Afraid in my own country

Most of my life I forget that I'm not white. Racism doesn't really exist in the adult world in the UK (at least in my experience). Growing up in Britain, I did face bullying and racism when I was a child but that's not been a problem (apart from isolated incidents) since the age of 13/14. So most of my life I've not thought about my skin colour. I'm just me.

However, the Brexit campaign pandered to racists in the country. The fact that that camp won has made begin to feel afraid in my own country. I'm keeping in mind that my skin tone is not white so I may be attacked when I'm just going about my business.

The murder of Jo Cox didn't help. On the plus side, that case is being treated properly by the justice system so we're not at Krystallnacht yet but I can't shake the feeling that that's the path we're on. The documentary Five Steps to Tyranny keeps playing in my head.

My music

Whilst I mostly listen to podcasts on my iPod, I do occasionally listen to music (and I'll probably listen to more music). Here's a list of my music:

AerosmithI Don't Want to Miss a Thing
Al StewartYear of the Cat
Alison MoyetWeak In The Presence Of Beauty
All SaintsPure Shores
Belinda CarlisleLeave a Light On
Bette MidlerWind Beneath My Wings
Beverley CravenPromise Me
Bon JoviAll About Loving You
Boy Meets GirlWaiting for a Star to Fall
Boris GarnderI Wanna Wake Up With You
Britney SpearsEverytime
Bryan AdamsPlease Forgive Me
Buffalo SpringfieldFor What It's Worth
Celine Dion"Because You Loved Me
Celine DionMy Heart Will Go On
CherJust Like Jesse James
ChicagoHard Habit to Break
ChicagoHard to Say I'm Sorry / Get Away
ChicagoRemember the Feeling
ChicagoYou're the Inspiration
Christina StürmerTräume leben ewig
Counting CrowsBig Yellow Taxi
Cyndi LauperTrue Colors
Daniel PowterBad Day
Danny KosarinStranger to the Rain
Delta GoodremInnocent Eyes
Delta GoodremLost Without You
Delta GoodremNot Me Not I
Dina CarrollDon't Be a Stranger
Donna LewisI Love You Always Forever
Emma BuntonWhat Took You So Long
Faith HillThis Kiss
Fleetwood MacEverywhere
ForeignerI Want to Know What Love Is
FortenbacherDu kannst mich verstehen
GabrielleOut Of Reach (Bridget Jones's Diary Soundtrack Version)
GiovanniWundervoll - Sei bellissima
HeartThese Dreams
Huey Lewis & The NewsThe Power of Love
Jeff WayneForever Autumn
Joe Cocker & Jennifer WarnesUp Where We Belong
John FarnhamYou're the Voice
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-JohnSummer Nights
John WaiteMissing You
Juliane WerdingEngel wie du
Juliane WerdingMein Name ist Juliane
Juliane WerdingNacht voll Schatten (Moonlight Shadow)
Kate & BenBedingungslos (Single Mix)
Kate & BenDem Himmel fehlt ein Engel
Kate BushWuthering Heights
Kate WinsletWhat If
Katy PerryWide Awake
Kim WildeKids in America
Kim WildeYou Came
Kym MarshCry
LaFeeWas ist das
Las KalaThe Ketchup Song (Hey Hah) (English Version)
LeAnn RimesCan't Fight the Moonlight
LeAnn RimesHow Do I Live
LenkaEverything At Once
LenkaTrouble Is a Friend
Liberty X & Richard XBeing Nobody
Lighthouse FamilyHigh
Lionel RichieRunning With the Night
Lionel RichieStuck On You
Lisa Loeb & Nine StoriesStay (I Missed You)
Lucie SilvasWhat You're Made Of
Luttenberger-KlugSuper Sommer
MadonnaCrazy for You
Maria McKeeShow Me Heaven
Maria VidalBody Rock
Maya SabanAus und vorbei
Maya Saban & Cosmo KleinDas alles ändert nichts daran
Melanie COn The Horizon
Meredith BrooksBitch
MichelleWer Liebe lebt (Single Version)
NadineWas Wir sind
Neil SedakaLaughter In the Rain
Nelly FurtadoManeater
Nena99 Luftballons
Pat BenatarWe Belong
Patrick Swayze featuring Wendy FraserShe's Like the Wind
PowderSee What I'm Saying
REO SpeedwagonCan't Fight This Feeling Anymore
REO SpeedwagonKeep On Loving You
Robin BeckFirst Time
RoxetteFading Like a Flower
RoxetteIt Must Have Been Love
RoxetteListen to Your Heart
RoxetteQueen of Rain
Roy OrbisonI Drove All Night
S Club 7Have You Ever
S Club 7Reach
Savage GardenTruly Madly Deeply
Shakespears SisterStay
ShakiraUnderneath Your Clothes
Shakira"Whenever, Wherever"
Snow PatrolChasing Cars
Spice Girls2 Become 1
StarshipNothing's Gonna Stop Us Now
StingFields of Gold
SurvivorBurning Heart
Sven van ThomTrauriges Mädchen
T'PauChina in Your Hand
Taylor SwiftLove Story
The BanglesEternal Flame
The CorrsBreathless
The CorrsIrresistible
The CorrsRadio (MTV unplugged version)
The HoneyzEnd of the Line
The Human LeagueDon't You Want Me
The Human LeagueTogether in Electric Dreams
The Pointer SistersI'm So Excited
The SeekersColours of My Life
The SeekersI'll Never Find Another You
The VerveBittersweet Symphony
The Weather GirlsIt's Raining Men
Thomas GodojHelden gesucht
Toni BraxtonUn-Break My Heart
Triinu KivilaanFallen
Vanessa WilliamsSave the Best for Last
Whitney HoustonGreatest Love of All
Whitney HoustonHow Will I Know
Wilson PhillipsHold On
Where My Heart Will Take Me

I have Was Wir Sind as a ring tone.

Depression, luck and silver linings

It's amazing how fiction can help you see things that you've forgotten. One of the webcomics I read is Think Before You Think. It follows the lives and loves of a group of people centred around Brian, who just happens to be a mind reader. In Monday's episode, a depressed young woman waits for Brian to talk to her. One of the other readers commented that it's amazing how a wait is a major issue when one is down but just an opportunity to relax when one is feeling positive.

That comment reminded me of Richard Wiseman's studies on luck.[1] I posted a reply mentioning that but my curiosity had been aroused. Amazon's Look Inside feature hit me with another revelation!

If you look at the book there's a questionnaire to check your "luck profile". The first one is "I sometimes chat to strangers when queuing in a supermarket or bank". I remember that I used to be like that! Sometimes I still am. Somewhere along the lines I lost sight of my youthful optimism.

I was thinking of buying it for a friend because I have a feeling she would like it. After all her blog is optimistic. Maybe I should I buy myself a copy? Maybe, because I was once an optimist, I am drawn to optimists?

[1] I first heard about the study in an interview he gave on Radio 4's Start the Week. In it that interview he talked about how he asked "lucky" and "unlucky" people how thought they would react if they were caught up in a bank robbery. The people who see themselves as lucky could see the silver lining in that situation.

Webcomics, soaps and being male

Men and soaps don't get on. It's an accepted truth. I may not watch Eastenders, Coronation Street, etc, but I did watch Dallas with my mother when I was growing up. During finals, we got to the Home and Away watching stage (I'm glad that I never got as far as Neighbours). I did follow The Archers when I was university.

So yes, I do not watch soaps but I do read them:

Candi: The lives and loves of a group of university students.
Questionable Content: The lives and loves of a group of twenty-somethings (in a world much like ours accept that AI exists).
Punch'n'Pie: The lives and loves of two women and the people they know.
Think Before You Think: How complicated life is when one of your social circle can read minds.
Tweep: The lives and loves of a group of twenty-somethings.

Chatoyant College: A group of friends discover that student life gets a little too exciting when you study at the only American college that has magic on its curriculum.

Music and Politics

Last August an online friend posted a question. She asked if there was any Western popular music that wasn't about love or partying.

My response was that there were lots of Western pop songs that dealt with broader subjects, e.g.:

See What I'm Saying by Powder
Greatest Love of All (this is the Whitney Houston version)
You Are The Voice by John Farnham
Saltwater by Julian Lennon
Wind of Change by The Scorpions
We Don't Need Another Hero by Tina Turner
Moonlight Shadow by Mike Oldfield
The Living Years by Mike & The Mechanics
Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins
Runaway Train by Soul Asylum
Somthing Inside So Strong by Labi Siffre
Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Steview Wonder
99 Red Balloons by Nena
Land of Confusion by Genesis
Burning Heart by Survivor
Private Dancer by Tina Turner
Bad Day by REM
Jesus He Knows Me by Genesis
Wreck of the Old 97 (Seekers version)
Don't Like Mondays by The Boomtown Rats

After that I realised that there songs like:
Go West by The Pet Shop Boys
Seven Seconds by Youssou N'Dour featuring Neneh Cherry

Today I looked up an old song:
The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby and The Range
and realised it would have been appropriate.

Looking at that list, the above songs, there's nothing modern in there. Is modern pop devoid of social commentary?[1] Or is it just that I'm not listening to new music as much as I used that I don't notice it?

[1] I'm not counting rap or hip hop because I find them too tuneless to count as music. Yes, I know, I'm old.

Quick Update

The knitting didn't work out. I couldn't keep the tension in the yarn. On the good news side, I found a job. I've been busy with that.

I've also been taking a Creative Writing class in the evenings. I've been invited to write a column for a magazine at work.

I recently bought something to help me write Sci-fi/Fantasy stories. I've also got a new computer.


I recently became interested in knitting. After all it appears in so many stories (not just webcomics like The Knit Princess. After I got into it, I was given the link to Ravelry. Ravelry is a social network whose purpose is to cater to people who enjoy knitting and/or crochet.

Finally, a social network that respects the privacy of its members. After the privacy scandals of Facebook and Google (two companies who break European data protection laws and treat members' data as their own personal resource).

It's hard to be 100% certain but the way that Ravelry is set up does fills me with confidence that they privacy seriously:

The privacy policy comes across as strong. I was still wary as I remember[1] reading about a Massachusetts court case a few years back where the judge said, in essence, that it doesn't matter what the privacy policy says, once you hand over your data it becomes the property of the organisation concerned.[2] It didn't help that Ravelry is based in Massachusetts.

I quickly did a search for articles about Ravelry. There wasn't much but I did get the impression from one comment that they may take privacy seriously.

I decided to take the risk and gave them my e-mail address. When I got to the account management page I was pleasantly surprised. Everything is set up to respect users' privacy. Unlike FB, Google, et al, you don't even need to give Ravelry your name. There's a box for first name but that's completely optional (as is any other piece of personal data). There are warnings in the house rules that members should respect other members' privacy.

From what I've seen, the other users come across as friendly. I now feel more enthused about my new hobby.

In short Ravelry is set up the way social networks should be set up.

[1] I admit my memory may be wrong on this.
[2] As opposed to the European approach, which is that your data remains yours so it's up to organisations to respect that.

Loss of iPod

I did not fully realise how much my iPod meant to me until it died a few weeks ago. I used my iPod to listen to podcasts. If I wanted to listen to the news from Canada, or a media show from New Zealand, it was easy -- a few clicks of my mouse and it was added to a playlist I created for podcasts. I could keep up with the news as I shopped, did housework or travelled.

Now, I'm restricted to using a normal radio (it's an old mobile phone that happens to have a radio built in), which means that I'm restricted to the stations that are broadcast over the air in my region. Furthermore, it's not time shifted so I have to listen at the time the programme is broadcast. Another problem is that it's not always possible to get a signal (for example: in most shops and whilst underground).

I did think of listening to podcasts at my computer but that did not sit well with me. Whilst I'm at the computer, I tend to be busy doing things and, most of the times that I feel ready for something to listen to, the last place I want to be is next to the computer.

It's amazing how technology moves on and how we come to depend on new innovations. Before I received my iPod I considered radio, with all its restrictions, normal. However, now that I have enjoyed podcasts for over 5 years, radio feels antiquated.

I have found new things to listen to but I now feel that I do not have the same easy access to a breadth of information that I had before.

Thoughts about New Year's Resolutions

Do you keep to your New Year's Resolutions throughout the year?

Lots of people don't and, to tell the truth, I didn't until a few years ago.

The standard advice is that you have to have a specific, measurable goal to stick to. For example, the experts say that if exercise is your goal then you should make a resolution along the lines of "I will go to the gym twice a week". However, for me, that didn't work. The reason being that if I got into a situation where I just didn't have the energy to go to the gym/exercise for a couple of weeks then I had failed. I could try to catch up but, if then I found it too tiring to try and maintain a higher schedule and, in the end, I gave up.

Nowadays, my resolutions for health are:

1. On average, I will exercise more than I did last year.
2. On average, I will eat more healthily than I did last year.

For some people that is too "woolly" and not strict enough to be motivating. For me, however, that is very motivating. It allows for the fact that I am going to have off days and weeks, and that I'm not always going to do what I know I should do. However, it means that, for most of the time, there's a chance of recovering and the knowledge that I could still succeed is motivating for me.

Nowadays, I look forward to going to the gym, I don't like the taste of junk food any more and I love having fruit when I want a snack.

Obviously my approach won't work for everyone and there's a reason why the experts advise what they advise. Take the time to work out what is motivating for you.

{edited to correct spelling mistakes}


At the end of May Julie and I split up. However, I'm going to wait until next year before I start looking as it'd be too tempting to enter a relationship on the rebound.

My job came to an end a few days later so I'm now looking for a job.