Friday, June 26, 2015

Wake up, Jones


To bother, or not to bother? That is the question.

I'm not fully sure how to start today's post and after two restarts, four paragraphs and watching a video with the line (below), I'm still no closer to paydirt....

I guess, it's a combination of work stress and summer. I'm not great in hot weather. I'd like to think the odd Jones family bio-chemistry of Scots and distant Dutch blood, does not warm well. Heh, perhaps like UHT left out, I go a bit sour ;-)

I seem to be drifting at the moment. Running through the cycle of wake, eat, school run, work, eat, work, home, eat, bedtimes, TV, sleep. I have little energy or interest, only the want of distraction for whatever is lurking, unseen in my head.

I also know, that to sit and dwell, is not the best path. Instead, I know I must get out. To walk, to just be outside in nature (I love the countryside) and not do, but just be. To be passive, for once, and observe the beauty in the world. It's a work in progress and I think, I need to take my foot off the gas, so to speak, and - to coin a phrase from another well known film - "let it go."

To that end, I didn't rush home on Thursday. Nor did I have three outfits crammed into a large bag, nor the need to dash from home to get changed. Instead, I took my time and spent the evening in bloke mode, at Chameleons. It certainly made it easier to close up and get home, that's for sure. Perhaps, a break is required. Just a night off here and there, but still to have the social. I know I don't go to Chameleons to just 'dress up', it's as much part of the social. There, I don't have to watch what I say and I can, for once, let the mask drop and just be me.

I think being in bloke mode threw a few people (Oh, It's you. I didn't recognise you dressed like that.) Mainly because most people - unless you're upstairs getting changed - don't see me in bloke mode..... and no, I won't be putting a snap of the male me on-line. It's bad enough being in a video conference and being reminded of how I look.

It's funny, and I'm circling back towards The Matrix reference. During the day, and maybe you have this, maybe you don't; you talk and interact with people and then, you catch sight of yourself. Perhaps a reflection in the window, or (shudder) video conferencing comes on and who you see jars with how you feel.

Still, best not dwell on the negative. It's the weekend, and there are two whole days to do more interesting things.

Look after yourselves,

Friday, June 19, 2015

Kill it with fire!


How's things? The week I've had, work-wise, it's not been great, mainly very frustrating. But the main thing is I get paid, it's in the past and it's the weekend. The vagaries of the events are such, that I
wonder how we managed to master fire, let alone cross the oceans and get people on the moon.  I'm sure that come the Asteroid Apocalypse, there will be three groups of people:

  1. Some folk already space, trying to help the rest of us.
  2. Some folk making it to the spaceplane / survival vault with a few minutes to spare
  3. A group of people arguing over what colour the Word template heading should be. They'll pause for coffee and biscuits. Comment on the lack of traffic and then get a megaton suntan.

That's one way to purge the gene pool, I suppose. ;-)

Was it like this in the past? A group of hunters encounter a tiger and are attacked. Do they form a Threat Analysis Committee and Tiger Outreach Programme?

"We mustn't prejudge the tiger. That would be discrimination and it could be vegit - ARGH! MY LEGS!"

"It's eaten the project plan and documentation bark! What do we do!?"

If they did, did they enjoy their Darwin Award (posthumous). Or, did they use an existing plan, which was kill it with fire or just run away? ;-) Sadly, these milestones of history, are probably lost to us.

Secret Histories

In other news, I found out that one of the ladies in the office had, some years ago, had a photo-shoot with a tabloid paper. Nothing rude, as far as I know, although she did have the images taken offline. Part of me would like to ask her how she was treated and what happened afterwards. But, I won't because I think it would be rude. She's put it behind her and it's in the past.

So what about this blog? What about any photos you may have put on-line, or into social media? Yes, we do as we wish and accept the risks. That's the rub with being 'out' I guess. Given the choice between playing it completely safe and staying in, not shopping, not doing anything on-line..... Well, it doesn't seem much like choice at all.

Take care,

Friday, June 12, 2015

The light and the dark of memories


After a month away from fabulousness (a word so fab, it's not in my phone's dictionary), a night out to Chams was just what I needed. Generally, I don't mind a long stay on Planet Drab, but it's good to get away and be all of yourself, once in a while.

Anyhoo, it was edging to the wrong side of warm, by the end of the night, but, we have to suffer for our art, do we not? It being summer, we had our party and everyone had chipped in, bringing plenty of snacks, cakes and drinks. I should thank Val for her photographic talents under the duress of balmy, summer nights. Those of you of middling ages, may have just sung those last two words :-)

Sandi had been kind enough to sort out the insurance for the group (along with lots of other admin grind), so it was only right to offer a token of thanks. In this case, chocolates.... even if someone nearly opened them by accident. Whoops! Luckily, my superhero reflexes were there to save the day. By that, I mean a polite British 'umm, excuse me...'. Luckily, we both saw the funny side, so no worries.

It was great to see two of our trans-men chatting away and having a good time. For a long time, the group has been pretty much genetic males, to use some lingo. It seems things are changing - no pun intended - which I hope is a sign of things to come.

The music played on and it was Abba's Dancing Queen. Yeah, we have all the latest *ahem* choonz, Innit :-P Silliness aside, it reminded me of an evening many years ago (Feb 2007. Wow). Quite possibly the line dancing evening we attempted for a bit of fun. In fact, it went so well, we didn't do another. :-) I'd like to think that's down to our excellence, but reality may be somewhat different. But, it was a good laugh and I met another person I used to work with (and no, neither of us knew. So much for T-dar). What is it with IT people and being trans*? :-) How Dancing Queen ending up being played at a line dancing night, I don't know, but I do remember dancing to it. Well, walking about in some semblance of timing. Organised dancing isn't really my thing, I lack the coordination and just kinda want to do my own thing. Y'know, dad dancing, only in heels ;-)

Larks. Look at that photo. How short is that skirt!? I remember buying a knee length one from a charity shop and then cutting it to fit while 'working from home'. Well, I was working on something from home, not necessarily, feeding the red tape machine :-)

Also, clearly I have a fashion thing for footless tights and shirts with a vest under them. Eee, you'll catch your death withart a vest on, youth:-) That 2007 snap is a few months before Little Miss was born (she's 8 this year), the Black Dog was yet to make an appearance and my old job hadn't been messed up by management. The light and the dark eh? I guess this is why I take photos. I don't remember as much as I probably should do and there are trans friends I don't see any more. People move away or move on (hello, transition and real life), so keep an album is, for me at least, a good way to hang on to those happy times.

Take care,

Friday, June 05, 2015

Just a statistic


Picture, if you will, a long copse of trees, a small car park and cool blue skies. It's a short walk across a quiet road, into the shade of the woods and a soft, yet bright hello from a guide. You listen to the introduction about the museum, and the advice to wait for a school trip to finish. You wander on, curious to see the lay of the land. You walk along the gravel path, its stones grinding underfoot as you reach a tallish island of stacked rocks, amidst the meadow grass.

There's a statue on top of the rocks, perhaps a moose, or an elk. It's too big to be a reindeer. Numerous signs are dotted around and there's a stillness to the place. Of the few people about, they move slowly, taking it all in. Voices don't carry here. Not even the soft whisper as a couple pass.

It's a beautiful quiet. That detachment you rarely find in the modern world. Maybe a library, somewhere deep inside the stacks, where the hubbub of the coffee shop, or distant traffic is lost. That spell of silence you don't want to break. Even the kids are quiet.

To your right, away from the trees and on the cusp of a hill dropping into a valley, there are some odd bumps in the ground. Soft, gentle curves covered by grass and the start of Spring's bloom. They criss-cross and dip into the ground. A little deeper than a ditch and definitely man made.

These are the trenches from the First World War. The Somme.

You walk along the pea-gravel path, finding the turn, along the winding spiral to the statue. Up and round you walk, taking in all of the park and a long, wide view over the valley. A sign tells you about the Newfoundland army who were based here. Men who went over the top, when the whistles blew. Over they went, down into the open, barren hell that was No Man's Land. Deep into the drop, before the hill that marked the German lines.

You return you gaze to the plaque and re-read the line you've just read. Around 100 men remained from the initial advance of just under 800. Many didn't even reach the half way mark, of the broken tree..... and this. It's just one battle.

"Tread softly here! Go reverently and slow!
Yea, let your soul go down upon its knees,
And with bowed head and heart abased strive hard
To grasp the future gain in this sore loss!
For not one foot of this dank sod but drank
Its surfeit of the blood of gallant men.
Who, for their faith, their hope,—for Life and Liberty,
Here made the sacrifice,—here gave their lives.
And gave right willingly—for you and me."
~ John Oxenham (1852-1941)

Atop the monument, under the gaze of the caribou, I held the Ever Lovely Mrs J as she cried. She wasn't the only one. I cried because of the deaths, because of those who fought to keep other safe and because my family - my loved ones - are still here. I appreciate this may read a little 'War Porn', or misery lit, but to say that cheapens it, would be to say Greece owes the IMF a few bob.

We don't have any family from Newfoundland. My great-grandfather fought elsewhere. He was 27 when he was killed. My Gran didn't speak of him. But then, why would she and would I, as a child, have asked? I doubt it. The 80s may have had the end of the Cold War, but that was a distant thing. As a kid, I couldn't - or didn't want to - imagine the loss of a parent. Let alone a dozen, or a hundred people killed.

If emotion is the cement of memory, then that day out to Beaumont Hamel will not leave me. Later, when I talked about this with my Dad, he sighed gently and said: "perhaps a few politicians should go." Then, as we're British, we had a cup of tea and talked about the weather. :-)

Take care,