My name is Michael Reed. I am boy/girl/thing, created on 31/01/76. I live in a grim town in the North East (UK) with my mum and her husband and two cats. Not wishing to sound boastful but I’m more of a geek than a nerd.
If you want to find out what I’m up to, subscribe the RSS feed on the front page of the site. I don’t blog, as such, but I post up any interesting news I have about my activities. Rather than blog, if I think of something interesting to write about, I try to make in into a proper article try to get it posted somewhere.
Freelance technology writing
The University Of Life (The Sitcom Project)
One of the first things I had a go at writing was a sitcom. I mucked about with it for a couple of years, in between other bits of writing. I finished it off and submitted it to the BBC Writers’ Room project at the beginning of 2008. Pitted against the over 10,000 scripts that they receive each year, it was rejected without comment a few months later. The experience didn’t put me off dramatic and comedy writing though. Finishing a 28 page sitcom script and a series outline was a useful experience in itself. However, I’m not wasting my time with things like Writers’ Room in the future. Better to get involved in viable projects and then leverage that experience to gradually work my way into the business. I’ll add any new developments to the news page of the site, under the Sitcom Pilot category.
The Theory Of Gender Equivalence
I am writing a book about gender politics. Writing and researching the book combines my interests in philosophy, psychology and other social sciences. My writing on the subject of gender politics has its own website.
The book is an exposition of my philosophy of gender politics which I call Gender Equivalence. The basic premise is that men and women are equals in terms of character and intelligence; the apparent differences are the result of socialisation as opposed to inate biological causes.
I am reluctant to term GE ‘anti-feminism’ as some people wrongly associate feminism with noble ideals such as equality and women’s self-determination but GE is extremely critical of feminism. It’s not a masculine equivalent of feminism either; I believe that any philosophy of gender issues which is written from the perspective of a sole gender can only be of limited value. However, GE is critical of feminism and it does focus on male perspectives which I feel are unexamined and unrepresented in our culture.
At the beginning of ’05, after years of suffering with poor health and almost constant tiredness, I stumbled onto a new approach to sleeping. Basically, I get up a couple of hours later each day. Doing this, I maintain a discrete night and day – that is, I try to sleep for a period of not less than 8 hours and I then follow that with an uninterrupted period of being awake. I allow myself to sleep for as long as I want (where possible) and I find that it it is now quite rare for me to experience interrupted sleep.
This means that I have much better quality of life as I am no longer tired all of the time. After a few months of proper sleep my health had begun to improve and I was able to get out into the world a bit. I am now able to do some voluntary work and take part in other activities such as cycling. In addition, I can plan ahead a little bit and be reasonably sure that I can be in at least fair condition at a given point in time.
The downside is that I live like some sort of mad shift-worker: I might get up at 8pm and go to sleep at 11am one day, and then the next day, I am up at 10pm and asleep by 1pm. Also, things still go wrong: I sometimes wake up too early and I can’t always accurately predict how quickly I will progress through the day-night cycle – it might be two hours later for a couple of nights (5pm bed and then 7pm the next night), then a couple of nights stationary (7pm bed) and then a jump of five hours (midnight bedtime).
Until I am able to find some competent, sympathetic assistance from the NHS or social services I intend to keep to this system. The little taste of a normal life I’ve had as result is too good to give up. I might add that I do not receive any benefits or any official recognition of illness.
TBH, the more well I get, the more bitter I become about the whole thing…
I have added a current status section to the front page of the website from which you can find out what sort of time I am getting up, if you want to contact me in real life for some reason.
One of my main creative interests is music. I can play guitar fairly well and I can play synths well enough to compose music in conjunction with a computer. I am also interested in music recording/music technology.
Hopefully, I’ll get back into it a bit in 2009.
Voluntary work (Oxfam)
Due to my health problems, I don’t do any paid, regular work. However, I am able to do some voluntary work. At the time of writing (July 2006), I have nearly completed my first year of work (about 100 shifts) at a local Oxfam shop. Voluntary sector work can be extremely accommodating and they understand that I can only offer my services at certain times, during certain periods. I take part in a lot of the shop activities but I mainly concentrate on our (quite large) second-hand book section.
[Update 2009 - I've been out volunteering for a while but I'm ready to get back into it.]
I have a poor academic background but I did attend a sixth form college and a technical college after I left school. During the long periods of my life in which I have received no income or benefits while unable to work due to illness, I have made the most of the great charity shop scene in the town in which I live. I buy a lot of books to study with, and I’m quite proud of being almost entirely self educated beyond (barely) secondary level.
Leaving school coincided with the beginning of my sleep disorder and this contributed to my lack of academic achievement, as I sometimes had to go to college without going to bed the night before. I soon gave up and like everyone around me, presumed that I would simply grow out of the sleep disorder in time.
I briefly attended John Leggott Sixth college (’93-’94 Drama, English and Media Studies GCSEs) and also North Lindsey Technical College (’94).
I have been using computers since I was about eight but I went off the them for a couple of years in my late teens. Rather than try to upgrade my Commodore Amiga and Acorn Archimedes I started again with a PC. I bought a cheap 386 then upgraded it to a 486 and then a Pentium (and so on and so on…). I used OS/2 as my main OS on the PC for a few years before moving over to Linux. [2006 - Ubuntu Linux + Windows 2000]
I’ve done a bit of programming over the years (asm, C, etc) but I don’t seem to do much these days.
Apart from the serious stuff that I use the computer for, I have always enjoyed playing games, and I’m an avid retrogamer.
I consider myself a bit of a film buff although I don’t keep up with the new releases. My favourite directors are Woody Allen, Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam.
I haven’t watched TV regularly for about ten years (although, it’s difficult for me to remember exactly how long ago I “took the aerial out”). Most people I talk to admit there there is rarely anything good on and that they only watch TV out of habit. Instead, I watch what I want on video/DVD.
The irony is that I actually like a lot of TV programs, mostly older stuff and I watch it on video. I’ve been spoiled by getting so much stuff in bulk (thanks to charity shops/car boot sales) and I wouldn’t have the patience to tune in at a precise time each week in order to watch single episodes any more.
Specific programmes that I like include Red Dwarf, Survivors (70′s BBC sci fi, created by Terry “Blake’s 7″ Nation) , Blake’s 7, Star Trek (TOS and some TNG), Fawlty Towers, Monty Python and The Prisoner, Spaced, The Royale Family. I also like American sitcoms such as Ellen (first 2 series), Roseanne (all but last couple of series). I also like animated series such as The Simpsons (I bailed out at around ep 150 and people assure me that I did the right thing) and South Park. Just before I gave up on broadcast TV completely, I hung on to watch the Paramount Comedy channel every night. Go on, test me on Cheers and Roseanne knowledge.
In the spring of ’05, I rediscovered cycling after an absence of about ten years. Amazingly, my old mountain bike was still roadworthy, once I pumped up the tires and put some oil on the chain, so entry back into cycling was relatively inexpensive. At first, a quick go around the block left me a sore and out of breath, however, within six months I had done my first 45 mile round-trip.
The cycling and the new approach to sleeping (see above) went hand in hand. It occurred to me that, on days when I woke up at 10pm, for example, it got light by about 05:30 and I still had a good couple of hours in me. Consequently, once I built up the necessary fitness, I was sometimes able to do a few rides a week. The town in which I live is pretty grim but it is surrounded by beautiful countryside and over the course of about 50 rides, I’ve explored most of the sourrounding villages. I also use the bike for general commuting and shopping.