Monthly Archives: April 2014

I’m struggling to write

I really am. I’ve been writing for a year now, and at the moment it’s just not flowing naturally. I don’t know what to do about it. I think for now I’ll keep trying to write every couple of days and see what happens. Content may vary wildly.

Distance Learning

I’ve just come back from a two-day contact course with my lecturer for one of the papers I’m taking at Uni. Why a ‘contact course’? Because I do my Uni work from home, and this was my short chance to see my lecturer and do an intensive couple of days of learning the themes of the paper, and being able to ask questions about things I’ve been having trouble with. It was a great opportunity, and I came away with some valuable knowledge.

Distance learning is a great way to make higher education more available to people who just can’t be on campus. Parents of small kids, people with jobs that they need to keep, people in remote towns who can’t just relocate to a university town. My contact course had several people working full or part time, all of us had children, and most were much older than your average Uni student.

I have been using distance learning because I’ve needed the flexibility, and because I’ve not really been well enough to go out much. Going in to classes is much easier and demands much less discipline, and I do enjoy it. Being able to work from home, though, has suited my needs much better.

I am grateful for the opportunity that distance learning gives me and people like me, who have very different needs to the average 18-year-old student. It makes getting a degree possible for people who are looking to change their career, or who want to diversify their knowledge and upskill. It’s another opportunity that should be offered by more places than the one or two in New Zealand.

Lying to a charity? For shame.

This week, the UK Daily Mail ran a story about an undercover reporter who went on a sting operation to uncover cheating and poor security. Sounds reasonable? Well, he uncovered an easily swindled system by showing them how it could be done. He proved that you could lie to food bank people to get food you don’t need or deserve, by doing it and writing an expose on their terrible security standards.
Food banks are not the UN. You don’t need security clearance to get in there, and they don’t check your ID. They are there in good faith, and they hope that their clients come in good faith. Many of their clients don’t have ID. It’s hard to hold a driver’s license when you have never owned a car, because your family is too poor for that, or if you’re homeless. Could you look at a dude who puts ‘under the downtown bridge’ as his home address, and tell him he needs to bring in a utilities bill to prove his address, plus one month’s worth of pay stubs to prove his income?
Food banks provide an essential service for anyone in need. They aren’t there to do background checks, or to police how people earn or spend their money. They’re there to feed hungry people. Taking advantage of that system, even ‘just for a story’ is shameful. Breaking the social contract in not being honest to people trying to help you is not something to crow about in the papers. It’s something to hang your head in shame about, for trying to create a scandal over lovely old volunteers helping people who are down on their luck.

Still uninspired

Even in the depths of depression, I managed to write every day or two, but now, being fairly well, I feel completely uninspired. I’m not too interested in the world out there, for reasons unknown. I’m sure there’s plenty going on in the world. I just don’t have the energy to find out what and write about it.
It might be that I’m neck-deep in assignments right now. I fear falling behind very much. Still on track for e assignments, but I’m behind on class work. So much to do, and it takes so much time. There’s all sorts going on to take time away from what I need to do – hospital appointments, public holidays and so on – and its stressful. Stress is not my friend. I have a contact course next week, which is good for learning, not good for catching up on other papers. I’ll have to make it work.
Maybe sometime soon I’ll be back to thinking about the outside world. Not today, though.


I haven’t written much the last few days. First I was recovering from a mad essay day – I wrote the entire thing, edited it, and put it in, in about ten hours. It was a bit crazy.  So I didn’t want to even see a keyboard for a while there. I spent the time reading The Luminaries. I wasn’t that impressed.

My younger girl goes in to see genetic services tomorrow, and with any luck we may walk away with a definitive diagnosis, a prognosis, and with those, the ability to drag money out of the Ministry of Education to help her with her learning. She learns slower than other kids, and she could very easily get left behind. One-on-one and small group help has done so much for her, and if we can get funding, then the volunteers can actually get paid, and maybe we can get more paid hours. It would be nice to get the extra help, and it would be nice to know for sure what’s wrong with her. That doesn’t sound right – there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with her, but she’s got all the characteristics of there being something different about her. I don’t like thinking of it as something ‘wrong’ though.

My recently increased medication schedule seems to have helped out. I’m not so down, and I don’t have the really sick internal narrative. I’m still not quite right – might need to increase my beloved olanzapine in order to get me back to normal- but I’m on the right track again.

I made a couple of kilos of green tomato chutney, in three different recipes so I can pick a favourite, over the past three days. God knows when we’ll eat it though. Maybe I’ll start having crackers and cheese and pickles for my lunches. That could be delicious. But that’s three months down the line when the flavour has developed. If I can wait that long.

This post has been all about me and my own life, and nothing about the outside world. I’ll be back to that the moment something inspires me.