31 December 2010

End of the Year Assessment

Writing has slipped a bit, although not entirely. I've started a new blog/e-zine with a couple of friends of mine which has taken some of my time away. Although that's personal in a sense that we are commenting on things, it's also work related, so it's not personal in the way this blog is. If you know me and you want the link, send me an email. If you don't know me, I'm afraid that there will be no link between this blog and that as I use my real name there.

So it's the end of the year. Or really, a rather arbitrary moment in time that we call the end of the year. I generally hate new years as the biggest let down and non-holiday holiday that there is. People always put so much effort and need into it and it almost always disappoints. So I generally opt out of New Years type celebrations. But I don't tend to opt out of reflection, because reflection is what I do best. Usually I just spout off on my own but I saw a rather long end of year assessment form so I figure this year I'll try something different.

What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
A lot. Though starting the PhD is probably the biggest and most significant. I also became a British citizen.

Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't make resolutions as I figure it's only a sure way to disappointment. My goal in life is to improve my happiness and satisfaction. I think I most certainly worked towards this aim this past year. My goal for next year will be the same.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, although babies and children featured prominently in the year. Two close friends of mine were trying to get pregnant. One is not yet pregnant and starting various invasive treatments, and one found out her partner is infertile. Another friend of mine didn't gain a baby but instead a step-child (well, basically, they're not married yet but they are all living together).

Did anyone close to you die?
No. Thankfully.

What countries did you visit?
This year was not very good for travel. I think I only went to the States and traveled around the UK. I'm starting next year off better however as on Monday I'm off to Italy!!

What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
A relationship. A good relationship.

What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm thinking back over the year and I have to say that no particular date is standing out or coming to mind. My birthday trip to the New Forest was excellent and I saw an amazing shooting star. The Xmas party of my industrial partner I got to attend at the Savoy Hotel. Getting set on fire unintentionally and losing a chunk of hair.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I still think starting the PhD is huge and as part of that, writing my first year report which was 24,000 words and 76 pages was the biggest thing I've ever written and a huge fucking deal. It made me feel confident that I could actually do this PhD thing and wasn't completely faking it. It isn't entirely tangible but I'd say one of my biggest achievements of the year is a positive change in self confidence, both professionally and personally. It has a long way to go, but I can see that I've improved and am not as hindered as I once was by the complete lack.

What was your biggest failure?
I'm struggling to think of anything as a failure. I've been lazy. I've lied. I gained some weight (when I say this, I mean only around 5 pounds but it's 5 pounds over what I consider my maximum weight and so I'm annoyed) and generally feel less fit even though I cycle in Cambridge.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Well, there was the whole hair on fire thing, but I wasn't really injured. I've been plagued by sinus trouble this year and a particularly bad bout of my skin problems. I now have the winter cough that won't go away. I also fucked up my shoulder at some point and continue to suffer various upper back, shoulder, and neck pain mostly due to bad posture. Oh and the BOHS came back which was very unwelcome. No hospital visits though, so I consider it all a success.

What was the best thing you bought?
My new computer. Was that this year or the end of last year? I think it was this year when I went home around Easter. It was time for a new computer and I couldn't be happier with how well this one has worked out for me.

Whose behavior merited celebration?
My friend H who I went on my birthday camping trip with and spent Xmas with has been pretty amazing this year in terms of her ability to do for others without wanting in return. I would be more selfish than she is, or at least expect more reciprocation. She's really done a lot in the name of simple friendship this year and it was over and above the norm or what's expected.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The most clear winner in this category is M. She has been a complete nightmare this year and I am annoyed by her continual sense of self righteousness and passive aggressive behavior. She has behaved terribly and it's shocking. In addition to that, there were two boys this year who generally acted like twats and were huge disappointments. My downstairs neighbor and his fence also would rate high on this list.

Where did most of your money go?
Most of it went to food, shelter, and transportation. This includes my weekly train back and forth to Cambridge and the extra accommodation that I pay for there. When I've splurged I've tended to splurge on meals out with friends, so that still falls under the food category. I did have some big purchases like the computer, my voice recorder pen, some clothes and shoes.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Finding my PhD topic, finishing my first year report, the Xmas party at the Savoy. My citizenship ceremony.

What song will always remind you of 2010?
I never think of songs and years. If there was some occasion that had a particular song playing, then maybe it would stick in my head. But this is not the role that music plays in my life. However, as I've just edited this to remember including my citizenship ceremony, how about 'God Save the Queen'?

Compared to this time last year you are: Happier or sadder?
Happier. Though there is always room for more.

Compared to this time last year you are: Thinner or fatter?
Fatter. Though probably only by 5 pounds, but it's enough to make me very very cross.

Compared to this time last year you are: Richer or poorer?
Richer. And certainly more stable. This time last year I was probably doing better as I was working for my old office, but it is entirely unclear how long that would have lasted. The PhD stipend is meager but do-able. I still take up some contract work, I have my lodger. It's enough for me to live my life generally how I want without worry right now though I'm obviously not saving much to speak of.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Traveling. Having sex (though this wasn't completely up to me obviously). Seeing friends.

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying. Letting people get to me. Commuting, although it couldn't be helped.

How did you spend Xmas?
Xmas Eve veggie feast at H's. Xmas morning present opening. Horse riding. Veggie feast leftovers. Volunteering at a Crisis dependency shelter. Dinner at another friend's. Crashing out when I couldn't drink anymore.

How many one-night stands?
None. I really don't like them and wouldn't aspire to any. Though G is practically a one night stand with only two nights to account for and his follow-up behavior.

What was your favorite TV program?
Being Human and Misfits will both rank high. I discovered Gavin and Stacey even though it was already finished.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Hate is a very strong word, so generally I'd say no, but M has seriously pushed my patience to the limit.

What was the best book you read?
I read a lot of books. I'm trying to think if anything made it to the shelf this year. Probably the best things I read this year were more work oriented than entertaining. Green Metropolis made a big impression on me.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Again, I really don't think that I think of music in this way. I don't spend time listening to much new music or being up to date with musicians. I tend to rely on old favorites. WXPN World Cafe Cd's always provide new stimulation however. And if I really had to pick a new discovery it would be Tim Minchin who I only learned about this year and then got to see perform. I heart him.

What did you want and get?

Er... a computer? Some sex? British citizenship! That was a big deal, and a long time wanting!

What was your favorite film of this year?
Damn. I'm not sure I remember the films I saw this year. I'm sure I saw some good films as well, but I'm having a hard time calling any to mind. I'm going to have to say Scott Pilgrim vs. the World which was a really entertaining film and I had entertaining company for it. Unfortunately that company turned out to be one of the two twatty boys. Avatar was also good, if only for the pure visual spectacle of it.

What did you do on your birthday and hold old were you?
I was camping in the New Forest with H. I was riding my bike across a stream. I was eating Ottolenghi treats under an open sky and watching meteors. I was sleeping in a tent. I was reading the True Blood books. I was stroking the nose of a horse. I turned 36.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Concept? What concept?

What kept you sane?
My friends. Always.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I never particularly fancy celebrities. I think they'd all be arrogant and shit in bed.

What political issue stirred you the most?
All of them? I am not in favor of the new UK government and many of their policies. Intense budget cuts with no real plans for how to address the issues, tuition fee increases without a good plan for providing funding for students who need it. In the US the continual polarization of politics is infuriating. As are climate change deniers and the lack of the Conference of Parties to reach a global agreement on emissions.

Who did you miss?
My Aunt. I always miss my aunt even though she's been gone over 10 years now. I missed S who is off in Africa. I missed a lot of my friends as I was often someplace else.

Who was the best new person you met?
I met a lot of people in Cambridge this year and at my industrial partner's office. I also met a guy who dazzled me and who also has turned into one of the worst people I met all year. Typical.

What is a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010?
I do have actual skills. Yes, they could be better, and yes, there are people out there better than me but it doesn't invalidate that I actually have skills of my own.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
You put your right foot in, you take your right foot out, you put your right foot in and you shake it all about....

11 December 2010

And Relax

Well, sort of. For the most part. December 10th has now come and gone and with it the last bit of major work that I needed to concern myself with this year. The workshop seemed to go very well. There were a lot of important and knowledgeable people there who seemed to really get into what we were asking them to do. There were a couple of small glitches, but mostly things that I noticed, because I am a perfectionist and because I am actually reasonably good at this sort of stuff, I notice when people don't do as well or don't do what they should have done. But it didn't negatively impact the day in particular, and so in general I would say it went well.

I was exhausted going home- I feel fast asleep on the bus. I mean, I often fall asleep on the bus but I wouldn't have been surprised if I was snoring or something this time. I was really out of it and did the whole 'jerk awake' thing a couple of times.

This morning my cough seems a bit worse for all the talking I've been doing lately, and my back and neck are sort of hurting (though this is probably more from doing exactly what I'm doing now- typing on the sofa as opposed to sitting in a good chair). But really I'm looking at a significant portion of down time until mid-January when I need to kick off with my own work and research now, which I'm really very excited about (though somewhat intimidated by).

This past week on Wednesday I also had my second meeting as 'Director of Studies' with my three students on the Master's course at Cambridge. Those went very well and I was flattered because all three of the students reported that in discussion with other students on the course, they all felt I was the best DoS and also supervisor that anyone had. That made me feel very good. Who wouldn't like validation for the work that they do? But in particular I do think that after the PhD I want to look into teaching more and it's this sort of thing that makes me feel like that's exactly the right decision. I know I won't be ideal for every student, and there will always be students who don't like me, or don't get what I'm trying to tell them. But in general if the feedback is positive, then that will help me overcome my tendency to fixate on 'bad things'. At any rate, right now I feel very good about it because all I got was positive feedback so that made me happy.

Amusingly this experience was contrasted by having a big argument on the same day with A who is the other PhD student that started when I started. We were discussing the information for the workshop and he had undertaken one of the major exercises and we were going through it and I was pointing out a few things I would change. Everything I point out to him he argues with me about. I wanted to be like, "Look. I've done probably over 100 consultations, workshops, stakeholder meetings, or professional meetings with diverse professional people IN THIS INDUSTRY and I think I know what wording works best and what doesn't, and how to put together a handout." But I didn't, because that would have been incredibly bitchy and probably not received well. But honestly. It's entirely obvious that he feels a need to 'prove' that we are equal, but I'm ten years older than him and have worked substantially, so while we are equal in the PhD sense, we are certainly not equal in the life experience sense and I really wish he'd recognize that sometimes instead of always arguing with me.

Also, when someone argues with me like that about something I am sure about, I don't back down either. So it becomes a very useless exercise. I did keep saying to him that I didn't want to discuss it and we needed to call the third person (who I knew he would listen to) but he just kept hammering on about it so I kept deflecting. It was just overall, very annoying. But I'm really not sure how else to deal with him as I'm certainly not going to let him have has own way, especially when it is anything that is going to have my name attached to it, and I think he's completely and utterly wrong.

In boy land there isn't too much of interest going on. Little jackrabbit is off in Columbia, though he did send me an email so that was nice. I also have been sitting on a huge annoyance at Econ so I sent him a text last night which only said 'nudge' but was enough to kick off a text conversation and plans to meet up next week and maybe the week after. I probably shouldn't have done that in the sense that, I should find a way to just let him drop off. But I knew that he'd be in touch at some point anyway so it's no good to try and let someone go when they just pop up again unless it's more finished in my opinion. So whatever. I don't hope for anything from him in particular, and I do enjoy his company, and if we meet up maybe I will tell him off for being so crap about things. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Later tonight I'm going to Volupte for a friend's birthday. What I really need to do is go get a dress for that because I don't have anything to wear. That was my original plan for today- dress shopping. But right now I"m relaxing on the sofa as I can't stand the thought of the holiday crowds. Where can I go shopping with good selection which is not Oxford Circus? Need to think.

28 November 2010

Winter Sport?

It's Sunday afternoon and so as soon as I eat an early dinner I'm going to pack up my panniers and head off to Cambridge. It's already dark out, so I've missed my chance at daylight. And it's also very cold, although in London it has not snowed, it has snowed in other places around the country.

Cycling in the cold is a very different exercise than cycling in the summer. Unfortunately, there is really no good alternative for transportation. Last week I was up in Cambridge without the bike because I got a free ride. It was fairly miserable to have to walk everywhere, and although I'm sure all the walking was good for me, it annoyed me and ate up my time. I feel like I waste enough time on trains as it is, I don't need to waste extra time walking around when I could at least quarter that by being on two wheels.

I have a ski jacket which helps block the wind and keep me warm, although I don't think it's a particularly brilliant ski jacket and it's a bit bulky. I have ski gloves with grips as well which help, but I find that even the best gloves do little to keep my hands warm. Although this has never been verified, I think I have poor circulation in my hands, so this doesn't help.

The helmet is a bit of a challenge. It's critical to keep my ears covered, so I have a fleece headband I can wear beneath the brim of the helmet. But I also need to protect my face. What I really need desperately is a pair of cycling glasses. What I will also use is a thin scarf I can generally wrap around my head and fit under my helmet.

Legs are also a bit of a challenge. Jeans are not the warmest leg covering, and yet they are my mainstay of leg garb. Ideally perhaps I would wear something under the jeans, some sort of thermals. But that requires effort I don't have. Also, once I get to where I am going, I'd need to somehow dispose of the thermals which seems like a pain. So I'll suffer on legs and hands for the time being, albeit with some degree of coverage.

It makes me feel a bit hardcore to gear up and get out there like this. Although, as I say, I don't see any other alternative, so it's either suck it up and get on with it, or I don't know what. I don't really see the point of complaining or being miserable about it. I'd rather find ways to enjoy the experience.

22 November 2010

Gearing Back Up

I've had a week to sort of be brain dead. Although that wasn't a very good plan as I had a lot of things I could have (and should have) been doing. But I needed to recharge so I mostly did it through work-related inactivity. I did take the opportunity to meet up with various people so that was nice. An entire morning spent in bed. Some time spent at home.

In fact, when I think on it, it's a bit of a haze. I don't know what I did really this past week for the most part, except that I tried to do as little work as possible. Except now I have work to do again, and it's pretty much going to be a push from now through December 10.

I have two meetings this week- one with my supervisor and the other with my adviser, for their comments on my first year report draft. That's due on the 3rd. So once I get the final comments I'm going to need to get back into that. I think I've taken enough of a break from it that I can bear to look at it again. As an observation, my first year report is about 24,000 words and 76 pages. The maximum for a PhD in the engineering department is 65,000 words. So my final PhD will be not quite 3x as big as what I just did. Holy shit.

I'm somehow in charge of organizing a workshop for 'very important people' on the 10th. Preparation work for this workshop has slipped a lot and it needs to gear back up as well. But this is overlapped with getting my first year report done. Obviously my own work takes priority, but only by a small amount as this is sort of related. It will all come together, but it's going to be a rough go.

At least I had some fun. A good portion of this weekend was spent corrupting the young jackrabbit. We met up on Saturday night and spent the evening wandering around the city so he could take some photos. We headed back to mine with a pit stop for him to get coffee to drink in the morning since I don't drink coffee and only have instant which was apparently not good enough. Got home and fooled around and went to sleep. The previous two times he's slept over I haven't snored but apparently I snored. So he kept nudging me. Which doesn't really bother me but means he didn't sleep that well, alas. At least he had his coffee in the morning. Eventually we got up and managed to get down to my local nice cafe for brunch, then got more coffee from an Italian place I've never actually eaten at on Lower Clapton Road but keep meaning to, then came back to mine again.

As the boy is addicted to oatmeal raisin cookies and his favorite ones have stopped being sold at Tesco, I made a batch of cookies. To pass the time while I baked, I gave the boy a pot brownie and set him up on the computer. Eventually all the cookies were done, and only some had succumbed to the munchies and we went back up to my room. I had invited the boy last weekend to come with me this Sunday to the return of Peer Rope London. I figured this was as good a way to corrupt someone as anything. A generally low-key event full of kinky people and lots and lots of rope. So he was a bit nervous about this and had some questions about rope. So I showed him some pictures online and then, of course, offered a demonstration. So I tied the high boy up in a chest harness and started fooling around with him. This was fun. I'm really not overly toppy- so this was slightly awkward for me in that I don't like being the one in control, or having the focus on me and what I'm doing. But the boy makes me feel very comfortable and so that made it a bit easier. Plus I wanted to ensure that he was enjoying the experience which gave me some focus.

We had quite a bit of fun with the boy moderately disabled. He wasn't as disabled as all that, just without the use of his arms. But he managed to be sneaky about reaching around from behind his back where his wrists were secured and a good time was generally had by all. Eventually we made our way to the PRL and got there perhaps not quite an hour after it started where there was some group lessons going on. The jackrabbit and I ended up talking to Heathrow which was interesting, though thankfully not awkward. Luckily the lessons ended so soon the mats were free. And a very lovely lady came in looking to be tied up so I had my first bunny.

I felt very out of practice with my ropework as I haven't done any for many months now. But it apparently didn't matter. I think I manage to provide a good... service if that makes sense. In the meantime, the jackrabbit, who had all his camera equipment from the night before, got permission from my bunny to take some photos. As per usual, she simply asked for no face shots, but that's sort of standard within the community and he agreed. So as I tied her up, he was taking loads of photos. And a lot of them came out really well. Eventually I let my bunny go and had H ready and willing to be tied up. So I had a second practice round. With her I wanted to try something different. I don't mind doing that with H because she knows me so if I screw something up it's not so bad, I wouldn't really want to do things too experimental with someone new because it could be less fun for them if I keep undoing something. But it worked okay. Not exactly what I wanted, but pretty good. And the jackrabbit was taking photos of that as well which was fun. Then I asked Mr.G to tie me up, and he did, although it was a bit short, and it was certainly rough. Not that I minded the rough part. At some point I was showing the jackrabbit how to do a two-column tie on me which is the basic tie for attaching any two 'posts' or 'columns' together (like two wrists, wrist to thigh, ankle to ankle, chest to arm, etc.). And at some point K was tying up H and asked for some advice so I helped out there with some ideas but generally left them to it. And a very good time was had by all.

I'm looking forward to the jackrabbits photos, as they were somewhat abstract, I might put some up here. But eventually he had to go. Now,I knew that he was off traveling shortly, and had only learned on Saturday that he actually leaves in 2 weeks. I thought okay, well, I guess I'll get to see him one more time before he leaves. But as he left the event he said he wasn't sure if he'd have time to meet up before he took off as he had so much to do so that was a bit sad. I mean, I guess it's a toss up- do you say something early and taint the entire time together or do you say something at the end? Well, it's obvious which one he did, I'm just not sure which is better. He left after our goodbyes and I sort of had this small hole of 'oh'. Disappointment that perhaps that is all there was. But manageable. After all, I did always know he was going. It just sort of came abruptly.

At any rate, Heathrow gave me a lift back to Cambridge so I'm up here now but without my bike as it wouldn't possibly fit in his car. I suppose the walking is good for me, although my legs are incredibly sore. It's amazing how many muscles sex uses. Seriously. It must be a better workout than them gym for me to feeling it this much. Clearly the answer to my physical fitness is more sex! Ha.

So that's it. Pleasant memories of the week gone by to fortify me for this next uphill battle. Probably just what I needed.

16 November 2010

It's Just a Number

Recently I find that it is hard to remember how old I am. I mean, I know how old I am, but sometimes I think, is that right or is it another year this way or that? I actually had to think about it based on birth year earlier today to make sure that I was right.

I guess as you get older this matters less and less. Although it matters to some people a great deal. It will matter to me when I am 40, or at least, I might remember that year, that I am actually 40. But that's still almost four years away and a lot will happen between then and now.

Sometimes I wonder where all the time goes. I was thinking of my little jackrabbit and his youthful 28, considering what I was doing in my life when I was 28, and I was, in fact, moving to the UK. Then I think about how much I have grown between then and now- how much has changed. It's a lot really. But it never feels like that.

I was reading something the other day by a woman who is at least 20 years older than me and she was saying that when she thinks of herself, she still thinks of herself as she always has. Some sort of ageless 20-something. Not that she was 20-something, but that she didn't feel her age.

What does age feel like? I know there are symptoms of getting old. These damn body failures for starters. There was certainly a time I would have physically bounced back from most trauma. It's no longer a guarantee. I know that I'm much happier with myself now then I was when I was younger. This is a positive thing.

Youth is wasted on the young, and I used to think that was about the very young. But it applies to the vaguely young as well. How I wish I could occupy my 20 year old self with my 36 year old knowledge. How different my life could have been. But I don't really regret it, rather, it amuses me- that life in perpetuity is simply an exercise of 'so unfair'. You might as well find it funny, because there's no point getting angry about it.

Something I read recently said that to get into the habit for your PhD you should write every day. I'm not sure they meant that you should write in a journal, but I do need to get back into the habit of writing. So the blog is going to benefit from this for a while I think.

I feel out of the habit. That my posts are disjointed and unpurposed. Although my writing has never been overly purposeful. I've definitely gotten out of the habit of talking about 'things going on'. I think perhaps I should try more of that.

15 November 2010

Body Fail

As I know my readership is incredibly low, I never overly worry much about what I write here. But sometimes I do, seeing as I like most of the people I know who check in here, and know most of them, or at least half of them, in real life. Some things I want to keep a record of are embarrassing. It gives me pause.

So Saturday night I saw the young jackrabbit who did not disappoint. We had a lovely evening out on the town and ended up in the Trocadero (I think) playing arcade games for tickets with a bottle of wine cleverly poured into a water bottle. Ah those crazy youngsters- what will they think of next?? Eventually I brought the boy home with me where a fun time was had by all. This was followed by a morning outing to find the addicted boy some coffee and then more fun to be had by all, followed by a rest, a bit of corruption on my part, the boy having his first go with a flogger, finding out that it sort of turned him on, and still yet more fun was had by all.

He left around mid day in the hopes of finding better coffee which left me two hours to shower and get ready to meet the new date. But the new date postponed for this week. Which was just as well as I was tired. And had a hickey, although it was discretely towards the back of my neck and hidden by hair. So more on that to come.

The BOHS seems to be vaguely under control but I'm not at all convinced it's gone. Mostly because I haven't actually quit fiddling with myself since it came back. I should have given it a solid two week break and I didn't manage. Don't think about pink elephants and all that.

But that's not the particular body fail that I have in mind. In fact there are two.

The first is the horrible cough. The sinusitis or post nasal trip that seems to plague me every winter. It arrived after my cold a month ago and has not left. My sinuses are swollen and irritated. I cough a lot. People notice. It makes me feel self conscious and the coughing can also be somewhat tiring. On the plus side I've managed to arrange a visit to my local GP ENT specialist. According to the GP by phone I spoke to this morning, he's the local 'go to guy' for all the surgeries in the area which bodes well. Well, at least for that he might know what he's doing but I'm not holding my breath. Still, I fervently hope he has something useful to tell me so at least I can feel like I'm doing something.

The other problem is a bit more discreet. But seeing as no one seems to actually read these things, I feel it's much safer this far down the post. I've been suffering from vaginal itching- it's embarrassing and unpleasant. It is actually something I noticed a while ago. When my skin was so terrible earlier this year and was so utterly out of control, I started to get itching 'down there' and all I could imagine is that it was related. That somehow my skin disease had spread to my hoo-ha. I tried using some of the milder skin creams I had and it seemed to help but I was wary of using too much steroid based stuff on delicate mucus membranes. It never seemed to last very long and even went away for a while.

But it's back. It's back with a vengeance. I feel like a pervert and also like a sadist as I try to alleviate the itch without actually scratching anything (as that would clearly make it all worse). I'm sure all the sex didn't help matters at all. I'm not quite convinced I should see a doctor about it yet as I rather dread that appointment. I'm hoping it will calm down and get under control all on it's own. Or with some help. As it's fairly irritated, I'm reluctant to use the steroids, but before I left London I tried some lotion to see if just some basic lubrication would ease things and it actually helped a lot. So I'm going to try that for a bit and hope it goes away. Still, it's really awful to have things just 'go wrong' with you. And I think worse if they have anything to do with private areas. No one talks about such things so you just feel very much alone and even a bit ashamed. At any rate, we'll see.

On the body win side or quasi body fail depending on how you look at it, I also had a minor freak out last week that my weight had crept up beyond what I consider the limit of acceptability. Now I am someone who pretty much never diets and loves food, but I couldn't allow this to stay where it was or god forbid, continue. So I started to quasi diet which really only means that I've been incredibly strict about portions and snacking. Since I started this, I have managed to return to the upper limit of acceptable weight (which means I lost about 6 pounds) but as it's been somewhat successful, I'm tempted to keep it up to see what happens. I'm going to assume 'not much' because it's important to note that I'm not really dieting, just being careful about portions but still pretty much eating what I want and I assume that has limits on how far it's going to take me. I'm just a bit curious to see how far that is. And I'm pleased to have gotten back into the acceptable zone. So that's good.

In completely other and unrelated news, my windfall came in today which was pretty cool. Of course that money is to cover me until this time next year, when the next installment should come, so it's important not to get too excited. But that much money all in one check is pretty exciting. Hello Italy. Oh yes, my upcoming Italy trip. I haven't written about that yet. Next time.

13 November 2010

Boys boys boys

My keeping count post was done as part of this post, perhaps. Seeing as my dating life is having a small injection of activity, and that it's been a bit of high and low, I figure it's worth putting down my thoughts on the matter overall.

It would be wrong of me to not start off by saying that I was (and still am) really disappointed by the Econ situation. It's terrible to meet someone that you feel so strongly about and to not have that feeling be returned. I know that it's normal, common even. But it doesn't make it any less disappointing or painful. I say painful not because I was emotionally attached to him, but more because I recognize that the people I feel this way about are so few and far between. I don't meet one very often at all, and then on top of that, to have them not return my interest, is just really difficult. I have no idea of when another one might appear again.

So in the meantime I've made some effort to try and 'put myself out there'. Which is I think a cyclical process. I don't think dating like this is something you can do continuously. It wears you down all of this small talk and getting to know people. And the odds are not in your favor. But lets face it, the options are otherwise...? I have never met someone in the course of my day to day life that I have then begun dating. If I had to look at the odds in terms of what was a more productive tactic, it's -very- clear that waiting around for my regular life to spit someone up is pretty much a zero chance game. So I use Internet dating. But as I say, it can be very very draining, and I think you just need to go at it when you feel up for it, and honestly don't get to fussed about it when you don't.

So what have I been up to then? I was contacted by a young lad. He's amusing and entertaining, and cute. But he is young, and perhaps not quite as much of a thinker as a I prefer. But I enjoy his company and attention and I want a distraction. So that's alright. I'm going to see him tonight. I saw him last weekend. Distractions are good.

But then I suppose I'm being a bit naughty because even though I'm planning an overnight with the young jackrabbit, I have a date scheduled for tomorrow. It's a first date, and I'm not getting my hopes up very much because there isn't any reason to. But that's alright, it is another type of distraction. One that hopefully I won't have a massive hickey on my neck for, because perhaps that would be inappropriate. But that's also what turtlenecks are for.

I despair of all of this sometimes, I really do. Meeting someone you think is the bees knees only to be rebuffed. Meeting people who think you are some sort of bees knees and only to rebuff them. How does anyone ever manage??

And yet.

I know the answer to that, which is both consoling and not. It doesn't happen very often. That's the answer. Out of all the people I know in relationships, a reasonable proportion are in relationships I would not want. And I know a number of single people. The number of people in relationships I would aspire to for myself are few, perhaps, if I am generous, maybe 25% of people I know.

So what does this mean? If not that desire and longing is futile, instead that the odds are not in my favor. I want a relationship, I have always wanted a relationship. But I want a good relationship. And I understand that comes with sacrifice and compromise, because lets be honest, most relationships do. So I'm not saying that what I want is all my way or nothing, not at all. In fact I am frequently a person to bend over backwards for a partner within a relationship. I just want to find someone that I want to do that for, who lo and behold, might want to do that for me too. Who fancies me as much as I fancy them. Who actually wants to be with me who I actually want to be with.

It seems impossible sometimes, it really does. And to be honest, it's nothing I've ever experienced in my life. That can't bode particularly well I think, sometimes.

But I'm not giving up. And I'm not blaming myself (like I'm sure I used to do). I'll keep trucking along and trying. When the energy is there. Because while I think that it's very unlikely, it's still possible. And just because it's unlikely, it doesn't mean I want it any less. So to not acknowledge that either would be a mistake.

But I recognize that it might not happen, and that I can't pin my self image, my self worth or my happiness on whether or not it does. It doesn't mean there is a single thing wrong with me, it just means it wasn't my turn in this life. And as we all know, life's not fair. So why should it be now?

At any rate, I'm going through a phase of trying. Of being available. Of going out. Of meeting people. And it's providing a fruitful distraction. And a distraction is nice. It's not what I want ultimately, but it's alright. It's good for right now.

Honestly though. Boys. Can't live with 'em....

12 November 2010


It is 9:45 in the morning. I have done a bit of work so far, but not enough. I'm at the difficult point of my report now. The only things left are the difficult things. As it is due by the end of the day, there is no more time to pussyfoot around these things, they simply must get done. Today I am engrossing myself in research methodologies and research design and program. I need to just get a version out there. Then I will have three weeks to refine and revise.

It's been a bit of a hard slog recently. I wish I'd done some things differently. I wish I'd known then what I know now. If I ever supervise a PhD student, I will be able to help them better than I have been given help. Not that I'm doing badly, I think this was just more difficult then it had to be.

It's an important step. It's a big submission. Currently 71 pages and 21,500 words (give or take). That will probably grow by five pages by the end of the day lets say. Five pages and then it's off. Then I have a lot of other stuff to get on with, but I'm not worried about that just now. Only this. It's only about this. The end is fast approaching, and I'm out of choices. Just need to get it done.

07 November 2010

Keeping Count Part 2 - Growth

I am of course, procrastinating. I have a huge huge huge deadline for this Friday and have been working hard, although there is still much to do.

I've had something of a naughty weekend. Well, not weekend but Friday night. This involved me hooking up with M- on our second date. This was a lot of fun. I even managed to work around the BOHS, so that was an added bonus. But it's occurred to me that this means that I have had sex with three people now, this year. This significantly changes my 'number'. So I think it's time for a new list to update the old. I am also, for the first time, going to use real first names. Because it's easier that way, and lets face it- they aren't particularly telling about anything at all.

  • Sean - 1994, +1y
  • Ben - 1999? (might have been '98), 2x?, 0y
  • Nick - 2004? (might have been '05) 1x, -5y
  • Barry - 2005 1x, +20y
  • Peter - 2005, 2006 2x, +10y
  • Alan - 2006-2008, +10y
  • John - 2008, +4y
  • Jo - 2008-2010 (with significant breaks), -1y
  • Mel - 2009, 0y
  • Gavin - 2010 2x, -3y
  • Leigh - 2010 3x, -1y
  • Michael - 2010 2x, -8y

  • 2010 is a busy year it seems. I feel like some sort of dorky teenager with these lists, but sex is still, STILL so novel to me, that it seems important. Or maybe it's the only way I can get my head around trying to quantify my experiences, by being quantitative about it. I'm still not counting girls. Or maybe I should. Maybe it's a separate list. It's clearly much shorter.

    Melanie & Kelly - 1997 1x
    Lucy - 2008-9, 3x
    Clair - 2008-10, (with significant breaks)

    I think some of the dates are off, although it would be easy enough to check that mostly back through this blog or for older activities, my written journals. But this is a good enough guess for me now, and to be honest I'm procrastinating enough. I should write something about my recent entertainment, and the hickey on my neck. But I think that will have to wait for another time. I haven't had this much action since 2005. It's been kind of exciting, but also it's kind of depressing. I would like to have a relationship. Like, a real relationship that lasted for a while, where I have been with someone long enough to forget how many times we've actually had sex. In a way, the list just reminds me of how scant the experiences seem, how much dashed hope there has been.

    Still, it is what it is, and it's here for me to keep track!

    30 October 2010

    Unwelcome Guest

    I'm trying to be good and get work done this Saturday morning, but its almost 11 and although I've done a small bit of side work, I have not worked on my first year report, which had been my intention when my alarm went off at 7 this morning.

    I didn't mean to get up at 7, I just wanted to start the process of waking up. And as part of my process of waking up and having a lie in, I thought a morning orgasm was in order. That's pretty typical for me. So far, nothing of note here.

    What was of note however, was the unwelcome return of the BOHS. Are you fucking kidding me? I stopped at the first sign of stabbing head pain, but I still have a residual headache in the right half of my head hours later. And that was fom pretty rapid stopping.

    A few days ago, although I didn't get the stabby head pain, I did feel a certain 'tightness' in my head post orgasm, or sort of throughout the 'final stages' as it were, and it did cross my mind then that it seemed dangerously close to tripping into pain territory. But I have had at least a couple of orgasms between then and this morning with no head pain.

    Regardless, this is a most unwelcome development. I mean, after so much stress and heavy workload, it seems entirely fair and reasonable that orgasms are the way forward to good health and relaxation and now I am going to have to be off the sauce for at least a week if not two.

    I'm also disturbed that this is the first time it has reappeared since what was it, 2004?? Unacceptable.

    Should I consider this karmic retribution for not getting on with my work enough? Funny that the two week standard waiting period coincides with the two weeks I have to get a first draft of my first year report together. Or really I'm just being silly looking for mystic connections that don't exist.

    Still. Fucking BOHS. Fuck fuck fuck!

    23 October 2010

    Pushing the Edge

    I told myself that at 5pm I would go take a shower and get dressed as I have people arriving no later than 6:45 and we are immediately going out for the evening. Of course it has turned 5pm and I find I am now blogging because this is what I do.

    I am still sick which I am not enjoying at all. I am enjoying having my American drugs and being back in London but I don't really need to be going out for a late one tonight. Unfortunately it's been planned for ages, and with people coming in to the city and staying at my house, it's not something I can exactly back out of. I could if I was really completely fucked, but seeing as I'm only partially fucked, I'm afraid it's a night out for me.

    This week was completely fucking mental and one I would not like to see the likes of again. Monday London, Tuesday Cambridge, Wednesday London, Thursday Cambridge/Duxford, Friday Cambridge/London. Meetings, class, lecturing, conference, meetings and more meetings. And on top of this an emergency meeting with my supervisor who was 'worried about me'. I hope that she is not worried about me anymore- but it's never nice to look like you're falling behind and failing. Between being sick and being stressed I said some stuff that was perhaps a bit... extreme, so I freaked her out. I think it's all okay and back on track now and that the next three weeks will be manageably busy as opposed to horrifically busy.

    Currently I spend my time considering my snot content and breathing status. So I'm not really thinking ahead over much just this moment. I'm hoping by the end of the weekend that will change. Though I'm not exactly helping myself by a night out. I'll just need to take it as easy as I can and stay warm.

    Seeing as I'm completely self absorbed with illness and deadlines at the moment, I am not really thinking about my social life which is just as well. I haven't particularly talked to Econ since last weekend which is normal for us, but it isn't really bothering me which is just as well. I don't really need something else to worry or stress about. I would like to see him again, and soon, though preferably when both of us are not ill. So hopefully. And then maybe I'll have more to say about it. Or not. He's currently a very fun distraction, when he's around or I'm available to have a distraction. So that's good. And I'm not being mental about it at all, so that's also good as far as I can tell.

    Okay, I really need to think about showering and getting dressed. Although I have an idea of what I might wear this evening, I'm not at all sure it's going to work and I could find that I'm entirely screwed in the clothes department. I really don't have much by the way of party clothes. Perhaps at some point in the near future I should remedy that, but it's not going to help me for tonight, is it?

    21 October 2010

    Don't Tempt Fate

    What happens when mania explodes is clearly that I get terribly ill. Yes, I am terribly ill now. Not that I have less to do, just that I have lost the will to live and most of the ability to speak or breathe correctly. It hit me after my day of teaching- I thought I had a sore throat just from talking all day, but as it turns out, I've come down with a nasty cold. I'm also in Cambridge just now and do not have access to my American drugs, so I am suffering through the aches and pains and congestion seeing as how my lemsip pills do pretty much fuck all. I am going to try and get a lot of sleep tonight, go to the meetings I have to do tomorrow and immediately head back to London and my own bed. And not stress and think about the work I am otherwise not doing, because I really need to just get well. Ridiculous.

    19 October 2010

    I Don't Know How Magnets Work

    My life is in full swing manic mode. I was considering over the weekend if it's possible to have a manic episode solely induced by work and stress. I think the answer must be yes. Of course I sit around wondering what it's going to be like when the crash hits, but perhaps it's already happening as things spiral ever so slightly out of control.

    I know that I'm in trouble when I can't still my thoughts. I stumble over words because my brain is trying to juggle too many things. My hands shake more than usual. I have realistic dreams - about doing work. I show up late to things.

    Of course, this will pass, and I will be okay but it's a hard slog at the moment. Too many commitments that are all intertwined but are prohibiting me from actually doing my own work, you know, that stuff that's required for me to actually get a PhD. I haven't done any of my own work for a week. And I have a major deadline in a couple weeks time. Oh dear.

    But enough about work. It's busy, it's messy, it's stressful, but it's also great. I love that I am getting funded to do this for a living. I have deadlines and tasks but I don't have drudgery. I don't have to show up at the same place every day and work my 9-5. It's hard and this is a particularly awful patch, but in the greater scheme of life, it's fantastic.

    So on to other things and updates since I haven't written here for a while.

    This weekend my friend L came to stay from Wales. She's a doctor friend that I met through my original doctor friend C a while ago now. She came to London to go to this conference thing full of skeptics. I wasn't overly aware of the skeptic movement prior to her attendance at the TAM event. They seem okay, although slightly cliquey, which sort of seems ironic, all things considered. Also, they seem to spend a lot of time talking about religion when I want to know why they don't talk more about climate change. But you know, whatever floats your boat.

    I had been in Cambridge last week and came back Thursday to meet up with L and go to a fringe event of TAM which was skeptics pub quiz in central London. Met her here at home to drop off her bag and headed in to town. Found the pub, and got drinks and food. Teams were for up to 6 and it was only her and me, we needed to find more people. We managed to find 2 in the pub and I had put calls out to the other couple as well as to L of the recent disappointing dating experience...

    Side note to this, I think L needs a better name for future discussion. So dating but not dating L will henceforth be known as.... um.... Econ.

    ...but of course the pub had no reception in the basement where the quiz was going on. So I called the other couple and they couldn't come and I sent Econ a text but I figured he wouldn't make it, and I went back to the basement. We'd managed to get a team of five and had pleasantly called ourselves 'Team Sugartits' in honor of my Welsh friend. Just as the first round of five was finishing, Econ actually showed up which was cool. There was a bit of cuddly touching and fondling between him and me in our tightly squeezed table throughout the night which was enjoyable. There was an awful lot of drinking going on as well which was lubricating. After five rounds we had come in joint fourth and had won third place for best team name. So overall a good night. Econ walked me and L back to our night bus around half past midnight and we parted ways.

    Saturday, as L was at the conference and I was not, I did some work in the morning then went over to X's house to meet up with her and V for a reunion potluck lunch. That was very nice and chill. From there, L had texted me to say she got tickets to the evening entertainment at TAM of various people and acts including Jon Ronson**, the Amateur Transplants and Tim Minchin. So I went straight from the one to the other. It was a really fun evening, albeit another late night.

    Sunday L was off to the conference again but I had gotten tickets to chocolate unwrapped which seemed like a good idea and Econ had agreed to go with me. He'd texted me the night before unsure if he was going to make it as he was feeling ill so I was not holding my breath. However, by morning he said he was up for it so we met at 1:30 at the venue. But I have to say, he did not look well. So perhaps attending an all you can eat chocolate fest was not a great idea. As it was, I tasted a good amount of chocolate, though I did not gorge and Econ had almost none. It was a fairly impressive event with all the tastings. Completely worth the money and also lots to buy if you were so inclined. One to keep in mind for next year.

    But difficult to share if one of two is not feeling so well and not indulging. So after a good go at it, we left there and went for a wander over to the Tate to check out the sunflower seed exhibit. Of course they just closed the damn thing because of dust, so you can look but not touch which is completely pointless. At the very least I felt they could have had a small batch of them you could touch, or let people on in small numbers and for limited time? It was not the experience that it should have been is all I have to say. Disappointing.

    Leaving the Tate, we stopped outside so I could get a good look at the progress of the Neo Bankside development which is being developed by my PhD industrial partner. Econ knew a coffee place so we went there to crash on a sofa and chat and continue to look at the project. It was pleasant and relaxing and getting a bit later. L had texted me to let me know there was an end of event party I could have gone to in Camden but I didn't really feel like going out partying. So Econ said I could come over to his, but his place was a tip so I'd have to wait outside while he cleaned it. And also he had to pop by his office to pick up a laptop since his computer broke. So we went and found some Boris bikes and cycled over to his office. I'd never been to his office and it was fairly nice. We got the laptop then cycled back to his and as he said, I waited in the corridor (reading a book) while I could hear him rushing about and cleaning. About fifteen minutes later he let me in and we continued our day of relaxing and conversation. At some point we ordered dinner, and it was getting later and later. I figured I was going to go home but then he said I could stay over. It was late, and while there had been ample cuddling and stuff, not much else, so staying over was desirable.

    So I texted L to make sure she was okay with that and decided to stay over even though that meant getting up at six to go home first so I could change to go in to my industrial partner's office in the morning for a 9am meeting. Good plan at any rate, but not entirely as expected. I think Econ was still a bit ill, so clearly not really up for messing around and I'm not a pushy person when it comes to these things. I am reasonably sure I'd made my interest clear but I wasn't going to force him. So instead we went off to bed, or rather, I went to bed and he stayed up cleaning. Eventually came in but was having trouble sleeping so he was reading and I was not quite sleeping, somewhat horny, mind racing- so I decided that what I really wanted was to have a really good orgasm so I could get to sleep. This seemed entirely reasonable to me, but a bit awkward seeing as he and I haven't slept together in a couple of months now, even if we were laying in bed together naked, nothing was happening. So I pondered it for a while but as he was turned away from me, I figured as long as he wasn't weirded out by it, I should do it. So I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Okay, this might sound weird, but I'm too keyed up to sleep and I really just want to get myself off because it will help as long as you don't mind". He said of course he didn't mind and did I want him to leave the room which I thought was funny, so I said no, I just didn't want to freak him out and so I got down to business. I turned away from him, so I have no idea if he watched. He must have at some point because when I was finished, and finally drifting off to slumber, he was tickling my back which was ever so nice.

    But that was it. My alarm went off at 6. I don't think he got to sleep until 3 or 4. I got myself together and let myself out. Made my way to London Bridge, got home, got changed, then oddly enough L came home from her night out which is another story all together and then I was out to my manic Monday. Meetings all day and what may or may not have been a date with someone I've been working with then home then a last dinner with L then I was off to Cambridge. Cambridge today, then back to London. Procrastinating terribly doing this blog but actually need to prepare work for a teaching day at UEL tomorrow, then tomorrow night back to Cambridge. Thursday a conference in Duxford and Friday Cambridge, then back, then this weekend my flatmate is changing over plus I've got a kinky girls night out on Saturday and two of them are crashing at mine and then it will be Monday again.

    Shit is busy these days.

    I'd like to write more about Econ- where I'm at with it and why it is or isn't a good idea. But I think that will have to wait. I've written enough and have loads to do yet tonight. I just needed a break.

    ** If you don't know about the reference in the title, check link

    26 September 2010

    Social Grace

    I am completely snowed under just now, but as usual, that gives me the most desire to procrastinate. Actually, I've been pretty good today, knocking out 2500 words of properly cited literature review. Of course, I need to repeat this exercise about 5 more times before next Wednesday and I don't see how that's possibly going to happen with all of my other obligations, but at least I'm not as bad off as I was this morning.

    At any rate, my manic panic over my current work and deadlines is not the point of this post. Rather, I am perplexed by the behavior of some acquaintances of mine and I wonder what has happened to social grace?

    A couple of weeks ago, Mr.Aloof popped out of the ether again, as he tends to do. He wanted to tell me about a photography exhibition he put on, which was fine. I replied to his mail and asked him a few questions about the exhibit and so on. He replied back. I replied to his email asking a couple of other follow up questions and he replied back... and there was not a single question towards me in his email. It's entirely possible that there weren't any towards me in the first couple though I deleted them already so can't check. But still, having gotten the information I was curious about, I see no need to respond to such a blatantly rude social email that does not inquire at all about me, my life, what I'm up to or how I'm doing.

    Then last night I was out to dinner with M. This is a story in and of itself. Suffice to say, M and I are on pretty shaky ground friendship-wise these days. But I am trying to put in some effort. So I agreed to meet up for dinner. And I asked M about work, about her recent work-related travels, about projects and people and her flatmate and her family. And she answered socially enough, which was good, and certainly a step up from past interactions. However, there were these moments of silence where I sat there and just wondered in my head if she was going to show some initiative and general politeness and ask me anything about me and my life. I tried not to say much about what was going on with me to see if this would prompt some questioning. Alas, it was not to be. She didn't ask me a single thing about myself throughout the entire meal.

    I would like to think and hope that when I meet up with my friends I am suitably interested in their lives and what is going on with them. I would hate to think that I was like my mother- who only seems to ask questions as a segue to talking about herself. I remember things about my friends, what they told me they were up to, what was going on in their lives, and when I see them or speak to them, I follow up. I am interested. I care.

    When people interact with me and don't ask me anything at all, the only thing I can conclude from this is that they simply do not care. Which does not make me inclined to care much about them. I'm not asking for the situation to be reversed, I'm simply asking that it should be balanced. Yes, I like to find out what is going on with people I care about, but I would think that people who cared about me would like to find out what is going on with me!

    Honestly. I don't think I'm off base on this one. Some people are just undeniably rude and self centered and should go back to some remedial lessons on politeness and social interaction.

    Rant over. Back to work.

    12 September 2010


    I have that knot in my gut that is starting to tell me the pressure is building. I have a lot of reading and writing to do in the next couple of weeks. And it is going to take me the next couple of weeks to do it in.

    I have other things to do as well, but they are all proving to be inconvenient distractions at the moment, even when they are not so much distractions as commitments that I can not get out of (nor would I want to).

    Still, there is a buildup in my life. Deadlines and expectation looming. And it comes with a low level urgency that permeates through everything. I'm not sleeping well for starters. And as I am someone who pretty much regularly sleeps very well, it's a pretty good sign that things are happening.

    Although within this stressful context, I can only say that life has been reasonably good just now. I've been out meeting up with people, having lovely meals and conversations. I've even made some money. Many positives.

    A week past my conversation with L and I can't necessarily say that it's a situation I'd class as positive. I am truly disappointed that he is.... lacking? Lost? Whatever he is, he isn't what I wish he was. So of course, disappointing. I've not heard from him all week, though I know he's busy, I also know that when you are interested in people, you find ways to get in touch. And silly things, like basic Internet stalking principles show me that he's been around the Internet. So you know, time for that but not time for me? Message loud and clear. I think I'll leave it and see what he comes up with. I'm not mad at him in any way, but even in simple friend terms there are some basics that I would generally expect, that he has not been providing and is still not providing. So. Alas really. What else can I say?

    The entire situation has prompted quite a bit of thinking on my part about relationship issues. Mainly from getting very mixed and interesting feedback from a variety of friends who all know me pretty well. Four different friends to be precise who all had very different things to say about the subject. Which in some ways is harder because friend consensus is much easier to get on board with. But anyway, it's been interesting to absorb four different opinions on me and what I get up to and how I interact relationship-wise. I don't think I have an answer myself at the moment. Hence the thinking.

    But it's all a bit inconvenient timing wise given that I have other things to worry about. And with L now being a non contender, there isn't anyone else I need to particularly worry my little head about. And really, I should be directing all that mental energy to my more academic and professional pursuits.

    It's just not nearly as interesting I'm afraid.

    At any rate. Must find a way to focus on work. Must do work. Must make progress. Must not be found out as big faker that I secretly think I must be. Yes, that just about sums it up.

    06 September 2010

    Wishes and Fishes

    I am going to cobble together this post from some email that I figure says a lot of what I want to say anyway, but better to keep it here.

    Sunday was a bit of a mess. I had texted L on Saturday to say that we should just meet up at Monument along the Skyride Route at 11. I hadn't had a confirmation back from him. I didn't know if he would actually even show up.

    In order for me to get from my house to the main route, I decided to join one of the 'led rides' that started at the Town Hall. They said the ride was full, but I knew they couldn't keep me from just following them either. And it turned out not to be a problem. In fact, I ended up helping out being a marshall for that- meaning that a group of the adult riders would cycle ahead with one of the leaders, and prepare to block traffic until the group could pass. So that was actually quite a bit of fun. Unfortunately, that took me to St. Paul's at 11:10.

    Luckily (sort of) I had a voice message from L from a number I didn't know saying he couldn't remember if we were meeting at 11 or 11:30 and his phone was out of battery and he'd try to see me at 11:30 but not to call back on the phone as he was borrowing a friends. I called his number but it went to voice mail saying I was late, so monument at 11:30 was fine, see you then. I got to monument around 11:30.

    From there I also called S who was supposed to be joining the Skyride with her husband, sister, and step mother and we were supposed to meet up. Well S and her sister were ill and not coming but husband (F) and step mother (D) were apparently somewhere out there. In the meantime I get another message from strange phone from L saying maybe best to meet in St. James park where the picnic area was. So vaguely annoyed, I took off on the main route.

    But it's hard to be very annoyed when you cycle through central London with no traffic and thousands of other cyclists. That is why I love the event. And unplanned I ended up just at Big Ben at noon as the chimes were going off and people were whooping and ringing their bike bells, it was just a kind of uplifting sort of moment.

    Eventually I got to St.James park and went about trying to find a picnic spot I could direct people to (as there are thousands of people and bikes milling about I picked an area that I could easily direct people to, but not the most picturesque, although wasn't on top of anyone else either. I hadn't heard anything from L for a while, so thought he was standing me up. At some point on the ride F had called me so I knew he and D were behind me in the circuit but I didn't know how long until they'd get to where I was. So I sat there in a throng of people on my picnic blanket feeling moderately put out and crabby about everything and entirely alone. Of course, I proceeded to call people so I could just talk to someone and of course everyone I called wasn't answering their phones either! Ah universe, my ever comforting friend.

    After about 45 minutes, a lot of things started happening at once. Everyone I called started calling me back and this was just when F & D were getting to where I was and I'm trying to direct them and in the meantime I am getting through messages from L that he got my text and was there time to come to the park. So okay, things were coming together, but I had to make an effort to put my grumpiness behind me.

    So F & D showed up and we picnicked together and hung out which was good. L was on his way. Then F had some errands to do in town and as he cycles usually, he said he'd be back in 30-45 minutes and left D with me but that was fine. Probably 20 minutes or so after that L finally did turn up very apologetic about scheduling and stuff and D had wandered off to look at the exhibits and free giveaways and things. So okay, everything back on track, just a bit later than expected.

    F came back and D came back and then they were taking off to head home and L and I had talked about seeing a movie so we decided to go to Angel as I had my bike and didn't want to go further away from home. He was on the new Boris bikes, so Angel is one of the last spots in zone 1 you can dock them close to my house and a cinema. So we cycled through town and that was alright. He docked his bike and I locked mine up by Waitrose. We ended up going to screen on the green, not vue- and they had double sofa seat things so we got one of those. As a total side note, screen on the green, and particularly the double sofa seating is excellent. Like really excellent. But back to the story, we had a half hour to kill or so and went to the triangle park and were talking a bit. I did manage to sneak in a couple of comments about me not getting a good read on him or some such. But mostly we talked about work and life stuff which was also good of course, I mean, otherwise why would I want to hang out with him at all?

    Then we went to the movie which was very enjoyable - Scott Pilgrim vs the world. Worth seeing.

    So movie over, of course we'd been a bit snugly on the movie sofa, so we were leaving the cinema and heading back to where I'd locked my bike and I asked him if I could convince him to come to mine for a bit but he said no. So we were talking on the street and I think I just flat out asked him how many people he was seeing and what we were doing exactly (or something like that and it didn't come across nearly as blunt and horrible as that probably reads, I hope). At which point we decided to go to a pub and talk as standing on the street seemed a bit silly. So we did.

    And that was good, although not ideal in terms of what I want, but good that we talked and I'm happier now that I feel more confident I understand what things are. In short. His last relationship was 7 years - he's the one who ended it. He's seeing one other person now. He's not looking to get into anything serious just now. He does really like me and thinks if sleeping together would mess up developing a friendship he'd prefer we stop sleeping together as he would like to keep me as a friend. But he doesn't want to stop sleeping together- he's just concerned for me and what I might want in that regard. So I said okay, I would not prefer we just stop sleeping together but I accept that he's not looking for anything serious and if I feel I'm getting attached then yes I'll want us to stop sleeping together. We also talked a bit about 'being cagey' or quiet about stuff and I was just like, look, what I want is for you to be honest with me. Let me make up my own mind about what I can handle or not or want to put up with or not, but I can't do that unless you just tell me what's going on, and I'm not going to be mad at you for being honest with me, but I might get upset if I thought you were lying. So I think that was good. Oh yeah, and I explained a bit of the kink stuff as well, so that was good.

    I mean not good in the sense that, he is not wanting a serious relationship, but good that we really talked and I think are more on the same page, so it's okay for now. So.... yeah. Good but not good if that makes any sense.

    And that is the story that I emailed to S this morning as she was curious about if anything had happened. And her take, to summarize, is that I seem to find people not willing to give me what I want and I tend to settle for less, and that maybe while I'm messing around with people not giving me everything I want, I'm not being proactive or interested or sending out the right vibes to find what I want. So her advice, is drop it.

    And to a certain extent, I generally think most of her thinking is valid. I suppose I'm just not convinced that there is anything else out there. I don't mean that in a depressive sort of way. I mean it quite literally. Maybe I'm not really cut out for relationships. I don't seem to have an awful lot of them in any sort of 'traditional' sense. Maybe that is down to me, but maybe it's about stuff that I like, and don't want to change about myself. I don't know.

    I do know that my tolerance for things like the Mr.Aloof's of this world are not what it was and I wouldn't put up with that behavior ever again. But life doesn't seem to be offering too much else then what's been on the table. Maybe my expectations are too high (although to be fair, maybe they're too low as I think my tolerant nature is half of what ends me up in these relationships). Maybe I put out the wrong sort of vibe. I guess I just don't want to be miserable forever going on mentally about 'how there's something wrong with me'. Because luckily these days I don't think there's something wrong, but I also think... I don't know. This may just never happen for me. I spent years and years and years not dating and also not having anything even remotely related to dating (ie, sex). Like, most of my 20's. I know what it's like for time to just to pass by year in year out and dating just doesn't even show up in the solar system.

    So okay, now things are different in that I'm doing some things, but I don't know. If I withdraw from L and don't have time for much pursuing other people, then three years of PhD can come and go and I've got nothing socially. Or not.

    It's all a crap shoot and numbers game. I just don't think I've ever had lady luck on my side. I don't know how long I'll be wanting to put up with things with L as they are but I'd like to enjoy it while it's fun. Unlike Heathrow, if we don't really communicate much (Heathrow and I emailed a lot during the week and would then spend entire weekends together) I don't currently feel a particularly strong attachment. Though I recognize these things can change and I'd have to keep tabs on myself and how I feel.

    But I don't know, or rather, I'm not convinced that being truly single (with no friends with benefits and no play at clubs) is going to get me where I want either. Because I've done that before for long stretches to no avail.

    I like intimacy with people and having been in both situations, I know I would rather have something than nothing. Maybe that's not the right choice or maybe it is the right choice. I wish I could look into the future and see better, but I can only look at the past. I know sometimes it's like settling for crumbs instead of the cake, but what if I don't get cake? I would rather have crumbs. Honestly.

    But I understand her point- what if the crumbs keep me from looking for the cake. Or wanting the cake bad enough. And the answer is I don't know. I've spent so much of my life desperately not wanting to be alone, that I'm not sure that I haven't 'wanted it bad enough' or still don't want it bad enough, I just have no conviction that I'll get it. I feel like I want it enough, but if it never comes my way.... I don't want that to be the defining thing about me either. My failure to somehow find someone for me. I want my view of myself to be much more than that.

    So what do I do? Keep on for a while with something that makes me happy? Or question this thing making me happy and wonder if it's keeping me from some other happiness that seems forever outside my grasp? Humans tend to go for instant gratification, and I am well aware my inclination is to keep on with what I'm doing because I am liking it. But is it wrong? Oh for a crystal ball to reveal to me the mysteries of the universe and my place within it. What else can I do? How else can I decide? Knowing the future, or possible futures would make decision making simple. But decision making in this sense is never simple. Maybe I'm making good decisions and maybe I'm making bad. I just don't want to be miserable about it.

    And I guess I feel that a self imposed singlehood with no play or intimacies would make me miserable and throw me back to a place I feel I spent enough time in. I already know I wasn't happy there. I'm happier here, but yes, maybe I could be happier still. Do my current decisions negate that possibility? Or is it the best that the universe is going to offer and I'd be foolish not to take and enjoy them? I have no idea.

    So yeah. Interesting day. Interesting things to think about. L is away now for 3 weeks anyway, which is part of what prompted my pushing the issue. And I have three weeks of a shitload of work to do honestly. So lets just say it is what it is for now- better than it was before yesterday I think in some ways. I prefer knowing to not knowing, even if it's not exactly what I wanted to hear. And we'll see. Just hope I muddle through, as few mistakes as possible, and happier with the outcome of the decisions I make as opposed to the opposite.

    04 September 2010


    I am in a funk.

    I've had a very busy week. Stressful with work. I had two jobs this week- and one took up a lot more time then it should have. The second got a bit nudged out of the way because of it. Neither job is related to my PhD studies, and I have work that needs doing there as well, so it's starting to scratch at the mental door.

    The thing is, I can't really say no to small private jobs because I really need the money. I also want to keep good relationships with the few contacts I have that can give me private jobs. It just doesn't help that they all coincided. I don't like feeling like I'm doing an inferior job, or that I don't deliver work as expected. I'm fairly critical of myself in this way, so if I even think that I've remotely let someone down, I berate myself quite harshly. Even if I haven't let anyone down at all, I know I haven't met my own standards and expectations. It's not good enough.

    So there's that.

    This running around between Cambridge and London is taking its toll. It's tiring. I don't feel that I settle in one place long enough to accomplish much. I keep uprooting myself for just a couple of days. This is not helpful when what I need to do is sit down and focus. Every time I am in London and need to go to Cambridge I dread it. Once I'm there, it's perfectly fine, but it's the act of getting there that I find incredibly burdensome. I do it, of course. But as I say, it takes its toll.

    Which isn't to say I don't love what I'm doing in all of this. I do actually. I suppose all of these things add up to it being a challenge that keeps me from being bored or feeling too easy about all of it. I need a challenge in my life. I recognize that. So this isn't the worst thing by any stretch. I think it's all just gotten slightly out of hand this week, and I have things piling up for the next few months and I probably feel slightly overwhelmed and just need to get it all under fucking control again and things will be fine.

    Plus, I'm making some money, so that is actually a good thing.

    I will get a handle on it. This week has just been hard.

    The other thing that's weighing on my mind is this boy situation. I have never, ever, met someone as difficult to understand as L. One of the things that I would say is typical of my interactions with people is that I tend to relate to people on fairly intimate personal levels. Not intimate sexual, but intimate as in, people feel comfortable talking to me and opening up to me and it just seems to happen in a vaguely natural way. It's not something I actively try to achieve, but I would say that it's a hallmark of how I engage with people close to me. It's something I even cherish.

    L is a complete mystery to me. He doesn't tell me anything of consequence. It's not that he's being cagey or necessarily being obtuse, it's more like... just silence. Like a wall, but a wall that doesn't even know it's a wall. I can't explain it. I don't think I have ever had such a bad read on someone that I was interested in, and had spent a reasonable amount of time with, ever. Even people I don't like- usually if I'd spent as much time with them I'd at least have some indication of who they are as people.

    How all of this manifests itself is that L simply doesn't talk to me. It's been two weeks since I saw him. We have plans to meet up tomorrow. At least, I think we have plans to meet up tomorrow because he hasn't actually confirmed anything really at all. In what would otherwise be our seventh date, I have no indication of whether or not he will actually show up or not. I have no way of understanding his character or personality, or anything about what is going on with him as a person to know if he is trustworthy or not. This makes me feel extremely uneasy and preemptively defensive.

    Which sucks really. In all of these interim weeks of what amounts to basically no communication, I find that I respond by wanting to parrot this behavior and withdraw myself. Except of course, that isn't what I want to happen or actually do as it goes against my nature. I don't know how to communicate with someone who doesn't communicate! I'm more used to honest conversations, even at early stages. I'm not the right one for you? Okay. You're not the right one for me? I'll tell you. You seeing three people just now and not ready for any commitment? Okay. But what is this all about? What I have is this tremendous urge to stop communicating with him. To see if it actually matters to him or not. To see if he would be in touch on his own.

    But that's game playing and I am not a game player. I hate that shit actually. So yeah. We're supposed to meet up tomorrow, and I don't even know why. I don't know why he would want to meet up with me since he seems to show so little interest or enthusiasm in actually getting to know me- what's the point? As far as I can tell we aren't even having an overnight, so it's not like there's sex involved. See, that I could understand more. You want a booty call, that makes sense. And if that's what he wanted, well, I'd probably be up for it for a while, but then the rules would change. None of this doing stuff bullshit. Just call me or I'll call you, go over to the other persons house, get it on, and then bye until next time. No confusion. No extraneous activities. And oh yeah, it would also need to be at least once every week or two, otherwise it's simply not worth it for me, and why get involved in a booty call relationship unless it's worth it for you? See- everything shifts then. I'm not adverse, but we would need to talk about it, agree it, and that would be fine.

    But given that there's no sleepover involved (I think) and some other things about how we have interacted before, it doesn't particularly seem like that's what it's about anyway. But what it is about, I couldn't tell you.

    Here's what I can say. I do like this guy L. I am drawn to him in a way I don't even think I can explain. I'm attracted to his mind, the way he thinks, the way he expresses his thoughts. I recognize there are thing we don't have in common. Those things don't even phase me. He's not the usual body type I go for, that also doesn't phase me. Intimately, I went down on him without freaking out or even explaining that it's something that sort of freaks me out, and I didn't freak out. That doesn't happen. When we fuck we both get hot and sweaty and his sweat literally dripped on me and I still didn't fucking care. Even with people I have really liked before that wouldn't have happened- in the back of my head I'd still be going 'ew' and I wasn't. This is not how things usually go for me. This is not how I usually feel or act around someone. I am drawn to him in a way that I don't come across very often. Usually I'm incredibly wary of men. Defensive. Until I can relax enough to trust them and chill out a bit. When I'm with him I don't feel the walls and the tension. Except of course, when I feel I can't talk to him or I feel like he's not interested in talking to me. This is usually all the time in between when we actually see each other.

    For as much as I don't understand him or even think I know him in the slightest, there is something about L that when I see him, makes me feel insanely calm. Which is only ironic because given the enormity of what I'm saying is wrong, I'm not actually calm about any of that at all. And what I think is going to happen is that all of this is going to implode and he's going to go away and disappear.

    So I guess that just makes me sad. Certainly disappointed. Here I am contrasting what I see as just a glimmer of something extraordinary for me. And recognize that I'm probably going to lose it. That it's a tiny seed that will not grow. That instinctual feelings, no matter how intriguing or exceptional, are simply not reciprocated. How can that not be disappointing?

    And so, while I do not think I know L well enough to say I have feelings for him personally, I find I am distressed at what I perceive as the likely loss of the possibility. That I will need to put the memory of how such feelings feel away, and re-lock the door on such things. In some ways it's not about L at all. An embryonic relationship ending is not an emotional maelstrom about the pre-couple. But rather, yet again, and as always, I am forced to wonder if I will ever, ever find someone who I can feel like this about, who could possibly feel the same way about me. Or am I just destined to be the only one forever.

    Like I said. It's been a bit of a bitch of a week and I'm in a funk. But all of these these things will be sorted. One way or the other. Tomorrow should be interesting.