literature essay - 1,250 words
2nd February - Professional Writing script opening - 1,000 words
3rd February - Visual Communications project - 32 page portfolio.
13th February - Media essay - 2,500 words
23rd February - News Story - 400 words
2nd March - 16 page Research Project - 2,250 words
9th March - Narrative essay - 1,250 words

Yeah so it's been a fun last 8 weeks. The next three?

16th March - Literature essay - 1,250 words
17th March - Internet critique - 700 words
23rd March - Feature article - 800 words
23rd March - Academic essay - 900 words. (by petition, this has now been moved to after Easter).

It's been all laughs this term, I can assure you.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Strike while PowerPoint's still hot

Firstly, the 9 days between this post and last have just flown by so quickly. After my last post, I guess, there was the small matter of the news writing excercise, though that really took an hour's writing and a few hours of editing. Wasn't hard at all, which probably isn't good news for my marks. Then after that, there remained exactly a week to complete my research project: a 2,250 project based on an interview you conducted yourself, then relate your findings to previous research. So, in the last 7 days, I have completed my research project; that is, started it, do the reading read for the lit. review, written the lit. reivew, prepared and recorded the interview, written up the interview, written the methodology, work out what my findings were, write that up, and evaluate it all. So start and finish in 7 days. And that's being generous, I've basically done everything bar the background reading in the last 72 hours. Will it show? Time will tell.

Or will it? Leading me on to the point of this post; the up-coming lecturers' strike on Tuesday March 7th. The main point is; if their demands are not met, lecturers will work on a contract-only basis; which means, not working outside of timetabled hours. Which means not marking any work. Which means students don't get their marks. Which means we can't pass our units, our year, or if you're unlucky this year, your degree.

It's some threat to make, certainly. And it hits where it's likely to hurt; us, the students, who aren't the problem, who can't do anything about the problem, and who are the real losers in this battle. We pay our £1150 a year to be in higher education, (and thank god that's all until the unlucky sods starting University in 2007 get hit with top-up fees). Anyway, it is not possible to say "the students pay the lecturers' wages" and actually prove it. But essentially, the students' fees go to the University budgets, and the lecturers' wages come out of the University budgets. So...

It would be different if the professors and doctors and the Mrs Jones PhD, MA, PI etc decided to stop teaching instead, until their demands are satisfied. The students could still independently do the work, though this is in theory and would probably not actually happen. But still, the student is getting the rewards for the amount of work they put in, not putting in the work and then having to wait for TU action to decide when the rewards are given. On a side note, if lecturers refuse to mark work for the time-being, then why should students bother meeting deadlines?

This is by-the-by, of course, because it's all still yet to happen. But if it does happen, from where I'm standing, the students are the losers in the battle between the Government and NATFHE.