Saturday, 30 March 2013

Duck Gently, shopping, Moroccan cafe, shopping, Dr Who and Il Moro

Toni had been looking for somewhere to put her hat at mum's to keep it safe. I found the perfect pace and lo and behold, Duck Gently was born!

Toni and I hit the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon for a spot of retail therapy. We started off in HMV and took advantage of their 5 for £30 offer. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, The Fifth Element, Minority Report, Mars Attacks and I, Robot were all picked up on Blu-Ray ready for a viewing fest when we get back home again. Next stop was Mystic Dimension where Toni picked up some lovely crystals which will be used for magickal workings.

We then went in search of coffee and stumbled across a wonderful Moroccan restaurant called Mida Cafe. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming and the wares on offer were great. I opted for the Moroccan Atay (tea) which was green tea with peppermint served in a lovely pot with glass cup.

Toni opted for the jasmine tea which was slightly less impressive in it's presentation LOL

We decided that we would also have something to eat while we were there and were very glad that we did. Toni had the Nicoise Salad and a bowl of olives:

Toni's food looked delicious but I definitely made the right choice with my Moroccan lamb burgers. There were something else, totally out of this world:

We both then finished things off with two more cups of Moroccan Atay before heading out for more shopping. We'll definitely be going back to Mida and will be taking mum with us.

Our shopping expedition ended in Debenhams. After lots of browsing I managed to pick up a couple of gorgeous skirts and some nice boots that will be suitable for work. When I say work it will be when I am working from home until I get up the courage to actually wear a skirt in the office. That day won't be long and at least I have a couple of suitable ones now. There will be photos of these things soon!

All shopped out we headed back to mum's for tea and biscuits and the start of the latest round of Doctor Who episodes. I really enjoyed the episode today. It was well written with a nice moral subtext not to mention a great way to kick start the Doctor's new assistant. Roll on next week!

The night ended on a high with our return to one of our favourite restaurants, Il Moro. Once again there was lots of wine! We started out with the Antipasto Misto (for four) which was the Chef’s selection of cured meats, cheese & grilled vegetables. Toni and mum had Salsiccioti Arrosto (Sardinian style home-made sausages with beans, grilled onion and roasted rosemary new potatoes). I had the Maiale Alla Voldostania (Pork escalope, Dolcelatte cheese, cured smoked ham, roasted potatoes and peppers) .

It has been a lovely day. Nice spending time with mum, some gorgeous food has been eaten and good shopping has been done. Lovely to have the time away to just chill out and truly relax.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Wolverine and Man Of Steel trailers!

Out on 26th July! Personally I am really looking forward to seeing this!


I have to admit that I am also quite excited at this too:


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Testing at Future Publishing

I had a slight deviation from the norm today. I spent a bit of time at the London office of Future Publishing. I was part of a selection of people that had volunteered to help test a new iPad digital magazine.

I had feared that it was going to be a sports magazine but thankfully it wasn't. Due to an NDA that I signed I can't say too much but I have to say that fi ally looks like a publishing house has found the correct approach to digital content delivery in a magazine style format. Finally we see a departure form the static old swipe to turn and static content style to something new and feature rich.

Form what I've seen of the user interface it should be a hit. I was really impressed and will definitely subscribe when it fi ally becomes available. I made a few suggestions on things that I think should be tweaked to improve the whole user experience so hopefully that will be taken on board.

I will post more when as when I am able to as we head towards the album launch.

A big thank you goes to Future Publishing for giving me the opportunity to be involved!

- Posted using BlogPress on my iPhone

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Beware of labels and think before you speak

Some people need labels to try and fit in. Sometimes those labels can be used against us and then it becomes a problem! Transgender, transsexual, transvestite shortened to tranny? Water off of a ducks back to me but for some people it’s one step too far in a long hard struggle.

My profiles online used to day "I am trans, get over it". Now they say, "I am ME, get over it." I don't need a label for people to identify me. People misidentify me anyway. They often do. It doesn’t actually bother me! For me life is too short to get upset or make a big deal about being called “Sir” or mate unless there is a serious context that means it is unwarranted. I believe that 99.9% of the time this misidentification is not meant to be malicious. It’s not done to get a rise out of us although it often does!

Let’s be honest here, it is usually pretty easy to be able to identify the birth gender of a transgender person that is trying to identify as female. Female to male transgender folk seem to have a much easier job passing than male to female. On that basis it is hardly any wonder that misidentification happens so often. This is not me trying to be harsh, just pointing out that in my experience the number of male to female transgender people who can pass easily is quite small. I don’t fit into this small category. I am sure that unless I have taken a lot of time on my appearance that I don’t come across as female although I might display various female traits.

I guess I can understand why some people get so incensed by being wrongly identified. If you are undergoing transition and feel comfortable with who you are then it must be galling and come as a real shock to suddenly hit that wall where you are misidentified. The problem of course that more often than not misidentification comes following a quick glance with not even time to truly process the person in front for them properly. It’s all down to that brief snapshot, not understanding and then making the wrong comment. As I said, for me this isn’t a problem but it must be really hard for some people to deal with.

Personally I look forward to the day that there is no need to specify male/female. It's not because I don't identify as either, it's because they are irrelevant terms to me. They belong to an age that has long since passed. That said, I see why transsexuals seem to cling on to the gender binary because if it is taken away then their transition means nothing. So even after (and during) transition there is still a deep rooted problem for them, the need for a label to be identified rather than just accepted for who they are thus making them conform nicely to the gender binary system. This isn’t a criticism, it makes perfect sense to me that people think like that.

Additional labels come in so that people can deal with who they are. Even after transition some identify as a trans female (or male). I know a few females who have transitioned that don’t feel the need to drop the word trans in at all. They see themselves as female and rightly so but fair play to those that use the trans term if that makes things easier for them! I guess in that instance it does take them out of the gender binary.
When we choose to get involved with any form of change (call it transition if you will) or step outside of what would be seen as a standard behaviour then we are shifting paradigms on multiple levels.

we are moving our own paradigms on how we perceive ourselves and our gender. Whether that be standard gender binary acceptance and movement from one to the other or somewhere on the gender spectrum as part of gender fluidity this changes the paradigms that we have been taught, grown up with and have a deep rooted acceptance/reliance on. This by it’s very nature is going to be a challenge to us and how we react to the world. It can often leave us in a mental whirlwind as we try to get to grips with these changes.
we are challenging other peoples paradigms too. Most people only see gender binaries. That’s the way they have been brought up and that’s the way society, sadly, operates. It is a big ask for us to stamp across somebody else’s paradigm and expect them to understand what is happening. Sadly people tend to get confused and can’t cope with this sort of change. It is little wonder then that we sometimes get pissy because we get a reaction that we don’t like.

I’d like to think that we can take stock of things and put the world into perspective and be comfortable with who we are. We should also be comfortable with other people. Sadly the world doesn’t work like this for most of us.

I haven’t really encountered any sort of adversity since I came out as trans. This makes me very lucky. I have a loving wife who supports me unconditionally. My family are totally accepting. I am blessed with a wide circle of friends and have encountered no loss of friendships as a result of coming out, in fact my circle of friends has widened as a result. I also have a good, stable job. I guess it would be fair to say that I am on top of the world and very happy.

Sadly there are lots of trans people who are not that lucky. Unemployment, loss of friends, being shunned by family, depression are all things that people face. I can’t even begin to imagine how I would find transition while dealing with one, or all, of those things. It is quite a sobering thought to try and imagine what it must be like to encounter such adversity as well as dealing with being trans.

So, good people, kindly spare a thought when you are out and about and see someone you think might be trans. Don’t assume it’s OK to call them tranny. Try and think about who it is that you have in front of you and try and react appropriately. Just a second or two to process things might make the difference between treating someone with respect or really upsetting them and pushing them into a bad place.

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fantastic day at work, pizza, Rangers win!

Not often you'll find me writing about a really good day at work but today was an exception! I had a deviation from the norm and ended up being tasked to write a document on some new proposed technologies. This will be going to various managers and the CTO. I'll have to get it right, it's a work in progress that I have to get finished tomorrow.

Came home and decided to give Pizza Hut delivery another try. Gluten free goodness or Toni and I (although we did phone ahead to make sure they had stock before ordering online). The kids had their usual Papa John's monster pizzas.

WWE Raw passed the time with a little Big Bang Theory and then I ended the day on an even bigger high. I tuned in to NHL Gamecenter Live on my iPad to watch the New York Rangers beat Philadelphia Flyers with a very convincing 5-2 score line!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Music video shoot in St Albans

Today we did something completely different. We were up at 04:30 and packed up the car to head off to St Albans with T to help make a music video. En route we picked up our camera man Michael and leading man Lee.

It was an exciting day. VERY busy, with lots to do and keep on top of. I can't wait to see the finished result. It's quite a gruesome theme but should look fantastic at the end of it. Once we had packed up and done various drop offs we finally got back home at 02:30 having been going for 22 hours. Needless to say sleep was not a problem!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Coffee Town, The Devil's Carnival, T and Indian

It was a good day today. We started off with breakfast at Coffee Town before heading off to SpecSavers. Toni made herself an appointment for an eye test ready for new glasses and I have now ordered my second pair. Due to a busy schedule we won't be going back for three weeks but at least we have the appointments.

We then went home and had a nice chill out. We grabbed a chance to watch The Devil's Carnival. This was a great little film, another Darren Bousman/Terence Zdunich musical production. These are the guys that brought us Repo! The Genetic Opera. I have to say they know how to make a great film and write good songs.

After this we went and picked up T from Anerley ready for an exciting day ahead of us tomorrow. We are doing something new but you will have to wait for more details.

Our evening ended up with a couple of bottles of wine and some lovely food at our local Indian restaurant, Rishta. It was good to spend more time with T. We had a reasonable early night as tomorrow we are up EARLY!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

How to win friends and influence people (not)

On Friday I got in touch with a friend who I saw had a gig coming up. I'd noticed from the band's Facebook page that they were minus a bass player so I causally asked if they were looking for one. When the response was positive I then asked to hear some of their stuff as I would be interested in trying out. I liked what I had heard and it looked like I was heading for a try out.

After a short while I was then told that I was too old and didn't really fit the image that the band was going for so rather than audition for a full time role I could come and learn the set and stand in for the one gig that was coming up. I was a little taken aback by this. After a little thought the idea had appeal especially as they were going to be supporting a well known act and I figured it would potentially be a good stage for me to be on to then be able to showcase my talent. I told my friend that I would have a play around with the songs and then get back to him. He said this was cool.

Fast forward to last night. I had thought long and hard about the role and had decided that I didn't want to be a stand in. If I am going to join a band then it will be on a full time basis rather than for a one off gig. So I caught my friend on Facebook to tell him the news. The response I got was, "It's no probs." So far so good. This was followed up with, "I don't really care."

So I then said, "Fair enough, just thought I'd be polite and let you know." I was astonished at the response, "Well don't bother next time."

Really? WTF? I said there was no need to be rude about it. I was then told, "Why be polite. It's obvious you don't like me so nothing need to be said."

Well that was a real shock. I don't dislike this guy at all. I consider him a friend. If I didn't like him then why the hell would I have even asked him about playing bass for his band in the first place? This had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me doing what was right for me. If he'd wanted a full time bass player I'd have been there like a shot. Sadly he didn't (or at least he didn't want me full time) so I decided to count myself out.

I have no idea why he suddenly turned on me like that. It was totally unwarranted and really shocked me. I guess I'll chalk this one up to the "how to win friends and influence people (not)" experience column.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Being a pain in the ass... the effort was worth it

My blog today was going to be a trans based one but things happened that made me postpone that for another day as there were other things that needed to be said :o)

It was the tail end of appraisals today and it looks like my hard work over the past two years is starting to see good fruits. I appear to have the official tag of "being a pain in the ass" because I am not frightened of speaking up when I feel that things are being done in a suboptimal way. I have been positively encouraged to continue  "being a pain in the ass" for the foreseeable future to continue the good work that my team and I are doing. Things have been improving and this has been noticed and now I am being rewarded for it.

It feels good to know that my hard line approach isn't a problem and that management are able to see results from this. I can't take all the credit though as I have an excellent team backing me up without whom none of this would be possible as I can't do all the work on my own. This year will be one of focus and process improvement to build on the strong foundations that we have already set and also to ensure that we are not distracted by other things which could cause an impact on more important projects.

It was great to leave work with a smile on my face thinking that I really enjoy my job and the company I work for!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Bullet For My Valentine @ The Roundhouse

Finally fully recovered I took Aaron and Michaela to The Roundhouse to see Bullet For My Valentine. When we arrived we were created by a horrendous queue but thankfully the staff at The Roundhouse are very effecting so we got in quickly. Three bands on offer tonight;

Great warm up band. Good blend of screamo and singing. Perfect mix for the night and crowd were certainly into them even though they weren't really my cup of tea. Short set but really enjoyed themselves and get everyone in the mood.

Wow, what a show! This really woke me (and the crowd up)! So much fun, great entertainment and great songs to boot! I'd have quite happily gone home after seeing them. Their set definitely wasn't long enough and I'll be going to see them again that's for sure!

Amazing drum solo that I caught on video which segued into Mz. Hyde

We new the band were due ob when Tom Jones' Delilah blasted out which had the crowd singing along very loudly. Then the real intro hit, Carl Orff's O Fortuna and then we were off! It was nonstop from start to finish. Great sound, great songs with the crowd eating out of their hands. We even had a duet on Dirty Little Secret with Lzzy Hale making a return to the stage! I think I might be a convert!

Dirty Little Secret (with Lzzy Hale)

Scream Aim Fire

For me the overall winners of the night were Halestorm although I did thoroughly enjoy Bullet For My Valentine.

- Posted using BlogPress on my iPhone

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Duvet day, chicken soup and Indiana Jones fest

Toni and I were both under the weather today so we declared it a duvet day. I made us gammon omelette for breakfast with Sam's assistance.

Sam popped out for chocolate and popcorn and then we embarked on an Indiana Jones fest.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Temple Of Doom
The Last Crusade
Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull

Cheesy as hell but a delight to watch once again. I do love our themed film marathons. We are planning a Pirates Of The Caribbean one soon :o)

It was a good duvet day, we watched some great films and just chilled out. it was great to be able to enjoy not doing anything and not going anywhere. Much needed rest was had.

I made a vat of chicken soup (with a little help from Toni). Chicken soup always goes down well when you aren't feeling 100% and it was no exception today! Throw in some rice noodles and one amazing meal awaits!

The evening finished of with some Grimm and some old school Big Bang Theory.

- Posted using BlogPress on my iPhone

Friday, 15 March 2013

Still unwell, duvets, TV catch up, kebabs and Looper

The plague continues in Glitzville as Toni has now started coming down with something. I felt a bit better but am not 100% so opted to WFH. Sadly this meant that our plans for the evening had to change. Originally we had been going to see Sheep On Drugs supported by our friends Cryogenica but sadly the onset of the lurgs means that we couldn't go :o(

Instead we hit the sofa with a large duvet and snuggled up. A couple of episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation were followed by a catch up The Vampire Diaries. It's always good when you have more to watch than you originally thought although it still ended up with the usual cliff hanger! I have to say that I am liking the new bitch version of Elena, they should have made her like that ages ago!

Kebabs were then ordered and we marvelled at the latest episode of Season 6 of The Big Bang Theory. I just love how the writers can manage to keep each show fresh and funny.

The evening finished off with Looper. I'd seen the trailer ages ago and it didn't look too bad.

It wasn't a bad film at all. Not amazing but a good enough duvet movie.It had an interesting premise and good plot although it did verge off into a little weird territory that came from out of nowhere. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad film, it is very well made and definitely worth a watch if you haven't seen it. Oh, and there's Bruce Willis, and guns! Nice twist at the end too!

Thursday, 14 March 2013


Today I was sick.
I had to WFH first thing to troubleshoot an issue that should not have occurred. I was not amused at this. It actually took me a good couple of hours of work when I wanted to be resting! MEH!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mother's Day for the mothers in the house

Today was Mother's Day and so it was a day spent looking after the mothers in the house (my mum and Toni). Jade and Gemima came over to complete the set up. There were cards and gifts for both of them. Brunch consisted of bacon and eggs benedict. Dinner was an almighty steak and chips extravaganza. There was lots of tea and coffee and wine provided before, during and after. I think we did them both proud and treated them like they deserved to be!

The day played out with some Have I Got News For You, Never Mind The Buzzcocks followed by a marathon QI XL session. The (not so) grand finale was another BBC4 music session with some frankly lakclustre artists from the 70s. The only real highlights were Status Quo, Heavy Metal Kids and Mott The Hoople. Nowhere near as good as the previous night sadly.

This didn't take the shine off of a great day though!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Late start, Big Bang, Deptford and BBC4 punk rock fun

It was a midday start today, just because. I don't need to explain myself! LOL

Breakfast, coffee and the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory prepped us for the day,

We took a quick trip to Deptford Market to pick up a huge slab of beef, picked up Jade and then spent the afternoon chilling out. Lots of tea was drunk and Mum watched some rugby.

Toni and I whipped up a mahoosive shepherds pie for dinner. While not my weapon of choice it was absolutely delicious. I might just be becoming a fan of comfort food as Toni calls it. The Pierce Brosnan version of The Thomas Crown Affair entertained us. Well it did me although I don't think Mum was very impressed LOL

The day finished off in style with some glorious punk rock on BBC4. We started off with Blondie: One Way Or Another. This was a Blondie documentary that was brilliant. It was a real from the beginning review of the roots of the band through to their current legendary status. Such a great band and sadly overlooked and under rated. Great to see Iggy getting a look in!

The grand finale was New York Rock At The BBC! Oh my, this was a real treat! Ramones, New York Dolls, Blondie, Lou Reed, Television to name a few!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 8 March 2013

Chilling, Coffee Town, fighting Barclays, Rishta and QI XL

Love relaxing day today. Didn't get up too early and generally took it nice and easy.

Toni and I took Mum and Emma to Coffee Town for a lovely brunch and we just chatted and enjoyed ourselves. A quick bit of shopping and then we dropped Emma at Eltham Station as she was heading back home today.

Spent a bit of time arguing with Barclays on Toni's behalf. On top of the Barclaycard fiasco we have a couple of other issues that we need to mop up as a result of their own incompetence. On the plus side the guy was receptive to what I was saying and has given advice on how we can progress things which was a very promising start. Watch this space on how the saga continues to unfold LOL

Due to the 'stresses' of fighting Barclays it was suggested by Mum that we should not bother cooking tonight and head around the corner to Rishta, our local Indian. We are starting to feel like royalty there as they are always so happy to see us and we seem to get treated slightly better than other guests. Not that I am complaining of course, it's all good, lovely food and great service will keep us going back!

We finished the evening off with a bout of QI XL for learning and laughter!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Dark (Shite) Knight Rises

At Aaron's request we ended up watching The Dark Knight Rises again. When we watched it recently it was on the back of a Batman marathon and we found it quite enjoyable at the time. Watching it for a second time, however, was less pleasing.

It's definitely a case of style over substance. The film looks great with some fantastic effects and visuals. The plot however is a little weak and is full of massive plot holes.

Really wish we hadn't watched it again LMFAO

It was always going to be a tall order getting anywhere near as good as The Dark Knight (second film in The Dark Knight trilogy) and this gel woefully short. Batman Begins was a really weak reboot. The Dark Knight was totally awesome, an amazing film. The Dark Knight Rises was better than Begins but a poor follow up to The Dark Knight.

On the plus side this is apparently the end of Christopher Nolan's run of Batman films so hopefully they'll leave the franchise alone for a while and let us have time to lick our wounds!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists: