No longer as truthful as should be deserved, some names, places and events deliberately vague to protect identities that aren't mine

Saturday, 25 December 2010

It's a Festivus miracle! Or not really...

I tried.  I tried really fucking hard.  To ignore the thoughts in my head.  To make an effort.  To face the world.  To get myself into the Christmas mood and at least have one day where I didn't just want to stay with the covers over my head the entire time.  I should have quit whilst I was behind...

After enduring the morning round of the ever-fun game 'pick on the depressive's physical appearance and fashion choice for the day, I occupied myself by making the obligatory mulled wine.  After which we were supposed to go to the market up the road from me, which was laying on a Christmas Eve daytime special.  Agreed that we were supposed to be leaving at 2, of course we didn't walk out the door until 3.30, by which time all the stalls were in the process of deconstructing the metal frames and driving off home for the day.  Fail strike two.

I tried my best not to be too down about it.  I have no doubt it was blindingly obvious I was disappointed and frustrated, but I at least managed to keep my voice neutral, rather than despondant.  I'd been banking on wandering round marketyness to get me feeling vaguely in the festive spirit, but that option clearly went out the window.

In fairness, 15 minutes of our late departure was due to me trying to make an effort in my appearance; I showered, shaved, scrubbed, and put on jeans, a vest, tshirt and a shirt instead of the black joggers and hoodie option that had been my staple for 2.5 days.  Obviously in light of the fact that going out was a pointless exercise anyway, trying to make an effort to look somewhat decent was well beyond the universe's expectations of me for the day.

One of the Christmas rituals in my family is that we have turkey sandwiches at midnight, and open the presents then.  It comes from when I was young and my dad used to work really long hours all the time, so there I was at 10.30 at night, with turkey in the oven, and something happened.  Something small, but I broke, I fell apart, and all I wanted to do was go back to ignoring the world, even the relatively small world of Chris and his friend who's staying with us.  I realized that all these Christmas rituals only mattered to me, that Chris and his friend would carry on and have their Christmas just fine whatever happened, so there was no need to fight so hard to make sure there were turkey sandwiches, or to think about the fact that I haven't watched The Muppet's Christmas Carol or It's A Wonderful Life this year.  Chris probably thought he was being helpful when he agreed that it didn't matter.  It doesn't.  But it did.  A hell of a lot.  And no-one even noticed that I was trying, or why I wanted to do these things.

I get that my being majorly depressed is trying on Chris. He doesn't know how to deal with me at the best of times, and he can't relate to the place my head finds itself in, so it's hard to judge what to say or do, or how to react, when to force an issue and when not to.  And I know he's doing as best he can.  And I know it's unfair to sit here, and spout out a bullet point list of failings, because that's not accurate, and it only tells half the story.  I'm the cause of these problems in the first place, and I know that.  But sometimes that boy can be so goddamned obtuse.  Like when he wonders at me why I seem to be so much worse than usual this year, if it's just that I put on a face when I spend Christmas with his family, or mine, because I've never been this bad before.  Why at the moment, nothing good seems to make me smile, and everything bad is so severe and dramatic.  How when all the frustrations of having to deal with a depressive boyfriend, completely understandably, get to him, he decides that the most appropriate person to vent angrily about it to is said depressive.  How all he wants to do, is just tell me to cheer the fuck up, and we both know it.

...So much for a relaxing 5 days off work before my 6 weeks non-stop marathon.  I escape to Joel's tomorrow for the day, so maybe that will calm me down.

Oh yeah, merry fucking Christmas.  I bet this is exactly the present the bf wanted.

Monday, 20 December 2010

These are a few of my favourite things.

Some topatoco items I want.  I don't even like printed tshirts, but I want these.  Also, if you have no idea who topato is, go read Wigu from the start.  I can't be bothered to insert the link, so just google it.

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Resolution

A clarification on the previous post.

I don't find it hard to tell people I hardly know a lot of detail about me.  I find it very easy in fact.  I completely disassociate from it, and with the likelihood that I never need to deal with this person in my life again, it's not a concern that this person mind discover intimate details about me, or have the awareness and perceptive abilities to be able to read more about me than I'd like.  And there's a handful of people in my life that I'm very close to, that I will happily tell a lot to, because I trust them not to use it to hurt me, and because I can hurt them just as badly back if necessary.  The concept of mutually assured destruction is such a satisfying deterrent in the world.

It's the people inbetween that are the big, big problem.  And generally, people don't traverse from one end of the spectrum to the other without being an inbetween person at some point - though, at least half of the people who are very close to me did exactly that through some rather inexplicable process when I think back on it.

But yes, fine, I can go to the new doctors and with a relative degree of (outward) calmness tell them plenty about my current state of affairs.  And assuming I don't have an all out full blown panic, start vomiting every 5 minutes, or attack them violently, I could probably tell the psychiatrist a fair amount about me in the initial session before I start to get completely paranoid about their intentions.  It's the fact that I have to go back that causes (further) issues.  It's that you're supposed to establish some kind of rapport with them (which I will do, it just won't be a positive one, I guarantee it).  That's where the whole idea starts to fall down in my head.  Beyond the risk of violence, physical nausea, random and sudden disappearance etc, that is.

And to top everything off, I have to ring my mother at some point and decide whether I'm going to Christmas or not.  Well family Christmas on boxing day.  We always get together every year, and it's fun, and I love my crazy big family get togethers and Christmas is the best one of the entire lot.  But like so many family Christmases, it's also hell.  I struggle to get through it without at least some alcohol or a cigarette in me; it involves, even more than the standard get together, facing endless questions from each and every aunt and grandparent about what I'm doing with my life and how I compare to everyone else in the family.  It's a constant dodging and minefield stepping of social interactions against people who offer you no mercies in their probing or judgement and who never forget to recall each and every past action good or bad that you ever made.  I'm not sure, given I'm going crazy and having to face one hell of a nightmare to deal with it, as well as working like hell due to a crisis that's occurred at the venue (I did 20 hours work in 24 yesterday, and have to do 12 - 14 today), that attempting to deal with the love/hate joy that is a family Christmas gathering is something I'm prepared to put up with right now.  And further, this will involve explaining all of this to my mother, and trying to get across why I'm not just blowing off family Christmas and being an arse, without panicking her by telling her I'm suicidally depressed right now.  I haven't quite worked out how I'm going to do this yet.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The first step

I've never written about my extreme and passionate hatred and distrust of mental health professionals.  I kept meaning to, but I kept never getting around to it.  I would call it a paranoid phobia, because the level of my reactions is that extreme, however I would also argue it's based on fair experience, so it's not completely irrational.

I had to go to the psychiatrists several times as a kid.  I remember being about 6 or 7, when I was seeing them because I had rather severe issues with social integration (I know, you're shocked), and them getting me to play games, and they asking lots of questions about why I'd arranged the game in a certain way, or what if 'x' situation hypothetically happened.  Even at that age, I found their questions rather contrived.  Anyone else who's ever had to deal with the psychs will know exactly what I mean.  One of the main reasons why I have such an issue with mental health professionals, is that they're basically they're to judge you.  Yes you might have put yourself (somewhat) willingly in that situation, but they eye you with a condemning suspicion, they second guess every motivation or desire you have, ask leading questions that seem to encourage a certain modality, they expect you to tell a complete stranger the deepest and darkest parts of you that you wouldn't even admit to yourself, and let them judge you as a person on that basis.  I don't believe any degree has been invented to give someone that right.  And the questions they ask tend to be fairly idiotic; honestly, I defy any 'normal' person not to feel despair at some point, to drink because it's easier one night, or god forbid, hear voices (this one tends to happen especially when others are in the room I've found).  I know it's actually a matter of frequency, but any evaluation questionnaire I've ever encountered doesn't actually seem to factor that in for some reason.

Needless to say, when I had to see psychiatrists at 10 and again at 14, it didn't go very well for me.  Or for them.  In the first instance, the prospect of having to see one again made me psychosomatically so violently ill that I threw up all over the reception area. The second time around, I threw a chair at one.  I missed.  It hit the window.  But understandably, even as a minor no-one could get me to go through that kind of ordeal long enough to get a full and official diagnosis.

My perspective on psychs was only further confirmed when my mother suffered from PTSD after a car accident.  I was driving by this point so it was my responsibility to take her to her sessions, as she wasn't allowed to drive herself at the time.  She got fed up with them and let me fill out the evaluation questionnaire.  They seemed a little confused at some of the helpful comments I wrote in the margin to each answer..

I don't mean to knock the work they do, I know they can truly help some people, but my experiences have never been positive; very much the opposite, and the overwhelming majority of people in my life with mental problems of one kind or another (and being me, I know a LOT of people like that), aren't exactly sold on them either, and know all too well what I mean by the above description of judgement and suspicion.

But anyway, through persuasion, begging, coercion, and probably some sick twisted sense along the lines of morbid curiosity, I somehow conceded to go and seek some help in regards to my previous blog post.

After battling my way through the daunting realm of the NHS receptionists on Monday, and finally getting her to let me register, based on the fact that yes, I was in the right catchment area, and yes, I did have ID and proof of address on me at the time, and yes, I did have an hour to spend filling in forms, and yes, I will hand them to her because leaning forward to reach the extra 15cm required to pick them up off the desk once I'd completed them, I spent my early morning ringing for an appointment, and convincing them that yes, it probably was fairly urgent and thus in need of an appointment that day, rather than scheduling one for some time after Christmas.

Appointment time comes around and I spend my time sitting quietly in the waiting room having an internal panic attack and dreading the concept of trying to convince an NHS doctor of ANYTHING, because ultimately, any action on their part involves some form of budgetary spend and they're strongly discouraged from ever actually doing that.  Eventually a doctor - not the one I was supposed to be seeing, but I was randomly assigned one when I booked the appointment and it was my first time at the surgery so it didn't really bother me, comes and calls my name and off I go to plead my case.

I basically tell her the symptoms I listed in my previous blog post.  She naturally asks me a few questions and tells me that there's a crisis team at the local A&E (which I know is the place to go in dire emergency anyway).  She then comments that I seem quite calm, controlled, and together; I've got to the surgery, I've got myself dressed and don't seem malnourished etc.  This point irritates me a fair bit.  I understand the point she's making, but it also suggests that unless I'm about to jump off the chair with the rope around my neck, or have to be forcibly referred by the police and hospital departments, that it's not a huge concern and they don't really want to get involved.  Which, granted, knowing the NHS as I do, I appreciate is completely the case.  Not through any fault of uncaring on their part, but again, there are budgets to think of, unless it's an urgent crisis the money to deal with it isn't there.  Which isn't a great situation to be in when you've just gone and asked for help because you're feeling suicidal, if not actually on the brink of committing it.

I explained that yes, I'm controlled, it's a skill I've learned from a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, from experiencing acute physical pain at least once a week, and moderate to severe pain on average 3 days a week.  I can have a panic attack and I can do it perfectly quietly, so that other people wouldn't notice.  I'm used to suppressing the physical signs of my internal struggles, physical or emotional.  I further explained that I'm a damned good liar.  Chris lives with me, he sees me most of the time, and sure he can tell that I'm down and feeling depressed, but he had no idea how bad I was until I posted that blog post.  No-one would . Even Joel can't read everything about me, and if I don't want the world to know something, you'd be surprised at how well I can cover it up.  This, combined with her asking if I had any methods in mind, and when I mentioned bridge jumping as one of them, and she asked if I knew specifically, to which I could respond in full detail about the bridge, method of getting there, expense, jumper mortality rate, speed of impact, and the various circumstances of that particular locale that gave an increased chance of a successful plan, seemed to convince her that maybe she should go ask the senior partner what to do with me.  (for those weirdly interested, golden gate, obviously a plane, about £500, which isn't really a concern if I'm that committed to it, >98%, ~100mph, solid impact of water at that speed, almost certainly fatal neck, spinal or head injuries at the right point of impact, or failing that, significant bone breakage, leading to severe internal bleeding, organ puncture, combined with strong undercurrent and very low water temperatures, as well as low visibility in fog periods)

Anyhoo, I was deemed not to be at imminent risk (I was having a relatively good day yesterday), and with people around and close to me who knew what was happening, so another appointment is scheduled for next week, and in the meantime they're trying to find me a psychiatrist who can start seeing me before Christmas.  Things always happen to me at Christmas, it's the worst time to be needing medical help - last year I had to go through all of Christmas and New Year eating only soft solids because my wisdom teeth were boring holes into the back of my head and I couldn't get them removed till Jan 4th.  So begins the long process of diagnosis, should there be any to give, but most people in my life reckon there is.  I might not make it through the process, I will most likely get angry about it at various points, things will be thrown, and Joel may be forced to accept a unavenged punch to the face in the name of being a caring friend.  I might get therapy.  I might get drugs.  It might all be pointless.  I might not quite be crazy enough to actually get anything; I always seem to miss the bar by a fraction on a lot of things in my life.

However, my friends are not without humour.  Sean offered the following :

"...well speaking personally I always look forward to the opportunity to experiment with new psychoactive drugs, so if you don't like them, you can pass them on to me. :D"

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Will you still call me Superman?

I'm going crazy.

I mean, I know I've always been crazy, but I mean I'm going more crazy than usual.  As in mental breakdown kinda crazy.  Sure I go up and down all the time, I have my depressive periods and my manic ones, and I hate them, but I can deal with them.  I know them; they're fine, I know they'll eventually pass even if that takes 6 months, and even if they cause me to be somewhat self-destructive in one direction or another, but I much prefer them to being just ambivalently 'okay', which I really don't know how to cope with at all.

The catalyst for this has been the raise at work that I was supposed to be getting, effectively I'm not getting it now.  It's more complicated than that, so don't start telling me my legal rights and that, but basically, I'm still permanently broke, and unable to afford so much as the food to live on.  This sent me spiralling.  I'm now in full blown mental breakdown mode.  To the point where I've actually considered taking myself to the doctors and getting either therapy, or drugs, or both.  Anyone who knows my violent aversion to the medical profession and mood altering drugs will realise I have to be pretty damned desperate to reasonably consider that as a course of action.

Symptoms include: epic depression, frequent panic attacks, involuntary muscular control - i tend to spasm uncontrollably a fair bit at the moment, totally destroyed sleep patterns - to be fair, these were being really screwy anyway, but this is just compounding matters, as a sample of the last 3 weeks, in various 24 hour periods I've slept 20 hours, slept 40 minutes, got stuck in a 4 hours on 4 hours off pattern, not slept at all, slept for 2 hours in 40 etc. Periodic bouts of suicidal feeling and the all important and symptomatically important planning of it, feelings of dread, being trapped, severe insignificance, psychosomatically induced nausea, severely disinclined to even get out of bed each day, for anything, and a complete lack of appetite; I could happily go 2 days without food at the moment (which would result in even more nauseous feelings as I get really ill if I don't eat), and so on and so forth.  All the poster symptoms for severe depression, stress, anxiety, and general mental failure.

I did the NHS direct symptom checker (which as we all know, is infullable), and at best it told me I should contact my GP immediately/ASAP (I don't actually have a GP but oh well), and at worst, that I should call 999 immediately and get myself to an A&E

To stop you all from panicking, I'm writing this at work, Joel knows and is keeping a close watch on me through all possible methods at his disposal, and practically all the time I'm at home Chris is there (which isn't always a good thing - getting time to myself just to unwind proves to be rather problematic due to the chris timetable meaning he's in almost all the time I'm at home, but means i can't do anything too stupid, or at least, i can't overtly do anything too stupid).

Of course, ordinarily in situations like this, I would run away from the world for 2 weeks, but alas I'm not at uni any more, so if I just don't come out of my room for 2 weeks I'll get fired.  I'm broke, so I can't go afford to go anywhere.  My job takes too much time to get a second one.  I can't quit my job because it's more advantageous to stay in it, and even though I'm broke despite working, I'm so broke I can't afford not to work the crappy job I do have.  And Chris would pretty much kill me if I went anywhere without him after this summer.  Especially if I did it with the complete isolation I kinda need about now.  Which I can't really blame him for, it's perfectly reasonable to be honest, and rather a mute point as I don't have the money in the first place, but it's all just compounding issues.

There's a fairly likely chance Joel will end up dragging me, fully kicking and screaming inevitably, to the doctors at some point in an attempt to force them to do something for me.  Of course I'm not thrilled about the concept of going to see medical professionals, and any concept of therapy is likely to throw me into fits of vomiting, but nothing's happening yet, so until such point as I am dragged kicking and screaming, I plan to hide from that prospect and ignore it entirely.

Oh, and bonus points to anyone who knows the title reference.

Friday, 10 December 2010


Life is hard.  Really hard.  A lot of the time.  And some days you know exactly why you fight so hard for it.  Most of the time I just carry on because I have nothing better to do with my time and it has the small chance of providing some passing amusement in any given day.  But overall, I have no idea why we all struggle so much, for something so transient.

Friday, 3 December 2010


So basically today has been ALL kinds of awesome.  New year will be AMAZING

Aside from the epic raise listed below.  We ran a test on a demo mic we have on hire, and it was so impressive even the big boss came up to me and asked what I'd done and how much it would cost to do that, and he seems really sold on them, which means I should get a massive £2k boost to my budget at work with which to buy us a load of shiny new mics for the new January show!  YAYS

I'll be able to afford shit in January.  I'll be able to go to the gym and like my body again.  On top of that, Terence is due to come over in February, which although I'll be crazy busy during, will be... well indescribable.  I grin stupidly just at the prospect even now, expect me to be unbearable come the end of January.

And further more, my friend Shawn just said he might be coming over in the Spring from California!  So that's more friends I get to see.

Added to that is the fact that I can now afford to take me and Chris to the US in the summer for a month.  Next year is looking so good in so many ways.

And if I work things out right, maybe in the later part of next year, I could go to Australia and visit someone who understands me in ways even Chris, Jack, Terence or Joel don't, and who I miss, every damned day, an amazing kid, and someone who'd I'd easily count as one of my best friends even though we've only hung out a handful of times.  Ryan, I miss you like crazy, you're awesome, and I wish you'd hurry up and come back here!

Must be funny...

Either work read my blog and someone spoke to the right people, or I'm just naturally that awesome, but the most AMAZING news has happened.

I was feeling REALLY shitty the last couple of days.  Being so broke for so long was finally taking its toll on me, I was about to crack.  I was sick of work, I was sick of not being able to afford to eat.  I was sick of never knowing if I'd even be able to pay my rent each month, I was sick of not going out or seeing anyone, I was sick of not being able to comfort buy to help that, I was sick of being stuck at home, I was sick of being stuck around Chris, I was sick of Chris and I not being able to go out for dinner, I was sick of everything in the way that only being flat broke for a year and a half can do to you  (he says having gone to the US this summer, I have my priorities, leave it at that).

Today, the big boss pulled me aside (always worrying), and told me they were really happy with the work I do, and were going to give me a raise.  That was an understatement.  I was on £7ph, which is nothing to live on in London.  I am now on £15ph.  That's £120 per day, pratically contracting rates!  That's a healthy, and respectable £31k per year.

My pay has more than doubled, £7ph just covered my rent and bills (but no food).  This means virtually all that extra is dispoable income.  This means I can save.  This means I can go on holiday.  This means I can take Chris on holiday.  This means I can pay £100 per month into my pension.  This means I can buy shoes that actually keep the cold out.  This means I can happily afford a gym membership.  This means I can pay off my credit card debt next year.  This means when Chris is pissing me off I can go out, and stay out, or I can grab Joel and go to Amsterdam or Manchester for the weekend because we feel like it.  This means I can come back, and take Chris to dinner, or see a show, or something date like to spend some time together that isn't me tired from work and him studying.  This means if I want new game, or cd I can afford it.  This means I can shop somewhere other than primark and get clothes that actually fit me.  This means I can buy the food  This means after all that, I might even have £100 left so that when I randomly need to go to waitrose to buy dinner because I'm working 90 hour weeks, or I need coffee, or I'm feeling down and want to get the new Armani Exchange sweater to make myself feel better, I can.  And I don't need to worry all the freakin' time about how I'm going to afford anything.

And it's more than that.  My CV says technical manager for the venue I work at.  On my old salary there's no way I could have stayed past March.  Now I can stay, in a job I love, at a venue that challenges me every single day.  Now I have the salary to back up my job title.  Now, when however many years in the future I'm looking for another job, I can argue my worth effectively.  A technical manager on £14k is either a shit manager, in a shit venue, or hyperinflating their job title.  A technical manager on £31k does a good job.  For a respectable venue.  They're willing to do 90 hour weeks when needed.  As my mum put it, it's now "a proper job, on a proper salary."

I'm not careful with money, I know this, but like I said, this gives me the money to go pay into my pension, and save for a holiday, and then go see my friends afterwards.  Not either/or each month.  This makes me a 23 year old earning £31k for a job he never did a degree or formal educational training in, for a job I picked up from a student society and happened to be good at.  I don't have to worry so much anymore.  Sure I'll be broke some months, but it'll be my own damned fault, because I just *had* to buy the collectors edition, or that new pair of jeans, or I took Chris out.  I can pay for dinner when I go out with my parents for once.  I can be a normal happy human being, and that's fantastic.

And my mind, now doing backflips and being so much relaxed from where it was this time last night, notices.  Earlier I was dreaming of an insanely hot boy, and him kissing me.  Happy at work, happy at home, happy in dreams.  Roll on my next paycheck!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Keep the change ya filthy animal

I follow a lot of random crap on twitter.  One of them is @WTFSexFacts which tweets bits of sexual culture oddities like the world's first vibrator and other assorted bits of humorous paraphernalia, as well as random sex related quirks like how many nerves are in each of the body's erogenous zones.

Earlier this evening, this was tweeted:
So, my boyfriend just told me he is bisexual. Should I (A) Dump him now? (B) Use him for warmth through winter? (C) Replace and then dump?

Now, it's nicely packaged in a vague attempt at humour, but I really shouldn't need to point out to any of you the horrific prejudice against bisexuals contained in this comment.  Twitter sure did.  I told them to get over themselves.  They obviously liked this person enough to consider them their boyfriend beforehand, whilst it might throw up some issues - for example I can understand there might be some things to talk about if this happened 3 months into the relationship, rather than after 2 weeks - the simple fact of the guy's sexuality shouldn't determine the future of the relationship.  I'm not saying this sort of admission doesn't cause problems, but to determine if someone is 'dateable' on the basis of whether they're potentially attracted to 50% or 100% of the population is plain ignorant.

Firstly, I'd like to give some kudos to the boyfriend in the circumstances.  Coming out to your family and your friends isn't an entirely comfortable experience for almost everybody.  You can never be 100% sure of the reaction you'll get, even from those who know you inside out otherwise, and have known you since childhood or before.  Coming out to your partner is a delicious awkwardness reserved for bisexuals alone.  Well and transsexuals I suppose.  This is the person that either is, or you hope will be, one of the closest, most important, and most intimate people in your life.  It's a lot  to risk, and it's a lot to expose yourself to, because if the reaction is negative, it's going to cause a lot MORE problems than just a bit of discomfort or a lost friend.

The next tweet to come from @WTFSexFacts was:
I have nothing against bisexuals. I just don't date them. I have many as friends though. Lonely people

Oh gee great, because that's so much better.  Frankly, to me, that kind of comment is reminiscent of the same logic that says 'gays can do my hair and be my interior designer, but they're not allowed to marry, I don't want them living on my street, and I'm scared for my children being within a 50 mile radius of them'.  Apparently, we bisexuals are have some weird leprous facet to our personalities that makes us undesirable in the dating world.  And as a result we are all lonely miserable, and can never land/keep a partner and are always desperate to cheat on them with the other sex so we can feel fulfilled and happy and content for a good 5 minutes.  Or something like that as I understand it.

Slowly however, things become clearer:
I dated a bisexual in my teens once. He dumped me for a girl. Dumped her for another boy. And so on and so on.

It emerges that the good @WTFSexFacts has obviously had a bad experience in the past, and is thus lambasting everyone with the same paint brush, so to speak.  And we all now how stable and reasoned the relationships we form as teenagers are.

Having been called on such points, the response was:
Well, why did he need to tell me? I call that softening somebody up for the blow. If he planned on monogamy, I'd have been none the wiser.

Now as stated, I have a lot of respect for the boyfriend for being brave enough to come out with this, but I'll grant you I'm biased.  And yes, depending on the exact circumstances this was communicated, and how long into the relationship it was, there's no doubt a lot more to it than some mere tweet reports can offer us, but all that aside, most people I know don't like to be lied to by their partner.  They don't like to find out from a friend of a friend, or 10 years down the line.  The monogamy point, is mute.  Assuming the best intentions in the boyfriend in revealing this, then it was to be honest, to share, and to head off the minor potential of a lifetime's worth of frustration exploding into an affair, by knowing that the subject can be discussed in the relationship, and often that's all a lot of things meed to stop them from ever actually becoming a problem.  That's not a relationship thing, that's a human social interaction thing.  Every damned one of you reading this has felt the need to rant about something at some point, and having done that, you feel calmer and better about it and it no longer bothers you.  A 5 minute bitch every so often and you're good.  I also severely dislike the implication that an admission of bisexuality is just a way to get out of a relationship.

This goes back and forth back and forth on twitter for a good while, in fact it's still going on.  @WTFSexFacts seems to continuously voice/confuse the opinion that bisexuals have some sort of uncontrollable compulsion to be sexually active with both sexes, and that they are by nature unfaithful, quoting his authority as a sex fact researcher, but no actual statistical sources, along with the misguided personal perception that there is no way he will be able to fulfil a bisexual's needs and make them happy.

Finally, about an hour ago, this comes out:
Let us just say I date him and 10 years down the line his other needs surface and he finds a girlfriend. I'll want those 10 years back.

Whereas of course, if @WTFSexFacts was with a completely gay individual, the chances of that individual turning round in 10 years and saying they'd met another guy are in fact non-existent.  It's a little known fact about gays that they are in fact perfectly faithful, whilst straights are getting divorced and bisexuals get distracted mid-fuck they're so promiscuous.

I can't be bothered to post all the other idiotic, depressing, offensive, and bigoted tweets that have come out of this feed this evening.  Go look them up if you're that bothered.  @WTFSexTweets seems to think that biseuxality is a choice.  And that you're just undecided.  Of course I never really understand how this argument works when you accept that gay and straight sexualities are not choices, but just a fact of nature.  Unless you're expected to be like gay christians - you can be a gay christian, you're just expected not to have sex?  Others involves in the back and forth suggested that @WTF should go get tested immediately, because apparently bisexuals are full of diseases.  The gay agenda gets talked about all the time, but none of you probably knew about the bi agenda.  Item one is the usurping of the gay superAIDS, with biAIDS, which kills you instantly.

What's most depressing about this is that even though the account often delivers tweets with a level of tongue in cheek sarcasm, it does claim to be a factual account, and so to voice someone's personal prejudices on it, to 50,000 odd followers, some of which are not all wordly wise, and ask the account questions precisely because they don't know anything, gives off a very bad representation, and on top of this the amount of times @WTF's tweets were being re-tweeted in a positive fashion.  Finally, the guy tweeting from @WTF, is a gay gay.   This isn't some idiot republican midwest "there are no gays in my town" making these tweets.  It's a UK based gay guy.  If that's the level of intolerance and judgement coming towards bisexuals from those who have the best chance of understanding what a burden sexuality can be, how in the hell do you stand a chance of educating the more ignorant masses?!

To be honest, you have it hard as a bisexual.  The straights mistrust and are confused by you at best, and at worst lump you in with the gays for eternal damnation or civil rights issues.  And you're not better off amongst the gays either; most of them think you're in denial, supporting a prejudice that gay is something to be avoided, greedy, or just plain indecisive.  To paraphrase @WTF's words, 'if you can't decide what gender you're attracted to, how are you going to decide on a person?' (I shouldn't need to explain to you how this is ALL kinds of wrong).  You can't really do bisexual orientated events, beyond a social mixer perhaps; they simply don't work, and end up just being stunted or forced versions of their gay/straight counterparts.

People out there, even fairly reasonable people, seem to have this irrational paranoia that you're going to inevitably cheat on them with someone of whatever gender they're not, because you have no willpower or self control, and they simply can't compete and offer you what you need.  Frankly, Chris doesn't provide me breasts, but then he doesn't provide me with an athletic jock build either.  These are not things I need.  These are ideals.  We all have them.  And we all have to throw most of them out of the window when it comes down to who we actually end up falling in love with by sheer chance of the universe.  Your gay or straight partner stands no more or less chance of doing any of these things based on sexuality alone than anyone else.

Get over yourselves people.  @WTFSexFacts pissed me off today, and disappointed me, and made me physically ill at several points.  But that's just representative.  I'm not trying to say bi's have it worse than any other minority group out there, but a little support from the LGBTQQI groupings who would be a really good and well deserved start.  We have a lot in common, we face a lot of the same trials and hardships, we've experienced a lot of the same suffering, prejudice and oppression.  Why, do the bullied, end up just bullying others even weaker than them in life?  Bisexuals are people,  Just like everyone else.  Just like your gay best friend.  Just like your parents.  They make mistakes, they have flaws, but no more than everyone else.  One person might not be right for you, but that's because of them as a person, not because of who they might, potentially, find attractive.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The money crisis: Part 3 (Bad Math)

I posted recently about my extreme level of being poor.  Or rather, my extreme lack of income to do anything other than put a roof over my head with.  We've been holding auditions recently for the new January show and it came up in conversation with the boyfriend last night as to what salary they earn.  Standard equity rates.  The bf said, "I assume even less than you", seeing as how being a low grade performer is not a hugely well paid job, and me, being management staff in a permanent position and all, you would think would be on a decent wage, comparatively speaking of course.

But of course you'd be wrong.  Equity rates are currently about £350-450 per week, depending on what you're doing, and this allows the company contracting you up to 8 performances in a week, plus rehearsals..  We generally do 5, but this allows us some breathing room for special events and private lunches and other such things.  My gross salary doesn't even break 300 per week, and by the time tax is taken into account, it's barely over 200.  The actors are getting twice my salary, for turning up half the time I do.  Obviously I appreciate there's more that goes into acting, singing, juggling etc, than just turning up and doing the job.  There's time spent learning lines, practicising songs, recognition of the time and investment others have spent refining their skills, a coverage of the necessary insurance premiums incurred by stage fighters etc.  You're paying for recognition of the level of their skill, not just the skill itself.  But that puts my recognised skill level pretty fucking low based on the quality of a lot of the auditionees we've had.  And I do things in my own time, I look to further myself, my skillset, I spend time awake at home creating a new lighting plot instead of sleeping.

I'm not entitled to equity rates.  I'm not on an equity contract, I'm not equity registered or affiliated, and I took my job at the offered rate of £7ph.  I effectively operate as the venue's technical manager, due to it being a small scale venue as far as the world of theatrical entertainment goes.  I'm expected to be designer, manager, operator and builder all in one.  And I am not a Mountview Stage Management graduate with a nice accreddited degree.  That's kind of fine.  That goes with the job, it goes with the industry, it goes with what I signed up to do.

But I really wish my salary reflected even just a little bit of that.  As an Equity Stage Manager I would be entitled to the same rate as our actors.  If you wanted to take into account the fact I have to do frequent and regular designs for lights, sound, set, etc.  Then freelance fees for a lighting design, even small scale, are considerable.  I both stage manage and I don't.  Lisa spends more time on the floor, doing what would count as stage management in this venue, but I will be taking over a lot of the backstage authority come January.  A stage manager gets paid a premium per performance.  Generally, a lot of techs aren't paid equity rates, it's not a luxury we have.  Entertainment, like retail, architecture, and city banking is one of those industries where it doesn't matter how many hours you're putting in, if you bitch about it there's a queue of other people waiting to do your job and not bitch.  But generally you're paid something such that you don't start bitching it in the first place.  Especially when you're a one man tech show.  Unless you're at Edinburgh of course, but that's 
an isolated microcosm in itself with its own laws of physics, so we can exclude it from our studies.

If you discount the rather wide remit of my role, if you discount the management aspect of it, the design aspect.  If you just count what my new starter wage form precisely says, I am a technician. So fine, count me as a theatre technician.  If you look at average theatre technician salaries. I come very firmly in the bottom region of what could be expected.  On a regional breakdown, I get paid about £10k less than expected for a theatre technician.  If I could get the extra £10k, I wouldn't even begin to mention the fact I design and manage on top of that.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

And that has made all the difference

It pisses me off a lot that I always seem to have to be the one to initiate the conversation.  Sometimes I give up entirely and refuse to do so anymore.  But eventually the urge to say hi gets the better of me, usually no more than a week following.  And whenever I do say hi, I'm reminded that it's worth being the one to always start it, because he always comes back at me with a pet name, and tells me that he loves me and misses me. :)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Balancing the Budget

Net Income: £200pw (~£800pcm)

Rent: £433.33
Utilities: £50 (water, electric, gas, internet)
Phone: £50
Council Tax: £152
Credit Cards: £60 (2x £30)
Travel: £80 (£20pw)

This comes to outgoings of £825pcm
You may, or may not have noticed, this is not including food costs of approx. £100 per month, which I actually can't afford at the moment, so the bf keeps graciously buying it so that I don't starve, but thus my outgoings are in fact in the region of £1000pcm, before any incidentals or disposable income.

This is, as shown, in all cases, more than my monthly income.
And thus, I am flat broke., in fact I am beyond flat broke and steadily getting worse and worse, as inevitably, I do spend money on a magazine, or some lunch, or the extra £5 return travel to see a friend once a week, and the £10 monthly spotify membership so I can carry my music wherever I am, so I lose more than just £25 per month.

There are some fine points to note; I pay all the council tax by myself as I'm the only working person in my house, so I'm effectively paying 3 people's share of it.  £1000 worth of outgoings sounds like a lot, but actually is fairly reasonable for someone living in London.  When you think about it, this requires a net salary of £12k, which works out at around £13k gross, so hardly extravagant.  I could live further out for cheaper, but that would involve longer commute times (not appreciated during 90 hour weeks), and incur higher transport costs, so a lot of the goodness would be negated.  I could get rid of my mobile phone, or my spotify membership, and sell my tv and computer and such, but I like to allow myself some form of entertainment and connection to the rest of the world beyond my house, my work, and the number 254 bus between them.

Like I said in my last post, I REALLY don't get paid enough for this shit.  At least not enough to stay in this job for an extended period of time.  And I think this also illustrates why we have the problem that emergency services staff often struggle to actually live in London, despite having to work there.  If only ALL jobs in London were subject to salary weighting.  Or at the least, if only this country had a proper concept of a living wage and actually paid it.  Currently, I'm 85p an hour below the rate set for the LLW, which equates to a difference of about £100 a month.  At least maybe then I'd be able to eat and not be systematically bankrupting myself.  In a perfect world, I'd like to actually contribute to my pension each month too.  £100 per month paid from birth till retirement gives you a nice tidy pension of £500k, before adjusted for inflation and accrued benefits.  My parents got me one and paid in it till i was 18, so I'm currently about £5k behind schedule.  I often live beyond my means but I'm not completely idiotic.

Addendum:  I also discovered I earn a mere 20p an hour more than the poverty level.  whoo. That makes me £30 richer per month than an official poor person.  This also puts me in the bottom 10% of full-time London earners, and sets me in approximately the 6th percentile, which let's face it, is a pretty crappy place to be, and sets me at worse than the majority of part time London earners.  WHOOP!

Fuck this, I'm going to Hogwarts.

So a while ago work actually discovered my blog, so this will inevitably get back to them, but oh well.  To be honest, depending on how much of my blog they read upon discovering it, they already know far too much about me anyway, at least enough to know the Hot Tour Guide story...

Ugh  Is what I'd like to say, just ugh.  Work, frustrating me no end at the moment.  We are launching a new show in January, in fact we held the auditions for it yesterday  (8 hours of watching people audition on only 2 hours sleep also earns an ugh, but that's a different matter). We also have very busy month in December, with almost double the amount of shows, as we are often doing full shows during the lunchtime period, as well as in the evenings.  For the January show, there was a big back and forth about whether we should close beforehand or not, and eventually it was decided that we would indeed have a 2 week dark period, in which to rehearse for the new show, the kitchen to get their times sorted, and for me to completely overhaul, rewire, and reinstall in several cases, the entire technical system, which is kind of a mess.

We already had some full nights booked for this dark period, so it was decided to honour them, fair enough. And although I don't know what cut off mark they used to declare 'full', this now means that 7 days of the 2 week dark period we are open and running a show.  What show I don't know as the contracts for the old show will have finished, and the new show won't be ready but *some* form of show.  This means that we have no more than 2 days in a row dark at any time during this 'dark' period.  During which, we need to have a complete PAT test; I need to take down all the lights, re-lay all the dmx, cat5 and power cabling, in the main room; reinstall all the lights in new positions and potentially install some new additional lights, which would further involve running in and rearranging the power and data cabling daisy chains; regardless of new lights or none, almost certainly repatching the entire system; potentially installing new LED drivers as the current set-up means they are not, and cannot be divided into architectural zones, so you can either macro every LED in the building, or none at all; on top of this I need to basically rip out the entire tech room, dispose of several obsolete bits of equipment, rearrange and redesign the layout of the currently useful equipment, replug the entire sound system from scratch; update the pc lighting software and try linking the control pc and dmx interface into the wireless hub so that i can remotely control it; and then of course, FINALLY, I need to TEST all of this work to make sure the damned thing still actually operates, and perform the inevitable troubleshooting that will be required.

Now whilst a lot of this work can be worked around our need to function and commitments and such, needless to say, a lot of it equally needs us to be closed, and thus not require it functioning, for more than 2 days.  As it is we're closed Mondays and Tuesdays in a normal week, so actually, we've gained very little, at least from a technical perspective.  Being open only 3 or 4 days a week and for relatively short periods puts them in a better position to conduct rehearsals, but they will want lights, and sound, and the absence of technical equipment being all over the entire venue floor in order to do that, so I am no better off than if they'd just bothered to stay open.


Beyond this, I'm having issues with time off in work.  Now I understand I was brought in especially for managing and producing this new show, so its important that I am involved with it as much as possible, and time off is a luxury I am not likely to be able to afford, especially in the few weeks either side of our gala reopening night.  I do get this.  But I asked like a month ago for some time off, some in likely earlyish february, as Terence is coming over, and aside from the fact I would obviously spend 24 hours a day with him given the chance, he was really really good to me over the summer, and spent loads of time with me and took me out loads and cooked and everything, and I'd really like to return the favour, and that's going to be hard to do if I'm gonna be in work 1600 - 0200 every day.  He doesn't know for certain if/when he's coming yet, which obviously complicates matters, and I realise getting a full week off around then just isn't going to happen, but 2 or 3 nights would be nice.

There's then one or two nights I might need off mid February.  I might be able to swing these, but until the reason I need these nights off is set and the date in place, I see no real reason to try and swing these.

And then moving on into March, it'd be hugely advantageous for me to get a week off for a project I'd like to be involved in, but even though we should be 8 weeks into the new show by then, so everyone should have it down fine, I have heard nothing about whether I can have this off despite asking a month ago and I really need to know sooner rather than later, and I still highly suspect the answer will be no.


Work isn't completely oblivous to the fact that they will be monopolising my time, and I will likely be working 90 hour weeks again in January and February (on the basis the show takes up 1800 - 0000 minimum, which is already 30 out of 40 contracted hours a week, and that's before I actually do any set up, rehearsals, maintenance, forward planning for special events and other such things during the day), I have been encouraged to take as much time off in December as possible, and bar the need to do some lunchtime shows, I could probably take virtually the entire month off more or less, which is nice and all, but not that useful.  Taking time off in advance so they can make me work 90 hour weeks doesn't really make up for 90 hour weeks, and I don't want a month off in December, I want a week off in Feb and a week off in March, because that's when I have things to do during those weeks, rather than just taking time off because it's convenient for my workplace if I do and there's nothing for me to be at work doing.

The time off is all rather pointless anyway unless I can get someone to cover me.  Ideally, I would love to hire someone part-time for 20 hours a week, this person could cover the shows I couldn't do, take over some of the more basic maintenance and upkeep that is all too time consuming, and would be especially useful for special events where as an example, the other day I was in work for 15 hours on a Sunday in order to do a wedding reception.  Being able to take 8 hours of an extra person would help immensely.  In a perfect world of course, the place could actually do with 2 full time technical staff, but there's no way in hell I'd get that.  Then again, I don't think there's any way in hell I'll get the budget for £500pcm worth of staffing costs.  Getting £10 for a tin of paint here is enough of a struggle.  Hell they still haven't even let me set up trade accounts with the suppliers so I keep having to use my own money and charge it to expenses, when we don't actually have any form of expenses at this company, they just grumble at me and then EVENTUALLY pay me out of petty cash, but that relies on me having the funds to spare, and the funds being within my means rather than some of the bigger purchases I would like to make.


I don't get paid enough for this shit.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Muscle Memory

My body is wierd.  Obviously this should come as no surprise at all to anyone who knows me well enough to read this blog, but occasionally, I get reminded of this fact in rather overt ways.

You should all by now know the convoluted nature of my love life, and that whilst I love Chris, I don't miss the other boys any less as a result.

Your body notices things subconsciously, if you wear a necklace every day you notice that you're not because of  the slight difference in weight, freedom of movement, and comfort (or discomfort).  Given the same requirement or circumstances over a continued period of time you develop muscle memory, which equally takes a long period of time to change or lose.  That's all fine, I get that.

When I get into bed some nights, and put my arm around Chris, my body notices something... not wrong, just different to what it expected.  The body it's over isn't as scrawny as it was expecting, I can't feel the entire spine and ribcage; or my arm isn't as high up as it thought it would be, because chris sleeps on his front rather than his side.  The boy I've just put my arm around is Chris, and not either of the other two it might want to be cuddling up to.  But what's constantly wierd about this is that I haven't gone to bed wishing I had Terence to hug or whatever; I've gone to bed thinking, "yay, getting into bed with boyfriend"  and then "snuggle up to chris time."  I'm very obviously and consciously thinking about the fact that Chris is the guy I'm with.  And then I put my arm over him and there's a physical body driven response that goes, huh, "that's odd... oh yeah..."  What further confuses me about this is that I haven't spent that much time with the people who aren't Chris; just a few weeks with each of them.  That shouldn't be long enough to develop that kind of muscle memory, and given the amount of time apart, and that it's Chris I get into bed with every single night, it certainly should have got out of that problem.

Like I say, it's not that I'm going, "oh, chris isn't the person I want", it's that my body just doesn't seem to be expecting it, despite all rather obvious signs to the contrary.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

I'm Spinning Around...

I can't get enough of these songs at the moment:

Timo Descampes - Like It Rough  Obviously the title should give something away as to why I love this.  It's the official song of the upcoming Judas Kiss movie, which I can't wait for.  ANd as a bonus, the music video has Brent Corrigan shirtless, and being bitten by Timo as a vampire in it XD

Katy Perry - Firework  I actually hated this the first time around.  I mean what the hell is with the sparks shooting out of her chest, could she get any more sexual metaphorical?  But then the second time I loved it and since then I've been hooked, this is probably the song I'm listening to most at the moment and could play on repeat over and over again.  It sends me manic, which is great.  I love when I find a song that can do that.  Lesbianism and cheesy popness aside, I'm really really into this song.  Plus, it has gay boys kissing in it, and that's always nice to see in something mainstream.

Glee Cast - Teenage Dream.  Another Katy Perry song technically, after like 5 singles that I LOVE, I think I'm forced to concede I am now truly another Katy Perry fangay.  Aside from the acapella arrangement of this being fantastic, something about a hot boy basically begging me to grab his arse in song form just gets me going, mmmm....

Christina Perri - Jar of Hearts  This is a lot more downbeat that all the others.  The music video is wierd, I get what they're trying to do with the formal slowed down dancing, but I don't it works to be honest, but the song is still constantly in my head, and it's a great bitter angry burned by the person you trusted most kinda song.

American Hi-Fi - The Break Up Song  Terence is to blame for this one.  He constantly reminds me of all the crappy teenage bands I used to <3, because he still listens to them all (one of the many reasons we get on, we will both happily rock out at the top of our very bad singing voices to New Found Glory, The Starting Line, etc).  If you're the one that broke up with someone and your ex is pissing you off, listen to this, or send them it as part of an angry i-hate-you mix tape.  It says it all really.

Bruno Mars - Just The Way You Are  Chris hates Bruno Mars, I kinda love him.  Like Katy Perry, I know it's really bad overproduced pop, but I just find it so uplifting.  This song just describes love to me; how its stupid for the person you love to be worried around you, because you always think they are the most incredible person you've ever met; they're amazing, and all the little thing that they hate most about themselves, are the bits of them you find the sexiest.

But that's what I'm listening to these days kids.

EDIT:  I forgot to include the following:

Enrique Iglesias - I Like It.  I also have to confess to being a secret Enrique fan, the man's damn hot, and he does awesome jumpy music (this one, Bailamos, Escape, etc.) and can then go right to the other end of the classic ott love song (Hero).  This is one of my songs of the (late) summer, that happens to still be ticking over in my head.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Anarchy in the UK

I used to have a picture from one of my anarchist websites.  3 frames, with a cartoon illustrating each of the following

A single person asking for change achieves nothing.
A large group might get a response
But simple direct action gets immediate results

This last frame was illustrated by a little anarchist setting fire to the giant man of government standing in his way, thus causing giant man to yell and run elsewhere.

Direct Action, and Civil Disobedience, are complex terms.  How they are defined, the context they are used in, how they are understood and interpreted by others.

It's #demo2010 today and between 20,000 - 50,000 (or 500 'radical socialists' if fox news deigns to give it a 15 second segment) students, graduates, researchers and lecturers have taken to the streets to protest the proposed changes to university funding and teaching cuts.  It is expected to be the biggest march since the Stop The War protests (which I was at and was pretty fucking phenomenal).

The right to protest, the right of freedom of assembly and the right of freedom of speech are things I will gladly fight to the death for, and I'd be a pretty crappy anarchist if I didn't staunchly believe in these things.  Any society that purports to be a 'democracy' of any kind, whether accurately or not, must allow its citizens these rights (amongst others).  Protest rallies, marching, striking, petitioning, whether I personally support the cause or not, is all admirable as far as I'm concerned, and whilst, like every other Londoner, the clockwork regular tube strikes and inevitable transport chaos piss me off no end, I will never support those who would restrict any person's, union's, or body's right to strike freely.  Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety and all that jazz.

As is inevitable with protests, there is always a minority who cause 'trouble'.  Be it because they genuinely are that angry and frustrated with society, or because they got bored of chanting and only recognise 'anarchism' as the outdated, defunct, and offensive definition that means rioting and looting at will.  And that is what gets reported and is what people remember years down the line.  It tars the entire group with the same brush, and certainly in this country, violent disobedience is not tolerated; it tends to go down a little better in European countries for some reason.

Civil disobedience is allowable, that covers simple protest, and striking, because those are disobedient in regard to the rules you have been mandated to abide by in a particular context (such as conditions at work).  There is also the less reasonable and accepted methods; rioting, mobs, etc

Direct action, is also, a fairly allowable thing, peaceful direct action has existed for a long time.  Slow-downs, sit ins, picket lines to mark denial of entry during strikes.  And again it has its less tolerated examples: assault and arson being two.

It's stupid to ruin something respectable with a few ignorant actions using the wider cause as a defence for wanting to be simply uncivilized.  It's stupid to become so wrapped up in the chaos and destruction and anger of what you're doing you ignore the reasons you're (supposedly) doing it in the first place and start throwing fire extinguishers off roofs.  When people from the NUS or UNITE or whatever call for civil disobedience or direct action from their members, they refer to peaceful protest, but some use that as a defence to argue their counter productive actions are justified and called for.

But then again, how counter productive are they?  Simple direct action gets immediate results.  It is not laudable, it shouldn't occur, though it also shouldn't be the case that 16 million people world wide need to protest a war, but sometimes it is, and those violent outbursts, make the events so memorable.  People remember what happened in Greece because it was aggressive.  People remember the Boston Tea Party because it was an unoffical declaration of war from a nation feeling severely oppressed that was a key point in a chain leading to a formal declaration of war.  Direct action, in the not-always-peaceful definition of the term, does get results.  It gets you noticed, for better or worse, and it gets results, for better or worse.  Protesters throughout the ages who have been jailed, reproached, and criminalized for their actions, and suffered for it, have often been the pioneers of those who have brought about a change for the better for the rest of us.

I do not, will not, and cannot condone the actions of a few violent, ignorant individuals whose aim is largely to break some shit and feel all powerful and important for 2 hours whilst the news helicopters circle above and before the riot police club them into submission.

But I do not believe that the action of a lot of people shouting loudly about how unfair life is and waving some placards they made the day before will ever achieve much of any import.  A protest march is important, it galvanises people, it gives them something to believe in, it is representative of how unpopular a cause of action is, and in many cases, gives people the means to pool together and achieve legal recourse to defend their causes by forming into a group.  But if 16 million people shouting can't stop a war, and if legal recourse can be appealed and retried and appealed and retried all the way up to that nation's supreme courts (and beyond in the case of EU nations), taking years before any significant change is finally agreed upon, I have to believe that direct action, sometimes peaceful, and sometimes not so, is the way forward, because it has so often achieved results where mere complaining to those who are oppressing you in the first place, not surprisingly, results in fairly little being done, beyond maybe a small but ineffectual concession if you bitch long enough and loud enough.

Do I think this protest, or the rioters at Millbank will actually change anything about the proposed funding legislation.  Not at all.  But I stand by every single damned one of them for having the courage to make people notice.

Thursday, 21 October 2010


My house is freezing cold.  It's been freezing cold for about 2 weeks now, the house is affirmedly in winter mode.

We have sash windows.  I hate sash windows, they are largely single glazed, and have no form of proper seal on them due their design and are completely insecure, so basically, the only advantage over just having one giant hole in your wall, is that you stuff doesn't get wet when it rains.  The wind and the cold however, that comes right in.  You can try to mitigate the heat loss from sash windows by using massive thick heavy curtains, but then you have to have massive thick heavy curtains everywhere, and as this is a rental house, the permission to put the relevant things in the wall.  The bedroom has blinds, the living room has light cotton drapes for privacy, the hallway and the kitchen have nothing.

How about central heating, invented a good 2000 odd years ago and installed in most properties these days, certainly any property I'm going to be paying money for at least, it is designed to circulate heat throughout your house, and thereby raise the ambient temperature to something comfortable, especially in the winter months, thereby eliminating the need for open fires in every room, or the wearing of furs.  Good idea yes?  Well apparently not allowed.  Every time I turn the heating on, my flatmate turns it off as soon as he notices.  Everytime I put the heating on timer, it mysteriously doesn't come on at the right times, because someone has turned it back to the off positions.  What's ironically funny is that my old flatmates from the last 2 years used to do this, because they were worried about bills and money, and my current flatmate was hapily bitching to me about this approach of theirs all the time.

I am currently wearing 4 layers, my entire body is shivering and cold.  My hands and feet are worse.  I have that cold numb ache throughout the entire length of my limbs.  If I try to warm myself up, my body is so cold, as it warms, it develops that stabbing pain you get from cold burns.  I get this even if I try to drink a cup of tea, and my internal temperature is seemingly so low, that even green tea, which I serve properly so about 20 degrees C cooler than 'normal' tea, gives me that horrible burning pain sensation from having something that's too hot as it travels all the way down my oesophagus.

I pay my rent, I pay £50 a month in bills, that's £150 a month for the three of us, £3300 per year.  Allowing about £800 for water rates, that gives us almost £200 a month to spend on electricity and gas, obviously the usage of both goes down dramatically in the summer months, so lets say £150 allowance for summer months, £250 in the winter.  And yet we are seemingly not allowed to have the heating on when it's cold.  I went through this for the last 2 years.  I got a space heater, and had it running almost constantly our house was that cold.  The second you turned it off everything froze again. My last house was in fact so bad, the pipes had to unfreeze every day when the hot water did come on, and we had water leaks in the floors and walls constantly.  So therefore I used the much more expensive electricity, rather than the sensible gas as I wasn't allowed to use the central heating, but my flatmates could hardly say no we're not going to use electricity either.  And I seem to be in the same position in my new place.

I don't understand people.  Chris, is a generally warm person, and he feels okay most of the time, but he admits he's a warm person, and he still shivers for a good while whenever he gets into bed each night.  My flatmate complains how cold it is in the house.  As I said, I've already put a jumper on, and a thermal layer, and a vest, and a t shirt, and jeans, and joggers over that.  I'm doing my energy bit, I'm not being lazy.  But we're not allowed to use the central heating?  What's weirdest is that my flatmate isn't even here most of the time!  And yet somehow he still magically manages to turn the heating off constantly.  Either that, or Chris is lying to me, in which case he's in major major major trouble.

I admit, it's 3 in the morning, it's going to be cold anyway, and I'm ill at the moment, so I'm probably worse than I could be, but I get home at 11pm, at which point, if the heating had been on timer, it should have been on solidly since 5pm so the house should be pleasant, and good until at least 1am or so, as we're all up late all the time in this house.  But no its freezing 24/7/.  And if I'm ill, surely I should be allowed to put the heating on to facilitate not being ill for longer?  Because an ill asthmatic who develops hypothermia every day is obviously a better situation than using the heating.

And it's mid October.  This means it's nowhere near as bad as it's gonna get.  And we have a good 4 5 months of this to go through.  I'm struggling not to completely break as it is anyway; at the moment, this is the thing that is actually going to push me off the edge and I will actually pull a jack.  seriously, I've already done all the planning for it, it's literal a case of whether i choose to do it or not at this point.

I don't even have any refuge at work, for some reason the a/c is left on despite the fact we're ALL sitting there shivering and no-one takes their jackets off when they get in.

Like I say, I don't understand people.  And at the moment, I have nowhere to go, work as enjoyable as it is, simply doesn't pay me enough and I can barely afford to stay till the end of my contract in march, let alone go beyond that, however much I might want to.  And being at home is often unpleasant depending on how my head feels like relating to Chris on any given day.  Add the fact that I'm just as cold, if not actually more so at home all the time, and the best i can do is come home, go straight to bed to try and keep warm, and get up as late as possible before heading to work, and I'm going to resent being in either place before long.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Names changed to protect identities.

I have 2 friends on facebook.  Or rather, I have one friend, and his ex.  But their recent status updates amuse me.  For the sake of discretion, we shall call them person A and person B.

Statuses in the last 24 hours have gone as follows, proceeding chronologically as you progress down the screen, obviously:

[B]: is fighting for love and things are looking up.

[B]: dinner and a movie with [A] :-)

[B]: had a great night with [A]:

[A] (posted 5 minutes after that last one): There's a reason you can block your exs on Facebook.  Now can I block them out the rest of my life.

Ah.... isn't it great when two people have completely different perspectives on how a night went, and you can get a sick perverted pleasure out of watching the one you don't like squirm because of it?

Yeah yeah, we all know I'm a bitch, that's old news people.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Friends are the family you choose... so why do I see them less?

I've noticed over time, that I tend to me the more proactive one when it comes to maintaining friendships.  I still let a lot of things slide, and I still neglect friendships that I shouldn't, and with certain people, we are quite comfortable not talking to each other for months and then randomly picking up where we left off, but generally, I'm the one who tends to start facebook or msn conversations just to say 'hi', I tend to be the one bugging people to come over, or invite me over, or go out, or whatever.  Normally, this doesn't bother me, I can deal just fine with that kind of thing being more reliant on me; maybe I feel the need to maintain contact more, and I'm sure my friend's shoulder more than an equal share of the burden in other aspects of our relationships.

But it does get to me, when I seem to go through extended periods where I don't see anyone and no-one even bothers to say hi to me in three months.  I say three months because I got back from the US almost exactly 3 months ago.  With the obvious exceptions of Chris, my family, and work related peoples, I worked out I've seen 7 people out of my friends in those months, and out of those, one was in fact from the US visiting, and 3 I've only seen by virtue of the fact they live with the fourth.

My friends in the US, and some of these people I only met for 4 days on a crazy 4th July weekend this year, will talk to me on a weekly, if not daily basis, despite the fact that they are 4000 miles and 5 hours time difference away from me and the only deep bonding experience between some of us is both trying to avoid errant fireworks and walking naked for a mile and a half through knee deep coastal waters.  And yet the multitude of people who live in the same city as me, can't even make the cursory 'we should meet up sometime' comment that we both know will never actually happen.

For the last 3 weekends I've posted on facebook and twitter saying is anybody around to do something, and the only person I've had ANY response from is the same person I see all the time anyway.  Don't get me wrong, I love him, I will gladly spend 80% of my social time with him, but I do need to feel he's not the only person in my life aside from the boyfriend.  This is just depressing.  It means currently, my life consists of work, trying not to fight with the boyfriend, and when I get so sick of those two I can't stand it anymore, Joel.

Sure, shit happens, people get busy, people (like me) are flat broke, they have their own problems and depressions to deal with, etc etc, but in 3 months my social life amounts to a lot of time with Joel, and 3 one off meet ups with some other people, which I'm grateful for, and I enjoyed seeing those people, but that's it.  Oh and one drunken phone call about 2 weeks ago.

I'm kinda sick of it, I don't want to have to work this hard to maintain one good solid friend in the entire city.  Even counting the friends I don't talk to much and am fine with that (my best friend being the major example of that), that brings the total count to maybe 4.  In the entire fucking country.  How to win friends and influence people my ass.

The modern day catharsis for this dilemma has become to have a facebook friend cull, unfortunately I think if I actually did that at the moment, I would struggle to even retain a full handful of UK-based, non work or family related friends.  So not surprisingly, that's not going to make me feel a whole lot better.  I haven't yet decided whether it'll be more depressing to get a slew of panicked 'hey hows it going are you ok read your blog post' messaged from people who have shown no interest for a while tomorrow, or to get nothing at all.  Whatever happens, I think at the moment there's a very firm extra point in the 'reasons to move to the US and pull a Jack'* column

Mood:  Depressed - work work chris work joel work work chris work work work chris work work joel work etc......
Music:  Jack's Mannequin - Entire Spotify Discography

* 'A Jack' is a manoeuvre by with you start a brand new life; you cut all ties from your previous one, abandoning all friends, workers, landlords, family members, acquaintances, creditors, et al. suddenly with no prior warning or indication.   This goes so far as to uping sticks, with only so many possessions to your name as will fit in a suitcase, moving to an entirely new part of the country, changing your phone number, email, deleting facebook, and all records of your previous life insofar as is possible without the exorbitant cost of counterfeit passports, but sofar as changing your name, thus giving those you left behind virtually no method of tracking you down within the 5 minute attention span of the average 2010ite, and making it a reasonable hassle for those who insist on pursuing it past that limit.  The move is so named because my friend Jack pulled it off, and aside from pissing off a lot of people who he didn't care about, has arguably been a rather successful stratagem.

Monday, 4 October 2010

De Amicitia

So I was drunkenly ordered to keep this blog going.  A friend of mine, who I see a lot less often than I should, but isn't that always the way as you grow up, told me it was her only link to me for the past year, and it's what gives her a sense of what's going on in my life, however trivial, becuase its the trivial things that friends want to know about, that make you friends, because they are the people who will give you sympathy when you've had a bad day at work, or will laugh at you with affection when you do something stupid.  So the blog shall seemingly continue, as I know she's not the only friend I don't do enough to keep up with that reads it.  And because when I'm having a really tough time, and the random people in my life who I don't expect to take enough notice spend all day making sure I'm okay, it sort of restores my faith in humanity a little bit, so everybody gets something out of it.

A non-descript friend said it was worrying that they relied on me, of all people, to go to when they're feeling messed up.  Because let's face it, I'm hardly the most stable, rational, or traditional of people.  If you're looking for someone to reassure you about the state of the world, you generally want to choose someone who at least sees the world, rather than dreams it up in their head.  And I'm nothing near not the standard type of friend, but my response was completely simple.

Why worrying, a best friend is supposed to be someone who gets you, where no-one else does.  Who you don't need to explain everything to.  Who you relate to differently than you might to other people and who knows different things about you.  They don't need to be the standard person in your life; they're there to be just as different as you are on the inside, so you know you're not completely crazy; that someone else out there is just as bad or worse than you, and will be especially worse for you when you need to feel good about yourself.

The candidates for my 'best friend', however I choose to score that one up, are all people who I can sit in a room with when I'm seething.  And anyone who's seen a proper temper rise in me knows I will throw and hit whatever is within range at that time, and there is no placating me, you just have to let me run out of energy - though, being an aries, that's usually in about 10 minutes: quick tempers, but not long lived ones. My best friends I can rant and rage at if I wanted to, but for some reason when I'm around them, I don't so much.  I can count the 'alone time' that I need to myself fairly regularly, even if I'm with them, because for some reason it works.  I can sit for 4 hours and not say a single word to them, not because we're watching a movie, but just because there's nothing that needs to be said, and be completely comfortable with that.  Best friends are the extraordinary people in your life, and 2 of the 3 people on my best friend list, I hardly ever get to see or even talk to.  But we don't need to, and even if I don't see them for 2 years, I can meet up with them and pick up our friendship as if there was no break between whatever word our last conversation with each other ended on.

That said, the way I respond to people when they want reassurance seems to be quite popular.  I don't really reassure people, or at least I won't say something because it's what you want to hear.  I'm generally qutie matter-of-fact in my consoling, but for a lot of people that seems to work.  Or they at least have the sense to come to me for that type of consoling only, and seek out other friends when they want someone who will lie to them.  Not that I'm putting the latter method down, we all need someone to tell us what we want to here rather than what we should here from time to time.  I just refuse to be that person.  But because of the method I go about sympathizing with people, it means people tend to listen to me.  Because when I say things like I did above, they know I mean it, they know that's how I truly view the world, and they know it's probably what they know on some level as well.  And when they just want someone who won't try to cheer them up, they know I will be the person standing there with the gin, saying "yes, the world is full of really really sucky crap, and i hate it and there's at least one day a week where all i want to do is scream too."  Sometimes, honesty works. Obviously sometimes this method backfires, on me or the friend I'm not sure which more, but there are other people to go to when you need to hear that it'll all be okay, and that there's a bright new beautiful tomorrow.   Sometimes, tomorrow should be spent in bed with the covers over your head.

Friday, 24 September 2010


I apologise for the severe lack of posts in recent times.  I'm finding myself with either not much to say, or lacking the enthusiasm to write it all down.

I'm doing better at the whole going through the motions thing.  Actual feeling and emotional response is returning.  Which is a good thing.  Not completely there yet but I'm being patient, for once.  Living with Chris hasn't completely driven me mad yet.  Actually, my relative sanity and the fact that I haven't hit him over the head with a frying pan yet seems to be a result of the fact that I'm dreaming the crazy violent inappropriateness every night.  I find myself waking up to Chris putting his arm curling up to me and putting his arm around me, just after the two of us have been punching the hell out of each other in dreamland.  It's beyond surreal.  Either that, or I've been dreaming about other boys, which is probably worse really.

I'm currently not sure whether this blog will continue, I still have a lot of different things going through my head and I'm sure your lives would all be much improved by knowing such things, but I've hit a rather major snag.  I used to write fairly honestly about whatever was going on with me and Chris.  It gave me a place to vent, and it gave Chris a vague idea of what was going on with me whenever he remembered to actually read the damned thing.  However now I actually live with Chris.  Which means I don't want to vent on here, only to be confronted with a what's going on, i didn't realise anything was it, i thought we were okay" panicked attack from Chris 5 minutes later.  Sure I still want to sort out whatever relationship problems I inevitably develop at some point, but sometimes you need a space to vent, sometimes you need time to think, or calm down, and I wouldn't get that luxury putting it in my blog when the boy will be reading it 3ft away from me.  And he wont have the time to read the whole thing, think about it, and be forced to take time by the physical practicallity of writing out a reply, he'll be reacting as he goes, at me, for better or worse.  So I don't really want to discuss in detail what's going on with me and Chris anymore.

Which means, if I'm holding back such a big part of what I'm generally not truthful to a lot of people about, then what's the point in only half following through on it?  I haven't decided completely whether to kill the thing or not, but that accounts for the lack of postings recently

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Some techie geekery

For all those who care not one shit about technical doohickeys, pass by now.

With that said, my brief and off the top of my head review of PLASA 2010.  PLASA is pretty much the biggest techie trade show there is, taking over the whole of Earl's Court 1 & 2 for an entire week, and its free to go to!  Pretty much every company worth knowing has a stand there and many companies unveil new products there each year, so basically, if you work in anything to do with staging, techining, production, etc, it's a must, and a lot of international buyers fly over specifically for the networking potential of the show.

I found this year's show heavily toned down from last year, PLASA always tends to be somewhat flashy, attempting to show the pinacle of what's the swankiest looking and highest costing stuff in the technical industry that year.  Last year they shot a laser all the way from the back of EC2 to the entrance of EC1, that was impressive.  The hippo stand last year was a lot of fun, it looked great, and there was plenty of hands on potential to play with their video servers and software and see the power behind it.  The biggest lights you could imagine were brought out, and free to play with and attempt to blind people halfway across the exhibition centre.  It was basically the technicians version of the funky play area at the science museum.

This year was a lot more... professional  I guess, you had to actively go and ask for product demos,very little option to play and experiment yourself, and hardly anything was actually rigged up to any real output to see the effects you were making, and the sales staff generally seemed to avoid talking unless you really obviously wanted to.  This was less good in many ways, it discouraged people from taking more than a glancing interest in a lot of products, and Chris, who I dragged 'cause I hate doing PLASA by myself, was bored out of his mind.

It was a complete LEDfest this year.  Now, LEDs are great, they reduce power consumption massively, which when you consider a west end show running for one night consumes the same amount of power as a small town probably does in a fortnight, theatres are definitely the way to go to save energy costs worldwide. LEDs have a lot of versatility; depending on how advanced the light in question is, you can create virtually any shade, at any desired colour temperature  generally as a moving head and they can, sometimes, make a decent fill light.  For general background colour wash, concert style lighting etc, they are definitely the way forward.  However, I have yet to be convinced in ANY way that they can actually replace a standard parcan, fresnel, or profile for sheer strength of wash fill or throw.  Get beyond about 3 or 4 meters away from a general LED light, and its potency really starts to wane, even powerful macs, some of which are on display at PLASA this year, the stands 6m away are only getting a slight wash of led colour, rather than blasted by light as you would see coming from a 750w parcan.  It's basically the same story as energy saving light bulbs you get in your home, they do a similar job and its a good idea that we should all embrace, but most people agree they simply don't do the job that their predecessors did, and they are rather deficient in some fairly crucial areas.

On top of this, the white you get from an RGB LED light is massively blue shifted, and even the white LEDs give a rather stark light.  Now yes, you can correct this with colour filters and such, but that can then present problems when you actually want to use shades of the RGB mix.  Remember how in art class as a kid, mixing the 3 primary colours never quite gave you true black, it's the same issue, except with light theory rather than colour theory  (don't even get me started on the theory of what colour mixing looks like under mixed lighting, it makes my head hurt a LOT).

Until I can get a relatively warm, daylight tungsten feel light beam, that will throw a consistent high stregnth beam of any colour from 25m away up in the catwalks or rigging of a show/venue, I will refuse to be convinced by LEDs as a full replacement option for any rig.  I've seen it attempted in several venues and there's just not enough fill light.    They tried it in my current workplace originally, you couldn't see a thing, so now there are 10 parcans installed too, 2 per staging area, which given the layout of the staging area and rigging points, is only half the lights you need but its something at least.

All that being said, there were a few things that caught my eye at PLASA and impressed me this year.  THe first was the omnidirectional rigging fixture in the innovation gallery, i forget the manufacturer, that could potentially be game changing and make life so, so much easier for a lot of big set builds.  The MAC 101s were really good to see, the functionality you'd want and expect from a mac light, with a wide range on both the pan and tilt fuctions, but in a pretty damned small enclosure.  It's pretty much ideal for the sort of work I do, you can daisy chain the power just like the dmx, and it changes a standard fixed rig into something so much more versatile.  I can see myself pushing for that light a lot in future projects.  The other thing that caught my eye was Avolite's new Titan Mobile.  The venue I'm currently at is running the Chamsys MagicQ software, running solely off a PC, whilst this isn't a huge problem, i do prefer the reliance of a physical console, and it makes life so much easier when programming or needing to edit a show on the fly during a live run.  I was therefore looking at the MagicQ PC wing.  The Titan Mobile blew that idea straight out of the water.  For a slightly bigger console it provides so much more functionality, a keypad for one thing, twice the amount of physical dmx outputs, and the software package is so much more advanced, and includes Avolite's built in visualizer which saves buying WYSIWYG or the like at the exorbitant cost of that to integrate with Chamsys.  And I was offered it at LESS than the cost of the inferior MagicQ PC wing.  Now getting Avolite would involve retraining the entire staff here so they knew how to at least turn the lights on, as well as repatching the entire venue which no-one ever likes to do, but then again Avolites are designed with constant repatching in mind, for touring, so their system is actually quite easy.  When the boss gets back in 2 days, my budget proposal is now going to include a request for the Titan Mobile, instead of Chamsys now.