Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. 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 "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" 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, 25 June 2012

Standard Deviation

This is noddy differentiation, I know, but still it's the best
image I could find that was mathematical-ish.
When I was at school I was always good at Maths.  Never top of the class, always second or third, but always pretty good.  My crowning moment of idiocy came in GCSE when I was introduced to differentiation and failed completely to understand what I was looking at, I factored it out instead of doing what I was supposed to do with dy/dx=0.  Hey ho, I lived and learned and took it at A Level anyway, where I proceeded to do quite well.  The theory of it, proofs and whatnot, I wasn't so good with but applying the method, making numbers do what they were supposed to do, I could do rather well, if I say so myself.  I cared, and care, little for why the theories work but I am interested in how they work and interpreting data.  Alas, my Physics work showed that I wasn't so hot at collecting the data.  Somewhere in me is the perfect little data analyst.

Yeah, I know it's not what I meant.  However, it was the
best image I could get for illustrating lack of trust.
Alas, that isn't really helpful in my line of work.  Where data analysis is called for it is often under a set of conditions that demands an answer that may not actually be anywhere but in the head of the person requesting the data.  Methods of analysis differ so much that decond guessing becomes impossible and striking out alone results in being slapped down for getting it 'wrong'.  If there were trust then, of course, none of this would matter.

This also is not the point of this entry.  I heard the tale from my mother, confirmed by my father, that I was once accused of sexualising someone's daughter.  I was three or four.  Their daughter was slightly, by a few months, older.  Apparently we lay down in the ginnel near where we lived, between our houses (we were next door neighbours) and the local supermarket, and I proceeded to name all the sexual areas of the body.  I apparently urged this girl to remove her clothes, and I mine, so that we could see what we were discussing.  Now, there was no action alleged beyond this but perhaps that wasn't really necessary, I think I can see why this was such an accusation.  I, of course, remember not a jot or scintilla of this episode or its fall out so I must assume that my parents dealt with it and nothing was said afterward.  It does, however, raise a few questions in my mind:

Like this.  Modern sexualisation is rife and something people
really are on the watch for.  This is not what was being alleged
in my case.  I'm not even sure that there would be an image of
what I was accuswed of.
1.  Were these accusations based on an actual event?  That is, if they were true then that would beg some questions of its own.  More to the point, did this actually happen?  Was I, at that age, getting girls undressed?  This will have some relevance later in this record.

2. How the Hell did I know, at age three or four, what all the sexual organs were called in the first place?  How could I have known what lay beneath the clothes of my next door neighbour at an age when most boys are amazed that women don't have wee-wees?  If I did know about the difference then that would surely make me a tad abnormal, right?

3. How did next door's parents find out about the incident?  From both my parents I can be reasonably certain that it wasn't like we were discovered naked in the ginnel.  Indeed, as far as I understand my childhood at this point I wasn't even allowed out of the garden or house without an adult present so how would any of this have been possible.  Unless, of course, this is the reason why that stricture was applied for most of my childhood that I do remember.

I've already written in this record about wanting to be caught in a game of kiss-chase that I wasn't even playing in primary school and having a minor obsession with one girl in my class that lasted long after the move to another city when I was five - so I was a young stalker.  I also know that I obsessed ever-so-slightly over a girl at school (I sent her postcards from holiday anonymously for example) that turned out to have been abused by her music teacher around the same time and mistook my naive attempts to woo as serious sexual stalking.  Okay, my postcard gambit was not cool, I know that, but a simple statement of that was effective in making me stop.  However, who am I to judge: maybe this is what sexual stalking actually is.

All of this suggests, to me at any rate, that I was something of a highly sexualised young person - in the more creepy and odd way rather than the overt and baseless manner in which most teenagers talk in bald terms about sexual contact with no clear understanding of what it is they are playing with.  No, I have always been an intense little shit and this would simply add to that image of someone who is, well, dangerous and a little bit odd.  The kind of child that has the distinct potential to grow up to be Fred West.  Given my proclivities toward bondage and deviant sexual practices this does have me wondering though.  But for the grace of God would I have been the mad axe-murderer who buried his victims under the patio?

Tilly doesn't pair her socks.  She finds my desire to do so
odd and autistic.  She cannot fathom why I match socks or
pyjama tops and bottoms - why can't I just wear what's there?
Also, I have a habit of using matching pegs when hanging
out washing and putting the colours in spectrum order - this
is probably autistic.
I know that very autistic people sometimes end up being highly sexualised (or just avoid anything physical at all due to germs, it can go either way I suppose).  Remove the social conditioning from a human being and you have a lot of urges that are purely sexual in nature, non functioning autistic people do not see the point in hiding the bases of these urges in amongst social niceties and therefore simply display what goes on the brains and minds of most people when unfettered by what other people would judge them for.  Not to say that they are 'the truth' but the mere fact that I view things this way must mean something and I'm guessing that this 'something' is not terribly positive, desireable or good.

In Sixth Form, between 16 and 18 years old,  I ended up being quite violent.  But it wasn't the first time that I reacted wholly out of proportion with initial stimulus.  There were two incidents in Sixth Form that stick out to illustrate the point.  One was a friend of mine that was lightly winding me up in Physics, he kept prodding me with his pen and I warned him that I didn't want my new shirt marked.  He kept on doing it, so I stabbed him in the hand with my stainless steel ball point.  Then I left the room and waited for the end of the lesson to report myself to the teacher, who had not seen the incident or me leaving, to take my lumps.  Nothing happened.  The other was a young Year 7 (first year of Secondary, between 11 and 12 years old) mock-stabbing me with a compass while lining up for a lesson.  I warned him clearly three times to stop doing it and he ignored me.  I don't know exactly what happened next but I do remember seeing the hapless boiy bouncing off a doorpost about two metres from where I stood and then leaving me alone.  I reported myself to the Head of Sixth Form.  Nothing happened.

Most of the bullying I experienced was of this kind, the
comments behind the back and the not being part of the
group.  It seems more commonly associated with females than
males and there were suspicions that the key players were
somewhat homosexual (they weren't) at the time.  They were
male though and perhaps just as isolated as me.
In Year 8, 12-13 years old, I got so annoyed with a bully that I ended up making his face bleed, I don't know how, and had to write him a sincere letter of apology.  I don't recall how I got from being angry at him to making his face bleed.  He claims I dragged my nails down his face, another witness claimed a I smacked him in the face with a fist and still another that I slapped him open-handed.  I don't remember at all.  In Writing Club in Year 7 I threw a chair at a girl that was teasing me, it didn't connect, and throttled her on another occasion.  In Scouts, around age 14, I punched someone in the larynx, threw someone into some chairs and kicked at least one other person in the groin.  Their 'crimes' were to make jokes at my expense - not even particularly nasty ones.  By contrast, when I was 13 I got beaten up by three idiots because I stood in for my fat friend, who ran away and told no one that I was getting beaten up by three older people, and didn't react at all.

Throughout our childhood my brother and I fought a lot.  When it got really bad I would throttle him, or drag him hanging onto my leg down the stairs, or hit him really hard on his spine when he was bent double.  He would cling and bite now and again, but I believe now mainly through terror about what might happen if he let me at him unhindered rather than any desire to wound.  Neither of us would ever use weapons, but we fought dirty.  He went for the eyes, I went for the neck.  I can recall often plotting revenge and injury against those that would tease me at school and always plumbing for the personal approach, eschewing weapons or gaining any other advantage in favour of throttling.  On one occasion I did pick up another child, we'd both have been about 10, by the neck so that his feet left the floor.  In all of these minor incidents that I don't really remember but for the haze of the years I can also say with certainty that the gender of my target was irrelevant - I was as prepared to throttle, punch, kick or bite a girl as I was a boy, we were equal, right?

Like this.
What's my point?  I believe I am autistic on some level.  I feel no remorse writing about these incidents but, equally, I don't view them with any emotion either.  If asked to relive them I would probably remain detached and analytical, I cannot recall what the feeling was like.  I assume I was angry in each case but I can't really tell you what that felt like.  They are memories, and were it not for the fact that they are patently in colour I would say that they were in black and white.  It's like reviewing a film or... I don't know, I can recall no emotion.  This is the same as the sexual incidents, especially the stalking one, above.  It would appear that I fit the psychological profile of a rapist-murderer in many ways.  In terms of psychological attack I have noticed my tendency to turn it on my children too.  When angry I hiss at them, I use my eyebrows and make them feel isolated and alone, I don't shout or rasie my voice, but I will hold with more force than necessary or flash my eyes at them and I will make them upset.

All of this means that I am not a terribly nice person to know, possibly quite dangerous.  My lack of emotion even as I type this is also of interest.  This all stems from the psychoanlytical pyschotherapy questionnaire I was sent to fill in for my next round of therapy.  However, I'm out of time to dwell on it for I have work to do.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Beer Review: San Miguel

Ladies and gentlemen please return to your seats because the captain has illuminated the fasten seatbelts warning.  Oxygen masks have been deployed but this is just a precaution.  Please remain calm and we may experience some turbulence.

Beer is the answer, even if I have no idea what the question is.

I picked up a bottle of San Miguel this evening because I have never had it, it was very cheap, and I was in the mood to experiment.

I don't know what I was ex- no, actually, that's a lie, I know exactly what I was expecting.  It looked like lager, it looked European, my old boss used to drink it.  I was expecting something like, overly fizzy and generally a bit pap.  I was expecting to not like it - it's why I only got a small bottle.

I was pleasantly surprised.  The aroma was wet, like leaves after rain or mown grass I suppose, and strangely alluring.  No citrus overtones or anything like that.  Also, the fizz was moderate rather than overpowering.  Enough to remind you it was a lager rather than a beer, ceratinly, but not as bad as some of the beers I've had.  Also, the taste was richer than I wsas expecting from a lager.  It put me in mind of the heavier beers that I've had, stuff like Black Sheep and Lancaster Bomber, sort of syrupy without being thick and woody without the raw warmth that I get from hops.  It was nice, it was rich and it was a pleasant accompaniment to an odd pizza take away (Chicken Tikka Masala on a pizza, nice enough but not likely to be repeated).  Indeed it was like the two were old friends.

I enjoyed it, it was easy enough to drink, didn't fizz up a huge amount whilst I sipped and was forgiving enough on the longer slugs that you could probably take longer drinks if that's your thing.  There wasn't much in the bottle, 275ml, but it is quite strong at 5% ABV and so you probably don't want to overdo it.  The taste is exactly in keeping with the strength too, so it won't sneak up on you too much.  I enjoyed it.  May haved it again but likely when I'm out on tap, so from a pint glass, rather than at home - it's not a home beer.  Well, it's not even a beer, it's a lager.

Enjoy this in a small bar, with some mates, play some pool or darts or skittles and laugh about the football.  Talk too loudly, laugh too loudly, and clap each other on the back a lot.  This is a fun little lager that is drunk by sporting men what do crisps and chips on an evening.  Discuss the offside rule, make predictions about the Euros and be slightly misogynistic.  It's on the cusp of that culture, methinks, but you can just as easily go continental and do all of the above but substitute discussion of the Eurozone for the misogyny.  I'd be more continental, but just as clueless on the football.

Thursday, 21 June 2012


Wow, looks like I missed the spike caused by being mentioned over at Dee's place!  That means people were greeted with a fairly random post about walls of text, iPads and other fripperies!  It's been a while since I posted here because I've been working on marking and stuff - call it a mini-hiatus - and so I genuinely wasn't expecting visitors, just let me tidy up a bit around here - ignore the cupboard, NO, DON'T OPE- too late, sorry.

Anyway, I think that'll be clear enough, do take a seat.  Can I get you anything?  Tea? Coffee? Beer? Juice?  We've got most things in I think.  Oh, and do have a cake, they're lovely and I can make a decent skein of icing if I try hard enough.

Still one of my favourite and most inspiring images, I've
posted it three times on here now.  Another one can't hurt...
The first thing to note is that this place has had its issues living up to the title since I started it but there have been some really nice moments in the last few months.  Not least of which was the lovely surprise that I was the 1,000th commenter at Dee's blog.  More to the point, Dee knew who I was enough to say some really nice and flattering things, for which I am very grateful indeed.  Then there is the lovely Elle who continues to say nice things just generally and whose blog I must make time to read properly.  Also, I find there are new followers, to whom I say thank you as well.  It really is quite empowering to have people read what I write here, and very humbling too that so many people who write with such passion of their own, or create captions, or go through their own stories stop by and look at this place.

At present I'm in a kind of limbo, waiting for feedback on my current assignment and avoiding doing my main work at home - I have enough free time now that things have moved to examination stations at work to get everything done there.  I'm looking forward to planning some things well in advance for next year and enjoying having a bit of breathing space to plan and create some new lessons - well, mainly re-create existing ones.  Tilly and the children are also in good places at the moment - we've been experimenting with educational approaches and may have found one that will work for us and bring great positives.  It's not for everyone, I guess, but at heart I'm a bit of a conformist so maybe it could be if society were different.  And, indeed, if our choice of method was utilised more, even if not fully adopted by any one person, then society would be different.

So, to sum up, thanks for stopping by, it really means quite a bit that you have and do check out the veal.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Wall of Text

I've been crying off posting places due to work for two weeks now and I have to say that I may have over-reacted a little.   If anything, the work situation has been reatively light and I've been able to be online in a much more relaxed fashion than I've been used to since starting this blog - as a consequence of rationed web time I have managed to post here pretty darn regularly and with some detailed posts about all manner of things.  I've even had more beer in the last few weeks than I've managed over the course of months and been out twice - to the cinema and a work's do.

This is likely now to change.  I have around 400 national exam papers to mark and these ones won't be online, nor will I have a handy four day weekend in which to mash through most of that allocation followed by some more days holiday in which to finish it.

On the plus side it will prevent me from going... a little bit overboard in e-mails to kind and friendly people or writing effusive PMs on forums.  Both of these things tend to go... well, not badly, more they end up freaking people out because I am poor at finding the right balance in social situations: either wordy and shy or effusive and... overwhelming?  I think that's the politest way to put it.

Anyway, the point is this, it's been a nice two weeks.  It won't mean my work-based shiz is going to be any more sorted now than it was a few weeks ago and it does mean that I'll crash at some point in the ill-defined but potentially near future.  However, it does mean that, for the moment at least, life is pretty good.

I may also have access to an iPad now, so I apologise in advance if I do that awful thing were I post from it and it then explains to the world that I posted from an iPad - it's not mine, I should stress, and it's supposed to be a work tool.  We'll see.  I am struggling to work out the work-based application of an iPad over, say, an integrated laptop/projector system with a remote (which I already have access to) or even just bog-standard card-sorts, worksheets and role-play materials (of which I have built many).  Did I ever mention just how much I use powerpoint?  I think I've even managed to hide the fact so well that people tell me what I do with it is interactive and describe other experiences with other people in other departments as "death by powerpoint" when they use it less than I do!  The iPad is, of course, not compatible with powerpoint - it can play 'em (I found the relevant app for free, the costly one allows me to edit, but not play 'em as I've built them - it lacks fonts, layers, animations and all sorts of gubbins I use quite routinely) but I can't make 'em.

We'll see.

I have a drive tomorrow starting at 6am.  I am sorely tempted to try it in heels but remember that the drive to the park after Iron Sky, no matter how much I enjoyed it, was a tad unsafe in boots with 3.5inch heels.  It's probably not the best idea I've had to attempt a much longer one, with likely busier roads, in heels!

Ah, wall of text.  I shall stop.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A Life Rewritten pt1

A shout-out to Elle who is an entirely awesome person and lovely individual all round, and whose blog I must get round to following in return.  You are most welcome.  Similar shout-outs to the lovely people who take the time to read what I write and then offer comments, I am always touched that you do.  You know who you are as well and... yes, anyway.

One of the tropes that I often play around with in my head is rewriting a story of a life with a few tweaks here and there to see what the possible results would be.  Kind of like doing an alternative history but with something more mundane and potentially less historically far-reaching.  However, I always run into the issue that one would have to write the initial premise first or rely on events that most people already know enough about to be bothered reading.  It means that doing it with an individual is fraught with issues.

However, on Rachel's Haven there's a thread ongoing about how much people would want to be the opposite gender that got me thinking.  Originally I was going to post this before my ramblings on communities in the previous post and then I was going to post this one a day afterward but there were comments that demanded some serious thought and a proper response before I got round to it.  By rights I should be trying to grind out some more AS level marking stuff for extra cash - I finished my actual allocation - but I'm tired and, frankly, can't be arsed.  I guess that sums me up at the moment.

Anyway.  I think I've written enough on here that people will have some handle on my life enough for the following to make sense.  The thread asked people to rate how much they'd like to be a woman on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 obviously being the 'want to be one now dammit' option.  It got to the point where there was a spate of low answers and someone mentioned that it was odd, given the clientele, that so few people wanted to be female.  I replied that I had too much to lose to risk being transformed into another gender at this point in my life: I would likely lose my wife and with her my children.  I would also likely lose my job, the problems of getting new ID, passport and bank accounts would also leave me destitute unless the transformation brought with it some form of reality warp - which would have to be more self-centred than I... I'm digressing.

Point is, I responded that if the question were different then the response might be different.  I have often entertained the notion of living my life again - what would happen if I had been born a girl and had the chance to live my life again?  I posted a precis of what I would assume on this and it turned out sounding, well, rather serious.

So what would happen?

First of all, I know that my father would have connected better with a girl than he did with a boy.  For a number of reasons but principally because a girl would have been harder to project his own experiences onto - in much the same way that Tilly was glad that we had a girl first as I was more able to cope with a girl than a boy.  This would have helped him, my father, deal with my mother's post-natal depression and, in turn, would have made him more inclined to get home rather than become a workaholic.  This would have helped him nurture my mother more in those crucial early months - girl me (let's call her Rebecca for no real reason) would have been better looked after and had more human contact, less of the being put in a cot and left to scream and cry.  In turn my father would have spent less time away and those initial doubts and fears that played on him about his relationship with my mother would have been less of an issue.

This would further mean less impetus to have another child.  My sister would have been conceived later than she was and would likely have been better equipped to survive.  Given that my father would be spending more time at home, helping more with the child-rearing and my mother would have been less despressed and guilt ridden it is entirely possible that the next child, when they arrived, would have been more nurtured.  Rebecca would have been held more by her father and duties around the house would be shared better.  My father is very like me, given how I know he did try to help I suspect the house would have been more harmonious.  The next child, let us call her Helen, would have been less likely to die of cot death.

This will need some explaining.  My sister died of cot death at eleven weeks.  This single event pretty much cleaved my parents in two and eventually resulted in my father's affairs and their eventual divorce some twelve years down the line.  My brother nearly died of cot death at eleven weeks as well, but my mother got to him in time and was able to resuscitate him.  It was a matter of seconds.  She was lucky in one sense but prepared in another.  Assuming the reasons were the same for him and my sister: it was largely down to my mother's vigilance that my brother didn't die.  If my mother had been able to connect with her first child better then, given my father's views, it is highly likely that she would have been more present with a second.  That is, had I been Rebecca then with my father's extra support my mother would have been more likely to be on hand when child number two, Helen, was in the danger zone.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe either parent did anything 'wrong' in the death of my actual sister and nor do I believe that they could have played things differently.  I merely increase the probability of one or both of them being on hand in those vital seconds of cot-death/SIDS if I had been a girl for the reasons I list above.

Without that catastrophic event the following years become happier and the chances of my father deciding to stray become smaller.  Straight away Rebecca has a happier childhood, and a more balanced childhood, than me.  Also, without the guilt and the suspicion (SIDS was not well understood in the UK at the time, many doctors persisted in suggesting that SIDS was a chimera to cover up PND mothers smothering their unwanted children) my mother would have kept a wider circle of friends, she would have been better grounded.  My father would also have likely been better grounded, able to maintain local friendships and so less likely to work a long way off in those early years.  He, I know, always wanted a girl.  If I had been a girl he would have had that to keep him rooted.  A boy wasn't enough.  Rebecca would have managed it, even if Helen had been a boy afterwards.

There's my start anyway, I will likely return to this and it is likely to move toward wish-fulfilment soon enough.  For now, some statistically based analysis, without actual figures, and some hard thinking on it.  And a realisation: part of The Fear and my guilt is that I was born male.  Go figure.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

On Community...

I was thinking about this generally anyway, but a post by Dee made me analyse it more closely and events at church have brought it to something of a head.  Communities are all about support, understanding and caring.  They are the connections that we, as human beings, make with the outside world and the lens through which relationships can be analysed and understood, they allow networks to develop, safety nets to be formed and, ultimately, offer belonging.  In short, communities are the human equivalent to a herd, though there is a vast and important difference between the two.

This would map the sort of thing I'm babbling about.  Humans
are all part of some network or other, and more than one.  There's
a line in Hitler: the Rise of Evil where a journalist explains that
Hitler is not human, but has merely studied them to be appear as
one of them.  That would be me.
In a community there is safety, protection and understanding (though the first and last of these are arguably the same thing).  Communities are so powerful because they feed into a deep seated human need for company and acceptance.  It is why, I feel, nations that have less of a gap between rich and poor have healthier lives than those that are richer but wherein the gap is larger.  It is the primary reason why commenting on blogs is held in higher regard than simply reading them and why places such as Rachel's Haven get the kind of people they do posting there.

So what?  Am I going to wax philosophical about exclusion and social attributes?  I'd like to, that would keep things academic and safe.  But I am facing fears these days.  No, I am going to get personal.

I do not cope well with communities.  To me, deeper relationships mean more things to keep track of.  Let me put it another way, someone you just met is unlikely to take offence if you forget their birthday or don't ask how they are.  Someone you know will take offence at these things.  Someone outside a community will not expect you to know their name or even care what's going on.  If you don't speak to them for ages it is likely never to be an issue.  Indeed, if you inadvertantly upset them or challenge them they are most likely to move on and think nothing of it.  In a community people are more likely to be upset and angered by that sort of thing.

Yeah, here is my tiny impotent rage thing, when I do
conflict this pretty much sums up my effectiveness at
dealing with it and/or getting what I want from it.
Bunnies, shaking fists, skies and stamping feet.
I've already spoken at length about how averse I am to conflict, it therefore follows that I have avoided making long-term friendships and networks for the simple reason that I fear what is likely to happen if I fuck it all up.  To this end I have not kept a community for longer than seven years in my entire life, it has served me well: at about the point where I become aloof and scared I tend to leave a community.  This was roughly how long I was in one group of friends at school, granted I've kept a couple (Tim and Jerry), and roughly as long as I've lived in any one place (six years actually, likely to be beaten in the shit-hole I bought by accident in 2006).  It is, now, as long as I've spent in my current church.  It also roughly approximates how long I stayed in the online version of my University community before I exchanged some words with people and left.  That particular episode has much of me lauding myself and bemoaning attacks, so I shan't dwell on it, but it is what broke that particular community.  Reading back over the board, which is still going, made me wistful but reminded me why I don't post there any more.

I've known about this fear for a long time: I'm crap at birthdays and worse with significant dates for other people.  Throughout my childhood I always remembered to invite people to my birthday and never got invites to anyone else's, as a consequence I stopped remembering when they were so I wouldn't get offended when I wasn't invited (and, yes, I did get offended).  Eventually I stopped telling people when mine was so that by 2006 I got three birthday cards from outside my family and was satisfied.  I'd stopped displaying cards after I left Uni and there was no one else to see them, okay, I was still at Uni but it was a different one and I didn't live with anyone I knew, so about 2002.

Not my church at all, but close enough and you get the idea
about it being one of the oldest buildings in the area but
not one of the oldest in terms of method.  Also, one of the
oldest communities in the UK.
I haven't been to Cell Group, kinda like a house group, at Church for almost a year now, well, I attended a little at Christmastime and sabotaged myself hugely by saying things that were sort of true (I am rubbish with names) and them embellishing them in as unattractive manner as possible.  I tried to make sure that they wouldn't miss me when I inevitably stopped going.  And stop I did.  One of them now has cancer, and his wife is finding this hard with three children, and I have just avoided them completely.  Tilly was told about the condition but I have recieved no official word - part of my avoidance is so that I won't get official word and then have to do something about it.  When Jerry reopened contact for his wedding, given my feelings about him at mine, I actually told Tilly that I would sooner end the friendship than risk going and saying something wrong.  I ended up going, of course, but alone.

At Church I found myself avoiding talking to people.  I got particularly angry with the vicar's wife, whom I know otherwise too, a couple of weeks ago when she started pushing politely for my emotional state at work.  It's not bounced back.  Cancer-man's wife was particularly officious today, understandably, and I walked out of the church rather than deal with it and stayed in the car as long as I could.  Worse, I ended up blaming my son and getting all angry with him - like it was somehow all his fault.  At Rachel's Haven there are plenty of people interested in who I am and who are very friendly and I find myself worrying about posting there too much lest I do become part of that community and, worse, make friends.

It is perhaps telling that I didn't even visit the staff room regularly
until about this time last year (so 2011) despite having been in the
same school since 2003.  Also, even once I did, I remained pretty
quiet until about October/November.
I have worked in my current profession since 2003 and with some of my colleagues since that time.  I have no friends at work.  I have carefully avoided cultivating anything that could be called a friendship.  The closest I got was with my last boss and that crashed and burned pretty spectacularly (I heard word that he had an affair, left his wife and kids and got a motorbike too, I relate this not to crow but to illustrate that his attacking me was probably a symptom of something a whole lot deeper).  It has made me even less enamoured of, well, putting down any roots.  Tilly pointed out at the park today with the children that we have no friends as a couple - she's right, I have assiduously avoided making any new friends since 2001, except Tilly of course.

Thing is, I moan about not being included, about being on the peripheries and not belonging.  I moan when my birthday passes unnoticed even though I make every effort to make sure that it is.  I moan about having no friends and make absolutely no effort to make any or maintain those I make by accident.  I used to be on the welcoming team at church - I was ace at it.  I was rubbish with people who came to church often, I had no idea who they were, but my 'ace-ness' came from baptisms and stuff when we'd have hordes of people who were not from our church.  I always got mentioned by them as being welcoming and friendly, some would go out of their way to say so, but, like I say, if I saw them twice they'd begin to realise that it's all just an act.  It's like my teaching - it's an act.  A front.  It is not me and who I am.  Everything I do is about not being me and having friends would mean that I'd have to be me eventually or, and this is the fear, reveal how much of an insincere bastard I am.

Am I insincere here?  No, I am anonymous.  Ultimately I can walk away whenever I want and no one can trace me.  The fear is gone.  I can be sincere and open and honest and, when the fear comes and it all gets too much, I can walk away.  Yeah, I'm a sincere coward.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Beer Review: Sovereign

This is about as close as I'll be getting to the whole Jubilee shenanigans we were subjected to.  I ought not to complain, as it gave us a four day weekend but, in truth, I was unaffected by either it or the extra holiday.  As a consequence the only connection I have with it would be the beer I picked up for my pizza and watching Life on Mars (the UK original) night with Tilly.

Tonight's beer was Sovereign and was a random pick up from my local supermarket.

The design of the label says it was supposed to be connected to the whole Jubilee thing but, mercifully, that's as far as it went.  At 4% ABV it was more my usual (though you wouldn't think it to check out the reviews so far posted on the blog) and it smelled like a beer should.  My beard grew when I first tasted it and declared this blonde British made ale to be of my usual taste and standard.  On checking the label I was informed that the single hop that had been used to brew the beer was a British one designed to replace the Fuggles.  Bloody things.

It therefore has the right taste that I associate with beer - it was a proper ale in my humble opinion.  Smooth enough, not too fizzy, so no frothing with every mouthful but a clear straight to my head quality that continued throughout me supping it.  I suspect that it ought to have been poured into a pint class for full enjoyment but I liked the squat nature of the bottle and the dark brown glass colour.  Also, not too much mist from the CO2 when I opened it, which I am taking as a good thing.

It went well with the Meat Feast pizza from our local takeaway, and even managed to keep going afterward.  A proper slow beer that can be tasted and enjoyed and also still work to make me feel light headed enough that I can forget just how scared I am all the time.  Lovely.  It's a drink it all beer - not for sharing and the first I've not offered to Tilly to taste and see what she thinks.  It was my beer and it knew it.

Best drunk, in my opinion, whilst holding forth in a bar conversation with people you may or may not know.  Have it in a pint glass, give your opinion straight, punctuate with sips from the pint and when it's gone then you stop and let someone else speak.  It'll be your round too.  I'll probably be having this again.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Beer Review: 5am Saint

BrewDog can be picked up just about anywhere these days, a micro-brewery in Scotland apparently, known for doing daft things like putting beer in dogs, no really, stuffed dogs that you drink from.  Anyway, they clearly have a sense of humour and the bottle has some really fuinny stuff on it.

I am, of course, referring to the rather attractively named 5am Saint which is this week's addition to my beer reviews.

It's marginally strong at 5% ABV and is described, rightly, as an amber ale.  I'm not really a fan of amber ales that don't have honey somewhere in the mix, don't ask me why that should be, but I'm not.  It's a small bottle, 330ml, making it a bit of an expensive punt too, being roughly similar in price to other ales of higher volume in the bottle.  What made me, the arch-miser, buy this particular brew then, I hear you ask.  Simple reason, the bottle carries, as with most ales, a description.  And this one is brilliant.

"You probably don't know much about beer.  You don't understand beer.  You don't know what good beer is or how pathetic mass-market beers truly are.  This is condemningly ironic considering how much beer we actually drink in the UK.

"Would you apply the same lack of care, knowledge and passion in other areas of your life?  What does this say about you?

"Maybe you want to define yourself with bland, tasteless lowest common denominator beer.

"We won't have any part in it.

"It is not all your own fault.  Constrained by lack of choice.  Seduced by the monolithic corporate brewers huge advertising budgets.  Brain-washed by vindictive lies perpetrated with the veracity of psuedo-propaganda.  You can't help but be sucked down the rabbit hole.

"At BrewDog we are on a mission to open as many people's eyes as possible.  The UK beer scene is sick.  And we are the doctor."

Alas, this is not the beer that does the curing.  For that, we have to turn to Trashy Blonde, which is, by far, my favourite tipple of the BrewDog stable.  Alas, at two bottles to make a dent it is pretty darn pricey and so I don't go down that route often.

What can I say?  Enjoy this with similar humoured friends after a meal while watching DVDs late into the night in the summer, preferably when it's warm, and maybe some salty snacks to keep you drinking.  It won't reward you much after reading the bottle but it may give you something to talk about and it isn't so bad that you'd kick it out of bed for making crumbs.  Also, it gains KUDOS for quoting Renate from Iron Sky a full three years before it came out.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

My addiction and my wife pt2

Here's a question: why do the clothes that I wear have to be female in their origin and design?  What is it that means that I eschew the fabric in favour of the cut?  Indeed, I can take it further, why is it that I even had a pair of socks in a female cut?  I mean, the fabric was exactly the same as male ones, the colours were a little more garish (red and white in case you were wondering) and the length was more than most male socks (but no more than some walking socks that I have bought in the past).  Once on there was no real way of me knowing without looking that they were female socks.

Go on, are these male or female socks?  How the sod can you
And yet, I bought them in 2007, after meeting Tilly but before she moved in, and then hoarded them carefully with the rest of my femme wardrobe.  They came out to be worn with other female items, mainly the ensemble that I wore last Thursday and documented here.  They didn't match that get up, nor when I added the blouse, and they really didn't do the job that I had originally intended for them to do - that of reaching my knees in that manner that some female socks do.  Nor did they feel really feminine or anything.  Of course I kept them and wore them from time to time and, of course, they inexplicably helped me feel more feminine (and perhaps the reason).  However, we come back to the fact that the only real difference between my femme wardrobe and my normal one is the materials used in their construction - the rest is all about what they look like and, generally, I can't see that.  Okay, there are skirts and dresses, granted, but the shirts and jumpers and t-shirts that have the same effect on me have no difference in material at all and little difference in cut - it would seem to be a perceptional thing, if I may neologise.

Why bring this up?  The other day, Thursday actually, after I believed that I had been so careful in removing evidence of my ensemble from the house in time for Tilly returning home with the children my daughter discovered the socks in the bedroom.  She threw them about a bit and then Tilly found them.  Her reaction was very telling.

I should add that mine didn't have lace at the top like
these and that I wasn't wearing them at the time.
"What the Hell are these!" She demanded, with all the fury of having discovered someone else's underwear or evidence of an affair.

"They're socks." I stuck to the deadpan, fearful of any emotion that I would put into my words.

She paused, the anger still there.  "What are they doing here!?" She demanded, and, yes, she was obviously angry.

"They're socks," I shrugged, "I was chucking them out, I must have dropped them." Okay, most of that was a lie, I wasn't chucking them out and I was kicking myself for forgetting that I had taken them out of my drawer when removing the skirt.

"This is something I don't want to know about isn't it?"  This was delivered in the same semi-sneering tone of disgust one usually reserves for finding out someone is turned on by some unspeakable fetish or for revealing that there is bird poo down your back or dog shit on your shoe.

"They're socks," I repeated, "I was chucking them out."  In truth I wanted to make an issue of this, they're just socks and there's nothing untoward about that.  Mind you, this was in front of the kids.  As it was my calmness allowed the situation to dissipate, though I did have to actually chuck them out to make up for the lie in my own head, and theyt are now well and truly gone.  Tilly calmed and we haven't discussed it since.
Actually, yes, yes I think it is.  I am so confused
and I'm no closer now to understanding Tilly's
response to my addiction than I was back in

But part of me is still pretty angry about the whole thing.  I mean, it was a pair of socks.  Knee-high socks for shorter people than me, granted, and striped white and red socks, but still just socks.  Tilly stole all of my black socks when she moved in (no, really) and I had to buy an entirely new selection in a slightly different design to appease that part of her own strangeness (coloured heels and toes as it happens) so it's not like she's not fully involved in the cross-dressing through socks.  And, in the end, these were bloody socks.  I don't get the anger in this situation.  I get the fact that I don't understand, if I did I perhaps wouldn't have the addiction, but I can follow some of the train of thought on skirts and dresses and the like - it's the presentation of it all.  I'm not sure my autistic little brain can follow that down to wearing knickers rather than boxers (but being prepared for me to wear bikini cut male briefs or silk boxers) but... These were bloody socks.

Answers on a postcard...

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

On victim status

In discussion with Tilly over work stuff I ruminated on the fact that contrition for making mistakes seems to work with other people - when they admit that they're in the wrong and show remorse then the horridness stops.  People may not get forgiven per se but the attacks tend to cease and ceasefires take effect.  These lead to truces which, in turn, often result in peace treaties - and mostly without indemnities.  This does not happen with me.  I do not seem to attract forgiveness, ceasefires or truces.  People keep on the attack and take my contrition as a weakness to be exploited further, to allow armies across the Rhine or something.

Tilly agreed.  She stated that she could see why people did that to me, hell, she does it to me, but she could not explain why that would be the case.  Perhaps, she said, it was that feeling that I exude where I'm constantly in the wrong about something. I know that she is right, I've blogged about it before, but I am no closer to working out what to do with that.

It's a short one.  Have a great piece of music.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

An Adventure

After going to see Iron Sky (go see it) last week or so I drove home quite late at night.  I had taken with me my dress from ASDA and a pair of boots specifically for the purpose.  It was midnight when I finally pulled into an empty carpark near a park.  I got changed in the car and then walked off down into the woods, as far as I dared, near the trees and out of sight of the road and car park, but still within the sodium glow of the street lights.  It was a balmy night, good weather and I was still pretty stoked from the film.

The boots were a pleasant surprise to walk in.  The heel did not bother me as much as I thought it might and it did make me attempt to roll my butt a little more in order to stay even as I walked.  The slatted wood of the path over the boggy bits helped make an awesome clicking noise as I walked too.  I toyed with the idea of wandering into the main park itself and prolonging the experience but I had no watch on and I was having to carry my car keys, of course there were no pockets.  I bottled it and decided to head back to the car.

Then another car came into the car park and so I hid in the bushes as best I could to avoid being seen.  It drove around once, circling, and then came back to where I was parked.  It pulled up beside my car.  At this point I realised just how stupid I'd been - I had no idea who these people were, what if they were police and I was illegally parked?  How could I brazenly walk back to my car?  I had no form of protection or anything.  Then they pulled out again and drove around once more, pomming their horn as they did so.  Finally, the car left.

But another came in and I was forced back into hiding.  This was ridiculous, it was gone midnight, why were people driving around the sodding car park?

And through it all there was only my concern that I had failed to wear knickers and my boxers were doing a particularly poor job of disguising how much I was enjoying being in a dress and boots.

Mercifully the second car just drove around once and then left.  I got in my car, got changed as quickly as I could, and then left myself, noting that another car had parked in the carpark at some point since I had arrived, it seemed empty, which was a little horrifying.  I had heard rumours, I remembered, that this particular car park was a hot spot for dogging - pretty scary given how I'd been dressed moments before.  I drove home and got myself sorted without further incident.

So, what can I say?

I enjoyed the combination of boots and dress.  I felt very comfortable.  I felt very much like me.  I want to do it again.  I want to do it for longer.  But I need to find a better place to do this sort of thing where I'm not constantly worried about being seen!  With practice I could so do wearing heeled boots justice.  I'm still very much a bearded man in a dress.