Sunday, 24 May 2015

Well that was a surprise. Well done Ireland.

Today brought the momentous result that the citizens of the Republic of Ireland had voted to change their constitution to accept equal marriage. This from a country that only repealed laws making homosexual acts illegal two decades ago.

What an amazing day, where people have shown their compassion, understanding and support for the principles of equality.

Sadly there are still many countries in the world where marriage rights are not equal, and indeed where members of the LGBT community are persecuted.

What change society is able to embrace. It's frankly astounding. This is the first time the population of any country have specifically voted for such a law change in a referendum.

The other sad thing is that the motivation and energy behind the objections come from religious groups. Such a shame that some people are so busy highlighting the bits of their favoured religious texts that indicate what people should or shouldn't be able to do in the name of love, but ignore all the bits that say about getting on with other people, living a life of love and understanding. Not judging other people. You know all that sort of stuff that you really throw out the window the moment you start pointing at anyone and undermining the validity of their love.

It's all about love guys and girls. Everything, it's all about love. When we have it we are driven by it, saved by it. When we don't have it, we are driven to find it. I don't just mean the love of another person, I mean the love of the complex but amazing world we live in. Loving the depth of human feeling and the ability to share, grow, care and hope. Loving the rain. Loving the sun.

There's plenty to love about the world that surrounds us, plenty to love about the people that we meet. If you're not able to find the joy in everything, you won't be able to find it in anything.

Well done Ireland. Well done.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Remember me ?

It's been HOW long since I last made a post on my blog ? 

You'd be forgiven for thinking that I'd forgotten it existed. I hadn't so much forgotten it, just completely gotten out of the habit of using it. At all.
Simon Sansbury's photo.

I guess I could say that the only thing consistent about my blogging, is that I'm inconsistent about it. My approach does not follow any set structure or schedule. I've not made (or if I've made, I've never been able to keep) a promise to make an entry every day, or week etc.

This hasn't happened. I never even managed to do this back in my teenage years when I wrote seemingly without restraint into my diary.
There was cake. Thank the universe for cake. 

This is not to say that this is not a habit that I should foster. Perhaps it would be a good idea to do so.

In the (considerable) time that has passed since I last made an entry many, many things have happened.

I guess I could try to list them. I'm going to fail, because there's bound to be a ton of things that I've left out. Any omission is not an indication of irrelevance, merely a demonstration of my failing memory and the amount of time that has passed since the last post.

SOME things that have happened (in no particular order) .....

I bought a new Chromebook.

Image result for rainbow flagMy daughter came out to me that she has been going out with her friend for several months. I am very proud that she had been able to tell me this. It did not come as a surprise, which I think she was surprised about. Although my daughter's Mother and I had been concerned for some time about her sneaking out at unreasonable times of the night, we had realised that she was spending an ever increasing amount of time with a particular friend, and that they probably were more than just friends. We'd had  a really lovely conversation about how her friends and been very supportive, how there are still some reactions from some people that aren't positive (despite the massive changes in our society since I came out in the late 1980s). A side effect of this joyous occasion was that it reopened wound in my relationship with my parents about their reaction to my coming out, and how I felt they did not support me at all when I really needed them. Like I said to my mother, I am very pleased for and proud of my daughter, and it's about her. It's her day.

I've battled on with some frustrations with work. I'm constantly going on about how much it's not like it used to be, and that I don't like it anymore. Well that journey has continued. It's carried on getting worse, and I've stayed there to witness and partake of it. I have to learn to either shut up, or remove myself from the constant misery. As they say... If every day it's getting worse.. then each day you see me having the worst day of my life. I should be (and am) grateful however, I have a reasonably well paid, secure job. Much more than lots of others have. I may well be in wage jail, but in reality, I do have the keys to the cell. The power to escape. Keeps me off the streets I guess.

There's other things that have happened, but these are the main things that stick in my mind. I have plenty to say about the general election last week. Sorry to tease you, but I'm going to leave that for another entry. I bet you can't wait.

Along with the stresses of work, I've found myself in a rut over the last few months. I have noticed however some things that help me feel better.

Getting off my arse and actually doing some writing - even if it is the blog. I've tried and tried and tried to create places or times at which I am more likely to write. The truth is, that I have learnt that although there are some things that I can do that will increase the chance of me being creative.. there's no substitute for actually sitting down, opening the computer, or pad and ... er.... just typing (or writing) one word after the other into sentences.

I've taken to going for walks. Not really with any regularity, but with some moderate length. Not sure how you would categorise the length of a walk. I'd think that's purely subjective really. One man's long walk is another's gentle stroll. I've walked either from or to work several times now. It's getting much easier as the weather improves.

On Sunday, I walked into Cosham to put some bottles into the bottle bank. They were cluttering up the worktop in the kitchen. After doing my bit to recycle some glass, I figured that I fancied a bit more fresh air so walked further.. and further and further. Ended up in Gunwharf. I think I ended up walking about six miles in the end. Felt good for it.

There was cake. Thank the universe for cake.
I'm liking the walking. Gets me out of the flat, where I'm too tempted to do one or either both of two things.. sit in front of the computer or TV or eat when I don't need to. Obviously they're not that good for my health. I like the fresh air, the contemplation time.

Today (well, actually yestarday now) is my day off. I arranged to meet up with Helen for lunch. Despite a slight overlseep I managed to meet her for lunch. We went to the Trafalgar in Portsmouth and had some nice lunch and a drink. Only the one alocholic drink mind. There was also cake.

After this, I went for another walk, diverting through Fox's Forrest. Did a little circuit. Lovely sunny day, birds singing. People out walking their dogs.

Fox's Forrest. Birdsong, dog walkers. Quiet contemplation. Fresh air. What more can a guy ask for ? 

Nice spot near Whale Island on my Cosham - Gunwharf stroll
Sunday's walk from Cosham to Gunwharf nearing the impromptu destination.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

A little wandering does you good....

Sunday June 22nd. 2014. 20:35

Determined to make something of the summer sun, (now that it is officially summer) I have been out for a good ole walk today along to the top of the harbour, by Port Solent.

There I say, and ate some lunch, and read my kindle. Basking in the sunshine, and nearly dozing off like some old codger.

It's been a daughter free weekend, ever since we agreed that she would only see me once every other week I've been at a loss to make decent use of the extra me time that's given me. Me time is always something I've struggled to do something useful with. Normally, I'd either spend it in front of the Television, laptop or asleep.

The last time it happened, it was actually unplanned. My darling daughter decided that as I had pointed out to her that the following weekend was not only my birthday weekend but also Fathers' day that it wasn't worth coming up the weekend before. (Just too much effort I guess). I think the phrase she actually used to casually dismiss me by text message on the morning she was meant to come up was 'I want to come up, but... I'm coming up next week... so don't see why I should'. Made me feel great that one.

Don't worry Chloe, I want to get you an iphone for your birthday, but I don't see why I should.

Anyhow. That weekend, I'd commented on facebook about being stood up by my daughter and one of my friends Kat then got in contact and asked if I would join her and some other friends (people we both know from where I work) as they were going down Southsea. My usual crippling 'can't say yes to going out and enjoying yourself' reared its ugly head, but I made a point of stamping my feet and overriding the inner 'no' monster.

I went out with Kat, and Mark and Katie, and we also met up with another person we all know from work, Gabi. We had a great time, playing crazy golf (when I say playing.. I mean.. losing), and well, walking up and down the beach, enjoying the sunshine.. counting how many people form work we could spot. The others also went of fair ground rides. I stood and watched the bags, and read while they looked like they were enjoying themselves. I am sure that had I taken part as well they wouldn't have enjoyed quite so much me vomiting over them or losing control of other bodily functions.

Fairground rides are a no-go area for me. Dodgem cars are about my limit. We had a nice afternoon, and rounded the day off at Katie's flat, at which we stated till late evening.

I seem a bit old to be 'hanging out' with friends and going down the funfair, but I don't care. We all had a great time.

I have quietly skipped my birthday, which was last Friday. It was really good, went to the pub with some friends from work, and ended up at mine, after stopping to Tesco for some pizza. I seem to be a lot more social than I ever used to be before. I think I might actually crack this going out and having fun lark by the time I retire, or can't walk.

Still I hear these mobility scooters are really good these days.

Anyway. This weekend, I got up late on Saturday, which meant I broke my promise to go and help Lee move out of the room he was staying in. Thankfully he wasn't depending on only me to help him. Bad person that I am. Sucky friend.

I went for a nice walk yesterday into Hilsea Lines, and onto a park at the back of Anchorage Park. There I sat for a couple of hours, taking in the rays of the sun, and... well reading and having something to eat.

In the evening I was doing some overtime, manning the lines to help inform people that have a powercut. Six hours that doesn't really feel like work, because it's so different from what I normally do.

Then today, I shamefully got up around ten thirty.. and bummed around before deciding enough was enough. After putting out a first run of washing, putting the next lot in the machine, I grabbed my bag and headed off into the sun. Coming home about seven o'clock means I'm sitting here after vacuuming the flat, and washing the kitchen and ensuite floors in my camping chair enjoying a wind-down ice cold vodka.

Hardly rock and roll, but it's still better than sitting indoors all frigging weekend watching TV or playing Second Life, or endlessly looking for something interesting to read on either Facebook, BBC News, The Independant or The Guardian. (At least you can see I get my non newsworthy non-facts from a variety of sources).

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Something...... NOTHING

Wednesday June 4th. 23:56.

Just over a week until my birthday, and the world is not really seeming to recognise the fact in any way shape or form. There's no celebration or comment planned. No big event upon which a succession of world leaders will find themselves forced to make increasingly implausible statements.

Who am I kidding ? World leaders ? It's not like I died or something.

Not yet anyway, you never know I guess.

After all, that is the other side to the congratulations you receive from people,  'Happy Birthday !!' they say. Well, the alternative to me getting another year older is that I stop breathing and die, so if you don't mind, I wasn't hanging out for your congratulations. I was just trying not to be dead yet.

Here's the thing. Since my last entry I have done a grand total of zero writing, editing or indeed creating of any medium. (if you exclude this blog entry of course). The most exciting thing I've done all week has been to write about thirteen letters to customers at work, and play a little with the spreadsheet the team uses to look at their performance.

I made colourful graphs.

You've heard of death by powerpoint ? Well, this is crucifixion by excel.

It would seem that my daughter having cunningly miscalculated the timing of both my birthday and Father's day may not even be seeing me that weekend. I have to say that I struggle to adapt to this change in the frequency of our visits. As much as it may appear to be a gift that I get a whole other day each weekend to do things as I please, I'm not really happy with the price I am paying, or enjoying them that much.

More (free) time does not actually translate into more pleasure. It is not exactly as if I am doing something useful with that extra time. Normally just fucking around on facebook, or wasting time on Secondlife.

Not that it's been a really concious decision lately, but I have found that I'm not tempted to descend into the pixelated fantasy during the week. I'm usually just so frigging tired and worn out from the day at work that the last thing I want to do is switch on a computer or to read something where I'm having to do some thing.

I am quite happy to turn on the idiot box, and to sit there with my brain dribbling out my ear holes. Too many reasons not to do anything, too many distractions. Too easy to find something else I can do.

Work at the moment is, I would say, something that I tolerate. It isn't something I feel really great about, or good with. It's just something I have to do to get money to afford to live. There's a clock ticking at the back of my head that tells me it is only a matter of time before I hate it, and resent it. I feel like it's killing my soul, getting in the way of my life and sapping me of any energy to enjoy things. It's not part of the solution, it is the fucking problem.

I would suspect in that respect I am not in any way shape or form alone. There's always someone worse of than you are. I have plenty to be thankful for. I have my health, it's not as if I am struggling to make ends meet.

In other 'news', the supposed release of a new iPhone on June 2nd was a washout. There was a multitude of announcements from Apple on their WWDC (Worldwide Developer's Conference), about system enhancements and updates to software, but nothing as exciting as a new device for the Apple fans to get frothing at the mouth over.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

I can fix... my Chromebook

Wednesday 28th May 2014. 23:49

Today, I received delivery of the replacement screen for my chromebook that I ordered of ebay. That's rather swift delivery, bearing in mind I only ordered it Monday (I think).

So, £29.03, free postage and a 'how to' film on youtube and I now have a fully functional Chromebook again.

I did try installing Ubuntu onto it, so that I could get Celtx to work with it, and be able to use it when I don't have an internet connection (Celtx provide an in browser service call Celtx Edge, but of course this doesn't work when you don't have an internet connection).

I managed to install Ubuntu fine enough, it was just that I couldn't seem to get Celtx to install and load. I gave up in the end.

It may be that the Celtx isn't compatible with the version of Celtx I downloaded and installed (after following another 'how to' video on youtube), or it may be that there's something else I was doing wrong. Either way, I abandoned that idea. It's not like I'm away from an internet connection that often.

Celtx, the awesome script and novel writing tool.
I'm just creating other procrastinations, reasons to not write.

During my messing around, I did discover that the Novel writing part of Celtx now works on Celtx Edge. I don't think it did before.

Anyway. Helen came up last night. She was originally due to come up during the day, and we were going to meet in Cosham and have some food at a pub. Helen works from home as a travel agent, and this means that sometimes she can get delayed dealing with a client's booking.

Not like I'm in a position to criticise anyone else for working odd hours, or staying later than they have to.
UKIP at the local council and European elections, and how the other parties are fairing. What we both like, dislike and are frightened by in the recent turn of events.

When we weren't saying how worried we are by the fact that a lot of people seem to have voted for a party that they know nothing about, or have any understanding of their policies, and how this has historical links that do not bode well for society.

This got us making a jokey comparison about the whole in Europe / out of Europe debate, and how there is a stark irony about the Scottish Independence vote (due September this year), - wanting to leave one union in order to agree to rejoin another. In our normal way, we couldn't stay too serious too long.

We started to explore the idea of what would happen if Portsmouth decided to have a referendum on independence, on leaving the United Kingdom.

We ended up thrashing out some plot points, and a whole manifesto of policies of the party that would supposedly push for this.

The scarily funny thing seemed to be how plausible despite being completely ridiculous the whole concept and the policies were. Perhaps there'll be more on that later.

I'm sure I'll also want to put my two pence worth in about the rise of UKIP. Suffice to say so far, that I decided that I would do something about representing the kind of Britain I believe in by joining a political party. This is the first time I've ever done this, but do feel that I am naturally drawn to the common sense sort of policies of the Liberal Democrats. As is typical of me, I want the best of both worlds, left and right, because I do feel that we can't have a fair society if we do not have a strong economy, but that there is no point having a strong economy if our society isn't fair.

I do believe in people's strong responsibilities for the wider community and themselves, and society as a whole, and how they are the best at deciding and designing their life and their destiny. Personal freedom, and responsibility, duty go hand in hand. I also feel that unless we design our society to include and engage people, they won't be involved in politics.

Help those that need help, make decisions based on fact rather than with idealogical motivation. A society of tolerance, and freedoms - where there are more roads to travel than walls to keep people in - that's what I want.