Monthly Archives: August, 2013

A milestone in history

As I discovered on the news earlier today, today was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, which in time helped to change the world, and especially in the US, with its words about racial equality.

Yes, hard to believe now, isnt it? Just 50 years ago, racial equality in the US, oh dear! Thankfully things have changed a lot since then. Mind, LGBT rights back then were just as ‘good’, I think its fair to say. I dont think we are as far forward in the battle for equality as the race issue, but hopefully we will get there very soon.

No, I dont remember anything about the speech at the time, hardly surprising considering I was 5 at the time! I’ve seen it a few times since then, and heard it too, as yet again, OMD chose an interesting issue for one of their songs, back in the mid 80’s. Given this was never released as a single, it was harder to find a video, but Stevie tracked one down

My, havent things changed a lot since then?

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Gender of convenience?

Yes, lets talk transgender tonight, and in a sense, politics at the same time. Controversial stuff for me, lol!

You’ve probably heard all about it on the news, especially if I’ve got any American readers here. Yes, Bradley Manning as he was known, Chelsea Manning as she now wants to be known. You know the story, all about security leaks, so I wont bore you with all the details.

Because thats not what brings me to this subject matter, its the whole transgender thing, and the timing of it. Dont get me wrong, his chances of winning the case, were about the same as me winning the 100m title at the next Olympics. Yes, that good!

No, what got to me, and from what I’ve seen around, others as well, was the timing of the moment to come out as transgender, immediately after he lost the case. Now, I have no idea if female prisoners get better treatment than men in the US, especially at somewhere like Fort Leavenworth, but…cynicism factor comes out pretty high on this. Equally, we will never know if he would have said the same thing if he had won the case, will we? Put it this way though, I’d have offered you decent odds that he wouldnt!

As someone said, in the battle for transgender equality, we need good role models in the public eye, and we get this! Its sure not going to help our cause when people see these sort of people turning to transgenderism. As I say, maybe I have got Manning wrong, and this desire was genuine, but you’d have to work hard to convince me of that.

So yes, I’m just wondering who will actually come out of prison, Bradley, or Chelsea? Me, my bet is on Bradley, but I’d love to be proved wrong!

Given where he has gone, that cynic in me found this making a rather apt video

Its getting closer!

Yes, I know, the holiday has been mentioned before, but in my usual methodical style, I go into preparation mode far in advance of the event. Not that its perfect, I still once managed to leave my passport at home when heading out to the airport, but thankfully realised the fact very quickly. Doesnt stop me still getting ribbed about it, but anyway…

But yes, in a move that is sure to ensure a major weakening of the dollar, or strengthening of sterling, I’m planning to sort out my currency needs this week. Lets face it, at this point in time, the rate is unlikely to change drastically in either direction, so given that I’ve got an extra day off this week, and therefore some time to myself, lets get it done. To be honest, unless you are stupid enough to get it at the airport on the day (when you will get ripped off), you will get a similar rate at any point within the next 4 weeks, certainly not enough to matter for the amount I will be getting anyway. Its a bit more than usual, given that apart from the first night, hotels are not yet paid for, but still nothing that will break the bank either way.

The other big event that is getting closer, is even sooner, indeed a fortnight today. Ireland hosting England at cricket, and hopefully getting the right side of the result this time. Sadly I wont be there, just watching on Sky, but I’ll be there in spirit for the game, watching at home. Good luck guys. Sadly it will almost certainly be the last time I see Trent Johnston play for Ireland, he does have a few more games after that, but none that are likely to be on TV.

Oh, and in other news, no, I havent been invited to York by anyone, not that I ever expected to be! So, Wakefield (I suspect) and a little retail therapy is the most likely outcome on Thursday. Unless…

The video, well it reflects the first thing mentioned here, and slightly less on the Perseid (think thats spelt right?) meteor showers we’ve seen lately. A real 70’s throwback, shall we say?

Days?

Yes, I’ve got an ‘interesting’ week at work next week, standard hours, but spread over 4 days, instead of 5! Yes, the extra day off might be nice, assuming I’m not too exhausted to enjoy it of course! It has happened once before, but at least then I was asked in advance if I didnt mind doing it, this time I only discovered it when I got my shifts for the week! Ah well…

To be honest, given that I pay a ‘small fortune’ for my Metro card, the more days I can use it, the better, so in that sense…agreed, I may well go out on Thursday if I can get straight on other domestic issues, but even so…11 hour shifts back to back on Friday and Saturday are going to be killers! Got another tomorrow as well, so dont expect to hear from me lol!

Right, rant over, enjoy the video

How much!

Yes, its one of the big meetings at York next week, so if I travel at the ‘right time’ next week, between Wednesday and Saturday, I will get to see the people dressed up to the nines, returning from the races. Well, Friday and Saturday at least, thats for sure. Wednesday, I finish at 5, so should be through before they return, and Thursday I’m off, so will go nowhere near York, unless some beau is offering to escort this ‘lady’ to the races at least, lol!

No? Thought not! 😛

And seriously, if you did, how rich are you? To be fair, you can get into the Course enclosure for £8 a day, but thats the basic deal, and I do mean basic. The Grandstand (pretty decent) is £29 each, and the County Stand (posh level) is an eye watering £54 each! And thats just the admission price! Add in travel costs, food and drink, and of course, if you’re a gambler, betting money, and hey, wow, a lot of money!

May I add that there is another level, the Melrose Club, at an incredible £123 per person!!! And the frightening thing, its sold out, and I thought there was a recession on?

Do you really want to hear some more news, the last time I went racing, admittedly a few years ago, how much was entry to the main stand? Err, nothing…free of charge, and all that. You’re right, it wasnt in this country, it was Philadelphia Park, in the US, and agreed, they have a tote system, not bookmakers, but…And equally, it wasnt high class racing, but…free! And not only was the entry free, the food and drink was very reasonably priced too, more than York will be next week! And no, dont get me started on the train fares to get there!

Thats not to say it wouldnt be fun to go to my first race meeting as a lady, all dressed up, but not at those prices! Go racing they say, if you can afford it!

The video, well alright, its about Ascot, not York, but close enough, an Audrey Hepburn gem.

The annual joke

Yes, a subject tonight that very much relates to me, without being a transgender issue, the announcement of the increase in train fares as from January next year. Seriously, I wouldnt mind the rise being slightly above inflation if it meant we were going to get a more punctual, and reliable service, more coaches on the trains (so its less like playing sardines in a can), or anything like that, but it wont. We keep getting told that the above inflation rise over the last 6 years (and for the next 2 at least) is meant to do that, but so far there is absolutely no evidence of it happening, at least with First Transpennine Express, thats for sure.

I’m not saying Northern Rail are perfect (they arent, btw), but they are a lot more reliable than TPE, but thats hardly the greatest challenge under the sun. But given they play second fiddle for me, or should do at least, I’m happy with what I get. To be honest, most of their delays on the Huddersfield line are related to late running TPE trains anyway!

Having said that, TPE dont seem to have the worst record running through Leeds, though thats hard to believe. That unenviable record goes to a company called Cross Country, who barely seem to run any trains on time, to be honest. But still, despite their awfulness, their fares will go up by an average of 4.1% next January, whereas if I’m lucky, I might get a 2% rise!

I’d love to say the government are to blame, and to some degree they are, as Labour politicians are happy to tell us. What they conveniently forget is that this whole above inflation rise issue was bought in by them, and it was they who got us into our current financial mess in the first place. Ah well…

In more cheerful news, I just got my first royalty statement as an author, from Draft2Digital, seems I earned a whole $23.69 from Amazon in July, which I will try not to spend all at once, especially as I wont get paid until October. Sales from August so far have been dreadful, so looks unlikely that I will be giving up the day job at least. Does mean I dont have to find time to write something new though, so may be mixed blessings?

Beyond that, I now have a full set of silver nails (fingers and toes) again after today, and my hair is more of a length that Brooksie would approve of again. Next week will see a much needed massage, my knees are starting to object loudly to all the walking I do, even if the back seems relatively calm at present. Still, 39 days from now, I will be a Virginia Belle, in location at least, if nothing else!

Lastly, can someone explain shoe sizes to me? I have a pair of 9 pumps, that are a tight fit, equally I have a pair of low/medium heels, that are a 7.5, and are a bit loose! Aargh!

Right, video. Back to the original rant. I went looking for Metroland, by OMD, and found this, even more apt. We are the robots…bleep…bleep…bleep

That time of year again

Yes, alright, I know the NFL pre season play started last week, but today marks the Bills first foray into play, and at the moment of writing (30-13 in 3rd quarter), its going surprisingly well. Of course, as the cynic in me would point out, when they were reaching the Superbowl 4 times, we used to lose virtually every pre season game, so…who knows? 4 weeks from now, we will know a lot more, and 6 weeks from now, I’ll be watching a game or two hopefully while in the US. Of course I might get to see some on Sky Sports before then, but anyway…

No, I dont expect anything amazing from them, but for a few more weeks at least, I can dream.

The other ‘funny moment’ tonight is that I’ve got the US PGA golf on TV, coming from…Rochester, New York, where I was in April. Well alright, just outside the city, at Oak Hill, Pittsford, but its given as a Rochester address lol! 😛 I will always have fond memories of my time there, thats for sure. Given that I never got to Buffalo, I might still get back there sometime of course, would be nice.

And yes, the other regular occurrence fast approaching at this time of year, my next holiday trip to the US, back to Richmond in Virginia, after 13 years! Still less than the gap between visits to Rochester, so… Meeting up with Kate again will be really good too. And yes, guilty, next years destinations are all planned out too, if not sure which order yet, but it should be Albany, and Kansas, all things working out. So many possibilities for 2015 though, no idea how that will all play out yet, but pretty much all east coast, or mid west at most, which will please my old body.

On other matters, no, I havent seen the photo book display yet, hopefully soon, and I can post something here.

Oh, and on a more depressing front, the Premier League football season starts next week, ah well, cant have everything, I guess?

Right, given most of what I’ve talked about, the video is topical. But its not the original artists, but these are two young ladies I could quickly become a fan of. Hopefully medical people wont get a surprise with the tagging here lol!

Another ‘marmite’ matter

Though this one is nothing to do with me, and all to do with one specific form of cricket. For those who dont know it, there are a number of adverts that have done the rounds over the years about Marmite, in that you either love it, or hate it, no in between.

That form of cricket I’m talking about, its that 20 over stuff!

Yes, fine, guilty as charged, I’ve been watching 2 of the quarter finals today, and will probably do the same tomorrow for the third one as well. The last, on Thursday, I’ll see some of it, but not all, due to my work shifts. But seriously, if you asked me, as a cricket lover, whether I really like it, then the answer is no. It doesnt have the same level of disdain for me that soccer does, but compared to the longer versions (1 day included), I’m not really a fan.

At the same time, its introduced a lot of people to cricket, because of the short period of time it takes, and generally its exciting to watch as well. But if you like a good challenge between batsmen and bowlers, and tactics, then maybe not!

Talking of the longer game, its now less than a month until England travel to Malahide (Dublin), to play the might of Ireland in a 1 day international. I’m told that sales are really good, almost certain to be a record crowd for a match in Ireland, has to be a great thing. Be an even greater thing if we beat them again! Sadly for me, I will only get to see it on Sky, but thats better than nothing, I guess?

Oh, alright, the video is the obvious one, with all this talk of cricket. The current incarnation of 10CC live, in fact.

Is it me, or is it me?

Its just one of those funny things, most places I go, or pass through, I dont worry too much about what people think of me, or about me, its not like I’m going to see most of them ever again anyway. So if someone laughs, or says something, I just walk on by and ignore them, its just the easiest way.

Its not like I’m controversial, I have worn a skirt out a few times, and no one has even blinked. I have even worn dresses out, but not often, and only in a group, I’m not that daft! Well, not strictly true, I walked across the block to the staff dinner last December in a dress, and heels, all on my own. But given it was a December night, not in the centre of Leeds, beyond the hotel reception area, no one was even going to notice it.

But as I lightheartedly (to some degree) posted on my Facebook account today, at work, I think it would be fair to say my nickname could be marmite. Yes, you know what I mean, it seems I’m either loved, or disliked, and seemingly nothing in the middle. Now, to be fair, you’re never going to be liked by everyone. Well, not genuinely so at least, though a few celebrities might think they are lol!

No, I’m not perfect, and not just in the transgender sense either. I’m a typical Yorkshire lass, with the habit of saying what I think, even if its not always the best thing to do. So yes, my bluntness, especially with a few delicate souls, might just annoy them somewhat. And agreed, I’d be amazed if there werent some who didnt dislike me, for not being the ‘perfect woman’ shall we say, in bodily form at least. I suspect there might even be a few who dont like me for both reasons, who knows?

Dont get me wrong, the vast majority are lovely, it might be with a few, that its only to my face, but thats fine by me. Its just those few that either ignore me as much as possible, or if they do have to look at me, just glare, and tend to walk on by without saying a word. Personally, if they do have a good reason for it, I just wish they would say what it is, but of course they never do. Dont get me wrong, I try to be nice to them, but sometimes its like hitting your head against a brick wall.

Alright, frustrations over, just been one of those days I guess?

In other news, I’ve seen the pictures of me, some of them are truly amazing, it has to be said. And yes, I will post at least a couple on here, in good time, but its likely to be a few weeks I gather. Seriously Boudoir Couture do some fantastic stuff, so if you want some glam pics done, either Google the name, or ask me for details, I’ll happily provide.

Sadly the new story seems about as popular as the plague at present, not sold one copy yet. 😦 Alright, the fact that people can read it for free elsewhere may play a part with my reader market, but all the same…So a little reminder

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/merrybrooks

They are also available at Amazon, and a few other good ebook stores, if you prefer, or certainly if you own a Kindle.

Alright, advert over.

The video tonight, is one by a pair of performers who I only regret never having seen live in the flesh. Never got to a reunion concert, and probably never will now, but I wish I had. Some would say this title is in tribute to a few at work