Monthly Archives: July 2019

Changes (with apologies to David Bowie… and Black Sabbath)

In other Black Sabbath news, I’ve changed my work number ringtone to these dudes performing “Iron Man”

It seems I’ve still got to make changes in my life, because the old ways aren’t working — indeed, not even like they used to: for one thing, the dating app I’ve been using since 2015, and which earned me many first dates in the past, now seems to get me virtually no matches — except for women who appear to be in China or Hong Kong (despite their location being given as “London”), and one whose opening volley was an entirely phony, “Hey handsome”!

On that basis, knowing this and other dating apps are likely to be futile (though I’ll keep trying them in the background), and close female friends not turning out to be “the one”, I’m returning to my dating coach once again (for a not insubstantial fee), and though we’ve had to change the meetup date once thanks to overbooking, perhaps this time I’ll learn how to change my body language so I can approach women with quiet confidence in real life, without coming across as a creepy stalker (or having to change my shaving habit so I look like a hipster).  How that goes, well, I’ll tell you next week…

(Ooh, a preview!)

In the meantime, what else can I change?  I still wish I could get out more, but last week was too hot to go salsa dancing, and indeed too hot to play any video games that use 3D graphics, so I sat at home and relaxed without being too obsessional (don’t worry, I’ve since finished Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and begun Assassin’s Creed: Revelations).  “Best mate” wanted to go climbing this week, but hasn’t been able to so far (though we did go on a couple of road trips at the weekend), and while “new bad housemate” has mercifully gone to Europe for a couple of weeks to meet his not-quite-ex-wife and son, I still would feel bad if I just sat here in front of my computer every evening… and yet here I am, writing this to make sure my blog doesn’t disappear completely.

In other phone-related news, I’ve changed “best mate’s” text message noise to: “Um, you suck!”

It’s not just for my own sake that I need to change things: my most important task for this household is the management of our bills (except the Internet, for which we pay “best mate”) — and herein lies some major frustration.  I won’t name-and-shame E.on this time, because not only did they change the name on our energy bill from our dead landlord’s to mine, but they also granted us a surprising amount of credit as an aside (which more than paid for our first quarterly bill of the year), so I don’t have to sit waiting on the phone for hours all over again!

(Damn, what’s that classical violin tune they use as their hold music?  Dadada, dadada, dadada-DA — dadada, dadada, dadada-da… Mozart?  Bach?  Debussy?  Handel?)

Sadly, our other public services aren’t doing well: Barnet Council can’t seem to send us an updated list of council tax charges with our actual names on and confirmation that they’ve corrected the monthly amounts (even though they say they did in June), and Affinity Water could barely be persuaded to add my name to our twice-yearly water bill.  Much as the TV Licence organisation won’t change the name on our paperwork unless our dead landlord gives them written permission, so it is that we can’t remove old, long-moved-away residents from our Affinity paperwork unless we provide phone numbers or e-mail addresses that we simply don’t have and can’t obtain — indeed, the only name I even recognise is our one-time “leaderene”, the daughter of a friend of the landlord’s family, who moved out of here in 2013!  Still, with my name added to it, we may be able to close and recreate the account, so all is not lost.

Of course, calculating everyone’s share of the bills gets difficult sometimes, and the water bill that covers a period in which two of our housemates changed over doesn’t help: I have to get a share from our two old housemates (including the Aussie) that moved out at the end of May, itself a difficult calculation (since some of the bill actually extends forward to the start of September), but they’ve both returned to their native countries, and while they seem willing to pay their dues, their exchange rates may drive me nuts!

Go on then, one more relevant Beavis and Butt-head picture — will he take it to the dump?

The biggest irony of all, though: “new bad housemate” may have vehemently refused to pay a share of our TV licence (and plans to get rid of the TV set he brought to this house when he moved in), but even though I told him (twice) that he only needed to pay me his share of the rent for August, he’s gone and paid me his share of the council tax as well, even though he paid the same amount last month when our payment was suspended for a month due to Barnet Council’s incompetence (as with the TV Licence people, they’re run appallingly by Capita, who I intend to name and shame properly in a future post).  The amount he’s thus overpaid is actually MORE than one-fifth of the cost of our TV licence, so he’s not even saving money!

(I’m tempted to keep it and still charge him a share of the council tax in September, but then he’d get angry at me for his own damn ignorant mistake…)

I know, I know, I should change where I live some day — but I wouldn’t want to stay here in Finchley if moving house became necessary (too many memories), and I wouldn’t want to go back to living in Worthing when I hope I can help my folks escape that dump (and move to a house with a garden, so we can finally get a dog).  Where could I move that would mean I could get to work on a train with seats available, and isn’t on the dreadfully overcrowded and unreliable Victoria Line?  And would my rent be more expensive, meaning I couldn’t pay my personal trainer any more, when his guidance is essential to my health (especially if I face radiotherapy in the near future)?

I’d love simply to change one housemate — and no, not the female housemate near the back of the house (who’s now changed FIVE TIMES, the original in that room being the “leaderene”), but rather… oh, you guessed who.  It seems even “best mate”, who brought him here, is finding him annoying — aside from the passive-aggressive notes, he still has to keep some of the new guy’s stuff in his own room, as a “favour”!  Just glad my own friendship with him hasn’t changed…

— — —

Another song called “Changes”, of course, is 2Pac’s posthumous release — scope this out, it’s dope… (just a pity that the “official video” version has half the lyrics cut out!)

Getting out on the town again

Not the only time these two buttmunches will be appearing in this blog post

If there’s one bit of advice about living life I get tired of hearing — even when it comes from a close friend — it’s “get out of your comfort zone”.  When you consider how uncomfortable I am even being around blokes with hipster beards and “fashionable” haircuts, and the loud scraping, shrieking noises of the London Underground (especially in summer with the windows open), you’d think simply going to work and interacting people would be “getting out of my comfort zone” and socialising a hell of a lot, hence the whole reason I’ve preferred staying home more evenings the past few years, than I did back in 2013 when I first discovered I could have a social life.  Indeed, surely being “desperate for a girlfriend” would mean going to events I don’t enjoy and find extremely anxiety-inducing, with the obvious outcome that if (IF!) I actually meet someone special and start dating her, I stop going to those events entirely because I don’t need to any more?

Well, I know now I’ve really got to force myself to do it, because things are becoming unendurable here at home — and I’m sure you know why: our newest housemate, a friend of “best mate”, who moved in here earlier this year.  I didn’t mention it back then, but right from the beginning, before he’d even officially moved into the spare room, he acted like he had authority, telling me to take my washing stand out of there, because even though he wouldn’t be sleeping in there yet (prior to taking over the bigger room downstairs when the Aussie moved out), he still believed he had the right to store his stuff in there!  And he told me I needed to keep it in my room, only grudgingly letting me decline this because I get sick with clothing drying near me when I’m trying to sleep — which is probably why I was almost constantly ill at university (couldn’t exactly store my towel in the shared facilities!), and managed to come down with colds both times I was in America, in 2013 and 2014, simply by sleeping near drying towels and/or bathing suits.

That’s not the only tedious advice he gives me, almost as though he thinks he’s being helpful when actually he’s grinding me down and making me want to believe the opposite. He keeps leaving passive-aggressive cleaning-based notes around the house, acting like our old “leaderene” in 2012-2013 (except she’d lived here the longest rather than the shortest, so he’s acting more like a manager who’s moved sideways), but today he even objected to me trying to boil an egg for ten minutes, and turned the hob off after six minutes — and while he may have thought I’d forgotten about it (I didn’t want to wait in the kitchen with him for the duration and was in my room with my countdown timer on), he didn’t make up for it by arguing with me that, in his opinion, I’d planned to leave it on “too long” in the first place!

And yet, in noise pollution terms, he doesn’t obey the rules: he seems to be entirely oblivious to how annoying his loud voice and raucous laugh can be (and I’m genuinely sick of his shave-and-a-haircut knock on “best mate’s” door), and although he’s not arbitrarily taken over handling our rent and other bills, his attempt to (without telling me) put his name on our council tax account led to Barnet council (yes, named and shamed) screwing up and resetting our account, now consisting of just his name, twice, and higher monthly payments (due to not carrying over the credit the old bill now had left over)!

(They acknowledged my complaint eventually, more than five working days after they’d received my original e-mail, and said they’d fix it… but we haven’t got the new payment schedule yet, so who knows?)

Don’t worry, I haven’t broken yet another joypad (yet!)

Ironically, it’s both because of and despite him that I want to go out and socialise again in the evenings: while I feel I need to avoid more than basic, polite, brief interaction with him in order to reduce my anger, the fact that he’s patronisingly recommended “getting out of my comfort zone” by going out in the evenings (instead of enjoying myself watching TV and playing video games at home) makes me not want to do it!

Nonetheless, my efforts to get out there continue: I would have gone to a concert in Blackheath on Saturday, brought to my attention by “best mate” (who went himself), featuring none other than Jamiroquai — but unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough getting a ticket (though at £68, would it have been worth it when I had no interest in the other acts?).  However, when it comes down to it, I prefer quieter places — which is why I can’t enjoy the Japanese meetup events in loud, crowded places: on Tuesday I at least tried, for the first time in over two years, but could barely hear anyone I actually wanted to communicate with.

As I said last time, I’ve also returned to salsa classes (with the teacher I first encountered in 2014), but as yet attendance in the new venue is… minimal — I haven’t seen a certain “golden honey” there again… maybe I should give up on that specific event, and attend his Archway classes instead?  Or would that just mean the girls suddenly start going to the Old Street ones, since they avoid me like thunderstorms?  I don’t want to abandon him, but maybe I need to find dance classes closer to home, so I don’t have to spend the whole evening away from home — and my dating coach (HQ, of course) recommends something called bachata… but oh, I miss those “social yoga” classes — I’d feel disloyal if I went with someone else, while he’s abroad!

(Much like my personal torturer trainer, my salsa and yoga teachers have done a lot to keep me sane and healthy over the past six years, and I want to help keep them financially solvent!)

I’ll continue going to the homeless-helping events if I can, as I feel I need to give something back to the world, but I’d really like to meet people with dogs — there was an event like that recently, but (a) it was a hell of a long journey to get there, and (b) it was so hot than only one person felt they could bring their doggy along!  And yes, I need to get out and climb more with people other than just “best mate” — perhaps at the Westway (on Tuesdays) in addition to the Castle — but eating out for dinner always worries me: it’s either expensive and unhealthy (Ed’s Easy Diner closed, Subway pointless, and I’m actually getting bored with Nando’s!), or cheap and unhealthy (bags of crisps and other snacks just to keep me going), and not like cooking for myself at home.

Don’t worry about my health, though: aside from doing okay in cerebral terms, I’m making sure to keep up my work in Wii Fit Plus, which I neglected in 2018 (admittedly due to recovery in cerebral terms) — and just to show I’m socialising at least in virtual terms, check this out: that’s me in the centre, with my personal trainer and grandmother (no, really!) on the left, and… two cool dudes on the right!  I’ve created other Miis to enliven the games, including Eminem, Richie and Eddie from Bottom… and even Donald Trump!  But aside from my mother and grandmother, I do need more females in there… how about “Polish female best friend”, even if we’re not dating?