Wednesday, March 19, 2008

One for Wonder

Leaving my house today, bathed in warm sunlight I witnessed a magpie flying majestically from a house to a nearby wall.

It was incredibly graceful, first the bird dropped: free-falling like a skydiver; then swinging out its wings swerving to aim itself at the wall.
It once more tucked its wings in with its body and rocketed forward only to deploy them again to softly land atop the granite wall.

I have never wanted to fly so much in my life, to spread my wings and show the flare with which I can command the air.
I can tell, just standing there staring in awe at this magnificent creature of the sky that what is second nature to it would be an incredible heart-in-mouth experience for me.

This, however bizarre as it might seem to the rest of the world; leads me back to the old haunt of computer games. The only way I can experience the amazing thrill of high-speed tightly-controlled low-flight is in a computer game. In fact the only place I have experienced such a thrill was fighting the force-feedback to bring a small fighter plane under control in Battlefield 2 (probably my favourite game).
The game includes a flying component which often can only be enjoyed at the detriment of the regular game-play. You could say that bf2 players suffer as a whole so a select few can enjoy the thrill of flight.
So next time someone challenges my love of computer games I will ask them in return 'How else will I fly like a magpie?'

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An account of the Dublin Institute of Technology Students Union Presidential Election

Having stumbled accidentally upon democracy I stopped to watch it in action, I had spoken with all of the candidates at one time or another, Martin I had shared a campus with for a few years, Rebecca I had talked to several times after a friend informed me that I should vote for her because she wore PVC, and Al I had spoken with the day he decided to run, as he was posting his early proclamations.
I had originally decided that Al seemed an interesting and likeable character who would be worth having in office, even if only to see what he would do.
When I spoke in depth to Rebecca on the day of the electoral vote I found her aims comparable to my own, and her attitude that any vote was a good vote refreshing.
Having been around Martin for some time I know he is a frosty and stand-off-ish character who's dull outlook I do not share.
That said, this is only my opinion. A critic I was talking to later that day felt differently, he described the ballot thus: "It was like trying to choose which puddle of shit face first into".

I mingled with the crowd, gathered around the mini stage on which the votes would be counted, the candidates wore faint smiles, while their supporters laughed and joked. I naturally aligned myself with the candidates my Hunter S. Thompson addled brain had tagged as "Freak Power" candidates and their supporters.
When the vote count began the tension mounted. Where there had been pleasant conversation, now there was silence... as the vote continued it became more and more obvious that it would be won by Dunne, silence gave way to the murmurs of dark resentment. Spiky people expressed spiky opinions.
No one felt like chatting so I attempted to take notes, this had the opposite effect to what I wanted: The people around me started to ask me what I was writing, I felt unable to express to them that I wanted to have some record of how this felt, some reminder of the tension in the air or the foreboding in their faces. In the end I gave up after only three words. 'Dark dreary tension'.
Spirits were eased somewhat when the music system was restored by coiling broken wires together and hoping for the best, a Queen heavy playlist brought smiles back to peoples faces, and in an effort to relax one of the candidates on the subject of my writing I leaned back where I new he would see and noted that "Queen will never die" in my notebook. How successful this was, I cannot say.
The supporters around me had long stopped hoping for a win, and were now all but praying that the vote would at least require one recount, just to save face.
But it was not to be, when the first count was over the results were announced RON had received 92 votes, Rebecca had received 625 votes Alastair had received 480 votes and Martin Dunne had won the Presidency with 1491 votes.
There was no point in recounting the vote, Martin had simply run away with it. Martin was swept up by a group of young men and thrown in a pond in celebration.
For those who had lost, there was hugs and remorse. It was over for them. Both of them are Final Year students, there will be no further contest for them.

So a man I found painful company had been elected as DIT Students Union President.
This was unfortunate but perhaps unavoidable, as a current vice president he was a much more recognised face than either of his opponents, he was a Kevin St. student so he had dealings with students from both the Kevin St. and Aungier St. campuses. When it comes down to it, you simply cannot hope to beat name recognition.

But then what does it matter? As a friend of mine explained when I challenged her decision not to vote, in the end it makes no difference who is in power, they will all do the same things anyway.

-Ankhwatcher, Resolute Hunter S. Thomson fan.

Saturday, March 01, 2008