The Hell Butterfly

Posts tagged “postaday

Still Alive, I Swear

Some of you may have noticed The Hell Butterfly has been dormant a while. Some of you may not, and that’s okay too. But in either case, here is a brief update of why.

I have, as you may recall, moved out of my old student house. Unfortunately, there is no rest for the homeless (or something like that). I have been unpacking, repacking, unboxing, reboxing, organising, moving around and generally preparing for the next big move at the end of this week. As it stands, on Friday I will get an early train to Plymouth, where I shall meet Bambi, then pick up my key and slob at mine until Bambi goes to work. The next three hours of my life will be spent filling out the inventory form, setting up the wifi and acclimatising to my new abode. Bambi will return after work to chill for the evening. So far I have discovered I shall be sharing my house with Richard, Adrian, Thomas and Waleed. It would appear I will be the only female in a house of men. What could go wrong? I just hope none of them are misogynists.

In other news, I have just submitted my third article to The Unknowledgeable. This one is one I was asked personally by my boss, the founder of the online magazine, to write. Now, this may sound impressive, and indeed it is to me, but before we get ahead of ourselves I should say I don’t believe there can be many more than 10 members of ‘staff’, myself included. Perhaps I just can’t see behind the proverbial curtain, but while the quality is good and I enjoy writing for them, I don’t think it’s a greatly known magazine. And I’m definitely not traffic-trawling by saying this or posting the link to my article on online safety or anything [I totally am, click the doobly-doo, go on, do it for me: ‘Catfish’ Lessons in Online Safety]. This request to write the article came straight after I created my sister website Stop The Silent Killer and shared the link on my Facebook page. My boss approached me in a very formal (lies, all lies) Facebook Chat message and basically asked me to write a monthly mental health feature for the magazine. Of course I readily accepted, and within a couple of days my introduction to mental health article should be up online. I had some struggles writing it, but I found sitting in my bed in the quiet I was finally comfortable enough to get into the mind frame and complete it. Hopefully soon I should be back on track with this blog too.

On the Bambi front, things are good. Talking to him is effortless. Well, mostly effortless. He has so many interesting things to say and so many good opinions I sometimes wonder what I’ve been doing all my life to be so .. uninteresting. So uncultured, so lacking of my own opinion on pretty much anything. But he’s fascinating to talk to, and I find I can talk to him about things in a way I haven’t ever been able to talk to people about them before. He just has a way of making me feel at ease. And he’s very sweet (duh, Statement of the Year, Captain Obvious). In a nutshell, he knows how to treat a person right, as a girl, a friend, and a human being. As you will remember from the beginning of this post, I will be meeting him on Friday straight from my 4 hour train journey and I don’t doubt my belongings will be thrown to the ground so I will be able to give him a big hug. Neither of us want to rush things, but I can’t help but be optimistic about what might develop if things keep up this way. Though I might blow my chances if I keep pretending that I can speak German.

My depression is attempting to make an appearance. I’m beginning to notice certain places where it shows itself in my everyday life, and while it’s not a good sign that they’re coming up, I can also say from experience things are far from terrible. Lately I am tired all the time. Whether I sleep for 2 or 12 hours, I am always exhausted. Perhaps lethargic is a better word. Essentially, I lack energy no matter how long I sleep for. I’m also noticing the time-mood correlation returning. The later it gets, the lower my mood sinks. During the day I am pretty much always okay, but as the evening draws on into night, so my mood follows suit and becomes darker. In this respect I must say Bambi has been amazing. When my mood dips he is willing to simply listen as I pour my crap out, and is great at having just the right thing to say in the end. I feel I should put this return of symptoms down to the building stress of moving house, and I suppose in general, to change. New house, new job, new man, maybe, new academic year. If it is stress related, I am afraid things may turn a little darker on The Hell Butterfly for a time, but I implore you please do not see it as a bad thing. If I post about the problems I am having, and the struggles in my life, it is because I trust you enough to tell you, and value your support.

I will wrap this up for tonight by saying that I may be absent again for a short while with moving and things, but hopefully the hiatus will be temporary. This next year is going to be very tough in more ways than I would like to list, but I’m going to try my hardest to make it count. Things need to change, and I think that with support, drive, and perseverance I might be able to come out the other side the better for it.

A Triumph on All Fronts

Today’s title is a little dramatic, but I don’t know what better one to use. This week was a triumph in every way.

1. Room packed down, cleaned. Keys handed back in. Moved successfully out of my second year student house.

2. Met Bambi, twice. Had a very nice time on both occasions, possibility of meeting again. Dad approves of him.

3. England wins Test Cricket 3 – 1 against India. Plymouth Argyle beat Exeter City 3 – 0. Swansea beat Manchester United 2 – 1. England wins 23 medals at the European Athletic Championships, breaking several records along the way.

It has been a good week.



Mum drives me to Plymouth. This journey was rocky for me. As I mentioned in a previous post this is the first time in over three years I was physically sick from traveling. Perhaps it was using my phone, perhaps the stress of the upcoming week, perhaps I was just unlucky. Regardless I made it to Plymouth, and the next hour was spent shuttling boxes from room, to landing, to stairs, to car: CD’s; books; Xbox; more books; printer. There were probably other things, but that’s what I remember. By 3pm, Mum was gone. From then, the next three and a half hours were spent showering, eating, getting ready and texting. At 6:45, I left the house.

7pm – I meet Bambi. I step out in front of the university library and see him, we shake hands, and head to the pub, The Voodoo Lounge. I don’t know if this is a chain, or a Plymouth specific pub, but I liked it. Well, more the interior. Perhaps it was the dull sky but it wasn’t quite to my taste on the outside, though I imagine it could be quite nice in a group. The interior was all wood panelling and red leather, pool table, subtle lighting. Nice. But it was hot, felt a little closed, so we sat outside. Two drinks and a smoke later we were off for part two: fireworks.

9.30 pm – we watch the show. One picnic blanket, several comments about the irritating children and one hour later than expected, the first display began. Until this point, conversation has been entertaining, serious, funny, cute and deep. It seems effortless, and there has never been an awkward pause. The moon this night is red, a rare occurrence, possibly in relation to the meteor shower. The fireworks happen right next to this, so we get a good view of both. We cannot help but laugh at the people who “ooh” and “ahh” and feebly applaud the display. We cuddle as the second display happens, and as the families leave, and as the final display is put on. In this one the  melodramatic “ooh” from the other side of the water is heard even here. My vote goes to the first or second display, but not the last. We then went home, conversation still holding strong, and I am home by midnight. It was a very good night.


Cleaning day. This entire day is dedicated to packing down, boxing up, and cleaning. The rest of the day was spent on my computer, taking to Bambi, talking to my bestie, writing blog posts. I was also feeling very down. So was my bestie. I wrote ‘In Which the Blind Leads the Blind’ to express this. I was having a bad time of it, and I felt like a hypocrite trying to cheer him up. I hope he can get better, and I hope I can be there to help, but on this particular day, neither of us were having such a great day. Needless to say, after lots of heavy lifting and cleaning, coupled with a painfully low mood, I was ready for bed.


More cleaning. The morning and most of my afternoon was spent attempting to clean blue tack marks off my walls. I tried water. I tried water and washing up liquid. I tried plain washing up liquid. I tried a shop bought solution aptly labelled ‘Elbow Grease’. I tried a shop bought, but very strong, Sugar Soap. I moved out with my walls still sporting the scars of my rock band obsession. It must not have been a particularly interesting day, as aside from a shower, I cannot remember anything else I did that day. My Dad showed up late in the evening, we watched the last half hour of Million Pound Drop, then went to bed.


The morning is unremarkable. Honestly, it is. I cannot remember what I did. I think I probably slept in, ate half a breakfast bar and drank a cup of tea. What happened after that was much more entertaining and memorable. After this, we are off to Home Park. The FansFest to be precise. The FansFest is a fan run pre-match event offering pasties, beer, music and laughter. Rick O’Shay and Dave Banana perform a small stand-up comedy show, making fun of recent news, and whipping out the best general jokes they come up with that week. It truly is a special experience, being in a room packed with jolly football fans, full of comradery, and having a laugh without a smidge of negativity. Plymouth Argyle has one of the biggest fan bases in the League. I am proud to wear my green and whites.

Speaking of which, we spent out yet more money on the new uniform. My Dad’s shirt says “Chooch 13” and my own says “Moozle 7”. Not only is it my nickname and my favourite number, it is also the number of one of my favourite Argyle players, Lewis Alessandra. It’s an honour to wear his number on my back. Plus, it’s a child’s Small. Got to love that. The game was fantastic. We began by holding up our plastic sheets and hoisting our colours to the sky, and ended 3 – 0 up, beating our biggest rivals, Exeter City. Our defense was impeccable, our attack was on top form, and while I miss such players as Cole, Young and Berry, I must say Sheridan has done a great job on this season’s team. I foresee good things from them.

A small lunch is had and the evening’s plans are made. After the game we returned to mine, and watched television until we were ready to go out to the pub to celebrate the win. During this time, I was texting Bambi and discovered he had no plans, and invited him to join us. I had asked my Dad beforehand if this was okay, and he said yes. I hadn’t intended for it to be a movie cliche “I want you to meet my parents” scene, but I couldn’t help still wanting my Dad to approve of him. Bambi is the first person I’ve ever wanted my family to approve of. So me and my Dad went to the Caffeine Club, a particular favourite haunt of ours, and Bambi joined us shortly after. I must say, I think it went well. The two of them appeared to get on well, and as I later heard my Dad say, “[Bambi’s] a little rough around the edges but gets softer every time.” Knowing my Dad, this is a good sign. He also happened to notice a certain amount of affectionate behaviour (ie. hand-holding). I will admit at first I was unsure, but very quickly grew comfortable with it. Four hours later and we were walking back to mine. My Dad went inside and left us to our goodbyes. Bambi, if you’re reading this I hope you don’t mind my telling my readers, but I can’t help it, I like to say it. At quarter to one on Sunday morning I had my first kiss. I won’t talk much about it, but suffice to say, it was an awesome moment and I’ve been grinning like an idiot since.


52 Beaumont Road is left behind me. I’m not convinced I slept that night. One moment I was trying to convince myself it had happened, the next I was laughing to myself about it, the next I was stressing about the move, the next I was simply trying to clear my head to sleep but then I’d remember again and smile. I got out of bed at around 9am and finished packing up my room. Boxes were moved from room to car, surfaces were cleaned, the floor was hoovered and by eleven o’clock we were on the road. Before I continue, I should say that in the 48 hours prior to this journey I had consumed around 800 calories. I can’t lie, writing that number feels like a lot, but considering the time span I realise it is not. I had barely eaten on that Saturday, at first for time constraints, then later on because of my inability to eat in front of people. By the time we got home after our night at the pub it was almost 1am, I felt sick, and it was too late to eat. Fast forward to Sunday morning and, though I possibly should have, I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything. After my bout of travel sickness on the journey up, I would do nothing to risk it happening again. By the time I got home that afternoon I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours. So it is eleven o’clock, and we get to North Road. I hand my keys in, walk away, and that is it. My contact with Clever Student Lets has ceased. We were on the road to pit stop number two.

A visit to the grandparents and four hours driving. Twelve o’clock and we are at my grandparents. Not much can be said for this visit. It’s always nice seeing them, but this time was a flying visit, a quick catch up. I told them about my new position at the online magazine, we talked about my sister getting in to uni, my Dad fixed my uncle’s computer and taught my Granddad how to use Bluetooth, and we saw a picture of a man up a tree. Standard visit. I also got to see my cousin Billy again who I haven’t seen in some time. He got tall. I remember when he was just a diddy little thing, smaller than me, but despite being 4 years my junior, he is at least 7 inches taller than me now. It was nice to see he’s doing well in his football career, even if he is being a rebellious teen for his dad (my uncle). He gave me a friendly nod as he left, and ten minutes later we were gone too. The journey was pretty horrid. On the way up to Plymouth it was bad because I felt very sick. On the way back, my Dad’s driving made me feel sick. 30mph down narrow back roads, 90mph down the motorway, taking downhill bends at full throttle. I genuinely felt like we would topple over at one stage. It was horrible. Add in us getting lost near Southampton and getting stuck in traffic, I was beyond relieved to be back on solid ground. We were home, and I could sit still.

Since then, we have unpacked the car, I have helped my sister write a list for her own uni things, I have put in my second article and Bambi and I have talked almost constantly. I really do feel very lucky to have found someone like him. It already feels different to M24. With him, I was all girly and gushy over the smallest of things, but with Bambi, sure I’m girly and gushy but that’s only a small part of it. I smile every time I get a text from him. I look forward to waking up every day knowing I’ll have a text from him saying good morning. I’d happily stay up (and have done) until 4am talking to him about nonsense, or about us, or about, well, anything. I really think I’m on to something good with him. And if I can make him half as happy as he makes me I’ll be content.

So I have moved out, I have found a very sweet guy who I can’t wait to see again (and who has been kind enough to offer to help me move in to my new place next year), and it is a great time for sports. A triumph on all fronts. For once, I finally feel as though my life is going in the right direction, and I’m not completely terrified that I’ll mess it up. I actually feel like I can do this, I can make my life work, that just maybe, if I can hold it together, I have the makings of a great life. Now all I have to do is help my bestie through his rough patch, and things will be nigh on perfect.

Farewell, Robin Williams

As most of you will know, or will soon find out, the brilliant man Robin Williams took his life within the last 24 hours.

The passing of great actors, singers, celebrities is always a painful moment. We grow up watching them on television, listening to them on the radio, and then bam. They’re gone. You almost feel it like a physical blow. You didn’t know them in person, but you recognise that they played a role in your life to some extent. So when they pass, it hurts.

Before I go on, I want .. No, I need to say something. I did not know him personally. I do not claim to. I cannot say that “he was a great man” or anything that suggests I knew what kind of human being he was. Neither do I claim to. I wish to pay my respects to him, and to his family, but I do not wish to pretend my life has been shaken by this loss. Some people may hate me for saying it, most of you probably won’t understand why I say it. But I do only know him as an actor. I didn’t know his family. I didn’t know his life. I didn’t know his mind. I, as the rest of the world, will feel his loss in the world of the screen, and we will join in worldwide mourning, but the only people who have any claim to say they will miss him as a best friend, a husband, a soulmate, are his family and those in close proximity to his life.

For me, it hurts more that it appears he passed by his own hand. Anyone who knows me, knows how deeply the subject of suicide effects me. And while the reports are unconfirmed as yet, it still pains me to imagine this is the way he went. Again I don’t pretend to know his life, but from the news I have found out he battled depression and drinking. He checked himself into rehab to fight this. But his demons won over this time.

It is sad that anyone feels the need to take their own life. On this occasion, it was aired on international television. For anybody to reach a point where they feel suicide is the best option is heartbreaking. Just because the whole world will feel this blow, doesn’t make it any less painful at its core. I lost a school-mate last year to suicide. That hurt bad enough. I don’t think I ever spoke a word to that person and yet I felt it, because I understood it at the heart of it. I feel that darkness, I understand that pain.

Actor, school-mate, passerby, nobody. There is no difference at the core. They are all human. We are all human. We all suffer. Some suffer more than others. Some get half an inch in a local paper, some get a Breaking News headline on television sets across the globe. Some will not be recognised at all. But they all suffered, and they all fought, and some of them fell.

Robin Williams was an incredible actor. No words in the English language are sufficient to accurately portray how talented he was. I won’t say it’s a shame to lose that talent, as that makes it seem that his loss will be felt only in terms of his acting. But it can’t be denied that the place in which he sat among the greats will remain unfilled for some years to come. It will likely remain a spot which will never be filled, from lack of equal talent, and out of respect.

I will not go on about it anymore, but I do have one final thing to say.

While I know you cannot see this, the feeling behind these next words are genuine. To the friends and family of Robin Williams, to his loved ones, those grieving his loss, I send my condolences. While I sit here and know him only for Flubber, Aladdin and Good Will Hunting, you knew him as something much more than this. He held a place in your hearts that he cannot hold in mine, and for that I give you my utmost sympathy.

Farewell, Robin Williams. May you sleep, forever peaceful and content, wherever you may be.

The Perverts Are Coming, The Perverts Are Coming

I was beginning to wonder where all the ass-hats of the internet were. Now, a couple weeks down the line, they are emerging. In between my now more regular conversations with my peeps, there have been the regular inflow of weird and wonderful first messages. And it is only now – a small surprise – that the weird turned into the WTF.

Let’s take a look at the latest first messages I have received, shall we?

Benney: Hey,lovely pictures, you seem a decent person from your profile would love to get to know you some more. Sorry ifrtypos using phone no Internet at home just bought a house.

Hey Amy, lovely pictures, you seem a decent

Now, from the get go this felt like reproduced, impersonal crap. Imagine my surprise then, God forbid!, when I read “Hello Amy, lovely pictures, you seem a decent” … Do you want to be any less subtle about your use of copy and paste? This guy has no originality and I feel bad for the girl who falls for this bull. Benney, I don’t care about your new house, your only typo was when you said sorry for typos, and if you get any vaguer I’d mistake you for a sheet of white paper. Mate, you suck.

Oscar: Hi, I’m Italian, I’m 22 years old and I’m new in this city….can you help me to find some places for drink and have fun

Okay, so a nice cushty little intro … Oh. The dude wants directions to the local waterhole. Sorry Mr Italy, but you don’t go to PoF for assistance, you go to an information kiosk. Le sigh.

Rayman: Woweee, you’re perfect! 🙂 xx

This was so hilariously sweet I saved it in my inbox a couple days. Sorry mate, I’m not going to respond to it, but it did make me smile so points for trying.

DizzyDarcy: Heya, when you’re not manically grinning, very cute smile! 😛 x

Um, thanks, I think? I get the smile in my profile picture shows perhaps too much teeth, but that’s not a manic grin. You wanna see a manic grin, just check out my last art project. Stitches painted on my face, eyes so wide there was a moat of white around the irises and a meat cleaver covering half my face. That, my friend, is a manic grin. But cheers for the sort-of compliment.

AlabasterSteakHouse: What happens if you take off the hat? Is it some kind of Raiders of the Lost Ark situation?

Firstly, your username is Alabaster Steak House? I can’t even … As for the hat comment, it might have been funny if you didn’t follow it up with an Indiana Jones reference that I don’t understand. My only answer for this is that he thinks if I take off the hat it means they’re digging in the wrong place! Plus, Steak House … I’m a veggie. Goodbye.

Now, this is where the weirdness spreads into creepiness. These next aren’t in the order I got them, but in order of grossness.

AllDayTeaDrinker: So what’s your preference, boxers or briefs?

On me? Or on you? Because I don’t know you, and therefore don’t wish to even think about what underwear you have on, much less inform you of which I would prefer you in. And if you’re asking which I myself prefer to wear, that’s extremely personal and something I would only want a guy to know if, you know, we’re getting kinda intimate. That’s not something you just tell a person before you even know their name. What a creep.

Couttsey: My magic watch says u have no underwear on

…… Uhh. What? I don’t know whether to report you for inappropriate behaviour or lead you on so I can meet up with you and punch you in the twig and giggleberries. You know, on principle. Total dick move, pervert.

It was only a matter of time before the weirdos emerged from their caves. I’m not insulted, not even angry, by these types of messages. Just disappointed that these types of people still exist. Still trawl the internet thinking that their disgusting language, and worse spelling, will get them some. No-one’s gonna want to touch you with a barge pole after you ask them their underwear preference, or predict their current state of undress. Incorrectly. It is a sad fact that these people still do act the way they do, say the things they do, and hope the way they do that it will actually attract a girl. The only thing they have achieved is helping me amuse you, my readers, with a post taking the piss out of them. God bless you, idiots of the internet. Where would modern humour be without you?

Four Down, Ten to Go

My parents have gone away to Tenerife for two weeks. They left four days ago, leaving myself and my younger (18) sister to our own devices. And I already want them to come home.

Being 3 years older than my sister, I’m supposed to be the responsible adult. I delegate the chores, make sure the sister’s fed an watered – though she’s old enough to do it herself – and I’m supposed to be the protector. If something goes wrong, I’m meant to fix it. If she gets scared or feels upset, I’m supposed to make it better. And normally, I’d have no problem. But not this time. Not this time.

When you look at the facts, the things that have tipped me over the edge are minor. To be specific there have been two minor issues. Spiders. Large ones. The first I drowned in the sink and, after some dry heaving and tears, I removed the body. The second ran across the front room last night, and I had a panic attack before I could kill it. As the responsible adult out of two people scared of spiders, it was supposed to be my job to deal with the situation. I stayed calm while she cried, I told her what to do to get her out of the situation, but when it came to the final step, I couldn’t do it.

I don’t remember the last time I was that scared.

It was my job to handle it and yet it was my sister wrapping her arms around me as I had a breakdown. And I don’t mean the kind of crying where tears fall from my eyes. I mean the kind of crying where I felt my insides cracking and the sobs were audible. It was suited more to someone grieving than to someone looking at a palm-sized spider. But I fell apart and I failed at my job.

It ran under the sofa – a large sofa so it could be anywhere – and in the panic I only just managed to communicate that I didn’t want to be downstairs. We went upstairs and shut ourselves in my sister’s bedroom, where I stayed all night until morning. I was too paranoid to even go to the toilet. It was sweltering, I slept in the clothes from the day before, but despite how uncomfortable I was I couldn’t bring myself to leave. Instead, I slept in her make-shift armchair and prayed for day.

Well, I say I slept. I didn’t, not really. We watched some tv and went to bed at about midnight. Two minutes after I turned the light out, I fell apart. I kept quiet enough for her not to notice, but I couldn’t stop. I cried for an hour and a half. It was the biggest panic attack I’ve had in almost two years. I didn’t feel safe in my own home. I wish I could convey to you all just how terrified I was to be in the house. The only thing that kept me from getting my cash and some clothes, and jumping on a train to Plymouth was the knowledge that her bedroom door was almost completely sealed all around. The spider from downstairs may have been able to climb stairs, but it couldn’t get in. I spent most of that hour and a half freaking out. I could barely breathe, the duvet was drenched with my tears and it seemed every time I thought I’d calmed down, something struck in the back of my mind and the paranoia would send me straight back to terrified.

As I said earlier, I don’t remember the last time I was that scared.

I wanted my parents back. It took everything to not call them in the middle of the night and beg for them to come back early. It’s only another 10 days, but it’s still another 10 days. I can’t call them. I knew it and I still know it. I won’t ruin their holiday. I won’t tell them how scared I am just being in the house. I won’t tell them I want them to come home. I won’t ruin it for them. It’s not like it’ll help. I call them, they get on an early plane and lose their holiday time and money. I feel guilty. I call and they stay the full length but my Mum worries the whole time and can’t enjoy herself. The holiday is ruined anyway. I feel guilty. I can’t do it to them.

Yet saying that, I was tempted to up and leave in the middle of the night, leaving her alone. I could have taken her with me if we didn’t have the guinea pigs. We can’t transport them anywhere. The only option left is to get my other, older, sister to drive over, take the animals, and me and the younger one go to my place in Plymouth. I’m considering asking my sister how her boyfriend feels about spiders, because if he doesn’t mind them, I want them to stay here this weekend. They work during the week, but I don’t want to be alone. I’m not, but in terms of the responsible adult, I feel so isolated.

Right now, I’m sitting across the room in my new desk chair, not the sofa, with my feet up on the coffee table. I want to be as far away from the sofa as I can. It may not be there anymore, but I’m not taking that chance. All doors were shut overnight, so it must still be in the house. I’ve felt sick and overheated since last night. My skin is crazy hot, and my stomach is in knots. I keep looking towards the last known sighting area and I’m on edge, expecting any moment for it to run out. If I couldn’t deal with it last night, how can I do it today? I know my sister won’t do it. We’re equally scared of spiders but she wouldn’t do it. I’m in a mixed mind about this – yes I said I’m the responsible adult, but I would also appreciate some assistance in difficult situations.

Last night the only thing I could think about was what excuse I could give to leave the house today. Leave all day and not come back until I really had to. I thought of asking a friend out for coffee that I haven’t seen in years – and I don’t drink coffee. I thought about walking the 3 miles into town to window shop for hours – and I’m uncomfortable in crowded places. I thought about how many people I could call and have a panic attack over the phone to, but concluded I could call everyone on my contacts list and I would not feel any better for one reason: they wouldn’t come to the house. As I say, I don’t feel safe in my own home, and only another adult can change that.

It seems pathetic to be so shaken by such a small thing. But it’s happened. I’m rattled, I’m on edge and I’m so scared of being here I want to vomit. I’m trying to put on a brave face for my sister, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she can see through it. I don’t think she’s ever seen me break down quite like I did last night. I’m just trying my best to stay calm. It’s very hard. I just want my parents.

Ten days to go. I hope the spider’s gone, and stays gone. I hope no more show up. And I hope beyond anything else that I can hold it together until they get back from Tenerife.

Steve’s Music Mix – What Do You Know?

I haven’t done one of these in a whole and with it sitting there so temptingly on my Reader I couldn’t resist. Plus, this while PoF deal is annoying me right now. I’m leaving it be for a couple days in place of actual fun. So here we go, the Music Mix.

Here’s a reminder how it works:

Each week I will post 3 new questions so…

(1) Go to the music player of your choice and put it on shuffle
(2) Say the questions aloud and press play
(3) Use the song title as your answers

I know I can … I Know You Are But What Am I? – The Blackout

I can be a whiny, petty child. A sore loser. I’m the queen of lame retorts, but hell, at least I know it.

I know I can’t … Easy Skanking – Bob Marley

This is quite true. I know I can’t smoke drugs. I’ve never tried it so literally, I don’t know how. I also know I can’t take drugs, in the sense that no matter how tempting it seems at time, it’s not the wisest decision I’ll ever have made.

I know I might be able to … Changing – Saosin

Ah, an easy one. I can change. I know I can. This is also quite true. Everyone has the capacity to change, but me more than many.

So, in review, I’m petty, but I know what’s right and wrong, and can learn from this to improve myself. Only a short one today, but a good one nonetheless.

Internet Dating Revisited: Match Dot Com Arises

I have been somewhat unsuccessful in the world of online dating, but despite the near-disaster that my last adventure was, I’m trying again. You know, for the kicks. I don’t expect anything to come out of it. Consider it research. I shall do as I did for Kerrang! Dating. I’ll be taking y’all on a miniature tour of the site, letting you know whether it’s any cop. And if I have any developments, funny, creepy, or even – God forbid – decent, I shall let you know.

So, on to the introduction. I have just signed up and am typing up this post as I input my information. Firstly, is instantly better than K! Dating for one reason: it is free. Free! Zilch, nada, no dinero. Sweet. After putting in info such as postcode, age and which gender I’m seeking, I find myself confronted with an About Me page. It consists of 8 subsections. Because I’m feeling generous, I shall tell y’all what these are. All of them. For anyone considering online dating, pay close attention: you can use this to prepare your answers.

1a. How do you feel about meeting someone new?
– I’m not looking for a relationship
– I’m ready for a new relationship
– Let’s see what happens
– I’d rather not say

1b. Your relationship status:
– Currently separated
– Divorced
– Widowed
– Never married
– I’d rather not say

 Okay, now here I have a problem. I like that they have included the option to not disclose your status, and that they have put options for divorced and widowed, but here is my issue. “Currently separated”. Perhaps this is just me, but I would prefer simply the term ‘single’. To me, ‘currently separated’ suggests I have been in a relationship previously. You cannot be ‘separated’ unless you were, in some way, previously ‘joined’. My cynicism may just be picking holes, but this bothers me.

2a. Do you have children?
– None
– Yes, and they live at home
– Yes, and they live away from home
– Yes, and they sometimes live at home
– I’d rather not say

2b. Your personality:
– Adventurous
– Confident
– Easy going
– Funny
– Generous
– Helpful
– High maintenance
– Reliable
– Reserved
– Sensitive
– Sociable
– Spontaneous
– Thoughtful
– Shy
– Other

Okay. Here we have another problem. In my opinion a big one. I like the varied options for the children section, however we are very limited in our options for personality. Sure, there are a range of traits, and I can easily pick three or four I would place myself in, but here is my problem: you are only allowed to choose one. A good personality section, in my opinion, should allow you to select multiple answers. You would think that would narrow down the specifics of your personality. For example, you may be shy yet high maintenance, or generous yet reserved. In limiting your answer to a single option this makes the image of yourself tons more vague than it could be had they given the option for multiple answers.

3a. Your eyes:
– Blue
– Brown
– Green
– Hazel
– Black
– Grey
– Other

3b. Your hair:
– Light brown
– Dark brown
– Blonde
– Black
– Auburn/red
– Salt and pepper
– White
– Other

3c. Your hair length:
– Short
– Shoulder
– Long
– Shaved
– Bald

Overall, not much to say about this section. I felt maybe it was a little obscure in places (ie giving the option ‘salt and pepper’ but not ‘dyed) yet in general it did its job. I have nothing further to say about this.

4a. Your body type:
– About average
– Athletic
– Sim
– A few extra pounds
– Curvy
– Heavyset
– I’d rather not say

4b. Your height – drop down menu.

Okay here is another potential problem. Not a biggie, but I’m not a fan of the body type options. Not sure what to say about it, but this is where Kerrang! Dating excelled. They had an option ‘you decide’ which allowed potential matched to decide for themselves what body type they personally judged you to be. I liked this option as it meant that, where you may think yourself lower than average, someone else may find you to be quite the curvacious babe. Other than that, this section cannot be criticised.

5a. Your nationality:

I’m not going to type out all the options because, while the only four answers at the start are British, Irish, Indian and I’d rather not say, there is a list of countries under this which is very extensive. And I mean VERY. From Samoan to Macanese, you will find yourself on that list.

5b. Your ethnicity (multiple choices possible):

Again I won’t type them all out, but here I find an issue. Why is it that you can choose multiple options for ethnicity, but not for personality? You may be a helpful, thoughtful, spontaneous Latin-American, yet you are limited in the ways in which you can represent that. I have a problem with this part.

6. Your religion:

Again, too much to type, but this section is much better. There are numerous options including Agnostic, Spiritual, Shinto and Jewish. Nothing to comment on here.

7a. Your views on marriage:
– Important
– Very important
– Not necessary
– Sacred
I won’t so it again
– Out of the question
– I’d rather not say

7b. Do you want children?
– No
– Not sure
– Some day
– Definitely
– I’d rather not say

I kind of laughed at this. I like this section though. The views on marriage part was both funny and commendable. I like that they included this. It’s nice to see that opinion on marriage, and not just your current/past status, is taken into account. I also like the varied option for future children. I deem this the best section so far.

8a. Your level of education:
– High school
– Some college
– Associates degree
– Bachelors degree
– Masters

– PhD/Post doctoral
– I’d rather not say

Slight issue with this, but it may just be because I’m English and the American term of ‘high school’ threw me. I don’t know what an associates degree is and there is not option for currently studying at university, ie an Undergraduate option would be welcomed.

8b. Your occupation – drop down menu

8c. Tell us more about your job – 250 character limit

I like the extensiveness of the options for occupation and the fact you can expand on what you do. There are a lot of options so it’s highly likely that, no mater what obscure job you may be doing, you will be able to find something close to yours. And even if not, at least you have a section dedicated to explaining your particular job in more detail.

That’s the About Me page completed. I have just noticed that, to complete your profile, you must fill in answers for 6 categories: About Me, My Lifestyle, My Interests, About My Date, My profile Ad, My Photo. I’m not too sure what some of these are going to include, but that’s part of the “fun”. I’m still feeling generous so, what the heck? Let’s do this thing. I’ve come this far, might as wells give you the detailed walk-through of the other categories. Could be a long post, but at least you prospective online daters will get a good look into the sign up process. So, on to My Lifestyle.

1. sports you enjoy (multiple choices possible):
– Hiking/trekking
– American football
– Dancing
– Swimming
– Rugby
– Boxing/wrestling
– Bowling
– Gym/bodybuilding

… And several others including horseback riding, track and field, pilates and skiing. Quite a nice range here. It comes under the heading of sports so it could be taken that these are more things you would do for competition more than for fun but I suppose it could be taken either way. I am however, as a born-and-bred English gal, upset that cricket is not an option. As an Australian or an Indian I would be annoyed about this too but, no offense intended, as this is probably an American run site I imagine they don’t count cricket as a real sport. To my American readers I plead, don’t hit me, I’m fragile.

2a. Smoking:
– N
o way
– Occasionally
– Cigars
– Trying to quit
– Daily
– I’d rather not say

2b. Your pets (multiple choices possible):
– Cats
– Dogs
– Fish
– Horses
– Rabbits
– Gerbils/guinea pigs etc
– Birds
– Exotic animals
– I don’t have any animals
– Other animals

Not much to say here. Nice selection of options for both, got your typical pets. No ferrets as an option of its own but for the most part it’s on point with this. On to My Interests then.

1a. Interests (multiple choices possible):

I won’t list them all, but that speaks positively for itself. Where the personality subsection failed, the interests subsection thrives. I’d have liked some more flexibility on the personality part, but at least you can expand a little more with your interests and hopefully it will make up for the lack thereof in the previous section. Such answers here include photography, meeting friends, cars, book clubs, knitting and sightseeing. A give this section a thumbs up. Only a single thumb though.

1b. What do you do for fun (optional)? 250 character limit:

I suppose this is good for anyone who has an interest not mentioned on the multiple choice list, however I feel it’s a little pointless given that there are so many options to chose from that, for people who have selected from the list, you would be repeating yourself here. True, it’s optional, but it also makes me feel I should write something there.

2a. Entertainment:

About 12 options under this heading including concerts, singles parties and evenings out with family, but I feel there are too many similar options here given the variety of the previous section. For example there are at least 3 of the 12 that are about dance in some form. I understand that this is the ‘entertainment’ section, but personally I feel the options could have been broadened.

2b. Favourite local hot spots or travel destinations – optional (250 character limit)

Okay I like this bit. Lets you show off your local knowledge, specify places you’ve enjoyed or would like to check out. Good addition.

3a. Your taste in music (multiple choices possible):

Such options include pop rock, blues, soundtrack, relaxation, trip-hop and gospel.

3b. The kinds of films you prefer (multiple choices possible):

Such options include fantasy, police drama, independent cinema, erotic and manga.

Right, now we’re out of the way, it’s into the tasty stuff: your date. There are four subsections for this category and, as before, I’ll give y’all the options you can select from each. I both love and hate this part. I enjoy being able to specify my perfect type, but I also hate that I can get picky, or at least seem that way as my options will limit my potential matches. Over the years I’ve gotten less picky seeing as my perfect type used to be bold eyes, black hair with bangs, slim and taller than me, but not too tall. Not gonna lie, I still have my type, but I don’t fixate over one particular image anymore. Word of advice: this is good. If you’re like me and have a specific type in mind, think about broadening your options. It feels a lot better to have done so. I was being prejudice before, closed-minded, and now I’m .. less so. For the following section, please be aware I chose “woman seeking a man” so the questions will say “he” and “him” etc. This will be dependent on what you choose at the start of sign up.

1a. His height?

1b. His body type (multiple choices available):
– No preference
– About average
– Athletic
– Slim
– A few extra pounds
– Large
– Heavyset

1c. His relationship status (multiple choices available):
– Currently eparated
– Divorced
– Widowed
– Never married

Mostly happy with this section. Nice that they let you choose more than one option, though again might be equally nice for a couple more body type options – not sure what they’d be, just seems a little constrained as it is.

2a. Should he have children (multiple choices available)?
– None
– Yes, and they live at home
– Yes, and they sometimes live at home
– Yes, and they live away from home

2b. Should he want children (multiple choices available)?
– No
– Not sure
– Some day
– Definitely

I like that both questions were asked. It’s nice that they gave the option for both present and future. Not much else to say about this.

3a. His personality:

For this, all the options are the same as you are faced with for Your personality, however there is one major difference: here you can select more than one option. I imagine, seeing as each person at sign up would have only selected one option, this is simply to broaden the number of people you can meet, but it still seems a little weird to me you can select multiple personality traits to search for/be matched with, but not to describe yourself.

3b. Does he smoke (multiple choices available)?
– No way
– Occasionally
– Cigar aficionado
– Trying to quit
– Daily

(For all of the following, multiple choices are possible. I’ll also not be listing all the options as some have many many answers to choose from and most are the same as previously mentioned).

4a. His ethnicity

4b. His studies

4c. His religion

So we’ve described ourselves physically, listed our hobbies and interests, and have outlined our perfect partner. Now comes the weird bit: My Profile Ad. In this section you have between 2 and 128 characters – not a random number at all – to sell yourself. It can be your motto for life, a sentence that describes you or your perfect partner, or even be a quote. I guess the jist of this is to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Not too sure what I, personally, can write here to sell myself, but I suppose as a book enthusiast it would be super lame cool appropriate to quote a favourite character. I can’t think of anything good yet though, so maybe I’ll just improvise with some S.T. Coleridge: “The one red leaf, the last of its clan, that dances as often as dance it can.” Sounds good to me.

After this comes another section, with a higher character limit, in which you can expand on that oh-so-snappy punch line that you’ve hooked your potentials in with. You get 50 to 2000 characters to describe what makes you smile, what your friends wold say about you, what you feel your best achievement is and generally to tell your audience something about you that will reel in a catch. I always struggle with this part, but my advice is give them enough to be interested, specific enough for them to pick up on in personal messages, but not so much that they know our life story before you’ve had a chance to chat. Perhaps a quirky trait, perfect date, unique physical attribute and bad habit. This will let potentials know something personal about you, warn them of your odd habits and paint a hazy watercolour which, together, may interest or deter potential dates. I think this is a good way to filter out the good from the bad, as someone who can’t put up with your oddities is not worth your time.

The next step is the easiest part – the profile picture. Just pick one you like. Once you’ve hit Save and Continue, your profile goes though for approval. Congratulations, you’re an online dater! Hit Save and Continue one more time and be free, my children.

I rather enjoyed documenting my adventures over at Kerrang! Dating, so consider this a sequel to that series. To revisit the first part, head over to the link at the side of my blog and hit the category called Kerrang! Chronicles. That’s it from me for now, but we’ll see what the next 24 hours brings and check back in.

For now, good luck, and good night, folks.