Sometimes I Read Too Much Into Things

This post was removed shortly after its publication after a misunderstanding by the sender of the card lead to anger from their side of the family. I tried to pacify them, acceding to their every request (explaining my thinking, sending an apology, removing this post, and eventually removing the comments they’d published to the post) but they nontheless cut off contact with me and I haven’t heard from any of them since. They also cancelled their plans to attend QParty. Ten years later, I’ve restored the post: I’m not willing to censor myself on behalf of somebody who refuses to talk to me for a decade even when I do exactly as they ask. See: all censored posts.

Sometimes my brain runs a little too fast for itself and comes up with explanations for things that are deeper than what is most likely the truth. For example, Claire and I received in the post this morning a card.


'Acceptance' Card

The card’s purpose is to accept our invitation to QParty, which starts in… eek… 520 hours! It’s a “thank you for inviting us, we’re coming” card.

But up until now, every card I’ve seen of this type has said “thank you,” on the front. This is the first one I’ve ever seen that says, simply, “Acceptance.”

And so my brain runs away without me: why “acceptance?” Is there a hidden meaning here – is the sender subtly saying that they don’t fully approve of QParty (perhaps they were holding out on a wedding), but that they have come to accept that this is what was invariably going to happen with me? And even if it wasn’t intentional, perhaps that’s a subliminal message; perhaps that’s what the sender was thinking when this card – this particular card – caught their eye in Paperway or The Post Office or wherever it originated from.

On the inside, there’s a space to write what it is that they’re accepting an invitation to, and rather than writing QParty, the sender has written “Bit of a Do.” What does that mean? Why would they re-title it in their own words? Is “a bit of a do” more or less significant than whatever (by this point I’ve convinced myself) they’re comparing it to: no doubt a more conventional engagement and marriage.

And by this point, my brain just starts itching to try to do something that they wouldn’t be able to accept, like turning up to QParty in drag with a harem of partners in tow.

Then I realise that I’ve run offon a tangent. Of course this isn’t what the sender (who you’ll notice I’m not naming – I’m at risk of offending them enough as it is and for that I apologise) means. They’ve very kindly replied by post to our invitation with a beautiful card and a kind message. They genuinely care for our happiness and respect our choices, and they’re delighted to share in this celebration of Claire and I’s love. Everything is fine.

Isn’t it?

Edit – 19 September 2017: After spending most of its life offline after a knee-jerk reaction by family members who haven’t spoken to me in the intervening decade, this post has been restored to the Internet.

8 Days To QParty

It’s 8 days until QParty.

I still have to write a speech. And some other things.

I haven’t heard back from the venue to confirm that they’ve remembered our booking.

I don’t have a clue what’s going on. Neither, judging by some of the responses I’m getting to e-mails, do many of the guests.

Panic hasn’t yet begun to set in, but I’m sure it will.

If you see me, give me a hug.

The Purple Rose

I received a surprising gift at work this morning. Click the picture for a full-size snap.

A Purple Rose... But From Who?

A gift box from InterRose, delivered by Royal Mail Special Delivery. The building manager who brought it up from the reception desk to my office kept insisting that it wasn’t from him (apparently the receptionist had been quite excited by it until she discovered it wasn’t for her, either).

I opened it up, watched by my co-workers. The box contained a single rose, it’s petals dyed purple, wrapped in a red ribbon, and a tiny envelope with my name hand-written on it. Looking in the envelope, I found a small card with the following message:

Lusting after and loving you from afar.

Your secret admirer.

x x

The current favourite guess amongst my co-workers is that the rose was sent by my mum. But I think they’re just jealous.

Thank you, secret admirer, whoever or wherever you might be. Although I’m pretty sure I know…


A Series Of Unfortunate Injuries

How to have a good time after returning from a tiring holiday and even more tiring return journey:

  1. Return home delighted to see that Paul has tidied up your entire house.

  2. Relaxed and refreshed, throw yourself backwards into a soft, comfy chair.

  3. Talk to a friend about a sensitive issue in a safe, relaxed environment, making use of a whiteboard as an aid to discussion, knowing that it’s easy to remove the evidence afterwards with a bit of paper towel or a board wiper.

How to fuck up the above plan:

  1. Throw yourself backwards into a soft, comfy chair that’s just a few inches to the right of where you remembered it was, banging the back of your head quite painfully against the wall.

  2. Accidently write all of the most sensitive details of your discussion on the whiteboard in a permanent marker, because during the house tidy up, all of the permanent markers have been mixed in with the whiteboard markers.

  3. Scamble to find a solvent with which to remove the data from the whiteboard before somebody sees it who shouldn’t.

  4. Find paraffin. Accidently get it in your eye and have to wash it out.

  5. Have to scrub hard at the whiteboard to remove the rapidly-setting permanent marker lines, working hard to ensure that the information is removed in order from most to least incriminating/embarassing.

  6. Push the whiteboard too hard, dislodging a large metal sign mounted above it, causing said sign to plummet down into an empty pint glass (which shatters). The sign’s fall is broken slightly by your head, which is cut and begins to swell.

  7. While applying first aid to your head (now injured front and back and somewhat grazed by it’s collision with the sign), hurt yourself by swinging your elbow into a door handle.

I’m convinced that my house doesn’t like me right now.

Dan as Mr. Bump

In other news: if anybody fancies a post-BiCon, post-Edinburgh catch-up natter session, get your arse around to The Cottage!

Jiggerty Jig

Claire and I are back in Aberystwyth. We’re exhausted and hungry, so don’t expect this to be a long post.

In fact, that’s almost it.

Will write more when I’m somewhat more recovered.

How Not To Watch Comedy

We failed quite miserably to see any live comedy yesterday (although the day before was good). I blame the wine.

Y’see, we thought: you know what would be nice before we go out this afternoon? A quick bottle or two of wine.

Six bottles of wine later, the plan to go and watch some shows somehow mutated into a different plan – and I use the word “plan” in it’s loosest possible interpretation – involving:

– Board games
– Partial nudity
– Talking bollocks
– Chatting to an ex-bodybuilder who got hit by a car and now runs a kebaberie
– Swimming
– Saunaing
– Watching films

Today we’re all sleepy and confused.

Really Bad Erotica For Dummies

In a recent post (The Magic Of BiCon) I mentioned that some new friends and I had spent some time reading bad erotica (store-bought, would you believe it, not home-made) to one another. I just thought I’d take a moment to share with you exactly how awful some of this literary pornography was.

It was almost as though the creative process the author – based on the writing style, almost inevitably a man – had taken could be summed up as this:

1. Okay, I’m writing a short story. Let’s call it The Oilman, ‘cos that sounds saucy already. Ooh, and let’s make the oilman’s name Roger. Roger the Oilman. Hee hee, I made an innuendo.

2. Okay, now a plot: I saw Roger. We fucked. Then some woman arrived. Then we all fucked. Brilliant!

3. Hmm, that’s pretty good as-is. I don’t really see the need to put any effort into describing, well, anything. Guess I’ll just try to cram in AS MANY SWEARWORDS AS POSSIBLE into it. That’ll sell. That’s the measure of good porn, right? How many times the reader cringes per paragraph?

This really does feel like the process undergone. Who reads this crap? Just to really help you understand the quality of writing we’re talking about, here’s a snippet (from memory, might be slightly off but the overarching concepts are there):

Precum dribbled from his wet piss slit. His hairy cream sacks suddenly exploded.

Hairy cream sacks?!?! What the fuck?

Really ought to get up now.

Edinburgh Fringe

Well, we made it to Edinburgh. After scooping up (well, not literally, although that could have been funny) Ruth and JTA from Maulds Meaburn we zipped off up the motorway and soon were completely lost in Edinburgh. Now I don’t want to point a finger of blame here, but I’ll say this: if Ruth’s contribution to finding the flat we’re staying in wasn’t a hand drawn map with only three road names and a “here be dragons”note in the corner, we might have found it a little easier. Thankfully the GPS unit in my mobile phone was able to show us the correct route, despite a few early hiccups in it not sufficiently distinguishing between a bridge and a junction, leading to dialogue like this:

Dan (staring at phone): Turn left.
Claire: At the roundabout ahead?
Dan: No, now! Oh, you’ve missed it.
Claire: We’re on a bridge, Dan.

Anyway, we somehow finally reached the flat. It’s a little less spacious that last year’s, and a little further away from the city centre, but it’s nice and it has a garage to put the car in.

[pause in typing to have sex]

We’ve been to a handful of shows yesterday and the night of the day before. We’re basically following the formula we settled on last year of Peter Buckley Hill’s Free Fringe all the way. We’re also taking every opportunity to evangelise against this year’s new rival, the Laughing Horse Free Festival. You ever seen an argument between advocates of different Free Software licenses? Same thing, really: we feel that Laughing Horse is providing the Wrong Thing [TM] to it’s comics. Anyway, that’s a debate for when I’m not blogging from my phone.

It’s nice to spend time with Ruth and JTA, anyway, because I always forget how much I end up missing them in Aber.

Oh, and I AM checking my friends’ blogs, too, but posting comments is challenging, so: congratulations to Paul on his new upcoming job, to Andy for getting Radio One airplay (wish I’d heard it!), and to Faye for finally learning to take time off. And to those of you who’ve commented on my recent posts or e-mailed me: thanks, I’ll reply eventually!

Suppose it’s time I got up and had a shower.


Claire and I are in Preston, and I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to get hold of real internet access, characterised by the fact that, as you’ll see, I’ve put links in (it’s a pain in the arse to do while posting from my phone, as I have been). I can’t post long, as we’re soon about to head off to Maulds Meaburn to pick up Ruth and JTA and then on to Edinburgh, in accordance with the plan, but I’ll say a few words about how things are going and how I’m feeling.

BiCon was mind-blowingly fabulous. I really enjoyed it. In fact, I cried with happiness on the car ride up to Preston (after we’d finally escaped from the crowd of people trying to hug everybody goodbye at the end of the conference). The workshops were interesting and mind-expanding, the entertainments were fabulous (oh, by the way, I’m so going to get a copy of Killer Bunnies for the Geek Night crew in Aber – it’s brilliant – big thanks to Alex and Lucky for introducing me to it), and the people were, almost without exception, amazing. I’ve come away from the event with contact details for loads of cool and interesting people I’m hoping to get in touch with soon (if I’ve given you a QCard, send me an e-mail!). Notably missing from my list is contact information for Dirk – if you happen to read this, you crazy hat-wearing beast, get in touch! Also, apologies to Suzy for not managing to say goodbye before we left – it wasn’t on purpose: we just couldn’t find you.

Wow, the BiCon LiveJournal community just exploded with activity.

Anyway: now we’re in Preston. My sister Becky has brought back a hammock from her recent trip to Thailand, and – with the help of my mum, her boyfriend, my other sister, her boyfriend, and Claire, we managed to finally attach it between the tree in the garden and a study fence post. I’ve got some pretty good photos which I’ll have to share with you at some other time (imagine a human pyramid, on a slope, with a pair of bolt cutters, reaching up to lop off part of a tree which is being weighted down by a man jumping on top of it, and you’re headed in the right direction).

We’re running a little late, because my mum’s tumble dryer seems to be taking about a lifetime and a half to finish drying our clothes so we can get on the road, but we’ll get moving eventually. No doubt I’ll make a post or two from Edinburgh, and then a wrap-up or two when I get back to Aber on Tuesday 28th. I hope everything’s going well back home (I haven’t heard anything from Paul so I’m guessing that Troma Night went without a hitch); somebody drop me a text or an e-mail or something to let me know you’re all still alive and well.

The Magic Of BiCon

Three sit on the damp grass. One reads out a bad example of a good erotic story, stopping from time to time to turn the book around and show the pictures to the others, who laugh.

Five cuddle up in each others’ arms, in some sort of exclusive party for those they love – or might like to love – the most. It’s past 3am now, and the quiet skies are punctuated by occasional, beautiful flashes as meteorites strike the atmosphere. “I’ve never seen a shooting star,” one says. “Then just watch,” says another, adjusting his arm to better cup her icy hands, “And maybe you’ll see one tonight.”

Suddenly, low on the horizon, there is a bright green flash and a long white trail. “I saw it!” she says, excitedly. They all have. Their extremities, damp and cold, are beginning to numb, but they’re beyond caring. The rest of the party has started to disperse. A few couples cuddle or chat or share a drink nearby. One or two have curled up under blankets or duvets or towels. But these five stay where they are, wrapped around each other in peaceful comfort. Now and then an arm or a leg will move, or a hand will adjust it’s grip on another, and it is good. Sometimes, not quite by accident, two pairs of eyes will hold a stare for a little longer than necessary, or two faces brush against one another.

One leaves. Then another. Then another. The remaining two, still untired, chat on, watching the skies, until exhaustion takes hold and a sudden drop in temperature threatens hypothermia, and they call it a night.

It all started with a midnight picnic, and it all finished with the deepening of a new friendship. Almost nobody said anything, because nothing needed to be said. Time, and trust, and a little bit of love.


BiCon Ball

Wow. Last night’s costume ball was amazing. Claire’s “Lara Croft” outfit went really well, and our efforts in the Costume Workshop earlier in the day to convert my picnic rug into a great kilt (for my William Wallace costume) paid off. Unfortunately at midnight the spell was broken and my kilt turned unexpectedly back into a rug while I was dancing, but a quick scavenge for safety pins (thanks, everybody on the information desk) proved sufficient to keep me decent.

Not that it would have mattered much, of course, judging by a couple of the other costumes! One young lady wore just a chainmail bra and knickers (leaving little to the imagination), which also doubled as a sheath for two long sharp knives. Another wore a leather skirt completely devoid of sides, a spiked bra, and am enormous pair of demonic wings. A young man appeared at first to be dressed as Robin Hood, but this costume later turned out to consist only of body paint and a strategically-placed handkerchief. Another came wrapped somewhat less-than-completely in tubular bandages, which exaggerated, rather than hid, those parts that he might normally hide.

The costumes weren’t all excessively revealing, of course (although some, like those above and the Lelu [The Fifth Element] costume, really did expose quite a lot). I was particularly impressed with the effort taken by the wearer of the stunning HAL 9000 costume.

Got to go and help run a BiCon Geek Night now. Will post more as and when.

First Day At BiCon

Yesterday, of course, was our first “full day” at BiCon, and it made the difference in terms of feeling welcome and “at home.”

Claire and I went to a couple of welcome-y workshops: Start Here! and Getting To Know You! The timetable’s pretty well organised because despite there being up to 6 activities on at any given time, few people seem to have “clashes” in the things they want to attend: the organisers have taken care to put, for example, crafty things in different slots and BDSM things in different slots and poly things in different slots and so on so that your interests can be satisfied, whatever those interests may be.

There’s a fascinating mix of people here, too: a real mix of age, gender, sexuality (no, not everybody is bi, though it’s a majority), background, religion, ethnic group, etc. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I’m surprised anyway.

I’ve been to a variety of workshops on polyamory, time management,bisexuality, and the labels people use to define themselves. I’ve net a number of strange and wonderful people, and I’ve made full use of the SU bar. So far, so great.

Elementary Flogging

Looking through the windowed doors of the workshop room next to me I see a group of topless people whipping one another. It’s apparently the workshop on Elementary Flogging, and it looks… different. Some of them seen be stripping even further, now, and somebody’s getting a riding crop.

Down the corridor the tamer workshops are in full swing, too. The Storytelling group have pens and paper and they’re all jotting away. The Bi History group are getting some kind of lecture. Claire’s chatting away in the Transgender Identity room-

Me? I’m taking a quick break to check my e-mail and read some blogs. The atmosphere is amazing. Guess I’ll share more as it comes to me.

First Night At BiCon

We’re in Glamorgan University, staying in a hall of residence. It’s a little like living in Penbryn but the rooms are en suite and the microwave ovens don’t cook people that stand too close to them. It turns out that WiFi is off the menu so I’m posting over GPRS, hence the lack of photos: might try to get some uploaded at some point.

In the meantime, pretend I’m showing you a picture of my name badge, which is basically a laminated badge with my name on, decorated with half a dozen or more stickers of various shares and colours that serve to identify me to anybody who’s taken the time to remember what they all mean. One says this is my first BiCon, another says I like board games, and so on. Already people have started inventing their own, and I’ve got a unique one that instructs people not to feed me chocolate.

We’ve enjoyed a pub quiz (our team, Dim Parcio, came eighth out of thirteen) and met all kinds of interesting people, and now we’re taking a somewhat early might in anticipation of a busy day tomorrow!

More as it happens.

How Not To Wake Up Claire

Yesterday, before I went in to work (yes, on my day off, I know – it’s always when I’m about to go on holiday that everything breaks and I’m needed), I woke Claire, to remind her that, while I was at work, she needed to dye a pair of shorts brown in order to use them as part of a costume that she’ll be wearing at the BiCon Ball. Unfortunately, I didn’t think carefully enough about my choice of words.

I woke her and said, "Okay; I’m off to work. See you about lunchtime. And don’t forget your dying."

Which it turns out can be easily misheard as "…don’t forget you’re dying."

Needless to say; in her post-waking sleepy state, this caused some distress. It was only a minute or so later that things made sense again to her, when she was down a train of thought a little like: "Dying? I can’t die… I’ve just put all this work into making a costume that I’ll never get to wear… I didn’t even finish dying the… ohh."

We’re off this afternoon on our grand tour of the UK. We’ll be in Glamorgan today, Preston on Monday, Edinburgh on Tuesday (via a quirky little village), Oxford a week on Tuesday, and back in Aberystwyth a week on Wednesday. I’ll try to make a post or two here about what we’ve been up to, so that I don’t have to make such a huge post as I did about my mum’s engagement party and the Edinburgh Fringe this time last year (hey, why is it that we always end up at a fancy dress party right before the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?