Hello Weekend

It feels like it’s been a very long week, but at the same time has had some good things in it. I had a diagnosis on the tiredness and a hopefully simple and effective remedy that I’ve started now. I had my payday so that’s always helpful – and I took delivery of my new lease car.

That alone will make work immeasurably less stressful as we won’t be competing for use of Lady M’s work car. Like her my vehicle is provided as part of a fleet under a salary sacrifice scheme which covers tax and services and tire wear and tear and things like that. We’re both now driving hybrids, and mine can also be driven as a purely electric car once the VIM registration goes through and I can register with the BMW tariff for charging.

Sadly we haven’t any charging points on the estate, but various places around the area do so I’ll be learning the gentle art of planning journeys with an eye to charging points. Who says it’s too late to learn new skills?

So my plan for tomorrow is to properly read the manual, work out how to customise things and connect my phone, and then take Lady M for a drive somewhere. Its been a good ten years since I’ve had a vehicle to call my own.

Social Media Stuff

I’ve been watching the turmoil across social media around the developments at Twitter. Although it isn’t something I make a lot of use of, a lot of my friends do, and it’s nice to be able to dip in now and then. I also tend to use it as another place to link to here when I post – and back in the day when Facebook allowed APIs to play nicely, I had a little chain of things set up that I could post here and see cross posting back and forth to my various other places without any intervention.

Now, just in case things go up in smoke over in that-there land of Twits, I’ve been looking at Mastodon as a decentralised alternative – mostly because most of the people I know are also heading there, along with various artists, authors, and associated ne-er do wells.

It took me a while to get to grips with it, but I’m now set up on an LGBT server (other servers, of course, are available) and am making links and getting used to the differences in how it all works – I refuse to call them toots, no matter how much they try. If anyone’s interested in wandering over – here’s a link to my profile to follow.

https://mastodon.lol/@LondonLudd#

If you haven’t already got an account, it will then prompt you to set something up, but otherwise I’ll be able to follow you back (the usual mantra of these things – have we gone back to the noughties again?)

Late Night Rambling

It’s half past one in the morning and I can’t sleep, so I’m afraid you have to put up with some ramblings and idle musings for a bit. The good news at least is that I’m not coughing all the time now.

I’ve had covid before, and this time round was about the same. I think there was more coughing and actual headcold-style wooziness. The aches this time have been mostly in my arm bones, and noticeably sharp pains in my lower arms and wrists, which was odd. Somewhat ironically, given I can’t sleep at the moment, I’ve also got heavy fatigue.

So that’s all something I’m looking forward to leaving behind.

Mind you, I was already exhausted all the time before I had a positive covid test, so it’s a bit hard to tell if there’s any connection or overlap. Frankly, if it wasn’t for the fact that nearly everyone in my life is similarly ill or falling apart, I might feel that I was being particularly targeted – because that’d the type of stupid egocentrism that I enjoy teasing and joking about.

By that I mean that my facility to self-sabotage often fluctuates between perfectionism (in the sense of setting impossible targets and failure therefore confirming my own expectations), and self denigration that doesn’t always know when to stop .

Nothing particularly unusual there, many of us do it. That said, I don’t ever really recall fitting in many places. There’s always been a sense of being a bit ‘other’ and standing on the outside, looking in and not quite getting how I should be reacting.

Growing up in the shadow of Section 28 which banned teaching of anything LGBT+ also didn’t help. Looking back I can remember a number of teachers who struggled sometimes to rephrase or frame statements in certain careful ways. I had another teacher who hindsight suggests may have been trans but ill never know, or indeed enquire because it’s none of my business.

What it did all do though, and I see it happening again in the language used against trans people in particular, was to set a code of what was ‘normal’ and vigorously mocked anyone who did not conform to it.

It didn’t matter if you were lgbt or not, the very fear of being mocked or attacked if you stepped outside the poorly defined parameters had a chilling effect on everyone. Hate language is a matter of control.

If you’ve ever hesitated to do something or express something for fear of being seen as gay, or trans, or mentally ill – or anything regardless of whether you are or not – then you’ve been controlled by hate speech.

It’s why the slogan that trans rights are human rights is so important. Its the same arguments and language that’s been used by often far right groups time and time again. It leads to people being beaten for reading poetry, or singing their favourite song while exercising.

The ban on conversations and information while I was growing up kept me closeted without even knowing that was a thing. Any raising of the subject was either derogatory, or couched in terms of eliciting fear.

The news was full of people cheering the death of gay people as HIV appeared. I was told that gays didn’t do love or relationships, and that I would die alone and unloved. I could expect to be beaten up, or maybe if I was lucky and conformed enough I might be adopted as a token eccentric but would still have people whispering and removing children from the area “just in case”

I didn’t have the language to explore who I was becoming, or question things. I liked both boys and girls and was comfortably not a sports enthusiast – which in a boarding school which focused much of its identity around rugby and cricket competitions with other boarding schools, was a bit of a red flag.

Instead of worrying therefore about young people expressing themselves in a myriad of gender concepts and sexualities, I praise educators for giving people the vocabulary and concepts to see what fits them as they grow up and evolve along their life journeys.

I don’t subscribe to the “in my day we didn’t have this so why isn’t that good enough for them?” mantra. Isn’t the entire point of growing up to make sure that the people who come after us don’t have the struggles and pain we had if we can help it?

I’m still learning and evolving. I only sound like I know what’s going on or how it all works. As the strapline to this blog says, I’m making it up as I go along. I still feel like an outsider and rarely feel that I entirely fit. I compensate by being quirky and bold so that people give me mental headspace to squirm and reposition.

I am, as several people have told me, a Fool, and a Catalyst. I have a tshirt that encapsulates those concepts in a rather pithy statement: “My sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.”

I would hope that this means that you don’t waste as much time as I did fighting being the real me and being what I thought people wanted me to be. Do yourself a favour and be your own special weirdo – because there’s plenty of people who are only too happy to try and stop you. You can do it. I believe in you.

A Dippy Day

We had a day out today up in town as Lady B was staying at the boy’s place. Quite by chance we’d seen adverts for the return of Dippy the Diplodocus to the Natural History Museum and as Lady M hadn’t been in years, we turned it into a day out for Lady M. Dippy has been on a tour around various museums around the United Kingdom and has been the focal point of exhibitions and work around how the world changes as part of the framing of the tour.

Dippy the diplodocus fossil, assembled and free-standing in a brick and stone and timber hallway. People are gathered all round, admiring and taking photos

I have many fond memories of Dippy in the main hall on my many visits during my childhood. The long face would peer down at all who entered with what seemed to be a gentle smile – and was that rare thing in not being tucked away behind glass. I’m happy to report that while Dippy has not returned to her old spot, she is still not locked behind glass. Moreover, the pose is now more active, with tail in the air in line with the spine, curled above people’s heads rather than coiled and heavy on the ground. It adds an air of dynamism and nimbleness to counterweight that long neck that feels a better depiction of poise.

For those wanting a closer look at the skull, a replica is available to touch and examine on a nearby table – and a ten-minute looping video plays on various screens around the hallway with people talking about how they’ve taken inspiration, or have worked in areas of research that fill out our pictures of how Dippy lived and moved when alive.

The whole museum was pretty busy – especially in the earth sciences section as the majority of people were being directed to use the side entrance due to some development work in the gardens – but Dippy was undeterred and unbothered – and her hallway remains a quiet pool of wonder. I was impressed at how the whole building felt turned around and invigorated, and will definitely go back soon to rediscover it

How Strange

I was just thinking that haven’t been nagged by my phone to post anything and found that the WordPress app had disappeared. Cue a few moments of redownloading and then authenticating my login and we’re back in the room. Most perterbatory as the saying goes.

Still, we’ve had a quiet day today, following a lightning trip up north and back for family reasons. A round of upset stomachs suggest a bad batch of pizza last night, but at least the diabetic nurse is reasonably pleased with me.

A more substantial update tomorrow: writing is being perpetrated…

To Nano or Not?

Its November, officially the start of Nanowrimo – National Write a Novel Month – and I’m toying with the idea of at least taking a stab at it. No planning, no notes, just throw words at the page. Its been a few years since I gave it a go, and a few more since I succeeded. I’ve a couple of weeks off – why not? I didn’t do Inktober because my head’s just not been in it so might be nice to set a soft challenge. It could be argued that blogging every day would be a good way to do it.

Okay, that’s it – it won’t necessarily be a full Nano fifty thousand words, but I’ll do my best to blog every day – even if its absolute drivel – because I haven’t done as much here as I might like and I have a virtual lake of story concepts that bubble and roil in my head on a regular basis.

Also – there’s D&D sessions to write up and Draconic Prophecies to make up – and I’ll start doing Fiction Fragments again so, yeah, let’s do this…

So – last night was Halloween and the younger families on the estate met up to trick or treat as an organised activity. People were polled for whether they wanted to be involved and lists of “do not knock” given to the organisers to direct the children discretely. Our block of flats put out a basket by the front door, and while I was wrestling with a stubbornly cantankerous laptop I could hear the sounds of children laughing and shouting out to each other as they made their way round. It was a good backdrop to the evening as a contrast to the earlier fireworks and certainly made it feel joyous even as we kept a quiet evening for ourselves

As a bonus – I think I worked out what was causing problems on the machine and am now seeing if the Discord instability resolves – so fingers crossed…

Time Off

On my way out the door at work today I quipped that it was finally my turn to have a holiday – and at least in the respect that its not been leave taken in support of anyone else it’s true. I’m not going away anywhere but will be off work to decompress for a couple of weeks.

I can already feel my anxiety trying to get traction as I ruthlessly turn off all work electronics and tell myself my team are all adults and highly capable.

It’s definitely needed as it is that time of year again when the fireworks make life very uncomfortable. My PTSD is in many ways much improved, but it’s difficult not to flinch at unexpected pops and crackles with no obvious source.

I have at least managed to keep it all together and even managed to deliver a brief talk for a black history month event celebrating the leadership of the Stonewall Uprising and what eventually became the Pride movement. I had the usual pre-speech nerves that then disappeared once we started, and so that felt a good positive end of the working week for me.

Yes, it’s only Thursday, I know

Folklore Thoughts

Someone was talking today about some if the small traditions and histories that their group had and included the phrase: “we have folklore even though we’re less than a hundred years old.”

It got me thinking, largely as an instinctive push back against the notion that there’s some kind of statutory time limit before something can be remembered as lore. After all, every family generation has its small stories and invokes and lessons learned the hard way and passed on for others to ignore.

My response in the chat was: “Folklore is the stories we build shared history with, age has nothing to do with it except maybe giving a fine patina.” Which isn’t as polished or nuanced as I might like, but that’s immediate text chats for you.

I then promptly mulled over while having a shower because it was sparking more thoughts and ideas. While making myself more human, my thought process therefore trundled on deciding that folklore is the stories of the people, not the history taught by rulers and conquerors. Perhaps that’s why we hold so tight to it. It’s our lore, not theirs. It’s our small stories and remembrances, not that of nations.

I don’t think its a radical summation, as it literally leans on the translation of folk from volk but I think it’s perfectly in line with why I think community is so important, because that’s how our stories grow and embed and give half a chance to learn from practical example.

I almost sound like I know what I’m talking about…

Trying for Simplicity

The rule of Sod feels quite active the last couple of days. Work has been productive despite constant exhaustion so I booked out some time to try and relax and rest. So of course, the boy had unexpected late shifts and we were asked to have the cub over, and he promptly developed a deep cough and a temperature.

At least he’s low maintenance as an invalid, and while Lady M works I’m able to have a quiet collapse on the sofa. The cub is currently in our bed half-heartedly watching YouTube videos on the xbox…

Ploughing On

Even though we’re in national mourning, life continues – and with it plans for future events at work that I won’t talk about until nearer the time. It’s an odd time, at least as an experience of working on transformative and innovative pieces when I can’t talk about them – and more so when the national and local moods are so unpredictable.

Some want and need to carry on as usual, others have a deep sombreness – but overwhelmingly there seems to be a sense of things being a bit…dislocated.

Oh well. My own mood and energy levels have been low so that may be colouring things. I’ve been forcing myself to rest when I can, and doing the self-care bit. It’s working some, and cuddles from Lady M are helping too. Here’s to a brighter week to come.