Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

The Perpetual Workload

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Ok, so the paper isn\'t really as long as it appears.

Why is it that such nuisances as A-levels must distract me from my geekery?  That in the distance is my computer, and in the foreground a short essay that has been bothering me for the last couple of hours.  It doesn’t contribute any marks towards my final grades, but nonetheless it was due in about a week ago and people are still going to get very annoyed if I neglect it for much longer.

But alas, I can’t find the bastard plan for it which means I have to continue it by ear, not something I want to be doing at midnight when I have much much serious IT deadlines.

I guess this is what you get for procrastinating.  And now I’ve taken the time to write a blog post and edit a photo.  What a failure I am.

Is procrastination intrinsically bad?

Thursday, March 27th, 2008
pro·cras·ti·nate
v. intr.
To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.
v. tr.
To postpone or delay needlessly.

I’ve found myself procrastinating a lot recently. This has generally been regarding my AS Applied IT coursework – I let myself slip so far behind that even thinking about makes the insides of my palms cold and wet.

I exaggerate, but in all seriousness, falling behind is not something that sits well with me. As soon as I see myself slipping I panic, and then something very strange happens: I decide to do nothing about it, and instead procrastinate.

It could be worse, I could just doss. As it happens, during my recent procrastination I have:

  • Updated my blogging platform and now have properly drawn-out plans on how to iron out some of the glaring imperfections and other bugs;
  • Drawn up a new, workable design for the website of my Young Enterprise group, Viper;
  • Started to assemble my portfolio;
  • Made preparations to re-immerse myself in the GTD system which in practical terms saved my GCSEs;
  • Written this blog post.

I’d probabaly be better off (read: less stressed and more likely to pass AGCE IT) if I had just finished my work; on the other hand, lots of other useful things also got done.

So is procrastination really that bad?

(Yes, it is, because the other 90% of the time I’ve been skulking on Flickr and Facebook)

5th Anniversary of Iraq Invasion

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

George Bush5 years after the initial invasion of Iraq, the Guardian has an interesting video and article on ‘an uncompromising speech’ by George Bush regarding the event.

In the video, Bush says:

“Five years into this battle, there is an understandable debate over whether the war was worth fighting, whether the fight is worth winning, and whether we can win it,” he said. “The answers are clear to me: removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right decision – and this is a fight Americans must win. Because we acted, the world is better and the United States of America is safer.”

He then goes on to say:

“The battle in Iraq is noble, it is necessary, and it is just. And with your courage, the battle in Iraq will end in victory.”

Which is great, but I can’t help but wonder: in which middle-eastern country the war will continue?

The war in Iraq was about large bombs. When it transpired that, actually, there weren’t any, it became the war against al-Qaida. Now its more generically ‘The War Against Terror”, which conveniently can never be won as you can’t fight battles against fear and emotion. The terrorists will be replaced by freedom fighter ‘terrorists’ at war with our ‘good guy’ permanent bases established in Iraq. Meanwhile the US government will continue to ‘fight the good fight’ against other ‘evil’ far-away lands whilst unifying and numbing its patriotic citizens and systematically removing their rights via such chestnuts as the ‘Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism’ (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001.

It would not be constructive of the USA to return to peace after Iraq, as it would bring into question the fairly recent legalization of the USA spying on its own citizens and unifying them over a common effort over which they ultimately have no control, and allow its citizens to concentrate on problems back home.

So, where next? Iran? Syria?

Edit:  Oh, and here’s a nice story following the Guardian article on how the USA has made the world a safer place 🙂

Procrastination

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

You would think that loitering around my computer until gone twelve night after night would be a good indicator that work is getting done.  The fact that I’ve acheived little of any real consequence over the past week, therefore, is somewhat alarming.

I am a prolific procrastinator, you see.

Whatever I plan, something more pressing always seems to crop up.  Or, rather, something presents itself as a more worthwhile pursuit.  Sure, I have notes due, coursework deadlines, notes to be handed in for checking prior to the January exams… but there are much more interesting people on MSN, important phonecalls to make and text-messages to send, and people to invite round and to entertain.

I think one of the problems is that I am still, despite my efforts, surrounded by distraction.  Ironically, removing distractions is self-destructive.  The organisational system that I made part of my life can consume me.  Minimalising and simplifying has become an obsession.  I have allowed myself to become so tied up with the processes and systems that I’ve lost sight of the purposes and outcomes.

And here I am blogging, when I have pages of work due for tomorrow.

Names for perceptions

Monday, December 10th, 2007

We alter of choice of language to infer our opinions and perceptions.

Sometimes this is subtle and effective, such as in politics and the opinionated media: freedom fighters and martyrs are terrorists, deeply religious non-christians are fanatics, legislation is bureaucracy.

Sometimes this is a little less subtle; for example, my former Business Studies would set us exam questions at least once a lesson and cycle through the names ‘test’, ‘assessment’ and ‘quiz’ and expect us not to notice.

And sometimes it’s glaring, such as in the way a friend of mine recently decided to brand with a man-name every female who she knew I’d had any sort of relationship with beyond acquaintance. Guess who the following are (out of a number of apparent she-males):

  • Henry
  • Edward
  • Jonathon
  • Harry
  • Norris

Welcome to Ibiza

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Our holiday was canceled and we were transferred to a Thomsons Gold hotel.

Some background information for those of you who don’t know me personally: every year my family goes to Es Cana, Ibiza, for the last two weeks of season. Variation is nice, but we know all of the bar staff around here so we get free drinks. I know my way around the resort – and increasingly those neighboring it – like a second home. We’ve always been to family-style hotels. For the last five or six years we have been to the hotel Cala Nova and stayed in the premiere, double-sized, sunrise-facing and sea-surrounded rooms, from the balconies of which it is possible to steal wifi from nearby apartments

The flights have changed this year though, and the Cala Nova is apparently closed for the two extra days that we’re here. Thomson tried to send us to the Hotel Cala Llonga in, well, Cala Llonga, but we declined as Cala Llonga is a barren land consisting of a beach, a tack-shop and up to two bars (subject to season).

(more…)