Monthly Archives: December, 2011

Happy New Year

Well alright, it isnt quite here yet for me, but 2012 is fast approaching by now. The irony being that Samoa has gone from being the last place to welcome in the New Year, to one of the first, though I do feel sorry for anyone living there born on the 30th December, as that day never happened over there due to jumping across the International dateline for business reasons, most of their trade now being that side of the dateline.

So what does 2012 hold? Well, if you believe the Mayans, to quote REM, its the end of the world as we know it (but no, thats not the video lol), but I’m not showing too much concern on that front at present!

In a sporting sense over here, the big event for most will be the 2012 Olympics, though the football (Soccer) fans might say that the Euro 2012 means more to them, but given I’m not a fan of their sport, nope! For me, the 20/20 cricket World Cup is more important, even more so if Ireland qualify of course! Hopefully I can complete my set of the ‘big 4’ US sports this autumn with an NFL game, though apart from baseball, no sport has a count greater than one! Buffalo @ New England is the aim, though that will depend on the schedule when released in April.

Travel wise, I dont expect much change from frustration with a lousy train company, but I can hope! Job wise, I’m not expecting much change either, despite talking inwardly at times about it lol! Further afield, its Seattle in April, New England in September.

Personally, at least I know where I stand this year, having given up on Leeds GIC, I’ll have to settle for my own physical changes, rather than any hormonal ones. My body does seem to be raising to the challenge, so…not expecting miracles all the same!

So all in all, I’m not expecting much more from next year than this, but if you set your ambitions low, you are only likely to get delight, not disappointment in life. But short of a lottery win, I cant see any dramatic changes to this body. Fingers crossed, just maybe? 😉

So thats it, the end of the musings for 2011 at least. Yes, they will continue in 2012, thats definite. So lets close for now by wishing all my readers a happy 2012, and hope all goes well for you then as well. The video, yes, its my musical tastes, so its an oldie with the right sentiment

Looking back on 2011

Yes, I do hope to get in one more post this year on Saturday, but that will be looking forward to 2012, so call this the annual review lol.

2011 has been an interesting year to say the least. Its the first year I actually travelled on a passport that said Ms, rather than Mr, and believe me, that was a special moment. Even if due to the wonders of our ‘beloved’ passport office, I still have to show gender as male! The good news, it seemed most places I travelled, the vast majority of people disagreed with that, assuming I was, or making it very clear they thought I was female. Its another reason for loving Boston to be honest, no one would have believed my gender on my passport lol! Nowadays I use the unisex toilets at work, solves all problems for everyone, and is fine by me to be honest.

The only down side to the whole thing has been Leeds GIC, who I have now totally given up on doing anything to help my gender change, and just settling for what changes my body wants to make for itself, some of them quite remarkable ones it must be said.

I guess its not hard to work out my cricketing highlight of the year, Ireland beating England in the World Cup just has to be the one. For a while I was just hoping for respectability, but Kevin O’Brien ensured so much more than that. Getting to see them play live in Belfast beating Namibia twice, was a treat all the same. We’ve made a good start to qualifying for the next World Cup too, lets hope that continues in the New Year, as well as hopefully retrieving the Inter Continental 4 day cup as well, though it will actually be 2013 before both of those conclude.

International travel wise, there were 3 trips this year, 1 mentioned above. The other 2 were Toronto (for the first time beyond the airport transit area) and Boston (for the first time in nearly 25 years!). I really enjoyed both cities, and would love to get back to both soon, though 1 is more likely to happen very quickly (like next year maybe?) than the other, though hopefully it wont be too long before I’m in Canada again. People I met have been well covered in previous postings, so just a brief thanks to Kate, James, and the people of those 2 great cities for some wonderful memories. Especially those in Boston that made it clear they wouldnt have thought I needed any surgery to be a woman!

Work, well its been a pretty good year, no real hassles beyond toilet issues (now solved) and the need to find somewhere else for next years Christmas dinner, please! The staff in the shops I have to take calls from, mmf, no comment on some of them!

Life, well I’ve started writing again, though my suspicion is the current story is going to be a one off, well who knows, I’ve certainly enjoyed writing it, though I suspect the inspiration has helped on that front all the same. The one thing I have noticed is that my body is beginning to age, and not gracefully in terms of joints. The knees are beginning to give me more grief, the back definitely is, and thats why next April will be the last west coast of US trip for the foreseeable future, it just hurts the body too much with all that sitting still on the planes for so long. It might be daft doing one more trip, but did want to see Seattle one more time at least.

The blog however will hopefully go sailing on sweetly, at least thats the plan.

The video, well I’m told there is an artist with a very similar name to mine, so lets give her a run out here. Funnily enough I knew the Corrs version of this song better, and had no idea she had written it in the first place. So, for the penultimate video of the year (and yes, the last one will be utterly obvious) lets see what dreams we can come up with for next year.

Merry Christmas Everybody

Well at least to everyone who reads this anyway!

Just a quickie (and a classic video) for now, to wish all my readers a marvellous Christmas, and to hope you all get what you want tomorrow in the way of presents, and a perfect day. But given the reputation for these matters on December 25th, well I hope its not too painful a day anyway.

I know it will be a good day for me, even though I know full well that I wont get my most wished for present tomorrow, as I will not wake up looking like either a 50’s version of Doris Day, or even better at present, maybe, a 20’s version of Louise Brooks, though still blonde ideally! Correct genitalia the most important thing lol! Santa, please note! I know its a lot to ask, but…if I get that, I wouldnt care about not getting any other presents. 😉

My special best wishes go out to all others working over the holiday period, yes, I will be amongst you on Boxing Day. To those working tomorrow, especially one who I know reads this, my even more special wishes.

To all those marvellous people I met this year, thanks, its been an honour. To those I will meet next year, I look forward to doing so. The main holidays for next year are already planned, sorted, and in the case of the first at least, paid for as well. I’m hoping I can get to see Ireland play cricket again then, but thats a bit more TBA, other than on Sky at least.

I wont keep you longer, I’m sure you’ve got more important things to be doing today than reading this.

So yes, its a giveaway as to the song, the original and best version of a 70’s Christmas Classic

Its Christmas!!!

winter solstice

Now if I was really looking for irony, the video tonight would have to be ‘Here Comes The Sun’ because of course its now on its way back north again, even if we might not see much of it for a while yet!

Getting into my Irish ancestry, and I think the video tonight will prove that, we are in the middle of that amazing series of days at Newgrange, where the passage to the graves get mysteriously lit up by the sun at dawn for a few days. Of course, today is the one everyone goes to see it lol! It must be an ethereal sight I suspect, though my only visits there were in summer, so I only have the word of others to go by.

Typically in Irish fashion, the solstices arent the big dates, its the four festivals (for want of a better term) that fall between them that are more important in Celtic lore. I know I’m a good Christian, but all the same…

Its said that the date for Christmas was placed as it was, to set it as close to a date of what was a major pagan celebration, than any real evidence that December 25th was really Christ-mas as such. True or not, I have no idea, thats something long lost in time, thats for sure.

Ironically of course, though we’ve reached the winter solstice, for most, the worst of the winter weather is certainly yet to come. In traditional British fashion, trains, buses and everything else will grind to a halt in temperatures barely below freezing, whereas in the really cold areas, no one will really notice any difference! A few grains of snow will stop everything, but several feet in many parts of the world, and nothing changes!

Did I mention the Irish ancestry thing btw? 😉 Oh, thats right, I did. Therefore the video tonight is in Gaelic, though still very apt for this time of year. Enya singing ‘Oiche Chiun’, though if you think it sopunds like ‘Silent Night’, theres a good reason for that! 😉


Lonely This Christmas?

Lets face it, for the vast majority of my readers, this isnt something you’ve ever had to worry about, just be grateful for that. Me, been there, done that, though thankfully not in a good many years now, got a small, but great group of friends that I share house with, so not a problem for now. But yes, I’ve had a few in the past where its just been me, and a TV, and that was it, and there wasnt hundreds of channels to choose from back then, just 4! And none of this internet, and social network stuff to keep you amused either!

It wasnt nice, but I was 160 miles or so from my parents (mother’s 2nd marriage), didnt drive, and had to work Boxing Day, so all in all…its a strange day to spend alone, it must be said. I might have readers who will be alone this year on the ‘big day’, and they have all my best wishes, I know what spending that day alone is like. The rest of you, all I ask is that you think of those less fortunate than yourselves on that big day, and remember, that with a change of fortunes, that could be you.

Right, preaching over.

Today was the last day for shopping for me, to go and get the ‘Secret Santa’ present for someone at work. No, I’m not mentioning names, there might be a 0.1% chance they might read this, but somehow I doubt it. Its funny, however many years ago I first did this, it was £5 for the gift, and despite all the inflation since then, it still seems a popular amount as the limit. In fact I ended up spending £6 to get something that fitted the bill, for someone I dont really know all that well. Bit like the Christmas dinner thing at work, I have no idea why I do it, but I do!

Right, the highlight for most probably (she says self deprecatingly) is the music video, and yes, this might well be the penultimate Christmas one…or it might not! 😉 This is one from the wonderful glam rock (70’s) era of great Christmas songs. I have no idea why Les Gray got so into doing the Elvis impersonation siode of things, but he did do a good job of it, this is an example of that.

A fairytale ended too young

Did anyone work out what the anniversary was? Either way, you find out now.

11 years ago today, Kirsty McColl was killed in a diving accident in Mexico, aged just 41. I’m not going to comment on the politics of the incident, there is so much mystery and rumour shrouded about it, thats its safer not to comment here.

Pop music is a strange thing, to put it mildly, talentless acts with masses of hype (yes, think X-Factor) can have successful careers, while really good singers without said hype never get the popular following they so deserve. And yes, Kirsty was one of the latter.

Ironically for such a talented writer, 3 of the records she will be most remembered for were not from her hands. ‘A New England’ was a Billy Bragg song, though he did rewrite slightly for Kirsty, for obvious reasons. ‘Days’ was a Ray Davies (Kinks) song, and the one you get to enjoy later here was of course a Pogues song. She did have hits of her own, ‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chipshop’ and ‘Walking Down Madison’ being 2 of the most obvious to talk about. Her own first record, ‘They Don’t Know’ was actually a massive hit for Tracey Ullman, who had more hype going for her than Kirsty did at the time. And not the only song that Tracey was wise enough to record of hers either.

But generally, much of her great music just seemed to fall under the popular radar, for whatever reason, but I loved it. Why, possibly because of her concern for others in a worse position than herself, and possibly because she had a wonderfully cynical look on life so often.

And yes, I just wanted to mark this day with little piece. As I say, I’m offering the most obvious piece of Kirsty, especially at this time of year, but just type the name into You Tube, and enjoy more if you have the time.

Kirsty RIP

I believe in Father Christmas

No, dont worry, seriously, at my age, I dont. I cant remember at what age I discovered the truth, but its fair to say it was well over 40 years ago, probably 45! 45 would be very apt for a music video, hope some are old enough to get that in-joke! 😉

Trouble is, I believe Father Christmas could make a better job of running my trains than Trans Pennine Express do! The new winter timetable started last Sunday, not that there were any differences for me that I noticed at least. So far, 9 journeys (got a lift home Sunday evening) since then, of which 5 have been on trains arriving more than 10 minutes late. Well, in fact the best of those is 14 minutes, but you get my drift, 10 is a nice round number. Today they got the double. Yesterday was the Christmas miracle, both were on time! So yes, 5 journeys badly delayed, a grand total so far of 84 minutes this week. Will they get the unwanted century tomorrow, I wouldnt want to bet against it!

Its not even like they have been at peak times, one was Sunday morning, the next was early (before 7) on Monday, and a third was Wednesday evening (just before 9), so hardly peak traffic moments. That could just about be used as a reason for both today, but… I think it really annoys me because fares are going up by about 8% in the new year, but the service is so awful.

Alright, brief rant over.

The song, well if you havent guessed from the title, I’m surprised. Personally I think this is one of those great Christmas songs that seemed to creep under the radar, perhaps because its not all sugar and spice? And yes, you were going to get the Greg Lake version (and I would seek it out if you dont mind repetition), but instead I’m going to offer a version by a promising Irish group, that some may have heard of. Yes, I am being cynical. Bono seems to be one of those love or hate people, so if you hate, then go find Greg Lake instead. Personally I think its quite a good cover though

The next one on Sunday (all things planned) is another anniversary one, for a life taken far too soon. See if you can work out who?

Edit to add,

If it hadnt been for the stopper train being delayed by very late running TPE trains tonight getting into Leeds, I would have got the century, as my planned to get train arrived 17 minutes late!

Ticket To Ride

One thing I’ve noticed on my trips to North America, is that generally the transit (bus/metro) fares are all the same. Both Boston and Toronto (Minneapolis was, I think?) were this year, and I know Seattle and San Francisco do, though some routes into and out of the city do have 2 zones at least. Inner Seattle has free fares during the day though, a real surprise nowadays, I assume they still do. Personally I like the idea, you know what the fare is going to be, no arguments.

Over here however, nearly all bus routes have fares related to the length of journey made, though I’m not sure if London doesnt use the fixed fare method now? I would love to say this leads to all sorts of hilarity, except for the fact that much of the time I find what I have to report more as frustrating.

There are fares related to distances, based on what they call fare stops, as opposed to the inbetween bus stops. At these points, fares change, should be simple? But no! There are some who think that just because they are getting on the bus one stop before the fare break, that they can ‘barter’ the fare down accordingly. Hey, some think that at any point, they seemingly should get the next fare down anyway. Most of these, to put it diplomatically, are the ones with Indian sub continent (and neighbouring countries) ancestry, though there are one or two others. As far as I know, mainly because in the end they seem to slam down extra coins, they dont win, but that doesnt stop them trying again next time seemingly! Fares are fixed, just pay them!

I guess I get frustrated with them because 99% of my bus journeys either relate to getting into town to go to work, or getting home after a day at work, and I really dont want unnecessary delays!

Saturday, I also got ‘entertainment’ on the train, thankfully they dont stop the train while the conductor checks tickets lol. This woman (yes, you’ve guessed her origin) got most angry when the conductor wouldnt accept her expired (by 3 days apparently) Metro card could no longer be used to make journeys, and the whole carriage got to know it! He politely explained that she would have to buy a new one now, but she wasnt keen on that idea! She eventually paid out for a return ticket for that day, but she wouldnt have won any prizes for charm in doing so.

So, to anyone reading this, you know what your bus/train fare is, just pay it, dont try and get a lower fare, its not going to happen, and all you do is annoy fellow passengers. And as ‘The Hulk’ used to say, “You wont like me if I get angry!” lol!

The song, suitably apt for this rant I guess? One of my favourite groups, one of their early records, a cover version.

I’m still standing…just!

Yes, its been a little while since I wrote here, but thats life, and work shifts for you. Hopefully things might get a bit calmer now, but if I disappear again for a few days, dont panic, well not too much lol!

So lets fill you in on life, before I get all whimsical again, probably tomorrow as I have a day off, whatever one of those is?

Thursday was the Christmas dinner (as has been mentioned before), but lets throw a delicate veil over the meal by saying it wasnt good. Food, especially the main course was definitely ‘cool’ by the time we got served, and no, I wont go again next year unless its somewhere different, or I have a total bimbo moment and accidentally say yes when asked lol! Hotel I stayed at was OK, though had the amusing moment of having to pay a £10 deposit for a TV remote.

Friday,Saturday and Sunday, lets just say my shifts came to a combined total of 30 hours for those 3 days, and leave it at that. Irony, my shift today, 5 hours! <rolling eyes emoticon> Worse, I finished at 9 last night, got to bed about 11.45 by the time I did everything, and was up soon after 4.30 this morning for a shift starting at 8! Day off tomorrow, and 8 will be the earliest I get up tomorrow I suspect.

Yesterday was even more entertaining, the new railway timetables started over here. Not that mine seem to have altered, and neither has the ‘reliability’ of Trans Pennine Express! Well actually you cound say they were consistent, train was 14 minutes late arriving yesterday morning, and same again today! Joke is the word that comes to mind. Something went wrong, the train this afternoon ran on time. Last night, didnt get one, got collected, so no idea!

Hard to believe it, 2 weeks from now, all the hype will be done and dusted, and I’ll have done a day back at work. Yes, some of us work Boxing Day, shock horror! Havent had any requests for a present list yet though from any of my readers. Well alright, Nicole has, but thats an inhouse thing, so…

Teasing folks, as I suspect you know by now, but all the same…

The song, I’m sure the title is a big giveaway here. it’s Elton showing off some wonderful dry humour, and I’m wondering whether this is just after he outed himself judging by the lyrics and the video?

The girl with golden hair

Hopefully some will know what song thats from before they click on the video link lol. If not, the categories check might just give you a clue! 😉

Yes, the hair extensions are done, I just wonder how many now are just going to jump to the picture at the end without even reading the blog now lol! Not too many I hope, but anyway…I would like to say what an excellent job Karin has done with it, and if anyone in the West/North Yorkshire area wants her details, then ask!

My hair colouring and extensions went very smoothly, looks really good, as you will see shortly (for those who havent cheated at least), and not only does it look great, its certainly a bob most of the way round, and the fringe is as good as could be achieved. Given the amount of hair I’ve got up front, even now, the true Louise Brooks type fringe was never going to happen! But as could be done, its brilliant. Now all I need is the flapper type dress before Thursday…only kidding lol!

Oh, sorry, whats that, the picture, I can hear you shouting, oh alright, here it is, care of Nicole Woodhouse

There, are you happy now? 😉

For those bothering to read on after that, the video. I grew up as a teen on Abba, and the line in this song is just so suitable, and yes, the clue is in the title. Just believe me when I say you’d rather hear Agnetha sing than me!

PS That cleavage, all natural!