Now, maybe by chance, but just in time for my own two referrals, another remix. Having heard competely by chance, a woman I'd never heard of before - Kristina Debarge - has remixed this. Now, she's about to perform live tonight (as I speak) as part of 98PXY Rochester (NY, USA)'s Summer Jam as I type this (with the benefit of the time difference!) The only version of this track that I could find on YouTube is a simple music-over-still-image one. The lyrics have changed, but are still rather impressive.
However, just to show nothing lies still for long - and that indeed nothing is sacred - someone else has remixed her lyrics.... the Chipmunks...
Friday, and I went to Cambridge then onto Milton for work. Busy, as expected, and I offered to stay a little later to clear up the day’s administration. Having said that, one call stuck out. Not because of it being anything notable (and I can’t mention the specifics obviously), but because of what happened after it was done – the caller phoned back. To thank me for the suggestion, which resolved both of her problems. I’m not letting all this praise go to my head, but it’s maybe something new to me. I mentioned before that where I’ve worked in the past, management have passed on the complaints, but never the compliments. Oh, and no slip-ups (I didn’t fall over), but there was one problem with the train from Cambridge (the train comes from London express, that splits into two at Cambridge, one for Kings Lynn, and one goes back stopper to Kings Cross) that held me up on the way home for about ten minutes. Never mind, C was quite happy to wait for me, and we went for muchies afterwards!
So, after a long day at work, stopping for pizza, I’d barely had time to digest the days mail and web happenings, but I had to be up and out very early on Saturday morning. Out for the 0743ish train to Hitchin, before taking whichever bus that came first (in the end it was a 700 to Stevenage) into Hitchin town centre. I’d planned to get the 0840, but after arriving at Hitchin, St Mary’s Square at 0808, thought I might be able to run through to Bancroft for the 0810 – but no, never mind. Time for a quick wakeup snack before getting the M1 to Bedford, Stagecoach “Mars” Service M1, to Bedford, and Dart 34827.
There was a reason for the trip to Bedford, at early on Saturday morning. I’d been invited to a Executive Committee Meeting of the Bedford Area Bus Users Society (BABUS). I’m currently catching up with joining a number of local groups across the south and beyond, and this was one that I’d found out about via the link on the Stagecoach in Bedford local website, two years ago, when I was using the X5 every Friday from MK Coachway to Cambridge, to spend the weekend with Caroline. Anyway, I digress. This was the group that I mentioned had asked me in with a view to asking me to consider assisting with their website and bulletin board. The previous person who did the site has not been able to look after it any longer, and told the group some time ago, so the need has been somewhat urgent. After arriving at Bedford bus station, followed the directions (misread one, but got back in plenty of time!) to the Friends Meeting House.
This was a meeting of an extraordinary nature, largely as a result of my presence. Additionally, further related discussion was of the manifesto (something else that they want to go on the web), and issues with Service X5 (predominantly the stop at Parkside in Cambridge and the lack of local signage/facilities). One other person was also invited in on a similar basis to this, and we discussed a number of issues with the current service – although it was agreed the new coaches were very good, and a huge improvement on the earlier coaches (some being former Perth National Express vehicles, so they were on their last legs). There were a number of other issues re the X5 (in advance of their meeting with Stagecoach on such matters), including problems with the WiFi, and also the requirement for wheelchair users to book 48 hours in advance. I wondered why Stagecoach Scotland only require half of that time… we shall see.
I digress again. The main reason that they were there was to try and ask me to possibly look at the website and bulletin board. The chairman is one of my members, and I’d recognised the secretary from being sat in front of me earlier on the M1, I wondered when he was reading a Bus Users UK magazine, but decided not to say anything at the point. After a brief discussion, I agreed, and turned the tables around to ask what THEY wanted their website to do, and what I could do for them. The sec followed this up with “all our Christmas’s have turned up at once”. A discussion followed, and they decided to co-opt myself (and one other person) onto the Committee – in my case, with special interest and responsibilities for the website.
After all that came to an end, back to Central Bedford. Met Caroline off the Park & Ride - after a little while of not being in the right places - not helped by me leaving my phone somewhere! I defiantly had it on the M1 as I remember getting a message from Caroline to say that she had received her Gender Recognition Certificate, so I did want to congratulate her. Anyway, until I get my mobile back, no point in ringing or texting it!
We’d sat down at a Wetherspoon’s pub, but the kitchen had just been closed due to a pipe burst, so we ended up in an independent café/bar place the other side of the arcade behind the bus station. Food was nice, the place itself was okay. One more stop I think (when I spotted the former VT99 coach now repainted, and in use on the X5 – someone asked me for that the day after I was in MK last), and then back to River Street for Dart 33183 back to the Park & Ride.
After resting yesterday (a day without slip-ups, and one near thing - so very good, despite my knee still hurting quite often, and not being able to put any weight on it), caught up with paying things due (two domain renewals, hosting, etc.) plus a few other bits and pieces bought. This morning, via iTunes, purchased the National Rail app for my iPod Touch (for some reason, the free one is no longer usable, because Kizoom’s data licence has expired, just in time for National Rail to sell their own at £4.99 a time!), as well as Kelly Clarkson’s latest album. Her most recent song is stuck in my head, quite a lot of the time. However, once again for her, the lyrics matter – my life would suck, without my someone special! I also purchased one other track from quite a while ago, that I’ve heard a lot through the Magic Radio Player online at the moment – you may wonder why I’m after Neil Diamond, but have a look at the lyrics…
Where it began, I can't begin to know when
But then I know it's growing strong
Oh, wasn't the spring, whooo
And spring became the summer
Who'd believe you'd come along
Hands, touching hands, reaching out
Touching me, touching you
Oh, sweet Caroline
Good times never seem so good
I've been inclined to believe it never would
And now I, I look at the night, whooo
And it don't seem so lonely
We fill it up with only two, oh
And when I hurt
Hurting runs off my shoulder
How can I hurt when holding you
Oh, one, touching one, reaching out
Touching me, touching you
Oh, sweet Caroline
Good times never seem so good
Oh I've been inclined to believe it never would
Ohhh, sweet Caroline, good times never seem so good
She’s my Sweet Caroline, and I love her so much, for making all this in my life possible! Yes, My Life Would Suck Without You!
You can see the couple of pictures from Friday, and all the pics from Saturday, online now.
1. On the 5th November, for some bizarre reason, I was sneezing for most of the night (yes, despite closing the windows!) No idea why, especially as the local bonfire was last night (7th!)
2. Paperwork from Open University arrived in the post this morning (typically, just after I’d chased it up), but they confirmed what I was told verbally. Both modules start on February 9th. In between, lots of stuff that makes me sound mad just thinking like that, for now…
3. … C and I are planning on hiring a car and heading north over the holidays, including me moving out of my flat in Dundee around the same time. All that is subject to health.
4. Speaking of which, C’s appointment for Addenbrooke’s has turned up, for not this coming week, but the next.
5. Speaking of Mr (and Mrs) thebustocrookes, he’s on holiday for a fortnight. Was it Mexico or Florida this time – I forgot. Anyway, they are both hot right now. So, if you miss Dougie, hopefully this ten-pointer can keep you going. I better check the Berwick results later, assuming they are playing this weekend.
6. Following from thermalsatsuma , elaine4queen has posted a recipe for Mushroom Soup, which I tried on C. I like any recipe that doesn’t give a specific time, but instead says “…When bored…” anyway, the recipe apparently came via kirstygold , but you can read Elaine’s version here.
7. On the evening of 6th November, auntysarah ,the_local_echo , zoeimogen and around 150 or so in total, formed what is more-than-likely the largest TS related protests in UK history. The protest was regarding what was seen as hypocrisy in the workings of Stonewall, by award-nominating someone who appeared not to be entirely in their beliefs. auntysarah explains it all here – part one and part two. If I read one of the other stories rightly, 80 people were inside the Victoria & Albert Museum – there’s defiantly strength in numbers.
8. My mother very briefly got biblical about same-sex marriage on the phone yesterday, although it was just a passing comment, as opposed to ramming it down my throat. She’s defiantly happy about what we’re doing, which she was at pains to stress, when I asked to clarify what she meant. I think I’m as close to how she’s ever going to get, and it’s defiantly not bad at all – better than how things were a few years ago, when we could never talk about the gender stuff. Maybe she’s over it now, which would be a good thing. Anyway, it does show one thing – that if she sees me as a lesbian, then perhaps, she doesn’t see *him* anymore – and that’s defiantly a good thing, as long as it continues!
9. Downloaded the whole album worth of current Scooter rehashes and new material, including some older classic stuff from the band. Whistling Dave appears to be their remix of the Tetris theme tune, which I had to explain to C. I thought everyone had heard of Tetris, but obviously not!
10. And finally, following previous whinges about government servants from the JobCentrePlus team, it was nice to see the north-west London based team responsible for DLA (from the DWP – Department for Work & Pensions) turn around my form in just a few days, and arrange things quickly and speedily. When you feel this bad (sometimes), stress of things just adds to it - and I like to mention good service, not just the bad.
Firstly, pills. As I have mentioned several times before, I have to come off the Duphaston (Dydrogesterone), whether I like it or not, as it’s been discontinued by the manufacturer. So, I’ve started phasing myself off it gently, by cutting some of my remaining stock in half. I will hopefully try other things in time, but I want a clean break first. Lets see if this was really behind some of my feelings, or the Estradiol Valarate instead. I don’t expect to feel hugely different by stopping it in this way.
Secondly, feelings. Since this post, it’s been brought to my attention that Claire died in her sleep peacefully, after a heart attack. Now, no matter how many choice words had to say about me, I don’t think that she deserved to die, not right now, not far from her (45th I think) birthday.
Thirdly, new ventures. I never thought I’d say that the book was finished (see this post) but it is, and in the final stages of checking. I’d like to have it for sale by the end of the month, so keep watching! There are other projects in mind, and I’ve already had C suggesting a complimenting volume for down here… seriously!
Finally, despite the three things above, here is something I thought I’d never say. From the end of September (this Autumn), I’m going to be a student - for the first time since I left school (aside from the NVQ's I got about twelve years ago)! Full-time equivalent in open learning, and starting on a few Level 1 computing units. By the time I get my teeth into it, I can choose which of the qualifications I’d like to put that towards, and then go from there over the coming years.
Now, that will give me stability, something to work towards, and a pattern, as well as a bit more of an existence to my life. So, why this, why now? Well, health is a main thing, so this is flexible, as well as not requiring a daily commute! Caroline is supporting and encouraging me for the longer term, so I see this once again as good. The time frame being just over two months away, gives me time to finally continue with moving out of my current place in Dundee. Educational feelings from the past – well, I wanted to get out of school, move away, and become the person I knew I really was. Now, some things have not changed – I’ve done this. I’m settling in. I’ve got support, and friends on both sides of the border (and the Atlantic!). Now that is all out of the way, who knows?
The previously referred to interview didn’t go as planned, but I’ve managed to top that in fairly spectacular style, don’t you think?
So, what else? We had Caroline’s sister-in-law staying down with us on Thursday night, en route to a meditation weekend in deepest Suffolk. Yesterday I was out and about, will write about that later on.
Additionally, at the weekend, I used iTunes to purchase (the whole album, not just the single) Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson (a few of her songs have some wonderful lyrical meanings to me, as previously mentioned here), and some old school stuff too!
I thought you may like this - a London bendibus that turned up in a Russian pop
video! Reflex - Nauchi Lyubit. It is a particularly odd video with scenes shot
in several cities, some of them reversed for no obvious reason, and even riding
motorbikes up and down both ways on the same side of the same street!
I cannot quite make out which N-route it is on, or where it is, perhaps an N18 on Regent Street.
The press release made mention of new services based on NY State, with some place names that sounded familiar from chats online. So, interestingly enough, a new service by Megabus (USA) is about to be introduced (On May 30th) from New York (Penn Station), via Buffalo NY (Niagara International Airport) to Toronto, Canada (Royal York Hotel). The service between NY and Buffalo is around seven hours (around what Amtrak trains take to get to Rochester), while between Buffalo and Toronto is two and a half hours. (I’ve not investigated time zones yet, but that trip should be straight enough).
Now, a couple of points here. Firstly, I’m fairly sure I did an April 1st spoof a few years ago, of a new Megabus service from Dundee to NY (it sounded like a good get-away-from-it-all at the time…), so I have to say, be careful what you wish for, or there maybe a chance of through ticketing one of these days!
Second, there was a person who I’ve known online for five and a half years now, and has been consistently solid and wonderfully supportive to me. I did say I’d consider visiting in a few years, back in late 2006 - according to Google Maps, it’s about 55 miles from Buffalo to Spencerport/Rochester.
You can tell what I’m thinking. Give it a couple of years (from now), who knows. Having said that, I guess it’s another one of these ‘brand recognition’ things – I don’t know who is who over there (so much – Amtrak, Greyhound etc.) but I do know the megabus brand well enough. Saves investigating who, what and where, if it’s a concept I already know. Wonder if they can send a text from the USA system with a ticket code to a UK phone? If not, no hassle, I can scribble it down or print it off. Then, there are the rest of the operators and their procedures etc. that I hear sporadically about. Coming from 4,000 miles away, a slightly easier default option maybe nice.
I doubt that was the intention of product recognition behind having the same brand name on both sides of the pond. Having said that, I’ve just done a price check for those journeys in September (to get the timing information, as the ‘schedule’ – we call them timetables over here - isn't there yet), and they are USD $1.00 each. Yes, looks like I’ve still got the touch. At the current rate of exchange, even with booking fees, that’s less than the local fare within Royston town on Stagecoach 26!
BTW, as I read the press release, Neneh Cherry’s Buffalo Stance was going through my head. When I googled the song, I was surprised to find Westlife have covered it. Is nothing sacred?
Inbetween doing two loads of laundry, dishwashing, and tidying up a bit, I have been listening to Kiss 105-108 online (the Cambridge & East version of London's Kiss 100), and had heard several times this remix of Rianna's "Umbrella" where a bloke is singing "You could be my Cinderella" instead. After about ten minutes on YouTube, I found it... see what you think, compare this to the original.
Anyway, that was that - but whilst browsing YouTube, I found a rehash by Hilary & Hayliey Duff. Definatly a rehash, and they have brought it up to life, by killing it! It does bring the song back to life, and injects a bit more American flavo(u)r into it...
(Embedded YouTube video of the Duff's mix of this song).
Tomorrow is the first day of my new shift. Until mid-January 2007, I had been working the same shift for a year and a half – 1300-2200 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday (34 hours a week). At that time, I changed to 1500-2300 Monday to Friday inclusive, which is 37.5 hours a week. From tomorrow, I am working 1300-2300 Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and 1330-2300 on Thursdays. This still earns me the same number of hours pay, gets me one or two extra breaks, and saves me at least £1.90 per week on bus fares! The main purpose behind the change (of course!) is to give me a three-day weekend, and allow me to spend a bit more time with Caroline.
Currently (thanks to Transport Direct once more) we are 426.2 miles apart, based on driving between home postcodes (travelling via London or Stevenage, as I do most times, will add mileage).. The plan is to travel south during the day on the Friday, arriving in the evening, spend the weekend down south, and travel back on the Sunday night. This splits things quite well, and means I only have one night sleeping on the bus per week. Back in 1999 I was doing two overnights a week – Friday night and Sunday night. The journey time on the Friday is kind of similar to what I could do on a bus anyway i.e. travel around the whole day, so from that point off view, it should be ok. The Sunday night trip back should get me into Dundee for 0900 or 1035 (depending on service) and I start work at 1300, so more than enough time to get freshened up, coffee, and the rest. It may well seem almost robotic for the next few weeks, but it does mean we should never be more than a few days from seeing each other – and that’s a good thing.
I’ve met a lot of people down south in the last few weeks, most of you for the first time in the flesh. Some of you couldn’t believe I travelled so far, but then remembered why. Was it Eddie Murphy who once said “No journey is too great, when one finds what (s)he seeks?” Caroline described the last fortnight of my holiday as “intensive”, and it’s quite right – the “different things every day” concept has worked well in the past for me.
So how do I feel right now? Wonderfully happy, most of the time. I’ve hinted here that I have often been deep in thought about so many different things. It is wonderful to be I love, but also to be loved. We are both treating each other as equals, which I appreciate. You may well think I am biased, but Caroline is a wonderful person. Wonderful enough to travel at least 900 miles a week for? Damn right!
A few of you have asked for my thoughts on forthcoming surgery (and no, I’ve not got a date yet, but will post it here as soon as I do!) First of all, I will speak from my own point of view, as the prospective patient. I don’t fear death (for some reason). I don’t fear pain. I’ve recently been a bit more squeamish, but that comes and goes (hormones, probably). From what all the post-ops have told me, “it doesn’t hurt”. The main thing they seem to be upset about is the disruption to their life for a few weeks and months, especially being in hospital for nine days. Everyone (including the one person who doesn’t like the techniques used) likes the work they’ve ended up with. Scour some of the blogs and journals, and you can see very quickly a very high satisfaction rate. Some have had some of the best sexual experiences of their lives, before they even get back to work! Please remember YMMV – your mileage may vary – but if the majority are happy, I think I have little to fear. I’ve witnessed first hand how wellzoeimogen andreiko_j have been looked after in the hospital, and I don’t think there will be any problems there either.
Do you think, maybe, I don’t fully appreciate the significance of some of this stuff?
I don’t. It’s hugely important, but I don’t like getting worked up about trivial little things. He used to do that. I don’t. I’ve seen others getting worked up about everything, and I prefer to live life (as far as I can) in comfort and serenity. OK (see last Friday as an example) it doesn’t always work out.
The few weeks pre-surgery in coming off the hormones may be the scariest bits. I guess it depends the effect to which the hormones have had on your body. They’ve helped me to remain calm in many circumstances where otherwise, I cold have easily flown off the handle, or worse. That is the estrogen, which I have been on the longest (and continually). You will see what I’ve done with the others in this year’s earlier blog posts. Coming off the Androcur (cyperetone acetate) did really open my eyes to what it was doing to my head. That one is absorbed by the brain quite well/badly (depending on your point of view). I have been getting weirdly scary dreams of late, but they seem to come and go. Otherwise, while I am conscious and awake, I am fine. I can sometimes get a bit tearful if tired, but that’s to be expected (another aspect of ‘young me’ that I’d repressed for so long). I had been told in the past not to show my emotions – I was practically brought up not to have feelings.
Going back to surgery, and the most important thing to remember is that those arrangements (no hormones) will only be for six-seven weeks. That is easier to say than do, I know. But then, your world changes completely, and irreversibly. I don’t see any grounds for regret, as (1) it’s something that shouldn’t have been there in the first place, and (2) it’s never worked right most of the time anyway. Incidentally, my previous urological issues haven’t been a problem for quite a while now, and hopefully it will stay that way. I was told that starting estrogen could have an effect on the control – and guess what, it did! (If I’d known that would have the same effect that it did, I may well have gone self-medding, but that’s another story, and we cannot go back in time!)
On a semi-related issue, most of you know I have issues with some artificial sweeteners, and this is something I have been discussing with thebustocrookes a bit lately. The one in Diet Coke will give me cramps, and make me ill. The ones in Pepsi Max, Tesco Diet Lemonade, and Schweppes Diet Lemonade, all appear to be ok. I used to drink Cherry Coke, which did not have any artificial sweeteners listed on he ingredients, but did make me violently ill on a couple of occasions (including my 30th March trip down south). Have they changed the recipe, was it a bad batch, has anyone else had this? I’ve avoided Cherry Coke throughout April as a result – plain “fat” Coke appeared to be ok. Most of the calories taken on by women come in drinks, so I need to fin a way to cut down, without making myself ill in doing so.
On another semi related note, congratulations all round to thebustocrookes who is about to get married, and of course, Adam Hobson, who has the lovely Freya moving in with him to Carnoustie this weekend. Good luck and best wishes to the four of you.
Finally, social networking sites i.e. Bebo, Myspace etc. have now apparently overtaken porn in terms of the most site traffic volume – in the UK, but not in America… wonder who counts these things? Give it time…
OK, those are all the things that are going on in my head right now – think that’s me up to date, for the first time in ages! Blogger appears to be really bad for formatting, so until further notice (i.e. unless anything changes) I will be putting everything on Livejournal only. The blogroll from the old one is too long for me to put into Livejournal, although I shall need to find some way of doing so.