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

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Full Metal Jacket

So it's a long read in four parts, but bear with it.
This is a blog post by a now-openly gay marine in a post-DADT world and taking his first proper date to a military function.  It's a nice uplifting story for one thing, and also offers some nice insights into the kind of things gay servicemembers, have, and continue to suffer due to the DADT policy, and to what extend they are changing.

http://matthewphelps.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/on-marines-equality-and-my-date-to-the-marine-corps-birthday-ball-part-1/

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A sign of things to come...

I packed up my suitcase and left the old farm
I promised my papa I'd come to no harm
And I went to the city where I was employed
In a firm of accountants as an office boy.

I fetched and I carried, I watched and I learned
And slowly but surely I rose through the firm.
But then I discovered my colleagues one day
Massaging the figures for personal gain
I said 'I'll not wallow in this house of shame'
I'll plough my own furrow, I'll go my own way.

Gravely I listened to Reverend McBride
Down at the mission house each Friday night.
Heaven's salvation for those who know best,
Hell and damnation for all of the rest.

Try as I might I could not understand
Why The Almighty's all-merciful hand
Should cast away those whose only mistake
Was never to know the Christian faith
The stars that we follow can lead us astray

I'll plough my own furrow, I'll go my own way

I fled from the capital's bourgeois malaise
And trekked through the wilderness for fourteen days
'Til I found the guerillas camped high in the hills
I asked Comrade Diaz whom I should kill.

I crept into town with a knife in my teeth
And entered the home of the Chief of Police
I stood at his bedside and raised up my blade
But then I looked to the crib where his little one lay
You murder tomorrow by killing today

I'll plough my own furrow, I'll go my own way...



The Divine Comedy - The Plough

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

How'd I end up feeling so bad for such a little boy...

So I had another brilliant weekend.  Chris came to visit again.  We all went out on Thursday with americaboy and a load of my friends and partied the night away and we had a great time.  And Friday I dragged him to see the show at work as it was my last night, Saturday we went to my friend's birthday drinks and had the slightly too awkward but overly civil meeting with the ex, and Sunday we spent the day watching films at another friend's house.  I got to go to sleep next to him every night and I woke up to him hugging me every day.  He does this brilliant thing where when I hug him in my half asleep state he grabs my arm and pulls it in to make me hug him properly.  And he's half asleep whilst doing it.  It's completely adorable and I love it and totally worth the mild discomfort of trying to sleep spooned up with someone.

And today we've both been slightly screwed up.  This is because Sunday night we had the talk.  The 'what are we/where are we going' talk.  The one I was dreading but we both wanted and needed to have.  As is glaringly apparent to anyone who has spent 20 nanoseconds in our presence over the last 2 weeks, and most of the twittersphere who haven't, we really like each other, and there is clearly something going on there.  And I wrote last week that even then I wanted to ask the guy out all proper like, complete with a date that doesn't involve just going to heaven and everything.  But equally, I had my concerns, and I was also kind of enjoying the absence of any kind of label, and just going with it, you all know I'm very much a living for the moment kind of guy.

This boy is really innocent, and inexperienced, in a life kinda way.  I don't mean that as naiive, that has negative connotations I don't wish to bring into this; it's simply a case where he hasn't experienced a lot of what lots of us have - he chose not to go to uni so he missed that whole different kind of life that you get chucked into in your first year - so he hasn't had the chance to work out how he feels about things or been confronted with things that most of us have become immune to.  And that's one of the things I really like about him, yes everyone has baggage and issues and idiosyncrasies and all that, but this boy didn't come with all the expectations most people even at my relatively young age do.  And there was so much I could do for him, even simple things, like taking him to St Paul's at 11pm at night because he's never seen it before puts this amazing smile on his face, and it's nice to be able to do things like that for someone, to be the one who can show them things, to be the one to take care of them, and look out for them.  One of the reasons I broke up with ex Chris (I only specify him as ex because there are too many Chris' involved in this blog and I don't want you all to get mixed up) was because I hardly ever felt like I did anything for him, like he was reliant or dependant on me in any way, and I get a real kick out of being able to take care of people.  It's prob why I like broken boys so much, I'm broken, I'm really dependant on whoever I'm with, and so for some twisted fucked up reason that a psychiatrist would probably have a field day, I need someone who's just as overtly reliant on me, not necessarily in the same way, but there's definitely some sort of reverse-dependency issue going on there.

But at the end of the day, I needed to know where my boundaries were, and especially given he hasn't 'lived' that much, he needed to know what we were so he could begin to process the things that had happened between us over the last 2 weeks appropriately, so that conversation happened.

Naturally, it did not end in the super happy fantastic way as otherwise I'm sure you'd all be yelling at the both of us to shut up about it we'd be tweeting so much.  That's not to say it ended badly, just very much not satisfactorily for either of us I think.  For reasons outlined in my previous post, as much as I want the guy, and cute and amazing as he is, as happy as he makes me - as has been noted by several people - I don't think we should get together.  I want him to make friends, and I want him to make them as him, not as my boyfriend; I don't want to risk him losing people to talk to if anything bad ever happened between us.  I'm not good with monogamy, that's not to say I won't try, that's not to say he's not worth it (though as previously blogged about, to say someone is 'worth' it or not is not the way i think of it at all), but I know what I'm good at and what I'm bad at.  I have my whole in love with other people issues.  I have my fucked up mental crazy issues. There's lots of things this guy doesn't know about me, and obviously anyone I met 2 weeks ago isn't likely to know all my deep and dark secrets, and whilst I'd never keep it a secret from him if he asked, I suspect his brain might melt if I dumped everything onto him as freely as I do you lot, I have to be somewhat selective in what I chose to say and not say around the guy.  It's not that I'm not open with him, or not myself, I just can't properly relax around him.

We could give each other a lot, this boy came out of nowhere and he arrived at the time when I needed someone most, when I was most ready to give up on everything that goes along with this whole 'gay' thing, and he was just there, without judgement, and totally into me, brave and yet with so much he wanted to learn, that I could show him, happy to just sit, and hug, for hours on end.  For all he doesn't understand, for all the things he's been shocked with since meeting me, he's never once cast judgement.  I think that's amazing.  He doesn't agree with everything, he doesn't like everything, he doesn't understand everything, but he's never once been judgemental about it.  I've never met someone like that before.  He makes me really happy.  But for all the things we could give each other, I think there's some really fundamental things which say to me we just shouldn't get together.  That I'd rather have him as this really good friend that I kind of long for, than to go out with him and screw it all up.  I'm probably over analyzing all of this, and my friends will probably slap me round the face and yell at me to stop being such an idiot and just turn up on the boy's doorstep, kiss him, and ask if he'll be my boyfriend, and if that's really what I need to do, tell me.  Today I don't know what to do, or how I feel.  And from what he's been tweeting, I don't think he does either.

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Random things you should go look at:

Okay some random stuff I felt like sharing.

Firstly you should all go check out this new food blog, only one post so far but it's season and looks nom.  http://boatkitchen.blogspot.com/2011/10/tagliatelle-with-roasted-pumpkin-and.html

Second if you haven't seen the Grainger Games news story that occured recently, check out this link:
http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2011/10/how-an-unknown-games-retailer-committed-suicide-at-a-gaming-awards-event/
Followed by the links at the end of that posting, especially the difference between the apologies from the event organiser and grainger games themselves

Thirdly, this is one of the best pieces of design I've seen recently and I wish they'd make one that works in this country (though I have no idea if that's even feasible): http://www.nest.com/index.html
For those who can't be arsed to click through, it's a thermostat.  Simple enough device really, except this one is really clever.  You adjust it as normal, but it has some really complex heuristics algorithms that mean it can program itself based on your behaviours.  It can auto adjust the temperature up or down according to your daily rhythms, it can do it for the different days as your schedule changes, and it can tell the difference between a one off change in temperature, and one that's a change to its programming schedule.
Okay so far that doesn't sound amazing, but where it excels is it can learn your habits for an entire year, separating out the seasons, months, and weeks.  And yet it sets off just a single week of usage and self-adjusts onwards from there.  It's a small easy self-installable module.  It connects to wifi, allowing you to adjust settings from the web or smartphones whilst away.  It has holiday modes so your pipes don't freeze.  The wifi downloads the weather for your local area and matches that up against your temperature settings to see how cold or warm weather spikes affect your usage, and adjusts its programming accordingly.  It has sensors to detect occupancy of the house and switches the heating/ac off when everybody is at work.  It offers you extra tips to  achieve optimal energy and cost savings.  Basically this is one of those 'house of the future' style products.  It's small, unobtrusive, fantastically designed, packs a lot of kit, is fairly affordable for what it does, and has the potential to revolutionize people's lives in ways that are subtle but hugely effective; it is what good design should be.
As I say, I just wish they'd make one for the UK, I'd totally buy one!

Monday, 31 October 2011

That's How You Know...

Yes kids, it's the debrief you've all been waiting for.  First, I provide you with these lyrics, which my mind seems to have associated as the soundtrack to this weekend, it's not entirely hard to work out why:


one of the boys, he took me under his wing, spoke words of wisdom to a fool, young kid.
he said, "you can be a golden boy, you can rule this place. all you've got to do is sell your face."
so now i wear my rainbow flag on my sleeve.
i'm always ready for another shopping spree, stocking up on shirts and shoes that i can't afford; anything to make me one of the boys.
but i've got this feeling, something just isn't right.
can't shake this feeling inside.
i sleep all day and dance all night; hug with the left arm to scratch with the right.
i don't have a dollar to buy something to eat, but i think i've got some credit left up at the beat.
and that piano that i used to play is collecting dust, my stradivarius is starting to rust.
but screw vivaldi, because you do what you must to be one of the boys.
but i've got this feeling, everything is all messed up.
can't shake this feeling inside.
cos i am one of the boys and i am afraid.
will i dance into nothing, burning away?
how did this revelation, liberation get to the stage where i'm just another pretty bird in a cage?
my rainbow flag is looking goddamned old, because ben sherman re-released it long ago.
strutting in and butting in, because it's fun to be dramatic; wearing a smile that's oh-so-automatic, stylishly cynical and fashionably informed about anything of interest to one of the boys.
but he's got a cock ring and a sachet from the wet arcade.
he's got a boyfriend at home.
and i've got this feeling he knows i'm onto him; so liberated but not free.
cos i am one of the boys and i am afraid.
will i grow into another golden boy, caged, or a man?

Jacob Diefenbach - Golden Boy, Caged

I had this weekend off work.  I'm leaving my job and had 3 days holiday left so managed to wangle the weekend that everybody needs to work off.  This was great, meant I could attempt my friend's halloween housewarming party and generally actually be sociable.  Having worked most weekends/evenings for the past year or so, being sociable has been problematic.  It's frustrating, but at the end of the day it's part and parcel of working as a theatre tech, and if you really hate it you shouldn't be working in theatre.  I also booked tickets to see Naked Boys Singing at the Charing Cross Theatre on Friday night for me and some friends.  I'd wanted to see it for some time but as it's only on at 10pm Friday and Saturday nights which are the hardest to get off from work I hadn't had the chance yet.  So I dragged a group of us out, including my new best friend from America with the intention of going to heaven afterwards.  Sooner or later I will need to get a new job, and so I'm making the most of my free time whilst I can...

So my american friend and I headed into town Friday evening to meet another guy who was back in the UK that week from his year abroad in France.  We started drinking in Soho, and persuaded the boy to buy a ticket to the show on the door and come to heaven with us after.  I have plenty of spare bed space at weekends so he could come back to mine anyway, though we were flirting a fair bit so it was entirely likely the spare bed space would be the other half of my bed, but everyone was happy with this arrangement so off we went.  The show was great, funny and enjoyable and plenty of cute boys that you were SUPPOSED to perv over.  Starting from a group of me and americaboy we managed to persuade some of the others to stay out late and come to heaven.  My friend Sal had persuaded two guys to come meet us for a drink after the show, although that plan went awry as one of them had no ID on him.  However I managed to persuade the IDless boy to come to heaven with us (because lets face it, no-one gets ID'd to get into heaven), and pointed out there was a spare, SEPARATE bed he could stay in at my house.  So off we all went to party the night away.

The boy is very cute, super smiley and awesome though somewhat shy and nervous, he has the same cheesey taste in pop music I do so we were jumping up and down together to every 80s camp anthem blasting out of the speakers but eventually the night had to wind down, and after some crappy chinese food off me, the new boy and frenchboy went to get a nightbus back to my house.

And then of course 3 of us ended up in the same bed.  And yes 3 mildly drunk gay boys in a bed inevitably leads to things happening but I'm not going to give you a play-by-play account of all that.  And the next day frenchboy left to go visit his family before travelling back to France, and I had a rather panicked boy to deal with.  Because it was fairly obvious he's not the sort to end up in a bed with a guy he met 6 hours earlier, let alone 2 of them at once.  He wasn't quite rocking back and forth in the corner, but he wasn't far off crying and having somewhat of a breakdown.  Full blown crisis of self moment.

And whilst it's not fair to reveal all the things he told me whilst I held him and didn't say a word, because there wasn't anything to say, he just needed someone there to make him feel safe, to sum it up, he's still in the process of discovering his own gay identity, and working out what the entire gay world is, scene/non-scene, what he likes, what he doesnt, where he fits in it, to what extent his being gay affects his life as a whole etc.  To be fair, I think we're all working this out constantly, but most of you reading this are at least fairly sorted on what the whole being gay thing means to you.  He's not.  Don't get me wrong he's known he's gay for a good while and he's out and everything, but he doesn't have it all worked out yet.  And he doesn't have any gay friends to go out with or talk to or ask questions of when he gets confronted with experiences he has no idea how to process.

So I dragged him to my friend's halloween party, and forced him to meet lots of kinky, perverted, but ultimately lovely and affectionate gay boys.  Of course I noticed all the cheeky looks from my friends to me. Yes, believe it or not I can be perfectly nice and protective and honourable when I want to.  Though admittedly even I had to crack up laughing when he leapt into my arms for safety from all the scary people around him...

It was the right thing to do for him.  He went from full blown crisis mode saturday afternoon, to a bundle of nerves and insecurity at the start of the party, and by the end of the night he'd hugged and been hugged by everyone in the room.  He had multiple phone numbers and offers of coffee and films and food from people he'd met that weekend, and whilst we were watching films all day sunday together 3 of the people he'd met at the party actively sought him out on facebook to add him.  So thank you to all of my friends, for being the fantastic people I love you for in the first place, and making someone feel 100% welcome, instantly one of the group, and making it obvious to him it wasn't just a one time politeness thing.


So that's pretty much all the context of the weekend for those who didn't already know.  But onwards to how this all affected me.  It was a completely crazy weekend.  Which to be fair, always happens when me and americaboy go out on the town - it's one of the many reason's he's such a good friend despite only meeting him about a month ago.  I was cycling like crazy through mood swings all weekend - though hiding it mostly well.  I had some intense highs and intense lows, as evidenced by the range of facebook and twitter posts I made.  But ultimately, it was the most amazing weekend I've had in months, due to the boy I met.  I met him Friday night and he didn't leave my house till about 9pm Sunday which should give you a good idea of how well we got on.

In short, I REALLY like him, which was pretty much blindingly obvious to everyone at the party on Saturday night.  In fact 3 people asked me on separate occasions throughout the evening if the two of us were going out.  It's like the first time I met Joel is happening all over again :P  The boy makes me smile a lot, in fact since I broke up with Chris he's only the second boy to ever make me feel those kind of feelings again (and incidently he, and the first boy who did are both named Chris.  Hmmmm....)  I'm happy to just spend hours hugging him.  And I like him so much that just hugging him gets me half hard.   Also something that has only happened with one other guy since I broke up with Chris (obviously if they're groping me and rubbing up against me then yes I get hard, but just on hugging alone, that only tends to be people I really like.)  I've been grinning like an idiot all day today because of him and the texts he's send me.  I had to forcibly stop myself from asking this boy out properly countless times over the weekend.  This was for various reasons.

Firstly, I think he DEFINITELY needs time to process the whole weekend and what happened and all the good and bad and new and everything.  Secondly, so do I actually.  Thirdly, I want him to make friends, and if I asked him out and we dated and then broke up, I don't want him to lose the people I've introduced him to this weekend because he feels awkward talking to 'my' friends.  Fourthly, I don't want to risk anything that might mean I might not like him at some point, and fifthly, probably the most obvious point in a way, whilst I'm really into him, and I think he's really into me (he text me to say he missed me already within 30 seconds of leaving each other at the tube station), on some rather big levels, I'm not a good match for him - me the  promiscuous boy in love with 3 other people who kinda needs an open relationship and is into all sorts of fairly extreme things - ff, rough/aggressive sex, blood, needles etc.  and him, the innocent, inexperienced guy just starting to find out who he is and what he likes.  Let's not throw him in at the deep end shall we...  You can tell I must really like him because I actively DON'T want to corrupt this one or jump straight in his pants :P

But I have invited him out pretty much all of next weekend, I'm out with people Thursday and Saturday nights so will no doubt drag him to that and that leaves potential options for Friday/Sunday too.  He needs an education in various gay and/or classic films, having never seen Moulin Rouge, Legally Blonde, Bring It On, The Princess Bride, Another Gay Movie and so on and so forth, so I have plans to monopolize his Sundays with films and food and hugs because that's a great way to spend a lazy weekend, and I guess we'll see how it goes.  You will all no doubt see me dragging him to various social gatherings over the next few months and for those who saw us on Saturday that probably comes as a surprise to none of you.  At any rate he's a great hugger and a great kisser and amazingly warm which is always good in the winter months ^.^


Of course now he'll probably read this and I'll be horribly embarrassed for revealing a little too much of my feelings for a boy I met less than 72 hours ago, but it was honestly the most amazing weekend in ages and all thanks to him, so thank you, don't hate me, and Thursday can't come quickly enough for me to see you again and give you a hug :)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Perchance to dream...

I really detest sleep.  That's not true; I hate getting to sleep.  It takes me hours.  I fidget, my mind wont switch off, I can't get comfortable.  Going to bed has become a chore in my head.  I don't enjoy the experience of it, I loathe it, I put it off as much as possible and find ways to avoid it.  It's a trial and if I could do away with it altogether I would do.  Which probably makes the entire thing worse, because then I associate going to bed as a negative, it's a stressful experience for me which means I can't relax and let go, which keeps me awake for longer, thereby reinforcing the entire problem.

On average it takes me an hour and a half to fall asleep once i get into bed, and thats with the late hours I keep.  Generally my only option is to stay up until exhaustion begins to guarantee i'll get to sleep fairly quickly but that itself isn't a pleasant experience nor results in restful sleep, and certainly isn't practical or sustainable on a nightly basis over the long term.

Basically my sleep sucks.  But this is nothing we didn't all already know.


This is my first post from the phone app, so apologies if it all goes arse-over-tit.

Friday, 21 October 2011

You waited till NOW to tell me this?!?!?!

So a while ago I went on a few dates with a boy.  And we really hit it off.  We spent a lot of time with each other over a very short space of time and talked via text or something practically everyday.  We had basically this whole non-relationship thing going on between us.  He was the first boy I'd really liked in quite a while, the first boy I'd really liked on that level since I broke up with Chris, and it was nice to feel that again, and nice to feel it back.  And then that boy was kinda an ass to me.  And I called him on his bullshit.  And he didn't apologise for about a month.  So we kinda stopped talking, and stopped hanging out, and stopped seeing each other.  And the relationship that wasn't happening never got started.

And after a while everything calmed down and we started talking a bit again.  He has a boyfriend now.  So he's unavailable, but we talk.  And then yesterday he told me that he had really really liked me, that he really wanted me, and that I was the first person he'd ever really been able to try any of the things we'd done with each other with.  We were discussing me rentboy history, and he asked how much I used to charge, so I told him.  His response was "you're worth so much more than money."  It's so sickeningly cute you could vomit right?  I'd forgotten, because I'd forced myself to really, just how endearing that boy could be when he wanted to, when he tries.  But like I say, he has a boyfriend now, so I can't have him, even though I still kinda want him.  Why can't boys turn round and tell me all this stuff when they ARE available?  Never simple is it...


Not that I imagine it would actually work out with this boy.  He would want to be monogamous (well he's okay with the occasional threesome).  Which lets face it, isn't going work well with me.  At the end of the day, we all know I'm a slut, and even if you discount the sex with randomers, the whole being in love with 3 other people just kinda makes it almost impossible for me to not have sex outside my relationship.  It's hard to explain to someone who can't ever envisage either open relationships or being in love with more than one person themselves.  You know how when you're apart from the person for a week or two, how you suddenly miss them so much more?  How you want them so much more?  It's not because you love them more suddenly or anything, it's just being apart does that too you.  Remember how good it feels that first night you get them back.  Now imagine you hadn't seen them for 2 years, and you'd missed them just as much every single day for all that time.  Imagine how hard it is NOT to see them, not to want to hug them, not to want to go out with them, and yes, sleep with them.  And I'm in love with 3 people already.  So yeah, monogamy.  Not gonna happen with me

He asked me if he could ever be enough for me, if I thought he was worth it.  This is the bit that's so hard to explain to people who can't relate to this mindset.  It's not about that.  The guy I'm going out with is worth everything I have to give, or I wouldn't go out with them in the first place.  And it's not about them being enough.  My sluttiness and need for an open relationship is a part of my personality - that's like asking is the guy worth me not being a sci-fi geek.  Sure I can avoid doing certain things around him etc, but you can't change who you are.  Well you can, but it generally leads to horrible psychological problems and in a boy who already has those, it's probably best not to encourage them right?


Of course even if we could get over that issue, all this is redundant because the guy has a bf that he's madly in love with now.  So of course I am trying to work out a way to break them up and have him for myself without all of my friends hating me.  This post probably does nothing to further my cause in any way.... :P

Starbuck and Starbuck, in Starbucks, drinking Starbucks

This is officially my favourite picture of the day.  So much love for this.  It's utterly amazing.  If you don't know who these people are you are dead to me.



Also, see this post from the same blog I stole the above photo from: http://www.gavinrothery.com/my-blog/2011/10/21/my-favourite-pilot.html  Katie Sackhoff seriously made the best, most badass, jaw on the floor, femme-fatale, alpha female going.  I would pick her over Six any day.


EDIT:  This is also my 200th post, yay

One of my favourite things...


This is the new Lamborghini Aventador.  The first production line cars have just started to ship to buyers so they're getting a new load of coverage in various car related news thingamies.  To be honest, at first, I really wasn't that keen on the Aventador.  Don't get me wrong, it's a Lamborghini and so I inherently love it on some level, and I much prefer it to the Gallardo, but I just wasn't that sold on it.  I'm also not a huge fan of the marketing video, but I think that's more an issue of concept.  As Lamborghini's new aggressive flagship model that shows a return to the more sharp and domineering lines of the Countach and Diablo I feel it should ride straight into the storm at the end and emerge on the other side, rather than drive head on at it and turn at the last minute.  It feels like a game of chicken.  Bulls (after which so many Lamborghini's, including this one) are named after, aren't known for losing games of chicken.

It has since, really grown on me however.  As the new flagship I'm actually kinda loving it.  I've shown it from the back because I think it shows the engineered lines of the Aventador so much better than the front profile.  The front is a lot more sleek, great for aerodynamics, but its the power that seems to be shown off in the rear end of the car (which admittedly is where the engine is so go figure) that is really appealing to me at the moment.

Most of you probably don't care about cars.  This is one of my more straight moments.  Cars, specifically Lamborghinis, but admittedly most supercars are something I can actually hold my own in a conversation about surprisingly well.  I don't care for most consumer level cars, sure some are nicer than others, but I don't pay attention.  It's all about the supercars for me.  That, and hockey.  Those two items are really where the straight part of my bisexuality tends to show itself.  Well that and finding girls attractive.


For the record, this is my favourite car of all time.  A Lamborghini Diablo SV '96.  There are some truly great cars out there (such as the Pontiac Firebird that I was talking about on twitter earlier, or the more recent Koeniggsegg concept cars), but everyone has their favourites, and for me, nothing has ever topped this so far.

Reboot

So I kinda fail at blogging as you mighta noticed.  This is probably for numerous reasons

1. I lost the motivation
2. I tend to want to write long posts, which end up so long I'm not in the same frame of mind as when I wrote them, and so they lose the plot a little and end stuck on my computer as permanent WIPs.
3. I used to bitch about my relationship a lot, I'm now not in one, ergo, no relationship stuff to bitch about.

And so I am going to try the following:

1. To write more shorter posts.  This is kind of obvious really.
2. I used to make lists in my head of the random stuff that happened to me during the day so I'd have things to tell the bf when I got home.  I don't have anyone to tell anymore, so I figured I'd make more of an effort to post random short things to here as and when they happen.
3. I'm going to make more of an effort to post half finished posts so you can at least see where my mind started.
4. I'm going to try and make more use of the smartphone app for making posts.  It's a horrible app and writing on my phone isn't that easy, but I'm going to try.  I may really get into it if I force myself.


So... here we go again....

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Monogamish

Yes I'm back.  I don't really know why I'm writing this, nobody's pissed me off especially about it or anything, it just happens to keep coming up in my life a lot at the moment and I don't really get it, or I seem odd and different, so I thought I'd post something.

So the general topic areas are kink, and open relationships I guess.  I don't really mean this as a bitch or a whine, more I just dont get it, or I don't seem to fit with what's accepted, but it'll probably come across that way anyway.

So I don't have a boyfriend these days.  I'm mostly fine with that, I've moved beyond the 'nothing serious for me now thanks' stage and am into the indeterminate 'not actively looking but if a nice boy decides to turn up and jump up and down in front of me i'm not going to ignore the fact' stage.  I'd quite happily date, but that's because I'm a serial dater if left to my own devices - I love dating, it's just relationships that cause the problems for me, but whatever, at the end of the day I am officially single at the moment.

Being kinky, single doesn't always mean free/available/whatever.  Lots of people have kink relationships that many be separate to the normal concepts of boyfriend/girlfriend/partner etc (normal of course usually being relative where kink relationships enter the mix).  This can be for a variety of reasons which it's not worth me stipulating because I'd inevitably miss some off and horribly offend some subsection of the kink community, but suffice to say without being 'normal' partners, there are plenty of sub/dom/slave/pup/owned/master/whatever combinations out there.  To be honest it's getting to the point where I almost feel that I'm a bit odd for not being in some way 'owned' by someone (or owning them if they so happened to inspire my dom/top side).  Most of my friends are kinksters and the vast majority of them seem to have these extra layers of what they can and can't do or what they'll only do with certain people or what they have to ask permission for and so on and so forth.  And the ones who don't have this kind of dynamic going with someone seem to be actively seeking it.  Frankly I find it all rather restrictive, and yes I suppose that is the point what with the whole thing being based on power dynamics but I find it odd that I might have to ask someone else permission to sleep with a guy who might eventually become a boyfriend.  Once he is my bf most kink relationships seem to negotiate free reign to any kind of activity with the bf as well, but until then, and the many other scenarios that could form in my head.... Like I say, I just don't get it.

As I say it all seems fairly restrictive to me, and I don't like restrictions - at the end of the day I'm a slut - that's the vulgar way to put it.  The more complex way might be to say I'm very autonomous - just like how everyone's bitching about facebook atm deciding what's "important", I can decide for myself who I want to sleep with and who I don't, and equally who is worthy of my time and energy, and who isn't.  I don't need someone 'domming' me to tell me that.  (That sounds offensive to people who are in these kind of relationships, sorry I don't mean to be, I'm speaking from a very personal perspective here.)  And in fairness, most people who know me know I'm not exactly easy to dom, I am a very very tricky sub, and I don't give up control in anything that easily or for that long.  

Ideally I'd like some form of full relationship at some point in the future yes, and I'd like it to be somewhat kinky, and I'd like it to be open.  I'd like to be free to sleep around with who I choose, to not have to ask permission first because pure and simple I don't actually find that that practical unless my partner is the sort of person who spends his nights at home with his phone glued to his hand for me to text and give me permission and that sort of guy I probably wouldn't want to be with.  Just as equally they are free to sleep with other people.  Someone who relishes in the fact that I'm a slut really, rather than considering it something that needs controlling.  I guess to me that inherently implies promiscuity is bad because it needs to be restricted in some way.  Someone who can enjoy it, even if they don't have the same taste in guys necessarily.  But we should still come first to each other.  If I go out with them, I expect to go home with them at the end of the night.  Maybe with other boys as well, but together.  Part of the beauty to me of going out with your boyfriend is you don't need to pull, or amuse yourself whilst friends hook up, because you have your own sexy man there, and he's already eager to get you home and get in your pants even though you're gonna be out for another 4 hours.

I like to belong, I like to be owned.  But I don't want to be just part of a collection, or 'stable'.  I want to feel they belong to me too.  Just as I am owned, they are my owner, and they can get me to do things because they say so, they can use *that* tone of voice on me out in public just to secretly remind me who's in charge, make me smile, and get me a little horny whilst everyone else is none the wiser, but I am *their* boy, not their boy for the weekend whilst another guy has them monday - wednesday and another thursday and friday nights.  people do fall in love, people do *belong* to each other, because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness.

To be honest, Chris was pretty good on this, no he wasn't particularly kinky minded - I wasn't expecting suspension bondage out of him any time but even with the little things that really get me going and don't really intrude on sex or take up stupid amounts of time to do it was usually a case that they simply just didn't enter his head to do them because he didn't think like that, but he belonged to me, i belonged to him, we were very much each other's boys, and we were both free to fuck around with who we liked and get our kicks when we wanted and we both enjoyed that about each other.  Actually him sleeping with other guys made me really jealous on a certain level, but in a way that never hugely bothered me, it was more, i wanted to be there so Chris could have sex with me instead of the other boy, i wanted him, because he was mine, it was horny greedy bottom jealousy really, and that was kinda hot.  In terms of the sex/relationship/kink/ownership kink mentality I'm looking for, Chris was almost perfect, okay not so much on the kink front, but you don't usually get everything you want, it just sucks it didn't work out for other reasons.

All these endless relationships within relationships within friendships within exes within families within stables within harems within whatever the fuck people choose to make them confuse me.  Don't get me wrong, if they work for you great, and I don't intend to judge you for them really, I just simply don't get them, I don't get how you can feel fulfilled or completely appreciated in them, partially yes, but fully no.  And yes, I'm aware this all sounds rather odd coming from someone who is practically polyamarous, but at the end of the day, I guess I want the traditional relationship, that just so happens to be both kinky, and open, but those are almost separate independent qualifiers to the actual relationship part.


Of course once I do find that perfect guy, I then just have to tell him not only am I the standard kinky, I also happen to have some very sordid, somewhat illegal bloodplay fantasies I'd like to enact, and I'm bisexual and may occasionally want to sleep with girls, and hope that neither of those two things freak them the fuck out, cause for some reason a lot of people find those two 'kinks' very very difficult to be okay with.



I don't feel I've explained myself very well as usual, but I'm going to cut my losses and post this anyway.



5:  Joel, Jme, Axdn, FDC, Adam.  Well that's probably a rather significant change from the last time I posted this list.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

As long as you get your workout done...

I'm having a really good day.

I dunno why, nothing major's happened really, maybe I'm going manic again, but it's always hard to tell, part of going manic is your self awareness tends to go completely out the window.

I haven't slept much recently so I should be wrecked, and work has kinda got screwed up and is sapping my good mood, but flirting with boys on twitter is keeping me going.  My day started with going to Asda, that's how relatively unspecial my day has been.

But anyway, I was gonna blog about why I go to the gym, and why I enjoy it.  Because that's what I feel like blogging about, so that's what you can read.  I know I don't really *need* to go to the gym, sure I have the standard gay vanity issues, I'd love rock hard abs etc, but I'm 105lbs and a 27" waist with the blessing of an ongoing overactive metabolism - I can eat what I want and I don't put it on and somehow I get nutritional value out of it.  So I don't need to go to the gym, I don't need to lose weight, I don't need to watch what I eat, I don't need to run off that extra slice of cake or bulk up on muscle - lets face it a 5'2" muscled boy would look a little odd. I certainly wouldn't suit it at any rate.

Gay vanity aside, I do like being healthy, it gives me something to do, and it's something you can see and feel very obvious results very quickly with.  Whilst my stomach could probably extract nutritional value from anything, what i put into my body still has an effect.  If i eat food that's shit for me, I don't suffer any serious health effects, but my skin is more prone to spots, I feel worse, my already odd digestive system gives me a fair bout of cramping as punishment etc.  If I try and eat healthily, it works, I feel more alert, I can keep going for longer (yes in that way too :P) and my body ultimately works that much better.

When I was a kid I was a really fussy eater, now not so much, sure I still have my likes and dislikes, but I'm a lot more open to things now.  And I've learnt for the same cost of a packet of chicken from the shops you can buy a LOT more veg etc and make a dish ends up bulkier, more filling, tastier, and even looks a lot better with the mix of colour.  Colour really is a simple and easy way to tell how much goodness is in your food.  Salads, stir frys, soups, paella, there's plenty of dishes you can make that you just chuck anything in and by the time it's cooked it tastes great no matter what.

Raw food helped me get over a lot of what I traditionally don't like.  You can make just about anything as part of a raw food diet, ravioli, cakes, spaghetti, allsorts.  It takes some forward planning but it's a good way to try different things.  I don't like tomatoes, I don't like nuts, I'm not especially keen on turnip or avocado, but I like all these things in certain contexts I've discovered, usually such that I can't notice them, but hey it works.  I'm not militant on my diet.  I eat white bread and white pasta, if I want mcdonalds I'll get mcdonalds, I ordered pizza the other day, I ate an entire bar of chocolate yesterday.  But once you start getting health stuff into your diet it becomes ludicrously easy to form into a foundation which you then build around and you feel better for it very quickly and see the progress in yourself within a week or two.

And that's why I like the gym, I can see my progress - I might not be where I want to get to yet, but I can see each week how I get closer to my goal.  I can run non stop on the treadmill for 20 minutes at 80% of my top pace now.  If I do interval training I can quite happily go for a lot longer.  Earlier this week I upped the weights up using on my leg presses and today I was able to do the full workout with the heavier weight.  Next week or the week after I'll be upping the weights I'm using on my arm workouts too I reckon.  I keep pushing myself that little bit further each time.  Especially with my cardio.  Just one more minute, just until the end of the song, just until the .5/full km, just until that round number of calories... when I'm struggling I tell myself I can do those last 3 or 4 minutes at my normal pace and push through, or i can do 2 minutes at my flat out top speed.  Of course my body will eventually work out I keep moving the goalposts and stop responding to it, but for now it's good....

Of course I get self conscious, I in fact really hate being at the gym in some ways, am I doing it right, are people laughing at me, what the hell is this gay ass skinny boy doing weights for, i can lift so little, that guy's so much bigger better etc.  But I force myself to get over it, I blast my music into my ears and find a way to focus just on me, it forces me to deal with part of my severe self consciousness, and I get through it.  And I figure everyone had to start somewhere; combined with the progress i get to see myself making, I know one day I'll be the guy that other boys are drooling over.

Plus you get that fun endorphin kick at the end of it all from working out, and the even better one when you hit a workout target one day.  I was a really sickly child, 5 minutes of exercise used to have me in a hospital on a nebulizer, so the fact I can now run harder longer and steeper on a treadmill than most of the rest of my gym is a point of pride.  And now that I've got som,e cardio strength back, I've started mixing up my exercises a bit more again - and oh god I'd forgotten just how crap I am at cross trainers.  Within 5 minutes I was at the "no more, please no more" point.  But now I have something else to work on, and I know I get there.

This is why I love the gym, I get the feeling of accomplishment from it, I get to feel healthy, I get endophins flooding my system, I get pain, which everyone knows I enjoy anyway, and I get to come home, make 3 bacon rolls, and eat them feeling perfectly smug because I know I worked off double that at the gym.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

When you feel all alone...

So when my parents came down this week they told me they've given my dog away. Like already. With no notice. :(  They'll be going away for 3 months at the end of the year and I don't have the money or space to have him down here with me, and my landlord doesn't allow pets besides, kennels are expensive for 3 months, and he's gone to a good home - a lady nearby who recently had her dog die and her 2 sons are going away to university in September so she'll be on her own, and she walked him 4 miles home so he'll get out a lot - currently with my mum looking after my 2 year old nephew 2 days a week he gets shut up at home a lot, but still...

To clarify, whatever you might think, and going by the incoming twitter messages there appears to be an onus i should do, i don't hate my parents right now, possibly because i don't want to think about that part in detail or i might.  what i hate is that the animal that has been with me since i was 13, that when i was really messed up in the head, and hating the world, i would go downstairs and sit on the floor and hug him and he would lick me, is gone.  And unlike people, he always seemed to understand that I didn't want distractions at those points, i didn't want to have to play with him, or deal with his mischief, of have him insist upon tummy rubs, he'd sit there for hours on end and do the closest thing a dog can do to hugging you back for as long as i needed it.  It seems stupid, but the comfort, and understanding a dog can bring you is something you can't properly explain except to those who have also owned dogs.

I haven't been at home in any real way except for occasional intervals for 5 years now, and I'm sure the lady will let me visit him if I asked, but I wasn't prepared for this.  He was my dog, and every time when I went home my parents would comment how he'd suddenly have so much more energy and appear visibly happier, and every time I left, he'd mope for days.  Who knows whether dogs have a sense of time, and how much of our world they understand, but they understand enough to know certain things, to always be the mischievous runt around me and lie down next to me whilst I watched films and sleep, just because I was home and he could be next to me.  Even though he probably spent a lot more time actually being looked after by my parents, he knew who he belonged to, and he always ran straight for me whenever he saw me, and that's why I miss him already.  That's why I'm crying.  Because for once, I can't sit in the middle of the floor and hug my dog whilst I hate everything else around me and know he'll never make me hate him, and he'll always be there when I need him.  I was kinda prepared for him to get sick and die, he was 11 years old, but this just plain sucks.

When I started thinking about all this song came on.  And it seemed like the perfect description of the moment

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A warning to the curious

Dear all,

Whilst it gives me dry amusement that my phone is now inundated with offers of coffee, nights out, nights in, shoulders to cry on, films, cookies, cake, films , hugs etc in regards to my last blog post, you've all kind of missed/ignored the point.



Regards,

Blah blah and so on and so forth

Back to the drawing board

This post is likely to be all over the place, and for that, I apologise.  I am probably also going to cause a lot of offence, and for that, I don't.


I'm down.  And I'm trying to own my feelings and be productive about it and sort my life out, but at the end of the day, I'm still horribly depressed, and disillusioned.  What's odd is I had a pretty good run, from around the end of sixth form, through till about 2 years ago.  Sure I still got down, but I was, for me, relatively stable, though that created it's own problems as I don't deal with just being 'ok' so well.  But then things started to go all over the place again, for no obvious reason, and in the last year or so it's been really really bad, I'm ping-ponging through emotional states fast enough to give those just watching the situation whiplash these days.  But fair enough, at least I know it's for a reason nowadays; I am actually crazy, my mind doesn't work properly when it comes to this kinda stuff, and I just have to accept that and deal with it.  Like I say, I might be horribly emo, but I'm at least trying to own it.  And yes I'm sure most of you cringe horribly at that american figure of speech, but you know what it means and so I intend to use it.


So once again, I kinda lost faith in my friends.  I've been doing that on and off over the last while, and it's hard to tell if it's just my down periods, or not, but this time around, I guess I just decided whatever it is, I'm sick of it, it's another one of those feelings that I keep coming back to, so whatever the reasons for it, it's clearly important enough for my mind to dwell on.  I'm sick of being the one who always has to go to theirs, who always has to ask them what's going on, of just being the largely proactive one in most friendships I have.  Time and time again I find the people in my life can't even have the courtesy to simply get back to me either way.  And yet I get bitched at for always being the busy one, for working unsociable hours, and yet when I am free, and asking around for things to do or people to see, others can't even find the time to say "sorry i'm busy" or, "i made other plans" or even a simple "i don't feel up to it today".  I'm not asking for expensive trips to theme parks or the like here.  A 20 minute coffee would keep me pretty happy.

I'm not perfect, in fact I'm pretty damn flawed, and I'm guilty of these things, I know it, the other day my mind went so insane I couldn't even answer my phone to explain to a friend I wouldn't be coming out with him like I'd promised to.  But generally, I aim to make those instances the rare exceptions in my life.  I know I'm a good and loyal friend.  I might be late to meet them every time, but I will let them know I can meet, I will let them know I'm running late.  And if I haven't heard from them in a while, I will drop them a message to see what's up.  Maybe work is just really busy, maybe they took an impromptu holiday, maybe they lost their phone, there's logical and sensible reasons people might go silent for a while, but I do at least make the effort to notice, and ask why.  It continually bothers me that I regularly have more interaction with my american friends than I do with the large majority of people who live in the same city of me.  How do they manage to keep up with what's going on in my life and how I'm feeling and what's bothering me and find ways to distract me from my problems, when people living less than 10 miles away can't?

But yes I've considered if everyone else always seems to be the problem, maybe I'm the problem.  Maybe I expect too much of the people in my life, maybe I don't come across in the right way, maybe the people I make friends with just aren't the sort of people I imagine they are, and I don't mean that last bit as a criticism on them, genuinely.  So maybe it's time to do away with the large majority of people I've been calling friends, and populate my life with new people.  I told you I reinvent myself every so often and was long overdue.  Well here I am, no longer in a relationship, new house, aiming to change job, seems the most sensible time to change the kind of people I'm surrounded by too.

So I did the symbolic facebook friends cull.  I excepted family members and people living 50+ miles away, as I don't expect them to necessarily have that much social contact with me (and yet somehow, they probably constitute the majority of my social contact), which left me with about 40 odd people, of which maybe 10 - 15 are people I genuinely want, or still count as friends.  The remainder are pretty much either people I keep in contact with for work purposes, or partners of the 10 - 15.  And then there's the inevitable few it's just easier to keep than get rid of.  The rest of you, I don't really care for any more, and it'd be a nice vindication if that bothered you, but I'm not that foolish.  And yes, that probably includes you.


Even those who are left, I don't expect your support, or shoulder to cry on.  I'm counting myself back at square one, and yes it's hard and hellish - I know from experience - but in a nice emo/psychotic/generally antisocial way, I don't like to rely on other people too much, it always leads me to disappointment, and at least if I rely on me, I know what to expect.  Yes this is all horribly stereotypically emo and yes I'm blogging to people about it going oh woe is me pity me etc, but as stated, I don't care at the moment.  I wrote this for me and for the few people who will prove to be worthwhile friends over the next few months.  That's the beauty of a blog, you don't need justification, or reasons, you can just vomit words onto a computer screen, click send and people still read it, no matter how much they judge you about it.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A lot of blather on earnings, inflation, and living wages

Yes, it's that time in my life where once again, I blog about money matters, and harp on about a concept which I fully believe deserves its champoins: the living wage.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has just released this document: http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/minimum-income-standard-2011-full.pdf which is handily summarised in the following BBC news article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14019760.

The news article actually focuses on the rising cost for families of raising children, and the amount of money needed to do such things nowadays, however it includes some of the basic informations relevant to singletons that is part of the JRF report.  The JRF report in itself focuses on the larger issue of a Minimum Income Standard, i.e.  a living wage.  It does this on a UK wide basis, so naturally various generalizations are made in order to poivde a suitable set of assumptions that can be plugged into a statistical analysis, but I'll cover that later.


Firstly, lets define a few things so nobody gets confused, because all of the following are (unless otherwise stated) very separate things:

National Minimum Wage (NWM): This is what the government says all employers must pay, currently set at £5.93 per hour, assuming you're 21+, regardless of whether you work full or part time.  This is due to increase to £6.08, an increase of about 2.5%, this is below the level of both the CPI and RPI (markers of inflation, detailed below)

Consumer Price Index (CPI): A measure of inflation, currently around 4.5%  An internationally recognised measure of the comparative cost of goods and services.  Importantly, the basis for many benefits was changed recently to this index, rather than the higher RPI, meaning benefits are generally lower and buy you less for your money.

Retail Price Index (RPI): A UK-only measure of inflation, currently around 5.2%.  RPI includes multiple housing and estate costs as part of its calculation, including items such as council tax, mortgage interest payments and stamp duty on house purchases, where CPI does not.  In real terms, this can make it a much more useful basis of inflation for the layman, however for statistical and economical policy purposes, the RPI has some significant drawbacks compared to using other measures of inflation, such as CPI.

Poverty Threshold: Naturally, the point at below which, you are officially living in poverty.  This is generally taken as 60% of the median income.  This works out about £120 per week for a single person.  That figure is after income tax, NI, rent, council tax and water costs. But before other utility bills, food etc.  Naturally, depending on where you live, the poverty threshold for that reason would vary according to average rent and water rates in the area.  A person on the minimum wage, working 40 hours a week can pay rent of approx £400 and be *just* above the poverty threshold.  It is important to note that utility and food bills, commuting costs, etc may reduce available/disposable income significantly.  60% of median income barely puts you at subsistence costs, that's why anything below it is called poverty silly!  Which leads us to the next and final definition...

Living Wage: Synonymous with the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) in the JRF report, this is what is deemed required to live an 'acceptable', yet modest, standard of living.  What is acceptable is of course subjective, and most reports concerning living wages do extensive research with polling groups to determine what people expect, but as a rough guide, it is usually the poverty threshold, plus some extra money for (as examples:) cinema once a month, a friend's birthday present, a new pair of jeans or some t shirts every few months, the occasional newspaper purchase etc.  Regular heavy nights out are not included in this, it's arguably a level that will help keep you sane by allowing you to go out for a movie, for a drink, for a film, whatever once in a while.  You're likely to still have money woes, but you can at least afford a roof over your head.  A small roof, but a roof nonetheless, along with water and heat.  Hopefully it's already obvious why I argue living wages should be a more realistic minimum wage.


Back to the JRF report, they developed their own price index based on research regarding public opinion on what constitutes an acceptable standard of living and expected outgoings, this MISPI came in much higher than the RPI or CPI, as the MISPI attempts to account for the fall in purchasing power attributable to CPI or RPI linked inflation, in addition to the increasing cost of the items that make up those indicies themselves; things like the rising cost of bread, fuel, etc.  The idea of these 3 indexes was to show that the purchasing power, especially for those on lower wages (i.e. around the poverty threshold), is limited by the inflation tracking method.  Additionally, wages would need to increase by the same index to maintain the same relative level.  If the price of bread inflates at 7% but wages only at 5%, suddenly you're 2% short on the cost of bread.  Thus, by switching benefits from the higher RPI to the lower CPI, not only have benefits fallen, but their purchasing power has also fallen, for the segment of the population most reliant on them (but then anyone following economic developments of the last 4 years shouldn't find this surprising).

After a lot of stats work, the JRF document arrives at an MIS of approx £240 per week for a single person.  This is after income tax but before rent costs and coucil tax etc.  Figures for other types of household are in the document, but most people reading my blog are going to be operating on single household bases, even if in a couple.  This represents about 77% of the median income.  Gross weekly income to achieve this needs to be £288pw or £7.67 an hour.  This is a difference of £1.74 above the NMW, or if you prefer almost a 30% increase on what is legally required.  This represents a minimum salary of £15k pa


Naturally there are problems in the JRF analysis, the most obvious which is that its figured are generalized over the entirety of the UK.  Ni ether is any provision made for the variances caused by the needs or different societal habits of the separate cultural groups in the country.  Living wages by their nature vary by region, they are dependant on the cost, availability, and provision of goods and services specific to a particular area.  Rents naturally vary significantly across the country, especially contrasting rents in the north of England to the south east London & home counties area for example.  Along with that, typical council taxes, commuting costs, insurance premiums, etc vary.  Rural properties are given a dedicated exception in the JRF report, and the different in increased heating and commuting costs generally incurred as a result of living in the country affect the MIS figure greatly; in fact for a single person living in the country the MIS gross income is almost £19k.  The rent used in the MIS calculation is based on a council rent in Loughborough, equating to approx £50 per week.  As many of you reading this will know, in London, that will get you diddly squat.  However the JRF report does recognise its limitations and even the inaccuracies of the published figures stating "not everybody who has more than the minimum income can be guaranteed to achieve an acceptable living standard. However, someone falling below the minimums unlikely to achieve such a standard"




This is where I move to a move focussed approach then, based on the London Living Wage, which has been published for the past few years now by the Mayor of London, see http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/living-wage-2011.pdf.  It acknowledges the fact that London has significantly higher costs than other part of the country, especially where rent is concerned, and there are countless news articles (though admittedly probably largely from the currently discredited ((if it ever had any credit to begin with)) NOTW) about emergency service, primary care, and educational personnel being unable to afford to live within a suitable distance of their workplace.  Many London workplaces already include 'london weighting' in city pay offers, which provides on average a 10 - 20% extra increase on the standard wage to compensate for the increased cost of living in London

The London Living Wage document takes a new baseline of poverty threshold specifically for the London area, which equates to £7.25, well above the NMW and allows only £832 'extra' income over the entire year in comparison to the MIS figure of £7.67 an hour.  Allowing a buffer of 15% for increased London costs and unexpected or sudden outgoings, the London Living Wage is stated at £8.30 per hour.  This is a full time salary of about £17250.  As a personal note, I'm on about £17750pa and whilst I struggle, yes, I can live in London, I can find a place to rent, I can eat, I can pay my spotify membership and buy a book if I want to.  I can't buy myself an extra PC monitor, or some new kink gear, or afford anything other than the cheap bottom of the range mattress for the bed, but I can live and pay my bills and afford the extra bit of money for a tube and some cake at exalted each week, so yes, the living wage seems pretty accurate there.


Unfortuantely, living wages, where they exist as a concept, are generally only paid by state or government institutions.  The LLW is paid to all staff employed by the various parts of the Greater London Authority (GLA), and pay is adjusted upon publishment of the LLW document each year, which is admirable.  Non Government agencies however, and especially private sector employers, which obviously make up the majority of employers, are completely free to pay whatever they like so long as it's at least the NMW.  As a result many service staff are paid exactly that, meaning one day, we will inevitably all die from an unsanitised telephone as all the cleaners become too poor to live within commuting distance to work in London.


And now I am too sleepy to remember what I was going to go on and say, so apologies for the rather abrupt end.

Finally, visit http://www.minimumincome.org.uk/ where after a few basic questions (3 to be exact) you can adjust your costs for rent, utilities etc to find what you need to be earning as a living wage in your current circumstances, and how that compares to your current earnings, for better or worse.


EDIT:  Now I remember what else I wanted to say.

Whether you take the JRF MIS or GLA LLW, for single 1 person households or couples with children, it's perfectly fair to point out that yes, you can survive on a lot less than that, chances are we've all done it.  You can eat 8p ramen for a month, and scrounge floorspace off friends or squat, and jump the ticket barriers, and make sandwiches to take to work instead of buying out each lunch, and blag all manner of things, but these things are generally done because you have no other option but to do that. As stated above, the LLW/MIS do not necessarily claim to be an adequate wage for every circumstance, but it is a statistical average that aims to provide an adequate standard of life, not just in terms of basic survival necessities, but variation in diet, social and recreational commitments etc, below which a person would find it very difficult to achieve such things.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The original vagabond

I heard this the other day, and it made me think of you :)


Long ago and oh so far away
I fell in love with you before the second show
Your guitar it sounds so sweet and clear
But you're not really here it's just the radio

Don't you remember you told me you loved me baby
You said you'd be coming back this way again baby
Baby baby baby baby oh baby
I love you I really do

Loneliness is such a sad affair
And I can hardly wait to be with you again
What to say to make you come again
Come back to me again and play your sad guitar

I'll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that's not unusual
It's just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I'd known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall

As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin's eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the midwest
Ten years ago
I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust

Well you burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms
And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes the girl on the half-shell
Would keep you unharmed

Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you're smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there

Now you're telling me
You're not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
Because I need some of that vagueness now
It's all come back too clearly
Yes I loved you dearly
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust
I've already paid

Don't you remember you told me you loved me baby
You said you'd be coming back this way again baby
Baby baby baby baby oh baby
I love you I really do

Don't you remember you told me you loved me baby
You said you'd be coming back this way again baby
Baby baby baby baby oh baby
I love you I really do

Monday, 27 June 2011

Thank you

So I found this buried in the depths of my facebook, and I felt like sharing it for some reason.  I don't really know why, but I felt like sharing it, and probably also having a record for the next time facebook inevitably changes its message storage and display interface.  It's pretty damned obvious what its about.  Consider it egotistical or narcissistic, but reading what I wrote makes me want to cry.  In a really good and happy way.


Thank you.
So much
For the whole of the past two weeks.

Thank you for putting me up for 2 weeks. Thank you for letting me share your bed. Thank you for cooking for me every night. Thank you for paying so much. Thank you for taking me to shitty movies that you'd already seen. Thank you for showing me Boston. Thank you for driving me, and others, all over the place without complaint, or asking for gas money, even at 3am in the morning. I'm sorry my head got fucked up yesterday. And I'm sorry I'm running 4000 miles back away from you as a result. Thank you for dealing with it. Thank you for holding me, and telling me you loved me, and how much you'd miss me. Thank you for curling yourself around me in bed and making me feel special. Thank you for the shirt you gave me. I'm gonna be holding it all the way back to the UK. I cried the whole train journey up to Boston, and even now, if I stop, and think for a few seconds, tears start welling up in me. I don't do tears. You probably noticed last night, I can cry, I can shake, I can give myself sore eyes and short breaths and all the other symptoms, but I don't produce tears easily. Thank you for understanding exactly why I hate you, why I hate being in love with you, why I hate being with you and why I hate being apart from you. Thank you for understanding why I love all those things too. And thank you for feeling the same way back.

And in a way, thank you for being restrained. I get that it was better for the both of us. But as you've noticed, where things like this are concerned, I have no strength or resolve. I gave it up the moment you told me you loved me. And I know that as much as I love you, and as open as you are with me, I don't know so many things about you, and the part of me that wants to bee with you all the time is silly and childish. But I don't really care. If you asked, I wouldn't care for practicalities, or consequences, or reason. If you asked me to slaughter the entire world to get to you I'd do it. And you know that, and that's why you're the sensible one, and you don't ask anything of me, because you feel you don't have the right, and that makes it worse that I'd still do whatever you wanted of me. As I say, I'd rather go through a week of hell and know I'd lived for a brief moment, than have a dull ache all my life about all the things that passed me by. My heart constantly wants to break through my chest again today, but where yesterday it was in pain, today its a happy hurt. Thank you. Please keep being you, and making me hate you. I'm sorry I won't be around for another 3 weeks; I'm sorry you won't be able to surprise me by turning up at Patricks or whatever; I don't expect that of people, no-one else would do it for me, where I would do it for others, so I've grown not to think of it as a possibility, and one day, I'll learn to forget that around you, just as I had to learn that Joel is the only person I've ever met that is just as faultingly loyal to his friends as I am.

I know I'm rambling, but I don't really know what else to do. I don't want to be here, and I don't want to leave you. Once again, I find myself wishing I could press pause on the entire world for a few weeks, and just exist with you and me, and nothing else, except maybe some extra boys to play with...

Please come visit soon; I don't know when I'll next be able to come over - September isn't a confirmed thing, and depending on where Chris and I end up, I might not be able to come to the US for 2 years, and I don't want to wait that long for you.


I love you.
x.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

I made my bed, now I must lie in it. Alone.

One of the boys I will love till the day I die is currently trying to sleep downstairs on the sofa.  And all I want to do, is curl up in the same bed, our bodies wrapped around each other, and have him tell me everything will be all right.  That my faith in people isn't misplaced.  That I am a good person.  That one day I will wake up and feel happy.  That in spite of myself, he loves me.

But I can't, because I made my decision, and I have to live with it.  I don't doubt it was the right one, I look at him, and I love him, and I get hard over him, but I don't want to be with him any more, so I know it was the right decision, but that choice can still hurt, and I can still want him to be the one who makes me the centre of his world when I'm feeling bad, and I can curl up in my bed alone and wish that I could go downstairs and hold him, and pretend that doesn't make things harder for the both of us, even if it's just for one night.


-- Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say goodnight till it be 'morrow.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Unpretty


Never insecure until I met you
Now I'm bein' stupid
I used to be so cute to me
Just a little bit skinny
Why do I look to all these things 
To keep you happy
Maybe get rid of you 
And then I'll get back to me...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Nobody on the road, nobody on the beach; I feel it in the air - the summer’s out of reach

I keep finding myself in a really meh kinda mood.  And then I keep thinking about lots of things I should know better than to think about.  And I'm not sure if the meh mood is because I'm thinking about them, or I'm thinking about them because I'm in a meh mood.

I went to the doctors again today.  Hayfever this time.  It hasn't started yet; it tends to kick in end April/mid May through to mid/end August.  But I was low on anti-histamines from last year so it was time to stock up in advance anyway, besides which last years, like pretty much every years previous, didn't really work.  I was on the strongest dosage of the drug and it was barely lasting me 1/4 of a day.  So another year, another drug...  Apparently I've exhausted most of the BNF's list of drugs; there are 3 left.  That's a lie, there's plenty more, but they all have arrhythmia risks and such, and doctors don't like prescribing those, especially given I have relatively severe asthma.  I actually have one of the most stable and regular heart rhythms going (asthma aside); my other medical fails have put me on various drugs with high heart problem risks in the past (again, because those were the only options left), and so I've always had to go through stupid amounts of ECGs and other such tests as well as regular monitoring to make sure I was okay and you can literally trace one heart pattern over another from 6 weeks ago.  But equally if the doctors prescribe it in the full knowledge it can cause problems they don't have a leg to stand on if it all goes horribly wrong, so they tend to avoid those ones.  So I got given one of the 3 remaining options - Levocetirizine.  Given I was previously on 180mg of fexofenadine, and the new one is 5mg max dosage, that makes it at least 36x stronger in theory, but that remains to be seen.  They also still refuse to give me immunotherapy for no obvious reason.

One of the reasons I go abroad each summer, beyond wanting to get out of the country, wanting to visit other friends, my love of America, etc etc... is that I don't get hayfever abroad.  The grass pollens in Europe, Malaysia, Singapore, and both East and West Coast USA don't affect me.  I have no idea about the rest of the world yet but I'm going to assume I'm probably safe.  I get hayfever REALLY bad in the UK.  My eyes get so bad I can't physically see.  This means I can't get to work, or I can, but driving in rush hour traffic, on 2 hours really bad sleep, with your eyes shut, is NOT something I recommend.  Hell I can barely see to cook, or shower, or anything.  I have to lock myself in an overheated house where I can't open the windows, and every time someone opens the front door my symptoms flare up for a good half hour.  On top of this there's the getting through an entire box of kleenex every day, not being able to sleep even more than normal, and generally feeling like I have the worst flu possible for 6 weeks each year, and bad flu for another month or two either side of that.  Needless to say this puts a big downer on my summer, so I try and get away each summer, because its good to get away, it calms me down, it recharges my batteries, etc... and it means I ACTUALLY get to HAVE a summer.

This year, I can't afford that.  I could maybe *just* scrape together a plane ticket for myself, but a) I'd screw myself over for deposits/rent/job when I came back and b) I should really go on holiday with the boyfriend this year as it was about 5 years ago since we last went anywhere together.  So I have a summer in the UK to look forward to.  Aside from knowing that this means months of feeling like utter hell, I'm actually really really worried about this prospect.  Every summer I've stayed in the UK, I've lost my job due to hayfever.  Because when you can't turn up for work for 3 weeks straight, it becomes a serious issue.  Even if I do get into work I pretty much always get sent home within an hour of turning up.  So I'm pretty fucking scared that I'm going to lose my job from illness this summer.  Yes its a job that pays shit, and that pisses me off a lot, but its a job, it's income, it's straight forward and easy to do, and I need money.  From August onwards I have a £200pcm loan to repay for the next 5 years.  So I can't afford to be without a job.  And I definitely can't afford to be trying to look for a new one and attend interviews when I can't see to put one foot in front of the other.


In fact, I may just bitch about money again, 'cause that's always fun.

I asked for a raise the other week.  Because I now have to work 6 days a week.  The boss pointed out although the actors earn more, they have to pay their own tax\NI as self employed staff.  I countered they earn considerably more (200pcm) more than me, so I'd be better off getting what they do and paying my own tax/NI, on top of which I do considerably more work than them.  So the other day my boss conceded to give me a pay rise.  To the same level as the actors.  I took it, because at the end of the day more pay is better than no rise at all, but this means I am now being paid £55 more per week gross, in order to work an extra day.  So really, I've received bugger all pay rise in real terms.  I'm not happy with it, but I'll take it for now.

We also have 4 bank holidays coming up.  Good Friday, Easter Monday, the extra Royal Wedding Friday, and May Early Bank Holiday.  Of these I benefit of a grand total of one; work have graciously given us the Royal Wedding day off,, Good Friday I have to work (as well as Easter Weekend), and the two Mondays are my one day off a week now anyway.  And I don't get paid any extra for working bank holidays either.  In fact, because I have Mondays off as a matter of course, I benefit from hardly any bank holidays throughout the year.  FML.

As always, I'd like to go away in the summer.  I would maybe manage it if I was on my own, but probably because I'm only willing to fuck my life over in the future for the sake of short term relief.  But as it is, there is no way in hell I can pay for a holiday for 2.  Someone suggested I perhaps don't go the the US; I countered anywhere else I'd have to pay hotel and food costs, US I can get accommodation and half my food costs paid for me.  And a week or two of hotels and food for 2 in Europe would easily eat up the cost of a second US plane ticket.  So that's a non starter.

It's just been announced that the New York Rangers are coming to Europe to play the 2011-12 NHL Season Première games in October.  To Stockholm, but to Europe.  That's likely to be my only chance to ever see the Rangers play, and almost certainly my last ever chance to see Chris Drury play as he's getting on a bit, in hockey terms at least.  Tickets are £70 each, there are 2 games.  If I go for one game, it's £200 odd, for both games it's £250.  And that's not including taking Chris, as again, I should do, which then means another set of tickets, flights, hostel beds, food etc.  So that makes it £500.  Even at the £200 I can't really do it.  So now, one of my best ever chances to see my hockey team play, I won't get.  Which sucks.

In fact I technically have no surplus, as on top of the £200 outgoing from August onwards, at some point this summer, I will have to move.  Which means I need to save a 6 week deposit, and a month's London rent.  Which is a total of about £1000 - £1500 I need to magically save at some point, which to be honest, just isn't going to happen So no trip abroad, alone or with Chris, no rangers tickets, no xbox, no shiney new pc parts, no new tv, no portal 2, or dragon age 3, or swtor or any of that.

And you know what that all makes me want to do... spend money.  Spend money on comfort buying something to make me feel better, which I know just guarantees that I'll be really fucked when it comes to moving next time, let alone any of the other stuff I'd like to do, and frankly, I don't consider a summer holiday and a weekend break to see a team I've followed since I was 12 for the first time ever that unreasonable as luxuries go.

I'm 24, and I'm fucking sick of struggling so much just to keep going.
...and Sarah McLachlan's 'Full Of Grace' just came on.  Fuck you SpotifyESP