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!