Thursday, 29 September 2011

Bad news round up

Hate Speech
The Catholic League's Bill Donahue has compared the movement for GBLT rights to apartheid. Really, there's no need for commentary with such hatred. This hatefil monster continues to blame gay men for the Catholic church's protection of paedophiles

Hate group NOM says that GBLT people are turning religious people into second class citizens Yes, opposite world.

NOM is also continuing to push links between being gay and paedophiles They also continue to use hate speech spewing bigoted religious leaders

Hate group the American Family Association wants being gay to be criminalised The AFA has also claimed that Christians are hate crime victims when their bigotry is challenged

In Blackpool a cafe owner decides to treat his customers to religious hate speech

In Colorado a farm has been vandalised with some virulent anti-gay slurs and nazi symbols

Matchmaking idol Patti Stanger engaged in some gross and ridiculously homophobic stereotyping of the worst kind, sort of apologised, then repeated her bigotry

Recently honoured Brian Souter continues his bigoted campaign against gay people

Tyler the Creator uses a vile homophobic slur 213 times times in his album Goblin And yes, he is homophobic.

Soulja boy lashes out at people on facebook using homophobic slurs

Chaz Bono is appearing on Dances with the Stars in the US. And the hatefools have lost their ever-loving mindwe have people complaining because ZOMG A TRANS MAN IS DANCING! and Fox News' YOUR KIDS WILL BE DESTROYED BY THE DANCING TRANS MAN!

Orson Scott Card Is re-writing classic Shakespearean novels by adding more homophobia because classic literature needs more hate.

In Buffalo another gay teenager has committed suicide bullied to death. He created an It Gets Better video – and they trolled his video with anti-gay attacks The bullies went on to harass his sister saying they're glad he was dead

In Alabama we have more banning of t-shirts that acknowledge gay people as people

In Connecticut a lesbian was kicked out of a school – because she's a lesbian

In Tennesee, a school is threatening bullied gay students trying to set up a GSA

The Vatican has released some more transphobic hate speech

In fact, the Pope and his org in general remain virulent bigots

A Catholic Archbiship in New York is Unsurprisingly, also a bigot

The Presbyterian church of Mexico has severed ties with the US church because it doesn't hate gays enough

An advert in the El Paso Timesfrom the local Catholic church engages in utterly vile – and sadly typical – hate speech

The head of the Catholic church of Scotland is a raging bigot. He is joined by the Archbishop of Glasgow also joins him in hate isn't it lovely to see 2 churches come together in hatred?

During an anti-EDL protest in East London, Peter Tatchell faced homophobia from Muslim fellow marchers. Apparently they're only against certain kinds of hate

Several dozen Brooklyn Rabbis have declared New Yorkers cannot vote for David Weperin because he isn't homophobic enough

In Cameroon a proposed new law will equate homosexuality with paedophilia

Do you know what gay marriage will do? well according to Iowa Republican Steve King it will lead to kids being warehoused I'm not sure why, but since when does logic apply?

Iran continues the genocide of GBLT people and has executed 3 men for being gay

In Scotland the new domestic violence law pretty much erases the possibility of same-sex domestic violence

Oklahoma Republican Sally Kern thinks gays are more dangerous than terrorists

North Carolina Senator James Forrester spews some more anti-gay bigotry and pushes the lie that we can change

In Mexico, gay lawyer and rights advocate Jaime Lopez Vela is facing a campaign of persecution

Ahmadinejad is still a bigot


There's a very not shocking study in Vancouver showing that single mothers and gay male couples face discrimination when it comes to renting a home

In the UK,chain WHSmith has been covering up the covers of gay magazines – but of course breast festooned lad's mags? Totally ok

In Scotland, a soldier has been the first person convicted of transgender prejudice

In the UK, a man convicted of sending death threads to the head of Stonewall UK and other “homosexual vermin” has received... a suspended sentence

Booking a honeymoon with Thomas Cook seems to be a bad idea – since they treated a lesbian couple far worse than straight couples

Of course, it could have been worse, they could have booked with Southwest Airlines who kicked Leisha Hailey off their flight because she kissed her girlfriend apparently it's a family (i.e. hateful) airline and people complained (because they're bigots).

In Oshiwara, India Police raided a gay party and detained 113 people for “indecent behaviour”

In China, a dancer was sacked from a famour talent show for being trans

In New Jersey a man has been charged with a hate crime after months long harassment and intimidation of his neighbours

In California hate groups are deceiving people into signing a petition to overturn the gay history law by telling them they're signing a petition against child molesters

In Nahsville A paramedic called gay EMTS perverted and told them to crawl back into the closet how's that for a fun work environment?

In Liverpool, there have been 2 separate attacks on gay men in the gay quarter

In Edinburgh a man's jaw was broken in a vicious anti-gay attack

Police in Miami Beach who beat a gay man now think it's all over – surely they should get their jobs back, right?

In Lincolnshire during the trial of a murdered gay man the gay panic defence has yet again raised its ugly head

In London, CCTV footage has been released of 4 men beating 2 gay men – in the hope of some identification

In Brooklyn, a man is wanted for an anti-gay robbery and sexual assault committed while berating his victim with slurs

In Chicago, 5 people have been arrested after a brutal murder outside of a GBLT bar

Another arrest has been made in Chicago following the stabbing of a man during Black Gay Pride

In a disturbing trend of violence in DC, an off duty policeman shot a trans person. This is but one of several and a murdered gay man

In Seattle a Trans woman has been badly beaten and left with head injuries

In Salt Lake City A gay man has been brutally beaten by men yelling anti-gay slurs. This is but one of 2 brutal attacks against gay men in Utah

In St. Petersburg plain clothes policemen entered agay club and beat several of the patrons inside

In Wichita 2 teens were attacked by 6 men, after being perceived as being gay

In Kentucky a man has been brutally beaten for being gay

In the newly free “Iraq” Women and minorities, including GBLT people, face violence and death. If a crime is committed against a GBLT person, their GBLT status is considered a mitigating factor

In Georgia 3 gay German tourists were beaten, tied up and thrown in the river to try and murder them

In Nyanga Township, South Africa A murdered lesbian's body has been found in a rubbish bin

In West Seattle Vandals through rocks through a gay couple's car and left homophobic hate speech

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

So about that "flaunting" thing

I've been thinking about “flaunting” again – as in “do you have to flaunt your sexuality?” and how we should be all closeted to protect ever-so-delicate Hetlandia from our presence. And it irritates me in so many ways – and one of those ways is the cost of it.

I don't just mean the emotional cost of having to hide, the repression, the shame, the self-hatred – but the actual effort of constantly running your life through a filter.

I think we all know that filter. Even though a long time ago I decided to be as out as was physically possible and refuse to hide or duck my head any more, that filter's still there and it still gets applied. I'm not brave enough or foolish enough or have nearly enough energy to do away with it completely.

And that filter is tiring. Every question has to be passed through it, evasions and lies considered, examined and discarded or adapted. And damn if that isn't tiring, even now when I largely shut the filter down and try to answer without it – it still fires up and activates the closet instincts. Before when I nearly always used the filter it was even more draining – because everything someone said to me or I said back had to be run through the filter to ensure that the BIG DARK SECRET was hidden.

Just looking at today and the conversations I've had and the things I've been asked the filter has kicked in, even when I've turned round and kicked it out.

“Who's that in the car?”

Filter: my husband, no wait people argue about that, civil partner? How about just partner? Boyfriend? What's going to cause least agro? Friend? Acquaintance? Hitchiker! What car? There is no car! Deny the existence of the car! Wait, no, it's a stranger! AND HE'S STEALING MY CAR! Or, maybe just say his name, don't mention any relationship, that'd work... assuming I just picked up random guys...

“What did you do over the weekend?”

Filter: spent all day with Beloved debating decorating the living room... no! That's gay relationship AND interior designing! We were having sex no, damn it how is that better?! Watching TV. Alone! No with women. No, I went out caving, yes I spent the weekend caving! Spelunking all the way... damn it, is that an innuendo? Without men! No, with women! Alone? Can you spelunk alone? Damn it – I spent the weekend alone, reading. In my living room – which is a cave! And totally undecorated!

Ok, maybe these are more panicked flailing – though gods know I've done enough of that in my time and activate the filter enough and sooner or later you're going to get the odd panicked flail – but the constant picking and choosing of lies, what's the most plausible, what's the most reasonable, what will result in the least questions, what will stop future questions, what's going to need backing up? And there's the constant worry with lies – the need to keep track of them. What if later in the day I say I spent the weekend watching cheesey DVDs rather than reading in my cave? You have to keep track of the lies – and that gets harder and harder (stop it. Yes you were, you know you were). as the lies get more elaborate. And ye gods that is TIRING

And these are just 2 questions. Today I've answered multiple questions about my birthday plans, talked Christmas shopping, spoke about how a problem with my computer was fixed, discussed hair dye, spoke about 4 things Beloved had told me about, my kindle addiction, what I had for dinner last night, that I had to go shopping at lunch, why I'd prefer someone to use a different word choice (AGAIN), why I've lost a pen – and these are just a few off the top of my head.

All of these questions, answered without lying, would out me. They would all reference Beloved, my relationship or simply being gay. They all necessitate the dreadful sin of “flaunting” my sexuality. And that's before we get to simple things like the awful crime of kissing/touching and the dreadful decisions of whether it's ok to sit next to him or not – can we go out to dinner together or do we need to bring more people so it's not a date? Am I stood too close? Whose watching, who can see is anyone upset/angry/sitting on a cactus expression?

So, yeah, here's little ol' me “flaunting” my sexuality because not “flaunting” is a lot of work. I just don't have the energy not to flaunt.

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Vampire Diaries. Season 3, Episode 2: The Hybrid

I should have known that bad ass Stefan wouldn't last long. He is supposedly blood drunk and has become Stefan the ripper, but somehow he cannot stop mooning over Elena. The girl has some long lasting musty effect on men.

When we last left Klaus and Stefan, they were torturing a werewolf to force him to hand over the location of his pack. They return with him to the Tennessee mountains and see his camp backpacking so that they can enjoy the freedom of letting their wolves run wild.  One by one, Klaus attempts to turn them into vampires.

Read More 2 Fangs

Lost Girl
We're continuing to catch up on season 1 now that season 2 has started. After which we will be having weekly updates

Season 2, Episode 1: Something Wicked this Fae Comes 3.5 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 13: Bloodlines 4 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 12: (Dis)Members Only 3.5 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 11: The Mourning After 3 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 10: Fae Day 4.5 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 9: Faetal Justice 3 Fangs
Season 1, Episode 8: Vexed 3.5 Fangs

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

Toronto has become a ruin, a dystopian city of extreme poverty. After the riots it was largely abandoned by the government - wealthy Torontonians fled to the outer ring, leaving the inner city core to descend into poverty and lawlessness

Ti-Jeane lives in Toronto with her baby and her grandmother, who makes a living from her herb-lore and healing. Trying to get by in the torn city, her life is complicated as the father of her child gets in over his head with the criminal boss, who all but rules downtown Toronto. Unsurprisingly not only is he addicted to drugs, he sells them for a living - that is when he can stop skimming off the top. Ti-Jean comes face to face with illegal organ harvesters (note we aren’t even certain why the organs are an issue), her grandmother’s magical legacy, menacing dark magic, a neurological atypical mother, and through it all she must somehow save herself and  protect the family she has left.

Read More 2.5 Fangs

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews, Book 2 of the Kate Daniels Series

Kate Daniels, Magical Mercenary and liaison for the Order is faced with a new, confusing challenge in the dystopian world of magic ravaged Atlanta. Old gods are being invoked by witches who seem incapable of understanding what they're calling and monstrous creatures from the depth of mythology are roaming free hunting – hunting a little girl who has lost the last shreds of her family and has been deeply betrayed.

Kate steps forward to protect the child, find her mother and find out exactly what these monsters are – monsters that can always find her and keep coming back. Only to find that the entire city of Atlanta stands at risk of destruction unless she stops it.

And there's a flare coming. Magic waves are coming more and more often – and more and more intensely, causing friends to become ever more unstable and everything more unpredictable. When magic flares, gods walk and no-one is safe.

Read More 4 Fangs

Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass, Book 1 of the Shadow Chasers series

Kira was born with a power – she knows things and people by touch. One touch and she senses thought, emotion and experience. And she drains their power, their life force and sometimes leaves them injured or dead.

An orphan, her powers quickly confused and frightened her foster families – until she was taken in and raised by the Gilead Commission, a secret organisation that polices the magical beings of the world – and leads the forces of Light against the chaotic destruction of the Shadow. Kira was brought up as a member, a warrior, a Shadowchaser, one of the elite of the Commission to hunt down the most powerful agents of the Shadow.

Read More 3.5 Fangs

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Beloved cooooooked

It's been a rough week or 2 so Beloved decided to make Sunday dinner and let me relax. Awwww :)

So we had Shoe Leather and pancakes. With salt mush and miscellanious almost-greenery

Waaait, I mean roast beef, yorkshire pudding, mash potatoes and... vegetables? Probably vegetables.

Ah well, bless him he tried and it comes from a place of love. Who needs tastebuds when you have love, right? Say it with me, everyone "awwwwwwwwwww"

And remind me - sort out the headspace or I will be punished with cookery. Which is a crying shame, there are much sexier punishments out there

Now doing lots of baking for him, we're stocked for the week and he is happy with that (may have been his plotting actually) he has been missing his baked goods. Of course it was somewhat delayed by the broken and haggard wasteline what was once my kitchen.

Remember "place of love place of love place of love"

On the gay porn "revelations" of dictators and terrorists

I've been thinking, and particular tweets and posts I've seen have prompted me further, about the “gay porn” revelations we've had both when Osama was shot and now when Gaddafi has been sent running into the wilderness.

In both cases, some reports said that they found vast porn collections including (DUM DUM DUM GAY PORN!). And among certain circles there is a chortling and a laughing and lots of “I knew it” and “it wouldn't surprise me” and similar sentiments that give me grey hairs

And I side-eye the whole thing and wonder in some cases whether or not it's a plant (Actually, in the case of Gaddafi I find myself in agreement with Queerty on it being a plant - not because they did an exhaustive search of porn to try and find the title that didn't seem to exist - but because I boggle at the idea of someone with just ONE porn DVD :P). But plant I side, I ask what the point is? Of all the things you could say about Osama Bin Laden and Gaddafi's regime exactly how is this porn even slightly worthy of mention?

Well, I can think of three reasons:

1)You want to show what a hypocrite they are, perhaps to prevent martyrdom? Well, here's the thing I don't think anyone who thinks either of them are great wonderful people is actually going to believe you (I think they were both polluters of the air they breathed, and I don't believe you). The circumstances don't lead to belief (and are easy to fake), the followers aren't inclined to believe you anyway. Besides which, none of this reporting has been linked to the homophobic beliefs of either – nor have those opinions been referenced when breaking this oh-so-shocking news

2)Similar to 1 – but rather than proving hypocrisy you just want to tell their followers that they're bad men because you know/believe their followers are raging homophobes. This not only has the problem of not being believable but has the added bonus of furthering, encouraging and using homophobia. Rather than combating opinions that being gay is wrong, you're using them instead, encouraging them and trying to tap homophobia to attack people you don't like

3)The people “revealing” this and dancing with glee are rabid homophobes and are resorting to the age old, childish and common tactic of calling their enemies “gay” at the first opportunity/manufactured opportunity. Much like how being called “gay” is considered an extreme insult and one of the worst things you can call a straight person, you're using this insult to express your contempt for the enemy.

Yeah, I'm not happy with any of these reasons. I don't see any as effective, but I do see them as extremely damaging to us.

Let us not forget that we have been dehumanised and attacked repeatedly by homophobes seeking to blame us for various evils in the world – everything from Sodom and Gamorrah to Scott Lively's (though I give him too much credit to limit the claim to just him) repellently offensive claim that the Nazis were gay and homosexuality caused the holocaust through to the Catholic church blaming us for the child abuse scandal – and the general blame we always get as sex predators and paedophiles that is repeated and depicted over and over again. The pope has said that we're a threat on par with global warming and habitat destruction, most governments around the world still blame us for AIDS to such a degree that our blood is treated as poisonous – a level of blame that has reached such ridiculous proportions that rising HIV rates among straight women are STILL being blamed on gay men.

And while we all laugh at the ridiculous claims for the various haters that we're responsible for earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, random bird deaths and the declining honey bee population – it's yet more lines to the pattern of continually blaming us. Let any bad thing in the world happen, anything at all, and there's a good chance that GBLT people will be blamed for it. And no matter how comic that is sometimes, it's still dangerous and its still worrying and it's still dehumanising.

And I have great difficulty in divorcing the sudden and convenient gleeful attempts to label some of the most hated and reviled dictators and terrorists as GBLT from this culture of blame.

Friday, 23 September 2011

General meness

I sometimes feel like I need a warning sign letting everyone know I'm in an especially bad mood... well, not exactly a bad mood per se? More a case of a complete unwillingness to deal with crap mood. I think it's a side-effect of obtaining some semblance of mental balance again (more on that later) either a direct result or because some part of my mind feels like it's on a tightrope and refuses to tolerate anything that may knock me off balance again. I don't know the why, maybe I'm over rationalising and I'm just in a bad mood.

Anyway, this whole week has been kind of like that. The claws have been out, my gloves have been off and I've let loose with both barrels a couple of time. Looking back... I regret nothing. Maybe I need to burn those gloves, maybe I tolerate too much crap from too many people, maybe the odd blow up may make things easier. Anyway, things to ponder

Beloved has dyed his hair black. No I don't know why, the man's incapable of maintaining his natural hair colour for more than a couple of weeks. Of course with his skin tone it just makes him look deathly pale and rather ill (even if it does makes his eyes extremely blue). He is sulking with me because I told him I wouldn't go out in public with him because people would think I'm a necrophiliac. I predict there will be many many wonderful days of taunting over this.

Beloved and I have devolved into the “You hate freedom game.” I'm not sure who started it, but it involves trying to win any argument by accusing the other of hating freedom and then trying to make a vague logical link for that. It's kind of like Baron Munchausens (the best drunk game EVER) if it were played by American Republicans.

I've also not been baking much (beyond the basic necessities since we buy so little baked goods) and Beloved is now being pathetic about it. He's also reminding me how much baking is therapeutic to me and positively healthy. Isn't it wonderful that he is so concerned about my health? Yeaaaah if he thinks I'm falling for that then there's something in the dye poisoning his brain.

But then again I think he's in withdrawal since he has found an air-freshener (I hate those things) that smells so strongly of vanilla it smells like I'm baking. It actually smells like someone splashed a gallon of vanilla extract around our living room. Beloved has failed in his defence strategy though, since he can't decide whether to apologise for it or say there's nothing wrong with it. Silly Beloved, he should have his defence ready and secure pre-emptively

But then he was probably distracted because his chemical attack didn't work. It is official, he cannot shop – not after he bought acidic jungle defoliant instead of soap. My skin is peeling so much I look like I have leprosy. I will plot my revenge for this. Yes yes I will. He's stacking it up – I still haven't had suitable revenge for the Brown Girl in the Ring fiasco.

I have a huge backlog on stuff to do that's irritating me. I have been a slacker this.. damn this whole month to be honest time to wake up and get to it all. Back into the salt mines!

I am tired of having this conversation but my temper is snapping

I am not queer. I am a gay man. A click on the About Me tab up there takes you to a post about my labels and identity. It's abundantly clear and starkly clear. I've tried to make this as clear as possible without enraging the folks who demand I identify by their label not mine.

So let me be really bloody clear about this. To me that word is a slur and it's a trigger. Not a “oh that makes me uncomfortable” spork. No, a whole load of mental illness and pain causing trigger that often leads to me opening my handy-dandy pill bottle. It's an instant trip to under-threat land. It is not some minor thing I can just get over, it's not something that can be readily dismissed

And I hate dealing with it, enough that I will just take absences just because there's too much of the word around and it's bringing me down. When you use the word as a generic, I'll skip past it, try not to read it, cringe and push into my mind whatever you're referring to doesn't include me, I've found it's the best way to try and deal with this. It's in common useage which means common pain but that's on me to deal with however I can. If you use it to self-reference, it doesn't apply to me anyway which makes it easier to handle.

There's no difficult, painful get around for when you apply it straight to me. Then it's a slur and it just hurts. And I'm beyond tired of explaining this – and even further tired of people denying this, denying that it can be possible, denying me feeling this way. I cannot make it clearer – do not call me it, it triggers me and if you call me it after having ample chance to know better – and especially after I tell you not to – then you are using a slur against me.

For people within the community – that's unacceptable, you don't get to force your reclamation on me – and don't get to police my identity to suit your idea of who I should be and what I should identify with.

For straight, cis people – you can't reclaim a slur that can't be used against you, calling me it after I've told you what it means to me is beyond unacceptable – and I refuse to endure it.

Now please stop. Honestly, I'm tired of having to fight over every little basic request.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

How low are your standards?

I have a huge list of pet hates because it's truly amazing how much privileged arseholery there is out there, but at the moment, swimming its way to the front of the list is:

“It's better than....”

“At least I'm not....”

For I tire of these excuses, I really do. I tire of the bare minimum being considered praiseworthy. And I tire of any prejudice short of the utter extreme being considered acceptable.

I tire of people saying “but it's worse in X country”

Because we're just whining if we're not being executed, right?

“Don't you know, some firms won't even hire gays!”

Because condescending to give me a job makes you such a good person and makes treating me like shit totally ok?

“It's not like they're out gaybashing!”

Because it's not prejudice if they're not violently beating us to the ground, right? Anything else is gravy, so long as there's no actual fists to flesh.

Even when we're criticising media and portrayals it's an endless round of “at least there was someone!” because we should be grateful for the crumbs, right?

And I ask why my standards should be so low? Why do they expect me to expect so little? Since when is “we don't execute you here!” considered a goal post? Since when is “we let you work” actually something to be proud of? And really, the fact someone's not violently beating us to the ground is not something to be applauded.

The fact that it is worse elsewhere does not remove the duty for here to be better than it is. The fact that other people are even more bigoted, malicious, violent homophobes doesn't make 'lesser' homophobia more acceptable or tolerable. The fact that other employers won't even let me darken the door, doesn't mean I have to tolerate crap on the job.

Because I am really not going to take “better than the utter worse” as some kind of acceptable level, somehow above criticism. Is “not as bad as I can imagine” really the benchmark here? Really? It's not even the lowest acceptable standard – it's a long way lacking of acceptable. You don't get to rest on your laurels on the bottom step, then whine because others are still on the ground.

You know what? We can be smug about how good we are when we reach the top of that ladder. Only then is the job done and only then can we have some laurel resting. I don't care how much higher we are than other places, I don't care how much better you are than some out there - we still expect, no demand, better – and being better than the worst is not an excuse for your own arseholery.

This post originally appeared at Womanist Musings Renee has very generously allowed my random musings to appear on her excellent blog

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Reviews on Fangs for the Fantasy!

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Full details of which can be found here!

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Episode 33: Vampire Diaries - Season 3 Episode 1, "Happy Birthday Elena" Lost Girl

Lost Girl Season 1

Having discovered this series, we have episode by episode reviews for the whole of season 1

Season 1, Episode 7: Arachnofaebia 2 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 6: Food For Thought 3.5 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 5: Dead Lucky 3 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 4: Faetal Attraction

Season 1, Episode 3: Oh Kappa My Kappa 4 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 2: Where There's a Will, There's a Fae 3 Fangs

Season 1, Episode 1: It's a Fae Fae Fae Fae World

Vampire Diaries Season 3: Happy Birthday Elena

Now that True Blood is done for the season, vampire fans are forced to resort to the teen angsty CW's The Vampire Diaries to get a fix. Last Thursday was the season premier and we would be remiss if we didn't cover the show. Do you see how much we sacrifice for you readers?

Two months have passed since Stefan took off with Klaus in exchange for curing Damon of a werewolf bite inflicted by Tyler Lockwood. Elena, Damon and Alaric have spent the time looking for him. Each new tip that Elena gets, she passes it on to Damon but what she does not know, is that Damon has been following Stefan the ripper through the news articles detailing his murders. He didn't want to share the news with Elena because of the extreme violence with which Steffan feeds. Apparently, he feeds so hard that his victims end up decapitated and then he feels remorse, so he puts their bodies back together.

Read More 3 Fangs

Changes by Jim Butcher, Book 12 of the Dresden Files

Susan, Harry's old lover who was half changed by the Red Court vampires, is back in town. And she has a revelation for Harry – they have a daughter together. She's been brought up in secret, hidden even from Harry. But the Red Court have found her – her foster family have been slaughtered and the girl has been kidnapped.

Harry, who for so long has lived without family, now has to find and save his daughter from some of the most evil monsters he's ever faced. And he must do it with very little help, just his truest friends – the White Council has been mired in schemes and politics and a virtual coup – certainly none are free to help Harry. To make things worse, the Red Courts' greatest and most powerful leaders have gathered – including beings that were once worshipped as gods and have the power far beyond his own.

Harry is faced with a desperate choice – as more and more of his life is torn apart and to save his daughter, he looks to embrace power he has rejected for so long – and cross lines he refused to cross.

Read More 5 Fangs

Turn Coat by Jim Butcher, Book 11 of the Dresden Files

Morgan, the Warden who has made Harry's life a misery, the Warden who has assumed Harry was a Warlock, persecuted him, attacked him, constantly looked for an excuse to drive Harry over the edge and give Morgan an excuse to execute him – arrives at Harry's door. He's injured, he's been framed for a crime he didn't commit and he's being chased by the other Wardens. And he wants Harry's help – to shelter him, to hide him and to help clear his name.

The Black Council is upping the ante – the White Council is buzzing with news of treachery and it's manipulations not only dragging in the White Council, but setting them up for a confrontation with the White Court as well as involving some of the greatest powers in the US. The White Council itself seethes with politics where truth and justice are rapidly pushed aside in the name of power, appearance and strength.

And Harry dives into all this feet first, as he ever does.

Read More 4.5 Fangs

Single White Vampire by Lynsay Sands

Once again Marguerite Argeneau is determined to play matchmaker for her children. This time Lucern the family author becomes the focus of her attentions in when Kate his publisher shows up quite unexpectedly at his home. Lucern is a sour man of few words despite the fact that he has made a living chronicling the family's romances. His books have become a great success with his fans and Kate wants him to do a book tour and a few interviews to help continue to promote them. Lucern is of course very resistant to the idea of this and tells her no immediately, unfortunately for Lucern, Kate is unwilling to take no for an answer.

Read More 2 Fangs

A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands

A Quick Bite is the first book in the Argeneau series. I accidentally read Love Bites, the first book in the series first. A Quick Bite is yet another paranormal romance, and so this means the usual boy meets girl and zmog they're in love forever and ever routine. As I have stated many times, I am not a fan of paranormal romance, but I was willing to give this book a try after enjoying Love Bites for its humour.

The plot really is quite basic. Lissianna, a 202 year old vampire meets Greg after her mother kidnaps him for her birthday. Greg assumes that he is to be a human sex toy, when in fact he was kidnapped to cure Lissianna of her phobia. Yes, she's a vampire who passes out at the sight of blood. At first she assumes that he is a special dinner, as vampires consider it a treat to come across an undiagnosed diabetic for the sugar in their blood. Greg is resistant to being tied up and served for dinner, but when he sees Lissianna, surprise surprise, it's instant boner time cause she's just that special

Read More 2.5 Fangs

Dark Lover by JR Ward, Book 1 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood

Vampires are trying to live quiet lives as best they can. Their society is secretive and often separated from humanity – who they have little to do with. But there numbers are dwindling. An ancient group of human hunters has tried to annihilate them throughout the ages. To fight the vampires these Lessers sacrifice their souls, continually recruit more members and hunt the vampires with a sadistic glee. In response, the Vampires have the Black Dagger Brotherhood – a small group of veteran fighters to defend them against the predation of the Lessers. Each with their own darkness, they are the few warriors that try to save their species from extinction.

Read More 1.5 Fangs

Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep, Book 2 of the Elemental Assassins Series

Gin has entered her retirement as an assassin - she's now a college student and BBQ restaurant owner, hanging up her knives after her mentor died. Or so she thought.

An old friend of her foster-father shows up in her restaurant looking for help – and someone tries to kill her. Pulled in by the need to help her foster-father's friend (and because she's not tolerating any hits in her own restaurant) she finds them being intimidated into selling their land to a mining developer. Dragged in, she has to find out why their home is being threatened – who is doing it and how to solve it. And as an assassin, she only has one solution.

Read More 3.5 Fangs

Being Unbiased is a privilege

This post originally appeared at Womanist Musings Renee has very generously allowed my random musings to appear on her excellent blog

So, there have been a few cases now and I feel moved to rant... err, I mean comment.

During the eternal meandering of the proposition 8 trial it was revealed that judge Waker was gay. And the haters were up in arms, frothing and furious! We can't have a gay judge decide that case! He'd be biased! How can he possibly be fair!? The whole case must be scrapped and re-decided with a fair (straight) judge!

And then we have a case of a gay prison inmate on trial for attacking a prison guard – the prosecution is quick to remove a lesbian from the jury. Uh-huh

And of course, they're not isolated cases, nor for that matter, are they limited to one country. It's not limited to one marginalisation for that matter. There's a pervasive idea that to be unbiased you have to be privileged. Simply because we are GBLT, we are inherently biased. We cannot be trusted to be fair, to make reasoned decisions, to be anything other than self-serving and selfish.

Now, question question – why are straight people never considered inherently biased because of their straightness?

I mean, I think it's a fair question considering how much of our life, our rights, our existence is in the hands of straight people – how we, as a society, seem to think straight people have the right to make decisions over our lives.

It's the predominantly straight voters we repeatedly expect to vote on whether we get equal rights or not.

It's the predominantly straight judges we repeatedly expect to decide whether we our families are worthy of protection, whether we can lose our jobs, our homes, our children.

It's the predominantly straight officials who decide whether GBLT people fleeing persecution can stay in relative safety or whether they will be sent back to the country they ran from. They also decide what hoops they have to jump through – whether they read “gay literature” useless and ridiculous phallometric testing and the most ridiculous, prejudiced, insulting and plain asinine questioning.

It's the predominantly straight juries and judges who decide how much our bodies, our safety, our lives are worth when we're attacked, beaten and killed.

So, why don't we question the bias of all these straight people? All these straight folks deciding our lives – do we get to question whether they are capable of making these decisions fairly, without bias? Do we get to remove straight folks from these decisions? Do we get to say “actually, only GBLT people should be making this decision”? Because, y'know, I'd kind of like that.

Because, y'know, I think we've got considerably more reason to suspect straight bias than ever we have given straight people reason to think us biased. I've got pages and pages and pages of reasons to believe straight people are biased. Gods, we have pages of law, libraries of history and a whole lot of blood telling us all sorts about straight bias.

Yet we're the biased ones? We're the ones who can't be trusted to make the decisions, the judgements? Judgements about our own lives, I might add! Yet we can't be trusted to make them? We must trust the “impartiality” of straightness to know what's best?

I think not.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Are we dizzy from the spin on same-sex marriage in the UK yet?

So, a while back, at the beginning of the year Labour and the Lib Dems had both endorsed marriage equality. The Tories were noted for their silence and the pressure was laid on. Surprisingly, people considered them to be bigots (I wonder why!?)

Faced with increasing pressure and just how obviously bigoted they were, the Tory government buckled in February and announced that they would have a consultation this summer on the whole subject of marriage equality.

That's summer 2011, by the way. In case that wasn't clear. It didn't earn them much praise since the Tories were basically consulting for something the other parties had already said yes to. Yes, the Tories were doing a delaying tactic, it was obvious and no-one really fell for it. But we were going to get a consultation in June. June 2011

Sparky fails at being mentally ill

As I said on Sunday, Beloved has been away for much of the week – not away away but not around since we've been working different hours and then he had to go away for the weekend. At the same time I had to play host to my brother and cousins (who left midweek) which was somewhat exhausting and mildly irritating at times. And 5 people are missing from work for various reasons so my work load spiked, along with annoying clients and my having to battle with the bosses to ensure everyone's load spiked equally rather than my taking the lion's share, again. And then I got sick with the lurgy – either brought up by my brother from Wales, or from work – either way, stomach cramps, nausea and general badness ahoy! It should also probably be noted here that as of last week we were trying a pill adjustment.

So, that's a bad week by any standards. There was no way it was going to be a good week, and no way I was going to feel other than irritated, tired, ill and generally wanting to reduce the world to ashes. So when I started feeling down, well of course I was feeling down. I was tired, over-worked, ill, not spending enough time with Beloved, skipping meals because I'm tired/ill/don't have time/Beloved's not there to insist/replacing them with snacks or not at all, not getting enough sleep etc etc – being down was expected. So as I spiralled further and further into down-ness I clung simply to the fact that the week would soon be over and then it'd be ok. After all, I had a reason to be down, right? Being down was NORMAL. Not being down would be pretty freaking strange.

Yes, so the weekend rolls round, Beloved comes back and he keep asking me if I'm fine. Well, no I'm not but of course I'm not, right? It's been a bad week, I'm ill, I'm tired, everything is pretty shitty – so no, I'm not ok. But I'm not ok in a context where not ok is expected, right?

Except he's using his “step away from the ledge” voice... which is totally unnecessary, it's not like I'm having one of my major bleak badne- oh. Well shit, when did that happen? Rational Brain, why didn't you even notice Emotional Brain turning all the bad dials up to max?

Yes, I had tripped into the Bad Place. Didn't see it coming and missed the point when “this week is crap and I feel crap because of it.” spiralled into “everything in the world ever is bleak and dark, there is no hope or joy and we will slowly rot in ever lasting despair and anguish why do we even bother.” Or, to put it another way, I missed when the messed up brain took over. The crazy has launched a sneak attack on me and I didn't see it coming. Totally got backstabbed, guys, damn sneaky thing.

And yeah it turns out that skipping meals, while generally being a bad thing, and vomiting, also a bad thing, also seems to mean forgetting to take the pills one takes with meals and possibly bringing back up those you do take. Mea culpa, should have thought, should have known better. This is the problem with routine – you get fixed on a routine and when the routine breaks everything breaks. And not having Beloved there to say “you forgot your pill” (normally something that annoys me immensely, by the way – because damn it I can remember to take my own medication!!! Except... apparently not. Damn it memory, I was winning that argument) just lead to me plain forgetting

Of course, knowing that the deep dark bad place is a cause of the Bad Brain helps a lot, it lets Rational Brain realise that the Big Bad Darkness is not because of a bad week, but because of a Bad Brain and can be duly Ignored..

So it's pills, therapist and Beloved as we work to pull me out of this and set me back on the nice gleaming rails of (almost) sanity that I just merrily decided to skip away from. Yeah not happy – and not just because the brain has kind of decided happiness can't happen – I'm irritated that I'm having to regain ground I just lost. And, yeah, I'm irritated because I screwed up. I know better than this and this whole messed up head space I've been living in has been entirely my own fool fault

And Beloved's feeling guilty. Partially because he didn't notice how far off the rails I'd swerved until today and, I think, because he's mad at me and guilty because of it. Which is something I'm going to have to think and talk through.

So, yeah. How annoying is all that? I would say that it's time to open a bottle, but, frankly, in the Deep Dark Place it's unwise to even joke about drinking as a coping mechanism (even if, yes I've done that, Yes I do do that – it's still a foolish, unsafe, unwise and generally wrong thing to do).

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Publishers say no to gay protagonists

So, in a repeated fail that we've seen before in the publishing industry, authors who have written YA stories with a gay protagonist have been told by publishers that they need to make their protagonist straight

Yes, they will publish the story so long as the authors de-gay it.

I haven't read the authors in question so I'm not going to recommend or encourage their works, but the very idea of demanding a protagonist be made straight is something that never fails to infuriate me. It's a pet hate of mine and a major issue close to my heart that we rarely get a decent portrayal in any form of media. If anything this is even more important when it comes to YA fiction.

I want a lot when it comes to fiction. Not because I'm demanding – but because we're currently so lacking. Because there are so few portrayals and so few good portrayals. And because there's so much damage caused by our erasure and the deeply flawed portrayals we so often see.

We deserve to exist. I am tired, beyond tired, of picking up book after book and finding not a single GBLT person within it. I am tired, beyond tired, of my escapism being eternally to the Straight Land of Hetlandia where I don't exist. I am tired, beyond tired, of having to identify with protagonists who are not like me. I don't want yet another generation of GBLT children to think they don't exist, that they're freaks, or that they're so obscene they must be hidden from view.

I am tired, beyond tired of casual homophobia in books. I'm tired of being the joke. I'm tired of being the insult. I'm tired of being the freak and the outsider and the thing. I do not want another generation of GBLT kids growing up thinking there's something wrong with them, or that they deserve to be mocked, ridiculed and laughed at at best – or attacked, hurt and destroyed at last.

We deserve to have our stories told. And for them to be our stories. We deserve to have our stories told – we deserve to be the hero. I want GBLT kids to be able to pick up a story and see that they can be the action hero, they can be the saviour, they can be the strong one, the leader, the protagonist. I want GBLT kids to see themselves as being the centre, the point, the ones that matter

I don't want to see us as constantly the token inclusion (where we exist). I don't want to be cast as the side-kick, the friend, the victim, the sidekick, the tool, the pet, the comic relief. I don't want to be supporting cast in someone else's life. And I don't want our kids to grow up seeing themselves as part of someone else's story – tools and props in someone else's life.

I don't want to see us constantly playing the same roles, cast the same way. I don't want to feel like every GBLT character is stamped from the same mould. I don't want us to establish a set way to be GBLT, I don't want our youth to feel they have to act a certain way, dress a certain way, be a certain way to be GBLT. I don't want to constantly face the chains of stereotypes, constantly facing the same tropes. I want GBLT kids to grow being anything and believing they can be anything.

I want our stories to be written for us with some understanding of us. I want to see more than fetishisation and straight gaze romances. I want to see more than freak shows and documentaries into our spooky weird world. I want to see more than straight-warming pity parties. I want to see more than clumsy stereotypes and cookie-cutter portrayals. I want our kids to see they matter not just as a subject matter, but as an audience as well.

I don't want to see us perpetually having GBLT issues. I want us to save the world, to catch the villain, to get the love interest. I want us to slay the monsters, to fly the plane, to captain the spaceship. I want us to be the monarch, to be the cleric, to be the politician, I want us to be the saviour, the hero, the champion. I want us to actually have stories and problems and issues and lives that aren't all about GBLT issues. I'd like to see a trans story that isn't about transitioning. A gay story that isn't about coming out. I want to see a GBLT story that isn't about coming to terms with being GBLT or GBLT bullying or AIDS. I want to see us in stories that don't feel like PSAs. I want us to have more in our lives.

And I want to see us on every shelf. I don't want to have to go to the special GBLT section (assuming there even is one!) to find books about me. I don't want to be treated as some kind of weird niche. I don't want our kids having to risk outing themselves to try and find a portrayal of someone like them (I was lucky the first time I saw a GBLT section of a bookstore – because it was half a shelf. Even then anyone watching me probably thought I was hiding a bomb or dealing drugs). I want them to go to the YA and find GBLT protagonists. I want them to go to Fantasy/Sci-fi and find GBLT protagonists. I want them to go to Romance and find GBLT protagonists. I want them to go to the children's section and see GBLT protagonists.

I want quite a long list. But it's not a hard list and it's not a demanding list. It's a list that we should already have. It's a list we shouldn't even have to ask for.

And I don't want another kid growing up where the first representation of GBLT person they see is Ann “tent peg” Mccaffrey's awful drek (can you tell I'm bitter about that? Yeah, I am. I'm bitter because I clung to every stereotype in that damn book. I read it and re-read it, and thought I needed to change to be more like that but kept reading it even though it made me uncomfortable because it was all I had).

Our kids deserve better than what we had – and better than what they're getting.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Checking for my RSS, tripping over ally hurdles

One of the things I've been doing lately is keeping a look out for places to fill my already full RSS. Mainly because my RSS is split up into sections. There's the “Come here any time, it's probably going to be ok” at the top (this has a side group: “Site won't hurt, subject matter will”), followed by the “Generally good, but there's going to be regular or semi-regular heterosexism” then the “Good info, but there's a huge chance it's going to hurt” then “No chance about it. This will hurt” and lastly the “HERE BY DRAGONS! Homophobes abound, don't go there!” (And after that there's homophobes without any possibility of redeeming content. But they obviously don't get on the RSS at all).

It's one of my ways of trying to keep out of the line of fire when I'm not feeling especially strong or mentally sound. I can tailor my browsing to my mental strength and chance of collapsing nastily. Anyway, recently I did a big reassess and moved a lot of sites and blogs down (some of them falling off the bottom) because I was giving far too much repeated benefit of the doubt to places that gave me grey hairs but were sure to wave their past laurels around every damn second. So, the top two slots of my RSS have been severely denuded and I was doing a scout for more and I came across a post and comment thread that just epitomised so many ally headaches.

The OP: I was so religious and I totally hated gay people! They were sinners sinners! But then I realised that I was wrong! Gays are ok!
Commenter 1: Oh you are such a wonderful person!
Commeter 2: you're sooo brave uh-huh
Commenter 3: Exactly! It's only Jesus who gets to judge, not us! (*side-eye* no-one judges me for being gay)
Commenter 4: Let he without sin cast the first stone (hey, you too – my being gay isn't a sin and you say it is I'm going to throw the first, second and third rock)
OP: Oh you're all so wonderful
Comment 2: And brave!
Commenter 5: I don't hate gays as well!
Commenter 3: So wonderful!
Commenter 2: And brave!
Commenter 4: Am I wonderful?!
Op: Yes we're all wonderful!
Commenter 2: And brave!
Commenter 5: Why can't everyone be as good allies like we are?

(I'm paraphrasing a little. Suffice to say there follows what could crudely be called an ally circle-jerk about how wonderful and brave everyone is. I managed to keep my dinner down. Just).

But what is this stalking into view?

Commenter 6: *bible verse* see! Gays are sinners! SINNERS!
Op: oh... we'll have to agree to disagree!
Comment 3: Back to the ally fest!
Commenter 2: So brave!

Yeaaaah I won't be adding that blog to the RSS. Nope.

Moving on, I check a blog roll and find someone else who loudly touted themselves as an ally. And find almost straight away “these women are acting like men – no! Like gay men!” (post with bonus attacking women for having sex. Yeash such a wonderful space, oh yes). And when a commenter disagrees we have “How daaaare you, I'm an ALLLY!” Yup, strike 2. Keeping away from yet another homophobic pit. I wish that were uncommon but I'm amazed at the truly unquestionable homophobic crap people spout and when challenged scream back with "I'm an ALLY! HOW DARE YOU! HOW VERY DARE YOU!"

And moving on again – I'm seeing several straight, cis allies separating themselves from straight cisness. Even framing our straight cis society as something that harms them rather than elevates their privilege. “This is the burden of growing up in a cissexist, heterosexist society” says the cis straight person. And it vexes y'know, while there are many complex and knock on issues we can get from our messed up society, seeing an ally completely deny privilege and claim victimisation from it is disturbing – if white person claimed how much white privilege hurt them or a man lamented on how awful a male privileged society is for him we'd give the side-eye. This does not impress me even slightly. Ally 101: acknowledge privilege, yes?

On a related note, I have received a few requests for me to contribute to blogs on a one off or regular basis. Now, once upon a time I would do a triple backflip (well... no, because that would be messy) at the idea of being asked, because I was kinda needy like that (yes the past tense does belong there. Behave). But now? Now, I have to say if you're a single-issue blog – more power to your elbow, no criticism there, I know what it's like. But if you're going to tout yourself as an intersectional space, don't write endless heterosexist posts, call yourself inclusive and then expect me to come along to play your token gay.

The sad thing is that none of this is isolated and I'm getting a wonderful collection of grey hairs. All in all it makes me leery of adding anything to the RSS. I'd like to fill some gaps but I'm not polluting the supposed safe parts of my feed with privileged arseholery – not again. And it reminds me again to be cynical about the human race – and how little trust is warranted.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Reviews on Fangs for the Fantasy!

Small Favor by Jim Butcher, Book 10 of the Harry Dresden Files

Harry's life is all exciting again and the plotting in the supernatural world is reaching greater, and more confusing, levels.

An entire building was destroyed by immense power and in the aftermath it was clear that Marcone, Chicago's mob boss, has been kidnapped. Harry is on the job working with Murphy – and only has more incentive when Mab, Unseelie Queen of the Winter Court, calls in one of the favours he owes her to get him involved – and threatens him with her not-inconsiderable wrath should he refuse. Of course, this is complicated because Summer objects most strongly – strongly enough to send champions to seek and kill Harry to end his involvement.

To make things far worse, the Knights of the Blackened Denarius – Fallen Angels bound to human hosts – are involved. Not just some as he had previously faced – but all of them in their infernal power and plotting, and he only has 2 Knights of the Cross to back him up.

Read More 5 fangs

Neon Graveyard by Vicki Pettersson, Book 6 of the Sign of the Zodiac Series

The Neon Graveyard is the last book in the Pettersson's Zodiac series. I didn't feel any sense of sadness when I finished reading and perhaps because by the time this book ended, I was more than ready for this series to come to an end. What started off as an amazing idea with a unique and a large world ended up being tired and overly drawn out. Having read all six books, I think that this series could easily have been reduced to four books. A book for each sign just dragged out the inevitable end of the series. Honestly, from book one, was there ever any doubt that this series would end with the death of the Tulpa?

Read More 3.5 Fangs

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Sandman Slim is about a young man who is tossed into Hell alive by his fellow magicians. Early on he exhibited far more talent than the rest of his circle and he assumed that jealousy caused them to want to be rid of him. Once in hell he was put into an arena reminiscent of the Roman Colosseum to fight various creatures. Stark was expected to die immediately, but much to the shock of the fallen angels that populate hell he survived.  Eventually, he became a sort of hit man or "the monster that killed monsters," because being human, no one expected it of him.

Stark is given a key to the room with thirteen doors, that allows him to travel anywhere and when his girlfriend Alice is killed on earth by the very same circle that imprisoned him in hell, he murders his handler Azazel. He escapes hell with The Veritas, a coin which always tells the truth and the black blade. Due to his time in hell, Stark is very hard to kill though being stabbed or shot will still hurt. After one attack with a weapon his body become impenetrable to a similar attack, which is good because this book is absolutely filled with action.

Read More 4 Fangs

Halfway to the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost, Book 1 of the Night Huntress Series

Cat's father was a vampire – a vampire who raped her mother and was never seen again. She has been raised to hate  all of the undead – and even a part of herself, constantly checking herself – and being checked by her mother – to ensure that she never becomes everything she fears. As part of this – she hunts. She hunts the vampires who troll the bars and clubs, cheered on by her mother.

Until she meets Bones. A vampire who isn't so simple, and a vampire who shakes Cat's oh-so-simple world view. Increasingly she realises that not all vampires are as she always imagined – nor are all humans so clean as she'd like to think. It grows further confusing for her as her relationship with Bones deepens into something more.

Read More 3 Fangs

True Blood: When I die

Okay WHAT THE FLYING FUCK WAS THAT?  This is the first episode all season that I pretty much sat on the edge of my couch afraid to blink, while I continually cursed.  This episode started off with Jesus making Lafayette breakfast and promising that they could both avoid magic from then on in.  Slowly Jesus realizes that he is not talking to Lafayette but to Marnie.  She ties him to a chair and demands that he give up all his power or she will hurt Lafayette.  Finally, Jesus agrees and Marnie stabs him in the stomach leaving him for dead.  I know that all season Tami and Sparky having been saying that Jesus is on borrowed time but I was really upset with this.  I firmly believe that Jesus was considered disposable because he is a gay man of color.  I do however think that it is worth noting, that in the director's cut, they talk about where the relationship will go from there, so perhaps there is some hope for growth in their relationship yet.

Read More

*grumps around*

So my body and brain are sitting down and Having Words with me about this no sleep thing. As a life-long insomniac and someone who fills his days far too damn full, and a night owl by preference, I'm usually pretty good at operating without much sleep. I often potter around in a state of "damn I could use a nap".Which is kind of how I worked, I was used to it - being vaguely tired was always something that could be worked through until I could have sufficient space on a weekend to sleep myself out.

But now? Now Brain and Body are presenting bills waaaay too early. Definitely pouting and refusing to play. A couple of days of less sleep and I'm all kinds of fugly. Beloved says it's because my "normal" sleep patterns are already insufficient since I've cut back for so long - I'm starving myself after short rations. I don't know, I used to pull many an all nighter and not be this badly hit. Ugh, maybe I'm getting old

In other news, brother and my 2 cousins are lurking around still. Since they were all in disparate parts of the country I ended up being a central meeting point to discuss their upcoming holiday (cousin 1 lives in Dubai and has invited them). Brother will probably be lurking around for the rest of the week. Nice to see them all, but won't be joining them on holiday despite the many many many invites (take a hint!)

It occurs to me that except for these and the odd word with the parents, I've gone weeks with very very little contact with the Huge Extended Family of Doom. I am falling off the map. A large, very large, part of me is vaguely panicked by this, vaguely guilty by this and is demanding I contact people, remind them I'm alive, catch up on the gossip, have an argument, check the social calendar and do all the other things we're supposed to do in the family. A much smaller but very determined part of me is demanding to know why I want to do this, why I'm not content to let the rift widen and why I can't just enjoy the peace. I've compromised on an open ended "I'll do it tomorrow/next week/when I'm less busy". Procrastination works in my favour

Beloved is working bad times this fortnight. Not working more, but we've done some comparisons and we're probably going to be working at different times - meaning we'll be free at different times. Gah, I hate it when it falls this way. And he has to be away this weekend *sulks*

Work has its ups and downs. In one of those odd strings of events, many of my colleagues have had random life stuff happen that means they cannot work/have to work less/have to work less flexibly. One ironic part of this is that I dropped arsehole client, then had to deal with him 3 times more because they tried to shuffle him off on someone else in the firm. I then had to have an argument about them basically giving me BACK the client I'd dropped by having me cover the lawyer who they gave him to. After much struggles, I think the firm has now dropped him. I don't know for sure because I've adamantly refused to look at a single thing connected to his case.

While this all means more work load, it means more work load because a legitimate issue has arisen, so I resent it less than I do the "we've tasken on more cases than we can manage" or "X has screwed up/is lazy/slacking please fix it/fill in" work load burdens I usually see. Also they're much more appreciative and aware of the hours and work and miracles I'm doing, rather than treating it as natural and normal. Which is nice. Of course, a well appreciated and praised doormat is still a doormat so I am extremely ready to cry foul should I end up doing to lions' share - again.

I think I may either subconsciously trying to reward/pet/treat Beloved or possibly murder him, given the puddings I've been making. Treacle Duff will reduce your lifespan by several years, but by gods its worth it and still one of his favourites. Still, you shouldn't eat it every day... even if it is easy and quick and sooo very goooood

Friday, 9 September 2011

Beloved to the doghouse!

So, 2 friends round at our house talking to Beloved while I potter when he comes and asks me what we're having for dinner since I usually spend a little more time on a Friday.

So coquille st Jacques, followed by chicken thighs filled with softcheese, chives and caramelised onions on a mushroom, pancetta and parmesan risotto with tarragon butter mushrooms followed by a chocolate mousse brownie cake thing (Yes I just described that to make you all jealous :P)

After contemplating this for a while, he leaves. There is conversation.

Then he returns and stand in silence.

Now, Beloved has an odd talent, I don't know whether it's good or not. But he can stand, in perfect silence, and radiate guilt. You know, without a single clue as to why or how, that he has done something he knows is wrong and is trying to put the best spin on it.

My kitchen fills with guilt waves.

"Why..." I ask calmly "do I think I am cooking for 2 more people now?"
"Um."... yes, they Um of guilt.

Thankfully I am awesome and adaptable (and always cook too much) so manage to survive the disaster he maliciously inflicted on me.

Now, I must work diligently to prolong and exploit his guilt for as long as possible. And stop him inviting people without asking me first. Again. I think I shall have to imagine some painful deterrents. I'm good at those

Lafayette and Jesus continue to depress me

I've complained before that I just can't agree with the idea of True Blood being as pro-gay as everyone likes to celebrate

But I'm going to go further in a little rant because I am getting really sick of Lafayette and Jesus and their complete and utter lack of intimacy.

I think this season has really hit hard at how sanitised and cold Lafayette and Jesus' relationship is. It's now so glaring that the characters now irritate me immensely and I'm begging to want to skip past their precious little sanitised platonic, don't-put-off-the-straighties 'relationship'.

The most glaring example of it is the lack of any kind of sex or physical contact between them. True Blood is very free with displaying sex and nudity and it’s a very sexually charged show. In this series we've seen Sookie, Jason, Alcide, Eric, Bill and Sam naked. We have seen Sookie straddle Bill repeatedly, Jason spent pretty much the entire first season naked and having sex from numerous angles – and I'm sure we all remember Eric's bondage session in the basement (I know I do). Sex and nudity is extremely common on this show. But not just sex and sexuality, couples, coupling, kissing, intimacy – it's there.

Now look at Lafayette and Jesus. They have yet to share even a serious kiss. Most of the time they don't even touch. Even Arlene, Terry and Andy Bellefleur have all had more action than Lafayette and Jesus. Contrast that with Tara and Naomi - we have gratuitous sex displayed instantly with the same-sex female couple (almost before we knew Naomi's name or any kind of relationship was established). We rarely see them together in a scene when they are NOT kissing, having sex and happily naked – happily pandering to to the straight male gaze.

Someone coming to this season without seeing the previous seasons would be forgiven for thinking they were friends or room-mates. There’s no sense of them actually having any kind of relationship, it’s rare you see anything from either of them that indicates they have anything other than a platonic friendship - even less! Friends generally have a greater sense of connection between them than this supposedly year-old couple. Even beyond the physical distance, there’s just no rapport between them. No pet names, no internal references, no in-jokes, no body language communication - there’s no connection between them, no sense of unspoken understanding. Where’s the eye-contact? Where’s the facial expressions that communicate a whole conversation? Where is the connection, the relationship, the sense that they are actually a couple. Look at Arlene & Terry - they look at each other, they are connected, they react together, the communicate non-verbally, they seek closeness together. Even Sookie and Eric/Bill communicate a lot with eye contact - in fact that was a major part of the conclusion of the last episode when Sookie made dramatic eye-contact with the vampires. And this is very glaringly missing from Lafayette and Jesus’ relationship, beyond the physical distance and lack of intimacy.

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Thursday, 8 September 2011

Some powerful videos

The Irish have done some amazing PSAs about homophobia and equality - and this is not exception. The video's powerful and carries a painful gut-punch to it

And Zinnia Jones lasy down a powerful argument against all those poor bigots whining that equality laws make them look like bigots.

The attack on legal representation scares me

Yesterday was long and involved with 2 cases that promise to frustrate and irritate – and tell me that someone(s) among the local police have far too much dramatic flare.

I have case 1 that basicly involves a lot of late teens-early 20s guys who had a skinful and met another group of same. Words Were Exchanged. Then considerably more than words were exchanged. *yawn* Bread and butter stuff, right? Except for some reason I'm being presented with charges for organised crime and gang activity. *side-eye* These guys quite literally couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery

We also have a lovely attempt to prove drug dealing apparently managed by taking all the illicit substances they ALL had (that is both sides of the fight), pooling it into one and declaring that it all belongs to one person. *sigh* Oh and yes Mr. policeman, you were right to blush when I just stared at you when you declared “but they all said it wasn't theirs.”

Now case 2 is a 19 year old who has been dragged in for, basically, being a pimp. Living off the immoral earnings of a prostitute, don'tchaknow. Thankfully his sister (the aforementioned prostitute) was present and irritated and able to talk to me (I'd represented her and some friends of hers before). She doesn't have a pimp, as I already knew (she actually has a co-op) but what she does have is a very scared and confused kid brother who she has “leant” a little money to. And while she finds her little brother to be not very bright, in sore need of some direction and a good dose of common sense, she thinks that pimp is a little harsh.

Which brings me to this article in the Guardian. Now beyond pretty much representing a huge amount of what I do it also refers to the ongoing and terrifying attempt by the government to destroy any attempts at legal representation in this country for anyone who cannot afford it – and who isn't educated or aware enough to realise when they need it.

Between legal aid being slashed, means-testing and Ken Clarke's truly repellent proposal, this vital right is under threat. And police already do everything in their grubby power to deny it as much as they can (Someare mentioned here, I've seen these tricks the endless “if we get a lawyer it'll take longer.” “If you get a lawyer you look guilty.” “If you get a lawyer you won't be out of here until tomorrow morning” The excuses, the dodges – and the outright lies are told nightly over and over again. This just adds more ammunition to a force that is already working tooth and nail to deny this right).

I cannot stress how important the right to have a lawyer is in a police station, how hostile a police station is. How very often I've found not even the slightest pretence or attempt at justice would depress me if it didn't enrage me so. Whenever I feel worn down by this job – and believe me I do, between clients who've attacked me, endless amounts of puddles of vomit I've had to step over and truly record breaking vile people I've had to spend time trapped in a small room with, I have loathed this job – all I have to do is think back to the gazillion time I've seen people railroaded, deceived, abused and generally shit on by some arsehole in a uniform – and the many times when the only reason this didn't happen – or the only reason it was stopped – was because I Was There.

Now those drunken brawlers with their recreational personal drug use are not going to be charged as drug dealing gang members. Nor is that silly kid going to be charged as a pimp. If I, or someone like me, hadn't been there however? I don't know.

The direction we're heading in is a frightening one – justice, never especially common – is getting rarer and harder to come by and how much damage will we do to ourselves before we demand it stop?

In the UK the homophobic blood donation ban....


Yeah, that's kind of my reaction to the news. Before we were considered inherently unclean - oral sex or anal sex with another man, no matter how long ago, was a permanant lifetime ban on giving blood in case the straighties were tainted by our terribad gayness

Now? Now apparently we can redeem ourselves by not having sex. yes, if we're celibate for a year they will consider us de-gayed enough that our blood will not taint their precious straight supply. Why we can be redeemed by not having sex and living life as sexless and celibate... now where have I heard that before? Oh yes, from homophobic religion.

So now my brother can give blood if he has unprotected sex with a different woman every night.

While I can give blood so long as I and my monogamous husband of 9 years refrain from any sexual contact - even oral sex with a condom - so that we're sufficiently cleansed of the dreaded gay. Again, the only way a gay man can get close to being "redeemed" and not a diseased pariah is if we're completely sexless. Gay is only semi-ok if we don't have any kind of sex or love life.

So am I celebrating this? No, I'm not. We've gone from a bigoted anachronistic law we clung to because of prejudice, to a brand new bigoted law we made through prejudice. Thank you NHS, the government and the Blood Service for making it clear that we're still unclean and filthy in your eyes. Imagine who much I love it when official government policy declares I'm inherently unfit.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Reviews on Fangs for the Fantasy!

First of all a reminder of our giveaway – True Blood comics are up for grabs and the closing date is the 12th September. Click for more information

Our Podcast!

True Blood: Soul on Fire

I thought last night's episode wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.  Just when we thought that all of the ties were wrapped up, Marnie invaded Layette's body. I guess with two more episodes still to go, it wouldn't do to have her so easily conquered. So let's start at the beginning shall we?

When we last left off, Bill, Eric, Pam and Jessica had gathered in front of goddess emporium all dressed in black ready to finally kick some witch ass. As they gear up to fire on the emporium, Jason jumps in front of them and tells them not to fire, which is met with a round of fucking Sookie from the vampires. I found myself saying, finally and giggling out loud. The writers have to know that Sookie's version of spunky agency is irritating at best; however, I didn't like the fact that Pam reduced her to a slit in a sun dress. Just having the characters say fucking Sookie was enough, there was certainly no need to reduce her in this manner.

Read More

Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead

It's always a bittersweet thing when you come to the end of a series that you love. I stayed up the better part of the night finishing this book and though I am tired, it's a happy kind of tired. I have to say that this is the first paranormal romance story that I have loved from beginning to end. It was filled with erasure that took the form of no GLBT characters whatsoever and extremely limited roles for people of colour, but in spite of all of that I could not help be embrace the characters.

Succubus Revealed basically involved the big showdown between heaven and hell, the importance of true love and the value of a single soul.

Read More 5 Fangs

Cheat the Grave by Vicki Pettersson, the 5th Sign of the Zodiac

To be honest, I have been struggling with this series. It started off wonderfully engaging, with a world that was absolutely unique in urban fantasy, and then somewhere along the way, it seemed to lose focus, that is until Cheat the Grave. This book reminded me of why I fell in love with the Zodiac books to begin with.

Now that Joanna/Olivia is mortal, the forces of light see her as useless, and to make matters worse, Solange has sent Mackie the piano player from Midheaven to kill her. If the Tulpa and the shadow hunters figure out who she really is, they will kill her. Everywhere she turns, someone wants her dead except for the rogue agents (the greys). Somehow she must protect the mortals she loves, and chief among her concerns is stopping Suzanne from marrying someone she suspects has nefarious intent.

Read More 4.5 Fangs

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, Book 1 of the Kate Daniels series

Kate Daniels is a mercenary. A sword for hire ready to kill, find or save whatever people pay her to in a world that has gone mad.

And it well and truly has. After centuries of technological domination, magic swept in on a wave of destruction. Technology failed, skyscrapers collapsed and now the world lies in flux between them – when magic fails the tech works and spells fade – then the magic rolls in spells surge – and technology ceases to work. In among that, lycanthropes, vampire-piloting necromancers and so much more vie for power in a world that is still finding its feet.

Read More 4.5 Fangs

White Knight by Jim Butcher, Book 9 of the Harry Dresden Files

Magical practitioners are dying. Not Wizards, not members of the White Council, but lesser talents are dying not just in Chicago but across the US – their deaths a series of tragic suicides. Harry's looking to find out who and why – and whether his brother is involved or not.

Caught up by White Court machinations he also finds himself further enmeshed in the vampire politics behind the war. To complicate matters, he also has to balance teaching his new apprentice, the machinations of Lasciel, the Fallen Angel that has taken up residence in his mind and the ever-worrying presence of the mob boss, Marcone who always plays his own very dangerous game. Oh, and his ex shows up. Never simple, is it?

Read More 4 Fangs

Fright Night

For the purposes of disclosure, I must admit that I have not seen the original Fright Night starring, Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdame and Amanda Bearse. I went into this movie not really knowing what to expect and I have to say that while I enjoyed it, Fright Night will not go down as one of my favourite urban fantasy books.

The story is set in Las Vegas and surprise, surprise, there isn't a single GLBT person. Sandra Vergara who played Ginger Peter, Vincent's (David Tennant) girlfriend is the only person of colour. How is it that a story can be set in an area like Vegas and have so much erasure? It is not only ridiculous, it is irresponsible. Vergara did not play a major character, and much of the time she spent on screen, she was scantily clad and coarse. Unsurprisingly, she quickly became the victim of the vampire.

Read More 3 Fangs

Turned by Morgan Rice, Book 1 of the Vampire Journals

Caitlin is a high school teenager trying desperately to lead a normal life with her absent father and abusive mother. Moved yet again to a new school she tries to find a new balance before having to move yet again – but things are even more complicated now than before. Overcome with powers she doesn't understand and never had before, and a hunger that is all consuming she desperately tries to keep her life working.

Facing a confused boyfriend, a new school, and an uncaring parent would be complicated enough – but instead she finds herself over the body of her first victim, hunted by the police and caught between 2 vampire covens, one of whom determined to capture and possibly kill her – to say nothing of Caleb, and ancient and handsome vampire who seems to care for her – and thinks she may be the Chosen One for all of them

Read More 1 Fang

We have some discussions going on over at Fangs as well :)

Slurs return to the airwaves

So, in a startling moment of goodness, acceptance and good ol' Common Sense and Common Decency, Canada's Broadcasting Standards Council decided that, actually, vicious slurs on air were a bad idea

This is in the tradition of an immense number of songs that are censored and altered for radio, literally hundreds if not thousands of them. It's pretty standard practice

Of course, we couldn't be having that could we? After thousands of straight people stomped their feet and demanded – DEMANDED – they be able to turn on the radio and hear that lovely anti-gay slur. And the council caved. Fear not, poor censored straight folks - f@ggot will be returning to the airwaves! It must be such a relief.

Interesting what raises the masses isn't it? References to consensual sex, drugs, the very existence of guns any objections? What's that? Echoing silence? Seems they can be censored!These aren't a problem or an issue. Now why is that do you think?

But a gross slur against gay people? HOW DARE WE?! THIS CANNOT STAND! The masses rise up and beat their chests in fury – they demand their slurs! They must have their slurs!

Well, remember to thank the CBSC for ensuring slurs are treated with the respect and honour they apparently deserve, and for remembering that uppity minorities not wanting to be dehumanised is far less important than straight folks' hate speech.

I've said it before and I'll say it again – it frightens me how furiously passionate people are about using anti-gay slurs.