When I was younger, a certain teacher refused to teach me. I was a great deal of bother, slow, retarded and generally a waste of space.

It didn't twig to this so-called teacher that only a year earlier I had read and absorbed "Day of the triffids" (John Wyndhams) instead of some stupid little book about Vikings and... oh, what was it? Yellow key learner? I don't know - I held that little issue in such contempt that I never really remembered the book. I did read it, twice. But wasn't paying much attention. Reading should be fun and/or informative.

At around this time I spent various sessions with a psychologist (Mr. Shapiro; based in a large grey building behind Aldershot Police station, almost always late for his appointment). I came out of this experience with something that has remained with me ever since --- the person most in need of a bit of time on the couch is the therapist himself!

A nice guy (Dr. Holt, based at the same grey building) was hanging around in the background. I think it was him that made the decision about my behaviour patterns (sure as hell couldn't have been Shapiro :-)).
So I was labelled, categorised, and sent off to a boarding school catering for special needs pupils.

Now, the smarter ones among you might spot a problem. How could a dyslexic be reading books?

It is quite simple really. When I was diagnosed, many similar learning difficulties were classed as dyslexic. Nowadays, they have seperated them into their own form. Maybe I'm dyspraxic? I've not looked for any official definitions, and if I did, it probably wouldn't mean much to most of you. So here it is by definition:

  1. Dyscalculia - An inability to grasp mathematics. At current date I can deal with binary maths because it is easy to visualise. I can also deal with charts and graphs because they can be visualised.
    On the other hand I can't add up a shopping bill. I mean, what does 2.47 and 1.83 and 0.50 mean to you? It can be visualised as an oven meal, a jar of hot chocolate and a pack of biscuits. However that does not help you arrive at a result. The final visualisation is an oven meal, hot chocolate and a pack of biscuits in a carrier bag. It isn't four pounds and eighty pence.
  2. Copywriting, or rather an inability to read something and copy it. This was alleviated by the teachers dictating so I could write down what they said. As for a cure to this problem, I think the ball lies firmly in the court of Acorn User's Yellow Pages... I spent many winter nights in the dormitory copying out programs - in the days before cover mounted discs.

I went through five years at boarding school and emerged with a handful of GCSE's (B in physics extended, C in chemistry, C in maths (wow!)). These GCSEs don't seem to count for much...
I did NOT gain a qualification in Information Technology because I refused to attend the lesson. I had put my name down for Computer Studies and I wanted to do Computer Studies. Due to some screw-up, that transmogified into Information Technology (do I understand a database and a spreadsheet? Yeah, but do I give a <beep!>? I wanna code, dammit!).
It seems that the IT of today is much more broad-based than the IT back then, so I have not missed much.

Education is an important thing, but it can frequently become boring. I don't much like sitting down learning pre-written things. I'd much rather do. That's how I found out I like electronics half as much as I think I did. Okay, it is fun making a simple burglar alarm out of CMOS 4000 series ICs. It is also fun (and nerve wracking) stringing a 6502 to a bunch of stuff to make a real simple computer. But... It's not as if I really care where all the electrons are moving.


Future ambitions? None. I write software for fun, not profit. Like being a care assistant in the UK, my job over here doesn't have anything to do with my interests. If I can find a good looking distance learning course then I might consider taking up something at my own speed. I am more or less discounting the Open University these days as the overseas prices are, well, shocking... This is possibly because my interests are robotics and machine intelligence. I would absolutely love to design some hardware to send to another planet. I've a dozen or so ideas, but prototypes alone will cost me more than I make in a year. Oh well...

I am also writing teleplays. I am currently bringing a close to a multi-part series that I am quite fond of. I started it in 2003. I only write when I am feeling inspired. I've written enough crap to know that I need to feel there's an idea waiting to break free, or a scene that's been running around my head. Sitting and forcing something to happen is no good. This, of course, doesn't mean it takes me half a decade to write five 43 minute episodes, I've been tweaking and refining the earlier ones about as much as I've been writing new material. Maybe I should dump the geeky idea and take a course on proper screenplay writing? :-)

That's not to say I have no ambition, just little relating to further education. It's expensive and I don't see how it'll greatly improve my life. So why bother?


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