January 29, 2005

The Three Boyfriendly Duties

I was reading this article from Just One Bite recently, and it got me thinking about the same question. What is it that I really look for in a man?

Well, the list has changed over the years. It started off as a list of Must-Nots. Not shorter, younger or a smoker, and definitely not vain. Vanity was measured by the number of bathroom products a man had, that is, if he had more than me, I considered him too vain. I have broken all of these rules at one time or another, with some proven to be pointless, and others to be wise and just.

It doesn't seem to matter how old or young a boyfriend is, all men are just boys at heart, and when a man is shorter than you at worst it can be an inconvenience at times, on the whole you don't really notice. Especially when you are lying down. Smokers are generally a bad idea if you don't smoke yourself, I certainly noticed the smell and the taste, but if that's the man you really want, then it shouldn't stop you. I really mean it about the bathroom products, though.

So the list moved on, and to a list of Must-Have's. He must have a sense of humour first, followed by a whole caboodle of other traits and interests. I wanted him to like everything I liked, do everything I did, and generally be a male clone of myself. I soon found that this was a fairly difficult list of criteria to meet, and at the same time began to realise that I'd like someone a bit more blokey, and cross-stitch wasn't as such an attractive characteristic as I had first thought.

So the list changed again. From Must-Not's to Must-Have's it has been refined to a list of Must-Do's. Three simple requests every boyfriend should be happy to fulfill.

  • Sex

  • Cinema

  • Carrying heavy objects.

So what makes these qualities so important? The first, or so I'm reliably informed, you can get from any nightclub in town. The second any girlfriend would be happy to oblige. And as for the third, well I'm not really that much of a weakling. No, it's not as simple as that. The reasons for having a steady boyfriend for sex are fairly obvious, and this is a family show, so quickly on to the other points.

Cinema. Whilst I would happily drag any girlfriend out to watch the latest costume drama, or perhaps even a French murder mystery musical, (sorry, what?), I don't always get a positive response to a suggestion of the latest action blockbuster, even when it happens to star George Clooney. And if the lads are going to see it, they don't generally want a girl tagging along. They want to swear, make sexist remarks, and drink beer. And good for them too, but I don't really fit in. So a boyfriend is the perfect compromise.

Carrying heavy objects. I could, but I don't want to. I will invariable feel tired afterwards, and quite possibly break something (although this is more to do with general clumsiness rather than strength). Having a man to do it for you, ensures that you will remain fresh and calm, able to make the right decision about exactly where the heavy object should be put. The other advantage is that it makes me feel cared for, looked after, which is the real point here. I get a little rush of warmth all over whenever I hear the words "let me take that from you". I know he's really saying "I love you".

And in truth, that is what it's all about. I could go on forever (and very nearly have) about do's and don'ts, and what makes the perfect guy, but really there's only one thing that matters. I realised a while back now that I'll know when the guy I love is right for me. All I want in a man is that he loves me as much as my Father loves my Mother. And then I'll have all that I ever need.

January 26, 2005

Turning point.

A couple of years back, on my summer break, I worked in a bar back home. I'd worked in plenty of bars before, but never both full time and mostly evening shifts. This meant that I spent most of my evenings working, and the ones in between at work, drinking with other staff members. It was one of the most popular high street pubs, and so very busy on a Friday and Saturday night, which made working the weekend quite an adrenaline rush. After work everybody would stop for a pint, and in most cases a cigarette.

When I started working there I didn't smoke, I'd tried cigarettes before, but never really felt the inclination to take it up. After a few weeks of mad Friday nights I was taking cigarettes off workmates just to wind down. They are very relaxing after all, and when you've been breathing it in night after night, you're bound to feel the effects sometime.

By the time I went back to Uni, I was buying them for myself, and getting through a couple of packets a week. One of my friends who had "quit" (mostly because of a girlfriend) was now taking them off me. It felt good to smoke, it made me feel like one of the popular crowd I always wanted to be. After a while, I suddenly realised that I didn't want to be this person. My clothes always smelled, I'd wake up with a bad taste in my mouth and worst of all, I was lying to my Parents as I was hiding it from them.

So I quit. I just made the decision one day that I wasn't going to smoke any more, and didn't buy a packet for another week. Of course that wasn't the last cigarette I smoked, but I did well, and only succumbed to temptation a few times. I hadn't been smoking for long, which made it easier, combined with the fact that my current peer group were mostly non-smokers.

Since then, there has always been the temptation, although mostly after drinking. I have quite often smelt smoke and felt a craving for cigarettes, although lately it has been happening less often. It's the thing I most regretted about ever smoking, this feeling that I would never be free and that I would always want cigarettes whenever I was exposed to them. Until tonight, that is.

Tonight was a pretty typical post archery pub event. There was eating, drinking, conversation and Pool. Typical except for one thing. From the next table a waft of cigarette smoke drifted over, I breathed in and unusually, I felt ill. It smelt disgusting, undesirable, and it even made me cough. I didn't even realise until I was halfway home and downwind of the local Chinese Takeaway. I felt so hungry, in that familiar post pub way, but tonight, I didn't want a cigarette.

January 24, 2005

I got bored one day and drew this

I don't really have the time or the inclination to write a proper post today, so instead here's a picture for you.

My Dragon Posted by Hello

January 23, 2005

The Big Blue Chair

Not so long ago, one of my old school friends moved away from home to join the RAF. She was going to be living in barracks, and so knew she wouldn't have a lot of room, but she'd built up quite a collection of stuff over the years. Knowing that my Mum had connections with a local charity shop, she left a lot of her surplass possesions with her, to take in sometime. One of these items was a large folding blue canvas chair, one of a pair, the other of which she decided to take with her.

I came to visit my parents shortly after, and asked about the rather nice new folding chair they seem to have aquired, but were not using. I decided that as best friend of the previous owner, I had rights on her unwanted things that were above and beyond those of any charity shop. So I swiped it.

She came to visit me at my own house, and I got the chair out for her to sit on, saying it was new. She praised it's comfyness, and commented on how she has one in her room just like it. She also mentioned how she had 2, but threw one away. Of course, if she had known I wanted one I could have had hers, after all it was at my parents. It didn't take her long after that to twig.

January 22, 2005

Sell Out! With Me Tonight, Sell Out!

I'm really quite disappointed with my Google Ads. They seem to be stuck on bow adverts. I have 6 posts up so far, and only 2 of them mention archery, so I had hoped it would be something different by now. I've often thought that my life seems to revolve around archery a little too much, perhaps sometimes to the exclusion of other hobbies. Maybe they're trying to tell me something?

Some of the messageboards I read regularly have Google Ads, and it's amusing to see what they come up with. Sometimes they hit the topic of conversation right on the nose, other times they miss the point entirely, but I often find myself laughing at the bizarre or insightful connections that the ad bars make. I was looking forward to seeing what adverts I could produce down my sidebar with the content of my posts.

Yes, and that is the reason they are there. One of the things I did as soon as I'd set up this blog was to sign up for Ads by Google. It's not the sort of thing you'd expect to see on a random website which is written for my own enjoyment rather than as any sort of business venture. After all, I can't really expect them to make any money, I certainly don't expect my visitors to click on them.

So I wait with baited breath to see what comes up next. I suspect, given that I've mentioned the a-word yet again in this post that it will continue as the main theme for quite a while. This strikes me as perhaps a little ironic.

January 21, 2005

What to read, what not to read?

I have a Livejournal as well as this blog. (It's in the obvious place, but I no longer post public entries). It was started because my boyfriend has one, which I read, and I felt I wanted to give something back in the same way. It's not the same as this blog, rather it's an intimate diary where I record my feelings of the moment, and often some very personal details.

I told some of my friends where it was, and they read it too, although some more personal entries were hidden away for BF only. These friends all had journals of their own, and I was allowed to read theirs in exchange. Recently, however, some other people from that group of friends have been reading mine also. I hadn't hidden it away, but had mentioned I wasn't too keen on the idea of them looking. Some found it directly, others followed links from friend’s pages. And I'm not happy about it. I enjoyed the chance to rant and rave without consequence. I most liked the chance to say what I wanted for everyone to hear, but to have nobody around to hear it.

So the question is, just because something is posted on the web, should it be considered public property, with anyone having the right to read it? It's very hard to come up with a good argument to suggest why not. So perhaps the answer is yes, everybody has the right to read something in front of them and easily accessible. But that doesn't mean they should. Shouldn't these people, these alleged friends have thought first about my feelings? I feel they should have asked me first at the very least? If they had, I would have gone back over, and made a lot more of the posts private. In fact, I most likely would have said no, even after doing this.

I feel censored now. I can't bitch and grumble about people I know in there, unless I do it in a hidden post. But I don't want to hide my posts, I want to shout at the world that I'm unhappy. That's what my Journal was for. But so often, I say things that I don't mean later, and in fact didn’t even mean then. And now I can't, as the people who are reading it are not the people it was first intended for.

I also feel bad about the things I have written in there in the past. There is more than one post about people known by the new readers which is none too flattering. Had I known that these people were going to read the journal, I would have made these posts private, partly out of respect for the people I was ranting about (after all, I do still like them) but also out of embarrassment for myself. I get upset about stupid things at times, and I don't necessarily want people seeing that somewhat unpleasant side of me.

I still post in there, but only things that would have been hidden anyway, as I often write about things I feel are too personal even for strangers to hear. Sometimes I write a post specifically for my BF to read, as sometimes it’s easier to write these things down than to say them, and realise you’re not saying what you mean. But I don’t write my daily essays anymore, my general comments about how I’ve been today, what I’ve done and how I’m feeling. They lost their bite a while back, and now I’ve lost all pleasure in them.

January 19, 2005

A Short Story

As they posed for the photographer, Kirsty looked at the cave they had dug out. All that effort, just for a box when they weren't even sure what was in it. A few obscure references in a small collection of unreliable documents. But they'd turn out to be right in the end, she was sure.

Jack stared at the box as they held their poses while the photograph was taken. He was a little nervous, wondering what would happen next. Would the contents crumble as they were exposed to the air? Egyptian papyrus held together well over time, but who knew what conditions it had been exposed to. Would they open the box they had looked for, for so long, just to see a pile of old dust? Or would it be the treasure they had longed for, the records from the census that could tell them so much about a long forgotten world.

Jack carefully stepped down, and a mixture of anxiety and concentration crossed his face as Kirsty passed the box down to him. He placed it carefully on the floor, and she slipped down after, feet nestling into the dust, causing a small cloud to rise up. Jack, bending over the box, took a breath just at that moment, and started coughing energetically. His chest rose and fell, as his asthma fought back and threatened to suffocate him. Kirsty reached in a panic for her bag, where his inhaler was kept, and watched in horror as an immense spasm sent Jack sprawling forward. He put his hand out, and the full weight of his portly frame went crashing down in front of him to the precious object below. A crash rang through the air backed by a chorus of gasps as Jack's hand broke through the precious casket. Under his fingers centuries’ old parchment crumbled away into nothing as he grasped urgently trying to stop his fall.

Silence for one infinite moment before his coughing resumed, and Kirsty hurriedly turned back to her bag, trying not to let the tears come bursting through her eyes. She handed him back the inhaler wordlessly, her gaze steadfastly not meeting his, and desperately trying not to look at the arm protruding from what was left of their life's work.

Jack said nothing, just took the inhaler and drew deeply. He stayed crouched while he recovered and then drew his hand slowly out from within the broken wood. A steady stream of blood flowed from a large cut on his wrist, and dripped down his palm and over his fingers.

"That's going to need stitches" said the photographer, awkwardly trying to fill the silence. The archaeologists turned to look at him, both faces reflecting astonishment that he could think of something like medical attention at a time like this.

January 18, 2005

6 People and 4 Bows in a Small Blue Car

Last night was the first Archery Club practice of the new term, so it was succeeded by the first Archery Club trip to the pub of the new term. Our favourite pub is only a short walk up the road from the sports centre, but the keyword here is up. It's very up, as in "get half way there, and start walking backwards" up. And then if you add heavy bowcases, well.

One of the members lives the other side of town to the sports centre, so he drives to practice, and then takes his car to the pub afterwards. Normally he takes a couple of people, and the rest of us walk, but then normally only I have a bowcase, and I don't mind the walk. This time it was different, there were 3 people with large bowcases for take-down bows, one longbow, and 2 others. Some people had been shopping over Christmas...

I didn't want to walk, as I was a bit tired. I also had a new bow for Christmas, and it's heavier than the last one. After a bit of barganning and negotiating, we decided that we could fit everyone and everything into the car. Which is a Seat Ibiza. (For people who know as much about cars as me, that means small. It's also blue).

Room for one more? Posted by Hello

After a little reorgansing of the fairly crowded boot, we manged to fit the 3 large cases in there. I'm still not sure how. Then me and 2 others bundled into the back seat along with the longbow and several bags from the boot. This left 2 people for the passenger seat.

Louise got in first, expecting Pete to sit on top of her, but he didn't seem to get this part of the plan. Instead he squeezed in beside her, which pushed her over on top of the handbrake. The driver could use the gear stick OK, but when we got to a rather nasty uphill junction, and he couldn't use the handbrake, the cursing started. Some nifty footwork later, and we trundled up the final part of the hill.

We got there in the end, but you'd think we'd have learned our lesson. No, not us. The conversation in the pub started off with a discussion of how we could fit another person and bow in the car with us. We have planned who would sit where based on this most recent trip, and come to the conclusion that one person would have to lie on the back seat on top of 3 others, with a bow case on top of them.

Next time, I think I might just walk.


The last few days have been tedious. I've mostly sat in front of a computer or been reading, with the exception of a trip to Makro with Tim yesterday. So today I decided to be a bit more productive, and put away the permanent washing. I always have a rack of washing in my room, which gets left until I need the rack to dry the latest load of washing, and then dry things get replaced with wet things. Normally, I'm just to lazy to put it all away.

Today I discovered something that, because of the permanent washing habit, I hadn't realised before. I have more underwear than will fit into my underwear drawer. And it's all still in good condition, so I have no old and torn garments that live at the back taking up room. I think I know why, it's new boyfriend syndrome running amok!

I'll explain. Whenever I have a new boyfriend, I go out and buy a few choice garments, something pretty normally, and throw away any old garments that are really past it. This generally happens maybe a couple of times in the first few months, or maybe one big shop, but I don't really feel the urge to do it again after the initial sparkle has worn off.

This is where the problem lies. We're up to six months now, and the sparkle is still sparkling. That's four months longer than normal that I've been buying new underwear. It's not a big problem really, other than space-wise, as I'm not spending a lot of money, and some of the things I have really needed. But there have been several times when I've spotted something pretty going really cheap and thought "Oooo, Tom would like that" and picked it up.

Of course the arrival of Christmas socks has accentuated the matter somewhat, I got 3 double packs from Mum this year. (All very comfy too, and some really quite apt). And now I'd like to point out that when I say Tom would like that, I mean like it on me, not like it for himself. Which would perhaps be a good point to end on.

The real reason for this post? I just wanted an excuse to say Knickers.

January 17, 2005

A Book Review

I spent most of yesterday evening reading Apathy And the Dodo by Simon Maslin.
I had also spent a good portion of the day before with my nose glued to the computer screen, thinking "just one more page!". So I thought it would be a good choice for my first book review, especially as I know the author, and so feel more inclined to push his work...

The book centres around Martin Dean, a guy in his late twenties, with a job in London that he hates. He is telling his story, but also the story of the town he grew up in, Cocksham, and the people who live there. They are a colourful bunch, particularly the ones who live on the Hills Road Estate, and a large part of the book regales their adventures and mishaps in their small town lives.

Dodo is written in quite an unusual style, and one I found refreshing. It is not a straight forward plot line, but an intermingling of anecdotes used to tell a story. There is a lot of introspection by the main character, and a lot of discussion of his opinions which wouldn't normally come into play in a book which is in essence a love story.

It's not easy to read, and if you're looking for something to take to the beach, then this is not for you. If, on the other hand, you looking for something that will make you think, surprise you at every turn, and still keep you glued to the page right to the end, then you might like to give it a try.

January 16, 2005


...To my shiny new blog!
Here i will be posting random scribbles, hopefully some of which will amuse you or provoke you to think. So to start us off, I'll introduce myself (after all, that's only polite).

Mostly, I do archery. Which may seem like a strange sentence, but is surprisingly true. After all, I shoot almost everyday, I spend all my spare cash on new equipment, and at the weekends, I jet off around the country in search of competitions and new people to beat. Well, try to beat anyway, I'm still working on the whole "being any good" part of the sport.

When I'm not playing with dangerous weapons, I'm likely to be attempting to research non-commutative algebra, or maths to those not in the know.

This blog won't be about maths or archery. They might get mentioned, as they are both substantial parts of my life, but mostly it will just be me talking about subjects that interest or amuse me, and telling stories that all my friends have already heard.

Beanbags in the shape of small frogs... Posted by Hello