tag: Miscellanity

Feb 2011

New look, same great taste

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that The Quiet Road has undergone a bit of an overhaul. Whaddyathink? Quite aside from the visual redesign, I’ve completely redone the back-end of the site. It’s still in WordPress but is no longer held together with bits of string, a twisted wire coat-hanger, some double-sided sticky tape and the infinte number of ugly code hacks that characterised my first attempts at using WordPress all those years ago. Now it’s all shiny and widget-compatible, the categories have been radically stream-lined (with tags taking over the bulk of the heavy-lifting), there’s proper social-media integration and even a mailing-list you can subscribe to (though I’d recommend RSS subscription… it’s the 21st century after all).

Anyways, during the upgrade there were a couple of minor hitches (some links and some quotes disappeared, but I should be able to salvage them from an old backup, but that can wait ’til tomorrow).

I’ve only done a very cursory cross-browser check, so I’d be grateful, dear reader, if you could report any issues / broken bits / obvious screw ups that you notice. Any and all feedback is welcome.

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Apr 2010

A personal note

Blogging will be rather light over the next couple of weeks. As you may have noticed, I’ve been trying to post more regularly of late (a combination of having time on my hands and a decision to be more disciplined with my writing… I’m committed to spending a certain amount of time every day writing; depending on my mood it might be working on fiction, the book of essays I’m putting together, or this blog).

However, the lovely Citizen S and myself will be getting married in a week and a half (I know! Who’d have thunk it? And so long as I can keep her from sobering up for the next ten days, it should actually happen). It’s going to be a very small (non-religious) affair and most of the planning and organisation is already done. All the same, I imagine I’ll have less time than usual to sit around in my dressing-gown posting stuff here.

I’ve got articles in the drafts folder that probably only need a few more minutes, so hopefully activity here won’t come to a complete halt. But do expect a lull for a couple of weeks.

Oh, and wish us well!

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Apr 2010

Will write for food

Bit of a brazen post this, but I figured it’d be worth a shot. Some requests…

I’m currently planning to expand upon my Master’s research in the form of a PhD. There’s really not much work being carried out on the psychodynamics of sustainability… analysing our ecological psychosis… the schizophrenia of the group mind… call it what you will. Gregory Bateson’s pioneering work has largely been left to gather dust despite the incredible importance and relevance it holds for modern civilisation.

Certainly there have been some books written on the subject, often rather good ones too, but really not enough to do the subject justice. Also, they have a tendency to be somewhat inaccessible. Bateson’s own writing can be quite difficult to digest and while both Narby’s Intelligence in Nature and Kidner’s Nature and Psyche have much to offer the dedicated academic, they are unlikely to ever reach a large audience.

It’s my aim — and yes, it’s a lofty one, but why set the bar low? — to produce a PhD thesis that can be successful both academically and also from the standpoint of the educated but non-specialist reader. The subject deserves to be released from the confines of the ivory tower.

However, while I’m putting together my proposal and continuing my research now, it’ll be a year or so before I get officially underway. I’ve missed the various funding deadlines for this year and, well, there’s other stuff happening that preclude the kind of intensive, full-time dedication that starting a PhD might entail.

Therefore, I’m kind of twiddling my thumbs right now, which is why I’m writing this post. My readership is small but select and I’m hoping some of you might have a bit of advice to share. Obviously any input with regards to putting together a PhD proposal (in the broad field of philosophy) would be greatly appreciated. But in the meantime I’m also looking for one or two things…

Firstly, I’m a bit of a dab hand when it comes to building websites and web applications. It’s been my main source of income for a while but work has slowed down considerably of late so I’m looking to expand my client base. I have a web portfolio, with the rather grandiose title of Ring Forth Web Studio, which you might point people towards if you hear they need sites built (WordPress installations and ColdFusion programming in particular).

Secondly, I’d really love to know how to go about earning a crust (or even half a crust) out of freelance writing. Yes, I’m aware that’s the Holy Grail for every blogger but if, dear reader, you’ve worked out how to achieve it, I’d be eternally grateful for your advice. You can either leave a comment here, or contact me via email at ‘jim’ at ‘numero57’ dot ‘net’. There’s also a web form over at ringforth.com for getting in touch about web work.

I’m aware that this is something of a stab in the dark, but I figured it was worth a try. Thanks for reading. Normal service shall resume soon.

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Dec 2009

Merry Chrimble!

As has become traditional, I’m spending the festive season in the wilds of West Cork. Limited net access, no mobile phone signal and roads made impassable by ice… couldn’t be better really.

I’m sitting here looking through the window and out across the Atlantic while beside me, my parents’ new puppy redefines “cute” with every movement. Tonight there’ll be food, drink and It’s A Wonderful Life on DVD. And at the risk of sounding dreadfully trite and obvious, I’m forced to suggest to you, dear reader, that you should join me in “enjoying the little things”.

I hope you all have a truly splendid festive season. Indulge and be indulging. Stay warm, take care, give and receive with grace and good cheer.

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Dec 2009


Just a quickie… I’m heading into Trinners tomorrow (that’s Trinity College, Dublin for the uninitiated) in order to wear a very silly outfit and have a piece of paper handed to me confirming what we already knew… that I’ve spent more time than is sensible reading books about group psychodynamics and am now a bit of an expert on the subject. Yay me! After which there will be feasting and merriment.

Have a splendid day y’all. I certainly intend to, even if I have to wear a bow-tie.

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May 2009

Happy birthday, Mr. Eno

Some birthdays this week. My sister, the lovely Citizen S, the reverend Jim Jones, Andrew Eldritch, Dante Alighieri, Tim Roth, Thomas Gainsborough and both Paul Thompson and Brian Eno of Roxy Music. Happy birthday one and all! (with the possible exception of Jim Jones).

The first track from one of my favourite albums of all time.
Not your standard “video posted to a blog”, mind.

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Apr 2009

April in Dublin

What’s that? 2009, you say? Blimey! When did that happen?

As is traditional, I’m starting the year a little later than most of you. Just think of it as an extra-long lie-in.

Actually, it’s just that I’ve had some stuff going on in my life that didn’t involve sitting in front of a screen. Good stuff, I should point out, but the blog kind of fell by the wayside as a result. Now that I’m shifting some focus back onto work again, I’ll be screen-bound more often. So let’s see if I can’t get this place up and running while I’m here.

I hope y’all like the (slight) makeover. Just a couple of minor tweaks to the palette and a new header, but it seemed like the right time to run a duster over the place. I’ve done very little browser-testing as it’s mostly been minor changes to a relatively well-tested template. All the same, if you notice any problems let me know what browser / version and OS you’re using as well as what’s wrong with the page. Also, if you think there are any colour clashes, please let me know. I really like the white / yellow text on red background (the metadata / infobox style), but as has been been made clear in the past, my design aesthetic is occasionally idiosyncratic. So if something’s hurting your eyes or giving you headaches, bouts of nausea, nosebleeds, etc… do let me know.

As for where I’ve been? Well, it’s been a memorable few months from my perspective. Most of it great, I’m pleased to say. I’m now sharing my home with the lovely Citizen S, which is by far the biggest — and most positive — change in my life for untold aeons. Wish us well.

Also, I recently received final confirmation that my thesis passed. Yay me! Of course, now that I’ve collected a few more letters after my name, I’m not entirely sure what I want to do with them.

You have to understand, a lot of the things I’d planned to have done by now…? They kind of went the way of this blog for a while. If I’m to be brutally honest about it, I could probably sum up the past few months with the phrase “hanging out with S”. And frankly, I’d be more than happy to have that sum up the next few months too. I can think of few better ways to spend the summer than laying about together, reading books in the sunshine and watching DVDs on the days it rains.

Except. Well, I really need to find time to write in amongst all that laying about. And of course, The Good Citizen has a rather busier schedule than me. There’s exams looming and much studying to be done (S is an architect, but has decided to pick up some alternative skills and qualifications now that the arse has dropped out of the global construction industry).

So yeah, that’s where I’ve been. And that’s why I’m back. Hope it all makes half-sense. And while I do apologise to my regular readers for absconding as I did, with nary a by-your-leave; don’t imagine I feel in the slightest bit guilty for taking a few months off and laughing a lot. Global capitalism, it seems, was happy to continue collapsing without my assistance.

7 comments  |  Posted in: Opinion

Dec 2008

Boom… tish

Somebody gave me an Advent Calendar from Woolworth. The windows were boarded-up and there was fuck all inside.

Shamelessly nicked from here.

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Dec 2008

Further reading

Hopefully I should be back to proper blogging tomorrow. The worst of this lurgey has passed (christ I was feeling shit yesterday, but am a good deal better today). As an aside, how come cold medication is no fun anymore? Yeah, yeah, it’s probably more effective at suppressing the symptoms… but while medicine may well have advanced in that area, there’s been some serious back-tracking in the whole “makes you feel jolly spaced-out” area.

I want my “may cause drowsiness” back!

Anyways, while I’m still a little under the weather, why not check out some stuff on other websites (alternatively you could go read a book I suppose, but who does that, eh?)

First up, head on over to Merrick’s place for some thoughts on the Plane Stupid action at Stansted. Climate Justice Cometh, says Merrick. My thoughts on it? “Yay!”

The Curmudgeon also reflects on the action and considers it Plane Irresponsible!

Justin at Chicken Yoghurt has a couple of good pieces (Fighting over the scraps and Avoiding, evading, dodging the issue) on the tendency of mainstream politics to demonise the poor and disenfranchised. After all, they make far less troublesome scapegoats given the fact that can’t really — by definition — stand up and fight back. Part of me always thinks this is a dangerous strategy in what is, ostensibly, a democracy given that far more of us lurk near the lower end of society than have scaled the heights. But then I remember just how easily people can be indoctrinated, just how unimaginative indoctrinated people can be, and just how often the unimaginative will vote for whoever the media tells them to. And I don’t even consider myself a cynic. How cynical is that!

Gyrus, meanwhile, recently reflected on Hazel Henderson’s notion of economics as brain damage. I was recently asked for “advice and perspective” on the current economic crisis by someone rather high up in one of the world’s foremost financial institutions (that mere fact should goose the hell out of you, as it certainly did me). I’ll post something about the day I spent with him in the near future. By and large the guy seemed to have an open mind to many of my ideas, but when I quoted Henderson’s famous line at him, I think he was a tad affronted.

Oh and check out Michael Greenwell‘s Extraordinary post. Succinct and well worth the read.

Harry Hutton doesn’t post nearly as often as I’d like. As a result I’ve gotten out of the habit of checking his site. So I missed him Liveblogging the American Election. Excellent stuff.

Along with Harry’s blog, one of the most consistently funny sites (even after all these years) is The Onion. The latest video news item is a good’un… New Portable Sewing Machine Lets Sweatshop Employees Work On The Go.

OK, that’s your lot for now. I’m off down the chemist to ask for a bottle of “Do not operate heavy machinery”…

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Nov 2008

Thesis update

Just a quickie, this, but I’d like to share a bit of good news with you, dear reader.

From what I can gather, the decision on whether or not to “pass” my thesis is taken by three people. There’s the course supervisor, a second internal examiner and an external examiner. Leastways, I think that’s how it works.

Anyways, I’ve just got word from the internal examiner that he considers my thesis “excellent”. Other phrases used include, “well written”, “well researched” and “actually original”. He also wrote that, “it is publishable and would encourage you to think about that”. While he is careful to make it very clear that his is just one opinion and is not enough on its own to guarantee a pass, he suspects that it will “pass with flying colours”.

I’m not counting any unhatched chickens though. The external examiner could well have a significant difference of opinion, and the very fact that my thesis is being described as “original” might not work in my favour in that respect. Nonetheless, given that I happen to know the internal examiner (though I didn’t know he was the examiner up until now) and have a great deal of respect for his opinion, I’m feeling pretty darn good tonight.

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