xmakina: (Default)
2030-01-01 12:00 am
Entry tags:

Comment Box, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Anonymous Comments

If you want to ask me a question, or leave me a comment completely anonymously, this is the place for it.

You can still comment on here (screening is enabled) but you will not be able to do so anonymously.

Also, I run 3 filters on this journal which are all opt-in:
  • Kink: Not just for sex, but anything relating to the Kink community, scene and lifestyle
  • Nerd: For technically focused posts including a lot of web development and administration
  • Links: When I've found something fun or silly and just want to share the link but have nothing further to add
Please comment or message if you would like to be added to any/all of these.
xmakina: (south park)
2012-02-06 04:05 pm

Quiet Weekends In

I had been hoping to get some overtime in last weekend, so cleared all my plans. Sadly, BT decided to play silly buggers and broke my phone line the week before so that was scuppered. Me and Una nipped into Oxford so I could pick a new wallet for Valentines (Una is getting a watch, we’re going with “stuff you’ll always have on you” this year). We came home via Cowley Road so we could have a rummage in the charity shops and Una found herself 3 more ponies, the response to spotting them being “poniesponiesponiesponies”. We came home in plenty of time to snuggle up and watch lots of Stargate and the snow starting to fall.

On Sunday we went for a walk around the two parks that separate Greater Leys from Blackbird Leys to enjoy the snow. It also seems the locals have a habit of standing in the snow smoking weed. Who knew? After our little walk we came home and planned to do chores but then we both felt quite ill so Una tried to sleep it off and I took it easy playing on my PC.

I had a job interview today which, if I get it, could be very exciting (and well paid). If I don’t, it’s no concern. It’s nice to be in that position.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)
2012-01-30 12:03 pm

WIDATW

Need/Want to get back into the habit of writing up at least a summary of what I’m doing with my time.

Hayley came over for the weekend, arriving Friday evening and she was on my bus home. We came home to find the internet, and indeed phone line was dead. Asked next door and same thing. Phoned up Plus.Net to sort it out. BT will apparently look at it on the 31st so clearly not a major outage. Suspicion is cable thieves. Bastards.

Since we couldn’t order any take-out, we had the closest thing to a “home” meal I’ve had in forever, scampi with mash, veg and gravy. Will definitely make that again. Since Una was away Friday night seeing Hannah, me and Hayley watched the last few episodes of Game of Thrones (which Una doesn’t like), so now we’re both psyched for Season 2!

On Saturday me and Hayley went on a charity shop run around Templar Square and Cowley road. First we went to Spoons though for a (now customary) breakfast from there. During our wanderings, Hayley got 2 plushy unicorns and some ponies, and then we struck jackpot when Hayley spotted a “party crate” (read Wooden box) edition of Apples-to-Apples for £4. Given we’d been looking at the standard edition in Gameskeeper for £30, this really is one of the best finds ever. We headed home and, after something of a saga involving left behind backpacks and cancelled trains, Una finally got home and we all enjoyed jacket potatoes and wine (well, Baileys for me, natch) in front of Jurassic Park and finished the night with Starship Troopers.

On Sunday I took the girls to Build-A-Bear for a Valentines present. They both really enjoyed themselves and there are lots of little touches I didn’t realise they did, such as putting in the heart before sowing the bears up and the birth certificate. Hayley got an adorable pink kitty she called Nymphadora and Una got a patchwork bear with a fedora hat she named Bradley. We then did a bit of browsing before heading over to O’Neils (an Irish bar Una really likes) for a nice big lunch and drinks until it was time for Hayley to head home. After walking Hayley to the station we headed home.

It was a lovely weekend and more than made up for the fact I’ve cancelled the next two weekends to get in some much needed overtime in for work.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)
2011-10-13 12:22 pm

The Plan For OpenCon

Oh my goodness it’s OpenCon tomorrow. I am extremely excited by this fact! Last year went really well for me, both socially and activist-ly and I’ve got my fingers crossed for a repeat performance.

I’ve taken my customary “2 days to recover” off work so the hope is to burn the candle from both ends and enjoy as much of OpenCon as I can. I’m hoping to do a good bit of desk time, it was a great way to meet new people and chat with them about stuff and things as well as feeling helpful and useful. I’ve already put my name down for four five workshops including one to discuss Polytical, which I really feel I’ve not been half as involved in over the recent months as I should have been. I’m also doing a workshop on meatspace activism, hopefully encouraging more people to come along to Pride (it’s getting a bit lonely, I must admit) or set up social groups.

My ruleset is going to be the same as BiCon: No heavy shit, have lots of fun, make new friends. It worked really well at BiCon, especially the whole leaving crappy workshops before losing a whole hour to them. Although, I wouldn’t have left any of the workshops at OpenCon last year it’s always a good policy to have.

I can’t wait, I don’t imagine I’ll get much sleep tonight I’m going to be so busy bouncing off the walls!

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)
2011-10-03 11:51 am

The New House

So this Friday I moved from The Island to my new house! The new place is on a cul-de-sac in Greater Leys, a quiet suburb of Oxford so it’s a very pleasant part of the world. It’s a middle-of-3 terrace, with a kitchen and lounge downstairs and a bedroom and bathroom upstairs. It’s also got 2 good sized cupboards to store things in and a coat/shoe cupboard which is very much appreciated after 2 years of throwing coats wherever we can find!

The move started on the 23rd, when the contracts were exchanged and we’d been boxing things up ever since. On the evening of Thursday 29th, Jonty brought the van round and we spent the night loading everything on, finishing the job on Friday morning. On Friday morning we packed the bed and sofa bed and all the other bits and pieces that weren’t boxed up yet. I got a call about 12:30 explaining the sale had completed but the seller had not dropped the keys off which was a bit worrying. We pushed on, finished the packing and started to clean the place up when I got a phone call telling me the keys had been dropped off and we could come pick them up and move in!

We decided to leave at 2 to beat the traffic but ended up getting snarled in the school run and a 30 minute journey took nearly an hour! I collected the keys and we made the final push to the new house, arriving about 4. We started to unpack quickly, just putting boxes and furniture in the lounge. As part of the deal, I’d agreed to help Jonty collect a piano from Wiltshire and bring it back to his place in Bedfordshire, quite a big part of the day still lay ahead of us! I was able to introduce myself to the neighbours and we found out one of them wanted to leave about 5 so that gave us all the incentive we needed and by 5:20 the van was unloaded, Una had been cuddled and told to get some sleep (she came down with a nasty bout of sickness that morning and had spent most of the day napping) and me and Jonty were on the road again. Both of us were impressed how quickly and well that had gone! We’d even loaded up the washing machine that the owner had asked me to dispose of as a trade for the bedroom cabinet and a leather two seater in the lounge. Disposing ended up being completely free as Jonty wanted one so that was that!

The journey to Wiltshire was amazing. We passed through the Ridgeway (a Neolithic highway, containing stone circles and Stonehenge) as the sun was setting, creating a brilliant mix of colours in the sky and a low, bright, thin crescent moon to our left gave a real feeling of magic to the incredible landscape. We arrived and collected the piano (which became over an hour of pushing and pulling and lifting and pivoting) and set off back to Bedfordshire, arriving at some time past midnight. When we found the piano wouldn’t get between the door and the balustrade of the stairs, Jonty demonstrated one of the joys of home ownership and took a saw to the balustrade.

We put the piano in it’s room, dropped the van off and I was brought home for about 2am (2 hours ahead of schedule!) where I promptly cuddled up with Una on our bed in our cluttered new house, still a bit excited so we chatted for about 30 minutes before the adrenaline and excitement wore off and I finally fell asleep.

On Saturday, we had the gorgeous Indian Summer to welcome us in which was a marvellous start to the new place. We needed to get something in for breakfast as well as needing to do some exploring of the nearby furniture shops so we took a gentle stroll to the nearby Spar for breakfast pastries and then onto the bus into town. We priced up a few things and looked around for ideas as well as exploring the big retail park near us which has an Asda Home, TK Maxx and B&Q so plenty of shops to get the new house furnished if needed.

When we got home we prioritised and after a bit of worrying about the space we ended up getting the kitchen unpacked and in a state where we could at least make pasta carbonara! As we still hadn’t got anywhere to sit we sat out in the garden, with a good drink each, and enjoyed the cool of the evening. It was nice. It’s been ages since I’ve had a garden I want to actually sit in. Having realised we had nothing to sit on the next big task was building some things!

We discussed how the lounge was going to be laid out, only to realise we’d put the wrong table (the small one) upstairs and we needed to by a TV stand! We swapped the tables around and I built the big table which now houses Una’s Mac. Thankfully the alcove in the bedroom was big enough, but only by a few inches. We’d have been a bit stuck otherwise! The table built, I was ready to tackle the sofa bed and, with Una’s help, I was able to get it built. We’ve set it up as an actual sofa rather than the bed it used to be in. With the leather sofa left by the previous resident we now have 5 places to sit in the lounge which means no more faffing around when we have friends over. We can still drop it into a bed easily enough so the offer of crash space in Oxford still stands!

One thing we did realise was there was nowhere near enough space for the dining table as well so, as it hadn’t been used for eating on in well over a year, it was kept dismantled and stored in the cupboard. When we have company over we can move the lounge around and set it up in the centre for a dinner party, but otherwise we’re eating on a fold up table in front of the telly like philistines, which is just marvellous! We cuddled for a bit on our new sofa before heading to bed for an early night in front of QI episodes on the Mac, an excellent test passed with flying colours. The remote control is a real boon!

On Sunday we awoke early, neither of us sleeping too well owing to us still learning the new sounds. The main sound that kept confusing me is a low humming that I assume comes from the nearby power relay. It sounds like something is on downstairs or the heating is on and is quite disorienting whilst in that half-awake/half-asleep stage. After cuddles and realising we were quite hungry we treated ourselves to bacon and pancakes on the new cooker. The whole thing is gas but must be lit by a flame, a set up I’ve never encountered before and not really chuffed with. I’ll be talking to OCHA (our landlord organisation) about getting this improved.

Full of tasty noms we planned to head out early to avoid the worst of the sun but after going up and down the stairs only a few times I realised it had been nearly 3 days since my last shower and in this heat it was well beyond tolerable. The bathroom leaves a lot to be desired, the main offender being the shower. It is neither wall mounted nor, indeed, works. Again, a chat with OCHA today should get this sorted out. We both had a bath we thoroughly needed and then headed off to the shops.

We spent the worst of the heat in Templar Square (our nearby big shopping centre) and we eventually got the only TV stand that was both small enough to not be hit by the back door and in our budget. It was quite a bit heavy so after a few stops and rest we eventually got it home and built up. The telly looks lovely on it and with that built and rigged up, turns out I need a signal booster, I moved on to my PC. That has been set up in the back of the lounge, with the leather sofa at a right angle against it creating a nice second space in the room.

With the PC rigged up and only a few boxes left in the lounge we called it a day and sat down for some cheese and crackers. Me and Una chatted, since we couldn’t watch anything, worked out what still needed doing and cuddled for a bit before heading upstairs for a game of Gloom and then cuddling up for sleeps, feeling like the new house was slowly becoming a home.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)
2011-09-19 12:51 pm
Entry tags:

Facebook: Now with Polyamory Support

Well, it took a while but it seems Facebook has gotten tired of us hitting it with the Clue Bat and you can now add more than one partner! Good times, my friends. Here’s how:

  1. Go here
  2. Add as many people as you need and select “Partner” from the drop down.
  3. Things go a bit weird here. Your partners will get a request for approval but the form won’t work. They will need to go to their own Edit Profile page and add you back as a partner. This is probably a bug so hopefully this third step won’t need doing in future.
  4. Enjoy having multiple partners you sexy poly people you!

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)
2011-09-09 03:16 pm

Laying the foundations

It feels so good to be planning something big again! It’s been far too long since that happened. I had hoped to get more involved with Polyday but geography and Maxine’s understandable iron fist meant I wasn’t half as involved as I would have liked to be.

As we’ve yet to secure a venue or date, I’ve been busy setting up the online components. Because I know a lot of people have been asking for some kind of “how to run a BiFest” I’ve set up a wiki for the organisers. This will remain private (or at least we won’t be advertising it) for the duration of planning BiFest so when we’re done there should be a good repository of notes and ideas and how we implemented them for somebody else to use.

We also have the standard Twitter and FB accounts ready to go and their first message will be the venue and date once they’re secured. I’ll be sure to spam share this with all of you so retweets and sharing would be awesome.

I’ve also set up an online spreadsheet for our accounts so people can see where things are going and how much they’ve cost so they can budget for their own BiFest and also be sure nothing is going in my back pocket.

I’m really psyched for this. If I can make 2012 as good as 2010 off with my small team (a venue liaison, PR spokesperson and another general manager) I’ll be really pleased. I realise I should probably focus on one thing at a time, but my big hope is to use everything I gain running BiFest to give myself a running start to something much bigger

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)
2011-09-05 05:24 pm

BiCon 2011

Woo! What an utterly awesome BiCon 2011 was! I will try and write up something proper tomorrow (along with the Polyday write up. And the Polytical workshop write up. And putting down the framework for Oxford BiFest 2012.) but for the meantime, if you wish to leave me a message either publicly in the comments or anonymously on Formspring please do so.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)
2011-08-30 10:41 am

Rules for BiCon 2011

So it’s hard to believe BiCon 2011 starts in a few days. I’m super excited! Last year, well, 90% sucked. Lots of drama which I got dragged into and although I got to spend a few hours with Una each day and night I didn’t even make any new friends!

This year I have 3 rules:

  1. No heavy shit.
  2. Make new friends.
  3. Don’t run anything.

I’m going to be at any of the more social workshops but mostly I hope to be relaxing in the bar and catching up with everyone I keep seeing whilst I’m up to my eyeballs in running things. BiCon is my space where I want to actually attend the convention so expect me to be a much more sociable creature than usual. I shall have my phone with me at all times for people who want to meet up and hang out, email me (me@xmakina.co.uk) if you don’t have my number.

I’m looking forward to the evenings too. I’m going to find some nice clothes to wear (although probably no costume this year) and my accommodation (Flat 19, Block E, Lasdun) seems to be surrounded by lots of awesome and lovely people so hopefully lots of fun parties!

Can’t wait to see you all there!

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (nerdy)
2011-07-14 10:57 am
Entry tags:

Google+

So I’ve been on G+ for a while now and I’m starting, slowly, to get to grips with it.

I really feel that this could be LJ, Twitter and Facebook all in one, if people play along with it. I’ve found that it does take a bit of getting used to and the good bit is that people can decide to run it however they want. Whether this will end up suffering from Jack-of-all-trades will just have to wait and see.

I have two types of circles. Reading and Sharing. Whilst there is heavy crossover, Reading: Friends and Sharing: Friends are identical right now, having them separate allows me to tweek as people adjust to Google+. For example a friend who ends up using it to tell me what sandwich they ate can be pushed into Reading: Twitter without having to worry about my posts not going out to them.

I find this is helping the Stream become much more manageable, with me being able to keep up with everyone as I get the time to. I’ve also used it to group people by frequent topics, for example my (many) activist friends are in their own circle so I can catch up with all the relevant politics and media updates quickly and easily as well as avoid them when my head isn’t up for yet more mass-media fail.

I’m starting to settle nicely into Google+, and I think it has a lot of potential once people start getting used to it.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)
2011-06-23 12:27 pm
Entry tags:

House Update

Greensquare finally got round to letting me know my application has been approved so the last major (planned) hurdle has been cleared. From my estate agent: ”Everything is going fine… and we hope it goes as smooth as possible”.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (activist)
2011-06-20 02:07 pm
Entry tags:

“Claiming” Logos and Such

So, I’m at a point in my journey where I’m seriously considering “claiming” an image for polyamory. I have never been a fan of Jim Evan’s Poly Pride flag, but the problem I’m facing is that to get a proper flag that is affordable requires pretty massive levels of investment, far beyond my current (and most likely medium future) means.

So, I’m currently debating with myself the ethics of claiming an image. The Rainbow Hearts flag first appeared, as far as I am personally aware, 2 years and last year was for sale at every pride I went to.

Many heats in rainbow colours

The Rainbow Hearts flag. Polyamorous?

I’m not aware of it having any specific meaning to another group, and all those hearts really does scream “many loves” at me. So does anyone have any thoughts on this? Or am I just over-thinking everything?

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (yay)
2011-06-08 12:55 pm

Oh my!

So, barring any unforeseen problems, Una and me will be hosting a House Warming in a couple of months. It will be a barbecue party, because our garden will be too nice not to share.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)
2011-05-26 09:15 pm

So there’s this field…

In Oxford, away from the town centre but super easy to get to. It’s the same one Pride uses after the parade. I’m currently mulling the idea of pulling together a festival of some sort for Poly, Bi, Queer people. Not so much talky as day long display of skills, talents, barbecues and relaxing. Imagine a mix of the Big Bi Fun Day and the Poi Workshops/green spaces at BiCon and you’re probably getting close.

I’m hoping for something incredibly relaxed and informal and don’t want to put too much planning into it if no-one’s interested. As for dates, if there’s a really strong response then something at the end of August, otherwise it can wait until next summer.

Please let me know if you’d be up for this.

Much hugs to all.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (activist)
2011-05-15 06:05 pm

Less Fail, More Awesome

So I think I’ve come to a conclusion (for the time being at least) at how best to do activist stuff. I read a while ago there’s two types of activism work: “Less fail” and “More awesome”. The less fail stuff I have been keeping up with, signing petitions and such, but I don’t feel I’m capable or able to make a significant enough dent on this to realistically call myself an activist. Indeed, I believe the term is a slacktivist.

However, “more awesome” is something I really think I work well with. I’ve found, consistently, that I suck majorly at long haul projects like Polytical and a number of ideas I’ve had floating for personal projects. I am by no means abandoning Polytical, but I won’t be writing or actively pushing new projects, instead rolling back to my original intention of being an admin to a site the is by poly people, for poly people.

At the moment, I’m still trying to come up with an idea for something. My initial thought is to arrange some kind of Poly in the Park for mid-summer and pull together some kind of festival but either way these are projects I’m much more suited to. So, my fellow activists and friends, please keep fighting the good fight. I will endeavour to put together things to help you recharge and re-invigorate yourselves instead.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (activist)
2011-05-09 07:34 pm

The Purple Pub Crawl

Since Oxford BiFest has been cancelled (I’m not on the committee, all the information is available here) I reckon we can still do something a bit smaller.

If you’ve already got your train tickets, or were just looking forward to seeing everyone, you (and your friends) are welcome to join me on a Purple Pub Crawl.

Starting at midday at The Castle Tavern and then moving down to The Jolly Farmers before dancing the night away at The Plush Lounge. Everyone over 18 is welcome, and this is just a gathering of friends, nothing formal. All the locations are very LGBTPQI friendly so everyone is welcome. If you do want to dress up then something purple would be great!

If you need more details, drop an email to purplepubcrawl@xmakina.co.uk and I’ll let you know what you need to know.

Hope to see as many of you there as can make it!

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (activist)
2011-05-05 03:18 pm

Why I’m Voting Yes

FPTP is a broken system. Not because it doesn’t elect the people I want, but because it actively promotes conservatism over all other things. The problem is, liberalism has a huge amount of ground to cover. Whether it’s equal rights, ensuring people are treated fairly, guarding against corruption and monoplies or ensuring we leave a world suitable for our children, each topic is an enormous quagmire of different ideas and systems. This means the Liberal voter has at LEAST 4 parties, 2 major, to choose from (Green, Lib Dem, Labour, Socialist etc. etc.) and maybe more depending on their own choices.

Conservatism, meanwhile, has one agenda. Keep things the way they are. Ideally make them better for one group of people:  Wealthy White  British-born Males who are (publicly) Straight and Monogamous . This doesn’t lead to much in the way of policy difference. There is a change in emphasis, BNP cares about race, UKIP about where you were born, but ultimately it’s still a one-party system. Conservative. And this is why FPTP will never work for a better world and indeed works against it. The more damage the Conservatives do to promote their single agenda, the more fractured the Liberals get in how to challenge this issue.

The sick joke is that if we were a nation of Conservatives, AV would reflect this. AV doesn’t favour an ideology, only the will of at least 51% of the people. Whether that will is Liberal, Conservative or something else entirely, as long as 51% of people vote for those parties one of them would come to power.

If you vote for against AV, you’re voting for a system that favours one small subset over all others. If you’re not in that subset, you just shot yourself in the foot. Well done.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)
2011-04-04 10:05 pm

My Pokemans, let me show you them!

So this weekend was, simply, awesome!

Backstory: A few parties ago Amy, Bobz and myself discussed the idea of getting together to play video games together and with recent needs to rebuild and strengthen my social life as well as the new Pokémon release, we decided to throw the whole thing last weekend. When I found out the lovely Hayley is also into Pokémon I invited her along and conversations on Twitter brought in the delightful Lola and Dan too! The stage was set for an awesome night of nerdery, pretty girls and hilarity.

The actual weekend kicked off Friday night with Hayley arriving into Oxford and us going out for Atomic Burger. Turns out you need to book a seat there for Friday nights, unsurprising really (the place is awesome, if you’re in Oxford you should go there). So, after some gentle coaxing that it’s not really that spicy I took Hayley to Nandos instead and we had tasty chicken burgers. Side note: I forgot how good proper mash potato is! As is tradition, after Nandos we went over to G&D’s for ice cream.

When we got back to The Island we were stuffed and I learnt that Hayley is also as big a Mistie as myself so we cuddled up on the sofa for “The Magic Sword”. We also had a Pokémon battle where I got my ass handed to me.

Saturday morning we got all our stuff together and headed off to London. The journey was swift and pleasant and aside from a bit of a mix up with buying a ticket and the underground not letting us out we got to the House of Joy 2.0 for 4:30. The evening was a heady mix of Pokémon battles, geekery, cuddles and sushi (well, noodles for me but still super tasty). We all turned in for about midnight after a wonderfully fun evening.

Sunday was also a lot of fun and we came home in the middle of the afternoon, with plenty of time to have tasty Chinese at The Island in front of “Hercules And The Captive Women” and then cuddles before turning in for the night.

This morning I had to leave Hayley in Oxford as her train wasn’t until 11:30 but I pointed her in a few directions and the photos suggests she had a fun time exploring the city!

A truly excellent weekend, yes! Now I’m counting the hours down to Wednesday when Una will be coming back to The Island for my birthday…

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (pupdet)
2011-03-31 09:38 pm
Entry tags:

Needs moar synthpop

Let’s pretend I’m putting together an album of all the best cheesy synth pop. This is what I have so far:

A Ha – Take on Me
Hall & Oates – Out of Touch
Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star
Human League – Don’t You Want Me
Dead or Alive – You Spin Me (Like a Record)
Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F

Any extra suggestions?

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)
2011-03-15 03:41 pm

Slight shake up

Had to reinstall WordPress, it’s not been happy since it failed to upgrade to the latest version. Hopefully service should resume as normal soon enough.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.