Sunday, December 03, 2006

Away and Away some more

I have hardly blogged since my return from the UK. I have been doing some soul searching and a lot of catch-up on my university work. There are some bloggs out there with hundreds of visitors a day, and others, like me, with a maximum of four loyal visitors. I don't feel that I am contributing all that much to the improvement of the internet--- So, I'm retreating from blog-land for a while. This way I can spend more time knitting, writing, reading, &c.. Don't worry, I have a feeling I'll be back here again... just not in the next little while.

Yours always,

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Update on the Bulge

Sadly, the bulge (see last post) is gone. Dr. Undercomb is again safe from disaster. However, he remains boring and patronizing.

A subject matter I don't enjoy with a instructor I barely respect, yet I have learnt a great deal more than has been taught.

Firstly, I know why I hate the material. Berkley's basic premises are faulty - he makes assumptions on the human mind based on his own limited psychological experiences. He is also internally inconsistent in how he applies his theories. But that's okay, he's dead now.

Secondly, I am learning how not to teach a class. Even if I never go into teaching, I have learnt that it is important that if you do not enjoy what you are teaching, you should prepare better than you would for a subject that interests you. That way, you won't loose the respect of the students who have been forced (it's a required class) to endure you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yes I'm Back and talking about The Unexciting Dr. Undercomb.

In the classroom where I listen to Dr. Undercomb prattle on indecisively about dead philosophers, there is the potential for much amusement. At least, that is, much amusement on my part.

On the first day of classes, I noticed that towards the front of the room, directly over where a lecturer might stand, there was a water spot on the ceiling. The following week, I noticed that it was slightly larger than I remembered it. I set out to discover from where it came and deduced that the most likely source of the moisture was from the toilets directly above it -- perhaps originating from a small leak or spill. This ceiling spot grew larger as time progressed.

Upon return from my adventures, which don’t need explaining at this juncture, I observed a substantial increase in the ‘ceiling spot’. It currently consists of two thirds of a ceiling tile and bulges downwards approximately one and a half feet. Needless to say, something’s gonna give.

My hope is that it will give at the right moment. Perhaps it will burst while Dr. Undercomb stands beneath, or perhaps beside, the deluge. It will be all I can do not to laugh. His reputation is everything to this man, he identifies with his written works and constantly displays the value of his ideas in such a way to make all around him seem small and unimportant. He is patronizing, and I would not be sad to see Dr. Undercomb doused with toilet water from above.

Monday, October 02, 2006

British Yarn

Hello from England.

This shall be a quick post from across the pond. I'm here in Stratford-upon-avon, and have been travelling in the midlands for almost two weeks now. It is lovely here, but busy as well. I've been to Suffolk, Oxford, Coventry, Bath, Warwick, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and will soon be flying home again. But the one thing I can tell you is that British Yarn Shops Suck! All I can find thus far is cheep old acrelic yarn that I can buy anywhere in Canada. It makes me sad.

I'll be home soon, lots of photos on their way.

'Till then, your blooger, E'Bert

Monday, September 18, 2006

Around the World and Home Again...

I'll be away from BlogLand for a few weeks.

I have lots of socks to knit while I am away,

and hopefully,

many stories to tell when I come back again.

'Till then, yours faithfully, E'Bert.

Friday, September 15, 2006

On Reason

Dr Undercomb says, ""Reasoning is presumably a process that we go through to arrive at truths."

It seems to me, a rather deficit explanation of rational though. In fact, I would say it's the most pointless one I have heard this year.

On the other hand, I haven't blogged about knitting much lately. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to play with my digital Cam. before I head across the pond.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I had two highly entertaining classes, followed by a horrific hour of listening to Dr. Undercomb (so named because his comb over is decidedly lacking the desired effect) blither on about John Locke. Dr. Undercomb has some knowledge, I’ll give him that, but I find him particularly offensive, unlike Dr. K---- who is brilliant and offensive in a “I don’t want to bother about politically correct hoo-ha so I’m just going to say it as it is”. I can get along quite well with Dr. K----‘s style, but Dr. Undercomb on the other hand – well, he’s just not right.

At one point in Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke refers to the stupid nature of country folk. By this, I suppose he means the uneducated nature of people who live in the country during his time. It is an offensive statement by today’s standards, but acceptable in Locke’s time. In an attempt to be funny, Dr. Undercomb’s lecture was permeated with constant references to the stupidity of Country Folk. Perhaps it was the monotonous tone of his voice, but I found the way he presented it, just wasn’t funny.

After that lecture, I cycled to my allotment garden. Madam Manyticks (the politician responsible for stirring up most of the dissidence among the gardening community and I suspect responsible for over $4,000 of missing money) was there with a city surveyor. I was leaving when she tried to get my attention in that tone of voice that I take to mean “I’m going to blame you for something someone else did in a passive aggressive manor in hopes that you will gossip with the others and fix this problem.” I told her I had to go, tight schedule, all that. She says, it will only take a second. That means that I’ll be there for an hour listening to her jabber on about nothing directly related to me.

This Garden thing is really getting bad. Money is going missing, there is no strong power structure in place for which to use for things to get done. People are vandalizing each other’s gardens. I should learn that it’s not worth trying to do something for the betterment of the community. Thanks a lot Madam Manyticks.

Monday, September 11, 2006

You Knit What - Part 2

You Knit What - Part 2

I didn't know this, but You Knit What has gone the way of the electric three wheeled delivery vehical. Thankfully there is a reincarnation lurking around the net.

All you Fuggers (lovers of Fug) out there, keep up the good work. We all need something to laugh at.

Which God of Laughter did I Please?

I enter the class room as part of a herd of nervous students. It is the second day of classes and for most of the people who surround me, the second day of university. I’m getting to be quite an old hat at this; for me, it’s just another day doing what I do best – being a student.

While I listened to the two boys behind me have a conversation regarding where one can purchase fake ID’s because they are too young to go out drinking, I realized that I’m getting up their. I’m not old, per se. but I am noticeably older than the majority of the classroom. Being confronted with ones actual age is a bit unnerving for that early in the day.

Mr. Um comes into the room, stands at the front of the class, and begins to lecture. Watching Mr. Um, a graduate student of some quality, talk was an insanely hilarious experience.

I call him Mr. Um because... um... precisely that. Um, ah, mm, let um, me, um mm, um let me um, give you, um, you an um example, um, accurate um, ah, um ... example. For every one word he managed to vocalize there were at least three non verbal utterances. Yes, Mr. Um (former communications director for some big companies in these parts I might add) was nervous, but this behaviour went far beyond any normal level of nerves.

It was so absurd, all I could do was keep from laughing. I stopped paying attention to his lecture and kept counting how long he could go without saying a real word. Only, I couldn’t laugh because he was trying so hard. It was very pathetic, but made even funnier for the wretchedness of the situation. It felt like a Monty Python sketch designed for my own personal amusement. And, what made it even better is listening to the other students in the class talk about how good he was – "like, I mean, he’s just so much better than Mr. B---- I had for high school math last spring."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Wrong I tell you, it's just wrong!

My apologies. Something seems to be going terribly wrong with Blogger lately. When it finally allows me to add photos to the blog, my profile &c. fall to the bottom of the page. Hopefully it will correct itself on its own.

One other note, postings will be less frequent *(yes that is possible) for about a month. I'm heading to the UK to check out Warwick University. If I like it, I'll do my MA there. Else, it's back to the drawing board.

John Locke, and this is just Ch. 1

John Locke has a terribly narrow view of the capacities of the human mind. He chirps that we should be content with what little understanding we are capable of and not to complain that we cannot know more.

Instead of enjoying the sunshine of understanding, “the candle, that is set up in us, shines bright enough for all our purposes” (Essay. 1-1-5).

It infuriates me to hear (or in this case read) that the human intellect can only reach so far.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

I wasn't going to do any more of these, but school just started, and I needed something to do while I don't study.

This entry is AKA: How-come photo option don't work on blogger this week?

Abstract thoughts. Loves reality and abstract. Intelligent and clever. Changing personality. Attractive. Sexy. (I don't feel like I am these, but people say I am, so whatever) Temperamental. Quiet, shy and humble. Honest and loyal. Determined to reach goals. Loves freedom. Rebellious when restricted. Loves aggressiveness. Too sensitive and easily hurt. Gets angry really easily but does not show it. Dislikes unnecessary things. Loves making friends but rarely shows it. Daring and stubborn. Ambitious. Realizes dreams and hopes. Sharp. Loves entertainment and leisure. Romantic on the inside not outside. Superstitious and ludicrous. Spendthrift. Tries to learn to show emotions.

* Pick your birth month.
* italic anything that doesn't apply to you.
* Bold the five-ten that best apply to you.
* Copy to your own journal, with all twelve months

Stubborn and hard-hearted. Ambitious and serious. Loves to teach and be taught. Always looking at people's flaws and weaknesses. Likes to criticize. Hardworking and productive. Smart, neat and organized. Sensitive and has deep thoughts. Knows how to make others happy. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Rather reserved. Highly attentive. Resistant to illnesses but prone to colds. Romantic but has difficulties expressing love. Loves children. Loyal. Has great social abilities yet easily jealous. Very stubborn and money cautious.

Abstract thoughts. Loves reality and abstract. Intelligent and clever. Changing personality. Attractive. Sexy. Temperamental. Quiet, shy and humble. Honest and loyal. Determined to reach goals. Loves freedom. Rebellious when restricted. Loves aggressiveness. Too sensitive and easily hurt. Gets angry really easily but does not show it. Dislikes unnecessary things. Loves making friends but rarely shows it. Daring and stubborn. Ambitious. Realizes dreams and hopes. Sharp. Loves entertainment and leisure. Romantic on the inside not outside. Superstitious and ludicrous. Spendthrift. Tries to learn to show emotions.

Attractive personality. Sexy. Affectionate. Shy and reserved. Secretive. Naturally honest, generous and sympathetic. Loves peace and serenity. Sensitive to others. Loves to serve others. Easily angered. Trustworthy. Appreciative and returns kindness. Observant and assesses others. Revengeful. Loves to dream and fantasize. Loves traveling. Loves attention. Hasty decisions in choosing partners. Loves home decors. Musically talented. Loves special things. Moody.

Active and dynamic. Decisive and hasty but tends to regret. Attractive and affectionate to oneself. Strong mentality. Loves attention. Diplomatic. Consoling, friendly and solves people's problems. Brave and fearless. Adventurous. Loving and caring. Suave and generous. Emotional. Aggressive. Hasty. Good memory. Moving. Motivates oneself and others. Sickness usually of the head and chest. Sexy in a way that only their lover can see.

Stubborn and hard-hearted. Strong-willed and highly motivated. Sharp thoughts. Easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention. Deep feelings. Beautiful physically and mentally. Firm Standpoint. Needs no motivation. Easily consoled. Systematic (left brain). Loves to dream. Strong clairvoyance. Understanding. Sickness usually in the ear and neck. Good imagination. Good physical. Weak breathing. Loves literature and the arts. Loves traveling. Dislike being at home. Restless. Not having many children. Hardworking. High spirited. Spendthrift.

Thinks far with vision. Easily influenced by kindness. Polite and soft-spoken. Having ideas. Sensitive. Active mind. Hesitating, tends to delay. Choosy and always wants the best. Temperamental. Funny and humorous. Loves to joke. Good debating skills. Talkative. Daydreamer. Friendly. Knows how to make friends. Able to show character. Easily hurt. Prone to getting colds. Loves to dress up. Easily bored. Fussy. Seldom shows emotions. Takes time to recover when hurt. Brand conscious. Executive. Stubborn.

Fun to be with. Secretive. Difficult to fathom and to be understood. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Takes pride in oneself. Has reputation. Easily consoled. Honest. Concerned about people's feelings. Tactful. Friendly. Approachable. Emotional temperamental and unpredictable. Moody and easily hurt. Witty and sparkly. Not revengeful. Forgiving but never forgets. Dislikes nonsensical and unnecessary things. Guides others physically and mentally. Sensitive and forms impressions carefully. Caring and loving. Treats others equally. Strong sense of sympathy. Wary and sharp. Judges people through observations. Hardworking. No difficulties in studying. Loves to be alone. Always broods about the past and the old friends. Likes to be quiet. Homely person. Waits for friends. Never looks for friends. Not aggressive unless provoked. Prone to having stomach and dieting problems. Loves to be loved. Easily hurt but takes long to recover.

Loves to joke. Attractive. Suave and caring. Brave and fearless. Firm and has leadership qualities. Knows how to console others. Too generous and egoistic. Takes high pride in oneself. Thirsty for praises. Extraordinary spirit. Easily angered. Angry when provoked. Easily jealous. Observant. Careful and cautious. Thinks quickly. Independent thoughts. Loves to lead and to be led. Loves to dream. Talented in the arts, music and defense. Sensitive but not petty. Poor resistance against illnesses. Learns to relax. Hasty and trusty. Romantic. Loving and caring. Loves to make friends.

Suave and compromising. Careful, cautious and organized. Likes to point out people's mistakes. Likes to criticize. Stubborn. Quiet but able to talk well. Calm and cool. Kind and sympathetic. Concerned and detailed. Loyal but not always honest. Does work well. Very confident. Sensitive. Good memory. Clever and knowledgeable. Loves to look for information. Must control oneself when criticizing. Able to motivate oneself. Understanding. Fun to be around. Secretive. Loves leisure and traveling. Hardly shows emotions. Tends to bottle up feelings. Very choosy, especially in relationships. Systematic.

Loves to chat. Loves those who loves them. Loves to take things at the center. Inner and physical beauty. Lies but doesn't pretend. Gets angry often. Treats friends importantly. Always making friends. Easily hurt but recovers easily. Daydreamer. Opinionated. Does not care of what others think. Emotional. Decisive. Strong clairvoyance. Loves to travel, the arts and literature. Touchy and easily jealous. Concerned. Loves outdoors. Just and fair. Spendthrift. Easily influenced. Easily loses confidence. Loves children.

Has a lot of ideas. Difficult to fathom. Thinks forward. Unique and brilliant. Extraordinary ideas. Sharp thinking. Fine and strong clairvoyance. Can become good doctors. Dynamic in personality. Secretive. Inquisitive. Knows how to dig secrets. Always thinking. Less talkative but amiable. Brave and generous. Patient. Stubborn and hard-hearted. If there is a will, there is a way. Determined. Never give up. Hardly becomes angry unless provoked. Loves to be alone. Thinks differently from others. Sharp-minded. Motivates oneself. Does not appreciate praises. High-spirited. Well-built and tough. Deep love and emotions. Romantic. Uncertain in relationships. Homely. Hardworking. High abilities. Trustworthy. Honest and keeps secrets. Not able to control emotions. Unpredictable.

Loyal and generous. Sexy. Patriotic. Active in games and interactions. Impatient and hasty. Ambitious. Influential in organizations. Fun to be with. Loves to socialize. Loves praises. Loves attention. Loves to be

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Choices - Which bed do you lie in?

It is important to me that we do have a choice. Even when it is apparent that we are committed to a particular course of action, we do in fact have the opportunity to act in a way that would change our circumstances. Perhaps it is something in our culture that teaches us otherwise.

Imagine a course of events that lead you to being on a small boat going from point A to B. The boat has a pilot whose job it is to ensure that the boat and its passengers arrive at B safely. You realize at some point along the trip that you do not want to go to B, but you are committed to the journey. There is no way to convince the pilot to change course. You have no other choice but to go to B.

The statement that “you have no other choice” is inaccurate and false. There are a great deal of choices available to you – not all of them pleasant.

What do you control in this situation? No much. You control your thoughts and to some extent, your actions. There are several solutions open to you:

Firstly, the easiest solution is to modify your wants. Instead of not wanting to go to B, you can want to go to B. This may seem difficult, but you would be surprised as to how easily one’s wants can be manipulated. Have you ever heard of advertising?

Secondly, you can jump out of the boat. You will most likely die, that is unless you are a fantastic swimmer. Not a pleasant choice; however, it is one available to you.

Thirdly, you could attempt to over-power the pilot and commandeer the boat. This course of action may be successful; but, even if it is not, your situation has changed considerably.

There are several other choices you can actualize, but we do not. Either our need to go to B is too strong to over come or our desire to remain an acceptable member of society out-ways our drive to act. It does not matter why we do not act, simply that we believe we have no choice but to accept what we have. They say, “you have made your bed and now you have to lie in it.” Perhaps instead we could simply lie on the floor.

This is the problem with many philosophical thought experiments; in particular, moral philosophical thought experiments. They do not take into account all the choices that a person does actually have.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

And People Ask Me Why I Don’t Want Children

These people simply cannot get along. It’s like babysitting teenagers.

My co-worker, Kaptian Crybaby (KC) asks me to settle a problem between himself and another person. This conflict has been on going since KC’s arrival four months ago.

I am not KC’s boss, I am not responsible for solving this conflict, but I have a sympathetic manner which leads men to believe that I am a good listener and that I actually care. (You are on the job less than a week and you believe that you work better than those who have been here over 10 years, perhaps you need to re-evaluate a thing or two. Definitely, you should not be bitching to me.)

The Boss-Men say that Kaptian Crybaby is in the wrong, and that he needs to learn to live with it. So now, KC comes to his other co-workers and asks them to solve his problem for him. It really gets my goat when someone believes they can get away with being this obviously underhanded and manipulative.

Honestly, you are simply not trying hard enough.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Interactive Johari Window

Saw this personality assessment on a friends Blog and thought I might give it a try.

E'Bert's Johari Window Imput

Please give it a go.

To View the results, visit E'Bert's Johari Window

Yours Interestingly,

I am rather concerned about triangles.

My philosophical obsessions this week include curiosity about triangles and Hegel’s ontology:

Why did the ancient Greeks like triangles so much? Why did they choose the triangle as the most perfect geometric shape? Triangles always came across as so artificial to me. They seem more like a human construct than an actual natural phenomena. Personally I would have gone with something more circular – but what do I know?

What I have read so far about Hegel seems to suggest that in his organic world view, there are increasing levels of organization (apperception, or self-aware self-awareness being tops). When I am knitting or lately, when I am spinning, I see the change from one structure to another that has more levels of organization. I need to read more on this view of reality. It is curious.

HouseGuest, R-- and I went to visit the local castle last week. It’s more of a manor house really, but it’s tall and almost a hundred years old. I took some photos of the clothing they had on display, in hopes of finding some inspiration for my textile adventure. Nothing came of it, but I did start my first toe-up socks ever using a new twisted rib pattern. I’m happy, happy, happy.... albeit, concerned about impending school.
Oh, and here is one from my trip to Vancouver with M--L--. Very fun.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Rational Thought

Rational Thought is the domain of philosophers. It is said that the capacity for rational thought differentiates humans from all other thing in the world. It is perhaps the most valued capacity of humanity. But what is it?

The other day, HouseGuest (I think I need to find her a better nickname) asked me “what exactly is rational thought”? At first I knew it simply. It was an easy question and I needed no time to organize my thoughts to answer such a fun question. In the time it took for me to draw breath and open my mouth, I realized that I did not know the answer. I had no definition of rational thought. This got me thinking...

Today’s pictures are from my recent trip to Salt Spring Island. They have some of the most amazing things there, including an old style spinning mill. I bought some yarn from a sheep farm on the north end of the island and I hope to visit the mill next time I’m over there.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Do you remember inspiration?

Trampled by Geese: If something does not inspire you, it is not worth having in your life.

This was my first major entry on Trampled by Geese, I feel that I have stuck fairly close to my goals for this blog thus far. It is interesting to note, every summer my blogging undergoes transformation.


How does one define honesty? At what point does acting contrary to your desires become dis-honesty? Can a person be said to lie if nothing said was untrue but every action, every intonation, screams untruth?

A song asks if people see the ‘real you’. What does it mean to say that there is a ‘real you’ and an ‘unreal you’? What is the difference between public and private personas?

I often forget how much I put on when I interact with others. It is not until I have the opportunity to ‘be myself’ – to interact openly and honestly – with someone, that I notice myself. When I am with most people, I am guarded with my behaviour. I talk a great deal about irrelevant topics in hopes of avoiding topic that are important to me. I try to never lie with my words, but I wonder how much truth I present in my mannerisms.

It is interesting how quickly one can become comfortable with another person. A friend (currently known as HouseGuest -- there is a pun in that name) came to stay. We had the most amazing conversations. We were able to discuss things I have never been able to share with anyone else before. Perhaps it is because we share similar backgrounds. I didn’t know her very well before she came – though I am acquainted with her family – but it quickly became easy to be open with her. There are very few people in the world that I have been that open with, and never anyone so quickly.

Now, I notice the disparity between my openness with HouseGuest and my guardedness with people I interact with on a daily basis.

At what point does the definition of honesty fall in to obscurity? Why can’t I phrase this entry the way I want to? I’ll publish it anyway, but I don’t think I’ve said things right.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Went out to the park today and found some Canadian geese. I finally hope to revamp my blog to reflect the title. I'm also taking votes on which one of these three photos you think would most capture the spirit of being Trampled by Geese.

Is it number one...

number two...

or number three...


Please leave me a comment and let me know. If you don't like any of these, I have over a hundred and twenty left to choose from.

There is of course this one...

... but I'll let you decide.

BTW - if anyone is good with photo shop and would like to play with these pictures to make them in such a way that a book or some knitting is being 'trampled by geese' for me, I would be eternally grateful. I could even send you a skein of mystery yarn from my stash as a reward.

Suicide by Cancer

Why does an active or passive roll in their own death make a difference to us?

Ophelia, our favourite Shakespearian crazy girl, jumped into the river and allowed the water to come to her when jilted by Hamlet. She is blameless for her death both because she was crazy and because she took no active roll in drowning. Instead, if memory serves, she sang as she slowly sunk into the water. Her suicide was a passive act, and therefore we hold her blameless.

Juliet stabbed her self upon learning of Romeo’s demise. Albeit distraught with grief, she still took the dagger in hand, and with a few poetic words, plunged it into her heart. She may have been crazy with teenage despair, but that is no excuse for the simple selfishness of suicide. Her death was all her own, she actively took her own life. We blame her for her selfishness.

You might remember, not long ago, I met a man with cancer. Instead of surgery, he decided to let the cancer kill him slowly over the course of 2 to 4 years of pain and suffering. The surgery would have been simple if done soon after the diagnosis, but instead he decided to die by cancer. There is something about this that angered me. I still feel dirty when I think about it, and I think I know why.

I hold people accountable for their actions. Not all actions, of course. I acknowledge that people are as they are made; given a similar history people can develop similar personalities. But I still believe that a person has a choice to how they react to their situation. I feel that given time, a person can over come their past conditioning and choose to be the person they want to be. And I believe that suicide is suicide – no matter how it is accomplished.

But then again, perhaps it doesn’t matter. Perhaps this world is something other than we imagine it. But I would like to believe that it is something more than just prep work for deciding which afterlife you get to experience. I want the world to be something more than just an illusion. At times I have fought so hard to stay in it, both against the world and against my own inclinations. How can someone be so selfish to exit this world by their own hand?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

To Simper and Smirk and Make Love to Them All

When I am at work, I simper and smirk and make love to them all. And when I tell them that I do not like people at all, and that I particularly dislike someone I was just then nice to, they are shocked. It bothers them that I am not as I portray myself.

How can we say that we are not as we act. If we define ourselves by our actions, then we only be as we act. If we define ourselves by how we feel we are, then actions take a secondary roll and no one can say they know another.

Because I am kind at work, people think I like to be kind.

I do not know how I am, but I know that I am contradictory in how I act and how I feel. This can’t be good for one’s health.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Education from a behaviorists point of view


"If students do not learn, is it their fault? No, their teachers have not arranged effective instructional contingencies. Is it then the teachers' fault? No, the culture has not arranged effective contingencies for them.

"Is it then the fault of the cultures? By the time we reach this question, the notion of fault is at fault. How shall we punish a culture? In moving from student to teacher to culture, we move steadily away from the feasibility of punitive measures - from the cane for the student, to dismissal for the teacher, to - what for the culture?

"A culture could be said to be punished if it does not survive (this is the ultimate selective consequence), but we change it, if at all, through other means. We look for alternative measures. Similarly, we can look for other ways of improving the behavior of teachers and students - as by designing contingencies under which productive behaviors are reinforced."

B. F. Skinner
1980 Note books. Prentice-hall Inc.: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Friday, August 04, 2006


Language is a surprisingly inefficient method of communicating complex ideas; yet unfortunately, it is the only one we have.
The trifecto of teaching, learning and education seems at first a beautiful way of conveying knowledge from one generation to the next. They say that teaching can only happen if the other half learns; however, learning is not dependent on teaching. One can learn independently of an instructor. Education on the other hand, is supposedly the most efficient institution for managing the learning process.

We can see what happens when the education process is more concerned with money than with people. Instructors teach by habit, but care very little about the students in their classroom. They give no opportunity for questions and offer impossible office hours in order to avoid students. Yet, I don’t mind that.

Learning institutions have become cookie factories. If you can conform to the cookie-cutter shape that give the university the highest profit then you can be successful (at least academically). It encourages students to collect degrees like candy and fills up the campus with people who have almost no reason for being there. They have no love of learning.

The university has become a production line. No longer concerned with acquiring wisdom; but rather, with turning out career ready individuals with no actual marketable skills.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


What is it that prevents education from providing learning to its students?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Politically Correct Language

There are two sides to politically correct language. First, it provides the majority a way to show respect and recognition to formerly marginalized members of society. In the last few years we have changed how we talk about people with disabilities - instead of saying ‘that deaf guy’ we now say, ‘the person who is deaf’. Likewise, we now call Indians, Native Americans (or in Canada, First Nations). (it is curious to note at this point that there are still several tribes within driving distance of my house who resent being called First Nations, and instead choose to call themselves Indian – It is also curios to note that not so long ago, the term First Nations referred to the 6 Nations. But let us leave the latter is for another day.)

Although I can no longer remember my exact source, I read in the introduction to a dictionary that the Spanish monarchy commissioned the first European dictionary between 1492 and 1494, after the Moors were driven from Spain. The decision to standardize the language was justified by the idea that: Political unrest is caused by passionate thought; passionate thought can be limited by limiting the vocabulary of the people; therefore, by altering and limiting the vocabulary of the people we can prevent political instability.

It is popular these days for the ‘White’ majority to show ‘respect’ for marginalized individuals by referring to them in politically correct terms. Yet, this only strengthens the divide between the two groups of people and disallows any self labelling that these groups may desire.

Politicians in this country divide and conquer. It works well in the short term, but does not create a stable base for social structures. It divides humanity from the world we live in and from each other.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Do I look like a people person?

Perhaps it is true that I expect too much from people.

Despite all that I have seen in this world, I still harbour the belief that people want to be good. That given the right conditions, they will do the honest thing. They will want to act with respect and integrity. And in return, they will believe that they will be respected. Now, I believe this of people; why I do, I cannot say. The Everyday shows me evidence to the contrary.

I keep a garden allotment. It is a small bit of land, not more than two hundred square feet, where I can grow vegetables. It is rented from the city and I share this place with over a dozen other gardeners who likewise have less than two hundred square feet in which they can garden. Some of these gardeners (like myself) are there at least once a day, others come less than once a fortnight. The latter, for their own reasons, take very little interest in their plots and the aria that surrounds it. Their allotments are full of weeds and their pathways full of brambles which encroach on the more diligent gardeners.

I understand that people are busy and often fail to meet their commitments. But I did not believe that they would resist someone else cleaning their pathways (as is required by the rental agreement).A politician formed a committee, decisions were made, notice was given, and we cleaned the brambles and the weeds from the pathways so that a fence can be placed on the property line. Apparently, this was wrong of us. Two days in a row, vandals have devastated my garden. They have torn up tomato plants, and destroyed my beans. The majority of my summer harvest is gone. Not only do I take pride in my work, but also I supplement my groceries with the food I grow. It coasts less to grow a garden than to buy lower quality vegetables in the supermarket. But now I will be lucky to have a harvest. I am truly heart broken.

I wonder if I should take the moral high road and continue to replant in hope of something growing through the damage. Perhaps they will give up and with a little time their fury will diminish. Yet, I also wonder if I should give in to my urge to damage their plots in such a way as not to be traced back to me. I could allow nature to do the work, with a little incentive from me. But that damage would not be so bad as my own. I do not believe that they feel as strong a connection to their plots as I do; although, they would not have vandalized my garden (twice) if they did not feel wronged by the cleansing of their pathways.

I wonder what the basic nature of a human being is. How would we be without society? How would we act? What is the essential quality of being human? What is it we have that makes us different from the rest of nature? Why is our morality so worthless when put to the test? Is our behaviour really any different from the wild?

Is it so wrong to want to believe that people are basically good?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Badmouthing the University Administration Cannot Be Good For Your Health

I picked up this book yesterday and have not been able to put it down since.

Planet U: Sustaining the World, Reinventing the University

M’Gonigle, Michael and Justine Starke
2006 Planet U: sustaining the world, reinventing the university. New Society Publishers: Gabriola Island, Canada.

Although a little more on the environmental side than I had hoped, it does raise some interesting questions.


Also, for those of you interested in Education and the problems with modern day knowledge in general, have a gander at this article: Do Philosophers Love Wisdom?

Monday, July 17, 2006

What is the existential status of an idea?

Each of the Greats (that is philosophers with an attempt at a complete ontology like Aristotle, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Kant, &c.) have some place in the universe for ideas. Ideas exist, but to what degree they exist? Can we rank existence? Philosophers often try.

A woman looks as a page of a book. Perhaps it is written in the language of the observer. These marks on the page are nothing but ink on paper. They have no intrinsic meaning, yet when combined with the observer, somehow the observer converts them into ideas. This is a very strange process. Where does the idea reside?

The idea no longer resides in the author; our hypothetical author is dead two thousand years.

Can the idea reside in the ink? Surely not in the ink alone; the ink can take on almost any number of forms, yet only when placed in a specific structure will it be comprehensible to a particular reader. It must reside somehow in the page and the ink together. Yet, it is not that either. The page can burn to ashes and still be all there, yet no longer comprehensible. There is something in the structure of ink and paper combined in a specific way which makes the idea comprehensible. But it is not an active idea. The page cannot act on its own, and the idea is unrealized if the page remains unread. So, the idea cannot reside in the page alone.

Can the idea reside in the observer? Surely not! What does the observer know before reading the page? She knows how to read, how to interoperate the scribbles on the page. She knows the common meanings of these scribbles. But she does not yet contain the idea that is written on the page. She acquires that by viewing the page in a particular way. So, the idea cannot reside in her until after she reads the page.

It is something in the process that makes the inert idea on the page become the active idea in the mind. But in what way does the idea exist before it is read?

Can thought exist without a thinker? Descartes said no! In fact, in my studies thus far, only Spinoza appears to have thought existing independent of thinker, and sharing the same existential status of physical objects. Descartes starting point is that he knows he exists because he has doubts and to doubt requires a doubter. I doubt that. Or should I say; there doubt that exists which contains within it the idea of myself doubting.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Principle of Charity

or: I am forever stuck in the middle class

In Canada, the class system is invisible. People here will tell you that there is no class system. Yet, they tell you this as you pass by the millionaire politician giving a two dollar hand out to the beggar on the street. In fact, if you care to look around, you can see that the class structure is as plain as my mug holds coffee. We simply do not acknowledge it; but not only that, we co-exist with members of the other classes. The difference of people among the different classes is often one of attitude. This difference governs behaviour as much as it governs what possessions one might own.

An individual on Welfare makes more money than the average minimum wage worker. Minimum wage is at (more or less) $9per hour and most companies will not hire a worker for more than 30 hour per week (it saves them money on taxes &c by not hiring full time employees). Yet they say, in this city a family must have a total of 60 hours a week at, at least $15per hour to make the basics: food, rent, clothing, and transportation. The basics do not include things like car maintenance or television. On Welfare one can make a bit more than that, depending on ones situation.

Given these conditions, one might wonder why one should work at all. People do work, despite the fact that they must beg for donations of food from charity just to get from pay check to pay check.

I have been homeless and hungry in two countries – neither of them Canada. Unlike here, neither country had food banks or sleep shelters or any social structure in place to care for the less fortunate. Somehow, because of my experience, I have lost my sympathy for the down-and-out who live here.

The Principle of Charity is an academic’s tool where one considers the authors intent in the context that the author wrote it – giving the author the benefit of the doubt when the meaning of the text is unclear or ambiguous. This is very seldom practiced in philosophy classes these days, and even less in my daily life.

I know I am critical of others (I have been told this on many occasions). But, I am more critical of myself. At different times, I have lived the life styles of all but the most upper class. I know which one I prefer to live. I doubt I’ll ever get there.

It is hard to remember sometimes, that the dirty faced individual putting a needle full of drugs in his arm in the doorway of an abandoned building that I pass every morning on my way to work – it is hard for me to remember that he is just a person. As a person, he has made and must make his own choices. But how much freedom does he really have? How much of his life is damaged by the invisible social structure that surrounds us?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

One Stitch Cannot Stand Alone (or, Knitting Ontology 101)

I was considering getting a counter for my blog. I’m curious how many people out there surfing cyber space, stumble on my blog each day. Are there four? Fourteen? Forty? How many people are there?

Counters count things. They enumerate concrete particulars; they take individuals and convert them into numbers. It is a magical process, like knitting. One stitch cannot stand alone. It depends on other stitches for its existence. One must begin with a foundation: a cast on stitch will do nicely. That foundation must be solid so as not to unravel, but flexible as well. From there, each individual stitch is created from the one below, the one before and the one next to it. It quickly becomes part of the one above it until each individual stitch is indiscernible from the fabric. Only the keenest eyes can tell one stitch from the next. Even still, the stitches are not safe. Without a strong but flexible bind off, the whole fabric risks unravelling. Only as a complete whole, do the individual knitted stitches fulfill their function. They flourish as fabric, but alone, they perish. They are incomplete without the other stitches to support them.

An idea cannot stand without strong foundations. Without historical antecedents, it unravels and breaks down in time. Yet, it also requires future generations to carry its essence onwards. An idea exists as an indiscernible stitch of fabric, reliant and relied on by the stitches that surround it. An idea that does not contribute to this fabric fails to fulfill its potential; and thus, falls into obscurity.

Somehow the idea of converting individual people into abstract statistics revolts me. It is a perfectly acceptable way of collecting and converting data, yet by doing so, we loose the value of the individual.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Here is a Little Monday Morning Treat

From a mock interview with Kant:

Kant: ...You may think that philosophy is an esoteric discipline practiced by a bunch of old men sitting around wondering whether the world exists and inventing some exotic language in which to disguise their nonsense, but that isn’t it at all....Philosophy is concerned with nothing less than the ruling ideas of human life what we can know, what we should believe, what we ought to do, what we can hope (Solomon 1981:12).

Solomon, Robert C
1981 Introducing the German Idealists. Hackett Publishing Company: Indianapolis

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Art of Equivocation

In a discipline where words are everything, I am amazed by the casual way some words are tossed about. The art of equivocation, where one misguides the reader by alternating between two or more meanings of a particular word without the readers’ knowledge, is the legacy of the Sophists. When used correctly, equivocation changes the entire outcome of history. Thoughts become muddled and social control as easy as eating pie.

Yet, one should note that it is not always the author’s fault. The author’s intentions can be very clear upon writing, but when the reader interprets the words, he mistakes the meaning, confusing the issue at hand. If this confused fellow writes a paper whilst unaware of his confusion, the equivocation strengthens, and continues to the next reader.

I am worried about the word, ‘Dialectic’.

It is a multipurpose word applied with equal vigour to the methodologies of Plato, Hegel, and many other philosophers.

The Oxford English Dictionary says:
Dialectic n.
1. a. The art of critical examination into the truth of an opinion; the investigation of truth by discussion: in earlier English use, a synonym of LOGIC as applied to formal rhetorical reasoning; logical argumentation or disputation.
Originally, the art of reasoning or disputation by question and answer, ‘invented’, according to Aristotle, by Zeno of Elea, and scientifically developed by Plato, by whom the term was used in two senses, (a) the art of definition or discrimination of ‘ideas’, (b) the science which views the inter-relation of the ideas in the light of a single principle ‘the good’; corresponding broadly to logic and metaphysic. By Aristotle the term was confined to the method of probable reasoning, as opposed to the demonstrative method of science. With the Stoics, rhetoric and dialectic formed the two branches of , logic, in their application of the term; and down through the Middle Ages dialectica was the regular name of what is now called ‘logic’, in which sense accordingly dialectic and dialectics were first used in English.

2. In modern Philosophy: Specifically applied by Kant to the criticism which shows the mutually contradictory character of the principles of science, when they are employed to determine objects beyond the limits of experience (i.e. the soul, the world, God); by Hegel (who denies that such contradictions are ultimately irreconcilable) the term is applied (a) to the process of thought by which such contradictions are seen to merge themselves in a higher truth that comprehends them; and (b) to the world-process, which, being in his view but the thought-process on its objective side, develops similarly by a continuous unification of opposites.

The only solid commonality of usage when it comes to Dialectic is that Dialectic is a methodology for arriving at a conclusion. It other words, it’s just a way from getting from idea A to idea B – where B is already decided before the discussion has begun.

As usual, I am not being very charitable to the idea of Dialectic. The Principle of Charity (that is that any dubious nature of the ideas presented must be found in favour of the author presenting them – or something along those lines.) is all well and good, but if one were to apply it too liberally, then the only conclusion possible is that everyone is right and we should all gather round my house for tea and crumpets next Sunday where we can discuss how infallible we all are.

In the Plato classroom, Dialectic means the method of conversation where Plato pretends to be ignorant and through subtle manipulation of the conversation, convinces the interlocutor of how little truth is actually known on the subject at hand. In a Hegel classroom, if indeed there is such a thing, Dialectic would describe a method where two seemingly irreconcilable concepts are evaluated and developed in such a way to find a synthesis between the two. These two instantiations of Dialectic are not exactly identical. In fact, if I wanted to be cheeky, I would say that they are irreconcilable with each other

So, when a professor says that So-And-So is using Dialectic or a Dialectical methodology (because they really do talk that way in the classroom), and I ask said professor, “What do you mean by Dialectic?” They answer “By Dialectic, I mean Dialectic.” I ask again for clarification, this time specifying which kind of Dialectic – the answer is the same. The class moves on to the next topic while I sit there grumpy and confused, because I really do want to know which definition of Dialectic is being expressed in this particular context.

Perhaps the solution is to ban all ambiguous language in philosophy. Yet, that would mean the end to a great deal of philosophers and philosophies. Perhaps we should make a law requiring the specification of ambiguous words – Dialectic would no longer be used on its own, it would always be Platonic Dialectic, Hegelian Dialectic, &c. But then, because so many people were not trained in the difference, many instructors would be forced into retirement. Perhaps, we must do what we have done for the last few hundred years – leave it up to the student to figure it out. Students are smart, right? And we do, after all, have So Much free time on our hands. I’m certain we can muddle through somehow.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Frustrating Dr. Fun-Guy

Sometime between Kant and Russell a dense fog descended on all philosophical thought. We are taught in the class room, that nothing of interest happened for over a hundred and fifty years. All the names in the mist - Hegel, Schelling, Kierkegaard, &c. - well they are simply voices to be ridiculed. I have been told time and again that Nothing of philosophical interest happened during this time. And yet, the more I am told to the look the other way, the more I am desire to know of these mysterious No-Bodies.

I attended part of the Summer Lecture series put together by the Philosnobs (our philosophical student group – Let us call them PS for short). Dr. Fun-Guy presented the lecture. He is one of the few professors that I respect in our department and a staunch ignorer of Hegel. In the hour and a half there were over ten insults directed to Continental European philosophers (mostly post Kant) in favour of the Analytic tradition of philosophical thought. For some reason, it is an Us-Against-Them battle – there is a great sense of fear among the faculty that someone might come along and tell them that their style of philosophy is flawed, therefore they attack every other style of philosophical exploration. By staying on the offensive they somehow manage to feel secure that their beliefs will not be challenged.

It is interesting to note that every paper I have read by Dr. Fun-Guy follows more or less the same format. He has two concepts; for example, yesterday’s paper involved Work and Play. These two concepts are usually considered incompatible – that is, each is traditionally defined by the negation of the other. The example would be that Work is often defined by the absence of Play and Play as an activity that does not involve Work. Something that I admire in Dr. Fun-Guy’s work is that he does not resort to this traditional way of defining concepts. He instead examines each one individually and offers a definition based on its own merit. For example, his definition of Work involves the concept that you have to force yourself to do it or that it is defined by an internal struggle.

Dr. Fun-Guy then presents the two paradoxes of these two concepts, examining each one in turn, displaying the apparent contradiction within each of them, and then attempting to find a satisfactory middle ground where the contradiction and the paradoxes disappear. It is his standard format, and it is a very good one I might add. He is well written and has an excellent use of narration in his writing which helps to make the paper relevant to the individual rather than a bit of incomprehensible academic mumble jumble. Yet, I wonder how he would react if I told him that his methodology is an excellent example of Hegel’s Dialectic.

Perhaps he simply does not take the conclusion far enough, or perhaps it is because I observe him to frequently declare the uselessness of studying Hegel; but for some reason, I find Dr. Fun-Guy’s papers to be a poor reflection of the knowledge and insight I have seen him display in class and in conversation. Could it be true what they say about history? Are those who ignore it bound to repeat it?

Perhaps it is I who am mistaken. I have been told that it is wrong of me to evaluate my ‘betters’. Perhaps I should take heed and give up my endeavours to learn that which I desire to know. Even the library is against me – the books I desire are unavailable to me. There is so much beauty in Philosophy, but I am tired of fighting to learn it. These people know so much more than I could ever dream of knowing – who am I to think I know what I want to learn?


This Blog is Changing!

It is time to take this blog to the next level. Stay tuned, in the next few days this blog will become something a little better.

My aim is to take this blog from simply a sometimes updated hodgepodge of my life to a twice weekly narrative of my academic career. It will be a place where I can tell stories of my experiences and practice expressing my ideas prior to publishing them. Don't worry, there will still be knitting and stories of my annoying cat, just less of it than before.

See you soon!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Saturday, June 03, 2006

ops. I'll just have to start again.

I spent the money I was saving up to buy a digi-cam, on a spinning wheel. It is lovely thought. It's an ashford traditional (in case you know anything about them) and I plan to make sock yarn on it (I hope). I have been playing with a drop spindle lately, and am beginning to get the hang of it. I still cannot seem to get the correct amount of twist.

Other than that, I've been working hard, saving up money for my trip in September, and knitting socks. Also I've been reading about Hegel. What an interesting guy he was.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Aristotelian Knit!

It is curious how much knitting reminds me of Aristotle's ontology. You have a logical structure, or form (the pattern) being imposed on the substratum (yarn) in such a way as to create a primary substance (sock). This process is an excellent demonstration of Aristotle's conception of change. The interplay of actuality and potentiality present in this act of becoming, reminds one that there is something to Aristotle's way of thinking.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cat and Girl

Cat and Girl

I don't know much about the author of Cat And Girl, but I suspect she takes simular classes to me. Very philosophical writer this one, and funny. I'm not talking Marx funny, or Descartes funny, they are only funny because they don't mean to be. I'm talking about real funny. She (he?) tries to be funny, says something charming and smart. Always makes me laugh.

Gone back to readin Hegel. Must prepair for fall classes. I heard from another person that the university I want to study for my Masters at is good. That makes me happy. I've now knitted three complete pares of socks (EVER!). The first pair is crap. I knit it in a stretchy cotton, I don't like them at all, and because they are knee high, they took FOREVER! 0r almost. After I finish my cardigan I think I'll knit some more socks. or maybe before. I don't know. I'm so very tired.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Summer time and the living is easy...

If wishes were wings.... and I don't know the rest. Perhaps, pigs would fly, but that has been beaten to death. I remember there being something about hope and bridges, but the details are vague. Perhaps, if wishes were wings, bread would do more than just rise? Or, perhaps, we can leave it to the beauty of your imagination.

I took my bike around the coast yesterday. It was lovely and warm. The sun and the breeze hammered down on me in the most delightful way.

I'm off to work for the next few days. Haven't been doing much philosophy lately, mostly reading Jane Austin in hopes of getting to know the time period better. I like reading novels of a time period written in the time period they are about. It is like a self portrait of a certain cross section of society.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Knitty &c.

I wish that knitting magazines like would include a cooking recipe that goes well with knitting.

For example: On my days off, I love to knit while I am baking traditional bread. The bread takes about 4 hours to bake, but really only requires a total of half an hour attention. The rest of the time, I need to be home, doing something while it rises, so I knit.

Other ideas would include quick appetizers (not too sticky because the yarn will get yucky) that one can serve at a knitting get together. Or pretty things that involve breading pastry or something that resembles knitting motion.

But then again, if wishes were wings......

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Out of the loop

I've been a bit distracted lately. Mostly I blame the weather. It is far too sunny and overly lovely this week. A very good friend (you know who you are) and I have been cycling around town and are now sufficiently sun burnt. Oh...Happy Days!

A craft shop in town is going out of business, so I bought some sock yarn. I decided that it would be perfect for the Rib and Cable Socks from the Fall 2005 issue of Interweave Knits. Only I left the pattern at home when I went out and rather than stop knitting until I could get home, I decided to make it up as I go along. I also had to 'invent' a way of cableing without a cable needle, which was 'fun'. Now, it looks very unlike the original pattern, I've varied completely off and I think I'll go astray even further by adapting the heal and toe from the Simply Lovely Lace Socks from the recent Interweave Knits. Oh Well! At least I'm trying.

I made socks a while back with some cotton/elastic yarn, and I hate them. I really do. I've frogged them twice, and they just are shite! They look lovely if you don't wear them, but if you stretch them they look and feel like crap. I was so sad and thought about giving up on socks all together. Now, with these new socks, I'm feeling better. This will be my third pair of use-able socks.

On a side note. A very nice Gideon gave me a bible the other day. I couldn't refuse because every good academic needs a bible, and I'm just curios. For reasons that don't need explaining at this juncture, I am rather fond of the book of John. So, I started reading it. Now I have a question: Did/does Jesus have free will? If so, in what way?

I know, it's a foolish philosopher's question, but It's bugging me and I really want to know.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A good friend and summer weather

It is a sunny day and a day of cleaning house. We open up the windows and door to the balcony. I water the plants, and the cat goes outside to lay in the sunshine and mud. then the cat comes inside after we vacuum. Now the house is covered in cat hair and mud, the cat is locked outside until she drys off.

Instead, no, she lays down on the deck, half in the sun, head in a puddle of water. What kind of a cat likes water? My cat is crazy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I dislike having to choose a title.

It is interesting how much one can learn of a society by reading its fiction. Although the society has been dead a while, the mythology that it created is very telling of how things use to be. Take Jane Austen - every line in her novels are full of satire or social commentary (when viewed from a certain point of view). It amuses me greatly, but also, I have the opportunity to see how the age and culture are portrayed by one who lived in it. This is the end of the true upper classes in the Western world. Not long before Marx began writing, and during the upheavals in France. Napoleon was ravaging what remained of the old class system, and replacing it with his own version, all in the name of the people. What a guy. England was trying desperately to hold on to what it had left while technology boomed and labours began to demand rights.

This is the climate at the beginning of the period that I want to study. But what use is it to study only the thought - the philosophical writings - of the time period without taking into account the people? There is something more, something so actual about this time period. So many advances, so much of the technology created and the ways of existing that developed in this time were things that could be seen, things that could be touched. Unlike today, the virtual today, where advancements have little to do with the every-day lives of the every-man/woman. And when they do touch the every-day lives of people, in our modern times, they do so invisibly - a new computer program, a new kind of fruit that looks just like the old one, only bigger. &c.

Friday, April 28, 2006

ah, summer time at last.

You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.

You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.

Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.

All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.

Your Inner European is Italian!

Passionate and colorful.

You show the world what culture really is.

oh dear, the freeks came out again.

This seems to be the month for spam. Not the reasonable stuff that come in a can, and though I would never eat it personally, I'm sure it's quite yummy to some. I'm talking about bad spam! I hate it, I hate it! Some spammer is sending me up to 20 junk emails with dodgy attachments and no message in hopes that I will foolishly override my anti-virus protocol and open a dodgy file. Not gonna happen buddy.

Now, due to the recent blog spam, I have initiated the word verification (which I hate by the way - It's really hard to read some of those words, and I don't think it will stop any halfway serious nut job with a computer) and I have started the moderation of comments feature. I don't know if that will work or not, but well see. I'll probably just get frustrated with it and turn it off after a while.

It's back to work again today, but first, I'm gonna make cookies. yummy!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Would *your* grandmother do that?

My co-workers, all of which are several years older than myself, tell me that I am such an ‘old lady’. Many of my friends have taken to calling me an ‘old grandmother’. I think that I will take it as a compliment. Besides, when you look at what I do with my free time on a lovely sunny Sunday, I think you might agree with these people of mine.

This morning, I woke up with the sun, cleaned my kitchen from tip to stern, made bread (by hand with old fashion style fresh yeast that I had to persuade a local bakery to sell me), made cheese bisques using the family recipe that is at least 4 generations old, and some tea to eat the yummies with for my lunch.

Now, with only two hours left of bread prep (that’s total time, really, it’s only about 5 min of work, but lots of waiting) left, I am sitting with my cat in the sunshine embroidering. Oh yes, and listening to classical music.

It’s the first time I have been able to do this in five months and boy does it feel good. I think, provided the weather stays lovely, I’ll cycle up to one of the smaller ‘villages’ (if you can call them that...this city is odd) just because I can. Now, tell me, would *your* grandmother do that?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Blogging woes

I have discovered that I need to learn how to create my own blog template. That means that I probably have to re-learn HTML again. I think it would be worth it though. How the template for the page is set up now, I cannot put the frapper map anywhere else without destroying the entire set up. But I am glad someone likes it. As it is now, every little change tends to make a big change to the lay out of my page that I just don't understand.

I don't think this blog of mine is going away. I started blogging as a time filler to distract me from writing essays and vent my frustrations. Now, I think it is becoming something more than that. I have met some wonderful people and learnt a lot. So here are some goals for the summer vacation.

  • get some pictures of geese and find a way to design the page to my liking.
  • put a little more thought into the entries. Including more pictures. (that involves purchasing my own digi-cam so that I am not always having to borrow some one else's)
  • Redesign the UFO page to my liking.
  • advertise both pages by learning to make buttons &c.

That's about it for now. I have a lot of other things to get done this summer. All but the picture taking will require rainy days. But this is the Great North West, we should have lots of those.

An important side note: April has a new podcast. It is about knitting and about other things.


To Jenshine, I can't wait to see you again. I hope things turn out, but I know what you mean about the British - just remember, they really are trying to make things easier, it's just they do that by making everything difficult.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

should the frapper map kick the what'cha?

So, I'm thinking that no one uses this frappermap thing at the bottom of the page. Any thoughts? Should I scrap it? It is rather silly. Yet, if I put it at the side of the page it F's up my code.

One of my goals this summer is to get some pictures of geese and design my blog for myself. It can't be that hard, can it?

To someone far away

What you purpose, does not make you a terrible person. You are doing what is best for you, and you are hurting no one in the process. It feels like you are doing the right thing here and I do what I can to support you. I look forward to talking to you soon. Be safe.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Oh how I do love the sun shine.

The good news is that the term is almost over. I polished off my final essay this morning, and all that is left is one exam. It should go well seeing that it is only on the Rationalists - Descartes, Malebranch, Spinoza and Liebnetz. How hard can it be?

I have yet to find some buttons for my cardigan, but it is no use looking yet seeing as I have no money and I think my poor cat must go to the vet soon. I suppose I could put the bill on my credit card, but then, I wouldn't have enough money to pay the min balance over the next few months. That would be a bad thing. It is not only that, it's just that she doesn't have any definite symptoms. she is lethargic, but then again she is a cat. She is neurotic, but again, that can be explained by her species. I'll just try a change of food for now, see if I can make her better through diet while I save up to send her to the vet.

I do enjoy much about University, but I am frustrated by the system as well. My department is very good for what it is good at, but shite for what I want to study. I am looking forward to spending time this summer on what I want to study.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Oh, Kierkegaard.

If the natural sciences had been developed in Socrates' day as they are now, all the sophists would have been scientists. One woul have hung a microscope outside his shop in order to attract custom, and then would have had a sign painted saying: "Learn and see through a giant microscope how a man thinks" (and on reading the advertisement Socrates would have said: "that is how men who do not think behave").

From: The Living Toughts of Kierkegaard, by W. H. Auden ed.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Orisinal : Morning Sunshine

Orisinal : Morning Sunshine

This is where I've been wasting my time lately. Jenshine, if you see this, don't go there. it will totally stress you out. It's a bunch of rather hard games.

I watch the birds fly south across the autumn sky, and one by one they disappear.

Today is a day for writing essays. It’s a pity I’m ill. Last night, I didn’t get to sleep until 5:40 in the morning, and I woke up at 6:20. I’m certain I can function on that much sleep, right? Write a good essay that will get me the grades I need to get to grade school.

The education system here is F’ed! I’m worried that it is messed up everywhere around the world. The exam yesterday was held in a gym --- chairs that were too tall (even for birdie-long-legs that I am) and designed to shut off the blood flow to the lower leg as quickly as possible, the desks were too short, and the gym was too crowded. They packed almost two thousand people into that space. Did you hear me? I said 2,000 people. That is in a big room, with lots of noise &c.. I think, given a different setting, I might actually have done better on the exam than I did. As it stands, I was ploughed.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

what it is like to read Nagel's What it is Like to be a Bat!

I wish that I had my own digi-cam. A small, light weight one would be just about right. Then I could take pictures for my blog more often. Like for example, my knitting. I am certain that you all love to see pictures of knitting (wink, wink) or of my garden which is just as exciting.

The cotton summer sweater set I’ve decided to ‘design’ is coming along faster than I anticipated. It is essay and exam season for us university students after all, and that leaves surprisingly little time to knit. I am really quite pleased with it. I have finished the back and started the front of the cardi. I decided to knit both front panels at the same time to ensure that they will be the same length and I also decided to put the edging band on later by picking up the sts along the front edge and neck line. I have yet to decide what buttons I would like, I think that once I have a little bit of money again, that is one of the first things I will buy for myself. There is something about this particular yarn that makes each st look distinct and even though it is simple stst with a gtst border - it gives off the impression of being something more.

The essays are coming along slowly but surely. Every time I sit down to write one essay, my mind revolts and starts to get ideas for the other one. So they are both crawling along at a snails pace much like the front panels of my cardigan.

Has anyone out there read Nagel’s What it is Like to be a Bat? if so, what do you think of the idea that his ‘what it is like’ criteria would qualify as qualia in some shape or form?

I don't have many pictures of Jenshine on this blog, so here is one for you. I miss her, but she lives in Scotland for G-knows-how-much-longer! I hope you are having a blast Jenshine, and don't tell anyone, but I already know what I am going to knit you for christmas. Can you guess? I bet you cant! I'm so excited!
Have a wicked-awsome day!

Monday, April 03, 2006

The birds are singing

The song birds have returned from their winter commute. They like to nest in the bushes outside my window and they start to sing about an hour before sun rise. That isn't so bad this time of year when I need to be up anyway, but come summer, they begin their marry melody about 3 in the morning.

This last weekend was suppose to be about my essay, but it ended up being about doing things for other people and when I did have a chance to do things for myself, I had to solve problems. So, in the end, I only managed two hours on my essay for Phil of Mind, and even then, I was so frustrated I didn't get anything worth while done. I'm just so tired of this.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

awe, shucks. you people realy do care!

Thanks for your support everyone. I am still terribly frustrated and in fact, at this moment, am boycotting one of my classes. I realy appreciate what was said. I wasn't fishing for compliments, but I am greatful for what was given.

Today, like I said, I am skipping class. Actually, I will spend the morning researching for my Qualia essay. I really like the map/territory comment that was left earlier, and am considering using it. I still don't feel that I understand Qualia, but I know enough about it to write about it. In the afternoon, I will run some erands. What an exciting life? well, maybe not, but I like it.

Knitting- I have already started a cotton sweater set. I can't find a pattern for it, but I think I can manage on my own. Simple StSt with GtSt borders. I think I will adopt the free patern for a tank top from White Lies Designs for the under part. Also, last night I started one of the sock patterns I posted earlier. I don't know why, I don't really know what I am doing sock wise, but it is actually looking like how I envisioned it. weird!

If they don't turn out, I can always frogg them and use the yarn for something with a pattern. if they do turn out, I'll post pictures. I'll post pictures either way I think. Either way, you can blame my new found confidence on this book (see picture) - Knitting in the Old Way.

Back to the books. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Eric Lynn - Neighbors

Eric Lynn - Neighbors: "Eric Lynn - Neighbors on Transbuddha"

I don't know if I am doing this right, but here goes:

Eric Lynn - Neighbors on Transbuddha

Class time put to good use!

Some sock designs I am thinking of making with the left over sock yarn I have. I have never made argile before, but how hard can it be? really?

And here is a shout out to Jenshine - I just got your email, and replied. I like what you said. I miss you and hope you have fun.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What ever is to become of me?

So, I have completely lost all interest in my course work. I think I will blame it on the proff who called my work a joke and couldn't believe that my hard work was serious. But really, the problem is with me. I have been quite upset the last few months/year and my heart just hasn't been in it. I do love some aspects of my education, but there is a great deal that I wish I didn't have to deal with.

More specifically, I don't want to deal with people. I don't like myself around most people, and I like the people at the university even less. I suppose that it is funny to hear this coming from a self proclaimed academic. But, it is true. I am NOT A PEOPLE PERSON! These people are self contradictory, inconsistent, unpredictable, and I feel that I have to spell everything I say out for them because we are never coming from the same starting point. I am just so tired of dealing with them in this way. The people at work are not this bad, but perhaps I don't expect as much from them. This is a major problem with me, I am not satisfied with a diploma or a PhD; if you want me to take you seriously, you actually have to act smart (or at the very least, not stupid). less than 10% of the people I know qualify, and only about 2% of the PhD's. This, I have been told, makes me a terrible person. Perhaps she is right. It certainly does not make me feel any better about myself, in fact, I am miserable for being constantly disappointed by people who are in charge of my education.

I love learning new concepts and I enjoy researching. I also enjoy writing, but on my own terms. Word limits of less than three thousand words are too few for me. I have so much to say, and when I don't deal with ontology (even in Anthropology essays - who would have thought I need to spell out 200+ year old theories of reality and the correct definite of 'reification' when the proff explained it in class and I was already over my word count?) my work is misinterpreted. Also, what I want to research and what the proff is interested in seldom jive. I am restricted in my research by the proff's background. Yes, I can research on my own time, and quite often do, yet during the school term I spend on average 65 hours a week on class work. I am too exhausted after that to research what I am interested in.

I need some of the theoretical background the school provides, but much of what they teach is not directly relevant to my future research, and what is directly relevant is not taught at my university.

With all this and all my other personal and family issues going on the last 9-12 months, how can I be happy with school. It isn't getting me what I want fast enough. I find out now that I have two more years of this university before I can apply for graduate school. Then it is another year of instruction (at least) in a topic relevant to my research. and then, only then, and only if I am good enough, then do I get to research what I want. That is three more years of background education. It would be far more efficient if I was given the freedom to choose my path instead of jumping through hoops.

These hoops are designed to assist the average student so much that they end up not helping anyone.

Now that I have that out of my system (for the time being) I am going to go sit and knit (or sit and fret about German). I will hand in my incomplete German assignment tomorrow and fail my quiz as usual (where have my A+'s gone this year? I miss you so much!). I simply do not understand how the verbs are working. I do have one gilmer of hope on the horizon, but it is far off and I will have to wait and see how things turn out.

I'm excited about something - I can't say what.

You Are Blonde Highlights

Men see you as flexible and versatile - you fit in to every situation

You've got the inner glow of a blonde, the intensity of a redhead...

And the wisdom of a brunette.

You Belong in Rome

You're a big city girl with a small town heart

Which is why you're attracted to the romance of Rome

Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand

And gorgeous Italian men - could life get any better?

You Are a Skin Deep Sweetheart

You may be supermodel gorgeous or a plain Jane.

It really doesn't matter, because you're confident and secure.

You don't go out looking like a slob, but you are low maintenance.

You have better things to worry about than whether your nails are the right shade!

You Are A Woman!

Congratulations, you've made it to adulthood.

You're emotionally mature, responsible, and unlikely to act out.

You accept that life is hard - and do your best to keep things upbeat.

This makes you the perfect girlfriend... or even wife!