Monday, February 19, 2007

The remains of the day.

Well I started off the day in hot blood I suppose not knowing what was next.

At the end of the day I have time to reflect and realise that I owe 1000 pounds and that is that, if I don’t pay I don’t graduate.

It all goes back to when mum died, in terms of risk taking. I have been faced with various risky strategies since then. The first was to become self employed. I drifted into that without a business plan or any firm idea of how I was going to do it, because I felt it was a now or never thing.

If I had planned it properly I would have ended up with much less and huge debts as the price of failure. The price of success if I had done it properly might have been much more rewarding so that I would be comfortable now.

But I gambled what I had and lost.

The next gamble was after I returned to education. Initially all I had wanted was some paper qualifications to make me a bit more attractive as an employee in the photographic or graphics industry but the discovery of new talents led me on.
Applying for the HND was a risk because when I started I had no way of funding it either. I got lucky this time, but I was not able to get that gold standard a full degree as by that time the funding for the course itself which had intended to round off the HND with an externally validated degree was not there let alone the funding for me to do that, so I stuck it out doing lower courses whilst I waited for that to happen.

The next risk was studying at Birmingham University for the CertHE in autistic spectrum disorders. It was a risk because I started that at the same time as I was finishing my HND something Birmingham initially was not prepared to do but relented when I convinced them I was capable. Although it was not as much money as the course is now, I ended up over the two years paying over 1000 GBP for the qualification which again was a risk.

My mistake was putting off my desire to get a full degree until this year, as I was ticking along with an A level and an AS level to keep me busy whilst the fees took an enormous hike.

The risk was last year to apply regardless of the fees as it was now or never at this point in my life.

I then had a variety of options to get a degree.

A three year conventional honours course, with 3 years of fees and full time study meaning I would not be able to claim income support.

Or a two year course building upon my existing qualification in ASD’s with two years of fees, but partly mitigated by a grant of 750 GBP and a 250 GBP book grant.

Now I have found a different option through a loop hole in the regulations whereby I have skipped the first degree entirely and gone straight to post grad, to qualify initially at the end of this year with a PGCert and after two years with a PGDip or full MEd.

This is my stumbling block because that necessitates paying back the 250 GBP book grant, and paying the 750 GBP that I am no longer entitled to, that is the upshot of what I have discovered today as a bolt from the blue, not realising that I would have to do either of those things when I made such an eloquent argument to study at the higher level, I believed I was and am proving capable of.

So at the end of the day, what is the cost benefit analysis of it all?
If I don’t pay up by June 1st I will not even graduate with a PGCert, and if I don’t do that, I still won’t have a first degree and nothing to recommend me for anything higher in the future. So I have to do it, and will end the year in debt, therefore I will not be able to afford to take out a loan to fund going on next year.

That is the loss. The benefit is that if I pay up and accept the debt (it might already be too late not to pay as I am legally liable) I will at least have a PGCert to my name.

That is after one year of study and if I had gone through the three year standard first degree option I would not get there for another four years.

If I had stuck with the two year BPhil option It would take me three years to get to the stage I will be at, which would have meant paying next years fees and paying the fees for a PGCert after that.

So at the end of the day if I keep going I get my PGCert at less cost than it would take me if I had to have studied for a first degree inbetween.

And what is the fourth option? The only option I think that does remain now is to go full out for a research PhD next year with funding. I could do a PhD in record time I know that, but I will probably have to wait on the funding before I do and hope I do not grow too old and addled in my brains in the meantime.

Oh and for your entertainment another video. By appointment to the NAS as it were.

One morning in the life of an advocate

I got up today hoping this would be like any other morning and I could settle down to some more reading (I have at last got hold of Grinkers book) and writing of a University Essay

As is usual I check my email and the autism alerts and it seems this one is breaking out all over the place at the moment.

Well I can't let it go, so this is what I do.

I phone one of the professors who commented in the report and leave my comments with his secretary. I email the NAS press office and phone them as soon as someone is in, and learn that they have already put out a response (bad news as I had not got any comment in first) however it was not picked up by the press since the main story broke over the weekend and they got all the quotes they wanted.

I phone the BBC and cannot access there newsdesk (they like to keep the public at arms length these days)

And finally before so much as shaving or cleaning my teeth and still in my dressing gown I formulate and send email response to the journal Nature Genetics citing Gernsbacher's recent piece in the APA observer (face of the moment it seems), which I copy to all and sundry including the BBC and the NAS, making sure in the meantime the rest of the NAS Council knows what I am up to via there mailing list.

Is it worth it ?

Oh well if we are to be eliminated by targeted gene therapy I might as well forestall them like the chap in this fictional video, it would keep John Best happy at least.

Now I have some "real" work to do

Monday, February 12, 2007

A little light relief

To be honest I am sick to death of the Autism Hub

Well to be honest I am sick to death of just about everything lately.

Here is a little light relief recorded on my digital camera tonight, not the best recording quality, but here is my "kitchen" yamaha junk shop flute, and my 200 year old Richard Potter flute for comparison.

And here I am in the woods enjoying myself in a time very different from this one.

So leave me alone world all I want to do is to be.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Autist Flautist

Well I have been promising this for some time.

Here the ageing hippy makes an exhibition of himself and waggles his toes at all and sundry.

The band in the background is Steam Radio

I have not seen this controversial footage of Amanda playing that John Best seems to be getting his knickers in a twist about so I have the proverbial no comment to make on that.

So here I am, as I was last summer. I wish it were summer now

The link for those with dodgy browsers

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Help, Blogger problems

My big problem started when I was forced to migrate to the new e blogger and create a google account, something I did not want to do because of what I have read of others having difficulties.

To begin with it posted an error message saying it could not migrate me over to new blogger, so I guess I am in limbo at the moment, signing in with my unwanted google account presumably to continue on the old blogger.

However that is not the worst of it, I am filling this in, with IE6 right now, because ever since I created a google account, firefox loops the sign in page.

Been having problems with firefox and blogs that require that silly word verification as it either does not show up or if it does I can't write my comment anyway.

Having similar problems with Opera.

So is this a google microsoft conspiracy to force us back onto IE because the java (or is it java script) won't work with e blogger, and why do they not warn us about it.

Mores to the point, this is a chronic problem not just with e blogger in firefox as a lot of other sites fail too, so this time it is Mozillas fault, isn't it about time we had an update that works properly?

I recently upgraded to IE7, big mistake, had to uninstall it, it is the worst browser interface I have ever seen, never mind that it slowed my laptop back down to a 486 crawl in loading screens.

Advice gratefully recieved.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

And now for something completely different

My first venture into Youtube

I don't expect people to make sense of it, because it is me, and the sense is that which I experience, and if you experience the video, then you get just a little bit closer to me and my world.

So stuff your science and your ranting
Stuff your pious sycophanting

I don't care what you will say
I will go on in my way

And if that ain't what you like
I would tell you "on your bike"

This is what I've done for free
And it is not easy, see!!

This is actually part of a grand project that has been going on since 2001 when I started filming and editing it. A draft version was completed for my HND course for which I got distinction.

Another segment of the larger work, I showed at the NAS international conference in 2005 and amongst the audience was Temple Grandin, I expect she was as puzzled as you are :)

And for those who can't see this in blogger here is the youtube link