Heading home

I think there can be few things as comparable to a needle-drop sound effect as being in a local Greggs with the girlfriend after dropping little man to school and receiving a message on our group chat basically saying: don’t worry, I’ve been in a car accident, I’m okay, will probably be home when you get in.

That was this morning. Lady M was rear-ended on the M25 when she had to brake due to the person in front of her driving erratically and recklessly. She’s back from A&E now with a diagnosis of whiplash and shock and I’ve told her to not even consider logging in remotely to work. She’s otherwise okay – aside from the toe she broke the other day when she tried to walk through a wall into the kitchen.

Because there’s literally nothing I can do about it, or to help, I’ve not dropped everything; and have waited for my previously booked train to take me home. I’m now on the way for the next couple of hours – but at least it’s a mostly empty carriage.

No sense in making more drama than there already is. Lady M is shaken but generally intact. The car is damaged but driveable, and work are sorting out a replacement while it gets repaired.

Sigh. If I’m making it sound like lady s and I aren’t concerned, that’s very much not the case, but we’re all three of us pretty pragmatic souls. I’ve left lady s curled up with YouTube clips, and hopefully will soon find Lady M curled up with something trashy on Netflix.

Last Night’s Nightmare

If not for the content this would probably make for a powerful story to write – it’s that time of year when my brain shakes the spiders in my head around and my nightmares come out to play. So: content warning for mention of sexual assault and abuse in this blog entry.

I was hoping this dream would fade, but it hasn’t, so hopefully this will pull the sting a bit.

I was studying English at some form of boarding school with a small group of fellow students and we were each set a different short story to analyse and discuss among ourselves. Some were more poetry than prose, and each student was having difficulty with elements of each of their assigned texts, so I started helping people.

What became clear was that each story told a fragment or element of a moment in time and the identity of the ostensibly anonymous author could be pieced together. The growing horror of the nightmare came from realising not only that the event described was a violent rape, but that it was my rape, and that the narrative protagonist / abuser was the English teacher who had set the assignments – and that he now knew that I had been helping everyone and now had pieced it all together, and was coming to get me…

At which point lady s woke me and forced cuddles until I settled again.

Sorry to throw this out, but getting it on paper has helped me settle. Thank you for bearing with me

Fiction Fragment – Meltdown

We watched through sound-proof toughened glass at the prisoner while the speakers inside the cell played. By the third iteration of the Cassilda-Zahn melodic progressions his internal skin structures were already starting to rupture and break down in hazy overlapping layers that obscured his features the more he struggled with the restraints. The Hyadic interludes that came shortly after acted as a mild paralytic that made the prisoner’s dissolution into undifferentiated plasma and slime laced with bony spheres all the more disturbing.

The sluices came on shortly after to wash the sludge away, and the bony remnants rolled into gulleys at the edges of the room like billiard balls. The implied threat wasn’t even particularly implied as we were marched on our way past the gallery with its rows and rows of bone decorations on shelves.

Brain Freeze

I don’t like to comment on politics – it’s such a disastrous mess across the entire spectrum. I also don’t particularly hide my leanings towards the left end of the spectrum, and my attitude towards Brexit can be fairly summed by the blog article I wrote at the time of the result. To save you the effort of checking back a couple of years of entries: it basically consisted of the word ‘fuck’ around 100 times.

I work in a library, and generally believe and attempt to work towards uplifting and inspiring people to be the best that they can be, and to make the place at least a bit brighter.

So to see the utter mess that is our news and politics in the UK leaves me quite angry and distressed – but I’m damned if I can formulate any coherent response or remedy to the morass of panic that seems all around. And so my bain freezes – and part of me wonders if that might not actually be the point of it all in some quarters, to hope that my paralysis will get in the way of protesting effectively at a given course of action.

I’m tired of being tired of the politics of outrage

Genre Labelling

I was chatting away with a colleague today about how inconsistently some of our stock seems to get categorised when it comes to fiction. We’re both huge fans of science fiction and fantasy, and so it seemed odd that certain authors such as Ben Aaronovitch were being classed as thrillers for Large Print books, but SciFi/Fantasy for normal print.

There’s some degree of crossover that can be argued for Rivers of London to be a crime thriller, but the ghosts and magic would seem to tip that into the more speculative fiction camp. By the same argument, John Connolly’s Charlie Parker novels are firmly presented as crime thrillers, but contain gothic horror, ghosts, angels, and malevolent elder gods that in other hands would have them be very strictly in sci-fi/fantasy.

And then we get into the classics. As I look across the shelves I see Dracula as a fantasy novel, but The Time Machine and Frankenstein as general fiction.

On the one hand I totally get that arbitrarily slapping genre fictions on stock helps people keep in their comfort zones and find similarly themed stories, but that only works if we’re consistent with our labelling – without even getting into conversations around genre-melding and crossover novels.

I do from time to time entertain the thought of eliminating genre labels for novels, to let authors of all kinds sit side by side and encourage a diversity of browsing in the library – but I suspect that this would be unpopular with a great many people. Perhaps if I ever open a bookshop I shall give it a try…

Site Rejigging in Progress

If things appear odd at any time on this site at any time, its probably just me rearranging things a bit. The short fiction is getting simplified as some devices couldn’t cope with the menu layouts, and I still need to properly update and fill out the Tango Mike Cosplay section too.

Its like having a spring clean – except that it’s Autumn and I may make things even messier in the process of sorting things out. That’s probably a good analogy for any of my attempts to pretend to be a useful member of general society. My biggest hurdle is likely to be my tiredness as I’m working extra hours at the moment (hey, a new mortgage needs feeding).

I also, as much as I love writing about the whimsicality of library life, have to maintain a degree of discretion so don’t expect too many raving rants about work illogicalities – the same can’t necessarily be said for some of the gems that Lady M has been coming out with recently.

Ah well – its the weekend, there’s sunshine, and I’m sure I’ll see some of it at some point. This evening sees the return of the libatious librarians at least, so there may be social media sightings tonight.

Tick Tick Tick

We exchanged contracts on the flat last week, and we’re now in the last run up to completion.

We’re about to own our flat.


It’s been an interesting and varied journey to clear down debts and get financially stable again during times of global financial insecurity. At times it seemed that it just wasn’t going to happen as life threw hiccups that ate our savings unexpectedly, but…

We’re nearly there…

There’s An App For That

Every now and then I like to have a wander through the app store on my Android and see some of the oddly specific programs that people have produced. Sometimes I even try them out. There’s a rare few that find an instant niche and stay, I on my phone for any length of time – and these tend to be either writing tools or means of organising my time. Like many of us I lend weight to recommendations from people I know as well – after all, if someone has enjoyed or found useful an app enough to tell me that they think I’ll have a specific use for it then it would be rude and unappreciative of their time and thought not to at least spend a few moments to consider it.

Also like most of us, I tend to see my phone as quite a personal object – it after all not only spends a lot of time on my person and in use, but stores personal information and access to things that I enjoy or find of use. I see this every day in people who come into the library wanting to print off an email but being stymied when pressed to log into their mail service through a browser rather than through the app on their phone where they entered a password once a year or two ago and have never thought about it since. (We won’t even get into the people who don’t know how to use a mouse and keyboard because they’re so used to touchscreen technology.)

And so finding a useful app that crosses both into the personal and the useful is a great delight – expecially where it is useful to the dynamic between myself and lady s. We live a small distance apart, so anything that helps maintain contact without straying into slightly stalkery territory is a bonus – especially where it comes to the negotiated power transfers that come as part and parcel of a BDSM relationship. An online usergroup of which we are both part was discussing various online apps that could help with monitoring tasks, rewards, and punishments agreed between the participants of a dynamic and there was one that sprang to the fore for the flexibility that it offered – so we’ve been giving it a try.

We both downloaded the app and connected our profiles, and have agreed a number of tasks for lady s to undertake at various intervals during a week – whether several times a day, every day, or several times a day – and a points value towards rewards list for the successful completion of those tasks. There are also punishments defined and agreed for the failure to complete the tasks – and these range from points deductions, through restrictions on certain activities, through to other forfeits.

Activities on the task list include things such as eating a certain number of sit down meals a day, achieving a certain level of step counts, and certain household or personal tasks. Rewards include massages, the purchase of certain gifts, or activities to enjoy together.

As each day goes by, lady s ticks off certain tasks as she completes them, or leaves them if she chooses not to undertake them, and the app notifies me and counts/deducts points or assign pre-agreed forfeits that we can catch up on when we next meet – and for our dynamic it works. It appeals to the need for imposed structure and routine that lady s has without my needing to chase her for updates. The tasks have come from both of us, drawing on rewards and forfeits that we have both agreed – and at the same time, if life gets in the way, it is a matter of a few clicks to reset counters or remove forfeits if felt appropriate.

There are parallels with the reward schemes some parents set up with their children to encourage them to undertake chores in the household, or complete their homework from school – which I think makes the app more intuitive to set up and use as it is full of concepts that many of us have encountered elsewhere – so in many ways it does stand as a somewhat unexpected and yet inevitable illustration of the marketing phrase “there’s an app for that”.

Oh, it’s called Obedience – appropriately enough

Knowing When To Stop

I’ve been drawing this on one of my big sketchpads over the last week or so: a little here, a little there, with lessons learned from smaller detail doodles along the way. I originally thought to just try and fill the whole page, as I’ve done with other unplanned pictures, but have decided to stop here as there’s a certain aesthetic to it I like. I may even frame and back it at some point.