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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Misogyny for beginners 

My housemate Graham (who now has a blog of his own) pointed out to me that my blog seems to give the impression that I am some sort of misogynist. I suppose I would agree with that. It DOES give that impression, however, I am not a misogynist: I might be gay but I do like women. Some of my best friends are female!

Why is that? In this blog, I write about things that catch my attention, thoughts that wander through my head and things that annoy me. It's unfortunate that the things that annoy me on my way into work have mostly been done by women. I can't do anything about that. Men have annoyed me on the way to work but less often. None have applied make-up on the train. Some have chatted about rubbish and with typical macho posturing. A few have even texted incessently - the worst without turning off their key-beeps. Ignorant buggers!

I could have talked about the two guys that chatter away in Russian with smug glances at the other passengers but that could have been construed as racist. Or the white boys that pretend to be black. Ditto, I think. Or the straight couples that snog each other's faces off. Er ... heterophobic?

I haven't singled out any particular instances of annoyance. It's just that they either don't happen often enough or anger me enough for me to remember to blog about them once I get to a computer. I'll try to remember next time.

To paraphrase Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's book, Good Omens (it's brilliant - go and buy it at once!), all Southerners annoy me and, by definition, I live at the North Pole.

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Health and safety 

Great! Note the use of the sarcastic exclamation mark. It looks pretty much the same as a regular one but its effect is to completely reverse the meaning of the preceding statement.

The reason for the sarcastic punctuation is that the lurking cold I thought I had shaken off returned with a vengeance on Friday meaning I had to put off Saturday's dinner with my sister, her husband and my sister-in-law. I wasn't that ill (I only felt mildy wretched) but I didn't want to either pass it on to them or my brother when they visited him in hospital. My brother-in-law, Dave, also has a reduced immune system due to a blood disorder so it wouldn't have been fair to expose him to infection.

It also means that I won't be able to visit John until I have recovered. I suppose I am not so concerned about that now as he appears to be getting better but I still feel frustrated. It's a bit like being quarantined. Actually, no. I AM being quarantined but for good reason.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Second visit to the psychic barber 

I know he is more than twice as expensive as Mr Topper but this guy is a real craftsman. I'm really impressed that he uses two different trimmers for different parts of my head. And he knows exactly how I want my beard without me having to say.

If you're in London and you want a haircut go to Vasos in Grape St!

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Strange musical tastes 

I have strange tastes in music. I admit it. I take a perverse delight in liking crap.

I like things from the 80s... Adam and the Ants, Queen, Human League, The Eurythmics, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, Erasure, the soundtrack to Xanadu. Who knows the depths to which my musical tastes will sink?

New things have come along that take my fancy ... Republica (not so new now), Kirsty MacColl (Tropical Brainstorm was brilliantly tongue in cheek), KT Tunstall, Jill Sobule, Alanis Morissette.

I also started to develop tastes in classical music since meeting David. I won't embarass myself by attempting to list any of the pieces I like. I can remember the names of the composers (mostly) but never the names of the pieces.

However, what prompted this post is another direction of music appreciation, one that again I've developed since meeting David but has worryingly started getting stronger recently. I'm talking about the annual pan-European camp-fest that it the Eurovision song contest.

I enjoy watching it each year. When my Dad was alive we used to watch it although, to be fair, my Dad watched it. I just watched the scoring. Now, David and I have friends round each year now and we watch the whole thing.

That's fine. What's worrying is that I liked two of the songs from 2004 so much that I, er, bought the album. It's on my iPod and now I listen to it almost constantly. I also like more than just the two songs now.

"On again... off again" always makes me smile. Yes, it was THAT song that made me happy last friday. It should have won. Malta were robbed!

I liked "Wild Dances" too.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Contradictions 

Yes, I know that the last two posts contain opposing views. In one (and many earlier ones) I say that I hate this, that and the other. In the last post, I say that I think that spending your life hating things makes you old and ugly.

Perhaps I need to change my outlook on the world before I lose my youthful good looks.

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Joie de vivre 

Today, on the train, a married couple sat opposite me. What was interesting was that although I could tell that they were roughly the same age, there was a great difference in how old they looked. The man looked younger and more alive than his wife.

What was startling was that I realised that she had made herself look like that. Her face was pinched, her mouth drawn into that pursed disapproving shape and the lines on her face had come from years of frowning.

Her husband wasn't without concern on his face but he hadn't let it become his raison d'etre as his wife apparently had. In fact his concerns seemed to be mainly along the lines of "who is this old woman?"

I could have completely misread this, of course. She could have had years of illness and had been in great pain. Possibly but I doubt it.

What I realise from this is that I think how we look, how we feel and our quality of life, are all reflections on our outlook. It seems that if you enjoy life more then you'll get more out of it and perhaps more of it.

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Is honesty the best policy? 

Yesterday, a colleague of mine who shall remain nameless, came into the office whistling and then stopped to ask if anyone found it irritating. Perhaps I shouldn't but I just answered with one word: "Yes".

As regular readers (!) know, there are one or two things that push my buttons. If someone asked me to write a list of the things that irritate me, I'd still be writing it a week later. However, somewhere near the top of the list, below women applying make-up on trains, people eating or chewing noisily and women wearing too much perfume would be people whistling.

Why? I don't know. I always have hated it. I especially hate old men who stand in queues in the post office whistling vibrato like it was something clever or that they were brightening the world with their musical talent.

It's the same as singing under their breath or, Saints preserve us, clicking their fingers.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Visitors 

I installed a web counter the other day to see how many visitors I was getting here. I'm getting more than I thought. I know one or two friends have been here but I'd love to know who else has dropped by.

It's nice to know that I'm getting visitors but kind of infuriating to not know who you are!

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Suicidal ketchup 

My new bottle of ketchup jumped out of the fridge door this morning. Don't ever believe that plastic bottles are unbreakable. They are not, believe me.

And ketchup goes EVERYWHERE!

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Happy 

Oddly, I was inexplicably happy about five minutes ago. It might have been because it's sunny outside or that I was listening to a song I like. Who knows?

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Brothers and livers 

Actually, this only about one of each. One brother and one liver. My brother has an abcess on his and is in hospital.

All of the family have been rather worried about this as it can be very serious. Deadly serious, in fact. He's been in hospital for about a week and a half so far. The hospital have been treating it with antibiotics and drained the abcess yesterday. They should be able to work out from the stuff they drained which antibiotics should be the most effective.

Hopefully, he'll be on the mend now. I don't think the general mood of the family is as worried as it was although I will have reservations until I know that the antibiotics are working.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Beard related websites 


One of my favourite websites is the Beard Community Bulletin Board. I have been a member for a year or so. It's a very friendly place where men of all ages and nationalities can talk about the joys or otherwise of having hair on their faces.

What I particularly like about it is that it is completely non-sexual. The members admire each other's beards, give advice and discuss all sorts of beard related issues. You have to have a beard to understand.



One of the members, Steve, has produced a website where he "morphs" pictures. You send him two pictures and he produces an animated GIF that morphs one picture into the other. You can see here that he's done an excellent one of me. His site is well worth a look and can be found here: www.morphology.co.nr.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The camera returns! 

Martin admitted to picking my camera up. I thought he must have as he and Nilton were the only people there to have a compact camera at all and, when all's said and done, they're all just little silver boxes that look the same.

Anyway, we have two shots of me on my own. One is of me looking impressive in my Centurion's outfit and the other is where you can see it was made for someone a hell of a lot shorter than me. I'm sharing the third picture with David. He doesn't really suit that wig. The trio of men are Nilton, Martin and Mark, who I mentioned in the previous post. This is where Mark looks like Princess Diana. The other two men are Stephen and James as the Emperor Licentius Caesar and Cleptopatra.






Here's where Stephen tried on Mark's wig and looked like Boris Johnson. Funny how the same wig can make two people look so different.


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