Friday, February 22, 2013

"Hold your head up, keep your head up, movin' on"


Where to start? Shall we go with the good stuff? Reasons to be cheerful, eh?

The Jones Massive have now returned from their short half-term sojourn to the wilds of the West Midlands. Five lovely days with zero mobile phone access, a bit of WiFi for anti-social media, one too many pub lunches and much walking of the hound & kids. All of the latter rest far easier when they've had a long walk. Likewise for No So Little Miss Tubby who's currently hammering the keys. :-)

Yes, it was a much needed and much enjoyed break. It's funny. I often get a little tense about going away. I guess I'm a creature of habit. Yet, once I'm there, I'm soon into the new habit of lying in until just after nine, enjoying breakfast, a leisurely walk and then back to the hotel cottage to brave the elements. It wouldn't be a blog by an Englishman if I didn't mention the weather at least once. ;-)

You rang?

In other news, I think I'm over my self-induced mope / panic over the party last week... which is good. Part of this was by reviewing old (trans) photos of myself and friends. While they were many a mile away - as was my usual social camouflage - the memories were not. I just needed to reconnect with them and remind myself that I'm not always so Lurch-esq. Mind you, if I don't slow down on pies and all that yummy real ale I had on holiday, I shall be rocking the Uncle Fester look very shortly. :-) If that's not a good motivator, I don't know what is.

Mind you, Mr Lurch does seem to be rather dashing in the bow tie. Perhaps I should have gone in that route? :-)

Moving on...... Oh. Is Lurch related to Young Michael from Hot Fuzz? Just a thought!

Boot Camp

Having a week away has, I think, helped settle the old noggin. Did I stop taking the meds a week or two weeks ago? In all the confusion, I kinda lost track ;-) Still....despite that brief choking grasp of pink fog t'other weekend, all is good. I'm having to watch my temper, which is an aspect of my personality I don't like.

Last week's will-she-won't-he micro drama over the stand up has moved a pace forward. The organisers have got back to me with a set of alternative dates for the training. Wow. I can't get a sniff of instruction at work, yet outside, they're throwing it at me. Go figure.

So, yes. A little later next week, I shall be heading off to either Derby or Leicester - in drab mode (boo) - for a few hours of instruction. I've got about three sides of A5 of ideas written down. Some anecdotes which I've already road tested on people (and yes, they laughed in the right places). Some new stuff too: a couple of current items in the news, some one-liners, etc. I guess I've got to mangle this into a three minute set and perhaps there lies the rub. Fingers crossed it goes okay. I'm rather looking forward to it, even though I'm rather nervous about the whole thing. Still, better to be nervous and plan, that be blasé and make a mess of it. Oh, the only snag: it has to be family friendly. Well, that's f***ed it eh? ;-)

On final parting nugget of information; the young media student who came to interview the good people at Chameleons? Well, she's had a slight shift in project and has decided to expand her research into looking into depression within the trans community. Maybe I should save her some time and just give her the URL for this blog? :-)

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics ]

Friday, February 15, 2013

"I'm chasing down the wolves to save you."


Today's post will be a bit of a flying visit. It's been a busy week and with us having half term on a jolly, it's all systems go. So, why am I updating a blog? Well, I like doing it and as I can grab ten minutes to upload a few thoughts via mobile, why not. It keeps me happy.

Which brings me on the current struggle with the lack of medication. I had thought about starting the post with there's a war in my head, but A) that's overly dramatic (even for me :-P ) and B) it's not true. It's more like my mind is a tumble drier set on non-crease. Just when I think things are making sense, the laundry gets another turn over. :-)

I was, by my own making, in a bit of a flap yesterday. Somehow I had lost track of what day it was. I know, I don't know how, but hey ho. So I hadn't packed anything and I was later home than I'd have liked. I was very much in a spot between do I or don't I? Stay in and risk missing out, or go through the whole faff of packing, a shower and then trekking out to Nuthall. Why do we, trans folk that is, get wound up about this? With some tea drunk - the British cure-all? - I felt a little better and decided to make the most of it.

As to the evening itself, it was pretty quiet, but not in a bad way. Despite winding myself up about the lack of time I'd have when there, I think it was.... for want of a better phrase... more quality than quantity. I had a really lovely chat with Alison and Sophie while I got ready. Then I caught up with Pat and Patty (I think that last name is right. Apologies if not). We spoke about divorce and recovering from serious illness. Yeah, I know that's a bit heavy, but life happens. I guess it goes to show that in the long swing of things, I'm getting off lightly compared to others.

To make a bit of a change, I decided to forgo the usual leggings, jeans or dress, and go with a skirt and top combo. It seems ages sinces I've worn a dress and (relatively) low heels. I also noted that I'm struggling a little with too many plain tops. I think that's why I gravitate towards dresses (because of the patterns). Also, my mascara has died a death, so a reason to go shopping.

For those of you Invading tonight. I hope you stay safe and have a good time.

In other news, the stand up gig is getting a little complicated. It's on in Leicester (no probs), although the training session I have to go to, that's when I'm on holiday. Guess we'll see what happens. Fingers crossed eh? :-) Oh, and it's supposed to be for a PG audience, so there goes a load of my trans related jokes.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Club Foot by Kasabian ]

PS: 401st post. Woo. :-)

Saturday, February 09, 2013

"Eleven. Exactly. One louder."

Howdy folks,

The other day, Sam was kind enough to tag me with Liebster Award thingy for blogs. Thanks, Mrs!

Apparently, there are a few rules to this little game and they are as follows:

Create a new blog post similar to this one.
Start off by writing 11 random facts about yourself, and then answer 11 questions which were left for you by your nominator.  
Then you can nominate up to 11 blogs and leave 11 questions for them to answer in return.  
Don’t forget to link back to the blog of the owner who nominated you!
Create a new post like this one? Check.

Well, the link back to Sam's blog is easy enough (and really, if you're reading this stuff, you should be reading Sam's thoughts, trials and tribulations too).

Random Facts

Now for the eleven random facts. Sheesh, where to start! :-)
  1. I spend more time En Homme, than in Lynn mode. For 99% of the time, this doesn't bother me. I'm a part timer. I don't believe there's a Richard / Lynn divide: it's just me with different clothes on.
  2. I love writing, talking and singing. I've tried my hand at writing short stories, although they're mostly for my own amusement. As to the talking bit, I've started to look into doing stand-up, but no joy on either front just yet. Must try harder. At to singing, I like doing it, but I know I'm bloomin' awful. :-)
  3. I went to an all boys grammar school. You can imagine how much I liked that ;-) I left feeling somewhat inadequate and also glad to have survived. I'm not sure it did me any favours, but looking at the positive, it could have been a lot worse and if I hadn't have gone through all that, would I be the same person I am now? Oddly primary school was better and I've kept in touch with more folk from that period of my life.
  4. When asked out by the cutest girl the world, I wrote her a letter saying I wasn't boyfriend material. Trans issues, lack of confidence, etc. Apparently, the note was so nice, said girl didn't give up. Years later, I married this beauty and she became the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones.
  5. I don't like summer, but I like to be warm. I like Autumn and Winter, but I don't like to be cold or wet. I'm a contrary so and so. :-)
  6. My work reputation is that I'm a harsh, uncaring b*stard who doesn't suffer fools gladly. This amuses me and saddens me in equal amounts. The amusement is that I don't see myself as this, but I guess others do and that saddens me. I recently joined an HR programme to help staff with work problems (bullying, employment/life balance, etc). I've really enjoyed being able to do things to help, although it's hard not being able to act directly. It's far more rewarding than having to lay down the law of the IT security policy.
  7. I prefer to be a passenger than a driver. Shame, because I'm awful at reading maps and my sense of direction is terrible. Perhaps that's why I prefer to walk when I can.
  8. I like technology you can hack / tweak. You bought the gadget, you should be able to do with it as you wish. This puts me at odds with certain elements of the IT community.
  9. I avoid any drink with caffeine in it. Not in a vampire vs garlic stylee, I should add. ;-) I don't drink fizzy pop either, but I am partial to the occasional half of Guinness. It reminds me of my Granddad.
  10. I used to be depressed, but - and in the words of Monty Python - I got better. It was an eye opening experience in that, at least once I got over the worse, it made me appreciate how hard some people must have it. I think my two / three year stint was pretty mild compared to some people's (not that it's a competition).
  11. I am very materialistic. Not in a I-must-have-more-toys point of view, but I am attached to items. I will hang on to a badge, a scarf, a book; not because they are mine, but because they have a memory attached to them. Ironically, I have no problem helping the kids recycle their toys to make room for new ones.
Sam's Eleven Questions 

1. What are your Religious beliefs? Are you Spiritual or Atheist?

If you'd have asked me this twelve months ago, I would have said atheist: hands down, lead pipe, hard truth, there's no way on this rock, etc. Buuuut, if you'd have asked me that thirty six months earlier, I'd have said agnostic. So, are they the only two choices? :-)

I don't believe in a deity and I'm not a fan of organised religion per se. Now, I'll qualify the latter with this. My half sister is a vicar and she's lovely. I'm not saying that 'cos she's family, I'm saying this because she's inclusive and she's there for people: she helps, she visits, she cares. The same was true of the local vicar in my parent's village. Then, you look at those - and it is a small minority (including a distant aunt of mine) - who use religion to push... frankly, bigoted views. If I could think there was a God, I can't help but feel a little disappointed in how His message was being twisted.

So, if I had to pick a side, I'd say atheist.

2.  Favourite Cartoon growing up?

Battle of the Planets.... Just because it was quality 70s kick-ass sci-fi. Oh and that's before we get on to Zoltar being gender ambiguous. ;-)

A close second would be the Mysterious Cities of Gold because it had a long term story. Something that threw me as a kid and brought home that cartoons could be a little more than animated slapstick.

As my own kids are growing up, I'm rather enjoying the two recent reboots of Scooby Doo (What's New Scooby Doo and Mystery Inc). Both play heavily on riffing on the formula / in-jokes and I love irreverent nerd gags (HP Hatecraft, for example).

3.  What trait(s) do you deplore in other people?

Bigotry - perhaps obviously. Being over-zealous... be that in terms of politics, religion or technology. "Oh, Windows 8 is sooo perfect..... Mac's are best... Only open source code is right.... Android FTW." Get over it. You don't hear chippies singing the praises of blue coloured chisels versus red ones. :-P

4.  What was your favourite subject at school?

Computing. It was the only thing I was good at. It may come as no surprise that I disliked sports. I failed English GCSE the first time around. Well, school classed a D as a fail. Which came as a shock as I was told you couldn't fail a GCSE. How naive of me. :-)

5.  Astrology... Load of Horseshit or perfectly believable?

I'm a Virgo, so I like order, worldly pleasures (food and nice clothes), but I don't believe in Astrology. :-) As Sue said, the idea that by reading the planets, you could see what's coming; well, that has appeal. I don't believe there's any truth in it at all. On an unrelated subject, a wise man once said, "it's all b*ll*cks, Ted."

6.  What sort of traffic warden would you be?

Depending on the mood I was in, how you reacted to being given a ticket or how/where you'd parked; either a very bad one - in that I'd let you off - or a complete ***t.

That last word was 'twit' by the way. Don't be filthy :-)

7.  Every xmas people always seem to say "You're difficult to buy presents for" and your left thinking 'Eh? You could have bought me this or that'... What Xmas present would you buy yourself every year because nobody else ever buys it for you?

A dress by Desigual. If I was feeling less materialistic, I'd (some how) buy myself the ability to go easy... relax a little, not get wound up by stuff that in the long swing of things, doesn't matter.

8.  What is the funniest thing that has happened in your job?

I work in IT. What we consider funny will not amuse normal humans ;-)

Umm.... giving a guy a mouse with a cable cut off it and then a friend using remote control software to make it look like it was really wireless? Also, taking a screenshot of someone's desktop (with the icons on it) and then hiding the icons so they can't be clicked. Childish, yes, but also fun.

9.  What is the best internet enabled 'SmartTV' around at the moment?

Dunno. Use Google.... or Which. Or just buy any old TV and bung a HDMI Android unit / AppleTV box underneath. Anything that you can hack with XMBC would be top too.

10. Have you ever cheated death or serious accident?

Only at cards.... It was snap and he... oh. Not like that.

I had a card accident last year and I was lucky. We got hit side on - and against the engine block at that - so it could have been worse. I was knocked out and I broke my collar bone. The worst bit was coming to and being unable to move properly (concussion), while my two children were crying in fear. Dare I say, I didn't really give a sh** about me, it was all about them getting to safety. That was my only priority.

11. Hypothetical scenario: Each day you are woken up by a man peeing on you. How long would you let this go on?

I'm a deep sleeper, but I like to be clean. All I can say is he better move fast 'cos there's a pair of scissors next to my bed. :-P

Flippant jokes aside, the concept of taking money for something you find unacceptable. It's not for me. I'd rather go without the money. I recently went for a job interview - and the money was rather good (50k) - but when I read the line 'the market is king', for me; that was it. I knew it wasn't a firm I could work for.

My Eleven Questions

1. There's a fire in your house. You have time to save three material objects. What do you grab and why?

2. You're an author. Would you be happy writing trash and be minted, or be poor and respected?

3. Karaoke: yes, no? If so, which track? If not, why not?

4. Favourite book?

5. What's your earliest memory?

6. You invent a new technology that would help people. Would you patent it, licence it or give it away to be used freely?

7. Cooking: do you have a signature dish? I'll include snacks, cakes and/or biccies in this.

8. Can you do impressions / accents? Which one is your best/worst/favourite?

9. Is there any skill you wish you had?

10. If you could change an event in history, which would it be and why? It can be a biggie (WW II) or personal.

11. You're cursed (blessed?) with being a monster. Vampire, ghost, werewolf or ghoul? Which one and why?

Eleven Bloggers

In alphabetical order..... (Ed: bloody Virgos :-) )
  1. Alexis
  2. Amanda
  3. Becca
  4. Jenny (who doesn't have a blog but I'd like to know!)
  5. Jonathan
  6. Laura
  7. Penny
  8. Petra
  9. Sophie (who also doesn't have a blog but I'd like to know!)
  10. Stace
  11. Tanya
Take care,

[ Thanks to Spinal Tap for the quote ]

Friday, February 08, 2013

"It's a nice day for a white wedding"

Hi folks,

Ooookay. Let's hammer at the keys to pepper the white space with a series of letters. :-) I think it was around four-ish, that I commented on Facebook, that the Well of Blog Ideas was a little dry at that time. Which, then, was true. As often happens, unless I've got something up my proverbial sleeve, or some news to share, I do have to fall back to actually thinking about what I want to write about. Yes, shocking as it may seem, there is a plan to this ol' blog. No, really. :-)


Or so said Peter Cook's character in The Princess Bride. This week saw the first round of voting in the UK on allowing gay people to get married... and about time to! A few non-trans folk have asked why I supported this and after raising a brief smile from "well, in a choice between allowing a few folk to marry and the option to annoy the close minded aspects of the Church...." - I had to think about it. :-)

The Ever Lovely Mrs J and I were married back in the 90s and it was a civil ceremony. Neither of us are particular religious, so it felt a bit odd getting married in a church. The thing is, that was our choice. Why shouldn't couples - regardless of their sexuality - be able to have the same choice as us? Who is it hurting?

Thinking on it, I couldn't see why not. It's just something that I feel intrinsically as right. It's odd that when civil partnerships were made legal a few years ago, I was a little surprised that marriage wasn't allowed. Of course, there are a few folk who are still against the idea, but then that's often the case with anything different. They're entitled to their views on the definition of marriage, just as much as the rest of us are entitled to say it's okay.

It also felt that it was time to allow it to happen. I mean, we - as a society - have come on a long way since the 70s, 80s and 90s. Sure, there's still some room for improvement, but from my pink-lined-ivory-tower-with-massive-closet-for-hiding-in, things seem better. Indeed, they keep getting better. Perhaps that fits in to my disagreement with folk who don't seem to want equal rights and who seemingly, don't want - shall we say, atypical? - people going about their business.

Say what?

I forget where it was, but Alexis made a comment about reading a blog in an accent. I'm pretty sure she meant reading this blog in an English accent. But, hey, don't let me cramp you style. If you want to think of this as being written by The Count from Sesame Street (one! ah ah ah!!) or an angry Welshman who spent six years in Australia, enjoy! ;-) BTW, in all my travels, I've never heard a Welsh chap say 'boyo'. Where did that come from?

Weak gags aside, I have a love of accents. I don't know why this is, it could be variety, it could be the challenge of trying to emulate an accent or just simple human interest. With the case of emulating one, it's not to do it in a mean way, although you've really got to watch it - and no, I don't do it when folk are in earshot - because I don't want to cause offence. I don't 'do' ethnic accents either... mainly 'cos that smacks of racism and it reminds me of bad comics from the 80s who'd get a laugh from "ooo, don't those foreign types talk funny." :-| Perhaps the 'ethic' stance is a bit of a double standard. I mean, I'll happily drop into a Scots or Irish lilt just for the fun of it. But then, as the Jones gene pool is rather varied; it's more a tribute to the ancestors, than mockery.

As a kid, I had what some folk would refer to as a Cut Glass, or BBC accent. This wasn't so much to do with being well-to-do - although we did have an inside loo :-P - but more an insatiable appetite for television. Skip on to secondary school and once I realised well-spoken means not fitting in, it wasn't long before I started to absorb some of the more.... colourful twang of certain class mates. Ahh, we're back to that old chestnut of building a mask to hide behind.

Anyhoo, move on a few years and my voice is now.... mostly Midlands. A strong base of Nottingham, a dash of Yorkshire and an undercurrent of Lincolnshire. Funny thing is, unless you're from these parts, you'd probably just hear it and think Northern Twit. :-) My voice, just like everyone else's, does vary on who I'm with. Oddly, if I go to London (aka Dat Lunden ;-) ), I get more Northern. How odd. On the odd occasions, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones and I have holidays in America, folk have asked us if we were Dutch or from Australia. Go figure!

Moving on, that's me done for this week. I did think about making an MP3 of me talking, but having heard it back.... nah. Oh, no news on the gig front. I guess I better start ringing some people up if I'm serious about this.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric : White Wedding by Billy Idol ]

PS: Pants. I've just realised I've not answered Sam's eleven questions. Stand by for an update later on. ;-)

Friday, February 01, 2013

"I'm my hair, I am my hair,
It's all the glory that I bear"

Hey all,

I'm not one to wish my time away, but I am glad this working week is over. It's been a bit.... well, not stressful, but more a bit like herding cats. The old cliché about A Lack of Planning On Your Part Shouldn't Constitute An Emergency On Mine. However, as we all know, things don't work like that. You'd think, as a group of folk, allegedly heading in the same direction - from a business point of view - that we'd have picked this up as a good idea. Nope.... :-)

Oh, minor news item: work was flying the QUILTBAG flag this week. I don't think much is planned, which is a shame, but early days. At least it got a mention.

Nurse, he's out of bed again

Not that I've been ill... well, except in the head and life would be dull otherwise. :-) Glib comments aside, this week I had a medication review with my local GP. I have.... been feeling a lot better of late. Certainly, the last seven months have been good in the whole lack-of-a-black-dog situation. So, having been on the tablets for some time - I think it may be two years, sheesh! - I felt it was time to take the stabilisers off the bike and wobble down the path of life on my tod.

Monday was the last 20mg dose I had and since then, I've been taking half a tablet each day. The doctor recommended staying with 10mg for a bit and providing I feel okay - so far, so good - try dropping to once every other day and taking it from there.

Despite a patch of confusion / muddleheadedness earlier this week, all has been well... which for me, is good news indeed. I think the latter was more to do with a poor choice of breakfast than anything pharmaceutical. Perhaps I need to go back to porridge in the mornings; at least it makes me feel full up until lunch. Any of this diet cereal malarkey and by eleven o'clock, my brain seems to pack in. A bit of choccy wakes the old noggin up, but that's not so good for the figure. Well, unless I'm aimed for the figure '0' :-)

Laugh it up....

Continuing with the humour references, Tanya was kind enough to pass me a link to a local Comic Relief gig. It's a stand-up... umm... gig and I've emailed in. I've got a bit of material stashed away and some topics for thought. My only worry - well, other than being awful - is will this have to be family friendly? Most of my gags are from an adult point of view (a few about depression, some riffs on trans things, etc). Best not worry yet as I've heard nothing just yet. Watch this space, as they say.


So a friend posted some piccies of her new 'do' earlier in the week. Do as in Hair Do. I know, the strangeness of English slang again. By a quirk of fate, I too had a haircut. Wow, this post is one of those really deep and meaningful ones isn't it? :-) Look, bear with me, I'm setting the scene....

While said lady's was rather nice, Muggins here opted for the usual option: skinhead. Now, in my youth, I'd have hated the idea of have my hair that short. From the start of my twenties up until my thirties, I had long hair; it stopped just below my shoulder blades. Partly it was a metal thing, partly 'cos I liked it. It did take a little bit of looking after, but thanks to some helpful genes, it wasn't in bad shape (or so I was told). I got it cut a little before I was thirty.... mainly because I was tying it up all day and riding a motorbike at this point. Plus, I didn't want to look like an ageing rocker.

Also, I'd kinda worked out that having long hair didn't make me any more female in appearance. Not that that was why I'd grown it. In all honesty, it was just that I just liked having longer hair. Is that trans related? I don't know. Funny, in that having given up on giving up, I could get made up / dressed, but no matter what I did, the image looking back at me was very much me. Sure, I can see through the visual lies when I dress now, but I think there's a very big difference between a guy having long hair and having a feminine hairstyle. Maybe that's why a good wig makes such a difference.

I guess in an ideal world, it would be cool to have a haircut that would work either way, but in the main, I'm not that fussed and having very short hair means it's one less thing to have to faff around with in the morning. Hell, I fail to have a shave most mornings. Welcome to Tramp Con One ;-)

So what about you, dear reader? Are you rocking the long locks or wigging it up [#BadPun] these days?

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Hair by Lady Ga Ga ]