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Iain's bookshelf: read

Yellow Submarine Goodbye, Pert Breasts: The Diary of a Newborn Dad I Shall Wear Midnight: A Discworld Novel Action: Pulse Pounding Tales Volume 1 Tales of Unease (Wordsworth Mystery & the Supernatural) Bunker 10

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Gay mojo

I Will Survive

I Will Survive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sorry for the lack of posts, but as I managed to post from my phone the other day I have no broadband at home until March 6th at the earliest. Which sucks. Hugely.

Anyway, I had a revelation the other day. One of those things that just suddenly comes to you. Pieces of a puzzle that I didn’t know existed appeared, fit together and *pow* a solution presented itself.

Gay people didn’t exist before the early 1970’s.

No, really, I have proof. Of a sort. OK, so it’s more of a theory but there’s a solid piece of evidence to back it up.

Back-story: for some reason I’ve found myself in two gay bar/clubs in the last couple of weeks. To the best of my knowledge I’ve never been in one before in my life, but having said that – in the case of the second – I didn’t know I was in a gay bar until a friend pointed it out to me. So I might have been in one before and been equally oblivious. The fact that the more recent one is, I believe, multiple award winning for its gayness and has posters outside saying this didn’t register at all before I walked in.

I also failed to notice – or at least attach any significance to – the plastic chandeliers. Or the “friendly” bar staff. Or the male couples.

Or the late 70’s / early 80’s soundtrack.

And it is on the latter that I will focus. You see, apparently all gay men like the classics of that era. Erasure, Ultravox, Carly Simon, Gloria Gaynor, ABBA… I sit in a bar like that and the only thing I think is “retro… what great songs these are from my childhood”. When in reality I’m – apparently – listening to gay anthem after gay anthem.

Let’s bring these facts together. I like them because they’re from a time when I was growing up and was exposed to them when they were first released. Gay men like these tracks because they’re famed in the gay world as gay anthems (sorry for the overuse of “gay” here), but why these songs? Why not older ones?

The answer? Gay people didn’t exist until around the same time as I was born. The progenitors of the gay movement are about the same age as me. Nobody particularly gay was born before the early 1970’s.

Makes perfect sense to me.

Mind you, I don’t find two men kissing to be particularly weird so what the hell do I know?

No broadband

BT Ireland logo (2005 - Present)

BT Ireland logo (2005 – Present) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So that put a stop to it. BT won’t be able to install broadband in my new place until March 6th and I’m not writing stuff up on my phone!

Abnormal service will be resumed shortly…

Today’s mojo post

English: Administrative Division of Bangladesh...

Bangladesh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looks like I’m managing a post every two days rather than daily, but hey it’s regular.

I wasn’t really sure what to post today, then my mind harked back to a talk I was having with Lindsay last night. Lindsay is Sean’s flatmate (Sean’s one of the talented writers churning out reviews and so forth on the Moshville Times *plug plug*) and we were having one of those random conversations that flows like a ball down a Pachinko machine. You just never quite know where it’s going to end up.

I think we were talking about the differences between countries, and one that always sticks out for me is India / Bangladesh. The former a country that’s predominantly Hindu (with a large smattering of other religions), the latter a Muslim nation. Both countries share a border and the difference when you cross that border is almost immediately tangible.

India is – to steal the tagline from their tourist advertising – incredible. It’s also an unusual country in that I hated it when I was there, but longed to go back once I left. It’s a tough experience to visit, especially on a budget, but ultimately the rewards are worth it.

Bangladesh is every bit as impoverished as the worst parts of India, there aren’t so many impressive sites (it’s a smaller country, for a start), but the feeling I got when I was there was much warmer; more welcoming. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I felt safer walking the streets in Bangladesh – even late at night – than in almost any other country I have visited. I even include my home nation in there.

And that brings me to the sideways jump in topic. Bangladesh is a Muslim country. The people there follow their beliefs in a faithful and well-intended manner. They look after their poor (reducing begging on the street), and welcome visitors to their nation. Nobody tried to rob or cheat us in our time there. Very much the opposite in fact.

Yet the knee-jerk reaction to the word “Muslim” from so many people, whole nations in fact, is to think of those events in 2001, videos of beheadings on the internet, attacks on magazine offices in Paris… all the actions of a tiny minority of extremists.

While I’m no fan of religion, this kind of treatment also extends to the Catholic church. A billion or so members worldwide and the entire religion is tarred by the vile brush wielded by a tiny number of priests and nuns who have abused children -and the small number of people further up in the organisation who helped cover it up for so long. What about the 999,999,000 other people who would agree that this is reprehensible and who you’d happily have round for dinner and babysit your own children?

Is it fair to judge a person purely on the company they keep; if they share the beliefs of another individual who does something reprehensible yet otherwise unrelated? I love heavy metal. Does that mean I’m as evil as Varg Vikernes who murdered one of his friends and burned churches down? It seems to have taken us nigh on seventy years to stop blaming every single German for WWII.

People should be judged on who they are and what they do. Not on the actions of other individuals with whom they happen to share a belief, a skin colour or a nationality.

Balls mojo post

Got a set of ping pong balls in for a project....

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember a punishment exercises one of my classmates got many, many years ago and I thought “I could do that”. So, after all those years, here we go…

“At least 250 words on the inside of a ping-pong ball”

White. Lots of white. Mindbogglingly white. I mean you may think it’s really white in the chemist’s… no, wait. That’s someone else’s line.

Actually, it could be quite dark inside a ping-pong ball. I guess it all depends on the lighting outside and how much permeates through the plastic. It could be pretty dark, or hazy.

Definitely cramped, though, unless you’re tiny. It could be fun being stuck inside there if you’re a miniature hamster. As long as there’s some kind of traction for your dinky hamster feet and you’ve no issues with not being able to see where you’re going, you could have a lot of fun. Rolling around, bouncing off walls, down stairs.

Of course, there’s an issue with possible concussion should someone not realise that you’re inside the ball and use it for an actual game of table tennis. How much does a ping-pong ball squish when it’s hit with a rubber-faced bat, anyway. And that spinning… wow. Can you imagine getting so dizzy that you throw up inside an enclosed space that small?

So we’re looking at an environment that could be light, dark, fun, dangerous, sickening, smooth and ideal for tiny hamsters. Does this make ping-pong balls unique? Better than a hollow cube, that’s for sure. I mean, they don’t roll. Not without being thrown anyway. And the bounce all over the shop. I don’t think any tiny hamsters would appreciate that. Normal sized hamsters don’t like being chucked around, or so I’ve been told.

I’m not a hamster-chucker, nor a hamster-chucker’s son.

The dangers of snot

Snotty noseTo respond to Dewi’s comment on yesterday’s post: “Wrong”. And as a quick aside before I start, I’m impressed (or dismayed, perhaps disgusted) to realise that this is not the first post on this blog to be tagged with the word “snot”. Get in there.

Well, I did say I wanted to encourage my imagination and yesterday I had the chance to do so. In the best of circumstances, to whit: winding up a 6 year old. Always fun, especially when they believe everything you tell them. Sadly, on this occasion, I faced resistance but I ploughed on regardless much to the unease of those around me, I’m sure.

Let me set you a scene… small boy and father getting changed after going swimming. Small boy has a runny nose and the first thing to hand is a pair of underpants. I am thankful to say they were his underpants, and not Dad’s. Especially as his instinctive reaction was to wipe them across his nose and drag out a lovely, shiny, watery bogey which quickly soaked into the elasticated band.

“Ooh, you shouldn’t do that,” I warned, “You’ll give your bottom a cold.”

He stopped and looked at me, head cocked to one side as if trying to judge if I was telling him the truth or not. He quickly made up his mind. “No it won’t!”

“It will,” I insisted. “You know when you pump? That’s your bum sneezing.”

“No, it’s not!”

“Really, it is. You know how girls don’t use handkerchiefs like boys do? What do you think they use instead? Spare underwear. That’s why girls smell so bad. Mummy’s always pumping isn’t she?”

“Yes, but…”

“So there you go. Bottom cold. And you want to make sure you don’t get a really bad one, because then you’ll do really big bottom sneezes and it won’t be bogies that come out…”

At this point, I was getting some really strange looks from a family sat nearby and was getting concerned that we’d be banned from the pool. In the tradition of Sun reporters of your, I made my excuses and left.

Ensuring that my own undercrackers were nose-drip free.

P.S. I hope you all appreciate the fact that I spent ten minutes staring at pictures of dribbling noses before picking one (erm…) that suited this article.