Friday, October 30, 2009

Bottoms Up!

Nicholas Tatham

Well I am not a very adventurous and outgoing person to be completely honest. So doing something remotely out of my comfort zone is ridiculous!

So for me outrageous could range from eating raw trout to maybe going to bed after 11 o clock in the evening. But I decided that this was all going to change and I went over the top completely. I decided that it was time for me to do something that I have never done before…. On Wednesday evening when I was at the Rat and Parrot having the usual couple of quiet pints – as one does, I decided that it was time for someone (initially I thought a couple of people would jump at the opportunity) to take the plunge and drink from the hallowed yard stick that sits snugly behind the bar. Who was going to do it? In the end I guess I was, we filled that long tube of goodness up and I don’t think I really knew what I had got myself into but hey tried my hardest to drink as much as I possibly could. There just seemed to more beer in there than humanly possible and I couldn’t take it anymore.

My masculinity seemed to be in question at the end of this but after realising that there are over four draughts of beer in there I really didn’t think that I had done too badly!

My word was that an experience. I think that it should be on every Rhodes students ‘to do’ list. It just looks so incredibly inviting and well I won’t lie when I say that I really am not too disappointed that I gave it a go!
Yours in drinking

Abahlali blog for young journos!

I have been viewing and reading blog posts of young, energetic and professional journalists of Rhodes University. Their blog posts have been reconciling with their university slogan that says “Where leaders learn”. I was not just reading but I also learned a lot. Among these so many blogs the one that I kept on reading its posts since the whole term is Abahlali blog. Firstly I would like to comment on colours that have been used by the bloggers of this blog, even if I do not know the genders of group blog members, I can tell that it might be women because of the colours that are used, for example pink, usually pink is used by female members. Their colours are impressing, it looks beautiful and its look shows that it is dedicated to the young people.

One of the member’s mission statement says that, the blog will be concentrating on human interest stories, unfortunately on this blog post I found only one or two stories that are of human interest and I found by reading the lines that most of the blog posts are what blog posters are interested in not what humans are interested in. They write about everything, ranging from breaking news, entertainment, student life and political issues. This is a truly and open space nothing is hidden, it is very easy and enjoyable to read their posts. Their posts get straight to the point, they do not take readers’ lot of time without getting straight to the point but what I have noticed is that these posts do not have tags.

The experience of sitting at the back in lectures

Earlier on towards the beginning of this week, I simple told myself that let me sit at the back as I usually sit at the front. I was so excited since it was the last Monday that I will attend in 2009 lectures. Something unusual happened is that I couldn’t hear what my lecturers were saying during the first lecture. I was wondering wether I couldn’t hear from the distance or it is because I was excited because it’s towards the end of the term. I was sitting with my friends because the lecture was in a distance and I couldn’t here what both of my journalism lectures were saying we ended-up chatting about what was happening during the week-end.

What I realized is that some of the things about ourselves we do not know because we have not experienced them or proved them because it I was my last week in lectures and I haven’t knew that I couldn’t hear or concentrate on the lecture if I am in a distance.

Where should you put this Red Pencil?

A few days ago, I came across another Rhodes Student blog about being a journalism student. I had been reading a few of the other student’s blogs ever since we started them (not to check out the competition or anything). I found that in most of the blogs, at least one writer was shockingly bad. Either with terrible grammar and spelling, or they were dead boring. I was just about to give up and write a post about how disappointed I was when I stumbled into a blog that I actually found myself reading for longer than two minutes. In fact, I’m pretty sure I spent more time on this blog than the total time I’ve spent reading newspapers all year.

I justify the amount of time I’ve spent on this blog by assuring myself that I was reading articles that not only were well written, but entertaining, and therefore worth a portion of my life. This blog is unique because it’s writers not only have something to say, but they have a special way of saying it. They don’t always take themselves too seriously (like so many blogs floating around) and have a down-to-earth take on both the study of journalism and what is going on in the media. But don’t think that this blog is all flowers and fairies. They also have opinions and criticisms, which however controversial, are daring.

This blog is definitely a blog worth checking out if you want to hear what is going on in other journalism student’s bright little heads, after you’ve finished reading all our posts of course! Pour another glass of Vodka and Coke, you’re going to be in front of your computer for a while.
Oh, before I forget, the blog’s name is Blunt Red Pencil <-- clicky!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Should they Really be Blogging?

JMS 1 is a cut throat business; you are always fighting to keep ahead or in some cases to just keep up. So with this in mind and me having to review a few other blogs I think I have a little room to be rather critical.

The first blog that I reviewed was "Grahamstown Diaries" . It is an interesting title and after receiving a little inside information I discovered that it is a play on the "Bridget Jones' Diaries" series of films. On to more pressing issues, I enjoyed their wide range of commentary; they covered stories from the Somali pirates to the re-launch of the AWB. The stories that they chose were relevant to us as student journalists and the writing too was well thought out and delivered. I think it is a really good read.

The second blog that I reviewed was "Digest this 24" . To start I thought the title was interesting, original and it is quick and easy to say. In terms of news coverage, I was impressed by their wide range of coverage but I felt that at the same time they didn't seem to make it too appealing. They lacked a few catchy titles that would draw the reader in. Although I did enjoy a couple of the stories it felt that I really had to make an effort to read them.

These blogs and ours have been a great way for us as student journalists to voice our opinions and to test ourselves by putting what we think out there to the people. I think that after reviewing these blogs, we have come through with flying colours!


Put Your Game Face On

After only a week at pilot school, my boyfriend, Braam, started flying. He enjoyed it, and all was fine and dandy. Until... he started asking me to sit in on one of his lessons. 1500 feet in the air. With a boy that has only been flying for a couple of weeks and is yet to get his drivers licence for a car. Thus began the battle between my survival instincts and my supportive girlfriend instincts. Naturally, I put it off as long as I could. But with this project on my plate, I realised it was a good time to force myself into the metal bird and hold my hands over my eyes for an hour, until we were safely on land (if that even happened). So for the benefit of Mr.Kite, and the readers of our blog, I put my life in danger.

By the time I was in the plane, I realised that I wasn’t quite sure how I got there. I hoped it didn’t involve me kicking and screaming. But nevertheless I was strapped down and kitted with a pair of dorky headphones before I knew what I was doing. At that point, I remembered everything I wanted to do with my life. I haven’t been to Venice or Paris or New York yet. I remembered how I hadn’t even phoned my mother to tell her I loved her that day. And then the ground beneath the plane began to slip away and soon we were in the air.

While Braam and his instructor fiddled with some knobs and levers, I looked out the window to see the trees shrink. Just as I began to feel comfortable in the air, we descended. After the rocky landing (he’s only learning afterall), I let out the breath I was holding only to ascend again. We did that a couple of times, and soon it got pretty old. Braam assured me that circuits were irritating but next time (yeah right) I’d have more fun.

Eventually we landed, and stayed there. Like a true lady, I pulled myself together and gracefully slid out the plane. On the outside, I was thrilled. Inwardly, I was happy to have all my limbs.
So I hope you’re all happy. I almost died.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Macs are for big people. I don’t wanna be big yet...

Maybe when I grow up, I will own a Mac. One of those sexy ones that has the machine built into its screen, with the paper-thin keyboard and fancy mouse. The Mac is pretty enough to almost entice me into buying it last year before coming to university. My mom and I had decided that it would be an investment for a student journalist.

With that in mind I found myself trying to be responsible. I took into account how Macs don’t have viruses (so I’ve been told). Why that is, I have no idea (maybe “Apple-Lovers” are just happy people). Whereas Pc users tend to have a love-hate relationship with Microsoft, Apple has a love-love relationship. And besides the lack of pesky Trojan horses, Mac powers up really fast (really, really fast) and in seconds, Photoshop can open and you’ll be ready to meet your deadline.

Despite all the small perks, I think considering to buy a Mac can be compared to considering joining a cult. Was I ready to give my life over to efficiency and productivity? Where’s the excitement in that? Most importantly, was I ready to give my wallet over to the cult?
As reliable as a Mac is, without a salary or a hefty inheritance, its a financial burden.

The keyboard alone costs between R500 and R1000, and because Mac’s piracy protection is iron-clad, you’ll be forking out thousands for programs. Yes, piracy is wrong, but I’d rather skip finding a way to pirate because I can’t afford to use my computer. Of course it will be different when I decide to grow up and marry rich. Then I could afford both a pc and a Mac.

Why both pc and Mac? Because I don’t think its fair asking someone to grow up enough to stop playing games. No one should be doomed to an existence where they struggle to find a Mac-friendly version of a game they’ve been anticipating. This I refuse to budge on.

On the other hand, I’d be happy knowing that I work on a machine that was built with my work in mind. But right now, I have a student’s budget; I’ll settle for a machine that entertains and provides space to work. It might take longer to finish the work, but that’s a small price to pay. People should back up and format their computers regularly anyway, which takes care of the virus issue. So until I’m ready, I won’t allow myself to give in to the siren song of Mac.