Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, in that it will try to positively document my life (something that I usually try to keep very private). So don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. Obviously it started out as a blog about one particular aspect of my life (see the most numerous tag) but it has developed a great deal since then. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the New Readers' Page above this and the tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Monday, 23 January 2017

Happy Evening

Time to myself. Time in a dress. I'm pretty happy right now.

If I look half as good as I felt...

I shall spam my site with pictures. I was originally planning to have a few more costume changes because of how long it's been since I got a chance to dress and indulge but, in the end, I didn't. I actually rather like the new dress. I say new, it was just the last one that I bought and I haven't really had a chance to try it. Plus, I was getting fatter back then. I am less fat now. Basically, it fit and I felt really very comfortable in it. Also in the boots. It was all very comfortable. It does mean that I have blown off work for the evening but I figure I don't get these opportunities very often. Certainly not since I packed my wardrobe into a big box on top of my actual physical wardrobe. And, yeah, about two hours is all I can afford. Totally worth it though. Totally worth it.

Having a bag was nice, not essential though
I did some cornertime on the app for about ten minutes just to get a nice feeling in my calves. Did the trick nicely. I like that feeling, you know, it's a nice one.

Quick and casual from the side. Not as good
as a full frontal shot.
All in all, a nice pick-me-up. Has it been over a year? Close on a year. Blimey.

Blurry but full light. No, I like the ensemble.
Looks great from the front!
And now, spam!


Spam spam spam!

Aaah. Thank you.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Ask not for whom the bell tolls

As usual at this time of year I am marking student work. As usual at this time of year I note that the work makes no or little reference to any of the revision undertaken in classes - dates are incorrect or ignored, things are essentially made up rather than based on knowledge and answers routinely contradict themselves or previous answers in a melange of shit that the student knows is a fiction as they write it.

This will be the fourth consecutive year in which the mock performance of those I am responsible for teaching is shit.

I may not have a job, or rather, may not have this job for much longer. I am at a loss as to how to improve this. I've increased the time taken for revision, I've held after school and lunchtime sessions to which students do not turn up or turn up in tiny numbers. I have targeted the sessions to the papers that the students will sit (I set the mock exam) and hinted strongly (i.e. told them) which topics will turn up. And still the shower of shit continues.

Four years running my Department has come last in the results at mock examinations and, last year, we came bottom in the real examinations too.

Back when I started this blog I got so stressed that I would routinely wish I was hit by a truck as I drove to work, waiting for an illness to knock me out to the point where I could justify not going in to work but then struggling in anyway when I was ill due to stress. And, in all that, my results were never this bad. On paper, the students there were not as good as the students now. I was pilloried at my last place for failing students and my results were still significantly better than the ones I am now looking at. And I'm not being harsh. I'm being generous with my marking.

The vultures are circling again. I'm not sure I want to fight them off again. Oh, and look, it coincides with a new child. How totally surprising.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Darkness

I think this is a decent enough representation of light.

Lovely cardigan too though, which I can't help but comment on
because I am fickle and a bit obsessive.

Obviously.
In my last post I talked about lights and shining them. And I stand by that, there are so many people with light, however small and however much they ignore it or do not recognise their own, that guides me and reminds me that the world is not as dark as it sometimes appears. Many of those links are over there on the right. But, to name names, we have Dee, Rhiannon, Terri, L M Williams and so many more. I shan't name all the names, it takes too long.

And in my own life I struggle to see any light I may have. Every time I think I've found some, things happen that either shadow it or reveal it to be naught but a reflection in burnished bronze as the elements take hold and some distant light source is being shrouded from me, the wink of a setting sun in the glass on the table.

Which leads me to peer into the darkness, looking for answers and pondering the deep black. Sometimes the black looks back.

Sometimes one puts on the blindfold oneself.
I heard last night the shock news that a couple of weeks after I visited a friend and ex-colleague Oop North his wife left him and the children, it was known but the whole affair was completely demoralising. It was three months ago. I heard last night. Today I was asked if I would like to step aside from my position at work, take a lower one (same pay) and make way for an up-and-coming colleague instead, against previous conversations where I was being asked to step up to allow that colleague to take responsibility. That is, a sideways move was being mooted instead of an upward one, and a sideways move to something more precarious, which is already known to be a creation based on aspects that may not last. It was delivered with a smile but the person delivering these questions is a man who revels in his reputation as 'the smiling assassin'. His words. One of the suggestions made was that I would not have to look over my shoulder regarding results (to report the words almost as they were spoken). I wonder what that exchange says to others.

Intense loneliness of the sort described in the drama actually
sounded less existentially dreadful and more almost hauntingly
and achingly beautiful. To commune with the woods and the
birds and the lake in the silence with that sharp tang of the
cold wind and the knowledge that in the firelight one could
drink and sing. That, to me, would be heavenly.

It's probably part of my autism that the concept of being able
not to talk on long car journeys and find that it is acceptable
to be direct and use few words, to be precise, is something akin
to real happiness. It was framed as something awful.

A language without shades of meaning? A language that relies
on being direct? Wonderful.
I listened to a drama on Radio 4 on the way home, after spending two hours helping a student who ought to have been expelled (no, really) but who the school has agreed to provide provision for through me. I get paid for this, extra, but it was hard work - the student is somewhat averse to writing and recording information. Yes, this is being done as mandated good will. Anyway, the drama was about someone having moved to Sweden and feeling intense loneliness (and being an utter knob-end) due to differing customs. That feeling of being alone around other human beings, of being isolated and not really knowing why or how; of not being able to read emotions and customs and rituals always with the faint feeling that one is being set up and laughed at for trying so hard - so that one is never really aware of what is really a ritual and what is a set up to make an ass of you. I know that feeling well and have noticed it increasingly the more I read and understand Asperger's and my own variations on those themes which increasingly turn out to be related to Asperger's.


And, tonight, I type these words rather than working because I am tired and the lights are going out again. No, not out, they are being shadowed and hidden by my own blackness. I know this.



Sunday, 1 January 2017

2017

Happy New Year to you all!


I haven't been posting but the new year deserves some recognition. I know that many people I know have had a pretty rocky 2016 for one reason or another and I know that many people I don't know have had even worse years this last one. However, I firmly believe that we should all continue to strive to make the world a better place, to shine our very small lights in a world of increasing darkness and help others to shine theirs.


Our lights may be small, but they are important. And shining them will encourage others to shine theirs. Shine enough and others will join you, because light can be comforting when  the outside is cold and dark. When the cruel winds blow all about and the night claws its way past the curtains, when lights are snuffed out by the millions, thousands, hundreds, tens and singly... it can feel as though, to stay safe, one must douse your own light. But don't. Even a candle can be seen in a storm and the tiniest LED can depict hope for a lost traveller.


I, for one, pray that we can all provide at least our own light as the world darkens, as the forces conspire against decency and protection. Because 2016 was not a malevolent force, it was a numerical depiction of a period of time in which foundations were laid for larger and more terrifying things. If History as taught me nothing else it has taught me that now, more than previously, our lights are important. And we may be snuffed out, but we must burn brightly until the end, and not be ashamed.


Love to you all,

Joanna

Friday, 2 December 2016

We could be immortals

Short post:

I have an urge to write a scene in wartime where women are visited by soldiers but from the point of view of the women (and there's a story beyond that too) and there's a scene I wrote once from the male POV and the male was autistic and the scene was stolen from All Quiet on the Western Front that would rather fit the bill. I've always had this idea of writing about the society left behind the lines when there's an invasion, detailing the petty heroism and the overall petty vindictiveness of life generally - an invasion and occupation provides the kind of extreme backdrop that allows a justification of exaggeration of human responses of the sort I write.


I have also find my soundtrack for the moment.


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Resistance

As a huge coward I am scared of having my relative privilege upset by the new Investigative Powers Act in the UK. I am slightly over-awed by the upsurge in nationalism masquerading as patriotism and the concept that patriotism is benign and so often say nothing when I ought to speak out. As a Christian my faith tells me to find the abused and the forgotten, the minority and the victim, and to stand with them. And so far I do little.

However, do you know of Network made in 1976? I watched it way back in 2003-4 and thought it was eerily prescient then. Now? Now I think it was a Cassandra. Consider the iconic scene that starts it off (kinda) and that everyone knows pretty well even if they don't know the film, I have found the clip on youtube below:


Now, contrast that with this clip of Keith Olbermann doing a relatively good job of talking up resistance but doing so under the auspices of GQ magazine. The trans-nationals (well, more appropriately meta-nationals) packaging and selling your rebellion back to you at a profit margin:


These could have been written to mirror one another. But, in a more general sense, Olbermann has a point. Resistance is required. Anger is required. I am good at angry. I am good at making myself an obstacle in small ways.

So, I am small-fry. I have nothing to fear because I have nothing to say, not because I have nothing to hide. I am safe enough as I am small-fry. Sure, one day they will come for me. I know that. In the meantime, my job is to stand with those who they will come for first. To speak with them and, mostly, to keep my damn' mouth shut when they're talking but stand in the way of the trucks at 3am (or whatever they actually send). To agitate. To draw attention. To stand in solidarity. To use my privilege to offer as much buffer and protection as I can.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Cowardice

I should start out by warning you that this is one of those awful TMI posts. That means some musing on stuff that lots of people don't want to know about.


It's also been a while and so I guess an update is in order.


The world has gone mad, officially. I have been warning in my lessons that the world was heading this way for years and I warned that some things would start to happen as a result. Since making those warnings I have discovered a whole new realm of people that stand to lose a tremendous amount from what I now believe is to come. I may even be part of that group, though my camouflage of privilege may be enough to protect me for the most part. Well, at least until I am inevitably unmasked by the rather terrifying Investigatory Powers Act that was passed into UK law recently that essentially removes even the fig leaf of protection of privacy online. We live in a world where youtube will pull videos with swearing on them, where Facebook will chuck you off for posting breastfeeding pictures but rape videos and trolling videos and info-graphics on how to sexually abuse and assault people are apparently protected under freedom of speech. Where odious men can boast from a gold plated elevator about how they have stood for working men everywhere to take on the establishment and the elites. Where to worry about those different from yourself is to be part of a metropolitan bubble, apparently - I have never been metropolitan.


And I do nothing. Like I have often worried on here, I am a coward. A total coward. Safe enough in my layers and wrappings of privilege to be able to function and carry on as before. I have a job that is moderately protected, my house is unlikely to be removed and my pay is pretty much in place. My family fulfil the norms and expectations of the privileged position that I occupy in society and, for the most part, I am a rule keeper rather than a rule breaker.


My feminine wardrobe remains inaccessible on top of the wardrobe itself, now the only real storage with my stuff in it but the shelves on which my books stand to be judged by visiting intellectuals. Even discoveries of old CDs fits the milieu being those from the days I liked CCM and, to be fair, it is good music with good soul in it. I wear suits, I play the game and know what I am doing. I manipulate and lie to my charges as I do in every walk of life: that their exams mean something, that they need to work harder (or less) to gain results; that results are not them but they are what they are worth and they are what is important. They must learn, they must listen, they must conform and, above all, they must never question the hierarchy of society or their role within it. Because that is what I do. Whilst I can, and do, point out the flaws my position bids me keep things the way they are and I can claim all manner of mitigating factors but I fail to act as Jesus would have acted. That revolutionary who listened and broke bread with those who needed him, not those that wanted his preaching, the one that came to those who would change and who needed sympathy and compassion and charity. Exactly the sort of people that need us, all of us, even more than ever.


But I am a coward and I do nothing.

It has begun. It is all around us. And I, for one, am scared.


There are less political problems. I see tipping points passed and publicised by people who know better than I what the facts and the stats all mean. I see the sea ice retreating in a feedback loop, I see the increased activity of methane fountains and the slapping of carbon taxes on the means by which we tell ourselves we can save the world. I see and hear the debate, for apparently it is one, about the raw facts that tell a compelling and dangerous story. And I see intelligent people, who should know better, arguing that things aren't that bad - not with their word but with their actions and their choices in life. I see my own family expanding as the world grows ever more precarious and dangerous and as the climate rallies round to change the future in ways that were impossible to imagine just five years ago when I started this blog. Here I have no privilege but to live where I do, at the height I do in the country I do. Rising seas will not affect me directly. Most of the food I eat is from sources that will not be affected immediately nor for some time. There is a good possibility that I could live to my 60s and not see the effects of what is already happening affect me directly. Or, at least, until my children leave home. Things are already changing and I am not certain about anything. And I sit and blog. About CDs, about sex.