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

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Bad decisions…

When I was young I had the feeling that whenever something very good happened, something bad would follow. It’s like the action – reaction effect to equalise all phenomena. I’m not exactly sure how and when this notion started. I remember it vividly though. For example when a new birthday toy was given to me, soon afterwards I would have a massive fight with my brother or mother. This expectation wasn’t something healthy because it was taking away part of my excitement and happiness but I eventually grew out of it.

This memory came back to me when I spoke on the phone to my brother and mother. I was so happy coming back from work to my new home that I now share with JJ. However, the news from Greece were not very good to say the least.  In case you hadn’t noticed, Greece has been in a very bad financial situation for some years now. The country was bailed out and the current government issued lots of austerity measures to tackle the problem and minimise the debt.

For many reasons, some of which are the global bad financial situation and the series of bad governmental decisions, the austerity measures taken by the government didn’t work that well. Lots of families in Greece struggle at the moment financially but still the country’s debt is increasing. Last summer the country borrowed even more money from the IMf and the EU but that didn’t help much either.

Last week, on the 26th of October for better or for worse a 50% cut on the country’s debt was decided by the Eurozone. This decision was not easy and was made to strengthen Europe’s bailout fund and was well received by stock markets around the globe. It would work as a painkiller to Merkel and Sarkozy headache called Greece. In theory, it would work to loosen up some of the austerity measures. So, as far as I can see with my limited economic knowledge it would help towards finding a solution to the country’s problems.

However, yesterday the Greek Prime Minister decided that the people should decide on whether they should accept the debt write off with a referendum! I was shocked when I heard about it. After the negotiations last week and the deal already closed, he thinks that a referendum is the way forward that will take place after January!

In case people decide not to accept the debt write-off, Greece must exit the Euro and go back to its old currency, called drachma (lovely name, I know). That will allow the country to default with unknown consequences. All values will drop and people will be poorer than ever before, going back to a post war era. In addition, a country exiting the Eurozone might have unpredictable consequences to the value of the Euro, affecting other markets already in danger like Italy, Spain or Portugal.

Unfortunately, most people and unions oppose the austerity measures, the current government or the way Europe is handling things and might decide against the write-off and the Euro. They believe that going back to drachma will mean a new fresh start for the country. They’ve seen that the austerity measures have not been helping anyone and would agree to any other solution.

What surprised me is the timing of the referendum. Why now? What could have happened inside the government party to force the PM to take such a controversial decision now, when some progress has been made! That could have happened long time ago, before the series of bail outs. I can’t believe that the masses will see logic and support him. Also, the Euro leaders taking part in the negotiations last week will not see favourable the gamble that the PM is trying to play to cover his own back. Since he decided to join the dance with Merkel and Sarkozy, he should have kept the pace…

So, I had a talk with my mother and brother yesterday. My mother’s freaking out seeing her pension plan diminished and is very worried about her future during her retirement. My brother’s worried that the country might end up in an abysmal situation, much worse than now. He laughed about it saying that I could be sending him £100 a month to cover all the family’s expenses. That of course could happen if I can keep a work permit and Greece stays in the European Union. The Prime Minister is doing all he can to make more enemies than friends with the rest of the members at the moment.