Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Of price and when

My best-laid schemes to write a blog about what's been going on have indeed gone astray, and tonight is no exception. The fact of the matter is that when you decide to move house, you get a new job, one of your best friends from home comes to visit, and then you sell your house within a week of it being on the market without any kind of house fulfilling the criteria for your subsequent realty purchase on the horizon, your writing skills (and energy levels) become somewhat depleted. It's been a very hectic few weeks.

However, please do not mistake my terrible play-on-words title nor the above paragraph for negativity. All will be well, although all may not be written down. All is well, really. Just a little bit of uncertainty right now! We currently can't find a place of the right kind of size, in the area we want, for a price we can afford, and we're on a reasonably tight time frame. So we're working on compromises! My general excuse though is that North Carolina has become my home and, as is inevitable, the day-to-day living of an extraordinarily lucky and happy life can result in a bit of neglect when it comes to blogging.

Ben and I are very excited to embark on our next adventure together, somewhere on the other side of the Queen City. We spent tonight giggling about floor plans, checking out prices of ovens (yes, really), and eating the world's most giant burgers. My new job, working at UNC Charlotte, is so far fantastic: challenging, busy, immersing, and with the added bonus of welcoming colleagues and a beautiful campus. I can hardly believe my good fortune. Having Steve staying with us has been just wonderful, and he's here another week still. It's so different to see people you love in person. If nothing else, just the hugs are so much better!

UNC Charlotte


So happy to see this guy!

On top of that, Bertie and I are still running 5-6 times a week, and loving it. My Other Limb is a happy part-time photography business, with two Arangetrams and a wedding in the last month, and an engagement shoot coming up in August.

First under-9-minute mile! 

From Dan & Jordan's beautiful wedding

One other particularly special thing is that we went to see an incredible gig last week, which fulfilled a dream I'd had since about the age of 15: to see Ben Folds Five live in concert. It was so, so good. Words fail me. From going to the library in Stroud and renting out their albums on CD for weeks at a time back in the late Nineties, to sitting outside at the Music Factory amphitheatre less than 7 days ago with them not more than 20 rows in front of us, in the State they came from too... It was overwhelming. That Barenaked Ladies, Guster, and the not-announced Boothy Graffoe were also performing there that night (not as warm-ups but as part of the whole gig - a melting pot of musical amazingness! That's a word now... ) made the whole evening seem unbelievably awesome. Or, actually awesome. I cannot believe I was there!

So concludes a pretty terrible update of a brilliant and scary and exhilarating time. And forward, though I cannot see, I'll try harder!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Nothing here but flesh and bone

George Takei expressed it best, as he so frequently does, when he used the above image to illustrate what happened in his Facebook newsfeed when the Defense Of Marriage Act announcement was made on June 26th. The outpouring of joy, surprise, and simple relief at the only morally right (not to mention purportedly fundamentally American) decision to treat everyone equally was abundant, and obvious not only out in the real world but on the social networking pages of the planet, too. DOMA was declared unconstitutional, meaning that there is now federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

So DOMA has been repealed, but it may be confusing as to what that means in real terms here - because it doesn't mean that same-sex marriage is legal everywhere in the US, or that the tax and other national (and international!) marriage benefits apply all the time. Basically where you get married is key (it would have to be in a state where same-sex marriage is legal for the union to have federal recognition), and where you live has an effect also. The video below made by the HRC helps to clarify a few things, and this article covers a little of what still needs to change.

Cracked.com have also done an excellent article summarising how the DOMA ruling affects different groups of people. I particularly enjoy their take on the consequences, as well as the splendid analogy below.

But why do I care? I care for the very basic reason of it not making a blind bit of difference whether someone is gay, straight, bisexual, female, male, black, white, yellow, tall, short, fat, thin, American, British and so on: you should be able to be recognised as an equal to others regardless. I care because it's simply right to treat people equally - it's decent, it's rational, and it's also supposed to be a tenet of American society.

My status update from June 26th 2013.

But there's an extra reason that I care, why DOMA being repealed possibly hits home a little more to me, and it's got nothing to do with (and should have nothing to do with) being gay. If you read my Facebook status above, you'll see what the ruling means to me more personally. Same-sex couples now have immigration rights, just like Ben and I had. It means that cases like this will no longer happen, and - get your tissues ready - the couple in the video below no longer have to endure the agony of repeated separation because of some arbitrary bullshit legislation about who you're allowed to be with. So eat your own damn sandwich and smile - love is for everyone.