About Me, FAQ, Stuff...

(Last update: July 2008)

With my reader base slowly expanding, as well as receiving various Click-Through hits and getting emails asking the same things over and over, I decided "You know what, I can solve this easily."

My first attempt was to create a really specific message filter that automatically replied with the most common questions I receive, but when my cable company started getting emails about me in response to their "Why have you not paid your bill" mails, I decided that was enough.

I considered hiring a sky writer, projecting the answers on the moon, and hiring singing telegrams to deliver the answer, but in the end, I opted for this post. Yes, it's a post - I am writing it and posting it at the very end of my blog so it A) Doesn't get in the way of my regular spammage, and B) It will keep the template stuff neat and tidy.

About Me
I'm Dan - but you knew that part I imagine - and as of writing this, I am 31 years old. 32 in September. That makes me a Virgo (hence the anally-retentiveness of this page), and if you're really interested, a Fire Dragon under the Chinese Astrological wotsit. I was born in Colchester, Essex, in 1976, but my parents moved to Basildon not long after, and here I have been pretty much my entire life.

At some point in the 90s, I met Jo, and we started out as friends, then became good friends, then started dating. If the courtship took "a while" (nearly 8 months before I sucked up enough bravery to ask her on a date), then the rest of the relationship went whizzing by at near-light speed. We started dating in the October, I moved in with her and her parents in the November, and we were fully committed to one another by Christmas. In April of the following year we were engaged, and the following August we had our own place, a tiny little flat in Vange, Pitsea.

In 1998 the unthinkable happened. We (that is, She) got preggers, and in December of that year, Jo gave birth to our first child, Jaysen. The labour was long and painful, and even though he was two weeks late, the docs held off more and more until they decided he was in distress and performed an emergency caesarian just after midnight. The little pink-and-gore-covered thing that was handed to me was my first child, and I can still remember it vividly. Now, he's nine years old, one of the smartest kids in class, and, like me, a computer geek. He's a computer game addict of both the PC and Playstation variety, and even though he's only 9, plays online games like World of Warcraft.

In 2000, we were told that once again, we were having another child. It wasn't a surprise - we'd been trying anyway - and we were overjoyed. Of course, nothing is ever easy, and in October 2000, our local hospital found "something wrong" with the babys heart, and referred us to Guys Hospital, London, where, a week later, we were given this list of problems with the babys insides. The world slowly crumbled, but we got back on the horse and starting investigating, researching, and especially, talking to others in the same boat. The end of the world didn't look so bleak, and in January 2001, our second child, Bethany, was born in Guys Hospital, surrounded by doctors, nurses, cardiologists and everything else. At the age of 2 weeks, she underwent surgery to untangle her bowel and to remove a cancer she was born with.

Despite everything, we took her home in the February without her needing heart surgery, and went back in December of the same year. On Jaysens birthday, she underwent her first open heart surgery, and despite a few hiccups, we were home in time for Christmas. She went from strength to strength, talking, walking, slowly becoming a little person. She loved everyone that she came in contact with and everyone loved her back...

In January of 2005, just a few weeks after her 4th birthday, she had to have another operation, and things slowly went from minor hiccup, to problem, to bad, to worse. She suffered complication after complication, and everything the medical team tried was to no avail. On February 21st, 2005, she suffered a massive stroke and was diagnosed as being seriously and irreparably brain damaged. We made the decision to turn off life support, knowing that Bethany would not have wanted to live like that. She wanted to dance, to sing and to play, not spend her days deaf, dumb and blind, relying on everyone around her. We held her as she died, and once again, our world ended, and we lost our little girl.

During this time, Jodie discovered that, once again, she was pregnant. All the time we spent in hospital with Bethany, Jo was heavily preggers. Exactly four weeks to the day that we lost Bethany, Jo gave birth to another little girl. Her heart was absolutely fine, and Tamsyn entered the world in the same way as her siblings, via caesarian section. Because of the drugs Jo was on, I was the first to hold her, and the moment was bittersweet - four weeks previously, I held my daughter till the end, and here I was holding another at the beginning.

Tamsyn is three years old as I write this, and into everything. She is a complete tearaway and refuses to listen to anyone. She does, however, give some of the best cuddles, the biggest smiles, and know when people are sad. She loves to pour things - soap, shampoo, shower gel - down the sink, the bath, the toilet and over the floor, but I wouldn't change her for the world.

Update, May 2008
In March of this year, Jo decided to call an end to our relationship. The gory details can be found on the blog from March 5th onwards, as I don't really want to go into it all here over again ;) Things have been completely upheaved, in that Jaysen lives with me full time, and Tam with Jo. However, we share custody during the week, and we are actually still very good friends. We speak to one another most days, but she has her life and I have mine; my priority in life has now shifted solely to the kids.

As for my future... Well, I am taking it as it comes. I don't have real plans, but know what I do and do not want. I would love to learn something new in college. I would love to get a job around my kids. I want to travel. I'm restarting my life from this moment on, and seizing it all.

Update, June 2008 (pt. 2)
Despite it being glaringly obvious to the entire world bar two, a person I had been seeing solely as a friend has actually turned into more than that. A LOT more in fact, and we're currently "boyfriend and girlfriend". Kellie is a little younger than me, has two children and lives a few miles from here. No doubt the blogosphere will be kept well updated ;)

Kellie and I met many many years ago - when my mum and step dad moved us to the small road Blackmores in Laindon West, the family next door consisted of a girl my age. That was Kellie. We were both 10 when I moved there, and spent several years growing up together, until she moved away to deepest darkest Pitsea. However, we stayed in contact and, eventually, we started "seeing" one another.

Of course, with us effectively still being kids without any idea on "Life" or "The World" things didn't work out between us, and after a rather iffy break up, we never saw or spoke to one another again...

Now, fast forward 14-15 years. One day earlier this year, I get a message on Facebook (of all places!) from this girl called Kellie. "I don't know if you'll want to talk to me..." but me, being a very mature adult, spoke to her and we got to chatting. We did the "brief catchup" thing, then chatted and spoke - and then Jo left. After a few weeks, me and Kellie started chatting again, and at the end of April, we met up for lunch.

Before people say it, even though they already did - neither of us were "scouting" the other out. We were literally, two old friends catching up. Over a jacket potato each.

We then met up for coffee, and lunch again, then coffee... And now, the rumblings started. My friends were doing it, her friends were doing it. Innocent enough to start with: "You're seeing a lot of Kellie..." and soon building into the knowing looks and the quiet sniggering to my protests of "No, we're just friends having lunch"

Of course, by mid-May, I was looking at her and thinking those sorts of thoughts. People had pointed out what was apparently very obvious to everyone except us.

I think we resisted making our friends "right" for another fortnight before we both admitted in the dead of night - by text for extra romance - that, you know, there was something there... I went to hers on the following Monday, and it sort of blossomed from there.

9th June, for anyone interested ;)

We were both very careful - I mean, no one can accuse us of rushing into anything by any standards. I was careful in case people thought I was rebounding or just looking for someone to fill the void, Kellie was careful in case I was actually a fruit loop because I had not long left a long relationship, but what will be will be, I suppose.

And we're both very happy.

I still look at it and think how strange the world works sometimes... A year after Kellie and myself parted ways, I got together with Jo. So technically, she was my previous girlfriend. She still apologises for how we parted ways previously, but to be honest, I don't think about it. We were both young, stupid kids, with no idea of what the world was, what life was. We've both lived through a lot of crap over the years, and maybe that's what we needed before we could be together again...

Watch this space ;)

- Why do you blog?
I blog to clear my head, to get my thoughts on "paper", and generally to go off on the things that I can't do in public. It also acts as a way for my international friends to see what we're getting up to.

- How long have you been blogging?
I've been on Blogger since 2003, filling cyberspace with words, pictures and rants. However, before then I tried a couple of different blogging sites, and had three before this. Who knows, maybe they are still out there somewhere.

- What do you do for fun?
Aside from blogging, I play World of Warcraft, I read other peoples blogs, I chat on MSN Messenger and generally wander around the World Wide Web. Before I lost Bethany, I was an avid Dungeons and Dragons player, but mysteriously lost my gaming mojo. I am hoping to start playing again soon, maybe.

- Aside from your computer, what else is fun for you?
I don't watch TV at all, but do buy DVD Box Sets of the shows I want to see: CSI, 24, Lost, Heroes, House MD, The Collector and Firefly and the shows I love, and I keep debating on other shows - The Shield, Stargate, the other CSI spinoffs... Other than TV shows, I love Movies and have nearly 600 DVDs ranging from comedy to drama, true life to cartoons. When not watching things, I will read or listen to music. There is nearly always music on in the house. I listen to almost anything, but am not a fan of RnB, Hip Hop, and especially not Country and Western.

- How did you and Jo meet?
I broke her nose. OK, the real answer is "I broke her nose" but it was an accident. We were attending a Live Action Roleplaying game, I swung a sword (no, really) at her, and misjudged her placing in the world. Moving Sword+Nose=Broken Nose.

- How did you and Kellie meet?
She was the literal "Girl Next Door" when I was growing up. We dated, we changed our minds, we skipped 14-15 years, we met up again.

- What do you do for a living?
While I have various degrees in Computers and Technology, I am actually not employed. Previously, I worked for a large telecommunications company here in Basildon, but after a year of being off sick, I was diagnosed with a degenerative spinal disorder. Various drugs help reduce the pain (a bit), but for the most part, I can't do a lot of anything. Recently, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Depression, so it's all fun and games!

- How is it you are a mostly "up" person?
I think comedy and smiling is the best cure for a lot of things. I love to make people smile, to make them happy, and to make them feel good about themselves. Even in bleak situations, I can find something half-amusing to say to make people smile. Don't get me wrong, I don't sit chuckling at funerals, but I try to see the good in everything. If you can't smile, what's the point?

- Why do you not discuss religion or politics on your blog?
In general, these two subjects are likely to cause the biggest differences of opinion. While I like people to think, I don't want them to argue. In addition to this, with a reader base stretching Europe, the Americas and Australasia, the fine nuances of political climates are lost on people that are not residents. Religion is an altogether different kettle of fish. I am not religious in the slightest, and while I don't have a problem with people praying for me (goodness knows, we've had a lot of that), I don't like to have religious views thrust down my throat.

- Can you talk about *some-such-subject* on your blog?
Depends on the subject at hand, but if you want me to talk about something specific, just ask: comments, tagboard, email, messenger - I'm not hard to reach. If I WON'T discuss it, I will justify why.

- Where in the world are you?
I reside in England, south-east corner, about 30 miles from London. Town of Basildon in Essex, on the fun fun street of Long Riding.

- Can you tell me a secret?
Erm... Until September of 2006, I had never "done" any form of illegal drug in my 30 years of life, until a friend made some special, extra-strong brownies. Three of us ate them - one person had one, and threw up; one person had two, and flaked out on the sofa; I had three, and spent the evening looking after the puker and making sure the sleeper was OK, while I felt no effects what so ever. Pah

- Can you add to this FAQ?
Sure, just ask!

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