Friday, October 31, 2003

MSc

I am off to Birmingham on Monday for a week of lectures in health economics. Looking forward to it in spite of not having done a great deal of preparation. This week at work has been manic in terms of trying to make everything is covered before I go away. I know I won’t have finished everything I needed to and a lot of what I have done won’t be at its best as I rush around trying to get a week ahead of myself.

The course is important to me, even though it will eat a lot of free time in reading, research and assignments. It is so long since I was at uni I think I have forgotten how to study properly. I am hoping it will come back quickly, and it is something I have chosen to do myself, which helps with the motivation.

I suppose I shouldn’t really be blogging, but I look on this as therapy away form the job! Also I may not be posting a lot next week – not sure what the IT facilities will be and what my workload will be like. I am sure I can regale you on my return with lots of info measuring outcomes, discounting, decision modelling and market theories (see I lied – I have done some homework!).

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Maloney

Just added new blog link to Mighty Maloney. Followed his blog on and off for a while - but hot little story on there about a recent encounter. Sounds like Canada has a lot more to offer than I would have expected! It may just be the links that I follow but there seems to be a unproportionately high number of gay blogs out there. Are we more introspective or more extroverted in wanting to share our thoughts?

ITV drops dwarves' tug-of-war show

I had to look at this story twice as it seems totally unbelievable. ITV had a show planned in the Man Vs Beast series where 40 dwarves' have a tug-of-war with an elephant. It seems to bizarre to be true, but the it has apparently already run in America, followed by a sprinter racing a zebra and giraffe!

If you wanted any better evidence that the standard of British TV is in decline look no further than this. What next? ‘celebrities’ running their own bars, footage of real life car crashes and accidents, ‘real’ people locked in a house for 40 days – oh, sorry these things have already happened. I don’t know whether I am out of touch with what is entertaining or if there is a real lack of documentaries, science, drama and truly entertaining TV.

I don’t really care if people want to watch trashy TV but there has to be a balance. I blame the tabloids with their celebrity filled gossip (Kylie buys a pasty, Madonna drinks water) and HEAT (the worst of the bunch) with its groundbreaking news that celebrities wear clothes, breathe, walk and sometimes sit on chairs. It has definitely created a celebrity fixation and encourages ordinary people to think a bit of TV exposure will change their lives which it probably will, but not for the better.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Buffy's back 2

New season started last night and it was great. Good beginning and the end was fantastic - Warren, Glory, Adam, the Mayor, The Master and the worst of all - Drusilla!! All the Big Bads are back!

If you don't watch Buffy then this will all seem like the juvenile spoutings of some spotty role-playing adolescent who gets a boner every time Sarah Michelle Gellar hits the screen. If you do watch Buffy, then you will realise that this is the perfectly normal musings of a 30 something gay man who gets a boner every time Sarah Michelle Gellar hits the screen.

So is Dawn being trained as a slayerette now the Scooby-gang aren't the gang they used to be. And will Anya go on a major vengeance fest, boiling the blood of all infidels. And what has happened to Spike? Last season he was a ripped, Buffy loving, fighting machine - now he is a ripped, pussy-whipped baby?

Good guide on the BBC Cult website. Only downside is I don't see a visit from my favourite werewolf Oz on the cards. Little midget boy with suspiciously ginger looking hair but way cute!


Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Trey's Blog

You know when you post an entry and you can't resist clicking on the recently update blogs? (Come on I know it isn't just me). Well came across Trey's Blog His entry for October 28:

"Tuesday, October 28, 2003

What the hell! Sarah get the fuck off my blog! thats bullshit ! i never posted that and thats not why i am going out with Heather! why are you gettin so mad! i thought you had " DUSTIN" remember!!! i saw you with him at the football game! i mean you can post on here but dont post bullshit"



Makes me realise that my petty concerns are nothing to the hassles faced by Trey!

Buffy is Back!!!

The last season of Buffy finally airs on BBC2 tonight. Seems like ages since the last series. Most people have probably seen it already but we don't have Sky anymore and have to wait umpteen months for the final terrestrial viewing. Watched the last episode of the last series last night as a refresher - forgot how evil Willow had got! BBC2 are showing Buffy 3 nights a week, so the whole series should be over before Christmas. A plague of vampires on anyone who calls after 6.45pm tonight – no calls accepted and a rain of unholy water on anyone who knocks at the door.

I can tell I am getting over-excited here! Also looking forward to’ Buffy: Chaos Bleeds’ for the Xbox. The last Buffy game was great and has to be one of the best Xbox games I’ve played. On the gaming spin, we have also been playing ‘Viewtiful Joe’ on the Gamecube. Quite a surreal scrolling platform game where you are in a movie trying to rescue your girl form the evil boss man. Excellent graphics, cool badies, great moves and typically wacky Japanese concept. If you have the cube get this game.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Little Bro

Got my little brother coming to stay this weekend. He hasn't been to the new house since we moved in back in June. looking forward to seeing him even though he was a bit of a twat the last time I saw him. I suppose my ranting posts about New Year made me think - I probably wouldn't have chosen my brother as a mate if we met in the street, but can rely on him far more than some of the mates I have up here. He may be mouthy, cocky, forgetful etc, but they are all faults I can see in myself!

Also he is an experienced gas fitter, plumber etc, so he can make a start on all the jobs that are propbaly quick little jobs, but I would have to call a contractor out for about £30 an hour. Can't see any of my mates being able to do that!

Carrie returns

Spent further time thinking about the whole New Year Dilemma yesterday. Spoke to a friend (just) who feels she has to choose between people and it is all too hard for her (boo hoo). Tried to explain that it is only one goddamn night of the year and we will all see each other over Xmas and New Year, without the essential need to all be squashed in one room at the strike of midnight. There seems to be some mystic attachment to drunkenly hugging your friends with a glass of flat champagne in one hand and a cocktail sausage in the other (or huge baloney in my case!), while Big Ben tolls another year through.

Really need to just be honest and say “Actually, fancy something a little more civilised this year with a few close friends, and stop emotionally blackmailing me into doing something I don’t want to.” Of course I don’t do that, I try to find a way to please everyone, which is impossible.

If New Year’s eve is supposed to be about looking back at the past year, dwelling on the good and the not-so-good, and looking forward to a new year full of fresh potential and exciting plans, then sorry, but I already celebrated when me and my partner moved into our new house. I don’t want to be forced into a ritual that is more about no one having a better time than anyone else, than it is about enjoying yourself.

I have tried to express that it is has been a difficult year with a house move (2 actually), ending one relationship to allow another to grow, new boss and job changes and I want to look forward to a new year with my partner, but this is just interpreted as not wanting to celebrate with others the end of 2003. Hopefully, little more ranting on this one – it will all get sorted and we will live happily ever after!

Friday, October 24, 2003

Ever lasting day

Today has turned into another long one. Should be glad it is Friday and the weekend is around the corner. But I have ploughed through a load of work today and still got lots more to clear before I go. I was here until gone 7 last night and don’t want to do the same today. Think it may have something to do with the fact that I was blogging or looking at blogs a lot yesterday. Very easy to check a few out while taking a boring call and then spend the next 20 minutes following links! Determined to crack on and leave the net alone for the next couple of hours – no more from me today!

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Am I Carrie Bradshaw?

Sat here thinking about my friends. Went off into a daydream as I contemplated the recent angst that is New Year. I have been trying to organise something for a couple of dozen friends were different groups overlap had me drawing Venn diagrams in my head. Friend A is in set B & C but cannot mix with set A. Mary is in set A and C but doesn’t know anyone in set B. Set D contains loose canons who cannot be planned for! Aaaaaaaaaaarrghhhh!

So – where does Carrie come into it…..well I was just colouring pretty borders on the Venn diagrams when I thought (Cue Mac screen…) “Do our friends stop us being friendly?” What I mean is that the juggling of different groups means risking alienating one fiend friend at the expense of another, and it starts to take the pleasure out of all the friendships. One good friend has twisted herself in knots by not saying what she really thinks and letting others (i.e. me) going off in completely different directions.
My advice? Think of yourself and partner first, then try to accommodate 1 or 2 friends at a time. Anything more than 5 and let someone else be in control!

Patients given artificial blood

Great development reported on BBC. Apparently patients have been given artificial blood. The product starts off as real blood, which is goes through a process to turn it into a powder that can be reconstituted as needed. The other advantage is that it works for all blood types and transfers oxygen better than real blood. It has only been tested on 8 patients so far, but with no sign of rejection.

Dr Pierre lawfully, chief physician at the Karolinska Hospital, said that if artificial blood were approved for use it could lead to dramatic changes in health care. He said: "If this really works all the way, then mankind will have taken a big step forward. This is like landing on the moon."

Pretty revolutionary then! Lets hope it gets into production soon and on hospital shelves across the world. It is actually good to hear of a medical development coming to fruition. We here so many stories about bionic eyes, AIDS vaccines, artificial skin, 'cures' for dementia etc, that never seem to get past the headline and research stage. Great to see a real breakthrough happening

Book 2

While we are on the subject of books, I am midway through 'The Crash of Hennington' by Patrick Ness. Well actually, I have nearly finished as it is very un-put-downable. It is pretty much in a genre of its own. It tells the stories of about a dozen main characters in a undefined time following their hearts in an aim to get what they believe in. Sometimes they are working for the greater good, sometimes purely for their own power or money. It is a lot better than I am making it sound! I recommend this highly to you.



Cover art

Rob has posted the cover art for his new book 'Trophy Boys' 'Trust Fund Boys', based on the New York Magazine cover below. Hope he doesn't mind me pasting the image here. Looks pretty good to me, hope the cover has a similarly hot guy! - book not out for another eight months.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Wasteful Corporations

We recently bought two lights for the house. They were reduced in the sale, but looked great so we thought we would get a couple more. I stopped at a couple of branches of the store on the way home, but nothing in stock. Finally, they checked the code for me and said that they did have them in stock but they are marked 'to be skipped' and they are not allowed to sell them to me. So rather than make a few quid, they will skip them and no doubt send them off to landfill. The wonderful world of the big corporations!

French strike over cigarette prices

Only the French would strike over cigarette prices. Small tobacconists are complaining that a 25% price rise will hit there earnings and may encourage people to stop smoking. "The government says loud and clear that it wants the day to come when there is not a single smoker left in France," said Rene Le Pape, president of the confederation. (of tobacconists).

In other countries, i.e. the UK, we just grumble a bit, some stop others carry on, and more turn to the black market. Ironic really that we are always told it is the UK that is out of line with taxes, but it seems half of Europe sell a packet of fags for as low as £1.20 compared to £4.70 in the UK and (now) £3.00 in France. There is no doubt that higher prices are an incentive for some to stop smoking, and France needs to be taking action in a country where 42% of adults smoke.

It just seems to fly in the face of the Frenchman's (and woman's) view that they are autonomous individuals detached from the state. But I don’t think you would see British tobacconists flinging boxes of fags into street fires to defend their rights.

Ad man's dream?

The Guardian reported last week that the gay and lesbian market are pretty much all rich, tech savvy, loaded with spare cash and loyal consumers. Sure this will apply to some - and probably to a lot of bloggers, but once again is a gross generalisation.

I am lucky enough to have been university educated, got a good job, own home etc, but not everyone has had the same opportunities. I used to work as a development work with gay and bisexual men in rural areas and ex-industrial towns with not a lot of employment left. The gay men that I came into contact with where, on the whole, just like the rest of the local population. That is - ordinary working class people who may have had jobs and their own homes or may not. They were more likely to be bothered about their summer holidays, family matter, and local issues than whether they had the latest blue-tooth enabled microwave phone.

I am sure there are groups of gay men and women who are loyal to companies who demonstrate an awareness of gay rights, but don't get carried away with this one.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Wedding

The day after our friends wedding. I can honestly say I have never been to such a good wedding. My boyfriend and I were ushers, which involved a lot more than I had expected. Spent a great day meeting the bride and groom’s family and friends and catching up with other people I hadn’t seen for ages.

It was a fairly emotional occasion and lots of tears during the speeches – I even felt my eyes mist up and I not one for crying at this kind of event. The bride led the speeches and did a great job. She looked beautiful and seemed over the moon with her new husband. She is trying to bully us into having a ceremony, but I don’t think I would want to until there are proper legal partnerships to enter into.

The groom is Scottish so he and all the ushers were decked out in kilts. I have never worn one before, but loved it and we all looked really smart lined up together.

All in all it was a great day and I feel honoured to have played a part in their special day.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Church split over gay bishop election

So no big change in this story. You would think a group of grown-ups could sit down and get to an amicable resolution. But then the church is just like the political system - full of single issue hypocrites, who cannot act in an adult fashion. Imagine if we all conducted our lives in the same fashion. But we don't, (well most of us), we have to compromise and do things we don't always agree with for the sake of being able to co-exist.

I think this is why I stopped commenting on this whole debate in previous posts. It is frustrating to see the rigid nature of these religious leaders and their dogmatic interpretation of biblical texts (as and when it suits). Enough! I will hear no more on the topic!!

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Reunited

Had a good chat with my friend last night. Was pretty open about some of the things that had upset me over the last few months - mainly around feeling unsupported through some tricky times. Felt good to say it and acknowledge that it was in the past. I have always avoided discussing it before as I thought it would just upset her. Realised that this was actually a little patronising and it is better to be up front from the start. Agreed that we had both missed our friendship and thought it was worth working on. All sounds a bit dramatic, but losing a good friend is not something you want to happen.

I suppose the real test is what happens over the next few months and how we keep the friendship going. Doesn't help that we have a mutual friend who is a bit loopy and is a great believer in stirring, mis-representation and self-pity. She has been the cause of some resentments in the past, but as we are both aware of her manipulative agenda it should be OK.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Church leaders debate gay issue

Church leaders debate gay issue Back to my old rant about homosexuality and religion. It will be very interesting to see the outcome of this 2 day summit for the Anglican church. There is a real mix of liberal, moderate and extreme views flowing on the subject. I fell that the interpretation of the bible is almost periphery in this discussion, which is more to do with personal prejudices. After all, the bible used to be used to condone slavery, which no right thinking person would say is right today. This debate will run and run!

Odds and Sods

This week feels like it should be over already. Only Wednesday and as usual there are far too many things I need to focus on outside of work, the damn job just gets in the way. Boyfriend and I are ushers at a friends wedding this weekend. Picked up our kilts, which look great and got to sort present, music, guests who are staying over etc. Looking forward to it all immensely – quite a few people I won’t have seen for a while and the bride and groom are a great couple.

Also stuck in the interior design dilemma again. Have reached the point of cut-off where ideas have to be crystallised before getting anything done. Trash Addict inspired me to get to grips with this, but we keep seeing new ideas that feel right for the house. Decisions will have to be made!

Meeting up with a friend tonight who I haven’t seen a lot of for a long time. We lived together for many years and used to be really close. The loss of some of that closeness is inevitable as we have both found partners and set homes of our own, but it is sad that we don’t seem to have understanding and friendship that we used to. I am going to discuss a few of the reasons why I feel we lost that relationship this evening. Hopefully, not in a blaming way – more to get it out in the open, move on and (hopefully) re-establish our friendship. Wish me luck!!


Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Comments

I have managed to get the comments facility up and running. Decided to use Blogspeak for comments facility. So post away and let me know that there is someone out there!

Why blog?

Some of you may have seen my recent comments about the nature of my blog. Had an interesting discussion with Rob Byrnes about the split between personal information, work and using the blog as a pointer to interesting stories.

As I haven’t shared my blog with any friends I feel I can include more personal information. My blog is primarily for me, my partner and anyone out there who has similar interests or likes the voyeuristic nature of an insight into someone else’s life.

I enjoy reading other’s blogs for a view on something I may never have thought about, links to items outside of my normal filed of view and the odd interest there is in seeing a slice of someone’s life that you are never likely to meet, or normally come across.

Christmas is coming......

Christmas is coming and is causing problems in our house already! I decided to make the Christmas cake this weekend – but forgot that I needed to soak the fruit in Marsala wine first. Meant I had to finish it yesterday. No problem you would think, except I had forgot how long it takes to cook. It was finally ready at 1.30 am, which is way past my bedtime! Looks and smells gorgeous, but meant I overslept this morning and was late in too work – definitely a weekend job.

Have also been trying to arrange a group venue for New Year, there are about 16 of us from around the country and a couple flying in from Paris. Our favourite option has come free – but is pretty pricey at £125 per person. Not everyone feels they can afford this, which is understandable, but frustrating as time ticks on and no alternatives are offered.

Haven’t even thought about presents yet! I am looking forward to our first Christmas in our new house though. We will definitely be having a huge tree decorated in an over the top and tacky fashion.

Monday, October 13, 2003

East Anglian Daily Times news

A little reported story came to light over the weekend of an alleged homophobic assault of a labour campaigner by 2 Tory councillors back in July 2003. The two alleged attackers deny the incident and have been interviewed by the police. The attack was meant to have happened at a bar close to Westminster, so there should have been plenty of CCTV or witnesses. Interesting to see how this one plays out.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Home addiction

Interesting post from Trash Addict who talks about interior design obsession especially the wonderfully bitchy Naomi Cleaver on 'Other People's Houses'. This has become must watch TV in our house, with careful analysis of would would work in our house. Our progress since buying the house has been to collect a hundred and one ideas and not know how to take them forward. Although you see programmes on TV were they tansform the whole house for £2.50 and a pot of colouriser, it actually costs a bit more to do things properly.

I suppose collecting all the ideeas is the first stage - you just have to stop at some time and decide what suits you, and get on with it!

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Rob Byrnes Book

Just been doing the blog rounds and come across a book by Rob called 'The Night We Met'. According to his site it is "In the tradition of Married to the Mob and The Wedding Banquet...the .... novel serves up the most deliciously wacky love story in ages -- a screwball romantic comedy where boy gets gorgeous Mafia boyfriend, boy loses Mafia boyfriend and nearly gets whacked by most of New York, boy gets Mafia boyfriend back... and more than he bargained for... " Sounds pretty good.

Read the review links here

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

TIVO

Link to Matt Pollard's site, simply because he mentions Tivo and some useful hacks. Tivo owners are rare in the UK, but anyone who has Tivo loves it!

The hacks have links to upgrading the drive for more space - which sounded pretty cool - but then I thought do I really need 390 hours of 'Charlie's Angel's' and 'Loveboat' re-runs?

Corrie's gay kiss

Corrie's gay kiss attracts 14m viewers. i wonder if they were as nonplussed as me? it is great to see Corra finally have a gay kiss, but it was a real let down after the build up for so many weeks. Not that I expected a full orgy on screen, but it will be the treatment of the character and the development of the story over the next few weeks that will really make a difference.

no doubt people will complain, but then they always will. So - definitely progress but with a small 'p' at this stage.




Section 28's demise

After all the campaigning about Section 28 I had missed its demise! This is one that I remember going on marches against back when I was an impressionable teenager fighting for gay rights! Section 28's demise means a lot psychologically to people involved in the campaign and is a step towards further integration of gay rights into mainstream society. On the other hand it never stopped young gay men and women exploring their sexuality, it just stopped people talking about it and offer3eing support. In recent years there have been a lot more support services for young gay/bi people. Hopefully, this will strengthen that role.

I still believe the biggest change would be legal partnership recognition and more positive role models.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Blog view from mainstream journalist

The Independent set one of their journalists off on a blog mission. He had to develop ablog and write about the experience. A reasonably interesting article, but what you would expect from the traditional media Independent article You can see Andy's attempt still online. Demonstrates the dilemma for many bloggers - AM I just an online journal or a signpost to other stories etc. I think my blog has developed into a bit of both - and this has made me realise that the passionate views I expressed at the beginning have begun to tail off.

Need to think more about this blog and what I want out of it......

Whispering Windows just like in Minority Report are here in the UK already. Not the hottest news off the press - but my partner told me about this the other day and I have just tracked it down. Like the Cruise film, adverts for DVDs are now whispering to people as they pass the window of Peter Jones in London. Waitrose are also investing in the technology which effectively turns the whole window into a large speaker.

We have had another busy weekend in the lead up to the wedding of two friends. We were out with the bride on Saturday – (NOT a hen night!) Also spent the day recording all the music for the wedding. Sunday was a rehearsal with some of the family and the ushers, bridesmaids etc. Went well and I could see that the bride was getting very excited, if somewhat wooried that something may go wrong. Looking forward to it myself. We collect our kilts next week (the groom is Scottish) and then the big day is on the 18th. Our lists of tasks seem to be getting bigger – hope we remember them all. Of course the biggest question is still what to wear under the kilt! Convention states nothing – but after a few beers do I really want all my tackle flashing around?!

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Love hotel planned for Newcastle

Tommy Caulker, who runs the World Headquarters club in newcastle is planning a love hotel, for rent by the hour. It is planned to go above the club and include jaccuzis, condoms and furry walls!! Of course the local press and council are horrified as people may -shock horror - enjoy themselves!

Love hotel planned

Most phallic building award

Visit cabinet for the most phallic building awards! The winner was a watertower in Michigan. "Apparently named "the brick dick" by locals, this building is clearly the world's most phallic."




Personally, I would have awarded it to an entry from Iceland. The Smaralind shopping mall in Reykjavik definitely captures a phallic look!



Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Web gossipmonger warned over rape allegations

You may have heard this story about an office worker warned over rape allegations. A guy in a large company had forwarded emails speculating on the identity of the alleged rapist in the current footballers allegation. The footballer identified has threatened to sue for libel. This has got message boards and football web sites running scared as members guess at the identities. Appropriate that alleged perpetrators are offered some anonymity until the facts of the case are established and any charges brought. On the other hand it is hard to stop this kind of speculation. What may have started a s gossip in the pub between mates is often now exchanged by a quick email or text message. We need to be careful what we say - especially in blog-land where personal views and opinions are so often expressed. Won’t stop be form saying I think Jamie Oliver is a c***, but will stop me form speculating on unsubstantiated claims.