Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’

The Final Word on Games

Posted 31 Oct 2010 — by cheersphilip
Category Rant, thought

Okay, so I totally backed out of the promise I made to myself of writing a little piece about how computer games might be useful or even good for you.

What happened was, I got too involved in playing damn games. I try not to beat myself up about this, but the fact is that I have now spent an amount of time playing games that, in retrospect, I would rather have spent doing something else.

I have nothing to show for my game playing other than tiredness and a nagging feeling that I will never get that time back.

I enjoy games while I’m playing them. I think. But there are other things that I enjoy more, surely?

Whilst writing the last post, Notes on Addiction, I got to the point of talking about making games, so that’s what I did – i downloaded a couple of games creators – http://www.delicious.com/cheersphilip/creator¬†- and they were good.

However, and this is really the crux of the matter, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them.

I thought about doing something ‘educational’ or based around the school I work in, but that is just lazy thinking and does not stand up to scrutiny by the simple question ‘why?’ So I shelved that as well.

The final word is that, yes, games are interesting and, yes, they can be an amusing diversion for a while, but when you’ve got as many things to do as I have – and now that I look at them, I think ‘these are interesting, cool things that I’ve wanted to do for ages’ – then I’m probably best off doing them first.

Word.

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Notes on Addiction

Posted 31 Oct 2010 — by cheersphilip
Category thought

In follow up to my post ‘Addicted to Trash’ I can now present my findings.

However, as during this period of time, according to my stated addiction, I have been mostly playing trashy computer games, this post will be fairly biased in this respect.

To be fair, I did get a lot of information from those nice people at Futurelab but, to be honest, their findings can broadly be summarised as follows:

Young people – Fairly interested in computer games

Adults – don’t really get what all the fuss is about.

So I think we can quite fairly leave all that and get back to what is, for me, the central question of why the hell do i find these games so compelling?

The way I see it, we can break this down into three separate areas:

  1. Need to understand
  2. Responsibility avoidance
  3. Relaxation paradox

1: Need to Understand

How do they work? How have people made them? What makes them tick? The same drive that drove me to be a technologist, taking apart anything and everything I could find applies to computer games too.

I know that games are made with ‘sprites’ and ‘pixels’ ¬† …

[Ok, this is now an old post that i am just puttin up to show how far I got before being distracted]

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Faith Schools #ukedchat

Posted 08 Sep 2010 — by cheersphilip
Category Rant, thought

A friend recommended the Pod Delusion, and I was intrigued by this podcast, which deals with Faith Schools, amongst other interesting things.

Having worked for six years in Faith Schools, I must say that I don’t feel it’s as bad as the British Humanist Association makes out.

They paint a picture of discrimination, indoctrination and a narrowing of horizons, that frankly I just do not agree with.

There was no place on the BHA’s website that I could leave a comment or express my views, so i am choosing to do that here, although more to get it off my chest than convince others.

My experience of Faith Schools has been one of nurturing and caring for the individual and the community. I fail to see how non-faith schools can tap into an accepted moral framework without reference to religious doctrine. In my opinion this doctrine provides a tried and tested, ready made scaffold to individual expression and personal growth.

I do not think it appropriate to explain in scientific terms how the world works to a small child, who will be, and should be, thinking in more abstract and mysterious terms than an adult. As science cannot prove or disprove the existence of God, (or god, if you like), I do not feel that scientific doctrine has the facility to guide people on how to live their lives.

Don’t get me wrong – I am a scientist; Evolution, Darwin, technology – all good. Also, I am not religious in the conventional sense – but I do reserve the right to believe what the heck I want about the world around me and ‘why’ we are here. Science provides fascinating and compelling evidence of the mind-blowing elegance and beauty of the world around us – but it provides ‘how’ rather than ‘why’.

I referred to religious doctrine as a good thing. I’d like to point out the difference between doctrine and dogma, where the former, as I comprehend it, is following an established pattern for an explicitly understood reason, and the latter is without understanding – blind. Both science and religion have both doctrine and dogma (whether they like it or not) – any system that has human beings in it will tend towards dogma, as people crave a framework that they can rely on and not think about any more (constantly reevaluating your baseline assumptions is extremely hard, and is to be respected in both religion and science).

However, having now read the Dossier on Independent Evidence on Faith Schools I am in turmoil, being presented with a goodly amount of statistics and informed opinion that runs contrary to my own experience (reevaluating those assumptions!).

There doesn’t seem to be a very good case for faith schools, I’m afraid. Many of the comments, including those of the NUT, refer to increasing inclusion across all schools, and not just faith schools. It appears that social impact of faith schools is worse in some parts of the country than others, and it that if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender then you are not going to have a good time at a faith school.

My mind remains open – to the views of others on their reasons for the hinting down and eliminating of faith schools, and to my own experience of faith schools being friendly, supportive and positive environments to work and learn in.

I suspect, as I end this rant, that the significant factor that will lend itself to successful schools is not faith or non-faith, but to the quality of its management, as in the schools that I have worked in.

Cheers,

Philip

PS: this is a BLOG. it is not a scientifically researched paper and all opinions expressed are my own. I have not made up my mind about this topic, and remain open to reasoned argument and persuasion either way. Hope you enjoyed it – now get back to work!

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Addicted to Trash

Posted 29 Aug 2010 — by cheersphilip
Category diary, thought

I have a confession to make – I am addicted to free online Flash games.

I can’t stop playing them, every moment I get. I love playing them, but when I finish playing them I feel somehow lessened and unfulfilled, as if I’d just been stuck in traffic for hours.

This has not gone unnoticed by my ever-loving wife, who has pointed out that this may be some sort of diversion strategy. In fact, she has wisely pointed out that I may find myself being more fulfilled by, perhaps, cleaning the house or, just maybe, cooking us our dinner, or even – who knows? – doing some shopping.

Now, a couple of days ago my wife and I were musing over the possibility that we don’t have anything that stimulates us mentally. Having just completed her degree, and not considering herself an intellectual, she was surprised to find herself enjoying her dissertation. We decided to do a little essay each over the next fortnight. We will choose a topic, research it and write up our findings. The results will be presented to each other one evening over a bottle of wine.

So, having found this quirk in my character that enables me to eschew my responsibilities and focus only a 17″ screen for hours on end, I’ve chosen to investigate the psycho-physiological effects of video gaming.

Results will be, undoubtedly be posted here in a fortnight.

Game on!

PS: God only knows what my life would be like if I’d ever ventured into serious MMRPG games such as Halo, World of Warcraft and others… you would literally never hear from me again!

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Crikey, it’s interview fever!

Posted 26 May 2010 — by cheersphilip
Category diary, Rant

Okay, so I went to an interview on Monday – and I got the job!

Sweet – a part time design & technology teacher in a nice school in Norwich – exactly what i was looking for.

But then…

Then I heard back from the SSAT. They were looking for a National Network Coordinator on secondment, which on paper pretty much looked like my dream job – travel around the country talking to specialist D&T departments. Lovely.

Except now I already have a 0.5 appointment. I wouldn’t want to change that; they are extremely nice and I’m really looking forward to starting in September, it’s just that the SSAT job was the one that i originally wanted…

However, the SSAT have kept me waiting OVER TWO MONTHS after the application date to inform me of the shortlist. Okay, they were waiting for the election and some certainty about their funding. (goodbye BectaX – the right idea, just a little too late!).

So, what I am going to do is go to the interview (tomorrow – short notice!?) and see what happens. I think some negotiating is going to be called for.

But… if i get the secondment as well, what am I going to do about my RDTHSC training? I won’t have any time left to go and train teachers how to use their workshop machinery. Crikey.

Onwards and upwards. In other news, I’m still making oak boxes, fully mitred, for my wife’s degree show, selling our campervan, renovating my Vespa, moving house and progressing with the DVDs. Will this ever calm down? A part of me hopes not!

Cheers,

Philip

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