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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A Not-Always-Happy Holidays

The holiday season is always stressful, but I think for a lot of LGBT people it has a greater chance of being full of badness or being full of more badness. It occurred to me over the weekend when several friends and I ran round to another LGBT friend’s house as an emergency “it’s not all shit” party to remind him he had family, even if not in the conventional way

The thing is, we were ready or expected it. Not necessarily for him – but for one or more of us; because this time of year hurts all of my LGBT friends, every last one – and some of us it hurts very badly. No-one made any plans, we didn’t sit down and draw up battle plans or charts or anything else (and I plan EVERYTHING) but we fully expect one of more of us will break every season, and several of us will crack – ‘tis the season for having one another’s backs and being ready to pick up the pieces

It’s fraught for several reasons

There’s family. Family you can’t be with because their hatred won’t allow it. Family you HAVE to be with despite their hatred making the turkey feel like acid on your nerves. Extended family who are more vicious than a rabid wolverine will suddenly be at unpleasant mauling range. Many couples are forced to split up for the holiday because their families won’t tolerate a partner – or because they have to closet for safety and can’t even admit to having a partner.

Family is far too often our greatest enemy. Many tongues will be bitten through before we can finally break free of them

Then there’s a whole lot more overt religiosity, Christianity will be blared at us from all angles – and people who spend much of the rest of the year telling everyone who we’re inhuman dirty monsters that should be shunned and persecuted will be given a high profile. Sometimes they won’t even pause in their vitriol and their joyous Christmas messages of peace and goodwill for all will come with a heavy “except LGBT people” disclaimer. Wall to wall broadcasting of a religion which loathes every breath we take is mind numbingly awful for many of us. And people will, of course, take great pleasure in telling us how very important this religion is to us all.

As a bonus, Christmas programming is generally even more heteronormative than the rest of the year (which is saying something).

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Civil Partnership Conversion

It's now legal, it can now happen.

We haven't planned on a date to do it - we were tempted to make sure we got in asap, but it felt like jinxing it - like if we made plans then we were just asking the powers that be to knock us back. Planning seemed too hopeful and I'm leery of hope

But it's here, the law has changed, it is in reach and we have so many decisions to make - on when and exactly what we will do to commemorate this - whether to go full on ceremony (and if so, does that remove the ceremony we had? Do we have two? Which one should we count for any kind of officialdom? All these little questions and poking we have to work through caused by the confusion of the broken laws)

The law has change and it's going to happen - and I don't think that will sink in until I have the paperwork in hand.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Bigger labels are needed

*After some commotion*

Beloved: *hurrying in* what happened?

Sparky: Nothing... *irritated voice*

Beloved: yeah... loud swearing in the bathroom is generally bad

Sparky: I'm shaving.

Beloved: *checks the scene* hey, this foaming bleach bathroom cleaner tin is the same size as your shave foam tin!

Sparky: I noticed...

Beloved: I bet that's an awful thing to smear on your face.

Sparky:... yes...


Of course, Beloved is smug because he thinks this proves him right about my not wearing my glasses when I shave (hot water = steam = useless glasses ANYWAY and I don't wear sideburns so shaving the sides of my face while wearing glasses is impossible and annoying). Though his previous arguments were that I would cut my throat which would a) be an impressive feat even as my razor seems to grow an extra blade every time I blink and b) means Beloved apparently doesn't know where his face is unless he can see it in a mirror. Of course, this may be due to his inexperience of actually SHAVING since you can hardly call the removal of patchy, downy fuzz "shaving", right?

Personally I think this is proof of the chaos Beloved causes when he creatively hides things (which he calls "putting things away")

Clearly I am right.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

A very unwise post

Let's put a trigger warning for rape on this one

I shouldn’t be making this post, the chances of me not regretting it in the morning is slim to non-existent – but I’m making it because I’m cresting a vast wave of rage that needs venting as a way to delay/help/avert/deal with the brain crash that is looming in my thoughts right now. I’ve also had a couple of drinks, yes it’s before 1:00pm, yes I know that’s not good. No, it’s not a great coping mechanism. I thought I was doing well, it has been so long since a major incident – not every day was perfect, but I had a handle on it and then one thing and all the flimsy walls come down.

There has been a few trainwrecks of articles about Shia LaBeouf and being raped during the performance art piece he did and my gods has the response been pretty terrible and has danced on my triggers and bad memories to put me in a special kind of hell.

There has been a lot of the really toxic shit - I think a special prize goes to the “he’s a grown-ass man, how can he be raped!?” comments because, yeah, thanks for that. Let me go back in time and see if yelling “I’m a grown-ass man” makes me magically unrapeable. But bonus points for the “a man can’t be hard during rape” from people who apparently do not have penises.

There’s also a huge number of people – people who just last week were saying that this line of reasoning was utter bullshit that should be called out and shamed – are questioning whether Shia resisted enough/appropriately/whatever for it to be “really rape”. Normally I know the places and people to avoid during shit like this but turns out a lot of arseholes can flip their script awfully quickly.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Holidays loom ahead

And this is accompanied by the insomnia of doom. Which is very very irritating.

Because of a weird quirk of Sparkiness, sleep deprivation is also accompanied by the hyperactive libido. This is not a good combination

The UK has had our first "Black Friday" thanks to shops copying online retailers who are, in turn, copying the Americans. We are all reminded that copying the Americans is never a good thing.

Despite these.... distractions there have been lots of preparations for the 3 stages of the Holidays:

Stage 1: The Family, where I realise that a terrible apocalypse wiping out all humanity does actually have it's good points.

Stage 2: Good Friends: where I realise that some people surviving this apocalypse is not necessarily a bad thing, though we're all very inept at killing zombies (but we will have immense fun doing it

Stage 3: Beloved and I: where I realise that reducing the entire world to our silent house would be a wonderful wonderful thing


All stages require immense amounts of baking and freezing. In years past I used to cook a ridiculous amount and then spend all January trying to find more and more creative ways to use up the leftovers and resolving not to cook/bake/construct so much for the next year. But the last few years I've found more and more people eating my food in vast amounts so even greater preparations are needed

F have kindly volunteered to test all food in case it's poisonous. She's a generous, self-sacrificing soul like that.

At the moment this has meant everything that can freeze and cakes and puddings that will nicely preserve and age and get even better (full of boooooze) as well as vast and vats of soup to freeze because Beloved has become enamoured of soup. I don't know why he is enamoured of soup. I'm not even sure I understand enamouring of soup. I'm pretty sure being enamoured of soup is illegal or should be. I also have a creeping fear that he will suddenly decide he doens't care for soup any more (as is his wont) and I will have oceans of soup and nothing to do with it.

Also the enormous ham (which Beloved got as part of his much-to-be-regretted meat haul) was too big for my biggest pot. Yet Beloved insisted I not cut it up because it was so impressive (I think this is Silly as a bigger ham rather than 2 small hams simply means less yummy yummy glaze, but I humour him constantly because I a) love him and b) enjoy telling him he's being humoured). Cooking a ham in a pot that is too small for it proved to be an... interesting experience.

Beloved wants to try layering a boozy fruit cake with boozy cream. I told him no. I fear he may try it on his own.

Beloved wants a BBQ next weekend. In December. Yes he does. F agrees. We may need the booze ocean we have acquired


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Beloved has shopped...

Beloved called... he has shopped...

He has a network of friends who work in various food service industries – butchers, abattoirs, someone who does something unspecified with fish. No doubt there are others. While I appreciate the yumminess, it does mean there is food shopping going on I am unable to supervise.

And with the holidays coming up, it is the season to eat until we explode in big messy chunks. There's a lot of feasting, a lot of hosting and enough left overs to last until February, it's always how we keep the holidays.

So high quality but heavily discounted meat is definitely high on my bonus list

Beloved buying it though?

His message (he is now out of contact as he always is when he suspects I may Ask Questions) tells me he spend "over £100".

"Over" is a vague word. Over can mean a lot. Over could mean we have a new mortgage. 

But it's not actually the money I'm too worried about - yes, despite Beloved's previous... issues. I am concerned that if he has spent a copious amount of money on high quality HEAVILY DISCOUNTED meat that that means he has bought a lot of meat

The man who bought the 22lb Turkey

The man who bought the 8 whole chickens

The man who bought the 5lb ball of mince



I fear there may be a whole cow in my kitchen with Beloved next to it saying "at least it's dead!"

I fear even more there may be a whole cow in my kitchen, with Beloved next to it saying "it's alive so it's fresh!"

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Apparently there are lots of LGBT people on TV?

...but I don't see it? What am I missing?

Article after article start off with "there's so many gay people on TV!" "there's so many LGBT characters on TV!" "ZOMG SO MANY CHARACTERS!" but usually very light on specifics.

And I'm not seeing them - not only am I not seeing them but I'm reviewing a vast amount of media for Fangs for the Fantasy and still not seeing them. We're reviewing 14 shows at the moment: Walking Dead, Z Nation, Resurrection, Once Upon a Time, Forever, Originals, Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow, American Horror Story, The 100, Vampire Diaries, Grimm, Haven and Constantine and only 4 of them have LGBT characters: Walking Dead has a background, near-silent lesbian who makes T-Dog look positively involved in the group. Vampire Diaries and Originals have GBFs who do nothing but support the straight characters and disappear for several episodes at a time and American Horror Story has a sexualised intersex woman who tried to "convert" gay men and 2 gay male villains (and several murdered gay men).

4 of 14 and none of them a major character. Most of them really really tiny tokens.

And this isn't just a bad season. Summer had precious little extra - in fact all year the only notably LGBT characters we've had were on In The Flesh (a mini-series) and Orphan Black (which came with the bitter taste of a grossly stereotyped and walking joke, Felix).

In fact, in 2012 we looked at the LGBT characters on all the shows we'd covered at the time - when we'd watched 39 TV series and it was pretty dismal. Well, it's 2014 and we have now covered or looked at 81 different TV series - and of those 81, a full 41 have not one single LGBT character. A further 9 have a tiny LGBT character for 1 single episode and 11 have an LGBT character as someone minor lurking in the background (like Tara on The Walking Dead or Carolyn on Under the Dome).

That's 61. 61 out of 81 have no LGBT characters or teeny tiny walk on roles. Of the remaining 20 with meaningful LGBT presence, 11 (maybe 12) of those shows have been cancelled and 1 is on its last season. 3 of them had a bisexual female characters briefly mention their bisexuality before the whole show focused ferociously on opposite-sex relationships and lots of we-shall-never-speak-of-this-again so while they had a major LGBT character (which was great) if you missed one episode you'd probably not know it. There's also a lot of dubious tropes in the remainder


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Ok, techie people, a little help

Since it's that time of year again, we're looking at presents and Beloved, very kindly, wants to upgrade my tablet.

The thing is, I'm not convinced that a newer tablet is especially necessary given my current - so I need people more technically minded than I to counter Beloved's shiny addiction.

My tablet  is

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

One of these: http://www.samsung.com/uk/consumer/mobile-devices/galaxy-note/tablets/GT-N8010EAABTU

Beloved is thinking of the new google Nexus 9

One of these: https://play.google.com/store/devices/details/Nexus_9_32_GB_Wi_Fi_Indigo_Black?id=nexus_9_black_32gb_wifi

To my untrained eye, the difference between the two appears to be pretty negligible - and certainly not worth £399.


Other things to note:
The smaller screen doesn't bother me
I do not need 3G, 4G or any number of Gs.
My current tablet DOES have a damage screen (all the colours are wonky after being dropped) which means I want to get this one repaired anyway... which may end up cheaper.

By all means do run in and say "no, forget Samsung and google, you need this one!" but I do prefer Android over IOs and Windows

So techie people, help me out - is Beloved being wise and prudent as well as generous? Or is his shiny addiction overcoming reasonable common sense?