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!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Risk taking

That's perhaps a bad title for this post.  I'm not actually a risk taker.  I've mentioned the Fear a few times, I'm sure, and I think I've explained at length all about it.  Well... Today I had cause to re-examine it again.

"Who of you, by worrying, is able to add a single hour to your life?" - Jesus, I forget where.

One of my favourite board games...
Most of my life I have feared things.  It therefore follows that everywhere that I have gone thus far, with a few exceptions, and everything that I have done has been because there were no obstacles in place to prevent me doing it.  I have flowed in my life wherever was easiest to flow.  I have lived, unknowingly, the words of General von Ludendorff in 1918: "My armies will go where my armies will go" and "Strategy?  What strategy?  We shall hit them hard and see what happens next!"  In my life I have tested a few boundaries and the ones that sagged are the ones that I have crossed.  Now, please don't imagine that the testing of the boundaries was in some way risky or dangerous, it wasn't.  For example, when I first went on interviews to get a job the example that I gave of my profession was always viewed by others as being risky.  It is so well known among those that know me that I can't even describe it here lest it be found by them.

General von Ludendorff.  You know, after the war, he became
a vain and pompous fool who became the front man of the
early NSDAP.  He was arrested in Munich in 1923 and, briefly,
led the NSDAP in 1925.  He was dropped at Bamburg in 1926.
Everyone always comments on the risk.  It's the sort of thing that they believe skates perilously close to some form of edge.  Maybe it is.  But, to me, it has never been a risk.  If I didn't get a job based on that interpretation of what I do then I did not want the job - I would have to be someone that I am not.  In that sense, then, there was never any risk.  Going to University to do History was, in the eyes of onlookers, something of a risk: I performed better at Maths and enjoyed Science more at A Level.  However, in reality it was no risk.  If I took Maths and did badly then I would have failed myself.  If I took Science and did badly I would be pushed.  I wasn't actually very good at the sciences, but I could bluff pretty well.  History... Well, I bluff, it's what I do.  Bluffing pretty much is all that you need to do in order to do well in History and so it was no risk to me.  I coasted, let's be honest, and bluffed my way to a comfortable 2:1 - something I could have done with my eyes closed.  I then wandered, sonambulist-like, into an MA on Military History.  I mean, seriously, Military History?  No risks, no worries, ability to bluff guaranteed by a lifetime of reading about strategy and warfare.  Within that I focussed on the First World War, something I'd been reading about and studying since I was six.  Absolutely zero risk there.  I coasted.  I got a pass.

"Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Birds of the air see no need to harvest or store up wealth for themselves and yet the Lord sees fit to feed them, are you not more important to your Father than birds?  Consider the lilies of the field, I tell you the truth, Solomon in all his splendour was clothed less richly than these.  If the Lord clothes these grasses so that are thrown on the fire the next day then will he not look after you who are much more important to Him?" - Jesus, badly paraphrased from memory.

When I went into my profession I didn't really do anything.  I trusted Him Upstairs because I felt as though that's where He wanted me to go.  I mean really felt it.  This wasn't a conviction from within me, I've always felt I was badly equipped to be in my profession, but a genuine feeling that something outside of myself was helping me go in a particular direction.  Besides, if I didn't make the grade and get a job there was no worry - I didn't think I was really cut out to do it.  Failure to do this wouldn't be failure, I was waiting to apply for a Doctorate.  As it happened, I got a job, I kept the gig and ended up in a cosy position.  In this sense the entire thing, hard and emotionally battering as the training was and scary as each interview was, was without risk, it was a path of least resistance.  I didn't have to invest anything of myself beyond what I felt I was safe giving.  There was no risk.

There's a parable about three servants who are given talents to invest by their master.  The last one was given the least and he buries his share.  When questioned the other two have doubled the talents they were given and are rewarded.  This fella is questioned and responds that he knew his master to be a wicked and cruel man and didn't want to be punished for fucking things up.  The master tells the hapless servant he's right and punishes him for being a fearful twat and gaining nothing.  That's me, that is, the servant.  Except it's not my master that I fear, it's everything else - it's society and myself.  I don't want to fail.  I don't want to have to come back to my master and say: "Please, sir, I've fucked up."  At least, not again, I do that quite often.

But, in doing that, I take no risks.  I'm searching for an easy life and, lest we forget, the highway to Hell is wide and well-paved but the path to Heaven is dark and twisty and filled with risk.  He who gives up his life to follow me, said Jesus, will save it and he who saves his life will lose it.  Let the last be first and the first be last.  I am not someone that likes risk, I am not someone that pushes boundaries.  My difficulties at work, in life in general, stem from this basic fact and the Fear creates the environment in which I fail because I am too cautious.  Like General Kuropotkin in the Russo-Japanese War constantly waiting for reinforcements I run the risk of a Mukden every day.  I am General Gough in Spring 1918, I am King Frederick I of Prussia in the Potato War, 1778-9.  I know how much I risk losing and therefore avoid joining battle.  It is a fear of failure that propels me and a love of the easy life that keeps me coasting.

"To prove that anyone can achieve what I set out to achieve, I gave away my wealth and started with nothing." - Ozymandias, The Watchmen.

In Alan Moore's The Watchmen there is a character by the name of Ozymandias.  He explains at the end of the novel how he got to where he was.  Part of it is about the necessity of risk to prove points and reap rewards.  He gives up a comfortable life to follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great via a detour in Tibet.  I'm not suggesting that a graphic novel character that is deliberately fantastical is a good example to follow.  However, that first part, giving everything up to start with nothing and trusting in fate to get anywhere... that resonated with me on some level.  Why?  I have never done it.

Tilly started a parenting blog last night.  She gained 48 followers and 168 pageviews within the space of three hours.  When she started her magazine she hit a circulation of 400+ in three issues (that is, 400 people subscribed to it) and managed to shift 500 issue 1s, 1,000 issue 2s, 1,500 issue 3s, 4s and is looking at keeping that level for issue 5.  She started a parenting group because there wasn't one that did what she wanted them to do and now it's a regular feature with some twenty members.  She's driving the home-schooling kick we're on and our daughter can read and write with frightening ability.  She's no genius, just well matched to tasks and thus learning well.  Tilly is astonishing.

Meeting her and dating her and asking her to marry me were all incredible risks.  Hell, even getting in contact with her in the first place was concentrated risk to me.  She was online, and I'd met a few oddballs, and she was out of my league in terms of looks.  Well out of my league.  She was witty, she had a First in History, she had As all over her A Level record and A*s coming out of her ears from GCSE.  Her academic achievement was what mine might have been had I been bothered to take risks.  She had embraced the opportunities presented her by University and lived them.  She was bisexual and had experimented with relationships of all kinds and natures.  Compared to her I was grey and dull and uninteresting.  We had sex in the second month of our relationship and she moved in with me in the sixth.  These were huge risks.  I stood a strong possibility at every stage of losing her and being hurt.  But the risks paid off.

But it was Tilly took the biggest risks and she gained the greater pay-offs.  She still takes bigger risks and she still wins higher than I.  The less risk I take, the more I withdraw, the less I get from the life that goes on around me.

So what?

My work environment continues to deteriorate.  Why?  My own caution, inaction and unwillingness to take risks.  My home life, though not a huge issue, is still pretty bland.  I want to risk things, but I won't.

"I wanna give you devotion" - NOMAD, 1991

When I was with Toby I can remember sharing her bed fairly early on in the relationship.  On the first occasion that she suggested, and I agreed to, wearing a nightie she made a point of being in the 'dominant' position when spooning.  She was about as tall as me and considerably stronger built, I was the waif of the couple.  I remember her arm across me whilst she slept and I lay awake wondering at it all.  I remember the feeling of safety and warmth that it brought and I remember feeling protected.  In short, I felt like the woman in a relationship.  It was this that eventually ended the relationship but even that tinge of bitterness was not enough to completely kill that feeling.  I sometimes get it with Tilly, but never physically.  Our relationship, in that sense, is much more traditional.  My own lack of confidence or constancy makes Tilly worried and removes the sense of safety and protection that she craves from me.  But I am broken and need that myself.

Selfishly I took it from Toby and never gave any back.  That's why our relationship was never going to work.  I gave it to Tilly in the early part of our relationship, until the miscarriage, and now we neither of us succeed in giving it to one another.  I have issues even giving it to our children.  Tilly manages to do this, there are certain natural advantages that she enjoys, of course, the ability to feed both of our children from birth without any accoutrements certainly helps, and there are hormonal advantages too.  Ultimately, however, Tilly can supply that feeling to our children because she doesn't crave it as much as I do because she had it as a child.  Whether or not I had it as a child is neither here nor there, at my age I am expected to provide that feeling, not recieve it.  As a male I am twice denied by society.  Probably also by evolution.

"I could never be your woman" - White Town, 1997

My first forays into actually cross-dressing came from those experiences with Toby.  In each of those cases Toby treated me with the kind of respect and protection that one usually associates with relationships from the man to the woman.  That is, she treated me very much as the female of the relationship.  She complimented my looks in feminine terms (legs, clothing etc), she used female nicknames and terms of endearment for me (honey, sweetie, princess, dear, sugar, sweetpea, Bex) and she allowed me to take the submissive role of holding hands or hugging or any physical contact.  In terms of mutual masturbation she took the dominant role, using it as a man may use it.  In essense, she was on top and I was usually dressed in skirts while she wore jeans on the occasions that it happened.  At no point did I find any cause for complaint.  At no point was I ever in any danger beyond losing her.  I took no risks.  It was this that caused her to walk away.  And I did not stop her because I also knew that we were no good for each other.

With Tilly we have never really spooned or hugged in bed.  She liked her space in bed, still does, and my attempts to be romantic are spurned as ham-fisted and just irritating.  In sex she was always more vanilla than I, perhaps more than she knows actually.  She expects me to be a Man but I am masquerading.  That's not to say I am a Woman, I'm not, but I'm no Man either.  I'm soft, I'm nervous and I'm overly sensitive.  I'm moody, generally in a bleak and downward sense, and I'm taciturn.  In short, I carry the stereotypical bad points from each gender.  And I have scratchy, but cautious, body-hair so that my nipples are crowned with it, my navel looks like the jaws of Hell and by crack, sack and legs resemble briar patches.  However, my arms, back and chest are devoid of it.

The Boy calls.  I may update with pictures another time.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Beer Review: Spitfire

Odd week, lazy morning, silly day and stupid moments.  Meeting with boss, suspicions confirmed, but a half day because on Monday we're in 'til gone 9pm.

It's time for beers.  I only have one, it's Spitfire.

I don't know when it was that I started liking Kentish beer, it feels like I'm selling out in the bitter stakes - proper northern stuff, but it is nice anyway.  Claims to be a bitter but I don't get that.  The colour is lovely and dark, and the carbonation is at a nice level.  There is a crisp smell to it that avoids being musty and yeasty without becoming too malty and heavy.  It claims to be fruity but I'm not catching that as much as I've done with others.  At 4.5% ABV it's no slouch on the alcohol front and the taste lets you know.  Not hugely powerful or blow your head off strong but enough to remind you that it is alcoholic and you shouldn't have too many.

Overall, the taste is like the colour.  Elements of nuttiness with a definite spice edge.  After taste is not unpheasant but you'd have to be pretty gull-ible to assume it's the nicest bit to the beer.  Sorry, bird puns, I'm easily amusing and wren I get going I shan't grouse.  It was a good buy, not crowing about it, but I'm happy.  Sorry, I'll stop with the bird puns now, there's only so many you can do before you call fowl at it being owl-full.  Sorry.  So, yeah, it's not the strongest I've had but it has brought me a subtle light-headedness and has allowed my mood to lighten to the point where I'm making bird puns.  It is a beer.  A nice beer, not the best I've ever had and not as good as Thoroughbred Gold but good enough to get bought again.

Drink this wherever you like, with whoever you like and have a brace.  It's a beer that you can drink a few of and, if you're not an effeminate lightweight who worries colleagues that you'll break down and be upset if they make a joke at your expense, you'll be able to do so to quite a high level.  Not that I'm a bit bitter or anything.  And try hard not to think about how many you have, it'll depress you.  No, it's a drinking beer and good at what it does.  I'll probably buy it again.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Upside down

Before you turn me / Inside out and / round and round

Warning: ranting.  Much of it horribly self-serving.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Same old same old

Damp.  Six months of rain in a day.
Now which six months...?
Indeed, exactly what it says on the tin.  My neck of the woods is damper than normal, so different in some ways, but otherwise the same.  About a week ago I had the opportunity to wear the skirt from Toby with my boots and a standard T shirt.  This was a nice experience, Tilly was out with a friend of hers from a distance away at a club, and I got to do some work on my own.  I, of course, only got about an hour or so, despite the fact that I could have had longer in the event, out of fear of being discovered I guess.  It was still nice, I loved the feeling of the heels on the boots and enjoyed the feeling of the skirt.  Like always I felt more like me, more... real.

Me, sulking.  Well, kinda.
However, real life has, of course, intervened and reminded me of a few home truths.  Work is better than last year, granted, my boss and I are having civil conversations.  More to the point, when I ask for clarification she actually tries to explain rather than getting annoyed and assuming that I'm being deliberately obtuse or undermining!  That said, I am now on the support programme with the next manager up and... it turns out my job description covers a welter of stuff!  In fact, what I'm supposed to do for my little corner is easily twice as much as my boss says she's doing and probably three times more than what she actually does.  I know this because I've done her job and I did what she does until about two years back.  Thus, as ever, I am vaguely irritated about things - because, you know, life is so fair and stuff.  I sound like a teenager.

Novelling!  Is it wrong that I want those hands?  It's wrong.
I'm always busy, and I seem to moan a lot too.  November approaches, and I hope to be writing a novel with nanowrimo for the first time in a few years, that would be nice.  Home is generally good.  Finances are looking up against this time last year - even with an exploding Dyson that we replaced - and that job interview seemed to go well.  I did enjoy it.  If they get back to me and offer the job I'm thinking that I would have a hard time turning them down.  The fact that they asked the questions they did and gave positive feedback in the interview itself was wonderfully affirming.  I mean, I'm not thinking that they would offer me the job - I don't think I'm that good - but I did like the cut of their jib and the job itself would be... well, unique.

The midnight sun: yes please, that's just mad enough to work.
Also, Norway.
I guess I still hanker for adventure.  I meant it when I was on online dating when I said that I wanted to see the sun shining at midnight and to spend a week on a train.  I want to see water freeze as it's thrown from a bucket, hear wolves howling in the moonlight, hold a bird of prey and find that old place down a back alley in a tourist spot that tourists don't go to.  I want to walk for the sake of walking until I get tired and stop, I want to camp in the wilderness and be in a place where the only human beings are the ones there with me.  The USAF job is that kind of adventure.  My job was an adventure once.  If I can move through threshold I will drop the management position in the Department.  I enjoy running off timetable days, I do not enjoy man-management and I do not enjoy the pressure being brought to bear.  Mind you, that's as much the fault of the profession in the UK as it is the fault of where I work.

Education is an adventure.  Teaching, these days, is not.  Work!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Driving to America

I'm post-beer.  1698 by Shepherd Neame.  6.5% ABV and 3.2 units a bottle, it's strong for me.  Very nice.  But this isn't a beer review.  Please excuse the short sentences.

I went to that interview.  There were no guns but the accents and the fatigues and the banter between staff was slightly intimidating, it was not the way I expected soldiers on duty to behave.  Not their problem, but mine.  It was also intensely fascinating.  The base was huge, the buildings were clearly not British, everything was very Statesian.  The interview was easily the most friendly interview I've ever attended, I think it went well and I think I made a good impression.  I'm not sure I did enough to get the job but now I get why they invited me to interview based on my letter.  Part of me is genuinely excited about it, partt of me hopes I am offered the job and may even take it.  They were lovely people, and the base was a nice place.  I wish I had been more nosey.

The journey was good too, I enjoyed the opportunity to sing along to the Pet Shop Boys (mainly) and listen to some drama on Radio Four.  I enjoyed the time to myself.  I would have enjoyed wearing a skirt too (I did back on Wednesday, with boots: very liberating) but perhaps not a good idea for a job interview.  No, it was good.  It has been a good day.  I have drunk a strong beer and tomorrow the children are going to a party of a child of some of my Uni friends, so I need to have an early night.

I should comment on other people's blogs.  I should comment on Dee's at least.  And Caitlyn's.  And on Rachel's Haven.  But I won't because I am tired and post-beer.  I'm sorry on that score.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

All work and no play

Well, kinda.

Of course I am going to that interview on Friday if for no other reason than it will make a great story to tell afterward.  How many people go to job interviews on foreign soil through armed checkpoints in the United Kingdom?  I'll warrant not many and even fewer who can do it and still be home for tea.  Also, there is still that lingering part of the younger me that collected 1:72 scale miniature soldiers who would dearly love to see what a real military base looks like from the inside.  I suspect he will be very disappointed but I have to let him see it, just this once, right?

In the meantime I have been hard at work.  Mostly.  I can be honest here, I have been working hard enough, I suppose, in that things are getting done and, so far, I haven't dropped any of the balls I'm juggling.  The meeting with my boss turned out to be mainly administrative and therefore I'm counting it as a positive thing.  Means that I have plenty to do, of course, but I'm sure that's the same for anyone in, well, work.  The fact that I am lazy and strive to do less rather than more in my work life is probably what stands in the way of things being on an even keel.  To explain, the time I've had when I've not been working on an evening, and there has been plenty, I've spent playing SongPop or just surfing the internet at random.  I haven't even taken Dee up on her rather good suggestion of leaving five comments when online.  I may try that tonight, but I've had a glass of wine and worked up til 9.30pm so maybe not.

I know, 9.30pm.  Lazy bastard.  Mind you, in the old days I stopped work at 9pm.  Okay, I started at 6.45am and worked through til 6pm when the caretakers chucked me out, then I'd have tea and work from about 7pm to 9pm before surfing the net on dial up (dial up!) until 10-11pm.  Still.  It's hardly working all the hours God sends or anything like that.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Beer Review: Old Thumper

It's been a while, I think, since I was drinking a beer on an evening when it was also possible to review it on here.  I make a point of never reviewing a beer on this blog unless I'm drinking it on the night that I review it.  Reviewing beers I drank a few days ago is something I reserve for my rather less frequented parenting blog.  I always feel that you lovely people who slog through my usual posts deserve better than that, hence fresh reviews.  You can tell I've been drinking by now, I'm sure.
Anyway, tonight's offering is Old Thumper.  The last time I had this ale was in Daventry, visiting my father (that time during Easter, in fact, when we had the odd conversations about therapy and general things), and I had it on tap in his local while we were having a meal.  I ended up having two pints and learned that it was a local celebrity.  This was on the strength of having had the beer before in bottled form, but this was long before I started reviewing beers.  Enough history.

It comes in a brown bottle, always a good sign, and it weighs in at around 5.6% ABV, meaning that it's a one off for lightweights such as myself.  On opening there is a crisp noise of escaping CO2 and a fairly strong malty aroma.  There is a spice of hops to it but I could discern no more than that.  The first mouthful is good, a strong hoppy nose and a good slab of malt beneath it all carried by the fizz to the top of the mouth.  It swills nicely on the tongue and then leaves a warm glow as it goes down.  This is bitter, in a good sense, and for something from the Midlands it does a good job of behaving like it's from the north.  There's a roughness to it, a feeling that it would wear denim out of season, drop its 'h's and pronounce its 't's while talking about the days when awl this were fields.  Second mouthful and beyond there is less of that northern flavour but it still lurks at the edge of your tastebuds, waiting to mug you if you're not careful.  No, it's not grim up north, but it knows that, really, it has no idea what its like.
There is a creamy side too, as you drink the whole thing becomes more smooth - as if it builds up a wall of cream as you sup it slowly.  For this reason it would be a good accompaniment to spicy foods like curries and Thai.  It is probably this quality that puts me in mind of something like Black Sheep ales come to think of it.  On tap it is definitely a creamier beer than out of the bottle.  The colour is clearer and the taste is sharper from the bottle, but I see these as good things.  The fizz is not unpleasant in the bottle but I get the feeling they've tried too hard to recreate the head from a proper pulled pint, which means that there is an impressive head when it's poured but also that it out-fizzes itself as time goes on.  This is still a very good ale but it doesn't bear too much repetition.
Drink in moderation and with strong flavoured food to get the best from this.  Spend a day out in the countryside walking briskly in cold weather - feel the rain on your face and the ice forming on your beard - and then get home in front of a log fire and pretend you're a Yorkshireman: complain about the snow and how it wur awllus better when you wur young.  Say "aye" rather than yes and hide the pottery from Stafford from the people you bring home.  Nutty and brown, like a much loved grandfather, and strong and hoppy.  What more is needed?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Some people get pick of the pops...

"An' I get pick of the twats!" - Gene Hunt

You're surrounded by armed bastards!
Big day on Wednesday - all me at work.  Organising about 80 staff and about 1,400 students into some semblence of order and with a centralised planning structure... well, it was huge.  Hence the lack of posting.  There's more, there's always more, and the situation at work is not exactly set to improve.  We have about seven non-specialists in the bit I'm supposed to be in charge of but with a newbie sharing a course at Year 13 and a new GCSE course and nursemaiding my boss with the existing GCSE and planning a trip at the wrong point in the year and writing an analysis of last year's results I'm not sure I'm doing what's expected of me.  Back on the support I go, I guess.  No one said life had to be fair.  However, I did get the album by the Pet Shop Boys yesterday and it is good.

"I know enough is enough / and you're leaving / you've had enough time to / decide on your freedom / but I can still find enough / hope to believe in love" - Pet Shop Boys

I wrote a while ago about failing at therapy, the very polite but firm "fuck off" letter.  It said that I had been referred to be tested out for having Asperger's Syndrome and that if I had any questions I should refer to my GP.  That was a while ago now.  I haven't heard anything.  To make matters worse, the place I've been referred to, whilst definitely in existence, appears to have no virtual presence beyond the address and no phone line that I can find.  So I can't even phone to find out what's going on or if I need to do anything about it.  I guess that means I need to contact my GP, which would be fine but for the fact that I'm wary enough in contacting such professionals at the best of times.  I always find myself worrying what they're thinking of me and whether or not I'm going to come across as some wierd kind of hypochondriac.

"Whatever I have said and done / doesn't matter in this chatter and hum / I'm invisible" - Pet Shop Boys

Rather than alleviate any of the pressure of things to do this evening before I left work, of course, I ended up wandering the campus.  Back when I first started teaching I had a Form group and the very first day they were in there was a treasure hunt task to basically acclimatise them to the new school.  I remember it quite well.  For the day I organised on Wednesday I resurrected it for the new Sixth Form intake and tried to use some of the same questions.  The upshot was that I needed to check quad names about the school (yes, we're one of those schools) and I ended up back in the old Department.  It's been extensively re-modelled so that my old teaching room no longer really exists.  What I was totally unprepared for then were the feelings that washed over me as I stood at the old door to the room (now a fire exit) that still had the same surrounds.  I actually felt like crying.  And thag lump in my throat continued as I wandered through the new suite of three small rooms that makes up where I taught for four years.  I remembered the room and everything that went on there.  The mistakes I made with the Form group that left a festering hatred of me in the girls, no, really, and the good parts as well.  It was... unexpected.

"Gyaaah!  I've had it wit you!  Every five minutes something's exploding or something!  Zzz-zzz-zzz!" - Ruby Rohd

Korben, Korben, I don't feel right...

For whatever reason I ended up digging out that skirt from the understairs cupboard that isn't really under the stairs this morning too.  Back in October, when I first started recording things, I spoke about it.  It's a skirt that Tilly maintains will never fit her again but won't throw out.  In fairness, I can see exactly why she won't, it is a beautiful thing.  I'm too tall to wear it properly (she needed heels to get the hem off the floor enough to walk and it hangs above my ankles) but I do enjoy the feeling that it gives when it flows, and it flows, around my legs as I walk.  I like the softness of the fabric, the whisper of it as caresses itself.  I love the embroidery down the side, same colour thread as the shiny satin but noticeable by the shanging quality of fabric, and the way it catches the light.  The breeze that it creates and the trapped air that allows fdor warmth in cold and the coolness in warmer conditions.  Obviously, I wore it again to dry the pots and do some basic marking in the kitchen.  I fully intend to be wearing it in the morning again too.  My shoes are in the kitchen now, I took them out of the cupboard after Tilly started making noises about reorganising it, and they are currently cowering at the back of some old jars.

"You said - we all can make mistakes / it doesn't matter that much. / I said - really? / Everything means something / yes, even our mistakes: / carelessness means something / no simple give and take. / Everything means something / and something has occurred. / Everything means something / although the meaning can be blurred" - Pet Shop Boys

I applied to the MoD for another teaching post.  I got an interview.  I honestly did not expect that.  My application was filled with guff about "table culture" and the importance of food in building and maintaining teams.  I waxed lyrical about the diverse culinary influences on British food and the power that this has on shaping culture.  I, essentially, bluffed my socks off and talking irrelevant bollocks.  I should not be called for interview on the strength of that sort of gubbins.  It would mean a huge uprooting and moving if I were to take the job and even this step means that my boss has written me a reference at some point, without telling me, and that my vicar has too.  I... I don't even know if I should accept the invitation to interview.  I don't know what to make of the whole episode, I applied out of... curiosity?  I don't know.  But... I got into the whole teaching gig by accident, Him Upstairs had a great deal to do with it and, back in those years, I firmly believed it was where He wanted me to be in life.  I'm no longer so certain.  I moved on to be a boss too quickly and in the wrong place and I seemed to lose the thread of what He wanted me to do.  I sacked another colleague and then moved back to where I started.  Am I serving a penance?  Did I miss the boat?  Is this being back on track?

"[God] plays his games and we play ours" - Gunnery Sergent Hartman

If you ladies leave my island...

Monday, 10 September 2012

Busy Little Bees

Okay, I'm quoting from Skin Horse there, but still.

Life is... not so bad I guess.  Nausea threatens again at work, general stresses and talks about "my role" in the Department - usually this translates to hard-nosed stuff that I don't cope well with.  That's not to say that other people are at fault here, why should everyone else change how they operate because I have a fragile self-esteem?  Plus points are that I've been doing better with the kiddliwinks, still not great, but better.  I feel for the Boy when I look after him - I do what my Dad used to do.  In the play park I took him to the sandpit and largely left him to his own devices.  I mean, he played well enough and had some fun but I was very aware that, well, he did do it all on his own.  Daddy didn't really play much.  Basically I suck at times.

Not to say it was a bad weekend, it wasn't.  Tilly did her parenting fair and it went very well and I looked after the Boy and I didn't get all grouchy and crap.  I got a bit stressed on the Sunday and I know that I'm being avoidant at work again but, eh, it's been fine.

Got an e-mail from the vicar too.  We haven't been to church for ages because I don't deal with it well.  I tried to get us all down this Sunday but Tilly reminded me that I was a bit pants there and she had no wish to have the chidlrens ready to explode whilst I was sat with a face like a wet weekend in Margate.  Which is a shame, because I know that Tilly really enjoys the singing and the girlie loves playing with some of the others that are her age there.  The vicar is a lovely bloke, he is, I've spoken to him before about my stuff and he was easily the most supportive person I've spoken to about cross-dressing.  I dunno.  I just feel a bit distant from Him Upstairs these days.

Speaking of stuff, it's been pretty quiet.  I appear free of fog and the like, plenty of clothes calling that want me to buy them, like normal, but my tight-assed-ness is strong at the moment (I bought the new Elysium album by the Pet Shop Boys and my phone charger stopped working) so there is no fear of me spending anything.  At least, money-wise, things are better than last year.

No images again, could be a trend.

Thursday, 6 September 2012


It's been almost a week!  Work has sapped my energies of late (poor diddums) and last night was comically bad as I fell asleep taking the Boy to bed around 8pm, woke at 2am to sort myself out, and then slept until 5am, like normal.

Ah, I remember that feeling.  It was nice,
is that why she's smiling so?
Aaaanyway.  I've had a post in my head since about Sunday about shaving because that was the day I tidied up my beard.  I decided I couldn't shave the whole damn' thing off but I did want some of the lovely feeling I had the last time I shaved.  So I tidied up the edges and shaved off the islands of fuzz that proliferate off the coastline of the main continent of hair.  All of this means that the beard is well and truly back, around a full inch in length for those of you that like to keep track of such things.

But, predictably, it got me thinking.  I like my current shaving regimen - inasmuch as I have one - with the rub down beforehand and the shaving gel rubbed into a lather.  Even the razor is nice and I quite like the feel of the skin afterward.  Indeed, in the run up to going back to work it was most relaxing.  And I wondered: what is it about the removal of body hair that engenders such feelings?  Do women feel the same about leg and underarm hair?  Hell, would I feel the same about that?  One thing I do know is that way back in late 2005 when I shaved my legs I really liked the feel that was left afterward.  I loved the fact that they felt silky soft, yes it's a cliche but it also accurately reflects what it felt like, and the fact that they, well, shone.  I also loved the experience (I did it in the bath too as the shower was broken) and was most upset when the hair started growing back.  Also sanguine though, I was, and remain, worried about people seeing the fact that I had hairless legs - which brings me onto the next few points.

This could actually be my belly button, but
it isn't.

First of all, the hair itself.  This is something that human beings have arrived at through much evolution and therefore it must serve some purpose somewhere.  If that is the case then the removal of the hair is a ridiculous thing and I should just let all my body hair grow all the time, maybe tidy it up a bit here and there but otherwise let it grow wild and free like African Lions (#Born freee....#).  In other words, if bare skin were truly more desirable then it would already be bare, right?

Riiiight.  According to this I'm at stage
2, but with considerably less hair...
Then there's the societal gubbins, and here I'm saying nothing new I know, in that I am expected to have hairy pits and legs and back and chest.  The fact that my hair is rather restricted in these areas (one or two on the back, around the nips and not a lot else) is a source of 'badness'.  Oh, the ribbing I got in school over that when everyone else hit puberty and got proper hair and I did not.  I mean, okay, my belly button is hidden by what looks like the gorse bush at the mouth of Hell and my legs resemble the woods that surrounded sleeping beauty's castle tower (according to modern illustrated fairy tales) but it is a 'bad thing' for women to be hairy.  Now, there's an article you have probably read that does a good job of explaining why women shouldn't have to be smooth and can have hair too.  Which is all well and good.  It's here, at the Vagenda (clever name).
But here's the thing.  What if I would rather like the alternative to be true - why can't I shave my pits and legs?  When I have related the above to people they tend to go with the "hair is minging" and "urgh" route that the woman in the article above discards.  But I agree.  Not for 'women' - I only don't like the scratchy feeling on Tilly a couple of days after she's shaved, either side of that point is fine by me...  Actually, the hairy side of that point is better for rubbing her legs, when hairless my wrinkly hands of doom get caught by suction, or van der waals forces or something.  Anyway, I digress, I prefer the feeling of my own legs (can't comment on pits) when they are hairless.  Not enough to shave regularly or use an epilator or, you know, do anything - it's not like it vexes me constantly - but after that experiment back in 2005 I do know that I prefer them smooth.  And despite the fact that I publically disagree with the "urgh" and "hair is minging" on the grounds of Feminism, as in the article, like a good sympathetic male I can't help but agree with the sentiment for my own situation.

Aren't you glad I'm back posting.