27 February 2010

Book Covers

Considering that things are supposed to come in threes, I'm just waiting for the third piece of this business to be over with. Two has been quite enough.

Earlier in the week I had a meeting with a professor at Cambridge. This professor had contacted my supervisor asking if he would be interesting in reviewing a Master's thesis. My supervisor was perhaps not interested, or just busy, but suggested me for the job. I have been corresponding via email with said professor and sent my CV - all seemed to be moving along in the usual fashion and we arranged to meet to talk in person on Wednesday.

Within moments of meeting I was being told about how the people on this particular Master's course have 'work experience' and the average age of a student is 30, and how maybe the students expect their examiners and teachers to be, you know, older than them. At which point I interrupted to thank the professor kindly for the compliment but to reiterate that I am in fact, 35, and have 10 years of solid work experience which I think make me qualified to actively participate in discussion and academic activities related to my field.

It was clear however, that he was having none of it. He didn't ask about my experience, he didn't follow up with any of the detailed information sent along with my CV. Upon seeing me, he had written me off as not fitting whatever visual criteria he deemed necessary for this particular job.

I was frustrated.

Then, just today on IC, I had a memo from someone expressing interest in possibly dating. I was a bit cautious, as I am always a bit cautious with such things, and he was a bit older than what I preferred, as well as separated three years and still not divorced, but he was interesting and the conversation seemed to be going alright but he had no photos on his profile. So I pointed him to where he could find a photo of me and asked for one in return, only to be told a few hours later, that having looked at my photographs, it was clear to him he would not be interested in anything beyond friendship so best to be honest up front about such things.

While I agree, it's not like it feels particularly nice to hear.

As a counterpoint to this, I suppose, I had a date a couple of weeks go that didn't work out at all, but one of the first things the man said to me upon meeting is that I was far more attractive in person than I was in my photographs.

How am I supposed to take this stuff?

Because it seems to me that the only clear course of action is to descend in some sort of self displeasure. Obviously there's something wrong with me, something so wrong that it's just bleating itself out before I even have a chance to speak. Yes, I know that this does not make sense in regards to my last bit of story, but what part do you think I'm focusing on? The fact that he said I was pretty in person or the fact that he basically said my photos were ugly? The same photos, I should point out, that I just got rejected on, and photos that I think are probably the best ones I have of me. I am not photogenic!!

But it's more than that you know. How much in life can women be constantly told that her looks don't matter and she shouldn't be obsessed with them, and then equally be told that she's being judged on her looks all the time? I really work hard to try not to think about this stuff too much because I know where my tendencies sit. But it's really hard when it's reflected in your face.

21 February 2010

Global Weirding

My new life direction means that I spend a lot of time thinking about and considering environmental issues. Specifically how the buildings that we live in, and how we live in them, are contributing to climate change.

What I find the most difficult is that I move between Cambridge and the 'real world'. At Cambridge, there are many many people who spend their entire days considering how the planet is quickly falling into ruin. There are lectures and talks and courses. To be at Cambridge and be studying environmental issues means to be completely surrounded by facts and figures and knowledge. Rather disturbing knowledge. And every week I get an injection of this.

Then I come back to London, back to my industrial partner, and back to interacting with people who are not considering the global climate crisis every minute of their day. And the difference is jarring. How can all of these people continue to go about their daily (wasteful) lives and not consider what is happening to the planet? And particularly, how what they are doing as individuals is contributing to what is happening to the planet.

The thing is, I understand completely how this happens. Because our media and our government has yet to take the message to the people strongly. What would happen if we stopped being so consumerist? Global economy would collapse, or at least suffer very badly. What happens as a nation becomes westernized and industrialized? The more consumerist they become. The more they contribute to the wasteful global culture that is literally digesting the planet and its resources. We equate progress with consumption. It's a deadly error.

Not deadly to the planet mind you. But deadly to humans. Environmentalists aren't really talking about 'the death of the planet' because the planet is a fairly resilient place. Animal species will go extinct, it's true, but in general, life on earth will flourish. But human life will be another matter. If regions become uninhabitable, if sea levels rise, millions of people will die. If it gets very bad, nations will have to clamp down lest they become chaotic and uncontrolled. The future doesn't seem like such a nice place sometimes.

But who is really thinking about the future beyond what they might have for dinner? Or where they might go on holiday? It's too difficult I think for most people to look around their house, comforted by their things, go to their fully stocked shops, turn on their lights and heating and expect it to work, be surrounded by advertising for more stuff and understand that there is any sort of real crisis going on. It seems like it's far away, and affects other people, because it just isn't hitting home yet.

I suppose the fear is, when it finally hits home, will it be too late to make a difference? If only people would take small steps now, will that avert having to make massive sacrifices later? Who knows. I guess we'll all find out.

So this is my new life - crossing between this line of academic panic and cultural blindness. It's a somewhat unnerving place to be. It's not that I want to become a hard line environmentalist, but I can see how it happens. What else are you supposed to do with that level of fear and impotence? I tell you, some part of me wants to go build a self-sufficient home in the middle of America and turn my back on everything and take care of myself. That's what it makes me want to do. But if you can't do that, then you find yourself looking in fascination and horror at all of the waste and ignorance around you. It isn't comfortable. It isn't nice.

And I'm going to be doing this for three years?? It's only been a month. The future is a pretty scary place to tell you the truth. Full of change that we can't even begin to imagine. So I'm going to go watch TV and try to forget about it for a while. After all, when I calculated my carbon footprint I was pleased to see that I'm at half the average for my type of house. I'd be even better but my assumption of two return airplane trips per year really throw it out. Yet another reason to desire an alternative to flying!!

07 February 2010


For practically a month now, my sinuses have been giving me intense grief. I don't have a cold. This much is certain. I did have a cold- right before I went to the States in December, but that went away and I have not had a cold since then. What I have had, is one half of my nose being clogged pretty much non stop. Sometimes it's worse than others and more bothersome than others, but what it is, is always present, and generally always the same side of my nose. I feel like I haven't breathed right for a very long time.

I've tried decongestant. I've tried my fail safe neti pot. I've tried cold medication. I've tried antihistamines. I really don't know what else to do, aside from see the doctor, but my expectations are pretty low in that area. What I do know, is that I'm really really sick of it, and I feel like it's affecting other parts of my head. For example, my eyes have been particularly itchy lately. Not like my normal skin condition which makes my skin dry and flaky, but it's more like the inside of my eye is itchy. Maybe it's the eyeball. Again I have no idea, but I know it gets so bad, I'd like to pretty much claw my eyes out. And again I don't really know what to do about it. My topical skin creams don't seem particularly appropriate for this particular problem.

So this has all been a bit frustrating. I hate feeling old and decrepit.

In other news, my change over to full time student is an ongoing process. It's not quite been a month yet, and a lot has gone on and there has been a lot to assimilate. Most recently I learned I was not able to exempt from the two course requirement so I'm now looking at adding a course this term which is already three weeks in, to see if I can knock one off. That is adding a bit of stress to me at the moment, because I'm just trying to figure out how to manage everything else I have going on at the moment. The commute to Cambridge is okay- but it takes at least an hour and a half each way. This means on a day I go to Cambridge I am at least three hours on the train. Last week, I went on Wednesday and Thursday so I spent over six hours on trains in two days. It's tiring. On the alternate days of the week, I'm commuting in to Bond Street which is crowded and busy and takes time as well. Although my actual work commitments are at the moment low, I am run ragged just from all the moving about. It eats up so much time- I don't get home before the shops are shut, and I need to be better at cooking meals because on my new student budget, I need to reduce my going out.

It's all okay, don't get me wrong, but it's a major life change and I'm in that transition phase of adjustment.

Otherwise things are okay at the moment. Not much going on to note or of interest.

Oh, one exciting thing- I finally got registered with the Cambridge library system and so I decided to look up all of the books on my amazon wish list (generally related to my field/topic) that I've bookmarked over time but would be very expensive to buy. All but one of the books are at the library!! It's like a kid in a candy shop! As a PhD student, I can take out books for 8 weeks, so when I go up this week, or maybe next week, I'll make a trip to the library to get all of these books I've wanted. It's very exciting. And on top of that- reading these books is actually what my job is at the moment, so even better!! I feel quite lucky in this respect. I am really enjoying what I'm doing.

Although, perhaps this is a topic for another post- there is something to be said between swinging back and forth between an academic environment and the real world and how the overriding messages of the communal mindset change. Is that confusing? I'll explain later.

02 February 2010


I've been waiting for this picture so I could post. Actually, I was hoping that the picture might be more telling, but I don't mind actually. It's a nice picture, it's just that it's the only look I'm going to get at what was happening to me.

That's right. A photo of me. A rarity to be sure.

It's from a week ago on Saturday. I went clubbing. Kinky clubbing at Club Crimson to be exact. I went in December and that was pretty good, although I didn't 'do' anything. I just chatted with people and watched people, and got to wear my dress up kink clothes, but really that was it.

This time around, I checked with a friend of mine to see if she was going and decided somewhat spur of the moment that I would go and be social and make an effort to go out and meet people and stuff. Since the last Crimson, I had also acquired my very own set of rope. I figured that was good because I should stop relying on Heathrow to borrow some, all things considered, and that I actually sort of like tying people up, so having my own equipment seemed fair.

At any rate, friend of mine, H, sent me a series of text messages enticing me to go that concluded with a promise that I could tie her and K up in whatever naughty way I could imagine. She also said that I could use other toys, that it was all up to me. So I made a very small kit bag, dressed up, and went off to the club.

Still did some socializing for a while at the club, but eventually got down to my promised tie. I had been trying to think of a way to tie two people together that would be naughty and fun but also not be static or take too long or be boring. It's a bit tricky because it wasn't like I wanted to do too much to them once I had them tied, it was more like I wanted to tie them in a way that they could do things to one another and I could just supervise. So I had this idea but it was perhaps a bit complicated and not helped by not having the right sort of chair or support, so it didn't work out entirely like I hoped, but it didn't seem to matter too much because they were having enough fun with how I connected them.

I also had this nice idea of how to attach a set of nipple clamps to a gag, so someone could be naughty or nice. And once they'd had it the one way, I turned it around to make it all fair. I think K had never had such clamps before. They were clover clamps and somewhat severe, especially with any extra tugging. I should also point out that part of the beauty of clamps isn't how much they might hurt or ache when on, but how much they really hurt when they come off. I think neither of them wore them for more than 5 minutes, but it was certainly enough to give that painful shock as the blood flow returned. The audible gasps from K were a particularly nice touch.

At any rate, after some fun and games there, I eventually untied them both and we all chilled for a while with A also who had been around watching. H asked me if I wanted a play and I sort of did, though I can really be very shy about going after anything like that. I generally need to be approached by someone, and it needs to be someone I know reasonably or else I probably won't. But I do know H reasonably, and I've tied her a few times and just had a slightly more intimate moment so it seemed like a good idea.

She asked me if there was anything I didn't like (as I had also asked her and K) and I said no, not really and she said well she really really likes sharp things, and in particular surgical staples. Sharp things being something I haven't played with before to be honest, but I was willing to give it a go.

So after a while we made our way to the other room and grabbed one of the spanking benches that had a cage built in underneath it. H said I needed to take clothes off, so in the end I got down to my fishnets, my black panties, and my boots and nothing else. The first time I've really stripped off in a club, though it's not an unusual site, it's the first time I did it, and I was feeling good. So I went face down on that bench (in fact, exactly that bench) and H got out her rope and started criss-crossing my entire body with rope to the bench.

Now I should point out that K, and A, were helping H. It was sort of like three way topping, though it was H's show. So they all were tying me down and making the rope tight (you need to, it has a tendency to loosen with struggle) and I was enjoying the slow encasement and constriction while wiggling and kicking occasionally while I still could.

Then a very cold spray went over my back as H sprayed me with disinfectant and came to tell me a bit about what she was going to do, but I figured just go with it and I'd see how I felt. A stayed at my head to make sure that I was okay, and also to better tie my hands which were the only part of me free (I had put them under my head when I sort of lay down over the bench). And then, the stapling began. It was like a bit of a pinch and then really you don't feel much at all. Surgical staples aren't like normal staples. Aside from coming pre-packaged in sterilized staplers, they don't go very deep and curve inwards to 'stick' to the skin. It takes a special little tool to remove them, though you can pull them out with some effort (and potentially a bit of mess - not really recommended)

If anything, the gentle feeling of hands lightly stroking over my back was ticklish. And probably the adrenaline didn't hurt either, so I found myself giggling and trying not to wiggle from the tickling. Once enough staples went in, H was instructing K to take ribbon and cross it back and forth through the staples and over the rope- essentially connecting me to the rope across my body. They Did this over a couple of the ropes and then pulled the ropes together with more ribbon which tightened the connection. Now, if I struggled, it wasn't just rope that I was straining against, but the staples in my skin.

And then they started to stroke and pinch and tickle and slap and cane and flog and poke and prod me. And it was a ton of fun. Even when it hurt I was grinning like an idiot and laughing because it was just tremendously fun. Endorphins and adrenaline and all those lovely body chemicals just burbled up and I was soaking up every last minute of the attention of three different people as they played with my body. H kept coming to check if I was still laughing, and suggesting they needed to hit me harder, which they would do, and then I'd yelp at the pain followed by a trill of laughter.

It went on for some time, or at least, it certainly felt like it went on for some time.

Now nothing was overly sexual. No one was touching in any way that I felt was inappropriate. My panties never came off, no hands went anyplace that made me uncomfortable. It was erotic and charged, certainly. But not an overly sexual sort of scene. Probably better for me, certainly better for a first public play.

Eventually all fun things must come to an end and the ribbons were undone and the staples came out and the rope was unbound (though not before they took the staples out but left the rope on to tickle me until I was screeching for them to stop- they couldn't do that with the staples in, I would have pulled them out with thrashing, even under restraint). We cleaned up and I got dressed and we all hung out for a while more, but it was five in the morning and we had to go home!

When I woke just before lunch and looked to see if there were any mementos of my evening, I found I had lovely little pin point parks across my back where the staples had been, and light bruises on my bottom from all the hits. And of course there was that lovely huge grin across my face that wouldn't quite go away.