Category Archives: rants

Pub singers

I, as a few of you already know, absolutely adore going to a karaoke, not just because I can sing (although I’ve been accused of this in the past) but because of the atmosphere a great karaoke can bring. It’s not all about THE BOOK and getting up, although having a cracking selection of songs is important, but it’s the KJ and the other punters who can make or break a night.

I’ve been to karaokes that had a great book and a brilliant selection of singers – but the KJ was useless, one in particular sticks out. She’d play about 3 songs in between getting people up and she never started on time which led to the crowd getting restless and in some cases a tad antsy when she then appeaerd to play favourites by getting the same three people up (me amongst them) over and over again leaving some not getting a chance at the mic at all.

You can’t play favourites at a karaoke, it’s not the done thing – I actually stopped going to that one because wheres the fun in having a sing and a laugh if you’re the only one doing it? Karaoke is not supposed to be about being a great singer, I actually hate it if only good singers get up because then it’s pretty boring – especially since most great singers only do one or two songs over and over ad nauseum.
There is an art and a talent to karaoke singing, you need to be a quick reader, you have to have pretty good relative pitch and above all else you need to enjoy it and not take things too seriously – who cares if there’s a bit of feedback or some static in your song, you’re not in a recording studio and you’re not auditioning for Simon Cowell (thank god!) You’re supposed to be on a night out with friends taking the micky out of yourself and having a laugh in the process.
That’s why I’ll do practically anything, rap/ blues/ oldies/ metal you name it and as long as it’s not something I personally love I’ll give it a go (you can’t in good conscience murder something you love – especially not in front of an audience) You need a good rotation of singers to build an atmosphere, if I feel that’s lacking in a night then I’ll at least try and keep the song selection eclectic!

I’ve found a fairly decent site that has a good karaoke venue search on it – sadly it doesn’t have many in my area – I may have to submit a few for them. I just wish there was a decent karaoke social scene up here. I used to belong to a forum mainly populated by londoners and I met some really cool people on there, sadly London is a little far for me to go for a night out so I’m stuck here.
Trying to find lasses to go to a karaoke with in manchester is not the easiest of tasks I can assure you. When I lived closer to the city centre I used to go out by myself and just meet up with whoever happened to be out – after a while if you become a regular you get to know other regulars. Sadly it’s been a long time since I was a regular patron of anywhere so I’ve kinda lost contact with a lot of people and these days I’m not confident enough to go out on my own.. It’s a bit of a pisser to be honest.

I still love heading out for a night of song and laughter, unfortunately the opportunities to do so are few and far between. Stef will come with me, but I know he’s only there because he loves me – karaoke is only fun if you’re with like-minded people and Stef, easy going and great company though he is, is not a karaoke lover.

Perhaps I should resort to advertising in the paper? *grin* Or better yet, move down south where I can bully my best mate into meeting me once a week for a sing song with the aforementioned forum inhabitants.

It’s been over a month since I had a sing and I’m getting withdrawels to the point of considering sitting in the bull this evening by myself – except I know I wont, I’m too much of a pansy to sit in a corner like a Billy by myself, I’d probably consider it more if I didn’t know some people in there, but there’s awkwardness between me and one of the staff and sitting alone when I don’t know anyone is preferable to sitting alone and having people I know gossip about me behind my back..

Bit of a whinge.

I found this quite amusing, according to them next door, the wanker downstairs seems to think that we are responsible for his door getting the boot the other week.

The reason I find it so amusing is that if we had been responsible, his Dolly Parton CD would have been the first thing to go – there would have been many little pieces scattered across the floor beneath the wreck of what was once his stereo.

Sadly, the music playing all day upon his return is enough to attest to our innocence *sigh* What amazes me though is that he’s told our other neighbours that his stereo went missing so I’d love to know what he was playing that bloody CD on the day before he called the police round.. Anyone else smell a con job going on?
We actually saw him yesterday as we were walking up to the bottle bank, not a word was exchanged on either side and he couldn’t meet my eyes as I watched him walking towards and then past us.

But, no matter. He’s beneath notice, I should really stop wasting thought and blogspace on him. I don’t know why I let the whole situation get to me so much. I hate being here, and yet there’s no real reason why I should – apart from the music and ‘that night‘ we never have anything to do with him. The other neighbours all keep to themselves and apart from the space issue this is a relatively nice flat.
We’re close to all amenities and decent transport links, there are a couple of people I like that live not too far away and I’ve got karaoke close by on the rare occasions I fancy it.
Yet I still hate being here, I want to move so badly it hurts, I try not to think about it but, because I’m so stressed out at the uncertainty of how long I’m going to be trapped here, I can’t get to sleep (when I do I have nightmares) and I have no interest in keeping the place nice, I make suggestions and look at ways to improve it but my heart’s not in it at all – the worst part of it is, is that I know I don’t have any logical reason for feeling this way.

I just want out.

Aaaanyway, moving on..

I went to the library this morning to pick up some more Christopher Brookmyre books, I was quite impressed with his ‘All fun and games until somebody loses an eye‘ so much so that I can’t wait to crack on with the three others I checked out this morning, if only there was somewhere pleasant around here to go sit out with a book, seems a shame to waste this glorious weather on the net.

Happy England

A belated St Georges day to you all – I received a politically incorrect text this morning that made me chuckle:

May the Morris men of England fill your anglo-saxon heart with joy.
Happy St. Georges day. This txt not available in punjabi, urdu, hindi, polish, german, french or any other fuckin immigrant tongue.
God save the Queen!

I know, foul language not really necessary but I found it mildly amusing because the governments need to send out letters with translations in every language going irritates me.
Save the tree’s! Make ’em learn the language of the country in which they’ve chosen to live instead!
If I moved to another country I’d make a concerted effort to learn to speak the language and I don’t see why those coming here and living off the taxes of the natives cannot make the effort to do the same.
It’s not a lot to ask is it?
They don’t have to become protestants (even though that is the national religion) they don’t even have to SPEAK English at all times, but they should at the very least learn to read it and speak it well enough to be understood. It would be nice if they could also abide by the laws of the land instead of our government allowing the English identity to be slowly eroded away into rampant multi-culturalism leaving only the football fans and lager louts to represent us across the world.

It’s a sad fact that I no longer like being British. When I see the flag it doesn’t stir up any national pride – I just feel shame. Shame because the image it evokes is of skin headed thugs and drunken idiots. The union jack is not quite as evocotive for me, but it’s not far behind.
This is the reason I can’t get behind any of our sporting events, I don’t want to support anything to do with this country, I feel let down and ashamed by our government and the majority of the people it represents.

This isn’t England anymore, it’s some kind of weird hybrid that’s gathered together the dregs of every other nation and allowed them to simmer into a culture of drink and violence that’s abhored only marginally less than the warmongering Americans the world over.

I know there are many people about who would say “What are you talking about? The English had no identity to lose” Yes, they may be right to some extent, but the England I remember from only 20 years ago is a vastly different England to the one I see now.

I know I’m looking back through the somewhat hazy view of childhood, but I remember the street parties and the sense of community spirit that used to exist, I remember how the neighbourhood kids would go out and play together and few of the parents worried, there was no fear that a gang of kids would meet up late at night another gang and come to blows, kids were in bed late at night, or at home doing homework or sitting with their families. Stabbings or shootings only happened in America, any over here were BIG news, not seemingly every day occurrences and I don’t seem to remember any teenagers wandering around with a baby unless it was a sibling.

Why has all that changed? What has happened to England? More importantly – why does nobody seem to care?

Back to work

I went to the jobcentre plus this morning for my appointment with the DEA adviser, she’s a lovely lass but it was a bit of a wasted trip because the computer system was down and there was not a lot she could tell me without it.
Story of my life that, I’m beginning to think someone somewhere really doesn’t want me working. I asked for the appointment over a month ago *sigh* figures..
I’ve been in the position a few times over the last three years of feeling fit enough to re-enter the rat race and then I’ve fallen flat on my face with a full on relapse so the jobsearch plans were shelved.
This time I decided that, rather than wait around until I feel well enough to find a job, I’ll go in anyway, tell ’em my limitations and get them to find a job that works around me instead of vice versa.

I’m to go back in 2 weeks and hopefully by then the system will be updated and working so she can offer me a little more than a couple of leaflets.

Meh, never mind eh?! On the plus side I was out of the house when the police came around. Apparantly wanker downstairs did have some things stolen (just not the stereo sadly *sniff* why couldn’t they have taken away the Dolly Parton cd?!) he got drunk as a skunk and called it in, no idea why he didn’t do it yesterday when he got back with his friend but it seems the theft has messed with his head slightly.

If he wasn’t such an inconsiderate moron that had called in a couple of thugs to kick my front door in I’d feel quite sorry for him – true pity as opposed to empathy of course, I like to think of myself as a ‘nice’ person but can’t fully empathise with that level of ‘pathetic’.
There is something seriously wrong with him, it’s like he’s on a constant hair trigger waiting to explode. I don’t know any real drug addicts or alcoholics so I couldn’t say if his behaviour is typical, but he should not be allowed out in public that’s for sure.

To quote our friendly PC “the guy’s a loon”

(and I don’t mean that as a slur on you canucks K, over here a loon is someone that’s really ‘not all there’ mentally)

WTF?!

Very odd happenings around here.

Our neighbour appears to have vanished. We heard a load of banging last night but ignored it – he’s always banging doors, we’ve remarked a number of times on the hardiness of them the way he slams about.
Since we’re just ignoring him after the incidents mentioned in that there link we thought nothing of it and heaved a sigh of relief when it stopped, since it then went quiet we settled in to watch a film and thought no more of it.

I went shopping earlier, when i came back I saw his door was wide open, Stef went down a few minutes ago to the car and when he came back in told me I should really call the police as the door has actually been kicked in, there’s post all over the floor, a light is on but there’s no answer. We don’t want to go in and check it out for obvious reasons, but the police will take a while to get here since it’s saturday night and they’re a tad busy.
Is it bad that a part of me hopes he’s not coming back? He’s caused me more stress these last few months than anything else, I’d not wish harm to the guy but I’d be much happier if he was living elsewhere!

That aside, i’ve spent most of teh day on the instructables site looking for ideas on maximising storage in this flat, it’s simply not big enough for 2 people to live comfortably and we’re obviously going nowhere for the forseeable future so I want to improve my living space as much as possible.

The plan is to get rid of my current kingsize bed and make a double loft bed instead, that way I can shift the computer desk etc into the bedroom giving us back half of the front room (which means we could possibly get a small table so I can finally do my jigsaws, or we could get some more seating in, or more shelving/ cupboard space..) Basically there’d be more space, you get the picture.

I was also thinking of ways to store my jewellery. At present I have a drawer full of boxes, all of which are crammed full of chains, bracelets and earrings (sadly nothing of any worth but it’s all pretty) it’s not good for the jewellery and not good for the wasted drawer space. I’m thinking of getting a plain bit of fabric and framing it, wall art and jewellery hanger in one – I may even just use an old sheet/ pillow case for the project, I could get all technical and light box it etc etc but I’m not that bothered – besides, it’s not a permanent solution, we will move some day and then I’ll find a more elegant way of storing my shinys.

In the meantime, I just want the police to get here so we can find out whats going on with downstairs, I may really dislike the guy but I’d still like to know he’s not lying in a pool of his own blood beneath my bedroom!

***Update***

Policeman came around, asked us if we knew what had happened (obviously we don’t or we wouldn’t be trying to get the skinny offa him) looked very puzzled because the door has obviously been off all day and no one has said a peep until we called it in, the tv and everything is still there, no obvious sign of a struggle, no sign of the tenant.. Most odd.

I reckon he’s done it himself. He’s always slamming the door, I bet he came home pissed up and kicked it in because he couldn’t find his key, crashed out and left this morning to get someone to help him fix it..
Or maybe he’s been kidnapped by thugs to whom he owes a vast sum of cash (wouldn’t surprise me) or perhaps he went away and told some other thugs to come and kick in our door again and they got the address wrong.. Meh, who knows – I just hope we get some peace and quiet until he comes back

*ahem* *points at calendar*

Yes, yes.. I know it’s shallow (as Stef made a point of telling me when he started reading over my shoulder) but the day in which we celebrate the arrival of my squalling, blood and mucal covered self into this world is close at hand.
I know, you already knew this, (I can see you checking that diary Claire..) but this post is not aimed at you, this post is a request to the odd family member who sneaks a peak occasionally:

Don’t mither me with requests for present ideas this year – it bugs me.

As I’m 31 this time around, if you haven’t figured out by now that the easiest way to bring a smile to my face is book tokens then you have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that I talk to myself (because we have had this conversation at least twice a year since you were old enough to figure out the gift giving thing and every single time I practically scream the words ‘book tokens’ at you – so far only Kenneth seems to ‘get it’)

Tell ya what, I’ve made it really easy for you by organising my amazon wishlist (and please avoid commenting, I have my reasons for choosing the things I do) and the fact that you have until May 13th to get it sorted (see, I’m timely with my reminders) means you don’t even have to do anything about it now, just click that link and be overwhelmed at my taste in crap – it’s even sorted into priority, the things I want most are labelled ‘highest’ so it may be best if you sort by priority when deciding which of the ‘crap’ to buy for your beloved sister. (Yes Rob, that’s aimed at you – pass it on to Richard wouldja?)

Now to the meat of the post for anyone not expected to gift me with random crap. (that’s most of you)

Actually, I’ve had some incredibly thoughtful presents over the years, the unexpected ones are always best. (not a hint I hasten to add)
There was the T-shirt Matthew Garside made me for my 21st way back when I was into unicorns in a BIG way (think Kate in Dodgeball, my whole room was a shrine to the horned beast) I’ve still got it and I still wear it, though it’s now faded and a little on the ‘worn’ side, see for yourself:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

My brother Kenneth probably comes up tops though. He’s always been the thoughtful kind (for me at any rate, not sure what his girlfriend thinks) even when I moved away from home and had infrequent contact with them he somehow knew the perfect thing to buy me to put a smile on my face, I still have the mini Djembe he bought when I wasn’t aware he knew I was learning to play the drums and he clocked onto the book token thing early on.
But the absolute best thing he ever bought me was Storm, my teddy bear:

My beloved bear

Mum said he dragged her all round Daventry looking for the perfect bear for my 18th birthday, he wouldn’t be dissuaded from the idea even though she kept telling him I was too old for that kind of thing. Since he was only 10 years old at the time it makes it even more special (I’m tearing up just thinking about it – man I’m such a sap!)

The back story is that when he was about 6 or 7 we’d had a conversation about favourite toys and how sometimes when they break they need to be disposed of, I’d told him this story:
I was (and still am) a tad bitter about one particular toy, my teddy bear.
To me that brown and white teddy bear was not just a toy, it was my friend. It was the thing I cried into when I was upset, it was the thing I hugged when I was happy, I read to it, played with it, told it all of my secrets and beat up on it when there was nothing else to take out my anger on.
It rarely left my room but it was always there when I needed a shoulder – and kids need shoulders a lot, I spent a lot of time in my room with that bear, it was like another part of me.

Anyway, as kids do, I got sick. I threw up everywhere – including all over my bear, mum came in and said it would have to go, it was too dirty to keep, I begged and begged her to change her mind but she was adamant – in the morning it was going.
So I waited until she went downstairs and spent the rest of the night creeping back and forth between my room and the bathroom carrying handfulls of water with which to clean my bear, using an old pen knife I scraped and scraped until I thought it was almost clean again then I fell asleep.
It was no good, in the morning when mum was stripping the bed I was called to the foot of the stairs and my bear was thrown down at me with the instruction to ‘put it in the dustbin NOW‘ I don’t know why I thought she’d notice all my effort and hard work and tell me everything was ok and it could stay – but that’s the mind of a child for you. To the adult that was my mother it would be too much effort to clean the thing so it was going in the bin.

I think I cried for about 2 days. It’s daft to still feel upset about it over 20 years later, but I really loved that bear and she made me throw it out myself – I felt like I’d betrayed my best friend.
Anyhow, Kenneth remembered the story and decided the best thing he could get me was a new bear, I still love it to bits and every time I hug my storm I think of Kenneth and that thoughtfulness, it never ceases to cheer me up or bring a tear to my eye – even now 13 years later.

Couldn’t have said it better myself

This letter says everything you need to know about ME/CFS

This portion I personally can relate to so much, it describes my problems perfectly:

He is hard to talk to sometimes because he forgets what he was saying in the middle of saying it, and cannot get it back. He cannot remember what the right word is to explain something, He mixes up words in his speech and sounds like he is backing talkwards. This may be funny on some occasions and we will laugh, because there is nothing else you can do, but it is very frustrating and he often says he feels “retarded and stupid” when this is all out of control.

and this part says it all:

They see him fiddling around with computers and wonder why he cannot or “will not” get a job. No one would take him for employment if he said: “Yes I can do the work, but what used to take me a few hours now takes me a few days, and I cannot guarantee you that I will even be able to do it without making mistakes, because my hands do not do what my brain tells them to do, and I could possibly fry your computer hardware accidentally and cost your company hundreds of dollars…oh and I have cognitive thinking problems so I may need someone to remind me constantly about what I am doing, because I can forget how to fry eggs at home, let alone remember what windows update/system restore/hardware instillation I was supposed to do next.”

To my brother who constantly calls me a lazy malingerer, to the people who keep telling me to ‘just push though it’ I wish I could make those people read this letter – but they won’t their minds are made up – and besides, I’m nothing like this man, they’d just see the parts where he is worse off than I am and so while they may make allowances for someone like him, I’m just lazy.

But to be honest I’m past caring, yes, it still hurts that I know people think that of me, but I know I’m trying as do the people who truly care for me so screw ’em.

Roll on seeing this back to work person, hopefully she can help me find something that won’t be affected by my difficulties.

In happier news, I only had one crash this weekend and I’m about to go shopping with la famiglia in Watford, this makes me a happy bunny, yesterday I ate my bodyweight in good food, played lawn bowls and generally had a good time – I even got to watch Kyle XY while everyone else was outside laughing it up at the music wars going on in all the gardens (it was just too loud out there for me, I couldn’t concentrate on anything and the strain of trying to was giving me a stinker of a headache.)

Right, Stef wants the pc so I’d best shift and get some breakfast – yey for food! it is truly the best invention ever, I could almost follow the beliefs of those around me and say ‘thanks be to god’ for it.. Lets just say, I’m open to the suggestion of a higher being.

Juuuuust great.

Ok, so I got a crime number from the police, the joiners came around and temporarily fitted a new lock and made an interim repair to the front door, we’ve a new one on order but for now I’m not leaving the place empty until it’s been fitted, no matter how secure they say the repair is.

The whole thing was just so random. I know we’ve been making noises about what we’d like to do to the guy, he’s been annoying the hell out of us for months after all, but if we were really going to follow through on the talk he’d have been in hospital months ago.
All Stef and Ian did last night was bang on the door and windows until he answered (normally he just ignores the door but they refused to give up) When he finally did open up Ian goes to him “Don’t you think that’s a bit loud mate?’ to which he responded “no I don’t actually” and slammed the door, so they started knocking again, the music got louder, then I heard shouting, then the music stopped and the lads came back upstairs.

10 minutes later the music started again, we just looked at each other and laughed in disbelief and I came straight online to write a complaint email to the housing people.
I’d just sent it when we heard his door banging downstairs, then a few minutes later there came a knock at my door. I assumed it was the police because the lads had really made a row banging on his door before and there was no one else it could possibly be at that time of night (it being incredibly unlikely that he’d come round to apologise) and that’s when it all kicked off.

I still can’t believe it escalated to that level, he’s not right in the head that guy.
Sadly the police couldn’t arrest him because although he does own a rounders bat it was too short to match my description of the weapon used by the 2 balaclavad assailants, there was no evidence to link him to the attack – but there is just nothing else it could be about, it happened too soon after the lads went down about the noise to be anything else.
Mind you – even the copper said the guy’s a loon – apparantly he was running around the flat downstairs while they were trying to talk to him, the poor officer charged with the task of taking his statement had resorted to chasing after him saying ‘please come and sit down’.

If you feel threatened in some way you call the police, you do not call a couple of guys with a slab of wood to go calling on someone for you. That’s the kind of thing that happens in a bad soap opera.

I told you, my life could keep Jerry Springer in storylines for years!

Hows this for live blogging

I’ve just had my front door kicked in by the police.

Why?

Because Stef and Ian went downstaits before to get that TWAT to turn his music down (at gone 1am) so I could go to bed and sleep.
20 minutes later the front door goes, I go down, 2 lads in balaclavas with a large piece of wood (possibly a bat) are stood there demanding to know where my boyfriend was. I just said fuuck that and slammed the door, managed to turn the lock before they got to it, and hoofed it up to the phone and 999.

Whilst stef and Ian are trying to get the door open because it stuck after the outside assailants attacked it (my fault for turning the lock) I’m sat waiting for the police to arrive. They do within 10 minutes of making the call, by which time there is no sign of the lads and we’re still stuck in the house.

I now need a crime number because the police had to kick the door in to let us out, it’s kindling.

On the plus side, it turned out to be a damned sight sturdier than I’d expected – it stood up to repeated batterings from 2 lads, Ian going at it with a hammer from the inside after they’d gone and 3 or 4 hefty kicks from the copper on the scene to get it open.

opps, statement time. will update later.

Popularity contests

It seems life does come full circle – even when it’s a virtual life.

I’m blaming Master K for this of course, he talked me into joining the twitter thing which in turn had me noticing a few other people on there, this in turn had me checking their blogs – which then had me link travelling.

All of which has led me back to Technorati Profile.

When my whittery stuff was hosted on blogger I had a technorati profile, I was on the ecosystem, blogexplosion and blogclicker.. Everything under the sun that could give me a little warm glowing feeling when people clicked through – I then got sick of the whole thing and stuck to just my statcounter because that gave me useful information – like browsers and screen resolutions.

Now I’m back to needing a little glow again.

Kay called last night to cancel going out, I had no problem with that, after all I’ve cancelled on her enough times. But last night I really wanted out of the flat for a bit, so I turned to my phone.

It’s really depressing when you realise you have no one to call.

I used to have a contact list so large it was a joke, now I only know 2 people I can call to go and do things with, and one of those has vanished off the face of the planet. It’s amazing how your life changes isn’t it? Is it just because of this damned illness or does this happen to everyone the older you get?

You move somewhere or for whatever reason are not as accessable as you once were and the people around you slowly drift away one after the other – I have friends I can call to talk to, I have the internet which is even better because on there I have dozens of people I can talk to – but sometimes you want a little face to face interaction, and most of the people I enjoy that with the most live too far away.

Which is why last night I re-entered the faceparty zone. Yes, I know.. desperate times and all that.
But I had a lot of success meeting people on there back in the day, I even met the love of my life on there – which was nice 😉

I had a ganders on lookitsme first (which co-incidentally has THE best 404 on the web) but everyone on there seems to be from ‘darn sarf’ which sucks, if I lived down south I’d have my best mate and a dozen or so karaoke peeps to meet up with which would negate the need for such drastic measures!

*sigh* ah well, gives me something to blog about I guess *grin*

PC love

Mother in law wisdom

My MiL made an interesting observation actually, not about cfs/me etc but about the mindset of people these days.

Life is basically a struggle, you do the best you can with what you have – that’s the way its always been, at least until the last generation.

People these days just want everything handed to them, they don’t want to work for what they get – and it’s all about possessions, instead of giving up the dvd players and the home cinema systems/ designer clothes and shoes, ultra funky mobile phones and takeaway dinners, there are people who will stay on benefits as long as possible because it’s more money than actually working for a living and that means they can buy all these things – self respect is no longer about providing for yourself, it’s about owning the most stuff.

I don’t have that mentality, i’m not arsed about my possessions, I just want to know I can pay my own way as far as the household bills go, if we have kids then sure i’ll be a kept woman, i’m happy to be a stay at home mum, but until that point – I need to assuage my pride and get fit enough to contribute fully to our lives together.

If I thought there was any way I could hold down a job I would – as would all of you who are in my position, yet there are people out there with no health problems at all who insist that a cleaning job is beneath them.
My grandad is 2 years off retirement, he was made redundant last year from the place he worked the last 20 years of his life as the company went bust, he’s since had 4 different jobs and has settled in as a gopher for an accountancy firm. It’ll kill him when he’s forced to leave because of age.

What’s happened to this country? I blame the government.

No really, it’s their fault that people have turned into money grubbing scum who don’t care to work for a living.

Everyone seems to think they’re ‘entitled’ that because they exist they can have a house and money for food and bills for free – that quality of life is all about having the most dvds, the latest games console and games, the right haircut, getting your nails done.. It’s not.

Quality of life is about having a little time for yourself outside work, people around you who stimulate your mind and maybe a hobby or pastime that fills your life with pleasure.

Basic human rights are a roof over your head and food in your belly without fear of hurt or harm from others.

Sadly, this government have turned the people against them so far that the usual cry is ‘screw them for what you can – you deserve it’ the only problem with that is the people are not harming the government, they are harming themselves.

If everyone who was physically and metally fit for work took on any job then it would free up billions of pounds for the government to use on the things we deem important, the only problem is nobody trusts them to do so and since you can get more money on benefits than you can by working – why spend your time working if you can use it to drink, play video games and watch dvds? Especially if it means the government are paying for it.

Lets face it, if you work they take all the things you work for away in taxes.
Your wage is taxed, your savings are taxed (which basically means your wage is being taxed twice) everything you buy has tax on it – so again, your wages are being taxed, you have a car whoops.. Road tax, you live somewhere.. Whoops.. Council tax.

So if you live on unemployment benefit you don’t have to pay rent or council tax, you may not have to pay for prescriptions. You’re not wasting your money on taxes the government fritter away on overseas aid, a ‘war on terror’ and turning our country into something unrecognisable as such. All it means is the food you buy, the road tax you pay, the petrol you use, the drink you consume.. It’s all paying for your benefits so in effect you’re just paying for yourself by claiming.

Is it any wonder people don’t care to work if they don’t have to.

*sigh* So why am I so desperate to get back into the trap of the tax payer? I think it’s because I’m not of the ‘screw them for everything you can’ mentality, i’m a throwback to the ‘pride before possessions’ mentality that my granddad typifies – and to be honest, I’m happier to be so.

If you can’t have pride in providing for yourself and your family, how can you have pride in anything else? This is why I blame the government for the state of affairs in this country, they’ve mismanaged things so badly that on the whole, nobody understands what you should actually take pride in any more – it’s not about fancy cars, the best brand name trainers or the coolest mobile phone – it’s in taking responsibility for yourself and working the shitty job so you can put food on YOUR table.

Sci-fi or fantasy?

I’ve just realised, I read Jamies blog a lot.

You know what made me realise this? the amount of blog posts I’ve written inspired by some comment or post of hers, for example I started keeping a list off all the books I read last year because of something she said about her man.. It’s kind of amazing how much impact a complete stranger can have on your thoughts isn’t it?

The thing is, she’s lately started a whole load of trouble with her ‘sci-fi sux‘ post and I can see why. It’s a genre that encompasses a whole host of themes within the term ‘science fiction’ some people like it because of the absurdity (think Harry Harrisons the technicolor time machine) Others like it for the moral quandries and the character interaction (think Orson Scott card, specifically the Ender series and the follow up ‘shadow’ series) and others like it for the complexity of weaving the ‘now’ into the ‘later’, to see how things once thought possible only within the realms of this genre can become reality in the years to come – look at the work in cybernetics and cloning, technology is a marvellous and frightening thing in its own right here in the ‘real’ world, in the literary world these frightening leaps of technology can be discussed at length, projections of the effects both mental and physical on the population are bandied around and often discussed at length in forums around the world – Sci-fi to my mind does not ‘suck the big one’ purely because it’s too broad a genre to class in such a way – It’s like saying ‘religion sucks the big one’

Something that creates so much discussion and diversity cannot ‘suck’ portions of it cand be deemed so, from a purely personal point of view, but as a whole I think not.

You tend to think of the people who read sci-fi as ‘nerds’ that’s simply not true, I’ve found that the people who read sci-fi tend to be much greater thinkers than those who don’t, this does not make them nerds as such, it just means they have an imagination to go with all that intelligence. I’m not saying that you need to be a sci-fi lover to be a great thinker – far from it, my man is incredibly intelligent, he just doesn’t like sci-fi because the things that get his juices flowing have to be based on reality, he’s not a fan of fiction in general and cannot understand my love for this type of thing.

The thing is, both the fantasy and sci-fi genres are what moulded my personality, from an early age I was an avid bookworm. I had no real role models at home and so I learned right and wrong from these books, I wanted to be Alanna of Trebond, I wanted to adhere to the principles of good as described in the books I devoured from morning to night – I needed to believe that anyone could better themselves no matter their lowly beginnings – and not just in a material sense!

Fantasy books were great, they fulfilled my craving for some beauty and magic in the ugly world around me, but Sci-fi.. Those books opened my eyes to what the world around me could become.
Yes, I’m still more easily drawn to the worlds of myth and magic because they are an ever changing landscape of wonder, I know they can be incredibly similar in theme, but that’s quite comforting and is a good lesson to learn young, that the more things change the more they stay the same. But Sci-fi tends to lend itself more easily to questions of politics and morality, these stretch your mind and allow you to question the world, they are not merely fiction, they are an ever evolving discussion on the whys and wherefores of what we, as humans, are and will be.

Shitter of a day.

I’d set my alarm for 10am, just to make sure I was up and ready for this medical assessment, sadly I was just too knackered so I shuffled the alarm up to 12pm and went back to sleep.
We went off to Albert bridge house where the ordeal was to take place. Stef dropped me off at the gate and went to park the car so I wouldn’t have miles to walk – I think I should just have gone with him and done the walking because I was called straight through to see the doctor without my moral support.

The assessment was just hellish, this wizened little old indian man who i at first had trouble understanding just asked me a tonne of the same questions that were on my form and just kept responding to my answers with the words ‘thats correct’. I stupidly burst into tears again – it’s embarrassingly simple to reduce me to tears these days, all i have to do is think about my life – and it’s not even all that bad in the grand scheme of things!
I tried explaining the tears were a combination of embarrassment and frustration but I got the distinct impression he just thought I was turning them on for the sympathy vote – if only!

It kind of went downhill from there really. The physical examination commenced, he called through to the front office for a female chaperone and this 18 year old lass walks in, looks like a model and has the sneer down pat – Ok, so she wasn’t sneering, but I felt incredibly uncomfortable because i felt as though she was thinking the same as the doc, I hate feeling that people disbelieve me, especially when i’m not even exaggerating anything – if anything I probably left a lot out because I feel totally cowed when in front of a doctor.

Anyway, once that was over with he starts to write up his notes and ask me a few more questions, I’m starting to feel quite knackered again so ask him if it will take much longer, he lets me go and i go out to meet stef who drags me straight over to a cafe for food and a drink.

It was basically an incredibly draining session, i was trying to explain and justify myself to someone who I felt was predisposed to treat everything i said as a big fat lie – which is probably why I reacted so badly this evening.

Despite still feeling incredibly crappy i went to rehearsal, we’ve had a few issues in teh band lately and tonight was supposed to resolve ’em. Those issues were resolved and the rehearsal commenced. By 8.30 I’d had enough and needed to lie down.

I went through another song and just said I felt I should really head off because I hadn’t really had enough rest today to cope with the rehearsal – which is when the new drummer piped up.

I like to think that i’m being overly sensitive when it felt like he was being deliberately hurtful, I get the feeling he doesn’t really think that much of me or even like me as a person – but hey! i’m an emotional wreck at the moment so it’s probably nothing.
but after the day I’ve had today to be made to feel as though i’m useless and  ‘a sick note’ as well as an attack on my ability to see through a gig when i could barely stand up for 5 minutes in rehearsal.. I just packed up my bag and left.

On the way home I’d basically decided to just leave the band, lets face it – he’s right. It’s been my concern from day one – so what if he’s only seen me 3 times in the space of 2 weeks (and i’m still in the grip of an ear and throat infection so his observation of ‘theres always something wrong with you’ is a valid one) But Stef told me not to be daft and make a decision like that when i’m feeling this down, I should sit on it and keep up with them.

I just don’t know. Right now i’m miserable as sin, the move to Liverpool is off which means I’m stuck here with the wanker downstairs, I’m pretty much convinced that this doctor will say I don’t fulfill any criteria for receiving benefits which means I’m going to have to try and find employment that won’t send me straight back to the level I was three years ago – which is just not going to happen, if i could i’d already be working there and not trying to claim benefits in the first place!

Like Stef said, i can have a life with this illness but it makes me unemployable, who is going to offer me a job knowing I could have a relapse at any time? who could employ me for one or 2 days a week and pay me enough to live on for that amount of time?

It’s impossible.

Then to top it off the [insert insult of choice here] drummer has to go and make me feel even worse.
Tonight I really do feel as though there’s just no point staying with the band, I am always ill, I can’tguarantee I’ll be fit for a gig, I can try but all it takes is one little thing to knock me off kilter and i’m straight back in bed sobbing my little heart out in frustration – not really reliable eh?

You see it was alright before, the guys knew where I stood, they knew from day one this was the deal with me, but now.. I’m just fed up. i’m sick of trying to explain, to justify myself, i’m sick of making excuses and most of all i’m sick of people judging me unfairly because they just don’t understand.

I’m in pain, I’ve felt sick with nerves all day, my head has been pounding and my mood.. Well, I guess this post explains my mood.

*sigh* I’m just gonna go watch a film and have a cuddle. Hopefully things will seem better in the morning.

A day in the life..

I wake up, distinct lack of enthusiasm for moving from the bed to the bathroom despite an insistant nagging from my bladder. I lie there almost dozing for a couple of hours, halfheartedly trying to convince myself it’d be a good idea to get out of bed – I know if I really push myself I can move but it all just seems like too much effort for no good reason.

I play over my options in my mind: I could watch tv, check my mail, read a book, do some beading.. Nope, the most attractive of those options is reading my mail – but since I know all i’ll have are support group messages or spam, that can wait as well.
It’s a hell of a life this illness gives you.

Today instead of deliberating between dvds and the pc I lay in bed going over all the things I need to get across to this medical assessor tomorrow. It’s depressed me even more than usual *sniff* this is why I try not to think about it if I can help it, I get miserable.
I need to tell him about the aches and pains, the confusion, the conversational difficulties, the exhaustion, the fact that all of the above leave me depressed and unmotivated. Every time I feel well enough to start looking for a job, to better myself and try digging a way out of this financial hellhole, I come down with something new that saps my hard earned energy and sucks me back down into this boredom infested half life.
And what does my specialist have to say about all this? “you’ve completed all the treatments we have on offer, i’m sorry there’s nothing more we can do for you”.

Is it any wonder i’m depressed?

Basically I’ve been left to rot by the medical profession, according to the CBT discharge letter I’m “sophisticated enough in my understanding of the illness to self treat” which basically means I can manage my condition and learn to live as full a life as possible within the boundaries of it’s limitations – by myself.

It doesn’t mean “you’re cured” it doesn’t mean “this treatment has had no discernable effect so you need to try something else” it means “we’ve done our bit, it didn’t work so we’re washing our hands of you”.

And the worst part of it is, I still look normal! When I do go out and about I look like any other normal healthy lass of working age, no wonder the benefits agency treat me like a malingering con artist.

The thing is – if it wasn’t for Stef I doubt I’d look half as good, I certainly wouldn’t have the energy levels I do. He cooks for me, he nags at me to eat and drink and reminds me to take my supplements, he drags me out of bed if necessary and reminds me of things that need doing – he’s the reason I take any care over my appearence, I want to look good for him.
He’s my sole reason for getting up of a day – without his nagging, cajoling and loving presence i’d be in bed all the time and i’d stink.

I just wish I knew what it is about me that makes him bother.

Meh – i’m feeling sorry for myself again, time to stop thinking about this thing and worrying about losing my sorry excuse of an income and do something constructive, this place hasn’t been cleaned in weeks, I haven’t eaten and i’m sure the love of my life would like a cuppa, I may never finish a task but at least I can use a good day like today to start a few.
I’ll blame the miserable weather for my miserable mood – and I’m sure if I check a calendar I can work in a nod to the pms demon as well, not sleeping well also has it’s place and.. well, whatever the cause I need to crank up the tunes and dustbust my way out of it.
Or at least try..

This is just sick.

I received this the other day from a trusted source and I assure you it’s not a joke.

Dear All,

I would like to bring to your attention a terrible incident which happened to me on Friday 2nd February 2007 at approximately 18.05. I had left work (8 King Street, Manchester) and I proceeded up King St. There were plenty of people around finishing work for the weekend and about half way up King Street (outside The White Company) a woman had come out of the walk through from St Ann’s Square and said to me she was having a terrible day as she had just found her husband in bed with another woman. I thought it was strange that she would tell a complete stranger this information so I carried on walking. She then stopped me and asked for 32 pence to catch the bus home.

I was immediately suspicious of the situation as I would imagine a bus to anywhere would be more than 32 pence and she wasn’t the stereotypical person that normally asks you for change for the bus. She was clean, well dressed and well spoken. She also had a handbag. Feeling uncomfortable with the situation I agreed to give her some change, just so I could get away as promptly as possible. I gave her what change I had which was approximately 80 pence. She then said she was grateful and she’d send me £20 back. I thought she was going to ask for my address (which I wouldn’t have given) but she didn’t. She said thank you and squeezed my arm as a token of appreciation. As she walked away she dropped some of the money & didn’t retrieve it which certainly aroused suspicions; if she didn’t need the money why did she stop me?
I proceeded up King St towards Cross Street but realised something was wrong. My left hand side had gone completely numb and my arm went into a spasm. I knew she had done something to me when she touched my arm. I needed to tell someone quickly what had happened as I assumed in a few seconds I would be unconscious and what I assume would be her accomplice would be waiting for me to be completely helpless and do the unthinkable to me. I managed to get my phone out of pocket and just pressed last number re-dial. At the same time I stopped a lady and realised I sounded stupid at what I was saying but she could also hear me on the phone so she realised I was genuine. I started to lose the power of speech. She stayed with me and we got to Bootle Street police station.

My arm was hurting but whatever I was injected with couldn’t have penetrated completely so I got the feeling back about 10 minutes later. The fact it had a coat, suit jacket and blouse to get through must’ve saved me. I had the smallest scratch mark on my arm, there is an identical one on my coat and suit jacket.

It will probably be impossible to tell what I was injected with, and although I still await the results of blood tests they are only checking for diseases I may have been given. The police are confident it will be caught on CCTV and I await father information in that regard.

The reason for sending this e-mail is to please ask you to warn EVERYONE you know, not just women but men too and ask them to tell girlfriends, wives, sisters & mothers. The message needs to get through to be extra vigilant. I was one of the lucky ones (blood results pending) and if I can make people aware of these people then I’d like to think it can make a difference.

Thank you.

Leo.

I know in the past there have been groups of shoplifters who arm themselves with needles in case they get caught – our old security guard got stabbed with one when I worked at the warner brothers store in the Arndale centre (many moons ago) he was lucky; it was clean.
Sadly I heard later that one of his colleagues was not so lucky and contracted HIV.

Just further proof that people suck.