Friday, November 11, 2005

My youngest sister, Katy, 31, apparently committed suicide on Tuesday morning, about 4am. Later on it was discovered she'd taken a small dose of pain killers - and with a lot of vodka, that was all that was required.
Family flowers, everyone else a donation to the PDSA

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Coping strategies - battle for sanity.
I’ve been having a bit of a rough time recently – the usual problems with schizophrenia. In particular, I’ve been deploying coping strategies to deal with the problems. I’ve talked to the Outreach Team about this and they are happy with the way I’m coping with things. In particular, while deploying coping strategies it is a bit like being a fireman in a burning building with other people (outside) commenting on the firefighting technique.

Distraction - battle for intellect.
I had a look at my expenses – books, music and Sky and I thought – three choices, pick two to keep and get rid of one of them. I’ve cancelled my Sky subscription because I want to spend the money on other things (DVDs) – and because I believe I’ve made more progress. When I was still on East Loan (rehab), I used to sit all day, drinking tea, watching music television and reading the Daily Mirror. It’s taken a while and I’m nearly but not quite there. If my symptoms are bad then I find it difficult to concentrate. If I can’t concentrate then I have to rely on music as a distraction technique. If the music doesn’t work, I have to rely on promazine. Depending on how well that works, I may have to have a chat with the outreach team. The DVDs will be useful because I want to run a Story Teller game (by White Wolf) and those games are like a cinematic type of Dungeons and Dragons game. If I get my concentration back, I should be able to read the game’s books, do a bit of brainstorming and ultimately run the games sometime in 2006.

On Thursday the 10th of November, at the Hirst Welfare in Ashington there will be a “Well being for all” day, starting at 9:30. There will be various events but the one that has my attention is the after lunch presentations from local projects – I will be giving a 10 minute talk on my experiences with the Hearing Voices Network.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Ways of thinking:
There are ways of thinking that we don’t know about. Nothing could be more important or precious than that knowledge, however unborn. The sense of urgency, the spiritual restlessness it engenders, cannot be appeased.
Susan Sontag

People who share with others are seldom hungry.

Those of us who are forged in the crucibles of difference know that survival is not an academic skill.
Andre Lorde

Let there be no violence in religion
The Koran, 7th Century

Monday, August 15, 2005


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
German-born physicist


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

(Aristotle (384-322BC)
Greek Philosopher

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My rotary washing line disappeared over the weekend. So I told the police it had been stolen. Well a few hours later they came back with it, apparently someone had left it lying against a wall somewhere. That was really nice of them.

Been working on the computers that Contact has scrounged. We're just about keeping up with demand.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My poem is sublime because I can rhyme

The low down about my town.
Berwick is big, Berwick is small
It even has an ancient town hall

Berwick has bars
Berwick has cars

But I relocated
Because it's isolated

Ian B

Friday, June 17, 2005

I participate in certain leisure activities and have a laminated business card with emergency contact details and coping strategies on it. What has this got to do with schizophrenia? Well, imagine being schizophrenic as being something like living in Japan. There are problems with flooding rivers and buildings falling down in earthquakes. In effect the activities and strategies are similar to Japan's efforts to avert natural disasters. Instead of coping strategies etc, river banks have large concrete walls added (to reduce erosion and minimise the possibility of landslides). The houses are built on "land rafts" so that when there is an earthquake the whole house moves, reducing the risk of collapse.

We've been busy at Contact. Various friends and associates have donated obsolete or unwanted hardware. I am split between teaching people how to use computers and working on the computers to get them going. Fortunately, I can delegate to 1) Joe Miller of Applications Unlimited and 2) J Mee, a new Contact volunteer who is a systems administration and networking expert.

We're also putting free software on the computers (Open Office 1.x - its more stable than 2.x, Java 5, Free Zip, Cygwin, Python, Spectrum emulators and games).

BT donated some PCs and a broadband connection. Hopefully we'll be able to link more computers to the LAN and have internet access throughout Contact.

This year I am concentrating on hardware. And book reviews for the ACCU and polishing my writing skills for the reviews. Then I'll start running historicals roleplaying games. Next year I'll start learning emacs, LISP and polishing existing skills.

I tried updating this blog at the Lynemouth Resource Centre but the centre's internet "net nanny" program blocked it.

I've been doing some Learn Direct courses at the Lynemouth Resource Centre. At the moment I am studying Dorling Kindersley's "Essential Computers - Multimedia - Creating Presentations", a book about Microsoft PowerPoint that I picked up in Oxfam for 99p.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I've been going through a bit of a trough. I've been sleeping a lot lately and my symptoms (of schizophrenia) have been more pronounced. I've got the latest copy of SuSE Linux 9.3 Professional ready to install but I just can't face it at the moment. In fact I'm having difficulty sorting out my bills and things. Although it's an unpleasant time to be going through, I'm glad that it didn't happen while I was at the Oxford ACCU conference. I've also bought a couple of books 1) SuSE Linux for dummies and 2) Networking SuSE Linux. A friend of mine, Joe Miller, wanted to have a Linux box on his network. Maybe these books will sort out these problems. And I'm scrounging old Windows/Office CDs from anyone I can.

I've been teaching people at Contact, Morpeth, how to use computers. Even the people who think they know computers are learning new things. And we're asking members of the public to donate unused computers to be lent out to people for a couple of months at a time. Some computers that have been donated will have wiped hard drives. So, as I am unwilling to pirate Microsoft software (Windows or Office), I will have to install Linux/Open Office instead.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I've reached another milestone - attending the
ACCU conference and I didn't have a psychotic episode. There were a few moments where I was thinking "this is not real, I'm hallucinating" but overall things were OK.

Since the last conference I attended, in Spring 2001, there were a few changes. Python had a stream for itself. So did security. And Template Metaprogramming replaced the usual talks on Generic Programming and the STL.

My house is a mess - too many magazines and books - so I bought 4 wide tall bookcases. Hopefully that will clear the clutter and remove my piles of books from my kitchen table. I've been reviewing books for the ACCU, including an eye opener on the Itanium architecture and the Linux kernel.

SuSE Linux 9.3 Professional is out and I asked SuSE if people on DLA (Disability and Living Allowance aka Disks and Licensing Agreement aka Drugs and Lager Allowance) could qualify for the student discount - and they said yes which was very nice of them.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Things have been a little rough lately. I've become obssessive about checking my gas cooker, fridge, upstairs and downstairs taps, back door and front door whenever I go out. So I've been a little obssessive.

Schizophrenia is like a banshee - it wails and your nerves end up like violin strings. When I go to church, I worry frantically about my house.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

My concentration is coming in peaks and troughs, I am experiencing voices and visions. Fortunately I have a little bottle of promazine (25mg) which I can fall back on when things get out of hand.

I've sent off for two new books, discounted at the Register bookstore:-

"Linux Kernel Development 2e" by Robert Love, Candace Bos, Jeanne Schumm ISBN 0672327201 which describes the latest (2.6) version of the Linux Kernel

"C++ Template Metaprogramming Concepts, Tools, and Techniques from Boost and Beyond" by David Abrahams, Aleksey Gurtovoy ISBN 0321227255

I'll be studying the kernel stuff first and later on I'll try to improve my generic programming skills - last time I used the STL was in 2002.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Not only do I have a New Year's Resolution to run a role playing game in the middle of the year, I'm also getting ready for version 2 of Open Office which is a free or open source clone of Microsoft Office.

How will I do this? Well there are no free courses for Open Office but Learn Direct are doing free courses for MS Office and basic computing skills. So I've signed up for PowerPoint (presentation tool) and Access (database program) and will be working on that this year. The MS Office skills will be directly transferrable to Open Office. Open Source rules ok!!

Monday, January 10, 2005

I watched "Jerry Springer - The Opera" on BBC2 over the weekend. There has been quite a fuss about it from Christians so I was a little concerned but I thought that it would be better that I judge for myself.

My final conclusion is that it showcased a lot of talent, even if it did conflict with some of my beliefs.

All in all, Christianity will survive this. My main concern is : How will organised religion cope with the first contact Earth has with extra-terrestrial intelligent life?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Good news! For the first time since 2000 I've had a Christmas/New Year that wasn't based at the hospital.

I've made a New Year's resolution:- to run a
Vampire : The Dark Ages role playing game. I'm taking Jan-Feb to absorb the rules, Mar-Apr to soak up the setting and May-Jun to read Vampyr/Medieval stories : see the White Wolf web site for more details