Occupational thoughts

Covering life on the home front.

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blogging in my pants

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I just finished going over a sketch I drew of Peter conducting a skype interview, seeing as the interviewer cannot see the bottom half of your body I emphasised the fact that he could be in his pants but since the interviewer could only see the suit and tie he thinks Peter is one of those people who wears suits. On a side note Peter does not look well in suits, he looks like he’s trying to conceal a beer belly which doesn’t show up when he’s wearing anything else. It’s relevant to me because some days I get out of bed (or off the floor) and slink over to my desk and knock out a post in my underpants before geting dressed and having breakfast.

mediablogavatar

I was hoping to use this sketch as an avatar for my new Media Studies Blog, I’ll see if it’s a good match.

I’d also like to highlight the wisdom of one commenter on Mailwatch, the front page Daily Mail article was:
“Sadists who maimed two innocent boys to be given lifelong anonymity
TORTURE BROTHERS WILL BE FREE AT 18”

Which prompted the response:
“Maybe if the Heil didn’t print hysterics like this the “torture brothers” wouldn’t need anonymity?”

Written by Pierre

September 10, 2009 at 16:53

Posted in life, school

Politics is the control of resources.

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Seeing as I haven’t actually handed in my definition of politics and I still have time to write (despite the chaotic return to school) I’ll go back and explore an alternative view briefly mentioned in my first lesson: Politics is about power, the more resources you control, the more power you have, politics is about resources.

The term ‘resources’ covers a fairly general and vague territory: gold, land, water, food, electricity, oil, iron, wood… the list continues but I’ve already explained that it covers almost anything.

Politics is about how these resources are managed.

In other news I need a new blog specifically for Media Studies as the exam moderators probably don’t care about my reflections on life as a teenager, which is fair enough I suppose.

I received my debit card and will soon go buy server space and move this blog to it’s very own domain. You read that correctly: I am going to continue to support this blog.

The Flip Video Ultra HD pocket camcorder arrived in the post after about 2 weeks stuck in the throes of the postal service. I still however support the local industrial action within the Royal Mail lead by one of the comrades at the SWP. I used it to film a Counter-Strike match with friends at my house.

Written by Pierre

September 9, 2009 at 16:01

Posted in life, politick

the Personal Touch

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I stayed up last night watching ‘The Revolution Will not be Televised‘. It’s a fantastic film because it’s really simple, all it is is a camera crew who just happened to be in Caracas at the time of the coup against Chavez and they filmed loads and loads of footage. Instead of featuring interviews or  narration, it shows what would be known as ‘the view from the street’. John Pilger’s Documentary ‘the War on Democracy‘ does expose the takeover in Venezuela, but it’s easily beaten in terms of detail by amateur footage of the events taking place minute-by-minute.

Nevertheless, this post was not supposed to be a gushing stream of praise for a really quite obscure film. This post is highlighting examples of how adding a personal touch to business makes me very happy.

Yesterday morning as I went to get the paper the shopkeeper (a fat, irritated-looking man) told me that he had received a letter saying that the Guardian would cost £1 instead of the habitual 90p. We both agreed that this was an unwise move and I bought the Independent in protest.

When I received the book ‘White niggers of America’ from Amazon, inside was slipped a printed out order page and on the bottom was handwritten in biro the word ‘Enjoy!’.

The bank cashier had memorized my name and when I walked in he said ‘Hello Pierre’. I didn’t remember if his name was David or Daniel so I just said hi.

A bookkeeper introduced himself as Jeff and addressed me as ‘Man’ or ‘Dude’, he described his job as ‘A really nice gig’ and explained to me how the books in the shop are so cheap because the guy who owns the shop also owns a wholesale warehouse. The background music in the shop was Pink Floyd and I was beginning to think that he wasn’t a real bookkeeper at all; bookkeepers have glasses and cardigans and talk quietly, he couldn’t have looked more out of place.

All of these things pretty much made my day a lot better.

Written by Pierre

September 3, 2009 at 09:37

Posted in life

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Since my last post I’ve been sort of lost as to what to write, I have a few sketches which I have yet to scan and post but the effort seems not worth it. I’m also at something of an impasse, I’ve recorded Halo 3 footage for a machinima and have found a service with which to capture it. I can’t pay for the service because I haven’t yet been issued with a card from the bank.

I have an idea for a short film which was sort of shelved a month ago and then re-entered my imagination, and is now languishing somewhere in the back of my mind.

I still have an essay to write in politics and I’m horribly tempted to churn out any old waffle just to get it over and done with. A little voice deep down is telling me that to ‘fill 2 pages’ with nonsense would just be a bad thing to do.

My room again looks like a mini-whirlwind just came through and blew everything into disarray. I still haven’t cleaned it.

I’m still waiting for my new pocket camcorder which has been delayed due to yesterday’s bank holiday. I did request another book called ‘White Niggers of America’ (in it’s original french) by Pierre Vallières which arrived. There is now a small pile of 4 unfinished books to get through.

Seeing as I don’t have much other content, I’ve still got a few pictures which I don’t belive I’ve posted yet:

What happens when you leave Facebook alone for a week.

What happens when you leave Facebook alone for a week.

Another Facebook picture of someone who has 404 pictures of themselves. By my standards that’s far too many.

Error: 404

The xbox broke while I was away… but is now working… and we don’t know why. Anyway, I’ve been forging High Ground (on Halo 3) with many teleporters, grav lifts and fusion coils while not doing what Matthieu loves to do in forge – which is to spawn about five spartan lazers, overshields and a Scorpion Tank – resulting in an overpowered explosion-fest. Using subtle changes to create large impacts on gameplay. Matthieu says it’s ‘not fun’, in which case the map has failed and must be improved until it becomes fun.

Written by Pierre

September 1, 2009 at 16:05

Posted in gaming, life

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Young Communist League summer camp 2009

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Day 1

I had been expecting a camp of perhaps 50 people [EDIT: A quick facebook search reveals that the YCL has 227 members in it’s FB group], in fact it is a hired out Youth Hostel with 12 people. I was also told that there would be 18 people but 6 people left by the time I arrived (halfway through the camp). I’m going to refer to it as a camp even though we’re not sleeping in tents outside. The people here are still friendly and accepting. They remind me of my eccentric friends in the scouts. In terms of their politics I discovered that they reject the term ‘State Capitalist’ used to describe China, North Korea and the former USSR. I object to this, when I mentioned that I attend meetings of the Socialist Worker’s Party they registered a vague negative feeling. I now see how from their point of view the SWP can be seen as moderate. Despite this I am learning a lot about how they think and act.
Regrettably there is no internet connection here so I am writing this on a notepad. I noticed that my blog readership plummeted to zero views for 2 days. I checked when I got a wifi connection at Bordeaux airport. Today we re-enacted the Cuban revolutionary war; it was more of an excuse to stroll around the Derbyshire countryside scaring Tory-voting farmers out of their SUVs. This walk culminated in a short but spectacular water fight. I even got to borrow a beret and pretend I was Che Guevera. A guy in our group called Dominic had a Castro hat and we addressed him as ‘Fidel’ or ‘El Comandante’.
Last week’s holiday in France was alright. It could have been better if my crazy grandad had not interfered with everything. I did get to sleep in a house on my own every night so I did have some independence. But I was not allowed to cook for myself or use any mode of transport that wasn’t my grandad’s car. At one point I briefly dreamed that Mariah could be there with me but remembered that I’d already asked her and she declined. Dam.
That’s probably too short a summing up of my holiday… it’s the best I can do as I didn’t keep a diary over there.
I read Mark Thomas’s ‘Belching out the Devil’ and am currently reading George Monbiot’s compilation of articles called ‘Bring on the Apocalypse’.

Day 2

Today we went campaigning in Sheffield, as we arrived I dutifully noted a medium-rise-medium-density (50 dwellings per hectare) council estate. This has some community land which is shared with a high-rise building of a similar density. Afterwards I saw a tramway line and was suitably impressed.
We set up a stall outside the town hall near a flowery structure of a steelworker. I also noted that the task of handing out leaflets/newspapers becomes exponentially easier the more people you have with you. Or it’s just possible that Sheffield is just a more working-class town so more willing to take left-wing propaganda. We gave away 50 copies of the Morning Star and as many leaflets for the new people’s charter. I had the opportunity to browse the other stalls and was amazed by the childlike disputes between socialist parties. Led by a vision of a united left and solidarity among workers the squabbling has brought me back to an unpleasant reality.
Another reveries which was shown false was my imagined expectations of a Communist camp. Huddled together the figures drink and sing. Within the warm atmosphere intense debates rage and speakers make fiery revolutionary speeches. In the eye of such passion sit me and Mariah, united and happy. I console myself with the continued hope that such an expectation may be met in the future.
The observation I made yesterday about the small amount of participants on this camp is revised by two more thngs I learnt. There seems to be a high turnover of participants as since I’ve been here 2 people have left and one joined our group. Secondly that this is the first YCL camp for 30 years. When the Young Communist League is hailed as ‘Britain’s largest revolutionary youth organisation’ I feel a more adequate mantra would be ‘Britain’s only revolutionary youth organisation’.
In Sheffield I was also able to acquire a Super Mario plush figure. A Luigi one was available but I decided against it.

stoplying

Day 3

Last night the group split between watching Che part 2 and watching television. I chose to watch TV  because I have already seen Che part 2. We huddled around the tiny screen and moved the aerial to get a picture. After much fiddling we blu-tacked it to a wall and left it alone. The programme was of a stand-up comedian called Michael McIntyre, a comrade passed around chocolate; it was a nice evening.
I was puzzled by an apparent mistake in one of the leaflets distributed yesterday. The story was about Irau security forces who had attacked a refugee camp for Iranian political exiles called Camp Ashraf. This was made illegal under the 4th Geneva Convention. Attacking refugee camps is not allowed, there’s no debate, it’s a really really bad thing to do, don’t do it. Amnesty international reported it and in their report the death toll was counted as 8 with 400 wounded. In the condensed story on the other page, the death toll is counted at 12 with 500 injured. Both reports confirm 50 or more refugees ‘arrested and taken to unknown locations’. Some people are doing a hunger strike outside the Iranian embassy. I hope to say hello and show my support when I go to London.
This evening we watched the People’s Flag and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. We also went for an hour-and-a-bit walk around Bretton.
I do not know what to make of the Communist attitude towards the other parties. The Worker’s Liberty paper seemed to have the aim of bashing other parties and promoting their own. Yet some people here speak with great fondness about certain parties and a united left. But they attack some other left-wing parties as ‘crazy’ or ‘nutters’.

Day 4

Apparently Peter Mandelson was in the YCL for some time.
We painted a YCL banner, it had ‘Join the Red Summer’ and a read sun complete with hammer and sickle drawn by me. In the evening we ate pizza and trifle. We had been writing speeches and so came to deliver them. My short imagined expectation became a reality. It was warm, everyone was happy, we sang and delivered our speeches, it was magnificent. Afterwards we went to the pub and relaxes in the dual pleasures of drink and fine company. Mariah wasn’t there but it was a night I won’t easily forget. Previously I had seen these people as a motley collection of young people who happen to share the same ideology. Now I see them as somehow more of one unified revolutionary entity.

Day 5

I leave today, this morning at 6 I got up and with some comrades went walking around the hills. It made a beautiful sight: 3 young communists marching up a hill towards the rising sun. I will catch a lift down to Birmingham then take the bus from there to Oxford. Birmingham bus station smells and is dirty.

ssrbritain

Written by Pierre

August 27, 2009 at 07:47

Wings 2009

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I’m now back from the Wings ’09 scout camp. It was in many ways a successful camp, the weather was a mix of rain and sun but only one person got heatstroke and I stayed in my tent when it rained. It was a jamboree so there were units from many different countries and the campsite itself was really big. The activities on camp were the same set of standard scout activities: Canoe/Kayak, climbing & abseiling on a tower, go-karting, pot-holing, archery, rifle shooting and orienteering. These were presented with other less attractive activities like drumming, crafts and hula hoops. I don’t have the time or the motivation to write a long winding travelogue or diary (I suck at travelogues anyway). Instead I’ll condense my notes to a bunch of bullet points in a lazy yet effective way of summarising last week:

  • Low-flying airplanes are a horrible to listen to. Especially in the early hours of the morning or very late at night. The plane stupid campaigners have a good point.
  • I read some of a book about town planning which I picked up at the central library. It swings between ‘overly complicated’ and ‘kind of obvious stuff I had already figured out’. Che Guevera was passionate about Agrarian Reform, Fidel Castro was passionate about Adult Literacy, Pierre Marshall is passionate about Town Planning.
  • I dug out a dyke/trench with some American girls who gave me 3 packets of menthos and a little medallion-type-thing with ‘God Bless America’ and ‘Made in the USA’ stamped on the backing. I didn’t know what to say because they were so nice and well-meaning. Our goodbye was also a bit awkward because (despite my doubts that we would never see them again) me and Matt made our way to their sub-camp, hung around for a bit looking for them, found them, said goodbye then walked off; the next day they came to our camp and did the same thing. Strange social situation.
  • I attempted to explain to Matt the idea that the terms ‘girlfriend’ and ‘going out with someone’ are meaningless social conventions which pale in the face of true friendship and love. Friendship and love are so close as to be indistinguishable from one another. Society is also geared to favour sexual relations and titles over meaningful bonds of trust. This was in the context of thousands of boy scouts looking for guides and rangers with to ‘hook up with’ on camp. On that note I also wisely differentiated the American girls on camp from Mariah, they are very, very different
  • A guy who was staying in my tent abruptly announced he was bisexual after rumours circulated about him stroking another boy. I offered to put him in touch with the LGBT people who spoke at one of the student meetings but he declined. He’s interesting because I had tried to follow the guide that boys who are overly effeminate do not necessarily turn out gay; I try not to associate being effeminate with being gay. He fits the ‘gay’ stereotype perfectly but nobody wanted to tell it to his face. Anyhow, sucks to him for living up to the stereotype, foolish person.
  • I encountered people with pogo-stilts. They looked mega cool and I badly wanted one, daydreamed about them for a good few hours and asked the parents for a pair for my birthday. They won’t buy me them, instead they’ll just give me money.
  • I made a little Mario figure out of plastic. It looks nothing like the original mario figure from Donkey Kong.
  • On the way back everyone in our bus swore at a cyclist on the side of the road. I protested but was shouted down. I haven’t forgotten the agony of cycling kilometres upon kilometres only to be insulted by someone going too fast and beeping at me to get off the road. Well now I know that my good friends are such ignorant people.
  • I also met some devout royalists and we clashed for some small debate. Windsor is so entrenched in feudalism. Truly amazing.

I recognise that this is a long post and apologise for the lack of pictures, (I don’t know where my camera is)  if you’ll excuse me I have but two more things to announce: I’m going to France on Wednesday (yeah, by airplane, what a hypocrite I am) although I should have my laptop and a portable internet dongle so as to update a bit more frequently. I’ve noticed that my stats have taken a sharp blow as the steady stream of loyal readers deserts to be replaced by anonymous internet people who come here purely by accident.

Secondly, after France I’m going to the Young Communist League summer camp. Now if you think that makes me sound like a crazy communist nut you’re well allowed to stop reading. However, I’m going there because I genuinely want to learn about Communist ideas. Such camps exist in (to put it eloquently) less obvious forms, with the intention to instill within children certain morals or ideas. If you think a Communist camp is bad, take a look at the ‘God camp‘ Nick was sent on and read his reaction to it:

Of course if I get round to actually writing these stories I think that might be a miracle but with God anything is possible. So I’ve decided to rely more on God than I have before and to allow Him to do with me what He wants to.

I’d rather rely on my own motivation to write rather than some inspiration from a divine being; and if all goes well I should be up and blogging in the next few days.

Written by Pierre

August 10, 2009 at 11:25

Another generic cycling holiday

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I haven’t posted for a while, that’s because I’m cycling in France. The family dragged me along and I couldn’t really refuse. I would be okay with this but for a few things, here the post deteriorates into a slight rant:

The routes weren’t planned in advance so we frequently get lost, the map we have does not have a consistent scale and directions from locals are usually misleading. Due to the bad planning we cycle long distances of between 60 and 80 kilometers to reach hostels.

We didn’t sleep on the night before the first day as our only rest was curling up on the cold wooden floor of  the ferry from Ingland. We cycled off the ferry at 4 in the morning and didn’t get any food until 8.

The parents refuse to spend money on or transport food. This leads to a precarious food situation which, means I eat as much as I can whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself.

The parents claim to want to go sightseeing but after 8 hours on the road (including an hour and a half of rests in between), we’re too tired or don’t have enough time to do much. The roads all look the same.

Christine insists on taking many  many photos of me which I refuse because it’s pretentious so Peter held me in a mock hug while saying ‘quick takeh picture!’. I squirmed out of the way, and when they look back at the photos of me on this holiday they’ll just see me being tackled by Peter.

At times my dad can be a stubborn old idiot.

I’ll be on scout camp next week, so don’t expect many more updates for a while. I have three days free after camp in which I can do some Halo machinima, the Xbox should be returned from the repair centre by then.

Written by Pierre

July 30, 2009 at 17:19

Posted in life