Archive for April, 2008

Lets Get Rational!

April 26th, 2008 1 comment

This post could be a long one if I included everything that happened at Atheist Society’s Rationalist Week 2008. A pretty good run down of everything that went wrong for us can be found here so I won’t include them in this account. I want to focus on the positive sides and more of the human interest aspects of the week.

Chris, the retiring president, wrote this account of the week, well worth checking out. My version of the week follows here.

The week got off to a bad start, the tent was late and the generator needed fetching, and we were late starting. There were hiccups during the rest of the week, not least of them me being ill, but in general the week got better. A lot better.

We signed up a lot of people, didn’t lose too much money and our events ran smoothly for an A-Soc event but the ultimate success came from within the society. We finally got people involved, found leaders from within our ranks, something we have been sorely lacking the past two years.

We reached a lot of people during the week, I would estimate that we probably developed our brand to over a thousand staff, students and members of the public during the week and that we physically spoke to well over a hundred (excluding all night debate) and signed up a quarter of those that came into the tent. The membership numbers now rival our competitors and should hopefully mean we can start playing with the big boys in terms of politics and campaigning as well as securing some decent funding for the year!

The highlights for me included the CU debate, where again we out argued the opposition and should have come away with the victory had the crowd not been partisan, and the internal debate on the Flying Spaghetti Monster where the key flaws in religious argument were highlighted and exposed. In fact, most of the events went well – especially the evening ones. Once again Mike Lake was excellent and converted some fence sitters.

My personal highlight however, was the friends and friendships that I forged and strengthened during the week. The improved ties we developed with the CU and other societies. The fact that I think our message got across. Atheist Society is not about religion bashing or telling people they are wrong, but to offer an alternative that wasn’t available.

It was a success that didn’t kill us financially.

We finally pulled off an event that was worthy of the work that went into it.

Well done all!

Self analysis

April 26th, 2008 2 comments

There has been a couple of incidents of people posting some quite interesting self analysis pieces on Facebook, which can be found here and here (You may have to have a Facebook account or be friends with people in question to view links).

My first reaction was to put these posts down to late night musings and a touch of emo behaviour that is particularly noticeable in the two individuals in question. I would even go so far as to dismiss them. However, on deeper contemplationa and a second reading I came to a different conclusion. There is an element of honesty here that is raw – I imagine that neither piece really outlines the true fears and hopes of the authors but there is definitelyan insight into something worth seeing. Both of the writers are close to me in some way and so there will always be something personal to see in these kind of pieces but I think there is something more here, a more basic human need. At the moment, the exact nature of that need eludes me, but these pieces – after initially falling into the crappy Facebook notes category – have touched me in a way I really wasn’t expecting.

I don’t know if it is the end of era type emotions that come with this time of year, especially as there definitely is going to be an end of an era when most of my university friends graduate and head off into the world of whatever they choose to do, or whether it is the general aging process that I seem to be feeling more and more these days but there is definitely a cloud of self analysis around a lot of people at the moment and I think it might end up being an important thing.

Rationalist Week 2008

April 20th, 2008 4 comments

Well. It’s over. It worked and we haven’t gone too bankrupt…

A full post will follow just as soon as I have shaken off this horrendous bout of tonsillitis!

Messing with my blog

April 8th, 2008 4 comments

I have spent most of my day finally getting to grips with some of the finer points of my website. I have been getting under the bonnet of cPanel and some of the advanced features that entails. I finally think I have worked everything out and now know enough about the workings of it all that I shouldn’t need to pester Kieran every five minutes!

Learning how things work brings such an enormous sense of satisfaction that I genuinely cannot understand people’s attitude of well if it works it works and if it doesn’t it doesn’t. I think that people who think like that are missing out on so much of life and its wonders. It is one of the main points I will take away from my university experience – we are expected to have that desire, that need to understand what we do and why we do it and how that impacts on our lives.

I think today’s experience has led me to want to carry on learning about web development and how I can go about improving this site and maybe making more.

One week of holiday left

April 7th, 2008 1 comment

The title says it all really, there are seven days of the Easter break left and the start of the final term of this year. This means three things.

1) Rationalist Week is fast approaching. If we pull this off then it would definitely count as one of the greatest achievements of the 21st century following an unprecedented level of set backs and foul ups. I won’t go into the details here as I feel it would lead to incredibly strong language and graphic violence and, after all, this is a family blog!

2) Exams. Enough said.

3) Summer! I really enjoy summer in Leeds. In fact it is one of the few places that I actually enjoy sunshine. This may sound bizarre but the reasons are twofold; first I burn, baby, burn – even in winter, and secondly I hate being hot. I enjoy the barbeques, the bikinis and the laid back atmosphere everyone seems to adopt. I really hope that the council doesn’t enforce its no drinking policy on Hyde Park as having a beer and a BBQ whilst watching the world go past is one of the few pure pleasures of city living.