Tag Archives: Personal

New Media Project

One of our modules, ominously named Information Society 1, requires us to partake in a group project. The topics can range from the use of mobile phones, blogging, social networking, online gaming or instant messaging. Anyway back to the point.

Last week I was discussing the project with another girl in my course and it went something a little like this.

Me: “I have to make a start on that project.”

Her: “Eugh, I know, me too. Have your group picked a topic?”

Me: “Yeah, we’re gonna do Social Media. How about you?”

Her: “We’re doing Facebook, Bebo and all that stuff.”

Me: “Cool….” *mental cringe*

I failed to correct her.

Connect

connect

Connect is a peer-mentoring initiative of UL’s Counselling service. Although it isn’t all about peer-mentorship, especially since there’s three years worth of trained Connect student but only fifteen students wanted to be connected this semester. They are involved with Mental Health Awareness week and are holding a “Beat The Blues” concert to highlight the importance of a person’s mental health.

A few weeks ago I decided to attend the weekend training session for students to become mentors for other students who feel that they’re lost in a sea of people on campus. Even though I initially had some doubt about attending and on the day I still had mixing feelings about going, I headed along anyway.

And I’m glad I did.

I met some really great people, ranging from a Postgraduate Research student studying bees, who is now my weekly Scrabble opponent and a Fourth year Applied Languages student who is now my Japanese language partner. So it seems even I though I went to the training session to help other students, it helped me meet other people I would have not otherwise had the chance to meet in normal everyday college.

Worst 24 Hours

I’ve had the worst twenty four hours of my life from 7.00 p.m. Wednesday 24th to the following day. Though they won’t be the last I’ll have before my flame is eventually snuffed out.

This year is my third or fourth year in being involved with the summer camp.  I’m a senior leader that is in charge of the buses and making sure that kids get to the right place as well as being a co-ordinator for the under ten’s group. That means not only do I have to look after children but I also gotta keep an eye on the junior leaders to make sure they are doing their job and not disappearing from an activity. Today is the end of the second week and I’m grateful that there’s only one more week left before I plan to retire permanently from the camp.

I’ve been having problems with a couple of the leaders either with completely disregarding me when I asked them to wear their seatbelt on several occasions and the other person commands very little respect from the campers and they easily bully this particular leader. Now, the first person for the event that happened on the Wednesday evening is a bit excessive but for the second leader, I would be more likely to suspect since I’ve had to reprimand them several times. The children in the group are not counted as I would only give out to them if they were doing something wrong and they would not be as creatively vindictive.

Wednesday evening after getting home, I ate my dinner with the usual gusto but afterwards decided I would eat some toffee I had in my camp rucksack all day. Couldn’t find any sweets floating around in my bag so I emptied everything onto the bed. Somebody had searched through my bag and eaten every sweet leaving only the large empty bag. Annoyed but not upset, as a similar incident had happened the previous year I was a leader.

My brother and I chatted about our day for a while even though I still had everything upended onto the bed. His sharp eyes caught onto my bottle of water that I had taken that day. I explained that I didn’t drink it since I bought a Sprite at the shop but I would take it tomorrow for the camp. Picking up the bottle, he held it to the light and said there was something wrong. The bottle contained a murky liquid which turned out to be toilet water as it had floating paper debris and the choking scent of bleach.

I would have taken the water with me on Thursday.

I would have drank some without looking at the bottle.

I would have had to get my stomach pumped due to the industrial bleach and chemicals.

Needless to say, I was quite upset and I rang one of the camp managers to tell them what had happened. The following morning, I was a bundle of nerves and I unconsciously spent an hour letting the entire incident spin around in my head. At noon, I left the house and the post had come and delivered a package I received from Celeste which considerably lifted my spirits.

Yay

I catch the bus before it heads to the first pick-up spot but instead of the usual 52-seater and 27-seater coaches, I ended up with three smaller buses and had to work out the best way for all children and leaders from each stop to be together on each of the buses. It was stress I really didn’t need.

I met the leader above me and the two managers to discuss the incident during the first activity. All of the leaders in my group were individually pulled in for questioning over the course of the day but as I expected, nobody knows anything.

I’m fed up with the camp and I was considering of packing it all up, with or without my wages but I’ll stick it out. It means I’m spending a chunk of money each day on buying crap food from the shop, so I know it hasn’t been tampered with. My initial enthusiasm for the camp has dwindled, I used to kill myself with exhaustion everyday but now I plan to be less athletic. I’ll never do the camp again especially when there’s psychopathic poisoning punks.

Feck ’em, I want my free BBQ next week and that’s what’s keeping me going at the moment.

Burgled Bookshop

As you may know, my mother is the owner of her own establishment called Phil’s Bookshop, although she hasn’t been bitten by the blogging bug yet. Wednesday is her usual day off and as I was on my Easter holidays, we decided to go shopping in Cork for the day.  At 12.15 in the Tk Maxx in Cork, I had a missed call from my father and intrigued I rang him back. As you can guess from the title of the post, he broke the news to me and I gave my mom the phone immediately. 

It turns out the hairdresser above the shop noticed the door of the bookshop hanging ajar behind the locked gate, with the cash register smashed on the ground and books all over the ground. Needless to say, this event put a shadow over the day’s events and instead of eating lunch at Liberty Grill as planned, we ate Burger King to get out of Cork as soon as possible to run to catch the 1.30 bus back to Limerick.

Reaching the shop, the hairdresser had her door locked in fear but let mother and I in to tell us the events. It turns out that the thieves either had a set of keys to both the hairdresser’s premises and the bookshop or they spent time to pick the locks. Since a stereo and pictures were taken from the hairdresser but they got a lot more from the bookshop. Luckily enough we had only taken in a small amount on Tuesday so the cash register was not overflowing with cash but they had torn the place apart, even moving but not stealing framed pictures in case there was a night safe behind it. *pfftt* Obviously the job was not very professional as the cash register was lying smashed on the ground crudely pried open with a butter knife, anyone who works in retail knows that there are ways of opening a register without using a key. They managed to get €55 from the register since it included the float and €100 in a cash box to pay the accountant plus a set of wildlife books. 

The Gardai came but they didn’t seem to interested especially the male garda but the woman was very sympathetic. Even when they surveyed the damage the female garda remarked that mom had a fine selection of books and they had a conversation a midst the destruction of the shop that went a little like this.

Garda: ‘You have a fine selection of books here.’     
Mom: ‘What do you read?’
Garda: ‘I read crime books.’
Mom: ‘I read them myself and look at me now.’ 

Tomorrow we’ll head into town as usual around 8.00 but we have to hang around and wait for the CSI crowd to come down anytime from this evening to tomorrow morning. Thinking back, Easter of last year was the time that the bookshop got flooded since the water tank the hairdresser owned burst and the water leaked through the light on the ceiling.

As many businesses are closing down, I was wondering if anyone knows where a relatively good condition second hand cash register can be bought as they don’t come cheap and the insurance will probably only pay a certain amount towards it.

Sociology Debate

Time for an epical post while I can squeeze it in. As you may already know, I have a certain amount of distaste for the academic subject of Sociology but this semester there’s a module called Understanding Media Audiences. It’s a different lecturer so I’m a little bit more interested in the content. From the title of this post there was a debate in one of my tutorials a couple of weeks ago, which I’ll go into my detail in a few moments but metaphorically, I feel like I’m taking Tommy’s debating torch. 🙂

For the tutorial, we were required to read two articles relating to the question of a link between violence in video games influencing violent acts in children and teenagers in reality. Each reading contained opposing opinions on the topic but it’s interesting to note that in American arcades with life-like guns as controllers, army recruiters scout teenagers for their sharpshooting skills. The class commented in general with their opinions and I was intrigued by the response of a mature student. She had asked her almost teenage son the question if he was living in a gangland area if he would carry a gun, his reply was ‘It’s kill or be killed.’

The tutor decided that a debate was in order with the motion being, ‘Does gaming violence in children and teenagers produce results in real-life?’ There was three teams consisting of with the first team agreeing with the statement, second team opposing the statement and the third was the panel of judges who would decide the winners. Needless to say, I was asking all the power in the Universe to be placed into the second team and luckily enough it was granted. Both teams had a few minutes to confer and produce four valid points to support their stance. The first question I asked my team was somewhat important to our stance “So, does anyone here play videogames?” Each of the four girls shook their heads whilst I silently damned the Universe. We managed to scrounge out three points instead of four and I was nominated to speak.

Team A’s points 

  1. Question of morality
  2. Army-like training in the arcades
  3. It was proved in the Columbine incident that the killer played a lot of violent videogames previous to the tragedy.
  4. By playing the games, it desensitised the violence.

My team’s points

  1. Gun culture, availability of arm’s in the U.S., only three day waiting period.
  2. Gang culture, environment in which you live.
  3. Access to technology.

Each team had a few minutes to confer with rebuttals and looking back on it now I winged it and said a lot more than I had planned. My team had to go first in slamming down our opponents points. 

Firstly is the question of morality. From a very young age you are taught the basics of wrong and right and only in the case if you are an amoral sociopath perhaps with psychological problems that you have the snap decision to carry out what you play in videogames. (Although I am aware that this reason is not always true.) 

Next is the question of army-like training in certain games. I drew on the fact that many American teens probably wouldn’t spend hundreds of dollars of their allowance each year or each month to spend on arcade games. Most gaming takes place on gaming consoles in homes with a joystick controller, which is no comparison to an arcade simulation and I stated I play shooting games and I have atrocious aim.

Thirdly, I was really proud of smashing this point since I referred to the readings, referenced the opinion of my opposing speaker’s son (which I mentioned at the end of second paragraph) and drew from my own experiences again. The reading stated that hardened criminals who regularly sifted into and out of the prison system usually have little or very little contact with videogames as they were usually only released from prison a very short time before reoffending again. My opposing speaker’s son plays games from the Grand Theft Auto franchise but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll decide to shoot people in reality. I stated that I play video games that can be perceived as violent but it doesn’t mean that I plan to kill a dog with a sword or lay bombs under cars to see it explode into smithereens like an asteroid.

Finally the last point of video games desensitising. The majority of videogames such as the GTA franchise and other similar games are derived from reality as a basis. There has to be a grounding of these events occurring in reality for these videogames to draw upon in order to be created.   

Now it was the other team’s turn to squash down our points but I can’t comment much on it since the speaker didn’t talk half as much as I did and they didn’t attack our points but defended and reinforced their own. I was somewhat disappointed that they gave little or challenge to our stance and I felt like a bit of an idiot for pummeling their stance for a lengthy five minutes. My team was the chosen winner as our point of view was more understandable, coherent and convincing.

Thanks to anyone who managed to read the entire post, leave a comment if you want but enjoy a Lolcat too. 🙂funny pictures of cats with captions

Sociology

I was waiting for a few days until my Christmas results were finally released before I could compose this post, it has been fluttering in the brain for a few weeks if not months. One of my modules for the first semester of my course is Sociology of the Media.

From dictionary.com, the first definition of sociology:

The science or study of the origin, development, organization, and functioning of human society; the science of the fundamental laws of social relations, institutions, etc.

I found this module to be quite testing on the patience as it gave me very little to think about in return for wading through reams of paper and I acknowledge that as an academic, wading is required at third-level. I can understand dominant hegemonic codes within texts, the Encoding Decoding Model by Stuart Hall, globalisation and many other topics. Perhaps it’s not the actual content of the subject that irritated me but in the way in which it was taught.

The lecturer in charge of this module was being egotistical in my view when he addressed the students to purchase two academic books which he wrote, the justification for this was because at the end of semester we would be examined on topics and key issues which were not mentioned in lectures. I won’t forget to mention the price of the books combined came to over €60 and that the lecture hall contained over two hundred people. I expect he made a tidy profit from his publications.

Although my classmates were mystified by my suspicions of the lecturer’s abilities, they couldn’t dispel my annoyance. Obviously I wasn’t the only person in the University suspicious as the module Sociology of the Media was officially an exam for the first time in thirteen years for Christmas 2008. Prior to this the work for the module was broken down into attendance and projects. The exam itself was a multiple choice exam and to be honest I was nervous about it until I sat the exam on the 18th of December, utterly disgusted.

What is a blog?

    A) Blogging                                

    B) Weblog

    C) Blogosphere

What does chav mean in Romany Gypsy?

    A) Adult

    B) Young person

    C) Child

Where was Stuart Hall born?

    A) Jamaica

    B) Africa

    C) South America

These are just an example of the questions on the exam, even if you had very little previous knowledge of sociology surely these questions are certainly not the standard I was expecting. The exam itself was an hour and a half in duration but I was finished in ten minutes. I had to stay sitting until 9.30 when I was permitted to leave along with the majority of the students. Ironically I received a grade of B1 which was the highest grade from my Christmas exams.

No wonder Irish academia is falling into ruin.
funny pictures of cats with captions