28 December 2005

Merry Christmas

JD and I spent our Christmas the way it should be: At De Kuip in Rotterdam, to watch Feyenoord beat AZ Alkmaar 2-0. Not a bad afternoon, apart fom the fact that it was bitching cold!

Had a nice few days with my parents and with my sisteer. Christmas Day was celebrated by inviting the whole family to my parents' house for a buffet. Everyone brought some food and it was really good fun, as usual. JD was a little take aback by the Dutch custom of sitting with the chairs arranged in a circle around the living room. Makes it difficult to talk to anyone apart fromt he person you happen to be sitting next to.

JD still really struggles with speaking Dutch, something that frusdtrates her beyond belief. It gets on my tits a bit sometimes because a lot of it is her own fear of looking like a fool. She would be much better off simply saying: Sorry, I did not understand, can you repeat that again please. Instead she mumbles and feels stupid. Poor JD.

What else happened? Well, we are now the proud custodians of a Compaq TabletPC TC1000. We got the wireless network (built in to the tablet) going and JD is sitting next to me composing a multi-harmony version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with the help of the Microsoft Composer Tool that allows you to simply write the notes on the staff with a pen. I am quite impressed actually.

The only thing that is wrong with the thing is that it does not work on the battery. It only seems to work on mains power. That is of course a bit of an issue seeing the whole point of a tablet PC is that you can carry it around with you. We had visions of loading CSI episodes on it and watching them on the bus on the way to University. JD would be envied by many!! So we are still trouble shooting and I will take it to the computer shop tomorrow and see what they have to say.

JD will use it until she has finished her dissertation in September. After that, you are all free to buy it from me.

15 December 2005

The Big Freeze...not

So where is it then? The big freeze? We were promised a record-breaking cold spell this winter. But I haven’t seen it yet. A few chilly days is all we got so far. Oh, and a smattering of white stuff that does not even deserve the name Snow.

Bah Humbug!!

06 December 2005

Excuse me?

A woman has been awarded a few million pounds compensation after the judge agreed an ambulance crew did not do enough to save her life.

The woman had taken an overdose when she was depressed. The ambulance crew was called (obviously she changed her mind) but for some reason, she feels they did not arrive quick enough or work hard enough and the woman sustained brain damage.

So she decided to take them to court. And she won.

I just can not believe this. She wanted to die. She took the pills. How can she sue that they were not there soon enough and because of that, the pills were able to do some of their destructive work.

Ridiculous. Absolutely stunning. I don't say it very often but: What is this world coming to?

05 December 2005

More Civil Partners

"Unlike marriage, civil partnership law has no problem with promiscuity: although adultery coupled with intolerability opens the door to divorce, sexual infidelity does not provide a basis for dissolving a civil partnership. Similarly, although a marriage is voidable on the ground that either party is incapable of consummating it, there is nothing comparable in the Civil Partnership Act."

This part of the Civil partnership Bill really feeds the opposition's arguments. It allows them to say that all gays are promiscuis and that this Civil Partnership reflects that by not saying adultery is wrong.

I personally see it as a modern change to the marriage-laws. I reckon that if they were going to re-write the rules and laws about marriage, they would leave out that promiscuity and adultery as well. Because these days it is a fact of life that marriages no longer last a lifetime and that people cheat on eachother.

The other thing, the inability to consummate a marriage, is just a ridiculous part of a bill that apparently means that a partner has the 'right' to have sex with their spouse. There are many married couples who do not have sex for a wide variety of reasons.

A Civil Partnership or marriage should be able to be dissolved when the parties no longer want to be part of it. The reasons are of no concern to anyone. So rather than showing the 'lesser' value of the Civil Partnership becasue adultery and consummation are not mentioned as grounds for divorce, I think it is simply a reflection of modern society as a whole, where sex and sexual relationships inside or outside the relationship are nobody's business but the parties involved.

In fact, the fact that neither adultery or inability to consummate the relationship is mentioned as grounds for divorce in the Civil Partnership could actualy mean that those who enter in to a Civil partnership have altogether different values than those who get married. For those getting married, sex is apparently a very important part of the relationship but not importanat enough to work on within your relationship. No. If your partner cheats on you or is unable to get it up, you can divorce him. But for a Civil Partnership, they are not accepted arguments and the judge supposedly has the right to send you back and order you to work on your relationship instead.

Marriage at last

As of today, gays & lesbians in the UK can enter in to a Civil partnership. It gives them (almost) the same rights as a married couple, with execption, I think, of adoption and some other bits and pieces I am not sure of.

That is of course good news. But unfortunately it means that in the past few days, radio and TV have been inundated with pros and cons of this new piece of legislation. So for the past week or so, and today, on the day of its introduction, the biggoted homophobes have been all over the airwaves, explaining to the world why gays should not be given similar rights.

And the debate is marred by side-issues. A lesbian who thought it was all rubbish because she simply felt that marriage as a whole was stupid and should be abolished. Her argument was that she got sick of people staring in to each other's eyes and saying I love you whilst wearing their Sunday best. Hardly the topic up for dicussion I felt. But of course this gave the religious guy the opportunity to play his 'all homosexuals want is the destruction of marriage' card. After all, this lesbian on the radio had just said so.

And then there are those who don't argue about equal rights but about the word 'marriage'. Civil partnership has clearly become 'gay marriage' but, mostly, Christians are on the airwaves objecting to the use of the word marriage because it is supposedly the union between a man and a woman. Really, that is a detail. Marriage is used in this case to mean 'a union between two people, driven by love and a desire to har their lives together'. Stop discussing the little details and talk about the real issue.

The main thing is that now, if JD has to go to hospital again for her brain tumour (God forbid), I can now be her next of kin officially. And when I die, JD will not have to pay tax on whatever little I leave her. And I can get her pension if she dies before me. And that my boss will HAVE to include her in any kind of partner-scheme he may have running. THAT is what it is about. Simple as that.

But people argue all kinds of things against it. Their biggest argument seems to be that it degrades the institute of marriage. I would say that straight folks have done a really good job of that themselves over the past 2000 years: 50% divorce rates, drive-by weddings in Las Vegas, forcing people to get married due to pregnancy, spousal abusse.....The fact that there seems to be a crisis in the Institute of Marriage has nothing to do with gays & lesbians. After all, they have always been denied their chance to be part of this destruction.

See, I don't want to be like straight people. If I did, I would force myself to get married to a bloke. What I want is equal rights for me and my partner. If people have a problem with calling that 'marriage', then fine. Call it something else. I don't care. Because it is not about wanting what others have out of jealousy. Those who argue that, since homosexuality is not normal, we should not treat them like normal people and give them normal rights, are on the radio all day. And quite frankly, it is making me depressed. I know acceptance of homosexuality has a long way to go. And I doubt it will ever really go away.

It saddens me to hear all the cliches being bandied around for days on end: Unnatural, against God's will; unfit for parenting, disgusting bedroom antics; not the same as straight folks so should not have the same rights; Allow this and why not allow peadophiles to marry children, or people to marry their goat; this bill tells kids it is perfectly OK to be gay and it certainly is not; children raised by a homosexual couple will grow up thinking being gay is normal and they are much more likely to be gay themselves; God created Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve; a child needs a mother and a father (Never mind that this argument is never used to ban single-parent families)and so on and son on.

So on a day the gay community should be celebrating a big step forward in their fight for rights and equality, I am actually sad and hurt by the venom that people spit out over the airwaves without having met me or my partner. On a day that should be a celebration, it actually reminds me of how many people hate me without even knowing me.

I want to crawl under the blankets in bed, with JD and just cuddle her and remind me that what we have is good, pure, honest and that those who are disgusted by it are a bunch of wankers who have a pea-sized brain that does not enable them to make up their own minds and think beyond anal sex and gay men.

01 December 2005

Off to Oz

One of my Rugby team mates is off to Oz for a year. I am not jealous but I certainly would like to go to Oz again sometime soon.