Just had an assessment with a Dr Tim Long, a psychologist employed by Bedfordshire Local Education Authority to help the university decide what support I need. I’ll blog about this in more detail when I have a copy of the report in front of me, but apparently my language skills are in the top 5% of the spectrum. As you can imagine, I’m pretty pleased with myself.
February 23, 2007
February 7, 2007
The University of Bedfordshire (well, the Luton bit of it anyway; as far as I can tell they’re doing things pretty much the way they always have) has a
totally fucking stupid slightly strange policy about timetables, which will take me a while to explain.
At the start of my second academic year, I signed on for scriptwriting as a year-long optional module, but for some reason it’s split into three semester-long ones. It was held on the same day -Wednesday- as a compulsory module that only lasted one semester, and is being replaced by another this year. The remaining two year-long modules took place on Thursday, and in theory the remainder of the week is our own; our coursework requirements more than counterbalance the relatively low contact time, I might add, but that’s by the by.
Anyway, I’d been operating on the assumption that the timetable would be staying petty much the same this year, and had therefore neglected to check the new online timetable (which let me add here is not as user-friendly as it could be). The most I was expecting was a room change.
Term officially began on Febuary the 5th. On January the 26th, I got an email from one of my tutors saying that the new module (Reviewing) would be taking place on Tuesdays. Said email had arisen from a query by another student about the timetable not being up on the website yet. I was a bit annoyed to say the least, because I’d signed up for some voluntary work on the basis that my schedule would be the same for the rest of the year, and was less than pleased at the amount of notice we’d been given.
So I came in on Tuesday, where revelation number two awaited. The remaining module (Scriptwriting) had been moved to Mondays. Okay, we’ve got a different tutor this semester -I think he was on sick leave last year- but you’d think the course team could have factored this in when they sat down to thrash out a timetable, right?
But the tutors don’t write the timetable; someone else does. I would like to know who they are. I would also very much like to know why:
- Someone could see a module entitled Scriptwriting 2 and place it on a different day from Scriptwriting 1.
- A new module of identical length to the old module could not take place between the same hours of the same day.
- Our contact time is now one full day and two half-days instead of two full days.
- None of the above was actually communicated to any of us until 48 hours before the new term starts.
I’ve missed my first lecture, several of my classmates have lost a day’s wages for the next three months (if not their jobs) and the whole bloody circus will start again after Easter, all because the university doesn’t trust its academic staff to look after their own time-management and the welfare of their own students.
Thanks a bunch, guys.
January 31, 2007
I managed to get myself locked out of my flat when I went out to buy a newspaper, having left my keys in the pocket of my other trousers. Discovering this, I decided to gain entry to my room by alternative means… and found myself even worse off!
My flat is on the ground floor, and overlooks a small walled courtyard where the bins are kept. The window to the small toilet next to my room is almost always left partly open, so my plan was to wait until someone left through the main door and then climb in that way.
I remembered rather too late that:
A: I had in fact personally shut the window in question earlier that morning because it was freezing in there when I went to take a slash.
B: The door to the bin area has no handle on the outside, and the gate leading back to the street is padlocked.
It took me half an hour and the help of a passer-by to escape.
Update: More cock-ups like this one to follow. Many more, in fact; my talent for doing this kind of thing is the main reason Kevin (see sidebar) badgered me into starting this blog.
January 27, 2007
… is going to a cashpoint to check on the progress of your overdraft and discovering that you’re a thousand quid richer than you thought you were.
… is getting asked out by a girl you know only through a Yahoo! Group you’re both members of.
… is telling your mother what you really think of your stepfather and being a very very long way away when she reads the email.
… is hearing about a decision taken by George Bush that seems vaguely intelligent for once.
More on that last one later.
January 24, 2007
- A reliable supply hot water.
- A reliable supply of toilet paper.
- Broadband internet access.
- The dawn chorus.
- The ability to recycle anything.
- The ability to see my girlfriend more than once a month.
- Regular contact with any of my relatives. (No great strain this one!)
And I really don’t think I’d have it any other way…
January 23, 2007
Okay, I suppose I have to add something about this, don’t I?
I believe that Ruth Kelly is wasting her money and harming her child. Why?
Firstly, I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that the child really has dyslexia, and whoever made the diagnosis wasn’t being leaned on because Mrs Kelly can’t accept the fact that her child isn’t hugely academically gifted. What now?
I don’t want to minimise the impact of Dyslexia on people’s lives, but we’re not talking Lenny from Of Mice And Men here. It does not affect social interactions. It does not affect behaviour, except by being a bloody nuisance. The child will be entering secondary school with a statement, and the Special Needs team will be fully aware of the problem and be ready to respond with appropriate coping measures. And there must be plenty, because I know two or three people with dyslexia who are at university and none of them went to a special school!
But what about peer pressure issues, you may cry? I know plenty of people brought it up in the letters column of the Guardian. Well,what can I say? I went to a fairly grim comprehensive and bullying was a fact of life for me there. Would I have preferred to be amongst people who saw the world as I do? Yes. Would I have been better-equipped to deal with life afterwards? No. If you’re going to be regarded as a freak, you might as well be in a position to develop some coping strategies from an early age, because it sure as hell doesn’t stop when you and your peer group turn 18! When you have any kind of Special Needs, bullying is like bad weather, traffic congestion and council tax; you might not like it, but whilst there are ways you can lessen its effect on your everyday life, it’s ultimately something you just have to put up with. Ruth Kelly’s not doing the poor kid any favours by trying to wrap him or her in cotton wool.
Update: Sorry about that, everyone. I’ll only post when I’ve had a decent night’s sleep from now on.
Bleurgh. I am not big on the holiday season; it involves spending money I can’t really spare, spending time ‘as a family’ when I’d much rather they just left me alone and lots of other stuff I can do well without, thank you very much.
I thought I had it all sewn up this year; a blazing row with my stepfather has ensured that I am no longer welcome in the family home, and I stocked up on ready-meals and cans of beer with every intention of spending a nice peaceful Christmas in my flat in Luton. All my flatmates were guaranteed to have buggered off home (I’ll blog about them later), so there’d be no loud music or horrible messes in the kitchen for at least a couple of weeks…
But instead, and much against my better judgement, I allowed my Uncle Chris to persuade me to come and visit my grandmother’s house, where he was staying with his family. Wouldn’t be so bad, I figured. Uncle Chris is probably the only member of my extended family that I have anything in common with to speak of. But first, I had to get there.
My grandmother lives in a tiny village in Warwickshire with no bus service. The nearest railway station is in Coventry, which isn’t especially easy to get to from Luton; I have to get a bus to Milton Keynes then a train to Coventry unlesss I want to change trains in London, and there were ominous rumblings that the bus drivers were going to go on strike on Christmas Eve. Fortunately it never materialised, and I was able to get to Milton Keynes without hassle. Fifteen minutes on a rather chilly platform later and I was on the way to Coventry.
Which was where things went fruit-shaped.
The original plan had been for me to ring my grandmother from the station and let her know I’d arrived, at which point she’d drive over and pick me up. I’d carefully copied down her phone number from an email, and was making my way to a phone box (I don’t have a mobile) when I discovered that the piece of paper with the phone number was still on the desk beside my laptop in Luton. Oops! I didn’t have the cash for a taxi, and phoning home was out of the question (it’s usually my stepdad who answers and he’d probably just laugh at me), so I settled in to wait. They’d have to realise what happened sooner or later, wouldn’t they?
Four hours later, Uncle Chris finally decides to have a loot for me at the station. Needless to say, he found the whole thing highly amusing. But the litany of disaster does not end there, for when I arrived at Granny Greta’s house I discovered that the bottle of wine I’d brought with me had smashed and soaked the entire contents of my holdall. My oldest sister’s birthday present was ruined and all my clothes were soaked. Look, if the witchdoctor to whom I still owe money is reading this, will you just give me your address so I can send a cheque? Please? You’ve made your point.
Still, at least it turns out that Granny Greta is on my side in the blood-feud between me and Steve.
January 3, 2007
Hi, welcome aboard. My name’s James and I’m a twenty year-old Creative Writing student at the University of Bedfordshire. My politics are moderately left-of-centre on most issues, and I take spelling, punctuation and grammar as seriously as every other aspiring novelist on the planet; ie very seriously indeed, but more on that further down the page.
As you might or might not have gathered from the title, I have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder; Asperger’s Syndrome, in case you were wondering. Without going into the technical details (none of which I’ve ever bothered to look up anyway) it means that my brain is wired slightly different to other people’s. It’s like being left-handed or a sodomite, but I’ll let you rank them in order of respectability for yourselves.
Oh, and I used that last example because I loathe and despire any form of discrimination against anyone for a characteristic over which they have no control, and regard anyone who practices such discrimination as the very scum of the Earth. So there.
Now, before I go on to blogging properly, I’d like to establish a few rules for anyone posting a comment to this site. Here goes:
1. I am a firm believer in freedom of expression, and that it is a fundamental tenet of democracy that all points of view must be heard, however offensive to the majority they may be. However, any comment that I believe was deliberately intended to be hurtful to any section of the human race will result in an immediate ban.
2. Anyone posting with the sole purpose of plugging their own blog or website will be treated as a spammer. By all means include a link, but comments that consist solely of a URL for your own blog (and I’ve seen this happen) are Just Not On. The only exception is if another commenter specifically requests a link.
3. Anyone posting a comment to this blog must use correct spelling, punctuation and grammar. I’m not going to be pedantic or unreasonable about this, but is it really all that hard to put capital letters at the start of sentences and use punctuation properly? Oh, and if you have a specific difficulty with this sort of thing such as dyslexia, please let me know via email; this information will be kept strictly confidential, and merely ensures you won’t get irate emails from me without good cause.
Okay, that about covers everything, I think. Proper blogging will commence in the next 24 hours.