The Modern Misanthrope

WHEN WE HAVE CEASED TO LOVE THE STENCH OF THE HUMAN ANIMAL, EITHER IN OTHERS OR IN OURSELVES, THEN WE ARE CONDEMNED TO MISERY, AND CLEAR THINKING CAN BEGIN

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Fear of Flying Pales Next to Suicide Statistics
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Psychological autopsies on individuals who commit suicide suggest that 90 percent of people who kill themselves have serious …
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New spa-like abortion clinic is part of a trend to 'destigmatize' the procedure
And new online projects solicit personal testimonials, including from women who have no regrets about terminating their pregnancies. At Carafem, staff members plan to greet clients with warm … Since 2011, the number of college chapters has risen from …
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'I'm Not a Candidate': How Presidential Hopefuls Get Around Finance Rules
“This dinner is an opportunity for our distinguished guests to set themselves apart and announce to Iowa and the country why they should be the next president of the United States,” wrote the state's party chairman, Jeff Kaufmann. By the time the …
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NC said to be on list of finalists for 0 million Volvo plant
Volvo Car Group has committed to building its first U.S. automobile manufacturing plant, and North Carolina appears to be among the finalists for the $ 500 million project. Volvo aims to begin production in 2018 of 100,000 to 120,000 autos that will use …
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Full Sail University Launches REBL HQ in Collaboration With Maker Studios


Winter Park, FL and Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) March 20, 2015

Full Sail University, a worldwide educational leader in entertainment, media, technology, and the arts, and Maker Studios, the global leader in short-form video and the largest content network on YouTube, announced today a unique collaboration to produce premium programming at the new digital entertainment studio REBL HQ located on the Full Sail University campus in Winter Park, Florida, as well as develop and launch an online video creator curriculum.

Located in a brand-new facility that houses state-of-the-art video soundstages, REBL HQ will create content across genres such as comedy, gaming, beauty, travel, and more; will provide students with real-world opportunities to participate on professional productions, as well as study development, production and distribution for online short-form video; and will serve as an innovation hub for the evolving world of online video delivery systems, production techniques and storytelling.

Full Sail consistently works alongside entertainment industry leaders to create, mold and evolve pioneering curriculum and opportunities for our students. In addition to the exciting productions that will occur within REBL HQ, we know we have aligned with the industry leader in short-form content and look forward to the collaboration and educational opportunities that result with Maker, said Garry Jones, president of Full Sail University.

Full Sail University and Maker will develop and collaboratively offer innovative coursework in online video to a global student base through Full Sails award-winning online learning platform. The curriculum will provide instruction on best practices in content creation and optimizing online video creators ability to attract audiences.

Maker is always looking for new ways to help creative people develop their skills and grow audience to their full potential. We want to empower students with the proper skills to become a successful part of the digital content ecosystem. Were excited to produce programming with REBL HQ as well as share our expertise with Full Sail students, said Erin McPherson, chief content officer of Maker Studios.

While production activities commenced earlier this year at REBL HQ, today marks the official ribbon cutting ceremony to open the studio timed to Full Sails annual University Hall of Fame celebration, which recognizes the extraordinary accomplishments of graduates who have excelled in their career field.

Full Sail and Maker are working collaboratively on original content initiatives as part of REBL HQ such as todays launch of actress Gianna Simones YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/giannasimone) featuring the original series Love, Gianna. Another example is a five-episode series documenting student game developer teams and Maker talent such as Keyori challenged with creating a video game in just 48 hours. Full Sail Game Maker Challenge premieres March 28 at http://www.FullSail.edu/GameMakerChallenge.

About Full Sail University:

Full Sail University is an award-winning educational leader for those pursuing careers in the entertainment and media industry. Founded in 1979, Full Sail has been recognized as one of the 2014 Top 25 Graduate Schools to Study Game Design by The Princeton Review, one of the Top 25 Music Schools by The Hollywood Reporter, one of the Best Music Programs by Rolling Stone Magazine, and one of the Best Film Programs by UNleashed Magazine. Full Sail was named the 2014 School/College of the Year by the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges, received the 21st Century Best Practices in Distance Learning Award from the United States Distance Learning Association, and was recognized as one of the Top 100 Social Media Colleges by Studentadvisor.com.

Full Sail offers on-campus and online Masters, Bachelors, and Associates degree programs in areas related to Art & Design, Business, Film & Television, Games, Media & Communications, Music & Recording, and Web & Technology. Full Sail graduate credits include work on OSCAR

Cytokinetics Announces Publication of Results from Phase II Trial of Tirasemtiv in Patients with Myasthenia Gravis

South San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) March 25, 2015

Data from Evidence of Effect Trial Provide Support for Novel Mechanism of Action in Neuromuscular Diseases

South San Francisco, CA, March 25, 2015 Cytokinetics, Incorporated (Nasdaq: CYTK) announced the publication of a manuscript relating to its fast skeletal muscle troponin activator tirasemtiv in the journal Neurotherapeutics. This publication summarizes results from a Phase IIa Evidence of Effect or hypothesis-generating clinical trial which evaluated tirasemtiv in patients with generalized myasthenia gravis (MG). Tirasemtiv is the lead drug candidate from Cytokinetics’ skeletal muscle contractility program and is being developed as a potential treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

We are pleased to share additional clinical data relating to tirasemtiv in patients with generalized myasthenia gravis, stated Andrew A. Wolff, MD, FACC, Cytokinetics Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. We believe that effects observed on the Quantitative Myasthenia Gravis score and on vital capacity following administration of a single dose of tirasemtiv support the evaluation of skeletal muscle activation in patients with neuromuscular disorders including ALS. We are preparing to initiate a Phase III clinical development program to evaluate the effects of tirasemtiv on measures of respiratory function and other measures of skeletal muscle performance in patients with ALS.

The publication, titled A Double-Blinded, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial to Evaluate Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of Single Doses of Tirasemtiv in Patients with Acetylcholine Receptor-Binding Antibody-Positive Myasthenia Gravis, appeared online in the March edition of the journal Neurotherapeutics. The primary objective of this early-stage clinical study was to evaluate the effects of single 250 mg and 500 mg doses of tirasemtiv versus placebo on measures of skeletal muscle function and fatigability in patients with generalized MG and persistent muscle weakness. The secondary objectives of the study were to evaluate and characterize the relationship, if any, between the doses and plasma concentrations of tirasemtiv and its pharmacodynamic effects, and to evaluate the safety and tolerability of tirasemtiv administered as single doses to patients with MG. The authors concluded that 6 hours after dosing, tirasemtiv produced dose-related improvements from baseline in the Quantitative MG (QMG) score (slope: 0.49 QMG point per 250 mg administered; p=0.02; lower scores indicate better function) and in percent predicted forced vital capacity (slope: 2.2 % increase per 250 mg administered; p=0.04). The QMG improved by >3 points in twice as many patients after 500 mg tirasemtiv than after placebo. Both doses of tirasemtiv were well tolerated; there were no premature terminations or serious adverse events. The results of this study suggest that tirasemtiv may improve muscle function in patients with MG and support further development of tirasemtiv in neuromuscular diseases.

About Tirasemtiv

Tirasemtiv, a novel skeletal muscle activator, is the lead drug candidate from Cytokinetics’ skeletal muscle contractility program. Tirasemtiv selectively activates the fast skeletal muscle troponin complex by increasing its sensitivity to calcium and, in preclinical studies and early clinical trials, demonstrated increases in skeletal muscle force in response to neuronal input and delays in the onset and reductions in the degree of muscle fatigue. Cytokinetics is developing tirasemtiv, a fast skeletal muscle activator, as a potential treatment for ALS. Cytokinetics conducted BENEFIT-ALS, a Phase IIb, multi-national, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of tirasemtiv in patients with ALS. BENEFIT-ALS enrolled 711 patients from 73 centers in 8 countries. Following review of results from BENEFIT-ALS and initial regulatory interactions in both the United States and Europe, the company is preparing to advance tirasemtiv to a Phase III clinical development program that is designed to potentially confirm and extend results from BENEFIT-ALS. Objectives of the Phase III program will include measures of respiratory function after longer duration treatment in patients with ALS, including effects on Slow Vital Capacity.

About Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is a progressive, chronic neuromuscular disease that commonly strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70 and afflicts between 50,000 and 85,000 people in the United States. Approximately 13,600 new cases of myasthenia gravis are diagnosed each year. Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the junction between nerve and muscle, targeting either the muscle cells acetylcholine receptor (which receives signals from the associated nerve cell) or the muscle-specific kinase, a protein that helps to organize acetylcholine receptors on the muscle cell. The cause of myasthenia gravis is unclear. Researchers suspect viruses or bacteria may trigger the autoimmune response; the thymus gland also may play a role in the disease. Symptoms include fatigue and weakness of voluntary muscles, including partial paralysis of eye movements, double vision, droopy eyelids, and weakness and fatigue in neck and jaw regions. This weakness fluctuates daily but tends to progress over the course of a few years, especially as may be untreated.

About Cytokinetics

Cytokinetics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel small molecule therapeutics that modulate muscle function for the potential treatment of serious diseases and medical conditions. Cytokinetics is developing tirasemtiv, a fast skeletal muscle activator, as a potential treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Tirasemtiv has been granted orphan drug designation and fast track status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and orphan medicinal product designation by the European Medicines Agency for the potential treatment of ALS. Cytokinetics is collaborating with Amgen Inc. to develop omecamtiv mecarbil, a cardiac muscle activator, for the potential treatment of heart failure. Cytokinetics is collaborating with Astellas Pharma Inc. to develop CK-2127107, a fast skeletal muscle activator, for the potential treatment of spinal muscular atrophy. Amgen holds an exclusive license worldwide to develop and commercialize omecamtiv mecarbil and Astellas holds an exclusive license worldwide to develop and commercialize CK-2127107. Both licenses are subject to Cytokinetics’ specified development and commercialization participation rights. All of these drug candidates have arisen from Cytokinetics’ muscle biology focused research activities and are directed towards the cytoskeleton. The cytoskeleton is a complex biological infrastructure that plays a fundamental role within every human cell. Additional information about Cytokinetics can be obtained at http://www.cytokinetics.com/.

This press release contains forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the Act). Cytokinetics disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements, and claims the protection of the Acts Safe Harbor for forward-looking statements. Examples of such statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to Cytokinetics and its partners research and development activities, including the initiation, conduct, design, and results of clinical trials, the significance and utility of clinical trial results, the expected availability of clinical trial results, and the use of effects on respiratory function, including slow vital capacity, as a Phase III clinical trial endpoint for tirasemtiv; potential markets for tirasemtiv; and the properties and potential benefits of tirasemtiv and Cytokinetics’ other drug candidates. Such statement

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Renowned Master Psychologist Dr. Erving Polster to Discuss Gestalt Therapy During Special Event at National Universitys Costa Mesa Campus March 28


San Diego, Calif. (PRWEB) March 23, 2015

Renowned psychologist Dr. Erving Polster, a major contributor to the field of Gestalt therapy, will take part in a special discussion and workshop at National Universitys Costa Mesa, Orange County Campus on Saturday, March 28.

The event is part of the Distinguished Speaker Series at National University, the second-largest private, nonprofit university in California with campuses throughout the state; It is sponsored by the Universitys Psychology Department, which is housed in the College of Letters and Sciences, and hosted by National University psychology professor Dr. Caroline Paltin

Invited speaker Dr. Polster is the author of five books and a celebrated master therapist who has taught modern psychotherapy techniques to thousands of students over a career that included close collaboration and training with Fritz Perls, the founder of the Gestalt Therapy movement.

National University psychology professor Dr. Paltin has worked closely with Dr. Polster as founder and facilitator of the Mindful Life Focus Community. The special event will explore Dr. Polsters contributions to Gestalt therapy, and will be followed by a demonstration of his basic therapeutic techniques and purposes. He will also illuminate the workings of the Mindful Life Focus Community

Gestalt therapy falls under the field of humanistic psychology that was initially designed as an alternative to conventional psychoanalysis.

Among the books authored by Dr. Polster include the classic Gestalt Therapy Integrated: Contours of Theory & Practice, Uncommon Ground: Harmonizing Psychotherapy and Community to Enhance Everyday Living, and From the Radical Center: The Heart of Gestalt Therapy. He delivers trainings workshops and lectures worldwide, and is currently completing a book on the Life Focus Community an instrumentality in the communal application of psychotherapy.

The event begins at 10 a.m. with a discussion involving Dr. Polster and Dr. Paltin, followed by a box lunch at 1 p.m. The live demonstration is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m.

National Universitys Costa Mesa Campus is at 3390 Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa, 92626. General admission tickets are $ 60. Seating is limited. Tickets are available at http://www.polster.eventbrite.com.

About National University

Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. With 30,000 students and more than 140,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Five schools and one college the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies offer more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California. To learn more, visit http://www.nu.edu.

About National Universitys Psychology Department

National Universitys Psychology Department, housed in the College of Letters and Sciences, prepares graduates for careers in schools, hospitals, social service agencies, mental health centers, substance abuse clinics, consulting firms, and private companies. Degrees and programs include psychology, organizational behavior, counseling psychology, gerontology, performance psychology and human behavior.







American School to Attend Teach Them Diligently Convention


(PRWEB) March 17, 2015

American School will exhibit at the Teach Them Diligently Convention March 19-21 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. Those attending the convention are invited to visit American School in booth 740 on March 19 from 6-9 p.m., March 20 from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and March 21 from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. to learn more about American School and the educational services it provides to homeschool students and their families, including American School’s new online diploma program.

Students wishing to earn an accredited high school diploma may enroll in American School’s General High School or College Preparatory Program, both of which consist of 18 units of credit with room for electives. The traditional paper-based diploma program costs $ 2100, while the brand-new online diploma program costs $ 900 per year, or $ 3600 total. Included in the cost of tuition is access to American School’s password-protected Online Student Center, where students and parents can view student grades and records, access help sheets, receive links to homework web sites, and contact American School staff members.

American School also offers individual paper-based and online courses to students with an existing homeschool curriculum. Individual courses typically cost between $ 150 and $ 300, and students who take individual courses receive the same Online Student Center benefits as those students who are working toward their American School diploma.

Earlier this year American School partnered with Rosetta Stone to offer ten online world language courses, including Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Dutch, English as a Second Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish.

American School was established in 1897 and has helped more than three million students worldwide earn their high school diplomas. Today American School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools/Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS), Ai (Accreditation International) and NCPSA (the National Council for Private School Accreditation) and is recognized by the State of Illinois as a non-public high school.

For more information, call 866-260-7221 or visit http://www.americanschool.org.







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Edgenuity is Named First Ever Recipient of WebbAlign Depth of Knowledge Partner Certification

Scottsdale, AZ (PRWEB) March 16, 2015

Edgenuity, a leading provider of online and blended learning solutions, today announced it is the first recipient ever awarded the WebbAlign Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Partner certification from the Wisconsin Center for Education Products and Services. This certification was established by Dr. Norman Webb, creator of the concept of Depth of Knowledge, who is credited with rethinking how the assessment of student knowledge is measured. The recognition is a testament to Edgenuitys commitment to rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum with high-level student learning as the goal.

To help students learn, we need high quality learning materials and assessments, which are aligned to demanding curriculum standards. The DOK framework is an important tool for improving alignment, said Dr. Norman Webb, founder of WebbAlign DOK. This framework provides a tool for helping teachers assess achievement by asking students to demonstrate and apply their full depth of learning. We commend Edgenuity for becoming the first educational provider to step up and commit to the ongoing professional development and outside evaluation required by our partner certification program.

In the education industry today, the word rigor is used freely without a clear definition, said Sari Factor, CEO of Edgenuity. The WebbAlign Depth of Knowledge offers a clear, common language for understanding rigor and challenges educators to seek more than basic recall when assessing student understanding. Edgenuity is proud to lead the way in promoting these standards in blended learning classrooms.

Career Step Announces New Career FastTrack: Medical Coding Training Program

Provo, Utah (PRWEB) March 18, 2015

Career Step, an online provider of career-focused education and corporate training, is proud to announce the launch of its new Career FastTrack: Medical Coding course. This training program is designed to prepare former Career Step medical transcription students and graduates for careers in medical coding.

We have trained tens of thousands of medical transcriptionists over our 20+ year history, some of whom may be looking for new challenges within healthcare, particularly in medical coding, which has increasing demand and excellent career growth potential said John Tintinalli, Career Steps Vice President of Product Management. Therefore, weve created a streamlined and efficient program to take them there by building upon the skills and knowledge they have already acquired as transcriptionists.

The new Career FastTrack: Medical Coding program builds upon the training and experience of medical transcriptionists as a spring board for their medical coding and billing career education. The curriculum of the new program is based on Career Steps industry-approved Professional Medical Coding and Billing ICD-9/10 course and has been streamlined to help trained medical transcriptionists make the transition to a career in medical coding more quickly.

All of our career training programs prepare students for careers in in-demand fields, but our employer partners are reporting a particular need for quality medical coding and billing professionals all across the country, said Ryan Ewer, Vice President of Enrollments and Marketing. With medical coder shortages as high as 50% expected by the end of the year, there has been an increased movement among medical transcriptionists to transition to medical coding. This new program is designed to support these individuals by helping them quickly gain the skills needed for an alternate career in medical coding and billing.

Students enrolling in the new Career FastTrack: Medical Coding program will have 553 hours of online curriculum and will receive a voucher to take the Certified Coding Association (CCA) exam or the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam upon graduation. Students will also have access to Career Steps instructors and graduate advisors to ensure they have the help and support needed throughout the course and as they begin their new careers.

The Career FastTrack: Medical Coding program is currently only available to those who have previously trained through one of Career Steps medical transcription programs. Those interested are advised to take the skills evaluation available at CareerStep.com/career-fasttrack-medical-coding to ensure they have the knowledge and skills necessary for this streamlined program.

About Career Step

Career Step, an online provider of career-focused education and corporate training, has trained over 85,000 students, has more than 150 partnerships with colleges and universities nationwide, and provides training for several of the most respected healthcare employers in the nation. Career Step is committed to helping students and corporate employees alike gain the skills they need to be successful in the workplace, improving lives and business results through education. Career Steps training programs are currently focused in healthcare, technology and administration, and more information can be found at http://www.careerstep.com or 1-800-246-7836.







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Benedictine University’s Online MPH Recognized for its Excellence


Lisle, Il. (PRWEB) February 24, 2015

Benedictine Universitys online Master of Public Health (MPH) program has been ranked as one of the top online MPH programs in the nation by publichealthonline.org. To be considered for recognition by Public Health Online, a University must meet certain general criteria requirements and is scored in five key areas:

Government Contractor Online Search Company Nabs Venture Capital Funding Expert


Fairfax, Virginia (PRWEB) March 10, 2015

Government Proposal Solutions Inc. (http://www.GOVPROP.com) announced today that Jill Stelfox, Vice President and General Manager Location Solutions at Zebra Technologies, San Jose, CA has joined the Board of Directors as chair of the Finance Committee. GPSI matches government contractors and grantees with verified experts and consultants at http://www.GOVPROP.com.

Stelfox is an acknowledged industry expert in the development of dynamic solutions and exciting technologies,and is known for founding, leading and building innovative companies. Jill has a nationwide reputation as a successful entrepreneur and thought leader, said Eric Adolphe, CEO. Adolphe also noted her background in founding companies backed by venture capital funding, raising $ 50 million and returning over $ 1 billion to investors.

Stelfox’s corporate experience spans over 20 years, including key executive assignments as CEO of the Founder Institute, as well as other positions involving corporate development, finance and audit responsibilities. In addition to her corporate work, Jill has extensive board member experience at the Inova Health System, where she served as Quality Board Committee Chair. She has also served as a board member for the Girl Scout Council of the Nations Capital, Helping Children Worldwide and Women in Technology. Stelfox has a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from California State University.

About GOVPROP.com

http://www.GOVPROP.com

Election

ImageIt begins. The first couple of weeks of college have, perhaps predictably, been difficult. The dentistry’s taken care of, at least for the moment, but there’s been a horrible cold going around, bad enough to keep me out of college for two days feeling miserable, and rob me of a nice weekend. But the upside is that I’m back, although still not feeling great, and come the 18th I’ll be running for election as student LGBT officer.

I already know the post’s going to be contested, so unlike the leader of Glasgow City Council (who sees fit to send me flyers about it) I won’t be running unopposed and get in automatically. Those who know me know that I have a wicked competitive streak, so it’s certainly tempting to wheel out the deranged bloodlust and vow to make a sandwich spread of the crushed spines of my enemies. But I’m not going to, on something vaguely approaching principle. It takes a lot of courage to stand up in front of a bunch of (largely) teenagers and tell them why you think you’re awesome enough that they should support you. So anyone who does that has my admiration to a certain extent. I’m fairly certain most, if not all, of the candidates for the various posts will be younger than I am, and they cared enough to run for them instead of just doing joyriding or flavour crystal meth or dubstep or whatever it is the kids do these days. That’s awesome.

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Thy Venom’d Stang

Well, of course I was going to pay for my arrogance, wasn’t I? I have three and a half hours before I have to leave for my first day at Langside, and for the past week or so I’ve been having progressively worse toothache. I’m not sure if it’s wisdom teeth, general neglect, or both, but the entire right side of my face hurts like a bastard, as well as my throat. It’s not swollen or anything, I just look like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle. That’s about how I feel, too.

I’m just about getting by due to magical painkillers, but if it doesn’t recede on its own at least a little bit, there’s no way I can go in today. I’ll be trying to provoke neds into punching me in the face to get rid of all my teeth at once. Either that, or a complete zombie. So I’m waiting for 0830; that’s when I should be leaving, but also when the Glasgow Dental Hospital opens. If I’m not feeling any better by then, I’m making myself an appointment and not going into college until I can actually sit through a lesson or get any sleep without painkillers.

Fuck.

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Unconditional

I’m in. Now I just have to stay that way. I have a student ID card with a ludicrous photo, a small mountain of paperwork, and just under a week before my classes start. Since you didn’t ask, I’m enrolled for Highers in English, History, Psychology, Sociology and French. That’s a huge workload, complicated significantly by anxiety and having forgotten all the French I’ve ever learned.

Told you it was bad.

Of course, there’s more. There always is, with me. In a few weeks, elections for student government start. Compared to Croydon, it actually seems like it’s organised properly; affiliated to the NUS, proper positions and everything. So in keeping with my habit of getting overconfident and overextending myself, I’ve decided I’m going to stand. On the off-chance I actually win, you might be looking at the next LGBT officer. I mean, it’s not like I ever desperately wanted a position of responsibility in the past to satisfy my own insecurity and ego.

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Back to School

I have kind of a storied history with education. I went to an expensive, if second-flight, public school (public as in private, Americans) in south London, only to drop out at seventeen. I’ve always been highly-strung and weird. Highly-strung and weird and gay was not really a combination suited to that environment. Add in the pressure of A-levels, and it’s not wholly surprising. I had something like a nervous breakdown, spent what felt like six months in bed crying, and that was it.

I’ve spent basically the last five years trying to get back into education. Problem is, mental illness keeps getting in the way. My last attempt, at Croydon College, went pretty much the same. Stayed six months, and then essentially collapsed right before exams started. But, I’m either persistent or stupid, because I’m trying it again. This time at Langside College in Glasgow. Now, granted, I can cope with stuff a lot better now, and I actually have a support network in husband-shaped form. But I guess it also brings to mind an old idea; the definition of madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

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An Approximate Scot

I’m not quite sure how I feel about the mess that is the Scottish independence debate. Partly, that’s due to my own particular identity crisis. I’m half English and half Scottish, with a fair amount of Irish mixed into the Scottish side. I was born and raised in London, but most of my family are clustered around the west of Scotland. And for the past two years I’ve been living in Glasgow. That’s an uncomfortable confluence of circumstances, especially when forms ask me for my nationality and ethnicity. The first seems like an obvious ‘British’, but is that an ethnicity?

There’s a perennial thing in the British press about what, if anything, ‘Britishness’ means. For me, it’s a nebulous sort of catch-all. Am I proud to be British? Of course, history of violent colonialism and boy bands aside. I can’t really be proud to be Scottish, because until fairly recently I’d never lived here. My accent certainly marks me as English. But what’s Englishness? The playing fields of Eton? Grandmothers bicycling to church? I’m several counties and a couple of generations away from that seeming even faintly plausible. These days, ostentatious Englishness seems to be wholly the province of fat-headed racist morons and Morrissey. But I repeat myself. So fuck that, right?

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Stranger Here Myself

I can’t say I’m back by popular demand, because I’m not. Probably, on reading the tagline, a handful of people will have the same unspoken thought: “Who invited her?” I also can’t say I’m back because I had burning insights to deliver about the state of the world today, because I don’t. My name is Alex, and I have some opinions. I don’t particularly expect anyone to care much, but I’m writing them down.

I used to write a moderately successful blog about being seventeen and insane. I stopped being seventeen but kept being insane. At age 19, two years ago, I moved from London to Glasgow. I made a vague attempt to keep writing about it, and then… radio silence. I disconnected myself from the outside world; not wholly intentionally, but after a while it stops making any difference. I grew my beard, smoked a lot and wrote precious little. I did this because I don’t like people – not in the abstract, anyway. Certainly there are people I like, I’m just not very good with the species as a whole. Sometimes that means my relationships with people I care about suffer. I’m not very reliable. But I’m also 21 and (still) insane. I’m learning, and this is a part of that.

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