30 Days Challenge: Day 30: Who are you?

I’ve been staring at this question since I started the challenge, thinking about what I’d write. First of all, then, I’m going to post a silly picture:

Post roller derby drinking in Plaza Garibaldi

Anyway, who am I? Well, my name is Andy. I was born in Doncaster and lived most of by life in the Barnsley area of South Yorkshire. I went to university in Preston, I lived in Sheffield for a while and I followed a girl to Manchester. At time of writing, I’m living in DF, Mexico City, Mexico as a professional English teacher. This is my second year doing so in Mexico. I’m also (still) working on my urban fantasy novel.

So, I guess that’s the ‘what’. As to who… oh hell, I don’t know. How do you answer a question like this? I’m geeky, I think I’m a good friend, I’m disorganised, I seek validation from other people and I don’t know where I’ll be next year. I’m not sure what else to say.

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30 Days Challenge: Day 29: Future plans/goals

I find myself in the mood to whine and winge at be generally depressive at you. Instead, I’m going to do the next 30 Day question, which is much more cheerful.

Career

Professionally, I want to continue to teach – particularly adults or small groups of children. I’ve become rather jaded towards school teaching and I don’t think it’s really my wheelhouse. Teaching adults and business English, on the other hand, is really something I can see myself doing for the rest of my working life. I’m not a perfect teacher; I have a lot of personal development and growth to do, but that is something I really want to put my time and attention into. Long-term, I see myself going into academic management and/or teacher training.

Career 2

I want to publish a book. I’m about halfway through some British urban fantasy (being that I’m British and I like urban fantasy). Even if it’s not this attempt or the next or the next, I’d like to see a book with my name on it in a mainstream bookstore (assuming they still exist in twenty years’ time, of course). This is a goal I’ve held unwaveringly since I first held J. R. R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit at around age 9. Maybe earlier. It won’t change until it happens.

Geography

This is the big question, I suppose. I have no great desire to return to England permanently, and as I begin to lose family members, that need or want will grow less and less. I also have a strong desire to live in  more countries before (and if) I decide to set down permanent roots somewhere. Unless something significant happens in the next nine months or so, I think this will be my last year in Mexico.

Romance

Well, I guess that’s kind of affected by the previous paragraph. I want to be in love again*, but I also know that it makes me make lots of stupid mistakes. It might make me stay in Mexico longer, but not forever. I want to see the world. Whoever I found would have to be okay with that as part of what they’re getting when they say ‘yes’ to getting me.

So far as marriage and kids go, I think they’re things I want in the future, but I’m not there yet. Marriage I could take or leave, but I’d love to have kids one day. I’d love to have polyglot kids one day. The romance thing has to come first, though. And last.

Anyway, those are my plans for the future. I’d also like to further my Spanish and at least one other language. I want to be the kind of man with the kind of life that 12 year old Andy could be proud of becoming.

 

 

*On some days I want it a little too much.

30 Days Challenge: Day 28: What attracts you to someone

Well, I think we’ve discussed before what can instigate a crush, so let’s talk a little about what I look for in something long-term.

I’ve dated different body types and nationalities, so much as it’s a cliché, appearance doesn’t massively effect that tingly feeling in my chest and doesn’t cause me to think about a person at odd times of the day.

I think the thing is chemistry. If we have good chemistry, if we can talk or not talk for hours without being uncomfortable, if we can watch and mock TV together, or if we can share utterly stupid inside jokes. I’m kind of weird, so I really appreciate when someone is willing to be weird with me.

The truth is, although I have a sex drive like anyone else, it’s not the thing I miss most about being in a relationship. Not even close. I like the shared, open and close relationship that’s really hard to achieve outside of a relationship.

To clarify, I think it’s harder for men to have that kind of relationship, as many men are afraid of seeming ‘gay’ with their other friends. Much as I’ve complained about being a gay friend in the past, I wouldn’t trade those relationships for ones with hetero-normative men, because I know that nine times out of ten I wouldn’t get the kind of support and love I get from the close friendships I have.

I posted on Facebook recently that “there are no likeable hetero-normative men in my novel. This could be a problem.” The truth is, I’m far too open, honest and ridiculously emotional to conduct a lot of close relationships with that kind of guy, so I find it rather difficult to relate to them.

Anyway, all of this is beside the point. If I had to summarise this post in one sentence it would be this: I’m attracted to a person we can have honest conversations and silly fun in equal measure. Anything else is just topping.

30 Days Challenge: Day 27: Your fashion style

Um… well since I don’t have much liquid money to add to my wardrobe, it’s largely whatever fit me when I left Celaya.

Broadly speaking, my style is layered dark clothes with occasional bright colours that I hope make me look slightly less fat than I actually am. And a hat. Always a hat.

Okay, layers when possible. This is a damn hot country!

30 Days Challenge: Day 26: First 10 songs to play on shuffle on your iPod

Okay, so here we go. Any errors are due to this being written on my phone while waiting for a student to turn up.

First is Katmandu by Bob Seger. I discovered it by accident when downloading a different song (Old Time Rock and Roll), and I absolutely love it. It represents a love of one’s home country and also the utter need to run away. He has a great voice for singing about a hard decision.

Next up: She’s Got the Look by Roxette. “And I go la la la la la she’s got the look” – with lyrical magesty like that, how could I not?

Just My Imagination by The Cranberries. Mostly, I admit, because of her accent and the way she sings the word “imagination”. I also love the line: “I have always kept my faith in love: it’s the greatest gift from the man above.”

That’s three, right? Okay, next up… Bad Things by Jace Everett (also known as the theme to True Blood). The deep, gutteral tones in hos voice just really draw me into what I imagine is a series of dank bars and danker motel rooms. It really tells me a story. Is also recommend The Good Life by the same artist. No, it isn’t about suburban rebellion.

(Skipped one because The Good Life actually came up next. Loved for the same reason. These songs make me think of a sleazier CCR.)

Andrew In Drag by The Magnetic Fields. I first heard about this song from Neil Gaiman’s blog. It makes me smile, it tells me a story, and to me it sort of sounds like Jeremy Clarkson’s coming out song. Particularly: “…I would even sell the Jaaaaaaag…”

Stay by The Hollies. Shut up. This was bound to go downhill coolness-wise. Anyway, it makes me tap my foot and smile, which can help on my regular, sweaty commutes.

We Want the Same Thing by Belinda Carlisle. Largely the same as the above, really. It also combines that cheerfulness with a kind of aggression in the verses which also helps to perk me up.

Nickelback singing How You Remind Me. Again, the aggression and loud guitar can get me up and going in the morning. There are better Nickelback songs for the purpose, but this was the one on the compelation I downloaded.

Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely) by Pink. This is a favourite I share with an ex of mine. Great tune, with a kind of aggression that can really get you onto the Metrobus in the morning. Favourite line: “All I ask for is one fucking hour!”

Foreigner, Cold as Ice. Um… I don’t know. I like it. Shut up. Although it does have some nice imagery around the repetitive chorus. And I like it. So there.

Lodi by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR). Other than the very chilled sounds, this song really speaks to the baffled, planless way I progress through life. The confusion, adventure and ennui of that kind of life that you can hear in the performance speak to me on a personal level.

I have some time, so I’ll give you one more (and partly because it’s difficult to scroll and count on my phone’s screen.

Paradise City by Guns ‘N’ Roses. Travelling and looking for pretty girl’s? Yeah, I totally get that. Also the sheer confidence, the guitar, the chorus – like I said before, sometimes I need these things on my daily commute.

So if you see me walking down the street nodding my head mouthing words, chances are it’s to one of these songs. The examples could’ve been so much worse. I though that went rather well!

Speak soon, true believers!

30 Days Challenge: Day 25: How you found out about Blogger & why you made one

Yeah, this isn’t Blogger. Let’s say this is a question about blogging in general.

I blog for a couple of reasons. One is to keep my hand into writing, since I’m often too lazy to plug away at the Great Swampy Middle of my novel. A piece of advice I once read was that writing every day was one of the most important things. So that’s what I try to do. It’s not a form that’s exactly applicable to fiction, but it’s satisfying just to get some words down on e-paper.

The second reason is as an outlet. I don’t know if it’s because I’m depressed, or just because of the kind of guy I am*, but I think and feel all the damn time. Sometimes it helps just to whine about it on here, or to talk about the ways I come to cope with it. It just helps to make a noise and believe people are reading it (even when they’re not). And, hell, if one of my self-indulgent posts on depression help one other person, then I think I’ve done okay as a blogger, really.

A friend of mine (Ceri – her blog is here) said that there’s a level of narcissism about keeping an online diary. I think that’s probably true, too. I think the trick is to know the difference between posting to update family, talk about things, whatever and in trying to get attention or cause a reaction. I’m sure I’ve stepped over the wrong side of the line once or twice, but whatever. It helps to talk to you, imaginary reader. So thanks very much. 🙂

And here’s a kitten picture to wrap up:

*That’s assuming you can separate one from the other, of course.

30 Days Challenge: Day 24: A song that makes you smile

Sorry about the delay. I assume, of course, that the Internet waits with baited breath for my new posts.

Anyway, here are a couple of songs that have a tendency to cheer me up when they float to the top of my playlist. As always, melody* is important to me. The feeling comes second.

For slightly angry, fast-walking music, I like:

Now in Spanish!!

And a couple more for your listening pleasure:

Pretty obvious why I like this one, I think.

Now with bonus Spock. Here’s the main official video, because I like that too: 

So… there ya go.

 

* Yes, her too (see picture 1, right).Figure 1