So I passed my Master's degree. No merit (as hoped) but a pass, which will do nicely.

It makes it less likely that a PhD will be coming my way, at least not without extensive article work beforehand. Certainly nobody will fund one with my current qualifications, which leaves three options: work towards it, save up to fund it myself, or leave it.

I'm seriously considering option #3.

I think my priorities have changed since I made the decision to lecture in my second year of undergrad. In the intervening time I have found love which might actually last; I've discovered a passion for rationality and scepticism and a desire to fight a battle I didn't even know was there; and last btu not least I've found that my academic prowess isn't as high as a PhD might require. The Master's was hard.

I'm not ruling it out, and I still count it as an ambition to one day put those three letters after my name, but it's not as important to me as it was a year ago. What I really want from life is Rachel, and the time and inclination to write about the things that matter to me. I'm content to get a job which is nothing more than a way to make money, as long as it leaves me the free time to pursue my personal life and the wondrous, unpaid world of writing.

This isn't to say that the MA was a waste of time; far from it, particularly in this day & age in which everyone and his dog are getting undergrad degrees, it distinguishes me from the crowd and hopefully gives me an edge. As for the fact it's a degree in philosophy, I'm fairly confident I can sell it to any suitable employers - I'm still a big believer in the power of philosophy as a catalyst for creative and rational thought.

Who knows, another year and I might change my mind again. In the meantime the reality is that I now have two degrees and no job; the good news on the latter front is that I have an interview on the 21st, but it's for casual-term cleaning. It's not ideal, by any means - I'd prefer virtually anything, as long as it was a fixed-hours deal - but beggars can't be choosers in this climate.

I need to look into something that uses my degree though. I don't hold out much hope in the short term, but all being well I'll end up in a good place one way or another.

In the meantime, I'll keep checking in here whenever there's significant news - and I'm still updating my sceptical blog fairly regularly. In fact, tomorrow is that blog's first birthday - so that's another cause for celebration. I can honestly say I'm proud of what I've done this last year.

Until next time.

  • Current Music

Doing my part

You know I don't often pimp things here on my blog - except occasionally my own work - but this is something that deserves attention.

Whenever I buy t-shirts that aren't for bands, I prefer subtlety over logos. This is why neither of my Firefly shirts have the word "Firefly" written on them, but rather contain references which will only be understood by other fans of the show.

Thanks to an advert in the recent Terrorizer magazine, I found a site which caters specifically for the obscure t-shirt market, and that is what I am here to pimp to you today.

Nerdoh! have movie t-shirts which are simply genius. Want to show your appreciation for the Black Knight but don't want the words "MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL" adorning your chest in a garish and none-too-subtle manner? Then how about his coat of arms instead? Or perhaps show solidarity with the People's Front of Judea...

There's more than Monty Python references here, though - the emphasis is on cult and horror movies, like t-shirts for the strip club featured in From Dusk Til Dawn or a band t-shirt for Eric Draven's "Hangman's Joke". Just go take a look.

OK, pimping over. Normal transmissions to resume whenever I can be bothered.

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    Jack Off Jill: Losing His Touch

Neither K-, nor M-IA

So it's been two months since I last updated this thing. You were perhaps expecting something different?

The move is complete, I'm now firmly ensconced in the abode of a damn decent chap of my acquaintance, sharing a tiny but sufficient box room with a tiny and more than sufficient young lady. This is a Good Thing.

What is Less Good is that I am jobless and penniless; applied for Jobseeker's Allowance and they won't give me any because Rachel's earnings count toward the "household income". She's apparently supporting me until I can get a job. Attempts in this direction have been less than successful and more than demoralising. Yet I persist.

Fortunately, Yule gifts were pretty much taken care of before this hardship hit, so my nearest & dearest will not go without. Heading to Tamworth and having dinner at Rachel's family's abode on the 25th, seeing her grandparents on the 26th. My family is hopefully coming on a flying visit on their way north shortly thereafter.

Saturday sees a trip north for me too, off to visit my sister in Runcorn. She's around 7-8 weeks pregnant at this stage, and it'll be the first time I've seen her since hearing the news. Should be good.

So in summary - moved, broke, depressed, jobhunting, and soon to be an uncle. I've been better, but I've been worse.

Keep in touch.
  • Current Music
    Bruce Dickinson: Man Of Sorrows (Orchestral Version)

Time to admit...

...I may have a problem.

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend of mine, and it was stimulating enough that I felt the now-familiar urge to blog about it in more detail. The problem with that was that it was a discussion about literature and the difficulties in creating characters that are deep and yet also varied, avoiding the all-too-easy route of making them carbon copies of one's own personality. Thus, it had nowhere to go, in terms of blogs: it wasn't suitable for my music review blog, certainly; it didn't have the right tone or content for my sceptical blog; and it was a little too in-depth for the blog gracing your sight at the moment.

So I made a new one.

That makes four blogs I now write. The new one is called Ex Nihilo, and is a place for all my thoughts regarding the creation of my novel's universe. Some entries will be made from the perspective of that universe, as it were - reporting fiction as fact; and some will be meta-matter - about the concepts I'm working with, and the process of universe-creation.

So if you're at all interested, head on over - I suggest that you read the inaugural post to get a better idea of what's going on there. Critique is welcome, but please bear in mind this is all work in progress, and many of the ideas I'm working with are rough, to say the least.

  • Current Music
    Summoning: Elfstone

Well that's that, then.

As of 15:00 yesterday, I am no longer in education. This is the first time this has happened (not counting summer holidays and the relatively small gaps between school & college, college & uni) since I was approximately 4 years old.

Yes, dear readers, the dissertation was handed in - following some substantial drama which I cannot be bothered to recount here. This was followed by a commemorative pint.

So what now? Well for starters, entries here are unlikely to be quite so regular. As always, direct your gaze to A Sceptical I to catch my regular brain-trash. That said, I've got a Big Move coming up in the middle of next month, so this blog may provide a dumping-ground for matters related.

This weekend sees a visit to Wolverhampton, and when I return I plan to make the most of my free time - reading fiction(!), writing same, watching films I've been meaning to watch for bloody ages, likewise with TV shows, getting fresh air and exercise, being social, and a modicum of doing Nothing. Because I've missed it.

Until next time.

  • Current Music
    Iron Maiden: Still Life
The 300

T minus 2 weeks

Still behind, and a little more so than at the last update. Therefore, I hereby name this week Pulling the Finger Out Week. Sadly it can't start until Friday because I'm off earning the pennies tomorrow and Thursday; maybe I'll be able to scrape together a couple of hundred words in the evenings those days just to lighten the load a little.

Getting a decent bit of mileage out of my section on philosophy as therapy, hopefully I'll do similarly well on the final chapter regarding the philosphers' resepctive influence upon those who came after. I do, after all, have at least 4000 words still to write.

Hopefully if I can get a little over 1000 per working day this next week (planning a day off Sunday, as I seem incapable of sustained work 3 full days in a row without serious consequences for my concentration and motivation) then I'll be able to finish up about a week in advance, as per my original plan.

In slightly jollier news, I have designed and ordered a shirt based on an idea from Ben Goldacre: plain black (of course), with plain white text reading "I think you'll find it's more complicated than that."

Watch this space for good news this time next week - if I've got my shit together anyway.

  • Current Music
    Agalloch: Falling Snow

Getting there, slowly slowly...

Another week, but still 1000 words behind schedule. I'm not too bothered though, as that means that I wrote 3000 this week - hopefully I'll be able to do at least that much again by next week.

Introduction and chapter one are finished, as is the first section of chapter two. The current section is the Big One - philosophy as therapy. Could take up 3000 words on its own.

In other news, I'm going to be in London on Monday for another Skeptics in the Pub. Anyone reading this is more than welcome to join me, it promises to be a worthy evening indeed.

Anyway, that's about it for this week so I'll "see" you all on Tuesday.

  • Current Music

3 weeks 'til I want to be done...

I'm behind schedule still, by about 1000 words. Working 3 days instead of the normal 2 this week, so that might have something to do with it. Current plan is to have Friday off, try to relax and maybe catch a film at the cinema, then resume essaying in earnest after that. 2000 words over the weekend followed by another 2000 Monday/Tuesday will get me back on schedule.

Aiming for everything to be finished by Tuesday the 23rd, giving me a week to read over, touch up and generally make it presentable.

Feeling a bit more positive and motivated now as the deadline approaches, but I'll be very relieved when this whole thing is over and done with.

Anyway, need to try to relax and get ready for another day of fun at work tomorrow.

  • Current Music
    Nightwish: The Poet and the Pendulum

Damn my procrustiness.

So yeah, the disserting didn't get too far today. I've broken the ice on my first chapter though, so it's hardly all bad news. I want to get it finished by the end of the week, so by the time of the next update in a week's time I'm hoping I'll be able to tell you that the second chapter is underway.

This may require trips up to the tranquility of Hartley Library. Maybe I'm just not feeling the pressure quite enough yet to fully engage. This despite the fact that it's now 5 weeks 'til the deadline (thus 4 weeks until I want to be done) and I still have around 11,000 words to write. Gah. I'm trying not to do the maths on that.

Anyway. That's your update for this week.

  • Current Music
    Theory Of A Deadman: What You Deserve
The 300

ok ok, I know I said Tuesday...

But there you go. I went to the pub and then slept yesterday evening, clean forgot to update my LJ regarding dissertation progress. This could become a repeating phenomenon.

I did, however, do the work. 700 words or so of introduction, which turned out pretty well as far as I can see. The main thing is that I've broken the surface; finally got some words down and set myself up to continue in similar fashion.

Next week, I'm hoping to have a decent chunk of my first section written, which will deal with the problems of defining exactly who it is I am comparing in Socrates and Wittgenstein - the former having no writings of his own, and the latter having sharply contradicting writings. Aiming for about 3000 words on that section.

Right, well that's about it for now. But before I go....


  • Current Music
    Bruce Dickinson: Fire Child