Chris Al-Asward (by )

Last night I leaned of some sad news, Chris Al-Asward also known as Lethe Bashar died in July just after his 31st birthday. This came as a bit of a shock as I was just wondering where he had got too so went to check his twitter profile. Being the brains and drive behind Escape Into Life I hadn't noticed a complete absence as his other twitter account was still going strong being the one that drove his EIL project.

On his profile page was a tweet saying he had tragically died 🙁 I couldn't believe it and felt crushed at the same time and then that sinking feeling of - do I have the right to be this upset - after all I have never met him in the flesh. He lives the other side of the world but he had found me on twitter and had encouraged me in the realms of art and writing.

When I have pain flare ups I sometimes cannot sleep and he was often there to talk too. I started my art journal because of a side project he started with the idea of it being sold in the EIL shop. I've took far longer on this than I have expected but I love working on the Art/Visual Poetry Journal.

It is also through him that I found The Flying Trilobite a young artist who seeks to combine science and art, I can't remember but I think he was profiled on EIL. And it was then through him I found the paleo-art site Art Evolved finially giving me a way to combine the two parts of me - The Artist and the Scientist.

Part of my anguish last night was having not noticed that someone I regually talk to was gone, I know the last few months have been pretty much a wipe out for me but still 🙁 Also as Alaric agreed with me - what of his books? His work? His Art? His Creations? What would happen to them?

I have been told since that there are plans to publish these and everyone is working hard to mantain the websites. The is also a Prize in the pipelines The Chris Al-Asward Prize for braking down the barriers in the arts.

I did cry and it made me realise that my definition of friendship is probably quiet different from most peoples. I am sad that Chris is gone. I spent last night trying to track down all his sites and stuff - getting stumped for a while until I remembered he'd gotten rid of one of his twitter accounts and stuff like that.

I also signed his memorial book.


Summer Holidays (by )

I feel I have slightly failed with the school holidays - I had lots of things planned but in the first week the first three things I attempted to do with Jean where grand failures :/

First off I had planned that she could join a library and we would go once a week during to holidays so we went off to Painswick only to see the library didn't open on Mondays (I should have looked closer at this point but I didn't). I thought never mind lets go to the Museum in the Park in Stroud but when we got there it turned out Mondays was like a special club day and it wasn't open 🙁

Me and Jean looked at the swans and ducks on the lake instead and played wind in the willows.

Then the next day we tried the library again only to find that it is shut perminantly due to public health reasons - now I knew it had been shut a while ago but had assumed it had been fixed :/

Mum and Dad rescued this second day of failure by taking us to Pizza Hut.

The third day I took Jean to Prim Rose Vale Farm Shop where I passed out crushing her ice-cream and having to go to hospital before she had gotten even five minutes on the toys :/

We were doing home school which Jean loves but she loves it too much and just got too tired and haven't really done any for two weeks now :/

I did manage to take her to the Wearable Art Parade in Painswick and she went to the Docks with mum and dad and to Tweksberry. But I found that I had miscalculated and we had run out of money so I couldn't take to the cinamar or to any of the museums :/

I have also failed to organise friends to come and play as they have all been on holiday 🙁

She did however really enjoy the Village Feast 🙂 all two days of it! With lots of her school friends about!

We are starting to gear up making the decorations for her party and her cousins are visiting this week which is more the sort of thing I was expecting. We also have the Boundary Walk at the weekend which she always enjoys 🙂

People are now starting to appear to ask Jean round to play which is good - but I do feel I have failed slightly with organising a good holiday for her and she has been bored and I'm afraid very naughty 🙁

Chicken Lumps (by )

This morning Jean had a shower and then got distressed whilst wrapped in the towel to dry off.

'Mummy!' she cried, 'I've got chicken lumps all over my legs'

As you can imaging I was startled to hear this and went to see how she had got chicken on her.

'Where lovely?'

'There mummy!' She said pointing to the little bumps on your skin when you get cold.

'Do you mean goose bumps?'


I laughed and tickled her 🙂

Blood Donation Stupidness (by )

As some of you know I can't give blood due to having had a blood transfusion myself in the past - this is a newish rule and I have given blood in the past but I understand that there are risks of human mad-cow disease and things and these where becoming concentrated by the fact that those most likely to give blood are those who have had a life saved by it.

I personally would have died aged 4 and half without blood so am very keen to encourage people to donate. I try regually to get Al to go but after an initial issue of him being underwieght (for his height) he has just been too whimpy.

Then a friend of mine pointed out he couldn't give blood though being perfectly healthy - the problem? His sexuality.

(Warning I do obviously now talk about sex and things in the post.)

Know anal sex runs a higher risk of bleeding and therefore fluids mixing compared with virginal sex. So I always assumed the rules would be like - if you have had unprotected anal sex not for six months or something like that but it's not.

The exclusion is on men who have anal or oral sex with other men as they are a higher risk group for viruses that live in the blood. But hang on a minute HIV is spreading rapidly through the hetrosexual population and erm... what about women having anal sex with men and for that matter oral sex with men?

I could find no reference to them only if you've had sex with a man who's had sex with another man - but erm... that is assuming they would actually have told you? And then the restriction is 12 months before giving blood.

Prostitutes fall under the catagory of never give blood too. But what of say someone just sleeping around that is not mentioned plus they say all the blood is tested and they are always short of blood. There is no distinction over weather condoms are used for 'gay' sex. Why I wonder - last I checked they were still number one for reliability and protection. A woman on the pill who sleeps around I would have thought would be a higher risk than say men who have had say three boyfriends ever?

I don't have the statistics so I can't say for sure - but they are also lumping everyone/man together here. Though they are saying it's only men who have been sexually active with other men but there are different life styles.

Ok so the viruses such as HIV and hep. aren't detectable in early infection so leave that buffer zone of 12 months since unprotected sex or exclude everyone who have ever had anal sex or oral sex with a man! And that would include a large proportion of women!

I understand that this may result in more blood being taken that subsequently can not be used but would that out weigh the amount of usable blood you would get?

I wonder what the EU and other countries rule on this one and weather getting their transmittion data would be helpful here?

I may have missed it but I didn't see any restrictions on women having unprotected sex :/ Of any kind!

Minni Puss (by )

Minni disappeared a while ago and because she would often go off for a while initially we thought she would come back. But she didn't which has led to a strange situation as in when to give up hope - we hunted high and low fearing she had got trapped in somewhere but she wasn't anywhere 🙁

No body was found but she was acting 'old' just before she disappeared i.e. not moving from the fireplace except to eat and maybe sit on a lap for stroking.

We had given up on our little puss cat but it has become evident that Jean hasn't. When Betsy died the vet gave Barbara the body which Jean watched being buried so after the initial Pooey Betsy incident she got over the fact Betsy wasn't there.

With Minni she still expects to see her and will tell people we have four cats though Minni is missing. Then when we went to the park we saw a huge black cat, sleek and powerful, sort of what Minni would have been if she was a young male cat. Jean called it over and stroked it and then said, 'It's Minni! Mummy it's Minni - she's run away to here and the people have fed her lots and lots so she's grown up big and strong!'

I didn't really know what to say :/ So I just 'maybe Jean.'

We are all really missing the black menace even if she did have the re-occuring anal gland problem which made her regually a smelly cat. I think Minni's absence is harder on Jean as write from the start Minni would guard Jean whilst she slept and things.

I think Jean may have not understood Minni was an adult cat - we got Hydrogen and Helium as kittens who grew up and even Tom hadn't finished growing when we got him (which is bad news as he was so underwieght).

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