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A Warhol update

Originally published at Grey/Matter. Please leave any comments there.

Alas, following my hard drive failure a while ago, I lost all the files relating to project Warhol. At the time this didn’t bother me too much seeing as Warhol was still in the early stages and more important ones, such as FT3, had similarly been wiped out.

Well, I return to college in 10 days, and now I really have to work on things like this again.

However, I may change the project somewhat. A gallery could perhaps be too complex for such a project, and it doesn’t have to be too complicated to start with. So, this may just turn into a webcomic-style CMS; however, that may then conflict with some group work planned with Hexxy of F-list.

So what to do? Ideas on a postcard!

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Results Day – results and analysis

Originally published at Grey/Matter. Please leave any comments there.

Computing: C
Government & Politics: C
Applied ICT: D
Philosophy: A HUMONGOUS FAIL

Seriously, I only got 65 out of 200 marks on Philosophy. I’m not surprised, it was pretty bloody difficult, and I suck at remembering all them philosophers names theories, and strange phrases like “a priori” and “tabula rasa“.

I’m partially blaming the low Computing grade on the college. The final quarter (aka, a whole 25% of the marks) on the practical paper was based on something which none of the classes had been taught. The Computing teachers acknowledged this error after the exam.

I actually got a B on the Applied ICT exam, however my coursework was terrible (it was an E) and that dragged me down to a D.

This is, however, not A-level results, but AS-level. The exams that compose the first half of A-levels (the other half being A2-level). Many universities only accept people with passes on three A-levels and one AS-level.

My utter failance at Philosophy means I cannot continue it to A2. And, as I only have only three AS subject results, I will now need to take on another subject next year in addition to the three A2’s. Increasing my college workload by another five hours or so every week.

In short, I’ll need a mini miracle to happen to actually get into university at all. Which is a shame, because I actually want to go — that’s something I wasn’t saying six months ago!

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#welovethenhs

Originally published at Grey/Matter. Please leave any comments there.

If you’re not on Twitter and don’t pay attention to the news, then you wouldn’t be aware of the #welovethenhs campaign.

Following Republican’s outrage at Barack Obama’s proposed universal healthcare reform – accompanied by some strange comparisons to the British National Health Service – including calling it “evil”, “Orwellian” and home to “death panels” of bureaucrats who decide who live and die.

Anyone who’s actually used the NHS will know that this is bullshit. Universal healthcare is one of the most basic human rights, to be found in all developed western nations – except for the USA, of course; there are 50 million uninsured Americans, and now the American right are complaining that they’re giving them free health insurance!

There are a number of slanderous lies going around, many on par with that the BNP tend to produce.

A right-wing American newspaper recently printed: “People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”

This is of course quite stupid. Stephen Hawking is British, lives in Britain, and has been treated by the NHS for Lou Gehrig’s disease since he was 21. Stephen Hawking has publicly stated that he owes his life to the NHS.

A Republican funded video decrying the NHS has also been blasted by the very people who appeared in it, claiming their statements were taken out of context and that they are in favour of state-funded healthcare.

The right-wingers also seem to be very ignorant of things called statistics. The UK has a higher rated healthcare service (according to the World Health Organisation), lower levels of child death, and spends only 8% of the national GDP on covering the entire country’s population – opposed to the US’s 16% of GDP to cover only a fraction of people.

Oh, and of course it’s related to terrorism.

The Republican’s persistent slander and propaganda against the health service has resulted in a British outcry, propagated through Twitter and various news services. And of course, by by me.

Without the NHS I would have died at age two, my mother would have died when I was born, my step-father would have died of cancer two years ago. A number of my friends would be dead or severely out of pocket for their ailments. The NHS has become an inherent part of the British identity to such a degree that we rush to defend it when it comes under attack.

We <3 the NHS.

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Asperger syndrome – my other new illness

Originally published at Grey/Matter. Please leave any comments there.

Goddamn, I am terrible at updating this thing… I guess that’s what happens when you spend 12 hours a day working on website projects (or dicking about on SA-MP, which I’ve been doing a lot too.)

Anyway, you may remember me mentioning being a bit of a hypochondriac a few entries back. Well, this time I’m being told – by someone else, shockingly – that I have Asperger syndrome. I can’t blame that on hypochondria, it’s someone else’s thinking!

While I am subject to some social awkwardness, I will admit that, however it’s only around strangers. I’m a confident as a… confident thing, when around people I know quite well. The reported analytical understanding of emotion is rather accurate; I can rarely sympathise with other people’s anger and sadness, regardless of how well I know the person.

A major symptom of Aspergers is an intense interest in particular topics. Whether I am subject to this is debatable. I do show a somewhat intense interest in such subjects as web development, graphic design and the furry fandom; however I am actively involved in all of these, unlike AS wherein people tend to take interest in specific things without an interest in the topic as a whole.

In a similar vein, there is also repetative behaviour and routines. This, I do have some basis in, a previous stretch with a child psychologist some years ago did note that I live by an abnormally strict personal routine – not the kind where I live every day the exact same as the last down to 15 minute intervals – but in the sense that I don’t take kindly to what I’m doing being disrupted.

Speech abnormalities may be the most significant symptom I show in daily life. I quote: “verbosity [...] pedantic, formal or idiosyncratic speech, and oddities in loudness, pitch, intonation, prosody, and rhythm”.

YES, DEAR GOD YES!

That phrase above describes my speaking patterns to a tee. I constantly shift accents, dialects, languages and use horrendously complex and formal speech when I’m not. I also have an occasional stutter, although how related to AS I do not know.

Asperger syndrome may also produce cases of bad memory (which has plagued me for years, if not my whole life); degraded motor capabilities (I never managed to ride a bike, have terrible handwriting, and bad hand-eye coordination);

A curious thing that AS can product is hypersensitivity to sound, light, temperature, smell, pain, taste and various sensory stimuli. This I can sympathise with hugely. Highly pitched or loud noises, heat just a few degrees above body temperature, even the slightest touch against my body – all of these I can detect and often feel repulsed by, and I often try to avoid any of these things happening. And that, people, is why I refuse to get a job in a kitchen… it’s far too hot in there.

So, do I have Asperger syndrome? I dunno. By the reading of the symptoms and comparing them to my everyday life I could find it quite plausible, however this method of diagnosis could confirm dozens of similar ailments that I have previously considered. We’ll just have to see, won’t we?

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Oh woe is technology

Originally published at Grey/Matter. Please leave any comments there.

I can never get a break it seems; from the laptop crashing to the floor on Friday night and blank screening, to the eight hours on Saturday running every diagnostic and repair tool I – and my vast worldwide advisory – could think of, I finally gave in and sent the old bird (if just under a year could be considered “old” … probably, yeah) to ye olde computer repair shoppe.

Upon making this option I was immediately bombarded to this Sky News report. Personally I wouldn’t trust Sky News with the bargepole that I wouldn’t touch them with (they’d probably steal it), but this did not faze me.

Ye olde computer repair shoppe is actually a place where I volunteered for a day last summer, in which time I got some low-down on their practises and methods of doing stuff – cause I assisted in doing it. I trust them to fix my laptop, and indeed the diagnosis I was given yesterday over the phone is consistent with the problems and probable cause; the fall off the desk.

In short, the disk drive has taken a hard knock when dropped and become physically damaged, leading (at least according to this webpage) to “Patchy but significant slowing down of the PC” and “Windows errors and crashes”, both of which occurred following the fall.

The laptop is due to be ready by this afternoon, let’s hope it doesn’t cost too much!

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I keep forgetting to update this

Originally published at Grey/Matter. Please leave any comments there.

Well cut me some slack! I’ve just spent several days in the north of Scotland, and in the one full day I’ve been back I’ve had to do a bunch of cleaning and housework!

Well, that’s your insight into my daily life for now. Peace out, homedudes! (I went to a Scottish hippie camp, them hippies make good ice cream.)

The Ballad of Alexander Grey

Originally published at Grey/Matter. Please leave any comments there.

I don’t need to write a blog today, purely on the basis that I spent 12 hours (on and off of course, don’t be silly) writing The Ballad of Alexander Grey [PDF] – a somewhat Beatles-inspired tale of woe for one bat and his weight problems.

Huzzah!

Inferiority complex – my new illness

Originally published at Grey/Matter. Please leave any comments there.

Those who know me to some degree will also likely know that I’m a horrific hypochondriac. Not the kind who thinks they have every disease they see on television, but the kind who reads up on something then makes them applicable to themselves.

My particular hypochondria this week is inferiority complex, the psychological feeling that one is inferior to those around them and are undeserving of their position and status.

This can lead to social withdrawal, the fear of meeting and conversing with others; excessive attention seeking to try and somehow validate one’s existence; criticism of others and their actions, in order to not feel as inferior in comparison; fear and anxiety.

Many of these have increasingly applied to me over the last few months. Social withdrawal is one that I have particularly noted previously, wherein my social circles have dwindled significantly and I no longer speak to people who I have known for years before.

Right now I’m at a tipping-point, so to speak, where the lack of conversation has lead me to consider abandoning the furry fandom completely.

The other “symptoms” are also prevalent, in aspects of my life, and many of me detractors will gladly sing their praises about my attention-seeking assholishness.

Family and friends have commented on my increasingly critical and angered attitude towards them, and I tend to be anxious about doing anything nowadays, so much so that I just don’t do anything.

I’m one broken individual…

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The fragility of the personal blog

Originally published at Grey/Matter. Please leave any comments there.

Ahhhh shlub, I utterly forgot to post anything yesterday, and when I did remember I was somewhat preoccupied with watching Spy Hard – a fun little romp starring Leslie Nielson.

This gives me a good excuse to talk about why blogging is a dying art, superseded instead by Twitter, tumblelogs and other “short” manners of communication. Twitter is known for it’s notorious 140 character limit, but this is purposeful. It keeps things short and sweet, it doesn’t take long to update and doesn’t take long to read – perfect for busy businessman and short attention-spanned teenagers alike!

Tumbleogging takes a different approach. There are no limits of a tumblelog; however there is no need for one. Tumblelogs focus on multimedia content – images, videos, music and the like. While tumblelogs also support textual input, these tend to be “copy-paste” moments revolving around quotations, chat logs and descriptions of the aformentioned.

Because of these new, somewhat instant methods of communicating with a large amount of people, the personal blog is dying a slow death. After years of hype surrounding the art of blogging, it now finds itself the forté of the elite. Looking at Technorati’s Top 100 Blogs list, there’s very few blogs which are exclusively updated by one person; the rest take on “magazine”-style blogging, a number of people (sometimes employed) writing about news and events in a particular topic. Even the solo blogs are primarily about one topic, and the people who write them are either famous or professionals in their field, once again affirming my claim that blogging is something only a few can succeed in.

I can give LiveJournal some credit. They have somewhat successfully merged blogging with the basics of a social networking website, allowing for the instantaneous methods employed by Twitter and the like while maintaining the essence of the blogging platform. And it is there that the future of blogging will lie.

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School’s out for summer

Originally published at Grey/Matter. Please leave any comments there.

And so, on the balmy – if overcast – afternoon of July 9th, 2009, at 4:20pm (half an hour after college actually finished) I left the building and made my way home. For two full months, up until September 10th, I would be free from the confines of homework, coursework and general college workwork. Fun times there, eh folks?

Of course, now the question is what to do. Previous plans for the coming week had to be cancelled, and aside from a few days in the north of Scotland in just over a week, there’s nothing on my agenda at all.

I suppose I should go check out some university open days (particularly the ones I’ve looked into), but getting to them may be trouble for someone with as little funding as I.

I guess that life will have to continue as normal really, just sit around and wait for the unexpected to happen. Like I do every day.

Also, Andy Bailey owes me a sandwich.

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