Friday, May 25, 2007

Google Therapy

I've been tagged by Badger to take part in a bit of google therapy. The aim of the game is simple. Enter your screen name followed by the word 'needs' in to the google search bar and list all the entries you find on your blog. 'Brumcunian needs' didn't come up with anything other than my forums and blogspot and so I abbreviated to 'Brum needs'. Here's what I need according to google...

Brum needs to make sure that experience is safe

Brum needs to work a little magic to put them both safely out of action


Brum needs an Eerie Pub

Brum needs something new

brum needs a new breakfast show

I don't think this game is fair. 'Badger needs' comes up with loads of results. Brumcunians have needs too. Curse you google!

I tag Liz

Monday, May 21, 2007

mtv... not the music channel

I am a mtv.
That's male transvestite to you and me.
I'm bent. I'm queer. I'm a poof. I'm a fag.
I also get kicks from doing drag.

I guess it all started when I was about 8.
For years I doubted whether I was straight.
As it turned out I ended up gay.
Gay but still married until divorce court has its say.

So now here I am in my own little world.
Mooching around sometimes dressed like a girl.
All my male friends are gay or bi but very few straight.
In general me and straight men don't get on that great.

I'm just a guy who likes to wear make up.
When will straight men open their eyes and wake up.
Straight women in general are more accepting and open.
But there are still some that need their nose broken.

Cross dressing is not the only thing that defines me.
So it makes me laugh that it's sometimes used to despise me.
Well I'll carry on experimenting with my identity.
If you see a blonde guy in makeup it's either Izzard or me!

came up this weekend. At some point on Saturday night I drunkenly staggered off to get changed and reappeared wearing wedges, a per una skirt, bra, and the blouse in this picture. Fiona sqeaked with glee and dissapeared off returning moments later with the necklace in the photo. I love the necklace. Very middle class casual tranny wear!

I've been cross dressing since I was 8 and to me it's just a very small part of my identity. I say cross dressing rather than transvestite as technically speaking transvestites are people who live 24/7 in the clothing of the opposite sex. Whereas cross dressers just do it on occasion for their own personal reasons. (But mtv was a catchier title for the poem). For me it's just a bit of escapism and relaxation. Kind of like Clark Kent ripping off his suit to become Superman. I get changed in to my female clothes and I can stop being me for a while by becoming 'Beth' if I've had a particularly stressful day or if there are family things getting me down (as is happening at the moment). Women fought for their right to wear trousers, Beckham can wear a sarong, male goths wear makeup, so why do some people have issues with Brumcunian wearing mascara, lippy, a skirt and blouse. In the 21st century dawn of the metrosexual this whole 'male/female clothing' divide is getting a bit outdated.

Shopping for clothes is kind of tricky. The internet is good but there's the obvious disadvantage of not being able to try things on. Plus not really being able to know what size (other than shoe size) you are because shop sizes vary so much and having a three pack (a beer gut and man boobs) makes my shape somewhat different from a genetic woman. Of course you can try things on to your hearts content in high street shops but I usually go with the 'have you got this in a size 18. It's for my girlfriend' approach rather than 'hey can I use the changing rooms to try all these female clothes on'.

My ex used to take me shopping. She would try something on and say under her breath 'would you like this on you?'. In many ways (other than her having the wrong anatomical bits) me and her were perfect for each other. But we would have never worked out. These days my finances are a bit tight but I've got some cash on it's way to me once my hot tub gets sold second hand at the show room it is currently displayed in. Once I get my cash windfall I'm going girlie clothes shopping. See Fiona... it's on blogspot now so I can't get out of it when I come down to see you over the summer!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Poofter Pete poisons Purple

Fiona (aka purple Fiona) came up to visit yesterday. It's been a very fun drunken 24 hours and she goes back to London on the train tonight. We met up at 1230 yesterday, had a few drinks in town, and then got a cab back to mine where we proceeded to talk utter crap while watching The Sectretary, Human Traffic, and Fear and loathing in Las Vegas. I had been notified of Fiona's allergy to certain dairy products well in advance. I had bought soya based milk and margerine for her. I had run my planned meal past her and after checking the ingredients for Quorn chicken style pieces she said that it was ok for her to eat.

So I set to work cooking veggie tikka masalla while Fiona was marvelling at the evil genius of the film The Secretary. I served the food out. She liked it. Then she said "I'll just go and get another beer" and vanished for a fair few minutes. On her return she said "now I don't want to freak you out but this has got milk in it". BUGGER! I checked the sauce ingredients. Natural yoghurt 13%. Bugger bugger! I waited for Fionas imminant onset of extreme reaction. Bugger bugger bugger! Luckily the allergic reaction never came, an alternative meal was served up, and we carried on drinking.

Once I had stopped panicing I started laughing. Fiona asked me what was up and I said 'poofter Pete poisons purple'.

Friday, May 18, 2007

This web we weave

A good mate of mine is coming up from London to visit me at the weekend. I've known Fiona for a couple of years and have got on like a house on fire for about a year as we got to know each other and chatted more. Yet I have never met her in person or even spoken to her on the phone. That's the beauty of the internet. You can forge friendships with people who you would ordinarily have no contact with due to the logistics of geographic location, hectic lives, and the very British notion of not talking to strangers. When you're a kid on your first day of school, everyone is a stranger. If you don't talk to strangers then how on earth are you going to make friends or find a partner.

I've been online for 10 years now. Back in 1997 my dad got Compuserve internet service provider on dial up. At the time I was a Villa season ticket holder going to home and away matches and so the screen name and e-mail address of villa_nut was born. I don't go to games at Villa Park very much any more due to living in Manchester but I am still a Villa fan and it can be argued that I am a nut so the name rings true to this day. My e-mail address always provides a talking point at interviews or when giving out contact details. Luckily my boss saw the funny side when I gave my e-mail address when being interviewed for a psychiatric nurse post on the ward I now work on.

The job that I do is all about communication skills. If you can't listen and communicate effectively then you are never going to develop a good therapeutic relationship with the patients that you care for. I love communicating. It's the reason that now that I am single and living by myself I would much rather spend time online chatting to friends or be out and about with friends in Manchester. I do enjoy spending time by myself and at the moment I'm enjoying only being answerable to work with me being free to choose what to do with the rest of my time. But as the mobile advert says 'it's good to talk.'

Back in 1997 dial up was 1p a minute off peak and about 4p a minute during the day. My dad tried his best to limit my access by putting on a host of parental control programmes but I always managed to crack the password and get back to racking up the hours chatting on Compuserve chat or Yahoo chat. The fact that I am still alive today is probably because a £400 BT quarterly phone bill coincided with the dawn of 1p a minute any time dial up. Since getting broadband in 2002 I now leave my computer running whenever I am in and can jump on and offline as I choose.

I've made some good friends via the internet. As Baz Luhrmann said in his 1997 song WEAR SUNSCREEN.. "understand that
friends come and go but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps and geography and lifestyle because the older you get the more you'll need the people you knew when you were young". The internet allows us to do that.

I'm still friends with Laura who I first met in 'The Sanctuary' chat room on Compuserve. She is now a veterinary surgeon working in America and we regularly chat on msn and exchange e-mails. When I relocated to Manchester I posted on a student message board to find people to share a house rental with. By the time Mal got in touch with me I had already found house mates but we were both new to Manchester and met up for a drink. I met Doug on ouintheuk (a gay networking site). He was gay but had no gay mates to go out to Canal Street with. We met up one night, I introduced him to Mal, and 7 years later the three of us are still best friends. Working shifts and all having mortgages now restricts the time we spend together but we keep in touch thanks to the new fangled technological miracle of text messages, myspace, msn, and e-mail.

I met Lev (real name Martin but nickname Lev as he likes The Levellers) on a forum for an indie club. He now lives round the corner from me and is the local liberal democrat candidate. I could tell you how I met Fiona Stray and Badger but Stray has an axe, lives with Badger, and is mates with both Badger and Fiona so I'll keep my mouth shut. I met one of my ex girlfriends on Love on Lycos website. I was going through my 'bi' stage and as we got chatting it turned out that the flat share I lived in actually looked directly on to her front door. We met for a drink and ended up being a couple for 18 months. Through my volunteer work with I have become friends with Lainey, Tania, Kirsty, Steph, Nicki, Katie, and Col. Through myspace I have become friends with Helen, and Ben. Lastly but by no means leastly I have got to know anticant, and Ms M on blogspot.

My parents used to tell me that I should get off the computer and go out to the real world. But the computer is the real world in this dawn of the global village and the complex web we weave.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The other room

The back bedroom is complete! :o) Blog readers everywhere will be pleased to hear that this is the last day of the life laundry and so there will be no more boring mundane posts about decluttering or pictures of life laundered rooms. Every room in the house is now done (except for the huge mountain of seperate piles of rubbish/recycling/charity bags in the conservatory and the loft still needs doing). I'm definately going to need a skip. I can't believe how many bags of rubbish a 3 bedroom house can produce in two and a half years.

Overall the last 6 days have been a very positive experience yet one that I hope to never have to repeat again. It's definately motivated me to question whether I really need to buy something or whether it is just some random material posession that will sit gathering dust along with other things only for me to be in exactly the same position in another 3 years time.

Thoughts on the last 6 days...

Shred documents/confidential work notes daily rather than having a huge bag of it to do in one go after 3 years.

Tidy and clean daily to save ever getting in this mess again.

If you don't need it, don't buy it.

Get on top of recycling so that you don't end up with 6 months worth of glass cans and paper to get rid of in one go.

Wonder when councils are going to have a viable system for recycling electrical goods rather than the half arsed system they have in place at the moment which leaves you temped to think 'I'll just put it for the land fill if I can't recycle it in my area.'

Minimising clutter in your bedroom makes for a kick ass nights sleep.

An organised study makes for an organised life.

6 days of frantic decluttering saves lots of money that would have otherwise been spent on beer and cigarettes as well as nights out with friends.

Oh and did I mention I never ever not in a fookin million years want to repeat this process again.

Brumcunian; with a minimalistic house; that can now get back to his usual cynical blog posts.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Seize the doughnut

Operation boudoire complete! Apologies once again for the ongoing annoying blur on my pictures. Believe it or not they are the least blurred pictures from about 8 attempts. Well todays 10 hour decluttering marathon produced...

5 bags of clothing for charity - unwanted clothes and a fair selection of fat guy trousers from my 20 stone 44" waist days... I'm now 14 stone and 36/38" waist.
1 bag of soft toys/games etc for charity
7 bags of paper to be shredded
9 bags of general non recyclable waste
1 broken computer screen
1 bag of cans
1 bag of glass to be recycled
1 outdated crappy television
4 large bin bags full of coat hangers. (Assuming my ex took hangers when she took her clothes I have no idea how we amassed so many hangers in 2 and a half years).
1 fertility necklace hung in a frame (that was a wedding present off my parents... don't think I'll be needing that any more!) - will hide it in the loft me thinks.
1 Ikea uplighter
1 spare duvet
1 fan
1 wedding suit (to go to charity) which is now enormous on me (but was tight on the day)
1 bin bag full of assorted old smelly shoes

I won't show you a picture of the other bedroom as it is currently empty (apart from all the rubbish gathered today awaiting several runs to the tip tomorrow). 4 wardrobes full of clothing (Badger said I was 'such a girl to have so many clothes') has been reduced down to one and a half wardrobes full of clothes that I not only wear but fit me as well! My bedroom is now completely finished. Hoorah. Complete with it's own buddha statue, 'fat boy' bean bag reading corner and uplighter. Just the loft and cleaning left to do on Thursday and Friday.

How to have a good death and live life to the full

After laughing at Ronnie Corbett beating Gordon Ramsay on 'The F word celebrity challenge' then the plight of sexually inexperienced James in Channel 4's 'virgin school' last night I flicked over to BBC 2 for some intellectual programming. Esther Rantzen was presenting 'How to have a good death' which took an in depth look at palliative care in British hospitals by way of following the palliative care provided for several terminally ill patients and the impact it had on the patients themselves as well as their families.

We all know that life is in itself a terminal illness and that one day we will wake up for the very last time in our lives. The fact that we can't know when we are going to die with complete certainty makes planning a good death a bit problematic. But in the words of 'The Oracle', "everything that has a beginning has an end"; so why is death still such a taboo subject in British society?

I'm a psychiatric nurse that works with older adults (all over the age of 65). When I was doing my nurse training I was ridiculed by fellow students and by some university tutors for spending all of my final year placements working on an older adult ward. My course leader sarcastically informed me that 'elderly care is a bit of a boring choice for a final placement.' But as an Aston Villa fan I've always been a supporter of the under dog and you can't get much more of an under dog in society than elderly people with an acute episode of a psychiatric illness plus a host of physical problems that come to us all with age. If ageist attitudes like that exist in 'the caring profession' then is it any wonder that old age and death is sneared at and overlooked by the majority of the population.

I made a will on Monday which was a sobering experience in itself that reminded me of my own inevitable mortality. I'm currently going through divorce and I've had to make a will so that in the event of my death, my estate goes to my parents and siblings rather than my ex wife. Having 'almost' successfully committed suicide in 1998 and seeing old age daily through my job I guess I think about (and am confronted by) death more than most people. Regaining consciousness with a snapped rope around your neck works wonders for giving you a good kick up the arse and to remember that each and every day is full of new opportunities that you shouldn't allow to pass you by.

One of the terminally ill patients on last nights programme was good enough to record a message for all the viewers a few weeks before he died. He talked of regretting being grumpy or annoyed when he was on holidays and how he wished he could go back and have those holidays again but just soak in every precious moment rather than letting them slip by due to trivial grievances. He said his idea of a good death was to be sat out in the garden in glorious sunshine while reading the paper and listening to cricket on the radio and then to just drift off. The overall lasting message that Stanley Edwards left the viewers with was that death is inevitable but you should grab life by the horns while you have it.

I used to 'think my life away.' I'd count down the shifts, hours, and minutes until it was my next day off from work. I'd clock watch while I was out with my friends rather than just enjoying the time I had with them. Instead of enjoying life in the here and now I was letting it slip by me while I was too busy stressing about what I had to do tomorrow or dwelling on things from my recent or distant past. Since my attempt in 98 I've gone through lots of significant life events. Relocating to Manchester, moving house several times, financial stress, being raped, glassed, burgled, the death of a partners parent, qualifying as a nurse, getting a job, getting engaged, getting married, my wife miscarrying, divorce, and coming out as gay. I could let all of that get on top of me. Infact I did let it all get on top of me in September and I was off work sick with depression for two months.

But in the words of Chumbawumba 'I get knocked down but I get up again and you're never going to keep me down'. My past has shaped who I am and I don't regret a single minute of it. I may die today or next month or when I'm a senile old bugger on the ward that I currently work on. Death is uncertain but life is what you make of it. In the words of Homer Jay Simpson 'Carpe Diem... Seize the doughnut'.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Badger This!

A mate of mine won post of the week for her blog post on what it's like for her to live with Tourettes. Well done Badger! National stardom is now hers with a mention of her entry on BBC's 'Ouch!' web page for disabilities, and the Scottish Tourettes Society asking her permission to use the blog post in their news letter. It's fantastic that such an introspective personal piece of writing has got the recognition it deserves so well done to the Badger.

I can't see myself winning post of the week. I generally blog about the mundane day to day annoyances in life. As a cynical piscean Brummie there are many annoyances in life to be blogged. Maybe the blogging world will create a 'Grump of the week award'! But you never know... maybe Jamie Oliver will e-mail me asking for my 'something saucy' list of mystery ingredients and fame and fortune will be mine. Or then again, maybe not.

I've had a very lazy day today after 3 days of non stop house decluttering. I'm ahead of schedule on the life laundry and after sorting all but two bedrooms and the loft I took a well earned duvet day today. Tomorrows task is the bedrooms and I hope to be crawling about in the loft space by the afternoon. On Friday I'll be sorting the shed, and giving the house a good clean. Then on Saturday a mate of mine from London is coming up to visit. She was coming to help me declutter and clean. But I have been a man on a mission and so all the decluttering and cleaning will be done by the time she arrives. Which means we will have no option but to drink, smoke, talk nonsense, and watch dvds. Woohoo!

I need one of those crusher machines as seen on 'Life Laundry'. My conservatory is piled high with rubbish waiting to be disposed of. Luckily my main bin gets collected tomorrow but it will be immediately refilled with the non recyclable waste amassesd from the bathroom, study, lounge, kitchen, and conservatory. I'll then have to wait until the following Wednesday to have my bin emptied again. I could do a run to the tip but I don't really fancy standing at the can and bottle bank sifting and sorting clear from brown glass as well as disposing of 6 months worth of beer cans (as I keep missing my monthly recycle bin date). Me thinks I'll just have to bribe the garbage van guys with cash to get rid of all my waste on the next recycling date at the start of June.