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Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Welcome to the web

With one foot in age of steam, (his father drove steam-driven haulage trucks along a famous old Lancashire Road called the East Lancs Road), and surviving the Second World War, (albeit as a youth), having watched the legendary Dixie Dean play as a striker for Everton, and witnessed the age of the telephone, television, fax, mobile phone, moon landings, The Cold War, Presidential Assassinations, the demise of Communism, the Nuclear Age and having been an influential trade Union Leader throughout the Sixties and Seventies, as well as managing a successful career change in his fifties at a time when going from a Shop Floor Tradesman to a Manager, and having the foresight and dedication and self sacrifice to move into a Middle Class area, for the sake of his kids, at a time when the phrase "upward mobility" had not been coined and a "tradesman" living in Sibford Road was something of a scandal among the Headmasters and Bank Managers living in that suburban enclave AND living through these historical and personal changes without being swayed by the fickle tides of history and so remaining true to his fundamental beliefs, these things as well as the day s in the park and the football and the holidays they could not really afford, all these things, qualify my father as one of my all time heroes, along with MLK, Mandela and Hannibal. And now I have a problem, because the most honest, principled and moral person I know has reached the computer age, going on-line last week at the tender age of eighty. Question is, do I tell him about this blog. The answer is almost definitely yes. The further question is "Do I keep this posting, or do I delete it ?" because Celts or Brits, English or Scouse, whatever mongrel ethnicity we claim to be, we still have good, old fashioned Northern European reserve, and as we all know, reservation between family members is the perogative of British families. We shall see - if this post disappears, it means I have 'bottled' it. In either case, welcome to the Web, dad.

Aware of delays since last posting I will press on. Main reason for said delays is my involvement in the purgatory know as "Undergraduate Exams". I have papers due in all four of my modules, and as you may be aware, I regard examinations of any type as Competitive Sports that quite possibly should be Olympic. I love writing, and I love writing essays, but I regard the end product of essays which are going to be assessed, as almost completely separate from actually learning anything. Despite being heavily involved in our ongoing house project, I am determined to crush the opposition(AKA my fellow students) into the ground and win a famous victory by writing essays that are impossible to mark with anything other than a triple AAA distinction. ANd yes, I know this means 'A' cubed. Therefore, last two weeks I have constructed:

a. A devastating critique of the notion of "Learning Styles". This is pure vengeance directed at BYOB, except it is researched to the hilt and written in a text book fashion. The conclusion was written more as a personal pleasure than an academic pursuit, hating the religion of Learning Styles as I do. AND before any of you INTERLECTALs git on yer high horses, do NOT tell me yoy have never done this. I have to add that I have made sure I have passed on this module first before taking this pleasure.
b. A fawning review of an ethnographic text on Greenland written by one of my ANthropolgy lecturers' friends
c. A couldn't-sit-on-the-fence-more-unless-you-actually-were-molecularly-bonded-to-said-fence review of Theories of Learning
and finally
d. A slightly World weary and jaded essay on Psychology, in keeping with our lecturer's demeanour. Knowing that some readers are themselves Psychologists, I should add that my only other alternative(bearing in mnd the Mission Objective of gaining optimum marks) was to write the essay as if I was drunk, thus reflecting the demaeanor of my other psychology lecturers.

In addition to the above I have torn a muscle in my side. At my age, and with my history of smoking, drinking and living la viva loca, as I believe it is termed, pains in the rib cage, abdomen, chest cavity etc make one reluctant to seek medical attention, mostly because of fear of what the quack will say. This time, the pain got pretty bad, and I say this, not boastfully, as one who has a pretty high pain threshold, so I booked an appointment with the doc. I may not have previoulsy mentioned this, but given that the UK INVENTED free universal health care, my experience of this system since coming back has been disappointing to say the least. I have a torn meniscus cartilage that I have been told will take up to nine months to treat (and there is no small discomfort involved there either), I cannot get registered with a dentist AND the local Accident and Emergency Department has bouncers on the door, day and night because of the amount of violence between patients that it experiences. Seeing a doctor in the UK can be much more stressful than just accepting the heart attack and taking a couple of Aspirin.

Nevertheless, I went to see a Doctor and had a thorough examination. Pulse and blood pressure were normal, but when the Doctor wanted to put a stethoscope on my chest, I went in to emergency defence mode. OPerating on the theory that "if they can't hear it, it won't be there" I stopped breathing when she placed the perenially cold discus against the lower back. "Breathe!. " the Doctor urged. "OK" I whispered through tightly closed, pursed lips and commenced, still operating on my principal of "Can't hear, isn't there" to breathe as minimally as possible. THe doctor kept listening, seemingly for ages, and the more she listened, the more panicked I became, which increased my pulse rate, which used up all my available oxygen. EVentually it became breathe or die. I drew several deep breaths.

"All clear. Very Good. You have, as you said, pulled a muscle in your side. NO more lifting 140kg Universal I-beams on your own. OK?"

I referred earlier to North European reserve, but this Doctor was Indian, so surely it would not be too bad if I gave her a great big kiss. Would it?

Finally, I should comment on the numerous typos that occur in this blag. I can reassure readers who might otherwise have sleepless nights worrying about my real prospects in academia, that unlike YNWA, I do spell check, re-write, grammar check and re-write my competitive academic essays thoroughly. YNWA unfortunately, !: suffers because it is written when I have a spare twenty minutes or so, :; so editing, - revisijons and,,& checking are luxuries unaffordable. No disrepects duntinded. Prizes will be awarded for spittinathe deliberate typoos in this pirigroph.

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