February 07, 2007

Election Fever Hits Campus! Part 3!

I was quite worried up until earlier today. I was worried that this wouldn’t be a legally-valid union election. Why, you ask? Well, up until today, I wasn’t aware we had the token candidate-with-stupid-hair (which no union election could possibly be without). But now I can rest assured that we have one – it’s Al running for president!

Al Poster

Wahey! Anyway, he came into R0.21 between MathStats and Metric Spaces and gave us his speech. One of his main policies (and a possible contender for stupidest policy of the campaign) is to improve access to the University, particularly with regard to the morning and evening peaks. The following is taken from his manifesto:

“I will lobby Coventry Council to improve the road system around campus in an effort to reduce the traffic jams that occur on Gibbet Hill Road every morning and evening, this will mean less congestion, therefore less environmental harm, quicker journey times and off campus students can wake up later for their morning lectures.”

I personally would love to hear his suggestions for doing this. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be as simple as him walking into Coventry Town Hall, saying “hey guys, can you not do something about all the roads round Warwick Uni?” and they reply “yeah, now you mention it, it could use a little tweak. All we need to do is spend £5 million quid, demolish a few houses here, build across some Green Belt there, no problem. In fact we were just waiting for you to ask. Then all you students can have an extra 5 minutes in bed!” Yeah right! I personally find it difficult to see how the existing network could be improved without basically flattening it all and starting again.

Also (and several friends agree with me) he seemed slightly drunk during his presentation, swaying a little and slurring his words slightly. But as I have no proof of this fact, I am unable to call him Alcoholic Al…

Before this, we had “Mitz Mistry” (that can’t be her real name, surely?) give us an address. Nothing of note in her manifesto/speech (basically take a bit from everyone else and you’ve pretty much got hers), but she has resorted to the (admittedly imaginative) tactic of walking round with a giant version of one of her fliers blu-tacked onto the back of her jumper (and a ‘vote Mitz’ badge on the front). Makes her look kind of like one of those people you see in London dressed in a front-and-back billboard with ‘Golf Sale’ or ‘Theatre Tickets’ written on it.

And that’s about it for today. I’ll probably do my final campaign-related entry tomorrow, and Facebook experiment results hopefully on Sunday night if I have time (parents down + algebra assignment = not much free time this weekend!).

Election Fever Hits Campus! Part 2A!

Follow-up to Election Fever Hits Campus! Part 2! from Ian Henderson's Warwick Blogs Adventure

To kick off with, I’m just going back to a couple of things I said in my previous post.

Firstly, here’s the hallowed cardboard election poster:

Cardboard Poster

No expense spared, quite clearly. And here’s a flyer I was handed from L3 earlier featuring a certain Pam:



Also, note the fact that this makes no mention of the fact she’s only proposing it for 2nd and 3rd years, contradicting her manifesto.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ve vowed to actually get on with some work now, but I should be back later to regail you with stories from today.

Bye for now!

February 06, 2007

Election Fever Hits Campus! Part 2!

Something really weird happened at 9 o’clock yesterday morning. Walked into R0.21 for PDEs to find two bored-looking people sat on the platform-y thing (you know, the bit that looks like it should spin through 360° (or 2π radians for you mathematicians) half way through every lecture à la Numberwang, with the lecturer declaring ‘Let’s Rotate the Boards!’, to reveal Frankenstein or something on the other side), and I thought ‘Sigh, more officer wannabes’. As it turned out, they were Olley Hambrey, running for president, and Andy McEwan, running for FDSO. I didn’t like Olley, as he came across as being a little overconfident (although it may actually be because I was jealous of his muscles), but I was impressed by Mr McEwan, as his speech seemed to imply that he is actually looking to give students what they actually want – cheaper drinks, cheaper (and more) food and actually going back to running the Union (I apologise profusely for the cliché) ‘by students for students’, rather than being a business designed to extort as much money from us as possible, thus putting people off from visiting. Let’s just hope the Union isn’t stuck too deeply in its rut to get itself out again! So he’s my only potential vote so far. I’ve decided not to vote for Joe Shepard, as, upon reading his manifesto he wants to “engage with Warwick Accommodation as regards its draconian policies on cannabis…”. I’m sorry, but I don’t see why Cannibis use should be tolerated, as it is an illegal drug, so any known use should be punishable, particularly as other hall residents don’t want to have to put up with other people smoking it, and any punishment would, ultimately, be for the students own good. So I ain’t votin’ for him no more!

Anyway, on to today, and the first thing of note was the noticeboard outside L3. The highlights were Katt’s (I think) 30/40-odd A4 flyers posted along the wall above the noticeboard, barely legible to anyone from any angle. Oh, and Joe Shephard’s title of most unprofessional looking poster campaign has been stolen by Kate Bennet (Sports Officer) who had ‘Vote Kate for Sports Officer’ written in black marker on a torn-off piece of cardboard. I wouldn’t have been too surprised if I’d turned it over to find ‘The Midlands’ written on the other side. Full marks for recycling, nil points for presentation.

Then it was on into L3, where the blackboards kindly greeted us with possibly the daftest policy of all the candidates:

L3 Boards

It’s Pam Stallard and her proposed banning of 9am lectures. I admit they’re not exactly the most fun things in the world, but surely if we were to start an hour later, we’d more than likely just finish an hour later instead. Which I’d rather not do (and would play havoc with extra-curricular stuff like sports fixtures and stuff). Plus, if lectures were made to start at 10 instead people would just get up an hour later instead, and, before long, people would start saying ‘ban 10am lectures’. Let’s also not forget that the ‘real world’ starts at 9, if not earlier. Plus the ability to go to bed an hour later would be cancelled out by finishing an hour later, so we’d be back to square one anyway. In short, please don’t vote for this frankly ridiculous, poorly thought through policy. Also don’t vote for her on the grounds she wrote ‘vote Pam 4 Education officer’. Writing ‘4’ is just sheer laziness, completely unprofessional and some vain attempt to sound cool. Also (out of picture) she drew a heart. ‘Nuff said.

That’s my ranting over with for this episode. Watch this space for the results of my Facebook experiment and maybe some more reaction to the whole elactions saga.

p.s. Can anyone explain why the Boar used a picture of Spiderman on the cover of the Manifesto Booklet? What relevence does it have (if any at all)?

February 02, 2007

Election Fever Hits Campus!

Whoop de doo! It’s that time of year again, where half the Amazonian rainforest gets pinned to notice boards around campus, 5 minutes are lost at the start of every lecture and there’s more chalk on walls, pavements and the like than there actually is on blackboards. Yes it’s election time once again, where a load of people who clearly aren’t busy enough already go around and try to convince us that they’re going to change the union for the better and make a load of promises that will make the university nothing short of perfect, without any suggestion that in fact it’s all just so they can put it on their CVs.

I must say that I didn’t really pay that much attention last year, partly due to not being entirely sure what was actually going on, but now here’s my own view on the first 8 hours and 35 minutes of election campaigning!

The highlight of all the pre/post lecture speeches today must have been where insert name who was running for insert post (can’t remember details unfortunately, which highlights the effectiveness of her speech) came in at the end of Maths of Random Events and asked ‘Can a take a minute of your time please?’, which got quite a loud shouted response of ‘No!’ from the audience (it was the last lecture of the day), although she pleaded and one kind soul mumbled ‘Yes’, after which she gave us the quickest speech I’ve ever heard (impressive time at less than 10 seconds)! At the start of said lecture, there was also Anna, running for President, who was the complete opposite of this and treated us to a tirade that must have lasted a good 2/3 minutes (with the added bonus of going round in circles it seemed). Anyway, onto the poster campaign highlights of the day!

The (so far) two most irritating campaigns seem to me to be these:
Elecion Posters One

Here we have the most annoying slogan in ‘CommuniKate’, which, to be fair, probably took her a good few minutes to come up with. She also seems to enjoy sitting in the pub alot too, judging by the background image. Underneath we see Matthew Lloyd’s campaign to be whatever it is he wants to be, which seems to consist entirely of finding words and names that rhyme with Lloyd (so far Freud, Annoyed…). Clever. Finally, my favourite campaign so far (which I still can’t fathom whether he’s actually being serious or taking the piss), is that of Joe Shepherd:


Nice to see someone claim that it’s not actually going to be put on their CV, which is a breath of fresh air (although I suppose we’d never actually know if he ever did or not). Another of his reads something to the effect of, ‘He’s actually been to an AGM’ complete with a drawing of a guy asleep on the officers’ table at the meeting. Also, I love the complete lack of professionalism in the poster design – so he’s not taking it too seriously it seems. Nevertheless, he’s the only person that I’m so far tempted to actually vote for!

Anyway, I hope to be back for more mindless, poorly informed ramblings about the elections over the next week. I hope you greatly look forward to them (although I would understand why you wouldn’t…)!

January 24, 2007

Stagecoach Changes

Writing about web page http://www.centro.org.uk/wwwroot/MediaCentre/18-02-2007.htm

Hmm, some interesting changes to the U1/X17 from 18th February shown on the above page as follows:

-U1 Journeys running via Kenilworth are renumbered U2.
-Monday to Saturday Evening U1 journeys curtailed to run between the University and Sydenham only (i.e. no longer serving Coventry). Replaced by extra X17 evening journeys.
-Certain X17 journeys extended to serve the University.

Now for my opinion!
I’m happy to see the numerical differentaition between Kenilworth/A46 journeys has been restored (lost when the X14 became the X12) as I’ve always thought that using the same number for two completely different routes was daft and bound to lead to confusion (as no doubt it has done!). I’m guessing that the X17s extended to the University are the new evening ones, thus continuing to provide a Stagecoach evening service via Kenilworth Road to Coventry, although I may be wrong. So, as I see it, there’s not going to be any lost links, with less confusion. So, in short, I’m happy for a change!

January 23, 2007

Stuff it, here's a meme or whatever you call it…

Level 1
() Smoked A Cigarette
( ) Smoked A Cigar
() Kissed A Member Of The Same Sex
(x) Drank Alcohol


Level 2
(x) Are / Been In Love
(x) Been Dumped
() Shoplifted
() Been Fired
() Been In A Fist Fight


Level 4
(x) Had A Crush On An Older Person.
() Skipped School
() Slept With A Co-worker
( ) Seen Someone / Something Die


Level 5
(x) Had / Have A Crush On One Of Your Facebook Friends
(x) Been To Paris
(x) Been To Spain
(x) Been On A Plane
(x) Thrown Up From Drinking


Level 6
() Eaten Sushi
( ) Been Snowboarding
(x) Met Someone BECAUSE Of Facebook
() Been in a Mosh Pit

SO FAR: 10

Level 7
( ) Been In An Abusive Relationship
(x) Taken Pain Killers (Tylenol counts)
(x) Love/loved Someone Who You Cant Have
(x) Laid On Your Back And Watched Cloud Shapes Go By
() Made A Snow Angel

SO FAR: 13

Level 8
() Had A Tea Party
() Flown A Kite
(x) Built A Sand Castle
( ) Gone mudding (offroading)
(x) Played Dress Up (fancy dress counts)

SO FAR: 15

Level 9
(x) Jumped Into A Pile Of Leaves
(x) Gone Sledging
(x) Cheated While Playing A Game
(x) Been Lonely
() Fallen Asleep At Work / School

SO FAR: 19

Level 10
(x) Watched The Sun Set
( ) Felt An Earthquake
( ) Killed A Snake

SO FAR: 20

Level 11
(x) Been Tickled
() Been Robbed / Vandalized
() Been cheated on
(x) Been Misunderstood

SO FAR: 22

Level 12
(x) Won A Contest
() Been Suspended From School
(x) Had Detention
() Been In A Car / Motorcycle Accident

SO FAR: 24

Level 13
(x) Had / Have Braces
() Eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night
(x) Danced in the moonlight

SO FAR: 26
Level 14
(x) Hated The Way You Look.
( ) Witnessed A Crime
() Pole Danced. not properly
(x) Questioned Your Heart
() Been obsessed with post-it-notes

SO FAR: 28

Level 15
() Squished Barefoot Through The Mud
() Been Lost
( ) Been To The Opposite Side Of The World
(x) Swam In The Ocean
() Felt Like You Were Dying

SO FAR: 29

Level 16
(x) Cried Yourself To Sleep
(x) Played Cops And Robbers
() Recently Colored With Crayons / Colored Pencils / Markers
() Sang Karaoke
(x) Paid For A Meal With Only Coins

SO FAR: 30

Level 17
(x) Done Something You Told Yourself You Wouldn’t
(x) Made Prank Phone Calls
(x) Laughed Until Some Kind Of Beverage Came Out Of Your Nose
(x) Kissed In The Rain

SO FAR: 34

Level 18
() Written A Letter To Santa Claus
() Watched The Sun Set/ sun rise With Someone You Care/Cared About
() Blown Bubbles
() Made A Bonfire On The Beach or anywhere

SO FAR: 34

Level 19
(x) Crashed A Party
() Have Traveled More Than 5 Days With A car/coach Full Of People
(x) Gone Rollerskating / Blading
(x) Had A Wish Come True
( ) Been Humped By A Monkey

SO FAR: 37

Level 20
() Worn Pearls
() JumpedOff A Bridge
(x) Screamed “Penis” or “Vagina” (or “muff” or “willy”)
( ) Swam With Dolphins..

SO FAR: 38

Level 22
() Got Your Tongue Stuck To A Pole/Freezer/ice Cube.
( ) Kissed A Fish -
(x) Worn The Opposite Sex’s Clothes
() Sat On A Roof Top

SO FAR: 39

Level 23
(x) Screamed At The Top Of Your Lungs
() Done / Attempted A One-Handed Cartwheel
() Talked On The Phone For More Than 6 Hours
(x) Recently stayed Up for a while talking to someone you care about

SO FAR: 41

Level 24
() Picked And Ate An Apple Right Off The Tree
(x) Climbed A Tree
() Had/Been In A Tree House
() Been too scared To Watch Scary Movies Alone

SO FAR: 42

Level 25
( ) Believed In Ghosts
() Have had More Then 30 Pairs Of Shoes.
() Gone Streaking
( ) Visited Jail

SO FAR: 42
Level 26
( ) Played Chicken
() Been Pushed into a pool with all your clothes on
(x) Been Told You’re Hot By A Complete Stranger
( ) Broken A Bone
(x) Been Easily Amused

SO FAR: 44

Level 27
( ) Caught A Fish Then Ate It Later
( ) Made A Porn Video/got asked to make one
() Caught A Butterfly
(x) Laughed So Hard You Cried
() Cried So Hard You Laughed

SO FAR: 45

Level 28
() Mooned/Flashed Someone
(x) Had Someone Moon/Flash You
(x) Cheated On A Test
(x) Forgotten Someone’s Name
() French Braided Someones Hair
() Gone Skinny Dipping -
() Been Kicked Out Of Your House
() Tried to hurt yourself

SO FAR: 48

Level 29
(x) Rode A Roller Coaster
(x) Went Scuba-Diving/Snorkeling
() Had A Cavity
() Black-Mailed Someone (only jokingly)
() Been Black Mailed

SO FAR: 50

Level 31
(x) Been Used
(x) Fell Going Up The Stairs
( ) Licked A Cat
() Bitten Someone
() Licked Someone

SO FAR: 52

Level 32
( ) Been shot at/or at gunpoint
( ) Had sex in the rain
( ) Flattened someones tires
() Rode your car/truck until the gas light came on
() Got five dollars or less worth of gas


p.s. I’m bored.

January 05, 2007

Travel Coventry Fare Increase

Writing about web page http://www.travelcoventry.co.uk/cards/cashfares.asp

I’ve just noticed that some of Travel Coventry’s fares have gone up. So, for a single journey over 3 fare stages, it’s now the completely not irritating amount of £1.25 (short journeys are now £1). Thank goodness I’ve got a pass, otherwise I think I’d lose my mind finiding that every time I want to get on the bus! Interestingly (and I suppose conveniently too), Daysavers are unchanged at £2.50, so if you’re doing two journeys (e.g. there and back), you’re just as well buying one of these (and you only have to fumble for a nice amount once rather than an annoying amount twice!). Plus you can then use it again afterwards.

On a semi-related matter, has anyone else noticed Travel Coventry bus smell? Next time you’re on one, sniff, and you’ll realise what I mean. No other bus company smells like TC!

January 04, 2007

Slow News Day

Writing about web page http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/232/232268_forget_the_love_train__get_on_the_sex_bus.html

What’s even more stupid is how seriously First are taking it!

December 24, 2006

Merry Chirstmas

I’d just like to wish all of my blog readers (however many people that is, I don’t know) a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December 17, 2006

GNER hand in the keys

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6182027.stm

Friday was a sad day for Britain’s rail industry. GNER, arguably one of the better TOCs on Britain’s rail network, has surrendered its franchise, as it is no longer able to meet its premium payments to the government for the franchise. The award of the franchise required the payment of a total of £1.3 billion over the 10 years of the franchise, starting with a net subsidy to GNER in the frst year, with a steadily rising premium payment over the remaining 9 years. At the time, this amount was seen as being very optimistic (including me), and many industry experts felt GNER would struggle to pay this, whilst retaining something in the form of profit from their operations. Add to this the current financial woes of parent company Sea Containers, and it is clear the GNER took a huge gamble with their bid, one which, it turns out, has rather disastrously not paid off. In some ways, GNER have been a little unlucky, with the 7/7 bombings putting a (possibly long lasting) dent in their passenger numbers, a rise in track access charges paid to Network Rail due to rising ‘leccy bills for the ECML, and lower compensation payments from Network Rail for post-Hatfield delays, although, should GNER have allowed some form of margin for error to take account of such things, particularly seeing as their bid was over £300 million more than than that of their nearest rival. Add to this the threat of extra competition on the ECML from Grand Central’s new Sunderland to London service, which commences in May and was rather controversially (in GNER’s opinion) allowed a York stop is liable to make a further dent in GNER’s revenues (although 3 GC trains a day vs the 30 or so trains GNER operate won’t make too much of a difference to GNER’s revenue allocation, particularly seeing as a more frequent service may actually increase passenger numbers!).

But should the Government be accepting such ambitious franchise deals, and is the treasury encouraging recklessness amongst franchise bidders, going for quantity over quality? The recently let South West Trains and First Great Western franchises have premium payments totall £1 billion +, so is there any risk of these going tits up either? The latter is particularly worrying, as FGW operates many rural branch lines, particularly in Devon and Cornwall, few of which turn any profit at all. The question is, can FGW make enough profits on its not-particularly-well-performing ‘Intercity’ and London suburban operations to cover losses made here and still meet it’s high premium payments. Could this be another GNER-to-be?

Anyway, GNER will continue to operate the franchise for the next 18 months (under revised terms) until a new franchisee is found. Then we face the prospect of First East Coast (and, as good as a 225 set would look in First Neon livery, the fewer rail franchises they have the better, in my opinion) or Virgin East Coast. The latter may be a Competition Commission headache, but, then again, competition on Britain’s railways? Don’t make me laugh!

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