Archive for October, 2011

Contingency planning

hey world!

So about a year ago I signed up to 23andMe’s personal health service. I sent them a tube of my spit, as you do, and they set me up an account at, where they gave me an estimation of my odds of developing various conditions, based on my genetic profile.

Here are some of my top risks:

Coronary Heart Disease – 58% (as opposed to the average 47%)
Prostate Cancer – 25% (as opposed to the average 18%)
Alzheimer’s Disease – 14% (as opposed to the average 7%)

On the plus side, they predicted a pretty reduced risk of:

Type 1 Diabetes – 0.1% (as opposed to the average 1%)
Melanoma – 0.7% (as opposed to the average 3%)
Age-related Macular Degeneration – 3.3% (as opposed to the average 6.5%)

So it’s not all bad, yeah?

I’m a bit gutted about having a 1 in 4 chance of getting prostate cancer, and not overjoyed about being told that I’m at double the normal risk of developing Alzheimer’s (since I’m already as forgetful as fuck); but fortunately these are only indications of probability, and it’s entirely possible that it’ll never happen.

That being said, they’re indications that I may as well take seriously. I’ll pay attention to the bits and bobs of prostate cancer research that I see, and I’ll do my part to lower my risk of Alzheimer’s as well (with further bits and bobs).

But these things do happen, so I’ve been thinking.

If I get Alzheimer’s, I’m gonna follow the instructions in this pretty legend pamphlet (heads up, it’s pretty legend but it’s also hardcore depressing). Amazing what you can find on the internet, really.

And if I get cancer, I’m throwing a party! I’ll probably need some cheering up, to be honest. Plus it’d be a great way to spread the news to all the people I see regularly but don’t know well enough to have an awkward “I have cancer” conversation with. It wouldn’t be too upbeat (I can’t imagine myself being in too much of a dancy mood, for example), but there’d be some nice music (maybe even a live band, depending on how much money I have) and some classy food. Probably not too much alcolol though; I’m not sure getting trashed would help anything. Maybe a glass or two of expensive wine. No champagne though – that’d just be poor taste.

P.S. And at least if I get Alzheimer’s I can plan my own surprise party. Happy World Mental Health Day 2011!


Bone Picking

There’s a bone I’ve been wanting to pick for some time. It’s with cool people. Let’s be clear, I have nothing against cool people per say; it takes all sorts to make a world and all that. It’s just the way some people give up their own opinions so they can feel cool. That seems silly to me. I’ve noticed two ways in which people do this:

  • Firstly, there are people who like things simply because those things are popular. This seems silly to me because it makes them seem like they don’t have the willpower to form or stick to their own opinions.
  • Secondly, there are people who dislike things just because those things are popular. This, in some ways, is even worse. It’s equally as brainless as liking popular things because they’re popular, but it often comes with a side-serving of superiority complex. These people seem to think that… you know what? I don’t even know what these people seem to think.

I think my irritation stems, in part, from the feeling that these people are judging me. I feel that people in the second group often assume that I am in the first group because I enjoy popular things. I personally wouldn’t count myself in either of these categories (but, I suppose, who would?).

Yes, I like Lady Gaga. Yes, I’m a gay man who enjoys musical theatre. Do I enjoy them because other people do, because I feel like I’m “supposed to”? No, I’ve tried them out for myself and evaluated them on their own merits. Have you actually *listened* to a Justin Bieber song (the way you’d listen to a band you consider socially acceptable)? Why not? “Because Justin Bieber is lame” – according to whom? It can’t be your opinion if you’ve never properly listened to any of his songs, so whose opinion is it?

I think what I’m trying to say is that if you think you’re “too cool” for something, I think you’re a douche : ) x

Back to the old grind!

hi all! How have we been? And what about this crazy weather, eh? I’ve been absolutely loving it. I’m definitely a warm weather person.

And hey, yeah, we’re back at uni! Lectures and that have been running for a week now, and I’m already really enjoying myself. This year is looking to be really busy, but I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a good’n. First year was really good fun, and second year was even more fun than that, so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that third year should be the most funnest of all :p

I guess I do have a lot to do this year. Of the four modules I’m taking this year, the two mandatory modules (Interpretation of Forensic Evidence and my final year project) are going to be ALOT a lot of work. The two other modules are, I think, the dossiest ones I could have chosen (fingers crossed) so that should be alright.

Don’t worry about me being bored though, or having too much free time. For, you see, I have several other commitments/goals this year. Not least of all, I’m currently a (co)President of UWE’s LGBT Student Network. That’s going to require a lot of work, but I’m more than certain that it’ll be worth the effort.

What else, what else… oh yeah, I should really be doing some research into what I’m going to do with my life after this year. I guess that’d entail doing some work on my CV, looking up what kind of jobs I’d be interested in/employers who might be interested in hiring me etc. That is, of course, unless I decide to continue my eddycation. I’d quite like to study Entomology, and I’ve seen an MSc course or two that could work. But then I have to get in contact with whatever institution is offering the course in order to find out details, and researching whether or not a Masters degree would be likely to do me any good in the long run and whether it would be worth the money and blah blah blahhh BLEURGH.

There’s more, obviously. This year I plan on (re)joining a few choirs: one university choir I couldn’t go to last year due to a timetable clash, one university choir I was in last year, and Sing Out Bristol. Three choirs at a time… how exciting! Since secondary school I’ve usually been in at least one (and often two) during term time, but never three. How crazy rebellious am I? I’m also going to be carrying on with my singing lessons. With some solid practicing, and a little bit of luck, I reckon I can take a good shot at Grade 8 by the end of the academic year.

Throughout all of this I will, of course, be shopping, cooking, socialising, blogging and dating. That’s why a candle has two ends, right?

There’s a good chance that in ten months time I’ll look back at this and curse my stupidity and naiveté, but if it happens it happens and I’ll have learned a valuable lesson 🙂