Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Atheist busses

Work is going a lot better now I've kicked myself up the ass. It's amazing what you can do if you get out of your chair and try.

Now, what I wanted to talk about, the atheist buses.

I live in England. The british humanist association ran a campaign at the end of last year for donations to get adverts on buses reading "There is probably no god, stop worrying and enjoy your life". Or something of the sort. These buses are now roaming the street creating all kinds of drama and censorship including other countries refusing to run the ads and a bus driver coming over all faint and refusing to drive the bus.

I love the atheist buses. I saw lots of them in town when I was there over the weekend and every single one brought a smile to my face. It's the acnowledgement that you exist, that the entire world isn't dominated by people who believe in a god. It's the feeling of having been part of something this big, this evident. It's the pride of not sitting back and being quiet but of having your opinions out there.

Though I did end up doing something I hate, which is debating religion with a strongly religious friend. See, I like to respect my friends, but debating religion is an easy way for me to loose respect for them. This particular friend, let's call them Bob, had already annoyed me by reading a page of comments for and against graduating in a cathederal, pointing out the one secular argument that refered to gods as an imaginary friend as dispicable and an attack on all christians and ignoring the three religious arguments on the page that openly attacked anyone who wanted a secular graduation. So, talking to Bob about religion is definetley a bad thing.

So the atheist buses came up. Bob doesn't like the message. Fair enough, you can't please everyone. Bob seems to think that the statement 'there is no probably no god' will cause everyone on the street to have a crisis of faith and therefore next telling them to stop worrying is strange. I presonally don't think it'll cause anyone a crisis of faith, it's a possitive message to non-believers and those who are already in a crisis of faith. Bob agrees with the bus driver, equating the statement to me refusing to drive a bus if it has, say, posters advocating violence against women (though i hardly thing "There's probably no god" and, say, "You should probably beat up your wife" are equatable). Bob also thinks that christianity isn't shoved in anyone's face, despite my evidence to the contrary.

Anyway, conversation moved on and I aired my complaints about the christian union at my undergrad university. My grievances, let me show them to you. The CU was everywhere. They had talks every week, covered the guild of students in posters, managed to get posters into every toilet I went into. They had advisers in the student halls and would occasionally stop people eating their dinner in the guild and try and talk to them about religion. It annoyed me. What annoyed me more was their targetting of vulnerable groups. I'm sorry but whatever your beliefe, going up to foreign students and first your students you find sitting alone (both of which the CU did) and offering them friendship and a support network on the basis that they come to your prayer meetings and worship your god is morally reprehensible. And bob defended these people. According to Bob, taking advantage of them when they're vulnerable to try and convert them to a different religion is fine because you're saving their immortal souls.

Bob then basically told me that worry about my immortal soul.

Well, you know what, screw you. Maybe, just maybe, my 'immortal soul' is nobody's buisness but my own. And, hell, maybe I'll end up being completely wrong and rotting in hell like bob thinks, but it's my 'soul' and therefore it's my choice to make. And, you know what, those poor kids without any friends or from different countries who's immortal souls you're so concerned about, they aren't your buisness either. You no more have the right to come up to me in the street and try and convince me to put my mortal soul in the hands of your diety then you do to come up to my in the street and try and talk me into, say, having liposuction for the good of my mortal body.

The only soul your need to worry about is your own. Keep your busy-body interfearing hands of mine.

If think if other people could just learn to let us know what's best for ourselves, body and soul, instead of being convinced they need to show us 'the right way', then the world would be a lot better place.

((As an afternote, I don't believe in a soul, but I have no secular alternative to the term to use and bob beleives I have one and it needs saving, so we have to use the term))

((Oh, second afternote, aren't people who say "Well, they're not real christians" fucking annoying? I don't go around telling other atheists that they're not really athiests. Own your own crazies, they're yours if you like them or not.))

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

A resolution

I have had a revelation, so far I've not been a phd student. No, seriously. I've been going in every day but not working, not thinking. I've been reading the minimum and avoiding any real work, that's not doing a phd.

The problem is, I've not been sure I want it. I kind of defaulted into a phd. I finished uni, I didn't want to go home, a phd seemed like the logical next step. After all, phds are what you do after an undergrad and I had everything I needed to get a good phd. So I did. But, for the last few months, there's been this voice in my head asking me if this was really what I wanted, if this is really what I think I should do with the rest of my life. I was enabled in this by the fact that the project was a little stalled, and the things I could do weren't so vital either. I told myself there was no need to push.

In my lab meeting on Monday my supervisor turned around to me and told me I need to start taking control of the project, start making it my project. At that point, what I knew all along came into focus. So far, I've been failing. I've been coasting along on the bare minimum work and that is failing.

So, there was the choice. Start looking for a job or pull my act together.

I'm going to get my act together.

I've thought long and hard about it and I WANT this PhD. Not just in a vague way to give me some income and time to stall but I WANT a PhD. I want to be a PhD student, and then I want to go into research. I want this to be my life. This isn't some kind of half-assed declaration, it's like a switch was flicked and now I realise what I've got to do. I want the passion for science I had a few years ago, before being in a lab where I was ignored and achieved nothing crushed my hope. I want to think about what I'm going to do that day on the way into work. I want to find things out and enjoy it. I want to think all day and byh busy doing research. I want to design experiments and perform experiments and I want to really make this project into my own project. I want to live it and be it.

I'm aware that this is going to require determination and sacrifices, but I think I'm ready now for that. I think this is the time when I need to step back and realise that I can't get a PhD like this, and getting a PhD is what's important.

I guess I've not been paying attention to Avenue Q for all these years, for some reason I thought the hard part was over. Now I realise it's only just begining. It's going to be a fight from here on it, but it's a fight I'm willing to take part in. It's a fight for something I want, something I need. I won't give up, I won't fail. I will give everything I've got to this project and I WILL suceed.

That's all.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

I'm back!

I dissapeared like a poof of smoke over the holidays since my laptop got a little bit poorly (this is what I get for naming her after a character with a weak body) so was in limited internet. I'm back and work now and the amazing people at computing services have made her all better again so we're back to work and, thus, back to blogging.

Still not up to date with the backlog of bloggs so I'm probably horribly out of date but there are two things I want to do.

The first is to make a new year's resolution - I am going to comment on blogs. No, really. I'm kind of just sat here at the moment blogging in a corner alone and I'm going to stop that because it's bad for me and start participating. I'm sure nobody will bite me (much).

The second thing I want to do is complain about my mother. Specifically, my mother and my weight. My mother has issues with my weight. My mother wants me to loose weight, despite the fact that she herself has spent most of her life miserably struggling to do the same thing and failing. I've had a lot of issues when I came to university and started to realise I'm not actually grotesque, specifically with my mother and food and my mother and clothes. My mother doesn't eat, or eats very little, the overfeeds the rest of the family. She wonders why we're overweight while forcing more and more food on us. The clothes issue, my mother believes anyone over a size 12 or so shouldn't wear anything that fits, but only things a couple of sizes too big. She likes buying me clothes but only buys them in several sizes larger than I am.

Every time my mother sees me she comments that I've lost weight.

It's incredibly frustrating becasue if I'd actually lost weight every time my mother said I had, I'd not exist any more. The other thing is that she views this as a massive compliment and looks so damn PLEASED that I've supposably lost a couple of stone that I don't have it in me to tell her that I haven't.

The thing is, this time I had. This made it even worse because I couldn't even say "hey, I haven't, you're just remembering wrong". The thing is, though, it's not a deliberate loss. I've not done anything other then eat what I want when I want and go about my life in a normal fashion. The thing is, where I live normally, eating what I want when I want is generally less of healthier foods then my mother gives me and going about my life involves an hours walk to and from work every day. So, yeah, I've lost weight, but it's nothing to be excited about. I'm not trying to loose weight so I don't need to be congratulated on it. I don't see it as a goal or something worth celebrating. It's not something I worked for, even something I desired, it's just a consequence of the different way I live after 3 months of living at home where I don't walk and eat more high fat food more often.

It also helps that, when I'm wearing clothes I pick myself, I look as big as I am instead of two sizes bigger in the mistaken beliefe that wearing bigger clothes will make me look smaller.

I'm trying to reach a point and I guess it's that I'm sick of people congratulating me on weight loss like it's an achievment, a goal. Like it's something real with meaning and value that I've strived for. It's not, and it's never going to be again no matter how tempted I get to find the 'going down a dress size' buzz or how much I convince myself that [object of desire] would love me if only I could drop a few stone.

It's not worth it.

Sorry that was rambly, I'll be better next time XD