May 11, 2007

Warwick Library

These days I’ve been eating, sleeping, and living in the library… and really loving it. floor 5, topfloor, you get a nice view, and as from 20 00, you get a whole table to yourself… you can listen to music… surf a little… facebook a lot… have coffee and chocolates… get inspiration and motivation from a library-full of wannabe degree-holders… you can refill your water… you can print… you can staple… you can punch… you can socialise… you can even allow yourself to go hyper on EPUK… you can stay till 02 00… as from 01 30, you could even hold a party… study a little… especially since only the cool people hang around till 02 00… stress a lot… commiserate… have a bounty or a twix… art centre some… i just love the library… 4 more chapters to go to finish macroeconomic policy… that’s what i call a friday night… awesome…


March 24, 2007

Is global warming nothing more than a disguise for anti–capitalism?

The Great Global Warming Swindle, premiered on Channel 4 in the UK on March 8, 2007: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XttV2C6B8pU&mode=related&search=

I remember the first time I learnt about global warming, I was about 10, my elder cousin Roy took upon himself to educate my childish mind on alien things such as Global Warming, greenhouse gases, ozone layer, harmful rays from the sun, etc… I was fascinated. And I discovered that I was an environmentalist at heart. Since that moment, I took for granted that excess CO2 emissions from daily human activities was the cause of climate change. No question asked. CO2 = bad, factories = bad, cars = bad, civilization = bad. Things pertaining purely to nature, whether it be music, or organic food specially appealed to me, bands with ‘Escapism’ themes were very much to my liking (Deep Forest, B-tribe, etc), I guess that was the start of the side of my personality I like to think of as ‘rebellious’. I hate video/computer games, I have no enjoyment whatsoever for ‘mainstream’ makes and labels, my idea of a dream car is close to a Smart car, I have no dreams whatsoever of becoming filthy rich and living in a luxurious apartment in the city. I’d much rather live a simple life like a Reggae man on the beach, appreciating the sound of the waves and the crunching of the sand under my feet, and chilling under the cool shade of a large-spanning tree, and all the works. Just to say that Nature was like family to me, and Corporate = bad.

And SO, I decided to do my research paper on Green Taxes. Finding a more effective measure to curb people’s demand towards greener cars. Greener meaning emitting less carbon dioxide. it was all very relevant, my tutor was very happy with it, and I was too. Al Gore’s Inconvenient truth had been out, Stern’s report, the environmental secretary’s new measures, etc etc… Since on March 8, The Great Global Warming Swindle was released. Which I only saw today btw, please forgive my not keeping in touch with current news (caused by addiction to mind-numbing music channels). According to that very seemingly authoritative documentary, the rise in manmade CO2 emissions has NOTHING TO DO with global warming. The earth’s planet constantly changes naturally, and this is due to the Sun and clouds, and has nothing to do at all with man’s daily activities, which apparently constitute an infinitesimal part of total CO2 in the atmosphere (See link on youtube). Apparently, global warming was a political guise started by Margaret Thatcher, who wanted to curb demand away from energy sources such as coal and oil (because she did not trust the middle east, and coal miners were on a massive strike at that time) to nuclear power. and this built up on and on, and quickly became a new ‘religion’ almost, feeding on marxist and anti-growth, anti-development concepts, and particularly anti-capitalism and anti-americanism. To be a rebel in the 2000s had become synonymous to being global-warming conscious. (perfect example = me)

So what IS the truth then? Whatever the scientists put forward in this documentary seems to my almost-graduate mind completely plausible. So, have we grown up being fed on unfounded rubbish all this time? It makes me almost angry at myself for not gone to the trouble of checking the reasoning behind global warming. How irresponsible can the scientific community be, for having let the media spread an illogical LIE for all this time? What’s next? Is the earth really round? Is there really no life on mars? there needs to be a much more efficient link between the media and the scientific community. Not only are both parties to blame, but that just shows how, even in this age of optimal communication due to better technology, how ideas can be distorted, how people are easily duped, and how THE SYSTEM IS VILE.

my research paper, now, instead of being a small personal contribution to save the world, will be a mere economic analysis of a fiscal exercise :(


March 05, 2007

Adding virtue to vanity

Writing about web page http://www.edun.ie/collections.asp

Fair trade, organic, go green. Is consumerism finally turning responsible? In the UK, more specifically in supermarkets, we are certainly assaulted from all sides with ‘ethical’ or ‘green’ products. Are these campaigns really effective? My international economics lecturer doesnt seem to think so. He argues that ‘fair trade’ only ends up forcing developing countries to produce crops they don’t use in mass to profit the supermarket chains. The fact that this involves ‘fair’ employment, and actual benefits to the developing country is highly questionable. What do they mean by ‘fair trade’ anyway? As an economics, what i understand is that it is fair trade as opposed to protected trade, which is when domestic markets are protected by taxes and subsidies against cheaper imports. So, removing these unfair advantages, the developing countries can compete on ‘fair’ grounds. Supermarkets aim at augmenting their corporate responsibility by selling ‘fair trade’ products, however they still buy them extremely cheap from the developing countries, and sell them at a profit here. And the conditions under which production is carried out in the developing countries is highly questionable. From an FT article, an African farmer was interviewed and he was producing vegetables such as mangetout, and babycorn, which would be sold on a european supermarket shelf, but which he would never himself eat. So is this really fair trade?

Bono says ‘shopping is politics’. He believes that by curbing consumer demand towards ‘greener’ products, firms would eventually work towards becoming more environmentally responsible, and aim to satisfy the new trend. So that inevitably seeped into the fashion industry, a trend needs to start at the top, and needs to be adopted by the people’s role-models. In an industry which prides itself on frivolity, originality, and elitism, it might actually work… According to Simon Cipriani from the International Trade Centre, there is a consumer group known as ‘the new authentics’ who wants products that convey a message of authenticity and are still beautifully made (FT). And what’s more authentic than a product made in Africa? So Bono thought, planning to base the production plants of ‘ethical’ fashion line Edun in sub-saharan Africa ( http://www.edun.ie/collections.asp ). Edun is not meant for profits apparently, but more about establishing ethical fashion, and also establishing infrastructure in developing countries. The designs (by designer Barbara Guardicci) are an absolute breath of fresh air, and will in my opinion be a precursor to stimulating consumer demands towards environmental responsibility, see model with ‘peaceful forest/river’ tattoo on forearm. However, Edun faced initial problems such as lack of primary established infrastructure, communication links, and skilled labour, and eventually had to relocate to Peru, India and North Africa (FT). It took much more time than it would normally to be established, but Edun is in full swing now, and is believed to become profitable by 2008.

The new thing will be to look good and to feel good, thus adding virtue to vanity and establishing this as the new fashion statement. Tshirts made from novel sources such as Bamboo shoots, and ‘organic’ jeans (a normal pair of jeans is estimated to use 3/4 of a pound of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers). Clothes made with renewable fibres, embroidered by women in exotic tribes will be the next fashion thing. something to follow…

Source: FT


October 04, 2006

Bonzi the Bonsai

bonzi2

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the perfect, the sublime, the extremely beautiful and magical… Bonzi the Bonzaiiiiiii!!!!!!!!! He was there, waiting for me, serene and patient, under the scorching sun of the Piazza, among so many others of his unperfect brothers… I looked and looked, but when I saw Bonzi, it was love at first sight. His perfection shone to me from afar, and when I held it for the first time in my arms it was like holding a baby. People were staring at it with envy, whispering at each other how perfect Bonzi was. A chinese girl cam up to me and asked me where I got it, and she told me that I was holding a ‘money plant’. So be it, money plant or not, Bonzi is my new baby.
Bonzi is my very first house plant, having a house plant was Amrish’s idea, I really needed good vibes in that room of mine. It’s been here one day, but whenever I look at Bonzi, I see the thickness of a forest, the peacefulness of a japanese garden, the age and wisdom of an old grandfather, the beauty of nature… I can go on and on like that. I put Bonzi on my windowsill, so that he can oversee the whole room and the outside view at the same time. He can thus breathe and say hello to some sunrays, as rare as they are in Coventry at this time. I have to water him every day, and prune him twice every year. He’s already 5 years old, he is strong, and stands proud and his branches are oh so perfect. Bonzi and I are going to be good friends. I am going to look after him really well, and he can look after me as well. As I said earlier, it is really good to have someone as old and wise as Bonzi the bonsai around in this mad, crazy world of supposedly independence at uni. I love you Bonzi!


Imogen Heap

I’m just back from the Imogen Heap concert at the Art Centre. It was so amaing, especially when we didnt expect it to be. First of all we were late and couldnt be bothered to dress up or anything, we just turned up in lecture clothes after a rushed dinner. An art centre concert was a first experience to me, so I didnt know what to expect. I only knew 3 imogen heap songs: say goodnight and go, aeroplane, and the oh so famous hide and seek from the OC finale, and i really liked all of them, but that was it. Imogen introduced herself, she was wearing a big white hat with a feather in it. A guy from Leicester who had won the myspace competition played a few songs first, then a band called Nemo from London played as well. There was a transparent glass piano on the stage. The whole set was decorated in a fantasy, ethereal, fairy like way, with changing colour branching lightbulbs in the piano, lighted bushes, and more candles. Imogen came from the back of the room for her set, she was dressed in a (quite ugly) dress, with her hair pulled up and feathers branching out. She looked like an elf, that was the effect wanted i guess. She’s got an amazing voice, not the kind of voice you’d expect a normal person to have, but just like the decor, other-worldly. She demonstrated how her equipment worked, like for example she records beats and play them along through the whole song. She played for a good 2 hours and the time just flew by. The room wasnt full, but the audience was enthusiastic. I had really good seats, less than 10 rows away from the stage, and that too near the centre! I experienced all the light effects, and the art centre sound system is just about perfect. In all, really other-worldly. I was entranced, these moments make me want to write again. I wasnt that impressed with most of her lyrics, but her voice and the beat made the whole thing sound really good. I wouldnt say her style was indie, or anything like that, it’s very particular because of her voice. And then she played hide and seek. The song was already entrancing, from that moment in the OC which had everybody trembling. But that song… She played it alone, and it was even better in live. I was sitting on the edge of my seat and trying to live every second of that moment.

where are we?
what the hell is going on?
the dust has only just begun to form
crop circles in the carpet
sinking, feeling

spin me ‘round again
and rub my eyes,
this can’t be happening
when busy streets a mess with people
would stop to hold their heads heavy

oily marks appear on walls
where pleasure moments hung before the take over,
the sweeping insensitivity of this still life
hide and seek
trains and sewing machines (you won’t catch me around here)
blood and tears
they were here first

It was just magical… S managed to make a video of that too. I really enjoyed the show tonight, more than many nights going out. It was just different, and very, very beautiful


October 03, 2006

Pimp

Having a blog is a bit like being a pimp. Selling your soul in cyber space infinity. Looking to strike chords in people’s minds, looking for understanding, for contact, for connection. Expressing, voicing out, whatever you call it, it’s still selling. I’ll give you a piece of my soul if you give me a bit of attention. In the end, in this big world of cyber space with so many people, the only thing I can without doubt conclude is that we are all so lonely… The quest for that kindred spirit, the quest of a lifetime.


Escape

This one is much more personal. There will be no synthesis for this one for I to improve it is to spoil it. I remember writing that piece very well, it came out of the blue, but I can still pinpoint the influences: Lain- Close this world open the the next, Anne of the Green Gables, Creed- With arms wide open, Coldplay – Yellow, Marilyn Manson – Angel with the Scabbed wings, Goo Goo Dolls – Iris, among other things… This is my favourite piece of all the writing i’ve ever done.

(as it appeared)

FLIGHT OF FANCY
Where the brook turns into a pond, the sunlight makes the water turn golden and the little fish swimming by are surrounded by a halo of light. There was something unreal about this place, being there after a day in school was like stepping into a whole different world, a place where the word peace was written in a flowery handwriting on every leaf and petal. Inspiration was like the flow of the water, clear and mysterious, and Iris was used to it finding its way into her mind and it was in this way that the magic was brought on the pristine white sheets of paper she brought there. Fantasy had a whole different meaning in this pretty world.
Iris sighed and put down her pen. Life was so much easier in her stories, so much simpler. She drew a circle around her face in the water, sending ripples shivering through the picture reflected. Sometimes she wondered what it would be like to be that girl in the water, frozen in a pose of bliss, forever happy and carefree. Sometimes she wished she could drown herself in her reverie and stay entrapped in her world of fantasy.
A breeze passed by, tickling her skin, a bubble of laughter escaped her lips. It hurt her face when she laughed however, so she stopped and gently ran the tips of her fingers over the bruises, it would take more time for them to heal. She had grown to like her bruises; they were part of her now, like creases are part of an orchid crushed under the tires of a car… When the scabs fall, they reveal a better skin.
A new variety of flowers had started to grow on the banks of the brook; they smelled like baby’s breath. They bowed towards the water, trying hard to catch a glimpse of what they looked like but never really succeeding. A yellow butterfly fluttered by Iris’s head, then changed its mind and flew away. The sun had begun to set slowly, soaking the woods in a reddish glow. It would be dark soon.
Iris knelt besides her friend the brook and leaned as far as possible over the water and kissed the girl reflected down there. Her loose ponytail became undone and her hair flew forward to hide her face like a golden curtain. She gathered her things and stood up, locking the moment away in a secret place.
A single tear fell on the pages; the book was closed and put back on the shelf.


October 02, 2006

Prototype

I am the perfect prototype of Robinson Crusoe. Only, it is not on a deserted island I learnt to survive, but in a deserted house. By house I mean the two figures that are supposed to emanate everything from protection, model, guide, help, friend, teacher, otherwise called parents. A house is supposed to be the very first school of the child, the primary social cell, from which the child is supposed to be taught everything about life and about how to be ‘a good citizen’ (social studies textbook). So, at the young age of 10 I was condemned to a life of self-survival in society. I self-educated myself as best as I could. My academic education was everything normal, I learnt maths and languages. But other than that, I read lots of books, watched TV and then I discovered Music and Religion. Everything that offered some path to follow was welcome. At 21 I can sum up my self-education in these few streams that have mattered in some way or another: Nirvana and the whole mainstream alternative rock influence, Hare Krsna and the Bhagavad Gita, Mr Malloo, Mrs Punchoo, my best friend at 17, Bernard Werber, the internet, Sister Niti, 1132, everything I could absorb from the girls at school (which my intellect judged ‘right’), Anne of the green gables… There were others, but these are the main ones. And now I can see the Crusoe effect, the aftermath: differences I can pinpoint from my self-education to those of others that were ‘pruned’ by 2 lovely, loving parents. The main one is pure self-confidence. The problem with me is that, when I see I lack something as compared to my colleagues, say for example something as random as the fact that I don’t wax my arms, or something deeper like I dont socialize very well, this causes a pattern of thoughts inside my head that is not necessarily how everybody else would have interpreted it. 1. I see something wrong with myself 2. Ok, so we have to change it 3. Ok, so let’s try changing it 4. Ok, so it’s changed. When I was younger for example, I was so much into Anne of the Green Gables, that I decided to let my imagination flow freely too and invent short stories inside my head to keep me company when I feel lonely. And now, this has become something I do all the time, since then. Something like an artificial, manmade me. Such that at this point, I don’t really know where the boundary between the real me and the self-educated, ‘invented’ me really is… Like Crusoe maybe didnt know where his planted berry bushes end and those of the forest begin. Ok, crap example, if the berries grew in the forest, why would he plant them? I dont care, I am Crusoe nonetheless, self-educated, on my tamed island, standing straight, dealing with the everchanging weather as best as i can. At least I am still alive and as healthy as you can get in these circumstances…


This blog

This blog is just a mirror of my other, original blog – Stoned Roses ‘Kingdom of Relativity’, http://ashwina.spaces.live.com/ which is the more personal, restricted (sometimes) side of me. I’ve signed up for a warwick one just because it seemed like a more interactive platform, and that would be an interesting experience for an avid blogger like me. So here goes…


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