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I had the strangest day on Friday.

In the morning, I saw that [twitter.com profile] SurvivorKatie had linked a tweet at me about a focus group Scope were doing for visually impaired people. "It's a chance to get paid for what you do anyway!" she said, which made me smile. I told her I'd e-mail the guy for information like the tweet said to, but that I'd bet it's in London.

I e-mailed the guy and he e-mailed me back questions and details that didn't mention the word "London" anywhere (usually there's just a postcode or borough name hidden somewhere...) but yep, it was in London. So I wrote back to nicely suggest that they might like to include that fact in publicity for future such things because it saves the likes of me wasting their time (but I didn't say it like that, I said it in a nice way).

And I actually got a nicer reply than I expected: the guy said he'd only moved to London a couple of years ago and he'd gotten annoyed at how London-centric everything had been too. And he asked where I live since there are other things like this in other places.

We were e-mailing back and forth in between me getting ready for the day: I got dressed, walked the dog, all that kind of stuff. I was going to have a cup of tea with a friend, my new Bluetooth keyboard (Xmas present from Andrew) was arriving for my new tablet (birthday/Xmas present from [personal profile] mother_bones) was supposed to be arriving which I was looking forward to, I was going to the pub with the rest of the new WI committee that evening...it seemed like a nice enough day.

Just as I was getting to my friend's house, my phone pinged with an e-mail: it was from this Scope guy and it said something like "well actually we're looking for someone to do a media opportunity this afternoon, pre-record for the BBC for Monday, would you be interested?" I didn't look at it that closely, but I thought that all sounded okay so I wrote back yeah, sure and rang my friend's doorbell and didn't think much about it.

In the time it took me to drink about three cups of tea, I'd suddenly become this guy's favorite person because I think I'd solved a problem for them on pretty short notice. And this wasn't even going to be BBC radio like I'd been on a couple of times before, it was BBC Breakfast -- morning TV! They were going to talk about the "disability employment gap" and wanted a disabled person on who'd had trouble in, or getting, work. I was like hell yeah, I have opinions about that: If I had a job that didn't make me worse, it'd solve approximately all the problems in my life (while giving me a bunch of new ones, yes I know, but at least they'd be novelties).

As is the way of these things I was starting to hear slightly conflicting stuff and soon talking to a bunch of different people. After a few more e-mails and phone calls, what had changed to being a pre-record done over the weekend somewhere local to me (either my house or something like a cafe, and I was like...uh, yeah, cafe please, my house is awful), it suddenly became "right, I've got your address to tell the cameraman, he'll be on his way over really soon." I wasn't even home yet myself, I was still sitting on my friend's sofa when I heard that.

So I ran for a bus back from Reddish and on my way called Andrew and tried to explain. "He's coming here?" he said.

"I...guess so? I don't really know."

"But have you told him about our house?! Have you told him about Gary the Wonder Dog?! Why don't you go to Inspire instead?" All valid points, I felt, but there wasn't anything I could do about them.

I got home, needed a wee, but my phone rang again and the cameraman said he was leaving now so should be here in 30-45 minutes. I had enough time to wash my hair and put on a slightly-less-scruffy top. Andrew helped me pick everything up off the floor and furniture so it was at least possible for people to walk or sit down in our living room.

I was by this point anxiety-attack levels of anxious, though not exactly having an attack, and it was all about the state of me and the house rather than about the interview!

While I was waiting for the guy to show up, I talked to some Scope people about about this, what they'd like me to say if I could -- though they repeatedly emphasized that I should only say it if I actually thought it and not to worry if I didn't manage it. I think they were pretty grateful they'd found someone to do this and the guy I'd originally spoken to seemed to think it was as funny as I did that it'd turned out this way. "We're going to do this all backwards," he said, "because you'll do the interview and then I'll catch up with you and get details from you for our Stories project..."

And then the guy finally turned up and he was very nice. Since the dog, as always, went mental because someone had knocked on the door, I greeted him with "Sorry, I should've said we have a dog, I hope you're okay with dogs!" He was very okay, which was lucky really...or in another way, maybe not, because if he hadn't been maybe we could've gone to Inspire after all!

But then Gary wouldn't have ended up a TV star. But also nobody would see the piles of dirty dishes in my kitchen! "Swings and roundabouts," as the locals say.

Both of these things (dog and dishes, not swings or roundabouts) were used for "sequencing shots" -- the "look this is a normal person who does normal things!" kind of thing that's there to break up a talking-head interview, because really who wants to look at my stupid head for the whole two minutes or whatever they'll use.

I had to do everything twice -- play with Gary, put food in his bowl, pretend to wash one cup (so I guess at least if I look like I have a kitchen full of dirty dishes, I at least also look like I am actually going to do them!) -- so it could be filmed from different angles, and the whole thing seemed slightly surreal. I wasn't nervous about it because on some level I couldn't convince my brain it was really happening.

The guy was a bit self-conscious about all the faffing, messing with lights and doing things from different angles and whatnot, but I didn't mind at all because I was clearly a very small cog in a very big machine, and I could just wait to be told to do things and I didn't need to care if they were silly or confusing things. And it's not like they were difficult things. It was quite relaxing, actually!

Oh and as for what I talked about, I have basically no idea. My memory goes to shit when I'm anxious anyway. I do remember talking about Occupational Health being so shit when I started my NHS job, I hope that patronizing cow who tied my shoe for me hears herself being talked about on the telly, except I'm sure she doesn't remember it...). I probably talked for 15 minutes or so and they'll use two minutes of it and I have no idea which two minutes.

But you can all find out, if you want! It's apparently going to be on at ten to seven tomorrow morning, me pre-recorded with some employer in the studio saying no doubt that I am wrong about everything.

Anyway, what Scope asked me to mention is that there's a Government consultation going on into "helping disabled people find employment" but maybe we can convince them that the reasons we're not finding it are to do with employers disabling us rather than us just thinking life on benefits is so easy and nice that we can't be arsed getting a job... I'm going to try to write a response to the consultation, anyway, and would encourage any of my disabled chums to do so too. I'm happy to talk through or help anyone with that, if it'd help.
hollymath: (Default)
I just read a post in a local facebook group that says "Are there any electricians on here who can explain the strange happenings in my home?" and now I'm hoping I live at the beginning of a gently supernatural story.
hollymath: (Default)
So a year or so ago I got a few e-mails from someone with a similar enough name that she accidentally used my first-initial-and-surname e-mail address. There were a few more automatically-generated e-mails for Hannelore that I had no way of telling her were getting to me instead of her, but they stopped after a couple of days and I didn't think any more about it.

Until now.

It wasn't her! But this time I got what appears to be a friendly, chatty e-mail -- as far as I can tell; my German's not very good -- for someone called Hiltrud. Hiltrud! I never knew there was such a name. But apparently there was a Hiltrud[e] who was a eighth-century countess of Upper Alsace!
hollymath: (Default)
Waiting in GP's surgery.

Two women come out, one elderly and one middle-aged, probably mother and daughter. 

The younger one is carrying a wooden walking stick as she follows ‎the older towards the door. "Don't you want this?" she asks, offering it.

The older one takes it just as she happens to walk past where I'm sitting, catches my eye, grins and whispers conspiratorially "I like to be naughty and do without it if I can."‎

I grin too, partly because she's taken me into her confidence like this but also because while she probably thinks I'm too young to understand I, with my white cane folded up in my backpack next to me, am totally with her.‎
hollymath: (Default)
Text from friend:
I meant to send you a "break a leg" type message this morning, but what's suitable for a radio interview?! Twist an aerial? Pop a transistor? 😜
Perhaps it's "get a phone call from the producer frantically asking where you are when you're actually where you should be but not audible to anyone else," because that's what happened to me.

That glitch out of the way, though, it all went smoothly and now I've officially been recorded for a Woman's Hour feature on bisexuality that will be aired...sometime. Possibly December 29th (which was sort of disappointing news for me because I'm out of the country then -- not that I'm an avid Woman's Hour listener anyway but, all the more reason it'd be weird to have to iPlayer it!).

I got to go to the posh BBC studios at MediaCity. I got a little booth to myself, a black pod in the corner of the big glass-walled reception area, an unexpected but efficient set-up: I was ignored by everyone in the building after the receptionist showed me to my little soundproofed cupboard and failed to explain anything other than that the mic was live (which, as I just said, it kind of actually wasn't, even though the little iPad-like screen said it was), and when I was done the mic went dead and I slipped out the door back into the weird world of MediaCity with its identical-looking buldings, wide paths and expanses of concrete to cross, and generally disorienting architecture.

I got a lift home, and nice as it was to see a friendly face, this place is clearly designed to discourage car use because it's very easy to find the tram stop and very hard to find anywhere cars can go (and apparently the parking is exorbitant), but I didn't get too lost trying to get back to the same place I'd been dropped off ("all these buildings look the same!" I said when I got back in the car, resisting the temptation to add "...Doctor" in a whiny Nicola Bryant voice).

It was sort of like a Skype conversation, with better headphones and audio quality (impressive really that they've idiot-proofed it sufficiently to leave randoms off the street to do this on their own). The presenter introduced her three bisexuals to each other by first name, and told me (last to enter the conversation) "I'm Jane Garvey," which momentarily baffled me because of course I know her voice very well. But this time when I said things back to her I wasn't standing in my kitchen making tea; she could hear me! And said things back! And was lovely!

At the end of the conversation, the bisexual she had with her there in the London studio asked me if I was anything to do with Biphoria, because she'd "heard there was a Holly up north," and I was utterly delighted at the sound of this, and laughed as I told her I am indeed that Holly.

I really enjoyed it, even though I'm convinced I sounded like an idiot and got everything wrong. That's how I leave most conversations though, really. I'm never nervous while these things are going on, but afterwards lose all my confidence. I suppose it's still better than suffering at the time, though. It was really fun at the time, though: I remember thinking I'd do this kind of thing every day if I could.

Vignette

Nov. 29th, 2015 02:51 pm
hollymath: (Default)
Right now I'm sending love to the Portuguese woman on the bus who got accosted by an old guy who wanted to talk to her about Nando's.

I recognized how difficult those polite shrugs and vaguely bemused smiles can be. I recognized something in her face and her body language as she had to keep giving answers "yes, piri means hot...piri piri doesn't mean anything, we'd never say that" and "I think it's owned by a South African...it's a South African thing...SOUTH AFRICA" answers are to give, when someone's grabbed onto one thing they think they know about your country and just will not stop.

They ask questions that have no answers -- the questions make all kinds of incorrect assumptions -- but you still have to answer anyway.

I wasn't able to intervene on the crowded bus, but I wanted to. I hope somehow psychically she knew I was sympathizing and it did her some good.
hollymath: (Default)
Market Street was full of nutters today.

Jehovah's Witnesses masquerading as financial advisors; both Trots and Commies -- according to Andrew, who said he could tell from the fonts, since they had the same bland "No to Racism"/"Fight Imperialism" slogans and I didn't bother to look any more closely than that so I'm happy to take his word for it -- people crowding around and blocking foot traffic for free little cans of Coke being given out, as if Coke's great enough or expensive enough to be worth the chaos they were inflicting on themselves and everyone; some Legalize Dope evangelist who Andrew thought was actually pretending to be in favor of legalizing dope but actually making some complicated point about how if dope were legalized they would start putting chemicals in cosmetics...or, maybe unless dope was legalized? we weren't sure...and a God-botherer screaming about how Allah is not real because he's not in the bible (seemingly unbothered that he himself isn't mentioned in the bible either)

Though none of those are as good as the chemtrailers protesting outside the Royal Geographical Society, spotted by [personal profile] kaberett. They win at today.
hollymath: (Default)
Today I met new people off of LiveJournal! One of them recognized me as A Person From LiveJournal and everything!

It's such a delightfully old-school thing to do.

So hello to [livejournal.com profile] biascut and [livejournal.com profile] glitzfrau! And their amazing baby, who recognized my rainbow-colored plastic bracelet for the baby toy/teething aid it clearly was destined to be.
hollymath: (Default)
My emerging from upstairs after an attempt to sleep off a migraine meant [personal profile] miss_s_b had to explain to the Geeky Games Night newbie about me and James and her and James and said "this is where you find out about polyamory."

"I was warned about this!" the new person said. "I asked if this was really a board game night or an orgy."

There were the requisite "that could be arranged!" comments from the peanut gallery, but I like being an example that people can be in more than relationship and still like playing board games. It reminds me of Eddie Izzard's story about being harassed by people who that a bloke in a dress is the most risible thing ever, and when he said he was just trying to buy some crisps they were like "what, you eat crisps?"

Hannelore

Feb. 2nd, 2015 05:23 pm
hollymath: (Default)
Last Sunday, I got an e-mail that at first looked like a spam. But having already opened it, I realized it was short enough and in simple enough German that I could figure out that it was in fact intended for someone called Hannelore with the same last name as me (I was immediately envious, as Hannelore's a much better name than Holly, but it's also something I can never change my name to now as it'd make it even more difficult for the right e-mails to get to the right person), and since my e-mail address includes my first initial and my last name, I could see how this guy (Dietz!) could reasonably have thought he was addressing Hannelore.

One of my good deeds for that day was employing my poor German language skills enough to say (I hope) that this e-mail address was not the one Dietz wanted. This despite [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours's suggestion that I ask the guy for Hannelore's address so we could be penfriends, though that did make me smile.

But I got no reply to my I'm-not-Hannelore e-mail and forgot all about it...until this afternoon, when I got a delivery confirmation from lidl-shop.de for something Hannelore has apparently ordered.

So naturally the first thing I do is text [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours. "I could be Hannelore's penfriend now!" I was excited to learn that she lives someplace called Königslutter am Elm, which I've since been reading about on Wikipedia, so now I know what its coat of arms looks like and its mayor's name.

So basically anything I thought I'd get done this afternoon has been abandoned in favor of learning what things like "Versandkostenpauschale" mean and looking at pictures like this:

Pleasingly living up to stereotype, there. But I know not to put too much faith in such things: if I did send her a letter and told her I was from Manchester and she looked that up on Wikipedia, she'd get the impression that it's a city that has sunlight.

Dress up

Dec. 18th, 2014 02:30 pm
hollymath: (Default)
I ended up on the same train into town as [livejournal.com profile] softfruit this morning. When we got to Piccadilly, I think she expected us to go separate ways, but I said I was getting a tram, too. (I didn't have far to go, but it was raining and I was trying not to look as much like a drowned rat as I normally do.)

She was surprised because she'd assumed I was off to see [personal profile] magister, because it's Thursday, so I explained I was on my way to a job interview.

She said she'd noticed I was dressed up but figured it was a sign that my relationship is still at the stage where I dress up for dates.

A reasonable enough assumption, perhaps (I think it's cute that, though I try not to make a big deal of it, my friends all seem to assume my Thursdays are spoken for), but it made me laugh, because I never dress up for dates! Our first date I didn't even expect to be one, and by the second one I was dressed in my grubbiest clothes, smelling of bleach, trying to fix the kitchen sink. After that I figured there was no point trying to pretend I'm anything other than a scruffbag.
hollymath: (Default)
Paul Magrs, the writer of many of my favorite Doctor Who stories, asked me how I was doing as Andrew went to the counter to order our coffees. "Oh, all right," I lied.

And then this nice-seeming man I'd just met, who I wished would like me because I already liked him based on the evidence of his writing, said some of the most bone-chilling words in the English language: "You've got a LiveJournal, don't you?"

A fine start! Any hope I had of impressing him obviously had to die right there. But I was mystified: Andrew never mentions my writing because he's much more cautious than me about sharing his private life (such as it is!) on the internet, and obviously I talk about him all the time here. So how did he know? Andrew and Paul Magrs are friendly acquaintances at best, and hadn't really spent much time together. I had to introduce myself at POD because Andrew hadn't thought to mention he'd be bringing me along.

I'm left to conclude that I just...look like someone who has a LiveJournal. Heh.
hollymath: (Default)
The LGBT+ Lib Dems stall ended up next to the Lib Dem Women one, which was staffed by someone I took an immediate liking to when we happened to get the lift back with our lunches.

She was holding a bowl of soup in one hand and a slice of cake in the other, and said she was really looking forward to the cake.

"People don't realize," she said, "but it takes a lot of work to keep up a figure like this!"

I smiled, liking her already. (Her figure was not so different from mine.)

"Lots of cake," she continued. Lots of ale!"

At that point, I was in love.
hollymath: (Default)
Not for the first time, I find myself wishing the world could ever be run as efficiently and effectively as the conspiracy theorists believe it to already be.
hollymath: (Default)
I got a text this morning from a friend saying "Whilst watching a kids channel this morning, an ad came on for Chessington World Of Adventure, which [his four-year-old] decided he would like to go to some day - but only if Holly can come too."

The four-year-old and I have gotten along pretty well the couple of times we've met -- I was delighted for an excuse to sit on the floor with him and make a Lego spaceship -- but to have made such an impression is an unexpected and charming indication that I am winning at life.
hollymath: (Default)
"You're from Minnesota!" the man said as he approached the corner of the bus stop where I was standing.

Jesus! Am I wearing a sign or something?

But then I looked at the guy more closely and realized that I knew him.

A few weeks ago, I was getting a crowded bus back to Levenshulme one afternoon. As we got near my stop I pushed the button and moved near the front of the bus. It was full enough that there were a couple of people who were standing near the driver. And I ended up close enough to one of them that I couldn't help but notice that the part his sweatshirt, between his unzipped jacket, said NESOT, with other letters clearly hidden behind.

I resolved not to say anything, but then the bus stopped at a red light for long enough that my curiosity won out. "Does your top say Minnesota?" I asked. He said it did.

I was delighted.

But now the bus was at my stop.

"I'm from there!" I murmered, suddenly shy but still excited, as I shuffled past him to get off the bus, now feeling a bit silly to have gotten so excited to see so small and random a representation of my beloved home state.

And I thought no more of it.

Until now. Because here was that guy.

He told me his uncle used to live in Minneapolis, and "sent me some gear." He asked me where I was from, told me he was from Sierra Leone, and we talked for a while about family, work, Manchester, and stuff like that until the bus finally turned up.

Having just whinged in a blog post, and whinging to [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours about how cold it was and how dreadful he was for encouraging me to go out (I'd been under a duvet before and that was seeming far preferable!), it was lovely that the universe gave me such a random nice thing.
hollymath: (Default)
What better to soothe a bad day than an e-mail from a friend who e-mails me, usually with links or questions or ideas or songs, but sometimes just to tell me how great I am, and today's entry in that last category is most welcome.
Oh, I know I get tiresome with saying what a good time I had in your home, but I really *did* have a good time there? I really did feel like I belonged.

Oh, mornings in Manchester by the railway...you are SO GREAT in the morning, Holly...frost and coffee.
Yeah, it was just this time last year he was here, so there would've been frost in the mornings, as well as coffee.

And this made me grin lopsidedly:
HOLLY!

You're such a wonderful woman that words practically fail one.

MAD INSANE BEAUTY!

Quirks of mouth, and tilted eyebrows.

Gee, it's about past time I went to bed.

Okay, one more beer.
I had to smile. Somehow I'm totally unsurprised that this e-mail was brought to me by beer.

Glycon

Oct. 8th, 2013 12:45 pm
hollymath: (Default)
"I'm kind of freaked out that anything to do with me is on Alan Moore's to-do list for today, though," I told Andrew.

"Just be glad you're not on his naughty list," he replied. "Or Glycon would be coming to get you."

I don't really know what it takes for Alan Moore to think someone's naughty, but even if I am that, I've had worse things sicced on me than a sock-puppet god.
hollymath: (Default)
I think my favorite thing in the whole of yesterday was [livejournal.com profile] ejbigred greeting me with a hug and [personal profile] magister with "Oh no, what have you done?" which turned out to be about him having shaved his beard since she last saw him...

Truly it was a greeting on par with my mom's on seeing that I've dyed my hair!*

...and then she looked at me and said "Did you make him do this?"

I could only throw my hands up in bewilderment to display my lack of involvement in this matter. "Nothing to do with me!" I said, mock-outraged before getting a little excited by the thought of having so much power over someone that I could get rid of their beard...before remembering that I wouldn't want that if I had it, because it sounds like a lot of work and I already have enough looking-after-people to do.

Still makes me laugh, though.


* On the phone last night she had to tell me that, when she'd been at her church for its Meatball Supper, three people had told her how much they liked my hair. Ha!

...oh yeah

Aug. 4th, 2013 09:33 pm
hollymath: (Default)
I did that thing again where I'm pretty sure I accidentally got someone to think I'm the girlfriend of one of my friends.

But then I remembered that I had been teasing her about stealing her underwear, and she said "The contents of my knicker drawer are always open to you," and we both laughed.

Again: the sudden realization that my life is probably not like a lot of people's.

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