The Six O’Clock News: a Valentine’s News Round-Up!

Happy Valentine’s Day, unless you’re ill and alone and watching TV this fine Friday evening. Ugh, Valentine’s.

According to The Guardian, in some cultures Valentine’s is becoming synonymous with “my female partner will have sex with me whether she wants to or not” and, despite the small sample size of Cambodian participants, it’s not a huge stretch to assume that for some people, Valentine’s is just an excuse to rape someone. Which for a lot of people is actually just getting laid because even today there are taboos around sex and consent and the like. Gross factor: 10/10 (although I’m not sure if Valentine’s is the actual cause).

Interestingly, in other cultures Valentine’s is becoming synonymous with “massive rip-off”. The Metro reckons that increasing amounts of people are not giving a fuck not bothered. In a fun twist of events, someone printed out a load of Valentine’s Tumblr memes and stuck them around my sixth form block, which simultaneously made my day and, hopefully, emphasised the ridiculousness of centring a day around someone with whom you’re in a relationship all the time. Gross factor: 3/10. Those memes were Tumblr-inappropriate and highly worth Googling.

In assembly, however, we were told that some places view Valentine’s as more of a celebration of love than of romance (Estonia) or is banned entirely (Saudi Arabia, surprise!). Cool huh. Or not, since it would be nice to have the opportunity to get all mushy in front of whichever bad film is out this year with whichever bad choice of life partner you’ve found yourself with that year. Or you could just make friends with a penguin. Gross factor: 5/10. Saudi Arabia’s lack of human rights versus a besotted penguin…

Okay I’m off to make a list of shops that I want to raid when there’s a post-Valentine’s sale on. The mind goes initially to Thornton’s, but there are probably some great deals to be had on clothing, hair products and pink alcohol. And glittery jewellery. And Etsy fandom products. Who needs a significant other when you have the Internet, seriously. No wonder it’s a commercial giant: people don’t want Valentine’s mush, they want cheap booze and chocolate…

Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2013

They aren’t in June 2014!

Book of the Year

This one was tough… A Thousand Splendid Suns, We Need to Talk About Kevin, my John’s Gospel commentary by AM Hunter…

No really, you should compare Hunter to some of the others. Little tip, scholars: when it comes to sentences, less is almost always more. That aside, I think Uncle Rick gets the prize. House of Hades is brilliant and perfect and yes aimed at twelve-year-olds but let’s face it, people, children’s books are usually better than adult ones. Harry Potter, Mog the Forgetful Cat, etc. Oh Uncle Rick, teach me your secrets.

Album of the Year

How I Learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence, by Mindless Self Indulgence. I paid for the album, I listen to the album. It is a piece of genius. That is all.

New Favourite Website of the Year

Hmm. I’ve discovered Vice, a news magazine (although someone online pointed out that its narrative voice is disturbingly similar to that of the Daily Mail, which I must say has put me off a bit), Effing Dykes, a queer blog (and so genuinely not safe for work that I’ve not quite had the courage to devote an entire post to it yet) and Tumblr. Okay so I already knew Tumblr, but I joined because it made it easy to follow nice art. That and a deep desire to infiltrate the world’s bitchiest blogging network from within.

New Favourite Artist of the Year

Viria. Her art is beautiful. Ahhh. Her work is set as my phone and iPad background. The whole Tumblr thing was also induced by Burdge, Andy and Minuiko.

Old Favourite Artist of the Year

Ruby. She made this into an illustrated story for my birthday. The individual pictures are amongst others here (I’m hoarding the finished product but don’t worry we’ve decided if all else fails we’ll write children’s books so you’ll be able to get both our work in one book. Cool, huh?).

Most Family Member-Like Famous Person on Twitter

I actually can’t decide between Uncle Rick the Troll Queen or Uncle Gerard the MCRmy’s Therapist. Genuinely, the jury’s out. Let me know your thoughts (the best Twitter moment was when someone Tweeted Gerard the Russian Mark of Athena cover, on which Percy bears a striking resemblance to G. Aha).

Most Depressing Internet-Based Phenomena

The title’s probably a misnomer because it doesn’t involve idiots talking shit behind the safety of a computer screen (that comes later!). Anyway: those of you into the whole Percy Jackson thing might remember this:

'Putting the Fun Back In Funeral'

I know, it’s incredibly clever. I do others like it. It was inspired by one of Viria’s pieces – the one set as my phone background; I had the idea going up the stairs which was interesting. I originally put text on her drawing. Quite a while after I published the poster, I posted the bootlegged one on Tumblr:

Bootlegging Viria
Drawing by Viria

I wonder which has had the better reception.

Hm.

Indeed.

It’s a good thing I chose an artist I really love or I might have become bitter.

Live Show of the Year

I saw Jesus Christ Superstar, MSI, a ‘revue’ at school in which my friend Sarah was splendid as a 1920s hockey player, my year’s pantomime-which-I-sort-of-helped-write, an actual pantomime, an interview between two of the best children’s authors around today and a poetry reading by the bloke off Homeland and Narcissa Malfoy.. But I think my favourite live band (discounting MCR because it’s MCR) is an ever-changing group of part-time musicians who play in a restaurant I like in Greece. I understand 10% of the lyrics, make eye contact 0.001% of the times I walk past and have been known to sing along to songs that are the Mediterranean’s version of Mindless. But it’s nice, and even if I found a YouTube clip (creepy as I’m there a lot) it wouldn’t quite convey the atmosphere, if you know what I mean.

Insult of the Year

“You’re a doody head.” Enough said.

Happy Moment of the Year

When I remember it’s not June and Donnie’s still here. I like Don and Fred better than I like most things, no offense, and they are my friends. It’s like having human friends but the dynamics are different – humans tend to be more forward about nicking your food. Get a pet, seriously. Unless you are incapable of looking after one due to a) lack of money, space or permission (volunteer somewhere instead), b) lack of time or motivation or c) aversion to pets. You know who you are. Yes, I’m including those of you who get pets because you think it’ll be fun or make you look good. At times, e.g. in a field in December, it will do neither. But then they look up at you, covered in slime, and you think “I love you little dog. Now let’s go home and hope we never have to leave the house again.”

Indifferent Ignorance Commenter of the Year

Jacki, whose wise words you will find if you scroll down a few posts. Getting people to comment on work is like pulling teeth (remind me that I have a piece of work about that to show you), yet is the best way of differentiating readers from spam-bots and ‘glancers’ – people who have a click and a scroll then go somewhere else. But it’s like being the first person to take food from a buffet: no one wants to be that person, though once someone has taken the leap they’re comfortable joining the queue. Weird. Anyway, Jacki comments a lot and for that I am grateful. Please accept this garbled post as a token of my appreciation. Ta.

Indifferent Ignorance Homophobic Dick Award

Maria suggested this category and I love it. Who to choose? Tony Abbot the Australian Prime Minister, who revoked equal marriage rights after people had got married? The guy whose work I heartily abused when Tom Daley came out? The parents of a child I saw a few years ago who had dressed their eight-year-old in a t-shirt with an arrow saying “I think he’s gay!”? People who stopped reading – or stopped their children reading – Heroes of Olympus when they found out about Nico?

Can’t choose, man.

Indifferent Ignorance Ignorant Fuck Award

Matt Forney of I-only-screw-insecure-women-wait-that’s-all-of-them fame infamy arseholery.

Arseholery. Is that a thing? It should be.

His site used to have a thing where sites that had discussed the post were lined underneath and the one I did was there. I guess too many people were discussing the arseholery though because the layout’s changed…

Okay I think that’s everything I said I’d put in. If I’ve forgotten something or someone please let me know.

That’s called asking for a comment, ladies and gents.

I hope 2013 was as happy and safe as everyone wished it to be; if it wasn’t then I wish you happiness and safety for 2014. Even you with the pet you shouldn’t have bought, reading Forney and nodding in agreement.

Maybe not but I’ve been on a lot of cold medicine and perhaps the Christmas spirit of forgiveness is shining through.

Ha ha.

Happy 2014 snowflakes!

This Post Contains the Best Thing I’ve Ever Made.

Working on the Indifferent Ignorance Awards because 2014 is horribly close (I always hate the imminent year, like it’s bullying the current one or something) and I’m not sure what the ‘novelty’ categories should be. I mean, I’m thinking that I should get either the best friend ever award, or best card ever award, but I think in the spirit of democracy you guys should nominate me.

Via Chloe
The Outside
The Inside
The Inside

From Chloe’s Tumblr. This is probably a good time to mention that I also have a Tumblr. I’m mostly telling you because if anyone stumbles across it and is all “Francesca y u no tell”, you’ll know my answer – you use phrases like “y u no tell”. Plus it’s a good way of keeping track of artists I like and is a nice forum to test-drive possible future work (as well as being somewhere for me to vomit my love for various things, which I will continue to do here but with more emphasis on making sense). I’m not abandoning you, little blog. I just sometimes need somewhere to express my inner book-based feelings. Oh sod it.

This song is beautiful and perfect.

This song is if Rick Riordan gave certain people a glimpse of happiness.

This lady’s art will one day kill me. Look at it. Look.

 

How To Not Write a Shit Blog

I Googled that very title to make myself feel better and it turns out that despite all the questionable wonderful advice that’s out there for bloggers, nobody’s actually telling anyone else how to not be shit.

Or they were, because this ties in perfectly with January’s which-website-features-make-you-want-to-shoot-the-Internet post, which got you all talking quite a bit. So here is my half term gift to you all:

Part One: The Preemptive Strike

  • Have something to say or showcase. It doesn’t have to be any more specific than just wanting a place to share things you like with your friends, or having a feeling that you’ve got something to say… As long as you’re interested a subject, you can talk about it convincingly. (If that something is “I hate my life” or images of your self-harm habit, please leave this website and write in a diary/journal, or seek medical help. Or both).
  • Think up a decent name. Something you can remember, something other people can spell, something catchy. Thesauruses are good  at helping with this. I think I got Indifferent Ignorance’s name by playing about with words on Word (although I thought it was called “Ignorant Indifference” when I wrote about it in my diary that night… ah, fate).
  • Pick a the right platform. I advocate WordPress because I use it and I know it’s excellent for just about everything – although be careful about mixing up WordPress.com with WordPress.org; the ‘org’ one requires ‘self-hosting’ and technology and stuff, whereas anyone with an Internet connection can use ‘dot com’ for free. There are also many great Blogger sites, although I’ve noticed that they seem to have less to offer in terms of pages and adding things. Part of me can’t believe I’m about to say this, but: Tumblr can be good too. Some of the best websites are Tumblrs. It all depends on what you want to make – WP is great for full-blown ‘websites’, while Tumblr’s good for less formal things. I get the distinct impression that within Tumbr is a black hole of creepy GIFs and over-enthusiastic fandom members, so if you want to keep your hands clean, maybe use Tumblr for blogging with your friends and WP or Blogger for a portfolio site. WordPress or Blogger might also carry more website-weight in certain circles of society, if you catch my drift. There are also options such as Webs or Wix. Have a look for real-life examples of them all and decide which you like best. Be wary of website-making websites that charge you the national debt just to add some colour – you can probably do it for free somewhere else.

Part Two: the Shoes That Match the Bag

  • Create a decent layout. I can’t even describe how tricky and important this is. Presentation on the Internet is everything, because there are 10,000-odd bloggers doing exactly what you are, and if your page is hard to read or use, people will leave. Some tips for a decent layout:
      • Look at websites and decide which aspects of their designs you like and which you don’t. Implement the good ones. The Webby Awards winners are a great, if vast, place to get ideas.
      • Don’t use anything luminous, stripy, moving, sparkly, dark or multiple colours in excess. Colours that look great in life, like yellow or fuchsia, tend not to work as backgrounds because they make people’s eyes roll around in their heads. This is a great guide to screen-friendly colours, and this seems quite fun. If you’re going for a dark background, use other colours to break it up. GIFs as backgrounds and cursors that are actually little pictures can also make one’s eyes burn, as can patterns without a break. Your writing has to be legible before people can read it…
      • Don’t make links that go round in circles and don’t make links that lead to nowhere.
      • This shouldn’t happen on a host site that does everything for you, but avoid menus and pictures that overlap with text or other links. Make the viewing experience easy and pleasant, like floaty cake. Save the offence and difficulty for the content!
      • I just reread all that and it was preachy. Basically, don’t do this (it really is best viewed in Internet Explorer).
  • With all that moaning aside, it’s good to utilise available customisation options. Custom headers and backgrounds and the like make your blog all unique and distinctive, unless you’ve nicked someone else’s design completely.
  • Break up a lot of text by adding images or videos where possible. Press ‘enter’ a couple of times a post. Use the bold/underline buttons. Add links so to break up the monotony (like above – I was going to let you find the different types of host sites yourselves, but one may as well be a helpful citizen without being a hypocrite).
  • Most host-sites are up-to-date with smart phone technology, but it might be good to double-check that your site’s readable on phones and tablets as well as on computer or laptop screens. Or this could end up in your comment box:
From DevleoperMemes.com
From DevleoperMemes.com
  • Avoid hit counters, because they tend to have  a similar effect of telling people how many people you’ve slept with. Site statistics are like bra sizes: you have nothing to be embarrassed about, but generally such information is best kept private.

Part Three: Alienating Your Audience

  • Add an email subscription button so people can be sent posts via email – this happens automatically. It can be good to link up your blog with your other accounts too, so new posts get publicised as a Tweet or Facebook status with a link. Be wary of linking every single account with every other account, though, because people may read the same thing several times and experience Internet-claustrophobia.
  • It can be good to make a blog email address. It’s a seriously bad idea to put your personal email online, but having another address associated with the name of your blog gives potential contacts, well-wishers and spammers somewhere to contact you that’s less public than the comments section. Ignore all spam, by the way. No matter how good the deal, you will regret those Russian girls/pharmaceutical drug investments/loans.
  • Encourage comments. You will discover, little novice-blogger who is thinking of making a site, that comments are gold dust. The most down-heartening response to a piece of work is no response at all. Unfortunately, getting one’s audience to admit to being an audience is like getting politicians to admit they were wrong, and sometimes you have to moderate (delete) nasty or inappropriate comments anyway, whether they’re aimed at you or another reader. Which is interesting,  because if someone has a problem with your blog, they can just… leave it. But comments are good, generally, and can be prompted by a question at the end of a post, or perhaps a welcoming comments section. Reply to comments wherever possible and make a sub-blog. Mix with the mortals and occasionally wash your hands afterwards.
  • One of those basic ‘blogger tips’ is to interact with other bloggers to build a network of bloggie contacts. Don’t. Or rather, don’t search random words, open every site that comes up and click ‘follow’. The poor sod on the other end will open their emails, see a “You’ve got another follower!” message, feel validated as a human and realise thirty seconds later that your blogs have nothing in common and you were another mass-subscribing blog-robot. Search for things you like, by all means, and discover new sites, and interact with them, because bloggie networks are great. But be selective and genuine. People can tell a mile off if you’re faking it, even without eye-contact.
  • Don’t hold posts to ransom. “I won’t post again until  I’ve got xxx likes!!!!!” just ensures that you will never, ever, post again.

Part Four: the Content

  • Ensure you press ‘proofread’  before publishing every post. Do not, ever, use text speak. U snd lk n idt n its aktully hrder 2 rite out n rd thn prper sntncez. Nothing says “f-in’ idiot” like a large amount of bad English. Typos are okay, typos happen and prove you’re not Catfish material. Just for the love of all things unholy, reserve text speak and red squiggly lines for spiting your most loathed teacher on the last essay of the year. Or for when you work for Fox News.
  • Unless you are Gerard Way, do not post multiple times per day. You clog up people’s email inboxes and social media feeds. You also miss a PR trick, because regular-yet-not-completely-predictable posting habits are habits that won’t make you fat or die when you’re forty. They will reassure the reader that your blog isn’t a graveyard and is worth another visit. In fact, the only  way by which you can legitimately post a lot at once is if you have a solid readership before you start (hence Gerard as the prime example, because his 2008/9 posts were gold. I think we can expand Frank to this too now though).
  • Avoid, wherever possible, the ‘ism’s. These include but are not exclusive to: narcissism, sexism, racism, homophobia-ism and aversion-to-other-people’s-opinions-ism. Unless your blog is an ‘ism’ blog, of course, in which case please do ignore this point. Controversy – a reaction – is good. Basic rudeness is not, and it’s harder to spot in writing, so go with your gut. If you think you’ll regret posting something, do not post it.
  • Don’t break the law. This sounds both stupid and blindingly obvious, but here’s the deal: libel is when you write something untrue about a person, and is basically a criminal offence. The thing with blogging (and this is also true of posting on any other Internet site in existence) is that what you’ve written is there forever/until the electricity, and therefore the Internet, runs out. You can always delete things you regret writing, and the average person won’t be able to access them unless they’ve taken a screen-shot. But there are ways to access deleted, or supposedly hidden, content. Local media laws apply to you as an Internet user – you’re essentially a journalist, even if you’re just      commenting on pictures of cats, and you’re expected to behave like one… Take the interesting case of Sally Bercow, who at time of writing is an MP’s wife. She gained minor notoriety posing for a magazine interview in front of the Houses of Parliament wearing nothing but a bedsheet, and gained a court case when she Tweeted this:
From Photos.pcpro.co.uk
From Photos.pcpro.co.uk

 in response to completely untrue Twitter-rumours that Lord McAlpine was a kiddie-fiddler. So, again, go with your gut. If you aren’t prepared to defend what you’ve posted, don’t post it (this also goes for general, non-criminally ambiguous posts:anyone can find your blog, and that includes the person you met at that party whose idiotic views you both quoted and ridiculed).

  • If you use other people’s images, videos or music in your post, credit the original website and creator. Some people see use of their stuff as copyright infringement, so keep an eye out for the old “this image may not be reproduced without permission” and either get permission or find another image. Regardless of whether or not you ‘have permission’, always do a little caption with a name and link wherever possible. It’s polite.

Part Five: the Only Real Piece of Advice You Need Someone Else To Tell You

  • Get off the Internet, go outside your place of residence and live. Then the rest will evolve, like the best types of music and worst types of ignorance.

I’m being serious. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine. Or the rain or snow or whatever. Take some photos, think deep thoughts… Come home, post a blog and wait for superstardom to call.

Or, as is statistically more likely, wait for your mum to call that dinner’s ready and spend the next six months to two years learning how to tag convincingly…

Let me know how you get on?!

Census & Future Project Updates, Plus Wembley MCR Show Ramblings

Note: I started this post by turning into an old lady and reminiscing, then getting indignant. For the census stuff, scroll down to the next lot of italics.

I don’t know what it is about famous people dying and me thinking about writing an MCR-related blog, but it’s happened again. Whitney fans, don’t get pissy, I’m not going to start spouting about substance abuse, but –

I’m so glad Gerard and Mikey got over that, and incredibly grateful to the whole of MCR that I was able to spend today reminiscing about their show at Wembley Arena this time last year, which I was lucky enough to attend.

You know, I feel old. Because, seriously, it does not feel like a year since I saw them play. It feels like a few months at most… If you’d told me on the day of that show, or the day of the one I saw at the Hammersmith Apollo, that within a year or eighteen months I’d be in the process of creating a census for the Rmy and its subsequent website, I’d have laughed. Nervously. It’s only recently that I’ve started to appreciate the effect that My Chem has had on my life and on others’, and the census has been a catalyst for that.

I’ve currently logged seventy out of one-hundred-and-thirty-five entries, at time of writing, but your stories and your thoughts have never failed to shake me awake and remind me why I started this. I did it because it’s about damn time that the whole, wide world knows, definitively, how many kids owe good times to this band. Most of the people I’ve heard from have mentioned that the public still sees us as whiny emo wimps who fight amongst ourselves over tiny matters. I don’t have  Tumblr so don’t know about any in-fighting, but not one of the stories I’ve read has said “This band wants me to kill myself.”

So let’s kill that stereotype once and for all, please.

In-depth talk over. Let the planning begin.

So, most of you have gathered that when the census is finished and the data’s been put into a report or set of information (it closes on the 30th April), it will be published as a website (results will be out during the summer, because I have exams throughout May and June). The ‘register’ –  still can’t think up a cool name, damnit – will be on the same website, and of course always open to updating.

Now on to the idea I put to you about a website which would feature and archive projects you guys do. To clear up any confusion: it would not be like MCRmy.com or Zone 6. This site would not be open to comments or threads, except on a ‘comments’ page, and to get work featured you’d have to submit it. As to why I’m doing it: I don’t follow 1000 MCR fans on Twitter, I don’t have a Tumblr and I don’t spend hours on forums because I don’t have the time. This means that I don’t always hear of projects or blogs until they’ve come and gone, and if I don’t have an account for a project it can be tricky to keep track. So I had an idea for a site which people could sumbit their fansites or projects to – think CassieTheVenomous, AskPosion or Project Thank You – and they would be featured and archived. Want to find a fan-art blog? No problem, search it up or find that part of the site and browse to your heart’s content.

When I first thought of it, I wasn’t actually as jazzed as I am now, because lots of you do have Internet accounts. But here’s the thing: looking through the census results that Google Docs has kindly compiled; not everyone has an social-networking account. We aren’t all fifteen year old girls. Some of us don’t want to wade through memes, Mikey’s-knees jokes or @replies to find details of a Killjoy meetup. A few of the younger kids, I’d bet, aren’t allowed Tumblrs or Facebook or the like, so can’t keep up even if they want to. Enter this project. It’ll be hosted on WordPress, which – apart from being banned from schools because it’s a blogging platform – is a safe and well-respected site. As far as archiving goes, the whole thing would look, for example, a bit like this:

Project: @CreepyFerardFanfics

Details: Twitter, run by @CreepyFan1, that posts fanfictions. Not recomended for anyone under the age of 13, homophobes and the band themselves.

URL: http://www.twitter.com/CreepyFerardFanfics

Then, if the fancy takes you, you can read that shit to your heart’s content. I sincerly hope that account doesn’t exist, on a personal note, but if it does and you want it featured, let me know.

On to the reason I’m talking you through this: the response from you guys has been overwhelmingly positive, so I couldn’t back out now even if I wanted to, and I’m currently planning the site itself. It would be a continuation of the census-and-register site, with seperate pages for each. Only problem is, I can’t get the domain name from WordPress or an email address because, so far, the thing doesn’t actually have a name. The best I’ve come up with so far is ‘Zone MCRmy’, because that’s what I thought when I had the idea; “It’d be a kind of Zone MCRmy, I suppose.”

So, if you could spare a minute, your ideas are greatly appreciated.

‘Let’s Talk About School’, a Rant by Hollie.

This is Indifferent Ignorance’s first ever post-that’s-not-mostly-by-Francesca (told you we’d explode stuff in 2012!). It is a rant about school and teachers, none of whom are mine, but some of whom I know. I have a few comments to make, and will do so in red.

NB: I did some spell checking, this isn’t Tumblr.

Let’s Talk About School

Namely, the Maths department.

Yes it’s rant time again, (although you could probably tell anyway by the unnervingly formal tone of this post) but I think I’m due one since my proper rants on the internet are few and far between. Although it’s long, I really do hope you read this. I daresay you might even enjoy it, especially if you enjoy reading about the misfortune of others.

Oh and Disclaimer: As my school is known to stalk its students on sites such as this, (although as far as I am aware it has little knowledge of Tumblr) think of the following as constructive criticism and not an attempt to cause offense. Also, try to take all the factual info within this rant with a pinch of salt because I’m known to get facts wrong haha.

Mini disclaimer: I apologise for any typos, as I type like an angry drunk and I seldom go back to check things until half an hour after it’s been put out there. You’re welcome.

Anyway, a little background context for those not currently taking a maths GCSE in the UK, which is probably most of you. (If you want to get to the juicy, just skip to the bold bits)

Our Maths course is split into three units, and thus three exams. We’ve already taken two: I got an A in the first and literally one mark off of an A in the second, so a B.

The drama really started when I was selected, amongst a large number of other people, to retake the second unit ( the one I got a B in).

Here, we have to pay for our own retakes (It costs around £40 or about $85, I think) and there’s a limit to how many exams you can take over all of your subjects.

Because of this I wasn’t particularly fussed over retaking. Firstly, I didn’t want to fork out that money because, let’s be honest, who would willingly pay to take a maths test again? Also I didn’t want the extra work of having to revise for two exams rather than one, on top of all the other subjects I had to take.

Secondly, I would much rather spend the money and use up a retake on a subject which, and no offense is meant here, I actually cared more about. And by that I mean a subject which I was more likely to take after high school.

Anyway, when I told my teacher (who, in his defense, I believe is being entirely controlled by the all-mighty overqueen who we call the Head of Maths – we’ll meet her soon) that I didn’t want to retake I was treated like an alien being. I think most accepted their retake without even questioning it. I was told that I had to tell the Head of Maths, and that’s where it everything started to get somewhat unsavoury.

I put off meeting with the HoM for a while because admittedly, I was never that keen on her. I’m not going to describe the faults in her personality (at least they’re faults in my eyes) because I think that would be a little bit too low, but oh I would love to. Think Umbridge. Eventually, however, I plucked up the courage to confront her, jokingly expecting a massive argument to kick off. Surprisingly I wasn’t too wrong.

As soon as I mentioned that I didn’t want to retake, she began flinging counter-arguments at me left, right and center (somewhat defensively, in hindsight) so I can’t remember everything she told me, but here are a few things she said. (And consequently my opportunity to crush her argument when I couldn’t at the time due to the hierarchy of school life)

You’re not working to your highest capabilities, you need to try harder, a B is not good enough etc.

So apparently she knows exactly what I’m capable of now, having never taught me or even spoke to me aside from the time she caught my friend climbing out of a window. For those of you who don’t know the legend, that friend was Ruby. Perhaps I am capable of getting an A, but I’m also capable of just staying at home every day and not even coming to school. I don’t however, because I have priorities and I know it would be best for me to at least show up. Similarly, I prioritise which subjects I try hardest in, that’s why I spend every spare moment of my school life in the art studio, why I spend my free time slaving over history essays and why I’m happy getting a B in maths – because it’s not a very important subject for me and actually, a B is actually pretty good in the outside world. Don’t try to give me that crap about how intelligent I am, I’ve been denying that ever since the school decided that only some select students could go to the Oxford Uni presentation. (But that’s a story for another day) Can we collaberate? I’m still pissed I didn’t get asked to that. I could get into Oxbridge, fuck you.

All the things you need to learn for Unit 2 you’re doing in the next exam anyway, so there’s no extra work involved on your part.

So why was there a separate mock? Why do we have to go to these extra classes if we’re retaking?

This was a poorly veiled lie, in my eyes. Sure there’s probably some overlap but I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that there’s absolutely no extra work at all.

You’re just being lazy, look at all the extra classes I’m holding for you, and you’re not even grabbing the opportunity.

This was my personal favourite. She’s been holding extra classes online for the retake on a Sunday evening lately, and (unsurprisingly) there were very few attending. About a week prior to our conversation she’d been constantly reminding everyone to attend the lessons, but it attracted no more attention and I think this annoyed her. I think she used the opportunity to whine about it to me, going off on a tangent slightly in the process. It was actually pretty humourous besides the fact she was shouting at me, because it reminded me of a 13-year-old weeaboo having a tantrum because no one was coming to their livestream. And why would I come if I had no intention of retaking? Um.

I could go on picking holes in her argument for a while but unfortunately there’s more, and it gets worse.

I actually got away with not taking the Unit 2 mock, although I hadn’t been let off the hook yet. I was told that I had to see her again if I didn’t get an A in the Unit 3 Mock, and I actually got a B. (I’m not to worried about this, seeing as I’ve got a few more months practice yet) I’ve decided not to actually see her again, and so far (touch wood) I haven’t been given any grief regarding my little misbehaviour in that regard. More on that when it happens.

Anyway the trigger which caused me to abandon all homework tonight and type out this beast of a rant (I should have used Written Kitten) actually happened today.

We were told that anyone not taking the Unit 2 exam that ‘should have’ (me included) would possibly be moved onto the linear course. I think this might include me.

Effectively, this means that instead of taking each Unit separately, we have to take all three in one exam, which means more to learn at once. Er, no.

Now I might be wrong, but I’ve been told that this type of course is also FOUNDATION (e.g. basic stuff) rather than EXTENDED (which everyone takes in every subject). Whether this is true or not, either way what we have basically been told is:

If you don’t do what we want you to do then we’ll make sure you get a bad mark in Maths GCSE.

Oh and their reasoning for this decision was:

If you won’t take the Unit 2 then you clearly don’t care about your Maths grade, so you might as well do badly.

Just read that a couple of times. Let it sink in. It’ll take a while.

My Maths faculty is effectively blackmailing me into taking and paying for a retake.

Making us take linear is no less effort on their part, in fact it’s probably more effort to change us all around. What they’re doing only serves us the purpose of scaring us into retaking, or making our lives miserable. I am not exaggerating this or making it seem worse in any way whatsoever, this is the blind truth.

I suppose at this point you might be wondering why they want us to retake Unit 2 so much. Basically, they want to show off good statistics at the end of the year.

I know this because stats from previous years are pinned up all over the place in the Maths block, and are constantly referenced to in our prospectus and during open evenings.

Better stats mean more people are likely to come to this school in Year 7 – and more importantly – more people are likely to take Maths for Sixth Form.

A very lovely teacher (no sarcasm intended) once told me that the more students they have, the more they get paid. Who? Tell me later.

And that’s the crux of it really. I am going to fail my Maths GCSE because a bunch of greedy adults care more about money than their students. Perhaps this wouldn’t be so bad if we weren’t constantly being force fed the motto that ‘THIS IS ALL FOR YOU, LOOK AT US SELFLESS TEACHERS’.

This is definitely the case in some departments, but certainly not the Maths department. They couldn’t give less of a shit whether some of us die of brain hemorrhaging due to the effort put in during lessons, as long as they get a pay rise.

And just to prove that I’m not all just pent-up teenage angst and natural hatred for maths, here’s another quick case study which happened sometime last year.

There was a competition being held by O2 in which schools had to create an educational video, and whoever’s got the most views and likes would win some money for the department.

We spent, no, wasted an entire lesson (that’s sixty minutes) being forced to individually watch the same awful video over and over again in order to boost up the views. It was awfully funny the first time. After the fifth is was just awful. And this ‘lesson’ was given to every class in the school. Again, it may seem a bit of a petty thing to moan about but the fact that the phrase ‘every lesson is priceless and you should make the most of every minute’ is being hammered into us is somewhat hypocritical, don’t you think?

But our little case study isn’t over there. Not satisfied with the endless, braindead views of the entire school, we were given – as homework – the task of creating multiple accounts on the website to accumulate more likes. They actually made a worksheet to write down all our account names, and there was about fifty boxes. They actually expected us to make that many e-mail accounts.

If that’s not illegal then it’s definitely against the terms of the competition, and sure enough, and to my bitter delight, we were disqualified. A happy ending after all.

In short, the maths department at my school are cold and greedy, and although they say to us that they care about our educations and our futures, all they really care about is how many zeroes there are in their monthly cheques.

But I’m still not going to retake, I’m not going to rise to the bait.

Because I enjoy being the thorn in their side all too much.

If the school in question ever reads this (hi!), they should know that the majority of their teachers and classes aren’t half bad. There is, however, a huge emphasis on getting good exam results so the school itself will look good in the league tables. Usually the pressure to excel is well-founded and well explained to students – it is a grammar school, we are pretty academic – but sometimes the system gets away with itself, and situations such as the above occur. It’ll never change and sometimes those of us who have been in said system for nearly five years get slightly fed up, hence the above.  Also, in the defense of my maths teacher, I wouldn’t be getting the grades I am without her or a teacher I had lower down the school.

  Find Hollie’s musings on her Tumblr and her drawings on her DeviantART.

Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2011

In a bid to establish Indifferent Ignorance as a Serious Website, I have decided to host an annual award ceremony every December, giving random awards to whatever and whoever I fancy at time of writing (so maybe the whole thing’s not too serious after all).

Best Advert Placement in a Magazine

 

 I keep a couple of scrapbooks full of newspaper articles and band interviews I’ve enjoyed… this one might have to go into the MCR section when I get around to sorting my magazines out. Read the actual article here.

Best MCR-Centric Website (that isn’t MCR.com)

CassieTheVenomous.com. If she isn’t Tweeting news, she’s writing about it on her blog. In amongst the usual news – and other band stuff, MCR isn’t the only topic she discusses, like some of us – there are tips on how to dye your hair properly, what not to bring to live shows and Danger Days explained. She also owns a bird named Doctor Zeropercent.

Best Hairstyle(s)

Who doesn’t want right-angles bunches or stripy curls or a hair colour that matches their luminous Killjoy mask? All three of us win.

New Favourite Website of the Year

AskPoison. I really, really love this website. More than I love Heroes. I’ve considered getting a Tumblr just to spam the artist with questions… Her Party Poison is someone I actually want to exist in real life. Look at his wise words:

Also, that is my answer to that question, should it ever arise.

New Favourite Musician of the Year

Caro Emerald. I’d like her voice, please.

Biggest Conundrum/Moral Dilemma of the Year

This. And then this and this. I hate MCR fan fiction; the only time I ever read it was either when doing research for friends’ oneshot gifts (the shit I put myself through for them…) or when I first had a DeviantART account and needed my writer’s ego boosting. Because that shit is bad in every. Conceivable. Way. So when someone on my Twitter timeline posted a link to Unholy and I was looking to waste ten minutes, I thought “Why not? I’ll feel so smart after scanning half a page.” So I clicked, I scrolled, ignoring the blurb completely, and read the first few lines. By the end of the first full paragraph, I was hooked. Because – and I’m not saying this in my defence, I know I’m a hypocrite – this series is one of the best I’ve ever read. The author can write. Properly. Less than half way through, I was forgetting it was a fan fiction because it was literally just a story. A story with some of my favourite things to boot: tattoos and piercings, religious debates, near-death experiences and an overall understanding of humanity. If I ever learn to write fiction half as well as Bexless, I’ll be happy.

SO WHY DOES ITS ONLY SHORTCOMING HAVE TO BE THAT IT’S A MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE FAN FICTION?  WHY NOT ANY OTHER PARADOX? WHY??????

Nicest Message Left By a Loved One

Thanks, Isobel. I’ll get that tattooed someday.

And, finally:

The Indifferent Ignorance ‘Ignorant Fuck’ Award

This year it goes to Glenn Beck, for deciding MCR is spreading propaganda (for what, I don’t think even he knows). Living on the railways indeed…

So, that’s it for this year, snowflakes. Be nice and you might get a feature in the next award ceremony. Coming soon(ish): Shit I Did in 2011. Or words to that effect.

Multitasking With My Linking.

I apologise for ignoring the Internet almost completely over the past week. I’m genuinely not sure when I last posted, or what it was about, I just remember Isobel’s declarations that the new comment box is ‘STUPID’. However, this afternoon I am (mostly) awake and have lots to catch you up on.

I found a really excellent blog post about Father’s Day, I think on Twitter, but it has been swallowed up by my timeline. Instead, I leave you with a video that’s partly about a dude who missed out on quite a few Father’s Days.