Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My feng-shui is fucked

I must admit, I'm pissed off this morning. Pissed off, disappointed and annoyed at myself for being a bit of a prat again.

The first of these photos is the desk in the corner of my home office where I spend a lot of my time. The laptop is the one I've been provided with by my employers - my own is one of those beautiful wide-screen Sony Vaio's - and the telephone has since been upgraded with a digital cordless one. I'm a bloke, so it's important to get that information in at the start. The desk is by the window that looks out onto the garden, and it's quite new, in a light beech finish. Behind it, on the facing wall, is a run of light beech shelving supported by matt aluminium upstands. The shelving has lots of books, all my CD's, one of my hi-fi systems (a little TEAC micro system, but quite powerful) and a Sony flat-panel TV. Oh yes, and the children's Playstation 2. I suppose you could say it's a kind of "designer" office, which would be about right as I'm a bit of a design victim.

Now, here's the thing. A few days ago I bought three office cabinets on EBay. They're made by Kinnarps (Swedish, and a top manufacturer of office furniture) and were described as light beech finish (well, they look like beech in the photos) and as-new condition. I paid £150 including delivery, and I reckon, when new, they would have been about £300 each. Not bad, then. Well, they arrived at 7am this morning. Not only are they not light beech - they're more of an oak finish - but they're all really badly marked. They've changed the whole look of my office, and I'm very, very, very cross about it. My feng-shui is fucked, and I'm no longer sitting in designer heaven.

The lesson here, of course, is to use EBay sensibly. I got myself so excited about it that I pushed all my usual questions to one side and just bought the damn things. And they are pretty functional, they just don't look very nice. (Resists temptation to make joke about women at this point.) Oh well... better start doing some work, and prepare myself for a little HNT in my next post. I need another coffee...

Monday, November 28, 2005

The right thing

Sometimes, I wish I was the type of person who could just push other people’s feelings to one side and get on with life like some kind of automaton. So many things would be more… simple, but I’ve never been like that and I never will be. So, some time over the course of yesterday, I realised that I was going to have to speak to GG. The messages she was leaving were upsetting, and I hated to just turn my back on her. I can’t bear it when other people are hurting, and so (not without a degree of trepidation) I made a coffee, lit a cigarette and called her.

There’s not a great deal of point in relaying our conversation verbatim, but she tried desperately to convince me that she, more than I, knew what was best for me. That, if I only realised it, I needed her in my life… that there was an “inevitability” to it. It was like an emotional outpouring, but there was no catharsis. She just wants us to be together, and she can’t really understand why I don’t want that too.

FJL’s comment on my last post was ironic, because I had in fact already done exactly what she suggested. I told GG, gently but firmly, that I was not going to see her in a romantic sense again, but if she really felt it necessary I would meet up with her to talk. It’s not what I want to do, but if it makes it easier to bring this whole episode to a close that GG can in some way accept, it’s what I’ll do. So, we’ll meet some time this week or next, there’ll be tears, and I’ll feel like shit.

Despite what I said earlier, I don’t really want to be “different” in any way to the person that I am. I don’t often choose the easy path, in any area of my life, but I can sleep at night because I like the “me” I’ve become. Not many people really understand what goes on in my head, but I don’t mind that either, because when I stumble across someone who does it just makes it a bit more special. GG never quite got there, but she came closer than most, and for a while it was a rather intense experience.

And, for the record (because this is a record of sorts) I suppose I should admit that I’ve understood this process that we’ve been through from the start. That GG wasn’t really saying that we were finished in that call she made when she returned from Spain; that what she wanted was a response from me that would make it “better” in some way, that would mean I gave a little more of myself to her. But sometimes we just have to face things head on, and admit to ourselves that there’s something else that we want. And usually, if we follow our intuition, it won’t turn out to be a mistake, even with the benefit of hindsight.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Random thoughts 11

Today, I’m very tired. Now, you might think that it’s the stress brought about by changing the URL of this blog (ROFL) but actually it's because I barely got any sleep last night. And I barely got any sleep last night because of a stream of texts and telephone calls that woke me up, every time I was dozing off, with my heart banging. Know that feeling? Anyway, I turned off all my phones (mobile and land line) at about 2am and slept a little before getting up with the intention of getting quite a few things done today. Unfortunately I haven’t been as motivated as I would have liked. Oh well, it’s Sunday, so what the fuck… but I am going to have to put a stop to this nonsense once and for all, which is a shame. I wanted things to end with a degree of dignity, but stalking isn’t a particularly dignified process.

I spoke to Zooz earlier today, and as some of you may know she’s decided to give up on blogging as she doesn’t really feel motivated enough to keep posting regularly. This is something of a shame, because she’s an interesting and intelligent woman. Much more importantly than any of that, though, she has one or two good looking friends, and a particularly cute one was at the fireworks party I went to at her house about three weeks ago. Now, I did speak to this girl briefly that night, but didn’t really try to make any kind of impression… ironically, Zooz asked me tonight if there had been anyone at the party who I found attractive with the specific intention of getting the two of us together, and I must admit I kind of like the idea. I’ve suggested a dinner party, and the matter is now apparently in hand.

This little piece of (good) news is very welcome, because aside from the GG-related stress this whole work situation is beginning to weigh slightly heavily now. The money to set everything up properly is coming out of my settlement and it’s steadily creeping over the budget that I set myself. At the same time, the agreement itself is still unsigned, as my lawyer found a few things he wasn’t happy with and seems to want a fight when all I want is a signature. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m out of my mind, and then I think about all the things about living in the corporate world that I hate… the politics, the meetings, the meetings about meetings, the “uniform”, the missed school plays and football matches, the lack of freedom, the need to conform… and then I think about the alternative. And I know I’m doing the right thing, scary or not.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A new day, a new URL

Welcome to the new home of "What Doesn't Kill You...


http://www.wdkylondon.blogspot.com


Here's to the next 10,000 hits!

Friday, November 25, 2005

A day for closing doors

Well, this is my last post before the change of URL, so it’s probably fitting that I should be thanking you for the comments on achieving some kind of blog milestone in reaching 10,000 hits. I really can’t quite believe that this thing is still going strong, and that the momentum to post pretty much every day is still there. It’s been quite a strange experience for me, and one that’s seen me reveal some fairly intimate details of my life and loves. The truth is, of course, that like an iceberg most of who I am is still below the surface. No doubt some of it will stay there, but I am thinking about how much of my rather complex life should make its way to the pages of this blog. I guess time will tell.

The situation with regard to GG has pretty much come to a conclusion, and I must admit that I’m carrying a certain sadness with me at the moment. She managed to make a connection with me that few have before, but in other ways I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t quite right. And my response when I realise this is to never quite give enough… maybe that’s the way we all respond. I guess its just human nature.

Today, the postman knocked at my door, and when I opened it I could see that he was carrying a package with my name on it. Inside was a rather strange assortment of things… one sock that had been lost after on overnight stay at GG’s flat in London; one fairly cheap but refillable lighter, acquired in Frankfurt last year and left on her lounge table one time or another; some Chorizo sausages brought back from her trip to Spain a couple of weeks ago; and a rather delicious looking Spanish sweet in a wooden box sealed with wax.

With it was a letter…
My dearest WDKY

I had a couple of things for you from Spain…please accept them in anticipation of Christmas, as it seems that you and I are now not going to meet…

I hope all your wishes come true, whatever they may be, and that your life and dreams will be fulfilled. No matter what, I will only have good feelings towards you and I truly wish you’ll find happiness in all possible ways. Knowing you happy, will make me happy.

All my love,
GGx
The sadness I mentioned earlier is very real, and when I think about her, I realise that I could almost have loved her. And some of the things she’s written have touched my heart. Now, it’s time to put this behind me, but I do so whilst making just a small wish for GG’s happiness too. Well, not such a small wish, actually.

10,000 Hits!!!

Well, I got my stat counter up and running in September some time, and today it told me that I've had 10,000 hits! Thank you, all of you, for taking the time to read this rambling nonsense. It's more than I expected when I started, that's for sure.

The 10,000th hit was a referral fromThe Angel Within (was that you, Scrawler?)

More from me after work today... have a good one, particularly in you're enjoying the holiday across the pond.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

HNT 9... Kiss my *****!

Well, after my slightly uncharacteristic letting-off-of-steam, I feel nice and chilled again. The phone's stopped ringing, the message light's stopped flashing and I haven't had a text for... well, ages. I haven't had sex for ages either, but that's another story. So, in keeping with the return of my inner peace I thought I'd inject a little humour into HNT today, by revisiting the famous - or infamous - HNT 6 bum-shot. Well... I thought it was funny!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bollocks to this

Right, just before I post for the day, a quick glimpse at some of the Google searches that have landed people at my doorstep. As always, if I wasn’t doubting my own sanity before, I certainly am now.

• how to become an emotionally stronger person
• husband doesn't notice me
• help my daughter was in an abusive relationship and it won't go away
• how do i kill myself the easiest way
• great arse
• on the tube had sex
• doesn't like dick
• in 1960 what happened to kill the clean water
• tenerife sex
• barcelona sex photos
• kill you
• apologise for being rude spiritual
• contemplate the unimaginable vastness of the universe
• don't date this person

And, without doubt my favourite…

• sher see my cock (something you want to tell us, Sher?)

So, where was I? Oh yes, GG… well, it’s the strangest thing. Those of you who were reading my early posts about GG will know that – almost from day one – things were far from perfect. The main issues arose as a consequence of her approach to sex, and whilst it provided me with an opportunity to demonstrate staying power of legendary proportions the fact remains that it would probably be accurate to say that we weren’t 100% compatible in a sexual sense.

Now, none of this had “gone away”, even though the sex itself had become more… I don’t know, manageable. (And, to be fair, I’d stopped posting quite as much about it, which I guess must mean that it had be come less of an issue.) But I will admit that, when GG sprung her surprise on me the other day, part of me felt almost relief that it had happened. No, I wouldn’t have chosen to end things myself, but having had the situation forced on me I decided to try to think positively about it. And – frankly – another part of me kind of wanted to be single again. I won’t expand on that right now, but maybe I will another time.

So, at the same time that I was becoming completely comfortable with the notion that I was on my own again, GG seemed to go through some kind of psychotic episode. For the last few days, and despite pleas for it to stop. I’ve received on average the following (remember, this is an average - some days were worse than others!):

• 7 emails
• 3 messages on home telephone answering service
• 8 text messages

Now, I have to tell you that this constant, unrelenting emotional assault is having a very singular effect, and I doubt that I need to explain to you what that is. And – if that wasn’t bad enough –one of the emails I received today was two and a half pages long, and was a copy of an email she had received from her last boyfriend. Actually received today, I might add… as if I want to read the bloody thing. I quote, just to give you a flavour… “I felt things with you I have never felt before and doubt I will ever feel again… My heart breaks when I think of your wisdom and courage in the face of my madness. I am humbled by the memory of you… My heart is undiminished, I still love you…”

Okay… now, I had been asking for just a little leeway whilst I get through a really busy week, and was going to suggest that we get together for a drink and a talk some time over the course of next week. But you know what? Fuck that! I’ve got no room in my life – particularly now – for someone so emotionally unbalanced that she clearly has no idea whatsoever how unacceptable and frankly bizarre her behaviour has become.

Now, I really don’t mean to sound harsh, but consider this… I have two young children to look after and nurture; I have no regular income as of 1st January next year; and I have a new business that I have to build, failing which who I may or may not be going out with will be the least of my problems. Oh, and I forgot - she finished with me!!

So, I think it's fair to assume that it's over. Now… where did I put that ice bucket?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Anyone got the ice bucket?

This is something of a mixed bag, as it’s been as mixed bag kind of day. And I’m going to start with a message for those who leave comments on my blog, or rather for those who I don’t “know” who leave comments. Any regular readers should ignore what comes next, because it’ll probably seem like somethong from Invasion of The Body Snatchers!

1. This blog is clearly in the public domain, but regardless of that it’s mine to do with as I will, and to say on it what I want. I enjoy reading comments, and the truth is that it’s the comments that have prompted me to continue with something that was really just an experiment to begin with. But if you’re visiting for the first time, please at least have the courtesy to catch up on some of the background if you’re responding to what’s clearly a personal issue. Failing that, then as an alternative make reference to the fact that you’re commenting from a position that isn’t informed. Just don’t assume that I’m an idiot, because I’m not.

2. In addition, I should point out completely unambiguously that I have just as little time for misandry as I do for misogyny and, furthermore, I don’t appreciate being labelled by people with preconceived notions of who I am but who know nothing about me. Anyone who tries to do so on the basis that all men are somehow emotionally retarded is going to end up getting a fucking mouthful as a response. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Okay. I’ll apologise for posting what was a very rare rant for me, but you can blame my mood almost entirely on GG, who is driving me to complete distraction at the moment… more on that in my next post, when I’ve managed to calm myself down a bit. But, before I go and put my head in an ice bucket, I will mention something rather amusing that happened earlier today.

This afternoon, I got a call from a friend and work associate who I’ll call “M”. M and I know each other pretty well, and aside from a bit of small talk we had one or two things to discuss regarding a meeting that had to be scheduled early in December. That issue out of the way, M said to me that he wanted to talk about something else. “It’s about your blog, ‘What Doesn’t Kill You…’”, he said. Well, it would be hard to describe the mixture of horror and embarrassment that I felt for a second or two… in fact, just for a moment, I understood the expression “the blood froze in my veins”! But – once I got used to the idea - I must admit I started to find the whole notion pretty funny.

M was impeccable about it, letting me know that he’d stumbled across the site by accident (but knew enough about me and what was going on in my life to realise who the author was), and also promising not to read it again if I felt in the slightest bit awkward about it. He was kind enough to say that he thought it was well written, albeit (ahem) slightly... sexual in tone in some instances. But, to be honest, I’m absolutely fine (somewhat surprisingly), and actually feel nothing but respect for the way that the whole thing was dealt with. Now, I imagine M is going to be reading this, and I haven’t really offered an explanation for my escapades under the guise of HNT… then again, maybe we’ll get a chance to talk about it at a meeting we’re both attending later this week!!

Oh. My. God.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Did I dream you?

The house was quiet when I woke up this morning… no sound from either of the children’s rooms as I went downstairs, and just the gently soothing noise of the boiler firing up to heat the radiators. Outside, it was bright and the ground was covered with frost… it was the perfect Saturday morning. I boiled the kettle and made myself a strong coffee. As I was waiting for it to boil, I noticed my mobile, charger still plugged into the socket on the wall, and picked it up – one new message, from GG.
"Did I dream you?"

I thought about it for a while, but really there was no answer that I could give, because anything I said in response would devalue the meaning of what she’d written. But is served to fuel the contemplative mood I was already in, and I took my coffee, with a cigarette, into the garden. The air was freezing, and a sheet of frost covered the grass and the patio. The sun, which had risen brightly, glinted off the top of the children’s trampoline, and steam rose as the surface slowly heated enough to thaw the frost that had settled there too. It was one of those mornings when everything seemed to fall into place.

I thought about GG for a while… so in tune with the way I think, and such an amazing, such a real, intelligence. I was aware that - perhaps in other circumstances - she would be an important person in my life, but at the same time I knew I wasn’t going to call her. Sometimes, it’s like that game that kids play, where only the first answer counts. The instinctive one, before you’ve had time to think about what you’re going to say. And her first answer was the right one for her, whatever she might think now. Timing.

I’ve decided to use the rest of this year, leading up to Christmas, to have a kind of mental clear-out. I want to hit the New Year focused and happy – with myself, my life and everything around me & it. I think that means being single for a while, but I’m not in any fear of that… it’s just that sometimes being on my own doesn’t seem quite enough.

Hopefully you’re all enjoying your Saturdays, whatever you may be up to. I’m going to busy myself with re-arranging one or two things in my office at home, and then just start the “clearing-out” process. There’s no time like the present.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A slightly weird end to the week

It's been a little strange as Fridays go, actually. Not exactly surreal, but strange nevertheless. And it started off so well, with a lovely crsip, clear afternoon when I popped along to the school to watch S, my son, playing football. He won the medal for the best performance this week, which as you can imagine made me really proud, not that I need too much encouragement. And it also made me so pleased for him because I knew just how much it meant to him... he does love his football. And he also gave a mouthful to some kid who fouled him, which I enjoyed immensely, as I like to see that he can stick up for himself when he needs to.

After the three of us got home, I spent a really nice hour or so sandwiched between the two lovely warm children on the sofa, with the cat on my lap, watching That's So Raven with them. Kid’s TV is so escapist. Anyway, I made some dinner, none of it was dropped on the carpet (I let them eat it in the lounge off the little fold up table as they were so nice and quiet!) and then I cleared up. Now, the other day I marinated some crushed garlic and fresh herbs in extra virgin olive oil, to use as a dip for some crusty bread I was having with roast chicken and salad. I’d put the dish with what was left of it – quite a lot, in fact – in the fridge, and whilst I was finishing off clearing the kitchen I decided to throw it away. It had gone kind of semi-solid, so I scooped all of it out of the dish with one of those big serving spoons and then kind if flicked it with quite a violent wrist action into my lovely Brabantia stainless steel bin (I’m a bit of a design victim). Only I forgot to open the bin lid first, so the next 20 minutes was spent wiping up melting marinated olive oil from the bin, the walls and the floor.

Then, I walked past my laptop and saw that a comment had been left on one of my earlier posts. Bearing in mind that one of the things my last post had been about was spam penis-related email I thought it was bizarrely ironic that this was what had been left… so word verification has now been turned on again. I know it’s a pain, but I’m beginning to want to kill a spam emailer. Any spam emailer, I’m not really fussy. It did get me thinking about the use of Viagra and Cialis for recreational purposes though… I bet it would be easy to get to the stage where it became a requirement in order to get an erection. Nasty business.

Which reminds me of the one time I took one. My ex and I were out with some friends, and the guy we were with had been dealing Viagra to make a bit of money on the side. We were in a restaurant, and as we were about to start our deserts he put a little blue pill on my knee, and winked at me. After all of us having a bit of a laugh about it, we both took one and then, about half an hour later, found ourselves in the car on the way home. N, my friend, had a raging hard-on but I didn’t really feel anything… by the time I got into bed, though, I thought I was going to explode. I needed sex, and I needed it badly. Unfortunately, my ex decided that it wasn’t going to happen that weekend (no idea why, it was far too long ago to remember) and I ended up with an erection like an iron bar for 48 hours. I promise you, it wouldn’t go – in the end, I wanted to cut it off. Fortunately, some might say (me, for one) I didn’t.

Okay, I’m going to relax for a while, and then hopefully find a late night movie that's worth watching. Have a good one…

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Random thoughts 10

Well, first of all I want to say thanks for all the kind thoughts/words following my rather abrupt and unexpected return to singledom proper a couple of days ago. It genuinely made me feel a lot better, and I’m so busy at the moment that I don’t really have the time to dwell on what might or might not have been.

My usual response to emotional difficulty is to just brace myself and ride through it, and this will be no different, just a bit more public than I’m used to. But in a sense it’s cathartic, and although I thought for a moment or two that I might just push my blog to one side for a while, here I am, and I suppose here I’ll stay - at least for the foreseeable future.

Just before typing this I came off the phone from speaking to Scottish Sister 2 (SS2, it’s easier) and we had a long conversation about SS1 up in Edinburgh. They have been talking, although I couldn’t help but notice that some things had been left unsaid, and it seems that husband of SS1 might be back in the house but all’s well, at least physically. I have a feeling this is going to be a long-running saga, but we’re all hoping to meet up in London in the first week of December and then get together some time over the Christmas holiday.

It also seems that said husband was under the impression that SS1 and I had been having an affair, based on the fact that we sat round the pool together in Tenerife… well, if he wasn’t such an arsehole he wouldn’t have any reason to worry, but actually we weren’t/didn’t/won’t. Anyway, he’s been shagging some tart in Latvia for god knows how long, so he can go screw himself.

Oh, yes, how could I forget… my friend Zooz now has her own blog, and her first post is a corker – all true, and a very funny read until you realise that it’s actually an episode in the story of her life (she’s a very interesting woman, and a great friend). You can find her here, at A Life More Interesting.

And just before I go… I seem to get a lot of spam email about Viagra, Cialis and some kind of amazing penis growth system (has someone been talking?) but a couple of recent ones really made me laugh. Here... have a look for yourself.


HNT 8

Okay, I said I wasn't to do it today, but I guess it's become a habit. So... Happy HNT, and here's to "the road less travelled" (thanks Anna).

WDKY

PS Oakleys... NASA technology, and the world's finest shades.

HNTbutton

Thanks for all the comments... next week I'm getting dirty again!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The worst of days

I’m not really a depressive kind of person, but if I were to be completely honest I’d have to say that today was a fucking lousy day. Not that it’s the first, nor will it be the last, I’ve no doubt. But that doesn’t really make it any easier.

GG was in Spain until Monday night (she’d been there for a week) and we’d been in contact through email and text while she was away. We spoke on Monday night, and as always were on the phone for some time, and everything appeared to be like it usually was… she did mention, as she’d done previously in an email, that she wanted to talk to me about something, but she said it could wait until the weekend when we saw each other. Anyway, I came off the phone realising that I’d really missed her, as I always have when she’s been away on one of her trips.

Last night, around 9.30 or so, I got a text – from GG – asking me if I was at home on my own. She said she needed to talk to me. I called her pretty much straight away, and asked her what was wrong, but I must admit what came next was a bit of a bombshell. She said she wasn’t going to see me again. I won’t bore you with the details, or rather I’ll keep that bit just a little more private than this blog allows, but it was even more of a surprise than it might have been considering that the day before she left she told me how frightened she was at the degree of attachment she felt. I’d almost thought she was going to say something else for a moment.

So, essentially it’s beginning to look as if this relationship has followed pretty much the same pattern as all the others since I’ve been single. It goes something like this, although the chronology can sometimes vary a little…

1. I meet someone, and we start to “see” each other.
2. Before long, she expresses, in some way or other, that she’s becoming very “attached” to me.
3. Around that time, I convince myself that there’s something not quite right about it.
4. I begin to back off, either emotionally or physically, or both.
5. I get a call, or maybe an email, telling me that I’m in some way “the most wonderful person” but “it isn’t working”.

Yeah, I must be really wonderful!

Anyone who’s read my blog will know that I’m pretty self aware, and it probably won’t come as a surprise if I tell you that I know this happens, and I know why it happens… or rather, there are a couple of reasons why I think I behave like I do. The first is that I’m not prepared to take chances with something that isn’t right, because I’m not going to risk bringing people (women) into the children’s lives and then stand by whilst they see those women disappear again. I suppose I’m more cautious than I might otherwise be, but it’s a price I’m prepared to pay. The second reason is that I’ve come to value the time I spend on my own, and it needs to be something very special, or someone very special, to break me out of that mould.

So, was GG special? Yes, she was… in a whole load of ways. In fact, sitting here reading through her emails, it’s fair to say that I haven’t really met anyone quite like her before. Was it perfect? No, not really… but is anything perfect? I don’t think it is, and when we pretend we’re looking for perfection what we’re really doing most of the time is looking for excuses. So GG’s sense that I was becoming slightly distant, somehow not allowing her to become close enough to me, rang true. I can’t really say that she’s wrong, but it wasn’t a conscious decision on my part either. Maybe it was just my response to all the things I’ve written about in the past, but more of a subconscious response than anything I was in any kind of control over.

Whatever the answer, today I’ve been feeling like shit. As I said, I’ve been reading over all of our emails (as if it doesn’t hurt enough), and now I feel like shit even more. And I think I’m just going to take a break from the dating game, concentrate on the new business and the children, and just accept that I might just go through life without meeting my soulmate, the woman of my dreams. I’m not sure that I like that scenario, but I also know that it’s realistic. Which brings me back to that eternal question… what is it that we want, and how much of that can we forgo without it meaning that we’ve settled for something that’s… well, less.

I wish I knew the answer to that question today. Maybe I will tomorrow.

Late night edit: Thank you, guys, for all your comments - which I particularly appreciate today. I've never been one to dwell on negatives for too long, but the truth is that I'm not in my usual frame of mind this evening and will be giving HNT a miss this week. I can't be arsed, if you'll excuse the pun. As for what happens next, I can be a bit too hard for my own good at times, and despite a couple of messages received this afteroon from GG I'm just going to put this one down to experience... c'est la vie. I think intuition is usually dependable, and her intuition seems to have given her a pretty strong steer, despite any misgivings she might have as reality hits home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Just some thoughts, and some more Rumi

It's the strangest thing, but sometimes there almost seems to be a collective consciousness on the blogs that I read on a daily basis. So many people are going through intense, life-changing times or are just taking a long, hard look at themselves and the people around them. Introspection is usually healthy, but it relies upon being able to go through that process in order to seek out the positives, and learn from the negatives. It can be a hard thing to achieve, but that shouldn't mean that we shy away from doing it.

When I look back at my life, I can track the changes in me as a person to the major changes that have occurred around me – either to me directly, or to people I’ve loved or been close to. Sometimes, just occasionally, I wonder what might have happened if circumstances had been different, but it's always only a fleeting thought... what is, is. There are opportunities around every corner, but if we go through life without the necessary awareness it's more than likely that we won't even see them. One of my favourite albums is called Curtains, by a hugely underrated band called Tindersticks, and to steal a line from possibly the best track of all, life's just going to pass us by if we spend all our time with our eyes on the ground, looking for the stars...

My podcast seems to have thrust Rumi deservedly into the blogosphere limelight, and quite a few people have asked for some more. I made a kind of montage in Photoshop for someone a little earlier today, and unsurprisingly it was one of my favourite poems that I used for it. I’ve cut that piece of the finished product out for my post today, and hope you like it as much as I do. If you click on the image it should come up on the screen a little larger.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The head-shaving incident

I’ve been asked about the head-shaving incident whilst on holiday last summer (NYM’s not exactly backward at coming forward), and I guess I may as well explain what happened, and why. It’s a little embarrassing, which is why I‘ve only made passing reference to it to date. It concerns two rather lovely Scottish sisters, who we met in Tenerife the summer before last and hooked up with again this year – I think they took pity on me first time around, as I was the only single Dad in the hotel (that's it in the photo), so they took me under their respective wings and proceeded to get completely pissed with me every night. Oh, and we also sunbathed together, went shopping together, ate together and went out sightseeing together. We didn’t fuck together, although this year we were a hair’s breadth from doing so (well, only one of the sisters was involved) but in the end we both thought better of it. Mind you, the sexual tension spiced things up a bit, and made it fortunate indeed that Speedos are no longer acceptable attire around the pool!

Anyway, after a few days of arriving there this year, I was lying on the bed one hot afternoon, trying desperately to get over a raging hangover from our drunken escapades the night before. My eight year old daughter, “O”, came up to the room to have a nap with me, and started stroking my hair as she likes to do (and as I love her to do). Suddenly she shrieked “Eeuuw, Dad!!” and jumped off the bed, which lead to much flapping around on my part as I thought I had some kind of equatorial insect caught in my hair. However, it transpired that a patch of hair on the side of my head had just… well, disappeared. And it had happened in the space of a week, because I’d had my hair cut quite short the day before I left, and a panic call to Russell (hairdresser) had quickly confirmed that all had been fine at the time.

To cut a long story short (nice pun, eh?) we had many an alcohol-fuelled debate on the subject (me and the sisters, that is) and discussed the merits or otherwise of a complete head-shave. One day/night – they were blurring into one by this time – the lot came off, leaving me with a dark brown face, a completely white head, and a mid-brown patch on one side. Attractive? I don’t fucking think so! And it was worst of all in the restaurant in the evenings... it felt like every single eye was focused on my head every time I got up from the table to go to the buffet, or walked to the door after eating. The sisters, of course, thought it was completely hysterical, and took lots (and lots) of pictures. With and without bandanas, caps, and sunburn.

From that moment on, they called me Patch, and in fact still do (they had been calling me Zippo because I was so protective over my cigarette lighter, but that’s another story). The good news is that all of my hair grew back… apparently it was stress-related although I wasn’t under any stress at the time, so that’s a bit weird. And that’s how I met and befriended the Scottish sisters, the subject of my previous post. I’m seeing them over Christmas, all being well, and the various kids can hook up together again whilst the adults behave like… well, kids.

I feel much better for that. Thanks, NYM… Oh, and I should add that our debauchery was limited to late at night and the early hours of the morning... we all had children with us, so had to maintain a modicum of normality during daylight hours. I think it was just as well, because we'd barely have survived otherwise.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Just another Saturday

Well, it’s been a nice day today. I had a bit of a lie in, although sproglet number 2 decided to come into my room at 7.30 because he fancied doing a wee in my toilet instead of the one in the main bathroom (mind you, he got into bed for a cuddle afterwards, and he was lovely and warm). I drifted back off to sleep for a while, and then got up and made breakfast at about 9 o’clock. The whole house was nice and cosy, and I really didn’t mind tripping over WWE figures and hairbrushes en route to the kitchen.

We couldn’t really work out what to do with the day, but we ended up going to see the latest Tim Burton movie – Corpse Bride. Now, normally I fall asleep at some point when I take the kids to the cinema, but I really enjoyed this one… and although it was animated it had a brilliant cast (Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee, Joanna Lumley, Emily Watson, Albert Finney, Tracey Ullman… and I’m sure I caught Tom Waites singing in there too). Both of the kids had a great time, and too much too eat. They went to their Mum’s not long after we got home, and I’ve been getting “stuff” done since then so I can go wander around markets tomorrow.

One of the things I did was to put a cash-flow forecast together so that I can secure my overdraft facility with the bank before January 1st. It’s actually quite frightening… the first profitable month looks like being July, and it doesn’t show a positive cash balance until… November. Fuck me, that seems like a long way off. Still, the year-end looks okay, and it includes paying myself a bit more than I probably should, so what the hell?

I also have something of a dilemma at the moment. A couple of years ago, on my first holiday alone with the children in Tenerife, we hooked up with a couple of Scottish sisters, one currently living in Edinburgh and the other in Torquay, down on the south coast of England. We met up with them again this summer (I think I mentioned once that they were directly involved in the head-shaving incident), and it was clear that one of their marriages was in dire straights. I recently found out through some emails with her (the sister in Scotland) that she’s had to throw her husband out of the house – he’s an alcoholic and had been increasingly abusive, so I kind of saw it coming. She was completley distraught, worryingly so, and has suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth – no texts, emails or phone calls for a couple of weeks now. The thing is, she was scared to tell her sister – the one person who could really offer some support – what had happened. I’m getting really concerned, and might have to make a decision as to whether I tell her instead. I’m going to have to really think about that one.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Introspection

Well, I think I’ve just about got used to the fact that I actually broadcast my voice. I knew that if I agreed to record a post for Nukie I’d probably end up doing a podcast too, but even as I sat in my kitchen, cigarette in hand and cat at my feet, I couldn’t make up my mind if I was going to post it or not.

Anonymity is something we all seem to want to hide behind on here. Words – text on the screen – don’t seem to threaten that anonymity for some reason. Maybe it’s because it’s less personal, even if it can be our deepest thoughts… a bit like the fact that it feels okay to show parts of your body like pieces of a jigsaw, but its not okay to put the lot together in a single photograph. Anyway, the feeling of vulnerability was… strange. But it’s done, and I’m grateful that the comments were so positive. I’m not sure if I’ll do the poetry thing again, but who knows.

GG’s away again at the moment, visiting her family in Spain. I could have made some plans for the weekend, but I’m feeling quite introspective at the moment and I’m not entirely sure why. Whatever, I’ll have the children until Saturday afternoon, and then I’ll just chill until Sunday evening when they’re back again (they’re with me half of each week, so the time on my own is something I enjoy, and value). It’s when I feel in this kind of mood that I wonder what kind of relationship I really want… it seems to be a question without an answer. Maybe it’s because I really haven’t met the right woman just yet. Or maybe I have… if anyone can work it out, drop me a line. Please.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rumi (my first podcast)

Well... you asked for it. My first podcast, and one for the romantics who read my blog. And, in truth, it might be my last podcast too... we'll see. Anyway, this is either incredibly brave, or incredibly stupid - I guess I'll be forming a view over the next 24 hours. So, having said that, and without further ado...

HNT 7

Well, I suppose I should apologise for anyone who came here thinking I might be turning the other cheek! The thing is, I don't want to be posting too much flesh every week, because sooner or later I'll run out of flesh to post. So this week you can have my mouth and chin... not glistening the way that I like them to (mmmm... followed by a long kiss) and not quite clean-shaven either, but I hope it's not too much of a disappointment.

Oh, and have a very happy HNT!

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Random thoughts 9

Ever felt so shattered that you just want someone to take your hand, lead you upstairs, undress you and put you to bed? I'm just starting to feel the pressure build a bit, but it's a good pressure, and hopefully it won't last too long.

It's not that often I discover new music (DCD being a very notable exception not long ago), but GG bought me The Essential Philip Glass over the weekend, and I was just knocked out by it. The first two tracks are passable, but after that it’s just outstanding… a kind of contemporary classical extravaganza. I love it, and yet again say “Buy it now”!!!

Having got to the point of preparing myself for a fight with the powers that be at work, I got a call from HR today, saying that they had a revised agreement for me to have a look at. I insisted on going through the detail prior to a meeting they wanted tomorrow, and it was close but not close enough. I said that I wanted to sort out the package on the phone there and then, and – amazingly – we reached an agreement. It’ll pay off my overdraft, cover my set-up costs for the new company, and leave me with the equivalent of about 5 months taxed salary as a buffer for when the fees aren’t coming in regularly. I can’t complain, and I’m expecting everything to be tied up by the end of this week. Fantastic!

I also found today that two really outstanding things have occurred blog-wise. Firstly, Nukie (or is that Billybob) has asked me to record one of my posts for his radio project. I’m sure it’s just because he wants someone who sounds posh, but I very happy to oblige. Then, my friend KOW dedicated an entire post to raisins in my honour. Unheard of.

Sometimes it just feels good to be alive :-)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Relief

Having just (well, on Sunday) sat through the most gut-wrenchingly emotional episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition I’ve seen so far, which had me reduced to a quivering wreck for the entire middle part of the day, I thought I’d try to explain what it means, or maybe what it symbolises, to me. I think I’m doing this for me, actually, to clarify in my own mind why this type of show – which on one level is so overtly commercial – can have such a profound effect on me, time after time.

This particular episode centred on a guy called Rodney, a young college student with a talent and a passion for basketball. It was his entire life. He lived in a deprived, mainly black neighbourhood (I think it was called Sutton, but I can’t remember the city) in a house he shared with his parents and brother. His girlfriend hung out a lot, but didn’t live there. They were poor, but they were also good people.

Rodney’s life - and those of everyone around him – changed dramatically as he walked home one day from a game. He was shot four times in the back by a local gang member who mistook him for someone else. The guy that shot him apparently leaned over him as he lay on the ground, almost dead, and said “sorry, man”… then left him lying there. He survived, but he survived as a paraplegic, and he’s now trying to rebuild his life from a wheelchair.

After the shooting, his girlfriend moved in and became his fiancé (god, what a sign of love, and faith) and his Aunt came to help, along with her two children. That's eight people in total. But it gets worse… they got a grant to carry out some adjustments to the house so he could get around in his wheelchair, and used a local contractor. The contractor took down half the outside walls and most of the roof, then ran off with the grant money, leaving a house half the size it was, with an exposed timber frame and plastic sheeting that couldn’t even keep the rain out. Half the people living there were sleeping on the floor, without even the benefit of a mattress. Rodney's Aunt slept two feet from the only toilet in what was left of the house.

The team from the show sent the entire family off to the Bahamas, where they gave Rodney a diamond engagement ring to present to his fiancé – the one he couldn’t afford to buy her himself. And then they built two – yes, two - houses where the shell of the old one had stood. They also arranged, in complete secrecy, for a wedding ceremony to be held when the family got back. While Rodney was in the Bahamas, they sent live video of the college retiring his no. 4 basketball shirt, and rolling it out over the court in his honour. At one point, even the owner of the contracting company helping with the build sobbed as he spoke of the privilege he and his men felt working 20 hour days for over a week, in the pissing rain. None of the designers could talk on camera for the emotion they were feeling.

Okay, maybe you get the picture now. But for me, it isn’t just what I feel for the families on these shows. All of them are facing traumas that most of us will – hopefully – never experience in our lives, but all have the kind of humanity that shines from them like a beacon. As if in adversity the people they really are come to the fore.

But it’s also much more personal than that for me. Sometimes, I sit and think about the stuff I’ve fucked up in my life, and now and again I can even begin to feel sorry for myself. As if somehow I’ve been deprived of something that I deserved, or that my life might have been “better”, if only… But seeing what other people go through in their lives, the pain, the tragedy, that would be unbearable if they stopped believing for even a moment that they were going to make it, that they were going to get through it somehow… that’s when I realise how fucking lucky I am. That my problems are so insignificant and my life so full of things for which I should be grateful. It makes me realise just how little I have to complain about, and it’s partly that knowledge that makes me cry. The relief I feel, despite everything.

Slightly different subject... I opened a new box of Alpen today, and there were so many raisins in it that I’m getting concerned that they’re going to become an endangered fucking species.

"mues·li (myūz'lē) n.

A mixture of usually untoasted rolled oats and dried fruit, often used as a breakfast cereal."

Clear now?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Communication

Do you know, it must be one of the greatest paradoxes… technology has done more for communication than, even a decade or two ago, anybody could have possibly dreamed about. We take for granted what, to our parents’ generation, would have sounded like science fiction. And yet, at the same time, technology is killing our ability to make ourselves understood. The very thing it’s making easier, at the same time it’s making so completely inefficient that it’s almost better to remain in splendid isolation.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had to cancel Friday night as I was working late. Actually, I didn’t get home until gone 9 o’clock, and by the time the kids were in bed it was gone 10.30… I sat down on the sofa meaning to call GG and apologise properly, and next thing I knew it was the early hours of the morning. I hate it when that happens, because its so hard to drag yourself up to bed, and sleeping on the sofa never feels quite the same in the morning. The sleep’s never quite as deep.

Anyway, GG texted me early this morning, and I thought it was clear from the “tone” that she was annoyed. I texted her back, and was kind of steeling myself for an argument. Sure enough, the phone rang minutes later. But you know what? She was absolutely cool… not only cool, but we must have spoken for more than an hour and a half, and didn’t really want to stop even then.

This is why I can hate my fucking mobile! I love it too, of course, but I hate the way it’s so hard to tell what people actually mean when they text. Not always, but seemingly every time it really matters. I know people who dump their partners by text – think about it… have you done that? I’ve done it by email, which is no better, if the truth be told. What’s happened to talking? That’s communication, isn't it?!

We had a great night, by the way, thanks to Zooz and her fireworks party. The sky over Alexandra Palace was awash with colour, and the smell and the sound just transported me back to when I was a child, watching Dad gingerly step up to the rockets planted in the turf behind our house with his lighted taper. We had to stay behind the French doors and we thought he was so brave, exposing himself to danger so that we could have our thrills for the night.

Oh, and I came clean about my blog to one or two people I know, so now they’ll look at me strangely when we meet. We'll be talking about the lack of summer or otherwise in that quintessentially English way, whilst they'll probably be thinking about the way GG makes me cum in her mouth whilst staring into my eyes. But do I care?

Friday, November 04, 2005

I shouldn't be here

What a bummer. I’ve been leading a bid that was due to be finished today, and we all ended up staying late in the office until it was ready to go to print. I had to call GG and tell her that I wouldn’t be able to make dinner this eveing, which is a real shame… she was making tortilla, which I was looking forward to. Now I won’t see her until Sunday, and then she’s off to Spain to see her family for a week. I’m going to have to try to stay out of mischief, which hasn’t proven to be a particular skill of mine in the past.

As for Dick… well, I had a couple of meetings today at which he was present, and he was an absolute pussycat. Now he’s not that bright, so my thinking is that he knows we’re not heading for a big falling out. Either that or I’ve got him wrong – he’s really very bright, and I’m screwed. I’m an optimist so I’m going for the former.

Zooz was just asking if I’m going to the fireworks party with GG (she’s dying to have a good look at her I reckon) but the truth is, I don’t think I’m ready for GG to meet the children just yet. I’ve made a point of shielding them from my personal life, and until I get a feeling that there’s at least a glimmer of longevity to our relationship I’ve decided that I’m going to continue to play it cautiously. I feel like I have to protect the children from people coming into their lives and then disappearing again… but then I know I’m over-protective in all sorts of ways. I also know that being the kind of father I want to be means that they have to come first. But that's fine, because it's how I want it to be...

I was having a look at some very strange sites today, courtesy of Stumble Upon. This one is cool, because although it takes ages to work out what the fuck’s going on the music is lovely. Especially late at night.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A great arse AND he cleans...

Hey, don’t you just love all that excitement around HNT? God, I can’t believe I showed so much cheek, but I think I’m going to have to tone it down a bit now. Next week it’s a face shot (as opposed to a head shot, if you know what I mean) but not enough face that anyone who knows me will have much of a chance of realising who I am. That would be terrible, all things considered…

As days go, today was a pretty bad one. I had another meeting with HR and they decided to renege on the agreement we reached last week. In fact, they clearly thought that the most basic maths was beyond my capabilities, and I must admit I ended up losing my temper. I asked them (well, him – the Group HR Director) if he thought I was a “fucking idiot”. Like I wouldn’t realise that he’d stripped over £10k from my severance package. To quote NYM… asshat! ROFL! Anyway, either it’ll be sorted this week or I reckon I’ll be asked to pack my desk, so either way things are going to come to a head.

This weekend I’m taking the kids over to Zooz for a fireworks party on Saturday night, so GG and I are going to do something tomorrow instead. She wants to cook something (yeah, I’ll leave the car at home this time) but I told her that I’m desperate for sex so it’d better be something we can eat quickly. I think it may be all that Nekkid flesh on the blogs, or maybe something else…

Well, it’s coming up to half ten over here, which means only one thing… a good hoover and dust downstairs, obviously. Oh, and the loo, that needs cleaning. So, I’m going to blast some music out and get on with it. Thanks for the lovely comments about my arse, which I/we really appreciate. I hope it wasn’t a little over the top ;-)

HNT 6!!!

Okay then, here it is. My bottom, taken in it's most recent state & condition as you'll see from the date stamp. And no bite marks...

For the record, it's not an easy shot to take yourself, and I doubt I'll have much reason to do it again in a hurry. That said, you never know... I've been asked for stranger things before now :-)

Happy HNT!

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(Don't think I'm being rude, but I have meetings starting at 8am today... back much later)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Simplicity

Well, it’s been a long day today (still struggling with the internal body clock after BST reverted to GMT over the weekend) but I feel good. Actually, I really should be quite stressed, but it seems that I'm not. And I haven't even smoked a spliff, because I only smoke in company, and even then not very often. Maybe it's something in the water.

Anyway, I’ve just watched a particularly emotional episode of EM:HE (fucking programme – I hate it) followed by some footie (sorry NML) and I’m typing this in between adding to my business plan for a meeting with the bank manager on Monday afternoon. The good news? When he asks for a business plan I won’t have to just sit there with a vacant expression on my face. I'm pleased about that, because I want their money, or at least a promise of it if I need it!

Right. I posted the rather sad story about my car a couple of days ago, and it kind of amused me (and touched me) to see how outraged everyone was at the damage that had been caused. Thanks, by the way, I appreciate the thoughts and the sympathy. It occurred to me, though, that I was less angry than anyone, and I decided to just post something – a short synopsis – of my philosophy of life by way of an explanation.

It’s probably fair to say that my adult years haven’t been easy. Although I post in a very open and personal way on here, there’s much that I don’t write about and may never do so. In a lot of ways I’m a very private person, although the anonymity in the blogosphere preserves that privacy even when I’m talking from the heart. Does that sound strange? Maybe not…

These days, and despite that rather difficult past, I’ve succeeded in doing something that a lot of people find hard to achieve… I’ve got to a place mentally where I’m really happy with myself; I’ve (more or less) come to terms with everything that constitutes my past; and I’ve concluded that much of the peace with the world that I feel comes from living my life with the objective of... well, simplicity. It seems to work for me, and although I’m not quite sure how I’ve got here from the very different place in which I used to be, I do know that part of it is that I won’t allow myself to get upset for long (if at all) over things that are beyond my influence. So when I left GG’s apartment and saw the mess that used to be my car, my only real concern was the easiest way to get it sorted. Yes, I was annoyed. But staying annoyed wouldn't have restored the car to the condition it was in when I parked it the night before. So it was wasted energy.

GG couldn’t quite understand where I was coming from. She was knocking on doors, talking to passers by, and trying to get through to the local police; I was leaning against some railings, smoking a cigarette, and just wondering why anyone would want to do something like that. Then I went home and tried a couple of different ways to get it off. And you know what? The most simple approach was the most effective. Later GG phoned and said that she was proud of me... it took me a second or two to figure what she meant, but when I did it meant something to me.

Well, I’m not sure if any of this was worth reading, but the good news is that my next post will be for HNT, and I’ve agreed with NYM to fulfil my obligations with regard to my derriere. I now have a photo of said derriere, which will be on my blog come midnight tomorrow for all to… errr, behold. But I’m still saying “No Dick Shot”! So don't even ask...