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 November 2014

Paddington Bear

In fairness, this could be my boy and I. Were it not for the fact
that I've had a haircut and now it is far too short and I have a
beard that I have trimmed and I look like my mate Jeremy and
I am in fact a man and not a woman.

I wouldn't mind though.
I must be broken on some level. I went to see Paddington with the Boy today whilst the eldest and Tilly went to a birthday party for a friend of the Girlie's from ballet (yes, we are that middle-class that our daughter goes to ballet. We also have a pantry). Anyway, the upshot was that I got all teary eyed and emotional watching it. What the Hell? I mean, to some extent I understood the fact that I blubbed at The Book of Life because of the director and the fact that the story was designed to have people cry watching it (if not, what was with that soundtrack?) but Paddington?

Basically, it was a bit of a mis-matched thing - there was Capaldi being anyone but Capaldi, there were cameos from famous British actors everywhere and possibly a cameo by the author of the Paddington books as well. There was a badly acted and badly explained almost-love story betwixt the villain and a next door neighbour of the Browns, there was a badly handled love story between Mister and Missus Brown and there were superhuman powered children who could single-handedly run the world in any version of reality you care to name. Paddington himself came from a race of highly intelligent bears in Darkest Peru and even the heavy-handed emotional wrenching at the beginning had me tearing up.

Damn' straight.
I blame being a male. Stupid feelings.

Last night, in case it wasn't obvious, I binged on Scroobius Pip and perhaps that emotion leeched into my mood enough that the sight of a bear possibly being all alone was enough to set me off. In short, the film was watchable and not dire. I question how much of it the Boy was able to follow in any depth, he preferred the bits that were "crazy" like all the bits that were in the trailer. Basically, they are the only bits he's talked about since. The bits in the trailer. That was money well spent going to see the rest of it then...

I have managed some marking and Tilly is feeling a little better. I have had two ales this weekend, I have failed to get all the marking done. Tonight we had a kebab and I've been on Boy duty (the film did mean that he was too hyped to deal with it, so some of the emotion got to him too). No, there's a bit in the film where Mrs. Brown sees her husband rediscover himself and my heart went out to her, it really did, she gained what I would like to gain. That part when your partner returns to who you know them to have been in the past. I was Freda. But I was reciprocated.

If you get a chance, by all means go and see the film. There's some of actual UK London in there and there's a lot of the Hollywood and US interpretation of London but I don't mind. It's a good film to take children to go and see. It's enough adult-y that you won't get bored. And, apparently, if you're in the right state of mind, it'll make you cry.

Saturday, 29 November 2014


So, tonight this would be my jam. Why? I rather find myself drawn, but only in a virtual sense, to areas like this (Chernobyl) and I do like the concept of being 'off-grid'. Not in a survivalist sense, I don't fear the collapse of civilisation or anything like that (though part of me believes it's inevitable, maybe just not in my lifetime).

No, I remember camping in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. I remember being somewhere with no permanent residents for 50 miles in any given direction. I remember thinking that this was brilliant. Just the quiet, some people to talk to, and a tent. I liked it.

I would do that again. I would enjoy that again. It's not brilliant, but I've often tried to design a life that is sealed. Sure, it can interact if it wants, but I like the idea of being small and out of the way. Self-contained. No need for a 'job' but enough income to take part in the world if necessary. Something to contribute tax. No benefits if possible and... well, a life that's pretty neutral overall in terms of impact.

Videos like this remind me of that... dream? Aspiration? I don't know. One day, I suspect if I ever finish a novel, it shall be a novel that has this sort of thing at its heart. Truth be told though, I'm never writing a novel, let's be serious, it just isn't going to happen.

Okay, that escalated quickly.

It will come as no surprise that this piece of music has been playing whilst I composed the last post on this here place...

There's something about this artist that keeps me coming back for more. I was introduced to him by Dee and I dabbled a bit, enjoying the track called 'Introdiction'. But then I finally went to listen to the rest of the album for which that serves as an introduction and I realised that the artist, Scroobius Pip, is more than bottled and clever anger. There's a depth there. There's something on which to hang.

It brings to mind the concept of travelling, on foot and possibly without shoes, across a vast and lonely landscape. Maybe the brooding hills of the Cumbrian Lakes or the dense forest of the Upper Peninsula in the States. Perhaps it is the quiet lowlands of the Norfolk Broads on a wild summer night in the dark. It is music that serves for introspection. It is an escape from everything that makes up my own life, bounded beneficiently by the boundaries placed by work and life that I have chosen. A breaking free.

Of course, I wax lyrical in the way only an educated fool on the internet avoiding real work and real life can. I miss writing, can you tell? But I'm lazy, and one should never underestimate just how lazy I can be.

Music again

Not really got much to say, so I guess I stay silent. Wish I could make beat poetry properly in my own way but less in the fray I'm propless these days and I haven't the time to game the words and syllables to float in a flow like dirigibles. In the meantime I appear without fear to share in the glare and sear another track by Scroobius Pip that, in this video trip, may speak a little to the kind of mind that may find this blog attractive.

I think it lies somewhere in the fact that we have females playing the parts of the males to make us stare without tact as I sup an ale that I fail to review as those posts tend not to create the kind of attention that lessens the tension in living this life less public than tragic. Those that create the beat poetry clearly live their lives by it, the talent and salient use of words that bring forth the half-rhymes and broken times of the sentence structure - poetry framed by the wit and wisdom cultivated and tame like quail but still beautiful as paradise kept in a vice and stretched.

My mode is less than being meaner than the average, with thanks to Watsky! And, much as I disagree with some of the conclusions maintained by Minchin I am nevertheless moved to bring him across the median to speak of the standard deviation that creates the deviant within me too.

And that's all I have tonight.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


Just to keep you all abreast of the news: Tilly's UTI from a fortnight or so ago is the culprit. She took some antibiotics to deal with it and they caused side effects (she gets side effects from pretty much anything) so she declared herself better and stopped the course. Sure enough, there were a few days (she's now expanded it to five) where all seemed well. But the UTI spread to her kidneys and that resulted in the drama of Sunday morning.

Now... well, it's not life-threatening. It may be stones and an operation but it may not be and Tilly has a course of antibiotics that she must stick to in an effort to finally kill off the infection. It may lead to stomach issues afterward (killing off bacteria like this will inevitably result in collateral damage) but live yoghurt ought to help deal with that. In short, rumours of her death are massively exaggerated.

Upshot? Happiness on one level, obviously, she's not going to die. Bone-tiredness on another. Loss of sleep Sunday followed by a gruelling day looking after the children, a little bit knocked off centre by the shock, and then again on Monday morning - where Tilly was adamant that nothing had improved so I stayed back on standby lest she need taking to the hospital, but then she decided she was fine. We ended up having a discussion about the situation with parenting and she said we weren't on the same page (I can pick my times!). Anyway, yes, you are now fully updated.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Last Words?

So, I love the dotty old NHS. It is one of the few things about which I can get patriotic and be proud of being British for.

Tilly may have a kidney infection. She may have had it since that Monday. It may not have been a UTI. Tonight she woke at 1am, then called me through from the other room at 3.30am. I was sleeping elsewhere as she hates company when in pain, gave her the space to toss and turn. Anyway, we rang and after some frustrations we got an ambulance. First responder preceded them by a good half hour and he was a good fellow. Likelihood is that Tilly is very ill and probably needs something drastic. It may also be appendix based and that's more than likely surgery.

Being in the UK it's free. Our insurance, if you will, is paid in taxes. Big government regulation can be awesome. Also cheaper. And more cost effective. Objectively.

And I don't want my recent posts to be the most recent writings about my wife.

Because I love her. She is talented, brave, clever and beautiful. She cares deeply for our children, she is fond of me in a way no other member of the opposite sex has been for as long as she has managed. She's on the cusp of a book deal because she can live her dreams in a way few people are brave enough to be able to do. And our children are a credit to her and the way in which she has chosen to parent. Being a stay-at-home mother means that everything they are is primarily down to her and what she has chosen to do with them. The Boy's stability and the fact he behaves the way he does, hiding possible spectrum-y tendencies to the uninitiated, is her success. The Girlie's belief in herself, wild abandon and dancing are down to the encouragement and support offered by Tilly. That both of our children can read, write and do basic maths is down to Tilly. Tilly is, and always has been, amazing.

Everything else is noise.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Rewriting History

If it please you, I'd like to rewrite history...

Oddly enough, most images of female STEM people still show
them in suits. So... no, shirts with women in bondage gear are
not normal get-up. Equally, any woman in a STEM career who
chose to dress in those outfits would be sacked.

So, it's okay for a man to wear the images, but not women to
dress that way. Right. Also, yes, I would be her.
Shirtstorm. I've been vaguely uncomfortable since the apology. Let me explain: I barely noticed the initial furore and then, when the bloke apologised, looked at the situation and figured: "well, mistake made, what a decent chap to apologise. Doesn't solve the background noise of sexism in STEM, but at least a move in the right direction. Now, about that comet..." And I figured that that would be that. Then the backlash. And I watched several people I really respect saying awful things about the evil Feminazis (some of the people saying this are Feminists too) who had forced this nice young man to apologise over nothing. And I was uncomfortable. I couldn't quite work out why. Luckily, better writers than I were able to give words to my discomfort: Chris Brecheen.

I don't think I know anyone directly who has suffered or
died, but plenty of people do.

So this seems a worthwhile thing, you know?
So, after reading the article, I chatted to Tilly about it, the backlash and what it said about sexism in society. Somehow we got talking about it in light of Transgender Remembrance Day and, in that, we discussed the validity of female-only spaces and whether or not they should discriminate against trans-women for safety. Tilly opined the usual line that men who transition provide cover for serial rapists and paedophiles who would use 'being a woman now' as camouflage to get into changing rooms - what about the children!? We discussed it, I debunked it (not to her satisfaction, it's not that she thinks these things, but she can see why others can...) and then we got to the thorny issue of relationships with TG people. Tilly brought up that it wasn't so much that TG people were TG but the deception that came with not being open with partners that would likely cause problems, as well as the deception in a wider sense with onlookers. I pointed out that the real deception would be an MTF or FTM TG person masquerading as the gender they didn't feel a part of rather than the other way around.

Unsure if...
Tilly thought for a moment, but was unconvinced. Okay, said I, what about people that aren't trans but wish to simply dabble. She spotted I was talking about me. We discussed briefly, she felt I was 'niggling' at her: "this is why I don't like discussing this, I always feel you're waiting to tell me I'm wrong" she said. Then claimed I had deceived her when we met. I had not "been clear" in telling her I cross-dressed due to my "tone of voice" and "use of language". I pointed out I had been "bloody clear" several times and that I wrote it down for her as an important thing before we were married. She dismissed this, no, the words I used did not indicate that, she thought it was a joke. My tone of voice indicated it was frivolous, not something deep-seated.

We ended the conversation.

Mind you, as an historian, I know that only
historians can re-write the past. In that sense
we seem as powerful as Him Upstairs. We
can change history in a way He tends not to.

This is a female historian.

I identify with female historians.

Go figure.
This is re-writing history. I have related on here a previous admission that she would never have paid attention because she didn't want to know, that she was angry because she wanted to convince herself that it wasn't real and had ignored my hints to the contrary. Hell, when we first met and I challenged her drinking she said "I don't talk to my parents about you being a cross-dresser, so I don't think it's fair to talk to yours about my drinking" - if that's not an equivalence with her drinking, and thus accepting my cross-dressing was ongoing, I don't know what is. No, we're re-writing that part of the past to once again protect Tilly from feeling that she was ever in the 'wrong' - I am at fault for not being clear.

Later on, Tilly is ill again, she was apologising for being ill. I told her not to be so silly, she is ill, no need to apologise! She said she was apologising for the effects on me. I pooh-poohed it on the grounds that listening to her complain and picking up some slack around the house was hardly on a par with being doubled up in pain. Tilly pressed, "no, I mean I want to have sex again and I can't". Well, thought I, that came out of the blue. And, again, history is re-written. Tilly has never refused sex and never will. The huge gaps? Implicitly down to me rather than her, she wants sex so it must be me that has prevented it. But, again, she's been ill on and off, or on the blob, since April 2013. Two occasions since then (and I complain about neither session) is hardly what she seems to be claiming it is.

This is what I meant when I was talking about 'turning toward'. I find it very hard to be charitable and nice about these re-writes of our relationship. I see conspiracy and duplicity where there is probably only fear and genuine confusion. I'd say something like "who can blame me?" but then I'm hijacking the narrative. I suspect I've done that already, come to think of it.

In other news, I appear to have cleavage. My body fat has chosen beneath my nipples as well as a paunch to collect and I still have a pigeon chest with a wishbone. I look like I have A cup breasts.

Not far off actually. I have more hair. Body hair.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Cook With Fire

I have just fried green tomatoes in tinned tomato juice (left over from a veggie curry yesterday, not used) pepper, lemon juice and the remains of some raspberry beer with sausages.
So, it's cakes rather than my meal. So what. I'd happily look
like that.

It tasted rather nice, if I may say so: the lemon juice nicely balanced the sweetness of the raspberry flavoured beer (home brewed and now finished) from the bottom of the bottle in which it had conditioned. The pepper, ground and black, nicely offset the locally bought and locally made sausages. I feel sufficiently middle class and entitled to further point out that the green tomatoes were grown in our own garden too. Harvested yesterday. I am rather pleased with myself.

They did look not a little unlike this.

Being neither cook nor terribly technically minded I have no images to share of this momentous event in which girly-man cooked with fire with reckless abandon. Only the music it was cooked to:

Sunday, 16 November 2014


It's been a beer-y weekend. I went out to a pub, detailed yesterday, and had some of the home-brew with Tilly's friend last night after posting. She seemed to like it, raspberry and all, which was nice. Today has been a very very lazy day (and yesterday was too) with the Boy with a cold and the Girlie shattered after the trip to London. Tilly went shopping, then I went shopping, and I made a curry I really liked. And whilst out, I saw this:

Oh, just realised you can see me in there.

I think it's absolutely lovely. At £22 it's a lovely price too. It's the sort of style that Tilly says she hates on her (here I must shrug) and likely the sort of dress that I, too, would regret owning. Kinda like my denim skirt that really isn't flattering. Mind you, I can't say anything feminine I own really flatters me, you know?

Ah, a nothing post.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Turning Towards

I dunno, this looks like a prelude to rape rather than a tender
relationship to me. I think it's the bloke's haircut.
There's an article about this that I've read but it was recently brought back to my attention. And I want to say, at the outset, that the problem here (if there is one) with 'turning toward' is most likely with me. This is especially clear this weekend, Tilly has been down to London for an exhibition with her friend online following an offer of a book... I'm gabbling. First, the article. It's a very good article, despite the click-bait title and, although it says nothing new, it says it clearly and well.

Recently, Tilly has made a bit of splash in her writerly life - she's been asked by a huge blog to do guest posts and now has an offer of a book on the table. A reputed publisher (who, incidentally, 12 year old me wanted to write a book for) is extending their remit into earlier and non-warfare history and they have spotted Tilly's blog and so have encouraged her to propose a book to them. Her friend has also been offered the same and, being without children and writing full-time, has already made a proposal and been offered a contract. This latter point has knocked Tilly a bit and she is in a funk. I can see why, this friend tends to out-do or out-shine pretty much everything Tilly does (in Tilly's eyes).

#Lon-don Nights: it's a party time#
The London trip was arranged and was, originally, designed to last all day. I'll admit that I was looking forward to a normal day with the Boy and then an evening free. I could get some marking done cross-dressed and have a bit of an evening. Out of the blue, Tilly texted from London saying they were coming back for 7pm, being the Boy's bedtime. They arrived back at 6.30pm. I'll admit that I was a tad  bummed by this news. What does that say about me? Nothing good I'd wager.

Tilly has been very ill since that Monday. Something we did caused it (no, it's not an STI). She languished with it for the week then finally went to the Doctor's on the following Sunday where she got anti-biotics. These had side-effects and, I'm sorry, I called it; Tilly was worse on them than she was off them. I mean, they cured the problem, but she suffered with aches, pains and worse until the course was done. She's also spent the week saying how sad she is that we can't repeat what happened on the Monday. She's also mentioned, often enough, that she's 'due on'. I rather suspect that this will occur and then there will be something else, like last time, that breaks it for Tilly and there will be nothing.

So, how much of this is down to my behaviour? I've said before on here that I find things difficult when in... hold on. TMI.

Monday, 10 November 2014


But but but... someone is wrong on the internet!
Apparently I am good at being this online. I have narrowly avoided really offending someone on another forum I frequent, but I can see why they were upset - I am unclear. It was also about parenting. They said they had a responsible daughter (which I believe) and that they had achieved this by being demanding and authoritarian during arguments with them. I responded that this was unlikely and that they had a trusting relationship more because of what was done the rest of the time - of which they should be proud.

Me, on reading the crap and then, again, on finding out that
I had been blocked.
I suspect it came across as needlessly complicated and a tad sarcastic. I salvaged it by being honest - I wrote a quick and uncomplicated apology via PM, no niggling just an apology, and then a quick response apologising in public too. Cooler heads then prevailed and the whole ugly incident was put to bed, which is good, because I spent all day worrying about. My natural anxieties are always heightened in cases where I may have upset a complete stranger on the internet. However, in the fall-out, it appears that I may have offended someone else and I can't work out how or why. It appears to be unconnected but, because I have been blocked, I can't even ask what I did. I doubt this person will ever read this blog, but in case they do - whatever it was I apologise.

Specific enough?
It got me thinking. This blog is nearing three years old and most of what is on here revolves around my mental state and feeling guilty about amorphous and blobby things. There's a lot on here, even before learning the terms, about things with Tilly and treatment at work and the belief in both places that I actively invite and encourage abusive behaviour of me. The response to the forum is similar, I think I try far too hard to have people like me, it makes it hard for me to ask for what I want and, by now, it's hard to be specific about what I want.

I wouldn't mind this. But I know that my beard gets in the way,
and shaving it makes me 'look twelve'.
Take in sex as an example. I know what I want in general terms but, without prompting, I know that there will be no experimentation on me. I need to ask, and be specific and be willing to ask. In our latest attempts I did all the experimentation and she also told me what she wanted, which we did. She enjoyed what she asked for and what I suggested for her. But there was no reciprocal behaviour. And I know that's because she doesn't know what to try but... I guess I'm expecting a bit much for someone to intuit when they're barely able to muster their own desires in sex. I lack the courage to ask for anything, given the response to cross-dressing and the possible responses to BDSM etc.

So, there you have it. Introspection, who'd have thunk.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Do ya think...

If ya want mah boh-di, an' ya think I'm sexy, you have got ta let me know...

So, it's been over a week since I last posted and I have been silent as the grave. Well, okay, more like six days.

I'm a First World War buff. And a bore about it. It's been a
hundred years. Let's hope the memory actually helps us
move to a point where we're no longer adding names to
monuments like this, by actually tackling the root causes of
violence rather than 'standing up to it' once it's started.
It's been a good week, all told. I have given some assemblies about Remembrance to bodies of 650 students and 210 students respectively, and that was bloody terrifying. I think I enjoyed it though. I liked dressing up (I was only wearing a wool suit) and I liked performing. Because that's what it was, a performance. I put on my role as teacher and I acted it. Most liberating. They also garnered notice from my bosses, all of it positive, and lots of staff seemed to like what I did and how I went about it. It's nice to have compliments. I think I got my point (that remembering those who died in war is important but how, what and why is up to the students) across well enough. We'll see.

From Albania. Our classrooms aren't this nice. We ate in
a classroom. It wasn't as glamorous. One of my colleagues
is the sort of woman I wished I looked liked though.
There was some social time too. I played football again and did not break myself in any way. I even scored two goals. This was unheard of. And there was a random lunch where everyone descended on our Department and ate together. That was really nice, very welcome, and I didn't even feel awkward and stupid. Hurrah! And the normal Friday breakfast for the whole Faculty went ahead nicely.

I still haven't managed to cross-dress and, though the Monday went well, there was still disconnect in the activities (perhaps unsurprising given the paucity of those occasions and the previous disinterest of Tilly in them). I think I managed to make a decent impression, but it may also have resulted in a UTI for Tilly. Which figures. Nothing since then, there were plans for a repeat on Monday coming but the UTI may put paid to that. Then it'll be period again. I may have to bed down for another long wait. At least the pink thing from here got some use.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Film Review: Book of Life

After a fairly strange week in which I have managed to get all of my work done (for a change, no, really) and helped Tilly with her novel by planning out the plot with her and providing plot-doctoring services and then spent yesterday evening at a bar with some beer tasting (very nice, by the by, but how do you Statesians cope with pumpkin in all the things?)... Today, Girlie took me to see Book of Life and I was shocked by just how, well, good it was. I expected nothing at all, I've seen the MacDonald's tie-ins (the Boy likes to go for lunch there, and likes a Happy Meal - we've been twice this holiday) and didn't think much of it.

Tilly went to see it with Girlie earlier in the week, the Boy was not interested, so we spent Daddy and Boy time doing things like watching videos and me marking some work. She came back talking about it having greater depth than she imagined despite what sounded like a train-wreck of pacing, plotting and continuity. She admitted that parts made her cry and the Girlie had insisted they buy a poppy cross and keep it "because, when you die Mummy, I want to remember you forever" so it clearly had some form an effect. I digress, I went to see it with the Girlie and found it to be surprisingly full of depth and meaning.

I won't lie: it made me cry on at least three separate occasions. I could feel the emotion welling with the cover of Creep enough to make me tear up, again with the part where Maria seems to have died (and I had actual tears at that point) and a third time when Manolo sings to the bull. There were other points where I got emotional, for sure, but I didn't full on weep like I did at these points, so they don't count.

So what? A film made me cry, and? Well, it doesn't have an obvious three act structure (well, it does, just not the three acts you might be expecting) and the characters are drawn differently. For a start, the film is not the story of Manolo or Joaquin, it's the story of Maria (and that is actually reasonably well done - even after Manolo rises from the dead, Maria retains both agency and control of the story). Equally, Manolo and Maria don't develop, the point of the story is that they remain true to themselves and make it work - it's a fight with the pressures from outside and they overcome their fears of being themselves. This will not make it tremendously successful, methinks, because that was subtle even with the statement by La Muerte "In the end, Manolo was not afraid of fighting the bulls, but he overcame his real fear: that of being himself". I thought that might make it a bit obvious, but scanning reviews tells me that most people still thought of it as a standard Hero's Journey - which it isn't.

The soundtrack is also fantastic.

But I noted early on that it was made by the same bloke that made Pan's Labyrinth along with the political noodling that marks his Spanish language films. I like it. I like what he's done here (and his cameo is clever too) and I enjoyed the film. It is rich and brash and full but never predictable despite having some of the corniest dialogue I've ever heard and one of the most cliched actual plots I've ever seen committed to celluloid - and I've watched some terrible films.

Do I recommend this? Yes. Yes I do.