Puppy strutting at Belfast Pride

All of the doggos!

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Close Crossing

Bray Air Show, Ireland

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Puppy Love

A puppy in Iceland, with Victoria cuddling

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Appointed as Chair of Cara-Friend

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If you know much about the Northern Ireland LGB&T community, you’ll know about Cara-Friend. As one of the biggest LGB&T charities here, it does a lot of great work – particularly with young people.

I’ve served on their management committee, and then their board of directors. And I’m delighted to now be representing the charity as it’s recently appointed Chair.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to do a good job of it!

Categories: lgbt

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School days and reunions

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Yesterday, my old school, RBAI or Inst as it’s more commonly known, held a dinner to mark that 2015 is 10 years since we finished upper sixth there, leaving with A-levels, hopes and dreams.

I have loads of fond memories of Inst; the friends, teachers, learning my love of science (particular thanks to Mrs Muise and Mr Lynn here!), cricket, chess, swimming class with the torture of Mrs Eakin. Chilling at lunchtimes in the quad, or later in the sixth form centre. I won’t miss the rugby practice on cold and wet Saturday mornings, but regret not trying harder in sports – the glasses and not being able to see didn’t help; yay for contact lenses now!

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My photography skills were not the best back then...

However, despite the great memories and growth I experienced there, I didn’t go to the dinner. I kept myself as ‘maybe’ on the event, and asked around those friends I still socialise with, checking who was attending. In the end, there were too few of the people who liked me attending – and a few too many of those who didnt like me much based on how they treated me. A shame, but I felt like if I’d gone, I’d have been going back to a time where certain cliques excluded me, and I wasn’t up for doing that.

I’m sure now all is different with them though and they would think or act differently – I’m a massively different person 10 years later too. Instead of being a shy kid, hiding that he was gay and flinching everytime he was called it in the playground as a taunt, fearing discovery, I’m now a happy, out, engaged, confident man who has a good job, great friends, a loving partner, a black belt, and volunteers for the LGBT community. I hope that everyone else from school is equally enjoying their lives 10 years on.

So, looking back, I’ve lost touch with too many great people from school, which is a real shame – particular the ‘further maths’ crew – and so if anyone wants to catch up on the last 10 years, laugh about school, talk about what’s going on, have a pint, or all of the above, you don’t need a dinner at Inst to do it with me; just give me a shout sometime. It’d be great to hear how you’re getting on.

Categories: musings

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Windows 10 – Upgrading an old laptop

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So I took an old laptop I used at university – about 5 or 6 years old but a good model in it’s day, a Dell Latitude E5510 – and decided to use it as a quick ‘test’ run of the Windows 10 upgrade since it hasn’t anything too important and my main PC is being stubborn over actually offering the update.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go so well really. Thought I’d write up a quick post about a 0xC000000F blue screen error that ended up happening.

I’m about to do a particular repair so will see if it works, but I’ve surmised that the issue is that the default Dell partition table looks like this:

– DellUtility (~40 MB)
– RECOVERY (~8 GB) (Marked as boot)
– OS (~130 GB)

What seems to have occurred is that the actual install proceeded reasonably well, I can see the signs of it being completed such as the presence of the “Windows.old” folder etc. However, what Windows 10 decided to do to facilitate the install is that it saw the boot partition and hijacked its boot to use as its boot sequence.

For some unknown reason, in so doing, it increased the “RECOVERY” partition size by 1 sector – encroaching into the “OS” partition and wrecking its MBR and boot sector. This left many tools, including Windows 10, unable to ascertain the structure of the drive as NTFS. Chkdsk understands the corruption but does not resolve the partition table overlap.

I’m going to manually adjust the recovery partition down and try to repair the MBR from its backup. Let’s see how that goes.

Microsoft – partition management: 0 out of 10 for wrecking my MBR!

Ashers and Bad Advice

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I was going to do a longer post about the cake thing but I think for now I’ll summarise with a few choice things I’ve observed today.

I never held any particular ill will towards the Ashers owners but strongly disagreed with their position. Today, looking over the whole thing, I was stuck by a scenario in which I could actually feel a little sorry for them.

Not, I’ll say, because of their stance on that fateful day. No, because when you see them in a picture with Edwin Poots on one side (preaching about wasting taxpayers money with a frivolous court case, the man has a nerve) and Paul Givan on the other, moping about how the case should never have reached the court, it’s funny.

Funny that mediation was offered to Ashers multiple times throughout the process. And was declined. Something Paul seems to have missed. Or wilfully neglected, who knows. One has to wonder, if free of the ‘advice’ of the DUP and Christian Institute influence, would Ashers have elected instead to mediate? Did they really want all this press, to be under a microscope for their views, to be held up by the right-wing as pariahs?

Perhaps they did. Or, just maybe, they took some really bad advice, and allowed people with too many vested interests get their hands on it. If the latter, I suspect they’ve learned their lesson.

For now, I’ll save you all my Buzzfeed-style rundown of the “worst comparison based arguments to the cake saga ever”, but leave you with this evening’s fruity cake.

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LGB&T lives are not a fashion show

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Bruno and O.J.

I don’t think I’ve seen a greater misunderstanding of their own community in recent times than the headline-making story of how gay fashion designer icons Dolce and Gabbana have decided that the only valid families are traditional ones with a mother and father, and how they think that so-called ‘synthetic’ children of all kinds are simply ‘fashion accessories’.

Pride 2013: Parade
Some LGB&T fashion on show at Belfast Pride, 2013. Not a single child-as-fashion-accessory in sight!

I’ve said it already to friends, but perhaps they’ve spent so long dealing solely with fashion that they’ve become blinkered; they are unable to see anything beyond in life. In fact, they’re clearly disconnected from the workings of the everyday gay, and demeaning the very existence of many children around the world born via many different methods.

I know they are talking about more cases than just those affecting us LGB&T people, but I would put it to them and everyone else – no LGB&T person makes the move to start a family lightly. This isn’t a scene in the movie “Bruno”.

Bruno and O.J. in a fashion shoot
Bruno and O.J. in a fashion shoot – Not real life

No – real LGB&T people in fact have to think very carefully about the decision to start a family. They have to consider enormous expense to perform surrogacy, or brave a discriminating adoption system. They cannot adopt their partner’s children in many countries. More importantly than even those are that they have to deal with raising children in a hostile society, and how societal prejudice will impact on their children. It sucks.

Regardless of our sexuality or gender, genetics, instinct and our entire society and culture is deeply ingrained in the idea of raising and being part of a family. I think there belies an attitude amongst some that us LGB&T people are exempt from these influences, that we just ‘ignore’ or have had these switched off because of who we are. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true if considered for more than a passing moment. So, no, Dolce. Absolutely not, Gabbana. There’s just aren’t LGB or T people out there using children as fashion accessories, or as fads and trends. Just like everyone else, there are complex societal reasons for the desire to start a family and raise children.

Perhaps you’re not as clued into the fashion world as you think; because fashion isn’t one of them.