Thursday, 23 December 2010

It’s the season to be jolly…

It’s my last day at work today for 2010 (time flies so fast)! I’m flying to Greece tomorrow (hopefully). The heavy snow took a toll on the public transportations and most of the airports (and train stations) in the UK had problems. Thankfully, it hasn’t snowed much the last two days and they return to their normal status (normal delays, losing baggage etc).

I’m planning on staying there for the whole holiday season and be back on beginning of next year. My only plans include lots of food, sleep and seeing friends and family. No matter what I posted last, I really want to go back and spend holidays with them. It’s going to be a blast.

If I don’t see you before then! Have a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy your families, loved ones and friends! Have an amazing time!

Καλά Χριστούγεννα!


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Wishful thinking…

There was an article in the ‘Attitude’ magazine this month regarding how gay people can deal with Christmas family reunions. It is one of the same silly articles you find every year in similar magazines. It debates about whether it’s a good idea to come out to your family during the Christmas dinner, how to answer very private questions and how to deal with homophobic relatives.

This kind of advice provided though cannot be applied to me. I have mentioned to my parents that I am gay but we haven’t discussed it since and that was summer of 2009. I don’t think they’re in denial but I think that they simply choose to ignore the whole issue, hoping probably that it might go away. My mother only asks me if I am generally happy in my personal life, without of course even mentioning the word 'gay', 'boyfriend' or asking for more details. My father wouldn't even go there. So, when I pass the borders I am again a closeted gay guy to the rest of the family and family friends.

I don’t really care to be honest. I’m out to the people that matter to me which are MY friends and my first degree relatives. My brother is amazing. I don’t care what my parents say to their friends and other relatives. From the Greek gay people I know I am the only one that had the ‘talk’ with their parents and I have to confess that I am quite proud of that. We still have a long way to go, but the first and more important step has been made.

I’m not going to say that it doesn’t bother me at all though. Every Christmas which is also my brother’s name day (we celebrate these), we have a very close family meal. Normally, it’s me, my parents, my brother, my mother’s sister and her family with my two cousins (7-8 people in total). My brother was allowed to bring his long term girlfriend who later became his wife and his contemporary girlfriend since he got divorced. He never attended that meal alone for at least a decade. Now, my first cousin is engaged to be married next year and he brings his fiancée as well. My other cousin has a long term girlfriend but he refuses to introduce her to his family (he knows how they can get), so she is not attending any family gatherings. At least I am not the only unaccompanied person there (for now).

I can’t help but feel a little bit left out. As it seems, I am the only gay in the family and just the thought of mentioning a boyfriend is scandalous. I can’t even begin to think of a possibility that I might bring one along. The ‘gay issue’ is generally a not acceptable topic to talk about with my parents and my uncle’s family not having any openly gay friend! My uncle has made homophobic remarks in the past and I was never brave enough to face him (he can be a bit intimidating).

I can only admit that when I’m back to Greece, I feel like a child again, not being able to easily stand my ground and I just let some things pass. It is a bit shameful, I know but there’s not much I can do. I also know that if I mention that I want to bring a boyfriend to any of the family gatherings, my parents will feel torn since they would in a way like to stand by me but in another not know how to handle it. Unfortunately, if I ever bring someone with me in my relatives or family friends circles I will be the very first one to do it…

Unfortunately, JJ’s family is not that gay friendly either. They do know that he’s gay but they generally don’t talk about it either. His mother is very religious and his father strict. I have the impression that South Africa is not very open about it generally. That leaves us in a tough spot. I can’t bring JJ over to Greece for Christmas and I can’t go to his place either. I am not sure how and if this situation will change. At least JJ can understand where I’m coming from and vice versa. We did mention not to go anywhere next year and just simply relax and spend the holidays together…

Sunday, 19 December 2010

My weekend in pictures/images

I began my weekend by studying

I travelled on Saturday morning to the other side of London to the exams centre

Unfortunately once again I failed. :-((

When I left the exam centre I realised that a massive snow storm hit London and it was snowing constantly. Everything was again covered in white

London can't cope with bad weather and the public transportation was crippled. It took me ages to get home and I had to walk a great distance in snow and cold to do so.

When I finally got home I was feeling awful. Not only mentally because I failed the exams but physically as well. I fell drained .

I slept for more than two hours that Saturday afternoon and like a log during the night. I felt really good the next morning though.

I've decided not to let the whole thing take me down. I'll try again. I will succeed! I just learnt not to take exams so close to the holiday season!

Like Jack trying to see 'What's this?', I also realised that the holiday season is upon us and that I'll be flying home for Christmas in less than a week! I'm free again (at least temporarily) to enjoy the Holidays.

So, I managed to get into spirit again.

And we had an amazing pro-Christmas, casual, massive Christmas dinner with friends at my place, organised by my house mate on Sunday evening. Nice food is always a nice closure for a weekend...

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Treat him like you don’t want him AND a doggie post…

I was thinking that I should change tactics. I have to come up a new plan to change jobs. That will be my ultimate goal for the next year. I will leave defence and try being more visible. I’ve acquired some agents’ phone numbers and I will be giving them frequent calls so that my name will be the first one to consider when a new position opens.

I'm a man with a plan

However, in the same time I’ll try to play it cool. I’ll be all polite and pretending to not really care. It’s like when you want a new boyfriend. If they smell fear and desperation in you, you’re screwed (in a bad way).


In a very different matter, ‘JJ’ suggested that he wants (us) to get a puppy!
Yes, one of these cute four-legged creatures…

I have to admit that I am very intrigued. I never had one (I grew up in a small flat in an urban area, it would be a shame) and I always wanted one.

I am a bit worried if I’ll manage though. Dogs are more dependent than cats. And I think about Torn’s horror stories of Georgie eating stuff he shouldn’t (I can’t even say it) and I get even more worried (=disgusted). Also, I don’t leave with ‘JJ’ (yet) and my current living arrangements are not suitable for dogs. I live now in a flat, carpeted everywhere, that I am not sure allows pets. My current housemate doesn’t allow them anyway, so it’s the end of the discussion of having a dog staying over (at least for many nights in a row)…

On the other hand, ‘JJ’ lives in a semi-detached house with a lovely back garden and a nice big park close by. He grew up next to a big South African lion park (he’s an animal person) and his family always had dogs. He knows how to train them and what to do with them.

I admitted that I would love to get a dog but it would be mostly his for the time being since the dog will be mostly staying at his place. That means that it must be mostly his decision. I wouldn’t mind taking care of him / her and walking him / her but we need to think of the impact it will have on our lives. I draw the line though at some breeds I don’t really like. I am not a fan of very small dogs and I know that very big ones are difficult to handle even if they look amazing. I also know that dogs with long coat in a house are a problem (huskies are very beautiful dogs but difficult to have). Generally Chiuauas or Greyhounds are a ‘no’.

I am not sure if that ‘talk’ will be just a talk or we /he will get a dog at the end. If we move in together it might be easier to decide. For the time being I can only be there for him and help him in every way that I can. I can’t offer him more for the time being…

Monday, 13 December 2010

Feeling like a child (and loving it)…

I went to a pantomime the other day in the Lyric Theatre. It was a play called ‘Dick Whittington and his cat’. I’d never been to an English panto before. I was told that it is a child play that involves the actors interacting with the audience, mostly making them yell about stuff like ‘He’s behind you, he’s behind you’ when the bad guy is sneaking on the good guy etc.

Dick Whittington

I was honestly prepared for the worst. I feared that the play would be for 3 year olds with not many actors on stage, very silly songs, bad costumes, boring and predictable plot and annoying children in the audience. I was thankfully mistaken. The plot was a bit predictable but that was not really bad. The acts were really nicely directed. The choreography was interesting and the actors had rally nice voices. The songs were remakes of modern day songs giving the play a nice touch. For example ‘Bad Romance’ was transformed to ‘Bad Rodents’ sang by the Rat King.

Sarah the cook

I was amazed that the play was so long, lasting for a little bit more than 2 hours. I also liked the ‘booing’ and ‘yelling’ from the audience that was encouraged by the actors during the play and not done just by the kids. Parents were happily involved as well, pointing, booing, laughing, yelling and everything. I was a bit surprised since the English are stereotypically regarded to be quite proper and reserved all the time and you can’t say that yelling in a theatre is proper behaviour.

Overall, I had a great time. I went to see the play with colleagues and we did laugh a lot. We left the play happily chatting about it. I am not sure if I’ll become a frequent panto goer but I enjoyed the experience…

(Gossips: The main character who played Dick, Steven Webb is a good actor but not really an amazing singer. I googled him to find out more about him and it turns out that he's Stephen Fry's new boyfriend! That does explain some stuff and why Stephen Fry's voice is heard during the play as well. Needles to say that Dick's 26 years old and Fry's 52. I am not saying anything, I am just gossiping...)


On another happy note, I was very pleased to find out that the new release of the ‘Elder Scrolls’ has been announced and it will happen at the 11th of November 2011! It will be called Skyrim! For those of you not familiar with it, the ‘Elder Scrolls’ is a series of computer Role Playing Games. I am a huge fan of the series and I have finished the previous two (as much as possible).


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

What pop songs taught us this year…

We’re getting near the end of 2010 and irritatingly enough, this period of time every year, we get top 10s of every possible thing that might have happened in the ending year. So, we get the best and worse moments of reality TV, soap operas, pop songs, movies etc.

So, I was thinking which are the pop songs that were successful this year and what their lyrics or videos actually mean…

The first song that came into my mind, is my all time favourite ‘tik tok’ by Kesha, or is Ke$ha or whatever. I’m not going to comment how irritating it is to have a dollar sign in your own name, signifying how serious an artist you are and what’s your ultimate goal in life! What I love about this song are two parts. The first part is when it is mentioned how she washes her teeth with a bottle of Jack Daniels (brilliant song writing) and the second is how later the words ‘crunk’, ‘junk’ and ‘drunk’ rhyme where cruck = high and junk = private body parts.

Later on this year we learned about the ‘California gurls’ by Katy Perry, the girl with the blue hair. This song definitely funded by the State, talks about the best touristic destination ever. A place where people are beautiful, the grass is green and the girls wear bikinis and Daisy Duke shorts. This is a definitely sexual paradise, since in California people have sex on the beach, let their asses hang out and drink martinis all day long! The world’s most sexist song ever…

What was really interesting to learn was the self destructive and masochistic tendencies that Rihanna has. In the song written by Eminem, she admits that she is a girl who will just stand there and let herself burn and who feels alright when she cries since she loves the way he lies! Loving someone’s way of telling lies is probably as self destructive as Sinead O’Connor’s refusal to move on in ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’. Talking about creating foundations of a healthy relationship…

I couldn’t of course not comment on ‘Lady Gaga’ and one of her songs or videos. This year top interesting video (for me at least) was ‘Telephone’ featuring Beyonce. The lyrics only talk about her frustration on how many phone calls she’s be getting from the same person, a stalker who just doesn’t want to leave her alone enjoy her life, favourite song and party. The video however shows BB (Beyonce) picking up the just released from prison Lady Gaga. As a modern ‘Thelma and Louise’ they go to an American diner and they poison one of BB’s ‘special friends’ before driving off towards the sunset. This quite educational video however features the way to make poison to kill not only one, but all of the diner’s customers…

To finish this totally unofficial top 5 of pop songs, I was thinking of adding a male artist. I just couldn’t think of one though. I really don’t like boy bands (I despise JLS) and the likes of Ne-Yo, Akon or whatever. Every time something like that comes along, I just change station or channel. Not having heard or seen a whole song or video, I can’t really comment. In this category of people I don’t like is definitely Justin Bieber. He is selling though and he is talking about love. One of his hit singles is called ‘baby’ and this is a part of the lyrics. I don’t think I have actually heard the full song but the lyrics seem amazing…

And I was like baby, baby, baby, oh
Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh
I thought you'd always be mine, mine

Baby, baby, baby, oh
Like baby, baby, baby, no
Like baby, baby, baby, oh
I thought you'd always be mine, mine

So, what have we learned this year? We really need to learn how to wash our teeth with spirits, visit California to touch women’s bottoms, learn to accept that people lie and love them about it, keep a poison recipe in case we need it and say ‘baby’ many (many) times… Let’s see what the next year will bring…

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


The subconscious is a tricky thing. What you dream at night is generally unpredictable but can be fascinating. It’s funny how some dreams for some people are repeatable and somewhat expected. For me, in times of stress I always see two different variations of dreams, over and over again. I don’t see that I’m being chased, falling or being tied as other people do.

During one of the two variations, I have to take exams in a subject I am not familiar with. Last night, I dreamt that I was back in university, in my undergraduate studies to become a surveying engineer, when I was given the option at what I’d like to be tested on. My options were Japanese, Ancient Greek, Latin or History and you know how relevant these topics are when you want to become an engineer! From these options, I selected ‘History’ which I hoped that if proven lucky, I might be able to succeed. It’s the topic I know more about (compared to the other). I went into the examination room and the question sheet was distributed to us. Funnily enough the questions were about History, but the questions themselves were in Japanese. Don’t ask me how I understood that the questions were in History based since I can’t speak or read the language. It was a dream after all… That was when I woke up.

The other very popular dream I have in times of stress is that I’m living my normal life, sometimes in my hometown, sometimes in London, when I get called back to join the Greek army, yet again. In every dream I struggle through bureaucracy to prove that I did my service and I shouldn’t be called back, when I wake up. That dream is slightly scarier than the university exams one, since the scenario of joining the army again is a nightmare that I wouldn’t wish not even to my enemies. During that period I had the worst and some of the best times of my life. At points it was amazingly tough though when I thought that I was reaching my limits and I wouldn’t really like to try it again.

I’m not really sure why I had the first dream variation yesterday. I’m not really that stressed to be honest. It could be the fact that I was going through some Java stuff right before falling asleep that affected me. Maybe it was the food I had. Who knows? It’s not like I can find someone to ask…

Monday, 6 December 2010

Good news, bad news…

I’ll start with the good news. It’s Monday after all and it’s nice to look positively on the week coming.

I had a really nice time with JJ on our anniversary dinner. ‘Sam’s brasserie’ is a nice place to go and enjoy dinner. The prices and its formal ways make it not an everyday destination but perfect for special occasions. He was ecstatic about the plane trial flight. He got me a really nice design, leather bracelet I saw and loved from ‘Tateossian London’. I am not a jewellery or accessories person, but this bracelet is really really nice…

Thank you all for the wonderful comments you left me (us).

Because I’ve been a good boy this year, Santa will be extra nice to me and will bring me a new laptop. I know I shouldn’t, but I plan to abuse my savings (a little bit) and replace my old laptop with a new one. I’ll give my current one to my parents because their laptop is even older than mine. They will also help me financially with the purchase. I found what I need and I’ll order it later on this month. I don’t want to receive it before my upcoming exams because it will completely distract me. I hope to receive it after I’m back from my Christmas holidays.
That might mean that I’ll have to survive for some days without a laptop or PC in my house...

On my very good news list, we’ve decided with ‘JJ’ for my birthday in March to go to Venice. I’m turning decade in life, becoming 30, and I want something a little more extravagant. Everybody’s saying how nice it is and I haven’t been to that side of Italy. We’ll just try to find a cheap flight and a nice apartment for 3 – 4 nights. I hope we’ll manage to do that…

On the grey area of my news are my exams. I’m taking them on the 18th of December. I’ve been trying to study but I have been having some difficulties concentrating. To give you an idea, I spent most of this weekend at my place but in order not to sit down and I study, I even scrubbed my over! I have been noticing details though that I hadn’t noticed before and I feel like I’m grasping the subject better this time. I am getting quite stressed about it though since it will be quite a blow for my confidence / self esteem if I fail again. I’ve never failed in exams twice in a row in my life.

I put the exams on my grey list of news since right after the exams I’m having my X-mas holidays and be free to get back to my normal life. I’ve only been running twice in November and I’m not going to the gym more than once a week. This lack of exercising is something I don’t like. I feel less energetic and I can see the extra weight accumulating. I try not to, but I take breaks from studying nibbling on not so healthy stuff… It’s weird for a geek boy like me, but I do miss exercise!

The first on my bad news list is related to work. I haven’t had the chance to set any new interviews and my job agents are very quiet at the moment. I know that we’re approaching mid-December and no one is really recruiting at the moment. However, I can’t stop feeling restrained in a job role that doesn’t offer me anything anymore. I’m mostly working and getting expertise on a programming language that is not commonly used which I also believe will die soon. Since I started sending CVs around in July, I’ve come across only one vacancy related to it for a utility company, but they demanded more than 5 year experience on other software packages they use. On top of that, the financial situation of my company was such that this year no bonuses and no pay rises are given. I can only see that as a pay cut since my rent went up, transportation costs are rising and the VAT will go up as well. So, I’m trapped in a job position where I’m not learning something useful or earning any decent money. That was why the whole learning Java plan came to life. However with the current unemployment rates and the fact that I don’t have any commercial experience at it or a software engineering degree, I am not the most appealing candidate…

I know that I might sound like an ungrateful brat at the moment. I’m getting a new laptop and also planning on going to Venice in March (if we manage to do that) while I’m complaining about work and money. I do try to keep my every day expenses low to find the money to do all that. The frustrating thing about my current role is the fact that I can’t see any future in it. I need to be in a more challenging position where I work towards improving my career. I am grateful for everything that is happening in my life, but I can’t help being a bit ambitious though.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

1 year anniversary

Today I become JJ’s 1 year-old boyfriend. I say that I’m his boyfriend because he really did struggle to get me there. I tried to resist at the beginning, struggling to retain my independence and felt weird to changes in my personal space like here (the toothbrush incident) or here (dating can be bad for you).

I met ‘JJ’ online, like many contemporary gay couples do. I was moving houses and I also had my parents visiting at that time, so it took us more than a couple weeks of texting, exchanging mms before actually meeting. The very first moment I saw him my first reaction wasn’t the best. I thought that he’s not my type. I normally went for darker looking, geekier types and he was blond with blue eyes very smartly dressed with pointy leather shoes, nice scarf and skinny trousers.

However, I didn’t let that first impression get the worse of me and we went to a small Italian place for dinner. There, we started chatting and I had an amazing time. He introduced me to his weird (in a very good way) sense of humour, told me stories of his past and about his life in London. I was attracted to him. Thankfully he was attracted to me. We did end up in his place but I didn’t stay there the whole night since it was a school night. The next morning we exchanged text messages about when to meet again and history took its course.

Lot’s of things have changed since then. We had an amazing year. We only fought once during these 12 months. We are not the fighting types. He was working night shifts for a whole week and he was quite tired and slightly grumpy. We went to gm’s party and we also had some drinks. He didn’t have much to eat and in combination with the tiredness he was slightly drunk but moody. I had some drinks as well but I wanted to be left alone. That’s a difference we share. When I drink after a while I want to be left alone and go to bed. When he drinks he gets all excited and energetic. Combined all these things together…

Anyway, what I really like about ‘JJ’ is the fact that he loves travelling as much as I do. We rented a car on many occasions and we drove around UK (Stonehenge, Newcastle, Bath, Windsor etc…), went hiking at the white cliffs of Dover and went cycling to Cambridge. We also went to Brighton, Greece and Copenhagen. We’re already making plans on where to go next year. Most of all I love the fact that I found my new best friend and love of my life in him.

Tonight we are going out to a nice brasserie in Chiswick for dinner. He is working later in the night, so we don’t really have much time, but we’ll manage. Apart from a card, I printed out 12 of our photographs with highlights of the year to give him. I don’t know if you’ve tried but it’s not very easy to buy normal cards for gay couples. In stores outside of Soho, it’s practically impossible and inside Soho you’ll probably find mostly pornographic related cards…

I’m also planning on giving him his Christmas present today. Considering the tough times I live in (no bonus, no pay rise to do my Christmas shopping), I got him something that I think he’ll love, slightly over the budget but I don’t care. It will just be a combination of Christmas and anniversary gift. We’re not spending the holidays together anyway. He’s flying back to South Africa and I’ll go to my parents’ later this month.

He had mention when I did my scuba diving course that since he was a child he wanted to learn how to fly a plane. He repeated this wish on some other occasions, so I booked him a 60 minutes trial training flight in a four seated Cessna. A colleague of mine did that last year and he loved the experience. So, I got for ‘JJ’ a voucher that he can use in the next six months and he’ll be able to fly a plane…
I hope he likes it…

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


It’s the first of December and we need to talk about HIV. As I mentioned last year when I did a similar post, I don’t know much about it compared to other people. I don’t live with it and I thank whatever Greater Power there is out there in the universe that I haven’t lost anyone to it.

What I know though is the need to get frequently tested. Before getting into a monogamous relationship, I used to go twice per year. I now go less frequent often than that but we still always use a condom because you can never know.

According to BBC news the numbers of new HIV positive cases have diminished the last four years. However, they estimate that twenty thousand people do not even know that they have the virus. So, this kind of statistics can be far from the truth. There is an interesting article here.

I know a guy in my circle of friends. His gay brother has been positively diagnosed a couple of years ago, so you can’t really say that he is unfamiliar with this plague. However, that doesn’t stop him from having unprotected sex in saunas, cruising grounds and bars. I really can’t understand what is going through his mind. He is supposed to be a mature 40 something guy with a successful career and a respectable sum of money in his bank account (not that this changes much). It’s like a time bomb waiting to be detonated. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ it will be detonated, it’s ‘when’.

His special case of dangerous living made me think about the immature and auto destructive tendencies that some gay people have. This is another huge issue to discuss but unfortunately drugs, alcohol and unprotected sex are connected and can be linked to very low self esteem and insecurities.

Another thing that is worrying is the fact that younger generations are not well informed. They do believe that AIDS is something of the past, not directly affecting them. They also think that a cure will be found soon and that the new drug cocktails will keep them almost ‘healthy’ till then. This ignorance can be very dangerous.

I don’t know how the already infected people feel this day and I wish to them all the best. We should always remember though that they are not the enemy, the virus is.