26 December 2008

Oh Christmas tree

Christmas has been a mixed bag so far. Mum has got flu, so is feeling even worse than usual, and I'm terrified I'm going to catch it off her and be ill for New Year. I had to make a considerable effort to ignore it and still give her a hug etc while she coughed in my face. I felt a bit like Princess Di hugging those lepers on TV.

Christmas Day was nice as I spent it up at Chris' and we had a nice lunch, and then we saw some friends in the evening. Mum did say in quite an accusatory tone what a boring day they'd had without me, but I thought that had been the point, so she didn't have to make any effort! So fuck it, I'm not taking responsibility for whether they have a nice Christmas, not when she TOLD me not to come home.

Then today was my annual hell of lunch with my horrible grandad. He was fairly well behaved for a change, but Mum came this year and shouldn't have because she felt ill straight away and the food took too long and then was wrong and then I had to wolf mine and drive her home before anyone else had even finished eating. So now I'm sat on my own while she rests. Still, at least it got me out of the lunch quicker, so it's not all bad, and hurrah for mobile Facebook and blogging.

20 December 2008

Still ill

I'm still feeling ill, I was hoping I'd be better today. It's kind of feeling more like a normal cold now, the more fluey symptoms have gone away a bit. I could live with that though, at least you can ignore a cold a bit.

Chris went out without me last night so I was on my own for pretty much the whole day, which was a bit depressing. I liked his self-interested reasoning: if you have to stay in cos you're ill, that's depressing; if both of us stay in that's twice as depressing. Hmm, twice as depressing for you maybe. It's even more depressing for me to stay here on my own! Anyway, he's just surfaced from the sofa bed, so I am off to breathe on him vindictively now.

19 December 2008

X-Factor final - move over Leona

So anyway, following on my from my ranty ill post, last Saturday was the long-awaited X-Factor final. The last three in the running were horrible, horrible little Eoghan/Eeyore/Eggnog/puttyface potato baby, JLS, and Alexandra. Naturally, we wanted Alexandra to win because she has easily the best voice.

I can't be arsed to go into massive amounts of detail, but first to be executed, I mean eliminated (wishful thinking) was Eggnog. Thank GOD for that, I was getting really worried about him. He was getting far too smug and sure of himself as the weeks progressed, and he just does NOTHING for me. He's too young to be cute, even when he's older he's not going to be cute because he looks like Michael Myers, he's got a fat arse despite being 16 years old, and there's just no power to his voice. He's just awful. So anyway, he got a quick slap down, leaving us with JLS and Alexandra.

Things could still have gone either way, as lots of people seem to like JLS. In my opinion, this was the moment that finished them off though, 51 seconds into this video:



What the HELL was that??? We were so stunned when we saw it we had to rewind it three times just so we could laugh at it.

So in the end, after I'd sneakily voted six times at considerable expense whenever Chris' wasn't looking, Alexandra emerged as the rightful victor. She seemed rather more surprised than I thought she would be, she could hardly talk, and she was crying so much that her foundation went all streaky (as a friend correctly pointed out - they'd gone for expensive mascara that didn't run, but scrimped on the foundation).

So hooray! Obviously I would have preferred Austin, but that dream died weeks ago. They've since released the voting shares for each week, and to my HORROR Eehhggeeoon got the highest number of votes in 6 out of the 10 weeks. So we had a lucky escape there I think, I couldn't stand hearing him on my television all over Christmas. At least he can bugger off into Irish obscurity now.

Alexandra has released a version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah as the X-Factor single and basically guaranteed Christmas Number 1. I quite like it, I've always liked the Rufus Wainwright version, and she makes it into an uplifting song. It's brought some controversy with moany whingebags on the internet proclaiming Jeff Buckley's version is the definitive version and it should never be recorded again, and they've started a download campaign that might see us have the same song in the Number 1 and Number 2 slots by different people, which is ridiculous. I've listened to his version and don't actually like it. He sings it with a lot of pain, I'll give him that, but if I want pain I'll slam my face in the fridge door. I just find him quite whiney, his volume changes are abrupt, and his trill things are random and unstructured. So anyway, I prefer the Alexandra version.

So that was the end of X-Factor for another year. Shame the Christmas Number 1 is always guaranteed to be whoever wins the show, it's quite hollow. I like Alexandra though, she's got a great voice and she's less sappy than Leona.

Fed up

I'm so fed up. I'm ill, and have been since 3am on Tuesday morning when I woke up with raging backache and headache. I appear to have caught the flu, and this time it actually is the flu and not just a cold that you have to call the flu so you get more sympathy. I spent Tuesday laying on the sofa unable to sleep because the pain in my lower back was so bad, cramming paracetamol eagerly down my neck only to find it didn't make the slightest difference.

Since then my symptoms have been varying themselves each day, just to keep me interested. On Wednesday I was feverish, dizzy and achey, and then the aches turned into shooting pains in my hips overnight. Since then it's been a mix of dizziness, an annoying cough, neck ache, general fatigue, and bizarre temperature fluctuations that have me sweating even when it's freezing in here.

Surprisingly for me, I actually have a piece of work that I need to get on with (I know, who would have thought?) and so I've been stressing about that. Today I tried to drag myself into work because I thought I'd be feeling better, but I didn't even make it out to the car with Chris before I felt faint and had to give up. And then I was just annoyed with myself for getting up early and wearing myself out and making myself feel worse. It's our office Christmas party today too, so I'm missing that now.

And on top of that, when I did get to the car this morning we found that some fucktard has done something to the passenger door so you now can't open it from the outside. The key doesn't really turn in the lock, and the handle just flaps uselessly up and down. You can open it if you get in the driver's side, thank god, so it's not a disaster. If both doors had been fucked it would have been a nightmare this close to Christmas. Who would do that? Why the fuck can't people leave things alone that don't belong to them? It's not even that nice a car to try and steal, if that's what they were doing. It's seven years old, it's small, and the paintwork is all scratched where Chris helpfully 'cleaned' it with a scouring pad, not thinking that perhaps that's a bit abrasive for use on a car.

So anyway, now we've got that to sort out as well. Won't be before Christmas, there are only two working days left. Then the new year... probably not time again before Chris goes back to work. So then when? February half term? How fucking ridiculous.

So I'm fed up. And I don't want to be ill any more. And Chris' sympathy has long since expired - I only get two days of it before he gets bored and decides me being ill is just annoying. I've been too ill even to blog the final of X-Factor, after months of watching it and ranting about it on here. Maybe I'll do it in a minute, first I'm going to channel hop on the TV and see if I can find someone less fortunate than me to make myself feel better.

UPDATE: Ha! I didn't even need to channel hop, because East17 have popped up on the telly and Brian Harvey is certainly less fortunate than me. For one thing, he's entirely unfortunate looking, he looks like a rat baby. And he also had that incident where he accidentally ran over his own head (quite an achievement) and had to spend months in hospital. And then he tried and FAILED to become our Eurovision entry, which really is a slap in the musical face - you're not even good enough for Eurovision, the continental career-killer. So yes he's less fortunate than me and I'm quite pleased about it.

11 December 2008

Work Christmas do

In the end there wasn’t really any drama to report from yesterday’s Christmas do. Nobody was sick, nobody was asked to leave or told they were making a scene, and Abby didn’t even do the skit she’s been preparing for the last 8 months.

We had a nice meal though. I had tikka halloumi kebab for my starter, and then my main was potato rosti topped with spinach topped with a poached egg topped with melted cheese, which was yummy. And the dessert was doughnut straws with chocolate dipping sauce and vodka sozzled cheeries, mmmm. Plus we got a good half bottle of wine each, and it was all free! Well not free, but I’m not paying, and that amounts to the same thing.

I also had a new and enjoyable experience at the restaurant (no I didn’t put my hand in anyone’s bra), I fed a baby for the first time:


It’s only the second or third time I’ve even held a baby, so I was a bit unsure what to do when it came to combining holding AND feeding. I was assured though that if I just shoved the correct end of the bottle into his mouth and tipped it up a bit, he’d know what to do. Luckily for me he seemed more experienced than I was at it. I actually really liked it, and he was very good and wasn’t sick on me. And then he sat on my lap for quite a while and occasionally tried to hurl himself off sideways through general wriggling.

While I don’t think that I’m anywhere near wanting a baby properly yet, I did enjoy having one for half an hour, and it made me think that maybe I will want one at some point. For now though I think I’m happy with occasional cuddles and feeding of other people’s babies, with the option of giving them back if they start to make unusual noises or turn green or anything. I think I’d make a good uncle for a start, and then maybe a dad in five years or so, or whenever I’m ready to give up on all the selfish aspects of my lifestyle in favour of a small pink blob wrapped in a blanket.

Anyway, after our meal a few of us went for a couple of drinks at the pub down the road, and then people slowly trickled off until there were just four of us left. Then by 9.30 we’d had enough too, so we mooched off home WITHOUT being asked to leave, so clearly an improvement on last year.

I was in work at 8.15 this morning, feeling fine (good old vodka, always my friend), and now I’m just dossing around waiting for our email and internet to start working properly again. It sort of works, but the internet takes 5 minutes to load any pages, and everything is just very slow and intermittent. So I am plumbing new depths of unproductivity today!

09 December 2008

Christmas Christmas Christmas

I have my work Christmas lunch tomorrow, I'm quite looking forward to it. Last year it got quite messy, and I'm hoping this one will be equally entertaining.

It's a little dangerous I think to have the Christmas lunch on a Wednesday when lots of us have got to come in and have meetings and things on Thursday, but it also makes it quite amusing because you get to see what state everyone is in. We're quite lucky here that the university pays for the lunch too, and we get the afternoon off to go to it. In my previous jobs although you might get the afternoon off you always had to pay for it yourself.

I'm hoping also that the meal might get me a bit more in the Christmas mood, I'm not really feeling it yet. This is despite having put up a Christmas tree last week and having done almost all my Christmas shopping.

Last year we had a nice meal out, and then about half of us went to the pub for a couple of drinks afterwards. Having started drinking with cocktails at 1pm though, it was inevitable that we would peak quite early, and by 8 o'clock I was flagging. This ended up being entirely fortuitous though, because about 20 minutes after I went home the rest of our group got thrown out for being 'drunk and aggressive'. So hurrah, I was spared the ignominy of being ejected from a pub by someone half my age when it was still only early evening.

I shall record on here any highlights of our excursion, including any instances of arrest, incontinence or emesis. We're such a highclass bunch...

04 December 2008

The End of Mr Y

I've just finished reading The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas, and I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd write a little something about it.

I only read it because a friend brought it into work and then asked if I wanted to borrow it; otherwise I don't think I would have ever heard of it. I quite like it when that happens though, when you end up reading something you would otherwise have missed out on and then you really enjoy it.

When she offered to lend it to me, I asked what it was about, and (reading off the back) she told me it was an "engaging story that makes you rethink the nature of existence and the true structure of the world". Hmm, I thought, that doesn't sound very exciting... I had a look at it myself though and found that further down it also said "a thrilling adventure of love, sex, death and time-travel", which had me hooked straight away! Clearly marketing is not my friend's forté.

Anyway, the book is very good, and it does indeed live up to both of those quotes. The story is about a young academic called Ariel who comes across a copy of an exceedingly rare novel. Supposedly, the novel is cursed, and anyone who reads it ends up dying. Of course she has to read it, and she gets drawn into a dangerous world she could never have imagined and has to re-evaluate everything she thought she knew.

Being a fan of fantasy and sci fi, the book really worked for me, although I felt it slowed down a little in the middle. It picked up pace a lot after that though and I read the second half in a single afternoon. In its entirety, it is very original, and a lot of thought has obviously gone into its construction. Lots of the ideas it weaves together aren't actually original though, and I recognised elements of lots of things I've seen before. Not wanting to give too much away, they included:

  • the Q continuum in Star Trek
  • the Matrix
  • Being John Malkovich
  • the Discworld theory of gods
  • the 'rare and dangerous book' theme from The Shadow of the Wind
  • and a little bit the Better Than Life game in Red Dwarf
If you know what all those things are, then the combination of them probably gives you a fair idea of what the book is about. And if you like all of those things (personally I hated Being John Malkovich, but it's only similar to the book in a minor way), then you're sure to enjoy it, so go read it.

03 December 2008

Cursed

I really think that my parents' house must be built on an Indian burial ground; they have a ridiculous amount of bad luck. Obviously they don't live in America or anything, but maybe some Indians made a special trip over in order to bury their dead in East London or something.

Aside from the fact that Mum got ill several years ago and has remained officially disabled since then, and that Dad got made redundant from his job earlier this year (which in some ways was actually a good thing), they have myriad things that go wrong, things that break, things that cost money.

Take last Friday. It wasn't Friday the 13th or anything, God knows what else would have happened had it been, but still:
  • Mum got ill with flu. Not a big deal, but worse for her than some other people because she's ill generally anyway, and so could do without additional viruses. Also, she hardly leaves the house, so where did she get flu from? Anyway.
  • Dad didn't get paid. Some mess up at the bank and at his employer apparently, but no-one noticed until Mum checked their account to pay the start of the month bills and found there was no money in it.
  • OK those two things aren't too bad, annoyances but not disasters, for some people the money thing would be a big problem, but they've got savings. But then what else happened? Dad was driving home from work, stationary at some lights, and someone crashed into the back of him! "Oh sorry, I didn't see you". What??
So obviously Mum gets stressed at the drop of a hat anyway, she stresses if she can't find the right pair of glasses (she has about 4 for different types of looking at things), so the combination of feeling ill, having no money, and the car being smashed up at the back sent her into a tailspin. They can sort it out obviously, most of it's fixed now - Mum's feeling a bit better, the bank gave Dad his money yesterday, and the car is going to the garage today to be fixed on the other guy's insurance. But still, quite a bad day I think you'll agree!

And it's not just last Friday, it's every other week with them. They have new radiators put in, and they start leaking within a week and the carpets are all soaked. Their hi fi reaches the end of its one year warranty, and the CD player and radio both pack up on it at the same time. The cat got a mouth tumour and had to have an expensive operation. Dad had someone make an insurance claim against him for a car accident on a road he's never been on. The list goes on, and those are all fairly recent!

So anyway, I think they need to be exorcised or something. And of course I'm the one who gets Mum in a flap needing calming down on the phone whenever any of it happens. I might have to start hiding horseshoes and lucky rabbits feet around their house, just to try to even out the bad karma.

26 November 2008

Christmas, hair, and internet telepathy

I'm starting really to look forward to Christmas this year now, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Christmas would appear to be in full swing already in all the shops and on the TV, so I feel like I may as well start to get into it. I flicked onto 4Music the other day and they were already playing Christmas hits on loop, and it's not even the end of November! I think I'm going to get quite tired of hearing Mistletoe and Wine and that stupid Slade song they play ad infinitum every year by the time we actually get to Christmas.

My second reason is that I'll be doing something a bit different this year, and spending Christmas day with Chris for the first time. For the last few years I've stayed over at his Mum's house on Christmas Eve, had presents with him and his family first thing in the morning, and then gone back to my own parents' for the rest of the day. That was fine, I quite like it because I've always spent Christmas day with them, but Mum doesn't really like Christmas that much and gets very worn out with it quite quickly. Last year we ended up sitting with the lights off (because of her eyes) and no music on (because of the noise), and I felt like sticking a fork in my neck just to make sure I hadn't suffered brain death without noticing.

This year Mum has already announced she doesn't want to do Christmas, or at least she wants to do a very reduced version. There will be no decorations, no tree, we will not be having a roast turkey dinner, and we will be getting one present each only up to the value of £20. She's hoping this will mean she'll still be feeling well enough by Boxing Day to do lunch with my horrible grandad, as she missed it last year and doesn't want to miss another. I'm always very supportive, and said yes of course that's fine with me.

Then Chris and I discussed what we want to do over Christmas, particularly as this is our first year as a married couple, and decided maybe it would be nice to spend it together at his Mum's house. I was a bit unsure how Mum would react to that, so had to gear myself up to asking if that would be OK with her. Chris did his usual thing of placing me firmly between the two of them, by saying "don't ask her if it's OK, tell her it's what you want to do", so once again I had to do my balancing act of trying to keep both of them happy. In the end though, it went surprisingly smoothly, as when I spoke to Mum about it she said "oh well I was going to ask you if you wanted to do that anyway, I know you must get bored here, and as we're not doing Christmas properly anyway...". So I was really surprised! But pleased, and now Chris and I can have a nice day together and I'll see Mum and Dad on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day instead. Hooray!

This post is quite long already, so I won't dwell too much on the other (hopefully intriguing) parts of the subject line. The first is the fact that I have new hair. I'm still not quite sure about it, I've had quite a few nice comments, but sometimes I think it looks a bit odd. Chris cut it for me (he did very well actually), based on a picture I found on the internet and some 'how to cut hair' videos I watched on Expert Village. This is what I was going for:


And this is what it now looks like:


My eyes are doing that weird thing where one is bigger than the other in the picture, don't look at that bit. I think it looks a bit better in real life than it does in the picture too. It's not too far off, I think considering it was cut at home it's come out quite well. And it means I get to have spikey hair while still disguising my huge forehead a bit. It's a shame my hair isn't really long enough in some places yet. God I do have the most humongous forehead actually, it's about three times the size of his. I should install solar panels on it.

Anyway, also I have become rather addicted to Twittervision UK. It's a combination of Twitter and Google Maps, and it lets you watch what people are twittering all over the UK. I find it really compulsive to watch, it's just little snatches of conversations and people's idle musings, and it feels a bit like you're reading their thoughts. It's quite voyeuristic. There's a worldwide version too, but I found that less interesting because it kept jumping to tweets in Japanese and Portuguese that I couldn't read. So anyway, between Facebook, writing this post, and Twittervision, I have to say my productivity really has taken a tumble this morning. I suppose I better take a look at my emails...

24 November 2008

Creamy Fingers second outing

We went to Creamy Fingers again last week. It was the second time they've run it after a bit of a gap since its launch. I think it's meant to run fortnightly now, so I'm not sure why they had the launch, then a gap, then the second one, but anyway.

It was.... OK. Quite good in some ways, very boogalooy, and Dolly Rocket seems to be doing it now too so it's even more boogalooy than when they had Le Gateau Chocolat. The music was really good, the DJ put on some really good stuff from quite early on.

It encountered a tiny problem though in that no-one seemed to come. I think they probably had about... 20 people? 30 tops, including those that only came for a drink then went away. And three of those were us! So it was a bit sad really, I'm really worried about it.

We had a bit of a dance and a few drinks (it's always very cheap in there), and then Stu did one of his 'intimate' cabarets, where he knows that basically there's not enough people there. Chris semi-nobly took part in the cabaret, in that Jamie shoved him towards the stage so he didn't have much choice, and also he probably wanted to be a bit generous to Stu. He came to regret it a bit though, because the cabaret game was based on answering questions and eating a cream cake if you get it right and two cakes if you get it wrong (or maybe the other way round) until one of you has cleared a massive tray of cakes and is declared the winner. The cakes were quite nice, but you can't really eat eight of them in quick succession while drunk, so I had to help him out a bit by scoffing a couple. He still lost though, to some girl who was more popular with the crowd (presumably because she had more than two friends), but we did win a box of maltesers. He then threw up in the toilet, nice.

But considering that was only the second Creamy Fingers and it didn't attract very many people at all, I think it is a bit of a worry. I just don't get what the problem is, Boogaloo used to be so popular and had a very loyal following. I suppose the loyal following has grown up and can't go clubbing on a weekday so much now (apart from us as we don't mind going in hungover). They need to attract a new student crowd who think it's cool, some of the kooky gay kids who aren't into the mainstream tight t-shirts and doosh doosh doosh music of Revenge. But how? I could post an advert for them on the university social network, I don't think I'd get into trouble for that, and at least if that got them to join the Facebook group it might widen the audience a bit. Boogaloo Stu should really sell it at Super Boogaloo this Saturday too, that's the right kind of crowd and it's always full on a Saturday.

Chris thinks it's a problem with clubbing in general, rather than Creamy Fingers itself, particularly mid-week clubbing. Everywhere seems pretty quiet, people just aren't going dancing any more. Maybe it's to do with 24-hour licensing, as people don't need to go on to a club in order to carry on their evening, they can just stay in the pub? But then again even the gay bars have been pretty quiet. Do people just not like going out any more?? When did everyone get so old?
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20 November 2008

Silly white boys

I'm fed up with seeing that stupid picture of a hippo at the top of my blog now, so I'll have to write something else on here to push it down.

I am amused lately by silly white boys who think they are black. There's a boy who gets my bus home, I think he works on the building site on campus or something (if he doesn't he really needs to rethink those paint-spattered jogging bottoms), and he invariably makes me snigger when he rolls up to the bus stop. He does this weird bowl walk where his right hip kind of swings down with every step of that foot, in a cross between a swagger and a limp. He wears a silly sock hat, and has the music up too loud on his MP3 player. It's some sort of rap music (is it still called rap these days? or is it urban or break beats or something? oh whatever), and as he bowls along he likes to make odd hand gestures with one hand, kind of in a pointing gun sort of shape, that he jabs down towards the ground presumably in time with the lyrics.

Does he not realise people can see him doing all this? He looks like such a twat! You're not black you silly white boy, you're very very white and also quite pikey.

In other news, the girl who steals my seat on the bus was there again today. She needs a name actually, um... she shall henceforth be called the Seat Snaffler. So anyway, today the Seat Snaffler was tap tap tapping on her bloody laptop in my seat instead of just reading journal articles. Stop trying to look bloody intellectual! It's not Starbucks you know, it's not an appropriate place for you to be working on your screenplay, particularly when it meant I had to sit next to a pikey schoolgirl who smelled a bit funny.
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18 November 2008

Fussy hippo

This is so sweet! This fussy pygmy hippo called Chico won't eat anything unless it is fed to it by this glove puppet. Surely it doesn't think the glove puppet is an ACTUAL hippo???



Awful teeth though, it's got worse teeth than Dean Gaffney.
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17 November 2008

Stupid bloody work- and delivery-men

I HATE fucking workmen and fucking delivery men. Why can they never do as they say they're going to do? Why? Why must they do this? So many times now I have waited in ALL day for some sort of delivery or engineer, only for them not only not to come on time, but not even to come at all! And even worse, sometimes they say they DID come, but that you must have been out! Why would they even say that? When you've been sat there all day, not really doing anything, waiting, wasting your life for them, in order for them to do some tiny thing that'll probably only take half an hour. How many human hours must have been wasted in this way, with people all over the globe sat in their houses, looking out the window occasionally, wondering why "between 9 and 12" always seems to mean "maybe by 5 if you're lucky, if at all, if we feel like it".

And of course you can't ring them up and ask where they are, because if you ring too early they'll just say "well they can come any time up until [insert made up and unlikely time here]". So you have to wait, and wait, and wait, until it's 5pm and you KNOW they're not coming, and then you ring them (or wait until the next day because unfortunately our office is now closed, office hours are BLAH to FUCK) and they say "oh yes, they didn't come. Can you be in next Tuesday between 6am and 11.33pm?" DON'T THEY REALISE PEOPLE HAVE THINGS TO DO IN THE DAY?????????????? ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGH!

Death to all workmen, death to all delivery men, death to anyone who comes anywhere near me and my crimson glare of death in the next half hour.

12 November 2008

I know I'm a bit weird, but...

I could probably start lots of posts like that actually. I am a bit weird, I have lots of funny things I do, most of which (I hope) no-one knows about.

Anyway, I know I'm a bit weird, but there is a particular seat on the bus that I always like to sit in. I have tried out sitting in various positions, and I have chosen it as being the best in terms of ease of alighting, view, being away from screaming babies, not being too near the back where the school children who might harass you sit, and various other factors. So whenever I get on the bus, that's where I head for.

And recently some stupid girl who gets the same bus to work as me has obviously adopted it as her favourite seat too. She must get on somewhere before me, because almost every morning now there she is, smugly ensconced in my seat reading her stupid photocopied journal articles and trying to look intellectual. And it's really annoying! That's my seat! But aside from getting up early in order to catch a different bus, or catching a bus in the other direction first so I can then get on somewhere before she does and stick my tongue out at her when she gets on at the next stop (a bit extreme maybe), there's nothing I can do about it.

Is it weird of me to have a favourite seat? It is a little. But anyway, I learnt to embrace my odd quite a while ago.

11 November 2008

Further update to the homosexual dilemma

I think my decision is made now regarding Dave's wedding. I've booked a hotel for the night for the both of us (me and Chris, not me and Dave, I imagine he'll be sharing a room with his new wife), but Chris is only going to come to the evening. So I'll do my ushering or whatever Dave wants during the day, sit with whoever they put me with for dinner (please not Grandad, please not Grandad), and then Chris can arrive discreetly with the other evening guests. I'm not sure how late my Grandad will stay, he'll probably want to be heading home by 8 or 9 hopefully.

It's a bit of a shame for me to be playing this stupid game still at 27, but I think it's for the best, there's no real benefit to me coming out to everyone on that side of the family at this stage. I did mention to Dave that I didn't want Grandad to cause a scene at the wedding and that that was one of my primary concerns, and he said "oh we want him to cause a scene; he's going to hit the roof when he hears Janine isn't taking our name". Which was nice I suppose, but I still don't believe he actually wants his wedding spoilt by an opinionated unpleasant old man.

Is it wrong that I'm still holding out hope he won't still be with us by May? Probably a little. Fuck it, he should have tried being a bit nicer shouldn't he?

Stupid Rainbowfish Boy

We saw Rainbowfish Boy again the other day, walking along with his stupid new stubble and some "friend". I haven't mentioned him much since I wrote this original post in which I established the Pyramid of Hate. We have seen him a couple of times though, out at the Ghetto and in the street. Not as much as we used to, which is a plus, but he's obviously still around.

Chris has moved beyond trying to be polite, or even ignoring him, and instead sneered at him the last time we walked past him. I don't know if he noticed or not, but it was satisfying nonetheless.

I bet we end up stuck in a lift with him one day, or introduced to him as someone's new boyfriend, and then there'll be an awkward silence where we have to decide if we ask him why he's such a twat or not. That reminds me, I must buy a new can of Mace..

10 November 2008

Poor politicians

I'm feeling quite sorry for politicians today. Usually of course they get very little sympathy from me, especially the ones I dislike or don't agree with. But I've noticed several things in the last few days that politicians aren't allowed to say/do, whereas in any other job they'd be perfectly permissible.

  • Agreeing with someone not in your own party and/or having the same idea as them, or accepting their idea is a good one. This is instantly labelled as 'jumping on the bandwagon' and used to criticise the relevant person. What's wrong with saying "why yes you're right, we should do that"? They should be pleased that the country is being run the way they want it to, not say the government is bandwagonning (not a word, I know). Isn't it in the nation's best interests for the best ideas to be adopted, regardless of their party of origin? Or are ideas only correct when they're contrary to what the opposing party wants?
  • Changing your mind. This is always called "making a u-turn" and is usually the subject of stupid headlines on stupid newspapers, and articles about government climb-downs or cavings in. Don't we all change our mind sometimes? And if a convincing argument is presented against what you've decided, surely it's right that you accept it, not soldier on regardless, letting a wrong decision become further and further entrenched.
  • Saying you don't know. I'm not sure when we started presuming omniscience in our politicians, but they don't seem to be allowed to say "I don't know" or (better) "I don't know, but I'll happily find out". Instead they have to guff their way out of it, or make something up, or dodge the question.
So anyway, I'd quite like to see a politician who listened to alternative ideas, adopted them when they are convincingly argued as being superior to their own, isn't afraid to change their mind if new evidence comes to light, and isn't afraid to admit they don't know everything.

I'd vote for them. They sound far more rational than most politicians.

09 November 2008

This is getting silly now

OK, I don't want it to seem like all I write about on here is X Factor, but once again I find myself going WHAT???? after the most recent episode. It's just SO ridiculous! Even Simon Cowell knew it was just getting stupid this week, as for some bizarre reason they had Laura and Ruth in the bottom two. OK so Laura's wasn't her best, which I blame on her choosing to play the piano as well as sing. Why over-complicate it for yourself? Her singing clearly got better once she got up from the piano and could focus on it. But anyway, that's not the point, the point is we still have Eoghuoounn there, based solely on the fact that he's a stupid child, and we still have Daniel, based solely on the fact that his wife died and he then devoured her corpse and turned into a massive Jabba The Hutt in a suit. I can't believe it! Laura was a really good singer, and neither of those two chumps can actually sing! And still they don't even end up in the bottom two!

I did like very much though the way she and Ruth just ignored Dermot's attempts to host when he announced who was going, and carried on hugging and consoling each other despite his calls for Ruth to bugger off so he could examine Laura's best bits.

So anyway, the whole programme has just turned into a farce. Amusingly, loads of people had immediate Facebook statuses expressing their disgust, and when I searched TweetScan for 'x factor' lots of people had written various angry comments on Twitter, mostly calling for Fat Daniel to be executed as soon as possible. I just don't get it, I really don't. You may as well roll a die and get rid of one of them that way, and save us all three hours - it's that random.

08 November 2008

Popstarz after all after all

Actually I did end up going to popstarz because I had quite a lot of wine at home on my own and then went and joined the others regardless. It was only ok though, music was alright but Chris had managed to fall out with someone and then they all peaked much earlier than me. And then he tried to fall out with me on the way home for some reason, but I think he's just being an angry drunk. But anyway, I don't feel like the lame one for once, yay! Makes a change.

07 November 2008

So no Popstarz after all then

I had thought maybe we'd go to Popstarz tonight, as we haven't been there for a little while. But as usual events have conspired against me, and now I'm at home on my own. I was quite tired after work (despite having done very little), and then after dinner Chris fell asleep on the sofa. I pottered around quietly for half an hour until I got bored, and then went and laid on the bed and fell asleep myself. An hour later he wakes me up to say he's had a text and is going to the pub and do I want to come, and no I don't really because it's pouring with rain outside and I'm half asleep. So off he's gone "just for a bit", which usually means he'll find he's having a good time and not be home until 3am. And although I always have the option of joining him later, I know I'll never actually do that because I'll be way behind on the drinking and won't be able to get back into it.

So I guess it'll just be a night in on my own again. I'm buggered if I'll be watching Gordon Ramsay's Wankalong Live though, I'm not that bloody desperate.

06 November 2008

They had to go and spoil it

I was so excited to see that America doesn't always just pick the safe choice, and isn't always going to be governed by old white men, and that young people can be active in politics and make difference. But then today I find that, while some things change, some also remain the same.

Having drawn a line under its segregationist history by electing a black president, some Americans have shown that they are still more than happy to oppress a minority for no particular reason other than they are different to them. Proposition 8 has been passed in California with 52% of the vote, amending the state's constitution so that now only marriage between a man and a woman is considered 'valid'. It's such a shame that the country can seem so modern and free, but at the same time it regularly reminds us that is also hugely conservative and dominated by religion.

I don't really understand the argument that gay marriage being called marriage somehow undermines the value of marriage in general. Although the advocates of Proposition 8 state that they are not making an attack on gay couples, as they can still form legal domestic partnerships in California, if you probe their argument more deeply you can clearly see it is homophobic and discriminatory:

Marriage is an important and valuable institution -> Gay people getting married reduces the value of marriage -> If the legal part of being married is the same in both circumstances, the key difference must be the gay part -> To say gay marriage has a negative effect on the institution of marriage is therefore to say being gay is negative and somehow 'less' than being straight.

So how can they say it is not an attack on gay couples? And I'm sure lots of people who voted yes on Prop. 8 do believe being gay is wrong, and that was the reason they voted yes, not because of some principled stand on the value of marriage.

And saying "well they can form a domestic partnership, it gives the same rights, so they have no need to call it marriage" merely establishes a parallel, but separate system. Hmm, where have we heard 'separate but equal' before, now let me thing.... oh yes, segregation. I thought we'd accepted that was wrong?

So, although they've made a big step forward this week, they've also made a step back and there is still lots of work to be done.

05 November 2008

Morning after

Quite sleepy today but pleased that Obama won. My alarm woke me rather harshly at 5.30am and I put the TV back on to find that McCain had already conceded and Obama had given his victory speech. Despite the fact that lots of the results are still forecasts, it seems pretty clear cut and everyone has accepted Obama won.

So then I went back to sleep until 7, and now the news is just cycling around and around announcing his victory again and again. I'm glad I stayed up for Ohio, they always say you can't win the White House without winning Ohio, so once he had that one it was fairly clear he was safe.

I feel an unusual urge to go back to America now. I really enjoyed our trip there, and there are so many different places to see. Maybe we'll go back, it's a shame it's so far and expensive. I might wait until we're getting a few more dollars to the pound at least.

I just hope Obama doesn't get himself shot by white power extremists now, but I suppose getting shot at by someone is a hazard of the job for any president.

So sleepy, clearly not doing any work today.

(Updated a bit later on)

It's quite astonishing actually, I've just been through the list of key states I printed off yesterday, where the BBC said "Obama really needs to win this one", or "a victory for McCain here will keep him in the race", and for basically every single one Obama won. He didn't even need to win all of them, but he has, and sometimes by quite big margins. They include Indiana, Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Colorado, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada. Poor old John McCain only seems to have won the safest Republican states, and it just wasn't enough.

Clearly the mobilisation of the black and youth vote really made a difference for Obama. I wonder what the overall turnout was? Might look that up.

04 November 2008

Election Night Fever

23.20 - Right, it's twenty past 11, I'm esconced on the sofa in dressing gown and duvet, and the BBC coverage is just starting. Come on Jeremy Vine, wow me with your graphics... I'm going to set my alarm for 3am in case I drop off, and then if it's all over sooner or it's looking like a landslide I'll just go to sleep.

23.30 - First polls are due to close in half an hour, so exciting! There are a couple of key ones as well - Indiana and Virginia. Not feeling too tired yet.

00.15 - First couple of poll predictions are in, one state to McCain and one to Obama, 8:3 on the electoral college votes. No surprises so far though. Starting to get a bit tired, not sure how likely 3am is looking... Need some more states to come in to keep me awake!

00.55 - God this is taking forever! Only one more state called, also for McCain but predicted to be so anyway. I thought it was quite amusing the David Dimbleby talked about North Hampshire, bless. He should really have learnt the names of the states before the show. Quite a few states haven't been called yet despite them being usual Republican strongholds. That seems to indicate the race is closer there than expected, so this might take a while. Maybe I should go to sleep for a bit if that's the case?

01.00 - Oo, bit of excitement, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire have been called for Obama. These were quite key for McCain to capture if he was going to sneak in and win. And Illinois and DC and Massachusetts and Delaware too now! That gives Obama 67 votes, McCain 16. And a few more, can't type this fast enough to keep up. It seems to have settled on 84:27 for the moment. It's a shame they are only network projections though, don't want to get too excited based on that, but the pundit guys are saying that's a few good ticks in the Obama column that he needed if he's going to win.

01.40 - Hmm, lots of states still haven't been called despite having closed a while ago. I think I may as well stay up until after 2 now, when lots more close in a block, and then see how the land lies. I might have to have a sleep after that and maybe wake up at... 5.30? They should have some definite results coming in by then.

02.00 - Two key phrases uttered on the BBC - death blow to the McCain campaign, and turning point of the evening, as Ohio is called for Obama by Fox. It's only one network, so the BBC is remaining aloof, but if he does win Ohio that would take him up to about 200 votes now, with California's 55 likely-Democratic votes to come, and loads of other states still in play. Might turn the computer off for a while now so I can doze in front of the mute TV for a while. I'll try to wake up at 5.30 to see if any of these results have been confirmed.

Not as good as Eurovision, but fun nonetheless

It's making your mind up day for America and I'm soooooooo excited. I'm already well into it, and most of the polling stations aren't even open yet. I'm planning on staying up late to watch - or maybe getting up early to watch. It's been such a dilemma deciding which way to jump, stupid time difference! If it's going to be close, I'll be better off getting up early as they won't know for ages who's won. If it's not going to be close though they'll know earlier and I could just stay up late. Hmmm.... I'll probably do the latter.

I'm currently monitoring the BBC News Live Text updater which gives you a few lines of update every couple of minutes. Apparently there are problems with the electronic voting machines and some places are having to resort to paper ballots, which is slowing voting down and could spell controversy later. We'll have to see how widespread the problems are.

Also, it took Barack Obama 16 minutes to cast his vote in the booth. What was he doing in there?? Getting confused trying to find your own name on a bit of paper is something I'd expect of George Bush not Barack Obama... Unless he suddenly thought "shit, do I really want to be president?" and couldn't decide whether or not to vote for McCain.

I can see it's going to be a long and unproductive afternoon at this rate!
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FA-SCI-NA-TION!

We went to see Alphabeat perform last night at the Concorde and it was great! It was a bit last minute as our friend managed to get tickets on eBay on Friday from some girl in Worthing who got ditched by her friends and didn't want to go on her own, and then he asked us if we'd like to go with him. I wasn't even aware they were playing in Brighton, but they were really good and I had so much fun!

They were supported by some group whose name I didn't catch (sorry first group) and by Das Pop, a Belgian trio who lots of people seemed to have heard of. We didn't see much of the first group but we saw Das Pop and really enjoyed it, and the lead singer did very well at getting the crowd all fired up. It was a shame that it then took about 20 minutes for the crew to reset the stage for Alphabeat, so it lost its momentum a bit, but you can't have everything.

I thought I only knew a couple of Alphabeat songs, but in the end there were at least four I recognised, and even the other ones had a good beat so I was happy enough to bob up and down to them. The male singer guy was really REALLY hyperactive, making me suspect he was on something, but the girl singer was remarkably composed in comparison and looked fab in her fifties shiney blue dress. I might buy their album know, they're really good, and it's only a fiver on Amazon.

I did video their encore, which was Fascination, but the sound quality is a bit crappy (phone recording). I quite like that you can hear the crowd screaming along with them, everyone was really into it. There's a long intro so the song doesn't get going until about 30 seconds in:

video

03 November 2008

Halloween, brought to you in spoooooooookyvision

Hmpf, well I've calmed down a bit since my 2am rage, but I'm still not happy about it. Daniel and Eoghuoauon got more votes than both Austin and Rachel? Really? Really?? What's wrong with the British voting public? This is surely a serious argument against universal suffrage; if people vote like this on the X-Factor, can they be trusted to vote for a government? Maybe you should have to sit a sanity exam before you can register to vote, I might run for parliament and suggest it.

Anyway, I had a marvellous end of week and Halloween weekend. I was off work Wednesday - Friday (two day weeks rule), and we had some friends down for the first couple of days so we went and did lots of nice things like eating out, shopping, going for drinkies, letching shamelessly at hot bar staff, and flashing CCTV cameras in bar toilets.

Then Friday was the first part of our Halloween Extravaganza - Halloween Super Dynamite Boogaloo. We made loads of effort with our outfits this year, and I'm really glad we did because lots of people had really really dressed up! Chris was the Joker, very topical this year, and had excellent make-up, and as an accessory to that I went as Robin. Robin is not the sexiest of outfits (I was a traditional Robin rather than a Chris O'Donnell one), and I did verge on the Rodney Trotter Robin, but I think the outfit was still a triumph, especially as it was all homemade. Several people said to me "wow where did you buy your outfit?", which is surely a ringing endorsement.


Halloween Boogaloo was good, especially as so many people had made the effort to dress up. I have to say it was freeeeeezing weather for hotpants and a t-shirt though, and I was particularly annoyed to arrive at the club after 11 (supposed to open at 10.30) only to find they had not even opened the doors yet and we had to stand outside for 10 minutes while my legs went slowly numb.

Then on Saturday we went to a friend's Halloween House Party, where we bobbed for apples (much harder than it looks) and played slightly disturbing Halloween Twister. We re-used the same outfits of course, it's not every day you get to wear a metre of yellow satin, and a Catwoman turned up at the party so we had a bit of a theme going. I think girls can be a bit lazy when they dress up actually, they're always witches, cats, naughty devils, or occasionally bunnies. Where's the imagination ladies??

And Sunday was my and Chris' 10 year anniversary, bless. I don't know where the time has gone. Actually I do know, it's gone on a year of A Levels, a four-year degree, and five years of young professionalism, but it still feels like it's whizzed by. I'm just glad we both managed to remember the anniversary this year, one of us has forgotten for the last three (me twice, Chris once) and I was determined not to let it happen for such a big one as the tenth.

And now it's back to work and it's all rather dreary. On the upside, we are unexpectedly going to see Alphabeat tonight, which should be fantastic, and tomorrow is the US election about which I am soooooooo excited. I may get up at 4am to start watching the results come in. I'm not sure why I care this much, it's not like I live there, but it is important and having read about it constantly in my Economist for the last year I feel pretty invested in it. Go Obama! You're a bit of an unknown quantity, but what the hell, let's spin the wheel for a change.
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02 November 2008

Oh. Holy. Jesus.

Just got in late from halloween party (blog to follow) and like an IDIOT I looked up who went off X Factor. What the fuck?? My poor Austin is no more?! Well now what am I supposed to do? There's no one hot left in the competition! I can't believe Daniel is still in. I now hate X Factor. I will begrudgingly back Alexandra but I'm not happy about it. I don't even want to watch my tape of tonight's episode any more, it's too distressing.

26 October 2008

X factor disaster!

I can't believe Daniel is still milking his dead wife like a prize fresian, and at the expense of poor Scott! He so did not deserve to go before that fat goofball. Ok, he wasn't going to win, but he had more appeal than sweaty dead wife jabba the hutt. And Louis was so gutless not to vote for Daniel. I felt so sorry for Scott... Oh well, guess I'll be backing Alexandra and Austin now. Oh and also that pointless irish doll deserves to die too.

Update: Some clever person on Digitalspy has commented that Louis probably voted for Scott because he was one of Simon's acts and he was just being malicious. I hadn't thought of it like that, I think that sounds very very likely. I also can't believe that he cited as his reason for saving Daniel the fact that he "meant every word". Hello?? The show's not called 'Once More With Feeling', this is the X-Factor and Daniel has NO charisma!

24 October 2008

Atheist Bus Campaign

I am LOVING the Atheist Bus Campaign, I can't believe how much money it has raised since Tuesday.

Basically, someone got fed up with the religious adverts that you see on some buses and trains after she followed the website address on a particular one and found it was quite vicious in its assertion that all non-believers would be burning in hellfire and eternal torture after their death.

So she decided to try to raise enough money to post some counter-adverts stating "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life". The target was £5,500, and Richard Dawkins said if they reached it he would donate £5,500 of his own money to bump it up to £11k.

The Just Giving donation page opened at midnight on Tuesday 21 October, and how long did it take to reach their target? 10 hours 6 minutes! Since then it has soared and soared, and as I'm writing this it currently stands at £97,026.50! How amazing is that?? In only four days! That will pay for one hell of an ad campaign! I've given £10 myself, I think it's fantastic. Atheists typically aren't particularly organised as a group, and I'm so pleased that there are in fact so many out there who with only a little nudge are willing to take action. The Facebook group supporting the campaign already has 7,536 members.

No doubt lots of people will be up in arms about it, Christian Voice already are with their stupid and poorly written press release. Atheism is dying on its feet is it? Erm, reality check anyone? Oh no, silly me, religious types don't believe in reality. I did think initially is it a good idea to link to their press release on here, as it's just giving them extra publicity. But actually it's just this kind of religious idiocy and inaccuracy that's likely to provoke atheists into more action, so I decided to do it anyway. Even the title of their article is wrong: "Bendy bus to take Dawkin's message off-road". Off-road bendy buses? What, driving around in fields and things? NO! Bendy buses would take the message ON ROAD you idiots. I particularly like where it says "People don't like being preached at". WHAT???? That's coming from CHRISTIAN VOICE????????? It's just so hilarious and wrong and poorly written that it boggles the mind.

So anyway, I am proud to support the Atheist Campaign.



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Creamy Fingers

I enjoyed Creamy Fingers muchly last night, although today I feel AWFUL. Really, really awful to the point where I thought I was going to pass out on the bus on the way to work (see previous post). I'm feeling a little better now though, good old ready salted hula hoops, and I'll hopefully be alright after lunch.

So anyway, as suspected Creamy Fingers was similar to Boogaloo in lots of ways. It was back at the Ghetto, they played good pop-type music (I think, memory is hazy, I know I danced lots though), Stu did a song and then Le Gateau Chocolat did a song, and then they played a game. The key difference was the game involved cream cakes. Stu also gave out filthy badges, which was nice, he didn't do that very often at Dynamite Boogaloo. Don't ask me what songs they sang during cabaret, I haven't got a clue now. I'm also a bit hazy on the terms of the game, I think it involved eating two cakes each time you got an answer right. Or wrong. Or both.

The drinks were very, very cheap, which is why I'm not feeling so hot today. It was only £1.50 for a vodka and whatever, and you could get these shot things for 50p, so Chris was very pleased when he came tottering back from the bar with six drinks for six pounds. The shots were quite vile, they tasted like undiluted orange squash with a kick. Oh yes, and it was free to get in before 11, which was good.

I was expecting it to be rammed, and it wasn't, which I found surprising for a launch. It was decently full though mostly, with enough people dancing, although it was noticeable during cabaret that the audience weren't that loud due to lower numbers. I hope it does OK, I do need a Boogaloo replacement. Doing it fortnightly might work because you can't think "oh I'll just go next week instead", so it might help make us get up and get out intstead of being lethargic and staying in.

Here are some photos:

Stu feeds the starving masses


Cabaret time: a girl called something like Sam who frequently inveigles herself into cabaret VS a cute boy from Birmingham (how unfortunate for him)


Le Gateau Chocolat astounds with another sartorial triumph


The cute boy ended up winning so deserves another picture


And I'm still not sure about my new hair. I'm trying to grow it, but think it looks a bit rubbish. SOMEONE had exceptionally nice hair last night, which makes mine look even worse

Oh god

I feel like I'm going to die.

23 October 2008

My fingers are ready for the cream

Tonight is the launch of Boogaloo Stu's Brighton Creamy Fingers night at the Ghetto. Chris and I have said we'll go and I'm quite looking forward to it, although I woke up really tired this morning. I'm hoping just to ride it out though and that I'll perk up once I've had a couple of drinks at home tonight.

The night looks like it will be quite similar to Dynamite Boogaloo in that it'll be playing pop and alternative-type music and there will still be a cabaret. The main difference is Dolly Rocket won't be there, she seems to be doing nights at Legends now, and nor will Dynamite Sal, who is running a different pop night just round the corner at Audio. I hope it will be good anyway. They've already said they'll be doing it fortnightly from 20 November. I expect it will be pretty busy tonight as it's the launch and there are lots of people down to go on Facebook (80 at the moment I think, although not all of those will turn up).

Anyway, I shall review the experience tomorrow once my hangover has subsided.

20 October 2008

X-Factor, bam bam bam, bam bam ba naaa naaa

I do love the X-Factor, despite it being the epitome of trash TV. I've gone off some things like Big Brother, but I still really get into X-Factor. I think it's the act of choosing your favourite from a selection that does it for me, a bit like Pokémon. The fact that they sometimes have a good looking boy or two doesn't hurt either (Austin and Scott are best this year).

Dannii Minogue never ceases to surprise, with her bizarre slitty nostrils and the insane way she squawks "hot hot hot, extra jalapeño, I want what she's having, etc" after her acts perform. I was quite shocked this week by how much she looked like a sex doll though - was that the look she was going for?



This week's episode carried the normal amount of disappointment that the really really poor acts still somehow managed to get through. I'm thinking particularly of Daniel "corpse for a wife" Evans. What is he still doing there? He has no sex appeal at all, his voice is mediocre, and no-one would buy his records other than post-menopausal old biddies who think he looks like "a nice boy". He only got through, and has only survived this far, on the basis of him milking his dead wife like a prize Fresian. The only way he could have drawn more attention to it in his audition would have been to skid into the room riding her decomposing carcass like a sled. He needs to go, and he needs to go soon; you can't get rid of perfectly good acts and retain his sweaty fat-cheeked pudginess in their place, it's just not fair.

I thought the coaching that Rachel has undergone was very obvious too. They know she's got a big mouth on her and that she didn't take criticism well in the auditions, and so she has clearly been drilled to respond to every comment by saying "thank you, it's been taken on board" incessantly like a parrot with an inferiority complex.

I'm also still quite surprised by the delusions that X-Factor contestants maintain. To be clear - winning the X-Factor is not going to make you a pop star. Not a proper one. It makes you an X-Factor winner who will have a Christmas number 1 and if they're lucky one or two more singles before the record label, and the public, lose interest. Leona Lewis has done reasonably well, but she's an unusually good winner. Do they not remember what happened to all the other winners? Steve Brookstein was appalling and got dropped really quickly. Shayne Ward seemed to have potential, but is still relatively obscure three years after he won. Leona is fine, if a little sickly, and might carry on for a while. And Leon has had what, two singles? I can't name them, even the X-Factor winning number 1 from last year. He'll disappear fairly soon too. And yet the contestants still believe this is going to propell them to world fame. No, it won't. You'll get to have a couple of hits, and be part of the X-Factor tour. That's fine, but don't expect much more. And then once you've been dropped you've got to go back to the real world and try to get a normal job, and feel embarrassed that you're working in an office again.

An additional odd delusion is the one touted by parents on the X-Factor that they want to "win for a better life for their children". Hmmm, apart from saying it for the obvious milking of the wee children, how exactly do they this is going happen? Being away from home, touring and performing, particularly for those that are single parents, is not in my opinion going to improve their children's lives. Yes they might have more money, but I think their children would rather have a parent than a weekly maintenance cheque.

This concludes my X-Factor rant. It wasn't meant to be a rant, I intended to write how much I like it. And despite the apparent evidence to the contrary, I do love it, I do watch religiously, and I'm sure I'll have voted more than once before the series is out. Shouting at the screen is just part of the fun.

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18 October 2008

Vanity sets in

I've just been out and bought moisturiser for the first time in my life. I don't normally use any beauty-type products, other than my moisturising aftershave balm which I don't think really counts because it's just creamy aftershave and you have to put something on after you shave.

But I was in the mood to treat myself, and I've seen things about men not being afraid to moisturise any more on the telly. So I spent 10 minutes in the Mens section of Superdrug carefully reading the back of all the moisturisers and comparing the price per millilitre of each one (so anal, I know). I bought two things, one moisturising face cream thing, and one rather expensive thing for reducing the dark circles under your eyes. I've always had dark circles, to the point where people have asked me if I've been hit in the face before, but it's never occurred to me to try to do anything about them.

I've just tried them both out, and look.... moderately different, I suppose, if I'm being generous. My skin feels soft where I've moisturised, but the eye cream seems to have had the primary effect of making my dark circles shiney. Not sure if that was what I was going for, it did say something about reflecting the light to brighten the area, but I didn't particularly want shiney black discs as opposed to matt ones.

Well anyway, I expect you have to use them more than once before they do that much good. I wasn't expecting to look immediately radiant to the point where friends would say "oh my, who radianted your face?"

But I've obviously another little step in the direction of being 30 and the long dark road of getting old...

16 October 2008

If your music's not black you're not coming in

Apparently Leona Lewis has been booed at the MOBO awards for not having bothered to show up to collect her prizes for best album and video. A little harsh I thought, but I suppose not attending does make it look like the award doesn't mean very much to you. Saying 'I'm there in spirit with you all' by pre-recorded video message also sounds a bit fake and sappy too (so at least in keeping with Leona's personality, she's so milky you could whiten your tea with her).

It did get me thinking though, as I always do when these awards roll around again, what is the actual point of them? Why do they single out music of black origin for particular recognition, and why are they defining music by skin colour at all?

Yes I realise that they say you don't have to be black to win a MOBO, it's not the colour of the performer they're describing but the origin of the music, and a few non-black people win things from time to time like Amy Winehouse winning best female or best drug addict or whatever it was. But it still seems bizarre to me and I'm yet to find a satisfactory justification for them.

Are they saying music of black origin is under-represented in awards so needs its own special ceremony? I doubt it - the charts are stuffed full of succesful rappers and R&B singers and hip hop stars who win all sorts of things. In fact loads of our best music today could be described as 'of black origin'.

Are they saying black music is all the same and can be judged as a single category? Again, probably not. And if not, why lump all music of black origin together in the first place? Does it even go together? It seems a rather too broad category that contains a very diverse range of music.

And I don't think you could get away with a Music Of White Origin award, it would sound like a White Power event. I think it would probably be a fairly crappy evening too, unless you particularly like country and folk music to the exclusion of all others.

It seems to me that it just perpetuates divisions along racial lines for no real benefit. How are you supposed to get passed race if you never shut up about it?
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13 October 2008

Update to the homosexual dilemma

I'm still pondering what to do about my brother's wedding, and haven't really managed to decide yet. I've talked to a few friends about it, but their advice has varied quite a bit and hasn't always been that helpful. Mostly people just don't really understand, and why would they? It's a funny thing being gay and hiding it from people. You get so used to doing it when you're growing up, but then at some point you think "why am I doing this again?". And it's all very well for people to say "well they'll just have to accept it won't they?", but it doesn't really work like that, and it's different when it's you and your life at issue.

Anyway, I think that it's looking most likely that Chris will just come to the evening of the wedding as a general 'evening guest'. That's probably the most discreet option while still allowing me to have him there. I'm not going to know that many people during the day and the dinner, which isn't going to be great as I find socialising a bit hard and normally rely on Chris a bit to do the talking with new acquaintances, but I'll just have to manage for once. And then at least if he comes in the evening, by which time my parents will be leaving, I'll have him to talk to from then.

I still think it'll be a bit obvious because it's not like we'll each be circulating around talking to other people individually, we'll just latch onto each other once he arrives. But fuck it, what else can I do? And by that stage my grandad will probably be gone so the chances of a scene will be minimised, and I reckon I can handle any of the other family members if they did decide to ask me outright.

Maybe I'm making too much of a big deal out of it, I don't know. But it is a big deal when you're going to get judged negatively by people for who you are and it's essentially beyond your control. It's a very frustrating feeling.
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10 October 2008

Birthday and brainfreeze

Yesterday was Chris' birthday, so we had a nice meal out and then went to see Dara O'Briain's stand up show at the Dome. It was good, he's very funny, but I'm glad we were sitting towards the back because he bases a large part of the show on talking to people near the front. I can't imagine anything worse than if he were to start asking me questions. But he didn't anyway, so it was fine.

I think I preferred the Simon Amstell show we saw a few months ago, but Chris said he liked Dara more. There was one bit where he started laying into homeopathy and two haughty-looking women in amber jewellery sitting in front of us really noticeably stopped laughing. Clearly stepping on some toes there I thought, but it's their fault for believing in the healing power of a glass of water. If I'm ever in a car crash I certainly won't be hoping that a homeopath will happen to be passing.

Also I may, or may not, have had another bout of forgetfulness. It's difficult to tell - how can you remember if you've forgotten something? There was no card from Chris' Mum on his birthday, but she thought she'd put it in the bag with his present (which I had squirreled away). And now I don't know if I put it somewhere else. I may have done. Or Chris' Mum, who is also forgetful, may never have given it to me. I just don't know. I also couldn't remember yesterday if I'd washed up my mug at work - the only way I could tell was to look at it and see it was clean so yes I must have done. But I literally had only done it 15 minutes before, but still couldn't remember. I think it's because I'm bored at the moment. Work is really dull, so my brain turns in on itself and I think about things in my head all day, and just wander around doing things on autopilot without actually taking them in.

On a more positive note, the students are back now so I finally have something to look at out of my window! They haven't made any of them get topless yet, but there have been a couple of cute medical students, and I'm sure they'll need to do some male physiology at some point...
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07 October 2008

A homosexual dilemma

I'm having a bit of a dilemma about my brother's wedding next year. Unlike my wedding, to which I simply didn't invite them, there will be a number of family members on my Dad's side at my brother's wedding who don't know about me enjoying the boy love. So I'm in a predicament about what to do regarding Chris and taking him with me or not.

Historically, this hasn't been much of a problem because I hardly ever see that side of the family, and I'm more than adept at side-stepping the occasional "haven't you got a girlfriend yet" question once every six months when I do see them. I'm also not particularly close to them (i.e. I don't actually like them), so have seen no reason to share that side of my life with them.

I don't particularly care if people like my uncle or cousins know; their opinion is basically meaningless to me. I do resent the idea that they would quite possibly look down on me if they knew, when in fact they are fairly mediocre individuals who have no right to look down on me at all, but I could probably live with it by simply never seeing or thinking about them ever again. But in the past I have dug my heels in about my grandad knowing. Not, of course, because I care that much about his opinion either; he's a cantankerous and rude old man who has always been quick to voice his negative judgements about me and my brother and has traditionally favoured our cousins because they are "good with their hands" rather than academic achievers. The reason has been that he is fairly wealthy and I haven't wanted to be screwed out of my inheritance by his bigoted attitudes after all these years of putting up with him.

So it has been very easy these past ten years simply not to tell them, rarely to see them, and when my Mum asks "wouldn't it nice for it to be out in the open?" for me to reply that no it would not.

But Dave's wedding will bring things to a head. They've said they would love for Chris to be there as he's family and has a right to be there, but that they'll leave the decision up to me. So do I:

  • take him as my partner and out myself at the wedding, possibly causing a scene at Dave's wedding which I do not want to do
  • out myself in advance of the wedding and then take Chris, again with the potential for a scene
  • take him as my secret partner but officially just as a friend of Dave and Janine's who is sitting on the same table as me (might be a bit obvious, don't know)
  • go on my own but then have Chris come later to the evening along with other evening guests
  • go without Chris at all, and when asked "when are you getting married then?" refrain from replying "I got married last year thanks, you just weren't invited"
Oh it's so difficult. Would people guess if Chris were there not as my boyfriend? My grandad probably not, but uncles possibly. And then there is always the risk that someone in Janine's family (who presumably all know about me, there's no reason they wouldn't) might get chatting to one of them and ask if they enjoyed my wedding last year (clang, huge piece of metal hits marble floor).

And do I still care if they know? Not really. If I'm excommunicated I won't be that bothered, I just won't have to endure my grandad at Christmas any more. But I do care that it might be my Dad that gets flack off my grandad for it (although he'd probably tell him to shut his face), and I don't want to inflict that upon him. I don't even care that much about the money any more.

Hum. Don't know. Whatever I choose has the potential to be a disaster.
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05 October 2008

Sleepless of Brighton

I hate the fact that I can be too tired to sleep. Where's the point in that as a biological process? I've been exhausted all day and desperate for bed, so I end up going to bed quite early, and then two hours later I'm still awake. Chris is out without me, again, so I feel like a loser, again. I just don't have the energy to keep up with him, certainly not two nights in a row. It's really quite depressing and makes me feel like I've already turned into my mother. I hate it.

01 October 2008

Not getting involved

I read today about a man who was killed on Sunday after stepping in to stop someone being attacked. I find things like that quite upsetting, because it means that you can't risk being a good citizen about anything any more. No matter what you see, vandalism or an attack or any antisocial behaviour, you have to think "no I can't get involved, it's too much of a risk, I could get killed".

When did we slide into having so little respect for each other? Most people are still good and decent aren't they? I wouldn't dream of attacking someone or verbally abusing someone or trying to steal things. So it's just a small minority of people who have learnt that you can probably get away with any behaviour, because the police will never arrive in time and no-one will intervene to stop you out of fear. And somehow they have no empathy, they don't care how they affect other people and they have no respect for them. I'm sure it would be a different story if their own grandmother got mugged and raped though, or if someone smashed their car up just for a laugh.

I came home a week or so ago in the evening, and as I walked into our building I realised there were two or three men doing some form of drugs (the one where you heat up a teaspoon, I don't know what that is) in the park at the back, right by our back gate. I was appalled; children live in our building, and they were doing it right there, and barely spared me a glance. But what was I going to do? If I'd told them to clear off out of it, they would either have ignored me or become aggressive and shot me or something. So I went inside and thought "I'll call the police" - that's all you can do these days. Not 999 of course, it's not an emergency, so I just rang the station. After ten minutes on hold waiting even to report it, I gave up, and a few minutes after that the men were gone anyway. Even if I had got through, the police would never have arrived in time to do anything about it.

I think it's awful, really really bad. The Conservatives have recently announced plans to make it less likely that you'll get prosecuted yourself if you step in to stop a crime. But what good is that going to do exactly? I know it's ridiculous that if you apprehend a mugger you might get charged with assault, but changing the way the law works can't make stepping in any safer. You could still get yourself killed. So people will continue to walk on by for their own safety.

I'm beginning to see the attraction of living in a gated community. Other people are horrible.
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Columbo returns

We got the car back finally from the garage yesterday, and he appears to be all better now. He's got a new bumper on the middle and left bit (which now doesn't match the right hand bit, but never mind), and a new wheel, and he seemed OK when we drove him home. It's quite nice to have him back, I'm quite attached to our little car. We had to pay the £150 excess, and we still haven't really heard what the outcome of all the insurance claims is, but hopefully the worst part of the sorting out should be over with now.
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Blog redesign

I'm very disappointed that I spent ages redesigning my blog and not one person has commented on it. Tsk.

I'm not sure I like it anyway, it wasn't quite how I imagined it in my head. I might do another design, maybe something bluer. God knows I need something to occupy my time at the moment.
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29 September 2008

God Delusion update

I've got a bit further through my God Delusion and have read the first chapter and a bit. So far he has deconstructed the notion that religion is off limits for criticism because you're "not allowed to question people's beliefs". That's a good place for him to start before he wades in with the rest of his chapters, and it's true that you do feel like you can't say anything that contradicts someone's religion. I hate the phrase "political correctness gone mad", I think it's overused by people who are too lazy to construct a proper argument (a bit like nanny state), but it's a similar sort of principle he's applying to our multiculturalist desire never to offend anyone.

I'm also finding reading the book somewhat uplifting, which wasn't what I was expecting. I anticipated it would get me all fired up about religion and religious influence on society, but it's affecting me in other ways as well. I hadn't realised that I do feel slightly guilty for not believing in God, and that I do harbour a slight worry that I and the people I love will burn in eternal hellfire for their 'sins'. Not enough to make me do anything about it of course, as soon as I put my rational hat back on I just dismiss it all, but the little part of me that went to Catholic school never quite goes away. Reading the book though is starting to make me feel that maybe it's OK not to believe, that there is plenty in the world that is wondrous and fascinating without there needing to be 'something else', and that I can focus on enjoying my life and living it as a good person without the niggling worry that maybe there will be eternal damnation at the end of it.

Even reading that back I think of course there won't be, of course there won't be, it's a ridiculous notion aimed at controlling people through fear. But hearing it all your life from multiple sources affects you, and it's very freeing to be told you don't actually have to worry about it if you don't want to.
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Nibble on my meat sir?

We went up to London this weekend for our friend's 30th birthday, which was quite nice. I was appalled, APPALLED however to discover that a one day travelcard now costs £7. SEVEN POUNDS! I thought I'd accidentally pressed the wrong button and asked for a weekly pass or something... When did they stop being £4.80? Probably when I stopped being 18, but I still think that's ridiculously expensive.

We had a nice birthday meal at a place called Rodizio Rico in Islington, which was an unusual Brazilian restaurant where they basically just have All You Can Eat Meat. There's a salad and accompaniments bar too, but the main bit is the waiters walking around with big metal spikes with a joint of meat on, and them hacking bits off for whoever wants some. I couldn't help but giggle at them wandering about asking if anyone wants some of their pork sword.

So it was fun anyway, although you can only eat so much meat before you start suffering chest pains.

Today sees the start of the new academic year, so there are lots of people who look far too young to be students wandering around in a slightly bewildered state, carefully studying maps of the campus and then walking off in the wrong direction. I think it is very important that they start the physiology lessons again as soon as possible, as I've been staring at a darkened seminar room with no topless students for months. I think I've gone stir crazy, and a little blond surfer boy flesh would be just the thing to perk me up.
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26 September 2008

Showbiz correspondence

I got a Facebook message from Boogaloo Stu today about my blog post on the demise of Thursday Boogaloo. It was terribly sweet of him to write, and also quite shocking that someone had actually read my blog outside of my normal circle of friends. But that's the whole point I suppose, if I wanted to keep a private diary I'd be doing it on a bit of paper.

Anyway, Boogaloo Stu is organising a club night called Creamy Fingers for Thursday 23 October, which will be a one-off thing initially but may become regular, presumably if enough people go and if people like it. So that could be a replacement for me for Boogaloo maybe? Stu asked me to invite all my friends, so obviously was just buttering me up before indulging in a little e-marketing, but that's fine. I'm sure Chris and I will go whatever happens, especially as it's at Ghetto so you can practically see it from my front room.
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25 September 2008

Training and atheism

The training was better than I expected actually. I found it all very easy, but I still learnt some things I didn't know, and corrected some things I thought I knew but apparently didn't. The only annoying thing was the bizarre woman sitting behind me who during the afternoon started mewling like a kitten at everything the trainer said. She kept going "Hmmmm..... Mmmm hmmmmm.... Hmmmm?..... Hmmmmm!...... Mmmmm". I was thinking a) shut the hell up, and b) this must be what having sex with you sounds like. What the hell was she doing?? Did we all really need to hear her quizzical squealings all through the afternoon? It also sounded quite like she'd had her mouth taped shut. I wish they'd done her nose as well.

Yesterday I also started reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, on Chris' recommendation. He's been terribly fired up in his atheism since he read it. Atheism is a nice word actually when you break it down into its component parts. Anyway, I've only read the preface so far, but I'm already enjoying it. He's used the preface to demolish the criticisms of earlier editions of the book, by looking at each one, deconstructing it, and then explaining why it's wrong, e.g. 'the book is strident and shrill' - no it's not, it just says things certain people don't want to hear without pulling any punches, but is still less strident and shrill than those people themselves; 'the book is as fundamentalist as the people it condemns' - no it isn't, he argues based on logic and the evidence available, if people want to show him compelling evidence in support of religion and creationism, he'll happily change his mind - a fundamentalist would not.

So anyway, I'm sure I'll enjoy the book, and it'll probably turn my fairly vague and slightly guilty-feeling lack of belief in God into full-blown atheism. I already like his first main point: there are no religious children, only children of religious parents - they're not old enough to have a position on religion, in the same way that they have no position on politics or economics.
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