Friday, 30 September 2011

The Musings of a Man about to leave.

 On Sunday, I move away up to Reading University for my second crack at being a useful academic individual. This is more than likely going to be the last post from my house in Sunny (for the time being) (it won't last) Devon.

Looking around me, I'm squished into the back room of my house in Paignton, totally surrounded by my miscellaneous worldy belongings, and my best friend the piano. Among these scattered tokens of my personality are:

  • Cutlery
  • An accordion
  • A crapload of clothes
  • A whole box of just Pokemon gaming stuff
  • A PS1, and random awesome games (nostalgia!!)
  • A keytar
  • Wires. Just a load of rather useful wires that are no doubt already tangled up
  • A case of Juggling equipment and of course the ol' one wheel bike
I could go on for more, but I feel I would detract away from the point of this post, which I can assure you was not just to write a list of "things I own"...

I feel mentally and physically prepared this time. Mentally, I have an idea of what it will be like, and I'm about prepared to give up living at home and working in the local wetherspoon. Physically... well I'm about as fit I was last time (not that it made a difference) and there have been advances in the alcohol processing of my liver and my palette for real ale and fortified red wines. I have also added a modicum of ridiculousness in the form of hair dye to my otherwise boring blonde hair. ...So I stand in good stead. 

I think I am a more grown up person than I was last time. Less naive perhaps for good reason, but that doesn't mean you won't catch me in  freshers week "rather inebriated" and looking "potentially embarrassing" in any manner of downright farcical garments that will theoretically make up a themed costume. 

I do however have a considerably more sizeable list of short and long term goals this time around. I thought it would be amusing to take note of them before I hopefully don't fail at all of them:
  • Continue running as my chosen sport. I went to Bath University rather fit from all the competitive road racing and years of training, but kicked that in the arse as soon as I got there and lost all my fitness. I struggled when I came back to training, regrettably. Its taken me a year of hard work to get back to where I was 2 years ago, and I'm committed to not letting it slide this time. SO TAKE NOTE, I intend to Join "Reading Road Runners", train with them, and race well.
  • Actually finish the course. I know its a no-brainer, but lets face it, I didn't go to University the first time around with the intention of NOT ACTUALLY GRADUATING and ducking out after a year. This fact is not going to make me work any harder than I did before, because that wasn't the problem. I worked my poor brain into the ground and came out with incredibly poor results that were both understandable, given my lack of understanding of mathematics, and very demoralising.
  • I'd like to meet a nice girl. I say no more. Rather unsurprisingly, living at home and working for wetherspoons lands you with a theoretical dust bowl for meeting new people .Also, its Devon. A lot of people are here to retire, not to find boyfriends or anything like that. My last experience of University in that respect was rather jaded, as I had the proverbial shackles of a relationship back home on the go. These shackles were by no means shackling, as in unenjoyable, but nonetheless I shared no part in mixing with new people on anything other than a friendship level. Time passes and I'm used to being a singularity again and have been for a while. Maybe University will change things up. Make no mistake, I'm not going looking, but I won't have my eyes shut either.
Well that was deep. And now to lighten the mood, a list of considerably more pointless short term goals:
  • Join the Real Ale Society. Now my interest is rooted, I see no reason to not join a club and meet like minded people.
  • Keep juggling! Yes, well... keep juggling and learning amusing circus tricks I guess. Its fun.
  • Organise my underwear and socks better than last year.
  • Get a cupboard in the kitchen early so I don't end up under the sink again
  • Possibly start a quote board, that was fun.
  • Continue to be a musician in every way. All the way from trying not to be a philistine about metal, walking around in a bowler hat, to continuing to be in a kickass band with James and G. 
I think thats about it. Sorry about no pictures. The camera is packed! but I will just open my picture file and find a random one thats quite funny. And post it below. Lets see....

AHA! Raccoons. There you go.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Entirely illegible for all the wrong reasons.

Its all kicking off now in the world of Jamie Duffield. University is around the corner and matters like finance and enrolment are stacking up like some sort of playground pile-on game. On top of that, (pun intended) I recently received my reading list and required study books list from my course tutor.

I'm not sure whether this is better or worse that when I was at Bath University, because with Bath, I only needed one book. It weighed about 15 tonnes and cost £50. Carrying it around was impossible, and one could forseeably render a burglar unconscious with a blow to the head from the book itself (assuming you could lift it).

However, this time around, my book list consists of a total of at least 8 publications... Luckily, I was smart about this and proceeded to order them all second hand from amazon for a total of £68. Combined, they probably weigh about the same as my old chemistry book, but I digress.

Some of you may be wondering about the seemingly ambiguous title once again.

Some of you may be under the notion that you have already figured out how the title relates to the post.

Perhaps the reason the title contains connotations that suggest the books I have purchased are illegible, points towards the fact the books are second hand?

Well you are wrong. The books are in near perfect condition. And yet the one I have started to read through is, as a matter of fact, almost illegible. Allow me to explain in further detail, for I am sure you are all "enthralled".


Those of you who know me may be aware of the fact that I take pride in what I deem "a fairly extensive vocabulary and comparative knowledge of spellings and meanings". In short, I like to thing I know a lot of words and how they are spelled. This means I rarely have trouble reading books that include long words and replicating them in my own essays/ writing etc.

However this book just takes the piss! It stands as the only book I have EVER needed to read coupled with a dictionary that I have to keep persistently referring to!

The book is an anthology/ introduction to modern art and modernism, which bangs on about artists that were at the forefront and whines about how most art critics are wrong for trying to define anything. I can tell you that although it isn't boring, it is nigh impossible to understand... Such words have come up like:

  • Verisimilitude- when something bears little believability or likeness
  • Bourgeois- middle class or standard in origin
  • Acquiescence- acceptance without protest
  • Daguerreotype- an early photograph taken with and Iodine-sensitised silver plate and mercury vapor
  • Avantgardism- in artistic terms, when someone is at the forefront of awesomeness and everyone is following them in the style they work in
  • Obfuscation- to cloud, mix up or bewilder a system of ideas
  • Esoteric- to be intended for, or only really going to be understood by people who know what they are talking about
Believe it or not, this selection of words comes not from the whole book, or even the 20 odd pages I have read so far... Alas, it comes from a paragraph consisting of about 10 lines. 


I guess I need to up my game! 

What I find interesting, is that if you look at the last definition I listed, you will see that I have been trying to explain that this book is COMPLETELY ESOTERIC.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Are those my socks?

Well some of you may be reasonably bemused by the title of this post. Well to put it plainly, I was also very bemused, but it makes sense I swear. Bare with me.

Well recently, I have been training with a mate of mine, Lee. Running, that is. To get directly to the point, he started running about 11 weeks ago, after having being at base level ZERO for a fair while. He won't mind me saying this, but in his own words, his running (to begin with) was rather akin to "a fat dog gasping for air"... ¬¬

Even a sausage at the finish line would have been totally useless. Use it as a door stop perhaps.

But now, 11 weeks after the numerous runs and moaning with heavy breath, we are getting somewhere and the proverbial sausage at the finish line is getting much closer. The running is coming along well, and the mileage has been piling up slowly but surely. However, there is a gremlin holding him back from progress and inviting injury through the door. Once again to put it plainly, he has a REALLY SHIT pair of shoes. Somewhat similar to something you may catch Aladdin wearing in the street. And to be honest, even Aladdin probably had the better shoes.

These shoes have been called a number of harsh words from fellow members of the running group, the witty metaphors have been flying in all directions. To name a few examples:

  • "Just as useful as some ham stuck on your feet"
  • "You may as well be running with pitta breads on your feet"
  • "I guarantee you will lose these in the mud today" (HE DID)
  • "Oh, he's not still wearing those things is he? ..."
  • "I'm going to keep treading on your feet until you get some better shoes" (said by an 80 year old man)
Basically they aren't very good. And today, they were put through hell and back and came out the other side looking like pieces of material covered in droppings with some rubber lying around nearby. What I'm trying to  tell you is, that this very day Lee Buckley completed a open public cross country race.

Everyone was very impressed with his performance and he even got a spot prize for exceptional performance. He asked me and the coach at the club what races were coming up, because he wanted to compete with me before I leave for University. Lets just say that the Dartmoor Dash was not exactly the race I would have chosen for myself to start out easy. I had never run it before so I wasn't sure what to expect. I was told that it is "quite flat, for dartmoor".

I sort of just listened to this and took in the fact that it was quite flat. So I said to Lee, yeah this should be fine for you to run. To my dismay, this nugget of suggestion was somewhat of a red herring... Well I sort of ignored the fact that we were in DARTMOOR where there is NO FLAT. I mean, for those of you who aren't familiar with dartmoor, it is where the land army and the marines do their training.

2 miles in and I was running up hills and through bogs and mud and stuff... I suddenly thought, "shiiit, Lee is gonna have to run through this terrain..." 10 weeks ago he could barely run a mile without collapsing in a heap and now I have told him he could finish this race that I was honestly having trouble with myself! Essentially all the way around I was concerned for his life as I dipped and slumped through thick mud and peat. I felt like I had personally signed the execution papers and sent him toddling off to the race.

I finished well, coming in at 6th place in about 38 minutes or something for 5.18 miles according to my new garmin watch (woo, gadgets). I spend the next 20 minutes biting my nails wondering if Lee was curled up dead in a ditch somewhere on the course.

But then at roughly 59 minutes, I saw his 6"6 frame come tearing over the hill toward the finish line, in good form as well! We were all very pleased with his performance, deservedly. 

And to go back to the title, that was just when he somehow left his socks on the pavement outside a bus stop and we walked past them hours later like, what the hell are these doing here?