Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Mid-Holidays news update

If I want to sum up my holidays I’d say that I spent a third of it playing Nintendo Wii with ‘JJ’ (Santa Christmas gift), one third eating or sleeping and another third doing various other things like watching DVD movies. I know that the Wii is probably not the coolest technology any more, since it was released more than 5 years ago, but:

1. It’s a much appreciated gift from lovely friends
2. It’s really fun competing against your boyfriend at Mario Kart (even if you do lose most of the times)!
3. There are some really enjoyable games you can play with friends at wii, although I can’t see myself dancing at Abba songs anytime soon…

The food we cooked on Sunday was simply superb. We had 3.5 kilos of slow cooked pork, grilled vegetables, two types of potatoes, quails with rice and a chocolate yule for desert! Needless to say that we didn’t manage to finish everything. There was even no point at serving the cheese platter we had also bought for the occasion. We had pork the day after and the day after that (in different variations)! I don’t think I can have pork in the foreseeable future. I’m not going to feel bad about the amounts of food consumed though.

What else we tried that day was having champagne with breakfast right after opening our Christmas presents! As an idea it didn’t sound bad, however it backfired. It gave to both of us headaches during the afternoon. JJ managed to sleep it off but I wasn’t that lucky.

What else happened last week? Oh yeah, my company’s Christmas party. That experience was… let’s say interesting. The other members of my intimate team didn’t go but I felt I had to, being the newbie of the company. I wanted to practice my social skills, have small talk with the managers etc. The place they had booked was a function room in a bar in central London. The music was very loud, mostly disco or pop and there were visual effects as well! Some food was served in bowls like fish balls, gnocchi and small pieces of turkey! I was interested to see what the food would be, because the invitation mentioned ‘bowl food’ and I had no idea what that was. Probably that’s a posh word to say ‘type of finger food’. There were unlimited amounts of beer and wine as well!

So, it didn’t take long since people got drunk and started behaving like fools on the dance floor. After a couple (or more) drinks I joined the fun and moved to the rhythm on the dance floor as well. However the situation got a bit out of hand, that is why I said that the experience was interesting. For example it was a bit weird watching a sixty five year old director jumping up and down screaming the ‘I’m the only girl in the world’ theme or another manager informing us what the ‘single ladies’ want to do, etc! Don’t get me wrong, in one hand I was very happy that they were enjoying themselves so much, but on the other it felt a bit embarrassing. Overall, the party was fun and I laughed a lot. I’m not sure if I’m going next year though unless I make sure that people I know well join me.

Other than that, on a very different subject, my Nokia N8 broke down last week. I have to admit that I wasn’t generally ecstatic about it, but it served its purpose. I believe that the N8’s hardware was really good, fashioning a very good camera, memory, screen and speed. Its operation system is a mess though and the latest promised UI upgrade was yet again delayed for some months. Nokia is now more concerned about attracting new customers with their Windows phone than releasing a previously promised upgrade.

Anyway, I was sitting at my desk with my elbows on it, when I dropped the phone I was holding. The distance was small and I had dropped it in the past again but I think that angle of the collision broke the screen. I’ve now sent it to service to see if it can be fixed, but I’m not very optimistic. The screen was functioning in a way that I could stop the alarm I had previously set, but it still remained completely black! That can’t be a good sign. That Nokia was the first smartphone I had and I was used to the extra functions. I fear I might need to replace it, although I am not going for an iphone. I was thinking of a cheaper Samsung Galaxy Ace till I can renew my contract next July. I’ve read that it is a decent phone. Do you know / own it?

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!!!

I hope you're having / had some really nice time with loved ones!
How was your Christmas Eve?

I've been having a great time with 'JJ'. It's our first Christmas together! The previous years we were away with family.  This year however we're together in the house we share together. We haven't planned anything too special for today. We're going to spend it here enjoying each other's company and eat lots and lots of food. To give you an idea we already have a huge pork leg in the oven! It will take more than 3 hours to be cooked. Yes, it is that big but I can't stop here. We also have quail, sides, starters, desert etc...

I have various other anecdotes to share with you but I have to help at the kitchen!
Lots of love. Merry Christmas...

Monday, 19 December 2011

Gift Ideas

This is the time to be joyful, playful and also willing to spend lots of money. Unfortunately, we can’t help it. Gifts need to be exchanged this time of the year… So, in case you haven’t done so, it’s the final days to go out there and buy them. Although I do pity you if you still have some shopping to do! Have you seen how crazy it’s out there?

Last days Christmas shopping...

Anyway, I’m here with a small post to give you a few ideas on what to buy and what not to buy (especially to me)…

The object I’d like to show you is something not many gay people have tried, for many many reasons! And that’s liquid pussy! The following picture is not very good because I didn’t want to make a scene in the Japanese restaurant. Yes, that’s my hand and I couldn’t stand still because I was laughing. Maybe this is something very common in Japan but I hadn’t seen it before and I did find it funny.

The second thing is something enjoyed in pairs in groups, but definitely not by a family. It’s something that was on the papers, the Evening Standard, a week ago. Gaybanker beat me to it and presented it as well but I couldn’t help myself. It’s presented by a website called! You can order there custom made condoms! Made for your pleasure! They come in 95 different variations / sizes. Just think of the fun you can have taking other people’s measurements!

Finally, on my walk through the shops last Sunday, I came across the following items. I do apologise for how bad the pictures are, but I really didn’t like to be seen taking them! Please, don’t you ever EVER buy me something like this! Seriously, if you want us to stay friends!
The first is either Peter Andre’s or Michael bubble’s calendar!!!

The send is Justin Bieber’s or One Direction’s action figure!

One Direction or Justin Bieber? No, thank you 

Michael or Peter? No thank you

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Road trip

As narrated at my previous posts, we had guests staying over at our place. They were here for a total of 12 days, which were more than enough to visit the most important monuments, museums and central areas of London, especially at the pace they were running around. So, we decided that it would be nice if they could travel a bit outside the Capital to see Britain’s countryside. We rented a nice cool car (Audi A1) that JJ would drive and made plans about which places to visit.

The first day we spent in Warwickshire. We drove up M40 and firstly visited the Warwick Castle. I hadn’t been there before but I was told it was nice. I found it more than that. The Castle sits on the edge of the hill next to Warwick overlooking the Avon River. It was built in the 11th century and a symbol of power for many years. Now it is run by Mme Tussaud’s and a visitor can take a glimpse of the way of life in the castle. As you can see it is beautifully preserved and the views from the tower are breath taking. I highly enjoyed the experience.

The entrance to the Castle

The views from the high tower

The cage they used to lock people

                                   Henry VIII                                                      A guard

After spending a couple of hours at the Castle we decided to visit the village. However, it was getting slightly late, the weather wasn’t very good and since it was Sunday evening the place looked a bit miserable and deserted. I think that on a bright sunny day the architecture of the village would be sufficiently portrayed and its beauty more apparent. We did pay a visit to the medieval Church of St. Mary’s that’s prominent in the village.

After Warwick we drove down to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Stratford-Upon-Avon is much bigger than Warwick. There’s a lovely big pedestrianized high street where the Shakespeare museum and house are located. When we arrived there, the museum was closed but we did take some pictures of the house and walked around the area. Unfortunately it started raining, a lot! We got drenched on the way to the car. While driving back, it seemed like buckets of water were being thrown on our windshield. Fortunately the motorway wasn’t very busy and drivers were careful. It’s so dangerous going on high speed on such conditions. We arrived home safe and sound though.

Shakespeare's house

The next day we drove to Oxford. One of the girls studied there many years ago and we had to pay a visit. The weather was good and we enjoyed walking around. I hadn’t been there either. I’ve been to Cambridge many times but not to Oxford. The latter is quite bigger and the university buildings are distributed in the City and not joined together like Cambridge.  However, the grandeur and history of the place is obvious.


On the way back from Oxford, we stopped at Windsor. It’s one of my favourite places outside London. I love the old train station and walking around the high street or towards Eton. Unfortunately, once again we arrived late and there was a drizzle. Not many people were around and the place looked a bit gloom.

My guests left yesterday! I believe they had an amazing time and I’m very happy for that. I’ll probably see them soon on my visit to my hometown, this holiday season.


Friday, 9 December 2011

Guests, the sequel

It’s been really fun having the girls over. They are the best guests ever. They’ve been really easy and they haven’t caused any troubles (knock on wood). They’ve been even helping at the household chores like washing dishes, tidying their stuff and going to the supermarket. These are things that some people take for granted but not all guest are so well behaved.

They’ve seen most of London attractions already and they’ve taken more than a 1000 pictures! I was thinking about what people did before the invention of the digital cameras! How did we cope having such a limitation of a few photos that might not even come up clean or nice? 

The other day we went to see the ‘Phantom of the Opera’. I don’t know why but I hadn’t seen it before. I do like theatre plays and I do occasionally watch musicals but I haven’t seen many Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber shows till now. Although I do appreciate that he has some talent, I tend to find him overdramatic.

For example, last year there was a TV show for girls to audition for the role of Dorothy of ‘Wizard of OZ’. It was a bit like X-Factor but the winner would get the main role on the West End show. Sir Andrew was a judge amongst other 2 people. You should have seen at least an episode! It was so tacky that it was really fun to watch! Sir Andrew was siting among the other two judges but not in the similar chairs as them! He had a throne for himself, a very tacky, over the top decorated one! The only thing missing was a tiara and a sceptre! Also, what was hilarious was the way the disqualified contestants left the stage! They took their Dorothy shoes off, gave them to Sir Andrew and said their goodbyes. Then, they would climb on a half-moon that would carry them over and out of the stage above the remaining girls! While sitting on the moon they would sing for the last time and cry their way out! So overdramatic!

Anyway, last Tuesday we went to see the ‘Phantom’! It was generally very good. The girls loved the experience. Even the girl who doesn’t know how to speak English could follow the story and enjoyed the singing and dancing! It was generally impressive how many different sets there were and how many costumes changed! Of course there were some moments I thought: ‘OK, this is going a bit too far’ but I had a really nice night out!

In general it’s been a bit tiring having guests to take out every day after work but it’s been great fun! During the weekend we’re renting a car so we’ll drive outside the city. We haven’t confirmed the destinations yet but there are many options to choose from.

Monday, 5 December 2011


Sometimes having guests can be a pain. Especially when they are being difficult, not appreciating the effort you put to make them have a great time and having a complaint about almost everything. I think most people and some point had guests like that over.

Luckily that is not the case for me now. The girls arrived as expected Friday night. I’ve known them for many years and I knew that they can be a bit peculiar about their eating or living habits. However, they’ve pleasantly surprised me.  They’ve been so happy and excited to be in London and delighted with everything. They loved my new living arrangements and the room me and JJ prepared for them. They’ve also loved JJ whom they met for the first time.

a random encounter at Tower of London

Since, I’m not working during the weekend I decided to show them around. I tried to take them to as many places as possible since I know my way around the city by now and they would benefit from having a local ‘guide’. On Saturday we started with Notting Hill and Portobellon Road Market. From there I took them to the city centre and we walked in places around Regent Street, Carnaby Street, Soho, Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and the pedestrian bridge of Embankment overlooking Big Ben and the London Eye.

The spice shop at Portoballo Market

On Sunday we started from London Bridge going west towards Tower Bridge, Tower Hill, St. Catherine’s Docks and then returned to Monument and St. Pauls. From there we took the tube to Holborn to walk around Covent Garden and then we headed towards Westminster to finish our walk through the South Bank Christmas Fair around BFI and National Theatre.


Charring Cross Station
All these are quite a few destinations and I have to admit that we did walk the past two days a lot! However, they’ve highly enjoyed it or this is how it looks like! I’ve tried to infuse them some of the love I have for the country and the city. I’ve told them stories of the great London fire, the notorious Henry VIII or various other little bits of history I know. London can be a fascinating city and it’s nice to be reminded of that through the eyes of a tourist.

One of the girls had never been to London before and she doesn’t generally travel abroad much. I think she’s only been to Finland once many years ago. She can’t speak any English. She simply loves the experience though. She must have taken around 400 photos during these two days only. She takes pictures of EVERYTHING! It’s quite funny! What’s even funnier are the ‘conversations’ she’s having with JJ. She can understand only some English words from movies and TV series. She is quite extravert though, so she’s trying to talk to JJ using body and sign language. They do  enjoy themselves.

St. Paul's

5 on the fifth

Welcome to the '5 on the fifth', a posting where you share 5 photographs taken on the days leading to the 5th of each month. It's organised by Stephen from 'The State of the Nation UK' and I am very sorry to say that this, is according to Stephen, the very last onw. I'm being very honest when I say I'll miss it. I quite enjoyed this kind of photo project each month...

This month's theme is 'Winter Weekend'. Since winter is associated with Christmas, the photos I have are Christmas oriented to get everybody in the mood

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Worlds AIDS day

I've mentioned GMFA before on this post.
GMFA is the UK's leading charity dedicated to gay men's health. Their mission is to improve gay men's health by increasing the control they have over their own lives. Towards that goal I was contacted by them to post a video that promotes the service. Please see below:

Speaking of GMFA, today is 'Worlds AIDS day'. It's the day of the year that AIDS should be talked about. Of course it shouldn't be the only day of the year that we must remember our sexual health. However, this day gives a nice opportunity to do that. 

Think about some simple questions:
Do you know your status? Do you use condoms? Do you put yourself in jeopardy? Do you know how HIV is spread? 

It's very easy to get tested and learn your HIV status. Especially in the UK there are lots of places where you can get tested anonymously and quickly. Is there a reason you keep postponing it?

I felt like I needed to make a contribution towards that cause. So, I became a volunteer for GMFA. I've been a volunteer in the past but then I only did administrator work. Now, for GMFA I wanted to do more. So, I took the public facing training last week and today was my first time contributing. So, I met a fellow member from GMFA and we went to a night pub called 'Royal Vauxhall Tavern' to talk to people and raise money for the cause.

To be completely and utterly honestly honest I'll start with the 'bad' of volunteering. The whole thing was not very well organised. The person I was supposed to meet wasn't there. The t-shirt I was supposed to be given to wear wasn't there. The bar manager asked me for an ID that I wasn't told to bring and almost kicked me out. Finally there weren't many freebies to give to the people donating money or even a second money bucket.

The good: After putting all these bad things behind me, I truly enjoyed the experience. My fellow GMFA member was a veteran and knew how to talk and mingle with people. There were people donating money and thanking us for the work that the charity does. I was surprised to find out how open people can be and how generous. At the end of the night I felt very good about myself and proud. I didn’t do much but at least I did something…

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Time's precious

I can’t of course speak for everybody; however I do suspect that almost everyone has a ‘day’ job. By that I mean something with a relatively fixed schedule and tasks. No matter whether you love or hate it, I suspect that every single one of you don’t mind a couple of days off, a holiday. That is at least if you are normal. If you are an heir of a vast fortune or simply living of collecting income like Hugh Grant from ‘About a Boy’ then I suggest you find something to occupy yourselves.

This anticipation of holidays or for a simple weekend is what made me thinking the other day. I love Fridays since they mean that the weekend has arrived and how sad I feel every Sunday evening when I get psychologically ready for the morning after. Although I do think that this is something normal, I fear that I let time pass me by. It’s Wednesday and I’m already thinking / hoping that the week has almost ended.

I have to pause, take a deep breath and try to appreciate the job that I have and the hours I spend there. Although it can be a pain sometimes, it’s not bad. It makes me feel productive. It’s giving me a feeling of fulfilment. I can’t afford to let all my weeks pass like a blur. I’m beginning to enjoy my new job more now since I’m becoming more accustomed to it and I begin to get to know the people more. It’s nice to be able to exchange some normal conversations on the corridors, elevators or breakout areas.

Time does fly quickly though whether you want it or not. It’s going to be December tomorrow brining the end of 2011. I’ve now been living with ‘JJ’ for a little bit more than a month and we’ve already pre-celebrated our two year anniversary. Two years! We had to celebrate earlier since we’re expected guests and it’s always nicer to celebrate these things alone.

(I’m not going to do the joke about time and gay relationships counting dog years. There are some very sensitive people out there and I refuse to go into that debate. )

Anyway, happy hump day!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Queer Meme

I stole this meme from Erik, who stole it from Spo, etc. etc. I hadn’t done a meme in quite a while…

1. How old were you when you knew you were gay?
I always knew that something was different about me. I had a ‘crash’ with my English teacher when I was around 10… I was probably a teenager when I learnt the word. I was 20 when I finally accepted it though

2. Have you ever had sex with the opposite sex?
I came quite close and the opportunity was offered to me but I declined.

3. Who was the first person you came out to?
My closest female friend at the time, ‘A’. I prepared a huge introduction and she became frightened that I had a terminal illness or something as serious. She was so relieved that I only wanted to tell her I’m gay, she smacked me.

4. Are you out to your family?
Parents and brother yes. The rest of the family doesn’t know. No…

5. Do you want children?
At the moment no... I don’t know about the future…

6. Do you have more gay friends or straight friends?
Hmmm… I have to count. It’s a close call but I think I have more straight friends

7. Were you out in school?

8. Is your best friend the same sex as you?

9. If your best friend is the same sex, have you ever had sex with them?
No and no

10. Have you ever done crystal meth?

11. Have you ever been in a sling?

12. Have you ever done a 3-way?
Yes. I’ve tried it once

13. Have you ever dressed in drag?
No. I think that I’m too hairy for something like that…

14. Would you date a drag queen?
Never say never… It’s not something I’d chase though

15. Are you 'fixed in your ways' as it were?
Not really. I believe life’s about change

Original 15. Are you a top/bottom or truly versatile?
I’m versatile.

16. Cher or Bette?
Don’t know… Probably Cher mostly because to movies like 'The witches of Eastwick'

17. Have you dated someone of a different ethnicity?
Yes, I have…

18. Been to Fire Island? Saugatuck? Key West? Ft. Lauderdale? Palm Springs?
Negative to all above mentioned destinations…

Original 18. Have you ever barebacked?
Yes, with long time boyfriend

19. How many Madonna CDs do you own?
2 CDs and 2 concert DVDs. I am being extremely honest here...

20. Name of your first love?
I don’t want to say his real name… It’s ‘A’ mentioned in this blog

21. Do you still talk to them?
Not really, no… We might exchange a 'happy birthday' email and that's it.

22. Does size matter?
Yes, it does. For example an extremely big one is nice to look at but scary to handle. Also, I’ve noticed that well equipped people tend to be arrogant and lousy in bed. On the opposite, people with very small ones sometimes suffer from inferiority complexes that are a major turn off.  

23. Biggest turn on?
Sexy smile. Bright eyes. Facial hair. Humour.

24. Biggest turn off?
People who take themselves too seriously. People with attitude, snobs.

25. Ever been harassed due to your orientation?

26. Worst gay stereotype that applies to you?
I like musicals

27. Ever been to a pride rally?

28. Would you marry if you could?

29. Would you rather be rich and smart or young and beautiful?
Rich and smart…. Youth and beauty don’t last

30. Do you sculpt your eyebrows?

31. Do you trim your body hair?
I tried fighting the hair growing on my back and neck but it’s a lost cause…

32. Ever had sex with more than one person in a day?
I’m trying to remember. Probably not…

33. Ever been to an orgy?

34. Which character in "The Women" best reflects you?
The ‘women’? Is that a series or a movie? I’m not sure so I will not answer in case I’m wrong

35. Favorite gay expression?
I don’t think I have one

36. How may 'exes' do you have?
I ‘d say 2. They weren’t proper relationships, but they are as close to ‘complicated’ as they can be.

37. Do you believe in fairies?
Nope... Quickly quickly clap your hands!

38. Do you have any tattoos?
Nope, I do find them very sexy though.

39. Do you have any piercings?

40. Would you date a smoker?
Not easily…

41. If you are male, do you know many lesbians?
Yes, I know quite a few

42. Do you know anyone who has died from HIV?
No personally. I know people with HIV though

43. Are you part of a gay organization?
Organization? I’ve recently registered as a volunteer in a gay health charity. Does that count?

44. Is your gym cruisy?
I don't know... I haven't seen anything...

45. Grinder or Scruff?
Neither. I don't own a iphone...

46. Are your best years behind or in front of you?
In front of me. I’m a hopeless optimistic.

47. Got Porn?

48. Make out music?
Something not too distracting… Anything will do. I tend not to listen to it after a while

49. Ever been in love with a straight guy?
In love no. I had crushes though

50. Did you ever have sex with him?

51. Have you ever been to a nude beach?
No, not an official one. I’ve swam naked though in deserted beaches.

52. Have you ever been to a bath house?

53. Ever had sex in public?
Yes. I don’t do it regularly but it’s extra sexy when it happens.

54. What gay gene did you miss out?
I’m not good with fashion…

Thursday, 24 November 2011

TV Food Programs

I have to admit it. They are my guilty pleasures. I simply love them. Apart from a selected few that I dislike, I generally enjoy watching TV food programs and documentaries. I like learning new cooking techniques, watching cooking competitions or learning about diets and how to beat obesity etc.

One of my all-time favourites is ‘Come Dine with me’. I’m not sure about the exact concept in other countries, but the British narrator is simply the person responsible for making the show such a hit. His sense of humour is so caustic that it’s amazing how he can get away with it. It’s borderline insulting but utterly hilarious. Also, some of the contestants are simply unbelievable. The comments heard on people judging other contestants food are hilarious. I can’t forget a guy judging the green Thai curry he had for being too green! Or a girl mentioning that she didn’t like the fish she was served because it was very ‘fishy’! Also, I find quite funny that people enter cooking contests without too much knowledge on how to cook or having a very limited range of things they like. For example, how can a forty year old British woman never tried soup before?

My addiction to food shows goes to documentaries regarding diets, anorexia or weight battles. I sometimes even watch ‘The biggest loser’. I’m not too fond of the meaningless challenges they go through but I do enjoy during the weight-ins to look at the way these people looked like at the beginning of the show and how they look now. It’s inspirational in a way to see what they’ve achieved, even if the whole concept is controversial. You can’t make these people radically change their lives like that. Most likely after the show they do go back to how they were before, even worse.

There are quite a few celebrity chefs I like, like Ching-He Huang. I’ve also recently discovered Lorraine Pascalle. I like her style. By looking at her show, it’s obvious how much she loves what she’s doing. She’s trying to create nice and easy recipes for everyday people.

There are of course some shows I don’t enjoy. On the top of my list are ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and masterchef. Both shows simply make me tense.  I know lots of people who like masterchef, however, I personally can’t watch it. It makes me anxious for the contestants and stressed. I like watching calmer programs. Gordon Ramsay made a name of himself by simply being loud, rude and vulgar.

There are quite a few TV programs trying to promote refined or home cooking and good health. However, there’s an American show called ‘Man versus food’ which does exactly the opposite. During the show, the presenter takes up a food challenge. In most cases the challenge is about finishing a ridiculous amount of unhealthy food or food with a distinctive twist. For example it could be the US biggest hamburger or the spicier sauce etc. I haven’t seen many episodes. My stomach physically reacts badly to some of the food presented. It’s no wonder however that all episodes I’ve seen were filmed in Texas, one of the fattest States. Maybe it was a coincidence.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Under Training

I arrived at the area earlier than normal. That’s not something out of the ordinary for me. I always do that. I hate being late in appointments and I always try to be 10 – 15 minutes earlier than expected. I just walk around till it’s time. So, I bought a coffee and with that keeping my hands warm I walked around. It was a bit cold but at least it was sunny. The area was tired. Most of the shops were closed. Those that were open had employees sitting outside probably waiting for customers. Only a Turkish bakery looked a bit alive with some families going in and out. The people of the surrounding Council flats were probably still sleeping. It was after all somewhat early on a Saturday morning. I was waiting for my ‘public facing training’ for the gay men’s charity I’m planning to start volunteering.

The building where the charity was based was new. That was one of the only new buildings around. They occupy an area of the ground floor next to the common garden by the canal. Overall it’s a very nice building. The room where the training would take place was cleared and only the chairs needed and a drawing board were left. I was welcomed by one of the members. He showed me in and explained where coffee and tea were served. I was one of the very first people to arrive but I felt at ease, supressing a slight feeling of self-awareness I had.

Overall they were waiting for 11 people but not everybody showed up. Even with the latecomers we must have been 9 and the whole training lasted 3 hours as previously agreed. Apart from some presentations on what to do and how to behave during public facing, we did some group exercises and discussions. I hadn’t done group exercises of this kind. We wanted to check how body language affects people’s personal area, how to mingle and start a conversation with a goal to extract specific information and how to finish a conversation to move to the next one. What we talked about weren’t staff I hadn’t thought before but it was nice to have them explained in detail.

What I was most interested in finding out is how they actually maintain the safety of the volunteers, especially when they are trying to contact people in public places like bars of coffee places. I assumed that cases of homophobia assaults wouldn’t be that rare. Also, I feared that holding money in a plastic bucket in common view is dangerous. I was very relieved to learn that most events like that are controlled and thoroughly pre-planned. Volunteers visit bars that are gay friendly and only after agreeing it with the store manager. Also, the places for fund raising are selected so that the buckets are locked for the night and collected by the charity’s managers later. That means that the volunteer is not walking back home with money on them. Generally, a common policy of non-engaging and simply ignoring ‘unfriendly’ public is advised. 

In most cases what a volunteer does when facing the public is fund raising by collecting money with the noisy buckets, pretesting materials for campaigns or booklets and informing the public on campaigns already under way. As far as I know the charity is now organising events on promoting awareness for AIDS and HIV. I’m very interested in the matter and I will try to dedicate time in the upcoming weeks!

Friday, 18 November 2011


‘United Colors of Benetton’ is a global fashion brand based in Treviso, Italy. It was founded in 1965 by the Benetton family and nowadays it includes a network of 6000 stores in 120 countries (wikipedia).

In the past, Benetton made a name by creating a series of controversial campaigns like the one of an AIDS dying patient surrounded by his mourning family or the death row convicts. All these campaigns raised awareness on the issues they portrayed and according to my point of view should be at least respected. His latest work is called ‘Unhate’ and demonstrates global governmental or religious leaders kissing.

Commercially the campaign is very successful. It’s creating a stir promoting the brand’s clothes as it should. Taking out the logo of the brand though I have to admit that the posters / billboards / photos are trying once again to pass a positive message on the world. Just the fact that the Vatican opposed the campaign so forcefully puts a smile on my face. One of the pictures is of the Pope kissing a Muslim Imam.

Friday, 11 November 2011


I just couldn’t not blog today... It’s the 11th of the 11th of 2011!
I don’t know why but this date excites me.

I even took a screenshot of my desktop when the time was 11:11 11/11/11. Yes, I am such a dork I modified the date format for my PC so that the year was 2 digits, instead of 4! The effect was much nicer…

I was reading that for some cultures this is a very lucky day. That is why many women were booking to have caesareans this day for their babies to have a special birthday. Of course, for other cultures, this is a very unlucky date.  Go figure…
So, the world might end tonight… Oh, well!

Another reason I’m excited is the fact that it’s Friday AAAAAAND Skyrim’s been released and it is waiting for me at my house. ‘JJ’ informed me that he’s hidden it somewhere in the house! He will probably want me to promise him some sex favours in return for its location… (That’s fine by me)

So, I’m leaving you with some nice eye candy for the day and occasion.

PS. I really miss summer…

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A letter to my father

I was thinking recently about writing a letter to my father. That thought came to me when I realised that he is no longer talking to me. To be honest he never was very good on keeping contact. He doesn’t generally like talking on the phone and he would never text. It’s a common family joke that he must be one of the worst customers of mobile phone companies. He never even comes close to finish the few free minutes and text messages he’s given by his contract.

Since I moved to England my mother calls or texts almost every single day. I know it’s a bit excessive. We don’t talk for long. She just wants to check that I’m fine and occasionally she’ll ask whether I had dinner (?) and how are my job and the weather. It’s a typical Greek thing. She does the same to my brother. After she watches the day’s evening news, she picks up her phone and calls her children and sister. It’s a ritual she follows.

During these calls she’ll occasionally give the phone to my father making him talk to me. He normally doesn’t have lots to say. The vast majority of times, he’ll ask me how happy I am at my job, how’s that going and give me a series of the same advice every single time. He’ll mention that I should be responsible, punctual, well-mannered and try to maintain a somewhat offensive stance. That means that I should try to get involved in as many projects as possible and try to always be enthusiastic and positive about my job.

We never talk about personal things. He will never ask how I am personally and if I’m happy in my life. According to his life theory, if you’re happy in your job, there is nothing else to worry about. There is no room for such ‘silly’ things like insecurities, fears or stress. I don’t even think he understands the concept of personal counselling or psychologists (sorry Dr. Spo). While I was growing up everything that had to do with feelings or sentimentalities were left to my mother. Don’t get me wrong. My father does love me and my brother. He will just not show it much. I had a very nice childhood and I am very grateful for it.

Throughout my life I’ve tried and mostly succeeded in making him proud of me. I had good grades in school. They have never seen me drunk and I’ve never taken drugs (apart from a visit to Amsterdam). I’ve never been in serious trouble. I studied, found a decent job and I’m mostly in control of my life. That means that I’ve ticked most of the boxes that most parents ask of their children. I do owe to him any integrity I have as a person.

However, he never saw coming that I could be homosexual and he hasn’t forgiven me for it. Since I came out two years ago, there is a huge elephant in the room that we might share. The situation hasn’t improved with time. On the contrary, since he learnt that I was packing to move in with JJ he hasn’t spoken to me on the phone, at all which is a record for us. Even now, that my mother is in the hospital for an operation (it all went well and she’s recovering) he only texted me to tell me that my mother is OK and she will call me whenever she can.

I have grown a thicker skin and I can live with my father not generally speaking to me much, maintaining a non-personal relationship. I’m beginning to realise that probably he doesn’t know me that much to see how happier I am as a person now. Maybe I didn’t let him to get to know me that much or maybe he didn’t try as much as he should have. There is no point in telling him now of my sleepless nights as a teenager and young adult and all these worries I had then. I don’t want to tell him how better-off I am as a person since I came out primarily to myself and accepted who I am. If I told him all that, it would be like apologising or defending myself. I don’t feel I need to do that…

Anyway, I might not giving him enough justice. I’m trying to see things from his point of view. I’ll give him all the time he needs. We’ll see how things turn out…

Monday, 7 November 2011

It’s coming…

Greek news update: In a very short period of time and after a blackmail set by the EU, the referendum has been cancelled and the Greek Prime Minister stepped down. A coalition government will be created whose new PM is not set yet. I believe this to be good news although I do remain pessimistic about the country’s future. I fear that the new government will be equally inadequate as the previous. Funnily enough there’s an article in the CNN that ‘How Greeks have stopped dreaming of the future’ which is exactly how I feel at the moment.
However, I’m going to change the subject. I don’t want to bore you with this kind of things any more. They’re very depressing as they are…

So, I’d like to announce how happy I am that the 11th day of the 11th month of 2011 is finally approaching! Apart from being a very peculiar date that happens only once in a century, there is another reason this date is special (at least to me)! The 5th instalment of the Elder Scroll’s game is being released: Skyrim! The ‘Elder Scrolls’ are a series of a single player RPG game! The third instalment (Morrowind) and the fourth (Oblivion) were two of my most beloved computer games ever. I’ve spent lots (and lots) of time on them which I extremely enjoyed. I lost hours of sleep on them which I haven’t regretted.  (Yes, I am such a geek, as if you didn’t know)

So, naturally I hope that the fifth one will be as good as the rest.  And for the first time, I have preordered this game from Amazon!  Usually, I wait for user comments or online reviews to purchase a PC game. You never know if it’s going to be a flop. However, I hope Bethesda, the company that will release the game, will not disappoint. I only hope 2 things. First that my PC will be able to deliver sufficiently the beauty of the game and the second that it will arrive on release day, this Friday and not be delayed. You hear me Amazon????

If these two conditions are met I will say ‘bye-bye’ to the normal, physical world (for a short period of time at least) and dive into a vast mythical world of magicians, orcs, conspiracies, elves and dragons. See you on the other side!

PS. If you call me and I don’t reply, don’t try to yell louder. I’m probably wearing my headphones. It’s better if you throw something (light) at me.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

5 on the 5th

Welcome to the '5 on the fifth', a posting where you share 5 photographs taken on the days leading to the 5th of each month. It's organised by Stephen from 'The State of the Nation UK'. This month's theme is 'MOVEMENT' and these are the photos I've decided to share.

The movement of a spider on its web

The movement of dancers during a wedding reception 

The movement of rowers on the river

The movement of a car 

The movement of a train