Your favourite blogs
I don’t know that I have any particular favourite blogs, more that I enjoy reading whatever appears on my feed, usually thematically – travel, languages, history.
Thoughts on Education
We’ve been here before on this topic!
I believe in education as a means to progress, to move forward and upward – stepping out of the cave and into the light. But I also believe in education for education’s sake. The reduction of learning to testing and scoring and grading really defeats the point of education. We’re supposed to learn so we know, not memorise to get an A. And I’m speaking as someone who rarely gets As, even now in my masters… I don’t really care. I’ve long since accepted that there are people who just get the system and know how to ‘hack’ their work to fit what is asked for, and I’ve seen myself work my arse off doing what I believe to be the right thing only for it to be handed back with a limp grade and red pen marks telling me I didn’t get it…
Education shouldn’t be elitist and exclusionary, but it is. Education should be for everyone, should be free and easy to access in whatever form is most suitable for a person. Not everyone can up sticks and move across the country to attend a uni for five years to earn their degree, more needs to be done online and more accessible online… that includes the fees and making the internet far cheaper, if not free. Let everyone have a chance.
Hell, make it as easy to get into education as it is to apply for Big Brother. Open the floodgates, let the people learn!
Meet Dippy the Diplodocus. He’s on tour around the UK having left the Natural History Museum in London for the first time since 1905. His show is on the road until 2020 and is next heading to Newcastle on 18th May, having just wrapped up a several month stint in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
Dippy is a beautiful big beastie who originally roamed the earth 150 million years ago, munching on leaves and hanging out with his dino friends. I can’t help but be reminded of The Land Before Time and Disney’s Dinosaur, so excuse me while I wipe away my tears.
If you are a paleo purist (ancient bones, not the diet) then maybe Dippy wasn’t your thing, he is a replica – plaster cast of the original Dippy in residence in Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History. However, I don’t care, because it’s thanks to Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist, that we over here have a Dippy to look at! Carnegie financed the excavation of Dippy in Wyoming in 1899 and they later discovered it was a new species, thus named the
Diplodocus carnegii. As a favour to King Edward VII, Carnegie faithfully reproduced the bones of the original at the cost of $2000 back in 1902 and gifted them to the Natural History museum in London.
Most people know how much Kelvingrove means to me, it’s my hang out place when I can get there; where my interests in art, history and old buildings converges so for that to be the temporary home of Dippy’s Scottish visit, I couldn’t have asked for more. Picture it, me in all my 30 years turning up with my pater and the two of us nerding out worse than the kids swarming around.
Even though the photos show other people as scale, it still doesn’t do justice to how massive Dippy actually is. He towered over the adults, nevermind the kids and weighs in at a hefty 20,000kg (alive, I’m sure).
I had to zoom in to get his wee face, and felt so small and insignificant. Really makes me wonder about people who deny the existence of dinosaurs – we might mostly be top of the food chain these days, but we’re all fairly tiny and annoying.
It was a great day out to visit Dippy and I can only hope that there have been countless children inspired by seeing him. I may have ended up at the merch shop and may have acquired a Dippy soft toy for a small fortune…
Kelvingrove is a free-entry museum and is open nearly all year-round from 10/11-5pm everyday. There are accessible entry points from both the Argyle Street and car park entrance. There are two cafés serving hot and cold drinks and light foods, the basement café serving meals as well. The basement features different installations and the two gift shops sell the permanent and temporary merchandise. There is artwork from Dalí and the Dutch Masters to the exhibits of Ancient Egypt and Scottish Wildlife, so there is definitely something for all to see.
Where will you be in 5 years?
Well this is an interesting one, for the first time in my whole life I don’t really have any forward plan other than the next few months. Right now it’s all dependent on different outcomes, other people, and to what extent I can keep myself working.
I hope that in 5 years I will be comfortable, happy and doing what I enjoy – whether I’m in Glasgow or abroad.
So I went quiet for a while…
Things got a bit dark; dragons and ineffective coffee – I even stopped playing the Sims.
I couldn’t post on social media (not properly), everything I thought seemed to bland and uninteresting to tell anyone about.
Like I said, darkness and dragons.
But, I’ve slowly regained my spark, crocheting and audiobooks of all things helped serve as a distraction. Mass job applications drained me psychically so I binged on Bones and Lucifer for inspiration. I plotted gifts I could crochet for everyone’s birthdays this year since up until two weeks ago I was very, very broke. (Still skint but not very.)
Now I’m fairly settled into a new job, that while I’m still learning and it’s still new, it’s not as overwhelmingly terrifying as the beginnings of a new job usually is. Mostly because everyone wants to help and wants us all to succeed. Despite the ridiculously early mornings and long days, I’m coping well and not so mentally drained as with other jobs. Trying to be productive on the weekends is something I’m still wrestling with but I’m getting there.
I’ve a couple of days off just now to work on my next assessment, due on Thursday, but after some weeks of avoiding it, I have a pretty good grasp on what needs to be done and have lots of notes and drafts. I do need to start thinking of the bigger picture, i.e. the dissertation which will start to sook up all my free time and thoughts.
I’ve been to events and gone to new restaurants in the last months, so I definitely have plenty to blog about… just sitting down to do it is always the hardest part. However, see the picture above – that’s my new dedicated outdoor writing space in the garden. The weather has turned nice again so I want to make the most of it while I can. I need to write and study but there’s nothing wrong with being out soaking up some vitamins while I’m doing it.
Anyway, it’s past my bedtime but I’ll start writing more posts tomorrow to schedule. I promise not to abandon the blogosphere for so long again!
I can’t ever keep my desk tidy. I have too many pieces of paper, notes, stickers, and notebooks… But I’d been out with mum and bought a few new candles, plus ones I’d bought before and never used. How good does my desk look when I’ve cleaned it and styled it perfectly?
I’m so happy with how it looks, and the candles all smelled amazing; they even overpowered the smell of cigarettes from the neighbours!
In other news, my desk looks nothing like that now. Back to messy, like me, like always.
The Mandibles: A Family 2029 – 2047
This book was killing me.
From the way it opened, and continued so much of the narrative by describing events; telling us how the world changed, informing us how life now differed, and a smattering of dialogue to show the characters having serious, in-depth economics and survivalist discussions, it rang alarm-bells for me. I’m confused more than anything, I was reading this as a backdrop to my creative writing course and yet it seemed this book broke many of the cardinal rules: telling instead of showing; skipping chunks of action in a summary paragraph (which we’ve been led to believe is lazy writing).
There was a couple of massive time jumps, which as a reader I always find awkward, and for a writer it seems like they are avoiding writing a section they may not enjoy writing… I don’t know, it’s how I perceived it.
I checked out the reviews on goodreads and elsewhere, and thankfully, it’s not just me. Others felt bored by the constant, dense discussions on economics and the collapse of the American dollar. I’m not taking an exam for an econ class, I don’t need this much backstory. Even halfway through the book, not much seems to have happened, except that cauliflower has become too expensive, even when it’s possible to get fresh produce because the American governments have snatched all farmland from the remaining farmers to export the goods to rake in a little money.
The family members all resent each other, but they make stupid decisions which bring them to a stupid end: all end up in Florence’s home but she answers the door and they get house-jacked (is that a word?). They spend a night or two in the shanty town that’s taken over Prospect Park, and acquire a gun, then they decide to head north to the Uncle’s farm to help out… No spoilers but there’s suddenly a massive time jump.
Hit the 73% mark and as well as the jump, another weird twist… If anyone’s read it, let me know if I missed what happened or if it was a metaphor. Alas, there was a bit more actual story that was finally interesting, then another time jump, then a fairly flat ending.
It is interesting, maybe if you know what you’re heading into (an essay with dialogue) and it creates a strange feeling, will the apocalypse really be so dull? Even if the economy crashes (again) and to such an extent that electricity, water, and food are rationed, I’d still like to think that the basic nature of human beings would be to find some hope or light in the situation and survive humanely, not exist blandly until a paper-cut kills us.