The Philosophy of Philosophy

I’ve been having a load of fun over the last few days recovering from a fluey bug I caught last week (thanks dad) and doing my references for a philosophy essay. I’m determined that this time I’ll actually know what the references are about rather than just skimming the first page like I usually do, so I’ve been reading all the way through and making notes to refer to for the essay. It’s 100% coursework, OK, there isn’t an exam for this module (!!!) so I really need to do well.

I think my least favourite part of it was the part where two of the books only exist as hard copies in the library at RHUL, 40 minutes away from home. Thank god I realised before I went up to Yorkshire, because there’s just something about a 4 hour drive to the library that doesn’t appeal, you know? As it was I had to spend half an hour checking the same damn shelf because I’d mixed the two books up and I was looking for the wrong three letter code.

Anyway, the question I’ve chosen is about knowledge in art. Can art give us knowledge? My instinctive answer is, of course it can! But I’m starting to think that maybe that knee-jerk reaction might not be entirely correct. In fact – and this is a good one, I’m thinking I might throw something like this in – the mere assumption that artistic quality has to be associated with cognitive brilliance is indicative of the privileging of intellectuality inherent in European society. This elitism regarding standards of media possibly limits our appreciation of art to that which is ‘traditionally’ cognitively brilliant. tl;dr: we think stuff has to be clever to be high quality, but maybe it doesn’t.

Wow that paragraph was a mouthful. almost as much of a mouthful as some of these readings. Well, I’d better get back to it. Lamarque isn’t going to read himself…

Week 3 Day 6: The procrastination is starting to get to me

There’s something about being a student that seems to invite procrastination. Whether it’s through blogging, listening to your favourite musical on endless repeat, watching old tv shows or even just flicking idly through recipes in order to ‘get inspired for dinner’ – it’s not going to happen, you’re just going to have soup like always – there’s somehow no way to escape the mindlessness that comes when you’ve got to get an assignment done. Even if it’s an assignment you enjoy, there’s always something more interesting. In my case, there’s some really urgent washing up. The washing machine lining needs cleaning. Actually, that one’s true, the washing machine lining has some exciting mould (almost gone! don’t worry!)

Today I set myself a to-do list with five things on it. Those things were:

1. Bassoon practice
2. Gym
3. Composition
4. Talk to mum re:trains
5. Arrange a gym class session

I completed three of those things, and that’s only because one of them is so vague all I had to do was send one measly text. If you’re interested, the two I failed at were the gym based ones, which somehow does’t surprise me because one of those involves leaving the house and the other involves sending an email/ ringing the gym.

What I found was that getting the tasks done required nothing more than just sitting down (or standing up; I never practice sitting down. There are never any chairs in the recital room without arms) and just doing them. Just doing them was all it took, all I needed to do my composition task. It’s finished now; I did 50% of it in about an hour. The other 50% took me probably three times that, just because I was on the internet. And that’s probably nothing new to anyone, and it certainly wasn’t news to me. I already knew that multitasking reduces your efficiency dramatically. I just never kind of… connected it to my efficiency. It’s the difference between knowing and comprehending, I guess.

But doing that saved me so much time. I’d rather spend two hours just doing an assignment than spend a week not really doing it but sort of making progress. There’s probably something to be said for setting an hour to do a task and then taking a break to do all your misc. internet business. Tumblr can wait for half an hour, you’re not an internet phenomenon. (unless you are. why are you here, internet phenomenon?????) I expect I’d get my essays done a lot more quickly if I could just do that every time instead of faffing around going “but I haven’t written my 200 words yet, I can’t stop!”

Technically speaking this composition exercise took me 12 days to do, because I spent so long each day with the sibelius file open just staring at it. It’s not going to magically change just because I didn’t blink for ten minutes, I have no idea why I didn’t just do something more productive. like descale the kettle for the billionth time this week, yeah, sounds like a worthwhile way to spend the afternoon.

Somewhat ironically, this very post was derailed multiple times because I absolutely had to check my tumblr notifications. I guess I haven’t really learnt anything after all.

Attention span? What attention span

It turns out, unsurprisingly, that if you accidentally lock yourself out of your room and have to wait half an hour for the security guy to come and let you in, you won’t get to bed as early as if you hadn’t done that. (No way, I hear you cry. Yes way) And this has unfortunate implications for getting up the next day.

Especially if it’s a) obligatory and b) going to happen at 7:30. I know, I know, I used to get up at 6:30 every day for school, although it damn near killed me. Twice a week at 7:40 should be fine, right? (it tends to creep towards 8:00. Try as I might, I can’t not use the snooze function on my phone. Even though my alarm does freak me out whenever I hear it)

So, contemporary debates in music at 9am is going to be JUST FINE.

Actually, it started well. Ish. I was making notes like a pro. A PRO I tell you. Even if sometimes the tails on my ‘y’s began to encroach on the whole rest of the page.

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And then came the pointless highlighting.

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And then the putting things in boxes and highlighting the box.

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And then… I just got kind of grumpy. I’m so hipster.

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And I can’t really explain these last two. Someone said ‘social beans’ instead of social beings, so I … penalised them. I didn’t say I’d done it though. That would just be rude. And the music spaceship thing? The seminar-person-lady-tutor apparently said something that inspired a composers in space drawing, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was.

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Don’t be embarrassed to have an opinion

Today was my first Contemporary Debates in Music lecture. Apart from the pure 100% unadulterated joy I felt in finally getting a tutor with the same sense of humour as me, I also took some time to perfectly solemnly reflect on the different cultural expectations placed on different types of music. Fortunately, this was the topic we were discussing in the lecture.

The interactive task the lecturer set for us was as follows:

  1. Zie would play for us a sample of music
  2. We rated the music on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is ‘meh’ and 5 is ‘great’
  3. We also wrote down a few reasons or explanations for our rating

Some of the samples were less obvious than others, but the first one we heard was pretty obvious to everyone in the room. (Not just because it was on youtube and had the name on the screen right in front of us) One Direction’s ‘The Best Song Ever’. Ok, it’s not the greatest song in the world, but it’s not a pile of shite either, right? I gave it a fairly sturdy 3. 3 for average, good to listen to but not amazing. 

(1: meh. 2: fairly shabby. 3: averagely good. 4: not bad. 5: great. You might notice that I tend to be fairly unenthusiastic about my ratings.)

The funniest part of the tutorial/seminar aspect was this: we had to discuss why we gave the music the rating we did. Most people gave ‘Best Song Ever’ a 1 or a 2, with the reasoning that it was bland, average, very generic. However, some other people also gave it a 3, and the best part of it was them trying to justify it. a) you don’t have to justify your taste in music, idiots. b) “I like it, but I mean, I know it’s not good music, but it’s catchy and fun to dance to, I mean, the lyrics are rubbish, but I enjoyed it” (It’s weird how the phrase ‘I mean’ sprang up so often, but hey, I’m no expert on linguistics) I don’t know why they were so angsty about admitting they liked it. It’s not like it says anything about them as a person. Ok, so you like fairly generic average pop music? Ok, me too! I’m pretty sure everyone in the room secretly liked it and just didn’t want to admit it.

The trouble with trying to compare ‘Best Song Ever’ with the 1812 Overture, for example, is that they’re not doing the same job. The function of those two songs is completely different. I mean, when was the last time you were dancing around the kitchen and put on Handel’s Water Music? Or Les Mis? And you don’t go to concert halls to listen to Bastille perform with the intention of sitting in rapt silence as they play. They’re just not really comparable in that sense.

My favourite metaphor that I made up was a clothes metaphor. Think of pop music as being hats and classical music as coats. You might walk home with a brand new hat and be all “guys, check out this cool hat!”, only to have them respond “yeah, but it’s never going to keep you warm. Not like this coat.” “Well, of course not, it’s a hat.

Hats and coats, people. It’s the next thing in the musical community.

Back again

I’m back at uni now (and have been for a few days), and I was surprised by how great it felt to be back. Not in the sense that I thought I hated it here, but in the sense that I assumed I preferred to be at ‘home’ rather than ‘away from home’. Interestingly, I’m not really sure which is ‘home’ now, a topic made all the more complex by the fact that I sort of live in three places. It confuses me too.

It’s been brilliant seeing everyone again, especially seeing as people I didn’t think liked me last term struck up unsought conversation with me. I was both pleased and proud that I managed to reply in comprehensible ways, for the most part.

Of course, because Music at RHUL is weird, all my lecturers are different this term. And my modules are all different, so that’ll be interesting. Today I had my first Theory and Analysis lecture (the excitement!). It was interesting enough, but I’m not really a morning person. I forgot how much I’m not a morning person when I went home/away/whatever, because I just slept in til late and went to bed late. The 9am start killed me. I’m still tired, and I had a nap earlier. A nap. What am I, middle aged?!

Things I like about Theory and Analysis

  1. the lecturer’s Irish accent.
  2. the use of triangles to demonstrate the difference between specific and general

Things I don’t like about Theory and Analysis

  1. 9am
  2. it’s boring

So far things are looking pretty equal on those two fronts. Which will win?!

I’m actually going to do tasks the day they’re set this term, which will be exciting for all of us, and hopefully they’ll be good. oh god I’m getting my essays back soon I may actually scream (but not really my flatmates wouldn’t like that)

As this post is being posted, I will be attempting to force a bowl of porridge down my throat and sprint to my lecture. I really hate mornings.

Phantasmagorical

I’ve had a really exciting few days. It also sort of ties in with why I haven’t been updating.

Basically, I’ve had the mother of all viruses on my computer. /rootkit/something. And at first I was kind of impressed. It was all “well, if it can stop my antivirus software, fair play. But let me use my computer again, eh?”

And then it was all “no srsly this isn’t funny #Sad smile

So yeah, it took me four days, three different antivirus softwares (WSE, AVG, and Kaspersky. Kaspersky is free because student at RHUL. And it seems to be doing the trick), at least two malware removal softwares, and two slices of lemon drizzle cake before it was fixed. (I love lemon drizzle cake. yum)

And it brings me to a grand total of:

2 trojan horses

1 malware downloader

and, last but not least

“not-a-virus” file. Yeah, sure. I believe you.

Kaspersky didn’t.

So either WSE just couldn’t handle it anymore, or I didn’t update it often enough or something. So now, we’re running mr antivirus every day. Just another thing to do obsessively, I guess.

There and back again: A Really Eventful Journey

(This post is being posted on Thursday, but the events detailed within really happened on Monday. Psyyyychadelic.

floooating parenthesis)

So, in order to be back at university for 7:30 in the evening, I got the train at 9:11 in the morning from Malton.

er.

Ok, in my defense, I forgot it takes 30 minutes to get to Malton from Kirkbymoorside. and I forgot how much of a terrible person I am to be around in the morning when I haven’t had much sleep the night before. Which I almost

right this is her flatmate veronica i (back to charli) would just like to say that veronica (flatmate) is absolutelyyyyy wonderfulosti yess you see what i did there ahahahaha you didnt because i did nothing anywayback to normal me

always do, because I’m absolutely terrible at going to bed early when I have to be up the next day. GOOD JOB MITCHELL.

Managed to get myself up on time at 6:30. (aaaaaargh) Managed to eat breakfast like a pro. Thumbs up Managed to make lunch like a pro. (um managed to get my mum to make my lunch…. Thumbs up?) Managed to check my train platform like a pr- wait… cancelled? Cancelled?

My train was cancelled, due to the unfortunate circumstance of a person being ‘struck by a train’. Like they’re trying to make light of the situation or something. I felt sort of guilty that the only reason it affected me at all was because I wanted to catch a train and this meant all the trains going into York on the Newcastle line had been cancelled. But, not to worry, I could always get the later train.

When I got to the station itself, (finally; the train takes 30 minutes to get from Malton to York! It’s one effing stop! blargh) I found the platform easily enough. And then I saw, to my delight, the next train leaving from this platform would not stop until Kings Cross. Brilliant. If it hadn’t been scheduled for 6:55 I might have booked it for myself. I’m not that much of a masochist.

I got myself on the train, stowed my luggage, and settled into a seat with some reading. At which point I discovered that my train had been uncancelled and was leaving on time.

shiiiiiiiiit shitshitshit

What if the ticket-inspector saw me and realised I shouldn’t be there? what if I had to pay him to upgrade my ticket or something? What if he threw me off the train

(in hindsight, my panic was completely unnecessary. He just glanced at my ticket and moved on. He didn’t care in the slightest. phew)

I was a little less incompetent at the tubes this time, I managed to get straight on the train to Egham (literally. I was on it for 20 minutes before it left), and then I even managed to hop on the bus to RHUL. £1, not too shabby.

and then that very same afternoon I was booking tickets to go back to Yorkshire. I guess I’m just a glutton for train journeys.

Some things never change

There are some things about me that I’m pretty sure will never change. I guess they’re probably key personality traits or something. Or integral psyche components. Or whatever. (I don’t do psychology, sheesh.) The only thing that really changes is how I express it.

For example, my slight (hah!) obsessive tendencies. These days I express this by making food plans (no joke), obsessively planning all my train journeys (meh), and cleaning my room/bathroom all the time. Not tidying it though, oddly enough.

I’m also counting exactly how many portions of pasta you can get out of each bag, but I guess that ties in to the whole food planning thing.

It’s 6, in case you were wondering.

I’ve apparently started hoarding carbohydrates too. At the time of writing, I have 1.5kg fusilli, 1kg spaghetti, 1.5kg rice, and 500g risotto rice. So… um… I’d like to say I didn’t see that coming, but … I sort of did. So now I have a carbs + cider shelf. (I guess I’m preparing for a really weird sort of party. I … don’t even…)

My life in Sims

Sometimes I think about what my life would be like if I were in Sims. Sim 3, I think, because I’ve managed to transition from child to adult and I have a lot more in the way of career options. Oh, and people keep aging even when I’m not at their house.

Is that a good thing? Maybe.

But what that means, basically, is I’m going around thinking things like “I don’t even know why I’m talking to these people for ages, must be the player spamming ‘chat’ to build up my social meter”, or “I’m not hungry, but I’m cooking. Must be trying to build up my ‘cook’ meter”. And it explains so much! Like how when Esther tried to cook food at the wrong cook level and she burnt it just like on sims 3.

And how sometimes I end up cooking the same food a bazillion times in a row. It’s just the player trying to get one of my wants. Apparently I wanted to make meatballs 5 times.

Sometimes I wonder where they’ve left the autonomy bar.

It keeps me up at night.

Recipe for disaster

Something I’ve discovered this week (due to circumstances mostly beyond my control) is that 5 times in one week is too many times to eat meatballs and spaghetti. Yeah. Its been a really… delicious experience. Really loved it.

The first time they were a teensy bit pink on the inside. The second time most of the sauce boiled away. The third time they were perfect. Then I got meatball fatigue*.

Food fatigue, the bane of my existence. As a reasonably lazy person who can’t be bothered to worry about food all the time (hahaha I practically obsess), I have a tendency to make similar meals on subsequent days. In a sort of, “I’ll make twice as much risotto today and then eat half tomorrow” way. It never tastes as good the second time, have you noticed? No? Just me?

Soup fatigue is the worst.

However, this has led me to discover a few things about myself:

  1. There is no dignified way to eat soup with noodles in
  2. People find my dedication to eating real food to be impressive
  3. People think my dedication to meatballs is weird
  4. No matter how full you think you are, there is always room for cookies
  5. If you wear the same hoody at the gym that you wore while cooking, all you’ll be able to smell will be yesterday’s curry
  6. Porridge is bloody boring

*For the record, I had nothing but meatballs left. It’s not like I can’t cook anything apart from meatballs, don’t worry about that.

And now, I will make a vow:

I will never, ever, ever eat the same thing five times in a row. Apart from porridge. And maybe cake.